SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan – A village chief in this town was shot dead by men riding in tandem on Tuesday morning, police said.
Lt. Col. Voltaire Rivera, San Ildefonso police chief, identified the fatality as Felimon Santos, barangay chairman of Malipampang.
Another person, who was identified as Richard del Rosario, a resident of Barangay Pala-Pala, also in this town, was hit by a stray bullet and was taken to the R. de C. Galvez Medical Center for treatment, Rivera said.
Initial investigation showed that Santos was in front of a store beside his house in the village when the men arrived and shot him several times in different parts of his body, killing him instantly.
Rivera said the gunmen then fled on board a gray Yamaha Mio motorcycle without a license plate number and sped toward San Rafael town, also in this province.
Investigators were immediately tasked to collate closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera recordings going to and coming out of the crime scene.
Dragnet operations were also requested from nearby police stations while the motive behind the killing was being established.
“Residents in the area claimed that a few years ago, an assassination attempt was tried by unidentified gunmen against Santos but he was able to run for cover and escaped unhurt,” Rivera added. (PNA)
ILOILO CITY – Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. is set to visit the well-known Sicogon island in Carles town, Iloilo due to reports that livelihood of locals suffered from the suspension of development activities of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).
The Iloilo provincial government has also vowed to help the island which reportedly has been confronted with multiple issues and concerns.
Defensor listened to the concerns of the local government unit, Sicogon residents and stakeholders, and ALI during the ad hoc meeting at the governor’s boardroom on Monday.
In an interview, Defensor told reporters that he will personally visit the island to know the real situation. He did not give any definite date of his visit.
He said Sicogon island is part of the big plans of the province to boost its tourism industry.
Last March 6, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ordered Ayala Land to stop development activities in a disputed parcel of land being claimed by farmers.
This has affected the income and livelihood of thousands of residents and workers, the governor said during the meeting.
“There are issues that the Sicogon wants help because the livelihood of the people and the overall development of the island are affected,” he said.
Peace and order situation and solid waste management on the island are also problematic, Defensor said.
In a separate interview, Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita said the island had suffered for more than a year now.
The suspension of the operations of the resorts and airport has a “domino effect” on the people, he said.
“Unlike in the past that there were tourists visiting here and our people find livelihood in construction (of establishments), transportation, and businesses,” he said.
Sales of convenience stores on the island have dropped to 80 percent while trips of motorized bancas ferrying passengers and tourists from Estancia town dropped from eight to three a day, he said.
“We will find time to discuss with the residents, (and) know their sentiments. The province has a direction that we have to present to them,” he said.
Defensor said the provincial government will “find a good settlement on the issues that confront the island” to boost tourism and other sectors affected by the suspension of operations of ALI.
Meanwhile, ALI has assured that it has complied with the order of the DAR.
“All our contractors pulled out, all hotels are not operating at the moment,” Ryan Ybanez, general manager of the ALI-controlled Sicogon Island Tourism Estate Corp. (SITEC) said.
Ybanez said ALI also looks at the impact of the suspension on the locals. (PNA)
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte’s attendance to the enthronement rites for Japanese Emperor Naruhito will further enhance the relations between Manila and Tokyo, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“The Philippine Government and the Filipino nation join the people of Japan in the auspicious Ceremonies of the Accession to the Throne of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito,” the Palace said in a press statement.
“The Philippine Government is confident that this historic occasion will bring new momentum in the further strengthening of an already excellent Philippines-Japan relationship built on a legacy of friendship that succeeding generations will continue to treasure and cultivate,” it added.
This comes even after the 74-year-old President has to rush home on Tuesday night, three days earlier than his scheduled return, due to “unbearable” back pain caused by his recent minor motorcycle accident.
Duterte, along with his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, attended on Tuesday afternoon the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito, the 126th monarch of the Chrysanthemum Throne.
During the enthronement rites, the President used a cane to ”assist him in his walk,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a separate statement.
Duterte would skip the banquet that will be hosted by the Emperor on Tuesday night. His daughter will attend the event on his behalf.
Malacañang said it was an “honor” and a “privilege” for the President to witness the Emperor’s accession to the throne.
“We felt the ardent joy of the Japanese people and their abiding love for His Majesty during this joyous celebration,” it said.
“The Philippines conveys its warm wishes for the Reiwa era under His Majesty’s ideals, wisdom, and benevolence,” it added.
Duterte was initially scheduled to return home on Thursday but decided to cut short his visit to Japan for a medical check-up with his neurologist on Wednesday.
The President is suffering from hip pain and sustained light bruises and slight scratches when he figured in a minor motorcycle accident at the Presidential Security Group Compound’s garage in Manila on Oct. 16.
The accident came amid public concerns about Duterte’s health.
Duterte, the oldest person to be elected to the presidency, revealed early this month that he has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that weakens muscles responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body.
The President also has Barrett’s esophagus, a potentially serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease, and Buerger’s disease, a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs.
He said he is also suffering from chronic back pains and migraines.
Panelo, in his latest statement, said there is nothing to worry about the President’s health.
He also assured the public that Duterte remains focused on fulfilling his mandate to serve and protect the country.
“The public can rest assured that there is nothing to worry as regards the physical health and condition of the President as he gives serious priority thereto in actively serving our country,” the Palace official said. (PNA)
MANILA – Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte would continue to step up efforts to address hunger and poverty in the country even as he welcomed new data that shows that self-rated poverty and food poverty have fallen in the third quarter of 2019.
In a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Monday, the percentage of families that categorized themselves as “poor” fell to 42% in September 2019, from 45% in June 2019. The 42% self-rated poverty rate is also six percentage points lower than the four-quarter average in 2018.
The same survey showed that 29% of families considered their food as “poor” in September 2019, compared to June 2019, when 35% of families believed they were food poor.
“On one hand, the data is encouraging as it tells us that government’s anti-poverty initiatives and its efforts to address food poverty are making progress,” the Palace official said
“On the other hand, the statistics also tell us that we have to continue working to ensure that every Filipino family can provide for their own needs, especially food,” he added.
Nograles said the record-low inflation numbers in the past few months, as well as the reduced prices of rice as a result of the Rice Tarrification Law, may have contributed to the improved self-rated poverty and self-rated food poverty numbers.
Since hitting 6.7% in October 2018, inflation has dropped to 0.9% in September 2019.
“The net effect of the lower prices of basic commodities like rice is that families are able to purchase more with their income,” he explained.
Nograles pointed out that “in the case of rice, the average retail price of regular milled rice in the fourth week of September 2019 was at 34.04 pesos per kilo, which is 21.2% lower than the average retail price of regular milled rice during the same period last year, which was at 43.22 pesos per kilo.”
“The downward movement of rice prices really helps underprivileged families who must make the most of a tight budget,” he added.
Nograles said with various line agencies recently agreeing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalizes their respective roles in the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP), the government would now be in a better position to address issues involving hunger.
The objective of EPAHP, an initiative that aims to help the Philippines eventually say #GoodbyeGutom, is to help mitigate hunger, ensure food and nutrition security, and reduce poverty in urban and rural communities, including marginalized communities.
The following line agencies will be part of EPAHP: the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and Landbank.
Other agencies to be tapped in the initiative are the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Commission on Population (POPCOM).
“Our goal is to ensure that all these anti-hunger programs are linked with other government food and nutrition programs so that they are fully maximized. Government feeding programs, for example, can source their produce from local farmers, and agencies like the DA can facilitate that. This is just an example of how EPAHP will utilize a whole-of-nation approach to eradicate hunger,” said Nograles, who will spearhead the EPAHP initiative. (PR)
COTABATO CITY – A communist rebel who surrendered to government forces led soldiers to an area in Magpet, North Cotabato where high powered firearms of the New People’s Army (NPA) were kept, an Army official said.
Lt. Colonel Rey Alvarado, commander of Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion, said government forces found a light machine gun, M16 rifles, ammunition and subversive documents in Sitio Family, Barangay Basak in Magpet, North Cotabato on Monday.
Alvarado said a former NPA member, whom he identified only as “Ton-Ton” for security reasons, voluntarily surrendered to soldiers stationed at Barangay Perez Patrol Base in Kidapawan City.
“Ton-ton’s surrender was facilitated by Perez barangay officials,” Alvarado said.
He said “Ton-Ton” was a former squad leader of NPA Guerilla Front 53 (GF-53) operating in the second district of North Cotabato.
“He was the second NPA member who voluntarily surrendered lately and led soldiers to a site where rebel firearms were kept,” Alvarado said.
Earlier this month, Harold (not his real name), a full-time member GF-53 and the team leader of the NPA’s Special Partisan Unit (SPARU in the province), was convinced by his family to yield earlier this month.
Alvarado said Harold, 30, of Barangay Balite, Magpet, surrendered and handed over to soldiers a .45-caliber pistol with ammunition and a hand grenade.
During interrogation, the military said “Harold” revealed the location of NPA firearms entrusted to its underground mass organizations (UGMO).
Harold then led the Army’s 72nd troopers to an area in Matalam, North Cotabato where four high-powered firearms with magazines and ammunition were kept.
The military said Harold also guided soldiers to a village in Pres. Roxas, North Cotabato, where hundreds of ammunition and improvised explosive devices were kept near the house of an unidentified UGMO member.
Alvarado said he foresees an end to the local communist rebellion, with the soldiers getting the support of government agencies and rebel sympathizers.
The Army official also underscored the government’s “whole of nation approach” in ending insurgency on the ground.
The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
TACLOBAN CITY – Nine out of 10 towns in the second legislative district of Northern Samar have declared the New People’s Army (NPA) as persona non grata, a strong indication that people in the rebel group’s stronghold province reject the NPA ideology, the Philippine Army has reported.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion (20IB) based in Las Navas, Northern Samar welcomed the move of these local government units to denounce the atrocities of the communist terrorist group.
Just this quarter, the towns that condemned the NPA are San Roque, Gamay, Catubig, Las Navas, Silvino Lubos, Laoang, Mapanas, Pambujan, and Lapinig.
At least seven villages in San Roque town also declared the NPA persona non grata. As of this week, only the town of Palapag in the second district has not formally denounced the rebels.
Lt. Col. Juan Gullem, 20IB commander, said more local governments have been joining the campaign to wipe out insurgency by 2022.
“The people of Northern Samar can no longer tolerate the intimidation, chaos, and extortion activities brought by the Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA. In 2019 alone, various atrocities and activities by the rebels have been recorded,” Gullem said in a statement.
These include the shooting of military personnel doing community works in Quirino village, Las Navas town last April 13. After two days, armed rebels ambushed two soldiers conducting a survey with the Corps of Engineers on the proposed road project in Catoto-ogan village, also in Las Navas.
The incident that sparked public outrage was the death of 10-year-old Jay Raymunde when rebels detonated an anti-personnel mine in San Miguel village, Las Navas on April 17. The village chief was also killed by rebels on April 25.
Also in Las Navas, rebels harassed army personnel engaged in community support programs in San Francisco village on April 23.
Even the army patrol base securing the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project in Dulay village, Laoang, Northern Samar was not spared in the NPA attack on May 21.
The most recent was the assault launched against an army detachment in Poponton village, Las Navas town on August 9 and 11.
“The communist terrorist group has organized a series of anti-government demonstrations utilizing women, children, elderly and persons with disability in Las Navas, Northern Samar through the NPA front organizations. They call for the pullout of the military in Las Navas, but silent on the atrocities of NPA,” Gullem said.
These fronts organizations are the Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas - Karapatan (rights group), Northern Samar Small Farmers Association, Samahan han Gudti na Parag-uma (group of small farmers), and Alyansya han mga Parag-uma Kontra-gutom han Las Navasnon (alliance of farmers against hunger in Las Navas).
Northern Samar is considered to be the NPA’s stronghold in Eastern Visayas due to poor road network, thick forest, high poverty incidence, and low level of education in upland communities.
The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
Mati City, Davao Oriental - The Pujada Bay in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental has been named as one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World. This was announced after the General Assembly of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World (MBBW) has unanimously approved Davao Oriental team’s MBBW application.
The Davao Oriental delegation, composed of Provincial Governor’s Office Chief of Staff Ednar Dayanghirang and Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) Officer Dolores Valdesco who both represented Governor Nelson Dayanghirang and CENR Officer Eddie Cobacha who represented Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat, presented the team’s Pujada Bay application in Toyama city, Toyama Prefecture, Japan on October 18.
With the approval, experts from the MBBW are now set to visit the province, particularly the Pujada Bay in the City of Mati, to conduct a ground assessment and validation.
“The ground validation is the first official act of MBBW to visit new approved members to see what we told them, prior to induction next year for the 16th World Congress in Morocco,” said Mr. Dayanghirang.
The Provincial Government headed by Governor Dayanghirang warmly welcomed the pleasant development as this is another reason to promote the City of Mati and the Province of Davao Oriental as another worthy world-class destination.
Moreover, the Governor hopes that aside from boosting the province’s eco-tourism potentials that will help usher more economic opportunities in the city and the province, the approval of the Pujada Bay as one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World will also help the government and the residents to put more efforts in protecting the wealth of this treasured landscape. (PIO)
DAVAO CITY – The newly designated acting chief of the Philippine National Police in Region 11 vowed to focus more on internal cleansing, a “zero tolerance” policy among police personnel involved in illegal drug activities and other crimes.
During the turnover ceremony on Tuesday here, Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal admitted that his new post would be “very challenging”, but added that cleansing the police ranks would make the job easier.
“We need to cleanse because it has an impact on our campaign on anti-criminality and anti-illegal drugs and anti-terrorism,” Escobal said.
Escobal said he will review the performance of city and provincial directors, down to the station commanders and chiefs of police.
“So I am challenging all the commanders and provincial directors, as well as the unit commanders, let’s do our part and deliver what is expected from us, ” he said.
He also vowed to maintain a “zero tolerance" policy against scalawags, saying the most “severe punishment” would be applied against any police personnel “who commits a crime or breaks a rule”.
Meanwhile, outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Marcelo Morales, now designated as the acting director of Police Security Protection Group (PSPG), thanked his personnel and officers and other law enforcement agencies and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the support during his stint as Police Regional Office director for Davao Region. (PNA)
MANILA – ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap on Tuesday urged Congress to investigate the sale of identification cards for a person with disabilities (PWDs) to “unethical” individuals who want to enjoy discounts and privileges reserved for PWDs.
In a news forum, Yap said he filed House Resolution 45 after receiving reports of persons faking their disabilities to get a PWD ID, as well as fixers offering the ID for sale to interested parties.
He said those who fake their disabilities or those who buy the IDs from fixers are mostly moneyed individuals.
The lawmaker said he called for the investigation after personally encountering the practice while he was dining at a restaurant in Manila.
Yap said he saw a family of six, with the four children, all teenagers, each showing a PWD ID upon paying the bill, even though they do not seem to have any disabilities.
Suspecting fraud, the lawmaker said he asked someone who does not have any disability but has money to get a PWD ID.
When the person managed to obtain the ID, he enlisted the help of 15 other individuals to get their own PWD IDs in different parts of Metro Manila, which they also obtained.
He showed to media the PWD IDs that were obtained by the individuals, including the booklets that go with the issuance of the ID.
“Itong fake PWD ID kumakalat na ito, nilalako na ito (The fake PWD ID is becoming widespread, it is already being sold),” Yap said.
He said based on reports he gathered, the price of fake PWD IDs ranges between PHP1,000 to PHP3,000.
He has also received reports that the fake PWD IDs are used to book airline tickets, both for international and domestic flights.
“Kung wala tayong gagawin na aksyon, di ba iyong polio nga kumakalat nagkakaroon ng outbreak, magkakaroon na rin po ng outbreak nito (fake PWD IDs) kasi nilalako na ho. Kung sino-sino ang nakakapaglako (If we do not act, like polio, there will soon be an outbreak on this because it is already being sold. It is already being sold and bought by anybody),” Yap said.
Besides urging Congress to look into the issue, he also called on municipal and city mayors to look into these cases as huge amounts of money are being drained from their coffers due to the illegal practice.
Yap even called on restaurant owners and their crew to confront suspicious-looking individuals who have PWD IDs.
He asked them to take photos of these individuals and post them on social media so that others will be discouraged to do the same practice.
“Kailangan natin ng shame campaign. Ang mga gumagawa nito may pera. Mahihiya ho sila kung tayo ilalabas natin ito, ikakalat natin ito (We need a shame campaign. Those who do this have money. They will be ashamed if we post and share this),” Yap said.
”Maliwanag na pagnanakaw na sa gobyerno ito. Hindi katanggap-tanggap ito. Gagamit kayo ng pekeng PWD, pepekein niyo yung isang libo, yung tunay na PWD hindi makakuha, hirap na hirap sa requirements (This is a clear case of defrauding the government. This is unacceptable. You use a fake PWD ID for one thousand pesos, yet a true PWD cannot obtain one because of difficulties in getting the requirements),“ he added. (PNA)
DAVAO CITY – Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation light flyweight champion Edward “El Heneral Fighting Heno” Heno of Paranaque City will challenge Elwin “La Pulga” Soto of Mexico for the World Boxing Organization world light flyweight title on Oct. 24 at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, USA.
The 27-year-old Heno retained his OPBF title for the third time by beating Koji Itagaki of Japan via a unanimous decision last Feb. 11 in Japan.
Heno remains undefeated -14 wins with five knockouts and five draws.
Soto, on the other hand, has a total of 15 wins and 11 knockouts with one loss.
The 22-year-old Soto earlier knocked out defending champion Angel Acosta of Puerto Rico to win the WBO world light flyweight title on July 21 in California.
The promoter is Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions. (PNA)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) 12 (Soccsksargen) said it is reviewing the prevailing daily minimum wage of private workers in the region as it considers another possible adjustment in the coming months.
Jessie dela Cruz, RTWPB-12 secretary, said Tuesday they conducted a public hearing and consultation here last week to “hear and assess the pulse” of labor, management, and other concerned sectors on various wage issues.
Dela Cruz said the activity was participated in by 282 representatives from the labor, management, and government sectors who helped review the guidelines, rules, and procedures on minimum wage fixing and the prevailing socio-economic condition of Soccsksargen.
He said among the considerations for the setting of the minimum wage are the needs of workers and their families; the capacity to pay of employers and industries; comparable wages; requirements for national development; and investments and employment generation activities.
“Aside from these factors, the board also considers the consumer price index, inflation rate, and poverty threshold as contributory factors in setting the minimum wage,” he said in a report.
Dela Cruz said they already received the latest updates on the overall socio-economic situation in the region from the regional offices of the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Sisinio Cano, Department of Labor and Employment 12 director and RTWPB chairperson, said they again launched the public consultation on the wage situation on their initiative.
Cano said they have not received any petition so far from labor groups in the region regarding a proposed wage increase.
“The board has decided to review the existing minimum wage even in the absence of any petition,” he said, adding they will convene again next month to study the position papers submitted by labor and management sectors during the public hearing.
Private workers in Soccsksargen last received a wage adjustment in 2018, raising the region’s pay floor to PHP311 per day.
Workers in the non-agriculture sector received an increase of PHP16 in their daily pay while those in agriculture, retail, and service establishments got an additional PHP18.
It set the new minimum daily wage rate for non-agriculture workers to PHP311 and those working in agriculture, retail, and service establishments to PHP290. (PNA)
ZAMBOANGA CITY - A 67-year-old woman suspected to have been afflicted with meningococcemia died at a hospital here on Monday afternoon, a health official disclosed.
The attending physician ordered relatives to immediately bury the victim’s remains to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
The woman’s body was taken to a local funeral parlor where it was wrapped with packaging tape, covered with a body bag and placed in a coffin.
Reports disclosed that the elderly patient was confined at the government-run Zamboanga City Medical Center on Monday morning and expired in the afternoon of the same day. Laboratory tests that would confirm whether the woman was afflicted with meningococcemia have yet to yield results.
“If ever the physician’s finding is meningococcemia, the remains should be buried immediately since it is a highly contagious sickness,” said Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, City Health Office chief, in an interview on Tuesday.
Miravite said under their protocol, once a doctor suspects the patient died from meningococcemia, the remains are to be placed “in a cadaver bag, seal and bury it within 24 hours”.
She also said they will provide prophylaxis treatment to the victim’s nearest of kin and the people who might have come in contact with her before she died.
The patient was living in a slum community in one of the barangays within the seven-kilometer radius of this city.
Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, former city health officer, said meningococcemia is a rare infection caused by the Neisseria Meningitidis bacteria.
He said the disease’s symptoms include fever, headache, rashes consisting of small spots, irritability, nausea, and anxiety. (PNA)
DAVAO CITY – The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) headed by its chairman, National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, Executive Director Al Ryan S. Alejandre and Deputy Executive Director Marichu G. Tellano, through the Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA) led by Commissioner Alphonsus Tesoro organized the Dayaw Suroy (Cebuano word for “stroll”) Media Caravan in collaboration with Philippine Information Agency Region XI (PIA XI) in Davao City on October 15, 2019.
The Dayaw Media Caravan is part of the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month celebration.
Series of television and radio guestings in local media stations in Davao joined by Lordan Roxas (Cluster Represtntative, Casiguran Community), Melanie Joy M. Seville (Bagobo/Kalagan/Tagakaolo Cluster), and Eduardo Delfin (Cluster Head, Itbayat Community) to discuss various activities in the national celebration.
Apart from Davao City, NCCA went to San Fernando, Pampanga on October 3 and Baguio City on October 4.
In Visayas, the caravan was hosted by Iloilo City on October 8 and Bacolod City on October 10.
For Mindanao, the caravan also visited Zamboanga City on October 17.
Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1906 signed in 2009, October of every year is the National Indigenous People’s Month.
This year, IP month banners the theme “Vital Wisdoms: Learning with the Indigenous Peoples” (Buhay na Dunong: Pagkatuto Kasama Ang Mga Katutubo).
“Vital Wisdoms” refer specifically to Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) grouped into five domains by UNESCO, namely: oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship.
Rather than adopting the notion of “learning from”, which conjures up “unidirectionality and exotic others” spins, the theme espouses “learning with”, which marks learning as a social relational process. At the same time, it considers the diverse positionalities and agendas among actors, be they IPs or non-IPs, involved in conversations on ICH in the Philippines.
According to Commissioner Tesoro of the NCCA, it is important to enjoin all sectors in celebrating indigenous peoples’ month.
“(Through the IP Month celebration) the government is recognizing the significant role, the participation, and the contribution of the indigenous peoples’ communities in nation building.”
The IP Month celebration officially kicked off on October 2, 2019 with a grand launch held at the NCCA Lobby which featured discussions on the importance of IP knowledge in nation building.
As the highlight program for the celebration of Indigenous Peoples (IP) Month, the NCCA is organizing a national Kἀlkalἰ (Kankana-ey word for ‘conversations’) under the same banner theme Vital Wisdoms. This will be held at the Maryhill School of Theology, Quezon City, on October 28-29, 2019.
The eight sessions in the two-day Kἀlkalἰ will feature speakers from IP communities together with representatives from concerned sectors who will share their views and experiences pertaining to ICH in the Philippines.
In the process, Kἀlkalἰ aspires to generate issues, new perspectives, and debates on, but not limited to, the aesthetic, legal, moral, ethical, and pedagogical dimensions of ICH, which will inform current and future initiatives and advocacies in safeguarding ICH in the Philippines.
Forum director for the Kἀlkalἰ is Dr. Eufracio Abaya, anthropologist and professor from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
The forum expects active participation of teachers, local government functionaries, researchers, mass media workers, and related practitioners from across the country. (PR-NCCA)
DINGALAN, Aurora – The government’s anti-insurgency campaign in this province has started to roll down to the grassroots.
First Lt. Adriano B. Muring Jr., commanding officer of the Alpha (Warriors) Company, 69th Infantry (Cougar) Battalion, said on Monday that the Barangay Development Council and Barangay Peace and Order Council of Butas na Bato and Davil-Davilan, two of the villages in this town, have passed resolutions for the activation of the Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (BTF-ELCAC).
Muring cited the vital role of the barangay councils in ending the local communist armed conflict. He encouraged them to do their part in attaining peace.
In his meetings with the local officials of both villages, Agas discussed the rationale behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach in fighting the communist insurgency in the country.
”We also discussed the retooled Community Support Program (CSP) of the Army and its purpose to let them know the efforts of the 69IB in the attainment of peace in Aurora,” he said.
Major General Lenard Agustin, for his part, said in an interview also on Monday that “this is the first step towards the goal of achieving lasting peace in the municipality of Dingalan". “With the activation of the BTF-ELCAC, barangay councils will be pro-active in addressing different social issues in the barangays,” he said.
“Everything must be addressed at the grassroots levels, because it is where everything starts, and logically, it is where problems and issues must first be addressed, said Agustin, who is the commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division which has control over the 69IB.
Dingalan Mayor Shierwin Taay, in a phone interview, said that ever since, the local government units in this municipality have been in full support of President Duterte’s call for a whole-of-nation approach to fight insurgency.
“We condemn activists and terrorists in our local community. As I reiterated, we condemn and rejected their (NPA) presence in our town,” Taay said.
He pointed out that this town does not tolerate any terroristic actions of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and its propagation of fear among the general public.
“We are doing our fullest efforts to prevent the rebels from entering and sowing terror in this place,” he added. (PNA)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has temporarily recalled the suspension order it issued early this month on the accreditation of a hospital here, after finding the medical facility of being involved in “fraudulent activities.”
In a public advisory issued on Monday afternoon, PhilHealth 12 (Soccsksargen) said it is “holding in abeyance” the implementation of General Santos Doctors Hospital Inc.’s (GSDHI) suspension, which was supposed to take effect on the same day.
It did not cite any reason for the decision, which was based on an order dated October 17 issued by PhilHealth central office’s arbitration office. The order was for case numbers HCP-XII-08-007 and HCP-XII-08-014, all involving GSDHI, that was covered by a writ of execution issued on August 21.
“As a result thereof, claims for benefits during confinements or for services rendered in the said health care institution shall be received, processed and paid by PhilHealth,” said the advisory that was signed by Dr. Antoniette Ladio, acting regional vice president of PhilHealth-12.
In an advisory on October 10, PhilHealth-12 announced the suspension of GSDHI and the withdrawal of the accreditation of the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center (DAPPMC) and the Allah Valley Medical Specialists Center Inc. (AVMSCI), both based in Koronadal City, for allegedly being “involved in the commission of fraudulent activities.”
GSDHI’s suspension started last October 21, until Jan. 18, 2020 and from Jan. 19, 2020 to April 17, 2020 for a total of six months.
PhilHealth-12 said the hospital violated “pertinent provisions of Republic Act 7875 or the amended National Health Insurance Act of 2013.“
Citing a report from its legal division, PhilHealth-12 public information officer Hanah Naanep said the violations committed by GSDHI are “padding of claims, claim for non-admitted patients, misrepresentation, and breach of performance commitment.”
In a press conference in Koronadal City on October 14, Ladio said they served the writ of execution for the hospital’s suspension as its cases were already decided with finality by the Supreme Court.
He said GSDHI may apply for “re-accreditation” with PhilHealth once it serves the six-month suspension.
As to the cases of DAPPMC and AVMSCI, Naanep told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that their central office has yet to decide on their appeals regarding the withdrawal of their accreditation, which took effect last October 10.
“We’re still waiting for the decision on their motions for reconsideration,” she said.
PhilHealth-12 has repeatedly refused to disclose the violations committed by DAPPMC and AVMSCI but said the withdrawal was a “preventive penalty” against them. (PNA)
MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) handed down an entry of judgment in connection with the criminal cases against an official of Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI) over the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars nearly 10 years ago.
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) released this week the court order written by Deputy Clerk of Court Basilio T. Ringol on June 17, 2019, saying the SC decision on Dec. 10, 2018 on the case has become final and executory.
The SC decision in turn ruled in favor of consolidated petitions questioning the March 22, 2013 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissing reckless imprudence raps against then SLI first vice president for administration Edgar Go over the tragedy.
Associate Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Marvic Leonen, Alexander Gesmundo, and Ramon Paul Hernando concurred with the decision written by Associate Justice Jose Reyes.
Go led the crisis management team of the company which handled the incident when the ship under Captain Florencio Marimon capsized and sank in the waters off Romblon at the height of typhoon Frank.
A total of 227 people died, 592 went missing while 32 survived in the tragedy.
“(T)he consolidated petitions for review are granted. The decision of the Court of Appeals are reversed and set aside. The Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 5 is ordered to forthwith reinstate the criminal case as against respondent Go,” the SC ruled.
The tribunal explained that while the shipping firm’s officials faced civil liabilities for failing to safely deliver its passengers, they also face criminal liabilities for possible negligence which resulted in deaths and injuries.
“The civil action against a ship owner for breach of contract of carriage does not preclude criminal prosecution against its employees whose negligence resulted in the death of or injuries to passengers,” the High Court explained.
In its investigation report dated Aug. 18, 2008, the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) stated that Sulpicio Lines Inc. and its senior officers failed to ensure the safety of the vessel and its cargo because it did not assess the potential danger of the typhoon.
It added that SLI failed to monitor the condition of the vessel during the critical moment on the morning of June 21, 2009 before the vessel sank in San Fernando, Romblon that was in the direct path of the typhoon.
The BMI also observed that the shipping firm did not inform the Philippine Coast Guard immediately when the vessel lost contact with the company. (PNA)
MANILA – A Catholic priest on Tuesday expressed opposition to the proposed measure in the House of Representatives, which seeks to repeal the crime of offending religious feelings.
Fr. Jerome Secillano of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Sampaloc, Manila, said not penalizing those who attack any church or religion is unwise and discourteous to the latter.
“Taking away the penalty for such violation will only embolden imprudent and disrespectful actions against any church or religion,” he said in a statement.
“The proposal simply doesn’t make sense. That provision guarantees the free and peaceful exercise of one’s religion without fear or interference from external forces,” he said.
On Tuesday, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman filed a bill seeking to revoke the penalty on the crime of offending religious feelings.
House Bill (HB) No. 5170, was filed to repeal Article 133 of the Revised Penal Code on offending religious feelings.
“If Lagman wishes to honor Mr. (Carlos) Celdran, he can do it in many ways. But, it shouldn’t be something that will undermine religious institutions or practices in the process,” Secillano said.
Celdran was found guilty of violating the law by a Manila court in September 2013 for staging an impromptu protest at the Manila Cathedral three years earlier.
If passed into law, Lagman’s bill would have a retroactive effect, which means that all pending criminal cases and related civil cases for violation of Article 133 would be dismissed.
In August 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed the guilty verdict of the Court of Appeals on Celdran and ordered him to go to jail.
The well-known tourist guide has left the country and reportedly moved in self-exile to Madrid, Spain, where he died on October 8, 2019, at the age of 46. (PNA)
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two Dawlah Islamiyah members separately surrendered and turned over high-powered firearms to government authorities in Lanao del Sur, officials said Tuesday.
Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, acting commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, identified the surrenderers as Satar Emmandatu and Aminudin Datu.
Cuerpo said Emmandatu surrendered to the Army’s 82nd Infantry Brigade on Sunday in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. He turned over a .30-caliber M1 Garand, and two Armalite rifles with ammunition.
He recalled that it was Emmandatu who shot at the troops of the 55th Infantry Battalion on October 16 in Barangay Ngingir, Calanogas town. No one was hit.
Meanwhile, Datu surrendered around 2 p.m. Monday to the troops of the 82nd Infantry Battalion also in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran, Cuerpo said.
Datu surrendered one Browning Automatic Rifle, one .45-caliber pistol, magazines, and ammunition.
Lt. Col. Rafman Altre, Army’s 82nd Infantry Battalion commander, said Datu was involved in the series of skirmishes in Marawi City and the towns of Gacap, Piagapo, Mantapoli, and Marantao, prior the Marawi siege in 2017.
Altre said that Datu also served as the guide of the local terrorist group in their atrocities in Barangay Paridi, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
Cuerpo attributed the surrender of Emmandatu and Datu to the efforts of local officials and residents.
“We will continuously collaborate with them to encourage other local terrorists to surrender and yield their loose firearms to attain a just and lasting peace to their communities,” Cuerpo said.
Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the local chief executives for the successful surrender of two Dawlah Islamiyah members.
“Your 1st Infantry Division, in collaboration with the LGUs (local government units) and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in our campaign against local terrorists and will continue to seize loose firearms in our area of operation,” Ancan said. (PNA)
MAGSAYSAY, Davao del Sur – Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go personally handed over on Monday relief assistance to the families from 22 villages of this town that were badly hit by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on October 16.
“We will shoulder all the expenses especially those treated at the hospital who were victims of the earthquake,” Go assured the residents.
Based on the official list released by the disaster response and assessment team here, a total of 359 houses were declared damaged while 821 were found to be partially damaged, affecting 1,180 families.
Magsaysay Information Officer Anthony Allada said several victims failed to report incurred damages to the authorities.
“They might not be included in this initial relief assistance but in due time the local government under Mayor Arthur Davin will take care of them,” Allada said.
Alfredo Arcello, 83, a resident of Barangay Malungon in his town said he was very shocked when the earthquake caused the concrete walls of his house to collapse.
“I was viewing a television show when it happened. I immediately grabbed my little grandson outside the house, and my two children also managed to quickly get out in the midst of darkness before the wall broke down,” Arcello narrated.
Allada said some residents in Barangay Malawanit and Barangay Upper Bala opted to establish makeshift bedding in the open field rather than stay inside the comfort of their homes after the earthquake.
Magsaysay and Digos City are among the most badly-affected areas by the tremor, whose epicenter was in Tulunan town, North Cotabato.
Local authorities in Digos City shut down 15 shopping malls and department stores for safety reasons.
Days after the earthquake, residents had to endure several hundreds of aftershocks that range from 2.0 to 5.1 magnitude. (PNA)
TACURONG CITY, Oct. 22 (PIA) - Officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA 12) and LGU-Tacurong City met on Wednesday with owners and representatives of hotels, inns, restaurants, bars, subdivisions and warehouses at CDRRM Operations Center here.
This is a collaborative effort of PDEA, LGU-Tacurong City together with the DOLE, PNP and the business sector that aimed to promote a drug-free workplace and community dubbed “Oplan Kalasag.”
City Mayor Angelo Montilla said he is happy that the city is now growing big with the presence of around 30 owners of hotels and big establishments. He urged them to keep their businesses and establishments free from drugs and other illegal activities, as he also vowed to strengthen their partnership and keep an open line to ensure a conducive and peaceful atmosphere for the business sector.
The LGU is keen on providing the necessary support to help them protect their business, customers and the community, as a response of their cooperation in the implementation of local programs and initiatives, Montilla told the business owners during the 1-day advocacy program.
The Oplan Kalasag: Advocacy on Drug-Free Workplace and Empowering Administrators, Frontliners and Security Officers of hotels, restaurants, bars, subdivisions, condominiums and warehouses, is in compliance with Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 as well as the DOLE Department Order 53-03, Series of 2003 which provides guidelines for the implementation of Drug-Free Workplace Policies and Programs for the Private Sector.
Various topics were discussed by PDEA personnel including presentations on how to detect illegal drugs, laboratories, concealment methods and clandestine operations, and salient features of RA 9165.
One of the highlights of the Oplan Kalasag advocacy was the signing of the Declaration of Support to the advocacy program by the stakeholders led by PDEA 12 regional director Naravy Duquiatan, Mayor Montilla, PNP chief of police Lt. Col. Rey Egos and DOLE Sultan Kudarat provincial director Mary Jane Hoksuan. (AC Agad/PIA12)