Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Troops hunt Sayyaf terrorists in Philippine province

Army troops patrol Basilan province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 7, 2011) – Philippine troops are pursuing Abu Sayyaf militants tied blamed for a landmine blast that left a total of six soldiers wounded in the southern province of Basilan, officials said Sunday.

Officials said Special Forces soldiers were running after Puruji Indama and Hasan Asnawi in the town of Sumisip, where six soldiers were wounded earlier in the day.

More troops were sent to the area to hunt down the two notorious leaders, said Army Colonel Ramon Yogyog, commander of military forces in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

There were no immediate reports of fresh clashes in the town, a known stronghold of Abu Sayyaf militants blamed for the spate of kidnappings and terrorism in Basilan and other parts of Mindanao Island.

Filipino authorities tied the militant group to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya. (Mindanao Examiner)

3 motorbike thieves fall in Zamboanga City


ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 7, 2011) – Police arrested Monday three young men, one of them the son of a police officer, tagged as behind the series of motorbike robberies in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said policemen raided a house near a police camp in San Jose village and arrested the trio.

“We arrested the three men after receiving information that they were in the house. These men are behind the series of carnapping in Zamboanga,” said Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, chief of the local police force.

De Ocampo said the motorbikes stolen by the group were being sold to individuals for as low as P5,000. It was unknown whether the father of one of the suspects who is a policeman is unaware of his son’s criminal activities.

Dozens of motorbikes had been stolen in Zamboanga City over the years, and some of its owners were shot by robbers. (Mindanao Examiner)

5 soldiers wounded in landmine explosion in Basilan province

Army troops patrol Basilan province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 7, 2011) – Five Special Forces soldiers were injured, two of them critically, following a landmine explosion Monday on a village in the southern Muslim province of Basilan, officials said.

Officials said the soldiers were patrolling the village of Baiwas in Sumisip town when they tripped on the landmine. “The explosion wounded five soldiers, who are members of the 4th Special Forces Battalion and were immediately evacuated to Zamboanga City,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the blast, but Abu Sayyaf militants and Moro rebels are actively operating in the town.

Just last month, five rubber farm workers were also killed and eight others wounded after suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen ambushed their truck near the village of Sapah Bulak in Sumisip town.

Most of the victims were members of the Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Incorporated Development Cooperative. Officials blamed the Abu Sayyaf for the attack, saying the group was extorting money from the cooperative.

Fighting also erupted in Al-Barka town near Sumisip last month between troops and Moro rebels that left 19 soldiers and five guerrillas dead. (Mindanao Examiner)

8 killed in clan war in Mindanao province

A Google Earth map of Sultan Dumalondong town in Lanao del Sur in the Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao where clan war killed 8 people, officials say.

MARAWI CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 7, 2011) - Philippine soldiers were deployed on a remote village in the Muslim province of Lanao del Sur on Mindanao Island where sporadic fighting between warring clans had already killed at least 8 people, officials said.

Officials said the fighting began on Friday in the town of Sultan Dumalondong after clan members each others in the village called Malalis. “We have sent troops to pacify the warring clans. At least 8 people had been killed on both sides since the fighting erupted on Friday,” Army Colonel Daniel Lucero, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Lucero said the fighting was between Arimao Asum, the father of Lumbayanague town Mayor Jama Asum, and the groups of Polo Alim and Aliasgar Sancopan. He said a bad business deal between the three groups in 2002 triggered the clan war.

“It all began with the non-payment of a vehicle sold to one of clan leaders, and since then they would clash sporadically and we are trying to settle this problem amicably to prevent more bloodshed and restore peace in the area,” Lucero said.

In June this year, four people were also killed in a firefight between the same warring groups in the village of Malalis.

The fighting was believed connected to the killing of Macacna Asum, who was allegedly shot by Polo Alim in Marawi City in 2002. Asum was killed after he failed to pay his debts to Alim.

Clan war or locally known as “rido” is common in many parts of the southern Philippines. The U.S. Agency for International Development and think-tank Asia Foundation said that more than 3,000 people have been killed over the past seven decades in family feuds in the southern Philippines.

Rido can involve disputes among family members or among two or more rival families, pitting neighbors or different ethnic groups against each other. The disputes center on issues of land, money, marriage or political power and involve revenge killings.

The violence increases with each act of retaliation, broadening to include those not directly involved in the dispute, including women and children, according to the Asia Foundation, adding, some feuds lasted for decades. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Filipino lawmaker alarmed by CIA operations


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 6, 2011) - A Filipino lawmaker expressed alarm on news reports that the US Central Intelligence Agency is tracking Facebook and Twitter accounts of private individuals all over the work.

Congressman Neri Colmenares, who is a human rights lawyer, said the CIA is also using their embassies for the operations.

“While the US government may insist in the legality of their monitoring of twitter accounts due to their public nature, the monitoring is a very dangerous preoccupation and a threat to constitutional rights not only because it crosses into the unconstitutional when it enters into closed social network sites or hacks emails but also because it leads to profiling which is unconstitutional especially if it serves as a prelude to illegal entry into private domains,” he said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

“While people generally join Facebook with the wish to relate to people who consider them friends, CIA monitoring is undertaken by people who consider them enemies. When authorities pretend to be ‘friends’ in Facebook but with the not so friendly intention of monitoring their activities and profiling the innocent victim, this is definitely subject to a constitutional challenge because it leads to discrimination. This could even be challenged for violation of the right to be safe from unreasonable searches and seizure without probable cause,” he added.

Colmenares said the admission that even US embassies in foreign countries are engaging in the same makes it more unacceptable considering that embassies are given diplomatic immunities because they are deemed to engage in diplomatic functions.

“Any intelligence function by an embassy is therefore anathema to its task and the US embassy here must inform the Aquino government whether it engages in the same kind of monitoring. The Aquino government must also demand that the US embassy in Manila inform us what the guidelines and parameters of its monitoring activities are, whether it was done through the internet or through innocuous dinner talk,” he said.

Reports that In-Q-Tel, of the CIA, has invested into Visible Technologies, a software company that crawls across blogs, online forums, and open networks like Twitter and YouTube to monitor what is being said.

Police also used such data so that they can enter the home of an organizer who tweeted to protesters in the G-20 summit in Pittsburg. “Just the general profiling of people as friend or enemy on the basis of their tweets and email are definitely dangerous and must be stopped,” Colmenares said.

The CIA is a civilian intelligence agency of the US government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, and responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior US policymakers through means of non hostile psychological, cyber, and social warfare using non-military commissioned civilians to carry out these intel gathering operations, and also engages in covert activities.

LPG-MA accuses ‘Big 3’of harassment


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 6, 2011) – The Federation of Philippine Industries accused the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association of engaging in cartelization and monopoly and has filed charges against them.

FPI’s Jesus Arranza alleged that LPG-MA have banded and associated themselves in a concerted effort to fix the price of cooking gas and therefore restraint the trade or free competition. Among those charged was Congressman Arnel, who represents the LPG-MA party list group.

But Ty accused the so-called Big 3 oil firms - Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp., and Chevron Philippines Inc. as behind FPI. “The FPI is just fronting for Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Petron Corp., and Chevron Philippines Inc. in damaging the reputation of LPG-MA and other independent refillers not aligned with the giants,” lawyer Miguel Ponce Jr., Ty’s chief of staff, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

“The Big 3 oil firms are among the controlling corporate members of FPI. The giants are simply out to stifle free and fair competition, and perpetuate their market dominance at the expense of consumers,” Ponce said.

Aside from Ty, nine other executives have been charged.

“The complaint against Congressman Ty is totally baseless. It is merely being played up by FPI to deflect attention away from the public clamor for the Big 3 to open their books for scrutiny, amid widespread allegations of overpricing.”

“We don’t have a copy yet of the prosecutor’s supposed recommendation. If in fact there is one, then we intend to appeal it before the Secretary of Justice,” Ponce said.

FPI’s complaint stemmed from Ty’s previous announcement of his firm’s LPG price cuts. FPI claimed that the broadcasts, which are also being done by the Big 3 every time they slashed prices, constituted “price signaling.”

Curiously, Ponce said FPI’s complaint singled out LPG-MA, adding, independent LPG refillers compete directly with the Big 3 in the open market.

“Independent refillers base their product retail prices on the international contract price of LPG. This is why they are able to sell their products to consumers at much lower prices compared to the Big 3,” Ponce said.

“We don’t know what is the reference price used by the Big 3 for their LPG products, which in some markets are sold around P100 higher per 11-kilogram cylinder,” he added.

The Department of Energy has repeatedly urged the Big 3 to use the international contract price of LPG as benchmark, but the giants have refused to comply, according to Ponce.
Ponce accused the oil giants of “maliciously retaliating” against LPG-MA, which previously filed a complaint urging the joint DOE-Department of Justice Task Force to investigate excessive LPG prices in the Visayas and Mindanao.

“The question now is: Why is FPI’s complaint moving so fast, while no action has been taken with respect to LPG-MA’s complaint against FPI’s Big 3 members? Ponce asked.

Regulators earlier acknowledged that based on their market surveillance, LPG prices in the Visayas and Mindanao are up to 15 percent higher compared to those in Luzon.

The Big 3 oil firms still dominate the LPG markets in the Visayas and Mindanao. In contrast, LPG prices in Luzon are cheaper because of growing competition posed by independent refillers.

Viral Aquino-Cojuangco YouTube documentary spreads to Facebook


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 6, 2011) – From 1,599 views on Saturday since it was posted on YouTube two weeks ago, a documentary video of the political dynasty of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos has spread to the social networking site Facebook and now it had over 85,000 views – a day after the Mindanao Examiner broke out the story.

The 15-minute documentary “Aquino Cojuangco: Facts they don’t want you to know,” was uploaded on October 21 and has generated so much interest that it continue to be one of the most viewed video on YouTube.

It told how the clans amassed its wealth in central Luzon and showed how the Cojuangcos and the Aquinos held an iron grip over the political landscape from mayors, governors, congressmen, and senators and up to the presidency over the decades.

The film told stories of the Cojuangco matriarch Ysidra, and how she established her business empire and landholdings in the 1900 in Tarlac and nearby provinces. And so was the issue of the controversial Hacienda Luisita, a huge estate still being claimed by farmers as theirs.

Ysidra had four sons and one of them was former President Corazon Aquino’s father.

It also noted the huge number of cases of extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances of political activists and farmers during the time of President Corazon Aquino, mother of the present Filipino leader Benigno Aquino.

The filmmaker of the documentary, who identified himself as Filipino artist Baron Buchokoy, said the video is neither an anti-Aquino nor anti-Cojuangco propaganda and that all leads, facts and trivia in the film can be verified on credible sources in the Internet.

“Lahat ng baho ni (President Ferdinand) Marcos, (President Fidel) Ramos, (President Joseph Estrada) Erap at (President Gloria Arroyo) GMA ay naisapubliko na. Maliban lang kay (President Corazon Aquino) Cory. Dahil nga sa media bias sa ating bansa. Ito po ang aking pokus sa ngayon, ang paglaganap ng facts na hindi binabanggit sa media.Dahil dito, nagmumukha akong anti-Aquino kahit na hindi ito ang aking pakay. My only aim is to fight Filipino ignorance order to help them have an educated decision on whom to vote,” he said on his YouTube Channel which can be accessed on this URL: http://www.youtube.com/user/PinoyMonkeyPride

“These facts are silenced in Philippine media. YouTube provides alternative media for the citizens of the Philippines. Media that is unfiltered and untouched by corporate or political interests. This is a documentary/commentary for educational purpose only,” he added.

The documentary also trigged various reactions and calls for political reforms inn the country. “Unbelievable...Ganitong klaseng mga video hindi to kayang gawin ng isang tao. Spread the Truth. Filipino wake up,” one reader, Takeru Miyamato, wrote at the video’s channel site.

“May magagawa ka pa ba sa oligarchy na yan? Ang sagot ay wala. Pero may magagawa ka, support the Constitutional reform. Amend the 1987 Constitution. Support the Federalism-Parliamentary. Itatayo ko buong buhay ko para lang mapalitan ang Konstitusyon natin. Mabuhay ang bansang Pilipinas, mabuhay ang mga Pilipino,” another said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Surigao, Agusan inuga ng lindol


DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 6, 2011) – Niyanig ng lindol ang bayan ng Lianga sa lalawigan ng Surigao del Sur, ngunit hindi naman umano ito kalakasan, ayon sa Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Naitala nito ang lindol dakong alas 6 ng gabi ng Sabado at nasa 3.7 magnitude sa Richter scale ang lakas nito.

Wala rin inulat na nasira sa mga lumang gusali o kabahayan sa naturang lugar, subali’t sa tuwing nagkakaroon ng pagyanig ay takot naman ang bumabalot sa mga residente.

May lindol rin bayan ng Buenavista sa kalapit na kalapit na lalawigan ng Agusan del Norte at hinihinalang ugat ito ng fault line sa Lianga na kung saan natunton ang sentro ng pagyanig.

Tectonic ang kalimitan sanhi ng mga pagyanig sa Mindanao.

Ang Pilipinas ay sinasabing nasa Pacific Ring of Fire na kung saan ay napapaligiran ang bansa ng mga underwater volcanoes. Ito rin ang dahilan sa maraming mga paglindol dahil sa walang tigil na paggalaw ng mga bato sa ilalim nito. (Mindanao Examiner)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Panamanian cargo ship sinks off northern Philippines


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 5, 2011) – A Panamanian cargo ship has sank Saturday off the northern Philippines and rescuers were searching for its crew, reports said.

It said the ship, MV Oceanic Union, sank off the town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte province, but the Coast Guard is yet to say whether any of the 20 crew have been rescued or not.

Authorities have not released the identities of the seamen or their nationalities after their vessel made a distress call at around 1 a.m.

No other details were made available by the Coast Guard or the local police about the search and rescue operations, or what cause the ship to sink. (Mindanao Examiner)

NPA rebels kill Zambo militia


ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 5, 2011) – Communist insurgents killed a government militia on Saturday on a village in the town of Kabasalan in Zamboanga Sibugay province, the military said.

It said New People’s Army fighters seized the militia and used him as shield in their escape after a daring raid in the village of Palintana.

The insurgents abandoned the body of the slain militia in the same village. It was unknown why policemen and soldiers failed to prevent the raid, but the military said security forces were tracking down the insurgents.

The NPA is fighting for the establishment of a separate Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

Documentary on powerful Aquino-Cujuangco clans goes viral on YouTube

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 5, 2011) – A documentary video of the political dynasty of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos has surfaced in the popular video sharing website YouTube and it told stories of the reign of two of the Philippines’ most wealthy and powerful clans.

The 15-minute documentary began with Antonio Luna, a general who fought in the Philippine-American war in 1899, and left a huge fortune believed to be the “wealth of the revolution” in Tarlac where he was assassinated by General Emilio Aguinaldo’s men, but his cache of gold coins and silvers were never recovered.

The documentary entitled “Aquino Cojuangco: Facts they don’t want you to know,” was uploaded just recently and can be accessed on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gevTmyWtHVo&feature=youtu.be&hd=1.



The fortune was said to have been with Luna’s girlfriend Ysidra Cojuangco, who established her empire in the 1900, buying lands from farmers in Tarlac and nearby provinces. The documentary also told how the Cojuangcos spread its landholdings in Central Luzon, where they also established vast business empires in the following decades; and so was the issue of the controversial Hacienda Luisita, a huge estate being claimed by farmers as theirs.

Ysidra had four sons and one of them was former President Corazon Aquino’s father.

The film showed how the clans held a grip of the political landscape from mayors, governors, congressmen, senators and up to the presidency over the decades. It also noted the huge number of cases of extra-judicial killings and forced disappearances of political activists and farmers during the time of President Corazon Aquino, mother of the present Filipino leader Benigno Aquino.

The filmmaker of the documentary, who identified himself as a Filipino artist Baron Buchokoy, said the video is not anti-Aquino not Anti-Cojuangco propaganda and that all leads, facts and trivia in the film can be verified on credible sources in the Internet.

“Lahat ng baho ni (President Ferdinand) Marcos, (President Fidel) Ramos, (President Joseph Estrada) Erap at (President Gloria Arroyo) GMA ay naisapubliko na. Maliban lang kay (President Corazon Aquino) Cory. Dahil nga sa media bias sa ating bansa. Ito po ang aking pokus sa ngayon, ang pag-laganap ng facts na hindi binabanggit sa media. Dahil dito, nagmumukha akong anti-Aquino kahit na hindi ito ang aking pakay. My only aim is to fight Filipino ignorance order to help them have an educated decision on whom to vote,” he said on his YouTube Channel which can be access on this URL: http://www.youtube.com/user/PinoyMonkeyPride

“These facts are silenced in Philippine media. YouTube provides alternative media for the citizens of the Philippines. Media that is unfiltered and untouched by corporate or political interests. This is a documentary/commentary for educational purpose only,” he added.

He also blamed big media firms as responsible for political propaganda of the Aquino-Cojuangco clans. “Utter lack of common sense by the ordinary Filipino citizen is brought about by years of government practice of dumbing (sic) down the masses in order to sway their votes to their favor. This leads to massive decline of intelligence, morality and dignity of the people, while media create demons to blame for this social decay. These media outfits are directly responsible in corrupting the minds of the viewers,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from either the Aquino or the Cojungco clans about the documentary that has now generated 1,599 views in two weeks. (Mindanao Examiner)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Filipino group calls for probe on failed money claims intended for Marcos' victims


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 4, 2011) - The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) on Friday called on authorities for the immediate investigation of an attempt by a group which tried to claim compensation meant for victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.

Police recently arrested 8 people who tried to claim the checks using fake documents in Manila.

Selda urged authorities to dig deeper into the investigation and unmask who was behind it.

Bonifacio Ilagan, vice chairperson of SELDA, said those behind the fake claimants have in their possession the copy of the masterlist and the signatures of the original claimants for them to be able to claim the checks.

“This is exactly what we, in SELDA, want to prevent. Lawyers Robert Swift and Rodrigo Domingo should have allowed SELDA to have that list but only these lawyers have an access to it. We could have averted such incidents because SELDA helped majority of the victims,” Ilagan said.

“Atty. Rodrigo Domingo and Atty. Robert Swift, counsels in the class suit (against Marcos regime), should like­­­­­wise be investigated as they are responsible for the integrity of these documents. It is their duty to ensure that these checks will be released to the rightful claimants. SELDA and the ma­­­rtial law victims have repeatedly sought Domingo and Swift, the latter being the court-appointed counsel, for meetings for transparent discussions on court actions and on the distribution of the initial compensation, but they repeatedly brushed aside these efforts,” Ilagan added.

He said it was disheartening, especially for the 2,013 legitimate claimants who were arbitrarily stricken off by Domingo and Swift from the original list of 9,539 victims as originally validated by the US Federal District Court of Hawaii.

“They were denied justice because of the arbitrariness of these counsels and now they are doubly victimized because the compensation due them is distributed to alleged fake claimants,” he said.

Police charged suspect in killing of Charice’s father


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 4, 2011) – Philippine police filed murder charges on Friday against a man who surrendered and admitted killing the father of international singer Charice.

Police said Angel Capili, Jr. owned up to the killing of Ricky Pempengco, 43, on October 31. Capili also apologized to Charice’s family and said he only defended himself from Pempengco, who allegedly attacked him without any provocation in San Pedro town in Laguna province.

Capili, a construction worker, also denied earlier police report that the killing was triggered by a long-time feud with Pempengco.

He said he did not know Pempengco and claimed that he was punched by Charice’s father, whom he stabbed several times with an ice pick. Pempengco was in a drinking session with friends when he went to buy cigarettes from a nearby store. (Mindanao Examiner)