Monday, July 31, 2006

Photo: UN Distributes Food Aid In Restive Mindanao Island




FOOD AID: Above, Kathryn Milliken, international program officer of World Food Program chats with Muslim children during a recent distribution of rice and food assistance in the towns of Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak in the restive Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines. (Mark Navales)

All Ready For Mindanao Business Confab In Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 31 Jul) Some of the county's top business leaders and government economic managers are expected to attend the two-day 15th Mindanao Business Conference here on August 31.

The conference will give business leaders substantial insights and comprehensive information about Mindanao.

"The presence of top business leaders will surely change the present image of Mindanao, since the problem on peace and order has been the major stumbling block in luring investors to do business in Mindanao," said Teresita Sebastain, conference director and regional governor of the Zamboanga Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sebastian said they are expecting at least 1,000 participants to attend the business confab. "Aside from businessmen from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon, different corporate officials and representatives from neighboring countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the northern territory of Australia are also expected to participate as observers," she said.
Jose Batausa, president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., the presence of top business and government leaders in the conference will help Mindanao achieve its goal of becoming the country’s most promising economic hub.

With the theme: “Mindanao: The Best of the Philippines,” Batausa said it willserve as an occasion to review and examine programs that will help boost the local products, especially the huge agricultural sector of Mindanao and the critical role of the small and medium enterprises in countryside development.
As many as 50 Small and Medium Enterprises from Mindanao have signed up to join the conference’s trade exhibition and fair. About half of those who will attend the fair are manufacturers of new products from the Zamboanga Peninsula region. At least 15 others said they will put up booths that will exhibit small items and souvenirs.
Celso Lobregat, the mayor of Zamboanga City, said the local government is supporting the conference. “We are supporting this important conference,” he said.

Zamboanga Peninsula region has posted the highest growth among the country’s 17 regions with a 7.2 percent jump in its gross regional domestic product in 2005, a significant improvement form its4.1 percent growth in the previous year.
The Minbizcon is an annual conference of all top chamber of commerce and industries in Mindanao. It has been held in different regions since 1992.

MAGHUSAY TA! By Uriel Cruz Vallecera In Cebu

HATAGAN OG TRABAHO

HATAGAN og trabaho sa kagamhanan sa Cebu City ang mga binilanggo sa Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) diha sa South Reclamation Project (SRP).

Sa pagsulat niining lindog, gikataho nga pormal nang gipahibalo ni Mayor Tomas Osmena ang iyang plano nga hatagan niya og kahigayonan nga makatrabaho ang maong mga piniriso samtang nagserbisyo kini sa ilang mga silot bugti sa kasal-anan nga ilang nahimo sa balaod.

Giklaro hinuon ni Mayor Osmena nga ang patrabahoon mao lamang kadtong mga binilanggo nga hapit na nakagawas o duna na lay nahibilin nga pipila ka adlaw o bulan sa ilang sentensiya.

Gihugonhugon nga usa ka gatos ka pesos (P100.00) ang suhol matag adlaw sa patrabahoon nga mga piniriso ug libre pa gayod sila sa pagkaon.

Maayo kining maong lakang. Alang nako, dako kaayo kinig ikatabang aron mapahimuslan sa mga binilanggo ang mga adlaw sa ilang pagsilbi sa ilang sentensiya. Sa ingon, dili mausik ang ilang panahon.

-o0o-

Daghan ang nahinugon sa pagkasunog sa Plaza Fair, usa sa labing dakong department store sa Colon area sa dakbayan sa Sugbo, diin gibanabanang mokabat sa P15 ngadto sa 20 milyones ang danyos sa sunog.

Anugon gayod kaayo nga nasunog ang maong department store tungod kay barato kaayo ang mga kan-anan sa sulod niadto ug alegre pa gayod kaayo tungod sa daghang kalingawan sa sulod.

Ang Plaza Fair usa sa nag-unang shopping center sa dakbayan sa Sugbo, partikular na sa Colon area. Daghan ang nahinugon pag-ayo nga nasunog ang maong establisamento tungod kay mao man kadto ang punsisokan sa daghang mangaonay tungod kay daghan man kaayong baratong pagkaon sa kinaibabwang andana niini.

OUR WORD OF THE DAY: affluent

The Word of the Day:

affluent \AF-loo-unt\ adjective

1 : flowing in abundance 2 : having a generously sufficient and typically increasing supply of material possessions

Example sentence: While the affluent families head for their mountain getaways on sultry summer weekends, the less well-heeled seek respite in the river that flows through town. (Merriam-Webster)

CPP-NPA Website Is Gone

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Jul) The website of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA) have disappeared, but the rebel groups continue its propaganda war despite losing one of the most visited site from the Internet.

The website
philippinerevolution.org, which previously posted news and photographs of war victories against the military and police and anti-government propaganda is now home to travel and tourism portals. Gone was the red hammer and sickle flag; it was replaced by an image of a clear blue sky -- Welcome to the Philippinerevolution.Org, it now said.

The new site is a far cry from stories of ambuscades of soldiers; of photographs of young warriors fighting for freedom and oppression and the right of the peasants.

It was unknown if the CPP-NPA website was defaced or hacked, as it was in the past, but losing the site did not prevent the rebels and their political wing, the National Democratic Front, in providing the media with latest news in the battle front. With more than 450 members -- from individuals to news media in the Philippines and abroad -- the CPP's e-group and the NPA's war bulletin continue to provide breaking stories and insight into the war that had already killed tens of thousands the past three decades.

The rebels last week released 15 news stories from daring attacks on soldiers and policemen in the southern Philippines to successful raids in the northern part of the country.

They continue to boast of victories against the government and their latest news release warns of bigger attacks.

"Through relentless mass work and warfare, the people's democratic government, the local Party branches, the mass organizations and the New People's Army, together with the people's militia and self-defense units in the guerrilla fronts, have been able to preserve their strength and grow on a nationwide scale."

"The hundreds of NPA platoon now available for tactical offensives on a nationwide scale can bleed the enemy profusely. They can easily hit and run and avoid decisive engagements with any superior enemy force. At the moment, the NPA under the leadership of the CPP is determined to multiply the platoons as the attack units of the commands at the guerrilla front, provincial and regional units. These platoons can easily combine to launch bigger offensives or they can also combine with local guerrilla squads and the militia units for the purpose," said the rebels in their latest statement.

With media as battlefront, the rebels in the southern Philippines may be winning the propaganda war and the military is steadily losing the battle on information.

The Zamboanga City-based Southern Command, the biggest military installation outside Manila, remains silent of many issues involving the communist and Muslim rebels. And the same is true with the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Zamboanga del Sur province and the Philippine Marines and the Navy headquarters in the restive region.

Many security officials were either hiding from the media, prevented from talking by their superiors or afraid to give information, saying only generals or their designated spokesmen are authorized to talk. But they often blame journalists for stories critical of the military or the government.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also maintains its own website called
luwaran.com that carries daily news and photographs about the rebel group. Eid Kabalu, the MILF spokesman, is always available for media interviews, unlike military generals and their public affairs spokesmen. And this is also the same with Gregorio Rosal, the CPP spokesman, and other rebel leaders in Mindanao are as active as Kabalu. They regularly speak on radio programs and occasionally grant clandestine interviews in their hideouts for selected journalists.

The Internet has become the new venue for rebels to wage propaganda war and with no military websites to talk about in Mindanao; soldiers are losing in this battle for publicity.

Another Filipino Photojournalist Is Killed



MALABON (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Jul) A photojournalist was killed Monday in a daring broad daylight attack in Malabon City, north of Manila, reports said.

Reports said an unidentified gunman shot Dick Melendres at around 8:40 a.m. near his home. Melendres who worked with the tabloid Tanod was the 4th journalist killed since last month. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack and police said it is still investigating the killing of the journalist.

It was unknown if the killing had anything to do with the cell phone SMS Melendres received in November from Magiliw Ortega, a village official in Malabon, who was found dead inside his bedroom.

Melendres said he received the message from Ortega Nov. 29 at 5:27 a.m. which read: “Mrming slmat (thank you very much), but the journalist said he had no idea why the official was thanking him.

Police said Ortega, 41, was found in his room with a gunshot wound in the left temple. But investigators said the crime scene was apparently cleaned up and Ortega’s body had been removed and covered with blanket.

The killing came just 10 days after police arrested a 3rd suspect in the killing of a broadcaster in Digos City in the southern Philippines. The man suspect was linked to the shooting of the 51-year Armando Pace. Police in Digos earlier said that two men had been held for questioning -- one was arrested after his neighbors told police that he bragged killing Pace and the other was the alleged owner of a motorcycle used in the attack.

Pace was killed July 18 while heading home in Digos. The motive of the killing was unknown. Police officer Bimbo Labajo, of Digos City police force, earlier said that a man was being investigated after he bragged about killing Pace.

Gunmen also shot and killed George Vigo, a correspondent for the Union of Catholic Asian News, and his wife, Macel Alave-Vigo, also a broadcaster, on June 19 in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province.

Vigo was also the executive director of the non-government organization Peoples’ Kauyahan Foundation, Inc. which initiates community peace forums and dialogues in North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

Gunmen also ambushed and killed Albert Orsolino, a tabloid photographer for Saksi Ngayon, in Caloocan City in May. Orsolino was driving his car when gunmen, who were onboard a van, blocked his path and opened fire with automatic weapons.

Orsolino was a former president of the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas -Valenzuela) Press Corps. Police is investigating if the latest killing was connected with Orsolino’s murder. Other reports said Melendres and Orsolino were cousins.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said at least 45 journalists have been murdered in the country the past 5 years. The Philippines now ranks second to Iraq on the list of deadliest countries for journalists in 2005, according to international media group Reporters without Borders.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Indigenous Tribes Oppose Moro Homeland

MARAWI CITY (Merlyn Manos / 30 Jul) Indigenous tribe leaders have opposed a proposal to include their ancestral domain in the so-called Bangsamoro homeland in the southern Philippines.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which is negotiating peace with Manila, has proposed the establishment of the Bangsamoro homeland that will include at least 18 indigenous tribes in Mindanao.

But at least 29 leaders and representatives of the different indigenous tribes they have their own separate system of governance and institutions in accordance with traditional customary laws.

The MILF, the largest Muslim rebel group in the country, is fighting for the establishment of a strict Islamic state and rebel leaders said they have the support of indigenous tribes in the restive, but mineral-rich Mindanao region.

OUR WORD OF THE DAY: incunabulum

The Word of the Day:

incunabulum \in-kyuh-NAB-yuh-lum\ noun

1: a book printed before 1501 2: a work of art or of industry of an early period

Example sentence: Among the library's archives is a collection of exquisite incunabula. (Merriam-Webster)

Photo: Zamboanga City


With local elections next year fast approaching, giant billboards of government projects and photos of politicians are all over Zamboanga, but many roads in the southern port city remain dilapidated and without street lights, making it dangerous at night both for motorists and pedestrians. (Zamboanga Journal)

RP Media Urged To Keep Close Tabs On Anti-Terror Bill

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mike Banos / 30 Jul) Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. urged the Philippine media to keep close tabs on the Anti-Terrorism Bill which he fears could become a convenient tool to muzzle the press in the country.

"We need legislation to combat the sophisticated methods that terrorists employ to harm the innocent," Pimentel said at the weekend in his keynote speech during the induction of the incoming Board of Trustees of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) at a local hotel.
"But everyone, especially the members of the media, are called upon to help see to it that the law on terrorism that comes out of Congress must not infringe upon our basic freedoms in the name of the fight against terrorism," he said.

"I suggest that it is important for the PPI and for all other mass media organizations and concerned citizen groups to monitor the shape and form that this legislation will take," he said. "Your views are especially welcome on the provisions on arrests without warrants, surreptitious wire tapping, scrutinizing your emails and other private communications, and probably even your bank accounts by government agents."

Pimentel also warned that the difficulties the US press has been experiencing in publishing what Washington had at various times considered to be sensitive information is already "pressing on our shores" citing the news blackout over the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu Archipelago a year or two ago.

"It would do the PPI well to put their collective heads together and map out suggestions on how the press will handle matters involving issues on terrorism under present laws and the rights of our people under the projected anti-terrorism legislation."

Amado Macasaet, PPI chairman and president, also warned that media and state can never mix, lest this spell the end of the latter as a democratic institution.
"Media and the state are classical adversaries," Macasaet said. "They should never be friends. If media and the state should ever come to terms, we are finished."

Elected new officers and members of the PPI Board of Trustees were Amado Macasaet, chairman and president, Publisher (Malaya); Isagani Yambot, vice president, Publisher (Philippine Daily Inquirer); Ronaldo Romero, treasurer, Editor-Publisher (Business World); Allan Mediante, trustee for Mindanao, asst. vice president (Mindanao Gold Star Daily).
Quirino Alban, trustee for Luzon, editor-publisher, Makiling Journal; Michelle So, trustee for Visayas, Executive Editor, Sun Star Cebu; and trustees Augusto Villanueva, Editor-in-Chief (Journal Group); Rogelio Salazar, Chief Executive Officer (Manila Standard); Antonio Katigbak, Managing Editor (Philippine Star) and Juan Mercado, Director (Press Foundation for Asia).

Also present during the induction were Jose Pavia, executive director, editor-publisher (Mabuhay) and Gary Mariano, Philippine Press Council chairman, asst. professor ( De La Salle University-Greenhills).

Besides inducting the new PPI Board of Trustees into office, Pimentel also inducted the charter officers of the Cagayan de Oro Communicators Association.

Also in the induction ceremony were Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Pablo Magtajas, Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Uriel Quilinguing and KBP-Cagayan de Oro Chapter Chairman Jonas Bustamante.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

OUR WORD FOR THE DAY: delate

The Word of the Day:

delate \dih-LAYT\ verb

1: accuse, denounce 2 : report, relate

Example sentence: "In that year Archbishop Blackadder of Glasgow delated some thirty heretics to James IV who let the matter go with a jest." (J.D. Mackie, A History of Scotland) (Merriam-Webster)

Teachers Get More Money In North Cotabato

Governor Emmanuel Pinol reads books for North Cotabato children. (Sidney Nanini)



KIDAPAWAN CITY (Carlos Bautista / 29 Jul) Volunteer teachers under the Magtutudlo Sa Barangay (MSB) program of the provincial government of North Cotabato are set to receive additional honorarium after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved Governor Emmanuel Pinol's request for P2 million to effectively increase their monthly allowance to P3,000.

The more than two hundred volunteer teachers assigned in different school in barangays all over the province will get an additional P1,500 each for the months of August to December this year.

The MSB volunteers are already receiving P1,500 monthly.

"We know that this is not much, but it shows our sincere appreciation of the service provided by our Magtutudlo Sa Barangay (Village) to the children of North Cotabato," Pinol said.

"They are our hardworking partners in our effort to ensure that no child in this province is deprived of education," he said.

The MSB program, a brainchild of the governor, was started in 2002 in response to the lack of teachers in far-flung villages of North Cotabato. Under the program qualified community-based volunteer teachers are tapped to supplement the regular personnel of the Department of Education in village schools where there is a lack of teachers.

Good News For Nocot Farmers, P10-M Released For Rubber, Palm Plantations

NORTH COTABATO (Carlos Bautista / 29 Jul) More farmers will be able to avail of rubber and oil palm seedlings under the plant-now-pay-later program of the provincial government of North Cotabato following the appropriation of an additional P10 million for its high value crops program, local officials said.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan under Vice-Governor Jesus N. Sacdalan approved the additional appropriation of P4 million for rubber and P6 million for oil palm in a special session June 29 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall.

"This will enable us to extend agricultural assistance through the PNPL to more farmers who would like to go into rubber and oil palm farming," Governor Emmanuel Pinol said.

"Among our target beneficiaries are the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) areas and interested Muslim communities of the province," he said.

Pinol recently visited the village of Bolod in Pikit town to personally attend a consultation-forum on oil palm farming.

Some 10 hectares of land in the former conflict area have already been planted to oil palm with village chieftain Edris Modale leading the recipients of seedlings under the PNPL scheme.

In Arakan, 2 CADC areas in Tumanding and Lanao Kuran have been identified by the Manobo Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Arakan (MALUPA) under Supreme Tribal Datu Veloso Suhat as pilot areas for rubber farming.

"The CADC beneficiaries happily welcome this program of the provincial government because they know that rubber farming can improve their income and will give them the opportunity for a better future," Suhat said.

Consultations on the program were started yesterday through the Cotabato Province Investment and Promotion Center (CPIPC) in the presence of National Commission on Indigenous People legal-designate Florie Rapista.

All Set For Launching Of Talk Show On Peace Building For Youth

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT: LAUNCHING OF THE WORLD’S FIRST TALK SHOW ON PEACE BUILDING FOR YOUTH

WHERE: NISMED AUDITORIUM, NISMED, QUIRINO AVE. UP DILIMAN, QUEZON CITY and ULS CONVENTION HALL, USM, KABACAN, N. COTOBATO

WHEN: 7:30 A.M. TO NOON, JULY 31

MEDIA CONTACT: IN MANILA -- ROBIN PETTYFER. CELL: 0915 775 2880; OFFICE: 634 1712; IN MINDANAO – JERRY JOSE. CELL: 0919 622 5225. SERAFIN ARVIOLA JR. 09186401900

SUPPORTED BY: UNICEF, THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT & ASSISI DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION INC.

The Philippines will be the world’s first host for a new kind of talk show. Called “PeaceTech.”, the talk show is devoted to peace building for youth. Over the next several months, the series will unite hundreds of youth throughout the Philippines in live dialogues on giant screens.

UNICEF and the Australian government are using the talk shows as an experiment. Their goal: to bring different groups together, often divided by conflict.

The series includes youth from all sectors: former MILF; AFP soldiers; Muslims, Indigenous Peoples, Christians; out-of-school youth; university students; and children from conflict zones. Participants come from all over the Philippines: Zamboanga del Sur; Maguindanao; N. Cotobato; Lanao del Norte; Davao; Negros Occidental; Camarines Sur; Quezon; Cavite-Laguna; Nueva Ecija; Benguet; Mountain Province; and Isabela.

The series is a modal for a global talk show that will connect youth from different countries.
Senator Ramon Magsaysay believes in the series. He says: “The series is badly needed in a world where conflict is increasing. Whether it is in Israel and Lebanon, or Iraq and the United States, the world needs an international medium where young people can come together.
PeaceTech does that. It’s an honour that UNICEF wants to start this in the Philippines.”
Canadian manager for PeaceTech, Robin Pettyfer, says: “Peace Tech is just as it sounds. It’s the peace in tech! We have the technology to unite people from the different sides in a global talk show. So it’s time we start!”

According to Prof. Serafin Arviola of Youth Aid and Philippine Normal University-Center for Peace and Human Rights Education, "PeaceTech. is relevant to the Philippines where geography restricts inter-group dialogue. It gives young people in remote areas an opportunity to instantly reach out. And it provides security by allowing participants to meet with youth in insecure areas."

PeaceTech 1 on July 31 is expected to be an honest but direct discussion about “real problems” dividing Filipinos.

UNICEF and the Australian government are the primary supporters of the 7-part series. PLDT is providing the technology. The Assisi Development Foundation is organizing the project with the assistance of Youth Aid, OPAPP and numerous community groups, schools and universities.

For more information:
www.peacetech.net

Medical Mission In Zamboanga Benefits Hundreds Of Muslims, Christians


Christian and Muslim villagers in Zamboanga City during a medical mission on Saturday, 29 July 2006 spearheaded by the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo. (Zamboanga Journal)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 29 Jul) Hundreds of mostly poor Christian and Muslim villagers benefited Saturday from a free medical mission in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines.

Sharif Ibrahim Ajibul Mohammad Pulalun, an influential Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo, led the medical mission in the fishing village of Sinunuc where hundreds of people availed free consultation and medicines. Military doctors and nurses and members of the Bantay-Bata Foundation and private firms helped in the outreach program.

"We hope to hold similar medical missions in other areas, of course in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and non-governmental organizations and private firms supporting this humanitarian undertaking," Pulalun told the Zamboanga Journal.

It was the second time this year that Pulalun held a medical mission in poor areas in Zamboanga City. He also led a humanitarian mission here early this to help feed more than 500 families left homeless after a huge fire swept through Canelar village.

"My family is really lucky. We got free consultation from those soldiers and we will go home with all these medicines the Sultan gave us. This is really a good day," said Umar Sakandal, a 45-year old fisherman.

Pulalun, a staunch supporter of President Gloria Arroyo, had previously rejected attempts by a secessionist organization to convince his group to support a proposal for an independent Mindanao.

Pantaleon Alvarez, former Transportation secretary and organizer of One People Mindanao (OPM), a movement lobbying for a separate Mindanao Republic, tried but failed to convince Pulalun and his Cabinet members to support the proposal.

Professor Sami Tanjil, Pulalon's spokesman, said the Muslim leader flatly rejected the proposal. "The Sultan said that he shall not allow Mindanao to be dismembered and for the Muslims not to be used for political agenda," Tanjil said.

Pulalun said Muslims in the southern region are supporting the Arroyo and her peace and economic agenda in Mindanao. "I have told my people to continue to stay united and not to allow themselves be used by any political groups," he said.

Many Mindanao leaders were also supporting proposals to convene a Constitutional Assembly in order to allow amendments in the Charter that would institutionalize wide-ranging reforms. The proposals would also limit the agenda of amendments and protect the good provisions of the Charter.

The OPM has been going around Mindanao and urging citizens to demand the separation of Mindanao.

It held various consultations for a plebiscite to separate the mineral-rich region from the rest of the country, but Visaya and Luzon islands also threatened to split should Mindanao secedes. (With a report from Darwin Wee)

Filipino Muslims Invading Sabah?

MALAYSIA (ES Chua / 29 Jul) There is a widespread perception, not only in Sabah, but also in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, that Sabah is increasingly falling under the control (in terms of land ownership and licences for small businesses) of Muslim Sulus, the economic and political refugees from the Philippines, and the Muslim Bugis, economic refugees from Indonesia.

It is hard to distinguish the locals from these Muslim foreigners, and thus, they can easily assimilate into the state's population by purchasing forged Malaysian passports and identity cards (MyKad), manufactured by indigenous syndicates, most likely controlled by indigenous politicians of the ruling party.

Since these Muslim foreigners are not easy to trace, one cannot be sure if their numbers are effectively strong enough to take control of the state through mass membership of the ruling Umno. But it is a fact that their numbers have swelled over the last 25 years, particularly when Harris Salleh was chief minister.

Harris has repeatedly denied that he allowed Muslim foreigners to enter Sabah illegally to boost the state's Muslim voter population, and insists that all Muslim foreigners who settled in Sabah during his chief ministership, and married native women or men, had obtained Malaysian citizenship by legal means.

There are some from the non-Muslim dominated PBS - Umno's coalition partner headed by Joseph Pairin Kitingan - who claim that Sabah was a Christian-majority state prior to the arrival of these Muslim foreigners.

Before becoming chief minister, Kitingan argued strongly that Sabahans were fast becoming 'strangers in their own land' because of the Muslim foreigners, who allegedly entered the state illegally, aided by syndicates linked to Harris, to boost the Muslim voter population.

Kitingan linked the issue of illegal foreign Muslim migration to Sabah, to a greater political agenda his party advocated, namely to 'restore' an indigenous Christian Dusun-dominated Sabah, with the Muslim indigenous peoples in a slightly subordinate position.

Kitingan persistently complained that Harris wanted to create a Muslim majority state and upset the 'original' demography of Sabah where 'indigenous Christian Dusuns prevailed'. It is, however, questionable if Sabah was indeed an indigenous Christian majority state prior to the Harris era (1976-1985).

At the time of independence (and this is still the case today) Dusuns formed 45 per cent of the state, and they comprised 12 per cent Muslim Dusuns and 33 per cent Christian Dusuns.

The second largest indigenous tribe, the fully Muslim Bajaus, formed 18 per cent of the state. Of the 18 per cent, 12 were indigenous Bajaus of Sabah, while six percent were Sulus, the Bajau peoples who hailed from the Sulu Islands of the present-day Philippines.

The third largest indigenous tribe, the fully Muslim Kedayans (or Bruneians) formed 10 percent of the state. The fourth largest indigenous tribe, the Muruts, formed seven percent of the state.

Of the seven percent, five percent were Christian Muruts from the interior while two percent were Muslim Tidong Muruts who lived on both sides of the Malaysia-Indonesia (Sabah-Kalimantan) divide in Tawau.

The remaining 20 percent of Sabah's population are Chinese, the main non-indigenous community. In PBS' vocabulary, prior to Kitingan's chief ministership, it only considered the Dusuns, non- Tidong Muruts and non-Sulu Bajaus as Sabah's indigenous tribes, and lumped the Sulu Islander Bajaus, the Tidongs and the Kedayans (Bruneians) as non-indigenous Filipinos, Indonesians and Bruneians respectively.

Thus, in the vocabulary of Kitingan's PBS, Sabah's indigenous Christians outnumbered its indigenous Muslims by 2 to 1. Harris' and his party Umno's stand on indigenous Sabahans was different. Unlike Kitingan, Harris and Umno considered the Sulu Islanders, Tidongs and Kedayans (Bruneians) as indigenous peoples, because of historical factors.

The Sulu Islanders originated from Sabah's Bajaus, just like their offspring in the Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon island groups which make up the Philippines. The Tidongs, while Muslim and partly living in Indonesian Kalimantan, are of indigenous Murut origin. The Kedayans (Bruneians), while associated with Brunei, have lived in Sabah from time immemorial.

In fact, Sabah was originally part of the Brunei empire. Thus, in Harris' and Umno's vocabulary, indigenous Muslims and indigenous Christians are equal in number, with the former slightly outnumbering the latter.

It is an irrefutable fact, however, that Harris' chief ministership saw a gradual move away from his predecessor ( Kitingan's mentor) Tun Mohamad Fuad (Donald) Stephens' policy of allocating land and opportunities to Muslim and non-Muslim natives on a 50:50 basis.

And this, no doubt, angered many non-Muslim natives especially Kitingan, who succeeded Stephens as the paramount chief of the Dusuns. Kitingan obviously exaggerated the 'threat' of Muslim domination prior to becoming chief minister, in order to get elected by his mainly Christian majority tribe.

He fed his supporters with the myth of Sabah originally having an indigenous Christian majority, when in actual fact, Muslim and Christian natives each had an equal chance of getting elected as chief minister.

When he became chief minister (1985-1994), he actually maintained a balance (50:50) between Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of land and job allocation. In other words, he stuck to the policy of his mentor Stephens.

Kitingan also spent more of the taxpayers' money on Islamic places of worship and schools, rather than on Christian places of worship and schools, contrary to popular belief in West Malaysia and Sarawak.

During Kitingan's chief ministership, both Harris' Umno and hardline members of PBS criticised Kitingan for 'sidelining' Muslims (Umno's accusation) and Christians (PBS' hardliners' accusation).

It was, thus, Harris' turn to whip up fears of Christian domination. He succeeded and Kitingan lost the chief ministerial election to a Muslim Dusun-Bajau, Salleh Said Keruak, a protege of Harris. Kitingan, nevertheless, managed to hold on to the chief ministership for a good nine years.

He obtained strong support from the Muslims and only lost his job when both his Muslim and Christian cabinet members defected to Harris' and Umno's side. Thus, despite the presence of Muslim foreigners and the fear of Muslim foreigners wresting the state from the natives, Kitingan managed to win every chief ministerial election until his cabinet left him for Umno in 1994.

Since 2001, the now battle-weary PBS and Kitingan have recognised Umno's 'right' to the chief ministership of Sabah, and have been rewarded with the deputy chief ministership. Kitingan himself took up the post in 2004, encouraged by his old friend, current prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Nevertheless, PBS members still raise occasional fears of a rise in illegal Muslim migrants robbing the natives of land and jobs from time to time. They also raise fears of illegal Muslim migrants registering as voters in chief ministerial elections.

Only an independent parliamentary commission without politicians sitting on it, can determine if Sabahans are truly in danger of being outnumbered and marginalised in their own land by the Muslim foreigners.

Firm but humane police and army operations to root out illegals must be persistently carried out. Until then, it is wisest for the Umno and PBS to keep their peace and distribute resources to Muslims and non-Muslims on a 50:50 basis. (Malaysiakini)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Israel and Lebanon and the Palestine!

What the news say when there is war? A paper in Tel Aviv and another in UAE. (Graphics by Zamboanga Journal)

3 Abu Suspects Linked To Kidnap Of Korean Man Fall


Joint police and military agents under the Task Group Tugis headed by Army Lt. Col. Salvador Calanoy IV (right) and Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG 12) under Supt. Roberto Badian (left) present captured Abu Sofia members. (Mark Navales)


COTABATO CITY (Juan Magtanggol / 28 Jul) Security forces captured 3 members of the Abu Sofia group implicated in the 2002 kidnapping of a South Korean citizen in the southern Philippines, officials said on Friday.

Officials said policemen, backed by soldiers, stormed a terrorist hideout in the village of Bulalo in Maguindanao's Sultan Kudarat town and arrested the trio.


"They are all under interrogation and the capture of the three men was the result of a long intelligence operation. We finally got them," Col. Frank del Prado, a spokesman for the Army's 6th Infantry Division, told the Zamboanga Journal.

He said soldiers seized automatic weapons from the three men who were linked to the kidnapping of Jae Keon Yoon and Filipino hotel owner Carlos Belonio in Palimbang town in Sultan Kudarat province in February 06, 2002.

Belonio was accompanying Yoon, a guest at his Tierra Verde Hotel, to buy nickel bars purportedly recovered from a Japanese wartime hoard when they were kidnapped. Yoon was freed after 22 weeks in captivity, while the Filipino had been released ahead of him after private negotiators allegedly paid huge ransom.

Philippine authorities previously blamed the kidnapping to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Pentagon Gang, blamed for the spate of killings and abductions in the province.

Del Prado said troops were tracking down other members of the Abu Sofia group, also tagged as behind the series of killings and bombings in the southern Philippines.

"The Abu Sofia is allied with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group. The Sofia is known to provide sanctuary to members of the Abu Sayyaf and both groups are involved in terrorism. There is an operation against the terrorists," he said.

Police in June 2002 had captured Ismael Binago, the deputy leader of the Abu Sofia, involved in Yoon's kidnapping, in the port city of General Santos, about 1,037 kilometers south of Manila.

Police agents disguised themselves as beggars and egg peddlers for weeks to be able to penetrate the village where Binago was hiding and gather information about the Abu Sofia that led to his eventual arrest. (With a report from Mark Navales)

OUR WORD FOR THE DAY: dog days

Our Word For The Day:
dog days \DOG-DAYZ\ noun

1: the hot sultry period of summer between early July and early September in the northern hemisphere 2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity

Example sentence: With the steamy dog days upon us, air conditioners are selling like hotcakes. (Merriam-Webster)

PHOTO: New AFP Chief General Hermogenes Esperon



New Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon. Wood framed photograph 22" x 25" in intricate gold and ebony finish for Php 5,500. (Zamboanga Journal)

Photo: Flood Water Submerged Many Areas In Maguindanao


Above, a mother watches over her son after their house is submerged when the Rio Grande River in Maguindanao province overflowed; and below, children swim in dirty flood water in Cotabato City. Many farm lands are destroyed by flood water in the province and citizens appeal for aid. (Mark Navales)

Two Zamboanga Ambassadors Of Goodwill Meet With US Officials


Above, Rafael Derick G. Evangelista III and Alvin G. Hung with San Diego City Mayor Jerry Sanders; and below with US Judge Margaret McKweon.
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 28 Jul) Two local participants to the prestigious 2006 Pacific Rim Summer Seminar in San Diego, California met with San Diego City Mayor Jerry Sanders to personally convey Zamboanga City’s felicitations.

Rafael Derick G. Evangelista III and Alvin G. Hung called on Sanders Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) to present a letter from Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat expressing his felicitations and warm greetings to the American mayor and to the people of San Diego City.

In the same letter, Lobregat invited Sanders to visit Zamboanga, specifically during the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival on October or the Dia de Zamboanga celebration on February.

The duo also handed to Sanders souvenir items -- a colorful miniature vinta, Chavacano-English dictionary, the city’s brochures, tubao scarves and a compact disc of the local Chavacano music — all courtesy of the local government.

Sanders was also given a brochure and compact disc of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University where both Evangelista and Hung are working.

The San Diego chief executive promised to communicate with Lobregat for possible opening and trade exchange, cultural, social and business linkages between his city and Zamboanga.

Evangelista and Hung also met with Judge Margaret McKweon, of the 9th Circuit Court, the counterpart of the Philippine’s Court of Appeals justice.

The Pacific Rim Seminar is a four-week program jointly organized by the UCSD’s Center for U.S.–Mexican Studies and the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS). The Pacific - Rim is taught by public officials, experts, and top scholars on the United States federal and state government.

The program centers its discussion and studies on the various facets of American politics, government, judiciary, economic policy, county and city government administration, immigration, foreign policy and national security, public policy, and the American way of life and culture. Another highlight for this year’s summer seminar is its intense coverage on the 2006 US elections, political parties, organization of the elections, and electoral campaigns at the national and state level.

The Manila Times Launches New Section, The Moro Times



EDITORIAL
Peace and prosperity for Mindanao


TODAY is an important day for The Manila Times and the people of Mindanao for two reasons. First, we are launching the maiden issue of The Moro Times, the newest monthly section devoted to topics on development, peace, business opportunities and other national issues affecting that region.

This project was created with the help of leaders from the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that conducts a series of forums and recent issues relevant to bringing peace, development and democracy in Mindanao.

The Moro Times initially will publish every last Friday of the month, Friday being the day of worship for our Muslim brothers and sisters. We expect this section to grow in pages and frequency, perhaps to a daily, perhaps as a separate publication independent of The Manila Times.

Second, this project is important to the people of Mindanao and others, especially Muslim Filipinos. The Moro Times shall serve as a national platform for the views and aspirations of moderate Muslims and other ethnic groups in Mindanao. Hearing their views is important because democracy must be exercised and also because the voice of moderation is often drowned out in the national conversation, especially when the subjects move on to terrorism and national security.

The discussion on peace and terrorism certainly dominates the news and tends to portray a rather negative image of Muslims and non-Muslims in Mindanao.

In time we hope to correct this misperception so that we Filipinos would associate Mindanao and its people with freedom, democracy, family and our enduring values. The aim is to direct our collective attention not to what makes us different from each other but to what makes us the same.

One might ask, why give Mindanao special attention? Simply put, the problems of Mindanao are the problems of the nation. Together with the Sulu Archipelago, that region is home to about 20 million, or about 25 percent of the population. It is a mobile population. In Luzon alone, there are about one million Muslims and other “Mindanaoans.”

Mindanao is also a vital agricultural base. It accounts for 40 percent of the national food requirements and contributes about 30 percent to the national food trade. About a third of its land area of more than 102,000 square kilometers is devoted to agriculture.

On trade and investment, it also holds much promise. Mindanao is part of the Bimp-Eaga region—an economic cooperation project involving four east Asean countries: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

It is perhaps the appreciation of this huge potential that draws much of the foreign aid to this region. Indeed, the potential of economic returns is great if Mindanao can be developed.

True, there are a lot of “what ifs” when one talks about Mindanao. But of this we are certain: an underdeveloped Mindanao will slow down national growth, hold back economic progress and frustrate efforts to achieve peace and prosperity.

Like it or not, our lives and fortunes are interconnected, and poverty and unrest in one part influence the whole. There is much work to be done in Mindanao; there is much at stake.

The Manila Times, through The Moro Times, is proud to provide this forum for a closer look at the Southern Philippines. The rest is up to all Filipinos.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Matriarch, Son Kidnapped In Jolo Island

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Jul) Unidentified armed men snatched Thursday a Filipino matriarch and her son in the strife-torn island of Jolo, about 950 km south of Manila, a senior army commander said.

Brig. Gen. Alexander Aleo said Jacky Selvin, 58, and Jeffrey Selvin, 27, were seized at around 5.30 a.m. outside their house at Gandasuli road in downtown Jolo. "We are still investigating who were behind the kidnapping," Aleo told the Zamboanga Journal.

He said the woman owns a bakery in Jolo. No group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but the island is a known lair of the Abu Sayyaf group, blamed for the series of terrorism and kidnappings.

Last month, suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen freed a kidnapped 41-year old pharmacy owner Bren Vergara after more than two months in captivity after their family allegedly paid more than one million pesos in ransom. The man was snatched April 12 together with his ailing 70-year old mother Caridad Vergara, who had been earlier freed near Jolo town.

Both hostages were tortured by their guards during their captivity in the mountain and the man was beaten so badly to the point that he nearly died. Gunmen snatched the duo outside their pharmacy in downtown Jolo.

The Abu Sayyaf had carried high-profile kidnappings in the past, including a daring raid on the Malaysian resort island of Sipadan in 2000 where it seized 21 Asian and European holiday-makers, and a similar attack on the posh Dos Palmas resort in the central Philippine island of Palawan a year later where militants seized 17 Filipinos and three U.S. citizens, two of whom were later beheaded and killed.

Washington offered as much as $5 million bounty for known Abu Sayyaf leaders, including Khadaffy Janjalani. President Gloria Arroyo also put up P100 million rewards for the capture of the group's leaders and their members dead or alive.

Islamic Development Bank Approves $16M Development Fund For ARMM

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 27 Jul) In its commitment to assist impoverish Muslim communities and areas in the southern Philippines, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved to fund developmental projects worth $16-million or roughly P800-million to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), officials said.

Dr Mohammad Hassan Salem, IDB's head of special assistance, said the grant will be allocated to fund three major social services in the region -- education, health and infrastructure.

He said the assistance is part of the commitment of the 56-member countries, which constituted the Organization of Islamic Conference, to foster the economic development and social progress since the creation of the ARMM following the 1996 peace agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Philippine government.

"The IDB is required to establish and operate special funds for specific purposes including a fund for assistance to Muslim communities in non-member countries such as the
Philippines, in addition to setting up trust funds," he told the Zamboanga Journal.

He added the bulk of the bank's special assistance program will be allocated in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi in the Sulu Archipelago.

Salem, who arrived here on Tuesday to review the IDB project in Tawi-Tawi, said that at least 35% of the money will be spent for education.

The project will be focusing more in upgrading Muslim schools and scholarship programs for Muslim students not only in ARMM but other Muslim-dominated areas in the country.

He said the project, which is now being formulated by the national and the autonomous education departments, and the Council of Ulama is expected to teach Muslim students on basic Arabic language, values of Islam, and bilingual education.

To improve health condition in the Muslim region,
Salem said the IDB will put up a $1-million hospital equipped with complete and modern medical facilities in the town of Tamparan in Lanao del Sur.

The special fund will also use to purchase medicines to be delivered in far-flung areas of the region, and the construction of municipal health stations to some towns where there is no existing health centers.

For infrastructure, the IDB will also use about 40% of the funds to construct bridges, farm-to-market roads, and seaports. He said IDB allocated $1.5 million to provide major improvements and expansion in water delivery service, particularly to those in the islands.

"Infrastructure is very crucial not only for the development of the Autonomous region's local economy but also for social progress," he said.

Salem said the IDB has more than 800 special assistance operations worldwide amounting to $497 million. Some $329 million are earmarked for 304 operations in member countries and $167 million will go to non-member countries, including the Philippines.

The autonomous region has been the center stage of the conflict in
Mindanao and suffering from extreme poverty, problems on peace and order and lack of education for the last years.

North Cotabato Farmers Into Oil Palm Farming Now

North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Pinol hands over an oil palm seedling, as Pikit town Mayor Sultan Sumulong looks on, to a Muslim farmer of Bolod village during a consultation-forum on oil palm farming. (Sidney Nanini)

KIDAPAWAN CITY (Carlos Bautista / 27 Jul) Farmers in Pikit town in North Cotabato province were enthusiastic in planting oil palm after Gov. Emmanual Pinol promised to help them avail of seedlings through plant-now-pay-later program.

Pinol met with farmers Wednesday at the Bolod Multi-purpose Center and assured them of the provincial government’s assistance should they decide to avail ot seedlings being loaned out through the plant-nor-pay-later program.

“If you want to graduate from poverty, plant oil palm,” Pinol said, citing Dungguan, M’lang village chieftain Jose Sagadan, whose community has improved following their shift to oil palm farming.

As added support to farmers who would venture into oil palm farming, Pinol said the provincial government would also provide the fertilizer assistance.

“We have all seen what war can do to us. Now that we have been experiencing peace, it is time we move on with our efforts to attain a better life. Oil palm is our way towards that goal, and we are here to help you to the best we can to attain that goal,” he said.

Canada To Put Up P700M Seaweed Processing Plant In Tawi-Tawi

BONGAO, TAWI-TAWI (Darwin Wee / 27 Jul) Canada is to put up a P700-million seaweed processing plant in this remote southern Filipino province to support the local seaweed industry.

Gov. Sadikul Sahali said the project, a joint effort between the Canadian government and Tawi-Tawi, will further boost the seaweed industry. Tawi-Tawi is one of the major exporters of seaweeds in the country.

He said the plant would be put up in the
island of Sitangkay, southwest of Tawi-Tawi, where the bulk of seaweeds come from.

"This is a dream come true to the province. Sitangkay, which produces about 35% of the total seaweed production of the
Philippines in the global market, is expected to further boost the industry with the new processing plant,” Sahali told the Zamboanga Journal.

The Canadian International Development Agency, he said, will fund the construction of the seaweed processing plant.

Ambassador Peter Sutherland, of Canada, visited Tawi-Tawi last month and was interested in funding the project after Sahali presented the Sitangkay Seaweed Industry Master Plan developed by the Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc.

Sahali said the processing plant will have the capabilities to process about 90% of the total production of seaweed in the province.

"Seaweeds farmers and producer in this province will no longer have
to ship their seaweed to buying stations as far as Zamboanga,
Cebu, Panay and Iloilo and even Malaysia," he said.

The project is expected to stabilize the price of the raw and dried seaweeds in the country.

"Currently, the price of seaweed is being dictated by the middlemen and the buying stations. They always based the price of seaweed on its production. If there's abundant harvest of seaweeds, the price will very cheap and this greatly affect the income of seaweed farmers," Sahali said.

The project will also include the upgrade of seaweed farming in Tawi-Tawi; the putting up of seaweed nurseries and post harvest facilities, and the purchase of power generators that will supply electricity to the processing plant.

Tawi-Tawi produced some 300,000 metric tons of raw, dried seaweed in 2005. However, this did not reflect the accurate volume productions of seaweed in the province as an estimated 40% of the seaweed production are being smuggled to neighboring countries, such as
Malaysia and Indonesia.

Tawi-Tawi has about 35,000 hectares planted to seaweed and an estimated 26,000 hectares are still untapped or available as potential site for expansion.

At present, the local seaweed industry has been the major source of livelihood in the province with more than 30,000 farmers directly involved in seaweed production.

Dried seaweed cost about P27 a kilo in Tawi-Tawi, but traders from Zamboanga City and Cebu buy them as high as P32 a kilo, depending on the moisture content.

PNP Now Co-Equal Of AFP In fight vs Insurgency

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mike Banos / 27 Jul) Philippine National Police Deputy Director General for Operations Sr. Supt. Isidro S. Lapena on Thursday hailed President Gloria Arroyo's recent issuance of Executive Order No. 546 which gives the PNP a more active role in internal security operations.

"I strongly feel this is the best approach to fight the insurgency," Lapena told officers and personnel of PNP Regional Office in Northern Mindanao.

Lapena was here as guest of honor for the two day celebration of the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which is marked by all police camps nationwide. "In tandem with the local governments which has the people's mandate and local resources to provide the people's basic needs, this represents a good shift in the campaign against communist insurgents."

Lapena said with EO 546, the PNP will have a shared responsibility in active partnership with the military. Whereas the PNP was previously more focused on intelligence gathering, this time they shall already be actively involved in operations especially in areas where local police personnel have the home court advantage of personally knowing the terrain and the local residents.

"We shall be responsible for the active defense of all our camps, stations and outposts while our regional mobile groups will be given areas where they can actively operate in partnership with military forces," Lapena added.

He also outlined the new tri-phased thrusts of the PNP under Director General Oscar Calderon which are focus on addressing terrorism, crime and insurgency.

"Intelligence gathering is the most important since it is a pro-active thrust aimed at preventing incidents by involving the entire community in identifying potential and real threats," he said.

Besides focusing on syndicates and other organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking and kidnap-for-ransom, Lapena said the PNP will also focus on street crimes, especially on the local level, since it most affects the already disadvantage poor for whom the adverse effects of petty crimes such as pick pocketing, theft, akyat-bahay and extortion are multiplied.

After awarding medals of merit to eight outstanding police officers and personnel, Lapena also graced a pass-in-review rendered in his honor and later attended the blessing of Camp Alagar's newly renovated St. Ignatius of Loyola chapel.

He then proceeded to the village of Indahag where ground breaking rites at the off-base Camp Capistrano housing project where 23 hectares donated by the late Cagayan de Oro Mayor Pedro N. Roa and the heirs of patriot and revolutionary general Nicolas Capistrano and his wife Cecilia Castaneda will be subdivided for police personnel.

In the same rites, Chief Supt. Florante Baguio, police regional director, also announced that the Cagayan de Oro City Council has also approved the donation of a still to be identified one hectare lot of the city's property to be exclusively used for the housing needs of local police.

Lapena said the housing program is one the programs for the benefit of PNP personnel which was started by immediate past director general Arturo Lomibao and would be continued by Calderon.

Others include 1,000 scholarship slots for the schooling needs of PNP personnel nationwide in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), livelihood the provision of P250,000 seed money for a multi-purpose cooperative and a Free Legal Assistance Program to assist PNP officers and rank-and-file face charges in court brought as harassment against them by syndicates and other well-funded organized crime groups.

Photo: Cotabato Conducts Earthquake Drill

Former NPA Rebel-Turned-Peasant Leader Slain In South RP

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Jul) Three suspected New People’s Army gunmen shot dead a peasant leader in front of his family in the farming town of Salay in Misamis Oriental province in the southern Philippines, security officials said on Thursday.

The gunmen opened fire on Nestor Ladica just outside his houses in the village ofLooc on Wednesday, said Col. Francisco Simbajon, a spokesman for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

“He was killed by suspected members of the NPA’s Sparrow unit. Ladica was a former member of the NPA. Authorities are still investigating the killing,” he told the Zamboanga Journal.

Other reports said the 43-year old victim was the leader of the Misamis Oriental Farmers’ Association. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but militant groups were quick to blame the military for the killing.

Simbajon denied the allegations and blamed the NPA for the attack. “It could be an NPA purge or vengeance. The NPA should answer the accusations,” he said.

More than 700 militants and leaders of progressive political groups allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines have been killed in the Philippines the past five years.

The CPP also blamed the military for the killings of mostly Bayan (Nation) members. The military previously accused Bayan – formed in May 1985 mostly by peasants, but now claims to have more than a million members across the Philippines – as having links with the New People’s Army, CPP’s armed wing.

Bayan Muna became the coordinating center for open mass mobilizations against President Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship. It led big demonstrations and rallies across the country, protesting the rule of Marcos until his downfall in 1986.

It also joined the people revolution that led to the ouster of President Joseph Estrada and catapulted then Vice President Gloria Arroyo into power.But Bayan is also now at the forefront of a growing protest against Arroyo, who was accused by the opposition and other militant groups of poll fraud in the May 2004 national elections.

Aside from Bayan, a similar militant group called Bayan Muna (Nation First), also accused the military of assassinating its members around the country. It said a total of 88 Bayan Muna members were killed since April 2001 up to April this year.
It was not immediately known how many members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan were killed by assassins.

Military authorities denied soldiers were involved in the attacks against Bayan and Bayan Muna and blamed rival factions and squabble among militants for the killings.

MAGHUSAY TA! By Uriel Cruz Vallecera In Cebu

GAMAYNG PABAWON

SA akong paghikay niining lindog, gikataho nga makadawat og disturbance fee nga tag P5,000 matag usa ang dul-an sa 40 ka pamilya nga nanimuyo sa daplin sa Kinalumsan River sa Mambaling, Cebu City nga apektado sa gipatuman nga demolisyon sa kagamhanan sa siyudad.

Si Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo mao ang mirekomendar niining maong lakang ngadto ni Mayor Tomas Osmena. Sa akong paghikay niining lindog, wala pa hinuon makompirmar kon misanong na ba ang mayor niining maong rekomendasyon.

Pero alang nako, maayo unta kon matigayon gayod ang pagpatuman niini. Ang tag P5,000 maingon ta nga gamay ra nga pabawon pero dako na kaayog ikatabang alang sa mga kabos natong kaigsuonan sa ilang pagbalhin sa laing dapit nga maoy ilang tukoran sa bag-o nilang mga pinuy-anan.

Nasayod ko nga ang maong kantidad dili paigo alang sa ilang panginahanglanon sa pagtukod sa ilang bag-ong balay. Pero maayo na lang kini kay sa wala. Mao nga kon mosanong man si Mayor Osmena niining maong rekomendasyon, labing maayo hinuon.

-o0o-

Dunay daghang wala matagbaw sa sistema sa pagpangolektag basura sa MandaueCity. Samtang daghan na ang mga sudlanan nga kapundohan sa mga basura, ang problema mao ang sistema sa pagpangolekta niini.

Gi-segregate na unta sa mga molupyo sa Mandaue ang ilang mga basura pero morag wala kiniy kapuslanan tungod kay maipon ra man usab ang tanan kon hakoton na kini sa garbage truck.

Maayo tingali nga i-improve og diyotay sa mga kolektor sa basura diha sa Mandaue ang ilang sistema aron mas epektibo ang ilang pagpangolekta sa mga basura.

-o0o-

Labihang daghana sa mga dispatser diha sa may highway Mandaue. Nagtuo ko nga gihasolan gayod ang mga driver sa PUJ nianang maong mga tawo. Maayo unta kon masumpo kanang mga tawhana.

Pero kinsa man usab kaha ang mosumpo kanila? Wala man gani masumpo ang mga dispatser sa CebuCity nga aduna na gyoy anti-dispatching ordinance ang Sugbo, ang Mandaue pa kaha?

Mao kini ang nakaporke. Nagtuo kong lisod kaayong badlongon kanang mga dispatser diha sa highway Mandaue. Ug hangtod dili sila masumpo, magpabilin ug magpadayon silang maghatag og labad sa ulo sa mga PUJ driver.

New MILF Fighting Erupts In Maguindanao

ILIGAN CITY (Juan Magtanggol / 27 Jul) Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces clashed Thursday with pro-government militias in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, a rebel spokesman said.

Eid Kabalu said the fighting erupted after militias attacked a group of MILF soldiers in the village of Balanakan and later spread to the neighboring village of Liong in Datu Piang town.

“The fighting is fierce. There is shelling and the militias are attacking our forces. MILF soldiers are responding to the attacks. We still don’t know if there are casualties on both sides,” he told the Zamboanga Journal.

Military officials were not immediately available to make a statement. But MILF forces previously clashed with militias in the town of Shariff Aguak, also in Maguindanao, that left dozens of people dead and wounded.

The MILF blamed militias loyal to Gov. Andal Ampatuan of Maguindanao for the violence, which they claim was in retaliation for a roadside bombing last month that killed five people. The target of the bombing was allegedly the governor, who escaped unhurt.

Police and military accused the MILF of masterminding the attack and ordered the arrest of two senior rebel leaders Jamil Ombra, commander of the 105th Base Command in Camp Omar and his deputy Sajid Pakiladato. The MILF denied the accusations and refused to surrender the duo.

In February, security and rebel forces clashed for weeks in Shariff Aguak and left more than a dozen people dead from both sides. The fighting erupted after the MILF opposed a provincial government road construction that rebels claimed would encroach into their territories in the village of Datu Unsay.

Kabalu said the latest fighting occurred just as two warring MILF factions agreed to a halt in clashes in Guindulungan town in Maguindanao that killed at least 6 people. He said MILF leaders Talio Macalpan and Kayob Pual were fighting over a piece of an ancestral land.

Police said at least 5 people were wounded in the fighting, including an eight-year old girl, hit by a stray bullet. Supt. Lamala Gunting, the provincial police chief, said Pual also accused the group of Macalpan of ambushing them on July 19.

Kabalu said the MILF ordered the two leaders to stop fighting and peacefully settle their dispute. “There is always a way to resolve every problem. The MILF ordered them to stop fighting and they agreed to a cease-fire,” he said.

The MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with the government, is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate Islamic state in Mindanao.

OUR WORD OF THE DAY: jeunesse dorée

The Word of the Day:

jeunesse dorée \zheuh-ness-dor-RAY\ noun

: young people of wealth and fashion

Example sentence:“On any sunny afternoon in Dublin, you will see the jeunesse dorée taking their ease under the awnings of pavement cafes.” (Bruce Anderson, The Spectator, July 2001) (Merriam-Webster)

20 Media Murder Cases Filed In Court, Cops Say

MANILA (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Jul) Police on Wednesday reported that 20 cases of murder involving media practitioners have been filed in court and that the police have vowed to exert all efforts to solve other related cases, the official Philippine News Agency said.

Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon said that 20 out of the 26 media-related cases have already been forwarded to the courts of law while the rest are still under investigation based on the report of Task Force Usig, it said.

Calderon said that only 26 out of the 81 reported media killings have been identified as work or media-related cases.

A number of reported media killings were not related to the victims' work as journalists, others were killed for their other activities, he said.

“There are instances where the victim was killed for getting involved in illegal drugs or illegal gambling or in land disputes or extortion. There are different reasons behind the killings of some mediamen,” Calderon said.

The National Press Club has agreed to send two representatives to work hand-in-hand with Task Force Usig to review and reclassify the other cases of murdered journalists.

"We would like to welcome any support that you (journalists) could give us in terms of providing assistance in gathering witnesses and we recognized your gestures in helping us to solve the media-related cases," Calderon said.

Just early this month, gunmen killed a broadcaster Armando Pace in a daring broad daylight attack in Digos City in Davao del Sur province. Pace, who worked with Radyo Ukay, was shot repeatedly as he was heading for home on a motorcycle.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last month, gunmen also shot and killed George Vigo, a correspondent for the Union of Catholic Asian News, and his wife, Macel Alave-Vigo, also a broadcaster, in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province.

Vigo was also the executive director of the non-government organization Peoples’ Kauyahan Foundation, Inc. which initiates community peace forums and dialogues in North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said at least 45 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2001.

The Philippines now ranks second to Iraq on the list of deadliest countries for journalists in 2005, according to international media group Reporters without Borders.