Saturday, March 31, 2007

Langis Mula Solar 1 Tanker, Masisimot Na!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 31 Mar) – Makukumpleto na rin sa wakas ang ang paghigop ng mga nalalabing langis na tumagas buhat sa Solar I tanker sa Guimaras island sa loob ng susunod na Linggo.

Ito ang kinumpirma sa Mindanao Examiner ni Office of Civil Defense administrator retired General Glen Rabonza. Una nang pinasimulan noong Enero ang oil recovery operations dahil na rin sa inaasahang magandang panahon para mabilis na maisakatuparan ito.

Ayon kay Rabonza, kasunod ng paglinis ng mga langis, pasisimulan naman ang rehabilitasyon ng mga apektadong lugar sa isla.
Sa mga nakalipas na araw, kaunting langis na lamang ang nakukuha ng Allied Shield ng Italya na nangangahulugan na malapit na ring tuluyang maubos ang oil spill.

Gumastos na rin ng multi-milyong piso ang International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC) para sa siphoning ng oil spill sa naturang lalawigan. (Juley Reyes)

Women's Group Ends Int'l Celeb With Medical Missions In South RP

DAVAO CITY – The Gabriela Women’s Party ended Saturday the International Women’s Month celebration with two simultaneous medical missions in Davao City and Davao del Sur province in southern Philippines.

The humanitarian missions were held in poor communities in Matina Crossing in Davao City and in Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur.

The group organized the medical missions to culminate the International Women’s Month in order to highlight the health issues of women, it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

The Gabriela party list said women health, among others, is oftentimes sacrificed by Filipino mothers to give way to other needs of their families.

Some 100 women participants attended the two missions.

"Good Work!" Ani PGMA Sa Metro Troops!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 31 Mar) – Pinaboran diumano ng Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ang operasyon ng militar sa Metro Manila sa harap ng lumalaking batikos ng mga residente at militanteng grupo kontra Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Nabatid ito kay AFP National Capital Region Command Chief Major General Mohammad Dolorfino kasunod ng pagbisita sa detachment ng militar sa Baseco, Tondo, Maynila kaninang umaga. "Congratulations and keep up the good work," ayon kay Dolorfino na sinabi umano ng Pangulong Arroyo sa kanila.

Wala rin umanong nabanggit ang Pangulo hinggil sa pag-alis ng tropa ng mga sundalo sa Kalakhang Maynila.

Sinamahan pa ang Pangulo nina Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon at Army Chief Lieutenant General Romeo Tolentino sa pag-ikot sa mga proyekto ng militar sa Metro.

Matapos lumisan ang Pangulo ay pinasinayaan sina Ebdane, Esperon, at Tolentino ang itinayong palikuran ng mga sundalo sa Isla Puting Bato.

Sa kanyang talumpati, sinabi ni Dolorfino na nilalayon ng militar na tuluyang mapilayan ang mga komunista sa pamamamagitan ng pagtulong para mapagaan ang buhay ng mga mahihirap.

"Using military force is not enough. The real solution is at the root of the problem – poverty," punto ni Dolorfino.

"What we are doing is to make the CPP-NPA irrelevant. If there are no problems in the communities, they will die a natural death," dagdag pa nito. Subali’t muntik nang mapahamak ang isang babae matapos na ito’y mapagkamalang miyembro ng hit squad ng New People's Army sa Tondo, Maynila kanina rin.

Inakala ng mga nagpapatrulyang sundalo na tattoo ang tuldok ng bolpen sa pisngi ng isang 42 anyos na babae, isang palatandaan ng mga komunista noong 1980s.

Katwiran ng babaeng tumangging magpatukoy ng pangalan, nakuha na ang tinta ng bolpen sa mukha habang nakikipaglaro sa kanyang mga pinsan.

Nang lumabas siya ng bahay ay tinanong ito ng mga sundalo hinggil sa pagkakaroon ng marka sa mukha. Hindi na aniya nagpumilit ang militar nang kanyang ipaliwanag ang pinagmulan ng tuldok sa mukha.

"Hindi ko alam kung ano ang ibig nilang sabihin pero sinabi ko sa kanila (mga sundalo) na mga pinsan ko ang naglagay nito nung naglalaro kami," sumbong pa ng babae sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

Bagamat nasita ng mga sundalo, pabor pa rin ang babae sa deployment ng militar sa kanilang lugar. "Mas matahimik nga ngayon dito. Wala ng magnanakaw at adik," dagdag nito. (Juley Reyes)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Photo: The Dilangalens And The Semas

Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) Cotabato City mayoralty candidate Bai Zendig Dilangalen and husband, congressional aspirant Digalen Dilangalen file their candidacies at the Commission on Elections in Cotabato City in southern Philippines Thursday, 29 Mar 2007. While LAKAS Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) re-electionist Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema and wife Bai Sandra Ampatuan Sema, who is seeking a seat for the lone district of Shariff Kabunsuan province, pose with election officer Alen Mangelen and other candidates. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales)


Woman Gets 20 Years For Pimping Teener In South RP

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 30 Mar) – A Philippine court convicted a woman for pimping a teenager in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao.

Judge Wenceslao Ibabao sentenced Lucita Magnifico to 20 years in prison after finding her guilty of the violating the country’s Child Abuse Law.

Magnifico, a street hawker, had offered the 17-year old victim to her clients in exchange for money in various occasions in 2005.

The teenager testified against the woman that prostitutes call Ate Luz and told the court that she was offered to different men who wanted to have sexual favors in exchange for some money.

She said the woman paid her some money as commission for the sex, but she later sought the help of the police and filed charges against Magnifico.

Prostitution is rampant in southern Philippines. (Romy Bwaga)

Photo: Philippine Marines Guard Basilan Pier

Members of the Philippine Marines guard the pier in Isabela City in Basilan island off Zamboanga City. Marines have taken over Philippine Army forces on the island. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Tia)

Pagsibak Sa Manila Police Chief, Hinarang Ng PNP!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 30 Mar) - Hinarang ng liderato ng Philippine National Police (PNP) ang pagsibak kay Manila Police District Director Senior Superintendent Danilo Abarsoza kasunod ng mga naging kapalpakan sa hostage crisis sa Maynila.

Sa pulong balitaan, sinabi ni PNP Chief Director General Oscar Calderon na hiniling nito kay Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno ang pagpapaliban sa administrative relief na iniatas para kay Abarsoza.

Katwiran ng heneral, makabubuting bigyang-daan muna ang pagsisiyasat ng inatasang grupo sa naganap na insidente at nang makapagpaliwanag si Abarsoza sa sinasabing procedural lapses sa pangangasiwa ng hostage drama.

Masyado aniyang kritikal ang posisyon ni Abarsoza upang basta na lamang tanggalin sa posisyon.

Pumayag naman kanina si Puno na ipagpaliban muna ang pagsibak kay Abarsoza.
Gayunman, nilinaw ni Puno na hindi pa rin tuluyang ligtas sa pananagutan si Abarsoza dahil magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon sa kanya nang pumalpak sa pangangasiwa ng 10-oras na hostage drama.

Pinagbigyan ni Puno ang kahilingan ni Calderon para sa deferment sa katwirang nasa kalagitnaan ng panahon ng eleksyon at maaaring masira ang implementasyon ng security plan sa Maynila.

"Upon the request of PNP Chief Calderon in a letter to me, I have deferred the order to relieve Senior Supt. Abarsoza considering that we are now in the middle of an election season and Abarsoza is already in the midst of implementing his security plan for this critical period.”

"We will give him a chance to air his side in connection with his handling of the hostage situation," ani Puno.

Subalit, tuloy naman ang naunang direktiba ni Puno na pag-alis sa puwesto kina MPD Station 5 commander Superintendent Rogelio Rosales at police precinct commander Chief Inspector Bernardo Cubacub.

Kasabay nito, pinatatahimik rin ni Puno ang mga opisyal ng pulisya sa pagbibigay ng komento sa naturang isyu at hayaang matapos ang imbestigasyon ng panel na pinamumunuan ni Deputy Director General Avelino Razon.

Iniutos nnaman ni Calderon ang pagsasailalim sa retraining ng lahat ng mga tauhan ng MPD hinggil sa hostage crisis management.

Matapos ang MPD ay isusunod na rin ang iba pang kapulisan sa Metro Manila at sa buong bansa.

Handa naman si PNP National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Director Reynaldo Varilla na maimbestigahan sa anumang posibleng pananagutan sa naganap na hostage crisis.

Si Varilla ang maituturing na pinakamataas na opisyal ng PNP na nasa lugar ng insidente ng panghohostage subalit nabigo umano itong ma-organisa ang krisis at nagkaroon pa rin ng maraming kapalpakan.

Iniligtas ni Varilla si Abarsoza na aniya'y naging maayos naman ang pangangasiwa nito sa naturang pangyayari at ang mga isasagawang pagsisiyasat ay hindi naman nangangahulugan na kailangang magdiin ng opisyal. (Juley Reyes)

Abu Spy Gets P1 Million Bounty!


Western Mindanao Army chief Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo hands over Friday 30 Mar 2007 one million pesos reward money to a masked Abu Sayyaf informant who helped the Philippine military capture a sub-leader of the militant group, Abdullah Mohammad, in November 2005 in Zamboanga City, as Army Col. Pedro Ancanan looks on. Mohammad is implicated in the kidnapping of US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and California tourist Guillermo Sobero in a posh island resort in Central Philippines. Martin and Guillermo were later killed by the Abu Sayyaf group tied to Al-Qaeda terror network. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)


ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 30 Mar) – The Philippine military on Friday rewarded an informant with one million pesos for helping security forces capture a notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-leader implicated in the kidnapping of three American citizens seven years ago.
“More and more people are providing us vital information about the terrorists. And those who are helping us will be rewarded accordingly,” Lieutenant General Eugenio Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.
The masked informant did not speak to journalist and was whisked away by intelligence agents escorting him at the military base in Zamboanga City after receiving the money.
The United States also rewarded $2,500 to the same informant last month for the capture of Mohammad, who is included in Washington’s terror lists.
Cedo said the Philippine government provided the money as reward for the capture of Abdullah Mohammad, who was tracked down by troops in the village of Ayala in Zamboanga City.
The military implicated Mohammad in the 2000 kidnapping of Kansas missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and California man Guillermo Sobero and 17 other Filipino holiday-makers at the posh Dos Palmas resort in the central Philippine province of Palawan.
He was also linked to the kidnappings of dozens of people in Basilan island off Zamboanga in 2000, where 11 hostages had been beheaded.
Washington listed the Abu Sayyaf as a foreign terrorist group and offered as much as $5 million bounty for the capture of its known leader.
The Abu Sayyaf is said to be coddling Indonesian and Malaysian Jemaah Islamiya bombers in the southern Philippines.
Just this week, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has authorized a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, a terrorist believed to be involved in multiple deadly bomb attacks in the Philippines.
Zulkifli bin Hir has been added to most-wanted list of the Rewards for Justice Program, administered by the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.Zulkifli bin Hir is a Malaysian citizen born in 1966 in Muar, Johor.
An engineer trained in the United States, he allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command.
The U.S. State Department said he has been present in the Philippines since August 2003, where he is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf.
His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, Dany, was involved in the 2001 Jakarta Atrium Mall bombing, and currently is in detention in Indonesia. (Mindanao Examiner)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Militar, Nabahag Ang Buntot!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – Mistulang nabahag ang buntot ng militar matapos na sabihan ng Malakanyang na kailangan ng tanggalin ang mga sundalo sa lansangan ng Metro Manila.

Bagama’t unang nagmatigas ang militar sa panawagan ng mga militanteng grupo at oposisyon ay tila tiklop naman ito sa kagustuhan ng nasa Palasyo matapos na mismong si Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita ang nagsabing dapat na lagyan ng timeline ang unti-unting pull-out ng tropa sa Metro.

Ngunit mabilis naman na itinanggi ng Armed Forces at Defense Department na sunod-sunuran ang mga ito sa kagustuhan ng administrasyong Arroyo.

Nagkataon lamang umano na magtatapos ang ilang proyekto ng Armed Forces sa Metro Manila kung kayat maaaring magkaroon ng pagsamantalang pag-pull out sa mga sundalo nito sa Mayo ng kasalukuyang taon.

Katwiran ito ngayon ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na aniya'y ang pag-aalis ng puwersa ng militar sa Kalakhang Maynila ay nakadepende sa assessment ng National Capital Region Command (NCRCom).

Bago ang halalan aniya ay maaaring makumpleto na ang konstruksyon ng mga day care centers at pampublikong palikuran na tinatrabaho sa kasalukuyan ng mga sundalo sa mga barangay.
Aminado si Esperon na may mga plano na ring tuluyang tapusin ang mga aktibidad sa Metro Manila.

Gayunman, nilinaw ni Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., na ang balaking pag-pull out sa troop deployment ay hindi pagsunod sa hirit ni Ermita na magtakda ng timeline ang AFP para tuldukan ang mga proyekto.

"Ermita's statements are always misquoted. He asked the military to consider a timeline, not to set a timeline," ani Ebdane.

"He is leaving the up to the AFP and the defense department. There is a review and the decision will come from the chief of staff. He does not want to micro-manage," dagdag nito.

Samantala, binalingan naman ni Esperon ang pagbanat na isasagawa ng Europa hinggil sa usapin ng extrajudicial killings sa Pilipinas.

Sinabi ni Esperon na hindi makatarungan ang pahayag ni United Nations rapporteur Philip Alston na nagbabalang mawawalan ng international support ang bansa kung mabibigong tapusin ang mga political killing.

Sa una pa lamang aniya, matapos na tulungan ng AFP ang UN rapporteur sa imbestigasyon nito ay nakatikim na ng pagkastigo at pagdidiin ang militar.

Ayon kay Esperon, nabigo si Alston na bigyang-pahalaga ang matinding pagsusumikap ng gobyerno na matuldukan ang mga pagpaslang ng militante at mamamahayag.Hindi rin aniya dapat pinanghihimasukan at binibigyan ng maling interpretasyon ang operasyon ng militar laban sa insureksyon.

Una nang inilantad ni Alston na "Order of Battle" approach ang paraan ng kampanya ng AFP kontra komunismo kung saan ay maaaring magbigay-daan sa pagpapatumba ng mga maling kalaban sapagkat nakabase lang na intelligence ang impormasyon.

Maliwanag rin umano na sa counter-insurgency campaign ng gobyerno ay bukas o nakakatulong pa para maging lehitimo ang extrajudicial killings.

Ngunit, para kay Esperon, hindi kinukunsinti ng AFP ang ilegal na pagpaslang at sa katunayan ay mga kaukulang imbestigasyon at prosekusyon ang kanilang hanay sa mga suspek sa extrajudicial killings. (Juley Reyes at Chris Navarra)

WB Approves $83-M Loan For Mindanao Projects

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – The World Bank has approved a $83.752-million loan for Philippines to finance the second phase of a four-part program called the Mindanao Rural Development Project (MRDP2).

The program is aimed at improving food security on Mindanao Island, south of Manila. It is expected to benefit over 200 towns and more than two dozen provinces.

The World Bank said the second phase of the project will improve the delivery of services to the agriculture and fisheries sector, making sure that production increases to ensure food security.

"MRDP2 encompasses strong approaches related to community-driven development which will help promote the active and continued participation of indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged groups in the development process," said World Bank country director for the Philippines Joachim von Amsberg.

The program will also pilot test a performance-based grant scheme aimed at spurring local government units into developing infrastructure in their areas, according to a report Thursday of the Philippine News Agency.

"Almost a third of the country's poor live in Mindanao. We hope that with this project, Mindanaoans (inhabitants of the island) will experience greater economic and integration opportunities, particularly to indigenous communities and other disadvantaged groups," Filipino Agriculture Secy. Arthur Yap said.

The Department of Agriculture is overall executing agency of the development program and local government units as implementer of sub-projects.

The first phase of the development project was completed in 2004. It covered five provinces and 32 municipalities in Mindanao.

Its third phase, which has yet to receive funding, aims to deepen the program by making sure that all eligible municipalities in Mindanao will be covered. The fourth phase intends to secure the sustainability of the development initiatives. (With a report from Mindanao Examiner)

Panibagong Pakikibaka, Umiigting!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – Tila panibagong pakikibaka ang inilunsad ng mga dating de-ranggo at opisyal ng militar na sumabit sa nabigong coup kontra pamahalaang Arroyo – itong ang pulitika at ang battle ground ay ang Senado at Kongreso!

Nabatid na naghain kanina ng kandidatura sa pagka-kongresista ang dating rebeldeng militar na si Army Colonel Abraham Puruganan, co-founder ng Reform Armed Forces Movement (RAM) at Young Officers Union (YOU), na naglunsad ng tangkang pang-aagaw ng kapangyarihan sa gobyerno noong 1987 at 1989.

Kakalabanin ni Puruganan ang angkan ng mga Dumpit sa ikalawang distrito ng La Union.

Tulad ni dating Senador Gregorio Honasan na matapos ang pagkakasangkot sa kudeta ay nagkaroon ito ng pagkakataon na makapuwesto sa gobyerno.

Bukod kay Honasan, isa pa sa mga coup plotter na si dating Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Antonio Trillanes naman ang nag-aambisyon na maging senador.

Si Puruganan ay nagsilbing consultant at ikalawang kalihim sa ibat-ibang posisyon sa Malakanyang. Nauna nang idineklarang freezone ang La Union dahil sa tatlong kandidato ng administrasyon ang magkakasagupa sa halalang lokal sa Mayo.

Malakas ang dating nina Trillanes at Honasan dahil sa kanilang adhikain at suporta na rin ng mga mamamayan at sundalo. (Juley Reyes at Chris Navarra)

Lay Down Your Arms, Join Democratic Process...

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – Manila on Thursday called on the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to abandon their armed struggle and participate in democratic process.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita with the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law the rebels now have the chance to participate in the parliamentary struggle under the party list concept.

"I call on them to lay down their arms and participate in the parliamentary struggle. Under our democratic system, they are given free space to participate," he said.

He also appealed to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to abandon its armed struggle for the sake and progress of the Filipinos.Ermita said the present lean crop of party list representatives has been given the democratic space and pushing well their principles and ideology in Congress.
"Let us do away with their objective of toppling this government with violent means. They should show their prowess in Congress instead,” he said.

But militant party list groups have accused Manila and the Armed Forces as behind extra-judicial killings across the country.
The CPP and its armed wing, the NPA and their allies said more than 800 political activists and members of militant party list group were murdered since President Gloria Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.

The rebels celebrated its 38th anniversary on Wednesday with renewed calls to topple Arroyo’s government. (Mindanao Examiner)

Manila Police Chief, Sinibak Sa Puwesto Dahil Sa Hostage-Drama!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – Sinibak kanina sa kanyang puwesto ang hep ng Manila Police District matapos ng halos 12 oras na hostage-drama na naglagay sa bansa sa matinding kahihiyan sa buong mundo.

Inaprubahan ni Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno ang pagkakasibak sa puwesto ni Police Senior Superindent Danilo Abarsoza bilang hepe ng Manila Police District.

Katwiran ni Puno, nagkaroon ng procedural lapses sa pangangasiwa ng hostage drama sa Maynila kahapon matapos na bihagin ni Jun Ducat, 56, ang mahigit sa dalawang dosenang bata at guro sa labas lamang ng City Hall ng Manila.

Una ring inamin ng Philippine National Police (PNP) na nagkaroon ng ilang kapalpakan sa hostage crisis management matapos na mabigong makontrol ang publiko bukod pa sa hinayaang may makialam na politiko bilang mga negosyador.

Bagamat hindi aniya masisisi sina Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. at dating gobernador Luis Chavit Singson na makialam sa krisis, hindi na sila dapat pinayagan ng pulisya.

Idinagdag pa ni Puno na hindi rin nasunod ng MPD ang standard operating procedure (SOP) na iakyat sa crisis management committee na pinamumunuan ng alkalde ang anumang hakbang sa nasabing insidente.

Pansamantalang papalit kay Abarsoza ang deputy nito na si Senior Superintendent Antonio Decano. Kasama ring nasibak sa puwesto ay ang Station 5 Commander ng MPD na si Sr. Supt. Rogelio Rosales.

Sinabi rin ng Malakanyang na dapat patawan ng parusa si Ducat sa kanyang kapangahasan. Ngunit mistulang bayani naman si Ducat -- na may isang day care center sa Barangay Parola sa Maynila -- sa maraming mga nakakakilala dito dahil kapakanan ng mga bata ang tanging hangad nito.

“Full criminal justice will be brought to bear upon the hostage takers, while attention will be given to the plight of the kids and their families. We must now leave this unfortunate incident behind and not make heroes out of wrongdoers, which will only invite others to do the same,” ani Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye.

”It is bad enough that young lives were put at risk. Let us not turn this into a political game,” dagdag ni Bunye.

Samantala, hindi matatanggap ni Puno bilang isang uri ng pagiging bayani o ala-Robinhood ang ginawa ni Ducat.

Bagamat malinis aniya ang intensyon ng hostage taker para sa kapakanan ng mga mahihirap, maliwanag na may paglabag ito sa batas at pagiging terorista ang kanyang ginawa.

Ipinagsigawan rin ni Ducat ang talamak na korupsyon sa bansa at kawalan ng pag-asa ng maraming mamamayan dahil sa matinding kahirapan. Nailabas sa CNN, BBC, ABC, CBS at iba pang mga dambuhalang television network sa mundo ang buong hostage crisis na isinisi naman ng mga militante sa Pangulong Gloria Arroyo.

Umapela ang kalihim sa publiko na huwag papurihan si Ducat sapagkat delikado ang naging hakbang nito para sa buhay ng mga inosenteng bata bukod pa sa sinabotahe ng suspek ang kampanya ng pamahalaan sa peace and order. (Juley Reyes)

OPINION

MOROS, LUMADS ARE INHABITANTS OF MINDANAO By Hassan Hatab


The early inhabitants of Mindanao to include Zamboanga City were Moros and Lumads. During the Spanish era, the Muslim natives of Mindanao were called Moros by the Spaniards. The term Moros derived from the word Moors, the name given by the Spaniards to the inhabitants of Mauritania and Morocco.

Waves of migrants from Luzon and Visayas to Mindanao and Sulu to include Zamboanga City, increased after the United States annexed Mindanao and Sulu to the national territory of the Philippines in the grant of Philippine Independence to the Filipino people on July 4, 1946.

This was the beginning when the chapter of Muslim History became distorted and worrisome because of the considerable number of Christianized Filipinos who settled in Mindanao and later on became prejudiced, bigoted and mistrustful to the Moros or Muslims in Mindanao particularly in Zamboanga City.

On January 7, 1977, the negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were formalized as both sides agreed to form their respective peace panels. On July 18, 1997, both parties signed the agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities and committed their respective Armed Forces to the cessation of hostilities in Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan.

In the negotiations, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) proposed a single talking point agenda with the Philippine government and that is on "how to solve the Bangsamoro Problems".

In the process of negotiations, the MILF cited some centuries-old historical landmarks and documents to assert their historical rights and evidences to support their claim for governance over their ancestral homeland and domain in Mindanao to include the city of Zamboanga.

Parts of these historical landmarks are the relics found in the city hall of Zamboanga City. At the right side of the main entrance to the city hall, there is a black iron placed on the wall with inscription in Tagalog dialect that reads "Ang lalawigan ito ay lalawigan ng mga Muslims".

Another historical relic is the black iron door located at the accounting section of the city hall with inscription "Treasury, government of the Moro Province".

All these historical relics implied that Zamboanga City was formerly governed by the Muslims and not by Spaniards or Spanish speaking people. Nobody can deny the true history of Mindanao especially Zamboanga City.

So, people should not surprise or oppose when someday Zamboanga City will be ruled again by Muslims. After all historically this city was once ruled by Muslims.

Zamboanga Maid Abused In Dubai Flies Back Home

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – A Filipino maid, who was abused by her employers in Dubai, is set to return to her native home in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines.

But the 21-year old Faija Salamat has reasons to come home happy despite her ordeal in the hands of a Kuwaiti woman and her Iraqi husband after a court in Dubai found the couple guilty.

Salamat was subjected to gratuitous torture and violence at the hands of her female Kuwaiti employer and an Iraqi man last July until her escape.

The two were jailed on February 27 having been sentenced to three years followed by deportation. They were found guilty of sexual harassment, battery and illegal detention, the Dubai-based online news site 7DAYS reported on Thursday.

The couple allegedly admitted torturing Salamat like she was a prisoner at the Abu Ghraib, a notorious U.S. military facility in Iraq.

“All I can think of now is to be with my family,” 7DAYS quoted Salamat as saying.

“I’m so excited to see my parents and my seven siblings back home. I just want to be home as soon as possible. I feel anxious - the memory of the cruel abuse continues to haunt me,” she said.

Salamat, a high school graduate, left home when she was only 18, to work as a housemaid in Kuwait in 2003 before working in Dubai eight months ago.

“I’d like to forget all about it and move on. At night, I sometimes cry myself to sleep when I remember them and the torture,” she said.

Salamat said her employers would undress her and touched her intimately and often times would stub lit cigarettes near her private parts. They also burned her with hot coals and scrub ice cubes on her body.

She said she was kept in a room for three days before forcing the door open and fleeing to the Philippine Consulate in Dubai.

“I don’t think I can forgive them for the awful things they have done to me. I hope that it will serve as a lesson for employers not to mistreat and subject maids to physical and psychological abuse,” Salamat said.

It was not immediately known where Salamat’s family is residing in Zamboanga City and the Department of Social Welfare and Development said it has to receive a report from the Philippines’ Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) about the young Muslim woman.

“We have no reports about Faija Salamat or anything about her case. We have to receive an endorsement from the OWWA so we can take an immediate action about this as soon as she arrives home,” a local social welfare assistant Maryann Boncaras told the Mindanao Examiner on Thursday. (Mindanao Examiner)

Puspusang Paghahanap Sa Malaysian Bomber Inilunsad!

MAGUINDANAO (Mindanao Examiner/ 29 Mar) – Ipinagutos ngayon ng Armed Forces ang puspusang paghahanap sa isang Malaysian bomber na umano’y nagtatago sa Mindanao matapos na ibunyag ng Estados Unidos ang kinalalagyan nito.

Halos apat na taon na umanong nagtatago sa Mindanao si Zulkfili bin Hir alias Marwan at kamakalawa lamang ay inilagay ng ito ng EU sa kanilang talaan ng most wanted terrorist.

Pinatungan pa ng EU ng $5 milyon bounty ang ulo ni Zulkifli upang mapadali ang pagdakip sa dayuhan na sinasabing kasama ng Abu Sayyaf sa kasalukuyan at isa sa mga nagtuturo kung paanong gumawa ng pampasabog.

“We are now intensifying our intelligence operation to get Marwan. Aside from Marwan, we are also tracking down other terrorists and that include the Jemaah Islamiya and Abu Sayyaf,” ani kanina sa pahayagang Mindanao Examiner ni Maj. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, commander ng 6th Infantry Division sa Central Mindanao, na kung saan inulat na nagtatago si Zulkifli bin Hir.

Hindi naman mabatid kung may kinalaman ang Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), ang pinakamalaking Muslim rebel group sa bansa, kay Zulkifli bin Hir. May peace talks ang MILF sa pamahalaang Arroyo at sa kasalukuyan ay tumutulong sa pagtugis sa mga terorista sa Mindanao dahil sa isang kasunduang nilagdaan ng dalawang grupo ilang taon na ang nakalipas.

Subali’t may mga lider ang MILF na ayon sa military ay mga “hard core” na siyang nagkukubli sa Jemaah Islamiya at Abu Sayyaf bombers na responsable sa maraming atake sa Mindanao.

Sinabi rin ng U.S. State Department na mismong si Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ang siyang nag-authorized ng naturang bounty sa ulo ni Zulkifli.

Idinagdag na ng US si Zulkifli sa most-wanted list ng Rewards for Justice program.

"Zulkifli bin Hir is a Malaysian citizen born in 1966 in Muar, Johor. An engineer trained in the United States, he allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command. He has been present in the Philippines since August 2003, where he is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf Group."

"His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, a.k.a. Dany, was involved in the 2001 Jakarta Atrium Mall bombing, and currently is in detention in Indonesia,” ayon sa U.S. State Department. (May ulat si Mark Navales)

NPA Celebrates 38th Year, Renews Calls To Topple Gov't

MISAMIS ORIENTAL (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Mar) – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on Wednesday made fresh calls to topple the government as the outlawed group celebrated its 38th anniversary.

The rebels also accused the government as behind the spate of killings of political activists and members of progressive groups opposed to President Gloria Arroyo’s rule as part of the so-called “Oplan Bantay Laya.”

The Oplan Bantay Laya is the anti-insurgency campaign plan of the Philippine military.

“It is true that Oplan Bantay Laya II is more vicious compared to the previous one (Oplan Bantay Laya 1). Its vicious attacks against the NPA and the struggling people are implemented not only in the countryside, but also in key cities and towns,” Jorge Madlos, whose nom de guerre is Ka Oris, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

“Included in the OBL II are death squads that wantonly and extensively murder progressive activists, journalists, priests, lawyers, human rights workers and others who oppose this rotten regime,” he said.

The NPA has at least 130 fronts across the country. In Mindanao alone, the NPA is operating in 208 towns and cities and 19 provinces. (Mindanao Examiner)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why Blame RP Population For Lack Of School Rooms?

Letter to the Editor

Education Department Secretary Jesli Lapus seems to be hallucinating for blaming the country’s population as the one causing the shortage of classrooms in the country. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions are beginning to sound alike.

First it was the Palace Queen who put the blame on the citizen’s luxuries and ordered a control on using short message sending or texts and cigarette smoking to avoid experiencing hunger.

Now, one of her minions in the guise of Secretary Lapus presented to us a very (il)logical reason why the country insufficient number of classrooms. Let’s start with facts. The government, according to a UNESCO study, should be spending 6% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education. But the government measly appropriates 3%.

The Department of Education admitted that 45,775 classrooms are lacking (assuming a ratio of 45 students to one classroom). But according to the President, the budget is now ready to provide 14,000 classrooms this year. Will that answer the lack of classrooms?

No. A bulk of 31, 775 would still be needed. And besides, Lapus said “every minute, four babies are born.

It’s like every 10 minutes, I’m short one classroom.” Now, Lapus is blaming the high birth rate as the cause of classrooms scarcity. Why? It’s simple. Because he, along with other lapdogs of the palace, has been tasked to cover their boss’ incapacity and lack of sincerity to save this country.

Lack of classroom did not stem from overpopulation. It started when the state began misallocating the national budget, which could have answered the needs of basic social services like education, in order to religiously succumb to World Bank and other “generous” foreign lending imperialists.

Apparently this government has no balls yet to repeal former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1177 which provides for automatic appropriations of tax revenues for debt service, and former Pres. Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order (EO) 292, which instituted Section 26 of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 providing automatic appropriation of principal and interest on public debt.

If the government is sincere in addressing the education crisis it could have done so by not overfeeding the pork barrel of the administration-led House of Representatives.

It could have done so by not making it appear that the budget for State Universities and Colleges are P34 billion short compared to the budget of the Department of National Defense.

It could have done so by assuming political will to impose a cap on debt servicing and start prioritizing the people’s welfare. Unfortunately they need more money for their political survival.

Mr. Lapus should start thinking about it.


Signed:

KARLA HYASMIND APAT
Vice President for Mindanao
Kabataan Partylist

Pulitiko Dinumog!


Ex-Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan hands his certificate of candidacy to an election officer as his running mate, re-electionist Sulu Vice Gov. Lady Ann Sahidula looks on. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Chris Navarra)


SULU (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Mar) – Nagmistulang artista na pinagkaguluhan ng daan-daang katao ang dating gobernador ng Sulu ng pangunahan nito ang paghain ng kandidatura ng matitinding pulitiko na binansagang haligi sa lalawigan.
Halos hindi magkaugaga si ex-governor Sakur Tan ng ito’y pagkaguluhan mula sa kanyang bahay hanggang sa pagdating nito sa tanggapan ng Commission on Elections na tabi lamang ng Kapitolyo kamakailan.

Tatakbong muli si Tan sa pagka-governor matapos itong himukin ng mga taga-Sulu na ipagpatuloy ang kanyang magandang legasiya.

Si Tan rin ang tanging kandidato ng Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo sa Sulu at ng iba pang kaalyado nito.Kasama ni Tan na naghain ng kandidatura sina re-electionist Sulu Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidula at Yusop Jikiri, na tatakbo bilang Congressman sa lalawigan.

Puntirya naman ni Sulu. Rep. Hussin Amin, na siyang chairman ng KAMPI sa Sulu, ang mayoralty sa bayan ng Jolo. Makapal ang taong sumama at sumalubong kay Tan at tanging pangalan nito ang sambit.

Maging ang mga empleyado ng Kapitolyo ay hindi na rin napigil ang kanilang pagkagalak ng makita ang dating governor.“Ako ay tuwang-tuwa sa laki ng suporta ng mga taga-Sulu hindi lamang sa akin, kundi maging sa aking mga kasamahan.

Lahat ng ito’y patunay lamang na kailangan na natin ng malaking pagbabago sa Sulu; pagbabagong makikita ng lahat kapag ako’y nahalal,” ani Tan sa panayam ng pahayagang Mindanao Examiner.

Ang grupo ni Tan ang siyang pinakamalaki na nagtungo sa COMELEC sa paghain ng kanilang kandidatura – mahigit sa 300 mga sasakyan mula sa ibat-ibang mga bayan lulan ang mga ordinaryong tao ang sumama sa dating governor.

Maging si Tan ay nagulat sa dami ng tao. Sa kalye ay maririnig ang sigaw ng maraming tagasunod nina Tan, Sahidula at Jikiri na nagpapasalamat sa kanilang pagsabak muli sa halalan.

Saksi rin si Assistant Secretary Ricardo Ochia, Presidential Assistant for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), sa paghain nina Tan ng kandidatura. Ipinadala ito ng Pangulong Arroyo sa Sulu upang personal na tignan ang sitwasyon sa Sulu.

Natuwa naman si Ochia dahil sa katahimikan sa Sulu. “Natutuwa ako sa aking nakita at siguradong masisiyahan ang Pangulong Arroyo sa magandang sitwasyon ng pulitika sa Sulu,” wika nito sa hiwalay na panayam.

Natuwa ng husto ang mga maliit na negosyante sa Sulu dahil kung magwawagi umano si Tan ay tiyak na manunumbalik ang sigla ng kalakal sa lalawigan na ngayon ay lugmok sa kahirpan at naghihingalong ekonomiya.

Nagpahayag naman ng taos-pusong pasasalamat si Tan kay Pangulong Arroyo at sa partido nitong KAMPI dahil sa kanyang opisyal na pagkakahalal.

Unang ipinangako ni Tan na ipupursige ang magandang plataporma ng pamahalaang Arroyo sa mga Muslim at programa upang malabanan ang kahirapan sa Sulu.

"Ang aking pamahalaan ay magiging masigasig sa pagpapatupad ng reporma upang muling maging maunlad ang Sulu. Bibigyan natin ng atensyon ang kahirapan at ang ekonomiya, gayun rin ang kapayapaan na minimithi ng bawat isa sa atin. Ours is a government that will address the poverty situation through sustainable economic and livelihood programs and a peace agenda that will be beneficial to all."

"Peace and progress and reforms go side by side with development and we will pursue these programs with the support of all sectors. People want change and we promise better governance which is transparent and honest. Sulu will again be progressive and peaceful,” ani Tan sa naunang pahayag nito.

Sa ngayon ay itinuturing na pinakamalakas ang grupo nina Tan, Amin at Jikiri sa lalawigan ng Sulu. (May dagdag na ulat sina Chris Navarra at Ely Dumaboc)

Poor Pinoy, Still Suffering From Poverty!

Muslim refugees in Mindanao island in southern Philippines continue to suffer because of sporadic clashes between security and rebel forces. Non-government organizations have appealed for food and medicines for refugees now in temporary shelters in the Muslim autonomous region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales)

MAGUINDANAO (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Mar) – Despite government promises of more jobs and secure future, many Filipinos are still living below the poverty line and a survey by the independent Social Weather Stations (SWS) has proven this.

The SWS said fifty-three percent of household heads rated their families as poor in the First Quarter 2007 survey. Self-Rated Poverty declined by 15 points in Metro Manila, from 54% last November to 39% in February.

The 54% was above the long-term average in the capital region, while the 39% is more or less average, it said.

On the other hand, Self-Rated Poverty rose in Luzon outside Metro Manila, from 48% to 53%, in the Visayas, from 55% to 59%, and in Mindanao, from 54% to 57%.The net result was that Self-Rated Poverty stayed virtually unchanged at the national level, being 52% last November and 53% in February.

The Self-Rated Poverty Threshold, which is the monthly budget that poor households need in order not to consider themselves poor, has been sluggish for several years despite considerable inflation, indicating that poor families have been lowering their living standards.

The Median Self-Rated Poverty threshold of poor families declined in Metro Manila, from P12,000 last November to P10,000 in February - an amount that had already been reached in surveys as early as ten years ago.

The current median thresholds -- P6,000 in both Balance Luzon and the Visayas, and P5,000 in Mindanao -- had already been recorded as early as 8 years ago, even though the cost of living has risen very greatly since then.When referring specifically to the food they eat, 39% of Filipino families consider themselves as poor and twenty-six percent put themselves on the Food-Borderline, and 35% consider themselves as Not Food-Poor.

At the national level, Self-Rated Food Poverty hardly moved from 40% last November to 39% last month. It declined by 14 points in Metro Manila, from 45% to 31%, but went up by five points in Mindanao, from 41% to 46%.Self-Rated Food Poverty barely changed in the rest of Luzon, from 37% to 38%, and in the Visayas, from 42% to 40%.

Household heads' reports about their own poverty in general, their own food-poverty, and their own hunger are internally consistent.The February survey has hunger at 26% among the Self-Rated Poor.

This is double the 13% among the Not Poor, and 9% among those on the Borderline.Among the Self-Rated Food Poor, the proportion of households experiencing hunger in the past three months is 30%, almost triple the 12% in both the Not Food-Poor and the Food-Borderline. As a concept, poverty allows for various degrees of deprivation.

Those who suffer from hunger are much more deprived than those who simply suffer from poverty.SWS said the latest report on Hunger was released on March 19.

Opposition politicians and militant party list groups also criticized the Arroyo government for its failure to uplift the living standards of the Filipinos.

Malacañang said the administration’s "well-planned, focused strategic and immediate programs" and not the opposition’s "political noise and hot air" would feed the Filipinos.

"This administration serves a plate of concrete solutions backed up by hard work while the opposition continues to serve a plate of innuendo backed by empty promises," Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio Bunye said.

Bunye was reacting to the opposition’s criticism on the administration’s programs to mitigate hunger and fight poverty and the accusation that President Gloria Arroyo was electioneering when she ordered the release of the P1-billion anti-hunger fund.

He said there are two points on the issue on hunger and poverty: transparency in the Arroyo administration’s implementation of vital social programs, and the opposition’s alternative (anti-hunger and anti-poverty) program, if they have any.

Bunye stressed that the Arroyo administration employs "full transparency in the implementation of its vital social programs" even as he sought the active participation of the opposition in the implementation (of these programs), or better yet offer a better alternative.

"First, we have always offered full transparency in the implementation of vital social programs and the opposition is welcome not only to look into our anti-poverty and anti-hunger projects, but also to actively participate in them," he said.

"Second, we would like to ask if the opposition has a clear and specific anti-hunger and anti-poverty campaign that offers a better alternative to our own," he added.

Bunye lamented that the opposition refused to participate and has "only dished out the sweeping accusations and wild allegations."Arroyo has previously launched various pro-poor programs, from food terminals to cheap medicines in villages across the country.

But Editha Duterte, of the militant party list group Anakpawis in Southern Mindanao, said those programs will not help alleviate the poverty situation, especially in the southern region.“Thinking that hunger will be wiped out in just six months through school feeding program, food terminals, government rolling stores, and providing cheap medicines through ‘Botika sa Barangay’ is plain insanity.”

”Can’t the Palace give intelligent solutions to our poverty problems? Is this the best thing they can offer after telling us to cut down from our luxuries when we don’t even have enough money for our basic needs?,” she asked. (With a report from Mark Navales)

CHILD WARRIORS NG NPA, LUMANTAD

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Mar) – Desperado ngayon ang New People's Army (NPA) na makahikayat ng mga bagong miyembro, kahit menor de edad, upang magsilbing warrior ng kanilang kilusan.

Inihayag ito ng Philippine Army kasunod ng paglalantad sa mga child warrior sa isang pulong balitaan upang patunayan ang maliwanag na paglabag at pag-abuso ng komunistang grupo sa karapatan ng mga kabataan.

Pinakabatang nahihikayat ng NPA ay 10 hanggang 17 taon kung saan ay matindi pa ang pulso ng mga ito para sumabak sa giyera.Ibinunyag rin ng isang dating amasona na si Leah kung paano siya pinuwersa at ginamit ng husto bilang asawa ng mga komunistang lider.

Hindi lamang umano siya ang biktima ng pananakot ng mga komunista na kung hindi susunod sa mga rebelde ay sasaktan ang pamilya nito.

Nagsilbi ring liason si Leah na ibinuko ang regular na pakikipag-ugnayan sa legal fronts ng NPA tulad ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Anakbayan at Makabayan.

Sa rekord ng militar, nagawa nitong masagip, maaresto at mailigtas ang tinatayang 30 mga menor de edad buhat sa Luzon at Visayas mula Setyembre ng nakaraang taon hanggang Marso.

Inilahad naman ng isang Eslao ang matinding kaba na nararamdaman nito sa tuwing sumasabak sa giyera laban sa tropa ng pamahalaan.Ngunit kahit takot, walang pagpipilian ang mga katulad ni Eslao dahil sila rin naman ay sasaktan ng kanilang lider.

Sinabi rin ng militar na mahigit sa tatlumpung mga pampasabog at iba pang war materials ang narekober ng mga tropa sa inilunsad na operasyon sa Quezon.

Sa ulat ng Philippine Army ay natisod ng mga elemento ng 201st Infantry Brigade, 76th Infantry Battalion at Explosives and Ordnance Disposal Team ang naturang mga eksplosibo sa Barangay San Isidro Kanluran sa bayan ng Gumaca sa nasabing lalawigan.

Nauna rito, nasamsam rin ng mga tauhan ng militar ang dalawang M16 rifles, magazine at daan-daang bala ng M16 sa Ilayang Bolo, Unisan, Quezon. Bunsod ito ng impormasyon ng dating lider ng NPA na si Modesto Araza alyas Abel.Samantala, dalawang gerilya naman ang sumuko sa militar sa Kalinga.

Natukoy ang mga ito na sina Bryan Linang alyas Mayo, 21 anyos, at Aga-oy Marnag alyas Dennis, 19 anyos. Pawang mga miyembro ng Komiteng Lrangan Guerilya (KLG) Baggas, ICRC.Isinasailalim na sa interogasyon ang dalawang rebelde. (Juley Reyes)

Malaysian Bomber Nagtatago Sa Mindanao!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Mar) - Nagtatago umano sa Central Mindanao kasama ang Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) ang isang terorista buhat sa Malaysia.

Inihayag ni Major General Ben Mohammad Dolorfino na namataan si Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan sa Maguindanao bagamat patuloy ang paggalaw ng mga ito sa lugar upang hindi masukol ng mga awtoridad.

"He (Marwan) is still in Central Mindanao along with Abu Sayyaf militants. But they are always mobile," ani Dolorfino sa Mindanao Examiner.

Gayunman, nilinaw ni Dolorfino na hindi ang Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ang nagkakanlong sa naturang terorista o sa ASG.

"I don't think he is being protected by MILF rebels. If we will link him with the MILF, it will disrupt the ongoing peace process," dagdag ng heneral.

May patong na pabuyang $5 milyon ang Estados Unidos sa kung sino man ang makapagbibigay ng impormasyon para sa pagdakip kay Zulkifli.

Si Zulkifli ay isang inhinyero na nagsanay sa Washington at umano'y pinamumunuan ang Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia terrorist organization at miyembro ng Jemaah Islamiyah.

Ayon kay Dolorfino, noon pang Agosto 2003 nakapasok ng Mindanao ang naturang foreign terrorists at sinasabing nagsasagawa ng pagsasanay sa mga bandido.

Sinabi rin ng U.S. State Department na mismong si Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ang siyang nag-authorized ng naturang bounty sa ulo ni Zulkifli.

Idinagdag na ng US si Zulkifli sa most-wanted list ng Rewards for Justice program.

"Zulkifli bin Hir is a Malaysian citizen born in 1966 in Muar, Johor. An engineer trained in the United States, he allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command."

"He has been present in the Philippines since August 2003, where he is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf Group."

"His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, a.k.a. Dany, was involved in the 2001 Jakarta Atrium Mall bombing, and currently is in detention in Indonesia,” ayon sa U.S. State Department. (Ulat nina Juley Reyes mula Maynila at Mark Navales sa Mindanao)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Malaysian Bomber Added On U.S. Terror List

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has authorized a new reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Zulkifli bin Hir (a.k.a. Marwan), a terrorist believed to be involved in multiple deadly bomb attacks in the Philippines.

Zulkifli bin Hir has been added to most-wanted list of the Rewards for Justice program, administered by the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Zulkifli bin Hir is a Malaysian citizen born in 1966 in Muar, Johor. An engineer trained in the United States, he allegedly heads the Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) terrorist organization and is a member of Jemaah Islamiyah's central command.

He has been present in the Philippines since August 2003, where he is believed to have conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf Group. His younger brother, Taufik bin Abdul Halim, a.k.a. Dany, was involved in the 2001 Jakarta Atrium Mall bombing, and currently is in detention in Indonesia.

Anyone with information on Zulkifli bin Hir, or on any past or planned act of international terrorism against United States persons or property anywhere in the world, is urged to contact the Rewards for Justice program:

Internet: www.rewardsforjustice.net
Hotline: 1-800-US-REWARDS (1-800-877-3927)
Mail: Rewards for Justice, Washington, DC 20522-0303

Additionally, anyone with information may contact the nearest Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) or FBI field office. Persons located overseas also may contact the Regional Security Office at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

The identity of all individuals providing information will remain strictly confidential.

Since its inception, Rewards for Justice has paid more than $62 million to more than 40 people who have provided credible information that has brought terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism.

Established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism, the program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Top U.S. Officials Visit Jolo Island In Southern Philippines

Aerial view of Jolo island in the Sulu Archipelago in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Ely Dumaboc)

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney visited the strife-torn island of Jolo in southern Philippines and inaugurated a cooperative store previously bombed by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

Kenney, accompanied by senior US and Philippine military officials, also handed various office equipment and livelihood programs to the locals, said Major Eugene Batara, a spokesman for the Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command.

“The visit of U.S. Ambassador Kenney is successful and there are so many people who welcomed and greeted her. They are happy about the visit. She handed various office equipment and unveiled a livelihood programs for the locals,” Batara told the Mindanao Examiner.

Major General Eugenio Cedo, Western Mindanao Command chief, also accompanied Kenney and her group, which included the Italian philanthropist Armando de Rossi, of the 3P Foundation.

"We have donated some P2.5 million for the building materials and the Philippine Marines and the Seabees helped us renovate the cooperative store building. We are happy to help the Filipino people," said De Rossi.

De Rossi and Kenney are actively involved in many humanitarian programs in Jolo island, where troops, backed by U.S. intelligence, are battling the Abu Sayyaf.

The militant group has been blamed for the bombing last year of the Sulu cooperative store that killed and wounded dozens of mostly Muslims.

Last week, troops also clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants in Jolo’s Mount Mabigtang, but there were no reports of casualties from both sides.

Washington tagged the Abu Sayyaf as a foreign terrorist organization and offered as much as five million dollars for its known leaders.

U.S. troops are deployed in Jolo and helping the Filipino soldiers defeat the Abu Sayyaf, which is coddling as many as two dozen Jemaah Islamiya militants, including Dulmatin and Umar Patek.

Both Dulmatin and Patek have been blamed in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 mostly foreign holiday-makers, including 88 Australians. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

Moro Women's Group Accuses Military Of Illegal Arrest, Torture

BASILAN (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – An independent organization of Muslim women accused Tuesday the Philippine military of arresting a teenager on suspicion that he is a member of the terror group Abu Sayyaf in Basilan island off the southern Philippines.

SUARA Fatimats said soldiers arrested Al Jakirani who was mistaken as Abu Usman, a notorious Abu Sayyaf member wanted for murder and kidnappings on the island six years ago.

It said Jakirani is not a member of the Abu Sayyaf and demanded his safe release. His arrest, the group said, violated Jakirani’s rights provided in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Revised Penal Code which protects the rights of alleged offenders under the age of eighteen.

“Jakirani, a pedicab driver in Basilan’s Isabela City, was waiting for passengers at the wharf on March 10 when five soldiers from the Naval Intelligence Special Group (NISG) accosted him and took him forcibly aboard a navy boat toward Zamboanga City for his alleged involvement in the 2001 Golden Harvest kidnapping as Abu Usman,” it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

The group said Jakirani was only 11 years old and peddling goods at the wet market in 2001, when Abu Sayyaf militants raided the Golden Harvest rubber plantation in Lamitan town and kidnapped and beheaded 11 farmers.SUARA said the arrest was a mistake.

Nudjum Jandul, SUARA Fatimats chairperson, said Usman’s real name is Al Hari Jakiri.

Jakirani’s family also accused the military of torturing the teenager during interrogation in Zamboanga City, a charge strongly denied by the authorities.

“Medical examination conducted by a government hospital on Jakirani revealed several chest, external and abdominal contusions which resulted from torture during his tactical interrogation, according to his relatives, while the medical examination conducted by the military indicated that the abrasions resulted from an accidental fall,” it said.

Jakirani said he was mauled by his captors and that they also electrocuted his genital during interrogation.

The military insisted that soldiers arrested Abu Usman.“As far as know, we have arrested Abu Usman, who is a notorious member of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf,” Major Eugene Batara, spokesman of the military’s Western Command, told the Mindanao Examiner on Tuesday.

Jakirani is currently detained in Basilan Provincial Jail. He is the fourth “Abu Usman” suspect detained in the jail.“It almost looks like the military is out to fish as many Abu Usman as they want. We just learned that aside from the four already detained, two other individuals claimed by the military as Abu Usman are already dead: Usman Nasalil a.k.a. Abu Usman was killed in an encounter in Jolo, Sulu while Salip Usman a.k.a. Abu Usman was killed in 2002”, Jandul said.

“Arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of innocent people – this is a reality now in Basilan. This is without the Anti-terror Law in force. Once that law is applied, it will only embolden the military in arresting anyone. We fear for the worst - for our families, for ourselves,” she said.

The Abu Sayyaf group is tied to al-Qaeda terror network and has been blamed for many kidnappings, murders and bombings in the Philippines, particularly in the troubled southern region.

Many of its members and supporters have been arrested the past years in Basilan island and other provinces after civilians, fed up with Abu Sayyaf atrocities, provided information to authorities that led to their arrests. (Mindanao Examiner)

Mindanao Is Still Top Coffee Producer

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Department of Agriculture (DA) is taking aggressive moves to keep Mindanao as the country's top producer of coffee, the Philippine News Agency said on Tuesday.

Enriqueto Natividad, DA cluster officer for Mindanao, said contrary to common beliefs that coffee is produced in Batangas, Cavite or Bulacan, Sultan Kudarat is the Philippines' largest coffee producer.

He said Mindanao's annual coffee production is over 60 percent of the country's total output.

In Davao Region, Laak town in Davao del Norte province is the biggest coffee producer. It was also learned that because of the large annual coffee output of the region, one of the country's biggest coffee manufacturers has put up a research farm in Davao del Norte.

Another large coffee producer in Mindanao is Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur provinces where an unusually large coffee production is being recorded annually. Both provinces cultivate high-grade coffee varieties that include Arabica, Robusta and Excelsa.

In fact, a group of monks in Bukidnon’s Malaybalay City started producing commercial quantity of a special blend of coffee derived mainly from the Arabica strain, which is commonly known as the "Miarayon coffee," because it is largely cultivated in the Miarayon region of Talakag, Bukidnon.

Moreover, Natividad said DA is gearing for the self-sufficiency of the Philippine coffee industry by 2010.

He added in spite of Mindanao's coffee production, the country currently continues to import over 50 percent of its coffee consumption.

One of the aggressive actions being undertaken by the DA is to propagate coffee plants.
In the previous year, the DA has released over 400,000 planting materials to various farms in Mindanao, as it expanded the area planted to coffee by over 1,200 hectares.

Aside from being self sufficient, DA also hopes to establish Mindanao as the dominant coffee producing area in the country.

Election Handbook & Trainer's Guide Launched In Manila

MANILA - The Philippines’ Commission on Elections launched the Election Handbook and Trainer’s Guide, which will be used to train COMELEC staff in key aspects of election management.

The handbook, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with technical assistance provided by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), compiles guidance for COMELEC staff on how to manage various aspects of the electoral process, in compliance with Philippine election laws and regulations.

The handbook includes relevant rules for voting, counting, and canvassing, and a code of ethical conduct. It will serve as the primary instruction material for a series of trainings that COMELEC will hold for its staff—from those at headquarters to elections officers in the field—in the run up to the May elections.

To ensure coordination, the COMELEC Election Handbook and Trainer’s Guide and COMELEC training plan were developed in close consultation with organizations supported by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), namely the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the Asia Foundation, which drafted the handbook for members of the Board of Election Inspectors, also launched Tuesday.

The COMELEC Election Handbook and Trainer’s Guide is part of a $1.8 million, two-year grant to IFES, which has supported several of the COMELEC’s reform efforts since 2005, including the formulation and implementation of a new COMELEC strategic plan and the development of COMELEC’s capacity to train and offer professional development for its staff.

In addition, USAID’s grant to IFES has supported civil society organizations to conduct voter education and monitor the electoral process. This includes support to civil society in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where IFES is assisting the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (C-CARE) to conduct voter education and monitor the polls on May 14. (With a report from Mindanao Examiner)

Gov't Policy Statement To Boost Peace Talks With Mindanao Rebels

ILIGAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – Top Philippine military officials are expected to issue a policy statement that will further strengthen the ongoing peace process in Mindanao.

Major General Mohammad Dolorfino, chairman of the government’s Ad hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), said that the Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff, General Hermogenes Esperon, will himself issue the statement that upholds the primacy of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Dolorfino revealed this during a joint peace advocacy forum here at the weekend with the International Monitoring Team and the Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the Philippine government and MILF. Local government and village officials also attended the forum.

"General Esperon will issue new guidelines on the primacy of the peace process that must be observed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines", Dolorfino said. "Our Chief of Staff has always upheld the supremacy of the peace process," he told the Mindanao Examiner.

The Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade and the Philippine National Police in Northern Mindanao organized the advocacy drive in line with the efforts of the AHJAG, CCCH and IMT to keep abreast the respective armed forces with the developments on the ongoing peace talks with the MILF and observance of the cease-fire agreement.

Dolorfino did not give additional details about the policy statement, saying, the final draft of the new guidelines will be reviewed and discussed with Secy. Jesus Dureza, of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

But he pointed out that it will be a holistic approach framed towards the realization of a comprehensive, just, enduring peace resolution of the conflicts in Southern Philippines.

He said the AFP had been conducting military operations for many years but the problem still remains, adding, that "using security force cannot solve or end the conflict in Mindanao. We cannot allow achievement of tactical objectives at the expense of the demise of the peace process."

”Military action and success must be equated with its coherence to the strategic policy and objective of the national government that is putting a just end to the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)," Dolorfino said.

Appealing to all parties to collaborate efforts in attaining peace in the Bangsamoro region, Dolorfino reiterated the commitment of the government for the successful peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “Instead of cursing the darkness, let us as well light a candle for peace and development," he said.

Dolorfino said it was the first time that the MILF joined the peace advocacy drive.

”We are happy with the result of the peace advocacy drive because it is the first time that the MILF chairman, Murad Ibrahim, allowed our MILF counterpart to join us in this important endeavor. From now on, we will conduct peace advocacy together with the MILF and the IMT, the AHHAG and the CCCH,” he said.

The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for a separate Islamic state. (Hassan Hatab, with reports from Merlyn Manos and Mark Navales)

Aerial Spray: Environment Or Industry?

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) - While saying that the banana industry has the right to question the legality of the approved ordinance that banned aerial spraying in Davao City, an environmental non-government organization has expressed readiness to face the challenge of the possible legal battle—taking confidence on the gravity of the reasons behind the ban being health and environment.

Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of the Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis), said their group has been anticipating for the banana industry to exhaust all avenues they could find available just to stop the full implementation of the ordinance signed into law in February.

The ban, which gave banana plantations three months to make the necessary changes in their operations, will take effect by June 22.

“We have already expected for the banana industry to exploit the available space of being in a democracy. But we are ready for whatever they could come up with as we did before and we are confident that the law will favor the welfare of the people and the protection of the environment,” Esquillo said.

Esquillo said that they believe the law will see uphold the constitutional right of the people to a safe environment and healthy life. These were the same arguments, strongly backed by the precautionary principle, used to dense-up the demand to ban aerial spraying.

Recently, Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association chairman, Stephen Antig, said they will question the legality of the ordinance and expressed their desire for the city government to reconsider their three-month phase-out period.

The three-month period, according to Antig, is too short for the PBGEA-member to shift from aerial spraying to ground spraying procedures. He also said that the Philippines is the only country where aerial spraying in banana plantation is banned.

Esquillo also said that the banana companies were given more than enough time to during the council deliberations to “negotiate for a favorable phase-out period but what did they offer? 25 years? What do they think of the Dabawenyos? Stupid?”

While admitting the fact that it is only in the Philippines that aerial spraying ban is imposed in banana plantations, Esquillo said that the same calls in other banana producing countries are also being strongly pushed.

Esquillo is referring to Costa Rica and Columbia. She stressed that calls to ban aerial spraying is also strong in Alaska, Maine and California in USA, Victoria in Canada, New Zealand, India and some countries in the Europe.

Aerial spraying of pesticides is also banned in Denmark, Estonia, Slovenia and with partial bans in Italy, Australia and Belgium.

In the Philippines, aerial spraying in banana plantations was banned in Bukidnon in 2001. (Jeff Tupaz)

ASSALAM Party List Gains Foothold In Mindanao




ASSALAM party list candidates Bai Sittie Zohora Montañer-Mindalano, Datu Pendatun "Penny" Disimbaa and Jolly Lais during a huge political rally in Davao City at the weekend. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales)

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – Thousands of Muslims and Christian and indigenous people have pledged their support to the ASSALAM party list, which represents marginalized grassroots communities in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

The group, which has membership across the Philippines, on Tuesday said it will continue to advocate peace, unity and development in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

ASSALAM’s Bai Sittie Zohora Montañer-Mindalano said the party list group, founded in 2002, cuts across various tribes and religious affiliation in the southern Philippines.

“This has been our legacy since the ASSALAM Party is founded in 2002 by dynamic and young Mindanao youth leaders. The birth of ASSALAM party list marks a new beginning in Mindanao’s political history,” she said.

“The ASSALAM party list vision is to build bridges of friendship; understanding to espouse on the importance of peace and unity and love and not war. In war there is no victors, but only losers,” Mindalano told the Mindanao Examiner.

Mindalano said more and more people are now supporting ASSALAM party list and that a win for the group is a win of the people.

“Let us, instead, work hard for our basic needs to attain peace and progress; let’s work hard to address problems on education, infrastructures, poverty, land reform, agriculture and many other social problems which probably will include the rights of every woman against violence and discrimination.”

“With this vision, we will surely achieve victory; the victory of the people is the victory of Mindanao and ASSALAM. Let us restore genuine peace in Mindanao because a peace in this promise land means peace for the whole country,” she said.

Mindalano led other ASSALAM party list members Datu Pendatun "Penny" Disimbaa and Jolly Lais in a huge rally recently in southern Mindanao, including Davao City, where supporters welcomed them. More than 500 motorcycle riders from various civic groups also joined ASSALAM’s motorcade and caravan in the region. (Mark Navales)

DBP Offers New Loan Programs

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has announced a P81 billion loan program for local governments and traders in the country.

It said the loan program would help traders expand their business and local government units in various development and infrastructure projects.

"[Our] total liquidity can easily amount to about P81 billion. That'swhat we are putting on the table to help you out. Please help us dispenseit," said Reynaldo David, DBP President and Chief Executive Officer, during a recent road-show in Zamboanga City.

Dubbed as "Accelerating Investments Towards Sustainable Development,"the nation-wide road-show aims to encourage stakeholders, particularly those in the microfinance, small and medium enterprises, andindustries such as agriculture, shipping, housing, health, environment, and structure and logistic to tap DBP's loan programs.

In a presentation report, David said DBP has available funds of P44.2 billionand has the ability to tap another P37 billion from foreign banks.

"If somebody will to ask us: How can you draw from your checkbook? Wecan issue a check for P44.2 billion. And we have the ability to tapanother P37.5 billion from foreign banks such as the Japan Bank forInternational Cooperation, which is willing to give us more than P16 billion, and German Bank Kreditanstalt Für Wiederaufbau about P1.5billion and others. We have that much liquidity," he said.

"We have prepared ourselves in 2006, so that we can go with theeconomy ascend happening in the country today. There's no stoppingit," he said.

He said the DBP has P35 billion in authorized capital stock, and a networth of P31.6 billion as of February 2007, adding that the bank wasable to generate its annual net income of roughly P 3.7 billion in 2006.

"Based on our target market for 2007, we want enhance our development loan for P4 billion and commercial for P1.5 billion and that's an increase of fivefold compared to last year," he said.

He said the DBP's huge loan facility was due to the bank’s sound financial capability. DBP, he said, is able to rid its bad assets and bad loans last year that resulted in huge availability for new loan programs.

For small and medium scale enterprises alone, the DBP has released some P 11.8 billion to fund about 4,600 projects this year and with an outstanding loan portfolio of P14 billion, which is up by 30.07% in December 2006.

In social services, the bank, David said, is also allocating roughly P 9.2 billion to support 14 health projects, mostly in Mindanao. These also include 10 housing projects amounting to P 721 million and housing projects worth about P147 million.

In the environment sector, the DBP said it released P 17 billion to fund 153 various environmental projects, such as solid waste management and forest rehabilitation. It also approved 89 industrial pollution control projects worth about P 9 billion.

David said the bank also released P12 billion to support a total of 212 infrastructure and logistic project under its Sustainable Logistics Development Program.

To assist the fishing industry, the DBP said it is allocating an initial P2 billion loan this year in Zamboanga City to finance acquisition of fishing vessels and other related investments.

David said the financing facility will help modernize the local fishing industry and help the Western Mindanao region to sustain its competitiveness as the sardine capital of the Philippines.

He said the facility has a repayment term of up to 10 years or even more, depending on the cash flow of the company. The 10-years payment is exclusive of two year grace period. Adding that 805 of the total project cost will be financed while collateral is mortgaged on the fishing vessel and other assets.

In addition, David revealed that the DBP is looking to prop support to this region by financing projects amounting to P5.2 billion. In its bank's report, he said that DBP’s three branches in the region have combined to support roughly P802 million in various projects such as water district, mini-hydro power plant, rice milling, food processing, fish mill, poultry, school building, and other developmental projects.

He said the DBP is also eyeing to support logistics development projects in Mindanao amounting to P580 million, which aims to modernize the processing, storage, delivery, and the distribution of grain harvests and perishable goods and framers from Mindanao to Luzon.

"With these projects, we expect that Mindanao processors can experiencean improvement in their logistics and delivery system. These proposed facilities will reduce wastage and spoilage of goods, and enable thefaster delivery of commodities to key areas like Metro Manila," he emphasized.

The DBP also turned-over loan packages for Mega Fishing Corporation and Zamboanga Carrageenan Manufacturing Corporation here. The two companies, however, declined to disclose the amount of the loan.

DBP's officials handed land titles to the local government of Sirawai in Zamboanga del Norte province amounting to P22 million.

Top officials of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and the Zamboanga del Sur Electric Cooperative have also separately inked an agreement with DBP. (Darwin Wee)

Filipino Teachers Finish US-Funded Computer Training In Zambo


Participants in the GEM-sponsored computer training.
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – More than two dozen Filipino public school teachers under the CLIC (Computer Literacy and Internet Connection) program of the Growth Equity in Mindanao (GEM)-United States Agency for International Development (USAID), finished their two day hands-on training on Basic Network Administration and Internet Security at Elearning Centre Inc., (UZ Cisco Networking Academy) in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines.

The participants discussed various topics from learning the hardware requirements on building a simple Local Area Network to preventing viruses and spywares' intrusion in the computer system.

The overall training was initiated by Joseph Jingco and monitored by Chester Christian Abastar. Fhae Biottong took over the administrative tasks for the training with Jacob Mohammad and this writer served as trainers.
GEM is a non-government organization funded by the US government whose objective is to accelerate economic growth in Mindanao.

While the Elearning Centre, Inc. - an extended IT arm of Universidad de Zamboanga has entered into an agreement with CISCO Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, in bringing a comprehensive e-learning system to ensure that today’s students master the necessary skills for success in the Internet Economy.

This e-learning system is known as the Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP) which fosters student development and exposure to information technology through its networking curriculum.

Cisco Networking Academy Program is an e-learning model that includes web-based educational media-rich content, on-line testing, student performance tracking, and instructor training and support, as well as hands-on lab.

With this partnership, Elearning Centre Inc. brings another significant contribution to the advancement of technology in Zamboanga City and in Western Mindanao. (Yolynne Medina)

Metro Troops, Tuloy Pa Rin sa Patrulya

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – Hindi agarang maipatutupad ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang pag-pull out o pag-alis ng mga sundalo nitong naka-deploy sa Metro Manila.

Katwiran ni AFP Public Information Office (PIO) Chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, malabong basta-basta na lamang itigil ang community service at training na isinasakatuparan ng militar sa Kalakhang Maynila.

Mas magmumukhang katawa-tawa aniya ang AFP kung ibibitin ang mga proyekto sa mga barangay gayung hindi naman umano sila nakakaperwisyo sa publiko.

Sinabi naman ni AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. na hindi pa rin nito ipag-uutos ang military pull-out sa harap ng rekomendasyon ng Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

Aniya, nasa proseso pa rin sila ng pag-aaral kung pagbibigyan ang CHR o kung maidadaan sa negosasyon.

Iginiit pa ni Esperon na hindi naman maituturing na militarisasyon ang troop deployment sapagkat purong serbisyong komunidad ang kanilang layunin.

"We are open to anything but we are studying it," ani Esperon.

Samantala, sinabi naman ni Ebdane na wala namang nababanggit sa kanya si CHR Chairperson Purificacion Quisumbing na regular nitong nakakapulong, hinggil sa hirit na military pull-out.

"Soldiers are doing something that the people are accepting. Should we stop it just because some people, who are not even from the areas, are complaining?" dagdag ni Ebdane. (Juley Reyes)

Overstaying Japanese Man Arrested In Southern RP

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – Philippine authorities have arrested a Japanese national allegedly wanted in his own country.

Police on Tuesday said Yoshimi Hori was nabbed at the weekend in Davao City by a joint team of Filipino immigration agents and members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The 58-year old Japanese is facing criminal charges in Japan and has been hiding the past two years in the southern Philippines.

Police did not say what charges the Japanese is facing in Japan.

But the official Philippine News Agency said Hori was implicated in a robbery at the Wakayama Prefecture Restaurant in Japan on Dec. 6, 2004. More than 2.2 million yen or about P800,000 had been taken from the restaurant, it said.

Japanese police sought the help of the International Police after Hori fled the Philippines in January 2005. Police said Hori, who denied the charges against him, has been overstaying in the Philippines.

He stayed the San Antonio Village in Davao City’s Belisario Heights and later moved to Compostela Valley province where he put a small restaurant, but frequented Davao City, where he was arrested, local police said.

Hori has a daughter and is staying with a Filipino woman. Police said the Japanese man would be deported this week. (With a report from Romy Bwaga)

Text Power, Inilunsad Sa Maynila!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Mar) – Inilunsad ng Department of National Defense ang kampanya nito sa pamamagitan ng text messaging service (SMS) upang maipabatid sa ahensya ang mga reklamo at problema ng publiko.

Tulad ng text campaign ng Philippine National Police at iba pang sangay ng pamahalaan, gagamitin ng Defense department ang TXT 2920.

Partikular na tinatarget na makalap ng ahensya sa pagbubukas nito ng komunikasyon sa taumbayan ay ang mga problema sa panloob at panlabas na banta sa seguridad, gayundin ang mga sumbong ng katiwalian sa hanay ng militar.

Naniniwala si Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. na sa pamamagitan ng naturang hakbang ay makakatulong ang mga impormasyon buhat sa mga mamamayan upang mapalakas ang kampanya kontra insureksyon at terorismo.

"It is a direct line for the Human Rights Security Act to be more vibrant and interactive, with an open avenue for reports from all over the country," ani Ebdane.

Gayunman, dadaan pa rin naman aniya sa masusing beripikasyon ang mgamensaheng matatanggap ng kanilang tanggapan. "Yung mga tsismis, we know how to deal with it," wika pa ni Ebdane.

Samantala, sinabi ni Ebdane na hindi na nito kakailangan ang karagdagang pondo para sa operation ng DND text 2920. (Juley Reyes)