Friday, June 29, 2007

Senador Trillanes, Tumira Na!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Jun) – Inakusahan ni Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV ang kandidato ng Team Unity na si Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri na nakinabang sa dayaan nitong nakalipas na halalan.

Pormal nang nakapanumpa kanina bilang senador ang dating opisyal ng Philippine Navy na nanguna sa pag-aaklas ng militar noong Hulyo 2003 laban sa administrasyong Arroyo.
"I wouldn't want a cheat to join me in the Senate," ani Trillanes.

"I believe Congressman Zubiri knows deep in his heart that he benefited from cheating. If he is decent enough, he wouldn't accept victory in the Senate race because that is not something you want your kids to emulate," dagdag na patutsada nito.

Matapos ang pagbibilang ng mga boto buhat sa Maguindanao ay nalamangan na ni Zubiri si Genuine Opposition candidate Atty. Aquilino PImentel III. Ang certificate of canvass sa Maguindanao umano ay sinasabing balot ng pandaraya pabor sa mga pambato ng administrasyon.

Binatikos naman ni Zubiri ang dating opisyal ng militar at libelous umano ang paratang ni Trillanes sa kanya.

Bukod kay Zubiri ay tinirada rin ni Trillanes si Pangulong Gloria Arroyo at ipinangakong hahalungkutin ang "Hello Garci" scandal sa Senado.

Samantala, inaantabayan pa rin ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ang magiging desisyon ng Makati Regional Trial Court hinggil sa hahawak sa kustodiya kay Trillanes.

Nakapiit pa rin ang senador bunsod ng kinakaharap na kasong kudeta sa civilian court at paglabag sa Articles of War ng militar matapos masangkot sa Oakwood mutiny.

Ayon kay Public Information Office Chief Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, ngayong pormal nang matatawag na senador si Trillanes, mahalaga sa AFP na mabigyang-linaw kung sila pa rin ang magdiditine kay Trillanes.

Kahit aniya may legal na implikasyon kung hindi mapunta sa kanila ang kustodiya, sapat na rin na malinawan ito ng korte at hindi na aapela pa ang AFP.

Iginigiit lamang ng AFP na matiyak na mapapalutang sa mga paglilitis ng General Court Martial si Trillanes. (Juley Reyes)

RP Military Holds Info On Kidnapped Italian Priest

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Jun) – The Philippine military on Friday said it has new information about a kidnapped Italian Roman Catholic priest in the troubled South, a spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro would not give details about Giancarlo Bossi, of the Papal Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME), saying it could jeopardize the ongoing operation to free the 57-year old priest.

Bossi was seized June 10 in the coastal village of Bulawan in Zamboanga Sibugay’s Payao town by rogue members of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is fighting for a separate homeland in Mindanao.

"There are positive developments,” he said without elaborating.

The MILF denied any involvement in the kidnapping and is helping in the search for Bossi. Eid Kabalu, a rebel spokesman, said the kidnappers were demanding “tens of millions” of pesos in ransom.

The military previously said that troops have tracked down and surrounded the lair of the kidnappers in Zamboanga Sibugay only to say again that the priest has been taken to Lanao del Norte province in the Muslim autonomous region.

Italian priests in the Philippines have expressed concern about Bossi and asked authorities to locate the priest.

“We were told that both the government forces and the MILF contacts have been monitoring all possible areas, all possible armed groups, and all possible witnesses, even the most secret hideouts, using the latest high-tech devices.”

“We were told that emissaries were sent with cell phones to verify if he is alive, we were told that medicines had been provided for his hypertension, we were told he is well alive riding a horse. We were told that the kidnappers are asking for 15 million pesos. But when we tried to verify all these reports we have come to the conclusion that they are all false reports,” the PIME said in a statement Friday.

PIME said until now the Philippine authorities have provided no proof that Bossi is still alive. And that the kidnappers have not contacted them.

“So far there is no proof of life, no clear identification of the kidnappers, no confirmed sighting, no demand for ransom, no declaration of purpose for this sudden abduction.”

“We know that Giancarlo cannot disappear like a ghost. He is too big and must be difficult to hide him. We are very worried about him,” PIME said. (Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

OPINION



QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jun) – “Wendy Labas…Wendy Labas…” Ito ang mga nakabibinging sigaw ngayong gabi ng mga tao sa muling pagkakasalba – sa ikatlong beses – ng malditang si Wendy.

Napalabas si Bodie sa eviction night sa bahay ni Kuya, ngunit lungkot at galit, inis at pagka-irita ang aura ng maraming mga nagaabang sa paglabas ni Wendy.

Matibay ang maldita at halos mangisay ng marinig kay Tony Gonzaga, ang host ng Pinoy Big Brother show ang kanyang pangalan na mapapasama sa Big 4. Hindi kasi mapaniwala ang bakiltang si Wendy na nasalba na naman ito.

Maging ang mga showbiz reporter ay hindi rin makapaniwala na ligtas na naman si Wendy – mukhang may sa pagka-aswang ang lukaret dahil nasalba na naman.

Bago napalabas si Bodie ay halos hindi makatingin sa one way mirror si Wendy at palaging naka-yuko dahil ang feeling siguro ni “Bella Flores“ ay siya ang masisibak.

Hay naku…malakas talaga ang dasal ni Wendy kaya’t ayun at naligtas na naman si Bella!
Katulad ng sigaw nila kanina...Wendy Labas...Wendy Labas!
(Showbiz Chismis ni Broohang Jokla)

NPA Lang, Kayang-Kayang Umano Ng Armed Forces!

QUEZON CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jun) – Nagmamalaki ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa kakayanan nitong madurog ang rebeldeng New People's Army (NPA) kahit na hindi tulungan ng Estados Unidos sa anti-insurgency campaign nito.

Kumpyansang ipinahayag ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na kung tutuusin ay mas maaga pa sa takdang panahon ang mga istratehiyang isinasakatuparan nito para sa matagumpay na kampanya laban sa mga komunista.

"Strategically, the way we are going right now based on the projections that we have, we are doing well, we are even ahead of the schedule," ani Bacarro.

Target ng militar na unti-unting mapilayan ang mga rebelde hanggang sa maparalisa sa taong 2010.

"We will defeat them by 2010, reducing them to an inconsequential level," ayon sa opisyal.

Nagsimula aniya sa mahigit 7,000 noong nakaraang taon ang bilang ng mga rebelde, gayundin ang pag-arangkada ng Oplan Bantay Laya ng militar, target ng AFP na mabawasan ng 1,000 gerilya kada taon ang puwersa ng NPA.

Sinabi ni Bacarro na sa ganitong paraan ay hindi na makapaglulunsad ng malalaking pagsalakay ng komunistang samahan, bukod pa sa gugutumin rin ang mga ito kapag napilayan ang pinagkukunan ng kanilang resources.

Naniniwala pa ang opisyal na mas kayang makontrol ang NPA kaysa halos 300 hanggang 400 miyembro ng Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

"Ang ASG kasi, it has stake taken international prominence, but the NPA we are determined that we can handle them," hirit pa ni Bacarro.

Ngunit sa kabila ng mga pahayag ng U.S. at AFP ukol sa NPA ay nagbanta naman ang rebeldeng grupo na gaganti ito kung sakaling makikialam ang mga Kano sa labanan.

Tinuligsa rin ng NPA ang ginawang invasion ng U.S. sa Iraq at Afghanistan at ang Pangulong si George Bush.

“Right now the US is sinking deeper in two quagmires, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even Bush is now in boiling water in Washington for launching wars of aggression.”

“However, should the US decide to bring in more troops to the Philippines and engage in further intervention or aggression against the revolutionary forces, the Filipino people and revolutionary forces would gain the golden opportunity to avenge the more than 1.5 million Filipinos who were martyred by US military actions from the start of the US-Filipino war in1899 to the end of the US pacification campaigns in 1914,” ani Fidel Agcaoili, ang chairman ng National Democratic Front Human Rights Committee. (Juley Reyes)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Help Our Children!


RP Military Involve In "Dirty War," Says U.S. Human Rights Group

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jun) – A U.S.-based human rights group accused the Philippine military of engaging in a “dirty war” in a campaign to silent political activists in the country.

In an 84-page report released on Thursday and titled, “Scared Silent: Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,” the Human Rights Watch said Manila should aggressively prosecute members of the security forces responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions in recent years.

Filipino militant groups said more than 800 people had been kidnapped and murdered since President Gloria Arroyo rose to power in 2001. Most of the killings, they said, pointed to the military as the culprit.

The report, based on more than 100 interviews, details the involvement of government security forces in the murder or “disappearance” of members of leftist political parties and nongovernmental organizations, journalists, outspoken clergy, anti-mining activists, and agricultural reform activists.

To date there have been no successful prosecutions of any member of the armed forces implicated in recent extrajudicial killings, the Human Rights Watch in New York said. “There is strong evidence of a ‘dirty war’ by the armed forces against left-leaning activists and journalists,” said Sophie Richardson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The failure to prosecute soldiers or police suspected in these killings shifts the spotlight of responsibility to the highest levels of the government.”

While abuses have been common in the decades-long armed conflict between the government and the communist New People’s Army (NPA), unlawful killings appeared to shift into a higher gear in February 2006, after President Arroyo accused leftist political parties of allying themselves with military coup plotters.

In June 2006, Arroyo declared a new strategy of an “all-out war” to eliminate the NPA, which may have sent a signal to the military that abuses would be tolerated.

The NPA also continues to commit human rights abuses, including kidnapping and unlawful killings, which Human Rights Watch also condemned. But such abuses by insurgents do not justify the military or the government committing further human rights violations through extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of any person, including members of political groups and civil society organizations that are sympathetic to the insurgents’ cause.

Most of the victims of the political killings documented by Human Rights Watch were members of legal political parties or organizations that the military claims are allied with the communist movement.

None of the incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch involved anyone who was participating in an armed encounter with the military or was otherwise involved in NPA military operations. Each victim appears to have been individually targeted for killing.

Three motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and killed Sotero Llamas, the former Bicol region commander of the NPA, while he was riding in his car on the morning of May 29, 2006, through his home town of Tabaco City in Albay province.

Llamas, who had been imprisoned in 1995 for his membership in the NPA, was released in 1996, became a consultant to the peace process, and then became a founding member of the political party Bayan Muna.

The NPA said government soldiers assassinated Llamas.

In February 2006, Llamas was one of the 51 people whom the police accused of rebellion and insurrection and being involved in the conspiracy to overthrow the Arroyo administration.

A judge dismissed the charges, but state prosecutors subsequently re-filed the case, which was still pending at the time of his death.

Three eyewitnesses currently in hiding told Human Rights Watch of the involvement of soldiers in the death of Pastor Andy Pawikan, a member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, on May 21, 2006. Pawikan, his wife, his 7-month-old daughter and three other women were walking home from church when they were stopped by a group of about 20 soldiers.

The women, including Pawikan’s wife, were allowed to proceed but the soldiers detained Pawikan, who was carrying the baby. After about 30 minutes, those who had just been with Pawikan heard “many” shots. They were too afraid to investigate.

After some time a group of soldiers came and returned the child to Pawikan’s mother-in-law.

The baby was covered in blood but otherwise uninjured. The next day soldiers from the locally based 48th Infantry Battalion told the villagers Pawikan had fought the soldiers and they had no choice but to shoot him.

Human Rights Watch also found that the Philippines government is consistently failing in its obligations under international human rights law to hold accountable perpetrators of politically motivated killings, and thus denying victims’ families justice.

One apparent roadblock to prosecutions is the seeming unwillingness of senior military officials to even recognize that superior commanders may be legally responsible for acts of their subordinates as a matter of command responsibility. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told the media, “Criminal acts only involve the individual.”

In response to growing international pressure, in August 2006 President Arroyo created a special police body, Task Force Usig, which she charged with solving 10 cases in 10 weeks. At the end of its mandate the Task Force claimed that 21 cases were “solved” by filing cases in court against identified suspects, all of them members of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines or the NPA.

Only 12 suspects involved in these incidents were actually in police custody. In August 2006, President Arroyo also created the Melo Commission to further probe the killings of media workers and left-wing activists since 2001.

The commission’s report, which was only made public under pressure from United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston, failed to provide any new information or analysis on the cases.

At the commission’s hearings, army and police officials were not challenged when they advanced distorted understandings of command responsibility, and were instead indulged in lengthy digressions on the importance of neutralizing the NPA threat. The Melo Commission’s mandate expires on June 30, 2007. Human Rights Watch said that while the government claims that it is doing all it can to address the abuses, it has taken few concrete steps to end the killings or prosecute perpetrators.

A Philippine military spokesman, Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro, has accused the Human Rights Watch of not getting the side of the Armed Forces so it can answer all allegations against its members.

“We categorically deny allegations that there is a dirty war being waged by the Armed Forces, particularly against the leftist groups. It is an unfair reporting because we have been collaborating with any agency conducting investigation relative to extrajudicial killings. We are transparent as we can be,” Bacarro said.

He said all allegations of extra-judicial killings blamed to the military were old issue.

Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Its researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world and then publishes those findings in dozens of books and reports every year, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. (Juan Magtanggol and Juley Reyes)

President Bush Rededicates Islamic Center Of Washington

US President George W. Bush (Photo contributed by the United States Embassy, Manila)


American appreciation for Islam was the theme of President Bush’s speech at the Islamic Center of Washington on the mosque’s 50th anniversary June 27.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the Center in 1957, and President Bush's message of friendship and respect for the Muslim World echoed the same message that President Eisenhower delivered 50 years ago.

The president also announced he will appoint a U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to “listen and learn” and share U.S. views with delegates from Muslim nations.

The appointment is intended “to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship,” he said. It will be the first time an American president has appointed an envoy to the OIC.
Calling the mosque’s anniversary a “celebration of America’s diversity of faith and our unity as free people,” Bush quoted the poet Rumi: “The lamps are different, but the light is the same.”
Following is the full text of the President's remarks at the ceremony: Imam, thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me. I bring my personal respect to you, sir. And I appreciate your friendship. I do want to thank the governors of the Islamic Center. I welcome the Ambassadors. Thank you all for coming. I appreciate other distinguished guests who are here. It is an honor to join you at this rededication ceremony. As the Imam mentioned, half a century has passed since one of our great leaders welcomed the Islamic Center into our nation's family of faith.
Dedicating this site, President Dwight D. Eisenhower offered America's hand in friendship to Muslims around the world. He asked that together we commit ourselves "to peaceful progress of all men under one God."
Today we gather, with friendship and respect, to reaffirm that pledge -- and to renew our determination to stand together in the pursuit of freedom and peace. We come to express our appreciation for a faith that has enriched civilization for centuries. We come in celebration of America's diversity of faith and our unity as free people. And we hold in our hearts the ancient wisdom of the great Muslim poet, Rumi: "The lamps are different, but the light is the same."
Moments like this dedication help clarify who Americans are as a people, and what we wish for the world. We live in a time when there are questions about America and her intentions. For those who seek a true understanding of our country, they need to look no farther than here.
This Muslim center sits quietly down the road from a synagogue, a Lutheran church, a Catholic parish, a Greek Orthodox chapel, a Buddhist temple -- each with faithful followers who practice their deeply held beliefs and live side by side in peace.
This is what freedom offers: societies where people can live and worship as they choose without intimidation, without suspicion, without a knock on the door from the secret police. The freedom of religion is the very first protection offered in America's Bill of Rights. It is a precious freedom.
It is a basic compact under which people of faith agree not to impose their spiritual vision on others, and in return to practice their own beliefs as they see fit. This is the promise of our Constitution, and the calling of our conscience, and a source of our strength. The freedom to worship is so central to America's character that we tend to take it personally when that freedom is denied to others.
Our country was a leading voice on behalf of the Jewish refusniks in the Soviet Union. Americans joined in common cause with Catholics and Protestants who prayed in secret behind an Iron Curtain. America has stood with Muslims seeking to freely practice their beliefs in places such as Burma and China. To underscore America's respect for the Muslim faith here at home, I came to this Center six days after the 9/11 attacks to denounce incidents of prejudice against Muslim Americans.
Today I am announcing a new initiative that will improve mutual understanding and cooperation between America and people in predominately Muslim countries. I will appoint a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. This is the first time a President has made such an appointment to the OIC. Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states and will share with them America's views and values.
This is an opportunity for Americans to demonstrate to Muslim communities our interest in respectful dialogue and continued friendship. We have seen that friendship reflected in the outpouring of support Americans have extended to Muslim communities across the globe during times of war and natural disaster. Americans came to the aid of the victims of devastating earthquakes in Pakistan and Iran, and responded with urgency and compassion to the wreckage of the tsunami in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Our country defended Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo after the breakup of Yugoslavia. Today we are rallying the world to confront genocide in Sudan. Americans of all beliefs have undertaken these efforts out of compassion, conviction, and conscience. The greatest challenge facing people of conscience is to help the forces of moderation win the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East.
We've seen the expansion of the concept of religious freedom and individual rights in every region of the world -- except one. In the Middle East, we have seen instead the rise of a group of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power and a means of domination. These self-appointed vanguard -- this self-appointed vanguard presumes to speak for Muslims. They do not.
They call all Muslims who do not believe in their harsh and hateful ideology "infidels" and "betrayers" of the true Muslim faith. This enemy falsely claims that America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith, when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam's true enemy.
They have staged spectacular attacks on Muslim holy sites to divide Muslims and make them fight one another. The majority of the victims of their acts of terror are Muslims. In Afghanistan, they have targeted teachers for beatings and murder. In Iraq, they killed a young boy, and then booby-trapped his body so it would explode when his family came to retrieve him. They put children in the backseat of a car so they could pass a security checkpoint, and then blew up the car with the children still inside.
These enemies bombed a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan, a housing complex in Saudi Arabia, a hotel in Jakarta. They claim to undertake these acts of butchery and mayhem in the name of Allah. Yet this enemy is not the true face of Islam, this enemy is the face of hatred. Men and women of conscience have a duty to speak out and condemn this murderous movement before it finds its path to power.
We must help millions of Muslims as they rescue a proud and historic religion from murderers and beheaders who seek to soil the name of Islam. And in this effort, moderate Muslim leaders have the most powerful and influential voice. We admire and thank those Muslims who have denounced what the Secretary General of the OIC called "radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam."
We must encourage more Muslim leaders to add their voices, to speak out against radical extremists who infiltrate mosques, to denounce organizations that use the veneer of Islamic belief to support and fund acts of violence, and to reach out to young Muslims -- even in our country and elsewhere in the free world -- who believe suicide bombing may some day be justified. We need to rally the voices of Muslims who can speak most directly to millions in the Arab world left behind in the global movement toward prosperity and freedom.
For decades the free world abandoned Muslims in the Middle East to tyrants, and terrorists, and hopelessness. This was done in the interests of stability and peace, but instead the approach brought neither. The Middle East became an incubator for terrorism and despair, and the result was an increase in Muslims' hostility to the West.
I have invested the heart of my presidency in helping Muslims fight terrorism, and claim their liberty, and find their own unique paths to prosperity and peace. The efforts underway in Afghanistan and Iraq are central in this struggle, but that struggle is not going to end the threats; it's not going to end there.
We believe the ultimate success of Afghans and Iraqis will inspire others who want to live in freedom, as well. We will work toward a day when a democratic Palestine lives side by side with Israel in peace. We have already seen stirrings of a democratic future in other parts of the Middle East, though it will take time for liberty to flower. A democratic future is not a plan imposed by Western nations, it is a future that the people of the region will seize for themselves.
A future of freedom is the dream and the desire of every loving heart. We know this because of the 8 million people who braved threats and intimidation to vote in Afghanistan. We know this because of the nearly 12 million people who cast ballots in free elections in Iraq.
And we know this because the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution, drove out their Syrian occupiers, and chose new leaders under free elections. Even now the hope for freedom is felt in some dark corners in the Middle East -- whispering in living rooms, and coffee houses, and in classrooms. Millions seek a path to the future where they can say what they think, travel where they wish, and worship as they choose.
They plead in silence for their liberty -- and they hope someone, somewhere will answer. So today, in this place of free worship, in the heart of a free nation, we say to those who yearn for freedom from Damascus to Tehran: You are not bound forever by your misery. You plead in silence no longer.
The free world hears you. You are not alone. America offers you its hand in friendship. We work for the day when we can welcome you into the family of free nations. We pray that you and your children may one day know freedom in all things, including the freedom to love and to worship the Almighty God.
May God bless you.

AFP, Patuloy Na Nagmamatigas Sa "Jonas Burgos" Case!

Mga kaibigan at pamilya ni Jonas Burgos sa isang rally sa Maynila.


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Jun) – Nagmatagis kanina ang Armed Forces of the Philippines na hindi nito ililitaw ang dokumentong nagtataglay ng resulta ng isang imbestigasyon sa mga miyembro ng Army ukol sa pagkawala ng aktibistang si Jonas Burgos.

Nais ng pamilya ni Burgos na makakuha ng kopya ng imbestigasyon na ginawa ng Provost Marshal. Isinabit ng pamilya ni Burgos ang mga sundalo ng 56th Infantry Battalion dahil sa isang plaka ng sasakyan nasa pangangalaga nito ang siyang ginamit ng get-away vehicle sa pagdukot kay Burgos sa Gotesco Mall mahigit dalawang buwan na ang nakaraan.

Sinabi ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro na confidential ang mga dokumento at hindi puwedeng isa-publiko. Gayunman, idinagdag nitong pinag-aaralan ng Judge Advocate General's Office (JAGO) kung papayagan ang pamilya Burgos na makakuha ng kopya ng Provost Marshal report.

Ang AFP Provost Marshal ang nagsagawa ng pagbusisi hinggil sa umano'y kapabayaan ng ilang opisyal at tauhan nito nang manakaw ang plaka ng naka-impound na trak sa kampo ng 56th Infantry Battalion ng Philippine Army sa Norzagaray, Bulacan at nakitang ginamit sa get-away vehicle nang tangayin si Burgos.

Ngunit kung susundin aniya ang normal na regulasyon sa militar, hindi maaaring ilabas ang investigation report dahil isa itong panloob na dokumento ng AFP.

"It is an internal document of the AFP. Normally, it is not for disclosure," ani Bacarro.

Lalo naman nagdiin sa AFP ang pagkakasangkot nito sa pagkawala ni Burgos dagil sa pagtatago ng dokumento, ayon sa mga kaibigan ni Burgos. Baka pa umano magkaroon ng "white wash" sa resulta ng imbestigasyon o kaya ay mabago ang mga nakasaad doon.

Una nang pinaratangan ni Editha Burgos, ang ina ni Jonas, si AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. na nagtatakip sa mga tauhan nitong dawit sa pagdukot umano kay Jonas.

Mariin namang itinatanggi ng AFP ang nasabing akusasyon dahil kung tutuusin ay nagsagawa ng pag-iimbestiga ang organisasyon sa maaaring kinalaman ng kanilang ng mga tauhan sa insidente.

"General Esperon is not covering up anything. As a matter of fact even during the start of this issue, the AFP came out with a statement saying that anybody who will be implicated or who will be, whose names will come out as a result of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine National Police will be made available so we are not covering up anything," dagdag ni Bacarro.

Hindi rin nakatitiyak si Bacarro kung may mapapala ang pamilya Burgos sa Provost Marshal report gayung natutuon lamang sa nawawalang plaka ang pag-uungkat nito. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Photo: Scenes At The Zamboanga International Airport




A Filipino policeman stands guard as two boys look Thursday, June 28, 2007 at photographs of wanted leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Indonesian terror network Jemaah Islamiya and a poster of an IED, wired to a cellular phone to trigger detonation, to inform the public of what a probable homemade bomb looks like outside the Zamboanga International Airport. The Philippine military is to launch fresh offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, now headed by a news chieftain Yasser Igasan, and Jemaah Islamiya in Jolo island, where two Indonesian bombers - Dulmatin and Umar Patek -- are believed to be hiding. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Photo: RP-US Sea Bees Repair Damaged Jolo Island School


Petty Officer 1st Class Randolf B. Castronuevo hammers in a nail on a new pressure-treated fascia board at the Tayungan Elementary School during a recent joint Philippine-US Navy Engineering Civil Action Project on Jolo island in the Sulu Archipelago. The Tayungan Elementary School is severely damaged by weather and termites, and the pressure-treated wood will help resist the same situation again. (Photo contributed by Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines)

No Clues Yet On Kidnapped Italian Catholic Priest In Southern Philippines

An undated PIME photo of kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi in Zamboanga Sibugay province.


ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Jun) – Confusion and misinformation continue to make it more difficult for Philippine authorities to track down a kidnapped Italian Catholic priest in the restive and poverty-stricken region of Mindanao.

Fr Giancarlo Bossi, of the Pontificio Instituto Missioni Estere (PIME), remains in captivity since June 10 after rebels seized the 57-year old missioner from Milan in the coastal town of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Eid Kabalu, a spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is helping Filipino authorities in the search for Bossi, said kidnappers demanded “tens of millions” of pesos in ransom.

Another rebel leader Mohagher Iqbal said Bossi’s captors were asking only P15 million.

The MILF is negotiating peace with the Philippine government, but police and military tagged one of its commanders, Akiddin Abdusallam, as the leader of the gang which is holding Bossi.

And Marine Maj. Gen. Mohammad Dolorfino, head of the government ad hoc joint action group, which is in-charge of the negotiation for Bossi’s freedom, said the kidnappers have not until now demanded any ransom.

And PIME priests in the Philippines are longing for information about whether Bossi is still alive or not. And with no fresh news about an early release, the agony continues for Bossi’s family and relatives in Italy.

Unconfirmed news reports aired by radio stations and televisions added to the confusion over Bossi's whereabouts.

Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, a regional army commander, said Bossi could still be in Zamboanga Sibugay contrary to reports that kidnappers have sneaked the priest in the province of Lanao del Norte in the Muslim autonomous region.

“We believed Father Bossi is still in Zamboanga,” Cedo said without further elaborating.

But Dolorfino, who is working closely with MILF forces, said fresh reports suggested that Bossi is being held captive in Lanao del Norte.

“Until now we have no reports about Bossi’s fate and we are waiting for our emissaries to give us something about the priest,” he told the independent newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner, late on Wednesday.

Dolorfino said they have sent three emissaries Tuesday to Lanao del Norte province to get proof that Bossi is alive.

One of the three emissaries, who uses the codename “Sultan”, was a key negotiator in the release of a kidnapped Italian priest Luciano Benedetti in Zamboanga del Norte province in 1998. Benedetti, 52, was held for nearly 10 weeks until he was freed in exchange for a huge government ransom.

PIME’s Philippines superior, Rev. Gianni Sandalo previously said they have no reports about Bossi. Although a photograph of a man in the middle of a mangrove – whose legs – were only shown on a blog dedicated to Bossi had an M16 rifle pointed to him.

The photo raised suspicions that there is a secret negotiation going on for the safe release of Bossi in exchange for money. But the picture was taken out Wednesday after Philippine media reported about the mysterious photograph believed that of Bossi in the marshland of Zamboanga Sibugay.

The blog now shows two undated close-up photos of Bossi, the third Italian missionary kidnapped in Zamboanga Peninsula the past ten years. It said Bossi’s kidnappers were heading to Lanao del Sur province.

Kidnappings-for-ransom has become a lucrative business for rebels and criminal syndicates in Mindanao, where many areas are underdeveloped and job opportunities are scarce. Sometimes gangs kidnapped civilians and hand them over to rebels in exchange for a cut in the ransom. Poverty has been blamed for many kidnappings in the South.

In 2001, renegade MILF rebels also snatched Fr Giuseppe Pierantoni as the 44-year-old from Bologna said mass in the parish church of Dimataling town in Zamboanga del Sur.

The priest was freed after six months in captivity in exchange for an unspecified ransom, but he claimed to have escaped from his kidnappers. His companions claimed he suffered from Stockholm syndrome, a phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor. (Mindanao Examiner)

Private Security Man Killed In Attack In South RP

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Jun) – Two motorcycle gunmen fatally shot a private security guard in a daring broad daylight attack Wednesday in the southern Philippines city of Digos, police said.

Police said Loiue Kakasangka, 45, was killed instantly from a shot in the head. The gunmen escaped after the kill, it said.

Investigators said Kakasangaka, who worked for the Nakayama Group of Companies, was motoring when gunmen attacked him at around 10.30 a.m. along the busy Samba Street near downtown area.

Police said it is still investigating the motive of the attack. Company officials did not give any statement about the murder of its security personnel. (Romy Bwaga)

RP To Launch New Anti-Terror Ops In Troubled South

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 27 Jun) – The Philippines is preparing to launch a major offensive against the local al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Indonesian terror network, Jemaah Islamiya, in the southern island of Jolo.

Codenamed Oplan: Ultimatum II, the anti-terror operation will begin July 1, said Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.

“This operation will be in close coordination with local government officials headed by the new governor,” he told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Cedo was referring to the new governor of Jolo island, Sakur Tan, who has publicly condemned the atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf.

He said the targets of the new offensive are leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya that included local militant chieftain Radulan Sahiron and Dulmatin and Umar Patek, both tagged by Jakarta in the deadly 2002 Bali bombings.

Hundreds of U.S. troops are also deployed in Jolo island, on the request of the Philippine government, to help the local military defeat terrorism.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Pacific commander, Adm. Timothy Keating, in a surprised visit in Jolo island, inspected a captured Abu Sayyaf mountain base in Tugas village in Patikul town.

The base was previously used by Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani. The terrorist leader was mortally wounded at Tugas Hill in a battle with U.S.-backed Filipino soldiers in September 2006.

Janjalani was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Americans in the Philippines.
“Until last year, Tugas Hill was the traditional lair for the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group,” said Maj. General Ruben Raphael, the island’s army commander.

“For years, our soldiers have had encounters with Abu Sayyaf until we gained control of their camp and made it our own.”

Now Tugas Hill is home to the 5th Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 5. It is used as a jungle training camp and as a base to launch combat patrols against remaining remnants of terrorist organizations still operating on Jolo.

“The death of Janjalani neutralized the gravity of terrorism in the Philippines,” said the Philippine military chief, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

Keating and Kenney spent an hour walking through dense jungle terrain inspecting crude fighting positions that Abu Sayyaf dug into the ground.

“This has been a spectacular visit,” said Keating. He went on to emphasize that the U.S. and AFP need to continue their efforts in denying safe haven to terrorists.

Cedo said troops will also mount a massive humanitarian mission on Jolo island in an effort to win the hearts and minds of the locals.

“The operation is not only about fighting the terrorists. This is also a fight to win the hearts and minds of the civilians,” he said. “We want to transform Sulu into a place where everybody can live peacefully and with out fear.”

In the Ultimatum I, the Philippine military offensive killed Janjalani and his deputy Jainal Antel Sali, alias Abu Soliman.

Esperon and Keating also signed Wednesday a new security accord that paves the way for new joint anti-terror training in the next five years. But Keating said the U.S. goal is to help Manila defeat terrorism, particularly Jemaah Islamiya.

Esperon said the Philippines and Australia will also hold a joint military training.

“We expect that there will be an expansion from bilateral activities to multilateral. Where it is legally permissible, we will do it as addressing security threats could not be limited to arrangements,” he said.

”We see a lot of multilateral activities, trainings, exchange of information and we don't see any reason why we could not go to that direction.”

Both the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya are included in the U.S. terror list and Washington offered as much as ten million dollars for the capture of Dulmatin and five million dollars bounty for Sahiron and other known local terror leaders.

Manila also set side one hundred million pesos rewards for the capture of known Abu Sayyaf leaders dead or alive. (Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

OPINION

WENDY NG PINOY BIG BROTHER, NASALBA NA NAMAN! Ni Broohang Jokla

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) – Lalong nadismaya ang mga nag-abang ngayon sa eviction night sa loob ng Pinoy Big Brother house matapos na, sa panagalawang pagkakataon, ay nasalbang muli si Wendy.

Halos gigil na gigil ang mga tao sa galit ng bangitin ni Tony Gonzaga, ang host ng PBB show, ang pangalan ni Wendy. Maririnig ang mga sigawan at boo at ang mga iba naman ay may mga dalang kamatis na ibabato sana kay Wendy sa kanyang paglabas, ayon pa sa isang fan naman ni Gee-Ann.

“Maldita at sakim” naman ang bansag ng mga galit kay Wendy dahil sa masamang ugali nito sa loob ng bahay ni Kuya.

Inaway kasi ni Wendy sina Gee-Ann at Beatriz dahil sa gahamang hangarin na manalo sa PBB at makuha ang malaking premyo, kabilang na ang isang bagong bahay.

Humagulgul naman sa iyak ng husto si Wendy ng marinig kay Tony Gonzaga na ang nobyong si Bruce ang siyang napalabas ng bahay. At feeling naman ni Bruce na siya ang iniitakan ni Wendy, ngunit sa maraming nakapanoob ng PBB ay iisa ang nasa isipan – ang pagiyak ni Wendy ay sa kadahilanang hindi nito akalain na masasalba pa sa pangalawang pagkakataon.

Sumobra naman ang pagka-over acting ni Bruce dahil hindi pa man nababangit ni Tony Gonzaga kugn sino ang lalalabas ay nauna na itong umiyak kay Wendy.

Maging ang talent manager na si Alfie Lorenzo, sa kanyang naunang kolum sa Abante, ay pulos negatibo ang isinulat ukol kay Wendy at patunay lamang ito na maraming galit sa patpatin.


Ang forecast ng marami ay posibleng sina Mickey at Beatriz ang isa sa mananalo sa big night. (Showbiz Chizmis ng Broohang Jokla)

Manila Sends 3 Emmisaries To Find Bossi Kidnappers

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) – The Philippine military on Tuesday said three government emissaries were sent to negotiate with gunmen holding an Italian missionary Giancarlo Bossi in the troubled southern region of Mindanao.

Marine Major General Ben Dolorfino, chairman of the government’s ad hoc joint action group, said the government wants a proof of life before it could start negotiating with the kidnappers. "They were sent to there to produce proof of life," he said.

Bossi was kidnapped on June 10 after celebrating mass in the village of Bulawan in Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Police tagged rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) headed by Akiddin Abdusallam as behind the kidnapping of the 57-year old priest from Milan.

The MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with Manila, is also helping authorities track down the kidnappers. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said the gunmen allegedly demanded “tens of millions of pesos” in exchange for Bossi’s freedom. (With a report from Juley Reyes)

Mindanao Council Holds Peace Forum In South RP's Jolo Island

JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) - A peace advocacy forum sponsored by Mindanao Peace and Development Council (MPDC) was recently held at the Sulu State College.

The forum with a theme "Updates on GRP-MILF peace process" was spearheaded by the MILF provincial committee under the chairmanship of Hj. Mahmur Estino, of Northern Sulu and Ahiri Ajiji, of Southern Sulu.

The weekend affair started at with motorcade of some 250 vehicles around the town of Jolo and participated by hundreds of people from the different municipalities in the province of Sulu.

Different speakers rendered their respective topics during forum. Jun Mantawil, head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel secretariat, spoke on the updates of the GRP-MILF peace process, while Bobby Maulana Alonto discussed the role of the professionals in nation building.

It was followed by speaker Abdullah Camlian who explained the MILF-Moro National Liberation Front unification process.

Mantawil later met with provincial committee members of the MILF in Sulu and discussed about the issues and concerns regarding the MILF struggle for self determination. (Contributed by Hassan Hatab)

Reporters Without Borders Urges Filipino Police To Arrest Murderer Of Journalist


MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) - The international media watch group, Reporters Without Borders, on Tuesday voiced alarm about the plight of the local media after Vincent Sumalpong, a presenter on state-owned Radyo ng Bayan, was gunned down in Bongao, the capital of the southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi.

A colleague Vema Andam and companion Ruelan Hope Borja were also wounded by the hail of bullets. Sumalpong was the fourth journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines.
The police said witnesses identified a suspect, Nur Suang, from photos.

Suang, who has not yet been arrested, is also a suspect in the murder of a guest relations officer of a bar in Tawi-Tawi that Sumalpong had investigated. The identity of the possible mastermind is still unknown.

"The identification of a suspect should encourage the police and judicial authorities to cooperate closely to ensure that this is an exemplary investigation," Reporters Without Borders said. "The murderer and any instigators must without fail be arrested and brought to trial."

Reporters Without Borders regards the Philippines as one of the world's most dangerous countries for the press after Iraq. At least 53 journalists have been killed there since Gloria Arroyo took over as president in 2001.

U.S. Pacom Chief Keating Braves Abu Sayyaf Heartland In Southern Philippines





U.S. Pacific Command Chief Admiral Timothy Keating and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney in the former mountain hideout of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group during a surprised visit to the extremists' hotbed of Patikul, on the island province of Jolo in southern Philippines Tuesday June 26, 2007. Admiral Keating visited the island where U.S. troops are helping the Philippine military fight the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah terror groups. Accompanying them are Armed Forces Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)


JOLO ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 26 Jun) – The U.S. Pacific commander, Adm. Timothy Keating made a surprised visit Tuesday on the southern Filipino island of Jolo, where American troops are helping the Philippine military defeat terrorism.

Keating was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, who were briefed by local commanders on the progress of an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya on the island, about 950 km south of Manila.

Clad in a green camouflage uniform, Keating met with U.S. troops stationed inside a Philippine Army base near Patikul town and then hiked Mount Tugas where Filipino commanders showed him a captured Abu Sayyaf base.

Keating used a broken tree branch as a cane to help him climb Mount Tugas, where he inspected bunkers and trenches and secret tunnels previously used by the Abu Sayyaf.

Local commanders also briefed Keating on the progress of the hunt on Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

“We welcome the visit of Adm. Keating in our area, particularly in Jolo. It also gives a moral booster to the U.S. and Filipino troops. The visit gives us a higher spirit because it recognizes the efforts of the Filipino soldiers and our country in the fight against terrorism.”

“His visit is a manifestation of a strong U.S. support in our fight against international terrorism,” a regional army commander, Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, told the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Keating visit coincided with the killing of local policeman who was ambushed by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in Calingalan Kaluang town.

U.S. and Filipino troops guarded Keating while in Jolo. Philippine Air Force MG-520 attack choppers and a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance plane flew overhead during the jungle trip.

The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is a unified command – based in Hawaii - which includes about 300,000 military personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps (about 20 percent of all active duty U.S. military forces).

In April, Keating told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that: "We intend to concentrate on winning the war on terror, advancing security cooperation and engagement in the theater, making sure that our forces are properly postured and equipped to respond to crises should they develop."

Hundreds of U.S. troops are deployed in the southern Philippines and training local soldiers on the request of the Filipino government. (Mindanao Examiner)

Monday, June 25, 2007

RP Police Detains Malaysian Man Over Hot Stuff

Fresh Cannabis plants


ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) - Philippine police detained Monday a Malaysian national after he was caught carrying dried cannabis inside his brief case at the Zamboanga International Airport.

Police said airport security arrested Kosalai Poomavelu after he yielded three packs of cannabis. The foreigner denied he owns the cannabis and said he is a doctor and traveling in the Philippines.

Poomavelu came from Davao City by plane and was arrested before he could take his flight back to Malaysia in Zamboanga City. "At first he refused to let airport security inspect his baggage and then tried to hide the marijuana in his pockets," the head of the airport police, Ybar Padao, said.

The cultivation or possession of Cannabis is outlawed in the Philippines.

Authorities were also investigating whether the Malaysian had links with international terrorists or criminal syndicates. (Mindanao Examiner)

Boat Used In Transporting Kidnapped Italian Missioner Recovered In Lanao del Norte

Philippine locator by Answers.Com


LANAO DEL NORTE (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – Police forces have stepped up its search for a kidnapped Italian Catholic priest in the southern Philippines after security forces recovered a destroyed speedboat used by gunmen in spiriting out the foreigner to Lanao del Norte province.

Police said it recovered the parts of the boat believed used in transporting the prelate, Giancarlo Bossi, of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions, from Zamboanga Sibugay province where he was kidnapped June 10 by rebels.

The boat, originally painted blue, was covered in white paint to conceal its true color, police said, adding, parts of the wooden craft had been found on a coastal village near Sultan Naga Dimaporo town.

Philippine Army commanders earlier said the priest is still being held in Zamboanga Sibugay and that soldiers have surrounded the lairs of the kidnappers, headed by Akiddin Abdusallam, a rogue commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is currently negotiating peace with Manila.

The MILF denied involvement in the kidnapping and is helping authorities recover the priest. Rebel forces last week also said it destroyed a boat used in the kidnapping of the priest.

Bossi, 57, is said to be suffering from hypertension and needs his medication, his fellow Italian priests said.

The kidnappers were demanding one million dollars for Bossi’s release. And independent sources said politicians in Lanao del Norte were trying to negotiate for Bossi’s freedom.

But aside from politicians, private negotiators were also trying to seek the release of the prelate.

The Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions has recently put up an Internet diary to keep Italians updated on news about the kidnapped priest from Milan. The diary dedicated to Bossi showed a photo believed that of the kidnapped missioner standing guarded in the middle of a marshland.

The photo raised speculations that there is a secret negotiation going on between the kidnappers, the MILF and the Italian government.

Filipino authorities have provided no information about the priest. Bossi’s superior, Rev. Gianni Sandalo, previously said they will not pay ransom.

Sandalo, who is based in Zamboanga City, has traveled to Zamboanga Sibugay a day after Bossi’s kidnapping to monitor the progress of the search.

The Italian Ambassador Rubens Fedele has flown to Zamboanga City and also traveled back and forth to Zamboanga Sibugay trying to get more information about Bossi.

Both Sandalo and Fedele said they have no reports on the whereabouts of the kidnapped priest or anything that will prove Bossi is still alive.

Marine Maj. Gen. Mohammad Dolorfino, head of the ad hoc joint action group, said the kidnappers wanted to negotiate for the release of the priest, but provided no proof that Bossi is still alive.

"An intermediary has contacted me and said the kidnappers want to negotiate with us for the safe release of the priest, but we need a proof here that Bossi is alive and well," he told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner. (With a report from Juley Reyes and Juan Magtanggol)

AFP, Bulag Pa Rin Sa 3 Heneral Na Whistle-Blower!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – Bulag pa rin ang liderato ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa mga sinasabing heneral na handang tumulong at magbigay ng mga ebidensya kay Senator-elect Antonio Trillanes IV upang idiin ang militar sa umano’y pagkakasangkot ng kapwa heneral sa extrajudicial killings ng mga militante at aktibista sa bansa.

Pilit naman pinalulutang ni AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro ang tatlong heneral na handing lumabas at tumestigo upang mabigyan umano ng kredibilidad ang kanilang mga alegasyon.

Ngunit malaki ang hinalang oras na lumutang ang tatlong heneral ay siguradong babalikan sila ng AFP at posibleng masibak pa sa puwesto upang pagtakpan ang pagkakasanggkot ng ibang heneral sa extra-judicial killings.

Sinabi ni Bacarro na patuloy ang kanilang pagbeberipika kung sinu-sino ang mga nasabing heneral at seryosong inuungkat ang mga akusasyon bagamat pinaninindigang hindi polisiya ng AFP ang makisangkot sa political killings.

Aminado si Bacarro na nahihirapan ang AFP na paghahanap sa mga naturang heneral na posibleng pinalulutang lamang din ng nais manira sa organisasyon.

"It can be rumors that could have been manufactured by some interest groups with the intent of destroying the Armed Forces. Though, we are not ignoring it, it is also a concern of the AFP, that's why we are conducting the verification," ani Bacarro.

Hindi aniya madali ang beripikasyon dahil posibleng magkamali sa kanilang konklusyon kung kayat kailangan ring maging maingat.

Gayunman, may babala si Bacarro na mahaharap sa paglilitis ng military court ang mga naturang heneral kung hindi ito tatalima sa chain of command.

Unang kumanta sa media ang dalawang heneral na nagsabing naroon sila sa isang pulong ng pagusapan ang umano’y planong paglikida sa mga militante at aktibista. Mula ng umupo si Pangulong Gloria Arroyo nuong 2001 ay umabot na sa halos 900 ang bilang ng mga aktibistang napapatay. Marami sa kanila ay dinukot at hindi na matagpuan. (Juley Reyes at Juan Magtanggol)

Killer Of Journalist Is Identified

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – Philippine police have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting Monday of a broadcaster of the state-owned Radyo ng Bayan in the southern Philippines.

Gunmen killed Vicente Sumalpong and wounded another journalist Vema Andam and their driver in the town of Bonggao in Tawi-Tawi island.

The three were on a motorcycle when gunmen ambushed them near the Sea Orchid Subdivision at around 5.25 a.m.

“We have identified the suspect in the killing of the journalist as Nur Suang, who was also involved in the June 20 murder of a female guest relation officer of a bar in Sanga-Sanga (town also in Tawi-Tawi),” Goltiao told reporters.Suang is still at-large, he said.

Goltiao said the survivors in the attack positively identified Suang from a photograph show them by police investigators. He said Sumalpong was helping the family of the slain woman file a case against Suang. (With a report from Juley Reyes)

Mindanao Women Writers To Hold Journalism Training In Southern RP

COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – The Mindanao Women Writer's Association of the Philippines (Min-Wow, Phil.) and IsIs International will conduct a four-day training and seminar to female writers and journalists based in Mindanao.

The training, organizers said, will start on July 4 at Notre Dame Foundation Center in Cotabato City. Lina Reyes, Min-Wow local coordinator, said the training will be mostly on radio broadcasting and news writing in order to enhance skills of the participants.

She said Bianca Miglloritto, IsIs- international coordinator, will be the training’s focal person. The said training will also discuss special documentary lessons. The BBC-News reporters from Germany, who are invited to the training, are expected to discuss television documentary.

Last week, German video-journalist Antonia Koop, of the Peace and Conflict Journalism Network (PECOJON), also held a free training and seminar for Filipino reporters in the central Philippine region of Visayas. (Becky de Asis)

Journalist Killed In Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 25 Jun) – A Filipino broadcaster was killed and his companions wounded in an attack early Monday in the southern Philippine island of Tawi-Tawi, officials said.

Officials said gunmen killed Vicente Sumalpong, of the state-owned Radyo Ng Bayan, and wounded another journalist Vema Andam. Their unidentified driver was also injured.

The trio was on a motorcycle when gunmen fired on them near the Sea Orchid Subdivision at around 5.25 a.m.

“We still do not know the motive of the attack, but authorities are investigating this case,” a regional military spokesman, Major Eugene Batara, told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Batara said the gunmen fled after the attack. Crime investigators have recovered empty bullet shells of Uzi sub-machine gun and .45-caliber pistol. He said troops were helping the local police force hunt down the assailants.

Police were also investigating reports that Sumalpong had filed charges against several people in connection with his work and that a court in Bonggao is to decide on the case this week.

It was unknown if the case had anything to do with his murder. Andam is being guarded by policemen in hospital in Bonggao.

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines condemned the attack. It said 52 journalists have been killed in the country since President Gloria Arroyo rose to power in 2001. The Philippines is second only to Iraq as the most dangerous place for journalists. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rebels Storm Police Base In Southern RP

BUKIDNON (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun)- The Philippines' New People's Army rebels attacked a police headquarters in the town of Dangcagan in the southern province of Bukidnon on Sunday and carting a still undetermined number of weapons, the military said.

The military said the raid left one police officer dead. Troops were sent to pursue the attackers, numbering about two dozens.

The rebels were clad in military uniform when they raided the police base early in the afternoon. Policemen put up a firefight, but had been overpowered by the rebels.

The NPA is the armed wing of the underground Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been fighting for a separate Maoist state in the largely Catholic country.

Peace talks between the government and rebels failed after the United States listed the NPA and the CPP, including its political arm, the National Democratic Front as foreign terrorist organizations on Manila's prodding.

The rebels accused Manila of pressuring them into signing a peace deal that will eventually led into disarming more than 7,500 fighters across the country without a clear understanding whether they would be allowed to rule separately. (Mindanao Examiner)

After Blaming Juvenile Law On Rising Davao Crimes, Mayor Now Calls Lawmakers Behind It As Stupid!

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun) – After blaming the Philippines’ Juvenile Justice Law for the rising crimes involving children in Davao City, its controversial Mayor Rodrigo Duterte now called stupid the lawmakers behind the passage of that law that protects minors from imprisonment.

"Congressmen are really stupid for passing this law, I cannot understand why they allow the passage of this law when some of them are former mayors and governors who understand very well the problems it will cause to the public," Duterte said.

The law, authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, prohibits children, ages 15 years old and below, who committed crimes, to be incarcerated until they reach 18.

Instead the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) takes custody of the young offenders, but the government has no enough facilities to keep the children out of the street.

Duterte, a lawyer, said due to the passage of the Juvenile Justice Law, a number of teenagers in Davao City continue to commit crimes because they cannot be imprisoned.

”The police have no choice but to release these teenagers who commit crimes since they can be sued if they continue to imprison these people,” he said.

Duterte called on the parents to discipline their children before he imposes his own “brand of solution” to the problem.

”I tell you disciple your children or I will impose my own solution to the problem which I think will be very hurting on your part,” he warned.

Duterte previously said the law caused “headaches and problems” because offenders freely roam despite their criminal cases or charges against them.

“Some members of the judiciary and local government units in the country had observed the rise of street crimes after the passage of the law, he said.

Duterte urged lawmakers to amend the law, saying, it has many flaws. "Because of this law, teenagers who commit crimes are immediately released by the police,” he said.

Duterte’s stand on the Juvenile Justice Law has been largely criticized in Davao City by groups advocating children’s rights.

Critics told Duterte to implement a program that will help juvenile delinquents and put up more social centers that will address the problems pose by street children and criminalities involving minors.

Duterte has won a reelection in the May 14 national and local polls with her daughter Sarah, also a lawyer, as his vice mayor.

The party list group, Kabataan, said many minors who committed crimes had been executed in Davao City and urged the DSWD to do something about the safety of street children.

Karla Apat, the group’s vice president for Mindanao, said it is DSWD’s responsibility to ensure an efficient program in keeping the minors out of the streets.

”The DSWD has remained silent on the issue of minors being executed in the city. This is a systemic problem. If the government fails to address the basic social services needs of the people, more and more children will be pushed out of school and be involved in anti-social activities," Apat told the Mindanao Examiner.

Apat said blamed the government for failing to address juvenile delinquency in the country.

"Before criminalizing the youth offenders, the government must get to the bottom of delinquency which is the crisis on education and poverty," she said.

Apat did not say who were behind the killing of the children or whether it was connected to gang war or summary executions, which Davao City is notoriously known for.

Hundreds of criminals and people with police records had been executed the past years in Davao City. Families and relatives of those killed have implicated the authorities. (Romy Bwaga and Juan Magtanggol)

Gobernador Ng Sulu, Naglatag Ng Agenda!

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)



SULU (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun) Inilatag kahapon ni Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan ang mga priority projects nito sa lalawigan bilang paghahanda sa kanyang panunungkulan bilang bagong halal na opisyal.

Nais umanong palakasin ni Tan ang ekonomiya at ang peace and order ng Sulu at pupulungin umano nito ang mga lider ng ibat-ibangbayan, religious and business sectors, gayun rin ang militar at pulisya.

Nangunguna sa agenda nito ang kahirapan sa Sulu na sinabi ni Tan na siyang ugat sa lahat ng karahasan sa lalawigan.

“Maraming gagawin ngayon dahil talagang napabayaan itong Sulu ng mga naunang mga opisyal. Kahirapan, ekonomiya at peace and order an gating pangunhin dapat ay pagtuunan ng kaukulang pansin,” ani Tan sa panayam ng pahayagang Midnanao Examiner.

Nagpasalamat rin agad si Tan sa mga Kano dahil sa kanilang pagtulong sa mga Muslim dito at paglalaan ng mga development at humanitarian projects.

“Welcome itong ganito ginagawang tulong ng US government sa Sulu at sana ay madagdagan pa ang kanilang mga proyekto para sa ating mga mahihirap. Hindi lamang ang US, pati na rin ang Japan at ibang mga bansa na tumutulong sa Sulu at ang pamunuan ng Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),” wika pa ni Tan.

Nagbanta rin si Tan kahapon na kakasuhan at ipakukulong ang lahat ng mga opisyal na sabit sa anomalya sa Sulu.
“Magpapa-audit ako sa Sulu upang malaman natin kung mga katiwaliaang naganap at pangako ko ito na talagang ipakukulong ko sinuman mapatunayang nagkasala ng pagnanakaw,” dagdag nito. (Mindanao Examiner)

Seach For Kidnapped Italian Prelate Continues In Philippines

Western Mindanao military Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo appeals to citizens for any information about an Italian missioner Giancarlo Bossi, who is being held by rebels in Zamboanga Sibugay province. The kidnappers are demanding one million dollars for the prelate's freedom. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)




ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun) – Philippine troops on Sunday continued searching for an Italian Catholic priest, two weeks after rebels seized him in the southern region of Mindanao.

Rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels kidnapped Fr Giancarlo Bossi, of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME), on June 10 after celebrating mass in the coastal village of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The MILF is also helping in the search for Bossi who was reported to have been brought to Lanao del Norte province in the Muslim autonomous region, some 300 km east of Zamboanga.

But Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said latest military reports suggest that the 57-year old missioner from Milan could still be in the jungle of Zamboanga Sibugay.

“We believed the kidnapped priest, Father Bossi, is still in Zamboanga area,” Cedo told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

Cedo said the safe release of Bossi is more important and he appealed to citizens to help in the government search by providing authorities information about the priest and the kidnappers.

“The rescue and recovery of Reverend Giancarlo Bossi has been the priority of the Western Mindanao Command ever since the kidnapping,” Cedo said. “I appeal to those who have any information to help us in locating Father Bossi.”

Marine Maj. Gen. Mohammad Dolorfino, head of the government’s ad hoc joint action group, said they continue to receive information from civilians about Bossi and all these are being validated.

“There are reports that they are there (in Zamboanga Sibugay) ever since and this is being checked. There is information coming in. The reports are coming from civilian informants,” he said in a separate interview.

PIME put up an Internet diary dedicated to Bossi and there a photo believed that of the prelate in the middle of a marshland is shown and an M16 automatic rifle is visible on the foreground.

The photo raised suspicions that there is a secret negotiation going on for the safe release of Bossi, who is being held by Akiddin Abdusallam. (Juley Reyes, Joseph Danda and Juan Magtanggol)

Fr Bossi, Wala Pa Rin Balita!

Ang larawan ito ay mula sa blog site ng Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission sa Pilipinas at sa orihinal na litrato ay nakasaad ang panagalan: Father Giancarlo Bossi. Ito kaya ay si Fr Bossi? Nakalubog pa sa putikan ang kanyang mga paa at isang M16 ang nakatutok sa kaawa-awang lalaking ito na mukhang dayuhan dahil sa maputi at mabalahibong mga binti. Hindi nagsabi ang PIME kung ang litrato ay ipinadala ng mga kidnappers bilang pruweba na buhay pa ang Italyanong pari. (Mindanao Examiner)



ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 24 Jun) – Wala pa rin balita ang mga awtoridad sa kinaroroonan ng Italian priest na si Giancarlo Bossi – dalawang linggo matapos itong dukutin ng mga rebeldeng Muslim sa lalawigan ng Zamboanga Sibugay.

Maging ang Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME) na kinabibilangan ni Bossi ay abala sa paghahanap sa pari na umano’y nasa grupo ni Akiddin Abdusallla, isang rogue commander ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Itinanggi ng MILF na may kinalaman ito pagdukot kay Bossi at nasa Abu Sayyaf na umano si Abdusallam. Ngunit tumutulong umano ang MILF na mabawi si Bossi.

Ngunit posibleng may sikretong negosasyon ang PIME o kaya ang Italian Embassy sa mga kidnappers at gamit ang MILF upang mapalaya si Bossi.

Ito ay dahil inilagay ng PIME sa isang blog ang litrato ng mga mabalahibong binti ng isang Caucasian na lalaki na nakalubog ang mga paa sa putikan sa gitna ng mangrove marshland at doon nakalagay ito: Father Giancarlo Bossi. Isang M16 automatic rifle rin ang nakatutok sa lalaki.

Hindi ipinakita sa larawan ang mga mukha ng naroon sa hindi malamang dahil.

Naunang sinabi ng Italian Embassy na handa itong makipag-negosasyon sa mga kidnappers na umano’y humiling ng isang milyong dolyar kapalit ni Bossi.

Karamihan sa mga dinukot na dayuhan sa Mindanao ay napapalaya lamang kapalit ang ransom. Bukod kay Bossi ay dinukot na rin noon sina Italian priests Luciano Benedette at Giuseppe Pierantoni na parehong napalaya matapos na iuamno’y magbayad ng malaking ransom ang pamahalaan ng Pilipinas at kanilang embahada.(Mindanao Examiner)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Civilian Informers Get Sayyaf Bounties In Philippines



Philippine Army commander Major General Eugenio Cedo and deputy Marine Brigadier General Juancho Sabban reward Friday, June 22, 2007 P6.6 million to four civilian informers who help troops tracked down six Abu Sayyaf militants. And Major Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesmam, also shows posters of slain Abu Sayyaf hitmen Anni Sailani alias Omar and his brother iting, who are killed in clash in Basilan island. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)



ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 Jun) – The Philippine military on Friday rewarded four civilian informers who helped troops tracked down six Abu Sayyaf militants and eventually killed all of them in separate clashes in the troubled South.

Army commander Major General Eugenio Cedo and his deputy Marine Brigadier General Juancho Sabban, handed P6.6 million to the four masked informers inside the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

The four did not speak to reporters, but Cedo said they were instrumental in the killing of six, one of them a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf, Jainal Antel Salih alias Abu Solaiman, who was also in terror list of the United States.

The five other Abu Sayyaf militants – Tajajul Ampul, Abdasir Dima, Binang Sali, Ismin Sahiton and Jumdam Jamalul – were implicated in the spate of killings and terrorism in the southern Philippines. They were all killed this year.

“These people who helped us neutralized the terrorists are considered heroes. We urge citizens to help us fight terrorism by providing information to authorities about the likes of the Abu Sayyaf,” Cedo said. (Mindanao Examiner)

Muslims, Christians Hold Rally, Pray For Safety Of Kidnapped Italian Catholic Missioner In Mindanao




Hundreds of Christians and Muslims hold a solidarity rally Friday, June 22, 2007 in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines to pray for the early release of an Italian Catholic priest Giancarlo Bossi kidnapped by rebels in the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay on June 10. The rebels are demanding $1 million dollars for the freedom of the Milan-born missioner. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)



ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 Jun) – Hundreds of Muslims and Christians in the southern Filipino port city of Zamboanga held a solidarity rally Friday to pray for the quick release of a kidnapped Italian Catholic prelate.

Rebels are holding Giancarlo Bossi, 57, since June 10 after they seized the missioner in the coastal village of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay province. The rebels demanded one million dollars for the safe release of the Milan-born priest.

The rally, organized by the Peace Advocate Zamboanga, drew students and religious people from around Zamboanga City. They held a prayer rally; some of them carried placards and banners appealing for Bossi’s release, at a public square called Plaza Pershing in downtown Zamboanga.

Some held bamboo torch and listened to gospel songs and statements read by lay leaders.

Filipino authorities have provided no information about the priest, a member of the Rome-based Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME). Its superior, Rev. Gianni Sandalo, previously said they will not pay ransom.

Sandalo, who is based in Zamboanga City, has traveled to Zamboanga Sibugay a day after Bossi’s kidnapping to monitor the progress of the search.

The Italian Ambassador Rubens Fedele has flown to Zamboanga City and also traveled back and forth to Zamboanga Sibugay trying to get more information about Bossi.

Both Sandalo and Fedele said they have no reports about the whereabouts of the kidnapped priest or anything that will prove Bossi is still alive.

But a new PIME web log dedicated to Bossi showed a picture of a man’s legs, his feet stuck in mud in the middle of a mangrove marshland and a barrel of an M16 automatic rifle is also visible on the foreground. PIME did not say whether the man on the photo is Bossi or not, but the priest name is written on it.

The photo raised suspicion that PIME or the Italian government has been secretly negotiating with the kidnappers, who are believed rogue members of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The MILF, which is currently negotiating peace with Manila, is helping authorities in tracking down Bossi. (With a report from Chris Navarra)

Kidnapped Italian Priest In Philippines Dreams Of Tilling Own Land With Poor Farmers

Father Giancarlo Bossi web log


ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (Mindanao Examiner / 22 Jun) – A road leading to a small Catholic church on a remote village in the southern Philippines has been named after him – the man local folks call "buotan".

Buotan is Filipino dialect which means a "good" man. And for Muslim and Christian villagers in the town of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay, the man they refer to is none other than Giancarlo Bossi, an Italian Catholic priest from Milan, who dreamed of owning a piece of land and start to till it together with local farmers.

In that land he would have built his own small house, cook by himself and start organic farming. He uses to say too that we have to earn the life with hands and sweat, which he did anyway even when he was parish priest and that, is the only way, after the work that will lead you to real prayer and meditation.

Born in Milan on February 19, 1950 and son of a family of farmers, Fr Bossi has a college degree on Industrial Technical Institute in Milan. But few in the village know, or perhaps none, that the man they call buotan was also a good basketball player. He played on the Amateur Italian Basket League.
He was ordained as a missionary priest on March 18, 1978 and since 1980, Fr Bossi has worked in the parishes of Manila’s slum district in Tondo and in the towns of Siay, Payao and Bayog all in Zamboanga Sibugay province.

Then the request of Payao, for lack of priests in the Prelature of Ipil, which he gladly accepted because he was going back to a place he knew very well and where the people had shown in the past deep affection to him.

The road going to the parish it is now: Father Giancarlo Bossi Street.

The 57-year old priest, a member of the Rome-based Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was kidnapped on June 10 by rouge Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Payao town after celebrating mass and is being held in the jungles of Lanao del Norte province in the Muslim autonomous region.

Thousands of Muslim and Christian villagers in the province, many may not have even met Fr Bossi personally, but the news of his kidnapping brought them together to pray everyday for his safe release.

A web log dedicated by the Pontifical Intitute of Foreign Missions to "buotan" shows a photograph of a man’s hairy legs in what appears to be in the middle of a mangrove jungle.
On its left foreground, a beautiful bird stands on a tree branch, its big brown eyes wide open as if the animal is curious of the presence of human in the wild or perhaps scared at the black barrel of an M16 automatic rifle on its opposite side. The photo has this written:Father Giancarlo Bossi.(Mindanao Examiner)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

FBI Takes DNA Of Slain Sayyaf Terrorists In Southern Philippines





The bodies of slain Abu Sayyaf terrorists Anni and Iting Sailani in Basilan island in the southern Philippines, where the two brothers are killed in clash with Filipino soldiers on Wednesday, June 20, 2007. The two brothers were implicated in many killings of soldiers and policemen in the troubled South, including a Catholic bishop Benjamin de Jesus in 1997 and a news photographer Gene Boyd Lumawag in 2004 in Jolo island. (Caption by the Mindanao Examiner/Photo by Philippines 1st Marine Brigade)


BASILAN ISLAND (Mindanao Examiner / 21 Jun) – Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday took DNA samples from the bodies of two slain Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the southern Philippine island of Basilan, the military said.

Soldiers killed brothers Anni and Iting Sailani in a clash on Wednesday in the town of Sumisip. The son of Iting Sailani was also wounded in the clash, but it was unclear whether he is also a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group.

The military said FBI agents took DNA samples to determine whether the bodies really belong to the notorious Sailani brothers, blamed by authorities for the killings of soldiers and policemen in Basilan and Jolo island and also for similar assassinations in Zamboanga City.

The two men were also implicated in the killing in 1997 of a Roman Catholic bishop Benjamin de Jesus and a news photographer Gene Boyd Lumawag in 2004 in Jolo island.

Civilian informants led soldiers to the brothers’ hideout near a river in Baiwas village and clashed with the men. The two brothers, included in the Philippines most wanted terrorists, were arrested in 2002, but had escaped from a police detention in Manila after disguising as Muslim women covered in burqa.

The Filipino government offered six million pesos rewards for the capture of the two brothers dead or alive and were also on the U.S. wanted list.(With a report from Merlyn Manos)