Monday, December 31, 2007

Ang Aking Ama, Lola At ICC Batch 86 Ni Mark Navales


Ako (dakong kaliwa) at ang ang aming Batch 86 ng Immaculate Conception College.



Isang araw ay sumagi sa aking isipan ang lugar ng Ozamis City na kung saan ako ay nagtapos ng highschool sa Immaculate Conception College. Nasa Ozamis rin kasi ang aking mahal na lola na siyang kumupkop at nagpaaral sa akin. Naging pasaway din kasi ako sa aking mga magulang noon kahit na ako’y sagana sa luho noon.

May kapatid ang aking ama sa Ozamis at doon sa aking auntie ako ay nakitira rin subalit hindi naging maganda ang pag trato sa akin - minamaltrato niya ako noon kung kayat isinumbong ko sa aking ama at pinalipat ako sa isang boarding house na kaharap lang din ng bahay ng aking auntie.

Habang akoy pinapaaral ng aking ama sa Ozamis City noon ay nasunod rin ang aking luho, hindi naging mabuti ang aking pag aaral, sumama sa barkada, disco rito disco doon at naapektuhan na ang aking pag aaral. Hanggang akoy pinahinto ng aking ama. Kilala ako sa aming eskwelahan bilang magaling sa sayawan, strut dance pa ang uso noon, at ang tawag sa aming grupo ay “The Body Crack Machine.”
Nakilala rin ako sa aking pagiging artista at magaling na atleta dahil sa aking paboritong laro…ang soccer at track and field. Natatandaan ko pa noon na kung tawagin ako ng mga estudyante at kaibigan ay “Tagalog” dahil ako lang yata ang estudyanteng Tagalog sa mga panahon noon – dekada 80!

Sa panahong iyon ay ayaw kong tumigil sa pag aaral subalit matigas ang aking ama at ayaw na akong gastusan dahil raw sa mga kaliyuhan ko…hindi ko raw pinagbuti ang aking pagaaral na siyang magiging puhunan ko sa kinabukasan. Sa pagkakataong iyon gumawa ako ng paraan at naisip ko na mag layas na lamang at naghanap ako ng kamag-anakang kukupkop sa akin – may ilang mga kaibigan rin ang tumulong at sa mga panahon na iyon ko na rin nabatid kung sino ang tunay na nagmamahal sa akin.

Sa mga panahon rin iyon ko nalasap ang tunay na kalbaryo ng buhay, ang hirap na aking dinanas sa malupit na mundong ginagalawan.

Hindi alam ng aking mga classmate at kaibigan na naging working student ako sa aming paaralan at sa totoo lang ako’y hiyang-hiya sa aking sarili dahil ang pagkakilala nila sa akin noon ay may kaya o sinabi sa buhay dahil nga sa magkabilaang mga gimik noon.

Noong una tinago ko muna sa kanila na akoy isang working student, hinhintay kung makalabas lahat ng mga mag aaral sa eskwelahan bago ako mag linis ng hallway at CR. Matapos akong maglinis ay uuwi na ako at maghihintay naman ng gabi dahil waiter naman ako sa isang sikat na bar at inaabot ako ng hanggang madaling araw. Minsan akoy napa luha dahil sa sampung piso lang ang kinikita ko sa panahong iyon, dahil sa totoo lang hindi ko alam ang salitang IPON.

Sa panahong iyon doon ko naalala ang aking mahal na ama, muling gumuhit sa aking ouso at isipan ang mga paalalang aking binalewala. Sabi niya “anak tapusin mo ang iyong pagaaral dahil iyan lamang ang tanging yaman na maiiwan ko sa iyo at iyan rin ang iyung magiging puhunan sa buhay…ang makapagtapos ng pag aaral.”

Hindi rin ako gaanong tumagal sa aking mga pinasok dahil alam kong ito’y pansamatala lamang at hanggang lumapit ako sa aking lola na nakatira sa KOTA area kung na kilalang pinag kutaan noon ng mga sundalong Kastila na tabing-dagat lamang at dito rin ako tumagal habang ako’y nag aaral.

Isang araw dumating ang aking mga magulang at ako’y sinundo upang kunin at muling paaralin sa Cotabato City at laking pasalamat nila sa aking lola na akoy kinupkop pasamantala. Ang sabi ko sa aking sarili na balang araw akoy muling babalik sa Ozamis City na nakataas noo at hindi na mahihiya sa aking mga kamag-aral at kaibigan at nagapi ko ang isang nakakahiyang karanasan at naging inspirasyon ko ang aking pag titiis at sisikap na matapos ang aking pag aaral.

December 28, 2007 at naisipan kung bumalik ng Ozamis City makaraan ng 21 taon upang muling makita ang lungsod na minsang naging bahagi ng aking buhay, na naging saksi sa aking mga nakaraang pagsubok sa aking buhay, at upang muling makita ang aking pinakamamahal na lola.
Isang kaibigan ang nagsabi sa aking may reunion daw ang ICC High School. Pumunta rin kami ng Oroqueta City upang mabisita ang ilang kamg anak at kaibigan na si Tony Abejo, na isang broadcaster at manunulat sa peridico. Nakalipas ang gabi kami ay muling bumalik sa Ozamis at sa pagkakataong iyon hindi ko na pinalampas ang nasabing class reunion ng ICC.

Muli kung nasilayan ang aking mga classmate at ka-batch ng 1986 sa naturang reunion ng gabing iyon, may mga kwento rin sa ilang classmate ko ang nakaka lungkot dahil ang iba ay tuluyan na rin nagapi ng droga ang kanilang buhay.

May ilan rin ang hiwaly na sa asawa at ang iba naman ay dalaga pa rin hanggang ngayon at may ilan rin naging negosyante. Hindi pa rin kumupas ang mga dating kasamahan na guwapo at maganda. Sa aking pakikipagusap sa mga dating kasama sa paaralan ay mistulang komiks ang kwento ng buhay naming lahat.
Mistulang Pelikula ang bawat salaysay ng buhay…may malungkot at may masaya.
Sila’y namangha rin ng makita ako dahil sa aking propesyong pinasok sa buhay – ang pagiging isang PHOTO JOURNALIST na kaya ng humarap sa kanila at pinakita ang ilang mga obra maestra sa diyaryo at magazine. Sa gabing iyon hindi mababayaran ng salapi ang kaligayahang aking naramdaman at napakasaya ko rin dahil muli kong nakasama si LOLA an gang ICC CLASS 86!

Is It War On Terror Or War On Civilians Or Simply Paranoid? US Military Reprimanded In Philippines

SULU ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 31, 2007) – The Philippine military ordered US troops away from a government hospital after they forcibly closed it down in the southern province of Sulu.

US troops ordered Muslim doctors and hospital staff to close down the Panamao District Hospital at night since December 3. American troops who put up a base near the hospital even told the doctors to treat their patients at the municipal hall.

Dr. Silak Lakkian, head of the hospital, has complained about how US troops meddled into their operations.

US soldiers insist there is a threat against them in the town from suspected Abu Sayyaf militants, but the report was disputed by local security forces.

American soldiers are in Sulu since 2006 to train Filipino troops and assist and advice them in the so-called war on terror. Rebels are active in Sulu province, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

On Monday, the Philippine military banned US soldiers from near the hospital and even sent Filipino soldiers to guard the hospital.

The governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan, allowed the resumption of the hospital operations at night to cater to emergencies and patients in Panamao after a meeting with military and town officials over the weekend.

At the meeting, the US military commanders in Sulu apologized for the incident.
“The hospital has resumed operations at night and everything is back to normal again,” Brigadier General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the Philippines Army Special Forces in Sulu, told Mindanao Examiner.

The news of the incident only broke out Saturday after hospital staff complained to authorities and journalists about how US troops forcibly shut down the hospital at night and even threatened to shoot anybody if there was an attack against the foreigners.

“US troops have no authority to impose on us,” the governor said.

The US military tried to cover up the incident and denied it ever happened and blamed the local media for the “blunder.”

Local villagers and some Filipino troops also have complained about the arrogance of US soldiers in Sulu. Some US troops have allegedly treated Filipino soldiers like vassal.

Some US troops also prevented curious Muslim villagers to go near them in public places as though the locals were terrorists.

American troops had in the past also harassed Filipino journalists who were covering joint RP-US military war games in Zamboanga City and Sulu and in some occasions arrested and seized the cameras of reporters who took photos and videos of them.

It was also in Sulu that hundreds of US soldiers slaughtered some 800 Muslim villagers, including innocent women and children, during the Moro rebellion in March 1906 that has become known as the First Battle of Bud (Mount) Dajo also called the "Moro Crater Massacre."

During this battle, 790 men and officers, under the command of Colonel J.W. Duncan, assaulted the volcanic crater, which was held by several hundred rebels protecting Muslim villagers. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Suspect In Journalist Slay Arrested In South RP

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 30, 2007) – Police have arrested one of two men linked to the murder of a Filipino broadcaster in the southern port city of Davao.
Police said Oliver Antoc, 31, was nabbed on Friday night in Davao City by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group while buying a roast chicken for dinner. They also seized a .45-caliber pistol from Antoc.

Two witnesses in the killing of Ferdinand Lintuan also pointed to Antoc as the gunman who shot the journalist inside his car on December 24.

It said it would file criminal charges against Antoc based on testimonies of the witnesses. It was unknown whether Antoc is a member of the Davao Death Squad or who ordered the killing of the journalist.

Two motorcycle gunmen killed Ferdinand Lintuan as he was driving his car.
Lintuan’s killing was previously blamed on the vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad, which is believed behind hundreds of extra-judicial killings the past years in Davao City.
Most of its victims were suspected criminals and thieves, but relatives and families of those killed have accused policemen as behind the Davao Death Squad.

Police gave no details about its investigation into the killing, but Lintuan's murder was not the first in Davao City. Several journalists had been murdered in the past in Davao and among them were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani, Rogie Zagado in 1987 and Juan Pala Jr., in 2003.

Five journalists had been killed and two others wounded in separate attacks in the Philippines since early this year, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The Philippines is branded as one of the most dangerous place for journalists because of unresolved killings. Dozens of journalists were killed the past years and most of the cases remain unresolved.

More than 900 people, among them political activists, have been killed and hundreds are still missing since President Gloria Arroyo took office in 2001, according to the United Methodist News Service. (Mindanao Examiner)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

US Troops Losing War For Hearts And Minds In Sulu

SULU ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 29, 2007) – Philippine authorities have began an investigation into disturbing reports that US troops deployed in Sulu province had ordered the closure of a government hospital in the town of Panamao.

The soldiers allegedly barged into the Panamao District Hospital on Dec. 3 and ordered its closure for a still unknown reason.

US troops are in Sulu province since early this year to assist and advice Filipino forces in fighting terrorism.

Dr Silak Lakkian, head of the hospital, has complained about how US troops meddled into their operations.

The news only broke out Saturday after local journalists learned about the incident, but US military officials were not available to make any statement.
Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said he will personally on the reports involving US troops and has talked to Major General Reuben Rafael, commander of Philippine military forces in the province, about it.

“US troops have no authority to impose on us,” he said.

It was not immediately known whether the US military tried to cover up the incident, but General Rafael, also said that he will look into the reports. “We will look into this,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Local villagers and some Filipino troops also have complained about the arrogance of US soldiers in Sulu. Some US troops have allegedly treated Filipino soldiers like janitors and laborers in the province.

Heavily-armed US troops were also preventing curious Muslim villagers to go near them in public places as though the locals were terrorists.

American troops had in the past also harassed Filipino journalists who were covering joint RP-US military war games in Zamboanga City and Sulu and in some occasions arrested and seized the cameras of reporters who took photos and videos of them.

It was also in Sulu that hundreds of US soldiers slaughtered some 800 Muslim villagers, including innocent women and children, during the Moro rebellion in March 1906 that has become known as the First Battle of Bud (Mount) Dajo also called the “Moro Crater Massacre.”

During this battle, 790 men and officers, under the command of Colonel J.W. Duncan, assaulted the volcanic crater, which was held by several hundred rebels protecting Muslim villagers.

This dark part of history always hound US troops in Sulu where activists and villagers opposed their presence in the province. It was unknown how the Panamao incident will affect the presence of Americans in Sulu. (With reports from Nickee Butlangan and Juan Magtanggol)

The Mindanao Examiner Photo: Zamboanga City Government Vehicle At Night!



A vehicle of the Zamboanga City's General Services Office with license plate SGT-868 is parked Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007 at Alfaro street in Tetuan village. Local government cars are often used either to bring children to schools or as personal vehicles by city employees. The use of government vehicles is prohibited unless for official business. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

For Sale Framed Photos of magnificent Tulay Mosque and Bud Daho in Sulu




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Friday, December 28, 2007

The Mindanao Examiner Photo: Famed Mexican Director Gustavo Loza


"Al Otro Lado" director Gustavo Loza poses for the Mindanao Examiner during a week-long workshop on film making attended by more than 40 directors, film makers and cinematographers in Manila. The workshop is sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in cooperation with the Embassy of Mexico and Mowelfund Film Institute (MFI) with support from the President’s Social Fund (PSF).

The film workshop tackled all the processes in creating a movie – from the origin of an idea, its transformation into a film script, its projection on the big screen and other processes involved when directing a film.

Considered as one of the exciting new directors in Mexico, Loza has several films to his credit. Loza’s latest film, “Al otro lado” (To The Other Side), is about the interspersed lives of three children – a Mexican, Moroccan and Cuban – whose fathers have left them to venture in other lands. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

The Mindanao Examiner Photo: The Cigar Vendor


An old cigar vendor sleeps on a roadside in Manila's Quiapo District. Manila's traffic is one of the worst in Asia, especially during the Christmas holiday. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Mindanao Examiner Photo: Child Abuse In Southern Philippines





A Filipino girl hits her brother after the child refuses to go with her to beg for alms in the busy streets of Basilan province on Wednesday, December 26, 2007.

Many beggars used children as front to beg for money and food in the Philippines and many have been exploited and become victims of abuses by their own family. The World Bank says child labor is one of the major concerns confronting many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

There are 36.3 million Filipinos who are 19 years old and below (NSO 2000). In excess of a million and a half children are estimated to live on the streets, begging for food and often engaging in criminal activity.

More than three and a half million children from 5 to 17 years old work under often-grueling conditions, in spite of legislation outlawing child labor.

A survey of the Department of Social Welfare and Development shows a sudden increase in their number of clients probably as a result of increased recognition and reporting in the community.
The children in this survey were victims of physical abuse, neglect, with majority reporting sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, reports say. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Mindanao Examiner Photo: ARMM Chief Joel Goltiao Briefs Men On Hunt For Ex-Poll Officer


Chief Superintendent Joel Goltiao, chief of police forces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, briefs his officers in Camp S.K Pendatun in Shariff Kabunsuan Province as they prepare to mount fresh operation to arrest the controversial former Maguindanao Provincial Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol, accused of poll fraud in the last Philippine presidential elections. Bedol is ordered arrested by the Commission on Elections after he failed to show up during a hearing. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales)

Muslims Rally In Basilan, Seek Justice For Slain Lawmaker






Hundreds of Muslims gathered Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007 in the southern Philippine island of Basilan to demand justice for the murder of Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar. The politician was among 5 people killed after a bomb exploded Nov. 13, 2007 at the House of Representatives in Manila. Police blamed the attack to the Abu Sayyaf group and political opponents of Akbar. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)



BASILAN ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 26, 2007) - Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday in the southern Filipino province of Basilan and demanded justice for the murder of a Muslim lawmaker.

Basilan Congressman Wahab Akbar was among five people killed when a bomb exploded at the entrance of the House of Representatives in Manila on November 13.

More than a dozen people, including two lawmakers, were also injured in the attack, blamed by the police to the Abu Sayyaf group and Akbar’s political opponents.

“We want justice. The people of Basilan are crying for justice,” said one of Akbar’s four wives, Cherry Lyn Akbar, who is the mayor of Isabela City.

Police said the bombing targeted Akbar and two prominent politicians, Congressman Mujiv Hataman and former lawmaker Abdulgani Salapuddin, and several other politicians in Basilan, were linked to the bombing. Both Salapuddin and Hataman denied any participation in the killing of bombing.

“Everybody in Basilan knows who killed our beloved Congressman Wahab Akbar and Allah will punish them for their crimes. Their souls are now burning in hell,” one supporter of Akbar, Abdullah Salalima, said.

The mayor and the slain politician’s other wife, Jum Akbar, also the governor of Basilan, have been receiving death threats. Security was tight in Basilan during the rally and also because of threats of attacks by the Abu Sayyaf.

A homemade bomb exploded on Monday in Cotabato City, wounding three people, and a second bomb, planted near a budget motel was detonated Tuesday in Sulu province near Basilan island.

Many of those who joined the rally bore placards and streamers seeking justice for Akbar’s murder. “Help us Pres. Arroyo. We seek justice,” one placard reads.

Another one reads: “Madam Pres(ident) we need justice in Batasan blast.”

Security forces killed three men implicated in the bombing in a firefight Nov. 15 in Payatas village in Quezon City.

Three other accomplices, one of them, Ikram Indama had an identification card of the House of Representatives and former driver of Salapuddin. Soldiers and policemen recovered documents linked to a motorcycle used in the bombing.

Police also charged a fourth suspect, Benjamin Hataman, a cousin of Hataman, also a political foe of Akbar. (Mindanao Examiner)

Troops Foil New Bombing In South RP

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 26, 2007) – Government forces heightened security in Sulu province, south of Manila, after soldiers detonated a homemade bomb planted by suspected Abu Sayyaf militants, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said the bomb was left outside the Helen’s Lodge, a budget motel in Jolo town and detonated by soldiers Monday.

No group claimed responsibility for the foiled bombing, but government forces were put in red alert to thwart possible bombings during the holidays.

A homemade bomb exploded on Monday outside a barber shop in Cotabato City, wounding three people.

It was unknown if the attack was connected to the foiled bombing in Sulu, where security forces are pursuing Abu Sayyaf and rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996.

But three civilians and a soldier were also killed in fighting over the weekend in Sulu’s Kalingalan Caluang town between military and rebel forces. At least 17 people, including five soldiers were also wounded in the clash on Saturday in the village of Pangdan-pangdan.

Fighting also erupted last month in Kalingalan Caluang town that left eight soldiers and four rebels dead.

The Abu Sayyaf have been blamed for past attacks and kidnappings-for-money in the southern Philippines, while the MNLF signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996, but many were disgruntled with the accord and joined other rebel groups.

The MNLF has repeatedly accused the government of reneging on the agreement, which Manila strongly denied. Under the peace deal, the Philippine would have provided a mini-Marshall plan and livelihoods and housing to tens of thousands of rebels.

In 2001, MNLF gunmen, who were loyal supporters of Nur Misuari, attacked and tried to capture a major military base in Sulu province and another group seized more than 100 people in Zamboanga City.

After the attacks, MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari fled to Sabah by boat, but was captured by Malaysian authorities and eventually deported to the Philippines. (Nickee Butlangan)

Philippine Police Clueless On Murder Of Journalist

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 26, 2007) – Police are still facing a blank wall in the killing of a Filipino broadcaster in Davao City in Mindanao.

Two motorcycle gunmen killed Ferdinand Lintuan as he was driving his car on December 24 in downtown Davao. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell heavily on the vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad.

The group was believed behind hundreds of extra-judicial killings the past years in Davao City.

Most of its victims were suspected criminals and thieves, but relatives and families of those killed have accused policemen as behind the Davao Death Squad.

Philippine police chief, Director General Avelino Razon Jr. has ordered an investigation into the killings blamed to the Davao Death Squad.

But television giant GMA-7 reported on Wednesday that police authorities in Davao City belied the existence of the Davao Death Squad.

It quoted police regional spokesman Chief Inspector Querubin Manalang Jr. that most of the killings in Davao City were perpetrated by feuding gang members.

Police gave no details about its investigation into the killing, but Lintuan’s murder was not the first in Davao City. Several journalists had been murdered in the past in Davao and among them were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani, Rogie Zagado in 1987 and Juan Pala Jr., in 2003.

Lintuan’s relatives and journalists also wanted an independent probe into the killing and for the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila to send a team to Davao City and handle the case instead pf the local police.

“It’s difficult for the Davao police to handle the case. It’s better if the NBI in Manila take the case and ensure a credible investigation and punish those whoever is behind the killing,” one journalist said.

Just this month, a freelance journalist, Romelito Oval Jr., was also killed and his body buried in a shallow grave on a remote village in Butuan City in southern Philippines.

In October, a Filipino broadcaster, Jose Pantoja, was shot and seriously wounded in front of the Mindanao State University in Iligan City. The attacker fled after the shooting.

In August, unidentified gunman also shot and wounded another broadcaster, Manuel Kong, of the radio station dxSN, in Surigao City.

Five journalists had been killed and two others wounded in separate attacks in the Philippines since early this year, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The Philippines is branded as one of the most dangerous place for journalists because of unresolved killings. Dozens of journalists were killed the past years and most of the cases remain unresolved.

More than 900 people, among them political activists, have been killed and hundreds are still missing since President Gloria Arroyo took office in 2001, according to the United Methodist News Service. (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Informant Gets P10 Million Reward


A military informant helps Major General Nelson Allaga, left, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, as he puts the reward money into a bag. (Mindanao Examiner/WMC Photo)



ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 24, 2007) – The Philippine military rewarded ten million pesos to a Muslim villager who provided troops with information that led to the killing of a top Abu Sayyaf leader.


Major General Nelson Allaga, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, handed the reward Sunday to the man, whose face and body were covered to hide his identity, in Zamboanga City.


The man was said to be behind the killing of Khadaffy Janjalani last year.


“He pointed the exact location of Janjalani and the group that led to a firefight with the elements of 3rd Marine Brigade of the Philippine Marine Corps under Joint Task Force “Comet”, in Sulu on September 4, 2006,” Allaga said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.


“The informant received the money for providing vital information about the ASG over-all leader to the Armed Forces of the Philippines resulting to the successful combat operation and neutralization of Khadaffy Janjalani,” he said.


Allaga said the reward is designed to encourage people to provide timely and essential information that could help law enforcers and authorities to locate terrorists and thwart attacks. (Mindanao Examiner)

Reporters Sans Borders Calls On Philippines To Resolve Killing Of Broadcaster

Reporters Without Borders calls for energetic measures from President Gloria Arroyo to quickly track down the murderers of Ferdinand Lintuan, a radio programme host and well-known critic of local officials, who was gunned down this morning just after leaving his radio station, DXGO Radio, in Davao City (on the southern island of Mindanao).

Station manager Raul Antopuesto said he had no doubt that Lintuan was murdered because of his work as a journalist.

”On this Christmas Eve, the Philippine press community has again been hit by a terrible murder. The method used leaves no doubt that it was a targeted killing of a journalist who had criticized local politicians. President Arroyo and the national police chief have a duty to give the local investigators all the resources they need to catch the gunmen and those who put them up to it,” it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Nicknamed “Batman” by his colleagues, Lintuan is the fifth journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines. Reporters Without Borders believes that Carmelo Palacios of dzRB Radio ng Bayan, murdered in April, was the only one of the other four who was killed because of his journalistic work.

Two men riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets shot Lintuan at close range as he drove away from the radio station in a car with two fellow journalists, Louie Ceniza and Edgar Banzon. Hit in the head, he died instantly.

Aged 51 and the father of four, Lintuan had often criticized local politicians, including the Davao City government, on the air. He had, in particular, accused local officials of corruption in connection with the “People's Park,” a local development project which he called the “Crocodiles' Park.”

Lintuan was the first president of the Davao Association of Sports Journalists.

National police chief Avelino Razon said he has ordered an investigation and the creation of a special "Batman" task force. Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza said: “The government will not allow this criminal act to go unpunished.”

Militants Attack Southern Philippine Village

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 24, 2007) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants attacked a remote village in the province of Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila, officials said Monday.

Officials said the gunmen strafed the village of Latih in Patikul town, but no one was hurt or killed in the attack.

Initial military reports said about ten gunmen fired indiscriminately to the village and apparently were targeting the village chieftain Ahmad Albani.

The motive of the attack was unknown, but Albani is a staunch military supporter. (Nickee Butlangan)

Monday, December 24, 2007

3 Hurt In Southern RP Bombing



Filipino and US bomb experts and police scene of crime officers examine the scene where an improvised bomb exploded Monday Dec. 24, 2007 in Cotabato city, wounding at least three people, including a two-year-old boy days after Australia warned of a possible terrorist attack in the country over Christmas. The Australian Embassy posted a travel advisory on its Web site Saturday warning Australians to steer clear of places frequented by foreigners, and strongly advised against travel in the southern region of Mindanao, where al-Qaeda-linked militants are active. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales)





COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 24, 2007) – A homemade exploded on Monday in the southern Philippines and wounding at least 3 people, police and military said.

The bomb was detonated outside a barber shop in downtown Cotabato City in Maguindanao province in the Muslim autonomous region. Authorities said a two-year old boy, Tutuh Balaumol, was among the wounded.

US military bomb experts were spotted assisting Filipino soldiers and policemen in investigating the blast. The US soldiers wore no patches nor nameplates, but military uniform.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, but the bombing came days after Australia warned of a possible terrorist attack in the Philippines over Christmas.

The strife-torn autonomous region has been target of terrorist attacks over the past years.

Last week, police and military agents arrested an Egyptian national suspected as being an al-Qaeda operative in Cotabato City, but freed him over the weekend after a Filipino court allowed Mohammed El-Sayed to post bail.

The foreigner, initially identified as Mohammad Said, is a preacher.

Philippine authorities said agents seized from the Egyptian man assorted bomb-making materials and a homemade explosive, including a combat manual of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is currently negotiating peace with Manila.

The MILF has denied links with the foreigner. Police also arrested four Turkish nationals in Cotabato City on mere suspicion they were terrorists only to be freed days later. (Mark Navales)

Another Journalist Killed In Southern Philippines

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 24, 2007) – Unidentified gunman shot dead a radio broadcaster in a daring broad daylight attack in the southern Filipino port city of Davao, police said.

Police said Freddie Lintuan was instantly killed in the attack that occurred at around 10 a.m. “We still don’t know the motive of the killing. There is an investigation going on,” policeman Anthony Suniel told the regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

No other details were made available by the police, but extra-judicial killings are rampant in Davao, where several journalists also had been murdered in the past. Among them were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani, Rogie Zagado in 1987 and Juan Pala Jr., in 2003.

Last week, a freelance journalist, Romelito Oval Jr., was also killed and his body buried in a shallow grave on a remote village in Butuan City in southern Philippines.

To date, more than 900 people have been killed and hundreds missing since President Gloria Arroyo took office in 2001, according to the United Methodist News Service. Among the victims are dozens of lawyers, judges, and church leaders.

In Davao City, hundreds of people had been killed the past years and most of them were suspected criminals believed murdered by private gangsters belonging to the shadowy group called Davao Death Squad.

In October, a Filipino broadcaster, Jose Pantoja, was shot and seriously wounded in front of the Mindanao State University in Iligan City. The attacker fled after the shooting.

In August, unidentified gunman also shot and wounded another broadcaster, Manuel Kong, of the radio station dxSN, in Surigao City.

Five journalists had been killed and two others wounded in separate attacks in the Philippines since early this year, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The Philippines is branded as one of the most dangerous place for journalists because of unresolved killings. Dozens of journalists were killed the past years and most of the cases remain unresolved. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Police Arrest Ex-Lawmaker After Daring Prison Walkout

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 23, 2007) – Police rearrested a former Filipino lawmaker who walked out of prison in Manila and flew by plane to his hometown in Zamboanga del Norte province.

Former Representative Romeo Jalosjos, convicted to serve two life terms for raping an 11-year girl, was granted executive clemency by President Gloria Arroyo after serving 13 years in prison.

But Arroyo’s decision drew wild protests and human rights advocates and women’s groups have criticized her for commuting Jalosjos’ double-life sentence, saying, the politician should have not been freed from jail. And government now wanted him back in jail.

Jalosjos was first released on Dec. 16 from the national penitentiary in Manila and even attended a mass with family members. But he was forced to return the next day after the Philippine media reported about his release.

On Saturday, Jalosjos arrived in Dapitan City where hundreds of supporters welcomed him like a hero. They also threw a party for Jalosjos, once an influential politician politician in the province.

Policemen escorted Jalosjos on Sunday to Zamboanga City where he would probably stay at the San Ramon Penal Colony unbtil his case is finally resolved. Jalosjos insisted he is a free man and his supporters blamed politics for the fiasco.

“He is freed. He is a free man. Leave him alone. This is all politics,” said Juanito San Diego, a supporter of Jalosjos.

Jalosjos is said to be eyeing this early to run for Congress again in the 2010 national elections. But with this latest development, his political plan may be at risk.

It was unknown why was Jalosjos allowed to leave the penintentiary despite a strict order from the government to hold him.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales has also ordered an investigation into this. It is up to Gonzales whether to bring back Jalosjos to Manila or let him stay in Zamboanga City, just several hundred miles away from Zamboanga del Norte province. (Mindanao Examiner)

3 Muslims Killed In Sulu Fighting

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 23, 2007) – Three civilians were killed and eight more wounded after soldiers and rebels clashed fiercely on a remote village in the southern Philippine province of Sulu.

Fighting broke out on Saturday in the village of Pangdan-pangdan in Kalingalan Caluang town where a marine soldier was also killed and five others, including four civilians, were wounded.

The civilian casualties were only reported Sunday after troops took control of the village where rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf militants whose group is tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya terror network, used as temporary encampment.

Soldiers raided the village after civilians tipped off the military about the presence of dozens of gunmen.

On Sunday, security forces launched fresh operation to hunt down the rebels who split into smaller groups in the town’s jungle.

Although there were no new reports of fighting, troops have put up road blocks near the town to prevent the entry of weapons or enemy reinforcements.

“The operation is ongoing,” said Major General Reuben Rafael, commander of military forces on the province, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

Hundreds of villagers have fled their homes for fear that rebels would take them hostage or used civilians as shield against pursuing soldiers.

Rafael said the rebels used villagers to shield them from military assault, but retreating gunmen also shot several civilians who tried to flee.

Soldiers recovered seven automatic rifles and ammunition in the village left behind by rebels under Commanders Opagu and Alawi, whose first names were not immediately known, but both were sub-leaders of the MNLF renegade faction and Abu Sayyaf.

Fighting also erupted last month in Kalingalan Caluang that left eight soldiers and four rebels dead.

The Abu Sayyaf have been blamed for past attacks and kidnappings-for-money in the southern Philippines, while the MNLF signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996, but many were disgruntled with the accord and joined other rebel groups.

The MNLF has repeatedly accused the government of reneging on the agreement, which Manila strongly denied. Under the peace deal, the Philippine would have provided a mini-Marshall plan and livelihoods and housing to tens of thousands of rebels.

In 2001, MNLF gunmen, who were loyal supporters of Nur Misuari, attacked and tried to capture a major military base in Sulu province and another group seized more than 100 people in Zamboanga City.

After the attacks, MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari fled to Sabah by boat, but was captured by Malaysian authorities and eventually deported to the Philippines.
(Nickee Butlangan)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ex-Zambo Solon, Nakabalik Na Sa Mindanao

MAYNILA, Pilipinas (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 22, 2007) – Napuno kagabi ng ligaya ang daan-daang mga supporters ni dating Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos matapos itong dumating mula sa halos 13 taong pagkakapiit sa kasong rape.

Lakas loob umanong lumabas ng New Bilibid Prison si Jalosjos at lumipad diumano patungong Dapitan City sakay ng eroplano matapos na sabihing siya’y isang laya na, bagamat iginigiit ng Malakanyang na hindi pa ito dapat makalaya.

Presidential pardon at release order naman ang ang tanging armas ni Jalosjos.
Nauna na itong lumabas sa Bilibid kamakailan ngunit napilitang bumalik dahil sa pakiusap ng mga nasa pamahalaan upang hindi mapahiya si Pangulong Gloria Arrroyo.

Umani kasi ng batikos sa Arroyo sa ginawa nitong pagpapalaya kay Jalosjos na napatunayang nagkasala matapos na makipagtalik sa isang 11-anyos na batang babae.

May release order si Jalosjos dated Dec. 16, 2007 mula sa NBP.

Gigil na gigil naman si Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales dahil sa iskandalong dinala ng umano’y leak sa media na palalayain na si Jalosjos at mula noon ay pinagbawalan na nito ang dating mambabatas na magbigay ng interview sa mga mamamahayag.

Hindi naman mabatid kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng muling paglabas ni Jalosjos sa NBP.

Sa ulat naman ng GMA-7 ay sinabi nitong mismong si Dapitan City Councilor Apple Agolong ang nagkumpirmang nakabalik na si Jalosjos at nasa City Hall ito na kung saan ay napuno ang paligid ng mga supporters.

Siguradong maraming masisibak sa NBP dahil sa paglaya ni Jalosjos at sa kahihiyang muling ibinigay nito sa Malakanyang. (Mindanao Examiner)

Fighting Erupts In Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 22, 2007) – Fierce clashes between government soldiers and rebels erupted Saturday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, leaving a still undetermined number of gunmen dead and wounded, officials said.

Officials said one soldier was killed and another wounded in the fighting that broke out in the village called Pangdan-pangdan in Kalingalan Caluang town.

Four civilians were also wounded in the clash, said Army Major General Reuben Rafael, commander of military forces on the province.

“We still do not know how many rebels were killed or injured, but intercepted radio messages suggested more casualties on the rebel side,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said troops clashed with rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front, backed by Abu Sayyaf militants, whose group is tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya terror network.

The fighting lasted for several hours with government planes bombing rebel positions in the town’s hinterland. But clashes on the ground were much more difficult as rebels fleeing pursuing soldiers snatched villagers and used them as shield.

It was unknown whether some villagers were abducted by retreating rebels, but General Rafael has confirmed that four civilians were shot and wounded by gunmen as they escaped.

The four civilians, he said, were rushed to a military hospital after soldiers rescued them during a running gun battle.

Soldiers recovered seven automatic rifles and ammunition in the village left behind by rebels under Commanders Opagu and Alawi, whose first names were not immediately known, but both were sub-leaders of the MNLF renegade faction and Abu Sayyaf.

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan has ordered policemen and soldiers to secure the villagers and bring them to safer areas far from the fighting.

Fighting also erupted last month in Kalingalan Caluang that left 8 soldiers and four rebels dead.
The Abu Sayyaf have been blamed for past attacks and kidnappings-for-money in the southern Philippines, while the MNLF signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996, but many were disgruntled with the accord and joined other rebel groups.


The MNLF has repeatedly accused the government of reneging on the agreement, which Manila strongly denied. Under the peace deal, the Philippine would have provided a mini-Marshall plan and livelihoods and housing to tens of thousands of rebels.

In 2001, MNLF gunmen, who were loyal supporters of Nur Misuari, attacked and tried to capture a major military base in Sulu province and another group seized more than 100 people in Zamboanga City.

After the attacks, MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari fled to Sabah by boat, but was captured by Malaysian authorities and eventually deported to the Philippines. (With a report from Nickee Butlangan)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

IDP Forum, Peace Caravan Held In Basilan Island


Basilan island Governor Jum Akbar reads the manifesto presented by IDPs with CBCS' Sammy Maulana.


BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 20, 2007) – Hundreds of people joined a peace caravan in the southern Philippine island of Basilan, where a manifesto was also signed by peace advocates, led by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS).

Most of those who joined the caravan were representatives of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the towns of Albarka, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburan, Sumisip, and Akbar that had been affected by the July 10 fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and government forces.

Prior to the “Caravan for Justice and Peace,” the CBCS held a forum about the plight of the IDPs and they also narrated their plight and problems that they have been facing since being displaced by the fighting.

“About 40% of those affected by the conflict remained displaced. The others have returned, but in a marginal basis only, as they only go to their lands during the day but return to their evacuated locations at night.“

“They continue to live in this kind of set up because of the general fear that military operations and open armed conflict will once again erupt at anytime. They lament the fact that the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Basilan is not sensitive to the welfare of the civilians that are adversely affected by their military operations, that they all of them are unfairly suspected of being sympathizers or supporters of the Abu Sayyaf Group that is allegedly operating in their communities, and that no peace mechanism has yet been thought of and installed by either the LGUs concerned, or between the AFP and the MILF in the province that would assure them that they could safely and permanently return to their places of origin and begin to rebuild their lives anew,” CBCS said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

It also enumerated several problems the IDPs are currently facing: 1) Experiencing economic crisis due to the loss of their source of livelihood and have fallen into debt, 2) Trauma to children due to insensitive military operations, such as extremely loud artillery fire that are within or in close proximity to populated areas, some of which have caused cases of nausea and vomiting, 3) Indefinite suspension of classes due to abandonment of schools and no salary given to teachers, 4) Illness, disease and malnutrition experienced by children and elders, whether those in the places of evacuation or those who have returned, due to absence of delivery of basic health and social services, and 5) Difficulty in reviving sources of livelihood in the places of origin because of the absence of delivery of basic public services and the destruction of property.

Based on these problems, an IDP Manifesto was drafted and signed by the IDPs present in the forum that called for local and national stakeholders and leaders to act on the problems they are facing until today and to uphold their rights to live in a peaceful environment, to enjoy security to life, limb and property, and to be free from military threats and harassment.

A copy of the manifesto was also sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

(In the name of God, the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful)

BASILAN IDP’s MANIFESTO

Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu!

Kami pong mga nagsipaglagda sa ibaba nito na mga representante ng mga pamilyang galing sa mga munisipyo ng Albarka, Tipo-Tipo, Sumisip, Tuburan, Adjul at Akbar dito sa lalawigan ng Basilan, ng Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao sa katimugang bahagi ng Pilipinas na napinsala at napilitang lumikas dahil sa armadong hidwaan sa pagitan ng Hukbong Sandatahan ng Republika ng Pilipinas (AFP) at ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) noong ikasampo ng Hulyo, 2007, at sa pagtugis ng mga puwersa ng AFP sa mga kasapi sa Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) noong buwan ng Agosto, ay nagkaisa upang ipahayag sa araw na ito ang aming kasalukuyang kalagayan at mga kahilingan upang makamit ang katarungan at kapayapaan na nauukol para sa amin.

Kami po ay dati nang mahirap, na puspusang nakikibaka upang makamit ang desente at makataong antas ng pamumuhay sa aming bayan. Subalit sa kabila ng aming pagsisikap at pagpupunyagi ay napinsala kami ng mga nabanggit na armadong hidwaan at marami sa aming bilang, magpahanggang ngayon, ay hindi pa nakakabalik sa aming mga pinagmulang tirahan at lupain.

Sa amin pong paglikas ay napilitan naming iwanan ang mga ari-arian at mga kabuhayan na matagal na naming naipundar matiyak lamang ang kaligtasan ng aming mga minamahal sa buhay.

Sa kasalukuyan po ay may tinatayang 40% sa amin ang hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakakabalik sa aming mga tirahan at lupain. Samantala, ang 60% naman sa amin ay nakabalik na. Subalit, ang dalawang grupong ito ay patuloy na dumaranas ng di makataong pamumuhay sa kanilang kinaroroonan.

Ito po ay dahil sa mga sumusunod na kadahilanan:

1. Ang mga hindi pa nakakabalik sa kanilang mga tirahan ay ayaw bumalik dahil sa matinding alanganin na posibleng magkaroon muli ng armadong hidwaan o putukan sa anumang oras. Ang kalagayang ito ay lalong pinasama noong huling halalan na kung saan ay nagkaroon din ng kalat-kalat na armadong engkwentro sa pagitan ng iba’t ibang mga grupo.

2. Ito rin ang agam-agam ng mga taong nakabalik na sa kanilang mga tirahan at lupain, na maaaring sila ay mapilitang lumikas muli kung biglaang magkakaroon ng panibagong armadong hidwaan sa mga lugar nila.

3. Ang mga hindi pa nakakabalik sa kanilang mga tirahan ay ayaw rin bumalik dahil sa halos kawalan ng mga pangkaraniwang serbisyo-publiko sa mga lugar na ito. Dagdag pa rito ang kahirapan sa buhay na nararanasan nila sa ngayon doon sa mga lugar na kanilang pinaglikasan, kung saan ay nabaon sila sa utang dahil sa kawalan ng kabuhayan at kawalan ng pagkakataong makapaghanap-buhay ng maayos.

4. Natigil ang pagaaral ng mga estudyante dahil sa pagsara ng mga paaralan at sa di pagpapasahod sa mga guro ng mga paaralang ito. Hanggang sa ngayon hindi pa ito natutugunan.
5. Ang paglala ng kalagayan ng kalusugan at paglaganap ng malnutrisyon sa maraming bakwit, lalo na sa mga kabataan at mga matatanda.

6. Ang pagkasira ng mga bahay at ari-arian nila dahil sa pagkasunog o di kaya dahil sa napagitna ang mga ito sa mga barilan.

7. Ang kawalan ng mekanismong panglokal na pagkasunduan ng kapwa AFP at ng MILF, liban sa Pangkalahatang Kasunduan sa Pagtigil Hidwaan na napapaloob sa ilalim ng Usapang Pangkapayapaan, na maiwasan ang muling pagkakaroon ng malawakan o di kaya ay paulit-ulit na paglikas ng mga tao sa tuwing nagkakaroon ng armadong operasyon sa mga lugar na ito.

8. Ang patuloy na malawakang militarisasyon sa mga lugar na ito, na dati rati ay mapayapa, na patuloy na nakakaligalig sa aming pamumuhay.

9. Ang pagkaligalig at pangamba (trauma) na nadarama ng maraming mga bakwit, lalo na ang mga kabataan, ay nauuwi sa walang hangganang pagkabahala naming lahat.

Dahil sa mga kalagayang inilahad sa itaas, kami po ay nananawagan na:

1. Itigil na ang paulit-ulit na pagkakaroon ng armadong hidwaan doon sa mga komunidad dahil ang mga ito ay hindi lupang pinagdirigmaan, kundi lupang kinabubuhayan.

2. Itigil ang sapilitan pagpapalikas sa mga taong napinsala na ang gusto lamang ay mamuhay ng mapayapa sa kanilang mga tirahan at lupain.

3. Bigyan ng pagkakataon at malinaw na garantiya ang mga taong napinsala na makabalik sa kanilang mga lupain at maalis ng tuluyan ang pangambang maaaring mapilitan silang lumikas muli kung may panibagong armadong hidwaan dito.

4. Magkaroon ng mekanismong panglokal na mapagkasunduan ng kapwa AFP at MILF upang maiwasan ang muling pagkakaroon ng malawakan o di kaya ay paulit ulit na paglikas ng taong bayan sa tuwing nagkakaroon ng armadong operasyon sa mga lugar na ito.

5. Tugunan ang mga suliranin ng mga bakwit sa kalusugan, malnutrisyon, at pagkaligalig (trauma) sa lalong madaling panahon.

6. Buksang muli ang mga sinarang mga paaralan at ibigay ang kaukulang sahod ng mga guro nito upang makapagbalik-aral ang mga estudyante nito.

7. Tugunan ang pang ekonomiyang suliranin ng mga pamilyang napinsala ng mga armadong hidwaan upang sila ay mabigyan ng pagkakataong makatayong muli at matugunan ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mga pamilya.

8. Kumpunihin ng mga Barangay Roads na nasira o sira pa rin hanggang ngayon.

9. Respetuhin ang karapatang pantao ng mga mamamayang nakatira sa mga lugar na ito.
Ang hangad po lamang namin ay mabawi ang aming dating antas ng pamumuhay at mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na maiangat namin ito. Hinihiling po namin ang katarungan, dahil ang katarungan namin ay katarungan para sa lahat na naghahangad ng malaya, mapayapa, at maunlad na lipunan.

Maraming Salamat at Wassalaam.

Nilagdaan ngayong ika 14 na araw ng Desyembre, 2007 dito sa Datu Dizal Cultural Center, Lamitan City, Basilan.
(Sgd.) TOTONG ESPALDON (Sgd.) BAJER NADDUA (Sgd.) HAMID KATARE

Bgy. Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) HABU HANAPI (Sgd.) RIZAL ASALI (Sgd.) ASNAWI HANDANI
Bgy. Kailih, Albarka Bgy. Semut, Sumisip Bgy. Cambug, Albarka
(Sgd.) JAINULLA A. JAHA (Sgd.) TONY HALUN (Sgd.) AMIR A. SULOR
Bgy. Guinanta, Albarka Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City Bgy. Cambug, Albarka
(Sgd.) HASIM A. MAULANA (Sgd.) ALAUDDIN AIRIL (Sgd.) HAPIKIN BIRONG
Bgy. Bato-Bato, Albarka Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar
(Sgd.) MAKSUD MAHMUD (Sgd.) ABDURAHMAN ANJAIP (Sgd.) PA-AT HAMJA
Bgy. Kailih, Albarka Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Kailih, Albarka
(Sgd.) BAYAN HASSAN (Sgd.) AHMAD HAMID (Sgd.) MARK S. HASSAN
Bgy. Magcawa, Albarka Bgy. Kailih, Albarka Bgy. Magcawa, Albarka
(Sgd.) JEUNUDIN ABDULLAH (Sgd.) H. ASMA TAHIR (Sgd.) NURAYA MAHMUD
Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City Bgy. Kailih, Albarka
(Sgd.) JAM Y. ALIH (Sgd.) JOHNNY BAWABATOT (Sgd.) HUSNA DAHIM
Bgy. Kailih, Albarka Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) HARUN ABUD (Sgd.) MUNIB AIRIL (Sgd.) MUSTAPHA BIRONG
Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar
(Sgd.) RAHIMA BIRONG (Sgd.) JUMANG ALAP (Sgd.) IBRAHIM CUEXAS
Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) TOMAS BORONG (Sgd.) NADZMA LAMLA (Sgd.) NASER JAILANI
Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Banah, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) IBRAHIM BALANGKASI (Sgd.) MUNVIR SALATUN (Sgd.) SUHUD MUTTALIB
Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) H. ABDULLA GAPPAL (Sgd.) H. NASIR MUHMIN (Sgd.) JAMIR JALIL
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) BUSRA JAALAL (Sgd.) DARWISA ASRAP (Sgd.) HALID MUKTAR
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) ERWIN ALAMIN (Sgd.) LISTAIN MALANGKIS (Sgd.) H. SAUD OMAR
Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City
(Sgd.) IDRIS BIRONG (Sgd.) AUSIN H. GADJALUN (Sgd.) RUSININ ASNAWIE
Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Cambug, Albarka Bgy. Cambug, Albarka
(Sgd.) PIRGAW YUNUS (Sgd.) MUSAYYADA TAPSUIN (Sgd.) TAHARA RAHIB
Bgy. Cambug, Albarka Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) H. WAHAB HASAN (Sgd.) H. HUSIN HAPIB (Sgd.) H. SUAD NEWANI
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) H. NUR-IN HASAN (Sgd.) H. NUR-IN SAPID (Sgd.) NASIR JAALIN
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) H. ISMAIL BALLAKATU (Sgd.) SITTIE MARHA MAJUJAJILUN (Sgd.) SUHUD MUTTALIB
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Danapah, Albarka Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) H. AHMAD WAHAB (Sgd.) LATIPA ANJANAL (Sgd.) BUIDDIMAN JALALUN
Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Limook, Lamitan City Bgy. Matibay, Lamitan City
(Sgd.) ABDULMUEEN YUSOPH (Sgd.) ASNAWI KALSUM (Sgd.) JUNAID ANJALIN
Bgy. Bato-Bato, Albarka Bgy. Bato-Bato, Albarka Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) MINADJALUN HUSSIN (Sgd.) MISTIRI TARAMI (Sgd.) ABIR MUTTALIB
Bgy. Tipo-Tipo Prop., Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
(Sgd.) PILOY NAYANG (Sgd.) MUNVIR SALATUN (Sgd.) H. LATIP ISMAIL
Bgy. Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City
(Sgd.) IDRIS ASNAWI (Sgd.) ISMAIL BALLABATO (Sgd.) SALIMA JAPLUL
Bgy. Cambug, Albarka Bgy. Bohebessey, Lamitan City Bgy. Macalang, Albarka
(Sgd.) SATTAH NISAL (Sgd.) ARHUMA JANALUN (Sgd.) HANAPI AIRIL
Bgy. Macalang, Albarka Bgy. Macalang, Albarka Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar
(Sgd.) HAISA HASAN (Sgd.) APSA RIZAL (Sgd.) MARAK ANJALIN
Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar
(Sgd.) IBNO ABUD (Sgd.) SURAY BIRONG (Sgd.) TANO CUEVAS
Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohebakung, Akbar Bgy. Bohelubong, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) JAMAL TOTONG (Sgd.) JOMAR TOTONG (Sgd.) OMAR MOHAWAN
Bgy. Tipo-Tipo Prop., Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Limbo Upas, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) NUAIM TOTONG (Sgd.) ABDILLAH AJULAL (Sgd.) JEMAR PISING
Bgy. Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Limbo Upas, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) WAIDZ ALAJAL (Sgd.) SAMIYAN ARIMBAY (Sgd.) HUJAY SANNANI
Bgy. Baguindan,Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Tipo-Tipo Prop., Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Tipo-Tipo Prop., Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) NORITHA TOTONG (Sgd.) HADI UNTIH (Sgd.) MUSIR NAYANG
Bgy. Tipo-Tipo Prop., Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo Bgy. Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo
(Sgd.) NASSER NUNA (Sgd.) SALI TAHALLANG (Sgd.) JULKIPLI ALIH
Lamitan City Lamitan City Bgy. Kailih, Albarka
(Sgd.) NURHIMA HAKIM (Sgd.) NASIR JAALIN (Sgd.) MUIDA HATAMAN
Bgy. Kuhon, Albarka Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) HUSAYMA HATALAN (Sgd.) SALAMA TAALUL (Sgd.) RHAIDA AJALUL
Sumisip Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) DIANA ABIAN (Sgd.) NUR-IYA JASIR (Sgd.) AJARA AKNALUN
Sumisip Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) HALIMA GOGOL (Sgd.) FILWA MUCADDANI (Sgd.) BOBONG BANDING
Sumisip Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) ISSEK ABULHASSAN (Sgd.) HALAPTUL ACLUL (Sgd.) IMELDA HATAMAN
Sumisip Bgy. Baiwas, Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) HATTAN U. SAMPAD (Sgd.) KALAUI ABDULWAKIB (Sgd.) HAIRUL KASIM
Sumisip Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip
(Sgd.) A.H. JAHANAN (Sgd.) ABDULATI KASIM (Sgd.) JAIRA SULAIMAN
Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip
(Sgd.) IBRAHIM HAIN (Sgd.) MUNIM KASIM (Sgd.) H. RAPIH HAMID
Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip
(Sgd.) SARIDA SAHILUN (Sgd.) JAINA SULAIMAN (Sgd.) ASSAMIN HASIM
Bgy. Bohepiyang, Albarka Bgy. L. Sinangkapan, Sumisip Sumisip
(Sgd.) UBAID HASIM (Sgd.) KABIR KAJIH (Sgd.) GADJALI SAPPALUN
Sumisip Sumisip Bgy. Sampinit, Sumisip
(Sgd.) NASSER KASIM (Sgd.) ANIZA WAHAB (Sgd.) SALAMA ABBAS
Bgy. Sampinit, Sumisip Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar Bgy. Paguengan, Akbar
Nilagdaan sa harap nina:
(Sgd.) SAMMY P. MAULANA (Sgd.) NATHAN B. INSUNG
Secretary General Chairperson, Basilan Region
CBCS CBCS
(Sgd.) MASID YACOB (Sgd.) MUHTI ABDULLA
Lead Convenor Chairperson
Inter-CSO Care for Basilan Task Force Bantey Basilan –
CBCS Civilian Local Peacekeeping Force

Hunt Is On For Al-Qaeda Operatives In South RP




Al-Qaeda suspect Mohammad Said is captured in Cotabato City in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Mark Navales



COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 20, 2007) – Filipino authorities were searching for more foreigners with ties to the Saudi terror group, al-Qaeda, after security forces arrested an Arab missionary suspected of being a terrorist.

"We are searching for more and authorities have intensified its intelligence operation to track down and neutralize these foreign terrorists," one intelligence officer said.
He did not elaborate, but said they were hunting down companions of the arrested Egyptian.

Government agents, backed by military and police forces, arrested an alleged Egyptian al-Qaeda operative after storming his apartment early Wednesday in Cotabato City.
Security forces swooped down on the apartment and arrested Mohammad Said who also uses the aliases Mohammad Sayed and Abu Husein.

Recovered from his apartment were several improvised explosive devices, including a book with Arabic texts fitted with bomb from its hollowed pages.

Also seized from the apartment were detonating cords, alarm clocks, batteries, 60mm mortar rocket, high-explosive ammunition, 3 pounds of chemical believed to be explosives, two kilos of ball bearings to be used as shrapnel for an IED, and a booklet of Moro Islamic Liberation Front combat manual.

Officials said the Egyptian is being interrogated on a security base in Cotabato City, where several Turkish and Middle Eastern nationals were arrested over the last five years.
Officials did not give details about the foreigner or whether he has connections with the MILF, the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group currently negotiating peace with Manila.
An MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu has denied any links with Said, whom he said is a preacher and a good man. "He has been living in Cotabato the past years and we hear nothing bad about him. He is preaching Islam and that is what we know of this man they now tag as terrorist," he told the Mindanao Examiner.
Little is known about Said and officials declined to give any formal statement about his arrest or if he was planning to mount terror attacks.
His arrest came several days later after the Filipino police said terrorists were planning attacks and that among those targeted are Westerners in the southern Philippines. (Mark Navales)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Troops Hunt Sayyaf In Basilan Island

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 19, 2007) – Security forces on Wednesday searched for Abu Sayyaf militants blamed for the killing of two soldiers in the southern Filipino province of Basilan, officials said.

Officials said two soldiers were killed and five more wounded in four hours of fighting in the town of Ungkaya Pukan on Tuesday, where gunmen fired on a helicopter transporting US soldiers on Basilan.

"There is an operation going on," Major Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said an undetermined number of militants were believed killed in the fighting. "We don't have body counts but we believed many gunmen were either killed of wounded in the clash," he said.

The town's mayor Joel Maturan said militants, backed by rogue members of the country's largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, aided the Abu Sayyaf in attacking marines in the area.

"The Abu Sayyaf and the lost-command group of the MILF attacked the marines and fighting was really intense," he said.

It was unknown how many villagers have fled the town for fear that the fighting would escalate into a bigger war.

On Tuesday, gunmen straffed a helicopter carrying American soldiers near the town. A small contingent of US troops are deployed in Basilan to aide Filipino troops in defeating the Abu Sayyaf, tagged as international terrorist group by Washington. (Mindanao Examiner)

RP Authorities Detain Egyptian Preacher In South

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 19, 2007) – Philippine security forces arrested an alleged Egyptian al-Qaeda operative after storming his apartment early Wednesday in Cotabato City in Mindanao island, south of Manila.

Government agents, backed by soldiers and policemen, swooped down on the apartment and arrested Mohammad Said whose aliases Mohamad Sayed and Abu Husein, are included in the so-called military's terror list.

Recovered from his apartment were several improvised explosive devices, including a book with Arabic texts fitted with bomb from its hollowed pages.

Security agents also seized detonating cords, alarm clocks, batteries, 60mm mortar rocket, high-explosive ammunition, 3 pounds of chemical believed to be explosives, two kilos of ball bearings to be used as shrapnel for an IED, and a booklet of Moro Islamic Liberation Front combat manual.

Officials said the Egyptian is being interrogated on a security base in Cotabato City, where several Turkish and Middle Eastern nationals were arrested over the past five years.

Officials did not give details about the foreigner or whether he has connections with the MILF, the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group currently negotiating peace with Manila.

But a rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu denied any links with Said, whom he said is a preacher and a good man. "He has been living in Cotabato the past years and we hear nothing bad about him. He is preaching Islam and that is what we know of this man they now tag as terrorist," he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Little was known about Said and officials declined to give any formal statement about his arrest or if he was planning to mount terror attacks. His arrest came several days later after the Filipino police said terrorists were planning attacks and that among those targeted are Westerners in the southern Philippines. (Mark Navales)

Children Victims Of Human Rights Hold Dialogue

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner /Dec. 18, 2007) - Children, who were victims of human rights violations from different parts of the Philippines, trooped Tuesday to the office of the Commission on Human Rights to present their plight resulting from militarization of their communities.

“They are seeking a precious gift this Christmas from the government – that is justice. And we hope that the government will not disappoint the children this time,” Maria Esmeralda Macaspac, Executive Director of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC), told the Mindanao Examiner.

CRC is a non-government organization providing psycho-social help to children-victims of human rights violations.

Particularly highlighted in the dialogue were the cases of the children internal refugees from Lianga, Surigao del Sur and General Luna, Quezon provinces who remain in evacuation centers to date; children-victims of torture by the military in Parola, Tondo; a 16-year old girl who was maimed by indiscriminate fire and charged with rebellion; and children of alleged Abu Sayyaf prisoners in the police base called Camp Bagong Diwa in Quezon City.

The CRC conducted a workshop with the children to facilitate their psychological release through peer sharing and counselling. “Their experiences were contextualized with discussions on children’s rights and the whole situation of Filipino children. From there, they were able to come up with the concrete response they seek from the government regarding their plight,” said Macaspac.

Aside from the CHR, the children are scheduled to go to the House of Representatives and the Senate to seek the help of their representatives.

“These children have been deprived of their rights. Now, we are facilitating the children’s exercise of their right to free expression to the right channels. Hopefully, this will send a message to them that even as children, they have the right to be heard,” Macaspac added.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two Kidnapped Filipinos Escape In Sulu Province


Policemen escort two escaped men in the southern RP province of Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Nickee Butlangan)



SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 18, 2007) – Two Filipinos seized in the southern province of Sulu had escaped from their captors and security forces on Monday mounted fresh operation to capture Abu Sayyaf militants tagged as behind the kidnappings, officials said.

Officials said the two men, Rolando Benitez and Edmar Molina, escaped late Sunday in the village of Wanni in Patikul town, five days after they were seized in the neighboring town of Patikul.

It was unknown how the two men were able to escaped, but Maj. Gen. Reuben Rafael, commander of military forces in Sulu, said troops were pursuing the kidnappers in the hinterlands.

"The victims are now in our custody and were already examined by doctors. They are okay," Rafael told the Mindanao Examiner by telephone from Sulu, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

He said soldiers were tracking down the militants, who originally demanded five million pesos ransom in exchange for the safe release of the two men, who are workers of Panglima town mayor Munib Estino in Sulu.

The two had been recovered by soldiers, sent to rescue them, Rafael said. "The kidnappers may have also been pressured by the rescue operation, They were constantly moving from one hideout to another and this gave the victims a chance to escape," he said.

Other reports said the two men sought the help of a villager, who turned out to be a member of the former rebel group Moro National Liberation Front, and informed police about the escape.

The two were driving a jeep in Patikul when gunmen flagged down the vehicle and seized them. The gunmen also took their jeep.

Estino is an influential politician in Sulu. It was unclear whether the abduction was connected to a feud or not or has anything to do with the politician or simply for money. Two of the kidnappers have been identified as Kirrih Hamid and Juhurim Husein. (Nickee Butlangan)

US Chopper Attacked In Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 18, 2007) – A helicopter transporting US soldiers came under fire while flying over the southern Philippine island of Basilan, where local security forces are battling Abu Sayyaf militants, officials said on Tuesday.

"The chopper was hit by hostile fire. We still don't know if there are casualties," Mayor Joel Maturan, of Unkaya Pukan town, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Fighting was raging on Tuesday in the town where suspected militants attacked government soldiers, he said. "The fighting is intense," he said without elaborating further.

Major Eugene Batara, a regional army spokesman, said the attack on the chopper occurred on Monday and that one passenger was injured after debris hit him.

"A civilian helicopter conducting a routine support and logistics flight with the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines was hit by small-arms fire over Basilan island."

"The helicopter landed at the airfield in Zamboanga without difficulty. One individual aboard suffered minor injuries from flying debris. All personnel are safe and accounted for," he said.

Maturan said the fighting erupted Tuesday after Abu Sayyaf gunmen, backed by rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), attacked government soldiers in Ungkaya Pukan.

"We still don't know if there are casualties from both sides," he said. Troops were pursuing the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan island, blamed for killing more than two dozen soldiers in sporadic clashes the past months.

A small contingent of US troops is deployed in Basilan to help Filipino troops defeat terrorism. The Abu Sayyaf is included in the US list of international terrorist groups and Washington offered as much as five million dollars for the capture of the group's known leaders. (Mindanao Examiner)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Blast Kills 1, Injures 2 In Sulu Province


A government soldier, Marine Sgt. Cyril Padenilla, 32, wounded in a grenade blast Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007 lies unconscious at the Sulu Provincial Hospital. A woman, Janet Mansog, 32, is also wounded in the blast that killed a military informant, Arnold Cataylo. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Nickee Butlangan)



SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 16, 2007) – One person was killed and three others wounded, including a government soldier, when a grenade exploded late Sunday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, police said.

Police said the killed man, Arnold Cataylo, 25, was toying with the grenade when it exploded in the village of San Raymundo in Jolo town.

A soldier, Sgt. Cyril Padenilla, 32, assigned with the Philippine Marines, and a woman, Janet Mansog, 32, were wounded in the blast at around 8.30 p.m.

Police said Cataylo was instantly killed while the wounded were rushed to the Sulu provincial hospital.

Superintendent Hakam Pae, the acting provincial police chief, said the victims were apparently drunk. It was not immediately known who owned the grenade, but Cataylo was allegedly a military informant.

Two other women identified only on their first names, Marimar and Gemma, who were with the group fled after the explosion, Pae said.

“We are still investigating the case. Policemen recovered two automatic pistols near the blast site,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Policemen were searching for the two women to shed light on the investigations. Pae said the blast was an isolated incident.

Liquor and wines are strictly prohibited in the largely Muslim province, but some convenience stores still sell them mostly to Christian soldiers stationed in the province, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.

Bars and karaoke clubs run by Christians also sprouted near military bases in Jolo.
(Nickee Butlangan)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zamboanga Del Norte Awaits For Return Of Freed Ex-Solon

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 16, 2007) – Supporters of a freed former Philippine lawmaker were eager to see him return to his hometown in the southern province of Zamboanga del Norte where they prepare a huge party to welcome the politician.

Former Rep. Romeo Jalosjos, convicted to serve two life terms for raping an 11-year girl, was granted executive clemency by President Gloria Arroyo after serving 13 years in prison.

Jalosjos walked out from the national penitentiary in Manila before dawn Sunday and even attended a mass with family members.

“We are really excited to see him back. We are preparing a big party for him and it’s like one big family reunion as friends and supporters await his return,” one of the politician’s supporters, Saturnino Santos, said.

Friends and relatives were said to be preparing for Jalosjos’ return to Dapitan City in the province where they put up streamers welcoming his return.

But it was unclear when Jalosjos would return, but this early many say he might run for Congress again in the 2010 national elections.

Human rights advocates and women’s groups have criticized Arroyo for commuting Jalosjos’ double-life sentence, saying, the politician should have not been freed from jail. (Mindanao Examiner)

Zamboanga Norte, Sabik Sa Pagbabalik Ni Ex-Rep. Romeo Jalosjos

DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 16, 2007) – Sabik na sabik na umano ang marami sa Zamboanga del Norte sa muling pagbabalik ni convicted child rapist at dating congressman Romeo Jalosjos matapos itong mapalaya mula sa New Bilibid Prison (NBP) sa Maynila.

Kahapon ng madaling-araw ay nagsimba pa si Jalosjos, kasama ang pamilya, sa kapilya ng NBP matapos na palayain dakong hating-gabi.

Binigyan ng pardon ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo si Jalosjos, halos 13 taon matapos itong masentensyahan ng habang-buhay na pagkabilanggo sa paghahalay sa isang 11-anyos na diumano’y prostitute nuong 1996.

Ang pagpapalaya ni Arroyo kay Jalosjos ay umani ng malaking batikos mula sa ibat-ibang grupo ng mga kababaihan at kritiko ng dating pulitiko.

Inamin ni Jalosjos na malaki ang utang na loob nito kay Arroyo sa pagpapatawad sa kanya.

Nagdiwang naman ang mga supporters ni Jalosjos sa Zamboanga del Norte, partikular sa Dapitan City, na kung saan ay hinihintay ng marami ang pagbabalik nito sa lalawigan.

Hindi naman mabatid kung kailangan ang dating ni Jalosjos sa Dapitan City, ngunit nagkalat na ang mga banners at streamers ng suporta sa kanya sa ibat-ibang lugar doon.

Si Jalosjos ay nadakip mismo ni dating presidential security chief Hermogenes Esperon na ngayon ay hepe ng Armed Forces matapos ng matagal na pagtatago sa batas.

Kapuna-puna naman ang bilugang katawan ni Jalosjos ng ito’y lumaya at bakas sa kanyang kalusugan ang magandang trato sa piitan. (Mindanao Examiner)

Muslim Rebels Appeal For Patience As Peace Talks Failed

SULTAN KUDARAT, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 16, 2007) – The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), appealed for patience as peace talks with Manila stalled over demands for a separate Muslim homeland in the strife-torn, but mineral-rich region of Mindanao.

The MILF accused Manila of reneging to its commitment after peace talks failed Saturday in Malaysia, which is brokering the negotiations.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said the Philippine panel last month agreed on the scope of the Muslim ancestral domain, but reneged on the accord that will constitute a separate homeland for about 4 million Muslims and indigenous tribes in Mindanao.

”This ugly turn of event in the peace process is taxing the patience of the MILF and the Bangsamoro people, who may be compelled to resort to other means, pacific or otherwise, of resolving the Mindanao conflict when they are pushed to the wall and become hopeless in the present peace process,” Iqbal said.

The MILF said government negotiators headed by Rodolfo Garcia completely disregarded the agreement on the ancestral domain and insisted again that the granting of homeland to Muslims in Mindanao would solely be through Constitutional process which the rebel group previously opposed.

But the Philippine charter prohibits the dismembering of the country.

“This stance of the GRP peace panel has virtually jeopardized the integrity of the peace process and to continue with the talks would virtually turn it into a circus,” Iqbal said.

“The Philippine negotiators introduced extraneous and new matters not discussed and taken upon by the parties during the previous exploratory talks on ancestral domain that led to the signing of several consensus points.”

Iqbal said government leaders opposed to the peace talks should be blamed for the break down in the negotiations.

“We believe that spoilers of the peace process right at the corridors of powers are at work behind the scene to intervene again at the expense of our honorable counterpart from the government, without the knowledge of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” he said without elaborating further.

”The MILF peace panel, from the start of the talks in January 1997, has been serious in finding a just, lasting, and comprehensive political settlement of the Moro problem and the conflict in Mindanao and, therefore, has detested and will not participate in any double deal that would lead the parties to end.”

“The stand of the MILF peace panel and their principal, the Central Committee of the MILF, is that it is better to have no agreement at all than to enter into a bad agreement. The MILF leadership therefore appeals to the public and our constituents for their understanding and patience and steadfast in the support of the peace process,” he said.
Peace talks had been stalled since September last year after both sides failed to agree on the scope of the ancestral domain, which is the single most important issue in the peace negotiations before the rebel group can reach a political settlement.

Iqbal last week said that both sides are expected to sign the formal agreement on ancestral domain probably before the end of the year after the two groups ended a meeting in Malaysia in November.

The ancestral domain which covers the whole of Muslim autonomous region and other areas in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani provinces where there are large communities of Muslims and indigenous tribes. And even Palawan Island in central Philippines and the Sulu Archipelago.

Mohammad Ameen, a senior rebel leader, said the MILF will only sign a peace deal with Manila if it establishes genuine governance for Muslims either in the form of “state” or “sub-state”.

President Gloria Arroyo has opened up peace talks with the MILF, the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group fighting for the establishment of a strict Islamic state, in 2001.

The MILF earlier warned that hostilities may erupt in Mindanao if the peace talks fail or if Malaysia pulls out its truce observers from the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao, whose 16 million populations included four million Muslims.

The IMT is composed of 41 officers from the Malaysian Defense Forces, the Royal Malaysia Police, and the Prime Minister’s Department and is also supported by 10 military officers from Brunei Darussalam and 5 from Libya. Japan also has a member in the IMT.

But analysts fear that Arroyo or her allies in the House of Representatives might use the peace talks with the MILF as an excuse to amend the Constitution to change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary or federalism to allow the MILF to have a separate state and eventually prolong her into power beyond 2010.

Under the presidential form of government, Arroyo, who deposed President Joseph Estrada in a people power revolution in 2001, is allowed only one six-year term.

In the charter change proposal suggested by her political allies who dominate Congress, she can be elected as prime minister should Congress approve a proposal to dissolve the Senate and change the system of government to parliamentary. (Mindanao Examiner)