Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Philippines Defense chief criticized over statement

MANILA, Philippines - Philippines Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro was on Wednesday criticized for the proposed pre-emptive evacuation of residents during a calamity.

“Secretary Gilberto Teodoro seems more concerned with his publicity points than preventing another disaster where children are most vulnerable,” this is the strong reaction of child rights advocates led by SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns, in his recent directive regarding the forced evacuation of minors in the face of another typhoon (international name “Parma”).

“The destruction wrought by typhoon (Ketsana) Ondoy is not a new phenomenon in the Philippines. We witnessed the thousands of lives affected by Milenyo, Rosing and Reming, many of whom come from very poor families with little or no resources at all to cope effectively and quickly in the face of such calamities. The government and its disaster arm, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, know that the Philippines is in the typhoon belt, yet it is always caught flat-footed every time,” said Sophia Garduce, spokesperson of SALINLAHI.

She added that the policy of pre-emptive evacuation and stand-by rescue operation should be implemented long before a typhoon hits land.

Garduce also criticized the idea of forcibly evacuating minors who cannot legally decide for themselves. “This directive by Teodoro is downright stupid and contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which affirms that a child’s place is with his or her parents. Taking children away from their parents in times of crisis is as Neanderthal as the response to unaccompanied and separated children during World War II. In fact, if Teodoro might want to take a few minutes of his time to do research, this situation of children being separated from their parents was the impetus for the Declaration on the Rights of the Child."

According to Garduce, children feel most secure when they are within the comforting arms of their parents, particularly their mothers. “To separate them from their parents in the face of disaster is equally traumatic as the disaster experience itself. It is also impractical as young children need to be cared for by an adequate number of trained personnel,” she said.

She also pointed out that this directive implicitly puts the blame for the death toll among children on the parents. “The Arroyo government cannot escape accountability by implying that the parents of the children were to blame for the deaths."

"The fact is that the government has no disaster preparedness program and that the government rescue operations were slow and inadequate to say the least. These children could have been alive and probably helping their parents clean up their mud-soaked houses today had the government been prepared for this eventuality,” Garduce said.

Hundreds of wheel chairs benefit poor in Davao City

An old woman in Davao City who was recently given a wheel chair speaks to lawyer Karlo Nograles and praised him and his father House Speaker Prospero Nograles for the donation. The Nograleses have donated hundreds of wheel chairs mostly to poor recipients in the city's 1st District.


DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Residents in the southern Filipino city of Davao praised the humanitarian programs of House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

The solon and his son and chief of staff, lawyer Karlo Nograles, are both active in many humanitarian and development projects aimed at helping poor families in the 1st District of Davao City.

Nograles who belongs to the 1st District have launched various pro-poor programs and one of them is the “Oplan Kalusugan” where the duo distributed wheel chairs to disabled residents.

Just recently, the young Nograles led a distribution of wheel chairs to residents.

“At least in our little way, we are able to bring a smile and offer a little bit of comfort to them,” he said.
He also told poor residents who needed wheel chairs or medical assistance to visit the congressional office in Quirino Avenue in Davao City or get in touch with their village leaders.

The father and son tandem have distributed hundreds of wheel chairs in Davao City.

Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review September 20-26, 2009

Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review September 20-26, 2009 Part 1



Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review September 20-26, 2009 Part 2



Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review September 20-26, 2009 Part 3



Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review September 20-26, 2009 Part 4

Philippine rebels demand pullout of US troops

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 30, 2009) – Communist rebels on Wednesday demanded anew the pullout of US troops in the Philippines following the killing of two American counterterrorism specialists in a roadside bombing in Sulu province.

The outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines warned the US against using the killing of the soldiers to justify an escalation of its military intervention in the country.

"The killing yesterday of two US soldiers in Sulu underscores the need to put an immediate end to the deployment of US soldiers in the Philippines, especially where there is a raging armed conflict between the Philippine government and anti-government armed groups. This is neither the first nor the last case where US soldiers' intrusion into combat zones and actual participation in combat operations in Philippine territory has been exposed," the CPP said in a statement.

The two slain US soldiers SSG Jack Martin and SFC Christopher Shaw were killed Tuesday in the town of Indanan where security forces are fighting Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants. A Filipino marine was also killed in the bombing.

"We urge the Filipino and American people to demand that the Obama government immediately pull out all its interventionist troops in the country and thus prevent the escalation of combat operations involving American troops from turning the Philippines into another Iraq and Afghanistan," the CPP said, adding, “the American people would not want to be drawn into another Vietnam-like quagmire."

It also called on Manila to scrap the controversial Visiting Forces Agreement that allows continued US military presence in the Philippines.

"The repeal of the VFA and all other unequal military treaties between the US and Philippine governments has now even more become an urgent clamor of the Filipino people," the CPP said.

"With hundreds of US troops carrying out various combat, combat-related as well as covert operations in the Philippines, it is inevitable that more and more US soldiers and operatives will be targeted by various armed groups that view them as interventionist forces aligned with the Armed Forces of the Philippines," it said.

Philippine military and US Embassy officials said the slain US soldiers were noncombatants and that they were in the area to supervise a school project.

But local Muslims in Sulu said US forces were involved in clandestine operations aimed at capturing or killing known Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militant leaders.

“The Filipino people do not accept the US and Philippine governments' spin that the US soldiers killed in Indanan were non-combatants and involved only in development projects," the CPP said.

"As always, those US interventionist troops were armed to the teeth, self-confident in their military prowess and actually combat-ready, but they failed to anticipate the blast that hit them as they entered hostile territory. Their so-called humanitarian and development projects serve only as entry points for their presence and participation in combat and combat-related operations," it added.

Local authorities said the Abu Sayyaf is coddling Jemaah Islamiya militants in Sulu and among them were Dulmatin and Umar Patek, tagged as behind the deadly 2002 Bali bombings; and several others that included Mauiya and Quayem. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sayyaf defies military offensive, bombs bridge in Sulu





Abu Sayyaf militants bombed a bridge in Sulu's Indanan town on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The bombing came hours after militants blasted a US military vehicle in the town killing two counterterrorism soldiers. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Nickee Butlangan).


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 30, 2009) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants have blown up a bridge in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, defying an all-out government offensive aimed at crushing terrorism that had killed two US soldiers on Tuesday.

Police on Wednesday deployed more forces in Indanan town after militants, backed by Moro rebels, bombed the bridge in the village of Bunot late Tuesday. It was the second bridge bombed by the Abu Sayyaf in a span of one week.

The attack came hours after a deadly roadside bombing that killed two US counterterrorism soldiers - SSG Jack Martin and SFC Christopher Shaw and a Filipino marine PFC Estrada – in Kagay village also in the town of Indanan.

A police post was also bomb on Tuesday morning in the village of Kasanyangan in Jolo town, but there were no reports of casualties.

“We have deployed more forces to protect the civilians from possible attacks by the Abu Sayyaf,“ said Senior Superintendent Muhibuddin Ismail, the provincial police chief.

US troops are deployed in Sulu since 2006 and assisting the Philippine military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf. Although security officials deny US forces were directly involved in combat operations, there were numerous reports from civilians that American soldiers actually participated in the operations aimed at capturing or killing militant leaders in Sulu and other areas in the restive southern region of Mindanao.

A US soldier was also killed and another wounded in a bomb attack at a roadside cafe near an army in Zamboanga City in October 2002.

Last week, eight Filipino soldiers were also killed after militants ambushed their truck in Indanan town. The military said at least 34 militants were also slain in the fighting, including an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Ustadz Muktar, a cousin of militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, who is wanted by the US government for terrorism.

But of the 34 slain militants, only two bodies had been recovered by soldiers.

The Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, accused the military of attacking one of their bases in Indanan that killed two former rebels.

US Special Forces were aiding the Philippine military in the hunt for militants, according to Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.

He said the US military is providing intelligence to the local troops in the hunt for the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants in Sulu.

Dolorfino said troops were tracking down at least four most senior Abu Sayyaf leaders – Dr Abu, Albader Parad, Isnilon Hapilon and Yasser Igasan – including two foreign Jemaah Islamiya terrorists Mauiya and Quayem and some 200 followers.

The series of attacks occurred just as troops continue their operation against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants tagged as behind the series of bomb attacks and kidnappings for ransom in Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.

Madarang Sali, deputy supreme commander of the Bangsamoro National Liberation Front, said military offensive against the MNLF continues in Sulu. He said government operations were directed as MNLF leader Khaid Ajibunm who had escaped a military raid last week. (MIndanao Examiner)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stop extrajudicial killings in Davao City, lawyer urges authorities

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A prominent lawyer and son of House Speaker Prospero Nograles has called on the authorities to put a stop to extrajudicial killings in Davao City in the southern Philippines.

Karlo Nograles, who is also his father’s chief of staff, expressed alarm over the spate of unresolved murders blamed to the shadowy group called Davao death Squad, which was behind the hundreds of killings of suspected criminals and drug addicts over the years.

He said the only way to stop the murders is to get its mastermind. The so-called vigilante killings, he said, brought shame to Davao City.

”You solve problems at its roots,” the young lawyer said during his Saturday’s radio talk show called “Kalamboan Dala Tanan.”

He also talked about the continuing investigation by the Commission on Human Rights on the killings that have drawn outcries from the United Nations and the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The CHR on Friday conducted its 4th round of investigation on the alleged existence of the death squad. Lawyer Leila de Lima, CHR chairwoman, said she is convinced that the death squad exists and that it is likely behind over 800 murders the past 10 years.

Also alarmed by the killings, the House Speaker has the “Anti-Salvage Bill” in the lower house. “It was also a response to calls by international agencies to put an end to the killings,” Nograles said.

Former District 2 Councilor Beethoven Orcullo, a guest in Nograles’ radio program, said the killing spree in Davao City is unprecedented.

Also a former prosecutor, Orcullo agreed with the young Nograles that the brains behind the extrajudicial killings should be arrested and jailed. “Murder is a capital offense,” he said.

Another radio guest, Greggo Pantig, said residents are against summary executions.

He said the locals cannot openly protest about the killings because they are afraid of possible retaliation from the death squad.

“We have the police. We have the courts and the jail and there is no reason to kill people even if they are criminal suspects,” he said.

Pantig said the street killings have only brought chaos to community, pointing out as an example other areas that are ruled by warlords. “Places where killings are prevalent do not progress,” he said.

“The opposition to street killings is best symbolized by the campaign of the Catholic church to stop the Davao Death Squad. The priests gave Davao City a courageous and strong moral voice against these terrifying elements of society,” he added.

2 US soldiers killed in blast in Southern Philippines



The remains of a destroyed US military vehicle after a roadside bombing Tuesday, September 29, 2009 in the southern Philippine island of Sulu. Two US Special Forces soldiers and a Filipino marine were killed in the attack believed carried out by militants. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Nickee Butlangan).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 29, 2009) – Two US soldiers and a Filipino marine were killed in a roadside bombing Tuesday in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Philippine military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr said the blast killed two American soldiers and a Filipino marine in Sulu province. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

“We still don’t know who was behind the attack, but two US troops and a Filipino soldier were killed in the roadside bombing,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Police said three more Filipino soldiers were wounded in the attack that targeted the US and Philippine military convoy. Earlier reports said two US American soldiers were also wounded in the blast, but Brawner claimed that only two had died from the attack.

The attack occurred at around 8.30 a.m. in the village of Kagay in Indanan town where local troops are battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants since last week.

Security officials did not identify the slain US soldiers, but the wounded Filipino marines are all in critical condition. Other sources in Sulu named the slain Americans as SSG Jack Martin and SFC Christopher Shaw.

Brawner said the US and Filipino troops were on their way to inspect a school project when their vehicles rolled over a landmine.

US Special Forces are deployed in Sulu since 2006 and aiding the Philippine military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf. Although security officials deny US forces were directly involved in combat operations, there were numerous reports from civilians that American soldiers actually participated in the operations aimed at capturing or killing militant leaders in Sulu and other areas in the restive southern region of Mindanao.

A US soldier was also killed and another wounded in a bomb attack at a roadside cafe near an army in Zamboanga City in October 2002.

Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga city, said the US and Filipino troops were in a convoy heading to a school project when the bomb went off.

“The US troops are not involved in the operation against the Abu Sayyaf. They were there because there is a school project in the village,” Dolorfino said in a separate interview.

The wounded troops were rushed to a military hospital in Jolo town, where another bomb exploded at a police post.

There were no reports of casualties in the explosion which occurred at around 10.30 a.m. in the village of Kasanyangan.

Police said an improvised explosive was used in the attack in the village of Kasanyangan, but there were no reports of casualties. “This is the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf. We have tightened security in the villages to prevent future attacks,” said Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, commander of police forces in the capital town of Jolo.

He said the explosion targeted the command post of the Regional Mobile Group. The attack occurred three days after policemen killed an Abu Sayyaf militant, Karim Juldani, and captured another Albashir Adjili, in a firefight in Jolo town.

The two, Pingay said, were trying to sneak into Jolo when policemen stopped them near a checkpoint. He said police seized weapons from the two men.
Pingay ordered additional checkpoints around the town and appealed to citizens to stay vigilant and report to the police or military suspicious persons in their area.

“We must defeat terrorism. Citizens should stay vigilant,” he said.

The attack occurred just as troops continue their operation against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants tagged as behind the series of bomb attacks and kidnappings for ransom in Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.

Fighting in Sulu between troops and militants had killed 42 people, including eight marines who were ambushed by the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town last week. Nine soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, accused the military of attacking its forces in Sulu’s Indanan town. It said troops shelled one of its camps, killing two of its members and wounding 8 more.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command denied the accusations and said the offensive targeted the militant groups – the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya – adding, two of its feared terror leaders Mauiya and Quayem are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf.

Madarang Sali, deputy supreme commander of the Bangsamoro National Liberation Front, said military offensive against the MNLF still continues in Sulu. “Up to this time, the military offensive is going on,” he said on Tuesday.

He said government operations were directed as MNLF leader Khaid Ajibun who had escaped a military raid last week. (Mindanao Examiner)

US Special Forces soldier killed, 5 more wounded in roadside bombing in Southern Philippines


Undated photos of US and Philippine troops in the southern Philippine island of Sulu. A US Special Forces soldier was killed and five more wounded in a roadside bombing Tuesday, September 29, 2009 in Sulu's Indanan town. (Mindanao Examiner Photos)


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 29, 2009) – A roadside bombing Tuesday in the southern Philippines killed a US Special Force soldier and wounded 5 more, including three Filipino marines.

The attack occurred at around 8.30 a.m. in the village of Kagay near Indanan town in Sulu province where local troops are battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants since last week.

Security officials did not identify the US soldiers, but three of the Filipino marines wounded in the bombing were all in critical conditions.

US Special Forces are deployed in Sulu since 2006 and aiding the Philippine military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf. Although security officials deny US forces were directly involved in combat operations, there were numerous reports from civilians that American soldiers actually participated in the operations aimed at capturing or killing militant leaders in Sulu and other areas in the restive southern region of Mindanao.

A US soldier was also killed and another wounded in a bomb attack at a roadside cafe near an army in Zamboanga City in October 2002.

Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, chief of the military’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga city, said the US and Filipino troops were in a convoy heading to a school project when the bomb went off.

“The US troops are not involved in the operation against the Abu Sayyaf. They were there because there is a school project in the village,” Dolorfino said.

The wounded troops were rushed to a military hospital in Jolo town, where another bomb exploded at a police post.

There were no reports of casualties in the explosion which occurred at around 10.30 a.m. in the village of Kasanyangan.

Police said an improvised explosive was used in the attack in the village of Kasanyangan, but there were no reports of casualties. “This is the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf. We have tightened security in the villages to prevent future attacks,” said Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, commander of police forces in the capital town of Jolo.

He said the explosion targeted the command post of the Regional Mobile Group. The attack occurred three days after policemen killed an Abu Sayyaf militant, Karim Juldani, and captured another Albashir Adjili, in a firefight in Jolo town.

The two, Pingay said, were trying to sneak into Jolo when policemen stopped them near a checkpoint. He said police seized weapons from the two men.

Pingay ordered additional checkpoints around the town and appealed to citizens to stay vigilant and report to the police or military suspicious persons in their area.

“We must defeat terrorism. Citizens should stay vigilant,” he said.

The attack occurred just as troops continue their operation against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants tagged as behind the series of bomb attacks and kidnappings for ransom in Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.

Fighting in Sulu between troops and militants had killed 42 people, including eight marines who were ambushed by the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town last week. Nine soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, accused the military of attacking its forces in Sulu’s Indanan town. It said troops shelled one of its camps, killing two of its members and wounding 8 more.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command denied the accusations and said the offensive targeted the militant groups – the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya – adding, two of its feared terror leaders Mauiya and Quayem are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf.

Madarang Sali, deputy supreme commander of the Bangsamoro National Liberation Front, said military offensive against the MNLF still continues in Sulu. “Up to this time, the military offensive is going on,” he said on Tuesday.

He said government operations were directed as MNLF leader Khaid Ajibunm who had escaped a military raid last week. (With reports from Nickee Butlangan and Merlyn Manos)

Police post attacked in South RP

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 29, 2009) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants attacked a police post Tuesday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, where security forces are battling the group blamed for the spate of terrorism in the restive region, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Police said an improvised explosive was used in the attack in the village of Kasanyangan, but there were no reports of casualties. “This is the handiwork of the Abu Sayyaf. We have tightened security in the villages to prevent future attacks,” said Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, commander of police forces in the capital town of Jolo.

He said the explosion occurred at around 10.30 a.m. and targeted the command post of the Regional Mobile Group. The attack occurred three days after policemen killed an Abu Sayyaf militant, Karim Juldani, and captured another Albashir Adjili, in a firefight in Jolo town.

The two, Pingay said, were trying to sneak into Jolo when policemen stopped them near a checkpoint. He said police seized weapons from the two men.

Pingay ordered additional checkpoints around the town and appealed to citizens to stay vigilant and report to the police or military suspicious persons in their area.

“We must defeat terrorism. Citizens should stay vigilant,” he said.

The attack occurred just as troops continue their operation against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants tagged as behind the series of bomb attacks and kidnappings for ransom in Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region.

Fighting in Sulu between troops and militants had killed 42 people, including eight marines who were ambushed by the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town last week. Nine soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, accused the military of attacking its forces in Sulu’s Indanan town. It said troops shelled one of its camps, killing two of its members and wounding 8 more.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command denied the accusations and said the offensive targeted the militant groups – the Abu Sayyaf and the Jemaah Islamiya – adding, two of its feared terror leaders Mauiya and Quayem are being protected by the Abu Sayyaf.

Madarang Sali, deputy supreme commander of the Bangsamoro National Liberation Front, said military offensive against the MNLF still continues in Sulu. “Up to this time, the military offensive is going on,” he said on Tuesday.

He said government operations were directed as MNLF leader Khaid Ajibunm who had escaped a military raid last week. (With a report from Geo Solmerano)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review Sept. 13-19, 2009

Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review Sept. 13-19, 2009 Part 1




Mindanao Examiner TV Week In Review Sept. 13-19, 2009 Part 2

Pool resources to help typhoon victims, House Speaker urges solons

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles urged all members of the House of Representatives to pool the resources together to initially come up with material assistance to the numerous victims of typhoon Ondoy which wrought havoc to a wide area of the country.

"We should immediately pass the hat around and pool our available resources, both personal and official, in cash or in kind, to help the Philippine National Red Cross in its relief operations to help out the flood victims," Nograles said.

Noting the serious vulnerability of the country to natural disasters, Nograles said there is a need to reevaluate the nation's disaster preparedness plan in coordination with the Local Government Units to improve government capabilities to meet contingencies during emergencies.

"The widespread flooding has brought to fore the weaknesses of our preparedness programs. People and government must work together and commit ourselves to meet future challenges and eventualities," Nograles said.

The House leader also lauded the efforts of the national government, particularly President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, for immediately mobilizing government resources to alleviate the plight of the victims.

"President Arroyo and Secretary Teodoro are personally and closely coordinating all government agencies led by the National Disaster Coordinating Council, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, National Defense and the military, in the rescue and relief operations," he noted.

Nograles said the immediate proclamation of a state of calamity covering the affected areas promptly allowed the national and local government to release the needed funds to defray the expenses for the relief operations.

"We are very appreciative of the immediate and on going relief operations by the private sector, especially the leading televisions and radio networks, for their efforts to gather and coordinate donations from all sectors, including the distribution, to those who most needed assistance," Nograles said.

"Ondoy is far worse than typhoon Katrina. The damage to life and property and infrastructure, as per latest reports, is just unthinkable," Nograles added.

Ketsana is the international codename of typhoon Ondoy. (Gil Bugaoisan)

Davao City's Exotic Durian!


A woman sells durian in Davao City in the southern Philippines. The fruit which many Filipinos consider as an aphrodisiac is a delicacy in Mindanao and is a favorite among travelers visiting Davao and Sulu where the spiky fruit is abound. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Geo Solmerano)

Ketsana cancels jet flights; passengers stranded in Manila





Stranded passengers braved hunger and the cold weather at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2. Flights were either canceled or delayed as typhoon Ketsana strikes Metro Manila. At least 73 people were dead and more than 300,000 are displaced by the typhoon.(Photo by Karlos Manlupig)
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 28, 2009) – Dozens of people were killed and at least 32 others are missing as typhoon Ketsana headed Monday to Vietnam.

The typhoon left a trail of destruction in the Philippines, leaving more than 300,000 people either without homes or affected by flash floods. Many areas in Metro Manila are submerged and rescuers were plucking out people on rooftops and trees.

Electricity was cut in flooded areas and classes in many schools were suspended until further notice from Education officials. Many people were also stranded in airports and seaports across the country.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council said close to 8,000 people had been rescued since Saturday.

Ketsana was one of the worst typhoons that hit the Philippines in recent years. (With a report from Karlos Manlupig)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Labanan sa Sulu, humupa na!

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / September 27, 2009) – Pansamantalang natigil ang labanan sa pagitan ng militar at Abu Sayyaf sa lalawigan ng Sulu na kung saan ay 8 sundalo ang nasawi sa matinding sagupaan.

Bagamat natigil ang kaguluhan ay patuloy naman diumano ang intelligence operations ng militar sa tulong na rin ng mga sundalong Kano na naka-deploy sa Sulu mula pa nuong 2006. Tumutulong ang mga Kano sa paghahanap sa Abu Sayyaf.

“Our operation is going on,” ani Major Ramon David Hontiveros, spokesman ng Western Mindanao Command. Hindi naman ito nagbigay ng detalye ukol sa operasyon ng militar.

Huling inulat ng Western Mindanao Command na 34 mga Abu Sayyaf ang nasawi sa labanan nuong nakaraang linggo, ngunit dalawang bangkay lamang ang nabawi ng mga tropa ng Marines.

Nabatid na lumaki lamang ang bilang ng mga nasawing terorista dahil sa mga intelligence reports na nasagap ng militar, ngunit wala naman itong basehan.

Pormal naman na itinalaga ng militar si Brigadier General Rustico Guererro bilang bagong hepe ng Task Force Comet sa Sulu na dating pinamumunuan ni Brigadier General Eugenio Clemen. Nagpalit lamang ng puwesto sina Guererro at Clemen na parehong nalagasan ng maraming mga sundalo sa mga nakalipas na labanan. (Mindanao Examiner)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vietnamese ship runs aground in Zamboanga City





A Vietnamese cargo ship, M/V Tan Bhino5, bound for China ran aground on Saturday, September 26, 2009 after huge waves and strong winds brought about by the tropical storm Ketsana battered the vessel off Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. The ship was sailing to Zamboanga del Sur province to load manganese when it ran aground. Many areas in the country, including the capital Manila is submerged in flood after daylong rain showers. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 26, 2009) – A Vietnamese cargo vessel ran aground on Saturday after huge waves and strong winds brought about by tropical storm Ketsana battered the vessel.

The Philippine Coast Guard said the ship, M/V Tan Binho5, was supposed to sail to the town of Malangas in Zamboanga del Sur province to load manganese before heading to China.

“The ship ran aground because of the big waves and strong winds. We have no reports of injuries. The cargo ship was supposed to sail to Malangas to load manganese and then head to China,” said Coast Guard PO1 Liberty Servo.

The storm flooded many areas in Zamboanga City and several small boats anchored in coastal villages were destroyed. More than 200 families were also affected by flash floods in Zamboanga City.

In Manila, streets were also flooded and television news pictures showed many people stranded in some areas in the cities of Malabon and Navotas. (Mindanao Examiner)

Rebels attack marines post in Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 26, 2009) – Gunmen attacked a marine detachment in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where troops are battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants, officials said on Saturday.

Officials said the marines repulsed the attack which occurred late Friday in the village of Bato-Bato in Indanan town, scene of last week’s fierce clashes that left 34 militants and eight soldiers dead.

“Our marines repulsed the attack. No casualties were reported on either side,” said Marine Major Ramon David Hontiveros, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

Hontiveros did not say who were behind the attack, but the town is a stronghold of Moro National Liberation Front rebels who aided Abu Sayyaf forces in last week’s clashes.

The MNLF accused the military of targeting them in the guise of pursuing the Abu Sayyaf in Indanan town.

It said security forces shelled their camp on September 20, although there were no reports of casualties. The military attack coincided with the Eid festival which signals the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

A Moro rebel leader, Madarang Sali, deputy supreme commander of the Bangsamoro National Liberation Front, said the military offensive targeted a stronghold of Khaid Ajibun, a senior leader of the MNLF in Camp Marang near the village of Talibang.

“The Muslims are celebrating the Hari Raya, but what greeted us are bombings from military aircrafts,” he said.

Sali accused the military of terrorizing the Muslims in Sulu, an accusation strongly denied by the armed forces.

“The Bangsamoro National Liberation Army declares publicly and calls and manifests our Islamic solidarity behind our brothers-in-Islam and to support the declaration of Jihad against the Philippine Government and Armed Forces of the Philippines for the restoration of sovereign states of the Bangsamoro Homeland. There are no terrorists in our homeland, but we are being terrorized by Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.

The MNLF signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, but many of its members were disgruntled by the agreement and accusing the government of failing to honor the provisions of the accord.

Under the peace agreement, Manila would have to provide a mini-Marshal Plan to spur economic development in Muslim areas in the south and livelihood and housing assistance to tens of thousands of former rebels to uplift their poor living standards.

Many of its members have either joined the Abu Sayyaf or Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which is fighting the past three decades for self-determination. (Mindanao Examiner)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Roundtable on impunity of crimes against journalists took place in Philippines

SAN JUAN CITY, Philippines - Experts in law, human rights, history, political science, psychology, anthropology and communication joined media representatives recently in a round-table discussion on the culture of impunity of crimes committed against journalists.

According to Florangel Rosario Braid, Chair of the Communication Committee of the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO, the discussion aimed to examine the problem of impunity of crimes committed against Filipino journalists, from a multidisciplinary perspective, with inputs from experts in social sciences. Through an analysis of the causes of impunity and of case examples, a policy framework and an action plan will be recommended to address the continued killing of journalists.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, already sounded an alarm for the increasing deaths of Filipino journalists, “who have been made to pay an intolerably heavy price to exercise the basic human right of freedom of expression”. He has called on the Philippine authorities to “spare no effort in bringing to justice the culprits of these crimes which undermine the rights and freedoms of all the citizens of the Philippines”.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility reports that 134 Filipino journalists were killed from 1986 until August 2009. 80 of these murders were work-related. Since the beginning of 2009, six journalists have already been killed.

At the roundtable discussion, funded by UNESCO’s Office in Jakarta, and organized by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) and the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO, the participants decided to undertake a research that would examine culture, history, child rearing, education, media and economics of the Filipino society.

They also recommended that the content and context of reports on the killings be analysed, and the families of victims, as well as the perpetrators of crimes, be heard and considered in the study.

The participants of the roundtable, together with other experts, will form an e-group to finalise the research framework and to share papers and case studies.

AIJC President, Ramon Tuazon, facilitated the roundtable discussion. Other participants represented the Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the Centre for Community Journalism and Development, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (National Association of Philippine Broadcasters), the Philippine Press Institute, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, the Philippines Communication Society and the Philippine Association of Communication Educators. (UNESCO)


Link: http://portal.unesco.org/ci/fr/ev.php-URL_ID=29176&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Lakas solons will support admin standard bearer in 2010 polls, says House Speaker

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles said that Cebu Representative Antonio Cuenco may have been speaking only for himself in relation to his statement that a majority of Lakas congressmen are inclined to support Senator Benigno Aquino III as he stressed that the selection of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as the administration's standard bearer was precisely based on the recommendation and endorsement of the overwhelming majority of administration congressmen.

“I don't think that there is any basis for such assessment because the Lakas leadership made its own survey with respect to their choice for a presidential candidate and their choice is Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. A great majority of our members are highly principled and I don't think that their choice of Gibo was plainly based on what Congressman Cueco describes as pork barrel considerations,” Nograles said, referring to the Defense chief.

Nograles said that as Speaker and Lakas-Kampi-CMD vice-chairman, he is in constant consultations with congressmen belonging to the majority bloc and he has not sensed any indication that they are rooting for Aquino.

“As Speaker I always talk to as many congressmen as I can everyday and that sentiment is prevailing only in the militant party lists and the liberal party stalwarts identified with Senator Frank Drilon. They have following am sure but the NPC have more and definitely Lakas-Kampi have the numbers. Representative Cuenco has been with the yellow movement since 1985 and maybe that's his emotional sentiment. Am sure the other Cebu congressmen do not feel like he does,” Nograles said.

When final reckoning comes, Nograles said that administration congressmen will toe the administration line and support the party's standard bearer.

“The Majority of congressmen and women will probably toe the administration line and we think that Gibo, . given the time and the right public exposure, should be able to shoot up by end of next month's October surveys. Villar and Chiz have their own solid following also,” Nograles said.

Nograles' position was echoed by other administration congressmen who likewise questioned the accuracy of Cuenco's alleged informal survey.

Lakas Representative Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City said that as far as he is concerned, including those belonging to the Northern Alliance bloc, Teodoro is the perfect choice as the administration's presidential bet.

“I don't think the survey is accurate at all. I was never asked and I believe that even those in the Northern Alliance will support Gibo,” Domogan said.

Representative Rodolfo Valencia (Lakas, Oriental Mindoro) also said:” I cannot believe the informal survey. Gibo Teodoro is the most qualified to be President. Am sure majority of Congressmen will support him.”

Representative Marcelino Teodoro (Lakas, Marikina City) also refuted Cuenco's claim and described it as a “misleading statement” and mere “speculation.”

“That is a misleading statement. I for one,as part of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD,knows that the ideals of the party and its long term vision to a more transparent and productive country is its strength. The informal survey by
Representative Cuenco can be discounted as mere speculation and may prove to be unsubstantiated,” he said.

“His personal survey should not cause distress to his fellow representatives who have been blatantly dragged into his personal dilemma. Aquino's surge is fleeting and rides only with the Aquino euphoria. 'Winnability' in the polls is not a guaranteed victory,but loyalty to a formidable party ideology and the sole advocacy to lead the country towards the betterment and welfare of Filipinos is the winning formula in the 2010 elections,” Teodoro added.

Davao City's Forgotten Flood Victims





For three months now, some 100 people are still in evacuation center at the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Talomo District in Davao City in Mindanao after their houses were washed away by the flash flood late this June. The City Government of Davao have already handed P10,000 in aid but is not enough to help the refugees rebuild their house and buy food and daily needs. Just like mothers Jennelyn Surigao, Editha Abarquez and Analiza Castigador, many are still hoping to return to their areas soon and live a normal life again. (AKP Images / Keith Bacongco)




Filipino lawyer and peace advocate is 2009 World Vision Peace Awardee



Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado after receiving the much-coveted World Vision International Peace Award on Monday, September 21, 2009 in Davao City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 25, 2009) – A Filipino lawyer and peace advocate Mary Ann Arnado is this year’s World Vision International Peace Awardee.

Arnado bested three others in different countries for the much-coveted award for peacemaking for her dauntless pursuit to promote peace in a non-violent yet effective way.

World Vision said it was extremely impressed and moved by Arnado’s passion, commitment, and work for peace. “Her story of dedication, courage, perseverance, critical thinking and resourcefulness to mobilize marginalized indigenous communities inspires and encourages others to engage peacemaking with the same reverence,” it said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

Arnado is the secretary general of Mindanao People’s Caucus, a network of Bangsamoro, indigenous peoples and Christian settlers which promotes peace and facilitates dialogue.

World Vision Philippines executive director Elnora Bailen-Avarientos handed the award to Arnado during the celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace on September 21 in Davao City.

Arnado had once organized the Bantay Ceasefire Monitoring Team that successfully aided the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

She had also helped mobilized over 10,000 internally displaced persons who successfully initiated a ceasefire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF in 2003.

The World Vision International Peace Prize Award for Peacemaking honors an individual who takes risks and excels in the work of conflict resolution. It is given for either bringing parties together to resolve a conflict or being a catalyst who engages peacemakers, mediators and people of moral authority into a peace process which brings hope that a significant destructive conflict can be resolved.

It was launched in 2008 in memory of and to honor Steve Williams, World Vision United Kingdom senior policy advisor on peace and conflict, who died from heart failure on December 3, 2007 at age 56.

Williams brought vast experience in peacebuilding, conflict analysis, and policy analysis and served as the co-convener of PaxNet, the World Vision global peacebuilding network.

In addition to the peace prize, World Vision Philippines also simultaneously commemorated the UN International Day of Peace through a 3-day peace event dubbed the National Children Peacebuilding Forum in Laguna province outside Manila from September 19-21. Children from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered, discussed and worked together for peace and unity.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. The organization serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Moro rebel linked to bombings is captured in Mindanao

A Philippine Army soldier mans his post in Cotabato City. Troops and policemen captured a Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel allegedly behind the spate of bombings in Kidapawan City. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Mark Navales)


MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 24, 2009) – Philippine authorities arrested a senior leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front implicated by the military to the spate of bombings in Kidapawan City in Mindanao, officials said on Thursday.

Colonel Jonathan Ponce, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Badrudin Dalungan was held at a checkpoint on Wednesday in Cotabato City near Maguindanao province.

He said Dalungan is a member of the MILF’s special operations group tagged as behind the 2007 bombings in Kidapawan that killed and wounded several civilians.

“MILF-SOG Badrudin Dalungan was arrested on Wednesday afternoon at a checkpoint in Cotabato City. (He has) warrants of arrest for multiple frustrated murder in connection to the series of blasts in Kidapawan City in 2007,” Ponce said.

He said Dalungan’s arrest came a day after security forces also captured Camarudin Hadji Ali alias Commander Mudi at the house of one his wives in Cotabato City after a long intelligence and surveillance operations.

Ali is a leader of the MILF’s 105th Base Command under Ameril Umbra Kato and they are both wanted for the series of deadly attacks last year in Mindanao, according to Ponce.

He said the rebel leader has a bounty of more than a million pesos for his capture.

The MILF said authorities arrested the wrong men. “They got the wrong guys,” said Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader.

Early this month, troops captured Benjamin Esmail Satol, an alleged member of the MILF’s special operations group linked to the July 5 bombing outside a Catholic church in Cotabato City. At least five people were killed in the attack.

Satol was held at an army checkpoint in the village of Makir in Datu Odin Sinsuat town after soldiers seized a hand grenade from his bag.

The MILF, which is fighting the past three decades for self-determination, is currently negotiating peace with Manila.

Peace talks collapsed in August last year after rebel and government negotiators failed to sign a homeland deal which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional.

President Gloria Arroyo resumed the peace talks this year in an effort to put an end to bloody fighting in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

Japanese treasure hunters, Filipino guides escape kidnapping attempt in Zamboanga province

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 24, 2009) – Three Japanese treasure hunters and their Filipino guides escaped from a group of gunmen on the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay in what police said could be a kidnapping attempt.

Gunmen on Wednesday opened fire on a van carrying the foreigners Hiro Nakano, Koichirou Yoshioka and Yoshitel Miyake and their local guides Fedelito dela Penia, Rolito Berberio Jr., Rolando Doronila and Romeo Santos Jr., in the village of Timbang-Timbang in the town of Alicia.

The group escaped unhurt from the attack and reported the incident to the police. Local television news said a Filipino guide of the Japanese men, Hassanal Alsree, was arrested by the police on suspicion of being involved in the botched kidnapping.

Alsree was with the foreigners, but took off to speak to his contacts to guide them to a cave in the town where Japanese treasure had been allegedly found. But armed men later appeared and the van’s driver, sensing danger, sped off leaving Alsree behind.

Gunmen fired on the van hitting the vehicle; however, no one was hurt in the attack, the local ABS-CBN television reported.

It said the attackers escaped and that policemen recovered four empty shells of M16 rifle from the area. It was unknown whether the attackers were members of a rebel group, but the Abu Sayyaf and Moro guerrillas are actively operating in the province.

Police said the foreigners left Thursday for Manila. It gave no further details about the Japanese men or their Filipino companions. (Mindanao Examiner)

The Mindanao Examiner Blog Gets The Yellow Ribbon



ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The blog of the independent regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner was selected Thursday by The Daily Reviewer as one of the world’s top blogs.

The Mindanao Examiner blog can be accessed on this URL: http://www.mindanaoexaminer.net and http://zamboangajournal.blogspot.com.

The Daily Reviewer selects only the world's top blogs and RSS feeds. It sifts through thousands of blogs daily to present the world's best writers. The blogs that it includes are authoritative on their respective niche topics and are widely read.

To be included in The Daily Reviewer is a mark of excellence, said Angelina Mizaki, Selection Committee President of The Daily Reviewer.

The Mindanao Examiner blog can now be accessed also on this URL: http://thedailyreviewer.com/top/regional-news.

The Mindanao Examiner, which was founded in 2006, also has its news website – http://mindanaoexaminer.com.

Kidnapped Zamboanga teachers freed, not rescued

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 24, 2009) – Three kidnapped government teachers whom police claimed had been rescued from Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines were actually released after private negotiators paid millions of pesos in ransom.

Police said the public school teachers Noemi Mandi, Jocelyn Enriquez and Jocelyn Inion were rescued Wednesday in separate places in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan in Basilan province, south of Zamboanga City.

Sources said ransom ranging from three million pesos up to five million pesos was believed paid to the kidnappers for the safe release of the hostages.

The trio was kidnapped in March 13 in Zamboanga Sibugay’s Naga town and brought to Basilan where they had been held captive. The kidnappers had threatened to behead the teachers if ransom is not paid.
Police insisted the teachers were rescued.

The kidnappers released Enriquez and Mandi in Tipo-Tipo’s Bangkuang village, while Inion was freed in Kabangkalan village in Ungkaya Pukan town where police teams recovered them.

It was unknown who negotiated for the release of the teachers. But the Crisis Management Committee of Zamboanga Sibugay provincial government was previously negotiating with the kidnappers.

The freed hostages who are teachers of the Bangkaw-Bangkaw Elementary School in Zamboanga Sibugay province had been brought to the regional police headquarters in Zamboanga City on Wednesday and were kept away from journalists.

“This is the result of a close coordination between police forces in Western Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and long intelligence work. We got the teachers without bloodshed,” said Chief Superintendent Salik Macapantar, the head of the Directorial Staff of the police force in the Muslim autonomous region.

He gave no details about the rescue, but said police forces were pursuing the kidnappers. “The Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnappings of the three teachers,” he said.

The kidnappers originally demanded ten million pesos ransom in exchange for the safe release of the teachers. The freed hostages were brought to Zamboanga City from Basilan.

In January, Abu Sayyaf militants also kidnapped three teachers - Janette de los Reyes, Freires Quizon and Rafael Mayonado in Zamboanga City and held them in Basilan province and freed four months later after private negotiators paid millions of pesos in ransom. (Mindanao Examiner)

MILF fighters train in the southern Philippines





Members of the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, during training in Mindanao. The rebel group recently agreed to include international peace brokers in their talks with Manila in a bid to resolve decades-old rebellion in the troubled, but mineral-rich Mindanao region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Mark Navales)

Oil price rollback, not enough

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 24, 2009) – A pro-poor organization KADAMAY or the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap has called the recent 25 centavos rollback on petrol prices as an insult to Filipino consumers, saying, giant oil companies are earning huge profits enough to feed millions of hungry people.

Franchie Buhayan, KADAMAY Secretary General, said it is not only insulting for the ordinary Filipinos to be given such cheap token, but it is more insignificant seeing how the pump-pricing of leading oil firms is taking a toll on the living conditions of consumers, especially those who belong to the poorest sectors.

“While research institution GALLUP international has placed the country as the 5th poorest in the world and surveys have consistently placed the number of hungry Filipinos at a 4:10 ratio, oil cartels have also been reaping millions in profit daily,” Buhayan, who is also the spokesperson of the progressive group Anakpawis, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

She pointed out that Chevron and Exxon Mobil, two of the worlds’ biggest oil companies, come in 1st and 2nd place in Fortune 500’s most profitable corporations in 2008 with earnings reaching 46-billion dollars and 24-billion dollars, respectively.

Buhayan said a recent study published by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan showed Shell Filipinas, Petron and Chevron Philippines earn additional earnings of approximately 167-million pesos daily from jacked - up petroleum products.

Buhayan maintained that no rollback or pleadings from the Department of Energy and the Palace will resolve the crisis wrought by the continued skyrocketing of oil price as the crux of this crisis is the continued implementation of the Oil Deregulation Law and the tax-greedy Arroyo regime.

“The scrapping of the Oil Deregulation Law is long overdue as it is unconstitutional to begin with. The damages it has caused to our economy and the burden it has passed on to millions of poor Filipino families are already unbearable and unacceptable,” Buhayan said.

She added: “The government’s incapacity to regulate oil prices has worsened the grueling conditions of our economy and of our people. Gloria Arroyo has nailed our nation to endless abuse of the US economic hegemony through its dominance in the World Trade Organization and imperialist globalization.”

The Anakpawis Party lists together with Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Liza Maza have filed house resolutions that call for the repeal of the Oil Deregulation Law and the centralized importation of oil and the re-nationalization of Petron.

“Unfortunately, such relevant house bills are ignored by the lower house and by the Arroyo regime,” Buhayan said

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House Speaker welcomes committee action on tax on text measure

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles lauded the action taken by the House Committee on Ways and Means which reconsidered its decision to conduct further deliberations on the proposed tax on "text bill" as he pointed out that the measure can only gather support if it can guarantee that it will not increase the existing text cost now being billed on millions of consumers.

Nograles also shrugged off renewed threats by Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez that he will challenge the Speaker's leadership if he cannot facilitate the passage of the tax on text measure and stressed that he is supporting the measure provided it is free from any pass-on provisions that will mean additional burden to the consuming public.

"I'm not going to be blackmailed by such threats. All I want is to make sure that we will pass a measure that is palatable not only to the public but also to our peers in Congress, including the Senate. I support this measure especially if it will mean additional classrooms and modern educational facilities for our children but any tax on texting should be solely shouldered by the service providers and not by the consumers," Nograles said.

"Chairman Exequiel Javier and his committee did the right thing. We are never insensitive to the plight of the people," Nograles added as he urged all concerned to voice their proposals to ensure that justice prevails in all matters pertaining to taxation policies.

The House leader said that the intent behind the measure is to bolster the country's education program and the good of the youth.

"We will always listen to our people. We will listen to all the stake holders. Congress is the right place for an intelligent, comprehensive and open debate on issues of public concern," the House leader stressed.

Nograles pointed out that the decision to reconsider the approval by the ways and means panel is not a show of surrendering its position but to find the best way to address the needs of the country to promote development.

"We are not giving up on a viable idea. What we are trying to do is find ways to promote development without doing injustice to the people. This is what democracy is all about," Nograles stressed.

Congress, Nograles added, is also considering several bills promoting tax reforms, including the proposed revision on the tax levels on the so-called tax on sin products, without jeopardizing the growth of industries and the government's jobs generation programs.

"Somewhere along the way, each of us will have to sacrifice for the good of the country in general. We also have to take into consideration our efforts to attract investments," Nograles added. (Gil Bugaoisan)

Filipino, US troops honor slain marines in Zamboanga City





Philippine marines in Zamboanga City carry Wednesday, September 23, 2009 the coffin of one of eight soldiers killed in a clash with Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants in Sulu province. (Mindanao Examiner Photos)


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 23, 2009) – Philippines and US troops honored Wednesday seven Filipino marines killed in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants in the southern province of Sulu.

The caskets of seven of eight soldiers killed in Tuesday fighting were paraded in military camps in Zamboanga City, where Filipino and American troops paid their last respects.

A group of US soldiers were spotted saluting with Filipino troops as hearse of the soldiers arrived at the Western Mindanao Command. The caskets were later brought to a chapel inside a Filipino naval base where a chaplain said a requiem.

Soldiers also paid their last respect for their fallen companions. “This is reality here. We have to risk our lives to save others. We are soldiers,” one marine said.

Marine spokesman Major Ramon David Hontiveros said operations to capture Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants continued on Wednesday in Sulu province.

US Special Forces were aiding the Philippine military in the hunt for militants, according to Major General Benjamin Dolorfino, chief of the Western Mindanao Command.

He said the US military is providing intelligence to the local troops in the hunt for the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants in Sulu.

Dolorfino said troops were tracking down at least four most senior Abu Sayyaf leaders – Dr Abu, Albader Parad, Isnilon Hapilon and Yasser Igasan – including two foreign Jemaah Islamiya terrorists Mauiya and Quayem and some 200 followers.

Mauiya, believed to an Indian national, was among those previously tagged by the Philippine authorities as behind the kidnappings early this year of three international Red Cross workers in Sulu. But little is known about Quayem.

Dolorfino said at least 34 Abu Sayyaf militants and 8 soldiers were killed in the fighting since Sunday in the hinterlands of Indanan town. Among those killed was an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Ustadz Muktar, a cousin of Hapilon, who is wanted by the US for terrorism.

US Special Forces are deployed in Sulu province since 2006 and assisting the local military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)

Three kidnapped Zamboanga teachers freed

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 23, 2009) – Police forces rescued Wednesday three government teachers after more than six months in captivity in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said the hostages - Noemi Mandi, Jocelyn Enriquez and Jocelyn Inion - were rescued in separate places in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan.

The three teachers of the Bangkaw-Bangkaw Elementary School in Zamboanga Sibugay province were kidnapped March 13 while on their way home in Naga town.

“This is the result of a close coordination between police forces in Western Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and long intelligence work. We got the teachers without bloodshed,” said Chief Superintendent Salik Macapantar, the Chief of the Directorial Staff of the ARMM police force.

Macapantar said Mandi and Enriquez were rescued together in the village of Bangkuang in Tipo-Tipo town, while Inion was rescued in Kabangkalan village in nearby Unkaya Pukan town.

He gave no details about the rescue, but said police forces were pursuing the kidnappers. “The Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnappings of the three teachers,” he said.

The kidnappers originally demanded ten million pesos ransom in exchange for the safe release of the teachers. The freed hostages were brought to Zamboanga City from Basilan.

In January, Abu Sayyaf militants also kidnapped three teachers - Janette de los Reyes, Freires Quizon and Rafael Mayonado in Zamboanga City and held them in Basilan province and freed four months later after private negotiators paid millions of pesos in ransom. (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

House Speaker urged to run in 2010 Davao City mayoralty race

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Village leaders in the southern Mindanao city of Davao said there is a strong clamor for House Speaker Prospero Nograles to run for mayor in next year’s polls.

Village chieftain Rommel delos Reyes said residents are urging Nograles to seek the mayoralty post so he can continue his various humanitarian programs and development projects in Davao City.

“If I say the Speaker is not running for mayor because that is what he said, they would ask us why, and they say how they wished Speaker Nograles would run,” De los Reyes, of the village of Barangay 6-A, said in a radio talk show in Davao City.

Nograles belongs to the 1st Congressional District where most of his projects benefited the poor from livelihood programs to infrastructure projects.

“Our constituents are urging the House Speaker to run for mayor of Davao City because they know he is for the progress of Davao City,” one supporter said.

Lawyer Prospero Mojica, who was also guest in the same show, said: “As a friend, I would advice against it. But as a Dabawenyo and for the sake of the people, I want Boy Nogie to run for mayor.”

Mojica was referring to Nograles whose nickname is Boy Nogie. The lawyer, a schoolmate of Nograles in Ateneo de Manila College, said it would be a sacrifice for the solon to seek the mayoralty post, but the clamor for his to run is difficult to ignore.

Nograles, who is on his third and last term, previously said that running for a local post is not part of his plan, but would campaign for his son, noted lawyer Karlo Nograles, who is said to be eyeing a congressional seat – the 1st District of Davao City.

The young Nograles is also the solon’s chief of staff.

Another village leader, Joel Santes of Matina Crossing, said the public clamor for the solon to run as mayor is strong. “People are clamoring for change…for the development and progress of Davao City,” Santes said.

MILF leader captured in South RP

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 22, 2009) – Philippines security forces captured Tuesday a senior leader of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in the troubled region of Mindanao, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Army spokesman Colonel Jonathan Ponce said a joint team of soldiers and policemen captured Camarudin Hadji Ali alias Commander Mudi at the house of one his wives in Cotabato City after a long intelligence and surveillance operations.

“Ali is a leader of the MILF’s 105th Base Command under Ameril Umbra Kato, who are both wanted for a series of deadly attacks last year in Mindanao,” said Ponce.

The rebel leader has a bounty of more than a million pesos for his capture.

There was no immediate statement from the MILF which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. The MILF is fighting the past three decades for self-determination.

Peace talks collapsed in August last year after rebel and government negotiators failed to sign a homeland deal which the Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional.

President Gloria Arroyo resumed the peace talks this year in an effort to put an end to bloody fighting in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

Pablo Cornel Jr. and his Vintage Cameras

Pablo Cornel Jr., a camera technician, shows some of his vintage camera collections - the J&B View camera 1907 model, Yashica viewfinder 1957 model and his all time favorite, the Rollie 35 viewfinder 1950 which is now on display at the Antiques of Gensan exhibit. The exhibit is part of the General Santos City’s celebration of 5th National Tourism Week with this year's theme “TOURISM-Celebrating Diversity”. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion)

Team Nograles Praised In Davao City

Lawyer Karlo Nograles, son and chief of staff of House Speaker Prospero Nograles, is flanked by residents in Davao City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Geo Solmerano)




DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Residents of Davao City’s 1st Congressional District continue to benefit from various humanitarian projects and pro-poor programs of the "Team Nograles".

The group, headed by noted lawyer Karlo Nograles, is composed of eight prominent personalities whose vision is to help uplift the condition of the poor and promote peace and development in Davao City.

Nograles is the son and chief of staff of House Speaker Prospero Nograles whose humanitarian and development projects had helped thousands of mostly poor families in Davao City.

Residents and supporters of Nograles, are also pushing members of the Team Nograles to run for City Council in next year’s national and local polls so they can help more people and continue their projects for the benefit of the poor. They praised the team for their dedication to public service.

The young lawyer lauded “Team Nograles” for its accomplishments.

Speaking in his weekly radio program “Kalamboan Dala Tanan” over dxAB, the young Nograles said he is satisfied with the dedication of the Team Nograles members in reaching out to the District 1 constituency. “With more hands doing public service, we are able to push services more deeply in District 1,” he said.

“The kind of dedication they have in doing public service, of course, makes them good choices for the City Council,” said the young Nograles, who belongs to the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

He said party officials will still have to make the decision on who would be its candidates for the 2010 elections. “What I can say at best is that we in Lakas-Davao City are organized and ready.”

Nograles said the character and acceptability of would-be candidates of Lakas-Davao City will be major criteria in the upcoming polls. “That’s why we have good members in Team Nograles,” he said, adding, among its members are a doctor, lawyers, former council member, civic leaders, village officials and a youth leader,” he said.

Nograles has named them as Dr Jeff Ho, who is known for his sincere services to the poor and also a leading figure in many Nograles medical and health missions. And the lawyers are Prospero Mojica and Rene Villarente who are both idealists and serve as legal advisers of the Team Nograles. Shane Dolor, a 4-time city councilor, who also advises the Team Nograles on local governance.

He also named civic leader Billy Parilla, a former governor of the Rotary Club and village officials Joel Santes and Rommel delos Reyes as among those that are included in the Team Nograles along with former Sangguniang Kabataan chairwoman Jo Anne Bonguyan.

US-backed RP troops hunt for JI, Sayyaf terrorists in Sulu

Mist envelopes the magnificent Tulay Mosque in Sulu province in the southern Philippines, where security forces are battling Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants since Sunday, September 20, 2009. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)



ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 22, 2009) – Philippine troops backed by US military intelligence on Tuesday continue to hunt for Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya militants in the southern island of Sulu, where dozens of rebels and soldiers were killed in fierce clashes since last week, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Regional military chief Major General Benjamin Dolorfino said troops were tracking down at least four most senior Abu Sayyaf leaders – Dr Abu, Albader Parad, Isnilon Hapilon and Yasser Igasan – including two foreign Jemaah Islamiya terrorists Mauiya and Quayem and some 200 gunmen.

Mauiya, believed to an Indian national, was among those previously tagged by the Philippine authorities as behind the kidnappings early this year of three international Red Cross workers in Sulu. But little is known about Quayem.

“Our forces are pursuing the Abu Sayyaf and JI terrorists. We will get them sooner or later,” Dolorfino said.

He said at least 34 Abu Sayyaf militants and 8 soldiers were killed in the fighting since Sunday in the hinterlands of Indanan town. Among those killed on the side of the Abu Sayyaf was Ustadz Muktar, a cousin of Hapilon, whom is wanted by the US for terrorism.

Dolorfino said the US military has been providing intelligence to the Philippine military in the hunt for the terrorists. “The US military is providing intelligence support,” he said without elaborating.

But US Special Forces are deployed in Sulu province since 2006 and assisting the local military in defeating the Abu Sayyaf.

Police are also on alert for retaliatory attacks by the Abu Sayyaf after security forces captured one of their main camps in Indanan town.

Chief Inspector Usman Pingay, head of police in the capital town of Jolo, said he had received intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf plans to attack after their largest camp on the island was overran by troops.

He said police had set up more road checkpoints and were conducting more foot patrols.

“We are in heightened alert. We have intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf may launch an attack in Jolo, probably as retaliation to the ongoing military offensive,” Pingay told the Mindanao Examiner by phone from Jolo.

Dolorfino said the fall of the Abu Sayyaf camp was a big blow to the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group. “The capture of the Abu Sayyaf camp is a big blow to the enemy because it is one of their main strongholds in Sulu,” he said.

The seized Abu Sayyaf camp was near to the base of former Moro National Liberation Front rebels, who were believed coddling the militants, according to Dolorfino.

“The Abu Sayyaf camp was a convenient sanctuary because of the presence of the MNLF base and some former rebels are protecting these terrorists because either they are relatives or family members,” he said.

The MNLF signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, but many former guerrillas were disgruntled with the accord, saying, the Arroyo government failed to comply with some of its provisions and uplift their standards of living. They accused Manila of failing to develop war-torn areas in the south.

Under the peace agreement, Manila would have to provide a mini-Marshal Plan to spur economic development in Muslim areas in the south and livelihood and housing assistance to tens of thousands of former rebels to uplift their poor living standards.

Many of the former MNLF fighters have joined the Abu Sayyaf and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is now negotiating peace with the government. (Mindanao Examiner)