Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 28, 2010) – Government troops killed two communist rebels in a raid on a jungle encampment in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay, an army commander said Thursday.
Colonel Santiago Baluyot, who heads the 102nd Infantry Brigade, said troops raided the encampment in the town of Siay on Wednesday and killed the rebels in a firefight.
He said there were no military casualties and that troops also recovered weapons and anti-government propaganda.
Santiago said the camp was being used by the New People’s Army as a springboard to attack government forces in the town. He said troops tracked down the camp after civilians provided information about the rebels who are fighting for a separate Maoist state in the country.
“Civilians are constantly providing us information about lawless groups not only in the town, but in other areas in the provinces as well. The villagers are cooperating with the authorities,” he said.
The fighting broke out ahead of the government proposed resumption of peace talks with communist rebels in an effort to end decades of bloody insurgency in the country.
Peace negotiations collapsed in 2004 after rebel leaders accused then President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several accords, among them the release of political prisoners languishing in jails across the country.
New Philippine President Benigno Aquino said the government is committed to end the communist insurgency. “As our people power is enshrined in the ways of peace, so will be my resolve to address the root causes of the armed conflict and bring about societal reforms,” he said. (With a report from Becky de Asis)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
An unidentified man fills out a ballot for a boy who was allowed to cast his vote Monday, October 25, 2010 during village polls in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner)
An unidentified man allegedly caught bringing unregistered voters during Monday’s village polls in Sulu province in the southern Philippines ran away from this man who confronted him. (Mindanao Examiner)
An unidentified man gives instructions to unregistered voters during Monday’s village polls in Sulu province in the southern Philippines. The man was later confronted and ran away. (Mindanao Examiner)
Teenagers are allowed to cast their votes in Sulu province’s Kulasi village during Monday’s nationwide village polls. Minors are not allowed to vote under Philippine laws, but despite this, many were still able to cast their votes in Kulasi. (Mindanao Examiner)
A follower of a village chieftain in the southern Philippine province of Sulu calls on their supporters to cast their votes in Kulasi using only a piece of paper as their identification cards. Many of those who lined up were unregistered voters. (Mindanao Examiner)
SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 25, 2010) – An unidentified gunman fired a rifle grenade near a polling area as locals cast their votes Monday to elect new village officials in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, police said.
Police said a 10-year old girl Marsalin Sangkula was wounded in the attack that targeted a school in Maimbung town. Authorities said the attacker fired one round of rifle grenade that exploded near a crowded school room where dozens of people were casting their votes.
“We don’t who was behind this attack, but we have doubled our security to protect the voters from further attacks,” said Inspector Nilo Mata, the town’s chief of police.
But before the day was over fist fights erupted between followers of candidates in the village elections. There were many accusations that incumbent village officials were buying votes or had used people from other villages to vote for them.
One candidate who was challenging the incumbent village chieftain said he caught followers of his political foe allegedly engaged in vote-buying and fraud, an accusation denied by the leader.
Before elections were over, poll officials stopped the voting in midday after more melees broke out between followers of opposing candidates and policemen and soldiers had to be called in to stop the fighting.
Security forces also escorted poll officials to the office of the Commission on Elections in Maimbung to prevent gangs from snatching the ballot boxes. Poll officials said they have to close the voting to prevent further violence between opposing groups.
“It was the decision of the Board of Election Inspectors and we have to respect that decision. There were commotion and fighting among followers of the candidates, but we have secured all the ballots,” said Holma Hassan, of the Commission on Elections.
Elections were generally peaceful in many parts of Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 25, 2010) – A pro-government militia went berserk killing five of his companions in an attack at an army detachment in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay, police said Monday.
The weekend attack occurred in the village called Palid in Ipil town and police said the militia escaped after murdering the five men. The motive of the attack is unknown, but police mounted a manhunt to capture Oligario Bucal Jr.
Bucal’s father who is also a government militia said his son ran away with his rifle, the same weapon used in the shootings.
“There is a manhunt and police forces are searching for the suspect,” said Inspector Boni Aranas, the town’s police chief. (Jung Francisco)
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Police said 6 school children ages 10-12, were also wounded in the attack which occurred in the village of Talisayan, about 20 kilometers west of Zamboanga. The attacker, Felin Mateo, was himself killed after angry villagers, armed with knives and machetes, overpowered the man and killed him.
Police said those killed were a Grade 6 student, a teacher and a grandfather who tried to save his niece were killed in the attack. Those wounded – four children, mostly Grade 5 students from Talisayan Elementary School, and two teachers – were rushed to hospital.
“It was horrible. The man was attacking the children and we were able to grab the knife and overpowered him. He stabbed the teacher first and then ran on the second floor of the school building and barged in on class room and started knifing the poor kids,” one villager said.
The motive of the attack was unknown, but the village chieftain Pinpin Pareja said the attacker was an ex-convict. “We rushed to the school after receiving the report. We still don’t know what triggered him to attack the children,” she said.
“I saw the man stabbed our teacher and we all ran upstairs and hid inside the rest room,” one of the children who escaped the attack told reporters.
An armed school guard tried to fight off the attacker, but could not do anything as he was only armed with a stone. “He cannot do anything. He just threw stones at the man,” another pupil said. (With a report from Jung Francisco)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 22, 2010) - A man armed with a machete barged Friday into a school in the southern Filipino city of Zamboanga and killed three people, police said.
Officials said the attack triggered a 15-minute firefight Thursday night between army soldiers and rebels in the village of Salvo in Maguindanao’s Datu Saudi Ampatuan town and left one infantryman wounded.
“The attack occurred as troops were heading back to camp after attending the signing of a peace covenant among village leaders in the area. A village chieftain and another official who were behind the convoy were killed and one of our soldiers was also wounded in the attack perpetrated by Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels,” said Army Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Hao, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.
He tagged MILF leader Mohiden Karialan as behind the attack. “At least 15 rebels were involved in the attack,” he said.
Hao identified those killed as Salik Guimba, village chieftain of Liab in Mamasapano town, and Nasser Mapangal, a village councilor.
But the MILF denied its commander was involved in the attack and spokesman Von Al Haq blamed Guimba’s political foes for the ambush. “The MILF has nothing to do with the attack and reports we gathered pointed to Guimba’s political enemies as behind the attack,” he said.
The motive of the attack was unknown, but it occurred ahead of village elections next week in the Philippines.
Elections in Mindanao are traditionally bloody with candidates and their followers attacking each other, especially in areas where politicians maintain private armed goons.
Monday’s elections are expected to be violent and the military have already deployed troops to guard polling areas and protect the voters.
The rebel group, which is fighting for decades for self-determination, has previously warned its members to stay away from elections, saying, it does not recognize the country’s political exercise.
The 12,000-strong MILF is currently negotiating peace with Manila in an effort to end bloody Muslim insurgency in the country’s restive, but mineral-rich southern region. (Mindanao Examiner)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
NORTH COTABATO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 21, 2010) – At least 7 people were killed and more than a dozen injured after a bomb explosion Thursday ripped through a passenger bus in the restive region of Mindanao, south of the Philippines, the military said.
The blast occurred at around 10:30 in the morning as the bus was passing the village of Dalapitan in North Cotabato’s Matalam town. “We have deployed troops in the area to secure public places and assist in the evacuation of the wounded,” Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Hao, a spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Mindanao Examiner.
He said initial reports claimed that at least 7 passengers had died and many wounded from the explosion. “We still don’t know who was behind this attack, but we condemned this act of terrorism,” Hao said.
The bomb apparently went off from the baggage compartment of the bus, owned by Rural Transit of Mindanao. The bus was heading to Cagayan del Oro city from Tacurong, a city in Sultan Kudarat province.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but rebel groups are actively operating in North Cotabato and in nearby provinces of Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato and Maguindanao.
Hao said authorities are investigating the explosion.
In August, armed men disguised as policemen also torched a bus owned by Rural Transit after killing its driver and two of-duty police officers at a road block in Lanao del Norte’s Kapatagan town. Several bomb attacks on provincial buses, blamed to rebels extorting money, also occurred in recent years in Mindanao. (With reports from Mark Navales, Geo Solmerano and Becky de Asis)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 20, 2010) – Police rescued an abducted pharmaceutical salesman after two days in captivity in the southern Philippines, officials said on Wednesday.
Officials said police forces recovered Jeffrey Almonia in the town of Lumba Bayabao in Lanao del Sur on Tuesday, but his captors managed to escape. The 29-year old salesman was seized by three men in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday.
Almonia was paying his cousin’s debt to the men when the trio seized him and his car and brought him to Lanao del Sur. Police said the men initially demanded fifty thousand pesos for his freedom, according to Superintendent Cosanie Derogongan, the provincial police chief.
Derogongan said police learned about the abduction after receiving information from civilians about the location of the hostage. He said Almonia was still in handcuff inside his car when policemen rescued him.
He said initial investigation showed the trio abducted Almonia after his cousin owed the men drug money. “The abduction was the result of an illegal transactions allegedly entered into by his cousin and the abductors,” Derogongan said. (Merlyn Manos)
COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 20, 2010) - Ibinuko ng ilang mga guro ang diumano’y talamak na bentahan ng “plantilla” sa Department of Education sa Muslim autonomous region sa lalawigan ng Sulu.
Lumapit sa media ang dalawang guro at humihingi ng tulong upang matigil ang korapsyon sa kanilang hanay. Nanawagan pa ang mga guro sa Pangulong Benigno Aquino at mga kinauukulan na masusing imbestigahan ang nasabing bintang.
Ayon sa mga guro ay naniningil diumano ang ilang tiwaling opisyal mula P60,000-P100,000 bilang kapalit sa plantilla sa Sulu.
Marami na umanong nabiktima ang grupo at ilan na rin ang nabigyan ng trabaho, ngunit ang masakit ay hindi pa nakakatanggap ng sweldo ang mga ito at madalas na idahilan ay ang pina-process pa ang kanilang mga papeles. Hinihinala rin na may mga “ghost teachers” sa naturang lalawigan at kinukulekta ang kanilang mga sweldo ng mga nasa likod ng sindikato.
Nabatid na karamihan sa mga nagbabayad upang makakuha ng trabaho ay mga gurong hindi nakapasa sa required government licensure examinations.
“Terible talaga dito (sa Sulu) at nagpapakahirap na nga ang mga guro na makapasok ng trabaho ay ibinibenta pa ang mga plantilla. Kawawa naman kami dahil yun mga iba ay nagungutang pa para lamang makakuha ng plantilla kasi iyon ang inaalok sa kanila par makapagturo,” ani ng isang guro.
“Sana tulungan kami ni President Benigno Aquino at ng Department of Education sa ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) at ng National Bureau of Investigation para matigil na itong kalokohan,” ani pa ng isang guro.
Ito rin diumano ang problema sa Lanao del Sur province na kabilang rin sa Muslim autonomous region, ayon pa sa isang opisyal ng ARMM na nilapitan ng Abante upang idulog ang anomalya.
Sinigurado naman ni Atty. Baratucal Caudang, ang Secretary ng DepEd-ARMM, na bibigyan nito ng kaukulang pansin ang sumbong at sinabi nitong dapat maglabas ng ebidensya ang mga guro upang matibay ang kaso sa mga nasa likod ng anomalya.
“We will not tolerate this kind of activities and we are urging those who are complaining to present their evidence. They should have the courage to come out and identify those who are engaged in these activities,” ani Caudang sa panayam ng Mindanao Examiner. “We have to serve as model. We will not tolerate this malpractice.”
Hindi ito ang kauna-unahang pagkakataon na nag-reklamo ang mga guro ukol sa graft and corruption sa Department of Education sa ARMM.
Talamak noon ang anomalya at maging mga sweldo ng mga guro ay ninakaw at ang milyon-milyong psiong bayad sa premiums ng Government Service Insurance System ng mga empleyado ng ARMM ay hindi rin nai-remit sa pamahalaan.
Ngunit sa kabila nito ay walang malaking isda na nasampahan ng kasong kriminal dahil sa paglabag ng anti-graft law at iba pang kawalanghiyaan sa ARMM. (Mindanao Examiner)
Synopsis: At 4:00 a.m. today, October 20, 2010.
The center of Typhoon "JUAN" (local code name) was located based on radar satellite and surface data at 340 km West Northwest of Dagupan City (17.2°N 117.2°E) with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 210 kph.
It is forecast to move West Northwest at 7 kph.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 20, 2010) Gunmen shot and killed a civilian and wounded a village chieftain in an attack Wednesday in the restive province of Basilan in the southern Philippines, police said.
Police said the victims were driving a motorcycle when the gunmen attacked them in Sengal village in Lamitan town. It said the driver of the motorbike, Jamrud Kuranding, was instantly killed in the attack while the village chieftain Jainudin Dulla is wounded and rushed to a private hospital in nearby Zamboanga City.
“There is an investigation going on,” said Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, the regional police chief.
Dulla is the chieftain of Balas village also in Lamitan town and the attack occurred ahead of Monday’s village polls in the country. It was not immediately known if the attack was connected to political rivalry or not.
Just early this month, motorcycle gunmen also killed a poll official, Entong Musa, in Basilans Isabela City.
Musa, an election officer in Tuburan town, was fatally shot on October 2 as he was walking in San Rafael village.
Basilan is one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region where elections are traditionally violent. The province, just several nautical miles of Zamboanga city, is also a hot bed of Abu Sayyaf insurgency. (With a report from Jun Bernardo)