Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 29, 2010) – Police have mounted a manhunt for a man tagged as behind a grenade attack that left four people wounded in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay.
Police said four people were wounded in the weekend attack in the town of Imelda. The motive of the attack is still unknown, but police said it has already identified the grenade thrower.
Crime investigators were also investing reports that an old feud may have triggered the attack. Family feud or clan war is not uncommon in the restive southern region where random attacks occur.
Tens of dozens of people had either been killed or wounded in clan wars across Mindanao and the proliferation of illegal weapons and explosives have made it more difficult for authorities to prevent armed clashes among the protagonists.
The feud could sometimes last for decades and would often target innocent clan members. Last year, gunmen who were followers of a powerful clan had brutally murdered 57 people, including at least 32 journalists who were accompanying a political caravan in Maguindanao province in the troubled Muslim autonomous region.
Although most of the clan members had been arrested, their massive wealth and influence are still being feared by many in the region. (Mindanao Examiner)
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
The winning brands received the honor of carrying the prestigious “Superbrands” logo in their products. They also received a trophy and a copy of Superbrands Volume 6, which features all of this year’s awardees.
Dante “Klink” Ang II, chief executive officer and executive editor of both The Times and HealthNews, accepted the awards for both publications.
Other brands honored during Wednesday’s ceremony, called “Superbrands Philippine Awards Tribute Night 2010,” were: A Bonne’, Anniversary Report, Asahi, Burlington, BusinessWorld, Center for Culinary Arts, C-Lium Fibre, Fern-C, Fern-Slim, Fuji Scales, Gardenia, Globe Tattoo, High Life, Shop TV, Lemon Square, Loyola Plans Consolidated Inc., The Manila Bulletin, Met Tathione, My DSL, Orocan, Philippine Prudential Life Insurance Co. Inc., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), RedFox, Solignum, Top 1000, Yakult and Zuni.
Superbrands International Inc. President Harry Tambuatco said that many of the Volume 6 brands have pre-qualified for having met the criteria for longevity, market domination and acceptance.
He added that these brands—PLDT, Globe, Gardenia and Yakult, among others—are already well-known to Filipinos.
Tambuatco said, though, that Filipinos should also notice brands that they barely know. “I think the bigger question is: ‘How about [the] brands I don’t know that are in the program?”
He added that the brands applying for Superbrands recognition are assessed through an internal process that involves the participation of the mother company in the United Kingdom.
Every Filipino brand in the market is given a chance, not only those who are invited directly by Supebrands, Tambuatco said.
“There are close to 25,000 to 30,000 [brands] that are introduced in the market now. Most of them don’t make it, some [do],” he added.
“So why do they want to become Superbrands? They want to identify with [the] brand title to give them some type of market acceptance, so they come to us.”
Tambuatco revealed during the ceremony that brands vying for Superbrands Volume 7 need to pass a new requirement: They must register a trademark for their brand.
Ricardo Blancaflor, the director general of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, explained that having a brand trademarked ensures its protection.
As an example, he cited Mang Inasal, which reached P3 billion worth in equity, prompting Jollibee to buy it for its registered trademark.
Blancaflor believes that the brand name itself is worth more than the whole company.
Superbrands International Inc. Chairman Karl McLeid wished that “Philippine brands [should go] global.” He also believes that Supebrands can help do this because it is recognized in 88 countries. (Euden Valdez)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Officials said Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels led by Pasil Bajali opened fire on the post in the village of Sukaten in Sumisip town triggering a firefight, but left no casualties on either side.
“About 20 suspected MILF rebels under Pasil Bajali harassed the Sukaten detachment,” said Colonel Nicanor Dolojan, commander of army forces in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
But other reports in the province claimed several soldiers and civilians were wounded in the attack which coincided with the Basilan peace and order council meeting and the celebration of the week of peace in Mindanao where advocates held rallies across the restive region to campaign for peace.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said it received no reports from its commanders about the fighting.
“We have no reports about it, but there are many armed groups in Basilan not only the MILF. It could be other groups not us,” said Von Al-Haq, a spokesman for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is fighting for self-determination in the troubled region.
Peace talks between Manila and the rebel group was suspended after President Gloria Arroyo stepped down in June after 9 years in power, but new Filipino leader Benigno Aquino vowed to resume the negotiations in an effort to end decades of bloody fighting in Mindanao.
Rebel leaders have repeatedly warned of more fighting if peace talks, which Arroyo opened in 2001, fail. Rebel forces had attacked civilian communities after a land deal agreement collapsed in 2008. (Mindanao Examiner)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 25, 2010) – Various groups in Zamboanga City in Mindanao have rejected a proposed hike in the local real property tax.
Even traders and land owners echoed strong opposition to the proposal which seeks to slap 600 percent increase in taxes. They said even fruits trees planted in private lands are included in the proposal which City Hall insists is needed to fund construction of school buildings in Zamboanga City.
Some of the real property tax goes to the so-called Special Education Fund, which is being used to finance school projects and salaries of some teachers under the local school board, among others.
And the local school division head, Dolores Alcantara, said she is supporting the proposal because if it is approved, the new taxes would benefit the education sector. But her statement drew from those who are opposing the colossal tax hike, saying, Alcantara does not even owned any property in Zamboanga.
City hall was quick to issue a press statement praising Alcantara’s statement, saying “the education sector has expressed it's all out support to the proposed increase in the collection of real property taxes citing school children from this generation and the future generations as the primary beneficiaries of all these.”
A public hearing on the proposed tax hike also showed that many of those who attended had rejected sudden increase in real property taxes.
Government media have branded the proposed real property tax hike as “controversial,” saying public opinion was divided on the issue.
“The buzz seems to get louder as divided public opinion muscles with the controversial issue on the proposed 600 percent increase in real property tax,” the Philippine Information Agency reported.
It said a local group called Concerned Citizens of Zamboanga has also opposed the tax hike. The group also released a position paper signed by the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation; Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association; the Industrial Group of Zamboanga Inc., and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
“The position paper stipulates of its strong opposition to the proposed increase as the incorporated position paper explicitly states that there is no pressing need for an increase of its fair Markey value; proposed hike in valuation is not justified owing to slower economic growth rate of Zamboanga City; the city has to be more competitive compared to other cities in the region and in Mindanao; business sector will suffer another set back even as it's still reeling from the recent power crisis and Zamboanguenos can't afford to pay more taxes,” the Philippine Information Agency reported.
The City Council is also proposing to tax residents on a new ordinance that would collect revenues on septage services despite a similarly strong opposition from house owners who have their own sewer system.
Under the proposal, private firms would collect household wastes and disposed them and the local water utility cooperative would charge a certain amount for the sewage services. Septage waste is periodically removed, but typically less often than annually. (Mindanao Examiner)
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 24, 2010) – Police captured a gunman who shot a woman and a cop on Wednesday after a robbery in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines, officials said.
The policeman was shot four times in the body and died in the hospital while the woman is wounded in the attack.
Police said two gunmen held up a branch of the Western Union, a provider of electronic financial transactions, and shot the woman, an employee, before escaping on a motorcycle.
A policeman who tried to accost the men for violating traffic rules several blocks away from Western Union branch was shot as he approached the two suspects near the Ateneo de Zamboanga University.
“One of the suspects was arrested after a pursuit operation and we have recovered a bag they stole from the Western Union branch,” said Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, the local police chief.
Police recovered a .45-caliber pistol and bullets from the man who was identified as Nuri Malimbat alias Susulan. A photo of him and another man holding an automatic weapon was also found from his wallet.
The second gunman is still being hunted by the police. It was unknown whether the men are guns-for-hire or members of a crime syndicate behind the string of robberies in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner)
At least 57 people had been killed last year and among them were 32 journalists and media workers, in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
The Ampatuan clan, whose patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr, the governor of Maguindanao, and his sons Andal Ampatuan Jr, mayor of Ampatuan town; and Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the autonomous region, and other relatives had been implicated in the brutal murders and are being tried for the crimes.
“We also feel the pain and sympathize with the families of all the victims in the massacre and we join the mounting calls for a speedy trial of the cases so justice could be served without delay,” Von Al-Haq, a spokesman for the MILF, told the Mindanao Examiner.
Families of those murdered and media groups have assailed the slow progress of the multiple murder charges filed against the influential and wealthy Ampatuan family, whose battery of lawyers have been accused of delaying the court trials.
“There must be an early resolution of these cases because money is a powerful tool and as the saying goes justice delayed in justice denied,” Al-Haq said.
On Wednesday, some 3,000 people led by families of those murdered, flocked to a remote village in Ampatuan town, site of the gruesome killings, and offered candles and prayers in commemoration of those who had perished in the attack. One journalist who was among the group is feared dead, but his body had not been found.
The victims were traveling in a political caravan when some 200 gunmen, mostly government militias allegedly led by Ampatuan Jr, intercepted convoy and herded them to a remote part of the town where they were shot and hacked to death in a futile attempt to stop the wife of Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu from filing his election nomination paper and run as governor of the province to which he eventually won.
While many attended the commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the massacre, Ampatuan’s political ally and now acting governor of the Muslim autonomous region, Ansaruddin Adiong, did not show up nor issue any statement.
Adiong was Ampatuan’s deputy regional governor who took over his rule after the clan members were arrested in Maguindanao last year in connection to the massacre. Adiong, who also belongs to an equally powerful political clan, has remained silent over the now infamous “Maguindanao massacre.” (Mindanao Examiner)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 23, 2010) – Some 3,000 people trooped on a southern Philippines hillside to commemorate Tuesday the one-year anniversary of the country’s worst political killings.
Many of those who came – mostly journalists and human rights groups - offered prayers and candles together with families and relatives of those brutally murdered in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region last year.
“We have deployed more than a thousand soldiers to secure the site and its periphery and those who attended the anniversary,” said Captain Razaleigh Bansawan, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.
He said they deployed bomb-sniffing dogs and put up a medical facility and five checkpoints along a three-kilometer stretch leading to the site in Ampatuan town where 57 people had been massacred, including at least 32 journalists, by armed followers of the powerful Ampatuan clan in a futile attempt to stop his candidacy.
Among those killed were the wife and sister and relatives of Buluan town deputy mayor Esmael Mangudadatu who were on their way to file his nomination papers for gubernatorial elections.
Andal Ampatuan Sr then was the governor of Maguindanao and his sons – Andal Ampatuan Jr, the mayor of Ampatuan town; and Zaldy Ampatuan, governor of the Muslim autonomous region. They were among 196 people, many of them pro-government militias, implicated by authorities in the gruesome murders.
The patriarch and his sons and other relatives are currently in jail in Manila and facing multiple criminal charges over the killings. Several witnesses who testified against the Ampatuan were also murdered, one by one, in Maguindanao.
Mangudadatu, who was this year elected governor of Maguindanao, said his wife was shot in the mouth, at the back, and her private parts blasted; and so were his sister and relatives. The journalists, mostly from small newspapers in the provinces, were similarly attacked.
Human rights groups have assailed the slow progress of the cases against the Ampatuans, who are known warlords in Mindanao and political allies of former President Gloria Arroyo. Even in jail, the clan is still being feared by many in Mindanao because of their wealth and influence.
“The impotent action of our government is a form of betrayal of our democracy. It is not enough that we just remember the most gruesome attack in media history. We need to act and rage because there is a continued culture of impunity in our country,” said Paul Randy Gumanao, vice president for Mindanao of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.
He said massacre case is not isolated from the piles of human rights violations cases that the government must address urgently. More than 2,000 people had died from extrajudicial killings in the country the past years.
“Student journalists are always standing by the people. We believe that the people’s outrage, rather than the Ampatuans’ might, must be feared and attended by the government. What happened in Maguindanao was not solely an attack against the journalists or the lawyers. It was an arrogant attack against the Filipino people,” Gumanao said.
Local media also offered prayers to commemorate those killed in the attack. The Radio Mindanao Network broadcast a special tribute and so was the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner which continues to run since last year a video tribute on its cable channels in Zamboanga City and Basilan province. The video can also be accessed on their website on http://www.mindanaoexaminer.com/news.php?news_id=20101122190321.
The international media organization, Reporters Without Borders, the tragedy’s shocking nature did not reside solely in the record number of journalists killed, but also in the criminal desire of the perpetrators to eliminate all the witnesses, down to the very last man and woman.
It said the international community was stunned as the details of the massacre emerged. At first it was shocked by the scale of the death toll. Then it was appalled by the revelations about the criminal nature of the Ampatuan family.
“Now our common goal must be to press the authorities to allocate sufficient material and human resources to the trial of the main defendants, so that it can be completed within a reasonable time and conclude with the conviction of those responsible, both the perpetrators and the instigators.”
“By commemorating the victims, every press freedom organization can help to promote the deep-seated changes that the Philippines needs. Together, let’s say: “Never again,” it said.
The group also appealed for a broad movement of support for the families of the massacre victims. (Mindanao Examiner)
Monday, November 22, 2010
Officials said the weekend attack occurred near a civilian community in Compostela Valley’s Nabunturan town and had put at risk the lives of villagers in the area.
“The New People’s Army fired from a position that will endanger the lives of the civilians which is a violation of the international human rights law,” said Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, a spokesman for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.
It was unknown why the military put up a patrol base near a civilian area, but Aguilar said troops deployed in the town were also engaged in peace and development projects.
He said the attack sparked a five-minute gun battle between the two groups.
“As expected, the New People’s Army would launch violent actions to provoke our troops and divert our attention away from our community works. Our troops are prepared to counter their hostile actions to protect the civilian populace.”
“Their actions also bring untold suffering and discomfort to the people in the community which they will blame later to the presence of the military personnel conducting peace and development outreach program. These shrewd tactics will not succeed because our people know the NPA members are the ones creating trouble in the area,” Aguilar said.
The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting for decades for the establishment of a separate Maoist state in the largely Catholic country. (Mindanao Examiner)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 19, 2010) – A Filipino motorcycle club called Speedometrix Moto Club whose members are exclusive users of Kawasaki Fury 125 had finished a two-day tour in Mindanao.
The tour, which began November 5, explored beautiful places and promoted tourism in the southern region. Most of those behind the club headed by Julius Espejon are working professionals who are advocating tourism in n the country’s second largest island.
The club has more than four dozen regular members.
Prior to the tour, riders also donated school supplies to school children of the
Dubbed “Exploring Mindanao Tourism Ride,” club members travelled the cities of Cotabato, Davao, Iligan, Oroquieta, General Santos, Ozamis, Dapitan, Cagayan de Oro and the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Lanao, Bukidnon, and Zamboanga Peninsula and were met welcomed by different local government officials. (With a report from Mark Navales)