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Mindanao Daily

Founded 2006

mindanaoexaminer.com

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Zamboanga City, Philippines

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

LABOR BAN CONFUSES DOMESTIC HELPERS EYEING SAUDI ARABIA

A Filipino household service worker. (Mindanao Examiner Photo) MANILA – A Filipino mi- Philippine law pegging the grants’ rights group called basic salary of household serMigrante-Middle East has vice workers at $400, among Manila to clarify reports other requirements. But in September, whether the ban on the deploySaudi’s Ambassador to the ment of household service workers to Saudi Arabia has Philippines announced that the Saudi and Philippine govbeen lifted or not. John Leonard Monterona, ernments had already reached the group’s regional coordina- an agreement to resume the tor, said they received a lot of queries both from vacationing Filipino household workers and those who wanted to work in Saudi whether Manila lifted the ban or not. “There is confusion because according to the vaca- PAGADIAN CITY – Secutioning HSWs and applicants, rity forces were tracking their recruitment agencies down at least 6 members of were saying the ban had been the Indonesian terror group lifted, but the POEA is saying Jemaah Islamiya who esotherwise,” Monterona said. caped from a military raid POEA refers to Philippine that killed a senior militant Overseas Employment Ad- leader in Marawi City in the ministration. southern Philippine, officials Monterona said a Filipina said. who is applying as household “There is an operation to service worker in Saudi was track down the JI terrorists,” told by her Philippine recruit- said Maj. Gen. Ricardo ment agency that the ban had Rainier Cruz III, commander been lifted, but POEA said it of the 1st Infantry Division. was not. He said one Indonesian Manila halted the deploy- terrorist identified as Sanusi ment of domestic helpers to was killed in following a fire Saudi after it rejected a new fight with security forces in

deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Saudi Arabia. Last month, the POEA issued Memorandum Circular No. 08 outlining the ‘New Guidelines on the POLO accreditation and POEA Regulation of Saudi Recruitment Agencies Hiring Filipino HSWs Bound for Saudi Arabia. POEA also announced that all HSWs, vacationing and those who are awaiting deployment will be covered by a New Standard Employment Contract. “We came to know that the processing of SEC had been suspended by the POEA, and due to this suspension, POLO offices in Saudi Arabia refused to process the BalikMangagawa clearances or OECs of vacationing HSWs,” Monterona said. POLO refers to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. Monterona, citing POEA records, said there were at least 12,000 Filipino domestic helpers deployed in 2010. “There are at least 12,000

HSWs who want to come home after completion of their contract; but there could be more maybe around 30,000 OFWs in Saudi Arabia who can’t come home because of the suspension of the HSWs standard employment contract by the POEA.” “The Aquino government as a labor exporting country that rely heavily on OFWs remittances, through the DoLE and POEA, is really pressing for the lifting of the Saudi ban on HSWs while hypocritically announcing to the public that in 5-year time it will stop sending HSWs is at a dilemma amid the numerous cases of abuses and labor rights violations,” Monterona said. He said the government should intensify its efforts to engage OFW-receiving governments to adhere on international labor standards and sign or ratify international instruments by passing laws and social legislation that recognize migrant rights and welfare.

Military hunts Indon JI terrorists in Mindanao

ARMM

Marawi. Six other JI members managed to elude arrest when police commandos, backed by army soldiers, stormed their hideout. Cruz said one police officer was also injured when he fell from a building during the raid. Troops recovered a hand grenade and an automatic rifle from the terrorist hideout. It was not immediately known how Sanusi, alias Ishak, or either in his group entered the southern Philippines, but authorities previously reported that dozens of JI militants had sneaked into

Northern Mindanao

Davao

the country and sheltered by the Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the smaller, but the most violent Abu Sayyaf group. Sanusi was also facing criminal charges in Sarangani province and that he had several arrest warrants for a string of murder and arson, among others. Cruz said security forces tracked down Sanusi’s hideout following a long intelligence operation and information provided by civilian informants to the authorities. (Mindanao Examiner)

Manila

Workers lay out asphalt on a long stretch of concrete road in Zamboanga City despite its good condition. The Department of Public Works and Highways has been the subject of strong public criticisms over its projects not only in Zamboanga City, but also in other parts of Western Mindanao, where it broke portions of the highways and put concrete over it again only to layer them again with asphalt. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

CO A ur ged to look into DPWH COA urg pr ojects in Zamboang a projects Zamboanga ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Department of Public Works Highways have began layering asphalt on highways in Zamboanga City despite the road’s good condition. Motorists also complained of unfinished works on highways and rendering the roads dangerous to travellers. From Zamboanga City to the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay down to Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte, including Basilan, hundreds of kilometers of roads were either broken to pave way for new concreting or asphalted. “This is terrible. You can see the roads are in good condition, but they broke it and then poured concrete over it again and only to put asphalt on top of it several months later. It’s a waste of tax money and we want to see the COA reports on these projects,” one family driver, who frequently travels from Zamboanga City

to Pagadian City, said. COA refers to the Commission of Audit. The DPWH has constantly been included in the most corrupt agencies of the government in various reports. The DPWH insisted the road rehabilitation has been programmed and funded by the national government, aside from asphalt overlaying projects funded by lawmakers. In its website, the DPWH listed all its ongoing projects and contractors in Western Mindanao and can be acessed on this URL: http:// www.dpwh.gov.ph/infrastructure/pms/09.asp The agency also has infrastructure projects that included bridges, school buildings, water system, multipurpose buildings, farm to market roads, flood control and drainage system, among others worth billions of pesos. (Mindanao Examiner)

Zamboanga Peninsula


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

Hike journalists’ pay to curb corruption: Aquino MANILA – President Benigno Aquino said the salaries of journalists must be increased to curb corruption in the media, The Manila Times reported. It said Aquino, in his them, it becomes legitimate speech at the recent Ninth to ask whether their pay and Media Nation Summit in benefits are commensurate Tagaytay City, said that the to the highest standards of low salary of journalists in- integrity demanded of creases the temptation to en- them,” Aquino said. gage in corruption in the meIncreasing journalists’ dia. salary is part of the Aquino “The reporter bears the administration’s reforms on brunt of having to find sto- the system of pay, benefits ries, source information and and bonuses to prevent corcraft the reports that find ruption in private sector and their way to our countrymen. the government. Given the hard work they do “This is no different and the high standards ev- from the concerns that goveryone should demand of ernment and the private sec-

tor must bear in mind for all employees, who play such important roles in their operations. We in government are already trying to rationalize and reform our system of pay, benefits, and bonuses—not only to eliminate the temptation of corruption, but also to compensate our employees adequately for their work. This is a concern for all of us precisely because we are dealing with people’s lives,” Aquino explained. Aquino also said that there is a need for consistent ethical standards in the news media because like other

professions, journalism is imbued with public interest. The President raised conflicts of interests concerns in the news media. He asked what are the parameters concerning endorsements, what are the requirements for sources, and what are the mechanisms for redress against the media? He said that while the lack of standards that apply throughout the industry does not directly lead to corruption, it makes it easier for corruption to take place. “The more discretion you give someone, the more

leeway they have to make decisions—not necessarily based on a common set of rules and regulations, but on their own desires. The idea is not to make life more difficult, but to make it easy for everyone to do the right thing. This is at the heart of the reforms we are implementing in government,” Aquino said. Aquino also promised that his administration would not tolerate media killings. He called on the media to work with the government to speedily resolve and avoid media killings and

other violence in the country. “We want to work with you towards the advancement and protection of your profession. In cases of media killings, for example, we in government are demanding the apprehension of suspects and the filing of charges that stick, resulting in justice for all involved. In other cases of violence involving media, we have taken affirmative and just action,” he said. (Catherine S. Valente)

Aquino midayeg sa nursing society sa iyang mga natampo pagpaabante sa nursing education PAGADIAN CITY -- Si Presidente Benigno Aquino midayeg sa mga tulunghaan ug ang nursing society sa ilang mga natampo aron pagpa-abante sa standards sa

nursing education sa nasud ug sa tibuok kalibutan. "Ang kolehiyo mao ang dalan pagpalagsik sa kaalam sa mga kabatan-onan kinsa mao ang nag-agak

pagpaabante sa ilang mga kagahapon sa 2nd Internahingtungdang propesyon ug tional Conference of Student Nurses (2nd sa dugang ICONS) sa paghatag Grand Congahum sa vention Cenm g a ter, Cebu umaabot City uban sa nga lideres tema nga sa atong "Merging nasud, ang Ideas: ProH e p e moting PaEhekutibo tient Safety nagkanayon through Resa iyang search." mensahe sa "Kami mga orgas a nizers ug kagamhanan delegates sa naglaum nga 2nd Intermakigtrabaho national Presidente Benigno Aquino Conference of Student Nurses niadtong nakalabay nga Biyernes. Ang Cebu Normal University inabagan sa Nightingale Student Council ug Philippine Nursing Research Society, Incorporated-Cebu Chapter, nagpahigayon

Ang Presidente nagpadayag sa iyang paglaum nga ang maong katiguman mopadasig sa prinsipyo sa excellence ug integridad sa matag delegado. "Magkahiusa kita pagtuman sa highest profes-

sional ug ethical standards samtang kita ang magseguro sa kaayuhan sa katawhang Pilipino. Naglaum ako sa mapadayonong kalampusan sa inyong kalihokan," matud pa niya. (Gideon C. Corgue)

ninyo isip among mga kaabag pagseguro sa kaayuhan sa atong mga katawhan," matud pa ni Presidente Aquino. "Mahinungdanon kaayo kanato nga madaliong motubag sa mga panginahanglan sa atong mga katawhan," matud pa niya.

Davao tribesmen flee village due to NPA threats, says military

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DAVAO CITY – Dozens of tribesmen in Davao City in the southern Philippines have fled their homes following threats by communist rebels, the military said. It said New People’s Army rebels have accused tribesmen of passing information to the military about the communist group. At least 17 indigenous families have sought safe refuge in the village of Marilog. The rebels, led by Leoncio Pitao, were also forcing the villagers to join antigovernment rallies to protest the presence of government troops in the area, according to an army statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner. “We see how the NPAs

jeopardize the safety of these families who are living peacefully in the area,” said Lt. Col. Edgar Nigos, commander of the 84th Infantry Battalion. He said villagers should denounce the presence of rebels in the area instead of the military. “It is our mandate to protect the people and not to harm them. That’s why we would like to encourage everyone specially the government leaders to condemn the presence of the NPAs so that we can all live peacefully,” he said. There was no immediate statement from the NPA, which is fighting for the establishment of a separate Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

The port of Jolo in the Southern Philippine province of Sulu. Is one of the busiest in the region. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

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Western Mindanao Command has no spokesman ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military’s Western Mindanao Command, which covers half of the southern Philippines, is now without any spokesman after its information officer was ordered to report to the office of its former commander Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes, now the Armed Forces’ Vice Chief of Staff. Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said he is now with Coballes in Manila for a new assignment. “After 17 years, I am leaving Mindanao. I am transferring to the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff. It was fun

to work with you and I am hoping to return soon. Thank you,” Cabangbang told journalists. Former 6th Infantry Division commander Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo was named in October as the new chief of the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City. And previous attempts by local journalists to interview Ardo had failed because he would always refer to Cabangbang. Ardo also did not meet with journalists since then and no press releases had been is-

sued to media despite reports of violence and fighting between troops and rebels in the Western Mindanao the past weeks. Local journalists said they now rely on news reports from army commanders in the provinces. Journalists during Coballes’ stint also had a similar problem because he would not speak to the press and had banned news photographers from taking pictures of wounded soldiers inside the military hospital in Western Mindanao Command. (Mindanao Examiner)


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

Stop killings in the Philippines, human rights groups tell Aquino

Sunset in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Exsminer Photo)

Smuggled fuel sized in Zamboanga wharf ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine authorities seized over 20,000 litres of fuel from a boat in Zamboanga City and is believed to have been smuggled from the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah. The fuel was allegedly owned by a Filipino trader province and being unloaded at a private wharf when navy and coast guard teams seized the cargoes. Authorities said the boat’s captain failed to

present documents for the flammable cargoes. Smuggling of contraband and commercial goods, including rice and textiles, from nearby Malaysia is rampant in the southern Philippines. And the illegal activities are aggravated by the lack of navy ships to patrol the southern seas and illegal border crossing is similarly rampant in Tawi-Tawi province. (Mindanao Examiner)

MANILA - Human rights and peace activists from various countries who were in Manila called on President Benigno Aquino to stop the killings and military abuses in the Philippines. Dozens of activists from Australia, New Zealand, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines made the calls along with victims and kin of victims of human rights violations during a conference held at the University of the Philippines. The conference aims to establish the Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, a regional network that will campaign for human rights issues in the country from national up to regional and international level. Among those who recounted their experiences were Connie Empeno, mother of disappeared UP student Karen; Genasque Enriquez, an anti-mining Lumad leader from Mindanao who is being threatened with trumped up charges of murder and multiple frustrated murder by the military; Bae Adelfa Belayong, widow of slain

Datu Mampaagi Belayong who was a staunch anti-mining advocate. According to Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights in the Philippines, there had been documented cases of 114 victims of extrajudicial killings; 12 victims of enforced disappearances; 70 cases of torture and 447 illegal arrests; and 29,613 victims of forced evacuation during the past two years of the Aquino government. It said among the recent cases documented by Karapatan is the massacre of anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons in Tampakan town in South Cotabato; the beheading of village councilor and peasant activist Ely Oguis in Guinobatan town in Albay province; and the labeling and harassment of Karapatan workers Jose Luis Blanco and Judde Baggo. Pastor Joram Calimutan, coordinator of the Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, said the formation of the network will consolidate the efforts of Asia Pacific activists to strengthen

and amplify the advocacy for human rights issues in the Philippines, particularly the issues of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and detention. “We have vigorously campaigned against the terror rule of Phil. Pres. Gloria Arroyo, when killings, disappearances and arrests especially against activists and leaders of progressive organizations in the Philippines. It is very disturbing to know that, despite President Aquino’s promise to render justice for the victims and his government’s respect human rights, killings of farmers, indigenous peoples and the urban poor have continued,” Cameron Walker, Auckland Philippine Solidarity, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner. Peter Brock, Australia Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines, also criticized Aquino’s disregard of indigenous people’s rights in favor of foreign mining companies, such as the Australian company SMIXstrata in Soutj Cotabato. “Not only has Aquino furthered the plunder of an-

cestral lands and resources through Executive Order 79, but he has likewise secured these exploitative industries’ interests by deploying paramilitaries and additional troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to kill antimining IPs and to silence opposition,” Brock said. The Asia Pacific activists particularly scored Aquino on his “deafening silence” on the massacre of Capion and her two sons on October 8, 2012. “His silence bears the imprint of consent for these violations. Not only has he condoned impunity, he has likewise perpetuated it by not delivering justice for any of the 114 victims of extrajudicial killings under his administration,” Yi-Hsiang, Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns, said. The APCCHRP called on Aquino to prove his claims before the international community that he has done something on the human rights situation in the country by putting a stop to the killings and by pulling out and disbanding military and paramilitary troops in rural communities.

DAVAO CITY - Children of overseas Filipino workers bonded together and appealed to authorities to provide stable jobs to their parents as a family protection measure in the country. In an open letter presented during the Mindanao Children Festival held recently in Kidapawan City, Anak OFW, an organization of children of migrant workers, said they “hope and pray that our parents be given work and livelihood opportunities here in our own country so that they will not think of leaving us behind again.” “We are living witnesses to many difficult situations of

our parents in working abroad. Many of them have been victims of illegal recruitment, human trafficking, unfair labor practices and many human rights abuses in foreign lands,” the children said. The Mindanao Migrants Center for Empowering Actions, Inc. estimates that there are around 8 illion OFW children who are left under the care of relatives. “We are among the 8 million Filipino children who are left behind by our parents who work temporarily and live permanently in the foreign countries,” Anak OFW revealed. “While many of us children of migrant workers have

enjoyed the basic needs such as good food, shelter and proper education, we deeply long the love and care of our parents especially of our mothers. While some of us have stayed with our grandparents, uncles, aunties, and relatives who provide the needed love and attention, many of us have become victims of abuses even from the closest people our parents entrusted us,” the group said. They said that while their parents’ primary objective in working abroad is to “give us better life, many of our families also suffer from breaking down due to long communication gap and misunder-

standing.” “Many of us have been separated and abandoned, many of us experienced discrimination, neglect and isolation,” they said. The group also lament that they survive from insufficient and irregular remittances that have “deprived us to meet our daily basic needs and worst of all, have deprived us of our right to education because we have been forced to stop schooling.” Anak OWF also stressed that government has the important role in providing jobs for their parents as a mechanism for protecting the Filipino family. (Rick Flores)

Jobs please, children ask Aquino gover nment Stray dogs sleep outside a Jollibee restaurant in Zamboanga City. Stray dogs pose danger to the public because of animal diseases and rabies.(Mindanao Examiner Photo)


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

Gunmen seize 2 Malaysian palm plantation workers in Sabah Two Malaysian nationals were seized by 5 gunmen disguised as policemen from a palm oil plantation in Sabah near the Philippine border, reports said. It said the two, who are cousins, were both working for the plantation in Lahad Datu, and had been taken at gunpoint. Their companions said the gunmen spoke in Malayu and Tausug, a dialect commonly used in the southern provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. There were no immediate reports whether the foreigners are being held in either of the two provinces. Malaysian media reported that the gunmen and their hostages fled on a speed boat painted blue and white and headed out to international waters. It also quoted Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk

Hamza Taib as saying the captives had been taken out of Malaysia. “We have identified the victims’ whereabouts. We have a rough idea where they are. They may be out of Malaysian waters,” Hamza said. Hamza said the kidnappers have not contacted any of the victims’ families or relatives. In 2010, suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels kidnapped Malaysian seaweed farmers Vui Chung, 42, and Lai Wing Chau, 33, in Sabah’s Semporna town near Lahad Datu and ransomed them off for 2 million ringgits. Rebels also kidnapped 21 Western tourists from Sabah’s island resort of Sipadan in 2001 and were freed months later after Libya and Malaysia paid huge ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)

DFA padayong manguna sa interes sa nasod sa kalibutanong fora DIPOLOG CITY - Gipasalig sa Malakanyang nga padayong panalipdan sa gobyerno ang interes ug teritoryo sa nasod, ilabi na ang panag-ilog sa West Philippine Sea. Sa gipahigayong interview sa sibyaanang Radyo ng BayandzRB, gipahayag ni Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda nga nagpagawas ang Departamento sa Kalihokang Langyaw ug note verbale aron protestahan ang bag-ong pasaporte sa Tsina nga gibutangan ug mapa sa giilogang teritoryo. “Ang DFA padayong magbantay sa sitwasyon aron siguradong maprotektahan ang atong interes sa kalibutanong forum ug padayon kitang mohimo sa gikinahanglang representasyon aron mapanalipdan ang atong

teritoryo,” matod pa ni Lacierda. Ang Tsina nagpasuko sa mga nangangkong nasod human migawas ang bag-ong pasaporte sa Tsina nga gibutangan sa mapa nga nagpakita sa ilang pag-angkon sa West Philippine Sea. Ang Tsina miangkon sa tibuok West Philippine Sea nga tipik sa ilang teritoryo, bisan ug ang tipik sa kadagatan niini, giangkon usab sa Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunie, Malaysia, ug Pilipinas. Ang gihimo sa Tsina nga paglakip sa mapa sa giilongang teritoryo sa bag-o nilang pasaporte makonsidera nga usa ka pagpanghagit sanglit magkinahanglan man nga iindorso kini sa ubang mga nasod pinaagi sa pagbutang sa ilang opisyal nga seal sa maong dokumento. (Alfonso T. Ruda)

The Mindanao Examiner Media, Film and Television Productions Maritess Fernandez Publisher/Executive Producer (On Leave) Al Jacinto Editor-in-Chief/Producer (OIC) Gregorri Leaño Joanna Valerie Wee Video Editor Mindanao Examiner Productions Web Master REGIONAL PARTNERS Mindanao Daily Business Week NEWS/ADVERTISING OFFICES Mark Navales ARMM

Giovanni Solmerano Eastern Mindanao

Merlyn Manos Iligan City

Geonarri Solmerano Southern Mindanao

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Asa Madale Lanao Provinces Ely Dumaboc Zamboanga Sibugay/Zamboanga del Sur/Zamboanga del Norte John Shinn III California The Mindanao Examiner Newspaper/Business Week/Mindanao Daily is published weekly/daily in Zamboanga City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, Philippines. The Mindanao Examiner Television is broadcast in Skycable 54 in Zamboanga; Lupah Sug Cable in Sulu province and Basilan Cable in Basilan province. Our business and editorial offices are located at Units 15, 3rd Floor, Fair Land Bldg., Nuñez St., Zamboanga City Phone & fax: +63 62 9925480 Mobile: +63 9152756606 URL: mindanaoexaminer.com E-mail: mindanaoexaminer@gmail.com

Students and journalists listen to good governance champion and Jesuit priest Albert Alejo during the media ethics’ forum at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. Also in the photos are Frencie Carreon, of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and Mary Jean Andrada, of the Ateneo Mass Communication Department. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

Zambo students, journos attend forum on media ethics and role in transformation of society ZAMBOANGA CITY – Dozens of students and journalists attended a forum on “Media Ethics and Media’s Role in the Transformation of Society” in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. The event, held recently, was organized by the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines under Frencie Carreon and the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. Mary Jean Andrada, of the Ateneo Mass Communication Department, coordinated and moderated

the forum. Good governance champion and Jesuit priest Albert Alejo was invited to speak during the forum attended by mass communication and journalism students from Ateneo de Zamboanga and Western Mindanao State University. Fr. Alejo, author of the book “Ehemplo: Spirituality of Shared Integrity in Philippine Church and Society,” urged students and journalists to write in-depth analysis and articles about Mindanao and

its culture, and important events that would have impact an impact to the readers in general. Carreon, in appreciation to the priest’s dedication and advocacy, handed him a plaque. Ehemplo is also call of people dedicated to live a life of honor, integrity and good examples. Ehemplo is based on espousing “Ehem” - the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines. Ehem aims at bringing

people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own un-critiqued, often unwitting practice of corruption in daily life. Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo - critical of corruption, intent on integrity, according to its organizers. (Mindanao Examiner)

Army interrogates Sayyaf rebel in 2002 kidnap of Christian missionaries PAGADIAN CITY – Philippine authorities are investigating an Abu Sayyaf rebel captured in Zamboanga City for the 2002 kidnappings of Christian missionaries in the southern province of Sulu, officials said. Officials said the rebel, who was only identified by his alias Tuma, is implicated to the kidnappings of 6 members of the Jehova’s Witness in Patikul town. Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said the rebel was captured in his hideout in the village of Tulungatung after security forces tracked him down last week. “The operation was launched by combined elements from the (Army’s) Task ForceZamboanga, the Air Force and Zamboanga police and this resulted to the arrest of Tuma who is wanted for kidnappings, among other charges,” he told the Mindanao Examiner. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, the regional army commander, said the capture of Tuma was the result of the Oplan Bayanihan, a codename for the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan. “As long as there are strong IPSP supporters in our localities, we are confident in hunt against lawless group,” Cruz said. In September, army soldiers in nearby Zamboanga del Norte province also captured two Abu Sayyaf rebels implicated in the kidnapping of 21 people, including three US citizens, from a posh Filipino resort in the 2001. The two men – Imam Pai and Aling – were captured in their hideout in Labason town. The duo was among those who kidnapped holidaymakers, among them a US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, and California man Guillermo Sobero, in Dos Palmas resort in Palawan province. Sobero was eventually killed and Martin Burnham was shot during a US-led military rescue operation in Zamboanga del

Norte. Burnham’s wife was rescued, but wounded after being hit by a stray bullet in the fire fight

between troops and rebels. Authorities have linked the Abu Sayyaf to the spate of terror-

ism and kidnappings in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)


Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

The Mindanao Examiner

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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

‘Maguindanao massacre’ remembered in Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Journalists and various groups in the southern Philippines commemorated the third year of the massacre of 58 people in Maguindanao province. Among those brutally killed were 32 journalists and media workers who were covering a political caravan on November 23, 209. Authorities said some 200 gunmen and members of the powerful political Ampatuan clan were behind the mass killings in an effort to stop the candidacy of rival political Esmael Mangudadatu, who is now the governor of Maguindanao. In Davao City, journalists said President Benigno Aquino III has not done enough to avert media killings and harassments contrary to what he had promised during the election campaign. “As we mark the 3rd year of the grisly killing of 58 per-

sons, we strongly demand for justice not only for the victims of Ampatuan massacre, but for all the 154 media workers killed since the restoration of democracy in 1986. We should join hands to hold accountable the Aquino administration for allowing the state of impunity to continue,” said the National Union of Journalists of the PhilippinesDavao chapter. NUJP members in General Santos City, Cotabato, Kidapawan and Zamboanga also held separate programs as tribute to the murdered journalists and media workers. Journalists and cause-oriented groups in Kidapawan and Cagayan de Oro held mock funeral. In Zamboanga City, journalists headed by Frencie Carreon, president of the local NUJP group; Julie Alipala, NUJP director; Darwin Wee, NUJP past president; Philip Abuy, president of

Journalists, students and multi-sectoral groups commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the ‘Maguindanao massacre’ in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Geo Solmerano)

the Zamboanga Press Club; the Peace Advocates Zamboanga under Spanish priest Angel Calvo; and Jesuit priest Albert Alejo led the commemoration of the killings at the Paseo del Mar where they deployed over a hundred Chinese lanterns. They demanded justice for

the victims of the massacre. Members of the Crime Watch Volunteers under Sonny Jalani and students from Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Western Mindanao State University, Southern City Colleges, Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Tech-

nology, Simpson Alliance School, Mein College, Immaculate Conception Elementary School, Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School, Nuevo Zamboanga College, Zamboanga National High School Main, and Universidad de Zamboanga,

including civilians also joined the event, Carreon said. The NUJP also thanked Distrito restaurant for allowing the journalists to use their sound system. (With reports from Greg Leano, Alvin Lardizabal and Geo Solmerano)

Over 900 Davao Oriental students benefit from feeding program D AVA O C I T Y – H u n dreds of students benefited from a fourmonth feeding program sponsored by the Kiwanis International o f G i l d e n Ta g u m i n c o ordination with the De-

partment of Education and the Philippine Army in Davao Oriental province in Mindanao. The 28th Infantry Battalion said a total of 989 students took part in the program. Those

who participated were from elementary schools of Dawan, Danao, S a n g h a y, Libudon, Cabuaya, Luban and Langca, all of Mati City; and Dugmanon, Lapu-Lapu and Maag all of San Isidro town a n d L a v i g a n , Ta g a b e b e , P u n d a g u i t a n , Ta n d a n g Sora and Anitap in Governor Generoso town. Jeffrey Mataro, president of the Kiwanis International G o l d e n Ta g u m , s a i d a d dressing the malnutrition problem as early as during pre-school will make a huge change in the performance of a child. “This feeding program is only supplementary to what the parents feed their child, and this will not sustain without your (parents) commitment in providing the right nutrition to your child,” he said in a statement sent by the army to the Mindanao Examiner. Lt. Col. Francisco L o r e n z o , J r. s a i d t h e y would continue to suppor t var ious huma nita rian programs of the Education department a n d t h e K i w a n i s . “ We assure all stakeholders of the continuous support of the Philippine Army to activities that will promote peace and development like the feeding program which aims to have healthier and dependable youths,” he said.

P a g a d i a n ’s “ d a n c i n g f o u n t a i n ” is one of the tourist attractions in the city and continues to a t t r a c t l o c a l c ro w d s e v e r y n i g h t . ( M i n d a n a o E x a m i n e r P h o t o )


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012


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The Mindanao Examiner

Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

New climate study presents business opportunities for Zambo, 7 other cities ZAMBOANGA CITY - Top environmental solutions provider World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Foundation unveiled the latest version of a multi-phase study on climate adaptation for Zamboanga and seven other Philippine cities. The launch, held at the Lantaka Hotel in Zamboanga City last week, was attended by dozens of representatives from both the public and private sectors. Zamboanga, a top exporter of seaweed and coconut, sits within a typhoon-free zone, registering the lowest average rainfall among all eight assessed sites. Seeing that much of the city’s new growth has come from agricultural activity, Zamboanga’s challenge will involve the management of natural capital. “With the proper mindset, what may be seen as a local vulnerability can be transformed into a development opportunity,” WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, said in a statement sent

to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. Entitled Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Impacts, the study analyzes economic and climate trends while predicting probable scenarios. The study aims to help city planners and decision-makers assess climate change impacts, identify opportunities and sustainability strategies for cities to retain economic viability and competitiveness in a climate-defined future. Phase two of the multiyear study was conducted from January to September this year and assessed the cities of Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Dagupan and Laoag. Phase one was conducted in 2011 and surveyed the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Iloilo. “This new study synthesizes two years’ worth of research which combines baseline data findings with stakeholder inputs from cityspecific scenario-building exercises,” said WWF-Philippines Project Manager Moncini Hinay. “Results shall form the basis for recommen-

dations which we hope may influence each city’s unique climate adaptation strategy and urban development plan.” Hinay said though generally shielded from climate effects, Zamboanga is still vulnerable. People from high risk communities may eventually emigrate and turn it into a migratory sink and over the last 20 years, the city’s population has doubled and one way or another, climate change will affect all cities. In 2009, WWF launched The Coral Triangle and Climate Change: Ecosystems, People and Societies at Risk – a report based on a thorough consideration of the climate biology, economics and social characteristics of the immediate environs of the Philippines – showing how unchecked climate change will ultimately undermine and destroy local ecosystems and livelihoods. A low-lying archipelago, the Philippines sits well within the typhoon belt and is the third most vulnerable nation to climate change. BPI Foundation Executive Director Florendo Maranan said: “We have seen in Superstorm Sandy how even the most powerful country can be rendered helpless in the face of nature’s fury. We need not wait for the next disaster to happen. The study results provide us with a good starting point for the critical actions that we need to address. More importantly, the vulnerability assessment of each city provides highly valuable insights on business opportunities if we pursue a more sustainable development plan.”

Zamboanga City has one of the most cleanest seas in southern Philippines.(Mindanao Examiner Photo)

Hike in violence against women, children in Davao City alarms women’s group DAVAO CITY – The Women’s Studies and Resource Center said it is alarmed by the rising incidence of violence against women and children in Davao City in the southern Philippines. It said data from the Women and Children Protection Desk indicate that there has been a steady increase in reported cases in Davao since the passage of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act in 2004. From 184 cases in 2004, the incidence of violence against women and children rose to 422 cases in 2005 and 815 in 2006; 1,034 in 2007 and 1,155 in 2008; 1,634 in 2010, and 1,450 cases in 2011 – or an average increase of nearly 800% within an 8-year period. And all these cases occurred despite Davao, being prominent as the first city in

the country to pass the Women Development Code of Davao City (Ordinance No. 5004) in 1998. It said the Southern Mindanao region has the highest incidence of incidence of violence against women and children with 34% of the total national incidence. From January to October this year, it said 1,391 domestic violence cases have been reported to the police in Davao City. And domestic violence remains the most prevalent form of gender violence among women; and sexual harassment is the second, and rape ranked third. While reported rape cases among women have gone down, the rape of minors under 12 years old or statutory rape - soared 3,300% in the last 4 years. “The spike in cases in the last 8 years points to an increasing awareness and assertiveness among our

women to file cases but at the same time, it is a grim reminder of how these remains unabated and how true equality and empowerment for women are impeded by violence,” Leah Emily Miñoza, executive director of the WSRC, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner. She said the passage of local and national laws helped women and the general public break silence about the violence, but it has not eradicated the problems. “The social and political causes of violence remain. Systemic beliefs and perceptions about women as objects and occupying a lower position in society remain unchanged. Poverty exacerbates women’s vulnerability to violence. Impunity and victimblaming averts women’s struggle to access legal and judicial mechanisms to stop violence,” she said.


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Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2012

JUSTICE STILL ELUSIVE FOR MASSACRE VICTIMS, FAMILIES

MANILA - The Human Rights Watch said the Aquino administration has done little to disarm and demobilize militias and paramilitary forces three years after the massacre of 58 people by the “private army” of a powerful political clan in the southern Philippines. It said the slow pace of the Maguindanao Massacre trial and the government’s failure to arrest nearly a hundred suspects raise grave concerns for the safety of witnesses and for obtaining justice for the victims. “Three years since the horrors of the Maguindanao Massacre, the trial crawls along, half of the suspects remain at large, and the victims’ families still face threats. Yet the larger problem is that the Aquino administration has done next to nothing to disband the rest of the country’s private armies,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper the Mindanao Examiner. On November 23, 2009, in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, some 200 armed men stopped a convoy carrying family members and supporters of Maguindanao province gubernatorial candidate Esmael Mangudadatu as they went to register his candidacy in upcoming elections. The gunmen forced the group of 58 people – 20 Mangudadatu relatives and supporters; 32 journalists and media workers, and 6 passersby – off the highway near the town of Ampatuan. They brought them to a hill, ordered them out of their vehicles, and executed them. The massacre, the worst in recent Philippines history, resulted in charges against senior members of the Ampatuan family, which controlled Maguindanao province for more than two decades. The family ruled through a “private army” of 2,000 to 5,000 armed men comprised of government-supported mi-

litia, local police, and military personnel. Mangudadatu had posed a political threat to the Ampatuans, hence the plot to stop him from running, according to witnesses at the trial. Mangudadatu is now governor of Maguindanao. Several members of the Ampatuan clan are now in jail and on trial for the massacre. But of the 197 identified suspects, only 99 have been arrested. Of that number, 81 have been indicted. One of those arrested died in jail while another was released by a court after charges were dropped against him. The rest, mostly members of the police militia called the Civilian Volunteer Organization, remain at large. The trial so far has mostly concerned the 56 bail petitions filed before the court. The prosecution has yet to complete its presentation of evidence and witnesses. Relatives of victims have alleged that they have faced threats, intimidation, and bribery, allegedly from Ampatuan supporters; one of the widows decided to leave the Philippines this year out of fear. Since the massacre, lawyers for Mangudadatu said at least three actual or potential witnesses have been killed, including an Ampatuan militia member named Suwaib Upham who had agreed to testify and who had sought witness protection that never materialized. The Supreme Court this month rejected a petition seeking live television coverage of the trial. Relatives of victims told Human Rights Watch that they had hoped showing live coverage would lend transparency to the proceedings and encourage the court to expedite hearings. The Maguindanao Massacre brought to light the dangers posed by private armies, militias, and paramilitaries in the Philippines, but the administration of President Benigno Aquino III has not seriously addressed the prob-

lem, Human Rights Watch said. Aquino should rescind Executive Order 546, issued in 2006 by then President Gloria Arroyo, which allows the arming of the CVOs by local officials. The Ampatuans justified the recruitment and arming of militia members, ostensibly to fight Islamist rebels but in reality to consolidate their hold on power, by citing Executive Order 546. There are concerns that Executive Order 546 will be used by powerful politicians to arm militias prior to the midterm and local elections slated for May 2013. The Interior Department has already identified 15 provinces as “election hotspots” where political violence has occurred and is likely to worsen prior to election day. Four of these provinces are in Mindanao, among them Maguindanao. The rest are in the central and north Philippines known to have political warlords and a history of election violence. The Aquino administration claims that it has “neutralized” 28 so-called “private armies,” but as recently as last week it identified 107 more of these armed groups. The Interior Department has stated these groups might be used to harass voters. “Aquino pledged during the campaign that he would revoke Executive Order 546, but he has reneged on that promise,” Adams said. “With one stroke of a pen, he can make good on his commitment for the good of all Filipinos.” In its 2010 report on the Maguindanao Massacre, “They Own the People,” Human Rights Watch urged that the president, in addition to revoking Executive Order 546, should: Issue an executive order banning all paramilitary and militia forces because of their long and continuing history of serious human rights violations. To accomplish this, the armed forces and national police should systematically dis-

arm all paramilitary and militia forces, end all private funding of such groups, and implement their staged reduction and disbandment. Issue an executive order requiring all government officials to report firearms acquired for professional or personal use for themselves or immediate family members; amend Executive Order 194 to

limit the number and caliber of firearms that civilians can own. Order an appropriate government agency, such as the Commission on Audit, to investigate whether public funds have been used directly or indirectly for creating, arming, and supporting militia forces, and if so, the source of the funds.

“President Aquino can make his mark in Philippines history by banning abusive militias and paramilitary forces,” Adams said. “Not only is it important that the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre get justice but that the government acts to ensure that an atrocity like this will never happen again.”

Police forensic teams gather the bodies of 58 people killed in Maguindanao province in 2009 . (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales)

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