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Senate to constitute as ‘Con-Ass’?

More tourists expected to flock ARMM COTABATO CITY - The Department of Tourism in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOTARMM) said it expects more tourists visiting the region this year. Secretary Ayesha Vanessa Hajar Dilangalen said various regional events scheduled in the coming months will have active participation from do-

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mestic and foreign visitors. Among the major festivities this year are the Inaul Festival in Maguindanao in February, which will include an international airsoft competition where foreign groups are invited; Kariyala Festival in Wao, Lanao del Sur also in February; and Bud Bongao Day in Tawi-Tawi in March.

S e c r e t a r y Dilangalen noted the opening of Buluan Boulevard in Maguindanao, which will feature an exquisite display of man-made lights in addition to a river cruise, as well as activities under the One Mindanao tourism campaign, are also expected to lure visitors from other regions. Continue on page 3

VETERAN SENATOR Panfilo Lacson is expected to file a resolution to constitute only the Senate into a constituent assembly to vote on a proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution. “Magpa-file din ako ng Senate resolution to constitute ourselves, the Senate, in a constituent assembly and wait for the lower house to do the same if they wish,” Lacson said, explain-

ing that the Senate could already start to propose amendments to the Constitution and it would only three-fourths to vote for it. He said that if amendments are approved, these would be discussed in a bicameral conference between both chambers the Senate and the House of Representatives where they would reconcile disagreeing proposals. Afterwards, the Senate and House will again

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take a three-fourths vote separately on amendments before being presented as a plebiscite to the public. Lacson said it was clear the Senate and House should vote separately because the Constitution did not indicate that voting should be done jointly. He added that if voting would be done jointly, there are nearly 300 congressmen and only 23 senators. Continue on page 3


Jan. 15-21, 2018

The Mindanao Trust Fund: Supporting Reconstruction and Development in Conflict-affected areas in Mindanao MA GUINDANA O-C onflict-affected communities in MAGUINDANA GUINDANAO Conflict-affected Mindanao ar e among the poor est in the P hilippines are poorest Philippines suffer ing fr om poor infr astr uctur e and lack of basic suffering from infrastr astructur ucture ser vices eak local services vices,, including education and health, w weak go ver nance iv ate sector inv estment, gov ernance nance,, and minimal pr priv ivate investment, accor ding to a rrepor epor y the World B ank. according eportt b by Bank. It said insecurity has quasi-ideological criminal been a major challenge. banditry—have created seFrequent armed clashes vere economic dislocation driven by multiple and in- and displacement of people. ter-related forms of Armed conflict and poverty c o n f l i c t — i n s u r g e n t are inextricably linked. groups, clan disputes, and The Autonomous Re-

gion in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), one of the most heavily conflict-affected regions, has poverty incidence of 52.9 percent, almost double the national average. Based on the peace deal with the Philippine government in 2012, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is expected to transition into a social and political move-

ment. One of the key challenges for a successful transition is to help the MILF build development planning, budgeting, and public administration skills within its ranks. The Mindanao Trust Fund or MTF works to enhance access to services and economic opportunities and build social cohesion while enhancing

the capacity of local institutions in conflict-affected areas. It supports the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of the MILF. Based on a 2001 agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF, the BDA is tasked to determine, lead, and manage relief, rehabilitation, and development projects

in the conflict-affected areas. It’s a unique project that enables various stakeholders—government, the World Bank, and other development partners—to work with a revolutionary movement in delivering development results even before the signing of a final peace agreement. Continue on page 5



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The Mindanao Examiner

Jan. 15-21, 2018

Goodbye BBL, Hello Federalism

OTABA TO CIT Y–F or the thir ound, ABAT CITY For third around, d time ar major ity Chr istian lawmakers in the H ouse of majority Christian House Repr esentativ es ar e expected to rreject eject the pr oepresentativ esentatives are proposed B angsamor oB asic Law or BBL being Bangsamor angsamoro Basic pushed b y the M or o IIslamic slamic Liber ation F by Mor oro Liberation Frront, which signed an inter im peace deal with M anila in 2014. interim Manila Instead of BBL, law- panels. makers are now pushing Politicians questionfor a federal form of gov- ing the BBL said the ernment and President provisions in the draft law Rodrigo Duterte is also remain the same. strongly advocating the Zamboanga City Represhift to federalism, an ad- sentative Celso Lobregat, vocacy he made even who was one of those who before when he was the opposed the BBL during mayor of Davao City. the Aquino administration Presidential Spokes- citing unconstitutional man Harry Roque also said provisions in the draft law, Duterte’s priority now is to is again raising the same change the form of current issue. Unconstitutional government and this can only be achieved through In a previous stateamendments in the Con- ment, Lobregat made it stitution which lawmakers clear, he will be vigilant are currently working on. and consistent with his There was also a pro- stand with regards to the posal to hold a plebiscite BBL. “I am for peace, I am next year in time for the not anti-peace, but we mid-term elections for Fili- need a Bangsamoro Basic pinos to decide whether to Law that is just, that is fair, accept or reject federalism. that is acceptable, feasible But there are also many and more importantly, it lawmakers who wanted to should not be contrary to cling to power and extend the Constitution and existtheir term of office until ing laws,” he said. 2022 when voters would He said the BBL which have to choose their lead- the Bangsamoro Transiers in national elections. tion Commission BBL submitted to Duterte still Duterte has previously contains the same and backed the BBL and ex- even more contentious pressed optimism that the and questionable providraft law will pass the scru- sions. “Among the tiny of Congress that contentious provisions in previously opposed it – the present version of the during Arroyo and BBL is that there will be six Aquino’s presidency. plebiscites - one for ratifiBut Duterte himself cation of the law, and has been campaigning for second the periodic plebiBBL and federalism even scite every 5 years for a before he won the presi- period of 25 years in the citdency in 2016. And his ies, municipalities and political allies in Congress other geographic areas are supporting the pro- outside the Autonomous posed shift from the Region in Muslim current presidential sys- Mindanao which did not tem to federalism, and not join the Bangsamoro after the BBL. the ratification of the BBL,” The MILF, whose age- Lobregat said. ing leaders, called for the Lobregat, who was passage of BBL may be also former mayor of overridden by Duterte’s Zamboanga City, said plans to grant regions au- Memorandum of Agreetonomy through ment on Ancestral Domain federalism. It said the ad- (MOA-AD) was the predeministration of Duterte cessor of the old BBL filed should immediately work during the previous 16th for the passage of the BBL Congress. The MOA-AD where the Aquino govern- was declared unconstitument left off. It stressed tional by the Supreme that the negotiation is Court in 2008 describing completed following the the process that led to its signing of the Framework crafting as “whimsical, caAgreement on the pricious, oppressive, Bangsamoro (FAB) and the arbitrary and despotic.” Comprehensive AgreeHe said the MOA-AD ment on the Bangsamoro and the BBL have similar (CAB) between the MILF provisions, with some unand government peace constitutional and

controversial provisions. “Instead of promoting peace, there will be a constant tug of war on the political boundaries that will promote instability. The Bangsamoro will try to expand its area of jurisdiction and in turn, the local government adjacent, surrounding or neighboring the Bangsamoro will also fight tooth and nail in order to retain their territory,” Lobregat said. Lobregat said he will again be active and vigilant in the committee deliberations, plenary debates and caucuses to ensure that the interest of Zamboanga City and the rest of Mindanao are protected. Davao del Norte Representative and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s ally in the lower chamber, said the country’s push for federalism has almost the same concept of the BBL. “The BBL will be absorbed by the federal form of government, because that’s the same. The concept of BBL is the same in federal form of government,” he said, suggesting an amendment in the Constitution. “How can you implement the provisions of the BBL without amending the Constitution? You cannot do it because there are provisions in the BBL that run contrary to the provisions of the Constitution,” said Alvarez. MILF's rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari, has strongly opposed the government peace talks with the MILF, citing a 1996 peace accord with Manila. And Misuari, who eventually became government of the Muslim autonomous region, is now facing rebellion charges for deadly attacks in Sulu's Jolo town and in Zamboanga City in 2001; and another raid in 2013 in retaliation to government's failure to fully comply with the peace agreement. Under the accord, Manila would have provided a mini-marshal plan in the restive region and livelihood and housing facilities for thousands of MNLF rebels. Misuari, a close friend and political ally of Duterte, also wanted to become a perpetual regional governor.

MILF rebels (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales) He is also being accused of graft and corruption with cases dating back during his time as governor, but Duterte ordered authorities not to arrest Misuari because of the peace pro-

cess. Str ong BBL suppor trong supportt Murad Ebrahim, the MILF chairman, said Duterte has voiced his support for the BBL, which will set a precedent for a

federal model to be pushed out across the country. He previously said that the MILF will not settle for anything other than the BBL. Continue on page 7

Dozens of ARMM students qualify for DOST-SEI’s scholarship programs COTABATO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said it has recorded the highest number of qualifiers in science scholarship programs this year as some dozens of third-year college students passed the Junior Level Science Scholarship ( JLSS) examination. It said 70 students passed the examination. The increase of qualifiers is almost threefold considering there were only 24 passers in the previous year. “The increasing number of passers can be attributed to the region’s ‘Syensiyabilidad’ program,” Science and Technology (S&T) ARMM Secretary Myra Mangkabung said. She explained that the initiative was aimed at developing the skills of the students who would be taking the examinations. It was designed, she added, to help the students remember and master the skills and concepts needed to pass the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) scholarship examination. The Syensiya-bilidad program is a two-day comprehensive review

composed of two parts – Intellective Speed and Intellective Power Test. DOST-ARMM previously administered an online review and pre-test for students in the five provinces of the region for free. The DOST-ARMM has also conducted an intensive information drive dubbed ‘Push 4 Science’ to raise awareness on DOST-SEI’s scholarship programs. “We also increased the number of testing centers in the region,” Sec. Mangkabung said. The JLSS covers scholarship programs of the DOST-SEI under Republic Act No. 7687, or the Science and Technology Scholarship Act of 1994; Republic Act No. 10612, or the Fast-Tracked S&T Scholarship Act of 2013; and the Merit Scholarship Program. Qualifiers of these scholarship programs will avail themselves of two- to three-year S&T scholarships. Those who qualified under RA 7687 and RA 10612 will be entitled to subsidy in tuition fee and other school fees, monthly living allowance, book allowance, among others, in the last two or three years of their undergraduate studies. Those who qualify un-

der the Merit Scholarship Program will receive the same benefits except for the pro-rated monthly stipend based on the scholar’s family socio-economic status. The S&T scholars will be required to render service to the country, preferably in their home region, for a period equivalent to the number of years they enjoyed the scholarship. The RA 7687 and Merit scholars are expected to work on their fields of specialization while those under RA 10612 will serve as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics teachers in any public, or private high school in the country. They are allowed to teach even without the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) eligibility but they have to pass the LET within five years from the date of hiring. “With the continued efforts of the region, we are confident that we will produce more competent S&T students,” Sec. Mangkabung said. The new JLSS scholars will receive their scholarship incentives effective the first semester of 2018. (Bureau of Public Information)

Duterte meets with Chinese delegation PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte met with Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Member Meng Xiangfeng and other officials who recently visited the Philippines. Duterte praised the Chinese delegation and reiterated the country’s commitment to peace and harmonious relationship with Beijing. “Our desire and wish of the Filipino people that we make our bond stronger,” he said. Other CPC members who were present during the meeting were Yuan Zhibing, Director General of Bureau One International Department of the CPC; Lin Zhi, Division Chief, Personnel

Bureau, CPC; and Du Dingding, Division Chief, Bureau One International Department of the CPC. People’s Republic of China to the Philippines Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, and Embassy of China Counsellor Sun Yi were also present during the “meet and greet.” (See photo on Front Page) Duterte said the CPC members visited the country upon the invitation of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the President’s political party. Among the Philippine officials present were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Palace S till Trusts China Still Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippines is still relying on China’s good faith that it would not embark on new reclamation activities in the South China Sea orWest Philippine Sea as called by Manila. This after China allegedly built an airbase with military facilities and hospital on the Kagitingan Reef or Fiery Cross Reef. “When we say we are relying on China’s good faith, it is because China has committed not to embark on new reclamations,” Roque said. Roque explained that Kagitingan is one of the islands that China had already

reclaimed and subject of the arbitral tribunal’s decision that the island is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. “So when we invoke the good faith of China, it is against making further reclamations and not making further works on islands that it had already reclaimed,” Roque said. “So I hope that is very clear. So the good faith we’re relying on is the commitment of China not to embark on new reclamations.” Roque, however, agreed with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who said that the Philippines would file a diplomatic protest if China had indeed built

airbase with military facilities in the Kagitingan Island. “Of course, that’s the proper remedy, but that’s something the Department of Foreign Affairs will have to address,” Roque said, adding, if China would militarize the island, it would constitute a “further threat to peace and security in the area.” “But the point is, has there been a breach of Chinese commitment not to reclaim any new islands or shoals in the area? For as long as there is none, then we continue to respect that they are true to their commitment not to do so,” he said. He also explained “from the very beginning China,

we knew, was militarizing the area by reclaiming these areas and by using them as military bases.” “So the fact that they are actually using it now as military bases, as far as I’m concerned, is not new, new. It’s not news. Because we’ve always been against the militarization of the area. But the good faith commitment is not to reclaim new islands. I hope that’s very clear,” Roque said. There is also a report that China is planning to deploy nuclear platforms in Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea. (With a report from Jelly Musico. Mindanao Examiner)


The Mindanao Examiner

Jan. 15-21, 2018

DSWD-ARMM resumes 4Ps payout in Lanao Sur town LANAO DEL SUR – The Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DWSD-ARMM) has resumed the payout of cash grants to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid

Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in at least 20 villages in Kapai town. A total of 3,276 validated beneficiaries claimed their accumulated cash grants during the payout. Each beneficiary received as much as

P30,000, which included the additional P600 monthly rice subsidy introduced by the Duterte administration. DSWD-ARMM explained that the payout was delayed for months because of the need to re-

More tourists expected to flock ARMM Continued fr om page 1 from Based on the latest available ARMM tourism data, Lanao del Sur was the top tourist destination in 2016 with close to 70,000 visitor arrivals. This number produced roughly P1.2 billion in tourism receipts. The 2017 data for Lanao del Sur, however, is expected to slide down due to the Marawi crisis that started in May. For at least five months, the province’s visitors were limited to gover nment troops, members of the media, and representatives from civil society groups. Visitors to the province spent their cash in nearby Lanao del Norte, not in Lanao del Sur where economic activities were almost stagnant. “Marawi siege’s effect in terms of tourist arrivals is evident,” Sec. Dilangalen said. However, r ise in tourist arrivals in the four other provinces in the region especially in Maguindanao could compensate Lanao del

Sur’s decline in tourism receipts, she said. In 2017, Mt. Minandar in Maguindanao and Bud Bongao in Tawi-Tawi are two of the newly introduced tourist destinations in the region. Maluso in Basilan is also quickly also catching up in terms of tourist arrivals, Sec. Dilangalen said. The region’s fabrics were showcased last year even as the concept of Sarimanok was used at the Miss Universe concept in the first quarter of 2017. During last year’s State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte, different indigenous textiles were used by the attendees as part of their attire. “We have high hopes since the tourism component is added to the core areas of Department of the Interior and Local Government’s Seal of Good Local Governance, and many local government units are now giving priority to tourism,” Sec. Dilangalen

said. The regional DOT chief is positive of the coming year since her office, she noted, was able to strengthen its linkages with the national government and with other partners. An event showcasing tourist attractions in the region is set to be held in April in the walled city of Intramuros in Manila where ARMM products would also be exhibited. Also scheduled this year is the Tourism Crisis Symposium, which will help ARMM communities learn about proper response in times of need and to capacitate them as well. Among DOTARMM’s plans is to reinforce efforts in community-based tourism. “ We have to strengthen the preparation of our communities in order to have sustainable tourism. Through this, we get to work with the communities in giving our tourists an exquisite experience,” she said. (Bureau of Public Information)

validate the beneficiaries as well as other relevant data in the area. The difficulty in generating electric power in this town and intermittent skirmishes, such as family feuds, are some of the reasons for the delay that resulted in the accumulation of grant amounts. Efficient release of the remaining 2017 grants and the utilization of cash cards to distribute the money to the beneficiaries

are some of the future plans identified by the department. These plans would help in the fast and continuous flow of the payout. The activity was conducted recently in Pindolonan village and was spearheaded by ARMM Regional ViceGovernor and concurrent Social Welfare Secretary Haroun Alrashid A. Lucman, Jr. and DSWD Regional Assistant Secre-

tary on Administrative and Finance Pombaen Karon-Kader. Aside from provincial grievance officers and regional grievance officers, the local government unit, led by Kapai Mayor Hamza Gaoraki, organized a municipal grievance committee to address issues and queries raised by beneficiaries during the payout. (Bureau of Public Information)

Senate to constitute as ‘Con-Ass’?

Continued fr om page 1 from “Papayag ba ang Senado na papasok kami sa isang joint session knowing 23 ang Senador and almost 300 ang congressmen? Ano pa ang saysay ng Senado? Wala kaming boses doon, hindi magma-matter ang boto ng 23,” he said, adding, it is like a death warrant for Senate to agree to a joint session with the House of Representatives. Lacson also pointed out that if a “simple” or basic legislation needed to be voted on the two chambers separately, what more if it was legislation to amend the Constitution. He said that majority of senators would not agree to a resolution to convene in a joint session. He said the Supreme Court should come up with an interpretation to decide if voting should be done jointly or separately. “The Supreme Court will have to

come up with an interpretation that will put to rest that issue of voting jointly or separately,” he said. Senator Francis Pangilinan said the Senate would resume hearings on the proposed revision of the Constitution. Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, said they will tackle at least 3 bills on amending the Constitution - Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon; Joint Resolution No. 1 by Senator Richard Gordon and Senate Bill No. 128 by Senator Miguel Zubiri. Through discussions, Pangilinan said that he would also want to find out if there was really a need to amend the Constitution and the reasons for amending it or not. He stressed that if there was indeed a need to amend the Consti-

tution, they should also determine which parts should be revised and find out why. He also wanted to know if the revisions should take the constitutional assembly (con-ass) or the constitutional convention (con-con) mode. Pangilinan said that it was important to settle once and for all if voting on the Constitution should be done by the Senate and House of Representatives jointly or separately. He also raised the question on whether Congress could pass a resolution limiting the power of the con-ass or con-con or were their powers plenary. Among the proposed amendments include the shift from presidential form of government to federalism, foreign ownership of business in the country and possible term extension of elected officials. (Azer Parrocha)


The Mindanao Examiner

Jan. 15-21, 2018

Online ‘TV Shop Philippines’, inireklamo ZAMBOANGA CITY – Inireklamo ng isang online shopper sa Zamboanga City ang TV Shop Philippines – dahil sa diumano’y panggogoyo nito ng bentahan ang biktima ng isang pares ng pekeng sunglasses at kahit pa ilang ulit itong nag-demand ng refund ay dedma pa rin ang naturang kampanya. Isang pares ng Trans Optics sa halagang P2995 ang binili umano ng biktima noong nakaraang buwan at base sa advertisement ng kampanya ay nagpapalit umano ng kulay ang sunglasses kung mabibilad sa init ng araw – mula light brown at dapat maging dark brown ito dahil sa taglay nitong “transition lenses.”

Ito ang link sa “false advertisement” ng kumpanya sa Trans Optics sunglasses: https:// w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / 1834280040210166/ Subalit laking gulat na lamang ng biktima ng kahit isang oras ng babad sa araw ang plastic sunglasses at walang nabago sa lenses nito kung kaya’t agad itong ini-reklamo sa Customer Care ng kampanya na naka-base sa Vision TV Phils, Inc. sa #820, Unit 301 Aralco Bldg sa J.P. Rizal sa Makati City. Nangako umano ang isang Young Rodriguez na ire-refund ang bayad, ngunit hindi naman ito natupad hanggang sa kasalukuyan at puro dahilan na lamang ang tugon sa biktima kahit

pa naibalik na nito ang palsipikadong sunglasses sa kampanya noong nakaraang buwan. Idudulog umano ng biktima sa Department of Trade and Industry ang kaso upang masampahan ng demanda ang kampanya at magsilbing babala sa mga online shops na naglipana sa bansa at nagbebenta ng mga halos China-made na produktong hango sa orihinal na brands. Hindi naman mabatid klung ilan na ang naloko ng kumpanya sa Zamboanga at Mindanao. Ilang beses na rin nagbabala ang DTI sa publiko ukol sa mga online stores na nagbebenta ng mga pekeng produkto. (Mindanao Examiner)

Ang Trans Optics na ibinibenta ng TV Shop Philippines.

Hundreds of villages benefit from ARMM’s anti-poverty program COTABATO CITY - The Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy or HELPS program of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has served some 403 villages since its creation in 2013. Among the services delivered were health stations, provision of medicines and birthing supplies and equipment for its health component. Development of madaris curriculum, as a tool to combat violent extremism, as well as the construction of community

learning centers for education, and study tour for teachers were also pursued. ARMM-HELPS, the banner program of the region under the administration of Gov. Mujiv Hataman, also constructed flea markets and water systems, and supported livelihood cooperative development based on needs assessment for its livelihood objective. To strengthen the regional government’s support to efficient governance, new village halls with police action centers were

built, disaster preparedness and management training were promoted, rescue equipment and other supplies were distributed, and development of Barangay Development Plans and youth development support programs were given assistance. “Everyone in the community should be involved in the whole process of making the projects – they are the ones who identify the projects. We want to prevent white elephant projects” said Anwar Upahm, ARMMHELPS program manager.

“That is the reason why we do not implement projects that were not consulted. By helping facilitate their Barangay Development Plans, we ensure that concerns are discussed including economic, health, and educational needs,” he added. The previous year’s efforts focused on 150 villages with program resources equally distributed among the region’s five provinces. Upahm said the Marawi siege last year had a major impact on areas covered by the program. For instance,

infrastructures built under ARMM-HELPS in Lumbaca Madaya village were destroyed during the five-month war. Thus, the program has earmarked over P300 million for villagers who are beneficiaries in Lanao del Sur, which suffered from the Marawi crisis, and another P150 million for barangays in the other provinces namely Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and TawiTawi. “Other than the fulfillment of being able to deliver by implementing all

the projects, the best achievement (ARMMHELPS) holds is that we were able to transform the system of ARMM’s project development from being top-down, to bottom-up,” Upahm said. “We give importance to the participation of our different stakeholders in our communities. We are proud to say that in our outputs, the members of the communities are heard – from the planning process up to the implementation,” he said. (Bureau of Public Information)


The Mindanao Examiner

Jan. 15-21, 2018

The Mindanao Trust Fund: Supporting Reconstruction and Development in Conflict-affected areas in Mindanao Continued fr om page 1 from With an enhanced role of women, the program helps the BDA to deliver community development and income-generating subprojects in communities. This enhances access to basic services such as clean water, roads and day care centers. BDA also works to strengthen community enterprises for employment and income generation. The community-based approach brings people from different groups—Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples—together for the common good, building social cohesion and trust. Over time the program has expanded beyond community development to assist the BDA to develop skills in macro-development planning. A broad package of engagement complements the MTF promoting inclusive growth across Mindanao. For example, US$121 million for farm-to-market roads in Mindanao is included in the nation-wide PRDP while the National Community Driven Development Project is financing US$190 million for CDD activities in Mindanao. Over a decade, 650,000 people (52% of whom are women) in 284 villages have benefitted from 641 subprojects financed by the MTF. The subprojects have included water systems, community centers, sanitation facilities, access roads, post-harvest facilities, and farming and fishing equipment. Eighty-six percent of the beneficiaries say that the

project reflected their needs. The subprojects have reduced travel time to market, increased agricultural productivity, reduced post-harvest costs, and increased access to basic services such as clean water. Beneficiaries of income-generating subprojects reported a 10 to 20 percent increase in incomes. About 330,383 women beneficiaries learned skills in community planning and implementation. And 42 community enterprises in 11 villages have been trained in business development to generate sustainable employment and income. The Bangsamoro Development Agency has evolved from a small group of volunteers with no development experience to a leading development agency in Mindanao with 300 staff across seven regional management offices. BDA cooperates with multiple national and international partners, including JICA, WFP, and UNICEF. Bangsamoro Development Plan: the MTF provided technical assistance to help the BDA formulate the first comprehensive economic development blueprint prepared by a non-state armed group. Under the Alternative Learning System project, about 1,832 former combatants, housewives and out-of-school youth reported increased confidence because of improved reading, writing and numeracy abilities. These contributed to their more active partici-

pation in community meetings, stronger support for their children’s schoolwork, and better fair farm pricing transactions in city markets. The MTF has remained an important mechanism for consolidating peace and development in Mindanao. Beyond the impact of subprojects at the community level, the program’s ability to converge government and international support to empower Bangsamoro people and institutions to lead in community development seeks to lay the foundation for future sustainable and inclusive development in the Bangsamoro. The program fostered social cohesion by creating spaces for dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Indigenous Peoples, as well as a diverse mix of local, regional, and national institutional actors. In many remote locations, the project provided the only opportunity for different groups to interact. The increased familiarity built mutual understanding—the basis of trust. Project policies also ensured active and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples and women, who are often otherwise marginalized from decision-making processes at the village level. The participative approach fostered social unity and built trust among stakeholders. In tri-people communities, minority groups shared better understanding and more harmonious relations with Muslims due to the consensus-building nature of CDD/

CDR. While residents of remote communities—who had had little to no government access—disclosed growing trust towards government institutions at the end of the project due to the assistance provided by officials. The Bank’s technical and analytical support through the MTF and other engagements supporting peace and development in Mindanao have produced a significant body of literature that helps inform policy dialogues among various stakeholders. For instance, the Land Conflict study prepared for the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission provides shortand medium-term recommendations that can help address land conflict in Mindanao. Also, the Public Expenditure Review in basic education for the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao promoted dialogue between the national government and ARMM. This enabled ARMM to secure a larger budget for education. MTF enables development agencies to pool resources and coordinate support for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. The MTF is administered by the World Bank, which contributed US$1.5 million out of a total of US$28.88 million. The Bank’s development partners have made the following contributions: European Union (US$17.66 million), Sweden (US$4.29 million), Australia (US$2.89 million), Canada (US$1.6 million), the United States

(US$.75M) and New Zealand (US$0.2 million). Besides the BDA, other partners in the project are: Community and Family Services International (CFSI), a humanitarian organization that has been involved in reconstruction and development work in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao since 2000; the Mindanao Land Foundation (MinLand), a nongovernmental organization that has been working for social cohesion building in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao since 2001; and the International Labour Organization (ILO). CSFI, MinLand and the ILO operate as a financial intermediary for the program and source of technical assistance to BDA to ensure smooth operations and efficient fund use. The MTF is governed by a Steering Committee cochaired by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The BDA also works with local government units (LGUs) in project sites and has signed Memorandums of Agreement with 79 LGUs to promote cooperation and support for the program. From 2017 to 2019, the MTF will continue to provide socioeconomic assistance to communities in the Six Acknowledged Camps to help transform them into peaceful and productive areas. Expanding beyond the BDA, the project will train MILF’s Task Force on Camps Transformation officers to lead in community organizing and project monitoring. Mean-

while, 343 People’s Organizations that have undergone capacity building will continue to maintain community infrastructure and operate community enterprises for income generation. World Bank engagement continues to respond to evolving needs in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. The Bank is closely working with government, development partners, and other stakeholders to deliver technical support for recovery and reconstruction in Marawi City. “I cried when water spouted out of the water system. It was an affirmation that life will be a little better for us now,” said Nhor Asia Momin, secretary of the Upper Campo Islam People’s Organization, in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. “What [the project] has done is allow people’s organizations whose members are of different faiths to interact – an opportunity that was not available before. Now we say hello to each other when we meet in the streets,” said Morsid Macabangin, People’s Organization President in South Cotabato’s Polomolok town. “The communitydriven development program worked because it allowed us to identify our needs, maximize our resources, and implement the project in the manner reflective our customs,” Tessie Piang, a Teduray and People’s Organization President in Upi town in Maguindanao, said. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez)

Annual fishing ban imposed in Sulu, Basilan seas BASILAN - For the seventh consecutive year, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BFAR-ARMM) is imposing a three-month closed season for fishing ‘tamban’, or Indian sardine, in the Sulu Sea and Basilan Strait. Jerusalem Abdulahim, Chief of the Fisheries Regulatory and Law Enforcement Division of BFAR-ARMM, said the annual fishing ban is implemented to give time for tamban to reproduce. The ban runs from December 2017 until March 1 this year. Pursuant to Section 2 of Republic Act 8550, or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, sardine fishing in the waters of East Sulu Sea, Basilan Strait, and Sibuguey Bay is temporarily suspended to give way to the fish species’ spawning period. The ban also includes the selling, buying and possessing of sardines caught within

the conservation area. To ensure that no one will violate the administrative order, Abdulahim said BFAR-ARMM’s vessels are patrolling the seas of the island provinces, specifically Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, to enforce the closed season policy. Under Section 86 of Republic Act 10654, violators of the fishing ban will be penalized with confiscation of catch and gear, and an administrative fine equivalent to five times the value of the catch, or a penalty ranging from P50,000 for small-scale commercial fishing, to P5 million for large-scale commercial fishing. Abdulahim said some of the fishing companies that are affected by the closed season ruling have scheduled renovating their ships during the period and have reported that their fishing ship workers would still be compensated.

Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) covering July-September 2017, positive growth in tamban production was registered in ARMM due to more fishing trips as a result of good weather conditions and abundance of in-season species in the fishing grounds. The region has produced 1,311.9 metric tons of tamban in the third quarter of 2017. In 2016, PSA data showed ARMM as the top fish-producing region in the country. The region was also the country’s highest producer of fishery products in 2015 and 2016. The region produced 867,939 metric tons in 2015, and 824,313 metric tons in 2016. As of November 2017, BFAR-ARMM has reported 213,935 total number of fisher folks in the entire region. (Bureau of Public Information)



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LETTERS FROM DAVAO by Jun Ledesma IT’S 2018 BUT UN Rapporteur Agnes Callamard has not gotten over her cantankerous attitude against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and her notion that drugs, crime and terrorism are not that bad in the Philippines and therefore an all-out war against these evils is unnecessary and, in her judgment, a crime. She went into sepulchral silence when Pres. Donald Trump declared the menace of drugs in the US of A a national emergency which prompted him to declare an all-out war against illegal drugs. That 64,000 Americans of all ages, to include infants, die annually in the land of Callamard should shock this rapporteur and her sidekick, someone she introduced as Dr. Carl Hart whom she the towed with her when she surreptitiously came to the Philippines to talk about drugs and EJK before a cabal of antiDuterte lawyers in the UP campus. Hart whom Callamard paraded as a specialist casually dismissed the danger of shabu which he claimed does not cause brain damage and that it does not lead a user to violence. The victims in the US are mostly users of non-synthetic drugs and yet 175 addicts die on a daily basis. Callamard suddenly has resurrected. This time she blabbers around with two alleged Filipino rapporteurs he identified as Victoria Corpuz and Cecilia Damary. The duo were identified by Callamard as human rights rapporteurs. Suddenly rapporteurs become dime a dozen. They emerged following the announcement of President Duterte declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed elements, the New Peoples Army as terrorists. Coming close to the heels of that announcement, the President extended martial law in Mindanao. The “rapporteur” labels will not cow Duterte anymore and neither will it save or shield drug lords, drug pushers nor terrorists from the long arms of the law. With these twin measures, expect a decisive military and police campaign against the NPAs and human rights nongovernment organizations who had been using the

lumads for some economic agenda. With the refurbishing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the men in uniform are eager to go to war with terrorist groups. Again Agnes Callamard should know that the US and the European Union had long declared CPP/ NPA as terror organizations. She should credit her pet peeve for bending too far back to win the CPP/NPA/NDF to the folds law by giving them vital positions in the government. But there was no end to the demand. In fact what they wanted was to divide the Philippine territory like a piece of cake, a matter which Duterte out rightly rejected. This is about the Philippines and Duterte against threats of terrorists. The US has a different language and courses of actions which are characteristic of their primal hubris. Callamard has an overdose of that. They deal with threats and perceived enemies differently and classic examples of ‘this are exemplified in the way they dealt with Iraq and Libya. They simply declared that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction while Libya which had long been under a one man rule was faulted Khadaffy with human rights violations and violence. Then the carpet bombings with no regards for the lives of the innocent. These countries never recovered from the shambles and the canards. Yes it’s all about alleged human rights abuses as defined by the West, the mass slaughter that the West does not fall under that definition. Callamard and her ilk are forward agents of dubious and diabolical propaganda and sadly we have compatriots who succumb the lure and the machinations that she peddles. The United Nations should have sanctioned or out rightly dismissed Agnes Callamard for acting like she is her own UNCHR institution in an institution. She rejects formal invitation from a sovereign leader to discuss issues about human rights violations but surreptitiously sneaked into the country only to listen to a cabal of antiDuterte who hated man for making their life miserable. When one considers this braggadocio and manic

interference on how the President addresses crime syndicates and threats of terrorism a slap in the face and not just a tender rap on the knuckles could just be the right thing to do to bring a disdainful intruder to her or his senses. Train and F etish F or C oke Fetish For Coke FINANCE Secretary Sonny Dominguez took the personal initiative to explain the impact of the landmark Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion. This after some artists attempted to tweak the real and equitable benefits that Filipinos will derive from TRAIN. It is rather sad that some quarters are muddling up the positive impacts of the new tax reform law but funny enough to make the increase of the price of Coca-Cola as their principal issue as though it is the national fetish of Filipinos. Truth is, imposing higher tax on the sweet drink is a panacea to what seems to be an incurable proclivity of Pinoys for coke. The Cola, just like cigarettes, is among the top causes of affliction and death of us Pinoys - diabetes. By the way those who are now dependent on drugs for their diabetes the news is the prescribe drugs will be tax free and therefore expect the price to plummet. In summary and in sum, those who earn P250,000 keeps their P50,000 tax which they use to pay.Those in the upper bracket enjoy tax benefits too. We have to emphasize this as this is where the largest population of wage earners belong. The thousands of public school teachers will celebrate once the get hold of their take home pay. The burden now is actually transferred to the rich and they better not dodge paying the right tax otherwise life will be a little bit more difficult for them under the Duterte regime and while the Department of Finance is under the watch of Secretary Dominguez. Why make an issue about the luxury cars being taxed a little less. Just how many luxury cars can one have in his garage. But think about the other incentives if you are really hunting for a car. An environment friendly vehicle like an electric car is even tax free and a hybrid variety with so little tax. Incentive is

ARMM sees more investments in 2018 COTABATO CITY – The Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is projecting higher investment figures for the region this year. Larzon G. Santos, RBOI chief investment specialist, said the agency is set to approve up to P1 billion worth of new projects in the first quarter of the year. Santos said some of the investors have signified interest in setting up projects that would assist the government’s rehabilitation program for Marawi City. The ARMM government is also exerting efforts to convince private investors who could become partners in rebuilding the country’s only Islamic city. Last year, RBOI posted P3.2 billion worth of invest-


The Mindanao Examiner

Jan. 15-21, 2018

ments led by TierOne Communications International, Inc. The company also offered its service facilities to help in Marawi’s reconstruction. TierOne’s project would provide cellular services, broadband connectivity, wireless internet, and public WiFi in the region. Santos said the agency is committed to assist in the rehabilitation of Marawi and has organized a site visit for investors on Thursday, January 11, in Lanao del Sur, particularly in the periphery of Marawi City. “Malaki ang epekto ng gulo sa investments dito sa ARMM lalo na sa Marawi. Alam naman natin na ang mga investors, kapag may na-detect na gulo sa isang area, they just shy away,” Santos said. “Pero may ibang investors din na

tinitignan nila kung possible na mag-penetrate kahit papano sa isang area kahit na may conflict, tinitignan din kung pano nila matulungan din ang mga tao na nawalan ng trabaho.” “Ang ating mga lead investors nasa agriculture. So tinitignan natin kung paano mag ma-match since ang Lanao del Sur ay isang agricultural area. We intend to focus more on Marawi City. After the infrastructure, naghahanda din tayo sa economic side,” Santos added. The list of proposed projects subject for RBOI’s approval include cacao plantations, pineapple plantations, banana plantations, and palm oil refinery. The applications for these projects are now being processed. (Bureau of Public Information)

the key word. In short when the team of Secretary Dominguez crafted TRAIN, they are not only looking for money to fund the massive infrastructures that we are so in dire need of, they are also looking after the health of the nation. Those who find fault in TRAIN will not just stop with Coke which they had raised to underscore the negative impact of the tax reform law on the poorest of the poor. It is actually belaboring the issue but to answer the idiotic question DSWD actually has funds for them and their will be corresponding adjustments that is provided for by TRAIN. What maybe they would raise next are the beggars in the streets. These poor and the mendicants are not in the radar screen of TRAIN when it comes to tax but just the same they are part of the inclusion. The revenues that TRAIN will raise is primarily for infrastructures. Railways, roads and bridges, airports, seaports and irrigation among others. In addition to the billions of pesos that TRAIN will raise are cheap loans from Japan and China. Never in our history do we have this availment of cheap money which comes with an incredible terms that give the country a holiday of over ten years before we start paying the loans. That is why under the BUILD, BUILD, BUILD program the momentum of development could be much faster that our usual expectation. Even with the

implementation of the projects, expect shortages in skilled personnel especially in the railway projects. Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transporation had advanced the idea of setting up a Railway institute while construction is ongoing because managing and maintaining railways are something strange to Filipinos. Other infrastructures, like roads, bridges and building would be needing thousands of workers.With network of infrastructures expect productivity to rise above normal levels. These will generate if not motivate people to produce more as access to the markets will now be cheaper and their profits doubled. The entire nation is celebrating the prospects and the dawning of the new era. The surveys say it all. An overwhelming number of Filipinos look up to 2018 and beyond with unprecedented optimism. This is only shadowed by the results of the surveys which show an all time high in the TRUST and SATISFACTION ratings which are pegged in the grade of "Excellence". No matter how and what the opposition and critics will do no amount of demonizing and rallies can diminish that trust and satisfaction or derail the programs of the Duterte administration. The President is focused on his agenda, and his Cabinet members are on track. Even the players in telecom industry which had

been so laggard and so inept for decades and have become a national shame are now uneasy with the mere announcement of the entry of the 3rd Telecom player. The duopoly suddenly came out with series of announcement that they are pouring in billions of dollars to address the sluggish internet speed, drop calls and inadequate availability of telecom service in the country. Oh well, these duopoly thought they have the monopoly of and knowledge of the telecom technology and how to run it. Early in the Presidency of Duterte, one of them had the temerity of telling the President to leave telecom alone as this is an area where the duopoly has the sole expertise. To there surprise this President, whom they thought is so probinsyano his knowledge of telecommunications cannot go beyond telegram and other so-called "legacy" telecom products, is actually abreast with the time. Expect the dramatic development in the telecom industry as something beyond the sound bites, which the big players are now feeding us, will be changes and reforms that will emerge this first quarter of 2018 as the President had wanted to happen. President Duterte cannot frustrate the trust and satisfaction of the entire nation on him. Certainly this is not about the critics fetish for Coke, this is about life, livelihood and development.

Goodbye BBL, Hello Federalism

Continued fr om page 1 from The MILF said the people of Mindanao, not just the Bangsamoro, are looking forward that the BBL to ultimately pass and become a law. “The signal is very positive and encouraging now that the President has announced his certification of the proposed bill to Congress as an urgent measure,” it said, adding, the BTC which drafted the original BBL, proceeded with legal and meticulous care to conform to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution. Defending the provisions in the BBL, the MILF cited Article 10, Sections 15 and 18 of the Constitution, which state that the autonomous Bangsamoro entity may define the basic structure of government, provided it is democratic, and consonant with its distinctive historical and cultural heritage. The BTC, which originally had 15 members both from the MILF and the government, was expanded to 21 members after Duterte signed an executive order in November last year to review the provisions of the BBL. The MILF said the BTC sought the opinions of the 18 members of the original framers of the Constitution Father Joaquin Bernas, former Chief Justice Hilarion Davide, former Commission on Elections Chairman Christian Monsod, Supreme Court Justice Adolfo Azcuna, among others, who all stated that the BBL is constitutional and can stand charter challenge. “Furthermore, it must be emphasized that the BBL is not an ordinary bill that should be subjected to the plain letter of the Constitu-

tion, but it is an organic act to create a Bangsamoro entity which would reach far beyond the wisdom of our framers when they drafted Article 10 of our present Constitution—the wise men who were desirous and had the vision to solve the centuries of nagging problems that caused enormous suffering and death, as well as, to support the proposed measures for lasting peace and comprehensive development throughout the whole region and ultimately the nation at large,” the MILF, the country’s largest rebel group, said. It said never has a piece of legislation been proposed to the two Houses of Congress that has been consulted so extensively throughout Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon to ensure that the people were properly apprised of the significance and importance of the proposed bill. It said more than 600 dialogues, symposia, open forums have been conducted by the BTC and the committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate, together with the involvement of nongovernmental organizations. The MILF said the proposed law can be a potent and substantive demonstration of the cooperation and collaboration between the government and the Bangsamoro people to forge a lasting peace and to ensure the progress on political, social, cultural and economic development, and the preservation of national integrity. “With the current rise of extremism in Mindanao in recent months, there is a most urgent need to constrain its escalation and tragic effects. The BBL can

and will be an instrument of peace and national unity, and a landmark legislation to arrest the rising tide of violent extremism and radicalism not only in Mindanao, but in this country, as well,” it said. The BBL aims to expand the Muslim autonomous region – which comprises of Basilan, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and TawiTawi provinces – but their governors were not even included in the BTC or consulted by the body. And public consultations by the government on the BBL in the provinces came late and was more of a show rather than get inputs from various sectors and Muslims themselves. And the ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, a known political ally of then President Benigno Aquino Jr, who appointed him as acting governor prior to winning the elections, said he is supporting the BBL. “We are for the passage of BBL as we underscore the need for a Bangsamoro that is stronger than the ARMM, a new government that will bring our people a life of greater opportunities and deliver the promises of a lasting peace,” he said. Many Muslims do not even know the BBL or its provisions, except that majority of them wanted an independent Bangsamoro nation and the return of their ancestral lands now in the hands of wealthy Christian landowners and businessmen. Islam reached the country in the 14th century and eventually spread in other parts of the Philippines. Mindanao was formerly under the rule of the sultans. (Mindanao Examiner)


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Taiwan to reassess visa-free entry for Filipinos TAIPEI Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines is set to reassess a proposal to grant free visa to Filipinos entering Taiwan. Gary Song-Huann Lin. Taiwan Representative to the Philippines, said if results of their assessment show outstanding evaluation on Filipino visitors to Taiwan, the visa-free treatment would continue. “If the results are positive and everything goes well, it will resume,” he said, adding, it would begin assessment in July this year. “If the outcome is really good or not many Filipinos are breaking the law, overstaying in Taiwan or involved in drug trafficking or hu-

man trafficking then my office, we can assure you, we'll advise our government to consider the continuation of the visafree treatment,” he said. He said he is optimistic that the Philippines will be given a good rating. “So far so good, we've never heard nor encounter any Filipino breaking Taiwan's law or have overstayed or anything like that,” he said. Filipinos were granted visa-free entry to Taiwan not exceeding 14 days from Nov. 1, 2017 until trial period ends on July 31, 2018. The official said this initiative is part of Taiwan’s efforts under their so-called “New Southbound Policy” to promote more people-topeople exchange between

Taiwan and the Philippines. On the other hand, he said as friends, Taiwan would like to ask Manila for visa-free reciprocity so more Taiwanese can come and visit the Philippines. “If you introduce visa-free privileges to Taiwan and complement it by our investment protection and promotion agreement this will be excellent for Philippines' economic development,” he said. He said compared to other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Taiwanese investments to the country was far too low. “If you introduce visafree this will be excellent not only for Taiwan but also for your own attraction of foreign investment,” he said. (Joyce Ann Rocamora)

Soldiers, uniformed personnel to get pay hike PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed the joint resolution of Congress authorizing the increase in base pay of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) in the government. The resolution also covers Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and National

Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA). According to the resolution, there is a need to adjust the compensation package of MUP in order to make it more commensurate with their critical role in maintaining national security and peace and order, taking into consideration their exposure to high-risk

environments in the performance of their duties. The resolution also provides that modification of the base pay for the MUP “shall be aligned with the objective of maintaining fiscal integrity and pursuing pension reform.” It was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on Dec. 11 and Dec. 13, 2017, respectively. (Jelly Musico)

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