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2018: A year of twists and turns at the Supreme Court FOR THE Supreme Court (SC), 2018 has been a roller coaster year as it saw a shake-up in its leadership, new faces and decisions that shaped the country’s recent history and future. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed

Founded 2006

two top magistrates of the High Court following a tumultuous upheaval over its decision last June on questions clouding the leadership of Maria Lourdes Sereno. Meeting the press for the first time last November, Chief Justice Lucas

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Bersamin, the SC’s 25th top magistrate, vowed to do his best to institute long-standing reforms in the judiciary even as his term will last for only a year. He will reach the mandatory retirement age next year days apart Continue on page 4

Survey shows Duterte still popular THE PALACE thanked the Filipinos after President Rodrigo Duterte’s net satisfaction rating jumped by six points in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey and this “puts a lie to critics and detractors.” The fourth quarter SWS survey conducted in December showed 74 Continue on page 3

President Rodrigo Duterte

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January 7-13, 2019

Mindanao, bantay-sarado kontra terorismo

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ASA MAHIGPIT na pagbabantay ngayon ng militar at pulisya ang buong Mindanao matapos ng madugong pambobomba kamakailan lamang sa Cotabato City na ikinamatay ng 2 katao at pagkasugat ng 47 iba pa. Habang papalapit mapasama sa proposed ang referendum para sa Bangsamoro autonomous Bangsamoro Organic region. Law na siyang isinisuKabilang ang Cotabalong ng rebeldeng Moro to City, Isabela City at Sulu Islamic Liberation Front sa mga pumapalag kontra (MILF) ay lalong tumata- sa Bangsamoro autonoas ang tensyon sa Auton- mous region na sinasaomous Region in Muslim bing pamumunuan ng Mindanao (ARMM) da- MILF na halos mga Continue on page 2 hil sa mga lugar na ayaw

Makikita sa larawang ito na ipinasa ng militar sa Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper ang harapan ng South Seas Mall sa Cotabato City matapos ng pambobomba na ikinamatay ng 2 katao at pagkasugat ng 47 iba pa.

Zambo mayor thanks legislators, con- Duterte told to resign after controstituents for support, bares projects versial confession he ‘touched’ maid

Mayor Beng Climaco

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The Mindanao Examiner

January 7-13, 2019

Mindanao, bantay-sarado kontra terorismo

Continued from page 1 tribong Maguindanaoan. Bantay-sarado ang buong Cotabato, Isabela at Sulu ngayon, maging ang Zamboanga City ay nasa mahigpit na siguridad matapos itong i-utos ni Mayor Beng Climaco dahil sa pambobomba nitong New Year’s Eve sa labas ng South Seas Mall sa Cotabato. Agad naman isinisi ng militar sa Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters at Dawlah Islamiya na pawang mga pro-ISIS groups ang nasabing atake. Hindi naman mabatid kung bakit pumalya ang militar at pulisya na mapigilan ang atake gayun nasa extended martial law ang buong Mindanao dahil sa banta ng terorismo. Ngunit sinisipat rin kung may kinalaman dito ang mga hard core members ng MILF dahil sa pagmamatigas ni

Cotabato Mayor Frances Cynthia Sayadi na mapasama ang lungsod sa Bangsamoro autonomous region kung magwawagi ito sa referendum nitong buwan at sa Pebrero. Kalat na rin diumano sa Cotabato ang mga negosyo diumano ni MILF chieftain Murad Ebrahim at iba pang mga lider ng rebeldeng grupo na lumagda ng interim peace accord sa pamahalaan noong 2014 kung kaya’t ganoon na lamang ang nais ng mga ito na mapasama sa panukalang rehiyon ang lungsod. Sinabi naman ni Murad na ang atake ay posibleng nakatuon sa paninira sa BOL. Ang pambobomba ay kinondena ni ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman at tinawag nitong “terrorist act” ang atake. “We are irrevocably grieved about the casualties incurred, thoroughly con-

demn this act, and call for a thorough investigation. We need to make sure acts like these never happen again, and that the perpetrator is brought to justice.” “We urge investigators and all civilians to not be caught up in the chaos surrounding this terrorist act. We cannot afford to be divisive at this moment. Only by melding together can we bring about peace and justice,” ani Hataman. Maging si Sayadi ay tinawag itong “terrorism and evil”. “We will stand up against terrorism. We will fight against evil,” wika ni Sayadi. “This is not just another terroristic act, but an act against humanity. I cannot fathom how such evil exists in this time of merry making of our fellow Cotabatenios. It is unimaginable how some people can start the New Year

Troops hunt Sayyafs in Sulu SULU – Security forces continue to hunt down Abu Sayyaf militants whose group is still holding over a dozen hostages, mostly sailors kidnapped off Sabah in Malaysia. Just recently, militants released the son of Labason town Mayor Eddie Quimbo, who was kidnapped last year in Zamboanga del Norte province. Police said the 28-year Jed Quimbo was freed in Patikul town where troops have been deployed to

track down the militants. Quimbo was handed over to his brother Justin, who reportedly sought assistance from local leaders to fetch the victim in Anuling village. Quimbo was later presented to the military in Jolo town. It was unknown whether Quimbo’s family had paid ransom to the Abu Sayyaf or not. He was seized by six militants on September 6 in downtown Labason. The Abu Sayyaf – founded in the 1990s in

Basilan province – which was originally fighting for a separate Islamic state, has resorted to ransom kidnapping after its chieftain Abdurajak Janjalani was killed in a firefight with a policeman in Lamitan City in December 1998. But some of its hard core commanders pledged allegiance with the Islamic State in an effort to capitalize in the vicious and brutal campaign of the jihadists in the Middle East. (Mindanao Examiner)

Isa sa mga sugatang sibilyan sa madugong pagsabog sa Cotabato City. with an act of cruelty but no matter how you threaten us, the people of Cotabato City are resilient and we are stronger than how you think

we are,” dagdag pa nito. Wala pa rin umako sa atake. Noong Agosto 2013 ay isang car bomb rin ang pinasabog sa kahabaan ng

Sinsuat Avenue sa Cotabato City na ikinamatay ng 8 katao at pagkasugat ng mahigit s 40 iba pa. (Mindanao Examiner.)

NPA, target ng opensiba sa Mindanao CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Walang humpay ang opensiba ng militar kontra New People’s Army matapos na lusubin ng mga sundalo at makubkob ang isang kampo ng rebedeng grupo sa Agusan del Sur kamakailan. Dalawang rebelde ang napatay ng mga tropa sa naturang operasyon sa bayan ng San Luis na kung saan ay natunton ng mga

ito ang taguan ng NPA sa Barangay Binicalan. Nabawi ng mga sundalo ang mga bangkay at dalawang armas, ngunit nakasibat naman ang maraming iba sa nasabing labanan. Walang inulat na nasawi sa panig ng militar at patuloy pa rin kahapon ang operasyon ng mga sundalo laban sa NPA sa lalawigan at iba pang bahagi ng rehiyon.

Ang opensiba ay kasunod ng kautusan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa militar na durugin ang NPA matapos na pumalya ng maraming beses ang peace talks. Nais ng komunistang grupo na palayain ni Duterte ang lahat ng mga rebeldeng nakapiit sa bilangguan sa buong bansa bilang kondisyon sa isang ceasefire. (Rhoderick Benez)

Duterte told to resign after controversial confession he ‘touched’ maid Continued from page 1 entered the room of his maid while she was sleeping. “I lifted the blanket... I tried to touch what was inside the panty,’ Duterte said. ‘I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room (and went to the comfort room).” Duterte recounted telling the priest that he had then returned to the maid’s room and again tried to molest her. Gabriela denounced Duterte’s comments saying he had confessed to attempted rape. “Rape does not happen only through penile insertion. If it is a finger or an object it is considered rape,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela. Responding to the criticism, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said that the president had made up and added

and spliced the story. “He has made up a laughable anecdote to dramatise the fact of sexual abuse that was inflicted on him and his fellow students when they were in high school,” said Panelo. Duterte made the remarks as he blasted the Catholic Church over allegations of sexually abusing children. The president, who brands the church the “most hypocritical institution” in the mainly Catholic nation, said that he and his classmates at school were molested during confession. It was his latest tirade against bishops and priests who have been critical of his drug war which has left more than 5,000 people dead, according to official figures. Duterte and his aides often dismiss his controversial statements about women as a ‘joke’ or in-

sist they are taken out of context. He provoked fury in 2016 when during an election campaign speech he said he had wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been murdered in a Philippine prison riot. Women’s advocates said Duterte’s latest comments endangered domestic workers. More than a million Filipinos work abroad as domestic workers, according to the labour ministry. ‘Flaunting abusive practices encourages the rape culture and in this case, sexual abuse of domestic workers,’ said Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific. (By AFP and JULIAN ROBINSON FOR MAILONLINE. With a report from the Mindanao Examiner.)


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Zambo mayor thanks legislators, constituents for support, bares projects POPULAR MAYOR Beng Climaco has expressed her deep appreciation to the members of the City Council for their all-out support to many infrastructure projects and programs the local government implemented and launched for the benefit of the public and progress of Zamboanga City. “Muchas gracias a todos legisladores por de ustedes suporta en mi administracion. Sin ti, estos proyectos no serian posibles,” the good mayor said. She also thanked the Zamboanguenos for their unwavering support and trust in her administration as she pledges more projects and pro-poor programs in the next three years. “Muchas gracias tambien con el todo quien ta continua suporta con migo, na de mi administracion y na tres años pa quita man junto-junto para de bien de todo, beneficio del pueblo, especialmente de los pobres,” Mayor Beng said. For 2018, the Climaco administration has completed 186 infrastructure projects worth over P464 million. And these are the following: Six school buildings worth more than P78 million were turned over to various recipients – TLE Building to Zamboanga National High School West in Baliwasan; two 2-storey 8 classrooms buildings in Cabaluay National High School; two-storey 8 classrooms building for Tulungatung National High School; two-storey 8 classrooms building for Manicahan National High School and two-storey 6 classrooms building for Ramon Enriquez High School in Labuan. These school projects were all completed from January to May. In Tugbungan, the local government also conducted repair and maintenance of the barangay flood control system by dredging the river to mitigate flooding during the rainy season. The project was worth nearly P10 million and completed in October. A road-widening project in Mercedes was completed in the same month at it cost the tax payers some almost P10 million. Various projects worth over P18 million were similarly implemented in Mercedes, Pasonanca and San Roque.

In March, the local government constructed the track and field oval at Mercedes Central School in support to the local sports development and program; and rehabilitated and improved the office of the Boy Scout of the Philippines Zamboanga Council, and constructed roasting facilities at the San Roque slaughter house to ensure the sanitation and cleanliness of animals before they would be sold to the public. There are also 116 ongoing projects worth nearly P651 million and over a dozen of these are climate-change resilient school buildings and the following are the three-storey building at Tugbungan Elementary School; three-storey 15 classrooms building at the Don Gregorio Evangelista Memorial School in Santa Catalina; two-storey 6 classrooms building at Landang Gua Elementary School; two-storey 6 classrooms building at San Roque’s Salum Elementary School; two-storey 6 classrooms building at Limaong National High School, two-storey 8 classrooms building at Mercedes, including the construction of materials science facility at Western Mindanao State University. And three-storey 12 classrooms building for Mangusu Integrated School; three-storey 15 classrooms building at Talisayan Elementary School; two-storey 8 classroom at Boalan Elementary School; two-storey building for Southcom National High School; two-storey 8 classrooms building for Abdullah Nuno Memorial High School in Taluksangay; four-storey 20 classrooms building at Zamboanga City High School Main Campus in Tetuan; three storey-15 classrooms building at Zamboanga Central School at Zone 1; and three-storey 15 classrooms building for Talisayan Elementary School. These were just a few of Mayor Beng’s top priority projects as part of her S.H.E. (Security, Health and Education) program. “Este el cuantos del de atun proyectos y ta pide yo gracias con el de atun maga consejales por la suporta para bien del maga bata, y tambien este fondo estaba na maga impuesto poreso necesita el buen para na todo. Mucho pa proyectos y seis años mas,

por el amor de Dios, podemos trabajar para na ciudad de Zamboanga,” Mayor Beng said. She said construction projects worth over P38 million in parks, gardens and open spaces are also going on and these are the rehabilitation and improvement of the City Tourism Building at Zone 4; the rehabilitation of 2 buildings public rest rooms at Paseo del Mar; the construction of covered sheds in downtown area and site development at the City Hall. And P22 million worth of infrastructure projects are also ongoing at the central market in downtown area and Santa Cruz market. And these included construction, rehabilitation and improvement of the buildings and other structures at the two sites. The Climaco administration’s other ongoing projects also include multi-purpose building and covered courts and these are all designed to cater to huge crowds or groups, especially during public gatherings and assemblies and similar activities. Among them are the construction of a multi-purpose building in Mampang, covered court shed and the construction of an open stage complete with bleachers, and improvement of the track and field oval at Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School. And those projects are worth P27 million. And the local government has another P12 million project for the construction of green houses at the Culianan plant nursery and the construction of a bridge in Lamisahan. Some P240 million worth of road projects - construction, rehabilitation, improvement, asphalt overlay - are also ongoing and these are in the following: Tugbungan Main Road, Tetuan-Kasanyangan Road, Falcatan-Atilano Junction (Rehabilitation), Tetuan Main Road (Concreting), Estrada and Candido streets; Old Sampaguita Road at Guiwan, Santa Catalina-Kasanyangan Road. And Gov. Ramos Avenue in Santa Maria (Fairview-Galvez Junction rehabilitation), Gov. Camins-Gov. Ramos (Concreting), Camino Nuevo, Santa Catalina, Santa Maria and Central Business District covering Zones 2, 3 and 4 for asphalt overlay. (BCPR)

Survey shows Duterte still popular Continued from page 1 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of the first President from Mindanao. The figure is four points higher compared to the third quarter survey. According to the pollster, the “undecided” fell by three points from 14 percent and “dissatisfaction” dropped by a point from 16 percent, giving Duterte a “very good” net satisfaction rating of +60, which is higher compared to +54 last September. “We thank the Filipino people for their continued support for the President, as such only motivates us to unceasingly work harder and serve them better as we aim for the best for the Philippines and its people,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said. Panelo said the consistent satisfaction rating of the President puts a lie to critics and detractors who find nothing good in

his style of governance. “The support of the Filipinos for our Chief Executive also sends a strong message to foreign human rights groups and foreign governments to put a stop to their baseless and unkind accusations on his war on drugs,” he said. “In addition, the survey result is a slap on their faces for their outrageous intrusion on the sovereignty of our country.” The survey, which showed an uptick in all socioeconomic classes, Panelo said, would encourage Duterte to continue his war against all forms of criminality and corruption. He said it will also encourage the President to pursue “unrelenting dismantling of the drug apparatus and destruction of the drug syndicate; to crush once and for all the Muslim rebellion, communist insurgency and terrorism in the country; to keep improving the social ser-

vices given to (the) people; and to end the assaults on our natural resources and environment.” “The scorecard on the President’s performance rating similarly shows the correct foreign policy he has embarked (on),” Panelo said. Duterte’s six-point rise was due to increases of 22 points in Metro Manila, 13 points in the Visayas, and three points in Balance of Luzon. He suffered a fourpoint decline, though, from +82 but still has excellent satisfaction rating in Mindanao. The President has received a higher urban net satisfaction rating, registering a huge 22-point increase from +42 points in September. Duterte’s net satisfaction rating also rose in all socioeconomic classes, among both men and women, in all age groups, except 45-54, and among high school and college graduates. (Jelly Musico)


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2018: A year of twists and turns at the Supreme Court Continued from page 1 on the same month as Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. Bersamin, in his public appearances, has echoed calls for dedication in public service by those in the judiciary and urged subordinates to forgo even checking their social media accounts during office hours which he insists are minutes in work which had been paid for by taxpayers. Speaking at a recent event for children in conflict with the law, Bersamin consoled the minors who had run afoul with the law pointing out that rehabilitation and reform is a fresh chance and reminded them not to let it define the rest of their lives. Bersamin is the most senior justice in the judiciary in terms of length of service, at the time of his appointment. He succeeded another veteran, Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Who served as chief magistrate for less than two months, implemented key programs and projects. These include increasing the monthly salary of first-level court judges all over the country; increasing the cost of living allowance for justices, judges and court personnel for the month of August chargeable to the 80 percent judiciary development fund (JDF) as well as additional grant of rice subsidy allowance for the first and second quarters of this year. She also worked for the creation of technical working

groups on planning, budgeting, data reconciliation and evidence management system. De Castro was an associate justice at the high court for 10 years and eight months prior to her appointment as top magistrate. The appointment of Chief Justice de Castro brought to a somber conclusion one of the dramatic turn of events in the high court’s history involving its Chief Justice. What would have been an 18-year term from her appointment by President Benigno Aquino III abruptly ended for Sereno after the Court en banc on May 11, 2018, voted 8-6 , to grant a the petition for quo warranto filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to declare her appointment as void from the beginning for her failure to comply with the mandatory legal requirements for her appointment in 2012. The Court also ruled Sereno was disqualified for the Chief Justice post when she failed to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) from 2002 to 2011. President Duterte als appointed three new members of the SC following the retirement of Chief Justice De Castro, Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., and the appointment of Associate Justice Samuel Martires as Ombudsman. These are Court of Appeals Associate Justices Jose Reyes Jr., Ramon Paul Hernando and Rosmari

Carandang. Earlier in December, the High Court ruled that government agencies can regulate the motorcycle transport-for-hire mobile phone application.In a twopage order dated Dec. 5, the SC’s Second Division ruled in favor of a petition filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) seeking to stop the operations of Angkas run by DBDOYC Inc. This reversed the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court’s order dated Aug. 20, 2018 against the LTFRB and in favor of Angkas. In October, the SC upheld the constitutionality of two laws -- Republic Act 10533 (K to 12 Law) and Republic Act 10157 (Kindergarten Education Act, which overhaul the country’s basic education system and expanding basic education from 10 to 12 years. The SC denied the consolidated petitions questioning them. RA 10157, or the Kindergarten Education Act insitutionalized kindergarten education, which is one year of preparatory education for children at least five years old, as part of basic education and is made mandatory and compulsory before entering Grade 1. The law was passed in fulfillment of the country’s commitments to improve education standards in the country during the 2000 World Education Forum in

Dakar, Senegal, where 164 governments, including the Philippines, pledged “Education for All” goals. Likewise, to adjust to international standards, the K to 12 Law was enacted. Prior to this, the Philippines, along with Djibouti and Angola, were the only countries in the world with a 10-year basic education system. In November, the tribunal upheld the legality of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum excluding Filipino, Panitikan, and Philippine Constitution among the core subjects in the general education curriculum in college. It held that Section 6, Article XIV of the Constitution on the use of the Filipino language as medium of instruction is not “self-executory.” The SC ruled that the assailed CHED memorandum does not violate any existing laws such as Republic Act 7104 or the Commission on the Filipino Language Act, RA No. 7356 or the Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Education Act of 1982. In criminal law, the Court declared that the “good faith” doctrine it laid down in its previous ruling cannot be used as an absolute defense to escape criminal prosecution for graft. The Court made the clarification in a ruling which affirmed the decision of the Sandiganbayan finding three officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) guilty of

several counts of violation of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act involving anomalous transactions for the implementation of the PHP615 million regional and provincial infrastructure projects for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Court had ruled that its earlier ruling that heads of offices may, in good faith, rely to a certain extent on the acts of their subordinates “who prepare bids, purchase supplies, or enter into negotiations” does not exempt a public official to inquire more closely into transactions he processes when there are circumstances that should have prompted a closer look. In a separate case this year, the SC also allowed the Quezon City government to implement an ordinance increasing the existing fair market values (FMVs) of land, buildings, and other structures in the city from 100 percent to as much as 500 percent. The Supreme Court (SC) ruled that the petitioner in the case, the Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (AQCHI) has not legal standing to file the suit. In February, the High Court also upheld the legality of the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of 2018. Voting 10-5, the SC dismissed the four petitions filed by congressmen led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman

et al; another group led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, et al; former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales; and a group led by Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the Constitution seeking to declare the martial law extension in Mindanao as unconstitutional. The Court pointed out that Congress had discretionary authority to formulate, adopt and promulgate its own rules. It also rejected the argument of petitioners that the extension should have only been limited to 60 days, saying the Constitution did not fix a period of duration for such extension and was also actually silent as to how many times the Congress could extend martial law declaration by the President. Even the alleged undue haste in granting the request for extension, according to the Court, cannot be a ground to nullify the extension However, the SC noted that it can only intervene when there is a clear showing of such arbitrary and improvident use of the power such as would constitute a “denial of due process.” The Court explained that it can only step in once there is clear showing of arbitrary and improvident use of such power by Congress under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, which it said is lacking in this case. (Benjamin Pulta)


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Davao region get P15-B investments DAVAO CITY – Davao Region is on track to corner at least P15 billion in investments in 2018 despite martial law jitters, an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said. DTI Assistant Regional Director Edwin Banquerigo said Davao already captured investment projects worth P14.8 billion as of January to November this year. He said of the total projects, majority are in Davao City worth P14.1 billion, followed by Davao del Norte at P687.4 million. “This is an indication that the region is right for investment,” Banquerigo said, adding, concerns on martial law had initially spooked the business sector, but these proved to be a non-factor as more businesses remain bullish with Davao region’s economic potentials. He said optimism for the region’s business climate is expected to drive more investments well into 2019. DTI-11 records show that based on the business name registration alone, Davao City has close to 10,334 new business reg-

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The Mindanao Examiner

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istrants as of November 2018. “If you move around, there are many infrastructures everywhere. The skyline is changing very fast. Increase in the number of hotels is popping up,” Banquerigo said. He said the major projects in the region in 2018 included water supply, sewage and water management worth P13,324.67 billion; real estate activities with P665.30 million; human health and social science with P376.5 million; agriculture, forestry and fishing with P325.97 million; administrative and support services with P121.25 million; and accommodation and food service activities with P14.8 million. He also noted an increase in investment promotion activities, such as the holding of trade fairs, forums, and capacity building workshops. Banquerigo said trade promotion activities have resulted in the realization of big infrastructure projects, as the Davao South Greenspace Eco-Industrial Park where a 450-hectare lot in Astorga, Davao del Sur will be developed into a sea-

port that will host a shipbuilding facility, logistics center, and a business park and information technology hub. Meanwhile, the Compostela Valley Business and Investment Conference, this year, raked in a total investment lead worth P258.08 million from 15 firms. The business sector also negotiated and booked sales amounting to PHP56.704 million while new and expansion projects in Compostela Valley province are also expected in the areas of processing, production, real estate, and infrastructure development. The Davao cacao and coffee products also emerged as new export products to Japan following the business deals forged during the trade shows in Japan on June 1315 in Tokyo, and in Nanning, China, on September 9-16. Banquerigo underscored the need for Davao City and the rest of the region to intensify investment promotion activities while offering investors with attractive incentive schemes. (Lilian C Mellejor)

238 kms of ‘dead cable, wires’ removed in Cagayan de Oro CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Telecommunications Commission said a total of 238 kilometers of “dead wires and cables” were untangled and cleaned up by the city’s Task Force Hapsay Kable (Cables in Order) throughout 2018. NTC regional director and task force vice chairperson Teodoro

Buenavista Jr., there were also 69 poles that were “retired” and another 108 alley arms removed. He said the project would have its different phases, and that the recovered wires and cables would be donated to organizations and process them into reusable materials. The task force was formed by virtue of Ex-

ecutive Order No. 1722017, then known as the “CDO ICT Task Force on Cables and Wires,” signed by Mayor Oscar Moreno in November 2017. The project has become a joint initiative of the city, NTC-10, telecommunication players, civil society organizations, and professional groups. (Nef Luczon)

A photo released by the National Telecommunication Commission shows workers commissioned by the Task Force ‘Hapsay Kable’ continue to untangle “dead wires and cables” from power poles in Cagayan de Oro City.


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Across : 1. French preposition 4. Electrified atom 7. Player 12. FBI employee (abbr.) 13. Cloistered one 14. Over 15. Cow’s comment 16. Values deeply 18. Gun owners’ org. 20. Loathe 21. Long-distance prefixes (2 wds.) 25. Nuclear ___ 26. Soft belt 30. Pen 31. Skirt border 33. Flat bread 34. Went fast 35. North African 37. Holiday hunter’s prize (2 wds.) 39. Biblical mountain 43. Apple color 44. Card game for one 47. Gotcha! 50. Marry clandestinely 51. Angeles preceder 52. Hunting dog, for short 53. Change 54. Florida island 55. List abbr.

Answer to last week’s crossword:

Down : 1. Water barrier 2. Sense of self 3. Caveman’s time(2 wds.) 4. Unbroken 5. Belonging to us 6. Wind direction (abbr.) 7. Freon and oxygen 8. Adjoin 9. Extra 10. Nights before holidays 11. Take five 17. Fruity refresher 19. Rushed 21. Circle segments 22. Gather crops 23. Impressed utterance 24. Gown

26. Bowling term 27. Large terrier 28. Bachelor party 29. Dangle 32. Wrestling pad 36. Religious dissent 37. Diner 38. ___ glance (2 wds.) 39. Not ashore 40. Rock’s partner 41. Thanks ___! (2 wds.) 42. Mellow 45. Kind 46. Salmon eggs 48. Bonnet 49. NBC’s rival

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The Mindanao Examiner

January 7-13, 2019

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Motorcycle cops patrol Davao City DAVAO CITY - Motorcycle cops are the new kids on the block in Davao City as police bolster its effort to further increase visibility and curb crimes and other acts of terrorism here. This crime-busting initiative was launched by the Police Regional Office (PRO)-11 dubbed Police Riders Response, which makes faster mobilization in preventing crimes targeting motorcycle-riding criminals. The motorcycle cops were deployed in crime-prone areas here. Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, police regional director, said the initiative will increase the chance of detection and arrest of criminals and reduce the fear of crimes among

the populace. “There are many criminals now who exploit the inability of our police officers to chase them through the narrow streets and this is why we need more of these motorcycle officers to go after these criminals and patrol on the streets,” he said. Morales said one of the best benefits of the initiative is strengthening community network. The motorcycle officers are more visible than those on patrol vehicles, he said, adding, that even then mayor, now President Rodrigo Duterte, was patrolling city streets at night Mayor Sara Duterte also sometimes hits the road on motorcycle,

he said. Morales said the motorcycle cops are all trained in marksmanship. Motorcycle police patrol has been a long tradition and the reason for this longevity is the diversity and adaptability to current social trends that makes the unit an indispensable and relevant part of any modern law enforcement agency. Morales noted that many police officers finished motorcycle riding course. They include Class 2015 (Dragons), 2016 (Vipers), 2017 (Bison) and 2018 (Lycans), KTM Riders Club and Sundays Riders Club, who all showed their support and joined Morales and his team on a city ride. (Rhoda Grace Saron)

OFW pre-screen counters to lessen queues at NAIA THE BUREAU of Immigration (BI) said it has formed a special team that will focus on conducting pre-screening of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and attend to their immigration needs at airports. In a memorandum order, BI Port Operations Division chief Grifton Medina has designated OFW counters which shall only be used exclusively by OFWs. The BI personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other ports have implemented a scheme to expeditiously process departing OFWs. The directive complies with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente that immigration departure formalities for OFWs be conducted expeditiously and efficiently. “Our ob-

jective is to see to it that our modern-day heroes are given all the care and courtesy that they deserve in sacrificing not only for their families but for the country as well,” Medina said. In case of long lines in OFW counters, members of the Bureau’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) shall speed up the queues by inspecting and ensuring that the passengers’ travel requirements are complete while they are still on the line. “It’s a matter of deploying more people to focus on OFWs. It’s a small move, but you’ll be surprised at the impact on easing the lines for them,” he said. The BI official also instructed officers to expeditiously process the documents of OFWs. Ordinarily, a passenger is processed

within 45 seconds. Medina sees that the scheme may decrease the processing time up to 33 percent and OFWs referred for secondary inspection due to concerns on their travel documents will likewise be prioritized and the matter resolved within 10 minutes. Medina noted that OFWs are also given priority at the arrival area, through the installation of 21 e-gates in major airports. On the other hand, Morente said scheme is only part of the series of improvements he plans to implement. “The year 2019 will be all about process improvement. We have studied what can do to provide better service. The e-gates and the pre-screening of OFWs are just the beginning,” he said. (Ferdinand Patinio)

9 ARMM towns under ‘areas of grave concern’ for 2019 polls COTABATO CITY - Police authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have listed 9 towns in the region where violence are likely to happen in the upcoming 2019 elections. Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, ARMM police director, identified the towns as Hadji Mohammad Ajul in Lantawan and Tipo-Tipo towns all in Bas-

ilan province; Marawi City and Sultan Dumalondong in Lanao del Sur province; and Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Datu Unsay, all in Maguindanao. Mijares said they have recommended those towns to be placed under “hot spot” areas in the coming elections and listed them as “election areas of grave concern.”

“The presence of armed men and private armed groups in the following areas had a history of election-related violence,” Mijares said. The number of areas under such category might increase, he said, depending on the result of the weekly assessment conducted by both the police and the military. (PNA)

DOH elated on Universal Health Care bill AIMING TO ensure that every Filipino shall receive affordable and quality health benefits, the Department of Health (DOH) welcomes the expected signing of the universal health care (UHC) bill into law. The bill’s reconciled version came following the approved Senate Bill No. 1896 and House Bill No. 5784 in November. Both the upper and lower chambers now have to ratify the reconciled version of the bill before it can be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. It seeks to enroll automatically all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program. The membership in the program can be direct or indirect. Direct membership is for those who can pay health premiums, while indirect membership is for those who are sponsored like senior citizens and indigents. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will handle the program. “The Bicameral Conference Committee’s approval of the Universal Health Care Bill is continued positive news for all Filipinos. I applaud this progress and commend all members of the Senate and Congress involved for getting this done. The UHC will bring the much-needed reform of our health care

system and provide every Filipino a quality and affordable health care each one deserves,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said. The UHC bill, when enacted to law, will catalyze reforms for the health care system in the Philippines, particularly strengthening primary care services, through PhilHealth. Duque said it would also correct the inefficiencies in the current health system, as it will empower community health units in the provision of quality health care to every Filipino. “What makes our current health system inefficient and expensive is people with the most simple health issues go now to the third level, the hospitals, kaya naman mapangasiwaan ito sa barangay (which can be attended to at the community) health stations, which are basic delivery units closest to the communities,” he said. Duque explained this practice would help Filipinos lower their expenses on health care, since they don’t have to travel far just to receive treatment for common health disorders. He said about P257 billion would be needed to implement UHC in its first year. During his third State of the Nation Address, Duterte

signified his support to the bill by ensuring its adequate funding through the department’s annual budget, 50 percent of the national government’s share in the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s earnings, 40 percent of the fund, net of documentary stamp tax payments and mandatory contributions of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PhilHealth members’ contributions, Government subsidies to PhilHealth, and revenues from the sin taxes. “Considering the existing budget, the funding gap is estimated to be around PHP164.04 billion, and to lessen these funding gaps increase in tobacco taxes are seen important,” Duque said. In connection with this, DOH is still pushing for a P90 per pack increase in tobacco excise tax, which would be beneficial for the full implementation of the UHC bill. This is despite the decision of the house committee on ways and means to increase the excise taxes on tobacco products from the current P32.50 to P37.50 only in July 2019. “Not only will it provide funding to UHC, but also the reduction of smoking prevalence in the country,” Duque said. (Maria Teresa Montemayor)

Davao City economy continues to grow DAVAO CITY -- The local economy will continue to grow this year with the service industry and tourism as its main drivers, according to Arturo Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII). Milan described this city’s economic prospects for 2019 as “very positive” and noted that 2018 had been a very strong year for Davao but the best is yet to come. “I would say the service sector will still be the growth driver because of the property boom that we are having right now,” he said. Milan also sees the tourism sector as another engine

of growth because of the increasing attractiveness of the city to both domestic and foreign tourists. He said tourism has been boosted with the opening of new direct international flights as well as the increase of frequencies of domestic trips here. Last year, the City Government reported that tourist arrivals hit the two million mark from January to December 2017, or a 7.95 percent increase from 1.86 million in 2016. From January to June 2018, arrivals totaled 1.167 million. However, the DCCCII president said Davao City must confront the challenge of integrating further its

tourism plan “so that we can really sustain all these flights that are happening here”. “We need to develop our tourist spots so we could attract people and sustain air connectivity that we try to develop,” he said. The latest international direct route to be added late last year is the Quanzhou (Jinjang, China)-Davao flight and Milan said the government should continue to push the Davao-Japan air connection and revive the Davao-Manado (Indonesia) and the Davao-Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) routes as well, including European destinations via Qatar-Cebu flights. (Digna Banzon)


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January 7-13, 2019

DOH to drugstores: Give discount on diabetes, hypertension meds

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EALTH SECRETARY Francisco Duque III called on drugstores and pharmaceutical companies to sell diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension medications at a discounted price after the Department of Finance announced that such medicines will be exempted from value-added tax starting January 1. This in line with the ment of Health (DOH), Buimplementation of Sec- reau of Internal Revenue tion 109-AA of Republic and Food and Drug AuAct 10693 as implement- thority (FDA) Joint Admined by the DOF, Depart- istrative Order No. 2-2018

and BIR Regulations No. 25-2018. Duque said senior citizens would benefit greatly from this, in addition to those who have hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. “Ang panagawan natin sa mga drugstores ay sundin natin ang batas nang hindi tayo magka-

roon ng problema. Otherwise, baka kayo makasuhan. There is only 7 percent of senior citizens out of the total population of 104 million and the rest won’t be covered,” he said. With its implementation, senior citizens will have a 32 percent discount on all medicines for such

diseases, Duque said, adding, concerned agencies worked on the VAT exemption for these types of medicine first as they are the “common maintenance medications, which many Filipinos spend a lot of money on”. “But we’re also sensitive to the clamor of some

groups like the cancer patients with breast cancer, prostate cancer, et cetera and as a regulatory oversight agency, the FDA will ensure that the important provisions of the law are complied with, with the help of the DOH,” Duque said. (Maria Teresa Montemayor)

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