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President Rodrigo Duterte with Sulu Vice Gubernatorial Candidate Toto Tan.

P10

March 11-17, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte with his official lone candidate for Governor in Sulu Sakur ‘Datu Shahbandar’ Tan.

Misuari under Duterte’s wings F

ORMER REBEL leader Nur Misuari, who is accused of rebellion by authorities for the September 2013 deadly attack on Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, is being protected from arrest by President Rodrigo Duterte. D u t e r t e , and military on behalf of Misuari to travel abroad who admitted being a the Libyan firebrand so to attend two conferences good friend of Misu- he would be free to move of the Organization of Isari, the chairman of the around without any fear lamic Cooperation in Abu Moro National Libera- of being arrested. Dhabi and Morocco detion Front (MNLF), inHe also admitted that spite criminal charges terceded to the police he intervened to allow Continue on page 2

Duterte endorses 2 opposing politicians for Zambo mayoralty race President Rodrigo Duterte and Nur Misuari (pcoo.gov)

Duterte’s senatorial bets scared to debate with Otso Diretso

Sen. Leila De lima (senate.gov.ph)

DETAINED SENATOR Leila de Lima who is a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte said the administration’s senator candidates cannot debate with the opposition despite repeated challenges by the Otso Diretso ticket. She said Duterte taunts the Otso Diretso candidates and said his endorsed candidates, especially Bong Go and Continue on page 2

ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte endorsed two politicians for the mayoralty race here – the incumbent and re-electionist Mayor Beng Climaco, and Rep. Celso Lobregat who were former allies and now bitter political foes. Duterte was in Zamboanga City recently where he campaigned for his PDP-Laban’s senatorial candidates, but before this, the president met with Climaco during a security meeting at the Philippine Air Force base here where he raised the mayor’s hand. After the meeting, Continue on page 2

This space available ARMM

Eastern Mindanao

Mayor Beng Climaco and President Rodrigo Duterte

This space available Western Mindanao

Cebu

Manila


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March 11-17, 2019

Misuari under Duterte’s wings Continued from page 1 against the MNLF leader. “He came to see me to ask me to intercede in his behalf that he be given temporary pass to go out - kasi may kaso siya eh, ipi-preso siya dito - para maka-attend ng OIC,” Duterte said. Misuari is also facing graft charges at the Sandigan Bayan over the alleged anomalous purchase of education materials when he was governor of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Misuari denied all criminal and graft accusations against him. Duterte assured the public that Misuari would return after the conferences this month. “So I told the military and the police, hayaan ninyo na at babalik ‘yan. He is not a fugitive, he is a revolutionary. And you know what? That guy will always come back. It would be an insult to his person if he is buried in another land. Babalik dito ‘yan, dito magpakamatay,” he said. Justice While Duterte is protecting Misuari, local government leaders and res-

idents of Zamboanga are demanding justice for the deadly siege that left over 200,000 people without homes following weeks of street battles between security and MNLF forces that killed and wounded some 300 civilians. It was the second time that MNLF forces raided Zamboanga. In November 2001, Misuari’s loyal forces also attacked Zamboanga and left dozens of civilians dead and wounded. Heavily-armed MNLF gunmen also took hostage over 100 civilians, including women and children, and used them as shield and pawn so they can escape to Basilan and Sulu provinces. In 2016, Mayor Beng Climaco banned all MNLF rallies in Zamboanga City following attempts by Misuari’s group to hold a peace caravan. “I am giving you a categorical no, you must not disturb Zamboanga anymore. If you want to come up with your rally, make it in your area, Zamboanga will not welcome a rally by MNLF, not at this time because you still have to be accountable with the killings and devastations we are suffering from,”

Climaco said. “The destruction wrought by the 2013 siege continues to linger, as internally displaced persons – both Muslims, Christians and Lumads, most of whom are those who eluded the conflicts in Sulu and Basilan – have suffered the brunt of the MNLF attack in Zamboanga,” Climaco said. Failure In Sulu, security forces failed to arrest Misuari following a massive show of force by the MNLF and Abu Sayyaf rebels who attended the plenum called by the ageing leader in Indanan town to discuss the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union and summit by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in that year. The plenum forced the military to declare a red alert status in Sulu for fear the MNLF and Abu Sayyaf may launch a surprise attacks on government targets. Misuari signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996 ending decades of bloody war. After the peace agreement was signed, Misuari became the governor of the Muslim autonomous

SSS makes pension loan application easier CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Social Security System (SSS) said it is now easier for the more than 1.2 million qualified retiree pensioners to apply for the Pension Loan Program (PLP). SSS said it now allows retiree pensioners with at least one month posted regular pension and an active pension status to avail of the loan program. The pension fund continues to find ways to help pensioners in sufficing their short-term financial needs. Previously, a retiree pensioner must be receiving his monthly pension for at least six months to qualify for the SSS pension loan. But through the new issuance, even if they are receiving their regular monthly pension for only just a month and it is already posted in the system, they are already qualified to avail themselves of the pension loan. The new guidelines for PLP applications allow the use of other government-issued identifications cards aside from the Social Security Card or Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID) card as a form of identifi-

cation document. Loan applicants can now present their: Alien Certificate of Registration issued by Bureau of immigration; Driver’s License issued by Land Transportation Office; Firearm Registration, License to Own and Process Firearms, and Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence from the Philippine National Police; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance; Passport; Postal Identity Card, Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (Seaman’s Book); and Voter’s ID Card. “In absence of a primary ID Card/document, shall present, submit any two valid ID cards/documents, both with signature and at least one with photo,” the circular read. The SSS pension loan was offered to pensioners starting September 2018, in line with the celebration of SSS’ 61st anniversary. The program is in response to the clamor of senior citizens to put an end to the growing incidence of pensioners falling victims to loan institutions that charge steep interest rates and to help them with their short-

term needs like emergency medical expenses. As of February 28, SSS has released P638.33 million in pension loans to qualified pensioners. Of the 166 SSS branches receiving PLP applications, Bacolod branch has the most number of approved PLP applications with 1,982 amounting to more than P41.53 million. Diliman branch, on the other, released the highest amount of pension loans amounting to P41.80 million for the same period. Among the top five branches with the most number of approved PLP applications were Victorias branch in Bacolod with 1,472 approved applications for a total release of P31.02 million; Cebu branch, 1,096 approved applications worth P27.20 million; and Bago branch, 1,002 approved applications worth P21.06 million. SSS said the loanable amount may not be as huge as compared to what other lending institutions may be offering, but the amount can help pensioners meet their shortterm financial needs such as emergency medical expenses. (With a report from Mindanao Examiner)

President Rodrigo Duterte and Nur Misuari (pcoo.gov.ph) region. But despite the peace accord, there was a widespread disillusionment with the weak autonomy they were granted. Under the peace agreement, Manila would have to provide a mini-Marshal Plan to spur economic development in Muslim areas in the south and livelihood and housing assistance to tens of thousands of former rebels to uplift their

poor living standards. Misuari’s loyal forces and former MNLF rebels who joined the Philippine Army following the peace accord, attacked a key military base in Sulu’s Jolo town and civilian targets in Zamboanga in an effort to stop the government from calling an election in the autonomous region where Misuari wanted to be a perpetual governor. Misuari then es-

caped by boat to Malaysia, where he had been arrested and deported to the Philippines and was eventually pardoned and released by then President Gloria Arroyo in exchange for MNLF support to her election bid as well as her allies in the Senate and Congress in 2004. He also ran thrice for governor in Sulu even while under detention, but lost miserably. (Mindanao Examiner)

Duterte endorses 2 opposing politicians for Zambo mayoralty race Continued from page 1 Duterte proceeded to a coliseum here where senatorial candidates took turn in explaining to the crowds their advocacy and platform of government should they win the May polls. It was during the campaign that Duterte told

Lobregat, who heads the local PDP-Laban Party that he met with Climaco at the military base, but cut short in saying that he endorsed the mayor. A photo of Duterte raising the hand of Climaco appeared on the mayor’s Facebook account. Lobregat, who sup-

ported Duterte’s rival Mar Roxas, of the Liberal party, in the 2016 presidential election, has joined the president’s political party after Duterte won the polls. Climaco belongs to the Liberal party up to now, but said she is supporting the administration of Duterte. (Mindanao Examiner)

Duterte’s senatorial bets scared to debate with Otso Diretso Continued from page 1 Francis Tolentino, are better than them. “There is one sure way to prove or disprove Duterte’s boast, a live and televised debate between his favorites Bong Go and Tolentino and anyone among the Otso Diretso candidates. The only problem is, Duterte’s favored bets are content with hiding under Duterte’s skirt, too afraid to engage in any kind of debate with their opponents,” she said. De Lima said Duterte’s own campaign in the 2016 elections was waged on pure gimmickry and uninhibited demagoguery, with no solid program of government on which to anchor his outlandish promises. “This kind of campaign which has won him the

presidency is the culprit for the directionless and chaotic governance of the country three years into his administration.” “And Duterte has the gall to tell Otso Diretso to go straight to hell. Well, the country is in hell right now, courtesy of Duterte’s unfulfilled promises made during his hot-air campaign for the presidency and his unstable behavior. He is using the same tricks now with his candidates, hoping to fool Filipino voters twice in a row,” she said. De Lima was referring to a speech Duterte made during a recent campaign rally in Zamboanga City where he endorsed two opposing politicians Mayor Beng Climaco and Rep. Celso Lobregat. “Shame on us if we let

him fool us twice. By now, we clearly know that there are no short-cuts to good government. There are no magic portals to crimefree communities in six months. There are no crazy formulas to solving poverty or ending corruption. Only demagogues lead us to believe in such things to make up for the bankruptcy of their own visions and programs.” “Duterte’s promises are the same cheap promises being made by his senatorial candidates. Like empty shells when broken, they have nothing to show on how to fulfill these promises. This is the simple reason why Duterte’s candidates will never engage the Otso Diretso in any debate,” De Lima said. (Mindanao Examiner)


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Solons say wiretapped info on so-called ‘narco list’ cannot be used as court evidence LAWMAKERS said illegally wiretapped information, even if provided by foreign governments, is a “fruit of the poisonous tree” and therefore inadmissible in court. Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s claim that the information involving personalities and political figures with drug links were sourced from wiretapped communications done by foreign governments. Fruit of the poisonous tree is a legal doctrine which describes evidence obtained indirectly through illicit means and is inadmissible in court. “Malacañang’s claim that the narco list information is based on wiretaps done by foreign governments doesn’t make things right unless those who conducted the wiretap were armed with judicial authorization in which case, the proceeds should have been used as evidence in court as it has strong probative and evidentiary value to prosecute the personalities involved. Upon the other hand, if the wiretap is done illegally, it is

nothing but the fruit of a poisonous tree,” Lacson said. Senator Franklin Drilon also echoed Lacson’s remark, saying the wiretapped information has no value at all. “It cannot be used as evidence, having been obtained illegally. In law, such ‘wiretapped’ information is the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ not admissible as evidence,” Drilon said. Panelo earlier said there is nothing wrong with receiving wiretapped communications from foreign countries even though wiretapping is illegal under Philippine law. But Republic Act 4200, or the Anti-Wiretapping Law, prohibits the tapping of any wire or cable or using other devices to record, intercept, or secretly overhear any private communication or spoken word when it is unauthorized by all parties in the conversation, except when it is done pursuant to a court order. The government said the list of politicians allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade is set to be made public to enable

voters to make a wise choice in May’s mid-term elections. “We hope to release it…we are vetting it right now. We are making sure of the list,” said Department of the Interior

and Local Government spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. While several senators have opposed the disclosure of the names on the list, Malaya said the public has the right

to be informed regarding this matter. “To us, since the election is coming and we want to eradicate drugs, the people should be aware of the protectors, the coddlers of drug syndicates. We have a dif-

ferent opinion with the senators,” he said. But it was unclear why the government up to now has not filed criminal charges against those in the so-called narco list. (Filane Mikee Cervantes)

‘Bantay Asin’ task force readies for salt monitoring in Cagayan de Oro City CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) Northern Mindanao has set schedule for salt monitoring in Cagayan de Oro City’s (CDO) manufacturing areas, sea port and major public markets this year. This, after results of previous monitoring in the five provinces of Northern Mindanao showed that a number of retails stores are still selling non-iodized salt or inadequately iodized salt. During the first semester meeting of RBATF, Liwayway S. Llorico, Nutrition Officer II of National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region 10, shared for iodized salt to be adequate for household con-

sumption, iodine content must not be less than 15 parts per million (ppm). Out of the 100 stores they have checked in 2018 and 2019, 21 have not passed the WYD Iodine Checker - a tool that verifies the quality of iodine content in salt. Lanao del Norte had the highest non-compliance with only eight stores out of 20 who passed the salt monitoring done by the task force. Misamis Occidental meanwhile had eight stores out of 10 who passed, Camiguin with 44 stores passed out of 50 who passed and Bukidnon with 19 out of 20 who passed. The lowest iodine content checked by the group is from Lala, Lanao

del Norte with -0.6 iodine ppm with supplier from Lianghong, RTM and still some zero iodine ppm content from Dipolog manufacturers and some unknown. Llorico said there is a need to also check manufacturing establishments. They have to at least provide higher iodine ppm content preferably 3070 ppm or more at their level so that when it is stored and delivered to the stores, iodine still remains in the salt. According to her, iodine in salt easily diminishes especially due to poor handling and storage. She said, there is proper storage and handling of iodized salt to maintain its adequacy. Iodine in salt diminishes

when it is exposed to air or heat, she said. Results of the monitoring were made available to respective governors of the province so that they will craft next steps to eradicate non-iodized salt in their markets, said Llorico. Meanwhile, NNC 10 and the task force have recommended the local government units to create their own Provincial Bantay Asin Task Force and craft ordinances to strengthen monitoring of salt in their area. Republic Act 8172, “An Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (ASIN)” declares to promote the nutritional fortification of food to combat micronutrient as a priority health program for the nation. (J Mor)


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‘Pork’ still a feast to lawmakers

Senator Panfilo Lacson (senate.gov.ph) SENATOR PANFILO Lacson said he laments the “pork barrel” system, whose abolition he sought in a privilege speech as early as 2003, leads to instances of corruption involving irregularities such as commissions and ghost employees. “It’s bad enough that much is lost to corruption. But it’s worse that more is lost to incompetence, where the lack of planning leads to the haphazard and potentially deadly - implementation of projects,” Lacson said. He said causing further wastage are incompetence and inefficient planning of projects such as roads and bridges, which could have

potentially deadly consequences. “We pay our taxes and some of us even go hungry because we do not have enough left to buy basic necessities. A recent post about a pupil using an improvised ball pen because he could not afford one went viral. Why do such things happen? Because there are those who steal from the budget,” he added. Lacson recently bared a scheme by leaders of the House of Representatives to manipulate the bicameral committee report on the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019. Citing information from some House mem-

bers themselves, Lacson said the manipulations include a menu list of the Department of Health appropriations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program worth P25 million in individual allocations for congressmen favored by Speaker Gloria Arroyo. These include a P2.5-million allocation for the purchase of an ambulance, he said, but those who did not support Arroyo’s election as Speaker were left with only P8 million. Lacson branded this as “brazen, illegal act” after the bicameral report had been ratified by both houses smacks of grave abuse of discretion Arroyo, and vio-

lates the 1987 Constitution’s provision barring amendments to a bill upon its last reading. Even the reported claim of House appropriations committee chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. that the House is merely itemizing appropriations cannot be justified, Lacson said. “As if the act of ‘itemizing’ the allocations in the bicam can justify or cure what is explicitly provided under Art. VI Sec. 26 (2) of the Constitution, thus: ‘Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed,” he said. Exposing attempts to sneak “pork” into the na-

tional budget is part of a patriotic duty to ensure good governance through the proper spending of Filipino taxpayers’ money, Lacson said. He said that as a lawmaker, it is his job to thwart attempts by some solons to circumvent the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling declaring “pork” as unconstitutional, lest public money is lost to corruption and incompetence. “If by exposing all attempts by some lawmakers to go around the Supreme Court ruling declaring pork as unconstitutional, thus stymieing the selfish interests of those elected to per-

form their legislative duty, I’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ve done my share in guarding against unnecessary wastage of public funds that has prevented our country from taking off and become competitive,” he said. “My critics would claim I am just making a lot of noise but I do not let such negative comments affect, much less stop me. This is my biggest advocacy because the budget is the lifeblood of the nation. If this blood is taken away, the nation may suffer from anemia, or even a stroke,” he said. (With a report from the Mindanao Examiner)

Marawi transitory site receives medical equipment MARAWI CITY - The US-Philippines Society (USPS) recently visited Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) project sites here to witness the turnover of brand new medical equipment for a soon-to-open rural health center in Barangay Sagonsongan. Built by Makati Medical Center Foundation (MMCF) with the support of The Solid Group and the Armed Forces of the Philip-

pines (AFP), Sagonsongan’s rural health center is designed to serve the physical and psycho-social health needs of about 3,000 internally displaced families. With the help of PDRF, the USPS will also be supporting the training of the medical professionals and health leaders who will be assigned to the medical facility. USPS—together with the Project Handclasp Foundation (PHF) has been

partnering with PDRF since 2017 to help families, especially women and children, recover from the effects of Marawi siege. Throughout 2018, various projects have been launched, covering education, livelihood, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The Makati Medical Center (MMC) Foundation is the corporate social responsibility arm of the Makati Medical Center Hospital. (Wilnard Bacelonia)


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Jackfruit eyed to boost Lanao Norte town’s tourism

Langka (drfarrahcancercenter.com) CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The Department of Tourism in Northern Mindanao (DOT-10) said it will promote jackfruit as a major town tourism product for Maigo in Lanao del Norte province. DOT-10 officer John Baclig said the Department of Trade and Industry has already identified the tropical fruit as Mai-

go’s preferred “One Town One Product” or OTOP enterprise for 12 years now. OTOP is a promotional program of the government that aims to promote goods and products of towns, cities, and regions, and provides funding for small businesses. Jackfruit, also known as nangka and langka, has been identified with

Maigo town for so long already that the municipality even celebrates its own “Nangka Festival” every February. Maigo Municipal Tourism Officer Flora Isla said the town produces an average of a thousand kilos every month, making the municipality the largest producer in Lanao del Norte. Flora attributed the popularity of jackfruit in the town to the farmers from its 13 barangays. Mayor Rafael Rizalda said the local government provides support programs for jackfruit farmers and encourages them to engage in farm tourism. “The local government provides jackfruit seedling to farmers for free upon submission of their proposal and livelihood feasibility,” Rizalda said. Aside from jackfruit, Maigo is also known for its fine beaches, being a coastal town. (Ercel Maandig)

Police re-assign cops affiliated with poll bets POLICE SAID it has reassigned some 1,370 policemen affiliated with candidates in the coming May elections to ensure impartiality and non-partisan enforcement of the law. The reshuffle likewise covered 121 provincial directors, city directors, mobile force commanders, and chiefs of police who have reached the maximum two-year tour of duty in their assignments. The limited reshuffle of personnel is an administrative measure t by police personnel, particularly in areas where they have relatives running for local elective positions. “As non-partisan and deputized law enforcement agency of the Commission on Elections, we strongly and firmly remain faithful to our apolitical mandate to ensure

and protect the will of the electorate towards honest, orderly and peaceful elections,” General Oscar Albayalde. Directorate for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) head, Major General Lyndon Cubos said there are 1,858 police personnel who have blood relations and affinity with politicians running in the polls. However, only 1,370 are presently assigned in the political jurisdictions of the candidates, while 488 are assigned elsewhere, thus there is no need to relieve them from their present assignments. Those reassigned were 26 police commissioned officers and 1,344 non-commissioned officers. At the same time, the PNP has issued resignation orders to five po-

lice personnel, who were deemed resigned from the service upon filing their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) for local elective posts. These include a vice mayoral candidate in Bukidnon and four aspirants running for municipal councilor in Surigao del Norte, Northern Samar, Lanao del Sur, and Zamboanga del Sur, respectively. Section 24 of COMELEC Resolution 10420, which tackles the effects of filing a Certificate of Candidacy, states that “any person holding a public appointed office or position, including those in uniformed service, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from the office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of COC.” (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

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South Cotabato to acquire new hospital equipment GENERAL SANTOS CITY - The provincial government of South Cotabato said it is planning to acquire P40-million worth of additional equipment for the provincial hospital in Koronadal City. Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., head of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said the move is part of their continuing efforts to upgrade the provincial hospital’s services and classification as a Level 3 tertiary facility. Aturdido said the hospital, which has an authorized capacity of 200 beds, is currently listed by the Department of Health (DOH) under the Level 2 status. “We’re working on this right now and we already have the budget for the proposed equipment,” he said. He said the upcoming purchases include the re-

quired equipment for the hospital’s proposed physical medicine and rehabilitation unit. Based on DOH guidelines, a Level 3 tertiary hospital should have the capability for training or teaching and with accredited residency program for medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery. It should also have provisions for ambulatory surgical clinic, dialysis facility and blood bank, as well as established imaging facility with interventional radiology a DOH-licensed tertiary clinical laboratory with standard equipment, reagents and supplies necessary for the performance of histopathology examinations. Aside from the acquisition of new equipment, the provincial govern-

ment is currently working on the expansion of its facilities and units. A new four-story hospital building project worth P200 million broke ground on January 31 and is due for completion in two years. Aturdido said the new building, which is funded by a grant from the DOH, will house the hospital’s enhanced dietary unit, administrative offices, supply unit, operating room, dialysis unit, additional wards and private rooms. He said it will mainly increase the provincial hospital’s total bed capacity to about 400 beds or double its current status. “We’re currently accommodating an average of 400 patients per day so this will essentially help address our overcrowding problems,” he said.


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Across : 1. Belly 4. British baby carriage 8. Pub brews 12. Fire remains 13. Loony 14. Not common 15. Zodiac lion 16.___ transmission 18. Nabs 20. Build 21. Pal (Fr.) 22. Pallid 23. Competitor 27. Stairs 30. Have being 31. Poet’s eternity 33. That female 34. Canvas covers 37. Bank transaction 40. Actress ___ West 41. Tuna container 42. Flaming 44. Ill-fated ship 48. Napoleon ___ 50. Picnic beverage 51. Burden 52. Lima or kidney 53. Male heir 54. She, in Bordeaux 55. Highland Scot 56. Key near Ctrl

Answer to last week’s crossword:

Down : 1. Festive event 2. Client 3. Norse thunder god 4. Blood component 5. Standard procedure 6. Drama divisions 7. Barnyard sound 8. Biblical mount 9. Tardiness 10. Rock’s ___ Clapton 11. Church group 17. Kitty sounds 19. Lobe locale 23. Chow down 24. Gun rights group (abbr.) 25. Airport section

26. 28. 29. 32. 35. 36. 38. 39. 42.

Mogul ___ Turner Greek letter Gel Music performance Formal procession Trickle ___ leather ___ roll (2 wds.) Ready, willing, and ___ 43. Trick 44. Forest plant 45. Space gp. 46. Object of adoration 47. Lincoln’s coin 49. NBC’s rival

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Grass fires eat up 377 hectares in General Santos GENERAL SANTOS CITY - The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has raised the alarm over the increasing number of grass fires here since last month which it said affected some 377 hectares of grass lands and farm areas. Senior Fire Officer 3 Rey Allan Imperio, operations chief of the BFP station here, said they have already responded to at least 17 grass fires since last month in several outlying barangays. He said most of the affected areas were located in Barangays Sinawal, Fatima, Apopong, Calumpang, Tambler, and Mabuhay. Imperio said no casualty has been reported and no structure had been affected by these incidents, which appeared

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to be human-induced and not due to natural causes. Among those damaged by the grass fires were a 20-hectare sugarcane plantation and a 30-hectare farm in barangays Sinawal and Apopong. Portions of the city international airport were also hit by a major grass fire more than a week ago that affected several inbound and outbound flights. “It’s really important for everyone to be more cautious as there is a big chance that major grass fire could occur because of the prevailing intense dry weather caused by the El Niño phenomenon,” he said. He urged residents, especially landowners and farmers, to avoid using fire when clearing their lands

and in disposing of garbage. Imperio said they should not leave burning fields unattended and make sure that the fire would not spread to other areas. Citing most of the recent grass fires, he said they started in just a small area and rapidly spread due to the strong winds. The fire officer urged barangay councils to closely monitor the situation in their areas and assign members of their peacekeeping teams as responders during grass fires. Imperio noted that the city fire station has five serviceable fire trucks only and at least 30 firemen. “We’re doing everything to respond to all fire-related incidents but we really need the help of more community volunteers,” he said.

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HEALTH

Halaman sa loob ng bahay Ni Dr. Willie T. Ong PROBLEMA NGAYON ang polusyon sa hangin. Napakaraming sakit ang makukuha sa polusyon tulad ng hika, pulmonya, ubo, sakit sa puso at istrok. Isang paraan para mabawasan ang polusyon ay ang pag-alaga ng mga halaman (house plants). May benepisyo pa ang mga halamang ito sa ating kalusugan: 1. Ang mga halaman ay nagbibigay ng oxygen at nagtatanggal ng carbon dioxide sa paligid. Kabaligtaran ito sa tao na nangangailangan ng oxygen at naglalabas ng carbon dioxide. 2. Ayon sa isang pagsusuri ng NASA, inaalis ng house plants ang toxins sa ating kapaligiran. Ito ay ang mga VOCs o volatile organic compounds na galing sa pintura, mga coating at refrigerator. Mababawasan din ang carbon monoxide mula sa kotse. 3. Makaiiwas tayo sa trangkaso at ubo. Ayon sa pag-aaral ng University of Agriculture sa Norway,

Dr. Willie T. Ong ang pag-alaga ng house plants ay nakababawas sa pagod, ubo, sipon at sore throats ng 30%. Ito’y dahil sa pag-alis ng alikabok sa paligid. 4. Natural humidifier ang mga house plants. Pinapataas nito ang humidity (o tubig) sa hangin dahil hinihigop ng ugat ng halaman ang tubig at nag-e-evaporate mula sa dahon. Kapag mataas ang humidity, mas hindi tayo tatamaan ng mga impeksyon. 5. Kapag may alaga kang house plants, ika’y magiging mas masaya at mas positibo ang pananaw sa buhay. 6. Natuklasan sa pagsusuri na mas gumaganda

ang trabaho ng mga empleyado sa opisina kapag may nakikitang halaman sa paligid. 7. Mas gaganda at hihimbing ang iyong tulog. 8. Ang halaman sa loob at labas ng bahay natin ang ating panlaban sa init ng panahon at global warming. Ang temperatura sa ilalim ng puno ay mas mababa ng 1 degree kumpara sa ibang lugar. 9. Para maging mas epektibo ang iyong mga house plants, piliin ang malalaking house plants na 6 to 8 inches ang lapad. Ang mga bamboo plants ay napakaganda dahil nagbibigay ito ng 10 doble na dami ng oxygen kumpara sa ibang mga halaman. Tandaan lamang na dapat palitan ang tubig ng halaman bawat linggo. Ito’y para hindi pamugaran ng kiti-kiti na puwedeng magdulot ng dengue. Pero sa kabuuan, may benepisyo ang pag-aalaga ng halaman sa loob ng bahay. Subukan niyo ito


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March 11-17, 2019

COMELEC reminds candidates on allowable spending

C

EBU CITY - The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) reminded local candidates running in the May 13 mid-term elections to spend for their campaign based on the amount per voter allowed by law. Lawyer Jerome tributions and expenditures province remains to be the most vote-rich in the country, Brillantes, COMELEC-Cebu (SOCE),” Brillantes said. with a voting population of He, however, agreed with supervisor, said the Omni3,082,621. Cebu City has the the view that the law needs bus Election Code, although highest number of registered to be revisited because of the obsolete, provides that canvoters with 709,608; Mandaue obsolete provisions on the didates who belong to a poCity has 226,091; and Lapuamount per voter. Brillanlitical party can only spend Lapu City has 214,117. tes is amenable to the idea P3 per registered voter. The combined registered of changing the allowable Independent candivoters from the seven legislaamount by revisiting the Omdates or candidates who do tive districts of Cebu reached nibus Election Code, saying not belong to any of the poa total of 2,158,896, with the that the amount must cope litical parties registered with first district registering the with the changes, now that the COMELEC, are allowed the prices of commodities are to spend P5 per voter. Political parties and party-list already up. The provincial election groups are also allowed to supervisor said the SOCE spend P5 per voter, he said. must also include the amount CEBU CITY — Consultants He said the expenditure being donated to the can- from the Japan Internationis multiplied by the number didate. “There’s a gray area al Cooperation Agency (JICA) of registered voters covered presented to the Department when individuals or organiby the elective position a of Public Works and Highways zations spend but without the candidate is running for. the preparatory survey for the knowledge of the candidate,” “Everything that a candidate new Mactan bridge construche said. spends during his election tion project. Latest data from must reflectively be declared DPWH planning officer COMELEC show that the in their statement of con-

highest number of voters with 431,872, followed by the third district with 369,341, and fifth district with 366,162. The sixth district of Cebu has 350,166 while the two lowest numbers of registered voters are 161,412 and 156,665 for the second and seventh district, respectively. The seventh district was originally part of the second district, until former president Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10684 creating the district. (John Rey Saavedra)

Cebu supervisor Jerome Brillantes (left) explains the law on campaign expenditures while Paul Clarence Oaminal looks on. (Photo by John Rey Saavedra)

Japanese consultants push construction of 4th Mactan bridge

Barangay chairman escapes jail, hunt is on CEBU CITY - The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CCPO) continues its manhunt against a barangay chairman considered by authorities as “high-valued target”, who escaped from jail last week. Regional police chief Debold Sinas said policemen are searching for Jinnefer Mercader alias Iper who allegedly broke out from the Medellin District Jail on Tuesday night. Sinas warned the police and the public that the escapee is “armed and dangerous”. “He is really armed and dangerous…kon makita ninyo ni, ayaw gyud mo pagduol ug itawag ug i-report sa polis nato kay tanang polis nakahibawo na sa iyang pag-eskapo,” he said. “We have established joint trackers with the BJMP

An undated police photo shows Jinnefer Mercader. (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology),” Sinas said, adding they have disseminated the pictures of Mercader to all police stations and checkpoints and municipal police offices. Pictures of Mercader also circulated over social media. Mercader, 42, is facing criminal charges of possession

of illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms. He was arrested in his house in Sitio Dapdap, Barangay Cahel in Borbon, Cebu on September 2, 2017. Seized from Mercader’s possession were an M-4 assault rifle loaded with 20 live bullets, shabu with an estimated value of P311,000 and P120,000 cash. (John Rey Saavedra)

Nonato Paylado said JICA recommended the construction of the bridge in order to mitigate traffic congestion in Metro Cebu. Hiroyuki Morimoto, JICA project team head, said the JICA master plan 2019 includes the proposal to construct the bridge that will connect the cities of Lapu-Lapu on Mactan Island and Mandaue in mainland Cebu. The fourth bridge is needed “to meet the expanding traffic capacity between the two islands generated by the booming Cebu’s industry and tourism,” Hiroyuki said. Part of the bridge project will be the Mandaue coastal road project, which will be “constructed as an extension of the proposed Metro Cebu circumferential road or proposed Mandaue-Liloan diversion road to divert traffic from the city center through a bypass road,” he said. The project has a total length of 6.78 kilometers, with a 0.58-kilometer bridge component and a 6.20-kilometer coastal road component, covering both the bridge approach and viaduct. Spanning over the Mactan channel, the bridge project

with four lanes and a 22.2-meter wide roadway will affect Barangays Ibo and Pusok in Lapu-Lapu City and Umapad and Opao in Mandaue City. It will adopt two interchanges, according to Hiroyuki’s presentation. The Japanese consultants started the master plan study last December through a series of preparatory meetings, collection of project background data, and site survey. The consultants are now conducting traffic survey and traffic demand forecast, as well as bridge location and coastal road alignment after their successful twomonth long natural condition survey that started last January. According to the study, JICA experts and stakeholders will address the issue of resettlement for 50 to 70 informal settlers near the landfill in Barangay Umapad in Mandaue City. However, It said the resettlement action plan for the families to be displaced by the project is ongoing. The consultants conducted direct coordination with the managers of different industrial establishments in Mandaue City that may get affected by the construction of the fourth bridge. Hiroyuki’s presentation,

however, said tenurial instrument of affected lots and the authority of DPWH-7 to develop them still need to be confirmed. Presently, the third bridge project called Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway is under construction. Spanning Cordova and Cebu City, it is a public-private partnership (PPP) project undertaken by Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway Corp. (CCLEC). CCLEC is a joint venture of Acciona Construction of Spain, First Balfour Inc. and D.M. Consunji Inc. of the Philippines. The company is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., which will operate the third bridge for a period of 35 years. CCLEC president and general manager Allan Alfon said the company is confident about finishing the third bridge by 2021, in time for the commemoration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines. The first Mactan bridge was constructed in 1970 and finished in 1972, while the second, the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, was constructed in 1996 and opened to traffic in 1999. (John Rey Saavedra)

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