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Misuari, Duterte push for peace talks, coordinating body

M

ORO NATIONAL LIBERATION Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari met again with President Rodrigo Duterte for the nth time to discuss the peace talks and the creation of a coordinating committee between the former rebel group and the national government.

Misuari, along with his group, was in Malacañang Palace recently on the invitation of Duterte, his long-time friend and political ally, and is expected to meet again with the President in Davao City soon. Duterte previously told the former Libyan firebrand that he ordered Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez to immediately form a coordinating committee between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MNLF, and to convene and set

the agenda for discussions. Misuari has asked Duterte to include the influential Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the peace talks. The OIC had played a vital role in the peace process between the Philippine government and MNLF where Misuari is the chairman. Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the coordinating committee will serve as a venue to seek for the cooperation of the MNLF to achieve Continue on page 3

President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari (PCOO)

Suicide Bombings Take Root in the Southern Philippines

Duterte’s infra program is a dismal failure, says Drilon ‘Palace says there are massive BBB projects across the country’

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE’S flagship infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) was a dismal failure, according to Senator Franklin Drilon, who claimed that only nine out of 75 projects under construction are halfway into Duterte’s term.

“It is sad to say that the BBB program of the administration is a dismal failure. Out of the 75 flagship projects that were proposed at the start of the administration, exactly nine started construction. That is only 2% of the total,” he told reporters. “We only have two

years and a half left in this administration; I don’t think any substantial progress insofar as that program is concerned will be achieved. I repeat, the execution is simply dismal,” he added. But a report by GMA News quoted Senator Juan Continue on page 5

TERRORISM AND INSURGENCY are not new to the Philippines. But what is surprising is that over the years, and despite the influence of Jemaah Islamiyah militants from Southeast Asia and al-Qaeda operatives and trainers, Filipino militants never embraced suicide bombing as a tactic. That is no longer the case. Since July 2018, there have been six individual suicide bombers in the southern Philippines. Three additional suspected would-be bombers – they had pipe bombs sewn into vests – were

killed in a shootout with security forces last week, according to officials who said that security forces recovered 16 additional pipe bombs two days later, suggesting another wave of attacks. Not all of the bombers have been Filipinos. Indeed, the majority of the suspects had been foreigners. The first bomber detonated explosives inside his vehicle at an army checkpoint in Basilan in July 2018, killing 10. He was believed to be a Moroccan. In January 2019, an Indonesian couple,

who had tried to enter Syria, but were deported by Turkish authorities, blew themselves up at a cathedral in the southern Philippine town of Jolo, killing 23, and wounding more than 100 during a Sunday Mass. In June, two men – the first Filipino bombers – detonated their explosives outside an Army camp in Sulu, killing five, including themselves, and wounding 22 others, authorities said. Most recently a woman, believed to be an Egyptian, blew herself up at the Continue on page 5

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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24, 2019

‘Unauthorized’ MNLF forums under watch THE DUTERTE GOVERNMENT has warned the public against people organizing “unauthorized” MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) peace and federalism forum following a failed meeting in Zamboanga City last month. Carlito Galvez, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the foiled meeting was not authorized either by the national government or Nur Misuari, the MNLF chairman. “To set the record straight, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has not authorized any of these personalities or their organizations to carry out such an activity. The people behind this so-called peace forum in Zamboanga City are clearly misrepresenting the Philippine Government, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and the MNLF, as stated in their letter request addressed to the City Government of Zamboanga,” Galvez said. Mayor Beng Climaco has stood firm in disallowing any MNLF activities here, especially the faction of Nur Misuari, whose loyal forces attacked the city in two separate occasions in the last 2 decades. The letter purportedly signed by Mukisin Taguid-id and Jubail Kamlian, who claimed to be from the MNLF, asked the local government

for a permit to allow about 500 of its members and supporters to gather here for the peace and federalism forum, and even invited Climaco to be one of their honored guests. Climaco rejected the MNLF request and did not issue any permit to Taguid-id and Kamlian following the recommendation of the police and military authorities. “Upon recommendation by the security forces, the city government of Zamboanga has denied the request of the Moro National Liberation Front for a permit to conduct a forum on peace process and federalism,” she said. The forum was supposed to take place on October 30. Capt. Edwin Duco, a police spokesman, said they have recommended to the local government not to issue any permit that would allow the forum, citing, security and public concerns. “We recommended to the City Government to deny and disapprove the request for a permit,” he said. Charge Them Now, Climaco wants organizers of that forum charged after residents in several barangays had panicked and fled their homes, fearing the MNLF would launch attacks again in retaliation for the foiled forum. Climaco, also the chairperson of the city and region-

al peace and order councils, said instructed the local police force headed by Colonel Thomas Joseph Martir to invite for questioning the organizers of the forum and to file whatever charges fit against them for causing undue chaos and panic among residents. She said it appeared that there is a pattern by certain individuals who would use the name of the national government and even that of President Rodrigo Duterte to make profit out of fees to be collected from such forum. “The matter has to be blottered and investigated by the police to prevent repetition of the same in the future. Find out what charges to be filed against them, probably misrepresentation,” Climaco said. Galvez said they are supporting Climaco’s order to the police and investigate the matter. “We therefore support the call of Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle ‘Beng’ Climaco-Salazar for authorities to look on this matter and prevent further misrepresentation that can create misunderstanding, confusion and unnecessary public alarm,” he said. Not Us Misuari’s group has denied any participation in the failed forum organized by Taguid-id and Kamlian. “We have been informed that there are false

President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari (PCOO) rumors circulating through SMS and social media platforms about the MNLF. The Office of the Chairman (Nur Misuari) of the MNLF Central Committee reiterates that it has no involvement in a since-cancelled forum that was to be held in Zamboanga City on Wednesday, 30th of October.” “In connection with this, some have spread misinformation of a threat of confrontation between the MNLF and local government forces if the request for the permit of the said event would be denied. These are unfounded accusations and are not true. Please be vigilant and help stop the spread of lies that are causing undue panic and fear,” it said. Misuari was reported to have ordered all MNLF units, State and National Commands, including others to refrain from any provocative acts, saying, the MNLF now has engaged in peace process. Peace Process Galvez said the Duterte administration continues to engage with Misuari in the peace process. “In parallel, we would like to clarify issues over the engagements between the Government and the MNLF, particularly with the group of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari. Under the peace Agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the government shall continue to engage MNLF Founding Chair Nur Misuari to complete the remaining commitments under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement by virtue of the Tripartite Review Process and the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum with the OIC.” “In compliance with our peace agenda, OPAPP recently organized the GPH-MNLF Joint Peace Coordinating Committees in order to have continuous dialogue, coordination and collaboration with the MNLF in maintaining lasting and enduring peace in Mindanao, particularly in troubled Island of Sulu. We are advising some quarters, particularly those who are not privy in the dialogues, to re-

frain from issuing premature statements that will derail the current peace efforts of the Duterte administration,” Galvez said. Climaco has previously rejected similar requests by the MNLF to hold its meetings here and told the former rebel group to be “sensitive and perceptive of the fact that the scars of the September 9, 2013 Zamboanga siege caused by the MNLF remain unhealed and fresh in the hearts and minds of Zamboanguenos.” The mayor was referring to the attack by the MNLF here that resulted to the deaths of dozens of innocent civilians and the destruction it left, including the tens of thousands of families displaced by the violence. Raids Six years after deadly siege by hundreds of armed MNLF members, residents here are still crying for justice which remains elusive for the victims of the attack. Climaco also set September 9 as a “Special Day of Remembrance” in honor of all those who perished in the siege that lasted for 3 weeks. Supporters of Misuari, the MNLF chairman, attacked Zamboanga after declaring independence and their failed attempt to raise the Bangsamoro Republik flag at City Hall. The siege displaced over 100,000 people and affected the economies of Basilan and Sulu which are dependent on Zamboanga for their trades and goods. Misuari has publicly denied involvement in the siege of Zamboanga. In 2016, Climaco – who stood firm against the MNLF during the entire period of the crisis – has banned any so-called peace rally or gathering of the MNLF members in Zamboanga City. She said such rallies will not be allowed in the as this might disturb Zamboanga anew. “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 be-

cause you still have to be accountable with the killings and devastations we are suffering from,” Climaco said in the past. “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,” she said. 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 region. But despite the peace accord, he said 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. Cabatangan It was the second attack by MNLF in the past decade. In November 2001, hundreds of MNLF members occupied the Cabatangan Complex and held hostage dozens of civilians, including children; and another group also attacked a military base in Sulu province in an effort to stop the elections in the Muslim autonomous region after Misuari was ousted as governor. More than 100 people were killed in the fighting and in the end, then Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat allowed the attackers to leave Zamboanga in exchange for the hostages. Misuari then escaped by boat to Malaysia, where he had been arrested and deported to the Philippines and was eventually pardoned and released by President Gloria Arroyo. Now because of the peace process, Duterte ordered police and military not to arrest Misuari. (Zamboanga Post)


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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24 2019

Misuari, Duterte push for peace talks, coordinating body

President Rodrigo Duterte strikes his signature pose with Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari following their meeting at the Malacañan Palace recently. Continued from page 1 immediate peace in Sulu province by, among others, helping in combatting the Abu Sayyaf militants and to convincing MNLF relatives to return to the folds of the law. “The GPH-MNLF Coordinating Committee can expect the full support of the Office of the President, as we move towards our common goal of resolving the conflict that have caused deaths, suffering, and dislocation among the Muslims and Christians alike,” Panelo

said. “In resolving the Muslim rebellion in Mindanao, every undertaking that may lead to a lasting peace and prosperity to that region must be tried and tested until its fruition. We can do no less as a people. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will walk the extra mile to bring harmony to the country and the nation,” he added. Zambo Sieges 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 region. But despite the peace accord, there was a widespread disillusionment with the weak autonomy they were granted. Under the peace accord, Manila would have to provide a mini-Marshal Plan to spur economic development in Muslim areas in Mindanao, and livelihood and housing assistance to tens of thousands of former rebels

to uplift their poor living standards. But in 2001, Misuari’s loyal forces and former rebels, who joined the military and police following the signing of the peace deal, attacked a key army base in Sulu’s Jolo town and civilian targets in Zamboanga in an effort to stop the government from calling an election in the Muslim autonomous region where Misuari wanted to be a perpetual governor. He then escaped 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. And in September 2013, MNLF members attacked Zamboanga City for the second time, sparking fierce clashes that lasted for weeks, and left hundreds of people dead and wounded, and displaced over 300,000 civilians. Many of the raiders were killed, but the others managed to escape following

the failed rebellion. Misuari, who is accused of rebellion by authorities for the deadly attacks, is being protected from arrest by Duterte, who interceded to the police and military on behalf of the former rebel chieftain so he would be free to move around without any fear of being arrested. Duterte, who admitted being a good friend of Misuari, also admitted that he intervened to allow Misuari to travel abroad to attend two conferences of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi and Morocco despite criminal charges against the MNLF leader. 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. OIC Despite all these charges against Misuari, the OIC continues to support him. And in 2017, the OIC Secretary General, Dr.

Youssef Al Othaimeen, in support of the peace process even convened the 4th Session of the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on the margins of the 44th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. The OIC said it continues to deal with the MNLF through the Jeddah formula. The meeting discussed the prospects of the peace process under the Duterte administration and is part of the efforts of the OIC to close ranks between the MNLF and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front which also signed a peace accord with Manila in 2014) and to help in the process of merging the two peace tracks and to consolidate realization of the inalienable rights of the Muslim minority in southern Philippines for a peaceful, just and durable settlement of their problem. The OIC Council of Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of unity within the MNLF and the Jeddah formula. (Zamboanga Post. With additional reporting from the Mindanao Examiner.)


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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24, 2019

Sulu Pictures in the News

Photos from the Office of the Provincial Governor

Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan graces the Sulu Provincial Daycare Center’s celebration of the 27th National Children’s Month with the theme, “Karapatang Pambata: Patuloy na Pahalagahan at Gampanan Tungo sa Magandang Kinabukasan” at the Provincial Multi-Purpose Gym today.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan paid a courtesy visit to Director General Isidro S. Lapeña of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Manila.

Governor Abdusakur M. Tan with Landbank Sulu branch head Felix Priales. Landbank is supporting local farmers through various programs. Landbank supports “Tree of Life,” an enterprise that bridges farmers to the world. Tree of Life supports sustainable farming, tri-people, local farmers, a greener Philippines, and organic and natural market.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan receives Luzminda L. Ali - Bureau of Customs, Jolo Port Collector; Mohammad Ali D. Pundamudag - Jolo Deputy Port Collector; and Special Agent Broderick R. Izquierdo during their courtesy call at the Provincial Capitol.

Governor Abdusakur M. Tan paid a courtesy call to Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to discuss his request to conduct the NAPOLCOM examinations in Sulu.

Governor Abdusakur M. Tan administers the oath of office to the new Board of Directors of Jolo Mainland Water District at his office. The appointees were Fernando S. Gatila (business sector), Lyn D’ Amor E. Moreno ( women sector), Dr. Amilbahar S. Matingka ( professional sector), Dr. Sahiron D. Amirul ( civil organization sector) and Hji. Eufremio N. Canaria ( Education sector). Vice Governor Toto Tan meets with Andrew Morris, UNICEF Chief for Mindanao, who flew to Sulu for UNICEF activities. Morris was accompanied by provincial staffs Bertrand Chio and Ben Akalal and two other ranking UNICEF Officials. Part of UNICEF activities is the Polio Vaccination of young Tausug in Barangay Health Units. -SJU-

Governor Abdusakur M. Tan with newly-elected officers of JCI-Jolo Chapter led by their President,- Aileen A. Abubakar; and Executive Vice-President, Saurajan S. Darawi during their courtesy call at the Provincial Capitol.

Sulu Governor Abdusakur M. Tan in a meeting with Maciano M. Damih- Provincial Fishery Officer, MAFAR- BARMM; on the allocation of 18 units of 30-footer motorized banca to different municipalities and fishermen.


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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24 2019

Suicide Bombings Take Root in the Southern Philippines Continued from page 1 gate of a military base in Jolo, though causing no further casualties. In a recent clash, two of

the three suspected wouldbe bombers are believed to be the Egyptian bomber’s husband and their son. But there have been at least two

Filipino suicide bombers, so that genie is out of the bottle. And they are likely to inspire others. So why are we seeing suicide bomb-

Duterte’s infra program is a dismal failure, says Drilon ‘Palace says there are massive BBB projects across the country’ Continued from page 1 Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, as saying that according to the economic managers, 12 projects would be completed by 2020, and additional 17 projects more by 2021, and 26 other projects by 2022, and 43 will be completed beyond 2022. Drilon then asked what projects will start next year and in 2021. Angara could not answer him directly. “I am asking for specifics but they are giving me numbers,” said Angara, referring to the economic managers. Drilon said the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways are the worst performers in terms of the ability to disburse. “I do not know if there is still time. Suddenly, after putting across 75 flagship projects at the start of the administration, suddenly they’ll review and remove some. If simply on information, which they could not provide us, you can

imagine the capacity to actually implement the project,” he said. Massive Projects Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo also defended the BBB program and comparing Duterte’s massive projects to the past Aquino administration. “One must admire the effrontery of Sen. Frank Drilon for saying that the Build Build Build program of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a dismal failure, coming from someone who was one of the pillars of the previous administration that has a zero accomplishment in its infrastructure program.” “Such chutzpah is matched only by his obvious ignorance on the accomplishments of the present administration. Senator Drilon is either too lethargic to get his facts straight or is unable to contain the opposition’s penchant to foist false narratives,” he said. Panelo also elaborated on many BBB projects across the country. “Three years after

President Duterte took office, Secretary of Public Works and Highways Mark Villar reported the completion of 9,845 kilometers of road, 2,709 bridges, 4,536 flood control projects, 82 evacuation centres, and 71,803 classrooms.” “The acceleration of infrastructure development remains part of the core of the Philippine Development Plan, based on the principle that infrastructure supports the country’s overall socioeconomic development. While projected timelines for the completion of key infrastructure projects may have been affected by the delay in the passage of the 2019 Budget, this Administration hit the ground running once it was approved by both houses of Congress,” he said. Panelo said Duterte remains committed in his vision to enable Filipinos to enjoy a “matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay.” (Mindanao Examiner. With additional reporting from GMA News.)

ings in the Philippines? In part, we are seeing much more suicide bombings in the region, as well as by Southeast Asians outside of the region. In Indonesia, there were only nine Jemaah Islamiyah suicide bombings between 2002 and 2011. Since 2014, there have been at least 10, with several suspected suicide bombers arrested, including at least three women. In Iraq and Syria, there were around 20 Southeast Asian suicide bombers, including some 13 Malaysians, the country’s first. This clearly speaks to the radical and nihilistic ideology of the Islamic State. Its ubiquitous propaganda has made such attacks mainstream. And unlike Malaysians and Indonesians who travel to Iraq and Syria in much larger numbers, giving them both more direct contact with the Islamic State, as well as opportunities to develop and shape the propaganda for their home audience, there were far fewer Filipinos. While Islamic State propaganda spoke of many militants from the Philippines being part of Khatibah Nusantara, I only have firm evidence of one, Mohammad Reza Lahaman Kiram, whom Philippine authorities believe was responsible for a 2012 bus bombing in Zamboanga. Alongside Malaysian Mohamad Rafi Udin and Indonesian Mohammed Karim Yusop Faiz, Kiram appeared in a June 2016 beheading video, which got a lot of play in Southeast

Asia. Kiram has not been confirmed dead, and his whereabouts are unknown. Does the advent of suicide bombings in the Philippines matter? Yes, for four key reasons. First, it clearly shows that Islamic State’s ideology is taking root. Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi may have been killed, but his ideology is not going anywhere. Just recently, video emerged of pro-IS militants in the Philippines pledging allegiance to the new caliph and Islamic State leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qorashi. Allegiance is to the ideology, not the man. Second, the fact that the majority of suicide bombings have been done by foreign militants reminds us of just how important the Philippines is to militants, both from the region and abroad. As the Islamic State continues to implement its global insurgency model, the Philippines remains an important front. With the loss of much of its caliphate, the death of al-Baghdadi, and the chaotic situation in Syria, it is hard to imagine the Islamic State pulling many militants from Southeast Asia at the current time. Already, through its media organs, the IS had called on militants from the region to travel to Mindanao. That shows no signs of abating. Indeed, Malaysian authorities have increased the resources of their security forces in Sabah state, a key transit point. Third, there is a concept in the terrorism literature of “outbidding,” whereby terrorist groups,

factions and cells, try to achieve dominance by waging a bloodier campaign of violence. This proves their devotion to the cause, while portraying their competitors as weaker, and less ideologically fervent. If these attacks are indeed being orchestrated by two Abu Sayyaf leaders in Sulu and Basilan, Hatib Hajaan Sawadjaan and Furuji Indama, who seek to lead the Islamic State of East Asia, will other groups such as Islamic State Lanao (the Mautes), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Ansuar Khalifa Philippines, or others, have to escalate their level of violence to compete? Finally, at the tactical level, suicide bombings have a disproportionate impact. People are so surprised by suicide bombings, because it is so seemingly irrational. And when it does happen, it garners so much more media attention, while spreading more fear. Suicide bombings are here to stay. The question is: Can the overextended Philippine security services manage the new threat, and can the fragile new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao prove to be a successful and viable alternative to peel away support for the Islamic State’s Philippine recruits? (Benar News by Zachary Abuza. The author is a professor at the National War College in Washington and the author of “Forging Peace in Southeast Asia: Insurgencies, Peace Processes, and Reconciliation.”)


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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24, 2019

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The Mindanao Examiner

November 18-24 2019

LOTTO TIPS KARON SEMANA

Timbo karon, timbo ugma, timbo kada adlaw ug timbo kada semana!

HEALTH

Ni Dr. Willie T. Ong

EYE BAGS AT DARK CIRCLES: Anong Lunas? Ano ang dahilan ng pagkakaroon ng eye bags at pangingitim sa ilalim ng mata? Kadalasan ay dulot ito ng pagpupuyat, kulang sa tulog, sobrang gimmick, paninigarilyo at pag-inom ng alak. Dahil dito, nababawasan ang laman (fats) sa ilalim ng mata, nasisira ang mga ugat at nangingitim ang mata.

Para mabawasan ang eye bags, heto ang mga tips: 1. Matulog ng 7-8 oras bawat gabi. Kung hindi makatulog, humiga lang at ipikit ang mata. 2. Magpalamig ng ilang hiwa ng pipino. Ilagay ang pipino sa yelo o refrigerator. Ip-

ikit ang mata at ipatong sa ibabaw ng mata ng 15 minuto. Palitan ang pipino kapag hindi na ito malamig. 3. Pwede din gumamit ng tea bags. Ilubog ang 2 tea bags sa maligamgam na tubig. Pagkatapos ay palamigin ito sa refrigerator. Ipatong ang tea bags sa mata ng 15 minuto. Ang sangkap na tan-

nin sa tea ay nakatutulong sa pagbabawas ng pamamaga at pangingitim ng mata. 4. Kung nagmamadali, kumuha ng yelo o pinalamig na kutsara at ipatong ito sa eye bags. Gawin ito ng ilang minuto lang habang malamig pa ang kutsara. 5. Uminom ng 8-10 basong tubig bawat

araw. Para hindi dehydrated ang katawan. 6. Umiwas sa nakaka-allergy na bagay o pagkain. Puwedeng mamaga ang mata kapag may allergy. 7. Magbawas ng stress at huwag sumimangot. Maging masaya para gumanda at mabawasan ang eye bags. Good luck po.


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Catholics flock to Cebu to celebrate birth of Christianity C

Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, speaks before devotees of the Santo Niño during the open-to-public conference before the Holy Mass to mark the grand launching of the 500th anniversary of the Christian faith in the country at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. He was joined by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones and the members of the clergy in the Holy Mass. (PNA photo by Fe Marie Dumaboc)

3-month fishing ban starts CEBU CITY - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR-7) in Central Visayas announced the start of the three-month fishing ban at the Visayan Sea. Alfeo Piloton, regional director of BFAR-7, said the ban began last week and fishing of certain pelagic species like sardines, herrings and mackerels is prohibited to allow these fish species to flourish within that period. The ban will end on February 15, 2020. Piloton said the threemonth period has been marked as the spawning season of these species. He enjoined local government officials and coastal communities to cooperate with the bureau in its effort to conserve and protect the existing marine species at the Visayan Sea. He said the fishery bureau has been implementing

this program for seven years now. “It is prohibited in this certain time, because based on our experience, on the six years that we have been implementing closed season, every after implementing it, there is a very good impact into our fishermen, because there is an increase of production,” Piloton told the Philippine News Agency. The Visayan Sea, one of the country’s largest fishing grounds, is surrounded by the islands of Cebu and Negros to the south, Masbate to the north, Panay to the west, and Leyte to the east. The northern seaboard of the coastal city of Bogo and towns of San Remegio, Daanbantayan and Medellin, as well as the island towns of Bantayan, Sta. Fe and Madridejos of the Cebu province which lie portion of the Visayan Sea are

covered by the ban. Piloton said they have intensified information drive by educating fishermen on the salient provisions of the Fisheries Administrative Order 167-3, the policy that establishes the annual closed season at the Visayan Sea. The amended administrative order specifies the prohibitions and the corresponding penalties for the violators like imprisonment for six months to six years and fine of P6,000, depending on the gravity of the offense. “People should know of the significant intentions of implementing this policy because we are not only doing this in order to increase our current fishery production but we are imposing this to conserve our marine resources making sure that the future generation will benefit the same,” Piloton said. (Fe Marie Dumaboc)

EBU CITY – Some 3,500 Catholic faithful gathered at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño here and witnessed the launching of the 500th year anniversary celebration of the birth of Christianity and the arrival of the holy image of the Child Jesus in the country. Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, in his homi- is the image of God… Caccia, the papal nuncio ly, invited the faithful to God wants us to take the of the Vatican to the Phil- reflect on the mystery of best of our nature, withippines, also led the cler- the image of the Santo out fear but with joy, begy in an open-to-public Niño who, despite being cause the definition of conference. Caccia along a child, carries a globe, a God is love,” he said. with Cebu Archbish- sceptre and wears a crown Mayor Edgardo Laop Jose Palma, Auxiliary and robe. “The Santo bella, who attended the Bishop Midyphil Billones, Niño also reminds us of grand launching, expriests and religious, later our call to spread Christ pressed his full support proceeded to celebrate throughout the world,” he to the church’s celebrathe Holy Mass to mark the said. tion which will culmiopening of quincentenniCaccia underscored nate in 2021. ( Fe Marie al of the Christian faith in the childlike mystery of Dumaboc and John Rey the country. the Child Jesus. “And this Saavedra)

Police to support Robredo as ICAD co-chairperson CEBU CITY – Police in Central Visayas have welcomed the appointment of Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD). Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, regional police chief, said the war on drugs of the Duterte administration needs unity from various sectors because of the magnitude of the drug problem in the country, adding, the menace of illegal drugs triggered corruption in the government. “I think the appointment of VP Leni Robredo as co-chair of ICAD by the President is a welcome development… that he wants to unite everybody to join hands to once and for all eradicate the drug menace that breeds corruption,” De Leon said. He said Duterte’s intention to eradicate the drug

problem is to give healing and reconciliation a chance in solving the menace. He also underscored the effort needed to address the problem on illegal drugs in some areas in the region. De Leon, one of the most respected officers in the police organization, noted the President’s close monitoring of drug personalities who are even included on the watch-list of authorities in the region. “It is a public knowledge that some areas in Region 7 are infested with illegal drugs. In fact, some of the personalities mentioned by the President in his drug watch-list are in Central Visayas, even some of the so-called narco-generals are here in Cebu,” de Leon said. Robredo, he said, will have “a good opportunity for her to see the magnitude of the illegal drug problem”

in the country by bearing the responsibility of helping Duterte in eradicating the menace. De Leon expressed optimism that unity between Duterte and Robredo will stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country. “So let’s look forward to this development seeing the President and the Vice President working hand in hand against the proliferation of illegal drugs in our country,” he said. Robredo said the most important consideration for her in her new position is to become part of the “change to stop the slaying of innocent people and hold those responsible accountable.” She also said with Duterte’s remaining two and a half years in administration, “it is not too late for them to work together on the problem.” (John Rey Saavedra)

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