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MILF incompetent to govern BARMM...

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NFLUENTIAL SULU Governor Sakur Tan branded as incompetent former rebel leaders now running the Muslim autonomous region who failed miserably to deliver on their promises and still asked to junk the 2022 elections and give them a three-year extension. Tan was referring to who is now the Chief Minthe Moro Islamic Libera- ister of the five-province tion Front leaders head- Bangsamoro Autonomous ed by Murad Ebrahim, Continue on page 2

Mercury in whitening cream, lotion alarm group DOES YOUR whitening cream or lotion make your skin really white? Well, think again because according to the toxics watchdog EcoW-

aste Coalition released a new report revealing alleged unethical and unlawful use of online shopping and social media Continue on page 5

Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Mark Navales, Library Photo)

Travel made easy now, restrictions eased up

Duterte, napikon muli kay Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte. DAVAO CITY – Muling napikon ang Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa mga

Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan signs an executive order easing up travel in the province. THE INTER-AGENCY Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has eased travel restrictions, including documentary requirements for travellers across the country. The uniform travel protocols under Resolution No. 101 said travel authority and medical certificate are no longer

ARMM

required for land, air and sea travel. The new travel protocols were crafted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, the League of Provinces of the Philippines, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines,

and the League of Cities of the Philippines. DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the new protocols are applicable to all local governments. He said all local governments must o comply with the new IATFMEID regulations. Malaya said Covid-19 testing shall not be Continue on page 3

Eastern Mindanao

komento ni Vice President Leni Robredo at sa kanyang virtual presser ay halos

pagmumura ang maririnig sa bunganga nito. Continue on page 6

Sabah imposes longer curfew due to Sayyaf threats DESPITE THE continued military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao, Malaysia said the threats of attacks and Continue on page 3

A Philippine Air Force gunnery sergeant during a patrol in Southern Philippines.

Western Mindanao

Cebu

Manila


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The Mindanao Examiner

March 8-14, 2021

MILF incompetent to govern BARMM

Continued from page 1 Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Ebrahim wanted to postpone the BARMM elections set by law and extend the term of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority which violates the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). The MILF signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014 ending decades of bloody fighting in the South and this accord is also being used by Ebrahim to hold on to power. Tan, in a recent interview with journalist Christian Esguerra, said: “Well, to tell you frankly Sir, I want to be frank para malaman din nila that they are not competent. They have no competence at all to govern. The problem is they want to govern and rule, so mahirap, dapat wag sila mabigla at parang nagkaroong culture shock yata

eh.” “Yun mga consultants nila, with due respect, ay incompetent din at hindirin marunong. How would they know if they have not even come to the province of Sulu? There are those who call themselves Tausug, but ask them how many times have you come to Sulu? How long have you stayed in Sulu? Where have you been? So yun dapat ang tanong sa kanila,” he added. Tan said the former rebels do not have the capability to run a government. He said his province voted not to be included in the BARMM during lastyear’s plebiscite and many sectors now are also opposing any extension of the term limits of the BTA members. “May mga manifesto opposing the proposed postponement ng BARMM, BTA elections sa 2022. These are manifesto

signed by the governor, the vice governor, all members of the provincial board and 16 of the 19 mayors, the academe, and many more are opposing sa proposal nila(Ebrahim) to postpone the elections and to extend their term by another threeyears,” he said. “Ang una ay may batas (BOL) na po and in that batas ay incorporated na po yung term nila sa transition sa three years, so wala kasing makitang dahilan, na yun magandang dahilan kung bakit kailangan i-extend, especially so na we feel that we should look into their performance after, what, almost two years or more than a year and they still have about 16, 18 months to perform. So hindi naman siguro dapat, especially so na sinasabi namin na they have beent here for quite a long time at wala pa silang nagagawa. Dito sa amin wala

kaming nakitang nagawa nila, yun BTA,” he added. Tan said Ebrahim’s administration failed to uplift the living condition of the poor in BARMM and has no tangible project to show despite the huge amount of money they are operating. “So una, kaya sila nandidyan ang sabi nila they want to help improve and develop not only the province of Sulu, but the whole region and yet we have not seen anything other than the P5 million they gave us to mitigate this Covid-19 pandemic, and they gave P1 million each for all of the mayors for the same purpose.” “Other than that we do not know of any development efforts dito sa ating probinsya. At least in the case of the province of Sulu, we have not. We do not feel anything, in fact the situation has even deteriorated considering that they have fired or they have terminated the services (of 550 employees) of the different line agencies of government here in the province of Sulu, other than those personnel in the Departments of Health, Education and Social Services. All the rest ay inalis nila po and lagi po namin sinasabi sa kanila na dapat palitan nila na kaagad. But it has taken them so much time and up tonow out of the 600 vacancies as a consequence of the termination ay 64 po lamang, ang na-hire nila. Even sa Department of Education kahit isang teacher po wala pa silang naha-hire, so do we allow our people to continue suffering like this?” Tan asked. Tan

said Ebrahim has not even convened the Council of Leaders comprising all 5 governors and city mayors of the BARMM for a still unknown reason. Now, Tan suggested placing Sulu under the supervision of the Office of the President so the province can move forward in terms of peace and development. Previously, Tan said they wanted to return to the Western Mindanao region which Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi were originally part of. “I was proposing kung puwede kaya ilagay natin ang Sulu directly under the Office of the President parang i-pilot lang ba na kung gumanda ang sitwasyon sa Sulu and nag-improve at maging developed ay dapat sumama na sila (BARMM) sa akin ngayon kung talagang sincere sila na gusto nilang umayos yun mga kababayan nila, yung mga kapwa nila, kapatid nila dito sa Sulu, at kung hindi gumanda babalik na lang ako sa kanila,” Tan said. He said at least 3 governors in the BARMM and their mayors are also opposing the BARMM, BTA extension and three more governors and lawmakers are joining them to call for elections. “Ang tatlong governors (sa BARMM) and most of the mayors in Lanao (del Sur), and I was told that all of the mayors in Sulu out of 19, 16 and members of Provincial Board all and then of course in Basilan, all. And then yung governors, tatlo na kame, and there are only five governors in BARMM, but we expect three more and that will

make us six.” Tan said. Tan said his constituents and those in other provinces see bigger problems ahead if the MILF-led BARMM and BTA continue to insist on holding to power without mandate or elections. “Sa tingin ko lalo tayong magkaka-problema kasi it will become anendless problem in trying to accommodate (the MILF) every time they tell us,and we feel like are we hostage? Sa lahat ng request nila na hindi tama or outside or what has been agreed especially in the BARMM law, are we hostage to these people? We do not have to accommodate all of their requests, every time they say this and they say that, we accommodate. We should not be held hostage by whatever reason that they have. Huwag tayo magpapa-hostage sa ano mang grupo. Hindi tayo papayag. Hindi papayag ang taong bayan na maging hostage. Kawawayung taong bayan. Ako, I will not allow myself to become their hostage and I will not allow our people to become their hostage. Yan po ay ipaglalaban namin,”he said. On February 27, Tan and other BARMM governors and North Cotabato officials and mayors met with Senators Francis Tolentino and Juan Miguel Zubiri and Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, and Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana for a consultative meeting with Ebrahim in Davao City. (Mindanao Examiner)

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri with Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan and his municipal mayors during a recent meeting in Cagayan de Oro City.


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The Mindanao Examiner

March 8-14, 2021

Travel made easy now, restrictions eased up

Sabah imposes longer curfew due to Sayyaf threats Continued from page 1 ransom kidnapping from the terrorist group remain a serious threat forcing it to impose longer curfew hours. Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali said the curfew hours runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and covers areas up to three nautical miles off Tawau, Semporna, Kunak, Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Sandakan and Beluran - all near the border of Tawi-Tawi’s chain of islands in southern Philippines. The curfew which was supposed to end February 28 was extended untilMarch 16. It was imposed in July 2014 following a series of Abu Sayyaf kidnappings which saw the beheading of kidnapped Sarawak man Bernard Then Ted Fed and the killing of several others, including a policeman and

tourists. “There is a need to continue the curfew in these waters to prevent the encroachment of terrorists and criminals who can threaten the safety of locals, international researchers and tourists on islands,” Malaysian media quoted Ghazali as saying. Ghazali, citing unnamed intelligence sources, said kidnap-for-ransom groups and Abu Sayyaf militants are still trying to attack and commit cross-border crimes. “We also want to ensure the safety of the people of Sabah who use the waters and are staying near the Esszone,” he said. Malaysian newspaper The Star also quoted Ghazali saying that the curfew was to facilitate enforcement and monitoring of boat activities in the areas, as well as es-

tablish a sense of security with nearby chalet owners and fishermen through the presence of a security team. Malaysia and Indonesia have a border patrol agreement with the Philippines and share regular intelligence and conduct trilateral maritime patrols to prevent piracy and terrorism, including ransom kidnappings of sailors in the maritime borders. The Philippine military previously said that security is tight in the border to prevent Abu Sayyaf kidnappings inside Sabah or in the waters of Tawi-Tawi which is frequented by cargo boats. Security forces have been targeting militants in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan provinces forcing a number of terrorists to surrender. (Mindanao Examiner)

Continued from page 1 mandatory for domestic travellers, except if the local government will require testing as a requirement prior to travel. “If the LGU of destination requires a test, it shall only require a Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR test and no other. Meaning, LGUs cannot require Antigen tests or rapid tests as test requirements prior to travel,” he said. He advised all travellers to check with the local government of their destination before travelling to ensure a smooth trip. Malaya also said that under the new protocols, no traveller shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at their destination. “Therefore, the health assessment of passengers or travellers supervised by medical professionals shall be mandatory upon entry in the port or terminal and exit at point of destination,” he said. He said that all local governments shall conduct clinical and exposure assessment at all points of entry and exit to ensure that only asymptomatic, non-close contact individuals are allowed to travel or move from one local government to another. Malaya emphasized that with the travel regulations harmonized, the strict implementation of health protocols remain the same - wearing of face mask, face shield and physical distancing, including frequent hand washing – to ensure safety at all times against the deadly respiratory virus. He said Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) from national government agencies shall provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary, and must pass symptom-screening at ports of entry and exit. “Pero kahit lumuwag ang travel protocols, paalala po sa travellers na pinapatupad pa rin ang minimum public health standards. Maging disiplinado pa rin po sa pagsunod sa physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette at pagsuot ng face masks at face shields. Disiplina muna para sa ligtas na biyahe,” he said. For ports and terminals, all must have assigned sufficient quarantine facilities, according to Malaya, adding, a referral system must be in place wherein travellers who become symptomatic shall be transferred to quarantine or isolation facilities to enable the Bureau of Quarantine for airports, or local government to take over. S-PASS With the new developments, Malaya said the Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System, of the Department of Science and Technology shall be institutionalized as the one-

stop-shop application or communication for travellers. “To complement the S-PaSS, we are also encouraging the public to install the mobile application StaySafe.ph. It shall be utilized as the primary contact tracing system,” he said. “The work of contact tracers of the DILG field offices and LGUs is complemented by technology. I urge travellers and the public, in general, to use the StaySafe. ph app in their mobile phones as our way of contributing to beating COVID-19 so we may smoothly transition to a safe new normal,” he added. Vice President Leni Robredo has criticized the IATF-MEID’s decision harmonizing travel requirement across all the country, saying it could trigger the spike in Covid-19 cases. Malaya said that they needed to streamline local regulations for domestic travel as well as recommend best options to encourage domestic travel for leisure to revive the heavily-hit travel and tourism sector and related industries while managing the risks of Covid-19 transmission. Citing figures from the National Economic Development Authority, he said that quarantine restrictions put in place since March 2020 has caused a total income loss of P1.04 trillion that year. On average, that translated to P2.8 billion in salaries lost — or an annual income loss of P23,000 per worker. “We needed to streamline because we need to revive our economy and address the hunger, loss of jobs and economic opportunities that came as a result of the travel restrictions,” Malaya insisted, noting that 30% of the public still cannot go to work and 50% of the people cannot take public transport. “People need to be able to commute to go to work or to earn a living,” he said. Malaya said that the domestic airline industry has also asked the DILG to address this issue since the local air carriers have accumulated a P47.4 billion net income loss as of September of last year alone. “Despite the reopening of major regional airports, the domestic airline industry has seen a slump in domestic passengers and domestic cargo carried due to fragmented LGU regulations compared to our ASEAN neighbors where Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand have already revived their domestic travel industry to 2019 levels. If other countries can do it, why can’t we?” he asked. Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces also followed the IATF-MEID resolution, but Zamboanga City, citing the same order, has required RT-PCR test for all travellers. Mayor Beng Climaco signed Executive Order BC-

626 2021 which states that for inbound air, ferry and land passengers who are merely passing through Zamboanga to Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi - the following documentation are needed: Endorsement latter from focal person of Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the Muslim autonomous region to the Zamboanga City Tourism Office, RT-PCR negative test result within 5 days from swabbing, and that the end destination local government must receive their constituents at the entry points or border. And for Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte, the following requirements are also needed: RT-PCR negative test result within 5 days from swabbing, and that the end destination local government must receive their constituents at the entry points or border. The order also said that for outbound air, ferry and land passengers en route to the airport, they need to present their “confirmed flight ticket.” And for frequent and business travellers, only “frequent travellers pass” shall be required for business owners, or their duly authorized representatives who engage in small, medium and large business enterprise in Zamboanga City. They are also required to undergo RT-PCR test once a month and present the result to the Zamboanga City through the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office. And for inbound frequent traveller, they need to surrender at least 1 valid government-issued ID at the entry point, and only allowed to stay in Zamboanga City for 3 days and must undergo RT-PCR test if they want to extend their stay. But for outbound frequent traveller, they are allowed 3 days to travel outside Zamboanga City for emergency purpose, business transaction or for any other essential purpose. Should their travel go beyond the 3-day period, they will have to undergo RT-PCR test. It said that travellers with incomplete documents shall not be allowed entry into Zamboanga City. And those caught illegally entering Zamboanga City shall be fined P5,000 and shall be immediately quarantined pending RT-PCR test all at their own expense. While travellers with falsified documents shall also be fined P5,000 and shall be immediately quarantined pending RT-PCR test all at their own expense. And those aiding in the entry of any persons with incomplete requirements shall be fined P5,000 for every individual smuggled into Zamboanga City, and the revocation of business permit if they are engaged in the trade or business in Zamboanga City, among others. (Zamboanga Post, Mindanao Examiner)


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The Mindanao Examiner

March 8-14, 2021

Sulu Pictures in the News Sulu provincial government at work. This is where your taxes go. (Photos from the Office of the Provincial Governor, Jaques Tutong, Task Force Covid-19, and Jolo Municipal Government)


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The Mindanao Examiner

March 8-14, 2021

Mercury in whitening cream, lotion alarm group Continued from page 1 sites to sell skin bleaching, lightening or whitening products containing mercury, a dangerous poison banned in cosmetic product formulations. The group said it conducted the investigation to generate data that will help stem both the supply and demand for mercury-containing cosmetics and promote the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which phased-out in 2020 cosmetics such as skin lightening creams and soaps with mercury above one part per million (ppm). It said of the 65 samples procured from online dealers and subsequently screened for mercury using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, 40 were found to contain mercury above 1 ppm. Of these 40 samples, 38 had mercury in excess of 1,000 ppm, 25 with over 5,000 ppm, 19 with more than 15,000 ppm, and 5 were loaded with mercury above 25,000 ppm. None of the 65 samples are duly notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “The results of our investigation should push online shopping and social media sites to strictly disallow and monitor the use of their far-reaching platforms to advertise and sell adulterated, counterfeit and unauthorized cosmetics such as those with mercury content,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. He said to avoid being harmed by mercury in cosmetics, Filipinos must accept their natural skin color and refuse chemical whiteners and resist color-based bias, prejudice and discrimination. “The recommendations arising from the study, we hope, will contribute to the active implementation of the National Action Plan for the

Phase-Out of Mercury-Added Products and the Management of Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes,” Dizon said. The plan was adapted in 2019 with inputs from concerned stakeholders, including the EcoWaste Coalition. Dr. Geminn Louis Apostol, Assistant Professor at the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, warned consumers that mercury-added skin whitening products are poison cosmetics that can damage the kidneys, reduce skin’s ability to resist bacterial and fungal infections, and cause a variety of dermal problems such as discoloration, rashes and scarring. He said the disposal of mercury in such products through the wastewater also pollutes our rivers and the oceans and consequently contaminates the food chain. “Ecowaste Coalition has exposed a gaping hole in the regulation of adulterated cosmetics containing the dangerous neurotoxin mercury. Their chemical analysis of skin-lightening creams sold through online platforms, leaves no doubt that consumers are being exposed to mercury at levels that can impair their health and that of their unborn children,” said Lee Bell, Mercury Adviser of the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), which includes the EcoWaste Coalition among its participating organizations. He said Philippines regulators should launch an immediate crackdown on the sale of these toxic cosmetic products through online platforms and dedicate resources to monitor and identify the suppliers and distributors. “There should also be cooperation and information sharing with governments of countries where the mercury laden cosmetics are produced and exported to stop

this trade at its source,” Bell suggested. To safeguard women‘s health and put a stop to the unlawful trade and consumption of poison cosmetics with mercury, the EcoWaste Coalition said it has put forward the following recommendations: - For consumers to shun chemical whiteners, embrace their natural skin color with pride and stand up to color-based bias, prejudice and discrimination, and for those who prefer to lighten their skin tone to reject unauthorized cosmetics that may contain mercury, hydroquinone and other harmful substances. - For the cosmetics industry to move away from white-centric concepts and ideals of beauty, and promote diversity in beauty instead, including the inherent beauty of one’s natural skin color. - For e-commerce platforms and social media sites to ban the sale of adulterated, counterfeit and unauthorized cosmetics and for them to keep an eye on and take down non-compliant product ads. - For the government to strengthen laws and regulations that will regulate and monitor online trade and protect consumers against hazardous products such as mercury-containing cosmetics, and for the authorities to ensure the environmentally sound management of mercury-added products and their wastes. The EcoWaste Coalition’s report “Toxic Exposé: Online Trade of Mercury-Containing Skin Whitening Cosmetics in the Philippines” is part of its “Project Toxic-Free for Human Rights and Sustainable Development in the Philippines” and supported by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. (Rhoderick Benez and Malou Cablinda contributed to this news.)

Sinopharm for Duterte? PRESIDENT RODRIGO Duterte might get inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues the “compassionate” use license. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte is qualified to receive vaccine shots from Sinopharm under the compassionate use license since he is the Commander-in-Chief. “It is still being studied by the Malacañang legal office. If you ask me as a lawyer, he is the Commander-in-Chief of the

Armed Forces of the Philippines and he should be allowed to use the Sinopharm under the compassionate use license,” he said. Duterte prefers to get inoculated with Sinopharm. However, the Chinese drug maker has yet to secure an emergency use authorization from FDA. FDA has only issued a compassionate use license for the administration of 10,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine to the members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG). The PSG has yet to receive the vaccines from Sinopharm, Roque said.

“Maski naman po meron ng compassionate use ang Sinopharm, I confirm po with the PSG na hindi pa nila natatanggap yung 10,000 na order nila ng Sinopharm,” he said. Newspaper columnist Ramon Tulfo, who also serves as Duterte’s special envoy to China, revealed that Duterte was able to talk to the Sinopharm representative in the Philippines and even made a request for samples of vaccines shots for him and his family. Roque, however, denied Tulfo’s claim that Duterte directly negotiated with Sinopharm. (Ruth Abbey Carlos)

Travel requirements, dili na kinahanglan PAGADIAN CITY – Gibakwi na ang mga striktong lakang batok sa Covid-19 sa Zamboanga del Sur subay sa gipagawas nga Executive Order ni Governor Victor Yu nga mitakdo sa guidelines nga gihisgotan sa IATF Resolution No. 101. Sumala sa Executive Order No. 05, dili na kinahanglan ang mga dokumento sama sa travel authority, medical certificate, barangay acceptance ug negative RT-PCR test sa pagbiyahe sa tanang pantalan ug airport pasulod sa Zamboanga del Sur. Base usab sa maong kamanduan nga dunay pagbulot-an o discretion ang City ug Municipal LGU nga ipailawom ang ilang mga guest ug traveler sa RT-PCR test o Antigen Test sa ilang pagabot. Dili na usab moagi og quarantine ang mga mouli sa probinsya gawas na lamang kung duna kini sintomas o symptomatic. Apan bisan pa man nga giluagan na ang travel protocols sa lalawigan, gipaklaro sa EO nga gikinahanglan gihapon ang pagsunod sa minimum public Health Standards sama sa pagsuot sa face mask ug face shield, pag-obserbar sa social distancing, paghugas sa kamot, paggamit ug alcohol o sanitizers ug pagkuha og body temperature. Ang maong mga precautionary measures kinahanglang ipatuman

Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Victor Yu sa mga pampublikong lugar, mga government ug private establishments, opisina, shops, tindahan, simbahan ug terminals. Gipatas-an sa bag-ong executive order ang operation capacity sa mga establisyemento ug negosyo sa Zamboanga del Sur. Giisa ngadto sa 75% seating capacity ang mga mass gathering o bisan unsang klase sa panagtigum. Gitugotan na nga mag-operate ngadto sa 75% venue capacity ang mga hotel ug beach resorts uban ang striktong pag-obserbar sa health safety protocols ug mga kamanduan sa Depart-

ment of Tourism apan pinaagi gihapon sa booking reservation ug bawal ang walk-in clients. Lakip sa mga gitugotan nga mag-operate sa 75% operating capacity ang mga dine-in services sama sa Restaurants, Carenderia, ug Food Stands. Apan ang mga beer houses, night clubs, videoke ug uban pang lugar-kalingawan magpabilin nga mag-operate sa 50% seating capacity. Nagpabilin pa ang curfew sa Pagadian City nga alas-12 sa tungang gabie ug alas-11 sa gabie alang sa mga lungsod. (Victory Zamboanga del Sur)


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The Mindanao Examiner

Duterte, napikon muli kay Robredo Continued from page 1 Ito ay matapos na sabihin ni Robredo na dapat maunang magpa-bakuna si Duterte ng dumating ang Sinovac vaccine na donasyon ng China bilang Halimbawa sa publiko na nagdududa sa kalidad ng gamot kontra Covid-19. Sinabi ni Duterte na ang priority ng vaccination ay ang mga medical frontliners, sundalo at pulis, at kanilang mga pamilya “Kasi ang haka-haka ng mga tao, lalo na itong si Mareng Leni, sabi niya na mauna ako. You know, in the protocol, ako, ang edad namin na the preferential right is given to 16 o 18 (years old) above, tapos 59. Ako ho Mareng Leni, 70 na.” “Eh masyado kang apurado. Sa protocol nga, we are not even considered as those needing or occupy a priority in the application of Covid. Mahirap kasi ‘yang ano mo, you are baiting me. Alam mo kung bakit? Nagdududa ka kasi na nagpabakuna na ako kasama ng mga sundalo. Kaya panay ang tikoy, tikoy, tikoy ‘yang… Ginaganoon mo, sige magsalita ka,” ani Duterte. Sinabi pa ni Duterte na may ka-demonyohan ang utak ni Robredo kahit pa maamo ang mukha nito. “Iyon ang talaga ang ano mo. You have a very — you seem to have an angel face, but a devilish mind. Marunong kang mag-ano. Iyang pagduda mo kasi tapos na ako kaya you want me to go into a trap of saying things which are not appropriate. Iyan ang mahirap sa iyo and every day you have a narrative. Noong una, sabi mo na kulang dito, ganoon then kailangan…Was it yesterday you said, “Our frontline workers deserves the best.” Wala akong problema ‘yan. Mas magsakit ang ulo ko kung wala siya. Kayo, ikaw, sige ka lang salita diyan, wala ka namang ginagawa, sige

ka issue-issue ng statement. Do you know what? Because you want to be relevant here. Gusto mong sumali sa laro na para mapakinggan ka rin,” ratsada pa ng Pangulo. Ipinaliwanag pa ni Duterte na walang available na bakuna sa kasalukuyan maliban sa China dahil halos lahat ng produksyon nito ay binibili ng mga mayayamang bansa. “Ganito na lang, sabihin ko sa iyo ulit kung marunong kang makinig: walang bakuna ngayon available, either hingiin mo, nakawin mo o bayaran mo. Not only the Philippines, as stated by earlier — binigyan tayo ng worldwide situation ng vaccine. Hirap rin sila. Ang Amerika mayroon pero inuuna nila. Ito alam mo unahan ito. Ako muna bago kayo kasi amin ito. As correctly stated by Secretary Galvez, it is only China who has come up with its commitment to so many nations,” sabi pa nito. “I don’t know how many but I’m sure China will honor on time kasi wala man silang — alam nila mas gastos tayo kung tayo ang magkuha. We have to send our cargo planes and marami ‘yon, hindi magkasya ng isa, we have to send about two. China mina — minabuti niya na dalhin na lang dito sa Pilipinas using their own air assets. Kaya ganoon. Ngayon, kung gusto mo talaga para mahinto ka, kunin mo ‘yong basket mo,

mamalengke ka doon sa labas ng bakuna. Bigyan kita pera para kung may mabili ka, bilhin mo na kaagad at umuwi ka dito sa Pilipinas, ibigay mo doon sa mga doctor,” dagdag pa ni Duterte. Tila sinumpa rin ni Duterte si Robredo at sinabing sana ay mamatay na ito. “Iyan ang mahirap sa iyo eh, you want to be relevant. And you — you know, sometimes you make an idiotic stance. Iyong mga ganoong “they deserve the best.” Anak ka ng… Bakit ako? I would give them the worst? Mamatay ka na. Hindi — hindi ko iwanan ‘yong mga frontliners and you do not need to really be redundant about it. Ako ‘yong ano, napika ako sa iyo pero because ilang beses na tayong nag-engkwentro sa sagutan. Alam ko you’re — you’re… May nagsabi, a devil has said something, udyukin mo, magsabi, tanungin mo,” sabi pa ng Pangulo. At hindi pa doon nagtapos ang pangiinsulto ni Duterte kay Robredo at tila binastos pa. “Ngayon ipakita ko. Ngayon gusto ko ‘pag mag-injection ako nandiyan ka, dito sa Malacañan kay sabihin ko matanda naman ako, kalahati lang ang akin. Ipastada mo ‘yong pu — doon iturok sa iyo to add protection to your good health,” ani Duterte. (Mindanao Examiner)

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Veteran Sayyaf fighter yields in Sulu after wife’s capture ZAMBOANGA CITY – A notorious Abu Sayyaf terrorist who fought fiercely with security forces the past eight years has surrendered to the military along with 4 others following the capture of his wife in Sulu province in southern Philippines. The 35-year old veteran fighter Jaber Binuri and the other pro-ISIS militants yielded recently and are being interrogated by se-

curity officials. Binuri’s wife Nudsza Ismanu Aslum was among 9 women, who were potential suicide bombers, arrested separately in operations mounted by soldiers and police commandos in Sulu last month. Binuri’s wife also lied to military interrogators after she claimed that her husband was already dead. The women were facing criminal charges after security

Sinovac vaccine works on UK, South African variants - Brazil institute THE COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech is effective against the UK and South African variants, the vaccine’s Brazilian partner said on Wednesday, citing test results in Chinese trials. “We have tested this vaccine in China against the English and the South African variants, with good results,” said Dimas Covas, head of the Butantan biomedical center in Sao Paulo which lead domestic trials of the Chinese vaccine and is supplying doses to Brazil’s Health Ministry. Covas did not give any more details on exactly how effective the vaccine proved against these strains.

March 8-14, 2021

Butantan is also testing the vaccine, known as CoronaVac, against the Brazilian variant of the virus which appeared in the city of Manaus, he said. “Soon we will have the results and we are very positive it will do the job,” Covas said. Covas was speaking at a news conference in the small city of Serrana, in the interior of Sao Paulo state, where Butantan began on Wednesday a mass vaccination campaign aimed at inoculating the entire adult population against Covid-19 to test whether it lowers the infection rate. Covas said he expects CoronaVac to have an ad-

vantage over other vaccines due to the technology it uses - an inactivated version of a coronavirus strain. The efficacy of the Chinese vaccine against the Brazilian strain in particular will be vital to Brazil. The government has secured 100 million doses and made the vaccine a centerpiece of its inoculation campaign. Covas’ comments come as several cities in Brazil, including state capitals of Rio, Salvador and Cuiaba have suspended new vaccinations as they ran out of doses. (Reporting by Leonardo Benassatto, writing by Sabrina Valle; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Aurora Ellis. Reuters.)

forces seized improvised explosives from their hideouts. Army Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said Binuri and the other women were potential suicide bombers that are planning to conduct inhumane acts of terrorism in Sulu and possibly in the neighboring provinces as well. Gonzales said: “Jaber and Nudsza’s story is a stark example of how terrorism has put its claws on the integrity of a family. Fortunately, Jaber’s duties as a father won over his loyalty to the Abu Sayyaf. I commend his guts for coming forward. I personally assured him that his trust on us will not be put to waste.” During an army interrogation, Binuri said he joined the Abu Sayyaf in 2013 under Hajan Sawadjaan, who was eventually killed during a battle with the military, and later joined the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Ben Wagas. “Mga 31 na encounter, o higit pa siguro, ang nasalihan ko. Dati umaabot sa tatlong beses kami nakakasagupa ng sundalo. Madalas K3 machine gun ang dala ko pero naghawak din ako ng M14 at armalite,” Binuri said. He said when the news

A military photo shows veteran Abu Sayyaf fighter Jaber Binuri and four other terrorists’ surrender following his wife’s capture in Sulu province. of his wife’s capture broke out, he told Wagas that he would get his two children, a three-year old boy and a five-month old baby, out of Sulu and bring them to Zamboanga City. But unknown to his commander, Binuri secretly contacted a government soldier, who is also his friend, to arrange for his peaceful surrender. “Noong nalaman ko na naaresto ang asawa ko, nagpaalam ako kay Ben Wagas na magbakasyon para kunin ko yung mga anak namin at dalhin sa Zamboanga. Ang totoo, nakatawag na ako sa kaibigan ko na sundalo na gusto ko na bumaba,” Binuri said. Lt. Col. Nelicar Corsimo, commander of the 15th Civil-Military Operations Battalion, said Binuri is now reunited with his three-year old boy and undergoing custodial debriefing sessions. “He is still adjusting. He came to us just four days

ago. But he is doing well and he’s with his 3-year old child.” The other militants who surrendered were identified as Jupihar Alih, 25; Hassan Albain, 25; William Janatol, 38; Rajik Alih, 34; Kaisal Maddan, 22; and Ibin Hapas, 57. They also yielded several weapons and ammunition. Gonzales previously urged other Abu Sayyaf members to surrender peacefully, otherwise they will be hunted down to protect civilians from terrorists. “May this serve as a clear message to the supporters and remaining members of the Abu Sayyaf group, we are always ready to welcome those who wish to return to the folds of the law, but if you will refuse to do so, we will surely hunt you down and prevent you from inflicting havoc in the communities,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)


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ZAMBOANGA PENINSULA BASILAN, SULU, TAWIͳTAWI ΈBARMMΉ

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ADB urged to end fossil fuel finance People queue to withdraw money from an ATM at the Philippine National Bank in Jolo town. (Photos courtesy of Nidz-Har Usman)

Shortage of ATMs, poor cell phone reception in Sulu decried LEADING BANKING institutions operating in Sulu pledged to install more automated teller machines (ATM) in the capital town of Jolo to better serve their depositors, the problems remain the same – the long queues at ATM terminals especially during paydays is a headache to many customers. Governor Sakur Tan had previously met with bank executives to discuss with them the need for more ATMs in Jolo. He noted that government employees and private citizens withdraw their salaries from ATMs, causing long queues and affecting traffic during payday periods. He said the provincial government is fully supportive of the banking institutions in Sulu. Among the major banks that are operating in Sulu are the Development Bank of the Philippines, Al-Amanah Bank, Allied Bank, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.,Philippine National Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines. Tan said many people would queue up, rain or

shine, outside the banks’ branches during payday just to be able to withdraw money from ATMs. “We want these banks to put more ATMs so they can accommodate more clients,” he said. He said the long queues at ATM terminals have been causing traffic problems in Jolo and has affected commuters and the public in general. Tan said government agencies in Jolo such as the Department of Education, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should have ATMs at their provincial headquarters to make it easy for employees and security personnel to get their salaries. If implemented, it would also lessen the number of people withdrawing money from ATMs in downtown Jolo, he said. Land Bank, Allied Bank and Metrobank assured Tan that more ATMs would be installed in Sulu,including at the Capitol Building, to provide the public more efficient banking services. Nahdin Jubaira, who works

at the Sulu provincial government, asked this question after photographs of people queuing at an ATM outside the PNB went viral on Facebook. “The million dollar question is: This has been going on for a long time. This demands appropriate attention by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” he wrote on his Facebook page, and accompanying it are the pictures taken by Nidz-Har Usman. Usman alsowrote this on his Facebook page and appealed to bank managers to resolve the shortage of ATMs in Jolo and calling it a very old problem: “Kamu manga namamarintaiban manga managers sin bank ha Jolo, address niyo kunuh in very old problempag pila ha ATM. Put more ATM machines da in solution ha problem.” Residents also decried the lack of cell sites in the province and most of the time mobile phone reception is poor and so is the Internet connection. Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications operate in Sulu. (Mindanao Examiner)

THE ASIAN Development Bank is being urged to end its financing and support for gas, coal and oil and to use its energy policy review to demonstrate meaningful climate leadership and end its support for fossil fuels. International coalition from Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia have launched “Fossil Free ADB” campaign to pressure the ADB which is currently revising its 2009 energy policy. The policy will guide ADB’s investment decisions for the next decade, however, according to an ADB energy sector evaluation report, the “current policy is no longer adequately aligned with the global consensus on climate change.” Since its energy policy was released, the bank has spent roughly $10 billion on fossil fuel projects. It is ramping up its financing of fossil gas projects, such as the controversial Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India gas pipeline. It also funded the Rupsha 800 MW Combined Cycle

Power Plant in Bangladesh despite its proximity to the river-systems of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, threatening the livelihoods of about 1,500 fisherfolk communities. The coalition said the ADB’s continued support for fossil fuels undermines its mission to achieve a “prosperous, sustainable, inclusive and resilient” Asia and the Pacific and undercuts its commitment to climate action. Fossil fuels are the single biggest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate science shows that a rapid transition from fossil fuels is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avert the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. Global fossil fuel production would need to decline annually by 6 percent between 2020 and 2030 to be consistent with a pathway to limit warming to 1.5ºC, according to the 2020 UNEP Production Gap report. The Fossil Free ADB coalition released a letter recently calling for the Bank to

align with what is needed to limit warming to 1.5ºC and end its financing for all fossil fuels. In recent months, governments in the UK, EU and US have made commitments to end their support for fossil fuel infrastructure both at home and abroad. “We cannot address the climate emergency while the ADB continues to fuel it with its fossil fuel financing. We need the ADB to stop harming communities with dirty fossil fuel projects,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator for Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development. Hassan Mehedi, Chief Executive at Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network in Bangladesh, also claimed: “The ADB says gas is a clean energy source, but the gas life cycle generates significant emissions of methane which is more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide. We need the ADB to invest in clean energy technologies like wind and solar to increase climate resiliency.” (Mindanao Examiner added to this report.)

Organic Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee isn’t really pricey...

Security forces alerted in Basilan after MILF attack BASILAN – Security forces are in heightened alert in the southern Philippine province of Basilan following a recent attack by Moro Islamic Liberation Front gunmen on soldiers that left 2 infantrymen wounded. Army Brig. Gen. Domingo Gobway, commander of the 101st Infantry Brigade, said MILF gunmen recently occupied a portion of the remote village of Sukaten in Sumisip town, triggering fears and panic among civilians and local officials. Gobway said the gunmen even put up a signage which claimed it as an MILF area. “This is a violation of the peace process,” he said. “Dapat hindi sila dapat nag-expand ng kanilang area of temporary stay at bawal silang magdala ng baril sa labas ng kanilang area of temporary stay.” He said village officials have complained to the military and even issued a reso-

Soldiers patrol the province of Basilan in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Library Photo) lution opposing the presence of the MILF in the village. Municipal officials also issued a similar resolution and sought assistance from the military. He said soldiers were sent to the area, but gunmen opened fire on the troops, sparking a firefight that left 2 infantrymen wounded. The

fighting occurred early this week. “We told the MILF to leave the area because it is illegal for them to go beyond their camp. Instead of heeding the order, the MILF sent reinforcement and gunmen attacked our soldiers and wounded two of them,” Gobway said. He said some 50 MILF gunmen clashed with soldiers. There was no immediate statement from the MILF which signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014, ending decades of bloody fighting in the restive region. But despite the accord, MILF members have not totally surrendered their weapons and continue to maintain camps in various parts of the southern Philippines, mostly in the troubled Muslim autonomous region whose interim Chief Minister is Murad Ebrahim, the leader of the MILF. (Mindanao Examiner)

COFFEE LOVERS in the Philippines may now enjoy the best and the most expensive coffee in the world - Kopi Luwak - but not as pricey as every connoisseurs think. Kopi Luwak is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected. In Manila, a kilogram of Civet coffee sells for as high as P15,000 and over $500 dollars abroad. But Kopi Luwak can now be enjoyed by every coffee lovers for as low as P150 for a 16 oz. cup that comes with a drip bag, ground organic Civet coffee beans, two packets of brown sugar and a stirrer in a beautiful Kraft paper bag – thanks to the Mindanao Civet Coffee seller in Zamboanga City. The new market player in the coffee business, although small, is now offering affordable organic Kopi Luwak

– sourced and picked by farmers from the highlands of Mindanao, cleaned and dried and roasted to perfection to give coffee lovers that distinct aroma of Civet coffee berries – chocolaty and nutty and smooth bodied brewed drink. Mindanao Civet Coffee, which started as a backyard reseller of coffee beans, now offers organic Kopi Luwak in 250 grams ground Civet coffee and 250 grams Civet coffee beans – all medium roasted to perfection. Kopi Luwak is also available now in 3rd Cup Café at LM Metro Hotel in Zamboanga City, and resellers in Luzon, Cebu and other parts of Mindanao. The Mindanao Civet Coffee is a favorite among travellers and tourists and coffee connoisseurs. And for those who wanted the perfect gift for all occasions, Kopi Luwak is the best choice. And those who are interested to resell or perhaps enjoy a daily hot cup or cold brew of Kopi Luwak may call the Mindanao Civet Coffee at this mobile number 0915-3976197. (AJC)


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Pope approves ‘Jubilee Year’

P

OPE FRANCIS granted the request of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to declare within the archdiocese a Special Jubilee Year in commemoration of the 500 years of the arrival of Christianity in the country. The Archdiocese of would start on April 4, Cebu reported that the 2021 and last until April Holy Father, through a 22, 2022. An indulgence is a decree, approved the reremission before God quest last month. “In commemora- of the temporal punishtion of the 500 Years of ment due to sins whose the Arrival of Christian- guilt has already been ity in the Archdiocese forgiven, which the faithof Cebu, His Holiness ful Christian gains under Pope Francis, through certain prescribed cona Decree from the Ap- ditions through the acostolic Penitentiary, has tion of the Church. The plenary indulgraciously granted the request presented by gence is also granted to His Excellency the Most the faithful under the Reverend Jose Palma, usual conditions (sacraArchbishop of Cebu, to mental confession, Eudeclare within the Arch- charistic Communion, diocese a Special Jubi- and prayer for the Pope’s lee Year, along with the intentions) to Chrisattached plenary indul- tians who, with a spirit gence,” it said. detached from any sin, It added that based participate in the Jubilee on the decree, the year- Year celebrations and/ long jubilee celebra- or who devotedly make tion in the archdiocese a visit, in the form of a

Pope Francis (Korean Culture and Information Service) pilgrimage, to the 12 declared pilgrim churches. The Archdiocese of Cebu also said that it would solemnly launch the festivities through a

liturgical rite, which includes the opening of the Holy Door of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Similar celebrations will be replicated in eight

other churches from the oldest and farthest parishes of the archdiocese: Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Bantayan, Bantayan island; San Nicolas Parish, Cebu City; St. Catherine de Alexandria Parish, Carcar City; Patrocinio de Maria Parish, Boljoon; St. Anne Parish, Barili; National Shrine of St. Joseph Parish, Mandaue City; San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish, Dalaguete; and St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Argao. Other strategic churches will also be declared as pilgrim sites – the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, Danao City; St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Bogo City; St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Balamban; and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Rule, Lapu-Lapu City. Furthermore, a series of jubilee celebrations in

the archdiocesan and parish levels will be organized, which will involve the socially, spiritually marginalized and peripheries of society, as part of the call to the new evangelization. “We pray that as the entire Church in the Philippines, and in particular the Church in Cebu, the Cradle of Christianity in the FarEast, looks forward to the fifth centenary of its evangelization, we as a pilgrim People of God we may be stimulated to grow further in our journey of faith by the living coherently the seed of the Gospel planted in us and we may steadfastly proclaim the message of charity, forgiveness, and fraternal solidarity in the service of the common good,” the Archdiocese said. (Ferdinand Patinio)

Cebu to launch ‘Holy Week’ tour packages to lure tourists CEBU - Going around the province after reopening the tourism industry, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia saw that “life is already emerging in the Province” – the resorts were full in the weekend and small businesses were sprouting. However, it’s not enough. As Cebu opens itself to visitors from outside the region, the Provincial Government along with the tourism players and tour operators here will be offering pre-Holy Week and Holy Week tour packages for travellers from all

over the country. The packages, which will be patterned to Capitol’s already popular and successful “Suroy-Suroy Sugbo” concept, will be launched soon and this will be partnered with the private tour operators, airlines, transport operators and the hotels and resorts in the Province of Cebu. Garcia said she will meet again with the Department of Tourism (DOT)-7 Regional Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano, Provincial Tourism Officer Maria Lester Ybañez and the players in the tourism industry

to discuss the holiday getaway. Capitol will lead the program and the local government units will also be on board. “Let’s work together para unified ta,” Garcia stressed, adding everyone should be on board to resuscitate the economy crushed by Covid-19 with minimum health standards. She realized the need to do more and open up to more markets especially that Cebu is now ready with the guidelines and protocols to be followed under her Executive Order No. 12, which she also designed

to make it easier for domestic tourists to visit Cebu and enjoy the Province’s renowned tourist attractions. Tamano also expressed the need for all players to adjust and cooperate in these unusual and challenging times during the pandemic. He said that when Cebu decided to open up for domestic tourism, they were elated and thanked Garcia for her efforts to revive the tourism industry. Cebu and Visayas were declared as Conde Nast Traveler’s (CNT) 2020 Reader’s Choice

Awards for best islands in the Asian region beating the likes of Sri Lanka, Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand and even Palawan and Siargao in the Philippines. EO No. 12 is the first local initiative to encourage tourism activity domestic. Among its provisions, the Province will no longer require swab testing for guests who wish to come here, as long as they carry a medical clearance that certifies them to be fit and pass the symptoms check at the point of origin and upon arrival. Visiting guests will

only need to present proof of booking at a hotel or resort accredited by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force and or from the Province’s tourism portal for any tourism activity that they wish to participate. Garcia said the packages should be affordable for tourist from the air fare down to accommodations and transport for tours. The CATOS/CTTA said they will help to sell the packages once it is launched. This would be a meaningful experience, Garcia said. (Mylen P. Manto)

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