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September 13-19, 2021

Sara’s presidential ambition doomed ‘PDP-Laban push for Go-Duterte tandem’


AVAO CITY Mayor Sara Duterte has abandoned her presidential ambition after her father President Rodrigo Duterte accepted the nomination of his own political party, the PDP-Laban, to run as vice president. The ageing president over his daughter. The has chosen his long-time PDP-Laban also endorsed aide-turned-politician Go as Duterte’s running Senator Bong Go as his mate in next year’s polls. presidential candidate Continue on page 2

Senators question ‘overpriced’ Covid gear SENATORS HAVE launched an investigation into how a Chinese national and ally of President Rodrigo Duterte was awarded a multi-million-dollar contract by the government to supply “overpriced” face masks and other medical equipment in the fight against the coronavirus

The Senate probe comes amid accusations of cronyism and corruption surrounding the deal. Michael Yang, Duterte’s former economic adviser, was targeted after his company Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporations won an P8.82 billion contract to supply face masks, test kits and other Continue on page 5

Composite photos show Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, her father, President Rodrigo Duterte and his former long-time aide and now Senator Bong Go.

Senate OKs bill resetting BARMM polls to 2025 THE SENATE has finally approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to reset the first regular elections in the Moro Islamic Liberation Frontled Bangsamoro Autono-

A photo from the provincial government shows the inauguration of the Malasakit Center at Sulu Sanitarium hospital in Jolo town.

Sulu opens 2nd Malasakit Center, Tausugs thankful to Duterte, Go THE MUSLIM province of Sulu inaugurated its second “Malasakit Center,” the eighth in the


Bangsamoro autonomous region in the southern Philippines, and 36th in Mindanao, according to

Gov. Sakur Tan. Tan said no less than Sen. Bong Go led the Continue on page 5

Eastern Mindanao

mous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The Senate Bill No. 2214, sponsored by Local Government Committee Chairman Francis Tolentino, proposes to move the

date of the BARMM elections from May 2022 to May 2025, synchronized with the national elections. Majority Leader Juan Continue on page 6

Sabah, a safe haven for foreign terrorist fighters IDEALLY LOCATED between Indonesia and the Philippines, Sabah has become a safe haven for foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) driven away by security forces of both countries. Eastern Sabah Secu-

Western Mindanao

rity Command (Esscom) commander DCP Datuk Ahmad Fuad Othman said besides being a transit point for FTF to shuttle between Indonesia and the Philippines, Sabah is also their hideout. “When they get at-


tacked by either the Indonesian or Philippines security forces, they flee to Sabah to hide. However, the situation is under control. We work closely with our counterparts in both countries and share Continue on page 3



The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

Sara’s presidential ambition doomed ‘PDP-Laban push for Go-Duterte tandem’

Continued from page 1 But there are fears that Go may resign if he wins the presidency to the pave way for Duterte to stay in power and protect him from the investiga-

tion of the International Criminal Court on his bloody war on drugs that had killed thousands of people. In a television interview, Sara said the

PDP-Laban endorsement of her father “turned out the way the Cusi Faction wanted it to go down,” adding “it does not affect any of my plans but as we both agreed only one from


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the family will run for a national position.” With Duterte accepting the nomination, Sara said: “I am not running for a national position as we both agreed only one of us will run for a national position in 2022.” She admitted that her father’s decision to seek the vice presidency was all part of Duterte’s plan. “From the last time PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) and I talked, this was their Plan A. The Plan B was for SBG (Senator Bong Go) to run as VP (vice president),” Sara, who founded the regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), said. When asked whether she and her party would support or help the PDP-Laban just as she did in 2019 local polls, Sara said: “No. I will not share my light this time.” She also said that her relationship with Duterte is the same as it was despite his decision to run in the elections and previous statement that he would give way to Sara if she decides to seek the presidency on the condition that Go is her running mate. “(My relationship with my father is) the same as it was before. Our politics do not interfere with our familial relationship. Iba ang trabaho, iba ang pamilya. Walang personalan,” she said. Sara also thanked her supporters and said “I am happy we are united in our desire to see a better Philippines in the future. I will be eternally thankful for your trust and confidence.” Governors support Duterte’s VP bid At least 40 out of 81 provincial governors are also supporting Duterte’s vice presidential bid so he can continue what he started when he won the presidency in 2016, according to Melvin Matibag, the PDP-Laban Secretary General. Matibag released to the Mindanao Examiner a list of governors supporting Duterte’s vice presidential candidacy and they are the following: Governors Sakur Tan – Sulu; Jose Alvarez

- Palawan; Dale Corvera - Agusan Norte; Damian Mercado – Southern Leyte; Humerlito Dolor Oriental Mindoro; Dakila Cua – Quirino; Nancy Catamco – Cotabato; Arthur Yap – Bohol; Edgardo Tallado - Camarines Norte; Wilter Palma - Zamboanga Sibugay; Francisco Matugas - Surigao Norte; Jim Salliman - Basilan; Reynolds Michael Tan – Samar; Esteban Contreras – Capiz; Edwin Ong Northern Samar; Dominic Petilla – Leyte; Roger Espina – Biliran; Antonio Kho – Masbate; Imelda Dimaporo - Lanao del Norte; Vic Yu - Zamboanga del Sur; Philip Tan - Misamis Occidental; Ayik Pimentel - Surigao del Sur; Jecoy Villa – Siquijor; Pacoy Ortega - La Union. And Joel Degamo Negros Oriental; Joseph Cua – Catanduanes; Eduardo Gadiano - Occidental Mindoro; Samuel Gumarin – Guimaras; Steve Solon – Sarangani; Jun Ebdane – Zambales; Migs Villafuerte - Camarines Sur; Mariam Mangudadatu – Maguindanao; Suharto Mangudadatu- Sultan Kudarat; Samuel Gumarin – Guimaras; Joe Riano – Romblon Rodora Cadiao – Antique; Al Francis Bicharado – Albay; Bonifacio Lacwasan - Mountain Province; Florencio Miraflores – Aklan and Ben Evardone - Eastern Samar. Matibag said if Duterte wins as vice president, he could influence his successor to pursue his war on drugs, his Build, Build, Build infrastructure plan, projects for the poor, and his post-Covid 19 pandemic economic recovery roadmap, among other programs. “Despite the inroads in the campaign against illegal drugs, the drug menace continues to persist. Indeed, this problem is no longer confined to urban areas; it has spread to the countryside. The next administration, with the help of President Duterte, should relentlessly pursue the war on drugs,” he said. He also released a collective statement from the governors, saying: “We, provincial governors, are witness to the gains of the Build, Build, Build pro-

gram. New road networks, school buildings, airports, seaports, medical facilities, and river protection and drainage systems have mushroomed in the provinces, generating economic activities, jobs and income for our people. We have to continue building and improving infrastructure to speed up urban and rural development.” “The nation was on a high economic growth path until the pandemic struck in early 2020. It’s unfortunate that Covid-19 derailed economic progress. But with President Duterte’s guiding hand, the next leadership could do it. The President’s war on drugs, his campaign against corruption, his prudent use of government resources, and his incessant pursuit of good governance will all contribute to a post-pandemic environment conducive for faster economic growth. We hope and pray that the next President and President Duterte as his Vice President could work together in making life better for our people.” The governor of Sulu, a friend and a close political ally of Duterte, said his municipal mayors and constituents are all behind Duterte and cited the president’s leadership and concerns for the poor, and the government peace and development efforts not only in his province, but the entire Muslim autonomous region. “Alam mo kaya gusto ko si President Duterte tumakbong vice president kasi as far as Sulu is concerned, napakaganda na ngayon ng Sulu. Tahimik, walang kidnapping, wala lahat, puro development ngayon. Kailangan may continuity, kung mawala yun continuity babalik na naman kami sa gulo,” Tan said. The government’s anti-insurgency and peace and development campaign in Sulu has drastically reduced the number of Abu Sayyaf members due to the mass surrender of militants under the auspices of the provincial government and the Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict. (Mindanao Examiner)


The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

Sabah, a safe haven for foreign terrorist fighters Continued from page 1 intelligence. We have hunted down and arrested many FTF who took refuge in Sabah. A number of them have also been charged in court,” he told the Sun. Ahmad Fuad said FTF had chosen Sabah as a safe haven and transit point as it is geographically ideal for them. He said it is an arduous task to thwart the entry of the FTF completely, but Esscom forces are constantly on the lookout for them. A foreign news portal reported recently that Sabah had emerged as a preferred location for Indonesian militants to enter the southern Philippines to carry out their terrorist activities. Quoting an unidentified source, it said travelling through Sabah had become the favoured option for FTF as other routes, like from Manado, north of Sulawesi in Indo-

nesia, to Davao, southern Mindanao in the Philippines, had proven unreliable. According to the article, the militants would go from Tawau in Sabah to Sandakan or Semporna to take boats – legal or illegal – to Tawi Nunan or Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines to join terror groups there or learn to make improvised explosive devices. International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation Counter-Terrorism expert assistant professor Dr Ahmad El-Muhammady said immigrants, who pass through Sabah on their way to the Philippines, do not pose a serious threat as they treat the state as a location for economic gain. “The presence of immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia is not unusual and has existed for decades. When we

look at historical factors, there is no such thing as international boundaries for the immigrants as they have been coming in and out of Sabah for a very long time to trade and seek employment. Many are also married to locals,” he said. He added a majority of foreigners come to Sabah to conduct business, for entertainment and consider it their source of income. “However, there exists a small fraction from the southern Philippines, such as the Abu Sayyaf militant group, that carries out criminal activities. There are also those who try to lure locals into unwanted activities.” Ahmad said Malaysia has beefed up security at the borders of Sabah but the vast borders and coastline of the state can leave it vulnerable to immigrants slipping through undetected. (Charles Ramedran / The Sun)

Sulu praises Coast Guard’s Ursabia for ‘sterling performance’

Organic Kopi Luwak or Civet coffee isn’t really pricey KIDAPAWAN CITY 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

Admiral George Ursabia Jr., and Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.

lovers that distinct aroma of Civet coffee berries – chocolaty and nutty and smooth bodied brewed drink. Mindanao Civet Coffee, which started as a home 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 re-

sellers 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 09153976197. (AJC)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Sulu Governor Sakur Tan praised Philippine Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral George Ursabia Jr., who retired at age 56, and thanked him for his “sterling performance” and calling him the “best Commandant.” Ursabia, who retired September 8, is replaced by Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya. Tan cited the efficient services of the Coast Guard in Sulu province and the role it plays in maintaining peace and order, and the safety of lives at sea, and the provincial government’s Covid-19 response and other emergencies. “Our best wishes to you Admiral Ursabia as you venture back to your civilian life as everybody

does with all gratitude for having served your task as chief of the Philippine Coast Guard with sterling performance and as one of the best and perhaps the best Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard ever,” Tan said. “You have brought great honor and dignity to the institution and raised its name to a higher plain and we say, it was worthily bestowed on you Admiral Ursabia. You rendered the Philippine Coast Guard, your family, your friends, the whole nation, including the people of Sulu proud of you. Our sincere thanks and congratulations Sir,” he added. Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation, also lauded Ursabia’s “sterling and exemplary” service

to the Coast Guard and said the retired official is “a hallmark for next leaders.” Ursabia, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1987, served for almost 38 years as a commander of Coast Guard districts in Central Visayas, Palawan, Southeastern Mindanao, and Northern Luzon, and the commander of the Coast Guard Ready Force and Staff for Maritime Safety Affairs. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection as a scholar of Sasakawa Foundation in Japan, and has a postgraduate degree from the World Maritime University in Malmo in Sweden. (Mindanao Examiner)


The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 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, Rep. Shernee Tambut)


The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

Sulu opens 2nd Malasakit Center, Tausugs thankful to Duterte, Go

Photos from the provincial government and municipal government of Maimbung show the inauguration of the Malasakit Center at Sulu Sanitarium hospital and the distribution of food aid to some 3,000 beneficiaries.

NPAs urged to yield, avail govt. program CAGAYAN DE ORO – The Philippine Army has urged communist insurgents to surrender peacefully and take advantage of the government’s amnesty program instead of fighting a battle they cannot win. Army Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, made the call following the killing of four New People’s Army rebels and the capture of nine others, including a 12-year old boy warrior in Bukidnon’s San Fernando town last week. “Now is the best time to surrender as the government has already designed programs that will help you to start a new life through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP,” he said. E-CLIP is a peace-building and social protection program that provides interventions to former NPA members and become productive citizens of society. It offers livelihood and financial assistance to all rebels who opted to abandon the armed struggle and surrender peacefully to the government.

Almerol said government troops clashed with communist insurgents in the village of Mabuhay and branded the September 8 fighting as a “decisive engagement” against the NPA. He said two of those captured were also wounded in the clashes, but had been given first aid by soldiers and rushed them to hospital to save the lives of the rebels. Almerol did not give details about the child warrior except his age and was immediately handed over to municipal social workers. He condemned the NPA for continuously recruiting and using children to fight the government which is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law, and at the same time putting their lives at grave risk. “The CPP-NPA-NDF should stop their madness of recruiting children into the armed struggle. If they really have hearts, then they should know better that those children have no place in the battle. They are meant to flourish and live their dreams,” Almerol said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner. Almerol said mem-

bers of the 88th Infantry Battalion clashed with rebel forces for about an hour. There was no report of military casualties, he said, adding troops also recovered 16 automatic rifles, including AK-47s. He said the fighting broke out after troops guided by civilian information – tracked down a group of 20 rebels extorting money from villagers. He commended villagers “who were quick to provide vital and timely information on the presence of the armed group pestering the residents with their unscrupulous activities such as recruitment of ill-informed local townsfolk and harassing ordinary citizens.” “This is proof of the people’s genuine intent to help the government in its crusade for peace and in pushing the end of the local communist armed conflict in their communities,” he said. There was no immediate statement from the NPA which has been fighting for many decades now to overthrow the democratic government and install a communist rule in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

Continued from page 1 virtual unveiling recently of the Malasakit Center at the Sulu Sanitarian in the capital town of Jolo. The Friday’s inauguration of the center was also participated by Sulu Rep. Samier Tan, Jolo Mayor Kerkhar Tan, Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino, the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas; Asec. Girlie Veloso, from the Office of the President; and Dr. Aminkadra Majid, the hospital’s chief, among others. “We are so thankful to President Duterte and Senator Bong Go, and all those who made this possible. Our people are grateful and this second

Malasakit Center will benefit more Tausug, especially the poor,” Tan told the Mindanao Examiner by phone from his office in Patikul town. He said the hospital also received some P2.5 million from Duterte. Go also provided a P5 million medical assistance fund to the hospital and allocated another P5 million to support the Sulu Sanitarium. The Malasakit Center is a One-Stop Shop where poor patients can efficiently access financial medical assistance from agencies such as Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, and the Depart-

ment of Social Welfare and Development. Tan said Duterte and Go also extended food aid to some 3,000 beneficiaries of a special program called “Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation” in Maimbung town. The program is under the Office of the President. He said the distribution, which started Friday, continued until Sunday, and was closely supervised by Maimbung Mayor Shihla Hayudini to ensure the health protocols were strictly followed. Last month, Go also inaugurated a Malasakit Center in Isabela City in the Muslim province of Basilan. (Mindanao Examiner)

Senators question ‘overpriced’ Covid gear Continued from page 1 medical supplies to government health facilities. Senator Richard Gordon claimed the face masks were more than double the market price. “Why did the government bring in this company that sold very expensive face masks? The normal market price for each piece is P13.5 while Pharmally’s are P27.7 per piece?” he told reporters at a recent Senate hearing on the matter. He also questioned why the contract was given to a Chinese–run company instead of a local entrepreneur. Gordon called for the contract to be torn up. Senate President Vicente Sotto III also questioned the price of test kits, which at P1,720 were almost double the market price. He said protective gear was sold at 2,000 pesos apiece compared to ones in the market at 900 pesos. “What boggles me is why the government keeps on buying from this company that sells overpriced medical products,” he said during the hearing.

Palawan Bishop Broderick Pabillo said face masks have become a symbol of corruption within the Duterte administration. “President Rodrigo Duterte… as well as his Chinese cohorts have used the health crisis to steal billions of pesos of the people’s money,” he said on Facebook. “Nothing speaks more eloquently about the symbol of corruption in this present administration than the face mask and face shield that we Filipinos are required to wear. This protective gear was bought from their Chinese connections at grossly overpriced amounts, totaling billions of pesos,” he added. Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said the contract was awarded based on the company’s ability to supply the equipment and not on the relationship between the president and Yang. “We have a principle that a corporation has a separate personality, separate and distinct from the stockholders,” he told reporters without commenting on the overpricing accusations. (Joseph Peter Calleja / UCAN)


The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

Senate OKs bill resetting BARMM polls to 2025 Continued from page 1 Miguel Zubiri, Senators Richard Gordon, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Risa Hontiveros also co-authored the bill. Tolentino the postponement of the BARMM polls was largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic which he said posed significant challenges to the execution of the priority programs and projects of the regional government. After holding committee hearings and consultation with stakeholders, Tolentino said his committee saw the need to extend the BARMM transition period in order to implement the political and normalization efforts embodied in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. “However, it (the committee) is also mindful of the Bangsamoro people’s right to assert their democracy in the region and exercise their right of suffrage. Although the BTA (Bangsamoro Transition Authority) has considerably delivered some of its mandates under the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law), there is much work yet to be done,” Tolentino said. Under the bill, upon the expiration of the terms of the incumbent members of the BTA, President Rodrigo Duterte shall appoint 80 members of BTA who will serve up to June 30, 2025 or until the election of their successors. In the House of Representatives, the Committees on Suffrages and Electoral Reform, Muslim Affairs, and Peace, Reconciliation and Unity, also approved a committee report that consolidated proposals to extend the BARMM elections. Senator Panfilo Lacson previously warned of the danger of citing the Covid-19 pandemic as a major reason for the need to postpone the first regu-

lar elections in BARMM. He said postponing the Bangsamoro elections would require a plebiscite. “We are treading on a very dangerous ground or precedent here because if the pandemic is the reason for the postponement of the BARMM election next year, it could open the floodgates to a no-el (no elections scenario in the country) situation in the national and local elections next year,” Lacson said. Senator Imee Marcos said BARMM has been allocated a staggering amount of funds worth over P200 billion since last year, but there is “too little progress and change” in the region. She also filed Resolution No. 729 directing the Committee on Finance to conduct an inquiry into the accounting and liquidation of the Appropriations and Annual Block Grants allocated for the years 2020 and 2021 to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, including the annual Special Development Fund allocated for the rebuilding, rehabilitation, and development of conflict-affected communities. Marcos said under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region was allocated an annual appropriation of P7 billion and an Annual Block Grant of P63.6 billion, including a Special Development Fund of P5 billion. In addition to this, under the 2021 GAA, the region was also given an annual appropriation of P8.6 billion and an Annual Block Grant of P71.6 billion, and a Special Development Fund of P5 billion. “Prior to the establishment of the BARMM, the (previous and now defunct) Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

(ARMM) was allocated an annual appropriation of P32.4 billion and Adjustments of P7.2 billion with total available appropriations of P39.7 billion,” Marcos said. “Thus, as compared to the ARMM appropriation of only P39.7 billion, the total BARMM allocation was higher, amounting to at least double the amount of the budget allocated to the ARMM. Despite these allocated appropriations, there is too little progress and change in the BARMM,” she added. Marcos said with the huge appropriations made in the GAA for 2020 and 2021, it is vital for Congress to determine the status of the projects implemented especially since the Bangsamoro Government is still in its transition stage. She said the Committee on Finance shall delve into the accounting and liquidation of the Appropriations and the Annual Block Grants allocated for the years 2020 and 2021 to BARMM, including the annual Special Development Fund. “It is also important for Congress to be informed on the progress of the transition process, implementation of programs and the proper utilization of funds, as well as the reasons for delay which are not attributable to the dire effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and to determine other legislative measures, if necessary, to be legislated by Congress in order to promote the long-term vision of meaningful growth in the Bangsamoro Region,” Marcos said. BARMM is made up of the island-provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi off Mindanao Island. And two other provinces Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao on Mindanao Island. (Mindanao Examiner)

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September 13-19, 2021

The Mindanao Examiner

Sulu Pictures in the News



The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

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The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

Zambo remembers ‘MNLF siege’ Z

AMBOANGA CITY – Mayor Beng Climaco led officials in commemorating the deadly siege by Moro National Liberation Front in September 9, 2013 – the second since 2001 after rebels attacked Zamboanga City and killed and held hostages dozens of innocent civilians. Climaco has set September 9 as a “Special Day of Remembrance” in honor of all those who perished in the siege that lasted for 3 weeks. And eight years after the deadly attack, residents here are still crying for justice which remains elusive for the innocent victims of the siege. “Today, Zamboanga City marks the 8th year remembrance of the 2013 siege by Moro National Liberation Front fighters. What better way to honor this day and pay tribute to those who perished and the destruction of the 23-day urban warfare than the turnover rites for some projects under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (Z3R) Program,” she said. Climaco, who chairs the Local Inter-Agency Council that oversees the Z3R Program, said not all projects have been completed. She lamented that despite her August 31 ultimatum to private contractors to finish the construction of the Z3R housing units for some 720 families displaced by the siege were not completed due to some legal issues that have yet to be resolved to pursue the projects. The mayor specifically cited the 720 housing units which remain uncompleted and a housing backlog by 114 over the period of eight years since the siege. She said there are legal issues that the National Housing Authority (NHA) has yet to resolve in the purchase of lots. Also delaying the projects, she said, are the illegal structures that need to be demolished first. The contractors are expected to turn over some of the projects to the Department

Security forces during the 2013 siege of Zamboanga. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) being the implementing agency of the projects. The DPWH will then turn over the completed projects to the local government and among them are the access road in the village of Kasanyangan, the boardwalk and energization projects in Mariki village. Climaco said the local government’s Housing Division will not accept uncompleted and substandard projects. The mayor repeatedly reminded various government agencies and private contractors of her ultimatum to finish all construction projects and even said that she will invite President Rodrigo Duterte to inaugurate the projects. Different government agencies and private contractors committed to speed up works on the Z3R projects after Salazar’s ultimatum to expedite completion of the projects and to ensure the remaining victims of the siege who are in temporary shelters be given permanent housing units.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco

Photos from the Housing and Land Management Division show the progress of construction works at the Z3R project site.

President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF chieftain Nur Misuari. (PCOO) “As mayor and chairperson of LIAC, I have given the agencies concerned a deadline until August 2021 to finish the construction of the housing units and award them to the target beneficiaries - the internally displaced people,” she said, adding, “we want our IDPs to know that we have not forgotten them even as we are currently coping with the Covid pandemic,” the mayor said, adding her directive was in line with Duterte’s instructions to all government agencies to have their projects, programs and activities completed before his term ends next year. Last year, Climaco also directed LIAC members to ensure continuity of various projects and programs amid the Covid-19 pandemic to help alleviate the plight of families displaced by the MNLF siege. Supporters of Misuari attacked Zamboanga after declaring independence and their failed attempt to raise the Bangsamoro Republik flag at City Hall. Misuari publicly denied involvement in the siege of Zamboanga that displaced over 200,000 people and affected the economies of Basilan and Sulu which are dependent on Zamboanga for their trades and goods. 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 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 because you still have to be accountable with the killings and devastations we are suffering from,” she 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,” she added. 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. 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 reportedly in exchange for MNLF support to her election bid as well as her allies in the Senate and Congress in 2004. He also ran several times for governor in Sulu even while under detention, but lost. Now, President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted to resume the peace process with Misuari and ordered police and military not to arrest the MNLF chieftain. (Mindanao Examiner)


The Mindanao Examiner

September 13-19, 2021

September 13-19, 2021

The Mindanao Examiner


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September 13-19, 2021

Corruption weighs down Covid response


ORRUPTION IS weighing down the government’s already insufficient response to the heightened threat from Covid-19 due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Lacson described as Naroon ang problema,” he mittee of the PS-DBM, and “disheartening, frustrat- said. other documents necessary ing and revolting” the Lacson also questioned to qualify to participate in signs of corruption that Lao’s move to reclassify the bidding process. have emerged so far in some employees as confiOn the other hand, the Senate’s investigation dential employees, adding Lacson said at least one into irregularities in the “this occurred in early Feb- person has manifested procurement of medical ruary, shortly after he was intention to fully coopersupplies to deal with the appointed as OIC of the ate in the investigation. health crisis. “These irreg- PS-DBM. The Civil Service “I hope pagka nag-testiularities range from the Commission denied the re- fy ang sinasabi ko, magfailed attempt of former quest.” open up lahat. Maraming Department of Budget “Ang question, bakit mabubuksan dito. I hope and Management Pro- kailangan ang confiden- chairman of the Blue Ribcurement Service head tial employees sa isang bon Committee and my Christopher Lao to reclas- ahensya ng government na colleagues will still continsify some employees as nag-procure?” he asked. ue this investigation. We’re confidential to the Food Lacson also questioned waiting for developments and Drug Administration’s the FDA’s circular loosening and I hope this can open changing the rules on pro- requirements for procure- up a whole lot of informacurement,” he said in an ment, but tightening them tion,” he said. interview on ANC. again after Pharmally PharLacson said other “While the Delta vari- maceuticals Corp. delivered “mind-boggling” signs of ant is to be blamed, ang its supplies. He said he has corruption include the Dema-blame mo rin govern- suggested to Senate Blue partment of Health’s proment response. We’re not Ribbon Committee chair- curement of ambulances responding accordingly person Richard Gordon to that are overpriced by P1 sa prevailing situation. summon some documents million each, an accusation To make matters worse, including the minutes of denied by the DOH. (Cebu may corruption involved. the Bids and Awards Com- Examiner)

Cebuano students take part in the “Kiddie Learning Train” project. (Gernhie May Giganto)

Cebu students benefit from Kiddie Learning Train CEBU – Some 1,000 primary students in Metro Cebu received free digital remedial classes in Math and Reading subjects to make up for the learning losses worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the advocacy group Philippine Business for Education (PBEd). The children are the beneficiaries of the Kiddie Learning Train, a project led by PBEd in partnership with Accenture


Philippines. The young learners were recommended by the Department of Education (DepEd) and youth groups in Metro Cebu to join the program. PBEd said the beneficiaries of the project came from the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay and are composed of Kindergarten to Grade 3 students who need remediation in the two subjects. PBEd said each beneficiary

received provisions including a school kit, P1,200 Internet load card allowance for mobile internet, Globe sim card, and one digital tablet installed with the Kitkit School learning app. Developed by Enuma, Inc. in 2019, Kitkit School won the prestigious Global Learning XPRIZE competition funded by Elon Musk that sought for software solutions to tackle the global literacy crisis. To make the learning from the app more engaging, math and reading lessons are embedded in interactive games designed for early grade school students. The beneficiaries are required to use the app for at least one hour a day for two months to ensure learning sustainability. They will also be required to undergo the app’s pre-assessment and a post-assessment to evaluate their progress. About 200 volunteers were mobilized to guide and monitor the beneficiaries on a weekly basis. These volunteers underwent training sessions led by Tiny Labs, an organization that builds and designs educational experiences for students aged 0-12, for proper facilitation of the children. The volunteers were also provided with Globe sim cards and P1,200 Internet load card allowance to virtually meet with their students. (Cebu Examiner)

Eastern Mindanao

More nurses deployed to Covid wards CEBU CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) said some 164 additional nurses were deployed to private and public hospitals in Cebu to augment the existing healthcare workers manning the Covid-19 wards. DOH Regional Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said the deployment of more nurses to hospitals is part of their Covid-19 response following a spike in active cases in the province. He said the nurses were deployed to the following - 40 to Chong Hua Hospital; 28 to Cebu Doctors University Hospital; 20 to Cebu City Emergency Operations Center Cebu City EOC, 14 to Perpetual Succor Hospital, and 11 to Saint Vincent General Hospital. UC Medical Center and Visayas Community Medical Center got 10 nurses each. Bernadas said they also deployed nine nurses to the ACE Medical Center-Cebu; 7 in ARC Hospital; 5 in Cebu Velez General Hospital; 4 in Cebu South General Hospital; 4 in Lapu-Lapu City Hospital and 2 in Cebu North General Hospita. He said the DOH deployed an additional 150 nurses to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center from July to August this year. These nurses were hired under the Emergency Hiring of Health Personnel for Covid-19 Response when Cebu experienced a spike of Covid-19 cases and confirmed cases of the Delta variant. Apart from nurses, the Bernadas said the DOH is also hiring doctors, medical technolo-

Western Mindanao

Department of Health-Central Visayas regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas. gists, and other support personnel. Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, has commended the effort of the DOH in augmenting the number of healthcare workers in Central Visayas. “Now that we have more doctors in the hospitals, our Covid-19 patients are assured of more responsive treatment. The national government exerts all efforts to augment existing medical front-liners who are already exhausted and some get sick given the more than one year in the battle against Covid-19,” Dino told the Philippine News Agency. He also urged Cebuanos to vaccinate and strictly follow the health protocols and quarantine guidelines. (John Rey Saavedra)



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Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper (September 13-19, 2021)  

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Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper (September 13-19, 2021)  

Tels. (062) 955-5360, (0915) 3976197 | 3F, JLC Bldg., Don Alfaro Street, Tetuan, Zamboanga City, Philippines | |...


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