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MSU student shot inside campus still in coma

October 18, 2019

A freshman student at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City is still in coma at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where he was rushed after he was shot at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the commercial center inside campus. Ivan Polinar Almeda of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, is a freshman at the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (CSPEAR) and a badminton varisty player. Reports say Almeda was shot from behind by a still unidentified man. Authorities are still investigating the incident. How the perpetrator managed to bring a gun inside campus has yet to be answered. Marawo City remains, like the rest of Mindanao, under martial law. MSU President Habib Macaayong told MindaNews in a text message at 8:30 p.m. Thursday that Almeda was “in coma, now under medication” at the APMC.  At 1 p.m.. on Friday, Macaayong told MindaNews in a telephone interview that Almeda was still comatose. At 4 p.m., Almeda still lay comatose, he said. “The MSU Security, with the military and police are investigating the case,” said Macaayong, who said he immediately made arrangements with the hospital for the expenses and for Almeda’s family to come to Marawi. Almeda’s mother, Genevieve and a neighbor arrived early Friday morning in Iligan and Macaayong had them brought to the APMC in Marawi immediately. The MSU President told MindaNews he summoned the students who were with Almeda when he was shot and was informed that what has been spreading via social media about an alleged  fight during a game or a ‘love triangle’ issue were not true “We are still awaiting the results of the investigation,” Macaaayong said. On Thursday night, he appealed for calm and sobriety in an advisory addressed to “All University Constituents MSU.” “The dastardly shooting of an innocent freshmen student is an unfortunate but isolated case. We condemn the brutal act in the harshest terms,” he said. “As University President and father, I ask everyone, Muslims and Christians alike, to pray for the victim. I assure you that all security measures are in place and that an investigation is now being conducted with the cooperation of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Army,” he said. Macaayong vowed to exhaust all means to “find the perpetrator and make him suffer full force of the law.” Lawyer Ras Mitmug of Marawi, a Member of Parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, condemned the shooting of  Almeda. He urged the school administration and authorities to”fully investigate this incident, to bring the perpetrators to trial and ensure Almeda and his family receive justice.” MSU, he siad, was established “to be the melting pot of the south, a center for people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and faiths.” “We cannot continue to call it so by turning a blind eye to these heinous crimes,” Mitmug, former Eduction Secretary in the defunct Autonomous

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Del Rosario: Sectors 1 to 7 of Marawi’s Ground Zero cleared of UXOs

October 18, 2019

 Sectors 1 to 7 in Marawi’s Ground Zero have been cleared of unexploded bombs, while 17 to 18 more bombs have yet to be recovered in Sectors 8 and 9, Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair Eduardo del Rosario said on Thursday, October 17,  the second anniversary of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Marawi as having been ”liberated from the terrorist influence.” Del Rosario said the task force’s deadline for clearing UXOs is October 31, two weeks from October 17, and debris clearing on November 30 so rehabilitation work can finally begin by December 1, initially with the construction of the road network with underground cables for electricity, water and telecommunications, the 24 barangay halls with health center and madrasah, and the grand padian (central market). Can TFBM beat the deadline? Del Rosario is confident they can. “We have cleared Sectors 1 to 7 already. We’re now in Sectors 8 and 9 so in those seven sectors we can say bombs were cleared already, he told a press conference Thursday noon in Ground Zero’s Sector 8. But he explained that there are still buildings in Sectors 8 and 9 – the most heavily-bombarded area as it was the last stand of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and its allies -- that have to be cleared. “If we do not see any bombs anymore, then we can declare that all sectors where bombs were delivered and did not explode were cleared already. That extends 50 meters from the intended location of the bombs,” he said, adding they have asked the contractor to “conduct one general sweep of the area to ensure we are not missing any portion of the MAA (Main Affected Area)” or Ground Zero. “But there is one gray area that I would like to emphasize,” he said, noting that they are targeting 4,000 buildings for clearing and have completed clearing “2,400 plus” and expect to complete all these, about 2850, by November 30.” He said there remains about 1,000 buildings whose owners did not give consent for demolition. “That is one issue that would be a problem in the future because there is a possibility that in those buildings, there might be bombs but since they do not like it to be touched, that is something that we have to discuss and find out the safety considerations in those about 800 to 1000 buildings,” he said. 21 of 70 recovered At the consultation/dialogue with Marawi’s internally displaced persons (IDPs or bakwits) in mid-March this year, Del Rosario said  the MAA was already 90% cleared as “more than 4,500 explosives were already recovered” but the biggest concern” is the recovery of 49 ammunitions “as big as 500-pounder” general purpose (GP) bombs. He said the 49 GP bombs – 110, 260 and 500 pounds --  are “scattered all over the MAA and that is the reason why we do not like you to go back there for your safety. On May 6, in his presentation to the Cabinet, Del Rosario said a total of 3,973 unexploded ordnance have been retrieved from Ground Zero, along with 816 improvised explosive devices, and 21 of 70 GP bombs. His presentation showed 13 of 16 500-pounder bombs, four of 17 260-pounder and four of 37 110-pounder had been recovered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), leaving 49 more unrecovered. On Thursday, Del Rosario said that during  the recent assessment by the AFP and Eddmari Construction and Trading, the TFBM’s contractor for UXO and debris clearing, “we were  down to 20 last month and two 260 pounders were found just last week and weeks ago. So we are down to about 17 or 18 bombs that we are looking for.” After the press conference, MindaNews asked Del Rosario why he said the remaining bombs were “17 or 18” when Eddmari recovered only eight GP bombs. 29 of 70 recovered The National Housing Authority (NHA) and Eddmari matrix on “GP bomb monitoring” as of October 10 shows 21 of the bombs were recovered by the AFP while eight were recovered by Eddmari for a total of 29 out of 70 unexploded bombs. This leaves 41 more to be recovered. He explained the contractor, with the use of technology, scanned the area for bombs, guided by the grid coordinates from the Philippine Air Force on where they dropped the bombs that were reported not to have exploded. He said the search was extended 50 to 100 meters from the supposed site of explosion but could not find any within 100 meters. “Sinabi nila cleared na ito” (They said this area is cleared). He said the same procedure is being undertaken in Sectors 8 and 9. “Maari kasing sinabi ng Air Force na hindi pumutok pero nagkaroon ng detonation” And meron namang incident na kinukuha nila but it was found out na ang depth na 12 meters hindi na ma-penetrate kasi at the depth of 3 meters tubig na.  Di na makukuha talaga. So ineu-nuetralize na nila yun kahit na hindi mo nakuha physically” (It could be that the Air force said it did not explode but there was actually a detonation. And there are incidents when they tried to retrieve it but it was found out that they could no longer penetrate 12 meters because at three meters deep, it’s already water. You cannot retrieve them anymore. So they will just neutralize that even if they didn’t get that physically), he said. “You cannot get it anymore, like a depth of  15 meters,” he said, adding, “di ka naman magtatayo ng building doon dahil tubig na yung ilalim non” (you are not going to construct a building there because it’s water underneath). He explained that even if they can no longer retrieve the bomb because of its depth, they would tell the lot or building owner “meron dito at depth of 15 meters in this location” (there’s one here in this location, 15 meters deep). “Ganon na ang gagawin.  Pero hindi na (kukunin). Iwasan mo na lang pagka nagpagawa sila ng kung anumang structure” (That is what we will do. Not retrieve it anymore because of the depth. Just find a way to avoid it when you have a structure built,” he told MindaNews. 44 of 70 in Sectors 8, 9 According to the NHA-Eddmari matrix, Eddmari recovered eight bombs: three 500-pounder, two 260-pounder and three 110-pounder. Of the three 500-pounder bombs recovered, one was found in Sector 6 on September 12, one in Sector 7 on the same day and one in Sector 9 on October 10.  Recovery of the three means all 16 500-pounder unexploded bombs have been recovered. Del Rosario said all recovered bombs have been detonated. There was a detonation at 10 a.m. on October 16 of a 260-pound bomb in Sector 8. The matrix also shows that 44 or more than half of the 70 unexploded bombs were dropped in Sectors 8 and 9 -- 24 in Sector 8 and 20 in Sector 9; two in Sector 1, none in Sectors 2 and 3, six in Sector 4, seven in Sector 5, four in Sector 6 and seven in Sector 7. As of October 10, Eddmari recovered one 260-pound bomb in Sector 8 and one 500-pound bomb in Sector 9, both on October 10;  one 260-pound in Sector 2 on July 31; two 110-pound and one 500-pound bomb in Sector 4 and one 500-pound in Sector 5, all on September 12; one 110-pound in Sector 6 on September 27. The TFBM’s deadline to clear UXOs in sectors 8 and 9 is on October31. Del Rosario expects President Duterte to sign an Executive Order “within the month” that would designate NHA, to be the lead agency for the road network project in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Local Water Utilities Administration, National Electrification Administration and Department of Information and Communications Technology.

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Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

October 18, 2019

The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products. Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon.   The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country. In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.” The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat. Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products. “Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said. Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member,  sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.” Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in. He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant. He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.” According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus. “In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. 

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Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

October 18, 2019

The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products. Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon. The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country. In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.” The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat. Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products. “Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said. Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member,  sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.” Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in. He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant. He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.” According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus. “In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. 

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Quake’s epicenter suffers heavy losses

October 18, 2019

 Eighty percent of government structures in at least nine barangays in Tulunan, North Cotabato were severely damaged as a result of the magnitude 6.3 earthquake on Wednesday night and the more than a hundred aftershocks that followed, the mayor of Tulunan said. Mayor Reuel Limbongan said the damaged structures in Tulunan include barangay halls, health centers, and senior citizens’ halls.     The quake’s epicenter was 22 kilometers southeast of Tulunan. At least 10 persons were injured – six of them rushed to hospitals. Thirty percent of the other structures in different barangays are slightly damaged, he said  Tulunan has 29 barangays. Barangays Bituan and Paraiso are among the hardest hit. Limbongan said a six-year old girl from neighboring Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao, was rushed to the Tulunan District Hospital after a debris from a destroyed wall hit her. He said the local government unit is set to declare a state of calamity but explained the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM) has yet to complete its report on the damages due to the quake. In Makilala town, 25 residents were injured while at least a hundred houses and structures were badly damaed. Of those injured, one was transferred to the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, according to M’lang acting administrator Shirley Orbita. In its emergency session on Thursday, the Sangguniang Bayan of Makilala declared the town under a state of calamity. Orbita said the legislative body deemed it timely to approve the release of Quick Response Funds as initial financial assistance to hundreds of quake victims. The Makilala LGU is set to release at least P2.5 million from its QRF. In M’lang, an elderly named Tony Pananggulong, a resident of Barangay Gaunan, died when his blood pressure shot up during the quake.   M’lang municipal mayor Russel Abonado said 34 houses and structures in his town were badly damaged, including the second floor of the legislative building located near the town hall. Abonado said he monitored four injured – three in Barangay Inac and one in Barangay Langkong – who were rushed to hospitals in M’lang. In Kidapawan City, more than a thousand individuals, mostly Manobos, from Barangay Ilomavis and at least 35 families from Sitio Lapan, Barangay Perez were forced to vacate Wednesday night after they monitored a rockslide. They stayed in at least four evacuation sites but returned to their villages on Thursday afternoon. Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista ordered the forced evacuation of residents in Barangays Ilomavis and Perez but lifted it the next day even if strong aftershocks were still felt from Thursday night up to Friday dawn. On Thursday, around 11pm, Phivolcs Kidapawan sub-station said it recorded a magnitude 4.6  quake. At 1 a.m. Friday, a magnitude 4.1 quake struck with epicenter between the fault line of Makilala and Tulunan in North Cotbato. 

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Is traffic sign of a thriving economy?

October 18, 2019

SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano believes that congested roads in Metro Manila and other key urban centers in the country are signs the economy thrives  — a product of success so to speak. But reality check says otherwise, contrary to Cayetano’s narrative. Take this as a grain of salt: Metro Manila commuters and motorists alike spend more than an hour, on average, in traffic every day. This places  Metro Manila as  the 3rd worst in traffic in Southeast Asia. This was among the findings of a recent survey conducted as part of a study commissioned by ride-sharing platform Uber. The survey places Metro Manila 3rd worst in the region, with an average of 66 minutes stuck in traffic daily. It comes after Bangkok, Thailand, which is said to have the worst traffic (72 minutes), and 2nd worst Jakarta, Indonesia (68 minutes). The best performers in terms of traffic are Singapore (30 minutes) and Hong Kong (35 minutes). On top of the 66-minute traffic experience, drivers in Metro Manila  also spend an average of 24 minutes per day searching for parking. The  bare truth is that traffic congestion in Metro Manila  is caused by multiple causes. Here are three  of the most common: too many cars on the roadway, inadequate mass transit system,  and too many   obstacles  on the road that translate to network overload. And Cagayan de Oro is no exception to this traffic milieu. Traffic  in the city has long been a common headache  of every Cagay-anon. And it remains unclear until now  how traffic hampers urban life and the city’s thriving economy. Like Metro Manila, the  increasing number of motor vehicles in the city could be the  obvious culprit, taking into account the presence of  so many car dealers in cutthroat competition. Cayetano’s take of Metro Manila’s traffic mess is but a great escape  from reality. The  ordinary commuter has a  far  greater view of  what is really happening on the ground (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com).

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