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An investigative report: impact of Covid-19 in urban, rural areas

July 3, 2020

Fiesta No More EASTERN Misamis Oriental--“One of the most COVID19-impacted area of the Filipino social life is culture and  spiritual tradition. Notwithstanding, the rule on no- hand -touching and social distancing which undermined a cherished cultural tradition of kissing the hand or forehead of our elders as a sign of respect and good manners, the other endangered tradition is fiesta celebration and other social gathering during cultural festivals which is the sign and spirit of “Filipino Hospitality.”  This was the observation of Brgy chair Raffy Rayon Mendoza of Poblacion, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental when interviewed by the MDN-COPC Reportorial Team. “Sadly, there will be less or no more sense of community merriment  and thanksgiving when we celebrate our Fiesta of Nuestra Senora del Carmen this coming July 16,” according to 65-year old resident Cesar Balabag who was also separately interviewed.  He said Talisaynons will surely miss the “mamistahay “ scene which Catholic households cherish. Talisaynons from the affluent down to poverty-throdden families are happy to welcome visitors to their homes during fiesta-days, and prepare food for the “mamistahays” even during the vespers eve until the ” liwas” (post fiesta day)  he added. Brgy chair Mendoza, on the other hand, said his council already met with the town priest and church leaders, together with Mayor Rommel Maslog, and had mapped out plans for this year’s “fiesta celebration..”  “There will be no more sports fest, no more cultural programs in  our gymnasium, no more sabong (cockfights). Even during thanksgiving mass, there will be social distancing and other church-goers who cannot be accommodated will have chairs outside, at the nearby park, and a wide screen will be put-up showing the video of the mass, “ Mendoza added. Mayor Maslog commented that in the new normal, households will be requested to refrain from spending too much for the fiesta to avoid many visitors which may destroy social distancing, and possible Covid-contamination. Fiesta preparations could be limited only for family members and few visitors, he added. The Poblacion barangay council members under Mendoza, however, expressed some positive out-come on this fiesta policy, such as : government budget spending for festivities will be reduced and could instead be used to bolster health funds in the  ongoing fight against Covid.  Some members also commented that there is a positive impact in encouraging no lavish fiesta celebration. They said many families go to the extent of borrowing money or even loans with banks just to have something for the fiesta. Zero Covid Case Mayor Maslog and Brgy chair Mendoza claimed that they have zero Covid case. The local government units here have efficiently implemented the strict health protocol emanating from the national IATF, regional and provincial regulations. Maslog said the town now has sufficient quarantine and isolation facilities, thermal scanners, swab tests and PPEs for frontliners which composed of their BHWs and Tanods.  “I have even converted our newly-finished Training Center into a quarantine facility,” Maslog added. Mendoza, on the other hand commented that they are lucky and happy that there is no single Covid case in their town.” We owe this to the efficiency and hard-work of our barangay health workers and tanods.  When there are reports on LSIs or visitors coming in, they immediately require quarantine measures be followed, Mendoza said. He added that they have sufficient number of isolation rooms, and even use abandoned houses for use of PUI’s. On the national support via amelioration programs, Maslog added that they are quite satisfied with the schedules on distribution and instructions. With report from Gerry Lee Gorit, correspondent, and Richard dela Cruz, Eagle Broadcasting Corp.

Lanao Sur mayor ambushed in Cagayan de Oro

June 3, 2020

BROAD DAYLIGHT AMBUSH 1ST UPDATE AS OF 6:43PM - JUNE 3 ... CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - A mayor of Lumbaca-Unayan, Lanao del Sur, his wife and two other companions onboard a black Pickup vehicle, were ambushed this morning by still unidentified motorcycle riding gunmen, along Zone 2, Iponan village, this city Responding police officers later identified the victims as Mayor Somerado Malo Guro of Lumbaca Unayan, Lanao del Sur; his wife, Rohaifa Guro, 26; their staff, Abdul Rafi Guro; and their driver, Ibrahim Gani, 58 years old. The mayor's wife and the driver were also wounded, except for the staff who was lucky he was not hit by the bullets of the assailants. Mayor Guro and his family are presently residing at Phase 4 Block 4, Lot  4 Bloomingdale Iponan, this city. It was NOT known, however, who were the perpetrators and what was their motive of attempting to kill the mayor and his family. Investigation disclosed that after they were ambushed and wounded, the driver still managed to maneuver their vehicle and straight ahead at the Polymedic Plaza Hospital located in Kauswagan National Highway. On or about 9:20 am on June 3, 2020, Cagayan de Oro Police Office (Cocpo) chief Police Colonel Henry G. Dampal reported to PRO 10 Regional Director PBGen Rolando B. Anduyan that they received a call for assistance since there was a shooting incident along Zone 2, Barangay Iponan, this city. Immediately, police operatives of Station 7 responded at the crime scene along Zone 2, Iponan village and conduct thorough investigation of the reported ambush involving a City Mayor from Lanao del Sur. A witness at the crime scene, Arsie Yee, told police investigators he saw the motorcycle-riding in tandem shooting at the Black Pick up vehicle. The scene was too short and the vehicle immediately disappered from the crime scene.   The shooting victims are now recuperating at Polymedic Medical Plaza along Kauswagan National Highway, this city.  Based on MDN reporter from the field as of 6:43 early evening on June 3, the wife,  Rohaifa Guro has died due to multiple gunshot wounds. She was already on critical condition at the ICU when brought to the hospital this morning after the ambush. Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno has ordered the police force to conduct massive manhunt and identify the perpetrators of the crime. "The victims should be given justice that's why I am ordering the police force to conduct more investigations, surveillance and manhunt operations," the mayor said in vernacular. ###    

NPA torch houses, church in Opol, Misamis Oriental

May 28, 2020

CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City--Unidentified armed men believed members of the communist New People Army (NPA) set ablaze four houses and a church in the hinterland village of Opol, Misamis Oriental early Thursday morning. Capt. Rene Belmonte, Jr., the spokesperson of the army’s 403rd Brigade, said that the armed men were reportedly enraged when the villagers refused to extend food to them. He said that a village folk reported that the armed men were laughing and shouting: “Mabuhay ang NPA” (Long live, NPA) while fleeing from the area to an unknown direction. Belmonte identified the victim-owners of the houses as Edward Villarias, Ronny Tingkang, Edmar Burlat and Avelinon Sambulay, all village residents of Limonda, Opol, Misamis Oriental. He said that the church building belonged to the “Born Again Christian,” a religious sect. Municipal town Mayor Maximino B Seno, of Opol, condemned the atrocities and pledge to extend assistance to the Limonda victims. Belmonte said that a certain alias “Decoy,” of Guerilla Front 12, Sub Regional Committee 5 (SRC5), North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC), reportedly heads the group. The group operates in the boundaries of Bukidnon, West Misamis Oriental and Iligan City, Belmonte said. On May 22, 2020, the group also attacked and killed an innoncent civilian in the village of Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon and engaged the pursuing government troopers in a brief firefight. Col. Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Brigade Commander, ordered a hot pursuit operation against the communist insurgents in a bid to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Bukidnon governor weeps as IATF classifies Normin as low-risk area for Covid-19

May 14, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. wept after the Inter-Agency Task Force for emerging infectious disease (IATF) issued resolution 35 that classified Northern Mindanao as a low-risk area due to its low number of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) cases. Following the downgrading of Northern Mindanao’s status from general community quarantine (GCQ) to low-risk, Zubiri Jr. has asked the national government to restore the province’s reclassification for fear that Covid-19 cases will increase in his area of jurisdiction. Under the low-risk status, local governments are ordered to adopt a minimum health requirements and to loosen their community quarantine protocols. This new order prompted the Bukidnon provincial board to pass resolution 2020-1317 appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte and the IATF “to retain and extend under the [GCQ] status and be authorized to observe and maintain the GCQ protocols in its quarantine control points in the boundaries of the province of Bukidnon.” He said that lifting the GCQ would put the people of the province in danger of the coronavirus contagion since some areas it shared a boundary with like the cities of Davao and Cagayan de Oro have Covid-19 cases. As of press time, Bukidnon has only one confirmed Covid-19 case, a barangay leader from Valencia City who attended a cockfighting derby in Matina, Davao City. Zubiri said they followed every order that Duterte gave to the police and that they are proud to say that they are successful. “Please listen to the people of Bukidnon,” he told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. He said the President must consider his plea as Bukidnon is considered as the heart of Mindanao. Later on Wednesday (May 13), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that those areas declared as low-risk would be placed under the modified GCQ. According to Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, under the GCQ movement, like resumption of work, goes back to normal but “new normal” practices such as wearing of mask, social distancing, and other health protocols will be enforced.

SEC names 4 groups engaged in unauthorized investment schemes

May 13, 2020

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) underscored the importance of exercising due diligence before investing to avoid falling into a scammer’s trap, as it named four more groups engaging in unauthorized investment-taking activities. In separate advisories issued on May 7, the Commission warned the public against dealing with individuals or groups representing and promoting the Bayanihan Program of Billy Ford Andrada, My Gold Rev/ My Gold Rev Philippines, Friend$hip/ Friend$hip Philippines and World of Captcha (WOC). Bayanihan Program, My Gold Rev, Friend$hip and WOC have not registered securities such as investment contracts nor secured the necessary licenses to solicit and take investments from the public, as required under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code. In this light, the SEC advised the public against investing in Bayanihan Program, My Gold Rev, Friend$hip and WOC, which have not even registered as corporations or partnerships with the Commission. Under its Bayanihan Program, Billy Ford Andrada solicits a minimum investment of P2,000 and promises a 50% return plus a 5% direct referral bonus. To entice more investors, Billy Ford Andrada ran promotions for a 15% direct commission and a P300 bonus for every investment of P2,000 amid the quarantine measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The SEC earlier identified a certain Billy Ford Delos Santos Andrada as the owner of Billford Trading and Bill Ford VIP Trading, Inc., whose investment-solicitation activities in the guise of a piggery business have been the subject of an earlier advisory. My Gold Rev, meanwhile, offers business plans for $20 to $100,000. Investors may supposedly earn a daily profit of 2% to 3.5% for 80 to 100 days, or a 260% to 450% return on investment. Friend$hip, on the other hand, collects a subscription fee of $7.99 or P385. Members receive $1 for every referral in the first to the fifth levels of their network. Friend$hip recently launched its second investment option: a subscription plan with landing page at $11 or P935. Under this plan, investors may earn $1 per successful referral and another $1 per purchased landing page up to the fifth level. Friend$hip claims to be an American company with a business address in New Jersey, USA. The group is headed by Rodnelio “Ron” Chang Capua as president and chief executive officer, according to various Facebook posts. WOC also solicits investments from the public in the guise of an online business. It offers plans worth P200 to P1,000 where members could supposedly earn P300 to P1,500 by typing CAPTCHA.       In addition, WOC promises bonuses ranging from P20 to P100 for direct referrals and P5 to P25 for indirect referrals up to the fifth level. It also offers a program where members can purchase 75 codes and get 10 free codes for P15,000 for the purpose of reselling them. Both plans expire after eight days, pushing members to purchase new plans and/or upgrade to continue earning under the scheme headed by a certain Charles Serrano.   The SEC warned that those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers or agents of fraudulent investment schemes may be held criminally liable and penalized with a maximum fine of P5 million or imprisonment of 21 years or both under the Securities Regulation Code. Those who invite or recruit others to join or invest in such ventures may likewise incur criminal liability, or otherwise be sanctioned or penalized accordingly. Republic Act No. 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, further penalizes those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts with two-month imprisonment or a maximum fine of P1 million or both. For more details, the public may access the advisories on the SEC website at The public may report unauthorized investment solicitation activities to its Enforcement and Investor Protection Department through email at

Police enforce strict guidelines on CDO’s virus infected village

May 9, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro Ciity--Police quarantined portion of Carmen, one of the largest villages here, following the death of the female patient who was diagnosed positive for the COVID-19 virus. The latest fatality was a 61-year-old female relative of City Mayor Oscar Moreno, who was admitted to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) on May 1 but died five days later. Police cordoned part of the area as part of the quarantine measures to prevent the virus from spreading in the neighborhood while health officials conduct swabbing test on some of the closest neighbors. The streets along Zayas, Carmen was also being disinfected as the police advised all motorists to look for alternative roads and streets not covered by the quarantined area. The latest casualty was the among the latest three patients diagnosed COVID-19 positive. The two others were admitted to the NMMC and were reported to be in stable condition. Dr. Bernardo Rocha, of the NMMC, said Saturday that the NMMC has not admitted any COVID-19 related cases for the last 24-hour.


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