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Children and Sunset in Sagay

January 7, 2020

Children play against the backdrop of a colorful sky following a sunset in a seawall in Sagay town, Camiguin, on Monday (January 6). Photo by Gerry Lee Gorit

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2019 Kuyamis festival kicks off

January 6, 2020

THE much-awaited 2019 Kuyamis Festival formally opened at the capitol grounds in Cagayan de Oro City on January 6, 2019.

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We should stop being slaves of our weaknesses, says Marawi City mayor

January 3, 2020

ILIGAN City--Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra urged his constituents to be responsible, with one another, as he recalled in his Rizal Day message the principles of Dr. Jose Rizal when it comes "to loving our country and caring for the countrymen." In a solemn commemoration of the 123rd death anniversary of the Philippines' national hero, Gandamra led the offering of wreath for the hero inside the city hall building of Marawi. The recent Rizal Day commemoratiom was the first ever since the Marawi siege in 2017. "Naging alipin tayo sa ating mga kahinaan at mga hindi magandang aspeto ng pagiging Pilipino. At marami din sa atin ang hindi maasahan bilang mamayang Pilipino sa isip at sa gawa," Gandamra said in his message. "At lalo na po sa nangyari sa atin dito sa Marawi kamakailan lang, siguro naisip din natin minsan na tayo rin ang dahilan kung bakit tayo ay nagpasan ng malaking pagsubok na iyon," he added. Gandamra said Meranaws in Marawi would not experience the siege if they only had earlier saw and met the need to serve and help others, the need to educate everyone, including themselves, about peace and the good and the good that it brings, the need for honest and gainful livelihood for all and the need to achieve true progress in a land that had suffered from so much neglect and infamy. "I think Rizal would agree that we all need to face these challenges, that we all need to be the change that we want to see. That if we truly love Marawi then we must all be the hope of this city, that we should stop being slaves of our weaknesses as a people. 2019 will end in a day from now, how about starting all over again and apply these lessons seriously this time," Gandamra said. Gandamra, who was on his first term when the siege happened, urged his constituents to take the time to reflect on Rizal's love for his country and the Filipino people instead of just letting the Rizal Day pass by the way they had often done. "Like Rizal, let us use our gifts of intellect, moral and physical strength, talents, and faith to better the conditions of our people. His short life has indeed contributed much to humanity, and a great contribution of our country to the world. Applying his ideas and teachings to our daily life is surely our best way of thanking this man!" Gandamra said.    

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Drunk man arrested for raping 2-year-old

January 3, 2020

ILIGAN City--Police arrested Wednesday morning (January 1) a 27-year-old for allegedly raping a two-year-old girl in her room at the family's residence in Purok 1, Barangay Tambacan. The suspect, identified by police as Ibrahim Adiong and a resident of Barangay Tomas Cabili, was with the father of the toddler having a drinking spree since the evening of December 31, supposedly to usher the New Year. The suspect was just invited by the friend of the victim's father. Lieutenant Rodney Gere, deputy station commander of Iligan City Police Station 4, said Adiong asked permission from the group to go to the toilet to urinate. "Nadunggan sa amahan nga misinggit iyang anak. Sa iyang pagsusi, iyang nakit-an ang suspek nga hubo nagpatong sa iyang anak. Misinggit siya nga 'akong anak gi-rape!', midagan ang suspek, mosibat unta," Gere said in an interview. (The victim's father heard that his child shouted. When he checked at the room, where the victim and her 11-month old sibling were sleeping, he saw the suspect naked on top of the 2 years old. When the father shouted 'my child was raped', the suspect ran, trying to escape.) The neighbors, who heard the father shouting, chased the suspect and mauled him, according to Gere. Police came and brought the suspect at the police station and when frisked, four small sachets of believed to be shabu were siezed from his pants. "It is our SOP (standard operating procedure) to frisk any suspect before sending him to the detention cell to check if he has hidden sharp items," Gere said. In an interview with reporters, Adiong admitted he committed the crime because he was drunk. He was brought to the police crime laboratory for drug testing. Police is awaiting the result. The victim, who kept on crying with blood all over her private parts and legs, was brought to a hospital in Iligan. Gere said, the physician advised the family to admit the child while waiting for the medical result. "Nakalibang man gud ang bata, dunay mga samad sa iyang private parts, kinahanglan pa obserbaran, bisan paman nga stable na iyang condition," Gere said. (The child defecate, her private parts have wounds. She needs to be observed although she is in stable condition.) The family of the child is interested to file a rape case against the suspect who is now at the custody of the police. "We are now working the necessary documents for the filing of statutory rape against the suspect," Gere said.

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AMPATUAN MASSACRE: Media groups in Oro applaud guilty verdict

December 20, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Media organizations here have applauded the guilty verdict rendered by the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City against the principal suspects and other respondents in the infamous Ampatuan massacre on Thursday (December 19). The Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), in a statement immediately following the verdict, expressed jubilation over the decision handed down by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes that ended the decade-long trial. “The COPC is elated with the guilty verdict on the people behind the 10-year-old Ampatuan massacre, especially the masterminds of the worst election-related violence in the country,” COPC said. “We expected nothing less than a conviction of the individuals who killed 58 people, 32 of whom were our colleagues in media,” it added. However, COPC called on the Philippine National Police to arrest the remaining 80 suspects who are still at-large. COPC president Ritchie Salloman that it was also "high time for the government to look into the other cases of media-related killings and other abuses against the members of the press all over the country". Pamela Jay Orias, chairman of the local chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), said the conviction of many of the principal suspects was "the best gift" that the families of the victims have received this Christmas. "I hope they can now sleep soundly at night knowing that justice has finally been served,” Orias said. Found guilty by the court for 57 counts of murder were members of the Ampatuan clan including Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., Anwar Sajid “Datu Ulo” Ampatuan, Anwar “Datu Ipi” Ampatuan Jr., and Datu Zaldy Ampatuan. The convicted respondents were also ordered by the court to pay civil indemnity, moral damages, exemplary damages, and loss of earning capacity in varying amounts to the surviving families of the victims. Caraga journos cheer guilty verdict Members of the media in Caraga region also cheered the court's guilty verdict. “The decision came more than 10 years after the incident,” noted Franklin Caliguid, the editor of a local weekly newspaper and online Caraga News Courier. Caliguid, a former correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, said he was relieved with the court decision finding the principal suspects guilty of the crime. Mike U. Crismundo, a correspondent of of Manila Bulletin here, recalled the life of a colleague and friend Alejandro “Bong” Reblando who perished in the massacre. “At that time, Bong Reblando was newly-appointed as regular correspondent of Manila Bulletin in Region 12,” Crismundo told Philippine News Agency on Thursday (December 12). He said that a day before the incident, he spoke with Reblando over the phone about the political situation in Maguindanao province. He said Reblando went into detail about the coverage for the filing of the candidacy of Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu against Andal Ampatuan Jr. “By the afternoon of November 23, I already heard about the incident and was so worried about Bong,” Crismundo said. He added that he proceeded then to the Manila Bulletin office in Davao City to verify the situation and found out about the fate of Bong and the rest of his companions. “That was a nightmare to me especially that Bong was a good friend and a reliable colleague in our work,” he said. “I felt joy over the verdict. Justice is rendered to the victims of the massacre. But one cannot erase the reality of losing a friend and a colleague,” he said. (PNA)

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House approves bill declaring ‘Walingwaling’ as national orchid

December 9, 2019

THE House of Representatives on Wednesday approved unanimously on third and final reading with 169 affirmative votes, House Bill No. 4952, which seeks to declare the Walingwaling orchid as the National Orchid of the Philippines. Principally authored by Rep. Vincent Garcia (2nd District, Davao City) and co-authored by Rep. Roman Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City), the bill mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, to promulgate the rules and regulations governing the acquisition, care, protection, conservation and propagation of Walingwaling, known scientifically as Vanda Sanderian. Garcia said the Walingwaling plant, the best orchid variety in the country, used to abound in the tropical forests of Mount Apo in the province of Davao and Zamboanga del Sur. “The orchid is touted as the queen of Philippine flowers and is worshiped as ‘diwata’ by the native Bagobos,” Garcia said. Aside from its origin in the Philippines, Garcia said the Walingwaling flower is symbolic of the Filipino traits and characteristics. “The majestic plant perched atop a tall tree and enjoying the elements of the earth symbolizes the high aspirations of the Filipino. It is never choosy in its growing environs. Such quality can be a resiliency of the Filipinos. It does not shy away from symbolic relationships with the dipterocarps (tall forest trees). Such characteristics are symbolic of Filipino independence,” he said. Garcia also cited the ornamental value of Walingwaling which is of national and international popularity. “It was in 1982 when Frederick Sander of London introduced the Walingwaling to the orchid enthusiasts and lovers in London. It was also propagated by orchid lobbyists and commercial orchid growers in other countries particularly Singapore, Thailand, Hongkong and Hawaii. Since then, Walingwaling hybrids have been one of the world’s multi-billion dollar orchid and cutflower industry. This is symbolic of the adaptability of the Filipinos,” he said.

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