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Vice mayor nabbed

March 14, 2019

ILIGAN City--Authorities arrested on Wednesday (March 13) Marawi Vice Mayor Arafat Salic after almost two years in hiding following his rebellion case.      Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army, said Arafat was arrested at the city hall in a joint law enforcement operation of the army and Marawi police around 9 in the morning yesterday.      It was not clear if he was reporting as vice mayor because the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has installed the city’s first councilor as acting vice mayor after Arafat was not anymore reporting to his office in 2017.      Salic is included in the arrest order issued by Department of National Defense following the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao during the start of Marawi siege in May 2017.      He is now in custody of the Philippine Army in Kampo Ranao in Marawi while undergoing interrogation with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency because of the pending murder and drug cases according to Brawner.      Arafat Salic is the son of former Marawi Mayor Solitario Ali and nephew of Fahad Salic who also became a three-term mayor.      Fahad was arrested in a checkpoint in Misamis Oriental in the early parts of Marawi siege for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

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“1k turns to P1700” investment scam founder fall

March 11, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - An alleged founder of another investment scam in Cagayan de Oro fall into the hands of the National Bureau of Investigation, regional office 10 here. NBI operatives identified the suspect as a certain Antonette Sestoso, a resident of this city. Sestoso reportedly turned herself over to NBI for fear of reprisal from her victims. She also said she surrendered to face any investigation and she would tell the truth about the company and its operations. "Willing sad ko mag refund sa money. Fiscal na ang bahala mag sulti kung pila ka bulan nako iuli ang ilang refund," Sestoso told the media. Sketchy reports revealed that the suspect collected more than half million pesos from those who complained at the NBI office 10. However other unconfirmed reports had it that the suspect allegedly carted away P30-M pesos from hundreds of investors. At the NBI office 10, the suspect admitted she was responsible in posting on Facebook very enticing adverts such as turning the investor's "P1K to P1700 in just 10 days." But she denied she was the founder of "P1K turns to P1700" alleged investment scam. "Oh ako ang ga-post sa Facebook pero dili lang ako involve ani. Involve pud ani ang pamilya ni Pagaspas. She told the media that a certain Donie Pagaspas was also allegedly involved in the operation of the reported investment scam. "Dili lang ako involve ani. Ang pamilya Pagaspas. Sila tanan apil ani," Sestoso told the media. NBI regional director Patricio Bernales, Jr advised city residents not to easily get enticed by the offers of people online so that they will not fall victims of investment schemes. "Kung tan aw ninyo nga too good to be true and offer online especially kadtong pirme ga open sa ilang gadgets, magduda namo. Dili gani ga offer ug ingon ana ka dagko ang bangko," Bernales said in vernacular. Lawyer Alex Caburnay also of NBI-10 told the media that if the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) did not give secondary license to a certain company offering investments, then it is a scam and the city residents must be aware of this fact. He told city residents to be watchful because there a lot of offers on Facebook that are all "too good to be true." "Para dili mo mailad kay daghan na karon investment schemes sa internet," Caburnay claimed. (JCE)

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Govt cancels peace talks with Reds

November 24, 2017

THE Philippine government on Wednesday terminated its peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that he will no longer pursue talks with the communist rebels. “We are hereby announcing today (Wednesday) the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF in line with President Duterte’s directive that there will be no more peace talks with them,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a statement. “Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations,” he added. In a speech in Taguig City on Tuesday, President Duterte said he has “decided to cut talks with the NPAs,” adding “giyera na lang tayo (Let’s just fight it out).” He said he has told Dureza and government chief negotiator, Silvestre Bello III, to convey to communist leaders abroad that the peace talks would no longer resume. The President has repeatedly lambasted the communist rebels for continuously attacking state troops and giving unreasonable demands in the peace negotiations. Among the demands the communist leadership has made was the release of all political prisoners prior to the peace talks. He also cited the NPA ambush of a police vehicle in the village of Tikalaan, Talakag town, Bukidnon, on Nov. 9, which resulted in the death of a four-month old infant. “In-ambush nila ‘yung pulis in Mindanao, tapos pati ‘yung bata na four months old, tinamaan. Kaya napundi talaga ako (They ambushed the policeman in Mindanao, killing a four-month-old baby in the process. I really lost my temper),” Duterte said. It can be recalled that President Duterte on Saturday told reporters that he would declare the NPA a terrorist group because he was sick of their shenanigans. Peace negotiations were stalled in May this year following a string of attacks committed by communist rebels against state troops. In the meantime, Dureza said the cancellation of peace talks with the Reds “is an unfortunate development in our work for peace”. “Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them,” he said. Talks between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDF have reached a fourth round, and a fifth round was being worked out when the process was stalled. Dureza noted that President Duterte has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the so-called extra mile to bring peace, but the communist party and its armed elements have not shown reciprocity. “There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP-NPA-NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident. We will closely watch the developments,” he said. “We have expressed our deep gratitude to the Royal Norwegian government for its strong support as we also expressed to their officials our regrets for this turn of events,” Dureza said. (PNA)

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CHR cannot determine its own course using LP-tinted eye-glasses

September 22, 2017

THE Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading a bill postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections from October to May next year. Senate Bill 1584 was approved with 17 votes, one negative vote by Senator Risa Hontiveros and zero abstention. The bill was authored by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon. Barangay officials would be allowed to continue exercising their functions in a holdover capacity. The bill was approved without the provision that would allow the President to appoint barangay officials. Gordon, sponsor of the bill, said the postponement of the barangay elections would give the police and military forces ample time to address the problem of drugs and to put an end to the Marawi siege. In his sponsorship speech, Gordon said the illegal drug trade has become so rampant that the Bureau of Customs was not spared from being used as the port of entry of illegal drugs. He said the incidents involving the killing of minors involved in drugs are signs of the magnitude of the drug problem in the country. He said elective officials down to the barangay level are involved in illegal drugs and that 49 percent of the barangays are drug-infested - which is enough reason to postpone the barangay elections so the police and the military forces could clean the barangays of the drug menace. Gordon added that he is giving opportunity to the military so they could assure the conduct of clean, orderly and honest barangay elections since majority of the country’s police and military forces are currently assigned in Mindanao to fight terrorist and extremist groups. Comelec: No barangay, SK elections in October in Mindanao The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday said barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in Mindanao are postponed while the Martial Law is still in effect. But for Visayas and Luzon, the poll body is still waiting for the final decision of Congress. Comelec XI Director Marlon Casquejo said the postponement was approved by Comelec in an en banc resolution on August 15 following a consultation with local officials last month. According to Casquejo, all barangay and SK officials are in hold-over status. The postponement was considered due to the imposition of martial law. President Rodrigo Duterte has first declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 until July. The President extended the martial law until the end of December, 2017. All parties have been notified and there was no opposition to delay the elections, which is scheduled in October, Casquejo said during Wednesday’s AFP-PNP Press forum at the Royal Mandaya Hotel. The barangay and SK polls will happen only 30 days after martial law will be lifted. Casquejo, however, stressed that Comelec is ready to hold elections if the martial law will be lifted anytime. If martial law ends on December 31, 2017, the elections can take place 30 days after. He said Comelec continues to accept certificates of candidacy. Comelec is also printing official ballots while the list of voters and the board of election inspectors are also ready. Casquejo said there are already three million voters in Davao region. Of the number, 1.2 million voters are in Davao City that already includes SK voters. For Visayas and Luzon, Casquejo said there are conflicting provisions in the bills passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. He cited that the House agreed to the postponement of the barangay and SK elections to May 2018 while the Senate moved for October elections. Another provision is on the status of the barangay officials. Casquejo said the House moved for hold-over status while the Senate wants to replace the barangay captains in the list of narco politicians. The Senate also gives President Duterte the authority to replace them. Should the House and Senate still fail to agree on conflicting provisions, Casquejo said Comelec is ready for the October elections in Luzon and Visayas. Last week, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 6308 which seeks to postpone the October 23, 2017, barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to the second Monday of May 2018. To reset the synchronized barangay and SK polls, the bill seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9164, as amended by RA No. 9340, RA No. 10656 and RA No. 10923, which are all related to barangay and SK elections. The bill provides that all incumbent barangay and SK officials shall continue to hold office until the next election is held. The postponement of the barangay and SK elections this year is in support of President Duterte’s call to reset the polls because he does not want those financed by druglords to win. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)

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Duterte vows to stop child slavery in Marawi

September 15, 2017

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said that when the war in Marawi reaches its end, he will address another prevalent problem in the predominantly Muslim city – child slavery. During his fourth visit of government troops in the city on September 11, the President revealed that some members of the Maranao community are taking children for slaves. “Na check na namin ng social workers yan. Marami kasing mga bata sa Pilipinas kinikidnap,” Duterte said. “Ang problema nyan, karamihan, dito pinagbibili, ang slavery is prevalent here.” “Pagkatapos nya’ng siege na ‘yan sabihin ko talaga, prangkahan tayo, magkadugo man tayo, I will not allow that bullshit. Na mag-nakaw kayo ng bata tapos palakihin ninyo, [as a] slave,” he said. He added, “Marami yan, bulong ng mga pinsan ko. Alam ko kasi alam ko. Kasi taga rito ako noon. Noong maliit ako, buhay pa ang lola ko, madalas ako dito.” During his speech, the commander-in-chief promised a trip to Hong Kong for all the women soldiers of Marawi and gave away watches and other provisions as a form of morale support to the front-liners in the war against Maute terrorists. The President also visited the reclaimed Grand Islamic Mosque, which was previously seized and made as a command center by the Maute group. (PCOO)

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Make livestock in Northern Mindanao at par with Asean

September 11, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City—The Board of Investments (BOI) is looking for ways to transform Northern Mindanao’s livestock industry at par with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) standards. This was disclosed by BOI Investment Assistance Service director Raul Angeles, who pointed out that as Asean heads towards closer economic integration, the country’s livestock industry should not be left behind in the scramble for one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world. Angeles, who was in the city Wednesday to promote the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan for Region 10, cited the potentials of the region’s “prolific” livestock industry, which is among the country’s top producers. Data from government agencies showed that Northern Mindanao has around 270,000 heads of cattle, 234,300 goats, 124,000 carabaos, and 899,200 hogs. Northern Mindanao also ranked third among the chicken growers in the country, producing a total of 11 percent of 19,596,441 heads contribution to the national supply annually. The region is also the eighth top grower of ducks with a total of four percent or 444,064 heads produced annually. Angeles said BOI has existing programs and technical assistance so that local growers can become more competitive and raise production standards. He said the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan will serve as a blueprint in guiding Filipino and foreign investors in matching their entrepreneurial and financial capacities with the identified opportunities. According to BOI, the government aims to steer the country’s economic growth “to a broader and sustainable path by maintaining the Philippines’ competencies while developing sectors with potential for inclusive growth by connecting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the global value chain.” (PNA/Mark D. Francisco)

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