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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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81 barangays in Normin drug-free

September 6, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has declared 81 drug-free barangays in Northern Mindanao region as a result of their intensified anti-drug operation and drug clearing program as of June 29. Agent Joerick S. Tacal cited during the monthly meeting of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (RLECC) region 10 that the province of Misamis Occidental has the most number of drug-free barangays with 43; Misamis Oriental, 18; Camiguin, 12; and Bukidnon, 8. Lanao del Norte, however, has not declared a single barangay yet. Based on the Dangerous Drug Board, before a certain barangay will be declared as drug-free, they must undergo assessment and validation with the chief of police and certified by the mayor, PDEA, the Department of Health and Department of the Interior Local Government (DILG) before the issuance of certificate for drug-free. These parameters include non-availability of drug supply; absence of drug transit/transshipment activity; absence of clandestine drug laboratory; absence of clandestine drug warehouse; absence of clandestine chemical warehouse; absence of marijuana cultivation site; absence of drug den, dive or resort; and compulsory drug treatment and rehabilitation processing desk. Also, absence of drug pusher; absence of drug user/dependent; absence of protector/coddler/financier; active involvement of barangay officials in anti-drug activities; active involvement of Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) to help maintain the drug liberated status of the barangay; and existence of drug awareness, preventive education and information and other related programs. The PDEA, Tacal said that among the general guidelines provided in the drug-clearing program are the mandatory creation of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs); the conduct of barangay drug-clearing operations which is divided into three phases, namely the Pre-Operation Phase, Operation Phase and Post-Operation Phase; the classification of barangays in determining the priority areas for clearing operations; the duties of local chief executives in the barangay drug-clearing program; and the penalty for non-compliance. The BADACs were deputized and empowered to plan and implement strategic policies; and evaluate programs and projects on drug prevention and control, given the political and police powers of the barangay to administer the affairs of the community. The conduct of sustaining clearing operations against drug-affected barangays in the initial phase include the activation of BADACs, capability enhancement of all stakeholders through seminars, preventive education and trainings, organization of house clusters to determine all essential facts of illegal drug activities happening in the neighborhood, submission of report containing watch-list of drug personalities, establishment of a rehabilitation referral desk in every barangay, among others. The Operation Phase is the actual implementation of drug supply and demand reduction strategies in drug-affected areas. This is where PDEA and other support agencies come into play. The Post-Operation Phase is aimed to maintain the ‘drug-cleared’ status of the barangays after drug-clearing operations through sustainable support projects such as sports, religious and social activities, implement sustainable livelihood projects as a reintegration program to former users and pushers, and continuing anti-drug awareness programs. Tacal noted that the local chief executives are duty bound to ensure the organization of BADAC in all barangays within their territorial jurisdiction, allocation of substantial portion in the barangay budget and ensure compliance with the duties and responsibilities of the BADAC in the anti-drug campaign. Meanwhile, PDEA in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other operating units made a total of 364 anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 which resulted to the seizure of drugs with an estimated value P18,875,111.91. (EOR/PIA10)

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Centers for teens eyed in 4 Misor towns

September 5, 2017

MISAMIS Oriental--Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano yesterday said the provincial government will put up teen centers in four towns identified with highest pregnancy rates. Along this line, Emano said during the weekly Capitol flag raising ceremony that the provincial government in cooperation with the Population Commission (Popcom) will create teen centers in the towns of Lugait, Magsaysay, Lagonglong and Alubijid. The governor said the teen center will function as a space for the youth to express themselves. In an interview later, Emano announced that the provincial government would request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to set aside P100,000 for the construction of each teen center or, a total of P400,000. Each teen center costs P350,000. The remaining P250,000 cost would be shouldered by Popcom, according to Emano. The teen centers will be manned by municipal population officers, peer educators and livelihood trainers that are trained by Popcom. It is unknown yet at this stage what spiked the teenage pregnancy rates in the four towns mentioned, but Emano said the creation of the teen centers will help mitigate the situation. The teen centers will serve as first aid to assist young people with their problems if they cannot express these to their families, according to Emano.

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2 drug suspects slain in NorthCot; another one nabbed in buy-bust

September 1, 2017

KIDAPAWAN City--Two suspected drug couriers were killed in a reported shootout with police operatives in Pikit, North Cotabato, around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Chief Inspector Romy Castanares, chief of the Pikit municipal police station, identified the slain drug suspects as Edzrapel Dima and Bashir Maniling, both residents of Pagalungan, Maguindanao. Castanares said some residents of Barangay Batulawan informed them about the presence of Dima and Maniling in their place. He said the suspects were included in the police’s drug watch list. Informants told police the suspects were on board a passenger tricycle with body number 5-909 and were on their way to Aleosan. Castanares said he then dispatched a team to run after the suspects. He said that on their way to Barangay Batulawan the policemen engaged the suspects in a running gun battle. He said Dima and Maniling ignored calls for them to surrender. They lay dead on the highway minutes after the shootout. They were rushed to the Cruzado Medical Clinic in the poblacion but were declared dead on arrival, he added. Police recovered from the suspects a mini Uzi caliber 9mm machine pistol and several drug paraphernalia. Castanares said the operating teams included his men, operatives of the Regional Public Safety Battalion in Region 12, and 2nd Mechanized Company. In Tulunan town, police arrested a 27-year old farmer in a buy-bust raid, Tuesday night. Police identified the suspect as Jonel Ambid, resident of Barangay Maybula, Tulunan. Based on police records, Ambid has submitted himself to Tulunan police and admitted having engaged in drug trafficking but promised to reform. But police said he returned to selling drugs despite having undergone ‘Tokhang’ twice after his supposed surrender in 2016. Allegedly recovered from Ambid during the buy-bust raid were sachets of shabu and other drug paraphernalia. Charges of violation of Republic Act 9165 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were being prepared against Ambid, investigators said. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)

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