todays top stories

CIDG files graft raps against 9 village officials in Normin

May 28, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) filed anti-graft charges against nine village (barangay) officials in Northern Mindanao in connection with the distribution of the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Col. Harold Ramos, CIDG regional director in Northern Mindanao, said that some officials came from Baungon in Bukidnon and Bulua in Cagayan De Oro City. He said that the village officials have reportedly violated the government’s SAP program that provides financial assistance to the displaced families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) allocated P 945 billion under the SAP where qualified beneficiaries belonging to the low-income group would receive P 6,000 to P 8,000. On orders of President Duterte, the CIDG filed criminal charges against disqualified public officials that include village officials, mayors, and government officials who have reportedly availed of the financial aid.

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Group hails DOH for phasing out dental mercury amalgam

May 27, 2020

ENVIRONMENTAL justice watchdog BAN Toxics praised the Department of Health (DOH) and Secretary Francisco Duque III for passing Administrative Order No. 2020-0020, effectively phasing-out mercury use in dental restorative procedures. With the phase out, the Administrative Order positions the country in protecting vulnerable populations particularly pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune systems. Mercury and mercury compounds are toxic chemicals with negative effects on human health and the environment. The World Health Organization listed mercury as one of their top chemicals of major health concern.[1] Dental amalgam is a silver-colored material used to fill teeth with cavities and is made up of 50% mercury and other materials including silver and tin. “This is a landmark regulation coming from the DOH, amidst our collective struggle against COVID-19, and affirms the Department’s continued focus in protecting and nurturing the health of Filipinos,” said Reynaldo San Juan Jr., Executive Director of BAN Toxics.  “The order is also a recognition of other threats from toxic chemicals Filipinos are facing, and that the DOH is taking decisive action against toxins, such as mercury.” The Administrative Order provides a comprehensive policy in the elimination of dental amalgam in the country and sets forth guidelines governing the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of dental amalgam, and establishes health and safety guidelines in the handling, use, storage and disposal of dental amalgams among dental workers and students, and patients. The Order also aims to raise awareness on alternative dental restorative materials and identify several measures to strengthen the advocacy on dental caries prevention and oral health. In 2014, BAN Toxics conducted a study on the mercury vapor levels in dental institutions. Mercury emission in 5 dental institutions and 3 dental clinics that were tested exceeded the general accepted human exposure limits and provided proof that mercury vapors can be emitted by amalgam fillings. On May 29, 2020, 15 days from the effectivity of the Order, the importation of elemental mercury for use in dental restorative procedures and dental amalgam capsules is banned in the Philippines. The Order also immediately puts a stop to the use of dental amalgam for children fourteen years old and below, pregnant women and nursing mothers. “The global community lauds the steps taken by Secretary Duque and the Department of Health for this visionary order that will protect the lives and health of so many Filipino children,” said Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, a US-based non-profit working with BAN Toxics on the phase out of dental amalgam. “Global fish stocks will be a bit safer to eat, dental office employees will be better protected in the workplace, and future generations will not face the health risk of this mercury exposure.” “We look forward to a new day in our country, as the Philippine dental community, finally closes the chapter on dental amalgam, and embraces toxics-free alternatives,” stated Dra. Lillian Ebuen, founder of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Technology, Philippines. “Our work does not stop here. Sec. Duque has delivered the first punch against mercury, and Pres. Duterte can deliver the knockout punch by ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury now. The treaty has been languishing unratified for two years. We urge President Duterte, knockout mercury, ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury now,” exclaimed San Juan.

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SEC shuts down CROWD1

May 27, 2020

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ordered CROWD1 Asia Pacific, Inc. to immediately stop soliciting and accepting investments from the public under a scheme disguised as a digital marketing business. In an order issued May 12, 2020 the Commission directed CROWD1 to cease and desist, under pain of contempt, from engaging in activities of selling and/or offering for sale securities in the form of investment contracts or other similar schemes without prior registration and permit to sell. The SEC also ordered CROWD1 to cease from promoting its investment scheme in social media and other online platforms.  Furthermore, the Commission prohibited CROWD1 from transacting any business involving funds in its depository banks, and from transferring, disposing, or conveying in any manner all related assets for the benefit of the investors. The cease and desist order covers the corporation’s operators, partners, directors, officers, salespersons, agents, representatives, promoters, and all persons, conduit entities and subsidiaries claiming and acting for and on its behalf. The SEC Cagayan de Oro Extension Office (SEC – CDOEO) despite the pandemic which still operates, has been receiving inquiries from various people under jurisdiction regarding to the legality of CROWD1. Numerous reports were also sent via emails of SEC CDOEO.  “We really encourage everyone to always check the SEC Advisories and be extra cautious in dealing your investments to different entities currently operating today amid this pandemic”, Atty. Renato V. Egypto, SEC CDOEO Director said in a statement. The SEC issued the cease and desist order after finding that CROWD1 has operated “a fraudulent investment scheme consisting of the sale and/or offer of inexistent securities in the form of investment contracts to the public.” CROWD1 solicits and accepts investments from the public by offering what it describes as educational packages for a minimum of P6,000 and as much as P240,000. To entice the public to invest, CROWD1 promises member-investors five different bonuses: streamline bonus, binary pairing bonus, fear of loss bonus, matching bonus, and residual bonus from games and gambling apps. CROWD1 likewise touts a pairing incentive payable in euros to encourage member-investors to recruit new members. Representing itself as a digital marketing business, CROWD1 claims it generates income from online games and facilitates the generation by its members of residual income from its affiliate gaming companies such as AFFIGLO and MIGGSTER. The SEC, however, ruled that CROWD1’s scheme involved the sale and/or offer of securities in the form of investment contracts and, thus, required a secondary license under Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC). Rule 26.3.5 of the 2015 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the SRC defines an investment contract as “a contract, transaction or scheme whereby a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits primarily through the efforts of others.” An investment contract is presumed to exist when a person seeks to use the money or property of other persons on the promise of profits. Also, a common enterprise is deemed created when two or more investors pool their resources even if the promoter receives nothing more than a broker’s commission. In this light, the SEC held that CROWD1 engaged in the sale and/or offer for sale of securities in the form of investment contracts. The Commission also ruled that the act of CROWD1 of publishing and making presentations on its investment/ business scheme through its website, Facebook, YouTube and on-ground events, and inviting investors constituted a public offering as defined under Rule 3.1.17 of the 2015 IRR of the SRC. Section 8 of the SRC provides that securities shall not be sold or offered for sale or distribution within the Philippines, without a registration statement duly filed with and approved by the SEC. CROWD1 neither secured a secondary license to operate as a broker/dealer, registered as issuer of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds or proprietary/ nonproprietary shares, nor registered any securities pursuant to the SRC. CROWD1 only registered as a corporation for the primary purpose of engaging in business process outsourcing services.   The SEC, however, emphasized that the certificate of incorporation granted to CROWD1 explicitly prohibited the corporation from soliciting, accepting or taking investments or placements from the public as well as from issuing investment contracts. With all these various entities which have the same schemes of defrauding the people by showing certificates of registration from the Commission, SEC-CDOEO takes this challenge to educate the investing public by attending or organizing radio interview and press releases as a strategy of informing the public amid this pandemic. Atty. Egypto added that “Our investing public should always ask for the secondary license if they are dealing an entity which offers/sells investment contracts. It is your right as well as an investor to look for their financial report to assure that the market can sustain the promises they are dealing with you.”   Acting on numerous complaints, reports and inquiries, the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) conducted an investigation, which included surveillance and field operations, for possible violations of the SRC and its IRR. The EIPD was then able to establish by substantial evidence that CROWD1 was selling and/or offering securities to the public in the form of investment contracts without the required secondary license from the Commission. Based on the findings and evidence gathered, the SEC proceeded with the issuance of a cease and desist order against CROWD1. “[I]t is clear that CROWD1 is not authorized to sell or offer its educational packages to the public because they are securities in the form of investment contracts, and CROWD1 does not have the requisite license from this Commission,” the order read. “This undoubtedly warrants the issuance of a cease and desist order because the act of CROWD1 in selling/ offering unregistered securities operates as a fraud to the public which, if unrestrained, will likely cause grave or irreparable injury or prejudice to the investing public.” The public is encouraged to submit their reports for any fraudulent activities which they have the information and send it to seccdoeo@gmail.com for faster action towards the rightful authorities. (PR)

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A nurse, a student latest COVID positive in CDO

May 27, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--A nurse and a student, both 25-year-old female, were the latest to have contracted the COVID-19 virus here, City Health officials said Wednesday. The Nurse came from the municipal town of Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon while the student came from an uptown subdivision in Lumbia, Cagayan De Oro City. The Nurse frequents in Cagayan De Oro to purchase medical supplies before she reportedly contracted the COVID-19 virus. The female student was the second student found positive for the COVID-19 virus after undergoing “swab test,” health officials said. Dr. Joselito Retuya, the city’s epidemiologist, said that a 26-year-old male student from Iligan City was the first to be found COVID-19 positive. Although the family in Iligan was informed, the student remains in Cagayan De Oro to undergo treatment at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) here. Retuya said that the students were stranded in Cebu after their scheduled licensure board exam for architecture in March was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Lorraine Nery, the head of the city’s emergency operation, said that the students were among the 35 passengers of the “sweeper vessel” that arrived in the port of Cagayan De Oro City on May 19, 2020. She said that 15 passengers of the “sweeper vessel” underwent “swab tests” upon arrival at the port of Cagayan De Oro City. She said that the remaining 20 passengers were found negative of the COVID-19 virus. According to Nery, the city health officials are closely coordinating with the coastguard authorities as contact tracing of the COVID-19 positive passengers continues.

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Memorial Day in the Philippines | Honoring Kagay-anon Patriots of World War II

May 25, 2020

On May 25, 2020, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a federal holiday dedicated to honoring and mourning military personnel who had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Previously observed on May 30, it has been officially moved to the last Monday of May since 1971, purportedly to allow people to enjoy a long weekend (sounds familiar?). However, veterans groups have decried the change saying people engage in vacations in revelry instead of visiting cemeteries and memorials to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. Military. The US flag is frequently seen on graves of military personnel in national cemeteries. Memorial Day in the Philippines Not too many people now that Memorial Day has been similarly observed in the Philippines in cemeteries of American military personnel who died in the line of duty. Most notable examples are the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Cabanatuan American Memorial and Clark Veterans Cemetery which are officially cared for by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,184, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The Clark Veterans Cemetery was formed between 1947 and 1950 by moving the headstones/markers and remains from at least four other U.S. military cemeteries (Fort Stotsenburg 1 & 2, Fort McKinley, and Sangley Point Naval Cemetery) to the new 20.365 acre, 12,000 plot cemetery located just inside the main gate of Clark Air Base.  All WWII dead were moved to the American Cemetery in Manila.    Clark Cemetery contains the remains of U.S. veterans from the USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF, Philippine Scouts (PS) and their dependents.  Some, but not all, were veterans of the Spanish/ American, Philippine Insurrection, WWI, WWII (died after the war), Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq wars.  The largest category interred are civilian, mostly U.S. and Filipino and their dependents, all of whom worked for the U.S. Government. There are nearly 9,000 individuals buried in the cemetery as of May 1, 2019. Dual flags have flown over the cemetery since March 1984. Victory Week While there is currently no Philippine equivalent to Memorial Day, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and Armed Forces is pushing to have September 2nd officially recognized as Victory Week to honor and mourn military personnel who died while serving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). “We have started informally building the surrender of Gen. Yamashita as Victory Week since last year, which we treat as the equivalent of the US Memorial Day. It takes a legislative action to establish it so we made it initially as a tradition until we could elicit acceptance,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto L. Aguilar (ret.), chief of the PVAO’s Veterans Memorial and Historical Division. Even before that is officially recognized by the Philippine government, allow us the privilege of honoring and mourning some of our local heroes who perished during the Second World War in service of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and the guerrillas of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), when the Philippines was still a colony of the US. Although bitter adversaries during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902 (still carried in American history books as the ‘Philippine Insurrection’), and the first and only colony of the US in Asia since that time, Filipinos never bought into Imperial Japan’s line they were here to free us from the American yoke as partners in the 'Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". When the Pacific War broke out in December 8, 1941, with Japanese planes bombing Clark Field and other US installations in the Philippines, the greater part of the Filipinos sided with the US and when the USAFFE forces under Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp, Jr. surrendered to the invaders on 10 May 1942 in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, most of the American and Filipinos melted away in the hills of Mindanao to start what eventually became the biggest and most organized group of guerrillas in the 10th Military District, USFIP under Col. Wendell W. Fertig. For this year’s Memorial Day, we honor and mourn some of our Filipino martyrs who fought and died in the service of their beloved Philippines and their adopted country the United States of America. Our Local Heroes Capt. Antonio Julian C. Montalvan (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team as G-2, MC Liaison and Intelligence Officer, of the 10th Military District under Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  As a medical doctor, he was able to get information by moving through various hospitals in Manila about Japanese troops in Mindanao, which he passed on to Fertig and which eventually reached MacArthur in Australia. As a member of a spy network, he helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. After three successful intelligence gathering trips by banca to Manila from Mindanao, he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai (Military Police) in  Tayabas, and was later detained and tortured in Fort Santiago and the Old Bilibid Prisons in Manila. On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles "Chick" Parsons. The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery. 1st Lt. Fidel Saa, Sr.   of Cagayan, Misamis, was the 109th Regiment’s dental surgeon. He married Enriquita Mercado of Gingoog City with whom he had three sons: Le Grande, Fidel Jr. and Ruel. On 03 January 1944, he and four other guerrillas and one civilian were captured, tortured and bayoneted to death when the Japanese ambushed their headquarters in El Salvador around 04 January 1945. The other victims were 2nd Lt. Eufronio Jabulin, Sgt. Gregorio Macapayag, Cpl. Gerardo Saguing, Pvt. E. Eling and Chong Ing, a Chinese trader. The Japanese also captured Maj. Fidencio Laplap’s father  Melanio and brought him to Cagayan where he was tortured and killed. The Japanese had no reservations about the age of the suspected spied and guerrillas they killed. Sometime in 1942, Cox  Banquerigo, an intelligence asset of the guerrillas was betrayed by a “friend” and neighbor at the Parke (now Gaston Park) who was an enlisted man with the Japanese-sponsored Bureau of Constabulary (BC). Only 16 at the time, Cox was brought to the Ateneo de Cagayan where he was interrogated, tortured and beheaded. The guerrillas eventually caught up with the traitor and killed him at Barangay, Agusan.  Perhaps the most remarkable Kagay-anon patriots were the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after, another story apparently forgotten by the present generation. No less than six of the siblings, five males and one female, were involved in fighting the Japanese in World War II, making them our counterpart to the famous Sullivan Brothers of the US Navy. While only the second eldest sibling Nestor  was killed in action vs. the Japanese at the young age of 24,while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942, this does not by any measure diminish the sacrifice of his five other siblings in the struggle against the Japanese Occupation during the war. The eldest Ronaldo, a 1st Lt. in the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC), survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the concentration Camp in Capas, Tarlac and instructed to report to the Japanese headquarters in Cagayan. He came home wearing his full PAAC uniform. Instead, he joined the 120th Infantry Regiment under Maj. Angeles Limena as one of his staff. After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL). He died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. Apollo became a 2nd Lt. and platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental. He died fighting with the 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8  at the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of  Korea on June 20,1952 while repelling a superior force of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. The Philippine Navy’s BRP Apollo Tiano is named in his honor. Uriel became a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital together with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse at the regimental hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental. As Cpl. Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of a Guerrilla: The Barefoot Army,” Lt. Fe Tiano and PFC Jaime Tiano were engrossed in their hospital work, tending to the sick of the regimental hospital. They were so busy that they forgot to apply for their vacation, and when they did, it would be disapproved.” Truly a dilemma that our frontliners in our hospitals and health care facilities could relate with!  “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano and two sisters Ruth and Emily were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,” Ilogon noted.  There are too many others, both known and unknown, who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in our fight for freedom, and it’s beyond our limited knowledge and capacity to mention all of them here. But let this not diminish our recognition of their uncommon valor and faith in our ultimate victory that may serve to inspire us withstand the trials of this unseen enemy which now confronts us the world over. Thank you for your service to the Philippines and the United States of America! MABUHAY!

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Libel raps vs. CDO City Mayor Moreno

May 23, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: City Mayor Oscar Moreno faces libel for accusing a woman by telling President Duterte about the mayor’s inefficiency in handling the COVID-19 issue here.     Leona Cabagnot, a tourism consultant of the province of Misamis Oriental, said she, her family and children suffered sleepless nights and anxiety because of Moreno’s accusation.     Two weeks ago, Moreno accused Cabagnot of reporting to President Duterte by calling “8888,” a telephone line directly connected with Malacañang about Moreno’s alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 issue in the city.     In a press conference, Moreno identified Cabagnot as the woman from Jasaan, who was one of the people engaged in the demolition job against him.     Cabagnot denied the accusation and libeled Moreno in a case filed with the city fiscal’s office here.     Malacañang installed an open line “8888” telephone number to allow anyone to file complaint with any government official perceived to be corrupt and derelict in the performance of their office.

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