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FDA 10: “Our hands are tied”

June 4, 2019

AN official of the Foods and Drug Administration (FDA) based here in Northern Mindanao admitted that they cannot just raid any establishment that blatantly sells banned dermatological products. This was the reaction of FDA 10 director Flordelina dela Cerna upon learning that the advocacy group Ecowaste Coalition revealed yesterday that there were still whitening products banned due to high mercury content that are still sold in Cagayan de Oro City. During the press conference, Thony Dizon from Ecowaste Coalition presented to the public a total of 33 samples of banned products that were allegedly sold in 12 different outlets here. The whitening products that have already been banned by FDA include Goree day and night whitening cream, Goree beauty cream, Renow-D facial cream, Deeja cosmetic sun cream, Deeja cosmetic wrinkle cream, Deeja cosmetic dream cream, RDCL babyface whitening cream and RDL face-off cream. These were the same products presented by Ecowaste Coalition that were allegedly bought in Angel Chavez Complex, Cogon market and Agora market – all located in Cagayan de Oro City. In a separate interview, dela Cerna confirmed that the various products presented by Ecowaste Coalition have indeed already been banned by the government but pointed out that the regulatory agency has its own procedures in enforcing the law. “Dili mi basta-basta nga adtuon namo na nga mga establishment nga gipresentar sa Ecowaste because of a number of factors. One, kung makabalo sila nga naa mi within duol na sa ila premises, ila dayon na dali-dalion og tago. Two, we need proper coordination as per our protocol,” dela Cerna said. Dela Cerna explained that the usual protocol was for the FDA central office to order its nearest enforcement cluster here – in this case, Davao City – to organize a raiding team and coordinate with local authorities – in this case, the city government and the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo). She added that only the enforcement unit cluster of FDA is authorized to confiscate any banned product as well as execute search warrants and arrest warrants issued by the courts and serve orders by the director-general of FDA. With this, Dela Cerna pointed out that the regional office of FDA here in Northern Mindanao is composed only of six inspectors and they do not have any police power, unlike their enforcement counterparts from Davao City. Dela Cerna also admitted that they could not also relay the expose of Ecowaste Coalition to its enforcement counterparts because that would be tantamount to hearsay. “Unless kami mismo mangunay og test buy, pwede namo na i-report sa central office para sila ang maghimo og special order for our enforcement unit in Davao City to act on it,” she said. But dela Cerna pointed out that the mandate of FDA is vast and their concerns are not limited to banned whitening products alone vis-à-vis the number of inspectors they have which is composed of six persons only regionwide. She said they are merely following the advisories from their central office on which concerns to focus at the moment. “As of now, ang concern sa central office is to track down banned pork products such as Ma-ling so mao na ang gitutokan namo karong panahona. That is why we confiscated several Ma-ling items in Cogon market a few days ago kay mao na ang directive sa central office,” dela Cerna said.

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Filipino muslims' "Eid'l Fitr" is a holiday on June 5

June 3, 2019

PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE has approved June 5, 2019 as a national holiday in observance of the muslim tradition of Eid'l Ftr (Feast of Ramadan) among muslims in the country. While in Japan, President Duterte ordered Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to sign Proclamation No. 729 as per recommendation also of the Commission on Muslim Filipinos that June 5 be declared national holiday in observance of Eid'l Ftr. The proclamation signed by Medialdea reads: “The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance of Eid’l Fitr." The President, according to Medialdea ordered to sign the proclamation of a holiday "to bring the religious and cultural significance of the Eid’l Fitr to the fore of national consciousness.” What is Eid'l Ftr? Eid al-Fitr, also called the "Festival of Breaking the Fast", is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. This religious Eid (Muslim religious festival) is the first and only day in the month of Shawwal during which Muslims are not permitted to fast. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on when the new moon is sighted by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. Eid al-Fitr has a particular salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (jamāʿat) and has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allāhu ʾAkbar" which means "God is the greatest"), three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before rukūʿ in the second raka'ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka'ah. According to Shia Islam, it has 6 Takbirs in the first Rakat at the end of qira'a, before rukūʿ, and 5 in the second. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, farḍ (obligatory), mustaḥabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandūb (preferable). Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan, and pay the Zakat al-Fitr before offering the Eid prayers.### ---  ABOUT JOEL Joel Calamba Escol is a journalist since 1991, author and all around person. He plays billiards, paints, do some comic illustrations, cartoons and likes watching CNN and AljazeraTV. He is also an SEO expert. When he's not working, you'll find him gaming and watching hard action movies. He's a total sucker of news and current events.  Follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

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Military troops kill CPP-NPA hitman in firefight 

June 3, 2019

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – Government troops killed a notorious hitman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) during a firefight which ensued when the alleged NPA hitman returned fire at pursuing members of the .    Police probers identified the victim as Joeboy Mantipala alias Bernabe,28. He was killed after he and his fellow NPA terrorists engaged soldiers and policemen in a running gun-battle after trying to avoid pursuing troops in Barangay Marbon.  He sustained gunshot wounds on different parts of his body. Soldiers immediately brought him to Talacogon District Hospital but was declared Dead on Arrival by the attending physician. Mantipala was earlier tagged as one of the killers of Felipe Amado, a CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) who was killed in Barangay Lydia, San Luis earlier in the afternoon of May 30. Amado was off-duty and was participating in the Brigada Eskwela in the said barangay when he was killed by Mantipala’s group. Up until his death, Mantipala was the Vice Commanding Officer of Platoon Banglas, Guerilla Front 88 of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee. He was positively identified by witnesses prompting Army and PNP units to launch manhunt operations against him and his cohorts. He was also tagged as one of the killers of Rubencio Salamoren, Barangay Chairman of Brgy. San Pedro, San Luis. Salamoren was shot to death last February 27, 2019 while driving his motorcycle in Don Alejandro, San Luis. “We have received reports of the NPA’s plan to attack government personnel including soldiers and policemen. Unfortunately for them, we have the support of the people now that is why we were able to track down Mantipala easily,” said Lt. Col. Romeo Jimenea, Commanding Officer of 26th Infantry Battalion. Recovered on site was Caliber.45 pistol, two magazines with seven live ammunitions and a Honda Motorcycle. Jimenea condoled with Mantipala’s family. He said they tried to save him and bring him to the bars of justice. “Sana sumuko na lang siya ng maayos. He could have surrendered and have the chance to live with his family but he made the wrong decision,” Jimenea added. Col. Allan Hambala, 401st Brigade Commander expressed his contentment to 26IB for its swift and decisive action against Bernabe’s group. “This should serve as a warning to CPP-NPA terrorists who still choose a life of violence. We will come and get you. We will never stop running after you because you prey on helpless citizens. We will hunt you down until you give up and surrender,” Hambala said. - PR  

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1 dead; 4 injured as lightning hit Siargao Island

June 3, 2019

SURIGAO CITY - One person died while 4 others were injured Sunday when a lightning suddenly hit one of the most visited islets off the coast of General Luna in Siargao Island.  Police investigators identified the dead victim as Lee Christian Zamora, a resident of Tagbilaran City. He was brought at the Dapa District Hospital but attending physicians pronounced him dead on arrival, while those who were injured included Elain Jhane Ragosta Zamora, 19, from Tagbilaran City; Princess Figuracion Jayme, 23, from Cebu City; Suzanne Simagol, 27, from Paranaque, Metro Manila; and Grace Rodrequez Tolibas, 28, a tour guide from General Luna, Siargao Island.   PMajor Joel V. Liong, chief of the General Luna Municipal Police Station said “this group of tourists did not come to the island together or as a group, they were enjoying the beach, taking photos and selfies. Then the lightning struck, injuring five of them. Right away, they were rushed to the district hospital in the town of Dapa.”  Meanwhile, Liong said Naked Island is one of the mostly visited tourist attractions that visitors should consider part of the packages they have chosen from travel and tour agencies. He said “everyday tourists flock to the islands of Naked, Daku, and Guyam as part of the island-hopping package tour.” “It was just unfortunate that the lightning struck the island and most of those injured were wet after swimming.”   

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Two cops, four civilians hurt in CDO misencounter

May 31, 2019

PLCOL Reynante Reyes, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office Officer-In-Charge confirmed that two policemen and 4 civilians were wounded in what was believed to be a "misencounter" in Brgy Puerto, Cagayan de Oro, on Thursday evening, May 30.   Police report claimed that what happened at 6:40 PM in Brgy Puerto this city was a “misencounter” between two policemen.   Prior to the incident, PSSg Arman Tagolimot of Misamis Oriental PPO conducted tailing and surveillance to a wanted person from Tagoloan heading to Puerto. However, upon arrival at Purok 6, Sayre highway, Brgy. Puerto, said wanted person noticed that he was being monitored and immediately drew a .38 revolver handgun and shot PSSg Tagolimot but the gun misfired prompting the police to draw his issued firearm and shot the armed suspect but accidentally hit a bystander.   Meanwhile, PSMS Jose Ryan M. Sevilleno, assigned at Police Station No. 6, Brgy. Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City was at the vicinity of the incident immediately responded but PSSg Tagolimot mistook the identity of the responding policeman resulting for the exchange of gunfire. Said exchange of gunfire resulted to additional casualties of three (3) civilians who sustained wounds and currently under treatment at the hospital. Further, the alleged wanted person managed to escape during the shootout and now under follow-up manhunt operation.   All involved wounded persons were brought to Puerto Community Hospital for their immediate medical treatment.   Meanwhile PSMS Jose Ryan M. Sevilleno was transferred to a private medical facility in the city while one of the victims was transferred to Northern Mindanao Medical Center.   Further, SOCO team led by PLT Fulgen B. Ragmac responded at the crime scene and recovered the following: six (6) fired cartridge cases believed to be of .45 Caliber pistol, three (3) deformed fired bullet of .45 Caliber, and five (5) fired cartridge cases of 9mm Caliber pistol. Also responded at the crime scene were personnel from CIB and personnel from CAPPD.   PLTCOL Reyes is saddened and dismayed with the unfortunate incident and assures all wounded persons of all possible assistance to ease their agonies, including a full dress of investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. Nonetheless, PLCOL Reyes has already ordered a thorough investigation of the case. PR

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Cops, military foil NPA attack on private farms, gov't facilities in Bukidnon

May 29, 2019

(MDN digital, May 29) - The planned attacks on private farms and government facilities by suspected heavily-armed members of the New People's Army rebels were thwarted in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon thru the immediate response of policemen and the military in the area. Colonel Surki Sereñas, PNP 10 spokesperson said in a statement that they received information at around 11:00 in the evening regarding the presence of heavily-armed men believed members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Barangay Sto. Niño, Manolo Fortich town in Bukidnon. Sereñas said after verifying the autheticity of the given information, they immediately dispatched a joint team of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines but the rebels have already retreated.  But Sereñas said a short firefight ensued as the rebels fired at the Cafgu detachment and harassed the Cafgus. Responding government troopers from the PNP and AFP recovered cartriges of .45, AK-47, M-16 assault rifles at the crime scene. The government forces also recovered burned vehicles including two L300 vans, one Izusu Elf truck, one Toyota Hilux pick up and two motorcycles. All of these vehicles were intentionally burned by the retreating NPA rebels. The police and military are now conducting hot pursuit operations, while they are also investigating who were the owners of the vehicles allegedly carnapped by the NPA rebels. The vehicles were supposed to be used in their planned attacks on private farms and government facilities in connection with their extortion activities.

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