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Duterte government lost 6 soldiers in gunbattle with NPA rebels

April 24, 2019

Cagayan de Oro (MDN Digital, April 24) - Gun battle between communist rebels and government forces in Samar province resulted to the death of six soldiers and the wounding of six others, a report from the military said. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a report sent to MDN digital reported that members of the 46th Infantry Battalion were patrolling in Barangay Beri in Cabiga town when they encountered a group of armed men who were members of the New People's Army. A firefight ensued but unfortunately, six of the army members died on the spot while another six were also wounded. Reports from Eastern Visayas police said the NPA rebels used improvised explosive device, in which they used to kill at least 6 members of the military and the wounding of six others. AFP has yet to devulge the names of those who died during encounters pending verifications of their names, as well as notifying their families first of what happened to them in the battle ground. Capt Reynaldo Aragones, Philippine Army's spokesperson said that during the encounters there were over 20 NPA rebels. However, Aragones claimed, adding that the number of casualties on the NPA side cannot be .    The newest skirmishes came after President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to NPA rebels to go back to the fold of the law and lay down their arms. The earlier failed talks with the government was represented by the National Democratic Front (NDF) but the Duterte government reportedly walked away from the negotiating table because of off ands on negotiations between the government and the New People's Army. 

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World Bank to act on PHL call for closer coordination with ADB

April 24, 2019

THE WORLD Bank has responded positively to the Philippines’ call for the institution to closely coordinate its efforts and explore complementarities with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to more efficiently and effectively deliver development assistance and aid to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III received the World Bank’s commitment on collaborating closely with the ADB to improve aid effectiveness during a recent meeting with Victoria Kwakwa, the bank’s vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, at this multilateral institution’s headquarters in Washington D.C.  Dominguez reiterated during the meeting his concern about the duplication of the work of the ADB and World Bank in the region, which, he said,  has led small countries with limited resources to eventually incur unnecessarily high operational costs and borrowing rates in obtaining loans from the two institutions.  “As governor of both institutions, I’d like to see overheads not duplicated and how you can work together more effectively,” Dominguez told World Bank officials during the meeting.  Also present at the meeting were Mara Warwick, the World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand; and Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).  Dominguez pointed out that small countries would have to deal with two multilateral institutions with their own economic assessments before they can secure assistance from either the World Bank or ADB.  “What’s the value added there in relation to the overhead that the members really have to eventually bear in terms of higher interest rates, among other factors?” Dominguez stressed.  Pernia said the a more effective division of labor and specialization between the two multilateral institutions “results in higher efficiency.”  Kwakwa, in response, agreed with Dominguez, saying that his concerns mirror the goals of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (2012), which both aim to improve the quality and effectiveness of aid extended to developing countries.   The Philippines, ADB and World Bank have endorsed, and adhere to, these Paris and Busan documents.  “So Secretary Dominguez, on this issue of collaboration and being more efficient as your development partners, our response is yes, we will take it forward. We will work with ADB to be more efficient,” said Kwakwa during the meeting.  Kwakwa said she will “engage ADB to see how we can move forward.” “I think we can do better. I think we have come a long way and I think we can do better,” she said. “This is something we will keep you very much in the loop and see how we can move forward on this agenda.” Kwakwa said the two institutions can start by discussing about coming up with a single, rather than, two economic reports for a country in need of development assistance. “On our side, we will seek opportunities to work more closely with ADB and others who are in the field working not just in the Philippines but other countries and so on. We will think about it some more,” Kwakwa said.  Kwakwa suggested calling a meeting between the ADB and World Bank “about how we can make sure we are not duplicating efforts.”  “That would be good. That’s the way that we can start on this,” she said. Also during the meeting, Warwick provided Dominguez and Pernia with a brief update on the Bank’s upcoming country partnership network with the Philippines, which will have a “strong focus on Mindanao” in terms of peace building and development, and will also cover disaster risk management, customs reform, and the modernization of the civil service.  Dominguez, on behalf of the Philippine government, thanked the World Bank for its financial support and valuable advice, which both reflect the institution’s “very deep” understanding of the Duterte administration’s goals to achieve inclusive growth.  “We are very happy with the engagements we have with the World Bank. For the first time in a long time, we are really truly, intensely working together,” Dominguez said.  Kwakwa said she looks forward to the Philippines accomplishing its goal of reaching high-income status by 2040 through its continuing strong partnership with the World Bank.

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6.1 Magnitude Earthquake Claims 10 Lives in Philippines

April 23, 2019

The death toll of an earthquake that registered 6.1 magnitude in the richter scale and hit Philippines Monday, has already reached to 10 according to the latest count by authorities. According to Phivolcs, the epicenter of the quake was somewhere in Zambales. The quake also hit 60km north from the capital Metro Manila which had caused structures to collapse and cut the power off. In Pampanga, which was considered worst hit, eight people were reported killed based on the account made by provincial governor Lilia Pineda. Gov Pineda has recommended that her province be declared under state of calamity. A roman catholic church in Pampanga was also damaged including a four-floor building that reportedly went down with some people reportedly trapped inside the building. The ground floor which was a supermarket also crashed according to reports obtained by MDN Digital. Clark airport was ordered temporarily closed due to the damage in its check in counters, parts of the departure area, as well as some ceilings, according to airport official Jaime Melo.   Philvocs recorded 406 aftershocks Tuesday morning and said they are still monitoring more aftershocks to keep people updated, as other folks feared the "The Big One" might be coming. The Philippines was among 13 other countries included in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. In the past, a magnitude of 7.8 quake also hit the country killing more than 2,400 people in Northern island of Luzon.  

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Sri Lankan Suicide Bomber Spotted on CCTV

April 23, 2019

Video credit to TV9 One of the six suicide bombers that killed over 300 people in Sri Lanka was spotted on one of the country's installed CCTV cameras. The reported bomber was carrying a back pack where he allegedly placed the bomb an entered inside the church while churchgoers are having Easter Sunday services. At presstime, no one has yet claimed responsibility of the deadly attack but police authorities have already arrested over a dozen suspects and massive manhunt and investigations are still ongoing. The Sri Lankan government suspected the bombings were carried out by the local homegrown terrorists. They have received reports terrorosts sent out seven suicide bombers and all are allegedly Sri Lankan nationals. Meanwhile, it was learned that weeks before the Sri Lanka's coordinated bombings, the police have received reports that churches in Sri Lanka will be bombed but allegedly did not implement appropriate actions to verify the veracity of the reports. As a result of the failure of top officials to act on said intel report, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe was sucked from his post by the Sri Lankan president. 

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BREAKING NEWS!! Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake Jolts Eastern Samar

April 23, 2019

BREAKING NEWS!! A magnitude 6.5 earthquake just hit Eastern Samar Tuesday afternoon just as people in Luzon are still recovering from trauma - from the same phenomenon which hit in Luzon yesterday, more particularly in Pampanga, Zambales and Metro Manila. According to an advisory from Phivolcs, the epicenter of the quake was in San Juan, Eastern Samar. The quake was also felt in the Bicol region, other areas in Visayas and Caraga in Mindanao. NGCP ADVISORY Following the tremor that hit Visayas and Mindanao, the National Grade Corporation of the Philippines is keenly monitoring the transmission status of their facilities in the Visayas. Initial information gathered by people in the ground showed that the Visayas backbone is still intact. NGCP is now assessing the extent of the damage if there is any, the advisory said. The Philippines is among the 14countries of the world considered as the "Pacific Ring of Fire" which means earthquakes are likely to happen anytime in these coun tries listed, including United States, Guatemala, Japan, among others. Full story to follow...        

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Heavy security readied for Palaro

April 23, 2019

DAVAO City--At least 3,866 military and police personnel will be deployed during the 62nd Palarong Pambansa (National Games), the country’s biggest local sporting event, from April 27 to May 4 in Davao City, according to Public Safety and Security Command Center head Angel Sumagaysay.       Sumagaysay said in an interview the security plan had already been prepared weeks ahead of the annual multi-sport event involving student-athletes from 17 regions of the Philippines, which would draw a crowd of around 20,000.      He expressed confidence that everything is all set for the hosting of the Palaro, the city’s second since 1950, given the yearlong preparations for the event.      In 2015, Tagum City in Davao del Norte hosted the 58th edition of the national games.      “It’s ready for implementation. Everything has been set. All the security components are already aware of it,” Sumagaysay said. He said the Police Regional Office 11 and the military’s 103rd Infantry Brigade would provide augmentation to strengthen the security setup here during the Palaro.      He said they expect most of the delegates to arrive days before the event.      He added the local government would install high definition CCTVs in all the playing venues at the 20-hectare world-class Davao City-University of the Philippines Sports Complex in the UP-Mindanao campus in Tugbok.      Sumagaysay said the security plan for the 26 billeting quarters and 32 playing venues has been laid out already.      “We have assigned security in every billeting quarter and playing venues where security team leaders would be assigned,” he said.      He assured delegates that the Davao City Central 911, City Health Office and City Social Services and Development Office would be deployed to attend to their concerns.      “Sa lahat mga participants (to all the participants), welcome to Davao City. Enjoy your stay. You have your partners here. Kung alone ka, ikaw lang isa, (If you are alone) you have a big brother. Just call 911,” he said.      From January 27 to February 2, 2019, the city also hosted the Davao Regional Athletic Association Meet held at the sports complex here. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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