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Fallen govt troops in Marawi remembered

October 23, 2019

MARAWI City--Two years after President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from the influence of the terrorists, former commander of the now-dissolved Joint Task Force Marawi that oversaw the military operation to liberate the city, remembered the soldiers and policemen who sacrificed their lives to fight the terrorists who attacked the Islamic City. Wearing a white barong and black pants, Retired Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, former commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) that has jurisdiction over western Mindanao including Marawi City, performed a snappy salute to pay tribute to their fallen comrades on Thursday, October 17, inside the headquarters of 103rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army in Camp Ranao, Marawi City. Galvez now heads the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). He was stood side-by-side with another retired Army general, Eduardo del Rosario who is now the housing secretary and chairman of the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) that oversees the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi City after it was destroyed by the five-month war against the Dawlah Islamiya-inspired Maute group. The war claimed more than a thousand lives including more than a hundred soldiers and policeman. Remembering the fallen Galvez and Del Rosario led other government officials in laying a white wreath in front of a mounted metal plaque containing the names of those who perished during the five-month war to liberate Marawi. The former chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Galvez bent over, read the names of the soldiers and ran over his fingers on the metal plate recalling how he personally monitored and guided them as former chief of the WestMinCom. “This is the time to remember their names one by one. I remember the time how they fought and how they died,” Galvez said in the interview after the ceremony.    “I remember every name [of] those who sacrificed for the liberation of Marawi. This is one of the many ways that we can show to the people that we will always remember them,” he added. Galvez said it was bothering for him that time every time he sent his men to battle saying “losing 126 people is something you can never forget”. “In hindsight, I would like tell the people that this is the way…how soldiers [had] to give up their lives just to liberate Marawi from the clutches of terrorism. That's the oath of the soldier and that we are ready to die for our country and for our people,” a solemn Galvez said.   Retired Brigadier General Felicisimo Budiongan, who also took part in the wreath laying ceremony, said the most emotional part in the siege was receiving report from the ground that another soldier died “because I could see the grief of a wife, a son, a daughter and relatives”, he said. Budiongan, now an undersecretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), was the commander of Task Group Bakal, a team of soldiers from the Mechanized Division, during the five-month war. “But the most significant in our operation was the neutralization of IH and Omar because it signaled the end of the sufferings of the soldiers in Marawi,” Budiongan said referring to Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute who led the attack. The two were killed early dawn of October 16 in 2017.

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Master planned community rises in Metro Cagayan de Oro

October 23, 2019

WITH the unaccented beat of the   economic leap   of Northern Mindanao goes the newest master planned green township that will soon rise east of Metro Cagayan de Oro. This latest real estate development project was initiated and designed by an alliance of international planners and engineers spearheaded by RG Concepts and Designs alongside with renowned Poggemeyer Design Group from the USA and GD Gumabon Engineers. The new well-planned community aptly called Valleyview will be nestled in an industrial hub dedicated to provide green and decent urban living.  A signing ceremony for a sync development alliance was concluded over the weekend in a posh hotel in Cagayan de Oro with the prime movers of the project. The allied developers,  RGJ Realty Corporation and LV Home Builders Development Corporation has forged a sustainable partnership with the property owners, the family of Madame Pamela Neri-Paurom. RGJ Realty Corporation President Ronaldo S.  Gaudiel said the planned township is another signature project of former congressman Romeo Jaloslos, owner and developer of Dakak Park Resort and Gloria Fantasyland in Dapitan City. Jaloslos serves as chairman of RGJ Realty. Jalosjos is the chairman of RJG Realty Corporation. A game changer in property management, the alliance will introduce the latest concept in township design and construction primarily attuned with global standards and competitiveness. Amenities of the township include allocated spaces carefully immersed with nature to stimulate the metropolitan way of living complemented with facilities vital for comfort and family leisure. The master planned township features socialized and mid-rise cluster units, premium lots, retail and commercial, secured main entrance with guard house, underground drainage system, perimeter fence, shuttle terminal, parking areas, man- made lagoon (water catchment), paved roads and curves, parks and picnic areas, sewerage treatment plant and water reservoir. Its added amenities include event center, social hall, clubhouse, forest trail/walk, open spaces, basketball court, children’s playground and chapel. “We are building a township that would strengthen family bonding by creating modern living primarily consigned in a friendly environment designed for commercial, leisure, relaxation and residential spaces that consolidate parks to revitalize homes,”  Gaudiel said. The opening of this township project responds to the housing backlog of Northern Mindanao which could now translate to a shortfall of 250,000 housing units annually. With the region’s population of about 5 million, people from Bukidnon, Iligan, Valencia, Butuan, Gingoog and other key areas,  getting second homes in Metro Cagayan de Oro has now become a necessity albeit trendy considering the city’s unprecedented economic growth in terms of business and employment opportunities.

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Camiguin imposes selective ban on pork and pork products

October 23, 2019

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin--The provincial government of Camiguin has imposed a selective pork and pork products ban as the African Swine Fever has swept Luzon. Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental already imposed a temporary total pork and pork products ban in September 2019. Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said Sunday that the province has been proactive in monitoring all meat and plant products coming into the island as a precaution against spread of diseases. The ASF is a virus that affects pigs with 100 percent mortality rate but it cannot be transmitted to humans. The Department of Agriculture in region 10 said that they are closely watching all products coming in from Luzon. Cagayan de Oro City and Tagoloan sea ports and the Laguindingan Airport is put under close monitor to prevent pork products from Luzon from coming in into the region. The pork industry in the Philippines is worth 250 bilion pesos and region 10 contributes betwen 9-10 percent or roughly around 25 billion pesos. "We have been doing it for a long time since we are an island, we had much control of the products coming in," Romualdo said. "As soon as you step at our port, you pass through a foot bath and we had our provincial veterinary office inspecting meat and poultry coming it," Romualdo added. Romualdo however said that they have a selective ban with conditions that pork and meat products must have a Bureau of Animal Industry approved clearances, "Without it, it cannot enter the island," Romualdo said. Camiguin is among the top  5 most visited province in the country with an almost a million tourists visiting the island known for its volcanoes, cold, hot and soda springs, island hopping and diving. Balancing food supply for the local and tourists consumption is precarious balancing act as this tourist haven relies mostly for its food supply from mainland mindanao and the Visayas and Luzon. Romualdo added that evethough the ASF is non-contagious to humans, the local government is also protecting its local swine growers from being affected. "We had porks and siomai who came in, but we turn it back to the mainland because it has no certifications," Romualdo said. "So long as you have certifications from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), we will allow entry of those pork products," Romualdo added. Not only did the local government turned down pork products, it also did not allowed the entry of 150 cross-bred Lanzones, the Island's main fruit product because it may carry diseases that can damage the Lanzones here. Meanwhile, the Northern Mindanao Hog Raisers Association (NorMinHog) assured the public here that locally grown hogs are safe to eat and that the ASF have not reached Mindanao yet, "We want to urge the people that our pork is safe to eat, there is nothing to worry," Jun Tan of NorMinHog said.

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Suspects, accused of killing a cop, arrested

October 23, 2019

ILIGAN City--The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) turned over to court on Tuesday (October 22) three suspects after they were arrested early morning on Monday (October 21) in Barangay Cadayonan, Munai town, in Lanao del Norte. Police Captain Jerome Villegas, head of CIDG Lanao del Norte Provincial Field Unit, said the suspects identified as Alnor Panontongan, 35; Kairodin Mutto, 35; and Abdul Razzaq Mutto, 26, all residents of Munai, were arrested by virtue of arrest warrant issued by Judge Ali Balindong of Regional Trial Court Branch 6, Iligan City. Villegas said the suspects are also using another name: Alnor Panontongan as Komine Malo Panontongan, Kairodin Mutto as Norodin Baunto Mutto and Abdul Razzaq Mutto as Mahid Baunto Mutto, as indicated in the arrest warrant. The suspects were assued of allegedly killing PO1 Mohammad Nur Mutto, who was a cousin of the suspects, and his companion identified as Saaduddin Jalaludin in 2013 in Barangay Matampay, also in Munai. The arrest warrant was issued in 2014, according to Villegas. Mahid was listed as number 4 while Norodin was number 6 most wanted persons of Munai Municipal Police Station. Aside from the three targets in the arrest warrant, five other men were also arrested for firing at the arresting officers when they arrived in the area. “There was exchange of fire for few minutes. Good thing no one was hurt and we successfully disarmed the five men and arrested them,” Villegas said in an interview. The armed men, Harry Panontongan, 23; Naiem Mutia, 35; Jebber Mutto, 28; Almasan Mutto, 20; and Abduljabar Abdulazis, 26, are charged with violation of Republic Act 10591 or the illegal possession of firearms. Villegas said these personalities are newly-identified members of a Raphakar group that engages in gun running and illegal drugs in Lanao del Norte and neighboring provinces. They were committed yesterday to the provincial jail in Tubod, Lanao del Norte. The operation was conducted jointly with the Special Action Force based in Iligan City.

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Recuerdos de Ayer: The salad days of Nene Pimentel, journalist

October 23, 2019

  (We are bringing back this updated vignette on Cagayan de Oro’s beloved statesman first published in Business World back in 2006 as our tribute to his heritage to us journalists in the Cagayan de Oro Press Club where he was a member for life.) CAGAYAN de Oro City--Even before he was cutting his teeth as a lawyer and teacher, Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., without question one of this City of Golden Friendship's Golden Boys, started out as a cub reporter for the Mindanao Star, then the No. 1 weekly newspaper in the city. The late Manuel Quisumbing, Sr., who was fondly known as Mr. Q, was editor-in-chief and the future Senator of the Philippines was in the company of an illustrious band of writers and journalists who represented the cream of Cagayan de Oro's men and women of letters at the time: Sarah Velez, Ronulfo Sabanal, Pureza Ramos, Eustaquio Gonzales. "The newspapers of that time tended to be more tame and sedate than those we have today. News which used to be relegated to the tabloids then are now making headlines in the broadsheets." Eventually, Nene became Legal Counsel for the Cagayan de Oro Press Club when he finished law school and passed the bar. He was also appointed in the same capacity for the Mindanao Press Club in 1963, when Mr. Q became president of that organization. Later, when Nene was elected as the Cagayan de Oro delegate to the Constitutional Convention of the 70's, he rejoined the media as a columnist for Mindanao Star. He also wrote a column for The Manila Times for a year in 1994. We asked, “Is there a basis for government's criticism of today's media as overly critical of the present administration to the point of overlooking its good points and accomplishments?” “There is a basis for the criticism. Negatives are emphasized more than the positives. Crime, sex and violence are sensationalized. However, overall, we are beginning to get responsible reporting. The Philippine Daily Inquirer's battle with the windmills of influence in this country is good for the nation. The Philippine Star is also fast gaining the same reputation.” “However, the print media in Cagayan de Oro today tends to be abrasive and condemnatory of public officials without convincing evidence of their allegations, thus maligning people in the process. Sources are not always verified and grave abuse has been committed in a number of cases. I hope our journalists could be a little more concerned about people even if they are in public office and the basis for complaints regarding the public service should be properly verified.” “On a scale of 1-10, the local print media is 7 on the average, with a lot of room left for improvement. In contrast, newspapermen of Mr. Q's heyday in the Mindanao Star were first and foremost trained to be accurate in their reporting.  Mr. Q was a veteran newspaperman who was also an instructor for the journalism course then offered by Xavier University, and his writing, as well as those of the reporters working under him, were founded on accuracy." The former senator has also authored four legal tomes to date: “The Local Government Code of 1991: The Key to National Development and Barangays” and “The Local Government Code,” both published by Rex Book Store; “Cooperatives: Theory and Practice” and “Primer on Cooperatives,” both published by Cacho Hermanos. However, he is in the process of writing a totally different book entitled “Politics and Religion,” started while he was still in the Senate and which he personally works on a little at a time. The book is based on his experience in politics and reflects his desire “to stress the fact it is time to imbue our political process with a spiritual dimension which should permeate the whole political spectrum.” “We have the spirit of renewal in the hearts of our people as the only Christian nation in the Far East. New generations actively handling political power should not forget we can start renewing only when you go back to the fundamentals of your religion, as long as he believes in God to use his talent and make religion relevant to his life as a citizen.” “The Ten Commandments tell us “Thou shall not steal,” yet politicians steal all the time. It likewise tells us “Thou shall not kill,” yet politicians are probably responsible for more deaths than any other professions.” Nene also wrote a column for Teddy Berbano's “MoneyAsia” and Oscar Jornacion's “California Express,” a Filipino-American newspaper based in the US. Nene never forgot his journalistic roots and at the height of Martial Law in 1982, he signed Executive Order 241 in May 1982 mandating every last week of May as Press Freedom Week, the first ever such celebration in the world, even predating the United Nations declaration of World Press Freedom Day in 1993 by over a decade. Former Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Gerry Orcullo recalls: "But he was not afraid, and because of that unbending courage, we will persevere and continue the search for truth," Orcullo stressed. The Cagayan de Oro media community recently celebrated the 37th anniversary of Cagayan de Oro Press Freedom week last May 26-31, 2019, as it had unfailingly done during the last 37 years. Nene was born on December 11, 1933, in Claveria, Misamis Oriental (coincidentally the same year as the establishment of the Ateneo de Cagayan.  He spent his high school up to law school (1948-1959) at Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan as a bright and remarkable student and leader, earned his law degree and  passed the Bar the 1959. In April 1960, he married Lourdes “Bing” de la Llana, and they had 6 children, among them future senator Koko Pimentel and future Human Rights Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel Gana. Nene became the dean of Xavier's College of Law from 1962 to 1967. The 1967 edition of the Xavier University Yearbook edited by Rico Nazario was dedicated to outstanding XU graduates, among them Nene Pimentel. Nene was XU High School Class 1952 and became dean of the XU Law School in 1967. The tribute to Nene on the 1967 Yearbook reads: “From the class ’52, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. has risen to occupy the seat of the Dean of the College of Law of Xavier University.” “Commenting on his profession, he stated that the practice of law is interesting and challenging. Interesting, because there never is a dull moment in the study and trial of a case. Challenging, because one’s convictions are often put to the test whenever a case is accepted and tried in the courts of law.” And Nene, a former moderator of the Xavier University Law School Journal, never flinched in his defense of press freedom as demonstrated by his successful defense of the two staffers of The Varsitarian, the University of Santo Tomas school paper, in 2011 against a libel case filed against them by one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, who was represented by one of the country’s top law firms. Not only did he help draft their counter-affidavit, but appeared in their behalf during the preliminary investigation that the case never made it to court and was dismissed by the Makati prosecutor. As quoted in the recent editorial by The Philippine Daily Inquirer (URL: https://opinion.inquirer.net/124765/nene-pimentel-speak-out), Pimentel expressed his decision to take on the case: “Speak out when you see something wrong. We are a democracy, that is the job of the people,” he had said time and again.  “One of the most fundamental freedoms accorded to citizens like us who live in a democratic country is the freedom of speech and of the press,” said the closing paragraph of the counter-affidavit he helped draft.  “If no law can abridge our freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, we submit that no whimsical complaint [s]hould be allowed to trample upon the freedom of the press [w]hich we exercised in our student publication with due care and without malice even if the attempt is made by wealthy and presumably powerful individuals,” Pimentel wrote in conclusion of the counter-affidavit. URL: https://varsitarian.net/news/20191020/how-nene-pimentel-freedom-advocate-defended-the-v-in-a-libel-case (Thanks to Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz, XUGS Class 1967 for reconstituting Nene’s picture from this yearbook. Monching is the CEO and President of MUSE Books and Media Wise Communications, publishers of a series of award winning books on the Jesuits and the Ateneos including the latest multi-awarded and internationally recognized On the March: The Jesuits in the Philippines since the Restoration and Jesuits in Mindanao: The Mission.)

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Mindanao Daily represented in China-ASEAN Media Visit

October 23, 2019

Bejing, CHINA – As the People’s Republic of China  marked the 70th anniversary of its founding, the Chinese government designated 2019 as the ASEAN-China Year of Media Exchanges. This was agreed by leaders at the 21st ASEAN-China Summit held in Singapore in November 2018.  For the occasions, the Mission of China to ASEAN, in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, and the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to ASEAN  organized a visit of ASEAN Media Delegation to China.  Each ASEAN nation sent  two media practitioners representing various media companies, and Mindanao Daily News Corporation was lucky to be selected as a Philippine participant to the said Media Visit.  Allan M. Mediante, Editor in Chief and Vice President for Corporate Affairs represented Mindanao Daily on that 1st Media Visit which ran from October 13 to October 19. He also gave a message to the hosts and delegates during the Welcome Banquet at Bijuan Hotel in Bejing. The head of the delegation, Counselor Gao Huijun of the China Mission to ASEAN,  and Zhang Jinting,  Vice President of  China Report Press, Chairman of Beijing MW Foundation & Secretary General  of Chinese Corporate International Communication Advisory Committee also delivered their messages to the delegation. Countries represented on that first occasion were:  the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia,  Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar  and China.  On October 14, the delegation visited the China Central Television (CCTV) of China Media Group (CMG) and interacted with the company officials. The discussions and presentations focused on the development of digital media in China. The China Media Group which was formally established just last year (April 19, 2018), is now one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.  It was created through the merger of China Central Television  (incorporating China Glonal Television Network), China National Radio and China Radio International. CMG operates a vast broadcasting network. CMG has built the world’s largest audio-visual archive from its rich, high-quality news content resources.  It has laid out the ground-breaking strategic plan of “5G+4K/8K+Al” and assembled the first state-level 5G new media platform.  It has pioneered the production and broadcasting techniques in the 8K format. It also established China’s first 4K resolution satellite channel. CMG has entered into comprehensive cooperation agreements with more than 100 overseas media institutions, establishing varied and broad partnerships in news content sharing, programme co-production, personnel visits and broadcasting technology exchanges.  The delegation also visited and listened to presentations on Huawei Technology at  the Huawei Corporation’s main office, also in Beijing. Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT), infrastructure and smart devices.  It aims to bring knowledge and appreciation of digital technology to people and organizations for a fully-connected intelligent world. Huawei employs 188,00 workers and operates in more than 170 countries and regions, serving 3 billion people around the globe. It provides customers with competitive, high quality and secure products, digital solutions and services in the field of telecommunications, information technology, smart terminals and cloud services.  Huawei’s innovations  focus on customer needs. The company invests heavily on basic research and technological breakthroughs. At the Xiaomi (MI) Corp press conference, the delegation learned how the world-renowned smart phone manufacturer and internet company rose to prominence in international business and modern technology. It was only a year ago when Xiaomi  launched operations in 80 countries and regions. Now it is a front-runner in mobile phone markets, smart hardware and ICT platforms in more than 30 countries and regions, (they have 4 stores in the Philippines, including one at the SM Mall in Cagayan de Oro City). Dr. Baoqiu Cui, Xiaomi Vice President  and chairman of Technical Committee commented that the secret of their company’s success and meteoric rise to prominence  is “Quality and Honest Pricing.”  Also at hand to give presentations of their product lines and technology were the officers of Xiaomi, Christine Wong, VP for Internation Affairs; Yong He, VP for Public Affairs; and Yuou Chen, Public Affairs Manager for Southeast Asia. The delegates’  itinerary included attendance  to  the Launching of  China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship Program at  Peking University in Beijing on October 15. No less than Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta Romana addressed the event.  Qiu Shuiping, chairman of Peking &University Council gave his welcome remarks.  Mao Ning, Deputy Director of the Department of Asian Affairs, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and ASEAN Deputy Sec General Kung Phoak,  also addressed the morning affair on October 15. The establishment of this program/ project was personally announced by Chinese Premier Li Kequiang at the 2018 China-ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting held in Singapore. The scholarship program aims to enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN countries. It was one of the fastest undertaking of China and ASEAN. It is now helping students from ASEAN countries to attain degree programs and short-term training courses in well-known Chinese universities, contributing to human resources development and community-building among ASEAN nations.  The China-ASEAN Media Visit aims to: 1. Strengthen people-to-people exchanges and communication between China and ASEAN media sectors and contribute to closer bond of friendship between China and ASEAN;  2. Improve understanding and knowledge of ASEAN media professionals on China’s development, its domestic and foreign policies and its history and culture. 3. Exchange views on the trends and progress in media development in ASEAN and China, share experiences and best practices and identify cooperation opportunities between the media sectors of ASEAN and China. 4. Establish a network among media professionals and experts from ASEAN countries and China. In Beijing, the delegation also visited government agencies such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Development and Reform Commission, where they met Chinese government officials and discuss issues such as China’s foreign policy, ASEAN-China relations, and the Belt and Road Initiative among others. On October 17, the delegation flew to Guangxi and met officials from the Autonomous Region Government. The delegation visited also the venue of China-ASEAN Expo, and learned more about the strong ties between ASEAN and this region of China.  They also went to poverty-alleviation projects, one of which was supported by the Guanxi Mingming Fruits Industry Co. Ltd.  located at Wuming District of Nanning City, Guangxi Province. During the visit, the delegation had the opportunity to engage with local community leaders who talked about the project that involved land leasing and working on their own farms to grow world-quality orange fruits  locally known as Orah. The whole delegation was composed of 20 representatives from media of ASEAN -member states and China who are senior editors, journalists and feature writers, and officials from the ASEAN Secretariat, i.e. Wibowo Dwiky Chandra of Indonesia, ASEAN Secretariat officer;  Un Rithy – Director of Agence Kampuchea, and Director General Ministry of Information Cambodia; Ong Hongleang – Deputy Director of Kampuchea; Muhammad Yusuf Ghazali – Exec. Producer of Televisi Republik of Indonesia; Yedi Yulistiadi – Exec. Producer, Radio Republik Indonesia; Khonesavanh Latsaphao – Vientiane Times, Laos; Sompasong Sayavong – Chief Editor KPL Lao News Agency, Laos; Yasmin Ahmad Zukiman of BERNAMA (Malaysian News Agency); Mohamed Zamzuri Bin Mohamed Zawawi – Editor of RTM (Dept of Broadcasting Malaysia); Moe Thur Zar – of Myanmar Radio TV, Ministry of Information; Sandar Soe – Editor Printing & Publishing, Myanmar Ministry of Information; Clyde Hikilan – Hope Radio, Philippines; Minthira Saenkaew – Workpoint Entertainment Public Company Ltd of  Thailand;  Nalin Arurotayanont also of Workpoint, Thailand;  Pham Huong Giang of Information Center, Ministry of Information of Vietnam;  and Nuyen Lan Phuong of Information and Communication Journal of Vietnam. The delegation was also assisted  by officials from the Mission of China to ASEAN and China Report : Liu Jiang – Director of General Editorial Department; Wang Kan – Project Director, Research and Planning Department; Guo Meng – Project Manager Research and Planning; Liu Yang – Project Operator Research 7 Planning; Wei Jialin – English Editor of China Report ASEAN, and Ma Pan, and Cheng Ting, Liaison Officers of the  Guangxi Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

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