cagayan de oro

Seduced by Secret Sins

April 26, 2019

“If a relationship has to be a secret, you should not be in it.” This is true of our secret sins.  We may think that it’s just a small offense and nobody will find out.  We believe we are clever enough to conceal our sin, and continue deriving pleasure from it.  But sin has a way of exposing itself.  When we least expect it, something will happen to reveal our secret in all its ugliness.  A sin is a sin, whether done in private or before the eyes of the world.        Let me share this story with you.        In the Scottish highlands is an old bridge that spans a wild waterfall. Its structure is so massive, and it rises so high above the canyon that it is known as “The High Bridge.”       But something happened that destroyed the bridge and made it necessary for officials to condemn it.       A tiny birch seed, caught by a gust of wind, dropped into a small crevice above the keystone. It lodged unnoticed between the cement. Before long it germinated. Soon it was a young sapling, but still nobody saw it. As it grew into a tree, its roots went deep into the mortar. Eventually it began to loosen and crack the masonry, so that the bridge was severely damaged.       The bridge that had defied violent storms and supported the weight of marching armies, finally succumbed to the tenacious roots of a tree. It had to be closed and condemned.  It was conquered by a small seed.      So too in our life. One little hidden sin can weaken the foundation of a person’s character and be the cause of his downfall.        This is what happened to King David, the man after God’s own heart.  After a stealthy look at a bathing Bathsheba, he was seduced, and overtaken by a deluge of sins.  His attempt of a cover-up took all of his energies, and simply led to more sins and pain.  From immorality, to murder, to unrelenting self-reproach, and to a terrible guilt over his break from God.  He said to the Lord, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of a scorching day.”        What kind of a miserable life is this?  Many of us have been through varying degrees of this disgraceful experience. Many are still burning in this hell hole, unable to muster the strength to crawl out.  The seduction of secret sins hold them relentlessly in an iron grip.        The fear of being found out will drain you and eat you alive.  Your resources and energy will be used in covering up the sin, instead of using them to minister to others and living a happy and fruitful life. Peace is not available to a person practicing deception.  Many are the sorrows of the wicked. Although in outward appearance they look fine, but inside they are groaning, decaying, on the way to destruction.        Finally, David came to his senses and pleads for forgiveness from the Lord.  He said, “In your loving kindness have mercy on me, O God. Remove my sins. Wash me thoroughly.  Cleanse me.”      That is the place where we should also be.  Before God, on our knees, begging for forgiveness.  

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Free and Accepted Masons: men of good deeds

April 26, 2019

The purpose of life is not only to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.   — Ralph Waldo Emerson BEING honorable, compassionate and always on the go for making a difference are what define a true Mason.      And the thousands  who are now in town for the  103rd Annual Communications of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines  set April 25-27, 2019 at The Atrium of Limketkai Center speak well of how dedicated these virtuous men are.       Known to be the country’s largest gathering of Masons,  Ancom 2019 definitely makes Cagayan de Oro alive as  local hotels were frantic to accommodate these guests from all over the country and abroad.      The last time the city hosted the ANCOM was in 2009 where delegates brought along their families and friends and brought back with them Cagayan de Oro’s poetry of charm  and beauty like no other.       Being true to its commitment to help build a community of decent men, the Free and Accepted Masons has  thrived and  remained resilient amid the many tests of a masonic life.      Always active on the ground, these men of diverse backgrounds work in unison in building   inclusive communities  through collaboration and sustained partnerships with various players of development.      More than ever, Masons are part of a close-knit community and therefore they are always in the forefront of extending help and support to the people it cared about.       Guided by  a catchphrase  most appropriate this summer ‘ We shall build a House and I will establish His crown forever,’ this year’s Ancom   finds it easy to get so wrapped up in  helping others whenever it can primarily because of the solid commitment of its dynamic  members.      With a battery of distinguished guests and speakers, this year Ancom which started yesterday,  mirrors how unity in diversity works so well to advance progress, peace and development in all fronts – the  Masonic way.      No doubt, this Ancom 2019 whose attendance has swelled the iconic Limketkai  Center could be another opportunity for all Masons to prove once again that in unity there in strength.      Notably, Masons are   guided so well with this line: ‘to make better men out of good men,     strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook and broadening his mental horizon’.      As  an organization of business and professional people committed to make a difference,  Masons encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace – globally.      Masons shall always bring out the best it can to serve the communities  through sustained programs and projects this year and beyond.      Its humanitarian projects are aimed at addressing the community needs by providing sustainable, measurable outcomes   beneficial to  communities  in particular and the country in general.      Being men of  good deeds,  Masons   are poised to continue  serving the country  by adhering to the Ancom democratic principles and ideals.      Congratulations to MW Romeo S. Momo, grand master and  RW Agapito S. Suan, Jr.,deputy grand master and to all Masons in town. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com)

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Cagayanons restless over impending water rates hike

April 26, 2019

Lately, the people of Cagayan de Oro are apprehensive as stories started circulating about the possible increase of the water rates in May this year.      While the humor remains unsubstantiated, the restless residents are now questioning the propriety of the agreement between the Cagayan De Oro Water District (COWD) and the Metro Pacific Water Investment Corp. Manuel “Manny” V. Pangilinan is the Chair of the MPWIC.      Looking back, on August 14, 2017, the MPWIC, a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MetroPac) signed a joint venture agreement with the COWD for the formation of a joint venture company to undertake the supply of bulk treated water that would address the requirements of Cagayan de Oro City.      On March 21, 2017, the COWD awarded the 100 million-litter per day bulk water project to Metro Pacific. The project has a term of 30 years (renewable for another 20 years), which would supply a 100MLD of treated bulk water to COWD.      Take a look, on August 14, 2017, the Cagayan De Oro Bulk Water Inc. (COBI) became the bulk water supplier for Cagayan De Oro City. What is COBI? Where did COBI come from? Does it mean that the COWD entered into an agreement with COBI on the same day that it entered an agreement with the MPWIC?      In this case, many have cast suspicion about the transactions between the COWD, the MPWIC and the COBI. One of the most vocal was lawyer James Judith who described the transaction as “manipulated.”      In a statement released to a local daily newspaper two years ago, Judith said that the COWD officials knew all along about the contract entered into by and between MPWIC and Rio Verde Water Consortium (RVWCI) in 2015.     According to Judith, the supposed tripartite agreement between COWD, RVWCI, and MPWIC in 2015 “predated” the joint venture agreement between MPWIC and COWD, signed in 2017.      In other words, the operations and management of Rio Verde might have been taken over by the MPWIC in 2015 without the Cagayan De Oro water consumers’ knowledge.      MPWCI might have bought the RVWCI “lock-stock-and-barrel” after the latter could not sustain operations because of the lower water rates at 10.00 m3 at that time.  For several occasions, the Rio Verde wanted to increase the water rates at a minimal P 11m3 to P 12m3, but could not do so because of COA restriction.      Perhaps, the inability of the Rio Verde to increase the water rates compelled its management to strike a deal with MPWCI. Thus, the MPWCI changed the Rio Verde name as a bulk water supplier to COBI.      With another business and corporate name, the COBI, MPWCI, and COWD entered into an agreement, which included the gradual escalation of the water rates.      However, the people of Cagayan De Oro City, especially the residential consumers, are not happy with the projected price increases. Here are the existing COWD water rates effective May 2014:      The minimum charge for residential/government is P 218.40 with a meter size of ½”, P 30.55 for every 11-20 cu. m., P 31.85 for every 21-30 cu. m. and P 36.00 for 41 c. m. and up. The rates are higher as the water meter increases in size.      Judith said that with the “tripartite agreement,” the other willing suppliers who were offering a water rate of P 8 c.m. Judith also accused the COWD of allowing a P 16.35 water rate per cubic meter, although the COA has already disallowed a rate of P 10.45 c.m. (The existing water rates per c. m. prior to the Metropac, COBI and COWD tripartite agreement).      Judith, however, declined to name officials who could be held accountable for the alleged “price manipulation” of the existing water rates.      Engr. Rachel Beja, the COWD manager, was inadvertently dismissed from her post by the newly formed COWD Board of Directors. A BOD member said that the board has lost trust and confidence with Beja, which prompted them to dismiss her.        Beja suspected that her action to refer the tripartite agreement between the COWD, Metropac, and COBI for legal comments about might have slighted the BOD members. Beja has contested her dismissal with the Civil Service Commission (CSC). Email reactions/comments: crisguardian@yahoo.com

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Army: 61 NPAs, supporters surrender during Holy

April 25, 2019

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – As summer heat rages on, provinces in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region have been experiencing a downpour of surrenders from the Communist-Terrorist Group (CTG) CPP-NPA. 61 members and supporters of the notorious terror group surrendered to various units of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division between April 16 to 22 as Catholics observed the Holy Week. Weary NPA couple On Wednesday, April 17, a weary “party couple” Jeffrey, 22, and Maymay, 27, (not their real names) of Sitio Ki-ongkog, Brgy. Palabucan, Libona, Bukidnon voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Poblacion, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. Jeffrey used to be a team leader while Maymay was medical and supply officer of the RSDG Platoon under the North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC). On the same day, alias Joy, 18, another NPA medic, surrendered to the troops of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion and brought with her one Cal. 30 M1 Carbine Rifle, one Shotgun and assorted medical supplies. A native of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, she has been operating under Guerilla Front 14, Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) together with his boyfriend, Robert Calipay alias Satur/Arpak. Calipay, a former platoon commander, was apprehended by elements of 75th IB and Philippine National Police last April 14 after civilians pointed government troops to his hideout. Following her surrender, Joy signified her desire to live peacefully and normally after spending years evading pursuing government troops. Lumad NPAs Meanwhile, 50 members of a lumad (indigenous people) tribe in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur also surrendered to the 3rd Special Forces Battalion last April 18 bringing with them assorted firearms and ammunition. Six of them were regular members of the CTG, 14 were members of the Milisyang Bayan while the rest were mass supporters from Sitio Kahayag, Barangay Banag-banag and Sitio Bantolinao, Barangay Padiay of the said municipality. They brought with them one M653 rifle, one caliber .22 rifle, six 12- gauge homemade shotguns, two caliber .38 pistols, and one fragmentation grenade. This was followed by alias Rosman, 18, a native of Lianga, Surigao del Sur who also surrendered to the said battalion with his M16 rifle. Rosman used to be an active member of SRSDG -Southland of the NEMRC. On the same day, three former CNTs surrendered to the 58th Infantry Battalion at Sitio Magbantay, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. Surrenderees Charmy, 17, of HQF Nelsay of Sub-Regional Committee 1; Reck, 19, Milisyang Bayan member of SRC1; and Jems, 23, also a Milisyang Bayan of SRC1 all operated under the NCMRC until their decision to lay down their arms and seek refuge with the government forces. The three former terrorists are residents of Sitio Anahaw, Barangay Bantaawan, Gingoog City. During an interview, Charmy revealed that she was recruited by the NPA when she was only 14, considered a minor under Philippine laws. New lease on life Easter Sunday saw the surrender of former NPAs Maymay, Luming, Paspas and Galoda (not their real names) to the 65th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. San Rafael, Talakag, Bukidnon. All four belonged to the Guerilla Front 12, of the NCMRC which has been been largely responsible for various atrocities and crimes in that part of the province. They brought with them three caliber. 45 pistols and one KG9 caliber. 9mm sub- machinegun. Maymay, who has spent many years with the terror group, said her decision to surrender was made a few months ago after realizing the futility of their struggle. “This is the time to repent and surrender because I know that we can trust the present government and the soldiers. I wanted to surrender for months now because I want to leave this dangerous life, and live a peaceful one”, Maymay said. Local integration Lt. Col. Benjamin B Pajarito Jr., Commander of the 65th IB said: “Those who want to peacefully surrender will be welcomed with open arms. We will ensure that they will be able to receive assistance from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to help them start a new life and live peacefully with their families. We will also ensure their safety should they opt to return to the folds of the law”, Pajarito said. LGUs and concerned government agencies are now processing the surrenderees for them to become eligible to E-CLIP benefits. They will also receive initial monetary assistance from LGUs while they are undergoing validation and other administrative requirements. Peaceful war Following 4ID’s declaration of peaceful war against communist-terrorists early this year, 677 CTG members have already surrendered. These consist of 109 regulars, 93 MBs, one Sangay sa Partido ng Lokalidad (SPL), and 474 UGMO (Underground Mass Organizations members. Agusan del Norte Governor and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC 13) Chairperson Angel M. Amante-Matba said: “The surrender of my fellow CARAGANONs and their return to the folds of the law is a result of our convergence and good governance. We will sustain this cooperation and strong coordination for more surrenderees to come.” Matba acknowledged the support of the Philippine Army especially the members of Community Support Teams (CST) which according to her, were instrumental in dismantling CPP-NPA influence in far-flung areas. She also credited the CSTs for putting forward the different socio-economic and development issues faced by her constituents in poor, marginalized and conflict-affected areas. Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M Gacal, Commander of the 4th ID thanked the surrenderees for heeding the government’s call for peace instead of fighting a bloody war with the military and police. “We are going nowhere if we continue fighting each other. Let us not destroy our country with a senseless and violent war”, Gacal said. He reiterated his call to the remaining NPAs to do the same and embrace the chance to live peacefully with their families. “This is now your chance because the national leadership and the whole nation is keen on getting you back from the darkness you are in right now. Go down from your mountain hideouts and talk to us. We are awaiting your return”, Gacal added.

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Job Fair, skills demo, livelihood fair to mark Oro Labor Day celebration

April 25, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment, Regional Office No. X (DOLE-X) announces the partial counting of 16,798 jobs available to job seekers on 1 May 2019 during its 117th Labor Day celebration. The activities will be simultaneously undertaken by the 17 regions of DOLE ROs nationwide aimed to improve the employment situation in the country. For Region 10, the activity is coordinated with the Local Government Unit (LGU) – Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Jobs Placement Bureau for the local job vacancies and thru POEA for the overseas job openings.  During the Talakayan/Press Conference on 22 April 2019 for the 2019 Labor Day celebration, DOLE-X Regional Director Atty. Joffrey M. Suyao announced that there are 16,798 available vacancies confirmed by participating employers for both local and overseas; jobs for skilled, unskilled, formal and informal/technical jobs for the 1 May 2019 Mega Job and Livelihood Fair at the Atrium, Limketkai Center, this city. The figure continues to increase as well as the number of participating employers. Of the confirmed job vacancies solicited, Director Suyao disclosed that around 4,316 will be available for local employment from 51 participating private companies mostly from the service industry. Also, the DOLE-X is expecting around 10,178 job vacancies for overseas employment generated from the 27 Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) accredited recruitment agencies. Top local job vacancies are security guards (1,000); factory workers (300); call center officers (200); customer service specialists (120); and sales associates (50). Overseas jobs confirmed available are mostly for skilled workers: cleaners (1,000 for KSA); service crew (200) and professional positions: general nurse (114 for Germany/KSA); English Teachers (100 for Japan); and staff nurses (100). Most of the overseas manpower services job posts are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Japan countries.  Moreover, government sector includes 1,501 job openings of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA); 53 for Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and 75 for the Philippine Army. The DOLE will be joined by the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC)-member agencies comprising of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), National Conciliation Mediation Board (NCMB), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) 8th Division and Regional Arbitration Branch, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RWTPB), Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), and POEA through the One-Stop-Shop Desk.  The regional celebration of the 2019 Labor Day is supported by the DOLE, LGU-CDO – Job Placement Bureau/Public Employment Service Office (PESO) through technical assistance and the Job Fair logistic support. Other tripartite stakeholders and social partners are from the management/employers, group federations, media partners, academe, and tripartite bodies of the Regional/Provincial Tripartite Industrial Peace Council and the Industrial Tripartite Councils in order to ensure the success of the lined-up activities.  Other government agencies offering their services are National Bureau of Investigation (NBI-X) for authentication and documentation; Social Security System (SSS); Philhealth Corp.; Pag-ibig Fund CDO Central Members Services Branch for the social benefits advocacy, claims and processes; Land Transportation Office (LTO) for licensing; Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) for documentation and others. Director Suyao announced that there are no extraordinary requirements to be prepared by the jobseekers. He highlighted their preparedness for interview and presentation of documents that may be asked which include but not limited to transcript of records, diploma, certificate of employment, certificate of training, and others. Job seekers simply need to meet the basic requirements of the prospective employers by being themselves and to showcase a full package of readiness of soon to be joiners of the labor force. To expedite registration, applicants are advised to pre-register at the Job Placement Bureau/PESO of the second floor of CDO City Hall which started on April 1 to 26, 2019, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. On May 1, 2019, applicants may register early at 5:00 am at the LimKetKai Atrium, along Magnum Express Office entrance. The atrium will officially open at 7:00 am. This year’s celebration is also highlighted by the nationwide Business Fair on 1-2 May 2018 at the Rotunda, Lim Ket Kai, this city. 20 Livelihood projects within the region will be showcased in the event dates. Suyao informed that the region-wide job and business fairs replicate the Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) concept forged by DOLE and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) aimed to bring employment opportunities through entrepreneurship of workers in the informal sector or at the grassroots level. Local products will be sold at reasonable prices. Suyao further encouraged the public to buy sugar, dried fish, and others as a gesture of support to the livelihood/entrepreneurial undertaking of the beneficiaries. Also on 1 May 2019, TESDA-X will be showcasing the skills demonstration from the following Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) in the province: Massa Foundation (facial care); Motormate (motorcycle repair); Sweet House (baking); FB Jamaican and COBSAT (coffee-making); and RTC Tagoloan (dressmaking). Likewise, 51 private TVIs from Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental will join the free TVET enrollment. Provincial Labor Day activities on 1 May 2019, include foot parade from Pine Hills Hotel to Kaamulan Folk Arts Theater, Malaybalay City followed by a program participated by LGU executives and guests. A Family Welfare Fun Run will be conducted on 19 May 2019 at the Capitol Grounds, Malaybalay City in partnership with the Bukidnon Federation of Family Welfare Committees. In Iligan City, the Federation of Democratic Labor Organization (FDLO) in cooperation of the DOLE Provincial Field Office (PFO) of Lanao del Norte will spearhead a Eucharistic Mass followed by a foot parade around the city and short program to be held at the City Public Plaza. A one-day Labor Unions’/Organizations’ Seminar on social benefits to 80 union officers and members of the province on 29 April 2019 at the Ma. Cristina Hotel, Iligan City. The DOLE PFO of Misamis Occidental and the Misamis Occidental Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor will host the pre-Labor Day Job Fair and orientation on DOLE’s livelihood programs on 26 April 2019 at Saint Michael’s High School, Tangub City. There will also be a learning session on Workplace Dispute Resolution: Managing your Human Resource to the Human Resource Officers of La Salle University, Ozamiz City.  Together with the DOLE Provincial Field Offices, the LGUs at the provincial/city/ municipal levels through their respective PESOs, various Regional/Provincial Tripartite Industrial Peace Councils (TIPCs), private and national government sector, workers’ groups, informal sector and other allied agencies will simultaneously celebrate the event in their respective provinces in the region. Media engagements are also in the offing to ensure public information and wider client reach. This year’s month-long Labor Day celebration in the region is anchored on the theme, “Pagpupugay sa Manggagawang Pilipino.”

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More than 10,000 vacancies up for grabs in 117th Labor Day job fair

April 24, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- More than 10,000 job opportunities are up for grabs in the 2019 Labor Day Jobs and Business Fair, May 1.      Lawyer Joffrey Suyao, regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Northern Mindanao, said they are expecting about 100 employers and a minimum of 10,000 job vacancies for both local and overseas employment.      As of April 16, around 60 employers have confirmed to join the job fair at Limketkai Mall Atrium. From such, 37 are private companies for local employment and 21 are Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) licensed overseas recruitment agencies.      Around 1,554 job opportunities from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are also available.      Pre-registration has started April 1 and will run until April 26 at the Public Employment Service Office of Cagayan de Oro City Hall.      Director Suyao advised job seekers to be in their business attire and to bring their resume, application, and other important documents during the job fair. (APB/PIA10)

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