cagayan de oro

LGen Noel Clement is next AFP chief of staff

September 20, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/20 September)— An Army general who has earned his stars fighting the communist-led New People’s Army has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the next Armed Forces Chief of Staff. LGen Noel Clement, commander of the AFP Central Command based in Cebu, bested several other contenders from various AFP area commands, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. “I am honored with the designation and nagpasalamat tayo kay (and we’re thanking) President for giving me his trust and confidence,” Clement told reporters in Cebu. Clement is the sixth AFP chief of staff appointed by Duterte. His previously served as commander of the 10th Infantry Division fighting communist rebels in Northeastern and Southern Mindanao He assumed command of the AFP Central Command on Nov. 16, 2018. Prior to his stint with the 10th ID and AFP Central Command, Clement led joint AFP-MILF operations to find suspected terrorist Abdul Basit Usman in Pikit, North Cotabato in 2015. Usman, who carried a US$1-million bounty, was reportedly killed by his comrades in the same year. Clement is a member of PMA class 1985 and was born in Lipa City in Batangas on Jan. 5, 1964. He was raised in Davao where his father worked at fruit giant Dole Philippines. As AFP Central Command commander, Clement ordered operations against the New Peoples Army rebels around Guinhulgan town in Negros Oriental. He was named as one of the respondents in the case related to the “disappearance” of activist-agriculturist Jonas Burgos when he was still the commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion in Bataan. The general denied any involvement in the Burgos case saying it is an old issue. “That’s a very old issue and I will not honor them by answering that. They did not even have any iota of evidence against me,” he said. Clement said he will pursue the AFP campaign against the NPA but this time with the involvement of the entire Filipino people. “Hindi puwedeng yung armed forces lang or yung local government units lang (The armed forces and the local government cannot do it alone). This is a national problem so we have to address as a people,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

Troops overrun camp of IS-linked group in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur

September 19, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 19 Sept) -- Army troops overran a new camp of an Islamic State-linked group, remnants of those who laid siege on Marawi City in 2017, after a gunfight in Lanao del Sur Wednesday morning. Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade, said three armed men identified as Janla Tangolo, 20, Arapat Tangolo, 22, and Kamarudin Sultan, 20 were arrested in the camp at Barangay Paridi, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. Brawner said the soldiers seized from them two M14 and Bushmaster 5.56 assault rifles, one caliber .38 pistol, magazines, ammunition, and bandoliers. He said the group of around 30 armed belonging to the local IS affiliate, was spotted by villagers who, in turn, reported their presence to the military. “We are glad that after the Marawi siege, we now receive more reports from the communities regarding the presence of enemies or armed groups,” Brawner said. Brawner said the IS-linked militants were led by Zacharia Mimbantas who replaced Abu Dar who was slain in a gunfight with soldiers last March. He said that after the death of Abu Dar, the IS militants were reduced to 30 fighters operating in the southern portion of Lanao del Sur. Brawner said they are sifting through the evidence they found at the camp to see if the militants have renewed their efforts to recruit new members. A month before the Marawi Seige in 2017, 37 members of the IS-linked Maute Group, including four foreigners, were killed during a four-day firefight with government troops which overran their main camp in Sitio Pagalungan, Barangay Gacap in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)  

Haze detected in CDO but “nothing conclusive yet”

September 18, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 18 September) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau has detected small amounts of the Indonesian haze over this city but said “nothing conclusive yet.” Florencio Dominguez Jr. head of the Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement in Region 10, said their air quality monitoring equipment detected the increase of particles in the air over Cagayan de Oro last weekend. Dominguez said they first detected a slight increase when their Thoren Air Sampler detected an increase to 34 micrograms from 25 micrograms last Saturday. He said their equipment monitored a spike from 34 micrograms to 54 micrograms last Sunday. Dominguez said the DENR has set the normal air quality at 50 micrograms “Our tests have nothing conclusive yet. We need more test results to come up with a trend,” Dominguez said. Unfortunately, Dominguez said only the DENR regional office in Barangay Puntod has the Thoren Air Sampler capable of detecting haze from Indonesia’s forest fires. He said the plan to set up similar equipment in Ozamiz City, Malaybalay City and one more in Cagayan de Oro has been set aside for lack of funds. “We have only one of this air sampler in the entire region,” Dominguez said as he showed reporters the equipment. The EMB in Cebu said they have detected the haze in the Visayas and SOCCSKSARGEN but have not linked it directly to the haze in Indonesia. Dominguez said it is possible that favorable winds have carried the haze to the Philippines with the prevailing southwest rains. He said they are hampered with the lack of monitoring equipment in Ozamiz and Iligan. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

2 convicts freed under GCTA Law yield in Bukidnon

September 10, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Two convicts freed under the Good Conduct Time Allowance Law surrendered to authorities in Valencia City, Bukidnon on Monday. Supt. Surki Sereñas, chief of the Valencia City police, said Larry Canunay, 48, and Elias Berdin, 61, went calmly with the policemen who fetched them in their respective villages last Monday. Canunay was convicted for rape and arson on March 22, 1991 and have served his sentence for 28 years at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm until he was released last March 22, 2019. Berdin, on the other hand, was convicted for murder and frustrated murder on August 5, 1993 and have served 26 years in Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan until he was released last July 16, 2019. Sereñas said Canunay and Berdin immediately contacted their barangay officials after knowing that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the re-arrest of all heinous-crime convicts freed under the law. “They seemed to be resigned that they are going back to prison life which they have served for half of their lives,” he said. He said both convicts lamented that their friends no longer stay in their villages or had died while they were in prison. “They stayed mostly in their houses during the entire time of their release and rarely went out,” he said. He said the two will be sent back to the prison farms once they received the instructions from higher headquarters. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)


August 27, 2019

MESSAGE ON THE FEAST OF ST. AUGUSTINE Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ               As we approach the feastdays of Sta. Monica and her son, St. Augustine, on Aug. 27 and 28, we can also keep in mind this year's designation by the Catholic bishops as the Year of the Youth.  Sta. Monica herself never tired of praying for the return of her wayward son, Augustine, who in his youthful search for the truth in various philosophies had strayed away from the truth of his Faith.              Pope Francis, in his pastoral exhortation, Christus Vivit, addressed to the youth, reminds us that Christ is indeed alive -- for the youth and for all of us.  Youthfulness is a special grace and a state of mind for every human being.  The youth are not only the future, but the present of the Church -- in sheer numbers as well as in the living out of our Christian Faith.   The Church herself, in continuing Christ's mission to the world is "the real youth of the world", making possible for us "to encounter Christ, the companion and friend of youth."                Let us then celebrate our fiesta with the spirit of youthful joy in the presence of a loving and merciful God who is ever by our side to heal us and strengthen us as we confront the challenges in our society today.              Foremost among this is the call for waging peace, instead of waging war, among our tri-people communities in Mindanao.  Last February, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar issued a joint statement in Abu Dhabi on "Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together."  This was addressed to the world-wide Christian and Muslim communities to heed the call that "faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved."  In the face of long-held prejudices, armed conflict, and terrorist attacks against innocent persons, the two religious leaders "declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path, mutual cooperation as the code of conduct, and reciprocal understanding as the method and standard."             The joint statement in Abu Dhabi was also adopted by a gathering of bishops, presidents of Catholic schools and Muslim leaders in Davao on August 14, in support of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).  The religious leaders particularly pointed out the need for continuing the horizontal dialogue among ordinary Christians, Muslims and Lumads in daily life situations.  Their conference was aptly entitled, "Walking and Working Together for Healing and Reconciliation."             For us in the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, let this also be our standard in peace-building in conflict-ridden areas.  We can do away with the red-tagging of certain church groups, journalists and human rights lawyers who advocate addressing the root causes of un-peace.  We can also do away with the yellow-tagging of some church officials and political opposition leaders by the filing of sedition charges without credible evidence.              Another challenge confronting us is the care of our common home, our planet Earth.  Last July, the Catholic bishops issued "An Urgent Call for Ecological Conversion, Hope in the Face of Climate Emergency."  Here in our city, government officials have passed an ordinance for waste segregation while Xavier University has led the ban against single-use plastic containers.  The CBCP letter points out the moral basis of our response to climate emergency, intergenerational responsibility, the rights of Nature itself, and the commitment to live the spirit and principles of Laudato Si', Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment.              One measure that is now pending in our local legislature is the passage of an ordinance for the Payment of Ecological Services (PES), which would institutionalize the rehabilitation of our watershed areas to protect Cagayan de Oro River and other tributaries.  On our part, we can exercise the judicious use of water as indeed the source of life for our community and all living beings.             Let these threefold challenges then be our way of celebrating our feast day -- in a return to the youthfulness of our faith in an ever-present God;  in our efforts at building peace in Mindanao;  and in our care for the environment and integral ecology.  May the intercession of our Birhen sa Kota be our guide and protection.   #         

CDO civic parade on eve of city fiesta draws biggest crowd ever

August 27, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Aug) – Thousands participated in the Higalaay civic-military parade here Tuesday morning and many more Kagay-anons watched it by the street side despite stringent security measures implemented by the local police. Major Ivan Vinas, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office, said more than 10,000 students, government employees, soldiers and priests joined the parade, a traditional event held the day before the city fiesta honoring Saint Augustine. Vinas said even dogs and clowns in colorful costumes participated in the parade, making it the biggest in the city’s 69-year history. “This is the biggest and the crowd really behave well following the orders of the police,” he said. Vinas said an estimated 30,000 people lined up along the parade route from Rodelsa Rotunda to Lim Ketkai Center, a stretch of 2.5 kilometers, via the city’s main thoroughfares. A big delegation of soldiers from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division spearheaded the 120 contingents that participated in the parade. Police implemented stringent security measures aimed to deter possible terrorist attacks. The two major phone companies – Globe and Smart – cut off their mobile phone signals during the duration of the parade, from 8 a.m. until noon. Vinas said they also imposed a “no wearing of hats and no backpacks” policy for the crowd. “We did not hear a whimper of complaints. The people just followed our orders,” he said. The tradition of holding civic-military parade a day before the Cagayan de Oro fiesta celebrating the Feast of Saint Augustine dates back after World War II ended. Historian Antonio Montalvan II said by tradition Cagayan de Oro celebrates its municipal fiesta on August 27 while the city celebrates its religious fiesta on August 28. “After the war, political and religious structures were more defined,” Montalvan said. He said there are old pictures of Cagayan de Oro residents riding World War II type vehicles participating in the parade. Montalvan said there are some suggestions that the tradition of holding civic-military parades began before the war. President Elpidio signed Republic Act No. 521, which granted the status of a chartered city to the Municipality of Cagayan de Misamis (the former name of Cagayan de Oro) on June 15, 1950. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)


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