cagayan de oro

NPA uses female combatants as sex slaves

November 19, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –  The  4th Infantry “Diamond” Division (4ID), Philippine Army condemns the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) leadership for their continuous sexual abuses against their female combatants.   Alyas Wilma, 20, a former medic of the New People's Army (NPA) from Magpet, North Cotabato revealed her sad experience as a victim of sexual abuse from their NPA commander. “I joined the NPA because I am against sexual abuse and female exploitation, however, our NPA commander sexually abused us and neglected our rights as a woman,” Wilma exposed. Alyas Saisai, 32, a former NPA medic, married from Agusan Del Norte was also raped by his NPA commander. She got pregnant but suffered miscarriage due to stress and hardship in the mountain. “I was raped and threatened that he will kill my husband if I will inform the committee.” I wanted to kill him for repeatedly abusing me sexually, he should be executed by death," she said. I went lie-low due to sexual abuses and injustices in the NPA organization,” Saisai added.  Sexual abuses were also confirmed when the troops of 88th Infantry Battalion based in Maramag Bukidnon recovered some contraceptive pills, condoms and porn materials inside an NPA hideout in the forested area of Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon last October 22, 2019.  MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 4ID emphasized that "for 50 years, NPA commanders have been violating their female combatants." They must respect the rights of our women and stop treating them as sex slaves,” he said. He also urged all female NPA combatants to surrender and save themselves from these abuses. "Together with the government, we will ensure that the female former rebels undergo the healing and reconciliation process through the help of DSWD and other concerned government agencies for them to recover emotionally and psychologically and prepare them to return to mainstream society,” Gacal further said. In the Philippines,  the days between 25 November and 12 December are observed annually as the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) to spur public awareness on the forms of violence against women and girls and the ordeal of VAW victims/survivors. The campaign supports the government’s goal in protecting the rights of women and young girls by upholding the commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 constitution.  This year's observance is anchored on the theme “VAW-free community starts with me." (4ID,PA)

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DTI-10 to kick off Christmas caravan sale on Nov. 20

November 15, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-10 will bring the Diskwento Caravan: Pre-Christmas Edition on November 20-21, 2019 at the Cagayan de Oro City Hall Mini Park.  The two-day caravan lets shoppers enjoy up to 50 percent (%)  off on selected items from more than 15 participating establishments and exhibitors.  Local and national brands are expected to sell snack items, canned goods, beverages, and household products.  The caravan aims to bring basic and prime commodities at reduced prices to the general public. It is also in partnership with local manufacturers, distributors and local producers who are willing to sell items at lower or discounted prices. The Diskwento Caravan: Pre-Christmas Edition is open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.  (DTI-10)  

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Constitutional reform rally kicks off in Mindanao

November 12, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - In the pursuit of raising public awareness and secure substantial public support on the need to reform the present Constitution, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 10 in coordination with Center for Federalism and Constitutional Reform (CFCR) conducted on October 31 the first Constitutional Reform (CoRe) Provincial Roadshow in Mindanao. Dubbed as “Balangayan 2019”, the activity was intended for a meaningful convergence of different sectors to directly interact in a constructive dialogue about constitutional reform with government officials and other stakeholders.  Hundreds of Punong Barangays, along with the barangay-based Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City attended said gathering.  DILG 10 Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe urged involved sectors to be partners of the government in advocating for constitutional reform saying, “We need you in this advocacy, and to advocate for this would mean being enlightened as to what are the implications of these reforms.” The reform pushes a unified message through its four pillars: (1) Pagyamin ang Probinsya, Paluwagin ang Metro Manila, (2) Gobyerno Para sa Tao, Hindi Para sa mga TraPo (Traditional Politicians), (3) Bukas na Ekonomiya na ang Lahat ay May Pag-asa, and (4) Bagong Konstitusyon Para sa Bagong Henerasyon. Its priority concerns would include providing more opportunities for the provinces to develop, elect leaders who care for their constituents and further bring the government closer to the people.  “Our past constitutions were enacted out of rush due to revolutions. There were no public consultations or people's participation. Right now, we are lucky because we now have the opportunity to participate,” Atty. Vicente Homer B. Revil, Constitutional Reform Resource Speaker, said during his discussion. With the advocacy seeking to strengthen community participation by involving various sectors and providing equal opportunity for both national and local levels, Atty. Revil moreover underscored that the constitutional reform will be able to reflect the current needs of the country.  CoRe Activities The provincial roadshow is just one of the activities in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to intensify public awareness and education about the federal system of government and its impacts.  Other series of activities conducted in Northern Mindanao from October 25-31 include speakers’ training for DILG field officers, academe representatives and local government units’ representatives who are targeted to effectively inform and educate the public about the merits of Federalism and constitutional reform.  With this, Director Agabe encouraged disseminating constitutional reform details as prescribed, focusing on the said four pillars of messages to prevent public misinformation.  Towards further conveying the merits of constitutional reform, DILG 10 also gathered various media personalities from Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City for a media briefing. Moreover, town hall meetings were conducted, attended by provincial/municipal chief executives and SK Federation Presidents, CSOs, and the youth sector.  Involving the local government units and the youth sector recognizes their fundamental role in nation-building, especially in generating their full support in reforming the present system.  “Help us ensure that there will be good governance in all parts of the Northern Mindanao and of the country by helping the government attain a more responsive form of government and at the same time, attain a more responsive constitution,” Agabe said.  The series of events takes its cue from the ‘Dagyaw’ Concept—serving as an avenue for the participants to delve into government’s efforts on uplifting the lives and welfare of the people through informing them about the various government projects that are in line for them.  government. (Princess Jia Andriza T. Artajo and Rezza Mae B. Tolinero/DILG-10)

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14 ex-rebels in Iligan City receive financial assistance

November 12, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - More rebel returnees will benefit through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) as Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) released a total of Php 210,00.00-worth financial assistance to14 former rebels who surrendered in Iligan City.  Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia led the awarding of checks on October 29 to said 14 former rebels who made it to the hand-over ceremony, out of the 20 target FR beneficiaries.  DILG Iligan City Program Manager and E-CLIP Focal Person LGOO Elizabeth G. Buna said that the assistance offered to the ex-rebels is one way for them to start anew, as well as regain their trust and confidence to the government.  “This could also be an inspiration to their former colleagues to go back to the folds of the law and be a part of a progressive and peaceful community— realizing that the government is for the people, by the people, and of the people,” she added. E-CLIP will provide a complete package of assistance to former rebels who were members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and National Democratic Front (NDF), as well as their family members, who have surrendered to the government to abandon armed struggle and become productive members of the society. “This is one of the best mechanisms that the Philippine Government ever conceived—to gradually win the battle against insurgency,” LGOO Buna said. “Through this, having a better quality of life for our former rebels will no longer be a dream, but a reality for them to savor with their families and loved ones.”  The FRs can also avail of the services of the Halfway House which shall be established temporarily at the Gymnasium of Global Steel (formerly NSC) Company at Barangay Suarez.  It shall then serve as the temporary center for additional assistance that may be sourced out from partner institutions/agencies such as skills training, capacity building, and others that the government can offer through its subsidiaries. “Hopefully this would successfully lead to achieving the goals of Executive Order 70,” Buna said.  E-CLIP and Amnesty Program is just one out of the five (5) clusters of EO 70, dubbed as the “Whole-of-Nation Approach,” that is led by the DILG. Other clusters are Sectoral Unification, Local Government Empowerment, Basic Services, and Localized Peace Engagement—all in the pursuit of finally ending the 50-year long insurgency problem in the country.  “This is a challenge for us to be a channel of peace as we come together with all the government instrumentalities and stakeholders in the society,” Buna said. (Rezza B. Tolinera/DILG-10)

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Army combatants save wounded NPA rebel

November 5, 2019

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City - The intensified combat operations did not prevent the troops of the 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division to adhere with the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The encounter between the troops of the 29th Infantry Battalion and New People's Army (NPA) in an uninhabited and forested area in Brgy San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte last November 2, 2019 resulted in the death of one (1) NPA and the wounding of another.  The troops recovered one M4 rifle with sniper scope and another one M4 rifle with two magazines fully loaded with ammunition, two bandoliers, one anti-personnel mines, medicine kit, one UHF handheld radio, one backpack containing other personal belongings of the NPAs and subversive documents. Alias Kevin was abandoned by his NPA comrades after fleeing from the encounter site. Without hesitation, the Army troops immediately gave first aid to the wounded  NPA combatant who is suffering from a gun shot wound at his right leg. He was then rushed to the nearest hospital to ensure proper medication and to save his life. MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, Commander of the 4th ID, said "This is a clear evidence that your Diamond troopers are professional soldiers who strictly adhere with the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). I commend the brave and professional troops of the 29IB for saving the life of the wounded NPA, for we believe that life is precious and every one deserves a second chance to live peacefuly." "I continue to urge those who are still hiding in fear in the mountains to surrender and return to the folds of law and avail the programs of the government while you still can,"Gacal ended.###  

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EU aid project eyes low carbon RE for PH’s sustainable energy future

November 3, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO - A European Union assisted project aiming to provide the Philippines with low carbon energy sustainability was launched last 28 October 2019 in Xavier Ateneo. Dubbed the Access to Sustainable Energy in the Philippines – Clean Energy Living Laboratories (ASEP-CELLs), the project is being implemented by Ateneo de Manila University (through the Ateneo School of Government), the Manila Observatory, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments), the University of San Carlos and Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo). Guests from the European Union, Department of Energy, among others, underscored the project’s research agenda in relation to national and local energy challenges of the country.  GIovanni Seritella, project manager for Environment & Climate Change, Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines said ASEP is an EU program which supports the Phil. Government’s target to provide 100% household energy access by 2020. “The ASEP-CELLS project aims to advance the renewable energy agenda in the Philippines and support the transition to a low carbon energy path through three interrelated components or pillars: Knowledge Management to address needed policy reforms to push the RE agenda in the Philippines; Capacity Development which will support the knowledge and the skills of those who champion these reforms, and Advocacy to support the creation of the demand for renewable energy intervention in the country,” Seritella noted. The program aims to provide innovative ways to respond to the challenge of climate change by supporting the access to renewable energy and support marginalized groups and communities which do not have access to energy. The ultimate aim is to provide support for response to climate change. Over 750 local governments around the world have declared a climate emergency, he added. “This project is important because it will help us create political space for evidence-based practices that will link global energy to political institutions and institutional capacity, as well as strategic planning for disaster resilience, energy delivery and technology.” PH has Low Usage, High Pricing Dr. Joseph Yap, Senior Technical Advisor of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Government, said despite the Philippines having the second lowest per capita energy consumption per capita GDP in the ASEAN, it has the second highest electricity rate in Asia behind Japan. “The Philippines consumes less but pays more, and nine percent of our households have no access to electricity, the lowest among ASEAN member nations. These households are found mostly in Mindanao, specifically in Region IX and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Thus, Yap said the two most critical energy issues facing the country in the future are adequate supply and the optimal energy mix, and the overall object of promoting energy security. “Optimal is not limited to least cost. There has to be a balance among social, economic, financial and environmental goals.  Policy has to be aware of possible conflict among components of Energy Security: Autarky, Affordability, Accessibility, Sustainability or the Energy Trilemma.” Energy Usec. Felix Fuentebella noted that while the Philippines has been declared as the third   country most vulnerable to climate change, it has been ranked first by World Energy Council on Energy Sustainability the last 4-5 years. As of June 2019, the country has attained 98% of electrification based on 2015 census while over 80% of the population expressed openness to new energy options. The Jesuit Mission and Climate Change In his welcome remarks, Xavier Ateneo Pres. Fr. Roberto Yap SJ said that as a Jesuit university, Xavier Ateneo strives to participate in Jesuit mission, an essential dimension of which is to collaborate in the care of our common home, as inspired by Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’ in which he stressed climate change as a global problem. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.” (LS, 25)   Fr. Yap said Pope Francis is clear that there is only one crisis which is both environmental and social.   “There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies.”  (LS, 26) The Mindanao Coal Dilemma “I quote these very wise, challenging and disturbing words from Pope Francis to set the tone for the CELLs project. Situating this in Mindanao, we know that a few years ago we were suffering from power shortages, we had many brownouts which would last for several hours, then we were able to solve that problem,” Fr. Yap related. “But unfortunately if we look at the many power plants that have been built these past few years and helped us become an energy surplus region now in Mindanao, most that have been built still use coal, the very models of production and consumption, and energy usage that is very much linked to the causes of climate change,” he stressed.  “Xavier is very proud and happy that we can contribute to policy formulation, through research, capacity building, technical assistance, that we can really address and promote the use of renewable energy. And I hope we will be able to show good examples, even small examples that really renewable energy is possible and sustainable and really beneficial to communities, especially for poor communities in the peripheries.” Key Legislations “In the European Union we aim to have a 40 percent target reduction on greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and hopefully attain 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 emission levels,” Seritella noted. “Besides that, the EU last November has developed an energy policy that will allow EU to be climate neutral with zero gas emissions by 2050.” DOE vigilant Still, Fuentebella expressed the need to be circumspect in evaluating the implications of such projects, especially on their implications on the national treasury. “We have to closely examine our engagement with the European Union because they are sincere in helping. But still, we have to be on guard for every detail: interest, where the product comes from, who really benefits from it, what are the terms and conditions. At the end of the day, it’s easy to make decisions, especially when it’s not our pockets which are involved. But when taxpayers money is involved, then we have to be extra careful,” he noted. Fuentebella also admitted the difficulty of attaining an optimal energy grid for a particular area. “Renewables mixed with fossil fuel are reliable but not easy to achieve. Even geothermals have environmental costs, and are capital intensive. Which is why DOE is not so keen on pushing renewables to consumers? We want you take your time. We want you to be detailed in your studies, because once you make commitments, you should be ready,” he stressed. “The competitive selection should be well-rounded, it should be filled with details, and we have experts here who would give you advice, but we should never lose our dignity, always put the interests of our country first, and be meticulous. Just because it’s the current trend doesn’t mean we should adopt it,” he added. Nevertheless, Roel Ravanera, Xavier Ateneo Vice President for Social Development, welcomed the project as timely and significant. “ASEP-CELLs is a novel initiative that will have significant impact in ensuring inclusive development in the country, especially here in Mindanao. With its focus on rural electrification, it will provide basic services and more opportunities for people in the rural areas better chances of overcoming extreme poverty,” Ravanera said. “Equally important is its bias for renewable energy that will ensure sustainable development amidst the worsening global climate crisis,” he added. In closing, Fr. Yap said, “I pray that this project will be blessed by our Lord and that we will really work in cooperation with each other as we address energy poverty and security for an inclusive and resilient Philippines.”

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