caraga region

5 NPA rebels killed in Caraga

May 20, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY  – Five suspected New People’s Army rebels were killed in a series of encounters with government troops in Caraga region last Sunday. Capt. Francisco Garello, spokesperson of the Army 402nd Infantry Brigade said a platoon of 20 soldiers chanced on a group of 10 suspected rebels resting under the trees in Barangay Cancavan, Carmen town in Surigao del Sur. “We’ve been monitoring their presence since the May 13 elections. We moved against them when we realized they were still there after the elections,” Garello said. Garello said the soldiers caught the rebels by surprise and a 15-minute gun battle ensued. “The soldiers and rebels were chasing each other. It was a running gun battle for 15 minutes,” he said. Garello said the bodies of four rebels were recovered together with three AK-47 rifles, two M16 rifles, three mobile phones and assorted ammunition. In Remedios Romualdez town in Agusan del Norte, another encounter between Army soldiers and NPA rebels happened in Barangay San Antonio last Sunday. Garello said one rebel died in the encounter and the soldiers were able to recover his firearm, an AK 47 rifle with two magazines. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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Plaza siblings break down own dynasty

May 15, 2019

SAN Francisco, Agusan del Sur--The entire slate of Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza in Agusan del Sur overwhelmed the rival camp of his estranged siblings, Rep. Maria Valentina Plaza and Democrito Plaza III in the May 13 polls.  Except in Rosario town, Plaza’s bets in the provincial and municipal levels who are mostly incumbents, handily won in the 13 towns and Bayugan City which observers see the governor crumbled down their own well-entrenched family dynasty to build his own political empire. Based on GMA News Online Election 2019 results with 98 percent election returns processed , incumbent provincial board member Santiago Cane Jr. received a commanding lead of 147,686 votes against Maria Valentina Plaza’s 106,879 votes. Lawyer Hilarion Clapis trailed far behind with 32,460 votes. The governor’s political group called “Team Eddiebong” is with National Unity Party-Hugpong ng Pagbabago coalition while Maria Valentina and Democrito III of “Team Plaza” who was able to catch up the October 30 deadline for substitute candidates are under Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP). Cane’s running mate and incumbent Vice Gov. Samuel Tortor was reelected by winning overwhelmingly with 158,716 votes against the closest rival Lawyer Ferdinand Marcus Bañosia who got 31,656 votes. Incumbent provincial board member  Alfelito Bascug received a commanding lead of 81,451 votes as against Democrito III who got 45,449 votes in the congressional race in the first district. Gov. Plaza who is seeking the congressional seat in the second district, got the widest win margin with 108,799 votes as against independent candidate Dodge Corro with 9,777 votes and PDSP’s Max Robles with 8,061 votes. Most of the incumbent municipal bets of “Team Eddiebong” turned out to victorious over their opponents except in the mining town of Rosario where rich miner Jupiter Abulog beat incumbent vice mayor Juvy Cuyos close to half of his winning margin of 14,429 votes against 8,886 votes in the mayoralty race. Even incumbent Mayor Jose Cuyos Jr, husband of Juvy, was edged out in his bid for a town councilor seat as most of Abulog’s line up won in the election.

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Army In CARAGA Participates in Local Absentee Voting

May 3, 2019

Bancasi, Butuan City – Soldiers in Caraga exercised their right of suffrage by casting their votes thru the Local Absentee Voting (LAV) last April 30, 2019. Simultaneously, a total of 550 soldiers under the 402nd Infantry Brigade who applied for LAV were allowed to cast their votes in Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur from 30 April – 01 May, 2019 as an exercise of their right to choose leaders for the national position and contribute in shaping the future of the next generations. In 402nd Brigade Headquarters at Bancasi, Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, soldiers eagerly trouped to the voting place at the Kalayaan Hall inside its camp and some even became emotional as they cast their votes for the first time, “It was so fulfilling. As a soldier who swore to protect the people and defend this country, I felt I have the duty to do something in my own way for my country. Because in our votes, lies the future of this country”, said Private First Class Interone, one of the female soldiers of the Brigade. Likewise, troops of the 30th Infantry (Python) Battalion in Surigao del Norte ended with a positive outlook 99 of its members wereeligible for the LAV and shall decide in their fingertips on who to place their hopes and dreams in the coming future. “Kinahangyan ta nu egpakita kan boto ta isip sundayo, so sei si yangitnon nu hinagon nu egbugoy ta to pagpandoy pag isab to nasud ta, (We need to cast our votes as a soldier, it is our divine duty to share our contribution in rebuilding our country)”. Said PFC Pamaong in their vernacular language, member of Manobo tribe in Talacogon, Agusan sur. Meanwhile, Lt Col Xerxes A Trinidad, Commanding Officer of the 36IB led his troops in casting their votes at their Headquarters in Sitio Upper Mambago, Brgy Dayoan, Tago, Surigao del Sur. An unprecedented total of 371 or almost 84% of valor troopers were approved by the COMELEC for the Local Absentee Voting. “I have ensured that my troops are committed and applied for the LAV. It is our right and we need to perform it faithfully. Let’s vote for credible candidate to lead our government”, Lt Col Trinidad said. Pursuant to Omnibus Election Code, Republic Act No. 1766 and Executive Order 157 and COMELEC Resolution 10443 states that Local Absentee Voting is available to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and the Media Practitioners and government personnel who are duly registered voter and who will be posted to perform election – related duties on election day. In his statement, Col Maurito L Licudine, Brigade Commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade take cognizance on the Army’s involvement during elections. “The Philippine Army as an organization will remain non-partisan in performing our mandate in ensuring an honest, peaceful and fair election. As a representation of our genuine commitment for peace and development, we recognize the essence of our exercising the right to vote of our soldiers as part of our duty and as God – given right. Hence, we must safeguard it for our future generations to inherit”. "I call upon every Caraganons to use their vote wisely and choose the leaders who will carve peaceful path and strive for economic development to uplift their lives. While we choose our leaders this coming May 13, 2019, your Army in CARAGA will not waiver in our resolve to end insurgency thru close cooperation and convergence with civilian authorities and partner stakeholders in order to attain conflict resilient communities”, Col Licudine added.

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HINATUAN DECLARES CPP-NPA-NDF “PERSONA- NON GRATA

May 2, 2019

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur- Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr, Brgy Maharlika, Bislig City (Stn)– The list of cities, municipalities and barangays declaring the communist/ terrorist group CPP-NPA-NDF is getting longer by the day. On Tuesday, April 30, the Municipality ofHinatuan, Surigao Del Sur was added to the list after passing a resolution that declared the terror group undesirable in the entire locality. Hinatuan, a second class municipality in Mindanao’s Caraga Region, is home to the world- famous Enchanted River. The river located in Brgy. Talisay, is said to be miraculous and attracts visitors locally and internationally. Resolution Number 01-19 entitled “Declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF and their Associated Organizations as Persona Non- Grata” was passed during a joint meeting of the Hinatuan Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) and Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) Meeting, April 30. “The constituents of the Municipality of Hinatuan condemns all forms of terrorism, uphold their allegiance and support to the fight against terrorism, and renounces association with any terror[ism] group. The maintenance of peace and security is our prime concern and duty”, the resolution said. The declaration was positively received by the Punong Barangays (Barangay Captains) as well as various stakeholders in the municipality including the business sector. They said the move is just the first step in improving their peace and order and security condition as they strive to pursue socio-economic development programs that will benefit the people especially from poor and marginalized communities. The tourism sector is expected to greatly benefit from improved peace and security situation of the Municipality. Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin whose battalion has operational jurisdiction of the municipality lauded the move and expressed optimism that neighboring municipalities will follow suit. “Hinatuan’s move is proof that many municipalities and barangays have long desired to disassociate themselves from the communist- terrorists. The Philippine Army is optimistic that those who have been deceived and exploited by the CPP-NPA- NDF will be finally enlightened as to the true nature of these organizations”, Datuin said. Brig.Gen. Andres Centino, the 401st Brigade Commander also commended the LGU of Hinatuan for leading the charge against the communist- terrorists. He said Executive Order No. 70 calls for a “Whole of Nation Approach” to end the local communist armed conflict, and requires the collective effort of government instrumentalities to work with the community. He further assured the LGU of Philippine Army’s readiness to assist them in their quest towards establishing conflict-resilient communities.

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Agusan del Sur town bets vow not to buy votes

April 27, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur--- Four of five mayoralty and two of three vice mayoralty bets of this progressive town have committed they will not engage in vote buying in the coming May 13 polls, a welcome development here where it has been known for such electoral malpractices in the past elections. The local candidates made this vow before local businessmen on Friday night during a forum hosted by Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce Industry Foundation, Inc. Among the mayoralty bets who committed against vote buying were independents John Paredes, Arth Ryan Palabrica, Agusani Ananoria and Floriano Ravelo Jr. and  vice mayoralty bets incumbent Mayor Jenny de Asis and former mayor Rey Aquino of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas. Administration mayoralty candidate Solomon Rufila and vice mayoralty bet Bernardino Ursos of Hugpong ng Pagbabago and National Unity Party coalition begged off not to attend the forum because of prior commitment to a  political rally in Barangay Lapinigan. Local politicians standing firm against vote buying is a new twist since many of them were part of the ruling party in the province which have been engaged in massive vote buying spree in the past except in 2016 where they are running unopposed and when President Rodrigo Duterte lost heavily here against administration and Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas. Paredes, a neophyte politician and son of former governor and congressman Ceferino Paredes Jr., said vote buying even giving away goods and services is illegal under election laws that if candidates are engage in this it would be more likely they will continue doing other illicit deeds when they are already in office. “Is the salary of a mayor serving for three years enough to buy votes during election,” he asked. For his part, Palabrica, an incumbent town councilor, said even vote buying in the past elections could just be regarded as offerings to voters, he has no capability to do it because he is just a poor candidate. He however tells voters if there are really irresistible offer they might as well accept it but they should vote according to their conscience. Ananoria , an incumbent provincial board member, said their local political group with a complete slate have strong commitment against the ills of vote buying and they emphasized this in their speeches during political rallies. “Politicians engaged in vote buying only look down and do not respect the voters,” Ananaoria said. Ravelo, a retired police colonel, said aside from being illegal, vote buying is not acceptable in the eyes of God. Both de Asis and Aquino also stood their ground against the evils of vote buying.

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No water crisis in Agusan town even in El Niño advent

April 23, 2019

SAN Francisco, Agusan del Sur--Many areas in the country have to bear the brunt of the water crisis brought about by the El Niño phenomenon but not in this progressive town where the 1,658-hectare Mt. Magdiwata Watershed endowed with 92 percent forest cover abundantly supplies thousands of households all year round.      Dr. Nilo H. Calomot, professor of environmental science at Caraga State University and Environmental Consultant of Northern Mindanao Natural Resources Council, Inc. (Normin NRC Inc.), has cited the San Francisco Water District (SFWD) for its relentless effort in preserving the sustainable watershed since 1997 that it can now combat climate change and the ill effects of El Niño.      “The sustainable management of Mt. Magdiwata watershed by SFWD is the best example of long term solution to the current water crisis in the country,” Calomot said.      SFWD has been in the forefront of rehabilitating the mountain watershed once endangered with unabated log poaching and kaingin system from 54 percent open and denuded areas to what is now 92 percent high biodiversity forest cover.      Due to increase in  watershed  cover , study revealed  that  that  the flow rate  of surface  water in springs and streams  inside the watershed  had significantly increased  starting 2013 onward in spite of climate variability  and occurrences  of El Niño in 2015 and  2018.      Elmer Luzon, SFWD general manager, said that reforestation efforts did not only increased the water yield but had also changed the microclimatic condition of the area bringing more rainfall even in the onset  of  drought and other climate phenomena.      “Since there is a direct relationship between the forest cover, water yield, and rainfall, the Mt Magdiwata Watershed experience revealed a highly significant correlation on the water yield and rainfall,” Luzon noted citing a recent study done by SFWD.      SFWD’s success story served as a model and inspiration to 10 other local water districts in Northern Mindanao that comprises the Normin NRC Inc.        Many Normin NRC members however are still struggling to preserve watersheds in their respective areas even as a resolution was passed in 2009 one-hectare reforestation model projects with P35,000 yearly budget.      Factors preventing water districts in Northern Mindanao to protect their watershed as source of potable water supply were most of these areas are not declared by virtue of law or presidential proclamation and if there are , it is being challenged by overlapping of claims with mining areas operation putting the watershed in peril.      A case in point is the 66.20 watershed area of Cantilan Water District in Surigao del Sur of which a big portion has been destroyed a mining company (Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.)      Vicente Cirilo Iriberri, general manager of Cantilan Water District, said the destruction of the Lib-og Watershed has caused a major 74 percent decline of water supply from 50,000 cubic meters in January 2018 to 10,000 cubic meters in July 2018.      He said  there is an overlapping and conflicting tenurial rights over watershed areas even water rights for irrigation, hydroelectric power and domestic water use against massive issuance of mining tenements.      “The lack of political will and sense of priority has resulted to forest denudation,” Iriberri said. He reported that the areas being destroyed by mining are part of the Presidential Proclamation 1747 in 2013 declaring portions of Alamio, Buyaan, Carac-an and Panikian Rivers and Sipagpang Falls, as Watershed Forest Reserves,  Lib-og being part and parcel of Alamio River      In a position paper during a forum here at Mabe’s Savory Place and Hotel early last month, Normin NRC, Inc. members have resolved that the greatest problem of many water districts nationwide is water crisis which is the lack of sustainable water supply especially during dry seasons coupled with increasing demand.      “Many people believed that current water crisis is attributed by El Nino/climate change. In reality, the greatest problem of all is the vanishing watersheds brought about by   varying degrees of degradation which might affect the sufficient quantity and acceptable quality of waters available to the communities,” the position paper cited. It further stated: “Remember, a watershed that has  high biodiversity are usually covered with  trees . Since  trees in watershed  serves as the  natural   filter , reservoirs   which usually  reserve  water  during  rainy seasons and release it  to rivers and streams  during dry seasons  , giving off continuous supply of water  for the community.”

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