davao

Gov’t insists on localized peace talks with Reds

April 16, 2019

DAVAO CITY – The government will pursue peace talks with communist rebels to end the 50-year old insurgency, but this time it will be “directly engaging the people on the ground to address the fundamentals of the problem,” Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. said. This came almost a month after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the appointments of the members of the government panel holding negotiations with the communists. In a statement Monday, Galvez said the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict created by Duterte, who chairs the body, will facilitate “the success of the ongoing localized peace negotiations that have, thus far, gained a lot of dividends and headway.” Galvez did not elaborate what these “dividends” are, but was apparently referring to the reported surrender of several New People’s Army rebels in previous months. Last Saturday, Duterte said he was planning to form a new peace panel that would be composed of at least two civilians and three military officers. Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison slammed Duterte’s plan to include military officers in the panel, calling it a “war panel” that would demand the surrender of NPA rebels. In his statement, however, Galvez said the localized peace talks “includes the vital component of a security lens in this process, hence the need for former security officials to be part of the panel”. He said Sison’s rejection of the idea raises question on whether the exiled rebel leader is for genuine peace. He said the new peace panel is in line with the whole-of-nation approach as embodied in Executive Order 70 aimed at addressing the root causes of the problem. He accused the communist leadership of using “lopsided” peace agreements not to pursue real peace but to advance its goal of overthrowing the government. He added the rebels “continued with their manipulation of and attacks on the civilian communities and state security forces.” Human rights groups have also accused government security forces of committing human rights violations against civilians and communities alleged to be supporting the CPP-NPA. Along with other groups, they have pushed for the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front, the political umbrella of the CPP.. “No to local talks” After the failed two-tier (national and local levels) peace talks with the Cory administration from late 1986 until early 1987, the CPP, citing lessons from it, had spurned the idea of holding local negotiations. In a 1991 paper titled “Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors,” the CPP said that the talks with the Aquino government showed that it wanted “the revolutionary forces to capitulate to its rule, its constitution and its armed forces; to split the revolutionary movement; and to surveil and attack the movement.” The CPP said the framework for negotiating with government should observe the following framework: 1.) The strategic line is one of pursuing the national democratic line to attain a just and lasting peace. 2.) The NDF is a belligerent force in the civil war and not a mere insurgent force. It cannot negotiate with the reactionary government if not on an equal footing under international law. 3.) The legal and political frame is the set of mutually acceptable principles, the international norms, and the agreements that may be made. 4.) The substantive agenda includes the following: respect for human rights and international humanitarian law; social and economic reforms; constitutional, political, and electoral reforms; and the armed forces. 5.) There must be a reasonable timetable. 6.) The venue must be abroad for the mutual convenience and safety of the two sides. 7.) There must be a foreign state or interstate third Party acting in a certain capacity (intermediary, good offices or witness) to be agreed upon by the two sides. 8.) The domestic and foreign third party of non-governmental peace advocates can be consulted and be of help to the peace process. The framework agreed upon by both sides during the Ramos administration adopted the items cited in number four as the points of negotiation. The government also agreed to hold the negotiations abroad and allow Norway to join the talks as third party facilitator.

READ MORE
Duterte after Marawi’s “liberation”: two visits, three no show

April 16, 2019

DAVAO CITY  – Since he declared Marawi City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte has returned to the city in ruins twice, and was a no show thrice.  The country’s first Mindanawon President and first with Meranaw roots was expected at the rally of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP) in Marawi City on April 12 but did not make it due to bad weather, the Presidential spokesperson and the PDP spokesperson said.  It was Duterte’s third no show in Marawi since “liberation” and the second in six months.  He was expected to grace the first anniversary of  Marawi’s “liberation” on October 17, 2018 which would have been the groundbreaking rites for the rehabilitation efforts in Ground Zero, the 250-hectare, 24-barangay former main battle area between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group and its allies, now referred to as the Most Affected Area (MAA).  The groundbreaking schedule was changed several times to accommodate the President’s schedule. In the end, it was held on October 30 with Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, chair of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, as guest of honor.  On December 27, 2017, his supposed first interaction with Marawi’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) after his June 20, 2017 visit to the IDPs in the Buru-un evacuation center in Iligan City, Duterte was a no show at the turnover rites at the transitional site in Barangay Sagonsongan. The President was late for the 1 p.m. affair and the pilots could no longer find an opening in the clouds to land in Marawi. They proceeded to his second destination -- Tubod, Lanao del Norte -- instead.  The Sagonsongan turnover was supposed to be in mid-December but was reset to December 27 for the President. Two visits Since he declared Marawi "liberated" on October 17, 2017, Duterte has visited Marawi twice -- on January 30 and May 11 in 2018 -- the first during the groundbreaking rites for the second military camp that residents are objecting to, and to distribute certificates of acceptance and occupancy of transitory shelter units in Barangay Sagonsongan, where he asked for forgiveness and vowed: "We try (sic) to build a new city. I will guarantee you for the remaining years that there will always be money for you, that you’ll be able to rehabilitate your business kung talagang gusto lang ninyo (if that’s what you really want).” The second visit was on May 11, 2018, at the Provincial Capitol Gym, for the "presentation of surrendered firearms and distribution of assistance to ISIS-Maute group surrenderees." He said government wants peace and does not want to be in Marawi to fight. “That is a waste of time and money and the lives of people… At the end of the day, lahat ‘yang armas na ‘yan makita mo, it does not really mean anything. It has not succeeded its purpose. Nagamit lahat ‘yan, maraming namatay (these were used, many were killed).  He said what happened in Marawi was painful but as President, “I had a duty to perform, not only here in Lanao del Sur, in Lanao del Norte. But I have a duty to perform to all. Ke ba Bisaya, Ilocano, Bicolano, Tausug, Maguindanao, Iranun, ‘yung sa akin, ang Kagan. I have a duty that’s why kailangan ko talagang to declare martial law.” Duterte declared martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus shortly before midnight of May 23, 2017, barely eight hours after the first burst of gunfire on Day 1 of the Marawi siege. The declaration was for 60 days but he asked Congress to extend it thrice – first until December 31, 2017, second until December 31, 2018 and third until December 31, 2019. Transitory shelters In the morning of April 12, the day the President was expected to attend the PDP rally, the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) through the National Housing Authority transferred 350 families displaced since May 2017 to their transitory shelters in Boganga Lakeview. The TFBM said 195 families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Bito Buadi Itowa Evacuation Center and 155 home-based IDPs moved to the Boganga Lakeview Transitory Shelter. As of April 12, the TFBM said a total of 556 displaced families had moved to the site, 206 of them in January 2019. A total of 1,500 transitory shelters are to be built in Boganga by July 1, 2019, with a project cost of PhP 495 million, according to the status report of the NHA’s Marawi Project Management Office, as of February 28, 2019. The status report also said a total of 1,052 transitory shelters in Sagonsongan were completed as of 2018; that in Dulay,  Barangay Rorogagus, the local government unit had completed 1,000 transitory shelters costing PhP 335 million; and in Barangay Rorogagus again, 1,000 transitory shelters are expected to be completed by July 1, 2019, costing PhP 213 million. It also said that 2,000 permanent shelters under the Pamayandeg Ranaw Residences in Barangays Kilala and Gadiongan, are to be constructed with Phase 1 comprising 500 units expected to be completed six months from the start of the project in December 2018 or by May 2019. Before the siege, what is now Ground Zero was the city’s commercial district and was home to 27,000 families, 11,163 of them owners, the rest “sharers and renters.” Ground Zero was also the trading center of the province of Lanao del Sur. Returned by November 2019 Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, TFBM chair, told a consultation and House Committee public hearing in Marawi on March 18-19 and 20, respectively, that residents of Ground Zero will be able to return to their villages to repair or rebuild their homes by the first week of September 2019 after the debris clearing is done by August 30. But residents residing near the bridges, in what he said were the ‘least affected areas’ in  Ground Zero can start returning by first week of July to repair their residential and commercial structures provided they seek a permit from City Hall and their structures are still considered safe.  Ground Zero has been classified into nine sectors.  In a press conference after the turnover rites for the Boganga shelters morning of April 12, Del Rosario said the “final timetable” is for the clearing of unexploded bombs by August 30 but residents in Sector 1 can return by July to repair or rebuild their homes provided they secure a permit form the city government to rebuild or repair.  He said residents in Sectors 2 and 3 can return in August; Sectors 4 and 5 in September; Sectors 6 and 7 in October and Sectors 8 and 9 in November.

READ MORE
Samal visitors urged to observe proper waste disposal

April 16, 2019

DAVAO CITY  – Tourists visiting Samal Island for the Holy Week have been reminded to observe proper waste disposal to avoid harming marine life, the island city’s tourism officer Jennifer Carriaga said on Tuesday. In an interview, Carriaga said the number of visitors would normally spike during the Holy Week as most of them would want to spend their long vacation with families in the island’s beaches since April 18 (Maundy Thursday) and April 19 (Good Friday) are regular holidays. The Holy Week started with the celebration of Palm Sunday last April 14 and will culminate on Easter Sunday. “We appeal to the tourists to bring their garbage with them, most especially single-use plastics. Please do not throw your wastes into the sea,” she said. Plenty of wastes were recovered from Samal, one of Davao Region's top tourism destinations, during the Holy Week in 2018, according to Carriaga. Plastic wastes thrown into the sea were blamed for the deaths of the whales recovered on the shores of the Davao Region. The most recent was a juvenile Cuvier’s beaked whale that died on March 16, 2019, a day after beaching in Barangay Cadunan, Mabini town in Compostela Valley province. American marine biologist Darrel Blatchley, who is also president of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc., said at least 40 kilos of assorted plastics were recovered from the stomach of the 15.4-foot whale. Carriaga said the tourism office of Samal recorded a total of 1.3 million visitors last year. She said the local government anticipated at least 6,000 daily tourists to visit the island starting Wednesday, prompting the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Air Force, local police and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office to devise a security plan called “Oplan Semana Santa” to ensure the safety of tourists. She said the local government had already set up tourist assistance desks to attend to the concerns of the visitors. Samal has a total of 85 resorts, which are fully booked during the Holy Week, she said. “Many of the walk-in visitors would find it hard to look for available rooms as the resorts are already fully booked,” she said. 

READ MORE
DPWH-XI working to decongest traffic in Davao City’s Ulas area

April 16, 2019

DAVAO CITY  -- With the repair of Talomo Bridge and the on-going construction of the Davao City Coastal Road, the Department of Public Works and Highways Region XI (DPWH-XI) is looking at decongesting traffic in Davao City’s Ulas area with the completion of these projects. DPWH-XI chief information officer said that the Talomo Bridge II rehabilitation will pave the way for the expansion of the bridge into six lanes. “Currently we would just be replacing girders then put new pavement, but the good thing is, the project would be a preparation for the eventual widening of the bridge into six lanes with separate funding,” Ortiz said. He said, originally the bridge widening project was to be implemented in 2016 but deferred it as they prepared alternative detour routes like the Talomo-Puan bypass road. “However in 2018 we noticed deflections in the bridge, where the girders were slightly bent, we decided to proceed with the repairs,” Ortiz said. Aside from the Talomo-Puan bypass road, they also put bailey bridges, one beside the repaired bridge while the other one  located along Taal Road, which bisects a residential community parallel to the Talomo Bridge. The Taal Road bailey bridge opens another alternative route for vehicles which will bypass the congested section of MacArthur Highway in Ulas. Ortiz said with DPWH securing the road right-of-way (RROW) which enabled the construction of the Taal Road bailey bridge, they are proposing for the construction of a permanent bridge to replace the bailey. “Since we acquired the RROW, why not make the most of it, which would be another option for motorists to take,” Ortiz said. Aside from bridge expansion and new alternative routes, the DPWH-XI is anticipating that the Davao City Coastal Road will decongest the traffic in the area once the Punta Dumalag section is opened. For the five packages in the 2017 project they are already at 90% completion, while 2018 projects are at 35%. This include the esplanade and seven road packages being implemented. Ortiz said there are plans to open the coastal road once it reaches the end of the Talomo section along Talomo Beach and this would be complemented by the bridge along Taal Road. “We will really appreciate the coastal road once it crosses Punta Dumalag, maybe by 2020 we would be able to reach Punta Dumalag and there it would really decongest the traffic along the southern part of Davao City,” Ortiz said. He said the projects is in line with the direction of DPWH-XI to create more access for people going to different destinations in the city and the region.

READ MORE
Of bumpy roads and community goals

April 16, 2019

SARANGANI, Davao Occidental  – Surviving the daily grind was a struggle for the townsfolk of Barangay Laker in Sarangani, Davao Occidental. After all, not so long ago, residents, especially students, teachers, and farmers had to travel by foot or horse, braving the bumpy, slippery, and muddy road in order to go to school or transport products to the nearest market. Basically, to the young kids and to the older people who are trying to make a living, even getting to where they need to be posed a glaring challenge. “Before, we spent so much time travelling since getting to our barangay required two trips. First, by a 30-minute boat ride from the sentro (poblacion) followed by a hike or a horseback ride along slippery, bumpy, and muddy roads all the way to our barangay,” said Royeca J. Palbe, 34, a Kalahi-CIDSS community volunteer. Today, the challenge of their once dangerous roads is behind them. Now, the community volunteer is proud to showcase the new roads in their barangay which they built through Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS). This program even empowered the community by including them in the whole planning, execution, and process. Kalahi-CIDSS is one of the programs of DSWD that uses the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach to empower local communities to undertake their own development projects by actively and directly partaking in local governance. The locals are a vital part of every project because they help identify their community needs as well as take part in implementing projects that will address these needs. Challenges, blessings The municipality of Sarangani has a total grant allocation of Php 11, 645.000.00 per cycle. “Through the Kalahi-CIDSS process, barangays are given the opportunity to present project proposals during the Municipal Inter- Barangay Forum Participatory Resource Allocation (MIBF-PRA). The people will then vote for projects deserving to receive funding, using a set of criteria that they themselves have formulated,” explained Merlinda A. Paragamac, DSWD Promotive Services Division Chief.    While this system is great news for barangays that have been prioritized, it also means that there are communities that may not be chosen for a particular cycle. Due to budget limitations, communities are taught to be smart about which projects to prioritize. Usually, the projects which are chosen benefit the most people, and also contribute to the general economic welfare of the community. This is a learning curve for most people, though. “Sa cycle 1, wala mi na prioritize maskin naningkamot mi. Among gipakita among sitwasyon pinaagi sa pag drama aron makita nila among kahimtang sa una. Among gi comply ang mga dokumento ug gitrabaho ang tanan. Pero wala gihapon namo nakuha ang proyekto (During cycle 1, we were not prioritized despite our best efforts to get the fund. We even re-enacted the situation in our community so they would understand. We completed all the documents and prepared everything but we did not get the sub-project),” Palber recounted. She added, the community pondered that maybe their efforts were not enough because they failed to get the sub-project that they’ve been longing for. Eventually they understood that not all “needs” could be addressed right away, with the limited funding and the challenges of other areas. In the end, they were able to view the situation with a fresh, optimistic resolve. “Our Barangay officials and the Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinating Team encouraged us to never give up on our dreams.” Palbe shared that participating in the program had its challenges but it provided the townsfolk of Barangay Laker with better opportunities when they were ranked as number one among six prioritized barangays that were granted funds for the sub-projects they proposed during the second cycle of implementation. “Gitun-an nako ang proseso sa programa, gihatag sa ako ang katungod sa mga time sheet, Employment Record sheet, og logbook. First time gyud nako ni makat-unan. Mura ko og nag skwela og usab. Sulod sa tulo ka tuig, natun-an gyud nako ang proseso (I learned the process of the program. I was given the responsibility to take care of the time sheet, Employment Record sheet, as well as the logbook. It’s my first time to learn something like this. It’s like I’m back in school. In three years, I learned the process).” “The community volunteers are happy to have it. An improved road makes transport easier and now that they engage in the CDD process, they feel that they can better support themselves.” On the implementation of the sub-project, they used the Community Force Account (CFA), a sub-project implementation arrangement where the sub-project is directly implemented by the community. The community procure the materials, hire local manpower and other needed resources to complete the sub-project. The Community Force Account (CFA) not only contributes to generate additional income for rural families but it also allows skilled and unskilled workers from the barangay to construct the community project. “Daghan mi og natun-an, hilabi na ang mga trabahante. Ang lima ka sitio naay rotation. Pag sugod sa trabaho nagpatawag og meeting. Sa sugod nag lisud mi sa materyales kay gikan pa sa layo nga lugar. Ang pagtrabaho naa man mi tanan naka monitor. Pag naay problema magpatawag mi og meeting aron masulusyonan dayon. (We learned a lot, especially the laborers. All sitios rotate for the project. We called for a meeting. We had difficulty at first since our materials were procured from a far place. We monitor our project and when problems arise, we meet to find solutions),” said Dondon M. Malina, 42, part of Project Preparation Team (PPT). The concreting of community access road was funded by DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS at Php 2,494,402.00 with a Local Counterpart Contribution of Php 78,614.00. Hopeful community volunteers Because of the improved condition of the road, the cost of transporting their goods has gone down by almost half. “Before, I would sell copras at Php 35.00, now I could offer it at Php 20.00 Everyone truly benefited in this project,” Malina added. At present, the municipalities undergoing the LGU-led cycle are Braulio E. Dujali, Baganga, Don Marcelino, Jose Abad Santos, Kiblawan, Lupon, Malalag, Montevista, San Isidro of Davao del Norte, and Sta. Maria with a total grant allocation of Php 173, 980, 750.00. The townsfolk have improved their lives through Kalahi- CIDSS. It did not only give them a valuable resource, it also helped strengthen their leadership and camaraderie as a community. “The municipality benefited largely from the program, not only because of the sub-projects but also the process that promotes transparency and empowers communities.  As a response, we will ensure that the process is sustained while the resources will never be put to waste,” Palbe emphasized. The Kalahi-CIDSS project, through the collective effort of community volunteers, now provides safety to students when going to school and to farmers transporting their products. The road that imposed danger is now eliminated since the program and the people busted the bumps.

READ MORE
PDEA and other law enforcement agencies implements “OPLAN: HULI WEEK”

April 16, 2019

TO ENSURE the safety and security of the passengers and of the public against bus drivers under the influence of illegal drugs and other substances which can definitely cause traffic accidents on the road especially this Lenten season, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Office XI led by DIRECTOR II ANTONIO E RIVERA in collaboration with Local Government Unit of Davao City, Davao City Police Office, Philippine Coast Guard, Land Transportation Office XI, Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board XI, Davao City Transport and Traffic   Management Office and Davao Overland Transport Terminal will implement OPLAN: “HULI WEEK” on this day, at around 9:00 A.M., at Davao City Overland Transport Terminal, Ecoland, Davao City.    The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Office XI will facilitate the conduct of surprise mandatory drug test to bus drivers and bus conductors as a preventive endeavor against drug-related road accidents. Last October 29-31, 2018, PDEA implemented OPLAN: UNDASPOT and conducted the first ever simultaneous drug test to bus drivers and K9 Sweeping in bus, van and seaport terminals nationwide. A total of 1,691 drivers were subjected to drug test, out of it,15 or 0.88% yielded positive for the use of dangerous drugs. On March 29 to March 31, 2019, OPLAN HARABAS was also implemented. Out of 4,469 drivers subjected to drug test, 50 or 1.12% yielded positive for the use of methamphetamine and cannabis.  Based on above-mentioned results, there is an increase of percentage point of 0.24 on the number of drivers tested positive for use of illegal drugs. The results of the two (2) OPLANS manifested that there are still drivers who use illegal drugs which endangers the riding public. Thus, PDEA shall simultaneously implement another OPLAN nationwide this Lenten season during which influx of passengers going home to province and vice versa is expected. Likewise, the Preventive Education and Community Involvement Section (PECIS) of this office will also distribute an information education communication (I.E.C) materials on the ill effects of illegal drugs and PDEA Comics during the implementation of the “OPLAN: HULI WEEK”. As the lead agency in the anti-drug campaign, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in collaboration with the other law enforcement agencies will ensure the safety and security of the passengers and the public and at the same time, no illegal drug activities will take place during the Lenten season holidays. The office is asking everyone to help the government attain its vision for a drug-free country by reporting to us those who are involved into illegal drug activities. You can call or text us at 082-222-3045, 09395433405 and 09331481387.

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.