21 enrolled under BJMP-Davao’s education program for inmates

June 18, 2019

“We aim to reduce recidivism once an inmate is released from prison,” JO1 Michelle Yian, BJMP-Davao community relations service officer Yian said of the program in an interview.  Of the 21 tertiary students, she said 14 are males and seven are females.  She said two female inmates had been released from jail but were still attending classes held at the two-story building inside the jail facility in Ma-a, Davao City.  The students, all government scholars, have taken up four-year degree programs in computer technology and agribusiness. Most of them were arrested for illegal drugs, she said.  Yian said aside from college, BJMP-Davao had also expanded the education program to cover senior high school students. The initial batch for K to 12 program will comprise 20 male and 20 female students.  She said BJMP-Davao aims to link up graduates from CEBB with establishments once they complete their jail terms.  “We have a tie-up with Social Entrepreneurship Technology and Business Institute (SETBI) and will establish a probation period for the inmates. We will maintain contact with them and later link them up with establishments and agencies to facilitate their re-entry into the society,” she said.  She said the inmates’ jail term would be reduced once they complete a four-year degree.  “We have observed our inmate students have changed. They are now more disciplined,” she said.  In 2016, BJMP-Davao officials signed a memorandum of agreement with officials from University of Southeastern Philippines and SETBI to materialize the Prison Rehabilitation and College Education Behind Bars, a comprehensive college educational program for the detainees in Ma-a Jail.

2 women arrested for falsely using Mayor Sara's name

June 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MDN Local News, June 18) - Two women have been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for falsely claiming they were representatives of Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte. The suspects were identified by NBI operatives as Ida Josephine Villahermosa and Deltha Pasco Bernardo. Both Villahermosa and Bernardo are charged of usurpation of authority before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City. Investigation disclosed that the two suspects were reportedly following several cases at the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) when they were arrested by police authorities. Their arrest came after Mr Raul Nadela, chief of staff of City Mayor Sara Duterte, received a letter on June 11, 2019 from anonymous persons claiming that Villahermosa and Bernardo were falsely using the name of Mayor Sara Duterte in their transactions. Based on the complaint, unscrupulous individuals appeared at the NLRC office and they used the name of mayor Sara. Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte herself has executed a sworn statement informing the public that she has not authorized anyone to use her name in all private and government transactions. The NBI said both the arrested suspects have pending cases of estafa and illegal recruitment.     

Cops who invested in Ponzi-like schemes to face administrative charges, relief

June 17, 2019

Baria said PRO director Brigadier General Marcelo Morales will charge them administratively, which might result in the personnel’s relief, as the region’s top police official would not allow unprofessionalism and greed for money to destroy their image and dampen “what we have always strived for: to be a better police force, if not the best.” “Once PRO 11 personnel were found to be involved in the investment scheme, he (Morales) will charge them administratively under his power/authority,” Baria said in a text message. Baria said the PRO 11 had not received any complaints against police in the region who invested in the illegal get-rich-quick schemes. A statement released by the PRO 11 said Morales issued a “stern warning” against the police to prevent being blamed by the public for not taking action against the illegal operations of the investment firms. “We will not allow the public to throw stones on us by not doing anything that these illegal operations have gone full-scale,” he said. “Let us not forget our mission and vision that we will continue to serve the community loyally.” President Rodrigo Duterte recently ordered the National Bureau of Investigation and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to shut down Kapa Community Ministry International, Inc. and other similar investment firms offering huge returns similar to Ponzi schemes and warned the people behind these companies that they could be charged with syndicated estafa. Several branches of Kapa and other similar investment firms had been closed by authorities in several parts of the country last week.

Duterte to Bangsamoro people: Take advantage of your natural resources

June 14, 2019

Speaking during the 121st Philippine Independence Day celebration at the 6th Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, Duterte said the Bangsamoro were free to exploit the riches of their territory after the Republic Act 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM), the enabling mechanism of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, had been ratified early this year. In his speech, the transcript of which was provided to reporters by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Duterte mentioned about developing the 288,000-hectare Ligawasan Marsh, the country’s largest wetland believed to have untapped fossil fuel reserves. He asked the Bangsamoro people to find partners to “exploit your territory of the riches” and make their territory progressive. But he said the riches of the region are reserved for the young Bangsamoro people. “Para 'yan sa mga anak ninyo, hindi na 'yan para sa inyo (It’s for your children, it’s not for you). That was really reserved for our children. Exploit it.. Exploit the natural resources and make the Moro rich,” the President said. He told them to “take advantage of it and hurry up the progress of the place,” reiterating his commitment that he would not allow anyone to benefit from it as he wants the Bangsamoro people to get first dibs in the oil deposits. “We will not allow other Christians to benefit from it. Kayo muna. ‘Pag may sobra kayo, maawa naman kayo sa kapwa ninyo (You’re first. But if there’s excess, have mercy on your fellowmen),” he said. Duterte also assured government workers of the newly-established BARMM that he would work on their salaries immediately. “For the BARMM guys, ‘yung wala pang sweldo (those who have no salaries yet), I will work on it when I come back,” he said. According to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Ligawasan Marsh consists of river tributaries, small lakes and ponds, freshwater marshes, and some 140,000 hectares of arable land that surfaces and gets cultivated during dry months. It added the marshland “supports species of threatened endemic birds, including the Philippine eagle and the Philippine duck, the Philippine crocodile, and various other species.” Based on the report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority last May, the BARMM showed a strong gross regional domestic product (GRPD) of 7.2% in 2018, the second highest next to Davao Region in Mindanao and the fourth highest among the country’s 17 regions.

COMMENTARY: We are still a democracy, we are not a fascist state!

June 12, 2019

DAVAO CITY  – Really? You forcibly take a senior citizen who was just going about her business and was on her way to fly home and then simply claim mistaken identity? Is she now supposed to be grateful that she was released? Let’s not talk about the fact that she is a renowned journalist with a distinguished career in her various advocacies. Let us just consider her as an ordinary Filipino Citizen whose rights you are supposed to protect. Will you now claim she was forcibly taken for purposes of verification and identification, as is always the excuse? Shouldn’t the verification and identification be done BEFORE you arrest anyone? Doesn’t the General Rule in Section 2 of the Bill of Rights under the Constitution say that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be INVIOLABLE.” Isn’t an arrest by virtue of a lawfully issued Warrant of Arrest the EXCEPTION rather than the RULE? Isn’t this why the Constitution requires a SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION of the person to be arrested? Because of these guaranteed rights, aren’t you supposed to make damn sure of the identity of the person you are going to arrest BEFORE you arrest him or her? You say you have a witness who could identify the actual person to be arrested, so if you were uncertain, why didn’t you bring the witness to see the person to be arrested BEFORE forcibly taking her? While I fully support the efforts of our men in uniform in enforcing our laws and protecting our citizens, it is acts like this where there is a blatant disregard of basic rights, that reflect badly on ALL law enforcers by reinforcing the perception that they see themselves to be above the law. It reinforces the fear that ANY LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is in danger of being forcibly taken and subjected to the humiliation of being compelled to prove his own innocence to the very people who are supposed to protect him where his freedom would then be left to their whims. I certainly hope that there will be no whitewash here and that the higher authorities of the Philippine National Police will see to it that the people responsible will be sanctioned accordingly so that the people’s trust in our law enforcers will not be eroded. We are STILL a DEMOCRACY, We are NOT a FASCIST STATE!  (Lawyer Caesar Europa teachers remedial law at the Ateneo de Davao University College of Law. He is also a former Governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Easter Mindanao Region. Atty. Europa posted this piece on his FB page on June 10. MindaNews was granted permission to publish this.) 

Davao eyes sister city pact with Seoul

May 29, 2019

DAVAO CITY  – The city government is planning to forge a sister city agreement with Seoul, the capital city and the largest metropolis of South Korea, to establish cultural and trade ties between the two cities. Christian Cambaya, investor assistance and servicing unit head at Davao Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC), told Wednesdays’ Habi at Kape that the plan came after the successful visit of delegates from Davao’s private and public sectors from May 21 to 23. He said the International Relations Board of the city government would discuss the plan. “Seoul is looking at seriously to execute a sister city agreement with any cities in the Philippines. It’s looking at Manila and Cebu, but we were told by our Philippine Embassy in South Korea, ‘why don’t you initiate?’” he said. Cambaya said it would benefit the city if Seoul would become a sister city as it wants to attract more Korean investors to locate here to increase trade and investment activities. Davao has existing friendship city agreements with Uijeongbu and Incheon in South Korea. The city’s 11 domestic sister cities are Baguio, Manila, Quezon City, Cebu City, Bayugan, Cotabato, Zamboanga City, Legazpi in Albay, Bacoor in Cavite, San Juan in Metro Manila, and Marikina. Its foreign sister cities include Jinjiang in Fujian and Nanning in China, Manado and Pekanbaru in Indonesia, Koror in Palau, Montevideo in Uruguay, Panama City in Panama, Vladivostok in Russia, Keelung in Taiwan, and Kauai Country in Hawaii, and Tacoma in Washington in the United States. Cambaya said the local government and business community are also hoping that a direct flight between Davao City and Incheon would be established to boost trade and investment and tourism activities here. He said South Koreans going to Davao would only average 8,000 annually compared to around 100,000 others going to Manila and Cebu. In a press release issued by the City Information Office, DCIPC chief Lemuel Ortonio said over 50 Korean businessmen joined the Davao City Business Forum at the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, which highlighted investment opportunities in the city’s agriculture, tourism and ICT sectors. He said participants had expressed interest in cacao beans and nibs  from Davao, seaweeds trading, and pet bottle recycling machines. He said the delegation had also organized a product presentation to Korean tour operators. Cambaya said the delegates had engaged Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business organization with an estimated 180,000 members, and visited the Seoul Food Expo and the Kintex International Convention Center. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)


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