davao

Massive polio vaccination set in Davao

September 23, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /23 September) -- A massive polio vaccination will be conducted here early next month after water samples from the Davao River tested positive for poliovirus, Department of Health (DOH)-Davao regional director Annabelle Yumang said on Monday. Yumang said the vaccines from the central office of the DOH are expected to arrive first week of October and will be administered immediately to the communities. To prepare for the vaccination program, she said they have already met with the vaccinators, including the local government units through the municipal and district health offices, to brief them on the guidelines. She said the agency has yet to determine if the scope of the vaccination program will cover the entire region or will be limited to the communities along the Davao River. “We have conducted meetings with the local government units. We have also met with the district health offices,” she said. She said no one has been afflicted with polio yet in the region and assured the public that the agency will do all it can to prevent an outbreak. In the meantime, the DOH Davao Center for Health Development (DCHD) is conducting a regular environmental surveillance as a supplementary activity and the polio surveillance on individuals showing signs of acute flaccid paralysis or the muscle weakness on the lower extremities of the bodies, which could be a manifestation of the illness. Yumang urged the public to avoid swimming in the Davao River. She also asked the public to stop defecating in the rivers and urged local government units “to ensure Zero Open Defecation or the proper use of hygienic toilets and correct disposal of human wastes are observed in their respective communities.”   She said the situation in the region is not yet alarming but emphasized the agency will not wait until someone contracts polio before taking action. Last week, the agency confirmed that “Polio re-emerged in the Philippines nineteen years after the country was declared Polio-free by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.” In an earlier statement, the DOH Davao Center for Health Development (DCHD) said it conducts regular environmental surveillance as a supplementary activity for Polio Surveillance. It said monthly water sampling was done since June 5, 2018. The latest water sample taken from the waterways in Davao City yielded positive for poliovirus.   According to DOH, Polio is an “infectious disease which spreads rapidly and can cause paralysis, and on rare occasions, can be fatal. It can be spread when food or drink contaminated by feces with poliovirus is ingested.”   It said there is still no cure for Polio but it “can be prevented with three doses of Oral Polio Vaccine and one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine. These vaccines have long been used in the Philippines, proven safe and effective and are given for free in all Health Centers.” “Promotion for immunization are also intensified in all communities. DOH will continue to strengthen its surveillance activities. We will ensure that all children under 5 years old will receive the complete doses of immunization for Polio Virus,” it said. "We reiterate to all parents and guardians to review the immunization status of their children and ensure that they are completely immunized. This is the only way to protect a child from the fatal polio virus,” it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)  

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A SOJOURNER'S VIEW: September 21’s horrific memory

September 21, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Sept) -- There are a few dates in Philippine History that bring a horrific memory to those who suffered the consequences of these historical events. One is 16 March 1521, ironically labeled the day when the islands - later to be named Las Islas Filipinas - was "discovered." In actual fact, on this date began the Spanish occupation of the islands ending only because the Philippine National Revolution waged by the Katipunan vanquished the colonizers. Another is 8 December 1898 when the whole of this archipelago was sold by Spain to the new colonizer, the United States of America for the measly sum of US$20 million.  Still another is 7 December 1942 - the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii by Japanese Imperial forces that triggered the war in Asia impacting on the Philippines. There are also the dates that are still remembered up to today, the Fall of Bataan (9 April 1942) and the Fall of Corregidor (6 May 1942).   But in recent memory, no other event would haunt the generation that suffered the consequences of what unfolded on this date than the one that is now recorded in history books as taking place on 21 September 1972.  That was the day when hundreds across the Republic were arrested and put in prison and with some of them staying in prison for years.  Until it finally got  abolished with People Power in 1986, 3,257 Filipinos killed, 35,000 tortured, and some 70,000 arrested -- taking place across 14 years. Many of the dead have not been recovered and provided a decent burial.   For all these victims and their families, co-workers and friends, the trauma suffered through the long years of tyranny remain haunting them in their dreams even up to today.   Comes now the suggestion of the newly-elected Senator Imee Marcos that her family be allowed to share their views on what happened with the martial law inflicted by his father on the Filipino people.  Reacting to the news that the University of the Philippines would soon offer Philippine Studies (PS) 21,  a subject that will focus on the language, literature and culture under martial law, Senator Marcos said: "It's good that it's being studied. I hope we will be given the chance to say what we believe happened.. That is what's important, that each of us share our viewpoint and that each of us be heard." (See Leila Salaveria and Matthew Reysio-Cruz, “Imee on Martial Law as UP Subject: Part of Academic Freedom”, in PDI, 19 September 2019, p. A11).   By all means, give Senator Marcos her family’s day in the court of public opinion. But don’t just ask Imelda, Imee and Bongbong to appear in the public sphere to tell the people their versions of the “golden days” of FM’s martial rule. Bring in the cast of characters who were her father’s chief collaborators to tell us their own stories so we can ferret the truth from the horses’ mouth.  If the names mentioned below have moved to another level of existence like their authoritarian master, one of their descendants - especially those still benefiting from the wealth amassed by their ancestor who was FM's crony - could be called on to appear in the public sphere. Make sure that General Fabian Ver and Juan Ponce Enrile will be around to once and for all confess to the crimes they committed against the Filipino people as they ordered the thousands assassinated, disappeared, tortured and imprisoned. Let Ponce Enrile again recount how he was used to justify martial law’s declaration by the ambush he experienced which he himself later on claimed was staged to make it appear that the NPAs were behind the ambush.  Bring in the Cabinet members who included oligarchs like Cesar Virata, Roberto Ongpin, David Consunji, Vicente Paterno, Jaime Laya, Rodolfo del Rosario, et al who – by being FM’s cronies amassed great wealth during these years but bankrupted the coffers of the Republic through loans of millions of dollars that ballooned and whose principal and interest we continue to pay until today.  Bring in Francisco Tatad, Estelito Mendoza, Ernesto Maceda et al who told lies and manipulated the truth to fool the people into believing that our lives were greatly improved because of martial rule and that the new society was the best thing that ever happened to the Republic. Bring in Vilma Bautista, Imelda’s former personal secretary caught with selling stolen art works of Impressionist painters worth tens of millions of dollars. This might be a problem as she has to serve a two-to-six year prison term, but arrangements could be made for her extradition to the Philippines.  She will then be able to tell us how Imelda managed to buy these super-priced paintings, where she got the money to buy them and how she has kept these in their vaults until discovered. Perhaps someone else who handled her diamond jewelry could also be invited to share the story  Just don’t bother anymore with whoever helped Madam collect her thousand shoes kasi lumang tugtugin na nga ito.  But it might be a good idea to assemble her remaining Blue Ladies to also testify to the extravagant parties and concerts she organized for the likes of Van Cliburn, George Hamilton and Margot Fonteyn. But, of course, make sure you have a good collection of personalities and ordinary folk who were victims of martial rule to grace this truth-telling session. While it is no longer possible to bring in the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tanada, Chino Roces, Evelio Javier, Edgar Jopson, Sr. Marianni Dimaranan SFIC and all those whose names are written on the walls of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, there are still hundreds of surviving victims of martial rule.  Many are now in their advanced ages but are still fit to testify once again what they underwent in the cruel hands of the FM regime.  They are farmers, workers, housewives, urban poor, indigenous persons, medical personnel, lawyers, teachers and church people.  Bring them in and their testimonies can so easily wipe out the lies of those who would defend the Marcos martial rule as the best thing that has ever happened to this country. If any of the universities in Manila – especially UP Diliman --  maybe an intimidating venue as public sphere for these truth-telling sessions, there is always the Araneta Center or the Solair Performing Arts Center.  A huge crowd would certainly come to watch this spectacle. The Manila Film Center would have been the perfect venue if it has remained as grand as when it opened, before it became a haunted place in the wake of the hundreds who perished in that tragic incident.  A haunting that might just occur as the deliberations reach a feverish level may just finally make Madame confess her sins. And  to  finally apologize to the madlang people who she and her husband – with whom she shared a conjugal dictatorship – victimized owing to their untarnished greed for wealth and power. [Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is the most prolific Mindanawon book author, having written at least 22 books since 1985, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw)]

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Davao City set to ban pork products from Luzon

September 19, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 September) -- All pork and its by-products from Luzon and other African Swine Fever (ASF)-affected areas will be banned soon in Davao City. Dr. Cerelyn Pinili, head of the City Veterinarian’s Office, said during the ISpeak Media Forum at the City Hall of Davao on Thursday, that the draft executive order, completed last September 13, is now waiting for the signature of Mayor Sara Duterte. Once signed, the executive order will impose a temporary ban on “all pork products and by-products such as tocino, longganisa, and ham coming from Luzon and other ASF-infected areas” to prevent the virus from spreading to the local swine industry, according to Pinili. She said the measure will also prohibit the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat.. According to the Department Agriculture, the ASF outbreaks have been controlled in Barangay Pritil, Guiguinto, Bulacan; and in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Antipolo in Rizal. Aside from Davao City, Dr. Armie Capuyan, DA-regional ASF focal, said a temporary ban on all pork and by-products has been imposed earlier through an executive order in Davao Oriental, the first provincial government in Davao Region to undertake the measure. She said local government units would have the final say whether to implemnt a similar measure. She added the region remains ASF-free. Davao Region comprises the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de. Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental and Compostela Valley and the cities of Davao, Tagum, Samal, Panabo, Digos and Mati. Pinili said the city government has already convened the ASF Task Force, comprising City Planning and Development Office, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Agriculturist Office, City Health Office, City Information Office, and the commercial and backyard hog raisers as private sector representatives, tasked to implement Davao City African Swine Fever Protection Program. The task force was created by an executive order signed by then acting mayor Sebastian Duterte last September 5. She said the local government will also implement a 24/7 animal quarantine monitoring system in three major checkpoints of the city -- Sirawan in Toril, Lacson in Calinan, and Lasang.  Footbaths will be provided there for all passengers entering the city. For live hogs coming from different parts of the region, she said the local government requires businesses and individuals to present Veterinarian’s Health Certificate and Animal Inspection certificates issued by the Veterinary Quarantine Service before they can be allowed to enter. Similar requirements are needed for abattoirs in the city, she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)  

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Filipino firm to help Papua New Guinea build rice industry

September 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 September) – SeedWorks, an agricultural company engaged in the breeding and production of hybrid rice in the country, will provide farmers in Papua New Guinea with technical assistance and technology to capacitate them on rice farming, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said. MinDA Secretary Emmanuel, former Agriculture Secretary, struck a deal with Robert Agarobe, Central Province Governor of the Papua New Guinea early this month in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the shipment of 5,000 metric tons of Mindanao rice, including RC-160, 7-Tonner, Banaybanay, Dinorado and organic rice amid the falling rice prices due to the Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law. Remus Morandante, the company’s vice president for public and government affairs, in an interview on Wednesday said the firm wishes to replicate the good practices and the technology employed by rice farmers in Mindanao in Papua New Guinea. He said Papua New Guinea has a vast potential for rice production but remains a net importer, averaging 400,000 metric tons annually from Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He said SeedWorks, a company based in Laguna and a major supplier of hybrid seeds to rice farmers in Mindanao, has initiated a series of trainings with some farmers in Papua New Guinea. He said field trials are scheduled next month. He said the company’s market share in Mindanao averages 40%. Upon assuming as MinDA head in August, Piñol urged rice farmers of Mindanao to export their rice to Papua New Guinea instead to cushion the effect of the Rice Import and Export Liberalization Law, which allowed entry of more imported rice to the local market. He said the consumers would prefer cheaper imported rice to local rice. Piñol said MinDA and private groups, including an organic rice farmers’ cooperative, will hold a one-day forum on organic and premium rice and Adlai farming dubbed “Looking beyond Rice Liberalization: Growing and Marketing of Premium, Organic Rice and Adlai" at the Grand Regal Hotel here on Friday. He said the forum marks a shift in the direction of “rice farming in Mindanao, as the massive inflow of imported rice has boxed out local farmers producing ordinary rice from the market resulting in very low farm gate prices, to as low as P10 to P12 in many parts in Mindanao.” The shift to premium and organic rice farming in Mindanao is expected to open a niche market for health conscious consumers, a market opportunity for rice farmers affected by the rice liberalization, he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)

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Nena Donato Timonera, 86

September 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /17 Sept) – Nena Donato Timonera of Iligan City passed away shortly before noon on Tuesday, September 16, at the age of 86. Nena is the mother of MindaNews editor Bobby Timonera and seven other siblings. She succumbed to pneumonia and cardiac arrest in a hospital in Iligan City. Nena was born on August 31, 1933 in Camiling, Tarlac. She worked as dental aide in Malacanang and moved to Iligan City when she married Pedro Timonera, Jr... She  served as dental aide at the City Health Office until her retirement in 1998. Nena’s husband passed away on May 3, 2010. She is survived by her children Alita, Winnie and Mando, Cleo Jean and Senan, Xenia and Gery, Fe and Edwin, Dante and Betchie, Bobby and Miriam, Jong and Dale, 21 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. The Pedro Jr. and Nena Timonera clan went on a road trip from Iligan to Misamis Oriental and Bukidon shortly before Nena celebrated her 86th birthday on August 31. Her wake is at the St. Peter’s Chapels in Sta. Filomena, Iligan City.  Interment is on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Maria Cristina Gardens in Sta. Filomena. (MindaNews)

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Gallardo still part of Philippine delegation to BIMP-EAGA photo exhibit in Kuching

September 18, 2019

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 September) – Journalist Froilan Gallardo of MindaNews is still part of the Philippine delegation to the BIMP-EAGA’s Budayaw Festival 2019 in Kuching, Malaysia in November, the representative of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to the festival’s secretariat meeting in Sarawak, Malaysia last Tuesday, said. Jimmy Musa, Development Management Officer of MinDA, told MindaNews Wednesday afternoon that “Mr. Gallardo is still in the delegation.” “However, Malaysian government is asking for clearance of his identity as ‘red-tagged NPA (New People’s Army) supporter after they saw it over a media news (site),” Musa said, adding “we will just wait for Malaysia for their decision.” “But Philippines has no problem with Gallardo joining the group,” Musa said. “He is not out of the delegation. Merely clearance po na di talaga siya NPA supporter as per tagging sa kanya,” Musa said. On Tuesday afternoon, Gallardo posted on his Facebook page that he lost his chance to join a photo exhibit with his peers in the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA) in Kuching, no thanks to his having been red-tagged. Gallardo, who also writes for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Gold Star Daily and  international news agencies, wrote that it pained him that he could not join his counterparts in the BIMP-EAGA in the November photo exhibit because “the Malaysian organizers rejected me because I was ‘red tagged’ as an NPA supporter.” EAGA comprises Brunei Darussalam, East Indonesia, East Malaysia and Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines. The photo exhibit’s theme is “Celebrating Cultural Diversity.” “They probably resorted to google. Malaysia has strict security laws regarding terrorists and their sympathizers. So I can’t be in Kuching in November,” Gallardo wrote. Abraham Ambo Garcia, Coordinator of the photo exhibition told MindaNews that the festival secretariat that met in Sarawak, Malaysia on Tuesday informed him that Malaysia was alarmed with what is happening in the Philippines citing Gallardo being red-tagged in news reports. Garcia, an assistant professor of the Languages, Literature and Arts Department at the Ateneo de Davao University is from Davao City and is currently based in Australia for his PhD studies in the visual arts. He told MindaNews that a similar security protocol was followed in 2017 when General Santos City hosted the Budayaw BIMP-EAGA Festival of Cultures where all foreign delegates were also screened. Garcia said he explained the situation to the secretariat and even pointed to articles about colleagues and military officials vouching for Gallardo.   Veteran journalist The Cagayan de Oro-based Gallardo had decried the red-tagging, reiterating his profession allows him access to people from all sectors in society.  Gallardo, who has won several journalism awards, is known to military and police officials assigned in Mindanao, among them Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal who was 4th Infantry Division commander in 2017 and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, who also previously served as 4th ID commander and former Armed Forces Chief of Staff, now Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez. In his more than three decades as a journalist in Mindanao, Gallardo has covered various aspects of Mindanao, including its wars and peace processes. In the 2000 all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he embedded himself among the Philippine Marines from Lanao del Sur to Maguindanao. He covered the kidnappings in Sulu and Basilan, the arrival of the US military in Zamboanga, the 2003 and 2008 wars against the MILF, the mass evacuations, the Ampatuan Massacre in 2009, Zamboanga Siege in 2013, Mamasapano tragedy in 2015, Marawi Siege in 2017, Mindanao’s festivals, disasters including typhoons Sendong and Pablo in Mindanao and Yolanda in Leyte-Samar, mass actions, prayer rallies. He also covered events featuring Jorge Madlos of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao, the New People’s Army,  Nur Misuari and the Moro National Liberation Front, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and the MILF, and covered as well peacebuilding efforts in various parts of Mindanao. Gallardo was red-tagged last month along with Cong Corrales, associate editor of Mindanao Gold Star Daily, also from Cagayan de Oro City. Professionals The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in a statement on August 28 demanded from authorities and security forces in Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao to ensure the safety of Corrales, Gallardo and other journalists “who find themselves in danger because of red-tagging.” Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said he personally knows Gallardo and Corrales and has “no reason to believe at all that they should be subjected to any form or manner of demolition; neither do I doubt – even for a moment – their love of country and firm adherence to democratic principles.” Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade in Bukidnon, vouched for Gallardo and Corrales as professional journalists. In a statement, de Leon said he personally knows the two journalists. “They are professional journalists. To me, Froi and Cong are not simply friends, but close personal friends whom I consider as brothers. I vouch for them that they are not reds and do not deserve to be ‘red-tagged.’ Whoever is doing this has the malicious intent to sow divide and break our friendly relationship.” Interviewed in ‘Wag Po!’ over Cignal TV’s One PH in Manila on August 30, Gallardo said journalists are civilians and red-tagging journalists or making them appear that they are NPA supporters makes them target of state and non-state actors. He said he may have been targeted to sow fear among the younger journalists. “Bakit ako? Sa mga bata ngayon, ako parang image nila. Tinitira si Froilan, kayo pa kaya?” (Why me? Among the younger ones, it’s like I am their image. Froilan is being attacked, all the more you are vulnerable).   Face covered by cap The NUJP said anonymous red-tagging material against several personalities in Cagayan de Oro, similar to the earlier flyers and banners, were received from a courier service on August 28 by Iglesia Filipina Independiente priest Fr. Rolando Abejo and a city hall employee who had also been red tagged earlier.. The materials separately targeted Corrales and Gallardo. A P1 million bounty for the death of Corrales was even included in the crudely produced flyer from “Black Mamba,” purportedly of the “MAT-NMF Press Club Chapter.” The materials received by Fr. Abejo targeted himself, human rights lawyer Beverly Musni and her lawyer-daughter Czarina for vilification. It also included a list of organizations and personalities supposedly linked to the rebels and named Gallardo there. Lt. Col.  Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police Regional Office in Cagayan de Oro told MindaNews on Wednesday that investigators have  received a copy of the CCTV footage from the courier service in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental from where the red-tagging materials were sent, but the sender could not be identified as he was wearing a cap. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews) 

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