northern mindanao

MOGCHS wins MisOr division PhilHealth Quiz Bee

October 27, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Assim Jumaira Hadji of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) won first place in the 1stNational Quiz Bee of Philippine Health Corporation (Philhealth) division level held at MOGCHS Cagayan de Oro City. Second place went to Angelie Claire Pelaez of Talisayan Senior High School and third place went to Jenneth A. Casiño of Jasaan Senior High School. In partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), a total of 36 schools from the Misamis Oriental division joined the contest.  Merlyn H. Ybañez, head public affairs unit of Philhealth said the contest is divided into four levels: division, regional and PRO NCR branch level, area and PRO level then national level. She added, grand prize winner at the national will get P100,000, coach P30,000 and school will receive computer set. The highest scorer per DepEd Division Office will be automatically declared as winner and will be representative for the regional level of competition.  Pedro Estano Jr., PhD, school principal of MOGCHS explained this will give information to the students in the sense that the objective and goals of Philhealth is already integrated in the subject of Senior High. “This quiz bee will then add their knowledge to how important Philhealth is not only to the students but most importantly to the family,” he said. “We believe that the students will then be the advocators, they will serve as ambassadors to their school. Philhealth is very important specially so that a nation could not stand if the health of the countrymen is not good,” he added. Meanwhile, Rafunzel D. Epanis, Master Teacher 2 of MOGCHS senior high said in terms of preparation, coaches and students did considerable preparations especially with the very promising and attractive prize at stake and the pride and the honor. “This is an academic competition so this will not just give honor and pride to the contestants and the coach but to the schools as well. So everybody’s aim is to win in this competition,” she added. The contest aims to assess the effectiveness of the training of the teaching of PhilHealth Learner’s Materials with Grade 10 MAPEH teachers from the different DepEd division in the region. Ybañez said the National Quiz Bee is for Grade 10 to 12 students both in public and private schools as part of the anniversary celebration of the Corporation. Regional elimination will be in November this year at SM CDO Downtown Premier. (JMORucat/PIA10)

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Relatives say slain “BIFF” not warriors but minors; military says ‘child warriors’

October 27, 2019

Relatives say slain “BIFF” not warriors but minors; military says ‘child warriors’ MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato (MindaNews /26 October) -- Relatives of six of the seven alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who were slain in an alleged encounter with government troops in swampy Barangay Tumbras early Wednesday morning claimed they were were not warriors but minors. Manto Sema, grandfather of Angelo Bangon, one of the seven killed allegedly in a clash with the Midsayap police and members of the 34th Infantry Battalion,  told reporters that his 13-year old grandson had gone fishing with friends and stayed overnight in a friend’s house. He said his grandson and friends went fishing in the marsh and were asleep when the alleged encounter took place early Wednesday morning. Sema denied his grandson was recruited by the BIFF “I am deeply hurt,” he said.  “We want justice but that is so elusive,” he added. But Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) maintains the slain victims were child warriors of the BIFF.  “This proves now the persistent reports” that the BIFF was recruiting minors and using them as combatants, he said. “Hindi na bago yung mga child warrior” (There’s nothing new about child warriors), he added. CHR probe   Lawyer Jacqueline de Guia, spokesperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said the CHR is investigating what happened in Tundras. The military said soldiers and police were supposed to serve the search warrant on Mama Macalimbol in Barangay Tumbras on Wednesday.  Macalimbol, allegedly a member of ta big time drug syndicate, was linked to the bombing in front of Sto. Nino Church in Midsayap on December 24, 2016. Twelve persons were injured then. Lt. Col. Glen Caballero, commander of the 34th Infantry Battalion who led the operation, said the gunmen opened fire on government forces, triggering a 40- minute firefight that left seven dead, including Macalimbol. Government forces seized high powered guns, including cal. 50 sniper rifle, Garand rifle, Armalite rifle and ammunition.. Photographs of the slain victims show an adult and young Moro boys Westmincom’s Public Information Office reported on October 25 that while conducting law enforcement operations at 5:05 a..m. on October 23, combined elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion and Midsayap Municipal Police Station encountered more or less 10 BIFF-Bungos Faction members led by Mama Macalimbol in Sitio Narra, Barangay Tumbras. The Westmincom report said Macalimbol and “six of his followers” were killed. The BIFF, under Commander Bungos, denied through its spokesperson Abu Mama, that Macalimbol was a member.

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CHR probes Tumbras deaths amid conflicting claims on minors, 'child warriors'

October 27, 2019

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is investigating what happened in Barangay Tumbras in Midsayap, North Cotabato early morning of October 23, amid claims by relatives that six of the seven persons killed in an alleged encounter with government forces were not warriors but minors while the military claims they were ‘child warriors’ of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Frighters (BIFF). Tumbras is one of 13 barangays of Midsayap that voted yes to inclusion in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) during the plebiscite in early February.  The BARMM’s Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) has referred the incident to the CHR Region 12 office pending formal turnover of the 63 North Cotabato villages that voted to be part of the BARMM. The formal turnover of these villages to the BARMM is expected before the year ends. “We are coordinating with CHR 12 pending official turnover of the barangays to BARMM. We referred the incident to CHR 12 for appropriate action,”  RHRC chair Abdulnaser Badrudin told MindaNews. The Public Information Office of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) in a press release sent to the media on October 25 said that while conducting law enforcement operations at 5:05 a.m. on October 23, combined elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion and Midsayap Municipal Police Station encountered more or less 10 BIFF-Bungos Faction members led by Mama Macalimbol in Sitio Narra, Barangay Tumbras. The Westmincom report said seven were killed -- Macalimbol and “six of his followers.” Manto Sema, grandfather of Angelo Bangon, one of the seven killed told reporters that his 13-year old grandson had gone fishing in the marsh with friends and stayed overnight in a friend’s house. He said his grandson and friends were asleep when the alleged encounter took place early Wednesday morning. Sema denied his grandson was recruited by the BIFF. “I am deeply hurt,” he said.  “We want justice but that is so elusive,” he added. But Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) maintains the slain victims were child warriors of the BIFF.  “This proves now the persistent reports” that the BIFF was recruiting minors and using them as combatants, he said. “Hindi na bago yung mga child warrior” (There’s nothing new about child warriors), he added. The military said soldiers and police were supposed to serve the search warrant on Mama Macalimbol in Barangay Tumbras on Wednesday.  Macalimbol, allegedly a member of ta big time drug syndicate, was linked to the bombing in front of Sto. Nino Church in Midsayap on December 24, 2016. Twelve persons were injured then. Lt. Col. Glen Caballero, commander of the 34th Infantry Battalion who led the operation, said the gunmen opened fire on government forces, triggering a 40- minute firefight that left seven dead, including Macalimbol. Government forces seized high powered guns, including cal. 50 sniper rifle, Garand rifle, Armalite rifle and ammunition.. The BIFF, under Commander Bungos, denied through its spokesperson Abu Mama, that Macalimbol was a member.

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Conservationists to do tissue culture of Mt. Hamiguitan’s pitcher plants

October 27, 2019

Conservationists here plan to utilize the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing facility of the Philippine Genome Center Mindanao Satellite Facility (PGC-MSF) in their research on the tissue culture of the endemic pitcher plants in Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental to propagate the species and save it from extinction, Anthony Sales, regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Sunday. “This is one of the areas where the DNA techniques can be used to analyze and preserve the genetic material of indigenous flora and fauna,” he said. Sales said the pitcher plants of Mt. Hamiguitan are among the species of endemic flora and fauna in Mindanao that government wants to focus on for biodiversity conservation and preservation efforts. He added that they plan to use the DNA testing facility “to discover ways on how we can use, how we can multiply or propagate these endangered species and mass propagate them and bring them back to nature.” The center, temporarily housed at the Biotechnology Building of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of the Philippines – Mindanao (UP Mindanao) will be launched on Monday. The PGC-MSF will be transferred to the two-story Research Development and Extension (RDE) Building of College of Science and Mathematics once the construction of the building is completed. In an email, the PGC-MSF said its Research and Development, Bioinformatics, Science Education and Training, and Diagnostics and Laboratory Services, started operating since February 1, 2019 but full operation of the facility is expected by January 2020. “Research collaborations with various universities and other institutions have already started,” it added. Mt. Hamiguitan is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site after its inscription on June 23, 2014, the sixth in the Philippines. Sales added the genome center would help the researchers, led by the Davao Oriental State University and Center for Biodiversity Research at the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon, to determine the characteristics of the pitcher plants. He said they will study the pitcher plants to determine if they have some medicinal properties. He said it is important to first determine its characeristics, its habitat “because you cannot just extract them from their habitat if they still have critical mass or if it’s population will not be affected if we extract them for experimentation. The Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, declared a protected area under RA 9303, measures 16,923 hectares covering the towns of San Isidro and Governor Generoso, and Mati City. Mt. Hamiguitan has been recorded to have 963 species of flora and 440 species of fauna, 341 of which are endemic to the Philippines. The plants include 729 angiosperms, 27 conifers, 164 ferns and allies, 17 mosses, 13 liverworts, and 13 lichens while the known fauna include 15 species of non-flying mammals, 11 species of flying mammals, 108 species of birds, 33 species of reptiles, 18 species of frogs, 142 species of butterflies, 31 species of dragonflies and damselflies, 46 species of spiders, four species of earthworms, 15 species of nematodes, and 17 species of freshwater fish.

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REMEMBERING NENE PIMENTEL: For love of God, love of country, and love for his fellowman

October 26, 2019

An Indian writer once said that “A life of service is a life well and greatly lived,” and that “Death is a joyous journey for the purposeful life.” These words best describe the life and death of Nene Pimentel, whose mission of service made a difference in the political life of our nation.  I admired him, as I did our beloved Maning Pelaez, for becoming a national leader of consequence. Their careers followed the same paths. After both became cabinet members and senators, Maning rose to Vice President and Nene to Senate President.  During the Marcos dictatorship, they both suffered the same fate. Maning was ambushed by hitmen of a Marcos crony, while Nene spent years in jail for allegedly giving aid and comfort to the Communist Party. Maning died at age 87, and Nene at age 85. As legislators, they were game-changers. Maning is remembered as the “Father of Rural Electrification”, while Nene is known as the “Father of Local Government.” I hold them in high esteem, because no one from Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro had ever attained the same distinction that they did in government, although now his son, Senator Koko Pimentel is continuing his father’s legacy. For this, they all make us proud. In the first Batasang Pambansa election held in 1978 at the height of martial law, Nene and I were associated in the Mindanao Alliance organized by former Misamis Oriental Gov. Bono Adaza. As a triumvirate, we dared to challenge the powerful Marcos dictatorship — but Nene subsequently went on to fight the dictatorship in Manila with the Lakas ng Bayan, the party founded by the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.  Despite our political differences, Nene and I remained good friends through the years that he gained political ascendancy. He loomed as Mindanao’s best bet for the presidency. But instead of running in the 2016 elections, he chose to support a mutual friend of ours -- Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte -- who shared his advocacy of the need to change our unitary system of government to the federal. It was, as the saying goes, a marriage made in heaven.   Nene and I were able to work together when President Duterte named us to the Constitutional Consultative Committee. This Sunday, October 27, 2019, at the instance of former House Speaker Congressman Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez of Davao del Norte, we are scheduled to meet here in Cagayan de Oro with our Chairman, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno. Cong. Alvarez convened a group of governors and congressmen on his proposal to launch a People’s Initiative for a Federal Constitution. Nene should have been part of this important meeting. His death is considered by some as a setback to our efforts. But God has a purpose for all of us, and every event has a meaning. Instead of weakening the federal movement, Nene’s passing has aroused public sentiment and strengthened our resolve to carry out the historic political change that must be made now -- or the Philippines will remain forever mired in systemic problems that none of our leaders have been able to solve since we became a republic 73 years ago. In Nene’s view, empowering the local governments through federalism would enable the regions to develop themselves, and the nation’s economy to prosper by leaps and bounds -- to the point of eradicating poverty, the root cause of drugs, lawlessness, corruption and rebellion. When this happens, our country will have entered a golden age of peace and progress. In gratitude, many will look back and ask the names of those who made it possible. There is a poem about a Muslim saint, Abou Ben Adhem, who encounters an angel writing a record of those who love God the most. Learning his name is not on this list, Ben Adhem instructs the angel to mark him down as one who loves his “fellow man.” The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night, it came again with a great wakening light, and showed the names whom love of God had blest. And lo and behold! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest. For love of God, love of country, and love for his fellowman, Nene Pimentel surpasses Abou Ben Adhem, and I feel that in the Book of Life his name also leads all the rest.  Wherever you are, my friend -- Good night, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! 

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Student shot in MSU Marawi campus dies after 8 days in coma

October 26, 2019

 Ivan Polinar Almeda, the 20-year old freshman who was shot at the commercial center of the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City early evening of October 17, passed away Friday night, October 25, at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (AMPC) in the same city.  Almeda, a resident of Bayugan in Agusan del Sur and a freshman in BS Physical Education at the the MSU’s College of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (CSPEAR), was in coma since his admission at the APMC where he was rushed after he was shot from behind at around 6:30 p.m. on October 17. He was pronounced dead at 10:58 p.m. Friday, according to the APMC Director, Dr. Shalimar Salma Sampaco-Sani Rakiin. “Ivan Almeda was pronounced dead at 10:58 p.m. tonight at the Intensive Care Unit of the APMC. Inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji-con,” she wrote on her FB page. No suspect has been arrested since the October 17 shooting incident inside campus. “It is a sad day for us MSUans,” MSU President Habib Macaayong said, adding that Almeda passed away “despite desperate efforts to assist him and the prayers of the community.” “We mourn the death of one so young and promising and share the grief of his family in equal measure. Our only consolation is he is now in peace and spared further suffering and pain. Ivan fought bravely and ran the race,” Macaayong said.  “But is the moral obligation of the MSU administration and the community not to leave any stone unturned to bring the perpetrator to justice,” he vowed. Motives Macaayong told MindaNews in a text message  on Saturday morning that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is still investigating the case but had initially pointed to two possible motives: “love triangle or quarrel over a game.” Last week, Macaayong told MindaNews that he summoned the students who were with Almeda when he was shot and was informed that what had been spreading via social media about an alleged fight during a game or a ‘love triangle’ issue were not true “Pero nang mag-investigate ang PNP ay lumabas na naman. Galing ang info sa PNP (But when the PNP investigated, these two possible motives again surfaced. The info came from the PNP), he said on Saturday morning. CSPEAR Dean Hendely Adlawan last week told MindaNews that doctors informed them the bullet entered Almeda’s left occipital and exited “right frontal part.” Almeda was the eldest of two children. Adlawan said Ivan’s mother, Genevieve, a widow, is an elementary school teacher in Agusan. Genevieve arrived early morning of October 18 in Marawi. “May your passing on be not in vain” “Rest in peace our dear fellow MSUan Ivan Almeda. Our hearts are broken. We pray for your beloved mother and sister. May your sacrifice and that of your family become a beacon of light for us all instead and may your passing on be not in vain. You were a son of MSU – all of us MSUans love you. Inna lillahi wa inna daihi rajiun,” Elin Alisha Guro, OIC Director of the University Library wrote on her FB page mid-morning Saturday. Condolences to Almeda’s family were posted in MSU FB groups, along with cries for justice. The MSU President on Saturday told MindaNews he “signed the hospital bills, paid the transportation cost for Bayugan with the MSU ambulance” and also paid for the expenses in the funeral parlor in neighboring Iligan City where Almeda was embalmed and placed in a casket. There are no funeral parlors in predominantly Muslim Marawi as Muslims bury their dead within 24 hours, wrapped in white cloth. The minority Christians in Marawi bring the remains of their loved ones to neighboring Iligan City. 

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