northern mindanao

Mangudadatu hits Zaldy Ampatuan’s hospital treatment

October 24, 2019

Former Maguindanao governor and now 2nd District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu on Thursday questioned the apparent “special treatment” accorded to Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the principal accused in the infamous Maguindanao massacre that shocked the nation about a decade ago. Mangudadatu urged Thursday the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to produce proof that Zaldy “is really seriously sick.” The former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is among the principal suspects in the November 23, 2009 massacre that killed 58 people, including 32 media workers. Mangudadatu’s wife Genalyn and several female family members were among those killed in the country’s worst election-related violence and the single deadliest attack against media workers in the world. “Zaldy, I learned last week, was also (allegedly) allowed to get out by the BJMP for medical attention. There should be a clear proof that he is suffering from a serious illness before he is allowed to seek medical attention outside the jail,” Mangudadatu said on the phone. Also, Zaldy’s medical treatment outside the jail must be covered with a court order, he added. On Wednesday, BJMP spokesperson Xavier Solda said that Zaldy was rushed to the hospital on Monday afternoon due to a cardiovascular disease, according to an Inquirer report. Physicians declared that Zaldy was in a stable condition, the official said. Mangudadatu noted that Zaldy must not be allowed to just get out for medical treatment without a court order because he is a “high-profile” suspect. But if indeed Zaldy has a proven serious medical condition, Mangudadatu said he will not complain out of humanitarian consideration. Last year, Zaldy also attended his daughter’s wedding at a posh hotel in Manila after securing a court order. With less than a month before the 10th anniversary of the infamous massacre, Mangudadatu noted the trial moved slowly, but expressed hopes a verdict could be issued by then. “We are expecting a guilty verdict for the principal suspects,” he said, also referring to Andal Ampatuan Jr. Ampatuan Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town, allegedly led the gunmen who stopped and massacred the members of the convoy in a hilly portion of Ampatuan town. The victims were en route to Shariff Aguak town to file Mangudadatu’s certificate of candidacy for governor, virtually challenging the Ampatuan’s grip on power. Patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., former Maguindanao governor and also a principal suspect, died in 2015 while in custody due to an illness. Mangudadatu said they “have overwhelming evidences and testimonies of witnesses that would pin down the principal suspects for the grisly massacre.”

READ MORE
MGB-12 exec: Tampakan project not yet due for production

October 24, 2019

 The US$5..9 billion Tampakan project here, Southeast Asia’s largest known undeveloped copper and gold minefield, is not yet due for commercial production due to some reasons, the chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 12 (MGB-12) clarified Thursday. Felizardo Gacad Jr., newly installed MGB-12 acting director, made the pronouncement after he drew flak for saying that the Office of the President will lift the order suspending the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) given to Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), the operator of the Tampakan project. Gacad’s pronouncement was published on October 21 by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an article titled “Tampakan mining project to go full-swing soon: MGB-12,” which was picked up by other media outlets. The PNA has taken down the article upon checking Wednesday night. “As of the latest, there is already a timeline for the lifting of the suspension of the ECC because the Office of the President has already decided to that effect,” the state-run news agency quoted him as saying, based on an interview by a local radio station in Koronadal City. MindaNews obtained the recording, which appropriately quoted Gacad as saying in the PNA report. In his statement, Gacad belied that the company’s operation will go full-swing in the coming months. “Although there is a pending request to lift the suspension of SMI’s ECC, this is just one requirement that the company needs to secure,” he said. The late Environment Secretary Gina Lopez cancelled more than two years ago SMI’s ECC because it will employ open-pit mining. President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered a ban on the open-pit mining method. Gacad said that SMI also needs to secure the Certificate Pre-Condition from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The other challenge for the company is the open-pit mining ban imposed in 2010 by the South Cotabato provincial government, he added. SMI declined to comment on Gacad’s pronouncement when sought for reaction Thursday. Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina, slammed Gacad’s pronouncement as “lawyering for the mining industry and creating confusion.” “We do not know from what planet Engr. Gacad is getting his information giving him misplaced optimism about the re-activation of the ECC for the Tampakan project,” Garganera said in an email. Diocese of Marbel Bishop Cerilo Casicas recently vowed to sustain the local Catholic church’s opposition against the Tampakan project on concerns over the environment, food security and human rights. The prelate urged the national government not to renew the firm’s 25-year Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), which was granted on March 22, 1995. The FTAA covers about 10,000 hectare straddling the towns of Tampakan in South Cotabato and Kiblawan in Davao del Sur, according to the latest company briefer. Previously, the firm included Columbio in Sultan Kudarat as part of its project area. Based on the firm’s studies, the Tampakan project has the potential to yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold in concentrate per annum in the 17-year-life of the mine. Lately, supporters of the Tampakan project have aired advertisements over local radio stations pushing its operations for its economic benefits. The Mindanao-grown conglomerate Alsons Group, through Alsons Prime Investments Corp., owns the controlling stake of SMI following the exit of Anglo-Swiss miner Glencore plc in 2015. The deal was worth US$290 million. In a December 2016 Philippine Daiy Inquirer report, SM Investments Corp. chief finance officer Jose Sio confirmed ongoing talks for the SM group to invest in the Tampakan mine, as a majority stakeholder. Updates could not be obtained in the meantime if the deal had succeeded. 

READ MORE
GenSan to adopt ‘no touch/no contact’ traffic enforcement

October 24, 2019

 The city government is set to adopt the “no touch/no contact policy” in the enforcement of traffic-related regulations and the clearing of roads of various obstructions. Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Thursday the move is aimed to enhance the implementation of the newly-launched “Oplan Linis at Ligtas na Kalsada,” which focuses on the strict enforcement of Ordinance No. 37 or the city’s Traffic Code and Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. He said they are currently working with the Land Transportation Office (LTO)-Region 12 for the setting of necessary arrangements to facilitate its rollout before the end of the year. City Administrator Arnel Zapatos held initial talks last Monday with LTO-12 director Macario Gonzaga regarding the “no touch/no contact policy” and its implementing procedure. Rivera said the city government will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with LTO-12 to allow city police personnel and traffic enforcers to take pictures of the violators instead of issuing actual citation tickets. “Fines and penalties will later be collected during the renewal of the vehicles’ licenses,” he said in a statement. The mayor said the police and traffic enforcers will undergo training and simulation activities to ensure its proper implementation of the measure. Rivera said he will later issue an executive order prior to formally set off the rollout of the “no touch/no contact” policy. The city government launched “Oplan Linis at Ligtas na Kalsada” last Oct. 15 in coordination with the city police and LTO. The initiative complements with the city government’s road clearing program, which is in compliance with an earlier directive from President Rodrigo Duterte. Among the major traffic regulations being implemented are the prohibition on motorcycles and tricycles in inner lanes of highways and major roads as well as the entry into the city of unregistered tricycles from the neighboring localities. 

READ MORE
PhilHealth restores accreditation of 2 hospitals in Koronadal being investigated for fraud

October 24, 2019

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has partially restored “effective this week” the accreditation of two hospitals based in Koronadal City that are being investigated for alleged fraud. Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer, disclosed the move as he confirmed that they have recalled the withdrawal of accreditation it earlier issued against the Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center (DAPPMC) and the Allah Valley Medical Specialists Center Inc. (AVMSCI). He said they decided to allow the two hospitals to continue rendering services to its members for procedures that are not covered by the ongoing investigation against them. “But procedures that are involved in suspected fraud, they will be stopped for now,” he said in an interview over Radio Mindanao Network in Koronadal on Wednesday. In a public advisory issued last Oct. 10, PhilHealth-Region 12 announced that it has withdrawn the accreditation of DAPPMC and AVMSCI effective the same day for alleged involvement “in the commission of fraudulent activities.” It also suspended for six months the General Santos Doctors Hospital Inc. here effective last Monday, Oct. 21, but the implementation has been “held in abeyance” based on an order from its arbitration office. Morales said he talked with the medical directors of the two hospitals early this week and came up with the agreement. He said they earlier reviewed their systems and processes and decided to limit the sanctions to suspect fraudulent procedures until the final resolution of the cases are released. Morales said they are set to issue the guidelines for such arrangement and the medical procedures that will not be included in the PhilHealth coverage. He clarified that the supposed violations committed by DAPPMC and AVMSCI do not include dialysis services, noting that he only mentioned it as an example during a previous interview in Manila due to the “WellMed controversy.” WellMed, a dialysis center based in Metro Manila, is undergoing investigation for allegedly claiming PhilHealth reimbursements for alleged “ghost patients.” Morales said DAPPMC and AVMSCI were allegedly engaged in “upcasing” or elevating of cases of admitted patients to increase their reimbursement claims from PhilHealth. He cited, as example, a patient admitted with colds or upper respiratory (tract) infection but reported to the agency as pneumonia cases. The agency is currently identifying the procedures involved in the alleged “upcasing” and will disseminate them to the public through PhilHealth-Region 12, he said. Morales said the investigation against DAPPMC and AVMSCI will continue on their level and they are currently in the process of “collecting evidences, affidavits and records” pertaining to the cases. He assured that the concerned hospitals will be given due process and the chance to answer for the alleged violations. “We have to get to the bottom of this. It involves the people’s money so we have to be extra careful,” he said. Dr. Antoniette Ladio, PhilHealth-12 acting regional vice president, earlier said the withdrawal of accreditation to DAPPMC and AVMSCI was a form of “preventive penalty.” The two hospitals, which are among the biggest in Koronadal City and South Cotabato province, immediately filed motions for reconsideration regarding the move. 

READ MORE
NPA leader nabbed in Kidapawan

October 23, 2019

Police and Army operatives arrested on Tuesday a suspected New People’s Army leader operating in the hinterlands of North Cotabato facing five criminal cases. Reports from the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion identified the suspect as Mindaley Satentes-Genotiva, also known as Kumander Karla. The 72IB reported that Genotiva was nabbed while leaving Spottswood Methodist Center along the highway here past 5 p.m. Tuesday. She was arrested based on the warrants of arrest issued against her by Judge Henelinda Molina-Diaz of the Regional Trial Court Branch 61 based in this city. Based on the warrants, she is facing five counts of frustrated murder, attempted murder, and murder. Genotiva is believed to be with the NPA Front 53 whose operations include Kidapawan, Magpet, and other hinterland towns in the Arakan Valley Development Complex in North Cotabato. Genotiva is the second NPA under Front 53 arrested since September. On Sept. 29, Front 53 commander Jazmin, Rachel Daguman in real life, was apprehended inside the public market in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. Authorities said they will present Genotiva to the judge for her proper disposition anytime this week. She has been placed under the custody of the Kidapawan City PNP.

READ MORE
Local terrorist surrenders to the military in Lanao Sur

October 22, 2019

ILIGAN CITY -- A local terrorist fighter, who became the group's guide in several encounters in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City before the siege, surrendered to the military, around 2pm on Monday, October 21, in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. LtCol. Rafman Altre, commander of the Army's 82nd Infantry Battalion, identified the surrenderee as Aminudin Datu, also known in his aliases as Abu Jannah and Abu Nasraula. Datu, who yielded his Browning automatic rifle, caliber 45 handgun, magazines and ammunitions, is known to have acted as one of the guides of the Dawlah Islamiya Lanao group, during the encounter in Piagapo town in April 2017, a month before the Marawi siege. He also served as point person of the terrorists in several atrocities they did in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur according to Altre. Around 5pm on Sunday (October 20), a certain Satar Emmandatu, an also known member of the armed group, surrendered to the 55IB his high-powered firearms he use when he was indiscriminately firing last October 16 in Barangay Ngingir, in Calanogas town.  At 7:00pm of same day, a M653 and M16A1 rifles, magazines and ammunitions were surrendered to the 82IB by an unnamed surrenderee.  Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of 103rd Infantry Brigade, who has operational command of the battalions in Lanao del Sur said that the developments are attributed to the "peace-loving local chief executives, constituents and stakeholders of Lanao del Sur”.  “We will continuously collaborate with them to encourage other local terrorist to surrender and yield their loose firearms to attain a just and lasting peace to their communities”, said Cuerpo in a statement to the media on Tuesday.  For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the local chief executives for the successful surrender of local terrorist and yield of loose firearms.  “Your 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, in collaboration with the LGUs and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in our campaign against local terrorist and will continue to seize loose firearms in our area of operation,” said Ancan.

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.