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Joint AFP and PNP law enforcement opns arrested four lawless elements

May 7, 2019

Pres.Quirino, Sultan Kudarat -- Four lawless elements were arrested in a joint law enforcement operation of 33IB, CIDG BARMM, 2nd Mech Coy, and 43rd SAC, 4th SAB in Brgy Bulod, Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao at 8:30 am May 04, 2019.      The government troops, while serving the warrant of arrest against Teddy Biang who has a criminal case for violation of section 11 article of RA 9165 (Possession of Illegal Drugs), also apprehended three others for Possession of Prohibited Drugs (shabu) and high-powered firearms.      The troops also recovered cash amounting to Php 385,000 considered as drug money, assorted ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and other deadly weapons.      After the clearing operation, as they pursue the retreating cohorts of Teddy Biang, the troops also discovered an IED factory and a make shift drug den surrounded by marijuana plantation.  Recovered inside the drug den are dried marijuana, seeds, and scrap metals being used for manufacturing of IEDs.      The Barangay Officials with the assistance of the government forces agreed to uproot the marijuana and decided to burn the drug den in order to prevent further drug activities in the area.      “According to our source, the recovered assorted firearms and other deadly weapons were to be used to disrupt the safe and orderly conduct of midterm national and local election 2019,” says Ltc Elmer M Boongaling, CO 33IB.      “The arrest of these lawless elements and drug personalities will certainly help in making our area of operation more safe and secure for the people,” Col Efren F Baluyot, Commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade said.      Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Cirilito E Sobejana, Commander of the 6th Infantry Kampilan Division lauded the effort of 33IB, CIDG BARMM, 43rd SAC 4th SAB for the successful operation.      “Our joint law enforcement operation with other security forces is relentless in order to protect our people from lawless elements and sustain the peace and development in our area of responsibility,” Maj. Gen. Sobejana added.

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A MORO IN EXILE: The Killings in Cotabato City

May 6, 2019

We haven't paid attention to the almost daily shootings in Cotabato until finally the victim is someone we know/knew. And then we start paying attention, and then we start condemning. These killings have been going on for years - in front of government offices, near police stations, along major thoroughfares - sa Bagua, sa Old Market, sa harapan ng ORC, sa Rosary Heights, sa kahabaan ng Sinsuat Avenue, sa Tamontaka, sa Super, sa college. Office districts, residential areas, commercial areas, walang pinipiling lugar ang pamamaslang na ito. Name an area in Cotabato City, meron patayan diyan na nabaon sa limot, killings that have been posted on social media but did not get much reaction. Ang mga street killings na ito, para din yan Human Rights Violations (HRV). Pinapalampas lang natin, kibit balikat kapag some random person ang hinuli, ginulpi, tinorture, o di kaya ay "itinumba". Until the victim of the HRV is someone we know. And then we protest to high heavens. Ang mga street killings na ito, para din yan displacement sa rural areas. Kapag sa sulok ng Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, o Sulu, hindi ganoon karami ang nakikialam, nagpapakita ng dismaya. Minsan nga hindi pa nababanggit sa social media o sa mainstream media. Until such time urban area naman ang na-displace. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. (Zainudin Malang is a lawyer from Mindanao who spent years on deployment in acute emergencies in East Africa and the Middle East. Before that, he was the founding head of a human rights and civilian protection organization in Mindanao and was one of the five members of the peace process monitoring body.)

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BARMM HR investigator shot dead in Cotabato City

May 2, 2019

COTABATO CITY  – A former TV reporter turned human rights investigator for the Bangsamoro region was shot to death by motorcycle-riding assailants while aboard a hired habal-habal whose driver was also killed in the attack. Archad Ayao of the Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) of the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was in his 30s. He died on the spot after due to a gunshot wound in the head believed caused by a .45 caliber pistol. The incident happened on Ramon Rabago Street, Rosary Heights 4, Cotabato City around 6:10pm after the victim left his apartment. A few meters away from his home he hired a single motorcycle commonly known as habal-habal driven by Pio Orteza, a resident of Rosary Heights 4. Witnesses said they heard three successive gun shots. Police Colonel Michael Lebanan, Cotabato City police director, said their initial  investigation showed the assailants followed the victims and opened fire when the latter slowed down while taking a turn. “We are working on the CCTVs that can help closely identify the suspects,” Lebanan said over the phone. The police said they will look closely into the motive of the killing to determine if the killing was related to Ayao’s work as an investigator handling human rights cases in Maguindanao. Lawyer Abdulnasser Badrudin, director of RHRC-BARMM said they were shocked over the incident and condemned the killing. Ayao had served the agency for more the five years. Ayao’s remains were brought by his relatives to his hometown Barangay Katuli in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao for a Muslim burial on Thursday. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)

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CHR-12 official nixes ‘sympathy, legal succor’ for suspect in Isulan blast

April 5, 2019

KORONADAL City––The Commission on Human Rights-12 (CHR-12) on Thursday assured it will not extend “any amount of sympathy and legal succor” to the suspect in the blast that injured 18 people in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on Wednesday afternoon. Erlan Deluvio, CHR-12 acting director, issued the pronouncement as he waxed poetic in condemning the blast inside Carlito’s Chicken House in Isulan, the capital of Sultan Kudarat province. He described the suspect “as a madman on the loose.” Last year, five persons were killed and some 50 others were wounded when two separate blasts also hit Isulan in a span of less than a week in August  and September. Deluvio also urged authorities with an overdose of bombastic phrases to immediately capture the suspect on Wednesday’s explosion. “This scoundrel must be blasted to eternal damnation and may his soul be burned forever in the Valhalla of Eternal Pain and Suffering; his heart to be taken out and given as a prey to the beasts of the forest and vultures of the air, it having no tincture of use, or any glorious purpose for the benefit of mankind, and that it might be truly descriptive of himself – heartless and evil!” he said in a statement. In Norse mythology, Valhalla refers to the “hall of the fallen.” Among the victims of Wednesday’s blast inside Carlito’s Chicken House were six children and a pregnant mother. Brig. Gen. Eliseo Rasco, Police Regional Office-12 director, said initial investigation showed the motive for the bomb attack was extortion. Deluvio asked law enforcement agencies to intensify security measures and manhunt operations to capture the “madman along with his cohorts and deliver them to justice.” “For how can we cleanse this Augean stables of criminal derelicts if we only sit in the sidelines and remain remiss in our solemn duty to serve and protect our people?” he asked. Cleanse the Augean stable means to rid a place or entity of an accumulation of something distasteful. In Greek mythology, Hercules was tasked with cleansing the Augean stables—which had not been cleaned in 30 years. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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Butandings sighted in Sarangani Bay

March 25, 2019

GENERAL Santos City--Marine researchers reported on Friday fresh sightings of about three to five possible new migrant whale sharks or “butandings” at a portion of Sarangani Bay. Dr. Roy Mejorada, marine biologist and in-house veterinarian of the Sarangani-Environmental Conservation and Protection Center (ECPC), said the whale sharks were spotted by their team on Thursday off the shores of Barangay Ladol, Alabel town in Sarangani. He said the whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) were found in deep portions of the waters adjacent to several fish cages. Mejorada, who heads a research tasked to monitor and document the whale sharks in Sarangani Bay, said they surveyed the area following reports of their presence from residents and fishermen. During the validation, he said the team took pictures of the whale sharks to determine whether they are new migrants or among the 16 already documented in parts of the bay since 2014. Mejorada said they will send the pictures to the Large Marine Vertebrates or LAMAVE Research Institute Philippines for proper verification. “They have access to the whale shark database and the capability to process the pictures to establish if they were spotted previously anywhere in the country or not,” he said. If found to be new migrants, he said it will bring the documented whale sharks in the bay to as high as 21. Since January, the research team documented 14 new whale sharks, specifically spotted surface-feeding in the waters off the Queen Tuna Park and Purok Silway here and at the Tuka Marine Park in Kiamba, Sarangani. In 2014, two whale sharks, tagged as P640 and P641, were documented off the coasts of this city, making their current total count to 16. ECPC, which is under the office of Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, was earlier tapped by the newly-activated Task Force Butanding-GenSan to lead the whale shark research. The task force is composed of City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City Tourism Council, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Tourism, Philippine Coast Guard, Protected Area Management Board, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the coastal barangays here. In response to the whale shark sightings in Alabel, Mejorada said Gov. Solon directed the implementation of measures to ensure the proper protection of the “gentle giants of the sea.” “We need the cooperation of everyone to maintain a healthy environment for the whale sharks,” he said. He said residents and fishermen should not be afraid of the whale sharks as these don’t harm humans. Mejorada said they should be allowed to just feed off the small fishes, which is abundant in the Sarangani Bay. “Just let them be in the wild. We should not get close to them, hold, ride or harm them in any way. If you take pictures, don’t use flash,” he said. Should there be new sighting of whale sharks, Mejorada said it should be reported immediately to the ECPC, local environmental offices and the nearest DENR office. Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act prohibits the maltreatment or killing of endangered species like the whale shark. Violators may face a fine of as much as P1 million and imprisonment of up to 12 years. (MindaNews)

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Bangsamoro education ministry welcomes support of development partners

March 14, 2019

COTABATO City--The newly-installed Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) welcomed the support of development partners to improving the delivery of education in the region.      Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal convened a meeting with development partners here on March 7, 2019 – two weeks following his appointment as member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and as MBHTE minister.      “Our development partners are vital to achieving our education reform agenda,” Iqbal said, stressing that education is the number one priority of the new Bangsamoro Government.      Citing the provisions of Bangsamoro Organic Law, Iqbal said the Bangsamoro Government will establish, maintain, and support a complete and integrated system of quality education, which shall be a subsystem of the national education system.      “The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) shall develop an educational framework relevant and responsive to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people,” he said.      Iqbal added implementing BARMM’s education reforms could be overwhelming. But he said the support of development partners is reassuring.      Among the development partners present during the meeting were the Australian Government-funded Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao or Pathways Program; Save the Children Philippines; USAID’s Mindanao Youth for Development Program; Plan International Philippines; UNICEF Philippines; and Catholic Relief Services.      Also present during the meeting were representatives from Nonviolent Peaceforce; UN-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Synergeia Foundation; Forum ZFD; Community and Family Services International; Islamic Relief Philippines; International Children’s Action Network; ACTED; Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP); IDEALS, Inc.; Maranao People Development Center, Inc.; and A Single Drop for Safe Water.      Pathways Program Curriculum, Learning, and Delivery Adviser Bonna Duron – Luder shared during the meeting that the Australian Government through the Pathways Program is ready to support the ministry in institutional strengthening, curriculum review and development, policy advocacy, and data management.      PBSP on the other hand will mobilize the private sector to support the ministry while UNICEF Philippines will provide technical assistance in education sector planning.      “We look forward to working closely with our development partners soon,” said Iqbal.

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