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Sarangani’s southern punch

November 27, 2019

Sarangani, famed for its “Fighting Senator” Manny Pacquiao, has the unique the distinction of being one of the country’s youngest provinces and at the same time, one of the oldest. This Old World charm takes center stage once more as it celebrates its 27th provincial founding day and the 17th MunaTo Festival on Nov. 28-30. Derived from the Blaan phrase Muna Toh or “first people”, festivities kick off on Nov. 28 with the MunaTo Run, Employees Day, the second Flowerhorn and Betafish Show, and the Municipal Village which will showcase the local produce, cuisine, souvenirs, and tourist attractions of the seven municipalities. The Craft Conference and Exhibition with Cultural Presentations will display the intricate hand-weaving tradition of the lumad tribes such as Blaan, Tagakaolo, Tboli, as well as Moro communities such as the Maguindanaon, Maranao and Taosug. There will also be weaving demonstrations on the Blaan Mabal Tabih fabric, considered the crown jewel of Sarangani’s cultural resources which is woven at the Lamlifew School of Living Traditions in Malungon. The fest will also showcase the work of Bai Estelita Bantilan, a Blaan igem (mat) weaver of Malapatan, who was accorded the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure) by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017 through the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. Sarangani governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said the festival will showcase nature, culture and adventure which are the province’s tourist top drawers. Fringe events in the fest include the Pearl of Sarangani pageant which will select the province’s ambassadresses of goodwill and tourism, MunaTo Youth Day, Week of Peace, Indigenous Peoples Day, Tribal Sports, Jesus Reigns, extreme sports competitions, and a host of sporting, arts, entertainment and socio-civic events. Activities will be held at the Provincial Capitol Complex in Alabel town. Sarangani was created in 1992 from the coastal towns of South Cotabato, and dates back to the Metal Age based on the anthropomorphic burial jars unearthed in the caves in Maitum town. Now on display at the National Museum, the jars are described as “exceptional archaeological assemblage and unparalleled in Southeast Asia”.

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Municipality Of President Roxas Denounces Communist Terrorist Group

July 19, 2019

72nd Infantry Battalion conducted Peace Building Seminar on July 12-14, 2019 held at Brgy Labuo, President Roxas participated by more than 200 members of Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) and CPP-NPA-NDF supporters and sympathizers. The peace building activity includes a series of lectures that give the participants awareness on peace and order issues in their community. The activity also provides venture for them on how they could help in ending social conflicts. As part of the culmination of the Peace Building Seminar on July 15, 2019, 9'Oclock in the morning a Peace Rally was conducted. Residents from the 25 barangays of Pres Roxas, brgy functionaries, Tanods and Peace and Development Volunteers from the whole municipality showed their support in denouncing CTG. Approximately seven hundred (700) individuals voiced out their support to attain a genuine peace in the municipality. During the closing program, the six participating barangays: New Cebu, Kamarahan, Tuael, La Esperanza, Sagcungan, and Mabuhay, thru their respective Barangay Captains, declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as "Persona non-grata" to their respective communities. Afterwhich, Honorable Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit affirmed the declaration of Persona non grata of said barangays; and subsequently the LIGA President, Hon Romeo Roturas also announced in behalf of other Barangays denouncing the communists and eventually declare the same In addition, Honorable Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit, led the oath- taking of more than 200 participants who have completed the 3-day Peace Building Seminar. They oath condemning the communist groups and stopping all their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF terroristic ways which brought fear to the people. "Never support these terrorists again. Your government is on your side. They have just polluted your mind in order to achieve their personal desires. You have your LGU, your PNP, and your Philippine Army. We are all on your side. What belongs to you, will be given to you,” Mayor Mahimpit said. The closing program was also attended by all SB members, IPMR, LGAs, Col Zosimo Oliveros INF (GSC) PA, Deputy Brigade Commander 901st Brigade, Ltc Rey T Alvarado INF (GSC) PA, Commander 72IB; PMaj Oranza, COP and Media practioners. The 72nd Infantry Battalion will continue to support these kinds of LGU initiated activities to strengthen the collaboration with the local government and other stakeholders in its Area of Operation. "I was glad that this kind of activity like the peace building seminar was greatly participated and appreciated by the community. To see the local government empowering its people to cooperate with the government's effort of peace and order was already a great manifestation that we are not far from reaching our desired peace and development. We, the 901st brigade will continue our efforts in doing our mandate of securing the land and serving the people of North Cotabato," Colonel Gabriel C Viray III, 901st IBde Commander, said. 

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DENR-12 to finish disaster risk assessment this year

July 12, 2019

Dr. Sabdullah Abubacar, DENR-12 regional executive director, said the ongoing assessment focuses on the potential impact of the occurrence of floods, landslides and other related disasters to communities within the region’s 45 municipalities and five cities. He said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-12, which implements the project, already completed the VRA or hazard exposure mapping in 35 localities. “We intend to finish the remaining 15 (localities) this year,” Abubacar said in a press conference in Koronadal City on Thursday. He said the completion of the mapping, which aims to capacitate communities to their adaptation to geologic hazards, is currently among their top priorities as set by their central office.   DENR-12 had identified at least 341 of the region’s 1,194 barangays as highly prone to flooding while 218 are at risk to landslides. The flood-prone areas cover 179 barangays in North Cotabato and Cotabato City, 73 in Sultan Kudarat, 69 in South Cotabato, and 20 in Sarangani. Of the landslide-prone areas, 57 barangays are located in South Cotabato and this city, 57 in Sultan Kudarat, 53 in North Cotabato, and 51 in Sarangani. Constancio Paye Jr. MGB-12 regional director, said the VRA is the continuation of the geohazard mapping conducted by the agency in all cities and municipalities in the region. He said they had distributed geohazard maps with 1:50,000 and 1:10,000 scales to all local government units (LGUs), focusing on the determination of flood and landslide susceptibility. A project briefer said the VRA or risk exposure maps identifies identify barangays with the most number of people who might be affected by specific geohazards, proper locations as well as the most appropriate alternate traffic routes and pre-positioning areas for recovery and relief operations. “We did not stop with the identification of the areas at risk to hazards but we’re also looking into the population, especially the number of families, which might be affected in case of disasters,” Paye said. The official said these “geologic reports” are intended as planning tools that may be used by LGUs in updating their disaster management plans. In the case of infrastructure situated within high-risk areas, he said these will assist local governments in determining the extent of vulnerabilities and the proper responses. Paye said LGUs would be guided if they need to opt for the immediate relocation of the affected structures or the implementation of mitigating engineering interventions and other adaptation mechanisms.

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Probe eyes links between radio anchor’s death, attack on station

July 12, 2019

Undersecretary Joel Egco. PTFoMS executive director, said they are currently determining whether the murder of Eduardo Dizon, anchor of Brigada News FM station in Kidapawan City, and the strafing last July 4 of the Bombo Radyo station here were linked to the same issue. "May mainit na issue sa area na yan, at alam nyo na kung ano yan (There's a hot issue in that area and you already know what that is)," he said in an interview over Brigada News FM here. Egco was apparently referring to the proliferation in the area of various illegal investment schemes, which were tackled almost daily by the concerned radio stations. These include the "Ponzi-like" investment operations of controversial religious group Kapa Community Ministry International Inc., which was shut down by the government last month on orders from President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Prior to the attacks, personnel from the two radio stations reportedly received threats that were believed triggered by their handling of the issue. But Egco said he has asked the Philippine National Police, which is part of PTFoMS, to dig deeper into both attacks and identify all those behind them. In the case of Dizon, he said he already received the initial report from Kidapawan City police investigators. He said they're also getting some "bits and pieces of information from our friends in the media" that may be used in resolving the case. Dizon, former station manager of 97.5 Brigada News FM-Kidapawan, was driving home to Tejada Subdivision in Makilala, North Cotabato around 10:35 p.m. when he was gunned down by unidentified assailants along Quezon Boulevard in Kidapawan City. Egco said he was deeply saddened by the incident, which happened nearly a year after the killing of radio broadcaster Joey Llana in Albay. As in the other previous cases of media killings, he assured that PTFoMS, which was created through Administrative Order No. 01 issued by Duterte, will not stop "until we get into the bottom of this, identify the motive and the suspects, and file cases against all those involved." "The Duterte administration is committed to end cases of violence against the media in the country," he said. The Brigada Group of Companies, which is based in this city, strongly condemned Dizon's killing, which it said happened "in the wake of his relentless expose against unscrupulous individuals and organizations involved in illegal undertakings." In a statement, the company sees the attack as "an attempt to silence the Brigada media and its news personalities from their exposes and position on prevailing issues." It said news anchors of Brigada have since taken a moral stance against groups and individuals who are exploiting the public for their own personal gains and might have stepped on the toes of some groups and individuals in the process. But the company said the incident will not deter them from pursuing their "sacred mission" but will instead provide the strength and determination to serve for the best interest of the public. "We call on authorities to go deep into this in their investigation, prosecution and eventual punishment of those who are behind the gruesome murder of one of our esteemed news anchor personalities," it added.

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SSS runs after 11 biz establishments in Koronadal

July 11, 2019

The move was in line with the series of surprise inspections conducted by SSS legal and enforcement personnel on selected employers in the area as part of its Run After Contribution Evaders (Race) campaign. Lawyer Renato Jacinto Cuisia, acting Vice President for Operations Legal Divisions I and II of the SSS central office, said the erring establishments mainly violated provisions of Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018. He specifically cited the non-registration of businesses to SSS, non-remittance of employees’ premiums and under-reporting of employees. Cuisia, who led the inspections, said these violations were earlier established and validated by their account officers. The inspection team served the show cause orders, which were printed in tarpaulins, and posted them at the delinquent establishments. “They have 15 days to make arrangements for the settlement of their contribution delinquencies and to comply with those required for their businesses,” Cuisia told reporters. The erring establishments may avail of settlement schemes, depending on their financial condition, and the condonation program on penalty liabilities, which is offered by SSS until Sept. 1, he said.  He said SSS has the option to file charges against the concerned establishments should they ignore or fail to heed the show cause orders. Under the law, he said erring employers may face imprisonment of up to 12 years and would be required to settle the delinquencies and corresponding penalties. The Race campaign here was the second in Region 12 since its initial rollout in General Santos City in July last year. Data released by the agency showed that of the 3,054 employers registered with SSS- Koronadal branch, only 504 were religiously paying the premiums of their workers. Some 2,056 employers have pending delinquencies and 494 have not made any payments at all. Cuisia said they have set more inspection and enforcement activities nationwide in the coming months to address these problems. “We hope to deliver the message that SSS is serious in its campaign to go after erring employers and to champion the cause of the workers,” he added. 

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TFBM-IMSCSG to Conduct ‘Serbisyo Caravan’ at Sarimanok Tent City

July 9, 2019

ILIGAN CITY  - The Task Force Bangon Marawi’s (TFBM) Information Management and Strategic Communication Support Group (IMSCSG) headed by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) is all set for the "Kumpas Barangay: Information and Serbisyo Caravan" to be held at Sarimanok Tent City, Marawi City on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. PIA Iligan Communications Command Center  (ICCC) Project Director Franklin Gumapon emphasized that the activity aims to bring the services of TFBM member-agencies directly to Marawi displaced families who are now staying at different transitory sites. "We are glad to facilitate again a fruitful discussion among our Maranao brothers and sisters and the concerned TFBM member-agencies. We also want to hear their concerns and develop plans with them to support the rebuilding of a peaceful and better Marawi," Gumapon stressed. Formerly known as "Mashwara: Info-tainment, consultation and Serbisyo Caravan," the first activity was launched November of the year 2017, gaining positive response from Marawi IDPs. "As part of our mandate in PIA to empower communities through dissemination of accurate information, we also want to make sure that Marawi IDPs are not left behind," Gumapon added. PIA together with TFBM member-agencies set up free services like medical and dental consultation, civil registry, livelihood training, haircut, and information dissemination. "Kumpas Barangay: Information and Serbisyo Caravan" is done four times a year on different strategic areas of Marawi City to promote a better understanding between the government and the IDPs. 

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