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Jocals688 beauty and wellness product soft launching held in Iligan City

May 28, 2020

ILIGAN CITY - Good news for Iliganons waiting for the coming of beauty and wellness products, as Jocals688 Beauty and Wellness Products Trading, Inc launched the other day in this progressive city of Northern Mindanao. The soft opening of its Iligan Branch would signal the company's commitment to serve the city in terms of beauty, wellness and prosperity. "We find that Iligan City is a very strategic place in Northern Mindanao," says Joshua A. Calderon, CEO and President of Jocals688. This year, the opening of Iligan Branch is part of the company's commitment and massive opening of branches since it opened in July 2019."Nalukop na nato sa pagbutang ug branches ang tibuok Pilipinas. We plan to invade Visayas soon," Calderon said. He said Jocals688 will not only help promote beauty and wellness but will also give opportunity to every Filipino to start their own business for only a very small capital.   HE'S THE MAN. Joshua Alforque Calderon, the man behind the tremendous success of Jocals688 multi-level marketing business is full of vision to make the company a byword all over the many continents of the globe.   DOING BUSINESS WITH JOCALS688 The CEO and President said for only a small capital of P3,998, anyone can start a small business and became agents of Jocals688. "Ang imong small capital worth na sa products, so if ibaligya nimo mobalik dayun ang imo capital, aside from the fact nga official agent ka na sa company. There are corresponding commissions nga imong dawaton sa matag baligya nimo sa Jocals688 products, " he explained. Calderon said many entrepreneurs at Jocals688 company are now enjoying the fruits of their sacrifices. "Many of my business partners have already experienced time and financial freedom and they are very thankful to the company. Dire nila nakita nga kung maningkamot lang gyud kita sa negosyo pinaagi sa usa ka sistema, dako kaayo ang pag asa nga makab ot gyud nato and atong mga damgo sa kinabuhi," Calderon pointed out. HUMBLE BEGINNING Started in June 2019 in the humble town of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Jocals688 has already established 29 branches nationwide plus two others in New York City and Papua New Guinea in less than a year of operations. "I was personally surprised because even when there were already community quarantines, taking place all over, still many people kept enrolling in our system. They put their thrust in us because they have witnessed the success of our business partners," Concludes Calderon.

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Gama Foods donates RT-PCR machine to NMMC

May 28, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City’s private sector stepped up to the plate and gave a much needed boost in the city’s fight against COVID-19 as one company turned over one reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction testing machine to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) during Thursday afternoon’s (May 28) press briefing at the mayor’s conference room.   ‘My heart is full of gratitude with the donation by Gama Foods Corp. of an RT-PCR testing machine to the NMMC. It is a heartwarming, reassuring and inspiring gesture on their part in helping the city and northern Mindanao. In these difficult times, there are opportunities for people to make a difference and I join the Department of Health regional office (DOH-10) and NMMC in profusely thanking Gama Foods Corp. for their donation which will augment NMMC’s testing capacity along with additional RT-PCR machines acquired by City Hall (two each) for DOH-10 and NMMC,’ Mayor Oscar Moreno said.   In a statement, Gama Foods Corp. chief operations officer Mark Chang said their company started and grew in Cagayan de Oro City and ‘it is their pleasure to be of service to the city (where they established themselves).’    ‘I hope that in this COVID-19 crisis , we in the private sector and the government can help each other in beating COVID-19. I hope this donation will boost our fighting chance (against COVID-19). We should also not be complacent and follow the government guidelines for community quarantine,’ Chang said.   NMMC chief Dr. Jose Chan and NMMC spokesman Bernard Julius Rocha agreed, saying the RT-PCR machine will augment the NMMC’s current testing capacity of 36 tests daily.    Dr. Ian Gonzales, chief of the DOH-10’s Infectious Diseases Cluster, said Gama Foods Corp.’s donation is a prime example of the private sector’s invaluable role in helping government find solutions to solve the COVID-19 crisis.    ‘Once we get the two RT-PCR machines lent by City Hall operational at DOH and four testing machines at NMMC, we may have the highest testing capacity for COVID-19 cases outside the National Capital Region,’ Dr. Gonzales said.   Dr. Gonzales also lauded Mayor Oscar Moreno and City Hall’s health officials and entire bureaucracy for spearheading efforts in northern Mindanao to bolster and capacitate both the NMMC and DOH-10’s frontliners in terms of testing and health care capacity in handling and caring for suspected COVID-19 cases.    ‘We in DOH-10 thank Gama Foods Corp. for their donation and are grateful to Mayor Oscar Moreno and Cagayan de Oro City Hall for being the leader that we need in these times and for being among the best cities in the country that prepared well for this crisis,’ Dr. Gonzales said. 

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Guerrilla Raid on Talisayan

May 27, 2020

One of the most unusual guerrilla operations in the Philippines during World War II was the guerrilla raid on Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, which was conducted with the assistance of the US Navy to eliminate and wipe out the Japanese garrisoned at this key objective. Amphibious in nature, the operation involved guerrilla units of the 110th Infantry Division, 110th Division United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) with an original strength of 200 men but which rose to 350 when a call for volunteers was issued. The US Navy Task Group 70.4 coordinated the operation. Task Group 70.4  was created to aid Filipino Guerillas in the southern areas of the Philippines. As originally constituted, the Task Group consisted of Landing Craft, Support (Large) LCS (L) 9 and 10, and Landing Craft Infantry (Large) LCI (L) s 361 and 363 under the command of Lieutenant Albert C. Eldridge. Organized on 24 January 1945, the Task Group was charged with the supply and support of Filipino guerrillas in Mindanao. Guerrillas had been previously supplied by submarines through the Spyron operation, which however, limited the amount of material they could receive. With the increasing American air and naval presence in the Philippines, it was now possible to use surface craft for supply. The Spyron submarine missions ceased in December 1944, when surface deliveries began. It was this role that the two LCS (L) s and two LCI (L) s were assigned. From February 1945 to May 1945, Task Group 70.4 completed thirteen missions. It was during one of these missions that the genesis for the Talisayan Operation was subtly intimated by Commander Charles “Chick”  Parsons, whose work in organizing the submarine supply of the guerrillas had given him a great deal of expertise in the matters facing Task Group 70.4. The way the suave Parsons proposed the raid to the new commander of the Task Group as described later by Eldridge in the ship’s history is a rather amusing read in hindsight. “While we were waiting for darkness and the return run to Leyte, the skipper and Cmdr. Charles (Chick, Chico) Parsons talked of this and that. Parsons had been the mentor of the previous work by sub and was starting us off in the right foot by giving advice now and then as to what had been done previously and how we might best work with the guerrillas.  He had a background as large as all outdoors in Filipino affairs before the war and exploits as long as your arm in spying activities against the Japs in Manila.” It was during this trip that Eldridge conferred with Parsons, leading to the first raid against Japanese installations. Their conversation went as follows: “I imagine there’re quite a few Nips ‘round here, Commander.” “Helluva lot of ‘em right close.” “Right over there-across the strait.” “Mmmm. Doesn’t appear more than twenty miles. Wonder why how much hot water we’d get into, going over to say hello.” “Can’t say. They have quite a few men, and are building barges in Talisayan.” “No, that’s not the kind of hot water I mean. I mean we have no orders to go running over here and there shooting people up. And someone back in Tolosa might not like my straying from the path on the first run.” “You’re right. Some few can cause a lot of trouble. But there’s a mighty nice concentration of them there.” “Think we could get at them?” “They’re right on the coast.” “Mmmm. Like to take a trip! Let’s go look at a chart and see what kind of water there is down there.”  Plain smooth Chico. Silky smooth!  Plans of operation were laid out in a conference between Major Paul H. Marshall, commanding officer, 110th Div (Guerrilla) and Major Harvey Harcourt, Inf, Capt. T.R. Daniel, Inf., Capt. William V. Pritz, Inf., Lt. William Griffin (USNR), and Lt. Albert E. Eldridge (USNR), of Task Group 70.4. The Talisayan garrison was selected as the target of an amphibious operation because of its value as a barge staging base midway between Cagayan and the Mindanao Sea, as Parsons aptly stated in his earlier conversation with Eldridge.   Reports indicated that the garrison had an approximate strength of 250 Japanese in the town center with another seventy in an outpost at a barrio two kilometers south. Guerrillas coached in Amphibious Landings Marshall, following instructions, proceeded to Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, and undertook the training of the guerrillas to be utilized as a landing force. Rigid training lasted ten days. The 110th Infantry Regiment headed by Maj. Rosauro P. Dongallo, Sr. covered the area from Tagoloan River to Lenugos (present day Magsaysay), Misamis Oriental with headquarters at Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. The regimental staff under Dongallo included Capt. Clyde Abbot (Executive Officer); Capt. Benjamin Pacana (Adjutant, S1); Lt. Fabian Villaroya (Intelligence, S2); Lt. Ireneo Villano (Plans & Training, S3); Lt. Papias Tiro (Finance Officer); Dr. Julian Tolentino (Regimental Surgeon); and Alfredo Hojas (Food Procurement Officer). The company commanders included Capt. Benjamin Hernandez, Capt. Fernandez, Lt. Emeterio Moreno, Lt. Nilo Moreno, Lt. Jose Docdocil, and Lt. Atilano Labuntog. Dr. Gerardo Sabal was the 3rd Battalion medical officer stationed in Sta. Ana, Tagoloan. During a later reorganization, Dongallo handpicked the following officers, assigned them to responsible positions and assigned to strategic areas of the 110th Regiment: Lt. Eustaquio Carpio, Eustaquio Embate, Felino Pangilinan, George Ramos, Realino Edquila, Benjamin Valmores, Natividad del Pilar, and Bonifacio Pailagao. On 20 March 1945, the two LCIs supported by two LCS’s of Task Group 70.4 arrived at the barrio of Lagonglong, seven miles north of Balingasag. This task force proceeded immediately to Talisayan arriving there at dawn the following day. The Mighty Midgets cometh On 22 March 1945, enemy positions were heavily shelled by the LCS’s preparatory to the landing of troops. The landing was supported with heavy firing but no resistance was offered by the enemy. Instead, they took to the hills. In retrospect, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise why the garrison troops turned tail when the naval bombardment started. Affectionately known in US Navy lore as The Mighty Midgets,  these ‘amphibious gunboats’ usually provided close-in fire support for the first assault wave on the beach; barreling at flank speed in a straight line, making two runs and firing rocket barrages at 1,000, 800, and 500 yards. After the rocket barrages, the LCS (L) s would turn broadside and fire at any targets of opportunity. Then they were followed by the Landing Craft itself. After the troops were on the beach head, the LCS (L) would pick off any targets of opportunity. Originally designated as LCS(L)(3), for "Landing Craft Support (Large) Mark 3", these 158-foot-long, shallow-draft LCS (Landing Craft Support) ships were small compared with the more glamorous Navy warships — less than half the length of a destroyer. But they more than made up for their size with their firepower. The LCS (L) (3) ships provided more firepower per ton than any ship ever built for the US Navy. Descriptions of the ships during battles include one comparing them to a lethal 4th of July fireworks show. LCS (L) s 9 and 10  were among the first group of LCS (L) completed during the war. Both built at the George Lawly & Sons Shipyard near Boston, Massachusetts, each mounted a 3”/50 gun in the bow that could shoot an exploding projectile nearly nine miles. Additional armament included two twin-mounted 40mm anti-aircraft guns, four single-mounted 20mm guns, rocket racks for 4.5 inch rockers, a .50-cal. Machine gun and an 80mm mortar. With the addition of the mortars, the ships had an enhanced ability to attack shore installations where needed. These mortars were not usually found on the ships but had been acquired locally in order to enhance their capabilities. As Eldridge wrote later in the ship’s history: “That was the start of our favorite pastime. On the first bombardment by the Nine and Ten (i.e., LCS (L) 9 & 10) we knocked out barrels and barrels of fuel oil and gasoline burned up the huts the Nips lived in. We won our spurs by crippling barge traffic in the area when the fuel was destroyed. We were credited enthusiastically but slightly optimistically by Filipino reports with killing 600.” A ‘Milk Run’ By 0600 Hrs, the attacking force occupied Sipaca and the barrios of Sipalong and Bugdang. The ammunition dump at Sipaca was blown up by supporting shell fire. Two armored barges complete with diesel engine and two trucks were captured.  Sixty sacks of polished rice, canned goods, and an excellent automotive repair shop were also taken. Enemy casualties for the whole operation were eventually reckoned at 138 Japanese killed in action with no casualties on the side of the guerrillas and the 70.4 Task Force. No doubt The Mighty Midgets made short work of the Japanese garrison. In fact, the landing and occupation of the mission area was such a “milk run” that the Air Force was requested to cancel all bombing and strafing missions in the Talisayan area. It should be mentioned here that this Talisayan operation was the first amphibious guerrilla offensive against the Japanese- the first of several successful operations in conjunction with Task Group. 70.4. News of the raid eventually reached  Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commander Allied Naval Forces South West Pacific Area under General  Douglas MacArthur  and Commander of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet,  Pleased with their success, Kinkaid authorized them to conduct similar raids on future missions whenever the opportunity presented itself. The crew of LCS (L) 9 shortly after the war. Official US Navy Photograph Charles Wesley (Charlie) Bee, 94, of Parkersburg, WV, passed on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at Brighton Gardens,  Winston-Salem, NC. He served on an (LCS)(L) on the Talisayan Raid. Vice Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, Commander Seventh Fleet, U.S. Navy (pencil sketch by Dwight Shepler, Official USN Combat Artist, Leyte, 1945 Aerial view today of Sipaca Point, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental. (photo credit Project-LUPAD)

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Belmont Manila, Savoy Manila, and Diversey Philippines collaborate for #SafeStay Health and Safety Campaigns

May 27, 2020

As we look forward to better days, Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila are getting ready for the “New Normal” as we implement our “#SafeStay… We Care” Health and Safety Campaign.  Caring for the well-being of our guests and team members shall always remain our utmost priority when we open our doors once again.  “Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis and these unprecedented and uncertain times, the team, through careful planning and coordination, have commenced a series of initiatives to ensure that we shall be ready for the “New Norm” and other Government-mandated protocols once we have resumed normal operations,” according to Savoy Hotel Manila and Belmont Hotel Manila - Area General Manager, Avinash Menon.  “Additionally, we would like to assure all our patrons and stakeholders that both our Hotels have been regularly and thoroughly Sanitized and Disinfected during the Enhanced Community Quarantine period, and shall continue in the same vein well into the foreseeable future.”      Soon, when the time is right, people shall be raring to travel, go out, and enjoy leisure time once again.  In anticipation of this, we are expecting that people shall be more safety-conscious and health is of paramount importance. This is why both Belmont Hotel Manila and Savoy Hotel Manila commit to adapt to and adopt enhanced cleanliness protocols to ensure a “#SafeStay-cation” for all our guests.  To further heighten our goal of providing a safe and healthy environment for all our guests, we have collaborated with Diversey, our partner for many years now, in cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance products and services.  Diversey represents the implicit belief that cleaning and hygiene are life essentials and “when life is clean, maintained, and hygienic the world works as it should”.  As a highly credible and established supplier, our Hotels have created safer, cleaner, and healthy environment across all facilities from our All-Day Dining, Fitness Center, Pool Area, Guest Rooms, to even our Employee Work Spaces.  Diversey never failed to deliver revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies that provide total confidence to our Hotel guests through the years.  As we welcome our guests back, the following “#SafeStay… We Care” measures will be observed:  ·Safe Welcome: -       Thermal scanning at our Hotel Entrances -       Social distancing during Check in / Check out process -       Luggage sanitation check  ·Safe Space: -       Regular disinfecting schedule of Guest Rooms, Public Areas, and facilities -       Public amenities such as the Gym and Pool areas will remain closed until further notice, in compliance with social distancing -       Meetings and congregations at the Hotel Lobby and other high-traffic areas shall not be allowed nor encouraged -       Guest-accessible sanitation stations are readily available -       Strict social distancing measures shall be observed in guest elevators; allowing only one individual at a time -       24-hour in-house Clinic operations  ·Safe Team: -       Our friendly team members, especially our frontline, will be required to wear PPEs, masks, hand gloves and were trained to observe strict hygienic measures at all times -       We are also ensuring the health and well-being of our guests prior to scheduling our team members on active duty  ·Safe Eats: -       Our Dining outlets shall be serving packed meals until further notice -       Dining operations shall also include Grab ‘n Go concepts and a ‘limited’ in-room dining service -       Contactless service and social distancing shall be strictly observed for In-Room Dining service -       Thorough disinfecting and sanitizing of our Kitchens and food preparation areas continue to be regularly conducted -       Outside food deliveries will be limited as safety precautions  ·Safe Sleep: -       High frequency touchpoints in guest rooms (knobs, light switch, telephones, remote controls, bathrooms) are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized during every cleaning process -       Housekeeping Services shall be minimized to a significant extent (once every 3 days or upon request) -       Room amenities shall include sanitizing kits -       Bed linens and towels are thoroughly disinfected and sanitized during the laundry process -       A “safe stay” clean seal shall be placed in guest rooms to inform guests that their rooms have been disinfected thoroughly and have not been accessed prior to their arrival.  “We shall endeavor to continually update you on forthcoming measures that we intend to implement, with the sole purpose of ensuring our Hotels provide a safe and healthy environment for all our guests”, assured Menon.      Advocating #SafeStay…  because we care! 

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IDPs of Marawi Siege saved by face masks

May 27, 2020

MARAWI CITY ----- Three years ago, they were displaced by the Marawi siege. They were vendors at Padian area in Marawi City before the siege. Though community is not oneof the city's 24 barangays (villages) and hardly affected by the five-month war, these 32 women fled Barangay Timbangalan since it is adjacent to the village where heavy fighting was happening. They were displaced and had to seek safe refuge in some parts of Lanao del Sur and neighboring provinces in Northern Mindanao. Some of them even stayed for a while in an evacuation center before finding a more comfortable place for their family. In March 2018, residents of the non-affected areas, including Barangay Timbangalan, were allowed to return to their homes. But life has not been the same for them. They struggled financially because their businesses were not operating like before. “We were told by our barangay chairman to organize ourselves into a cooperative so we could join a seminar for a livelihood. There were three groups who get listed for a seminar with the MARADECA, one group to train for farming, one for cooking and we are for dressmaking,” said Tahira Aragasi, the manager and master cutter of the group. A non-government organization the MARADECA (Maranao People Development Center, Inc.) organizes livelihood trainings and peace and conflict mapping analysis. Aragasi’s group, dubbed the Timbangalan Women’s Association, started with 20 members. Today, the association has over 30 members . Although many are already knowledgeable in dressmaking, they still accept members who needed a livelihood even if she has to start from zero. “May mga mananahi na talaga sa amin simula pa noong bago ang giyera sa Marawi, pero mayroon rin mga gusto pang matuto,” Aragasi said. (Most of us were dressmakers before before the war in Marawi, but still many more want to learn) The grant The group started a dressmaking cooperative selling traditional and artistic Muslim dresses through a P200,000( USD 3,941 ) grant from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the partner agency of MARADECA. This helped them to access technical trainings, buy sewing machines and fabrics to help kick-start their businesses. Demand for their dresses have start to steadily increase, with orders coming in from tourists staying at the local hotel helping them gain a significant profit. They specialize in ceremonial dresses for the enthronement of sultans and  princesses each of which sell for as much as P4,000-7,000 pesos. Still others make dresses for rent. The business has helped the women earn on their own, feel empowered, and improve the status of the whole household. Anisah Dima, 60, is a solo parent with four children, one of whom is already an adult. She has been a widow for 20 years. Of the four , only one was left alive, the three others died of various sicknesses when they were  small. Anisah joined the cooperative months after it started. Before she joined the cooperative as sewer, she was farming a small parcel of land some kilometers away from Timbangalan. “I only knew a little about sewing because I am more a farmer. Now that I am older, I asked them if I can join the group because my body can no longer endure  farming. She (Aragasi) taught me how to sew,” Dima said in Filipino. During the pandemic When the coronavirus pandemic hit the Philippines, the women’s livelihoods were greatly affected. Due to social distancing and the ‘no mass gathering’ protocols, the women were unable to keep their business like  before. The village that they live in is also quite isolated and they were unable to access the face masks and hand sanitizers they needed.  While they received cash aid from the government’s social amelioration program (SAP), it was not enough for most of the families with five to seven members . With a leftover inventory of  textiles that MARADECA gave them, the women decided to instead start stitching face masks. “May mga tulong na natanggap pero hindi sapat kasi kailangan pang bumili ng gatas at diaper ng anak. Lalo na at Ramadan, kailangan ng maraming pagkain,” Aragasi noted. (The food packs we received were not enough because we still have to buy other needs like milk and diapers for infants and we need more food for the Ramadan.) Orders coming The masks they made have been certified by the Department of Health (DOH).  Aragasi said the first batch of facemasks she made was for personal use. She posted it on social media and as a locally trusted business, orders for their masks started coming in. The first order they received was from the Army’s Civil Military Battalion who ordered 200 pieces which was distributed to their personnel. “Then the LGUs (local government units) in Lanao del Sur ordered for their frontliners. It was a big help for us to survive during the pandemic,” Aragasi said. MARADECA MARADECA’s chief executive officer Salic Ibrahim said Timbangalan is one of the eight barangays in Marawi City they support. When they consulted the beneficiaries on what kind of livelihood they preferred to engage in, MARADECA was already preparing them with trainings. “Before we give them projects, they should be trainef on how to sustain it. They must be prepared especially in terms of business to change their mindsets to be able to sustain their business,” Ibrahim said. MARADECA also trained youth volunteers who helped their beneficiaries in their various businesses as business consultants. But because of the pandemic, Ibrahim said he is apprehensive that the income they have before the community quarantine was spent for their daily needs. “Mao nay among gikabalak-an kay naa sa ilaha ang ilang income, Dili sila maka lihok og maayo, wala silay income, daghan nila ang wala naapil sa SAP, maong tan-aw namo nagastos nila ang ilang pondo. Hinaut nga duna pa mi maapsan,” Ibarahim said. (We are worried now because with movements curtailed they cannot earn, many of them are not beneficiaries of SAP, so we expect they spent their earnings, I hope we can still save their livelihood.)

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Meranaws gather in mosque for Eid prayers amid pandemic

May 27, 2020

BALOI, LANAO DEL NORTE ----- Despite the IATF's prevailing 'no mass gathering policy' due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 150 Meranaws still gathered in a mosque in Baloi, Lanao del Norte for the Eidl Fitr prayer at 6am on Sunday (May 24).  They were teenagers, middle-aged men and women who brought their children and infants with them, senior citizens and even persons with disability.  They flocked to the mosque along a national highway at 6AM for the Eid al-Fitr prayers.  No one was seen wearing facemasks, and because of the limited space inside the mosque, social distancing was not observed. Neither was there soap for handwashing, alcohol or disinfectant at the entrance for the worhsippers to use before going inside.  Hadji Sirad Abdul-asis, Imam of Baloi mosque, said they still gathered for the prayer that ends the one-month Ramadan of Muslim despite the guideline because they are not afraid of the virus.  Abdul-asis said they are aware of the order of the Grand Mufti on the suspension of the congregational prayers during the Ramadan and the Eid'l Fitr but they still opted to pursue the grand prayer because there has so far been no reported COVID-19 case in Baloi.  "Nasubukan namin sa loob ng dalawang buwan, walang kahit isang namatay sa lugar namin dito sa Baloi. Ibig sabihin, ang nakakaalam lang sa mga nangyari ay si Allah SWT," Abdul-asis said.  (We survived for two months that no one died of the virus here in Baloi. That means only Allah SWT knows of what is happening.)  However he noted that they reminded the sick faithful to just stay at home.  "Dati pa naman, hindi na namin pinapayagan ang mga may sakit na pumunta pa sa mosque," Abdul-asis added.  (Even before, we did not allow sick people to enter the mosque.)  Mayor Hanifa Ali in a phone interview said the local government unit of Baloi will invite on Monday (May 25) the chairperson of the barangay where the mosque is located.  "We will investigate, we will call the attention of the barangay captain because we have an executive order reiterating the guidelines of the National Inter-Agency Task Force prohibiting any forms of social gathering," Ali said.

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