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LGU Impasugong continues delivery of basic services to constituents

November 18, 2019

IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon, Nov 15 --The Municipality of Impasugong in partnership with the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division and other agencies reached out to the people of Sitio Intavas, Barangay Kibenton, Impasugong through the “Magbuliga Kuy" program. Magbuliga Kuy aims to bring government services closer to communities for them to feel the presence of the government. The program includes Kasalan ng Bayan, distribution of seedlings, animal deworming, free birth registration, free police clearance, free medical and dental service, and other services of different government offices and agencies. Almost 300 locals benefited from the Magbuliga Kuy convergence activity held on November 12, 2019. Impasugong Mayor Anthony Uy, who also expressed appreciation to the government agencies that participated in the activity, updated the community on the recent accomplishments of the municipal government. “In the recently-concluded Seal of Good Local Governance, our Municipality was one of the awardees. I thank you all for your support. We vow to continue our service and rest assured that no one would be left behind,” he said. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Illana, the commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Battalion commended the Magbuliga Kuy program and gave assurance of the continuing support of his Battalion to the program. “The Magbuliga Kuy is a good program and that is exactly what the people need, to feel the government’s support through the delivery of basic services in the community, “ he said. The “Magbuliga Kuy” of Impasugong is part of the government’s Whole of Nation Approach to address the issues being exploited by the CPP-NPA-Terrorists to recruit members. With this, local government units and national agencies will deliver all their services closer to the people. This is strengthened by creating a Task Force to ensure that basic services will be brought to all communities. (8th IB)

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BARMM higher education gets support from CHED, OPAPP

November 18, 2019

THE Commission on Higher and Education (CHED) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)  have vowed to support the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in strengthening the delivery of its higher education services. In a memorandum of understanding signed here by CHED, OPAPP, and BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) on 30 October 2019, the two national line agencies pledged to build the capacity of BARMM in monitoring compliance of its Higher Education Institutions (HEI) with the national standards. CHED and OPAPP will also work with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to include underprivileged BARMM students and children of decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants in the Listahan 3.0 or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR). NHTSPR is an information management system that employs geographic targeting, household assessment, and validation to provide national government agencies and development partners with information on who and where the poor are in the Philippines. MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said the partnership will also look into providing scholarships to Bangsamoro youth. “We will offer scholarship and capacity development programs to decommissioned MILF combatants and their dependents,” said Iqbal. Iqbal added the partnership will also look into the professional development of BARMM HEI faculty and staff members. “CHED and OPAPP will also assist us in crafting the Bangsamoro Education Code and creating our tribal university,” said Iqbal, adding the partnership will enable the ministry to achieve its goals for higher education in the BARMM. Iqbal said the role of higher education is critical as it provides the necessary human resources for BARMM’s socio-economic development. “With a responsive and relevant curriculum, we aim to produce at least one professional in every family in the Bangsamoro,” said Iqbal. He said if the Bangsamoro youth are equipped and educated, they will become agents of peace. “Indeed, through education, the Bangsamoro shall be a place where peace and justice are experienced, cultural diversity is accepted, and sustained economic growth is within reach,” said Iqbal.  ( MBHTE PRESS RELEASE)

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Farmers point location of anti-personnel mine in Agsur

November 17, 2019

Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur--- Concerned civilians, mostly farmers, reported to the 8th Special Forces “Dragoons” Company (8SFC), 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn), a Claymore-type improvised explosive device (IED) emplaced by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) in their farmlands at Purok 7, barangay Mabuhay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur yesterday. The Mabuhay CAFGU (Citizen Armed Force Force Geographical Unit) Patrol Base under the 8SFC immediately composed a team to disable, recover and dispose the IED to prevent any damages from both the civilians and government troops. The Municipality of Prosperidad, Mabuhay Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the farmers strongly condemned the terroristic act of the CNTs citing that they (NPAs) are the reason why there is a decrease of farm production in some of their areas.   “The NPAs are the reason why most of the farmers don’t attend to their farmlands anymore. We are worried because we might become victims if the IEDs explode anytime. The NPA terrorists severely disturb our farming activities because aside from planting IEDs they always ask for their share during harvests even if they did not work hard for it. The farmers get less than what they deserve, “said Jun (true name undisclosed).   The NPA terrorists and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are declared by the Philippine government as terrorist organizations in 2017 and declared by the U.S. State Department, European Union Common Foreign and Security Policy as a foreign terrorist group.   Meanwhile, the 3SFBn under the 401st Infantry “Unite and Fight” Brigade (401BDE) lauded the efforts of the citizens who acted promptly to prevent further damage to any potential targets of opportunities of the CNTs.   Colonel Allan D. Hambala INF (MNSA) PA, 401BDE Commander, said that this is the positive effect of the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. “The peoples’ support greatly hurts these terrorists because they have nowhere to run. This is the reason why they try so hard to discredit the EO 70, military’s presence and the construction of Patrol Bases in the conflict-affected communities. The masses, whom they can terrorize before, already found their genuine ally towards ending the NPAs’ atrocities through the Task Forces to end communist insurgency,” Colonel Hambala, ended.    

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Basilan gov backs BARMM’s AKAP project

November 17, 2019

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – Basilan Governor Hadjiman Salliman has committed to supporting the Abot Karunungan sa Pamilyang Bangsamoro (AKAP) project of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). AKAP is designed to provide Bangsamoro children and youth with greater access to quality education. A team from BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) paid Salliman a courtesy call here recently to introduce the AKAP project. “AKAP will bridge the BARMM Government – particularly the MBHTE – with local government units,” said Salliman. He said the MBHTE has his full support to push the AKAP project forward in his province. “I also share Minister Mohagher Iqbal’s vision for education in the Bangsamoro. There should be no child left behind in terms of providing them accessible and quality education,” he said. Basilan is home to two schools divisions of BARMM that are performing well in recent national achievement tests at the regional level. “I am pleased to see that Basilan is the frontrunner in terms of educational performance in the BARMM. However, I also recognized that there is still a lot to be done to ensure that our children are receiving an accessible and quality education,” he said. AKAP also aims to engage local communities in BARMM by providing them platforms, allowing them to converge as a community and address localized education issues and challenges. “It takes a village to raise a child. We need everyone – including communities – in addressing the perennial education issues and challenges of BARMM,” said Salliman. AKAP is also supported by the Australian Government through the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao. (PR)

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The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf starts 2020 holiday campaign

November 17, 2019

THE planner season has officially begun for all coffee lovers out there! If you're looking to begin 2020 with the right mindset, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf takes on a fresh take on the holiday season through their Gifting Grateful Campaign! Since 2011, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and the Real LIFE Foundation have been collaborating towards nation building through empowering our nation's underprivileged youth. Every year, proceeds from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Giving Journal are given to Real LIFE Foundation, providing avenues for educational assistance, character formation and leadership development.  The journals come in a sleek and compact design that can be reused and customized for years to come! The leather covers feature artisan patterns seen on the wallls of their newest stores. It comes in four gorgeous colors: navy blue, taupe, green and pink! If you wish to repurpose or add more pages to your Giving Journal, you're in luck because the covers can be detached and refilled with new notebooks! It's perfect for anyone who wants to put more into their daily entries! The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf departs from the weekly grids with its 2020 Giving Journal to give you more space for writing and personal self-expression because we know it matters to you. The journal includes a monthly featuer on our modern day stores about courage with themes delving into the courage to take risks, courage to stand up for hte truth and more! All features are complemented by breathtaking sceneries from the Philippines captured by a local photographer. Can't wait to get your 2020 Giving Journal? You can start collecting your 12 stamps to get your 2020 Giving Journal by purchasing 11 coffee-based or tea-based beverages and one holiday drink! But wait, there's more! What's great about this year is that customers can now choose to collect for the 2020 Giving Journal or The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's limited edition holiday tumblers! Choose to #SupportSustainable by collecting 18 stamps by purchasing 17 coffee-based or tea-based beverages and one holiday drink. The tumblers come in the following variants: bamboo ivory 20 oz matte finish; et black 17 oz rubberized finish; frosted ivory 17 oz matte finish; and matte black 20 oz matte finish. Last but not the least, any availment of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's Grateful Giving Journals or Limited Edition Holiday Tumbler will come with coupons worth more than P2,000 that are valid throughout the entire year of 2020! For this holiday season, The Coffee Bean & Teal Leaf is offering variants of berry-themed drinks - the matcha berry, double chocolate berry and white chocolate berry available in ice blended, hot and iced lattes available. Watch out for a second flavor of the holiday beverages which will be released this November!\ Keep following The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's social media pages for more updates!

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Guerrilla Submarines in Northern Mindanao during World War II (Part 1)

November 17, 2019

(We are publishing the updated edition of this story in commemoration of the 76th Anniversary of the First SPYRON Mission to Nasipit, Caraga Region on November 15, 1943 and the addition of the Key Role played by US Navy Cmdr Chick Parsons who was the operations officer for the successful SPYRON Missions) During World War II, US Navy submarines helped supply the Filipino and American guerrillas with arms, ammunition and supplies, also ferrying personnel in and out of the islands. USS Bowfin SS-287 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is now a museum. It was the first sub to visit Northern Mindanao in WWII on Sept. 2, 1943 just 1.25 miles east of Binuni Point, Iligan Bay. Known as the SPYRON (for Spy Squadron) Operation, it supported the Filipino and American Guerrillas resistance to the Japanese occupation after the Philippines fell to the Japanese Imperial Forces in early 1942. The Spyron operation was key to the success of the resistance. Without the arms and supplies ferried by US submarines, the guerrillas would have been unable to sustain their intelligence gathering and sabotage operations against the Japanese forces. Even before Corregidor surrendered, submarines were already playing a key role in the Battle for the Philippines supplying arms and ammunition to the beleaguered island, and ferrying people in and out the war zone. The Quezon Mission Notable among these missions was the USS Swordfish (SS-193) under Lt. Cmdr. C.C. Smith which picked up President Manuel L. Quezon, his wife, two daughters, and son; Vice President Tomas Osmeña; Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos; and Philippine Army officers General Valdes, Colonel Nieto, and Chaplain Captain Ortiz from Corregidor on February 19, 1942.  Swordfish then departed via a safety lane through the minefield in the harbor and headed for San Jose on Panay Island, where she arrived on February 22nd, and transferred President Quezon and his party to a motor tender. Quezon and his family proceeded to Iloilo and were ferried to Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental by PT-41 of MTB Ron 3 skippered by Lt. John Bulkeley, who would later successfully transfer General Douglas MacArthur, his family and staff from Corregidor in their famous “Breakout” to Australia via Cagayan, Misamis and Bukidnon on March 11-13, 1942. Hence, they motored to Del Monte Airfield in Bukidnon where they were subsequently flown to Australia by B-17. (Source: John Clear's collection of more than 63,000 pages of U. S. submarine World War II patrol reports, compiled from original U. S. Government microfilms. Chick Parsons The man responsible for the SPYRON operations was U.S. Naval Commander Charles Parsons, Jr.  Better known by his nickname “Chick”, Parsons first came to Manila when he was five years old. When World War II broke out, he and his family managed to return to the USA under a diplomatic exchange. However, Chick volunteered to return to the Philippines  to organize secret submarine missions in support of the Philippine Guerrilla movement. His extensive knowledge of the country and his network of local contacts enabled him to communicate effectively with the guerrilla units. "Chick" initially worked out of the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB), and later moved to the Philippine Regional Section, but his own inner group which he commanded was known as "SPYRON" and was a very independent bunch of characters. Parsons' Navy boss was Capt. Arthur McCollum. SPYRON was essentially a warehousing operation used to accumulate equipment to be sent up by submarine to the Guerrillas in the Philippines. "Chick" worked in Heindorff House at 171 Queen Street, and lived in Lennon's Hotel in George Street in Brisbane. Capt. McCollum reported to Admiral James Fife. While this was his official chain of command Parsons also reported to Courtney Whitney, Lt. Gen. Richard Sutherland and General Douglas MacArthur / Parsons had joined MacArthur in January 1943. He convinced the Navy that if they lent MacArthur "Special Mission" submarines, the guerrillas would establish coast watcher radio stations throughout the islands which would supply numerous targets for their submarines.  Parsons sailed to the Philippines on eight occasions on board a submarine to supply Filipino guerrillas in enemy occupied Mindanao. Amongst the submarines used for these missions were USS Narwhal and USS Nautilus, the two biggest submarines in the US Navy at the time each of which could carry up to 100 tons of supplies compared to 30 tons for the usual fleet submarines. By 1944, his notoriety had grown so much Japanese authorities in Tokyo offered a "$50,000 Dead or Alive" reward for Parsons. According to Captain Bobb Glenn, Chief Supply Officer for the AIB who was deeply involved in supplying the  guerrillas in the Philippines, once Col. Courtney Whitney (Sectional Officer, AIB) arrived in GHQ, the AIB was more or less out of the picture as the Philippine Regional Section was more favored by MacArthur for his special missions and the Philippine resupply effort. (source: https://www.ozatwar.com/sigint/prs.htm) Spyron in Northern Mindanao The first Spyron operation in Northern Mindanao and seventh Spyron mission overall,  involved the Bowfin (SS-287) under Cmdr. J. H. Willingham on Sept. 3, 1943 when it embarked nine persons and  delivered seven tons of radio equipment and supplies at Iligan Bay, 1 ¼ mile east of Binuni Point (off present day Bacolod, Lanao del Norte). Four weeks later on Sept. 29, 1943, at the same location, Bowfin evacuated nine guerrillas, selected by their superior officers, to be transported to Australia. Among them were Luis Morgan, executive officer of Col. Wendell Fertig, who headed the organized Filipino-American Resistance in Mindanao ; Edward M. Kuder, a well-known superintendent of schools in Mindanao and Samuel C. Grashio, a U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot prior to his capture on Bataan. Grashio had survived the infamous 'Death March' to be confined in three different Japanese prison camps before finally escaping from the Davao Penal Colony with a group of 10 POWs and two Philippine convicts and then joining the guerrillas. The Narwhal cometh But perhaps the most famous submarine to figure in Spyron operations in Northern Mindanao was the USS Narwhal (SS-167), the lead ship of her class of submarine and one of the "V-boats", the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the narwhal. She was named V-5 (SC-1) when her keel was laid down on 10 May 1927 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. At 371 feet long and with a displacement of 4,000 tons submerged, Narwhal was one of the biggest US Navy submarines during WW2, but was not really suited for attack, thus was assigned to transport supplies and personnel to guerrillas in the Philippines especially, eventually became the leading submarine in supporting the Philippine guerrillas with nine secret transport missions to her credit, five of which were conducted in the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions.  First Mission to Nasipit On her seventh war patrol and ninth Spyron mission, Narwhal skippered by Lt. Cmdr.Frank D. Latta, entered Butuan Bay submerged at 0508 hrs on November 15, 1943. At 1605 hours, she sighted a launch flying the proper security signal. She surfaced and Colonel Wendell W. Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) and head of the organized resistance in Mindanao, came aboard. Narwhal then proceeded to Nasipit Harbor. On her way in she ran aground on hard sand in the channel's west bank, but managed to free herself quickly. At 1746 hours, Narwhal moored starboard side at the Nasipit dock as a Filipino band played “Anchors Away.” At 2330 hours, she completed offloading 46 tons of supplies. Early the next day, she embarked 32 evacuees, including POW escapees Shofner, Hawkins and Dobervich, women, two children, and one baby, and got underway. Spyron Operations Chief Lt. Cmdr. Chick Parsons left Narwhal with the harbor pilot. Remarks the Narwhal's patrol report: "The very real need for any kind of stores in guerrilla occupied areas led us to transfer considerably more stores than were actually consigned as cargo. Additional arms and ammunition as well as foodstuffs were transferred to Col. [Wendell] Fertig. An eyewitness account of this story is told in the book “My Faraway Home” by Mary Mackay Maynard, who was one of the two children evacuated. It is also related in John Keat’s book “They Fought Alone” which relates the guerrilla war in Mindanao under Fertig who was on hand to meet the submarine.  Seventeen days later, on Dec. 2, 1943,  Narwhal entered Butuan Bay and surfaced at 1706 hours, some 1,000 yards off Cabadbaran. Shortly thereafter, a 150-ton barge came alongside. Fertig and Parsons came aboard.  Narwhal embarked seven evacuees - two soldiers, three civilian men, one woman, and one eight-year-old girl. She unloaded 92 tons of supplies, 300 gallons of lube oil, a small amount of hand tools, received three messages regarding the next phase of her mission, and used the portable radio station on the barge to send three messages. At 2205 hours, she got underway with Parsons aboard.  (Photos courtesy of ozatwar.com & MacArthur Memorial) (to be continued) (About the author: Mike Baños is an amateur World War II history buff, a former commissioner of the Cagayan de Oro Historical & Cultural Commission and at present Executive Director of the Cagayan de Oro World War II & Veterans Studies Committee)  

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