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Mindanao biz leaders up for 26th Minbizcon

September 6, 2017

OVER 1,000 business leaders are gearing up for the forthcoming 26th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) set to be held on September 7-9, 2017 at the Xavier Sports and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro City. The organizers said the 3-day conference will be graced by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte who is set to deliver his keynote address during the opening program. With the President is his team of economic managers led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. This year’s Minbizcon, an annual gathering of Mindanao’s business stakeholders, is anchored on the theme, “Emerging Opportunities, One Mindanao.” The event is co-hosted by the city government of Cagayan de Oro, the Misamis Oriental provincial government, and the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce (Oro Chamber) spearheaded by its President Robert Pizarro. Pizarro is also the Chairman of A Brown Company, Inc. (ABCI), one of the pioneers and established leaders of real estate development, agribusiness, and power in the region. The plenaries for the three-day conference include “DBP’s Max-Infra in the Dutertenomics” by DBP First VP Paul Lazaro; “Legislative Agenda for Mindanao SME Development” by Senate Chairman for Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Hon. Migs Zubiri; “Russia: Exploring the Potentials of Mindanao” by Russian H.E. Ambassador Igor A. Khovaev; “Mindanao Industrial Eco-Zone Development and Opportunities” by Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol; and “Mindanao Forum on Breakthrough Technologies” by DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña and Engr. Edgar Garcia of DOST-TAPI (Technology Application and Promotion Institute). There will be panel discussions on “Building a Disaster-resilient Economy in Mindanao” by geologist and ABCI Chairman Dr. Walter Brown, economist Dr. Bernie Villegas, and Emerging Power, Inc. CEO Guido Delgado; and on “Accessing Domestic and International Markets/Taking Advantage of the Bilateral Trade Agreements” by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Mindanao Business Council Chairman Vicente Lao, and Dr. Henry Basilio of USAID COMPETE (Advancing Philippine Competitiveness). Apart from trade exhibits, business matching, and workshops, the “Go Mindanao” Tour Buses will be launched during the event. The conference is held under the auspices of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) led by President George Barcelon. According to Chairman Ruben Vegafria, the 26th MinBizCon is the largest annual gathering of business leaders, stakeholders, policy makers, and professionals both from government and private sectors to advocate issues and adopt resolutions affecting business, which form part of the policy agenda submitted by PCCI to President Duterte at the 43rd Philippine Business Conference in October. This year’s theme in particular aims to set the stage for discussing innovative strategies towards building a strong and more resilient economy.

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CDO ‘fish kill’ puzzles BFAR

September 6, 2017

THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-10 (BFAR-10) on Monday said it has yet to determine the cause of death of hundreds of “tamban” (sardines) that were found floating on a coastal village here. Villagers at sitio Baloy, Barangay Tablon in Cagayan de Oro said they started noticing what they described as a “fish kill” at around 10 a.m. of Sept. 3. Rudy Gamo, 53, a fisherman in the area, said they were baffled upon seeing the dead fishes, which looked like white specks on the waters. “They were glittering, but they were not moving,” said Gamo, referring to the school of dead sardines. Soon after, villagers said hundreds of dead fish began to wash up on the beach. By this time, people began to collect the dead fish and some even brought styrofoam boxes for storage. Villagers from other areas in Tablon also came and joined in the picking of dead sardines. People living near the shoreline said they immediately cooked the sardines, either by frying or grilling them. As of Sept. 4, village officials reported no cases of food poisoning or any gastrointestinal disorder from cooking and eating the dead sardines. But Dr. Jennifer Marie Rivero, a veterinarian at BFAR-10, cautioned residents from eating the dead fish until the agency could determine what caused the mass deaths. Initial examination showed that the fish appeared to be in good state and the sea water contained no toxic substance, Dr. Rivero noted. “We would highly discourage eating the fish, since we don’t know what caused its death,” said Rivero in an interview inside the BFAR-10 regional office in Barangay Macabalan on Monday. Rivero said a fish kill could occur by the change of the quality of the water, illegal fishing practices, and the release of sewage of manufacturing facilities into the sea. The village’s coastal area is the site of several factories, among them a corn processing factory and a dressed chicken facility. Rivero noted there were reported fish kills in the past few years. Nemfe Antigua, 38, a fish vendor, said she doesn’t think the fish kill was the result of contamination of or any poisonous substances. “If toxic chemical had killed the sardines, then those of us who had eaten it would have already gotten sick. But there were no reports of such. I even fed my children fried sardines,” Antigua said. Gamo, a fisherman, noted that since the operation of the manufacturing companies in Baloy, their catch has also dwindled. “We used to fish near the shoreline, but not anymore. We have to go farther into the deep waters just to catch fish,” he said. Gamo and other fishermen have also observed that many of them had experienced severe itchiness, and they suspected that the water discharged by a processing facility may be the culprit.

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German outreach organization partners with prosecutors, PNP

September 6, 2017

GERMAN outreach group Hanns Seidel Foundation, named after the dynamic German politician, bridged prosecutors and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Northern Mindanao last Tuesday to increase prosecution of criminal complaints and elevate them to court level. Senior deputy state prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon said it is the duty of both prosecutors and police officers so criminal complaints could be elevated into cases and secure convictions. “When you build a case, you must aim for a conviction. There may be lapses of the police in presenting evidence to the prosecution but prosecutors must not be passive, too. The police and the prosecution must cooperate with each other,” Fadullon said. Along this line, prosecutors from the five provinces of Northern Mindanao led by regional state prosecutor Merlynn Uy and the regional police office-10 led by Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb attended the day-long dialogue last Tuesday at Seda Centrio in Cagayan de Oro City. According to Hanns Seidel Foundation resident representative Gotz Heinicke, future sessions will be conducted to ascertain how the previous dialogue sessions may have improved the cooperation and information exchanges among the prosecutors and police investigators. In the past, Hanns Seidel Foundation has already been a partner with the PNP in its Human Rights Development Program implementation since 2008. This is its first venture with the Department of Justice (DOJ). The foundation has been active in the country since 1979. Its current development initiatives include rights-based policing, practical case-based training methods for police officers, regional dialogue on police training, paralegal training for community leaders, increasing public awareness of the federal system of government, scholarships, among others.

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DSWD to delist evacuees if found selling relief goods

September 5, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 10 (DSWD-10) in Northern Mindanao on Monday warned evacuees displaced by the fighting in Marawi City not to sell the relief goods handed to them by the government otherwise they will be deleted from the lists of beneficiaries. DSWD-10 regional spokesperson Oliver Inodeo said the agency issued the warning following reports that some of the evacuees are murmuring about the monotonous canned goods and other food items that they are receiving. In a separate statement, DSWD-10 Director Nestor Ramos said: “We understand that (the evacuees) are in need of money that is why they are selling the relief goods. But we also have to realize that based on our guidelines, selling these relief goods is prohibited. It also serves as their daily consumption while they are evacuating in our region.” Inodeo said DSWD is currently working on a plan to hand other food items such as chicken, dried fish and beans so the evacuees would receive varied meals every day, whether they are in evacuation centers or home-based. On one hand, Ramos said the agency is working on the so-called cash for work program to be implemented among evacuees. “We are giving out P200 each day for ten days for our internally displaced persons in exchange for work rendered like cleaning the evacuation centers, dredging canals, cleaning out surroundings, among others,” Ramos said. Meanwhile, in line with the ongoing efforts to care for persons displaced by the fighting in Marawi City, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has distributed last month relief goods to 1,500 “bakwit” families in seven evacuation centers in Iligan City. In a statement, NCRPO chief, Director Oscar D. Albayalde, said the relief goods included malongs, sweaters. cardigans, t-shirts, leggings, undergarments, toys for kids, first aid kits, diapers and biscuits. Albayalde hopes that these relief items would somehow ease the burden of the evacuees. “We are committed to help, in our own little ways we will help rebuild the lives of our communities in Marawi,” he added. Fighting in Marawi City started last May 23 after government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts. The attempt prompted Maute group’s allies to launch a series of attacks in the city. --With a report from the Philippine News Agency

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Centers for teens eyed in 4 Misor towns

September 5, 2017

MISAMIS Oriental--Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano yesterday said the provincial government will put up teen centers in four towns identified with highest pregnancy rates. Along this line, Emano said during the weekly Capitol flag raising ceremony that the provincial government in cooperation with the Population Commission (Popcom) will create teen centers in the towns of Lugait, Magsaysay, Lagonglong and Alubijid. The governor said the teen center will function as a space for the youth to express themselves. In an interview later, Emano announced that the provincial government would request the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to set aside P100,000 for the construction of each teen center or, a total of P400,000. Each teen center costs P350,000. The remaining P250,000 cost would be shouldered by Popcom, according to Emano. The teen centers will be manned by municipal population officers, peer educators and livelihood trainers that are trained by Popcom. It is unknown yet at this stage what spiked the teenage pregnancy rates in the four towns mentioned, but Emano said the creation of the teen centers will help mitigate the situation. The teen centers will serve as first aid to assist young people with their problems if they cannot express these to their families, according to Emano.

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Police: Pamatong is ‘armed and dangerous’

September 5, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Controversial lawyer Ely Pamatong is “armed and dangerous” and has maintained at least 30 camps throughout the country, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has warned. Pamatong, a colorful political figure who has gained notoriety for his antics, was nowhere to be found when authorities implemented a search warrant and recovered a handgun and two grenades in his compound in Brgy. Tablon here last August 31. Authorities had originally targeted Pamatong’s cache of firearms during the raid, said Senior Police Officer 4 Noel Oclarit, CIDG chief investigator. It was possible that Pamatong, Oclarit said, had been tipped off of the raid in his premises, and carted away the firearms together with his followers. Because of this, Oclarit said they viewed Pamatong and his cohorts as “armed and dangerous” and that the public is urged to inform authorities of the group’s whereabouts. Oclarit said Pamatong’s group maintains around 30 camps all over the country, “and they could be in one of those camps.” Pamatong, who was suspended last year by the Supreme Court from practicing law for two years due to corruption, is the leader of the “USA Freedom Fighters of the East (USAFFE)”. His antics, which included burning the flags of some countries he deemed hostile to the Philippines, have largely been ignored by authorities. Early this year, Pamatong declared himself to be the legitimate president of the Philippines. Pamatong has been seen in public clad in military regalia, complete with badges and accessories. His Facebook posts also show him and his followers brandishing firearms. Pamatong’s activities have largely been dismissed by authorities as theatrics, until some of USAFFE members were arrested last month for trying to enter Marawi City in fake military uniforms. Police said Pamatong allegedly ordered his members to “reinforce” government troops in Marawi City, where the terrorist Maute group has been laying siege for three months. Oclarit warned Pamatong’s followers they can be charged with violation of RA 10591 for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition; RA 9516, for alleged illegal possession of explosives; and RA 8491, for inverting the Philippine flag. (PNA/Jigger J. Jerusalem)

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