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P40M cigarettes from China seized by Customs in Mis. Or.

September 24, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Imported cigarettes from China valued at P40 million were apprehended by the Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) on Sept. 17, the agency said Tuesday. The contraband arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal, a sub-port under the jurisdiction of BOC-10, in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, said Cris Angelo Andrade, the bureau’s regional information officer. Andrade said the cargo has no import papers and other documents, prompting the Customs to declare it as a “pre-lodged shipment.” Prior to the contraband’s arrival, the BOC-10 district office has already been alerted of the shipment by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Andrade said. Upon arrival at the MCT, the shipment was immediately issued with pre-lodgement control order, he added. The BOC-10 then put out an alert order against the shipment for violation of National Tobacco Administration (NTA) memorandum circular no. 3 series of 2004 and NTA board resolution no. 079-2005 in relation to section 1113 (f) and section 1400 (misdeclaration) of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. Oliver Valiente, the Customs’ CIIS field station chief, said the illegal shipment was alerted to them through “Project Crocodile.” Project Crocodile is an information-sharing scheme between customs administration of member-countries notifying each other if there are movements of suspicious cigarette shipments. The information provided to the CIIS was relayed through a global database operated jointly by countries involved in international anti-smuggling campaign. In his statement, John Simon, BOC-10 district collector, has reiterated his support in the Bureau’s drive to combat smuggling in the country as he commended the vigilance and dedication to duty of the personnel instrumental in the said apprehension.   “The Port of Cagayan de Oro will remain steadfast in its mandate to protect the country’s borders by preventing the entry of smuggled goods,” Simon said. Early this month, BOC-10 led the destruction through shredding of 2,150 reams of cigarettes from China and other countries. In a previous interview, Simon said the condemned items were apprehended when the consignees failed to pay duties and taxes in violation of RA 10836.

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Oro transport coop eyes ‘cashless transactions’

September 23, 2020

A CAGAYAN de Oro City based transport cooperative is bracing for a “cashless transaction” as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Manila recently implemented the “No Card, No Ride” rule.      Dante Sudaria, Chairman of the Mindanao Daily Express Transport Cooperative (MINDEX), a Cagayan De Oro-based transport cooperative, said that MINDEX is ready to implement the LTO’s cashless transaction here.      Sudaria said that the cashless transaction, also known as the “Automatic Fare Collection System..(AFCS)” scheme, is part of the package of the transport modernization program, scheduled for full implementation in 2021.      “The MINDEX transport cooperative is now consolidating its 160 plus jeepney units for some seven routes in Cagayan De Oro City,” Sudaria said.      He said that the MINDEX transport cooperative is allocating 15 modernization-compliant vehicles in each of the initial seven routes plying in urban and sub-urban centers in Cagayan De Oro City.      A top official of the Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) also lauded the implementation of 100 percent “cashless transactions” by modernization-compliant vehicles of two transport cooperatives.      Eugene M. Pabualan, the OTC Executive Director, said that the cashless transaction provides ease for both the drivers and commuters as part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) to overhaul the uncomfortable system.      Pabualan cited the South Metro Transport Cooperative (SMTC) and Libra Jeepney Operator Transport Cooperative (LJOTC) in Manila for successfully enforcing the “No Card, No Ride” rule to passengers availing public transport rides.      The drivers of transport cooperative offer “green cards” to passengers, each card costing P 30.00 to P 40.00.  The passenger could also buy and reload the green card in the cooperatives’ terminals, designated as drop off points.

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Roque: Northern Mindanao’s resilience an exemplary template to follow

September 22, 2020

PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday commended local officials and residents of Northern Mindanao in general for continuing to run the economy and not panicking in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Roque made the statement when he conducted his daily press briefing in Cagayan de Oro City on that day. In particular, Roque praised the efforts of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano and Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia for acting on appropriate measures against the coronavirus despite the increasing number of cases here. “If only the people of the Philippines can see Northern Mindanao, tapang na ipinagpatuloy nila ang kanilang hanapbuhay. Iyan po ang nakita ko ditto sa Misor at CDO (referring to Misamis Oriental and Cagyaan de Oro City). Ang mga tao rito hinaharap ang pandemya. Nandiyan pa ang pandemya pero sila ay nag-iingat dahil nais pa nilang mag-hanapbuhay. Napakaganda po ang sitwayson dito sa Northern Mindanao,” Roque said. “Ngayon po kinakailangan na nating buksan unting-unti ang ekonomiya kaya ang panawagan natin, ingat buhay para sa hanapbuhay,” he added. For his part, Moreno said the implementation of minimum public health standards is very important as well as the intervnetions of the local government units. The city government here has provided four RT-PCRs to the Department of Health (DOH) that can be used starting October 2020. “Testing in the region is now leveling up. Hopefully by October, we can also serve Caraga and BARMM,” he said. Meanwhile, Emano attributed the relatively low number of local COVID-19 transmissions in the province to the early declaration of the state of calamity here. As of presstime, Misamis Oriental has only 306 cases. Lastly, Regencia reported that Iligan City was able to decrease its active cases from 182 to 151 in two weeks due to the implementation of a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) there. 

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BARMM health minister, 3 employees recover from Covid-19

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) — Three (3) out of the 38 employees of Bangsamoro Government’s Office of the Chief Minister (OCM-BARMM) who were tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have recovered. Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) spokesperson Mohd Asnin Pendatun said Wednesday, September 16, via virtual press briefer, that the remaining 35 COVID-positive employees are currently in stable condition, and are undergoing strict quarantine in an isolation center in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. He also said that the Bangsamoro Government ensured families of affected employees were assisted. Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan also recovered from Covid-19. In his official statement, Dipatuan said that he and his wife have been in the hospital for the past two weeks for isolation and treatment after testing positive for Covid-19. “We have already surpassed that challenge and are now fully recovered.” The said development is also due to the fast response of the Bangsamoro Government since news broke about an employee who tested positive for Covid-19 late August. This includes massive RT-PCR testing for its employees on September 3-4, 2020, as well as two-week disinfection inside the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. With this, the OCM has resumed its operation and transactions with work shifting schedules for its employees. However, visitors are reminded to strictly follow public health standards, or they will be denied entry. “We advise our constituents to stay at home, unless it’s for essential or important matters,” Pendatun stated. “The OCM is asking our visitors to secure an appointment for their transactions. Since most of the visits are related to the AMBAG Program, we will answer transactions via online and phone,” he added. According to Pendatun, the first case in the OCM is not conclusively the reason for the sudden rise in the number of the affected employees for the reason that said the patient had no recent travel history nor any visit to a place with known local transmission. “We cannot conclusively trace that the first case was the reason why other OCM employees tested positive for Covid-19. However, we should always look at the health and recovery of our employees and our fast response through our containment strategy,” Pendatun noted. Furthermore, Pendatun noted that 53% of the total cases in the BARMM are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), while the rest are Returning Overseas Filipinos (3%) and through other transmissions (44%). As of September 15, 2020, BARMM has recorded eight (8) new Covid-19 cases, 215 active cases, 806 total cases, and 26 deaths. The new cases included five (5) from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, two (2) from Basilan, and one (1) from Tawi-Tawi. (BPI/PIA ICIC)

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Army engineers fast track construction of permanent shelters for IDPs

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) -- The 55th Engineer Brigade (EBde) of the Philippine Army is pushing for the completion of 50 permanent shelters for the internally displaced persons living in “no-build zones” inside the most affected area of the city. The 553rd and 551st engineer battalions under the said brigade are responsible for the construction of the permanent housing units in Barangay Kilala. LtCol. Elmer Oamil, deputy commander of the Joint Task Group Builders and commanding officer of 553rd Engineer Battalion, said  the army engineers initially constructed 11 housing units.  “Initially 11 units ang inumpisahan namin at ngayon 80 percent na. After macomply ang 11, we will again start 38 out of 50,” he said. [We initially constructed 11 units which are now 80 percent completed. After complying the 11, will again start 38 out of 50.] To recall, the Philippine Army through the 55th EBde inked a project partnership agreement with 12 homeowners associations (HOA) in the city for the site development and construction with funds from the Government of Japan through the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).  Oamil also shared that the rainy season and electricity interruption in the area cause delays in the construction. However, based on the assessment of the UN-HABITAT, the construction of the army is speedy.  The army official also reaffirmed their commitment to helping reconstruct and rebuild the city.  “Sa pangunguna ng aming brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando,  taos-puso naming ibibigay ang aming kakayanan para sa ikadadali sa rehabilitasyon ng Marawi City,” he said. [With the leadership of our brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando, we will lend our skills wholeheartedly to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi City.] The National Housing Authority and Task Force Bangon Marawi acquired the land used for the construction of shelter units. The construction of other housing units in Barangay Mipantao Gandongan is also ongoing.  (LELA/PIA ICIC)

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BTA approves creation of Bangsamoro Sports Commission

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 18 — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Sports Commission (BSC) Thursday, September 17, at the BTA Executive Lounge, in Cotabato City. Fifty-one (51) Members of the Parliament (MPs) voted online while two (2) members voted physically, all in favor of the passage of the said bill. It was done through nominal voting during the 42nd plenary session of its Second Regular Session via Zoom online teleconferencing.  None of the MPs voted against nor abstained from the approval of the said law.  The BSC will formulate policies, promote, regulate, coordinate, and implement programs for sports in the Bangsamoro region. Along with this mandate is to provide for the system, support, and assist in the development of sports.  “We can realize the essence of Bangsamoro as united people if we can establish among our youth the concept of teamwork. That's why we need the sports commission in the Bangsamoro Government,” MP Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong stated. The sports commission will be composed of a chairperson, four (4) commissioners, and two (2) ex-officio commissioners, equally represented from the geographic units of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and will be appointed by the Chief Minister. According to MP Eddie Alih, the creation of the BSC needs to display the inclusivity of the governance of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).  “We have to graduate from our perspective and outlook of being tribal to a people, the Bangsamoro, and this is in accord with our aspiration as a people,” Alih stressed. The Committee Bill No. 52, entitled “An act creating Bangsamoro Sports Commission, providing for its mandate, powers, and functions, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes,” is authored by the members of the Committee on Rules.  Meanwhile, the creation of the BSC is under Section 20, Article IX of the Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law. To date, the BTA approved twelve (12) bills, including the creation of the Bangsamoro Attorney General’s Office (BAGO), Bangsamoro Women’s Commission (BWC), Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC), and the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC). (BPI/PIA-ICIC)

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