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Island Province of Tawi-tawi gets 8000 residents vaccinated with Janssen vax

July 26, 2021

TAWI-TAWI - The government is very serious in protecting the Filipinos from the threats of covid-19 including its dangerous mutations, as vaccinations have already reached even the farthest island of Tawi-tawi, reports reaching MDNN said yesterday. Dr Bashary Latiph of the BARMM's Ministry of Health told reporters that there are now a total of 8000 residents in the island that received the single dose of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine. “Considering its distance from mainland Mindanao, the national government has earlier made the vaccine allocation for the farthermost province of BARMM,” Dr. Bashary told reporters on Monday. The initial batch of Janssen vax, according to the MOH official, was rolled out on July 23, and 8000 of the 231,776 residents of the island province have been vaccinated. The doctor also said that the municipalities of Sitangkai, Mapun island, Turtle Island and all borders of Malaysia, as well as some of Indonesia's Island, will be the next target of the vaccination. “We have to strengthen the immune system of constituents in the island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi amid fortified border control measures to prevent the entry of the dreaded Delta variant from the neighboring southern countries, especially Indonesia, which has already become the new epicenter of virus surpassing India,” he stressed. At presstime, the neighboring countries of Indonesia and Malaysia have been hit by massive surge of the deadly coronavirus disease (covid-19) In the Philippines, health authorities reported a total of 119 Delta variant have now been detected raising fears among residents in areas hit.    

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Modern City Jail to be unveiled in Marawi soon

July 26, 2021

MARAWI CITY - The government's infrastructure projects continue to take center stage in the warn-torn Marawi City, as the city will have its modernized city jail targeted for unveiling on November 15, this year. This was bared during an interview with Eduardo del Rosario, chairperson of the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM). Del Rosario is also currently the Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development. "Napakaganda ng ipinapagawang Marawi City Jail [The Marawi City Jail that is being constructed is very beautiful]. It is the biggest and the most modern in the whole BARMM," Del Rosario boosted.   Based on the taskforce chief's revelation, around 1,000 inmates can be accommodated as soon as the new facility operates on November, this year. Del Rosario said, the modern facility was also designed as rehabilitation center for all inmates through the creation of comprehensive livelihood, technical development and recreational activities that can boost the moral of the prisoners. A recreational venue will also be built to host for sports activities and events such as basketball, volleyball, and all other sports. He added that the new jail facility will cater only to inmates from the city. But considering its bigger capacity, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) may just coordinate with the local office if the need arises. “This project is for Marawi City but BARMM can also make arrangements to accommodate other provinces because this is too huge for 1,000 inmates,” Del Rosario pointed out. Based on the contractor, the City Jail is now 63 percent completed and progressing at press time. The facility is scheduled to be inaugurated on November 15, this year, it was learned.    

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US-made Janssen vax arrives in Bangsamoro Region

July 20, 2021

BARMM - A total of 30,000 US-made covid-19 vaccines arrived in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), reports reaching MDNN said yesterday. The vax known as Janssen was made in the United States and since the US Government promised to help in the vaccination program in the Philippines, a total of 3.2 million doses has arrived last week through the COVAX facility. For the BARMM, it will be rolled in the towns of Sitangkai, Turtle Island and Mapun Island. Another 30,000 doses of the 3.2 million vaccines that arrived in the country was also delivered to Basilan, it was learned.   Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said a total of 300,000 doses, out of the 10 million doses that arrived in the Philippines, was allocated for the Muslim Mindanao region. The statement said that the shipment of the vaccines to the BARMM will be allocated as follow: 130,992 doses of Sinovac, 19,500 doses of COVAX-donated AstraZeneca, and 150,000 doses of Janssen vaccine.    “Our commitment to COVAX and the US government is that the vaccine supply, particularly Johnson & Johnson will be deployed equitably to all regions. The first deployment in BARMM is particularly intended for geographically isolated islands and those communities living in our borders and along the boundaries of the Philippines,” Galvez pointed out. “Priority should really be given in these areas. Our development partners like UNICEF, who have seen first-hand the difficult situation in BARMM, have also given the same recommendation. And we are happy to share the same views and approaches on how these vaccines should be deployed,” he concluded. - PNA  

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Drug suspect who grabs a gun from a cop gets hurt

April 9, 2021

COTABATO CITY – A drug suspect in a buy-bust operation almost got killed after he tried to grab a gun from a policeman Wednesday in this city.  During the wrestle between the policeman and the drug suspect, the gun accidentally went off hurting the suspect identified as one Dido Alim Silongan, 27, a resident of Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao.  Investigation disclosed that Silongan was the subject of a drug buy-bust operation in Barangay Tamontaka at around 5:30 p.m. when he sensed he was transacting with the police. Capt. John Howell Wong, chief of the city police drug enforcement unit told reporters the confiscated illegal drugs known as 'shabu' (20 grams) has an estimated market value of Php 48,000. The police drug unit chief said “The suspect fronts as a welder, but at the side, he sells shabu to prospective buyers.”  After sensing he was surrounded by police operatives during the buy-bust he tried to grab a gun from a policeman and the commotion took place. Wong clarified: “As they wrestled for the gun, it went off with the bullet hitting the suspect in his left leg.”  The wounded Silongan was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. The suspect is now languishing at the city government's facility for prisoners awaiting charges for violation of R.A. 9165 also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

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Shorter Delay In BARMM Elections Sought

March 10, 2021

A delay of elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) may turn out shorter than the three-year postponement being sought through various bills filed in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The BARMM elections are supposed to take place at the same time as national elections in May 2022, as prescribed by law. However, lawmakers including senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Richard Gordon say the regional elections should be postponed to 2025 to give the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) more time to cope with the difficulties wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking a different tack, Senator Imee Marcos asserted that a long postponement of the BARMM elections will delay development for the Bangsamoro people and the correction of historical injustices committed against them. Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms, emphasized that the main purpose of the Bangsamoro Organic Law was “to rectify historical injustices – political, military, as well as economic,” which called for the conduct of elections “at the soonest possible time.” The lady senator added that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself has ordered that “elections must continue as close to the stipulated dates as possible.” The BARMM elections can be held “months or a year after” the May 2022 national elections, instead of three years later, Marcos recommended. She explained that a shorter postponement will strike a balance between fulfilling the main purpose of the BARMM Organic Law and giving the BTA enough time to manage a smooth turnover of authority to elected officials. “Decommissioning militants and weapons and achieving a normal way of life cannot be completed without full political legitimacy, without inclusive governance, without the complete exercise of the Bangsamoro people’s voting rights. The election has its advantages,” Marcos said. “Only after elections will the BARMM be able to focus on normalization that has been stymied by the pandemic, and to address the region’s unique and difficult circumstances,” the senator added.  

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DSWD releases additional Php10K grant to LAA families thru Starpay app

January 5, 2021

MARAWI CITY, Jan. 4 (PIA) -- With its continuing efforts to uplift the lives of the affected families in Marawi, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) started releasing additional Php10,000 worth of Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) to 28,204 families from the less affected area (LAA) of the city. DSWD partnered with Starpay Corporation as a  financial service provider through its smartphone application.  “Registration was already facilitated by Starpay Corporation and log-in details were distributed to the families through their nominated mobile numbers,” said DSWD Region X Director Mari-flor Dollaga-Libang. Starting December 28, 2020,  5,000 families  were notified daily about the assistance. Libang further said that initial concerns using the digital application is the unavailability of smartphones and blocked accounts. With this, DSWD 10 also requested assistance  from the city government of Marawi and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Field Office to intake the details of the families having similar concerns. The agency shall then request manual beneficiary reference numbers for these families. The beneficiary should download the Starpay application and upgrade its user level. To upgrade one's account, details such as name, selfie, birthdate, permanent and present address, and valid ID are needed. Acceptable IDs include passport, driver's license, PWD ID, Barangay ID, TIN ID, SSS, Philhealth, among others. After taking a selfie, at least one ID should be chosen and uploaded with details. A message will then be sent once the account is upgraded.   To claim the assistance, the beneficiaries can cash out their wallet balance  through MLhuillier  pay out or Security Bank or Chinabank ATM cardless withdrawal.  From April 2019, DSWD distributed of Transitory Family Support Package of Php53,000 and additional Php14,400 to 17,905 displaced families or Marawi IDPs from the 24 most affected area (MAA); distribution of LSG worth Php20,000 to 17,905 displaced families IDPs from MAA and Php10,000 for 28,266 displaced families IDPs from  LAA  as well as the distribution of Pabaon Package and 30 kilograms of  rice. (LELA/ PIA ICIC)

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