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Maute-IS group returnees undergo profiling for gov’t aid

May 28, 2019

SAGUIARAN, Lanao del Sur,  – A total of twenty-four Maute-IS returnees from Maranatao and Piagapo municipalities were profiled here at 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Pawak. The profiling, which started in February this year, aims to determine the identity of the returnees which will used for the government programs to be provided to them.   “Nagkaroon ng profiling last February at nafind out na merong mga kulang…validation at continuation nalang ito para maidentify ang gaps kung saan pa nagkukulang at kung anong programs ang pwedeng mavail,” said Lt. Leiand Regala. [A profiling was conducted last February and it was found out that there are still incomplete information… this is just a continuation to identify the gaps and what programs can be availed.] As part of the activities lined up for Duyog Ramadhan, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) conducted a peace dialogue with the returnees and distributed groceries, rice, toys for their kids and water container. James Abdul of OPAPP said that the activity aims to determine what programs can be given to the returnees including their family and community.  “Ito ay [This is a] continuing peaceful na pamamaraan natin [mechanism] on reconciliation and social healing,” he said. The returnees also received relief goods from the provincial government of Lanao del Sur (PLGU). Abusaif (not his real name), one of the returnees thanked the government for accepting them and for providing them assistance to start anew. “Gusto naming pasalamatan ang ating mahal na pangulo, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa pagtanggap sa amin at sa mga tulong ng mga head of agencies, AFP, PNP at iba pang ahensiya na tumulong sa amin, para step by step ay makablik kami sa society,” he said [We want to thank our beloved president, Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte for accepting us and to the head agencies like AFP, PNP and other agencies for providing us assistance so we can go back to the society step by step.] Regala also urged those Maute-IS members who plan to surrender that they should not fear and worry. “Magtiwala sila. Huwag silang matakot, sabihin nila lahat ng problema nila kung saan kami makakatulong. Nakikita naman nila na yung mga nagsurender sa atin ay inaalagaan sila at merong programa yung gobyerno para sa kanila,” he said. [They should trust us. They should not be afraid and say all their problems to us so that we will know how we can help them. They can see that those returnees are being taken care of and there are government programs for them.] One hundred sixty-two Maute-IS returnees will be profiled by the  103rd Infantry Brigade through its three-unit battalions. The 55IB will profile returnees from the municipalities of Lumbaca Unayan, Pagayawan, Lumbatan and Binidayan while the 49IB will accommodate those from  Butig. All returnees will receive relief goods from OPAPP and PLGU and assistance from other government agencies. (LEAntonio)

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Unveiling of Maqbara cemetery marker

May 24, 2019

MARAWI CITY ----- Several civil society organizations have helped the internally displaced persons (IDPs) put up a commemorative marker of the graves, Thursday morning, inside the Maqbara public cemetery in Barangay Papandayan Caniogan, here. This as IDPs commemorate the secod year of the siege that lasted for five months. Two hundred eighty two unidentified cadavers were buried in this two-hectare government owned property, two kilometers away from the most affected area, formerly called the main battle area. According to the caretaker Somagayan Puno, the last cadaver buried was found in April this year at Barangay Basak Malutlut, where the siege started. He did not clarified if the human bones were retrieved at the place where the conflict started - at the apartment of the Abu Sayaff leader Isnilon Hapilon, reportedly the appointed emir of ISIS in Southeast Asia. Hope Norsalima Abdulrahman, 17, attended the unveiling with the hope that she could get updates from the government on how a displaced residents, like her, who lost their families to war could receive assistance. She went to the commemoration even if she is unsure that her father and two siblings are included in the graves marked only with a piece of wood, painted with white, erected above each tomb. "Pamilya kasi, kaya kahit di ako sigurado, pumunta ako," she said. Her uncle, Adman Rasuman, first cousin of her father, accompanied her with hope that they can get update of their quest on finding for the missing family members. Rasuman adopted Norsalima when her parents separated years before the siege. Her parents got a family of their own. Her mother, who died years ago, lived in Luzon.  Her father lived in Barangay Bubong Lilod Madaya while her father, Usman, lived in Daguduban with her two small siblings, then 12-year brother Alinor and 6-year old Sittie Ainah. When the siege started at 2pm in May 23, Norsalima's father took refuge at Rasuman's house with the two children but at 5pm, Usman and the two children went back to their house in Daguduban to get their things but never came back. "We were trapped for three days, we waited for them but when they never came back, we decided to get out and fleed to Cagayan de Oro City," Rasuman said. The only remembrance Norsalima have of his family is a small picture of her then 6-year old sister Sittie Ainah. Norsalima submitted DNA samples to the National Bureau of Investigation before the siege ended and have been waiting for the result. She said, she had not lost hope that she could find, atleast cadavers of her fater and two siblings. Oppression "This is not only a visiting to a graveyard but this is somehow a symbol of oppression that until now this government never recognize the documentation of the people, civilians who died during the siege," Abdul Atar, Sultan of Marawi, said in his message during the commemoration ceremony. "It is our right not only as a Muslim but also to a non-Muslim who were buried in this very important area," Atar added. Who will help? "We will connect with the right agency under Department of Interior and Local Government to find out the status on the DNA testing because that will serve as the basis on future claims of relatives," said Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, chairman of Task Force Bangon Marawi, the group that supervises the Marawi rehabilitation program. More cadavers to come Drieza Lininding, an IDP and chairman of Moro Concensus Group, said their commemoration of the siege is "to remind the living, especially to the state actors, the cost of violence and the cost of war." "There are more cadavers to come. We are told that the contractors of the debris management are being trained to handle cadavers because they expect there are still (many) unextracted cadavers in the main affected areas," Lininding said.

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Marawi agrarian reform beneficiaries, IDPs receive farm inputs

May 22, 2019

MARAWI CITY, -- The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in coordination with the Task Force Bangon Marawi  distributed yesterday, May 21, farm inputs to this city’s nine agrarian reform communities, benefiting the agrarian reform beneficiaries as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Engr. Mesug Unda, provincial agrarian reform officer of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Lanao del Sur said the distribution of farm inputs would continue until May May 23 to benefit some 2,250 farmers. “There are 1,880 beneficiaries for vegetable seeds, 300 for corn seeds and 150 for rice seeds and all of them will receive organic fertilizer,” Unda disclosed. The World Food Programme will also conduct validation of beneficiaries through Kathanor who will be part of its Cash-Based Transfer program. The qualified beneficiaries will receive P2,000 cash for land preparation, P2,000 when they start planting and another P2,000 during harvest time. “Itong project nagsimula kami kahapon magdistribute sa Brgy. Dulay West, Dulay Proper at Malimono at ngayon dito sa Guimba. Tuloy-tuloy ito hanggang matapos ang distribusyon,” Unda said. [We started the distribution of this project yesterday in Brgy. Dulay West, Dulay Proper and Malimono and now, here in Guimba] The provincial agrarian officer also shared that common service facilities like a farm tractor, insecticides and pesticides would also be provided to the farmers. “Talagang malaking tulong sa amin ito. Siyempre nabawasan ang pagbili naming ng rice seeds, mga fertilizer,” Omar H. Ali of Barangay Guimba said. [This is a great help to us because we are able to save money from buying rice seeds and fertilizers.] The nine ARC barangays include Cabasaran, Dulay Proper, Dulay West, Malimono, Guimba, Papandayan Caniogan, Sugod, Patani and Kilala. (LEAntonio)

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BARMM, WFP ink agreement on food, nutrition, DRRM projects

May 22, 2019

MARAWI CITY,  - The Bangsamoro Government and the World Food Programme (WFP) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to strengthen their collaborations on projects focusing on food and nutrition security and disaster risk reduction management interventions.  Esmael Pasigan, executive secretary of the Bangsamoro Government, and Stephen Guiling, representative and country director of World Food Programme, signed the MOA on Wednesday morning, May 22, in Cotabato City. The collaboration also includes the usage of the port and warehouse services and open space of the Polloc Freeport in Parang, Maguindanao for the installation of mobile storage facilities to receive, store, and deliver humanitarian goods and emergency relief items.  The Bangsamoro Government considers the WFP as its key partner in implementing programs that aim to improve household living condition in the Bangsamoro autonomous region particularly in food and nutrition security. After the signing, Guiling met with Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim to discuss the WFP programs across the region. (Bangsamoro Government/PIA10)

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Lossing candidates and their supporters stage prayer rally to condemn massive cheating and vote buying in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City

May 20, 2019

MARAWI CITY ----- More than a thousand of Marawi residents, some are middle-aged women, elderly, youth and children, gathered Friday morning in a covered hall of Jamiatu Muslim Mindanao, in Barangay Matampay, here, to hold a prayer rally condemning the reported massive fraud and vote buying in the city and in Lanao del Sur. Candidates in the city and provincial levels who were not lucky of their bid in the recently concluded national and local elections have also attended the rally. Bringing with them campaign posters upcycled into placards with their sentiments written in it, these residents were calling on President Duterte to intervene and declare failure of elections, especially in Marawi City.  Children were bringing placards saying "Vote buying doesn't help Marawi rise again, think about it", "Vote buying is the dirty work of Shaitan, a Satan!", "Disqualify vote buyers, cheaters!", "We have no good future with corrupted, cheater and selfish leader. We love Lanao del Sur!", "Massive cheating happened in LDS election 2019, Expose them!". Atty. Ramayan Basman, a mayoral candidate under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) said they have witnesses, including watchers, who executed affidavits that they have seen the manipulations in the barangay level. "We have videos wherein yung mga BEIs (board of election inspectors) mismo pre-shading ballots," Basman said in an interview. Her camp have also able to secure video of vote buying and all these evidence will be brought to a legal battle according to Basman. Her camp discovered that a barangay chairman or a relative will stay inside the polling precinct and ask a voter who he will vote. "Apparently the barrio (barangay chairman) has two candidates at kung sino ang iboboto nila, bibigyan sila ng color-coded coupons at sa labas na i-claim ang cash," Basman said. "Humihingi kami ng hustisya dahil may kamaliang nangyayari at may dayaang nangyayari noong botohan (May 13)," she added. On Wednesday, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) proclaimed reelectionist Majul Gandamra and his team mate as winners in Marawi City.  Basman ranked fourth during the election. Norodin Alonto Lucman, who was running for Lanao del Sur's provincial vice governor, accused the Adiong clan of masterminding the massive fraud and anomalies. Incumbent vice governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong is running for provincial governor while his 25-year old son, Mujam, is running for vice governor. Mamintal's brother, Ansaruddin, is running for congressman in the first district of Lanao del Sur. Their mother, Soraya Alonto Adiong, is incumbent provincial governor, who is not running anymore running for any elective position. Mamintal and Ansaruddin are Lucman's nephew. Winners of the provincial positions in Lanao del Sur were not yet proclaimed because of the delayed canvassing in some municipalities due to deffective SD cards. But as of 2pm Friday, the Adiong clan led a very wide margin of votes against their opponents. Lucman is also accusing the barangay chairmen, the electoral board, COMELEC officials and some officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines behind the cheating. "With the counting of the votes, I only garnered 14 thousand votes in the whole province... Evidence like that dagdag-bawas was committed by people in the government, for example the barangay captains, the BEIs (are) in cahots with the COMELEC officers and some AFP officers," Lucman said in an interview. Adiong in a separate interview said the COMELEC had created a task force that will look into reported vote buying and it would bd better to wait for the result of their investigation. "Yun ang aksiyon ng COMELEC para masagot ang mga alegasyon ng mga natalong kandidato," Adiong said. The provincial election supervisor of Lanao del Sur and the Provincial Police Office of Lanao del Sur have issued certification on May 17 that no complaint involving election offenses and or issues has reached the said offices. "No report and complaint on election-related incidents or irregularities have been filed," the certification, signed by provincial election supervisor Allan Kadon stated.

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High-powered guns, explosives seized in Maguindanao

May 17, 2019

DATU ANGGAL MIDTIMBANG, Maguindanao  – Government troops seized Friday several high-powered firearms and explosives from two groups who were engaged in a gunfight starting Tuesday over the results of the election in Talitay, Maguindanao. Lt. Col. Crisaldo Fernandez, commander of the 90th Infantry Battalion covering Talitay town, said his unit moved to pacify the two warring groups. Fernandez said his troops made it appear that they had left but returned early morning on Friday to the surprise of one of the armed groups, which fled the area, some on bancas, leaving their armaments behind. Among the seized firearms were five M-16 rifles, four M-653 rifles, three Garand rifles, four M-203 grenade launchers, one shotgun, one carbine rifle, one KG-9 automatic rifle, two Thompson rifles, two RPG launchers, and a caliber 50 sniper rifle. The explosives included assorted mortars and four hand grenades. Ammunition for various firearms were also seized. The military added they recovered illegal drugs paraphernalia, election campaign T-Shirts and bandoliers. Maj. Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division, said the clash started in Sitio Sultan, Barangay Kilalan in Talitay on Tuesday and spread to the nearby village of Bentan, forcing some civilians to flee. Encinas said the groups involved were men of the brothers Abdulwahab and Montasir Sabal, who both won as mayor and vice mayor of Talitay, respectively, and those of Sedik Ameril, former assemblyman of the abolished Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Sabals’ group of armed men was reportedly led by a certain “Kalbo” while that of Ameril was led by Mike Sitti. Montasir, the elder brother, was the elected mayor in 2016 while Abdulwahab was his vice mayor. But both brothers went into hiding when they were included in the narco list. Abdulwahab later resurfaced and cleared his name, and thus succeeded his brother on the vacated mayoral post. Ameril was also in the narco list, the reason why he is also in hiding. Encinas said that what apparently triggered the feud is rooted on an unfulfilled agreement between Abdulwahab and Sedik. Both parties, he said, agreed that to establish a harmonious relationship between them, Abdulwahab must junk Montasir so Ameril’s sister Suraida would win in the vice mayoral race in Talitay. Encinas said that based on information they gathered in their investigation, the Sabal brothers dumped Suraida in the last minute. Abdulwahab thus backed his elder brother despite the funds contributed by Sedik to the younger Sabal’s campaign. Montasir garnered 2,350 votes in the vice mayoral race, while Suraida Ameril was only in third place with 1,537 votes. Col. Wilbur Mamawag, commander of the Army’s 603rd Brigade said they were still looking for more firearms. Joint Task Force Central commander, Major General Cirilito Sobejana commended the joint efforts of his troops and local government units which enabled the the displaced residents to return to their homes.

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