Category Archives: Mindanao

PNP chief to destabilizers: “Over my dead body”

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“Several death squads in the Philippines enact summary executions on drug addicts, sellers and petty criminals without regulation or reprimand as President Duterte moves forward with his war on drugs.” -source:

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — “Over my dead body,” said Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on people who are behind an alleged destabilization plan against the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

There were text messages allegedly from Magdalo group calling to oust President Duterte from power.

”May mga info na ganun (There are such information). Sabi ko sa kanila (I tell them) over my dead body ha. Try me over my dead body,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa challenged the alleged destabilization plotters to try his leadership.

The PNP chief admitted that he has been receiving information about the plans to oust the Duterte administration, led by some soldiers who are members of the Magdalo.

However, Dela Rosa assured that these destabilization plans would not succeed as long as he is the PNP chief.

”Try me… over my dead body,” this was the challenged posed by Dela Rosa to the destabilizers. (PNA)

Group vows to defend President Duterte vs ‘sinister’ plots

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MANILA, Dec. 9 (PNA) — The one million-strong Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), which was instrumental in convincing the Chief Executive to run in the last elections, on Friday rallied its supporters all over the country to “defend the president at all costs” from moves to discredit the country’s leader allegedly being hatched by sinister forces affected by his campaign against criminality, corruption and the economic status quo of a privileged few.

In a press conference held at the historic Club Filipino, MRRD-NECC leaders and supporters, who include top officials from various government agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), vowed to offer strong resistance against such moves, stressing that Duterte’s thrust to achieve genuine change is already taking shape.

“In less than six months of his presidency, the President has accomplished a lot in the areas of criminality and illegal drugs, corruption and the drive toward Federalism. In the process, many were affected by these serious campaigns, including those who used to gain from their evil ways,” said MRRD-NECC chairman and TESDA director general Guiling Mamondiong said.

Mamondiong said the President is not only a leader for the rich or the poor but of all Filipinos.

“These threats on the office of the people’s President will not prosper. Any supposed plan being hatched by anyone or group of removing him from office through unconstitutional means shall be dealt with blunt force by the millions of Filipinos who have had enough of the apathy, negligence and ineptness of previous administrations,” he stressed.

President Duterte has been the subject of attacks for his determined campaign against illegal drugs, where critics accused him of launching targeted and deliberate killings of certain drug personalities.

There were reports about some sectors planning to oust him (Duterte), in the light of Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from the Cabinet. Likewise, the name of a wealthy businesswoman is being linked to the same plot.

But MRRD-NECC believes that what is deliberate is the apparent campaign by the opposition and their affiliates to discredit the President before the international community by projecting an ugly picture of the anti-drug campaign.

“They use and abuse the term extra judicial killings or EJK with impunity when the fact is that EJK is a misnomer and an illusion. The term EJK already prejudges every murder committed against anyone as government-initiated which is not the case. There is no statute in Philippine laws that punishes EJK as a crime. It is a political term used to demean and discredit the government,” explained Mamondiong.

The TESDA chief, however, stressed that like President Duterte, they believe that the rule of law must be upheld at all times in defense most specially of the weak.

“There is no president in the history of the country other than President Duterte who cared so passionately about the country’s future. As he said, he will stake everything, even his life and the presidency in pursuit of his dreams of making the Philippines a better and safer place to live in,” Mamondiong pointed out.

Also, the group credited Duterte for his determination to establish a Federal Philippines during his term, noting that he is by far the only president who was able to show genuine concern for Filipinos by empowering them.

“The government’s campaign for Federalism is already in full swing. The DILG, through the People’s National Movement for Federalism (PENAMFED) and its new president, former Batangas Mayor Sam Ocampo, we have done so much in a very short time. So far, we have campaigned in several provinces and cities and explained to tens of thousands of people the benefits of Federalism,” said DILG Undersecretary Emily Padilla, the agency’s focal person for the campaign.

“Under this government, the voices of the provinces have been heard and represented. Let us not allow the voices of the few thousands here in Metro Manila to derail the good works of our president. If they plan to muster a million in Metro Manila, we could muster more millions in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon,” DILG Undersecretary Jesus Hinlo, for his part, stressed.

MRRD-NECC said the whole country must unite in defense of the people’s president and in support of all his reform programs and initiatives. The group maintained that Duterte is the country’s last chance to achieve real and meaningful change for all.

MRRD-NECC leaders and members include Sec. Ismael Sueno (DILG), Sec. Guiling Mamondiong (TESDA), SBMA chairman Martin Dino, Rommel Padilla, Cesar Montano, Usec Emily Padilla (DILG), Usec John Castriciones (DILG), Usec Hinlo (DILG), Usec Virginia Orogo (DSWD), Usec Ranibai Dilangalen (DA), Usec Diosdado Padilla, Usec Noel Felongco (DENR), Asec Aimee Neri (DOJ), Asec Epimaco Densing, Asec RJ Echiverri (DILG) and National Tobacco Administration Administrator Wilfredo Martinez. (PNA)

DOH-9 embarks on advocacy against firecracker use

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 6 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) has embarked on a massive information campaign focusing on the dangers brought by the use of firecrackers here in Region 9.

The drive, implemented under DOH’s “Aksiyon Papuptok Injury Reduction (APIR) program, is aimed to lessen if not eradicate cases of firecracker-related injuries during the Yuletide Seasons, especially during the New Year’s Eve revelry.

The information campaign is anchored on the theme: “Sa pag-iingay mas Masaya, sa paputok may disgracia.”

Dr. Lucky Rachela Lego, DOH-9 local health systems and health promotion and communication unit chief, on Tuesday said they are encouraging the public to use noise-making gadgets such as “torotot” (a colloquial term for a small wind instrument) instead of firecrackers to welcome the new year.

Lego said they are happy to note the campaign against the use of firecrackers is gaining headway in Region 9 citing last year’s firecracker-related injuries were lower by four cases compared to the previous year.

Lego said they recorded 12 firecracker-related injuries in the entire region from December 21, 2015 to January 5, 2016, which was lower than the 16 cases recorded for the same period–December 21, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

She said those injured by firecracker explosion were aged 10 to 54 and majority of them were males.

There were also four people who were injured by stray bullets.

She said that 67 percent of the firecracker-related injuries were caused by “piccolo”.

The others were injured by sky rocket fireworks locally known as “kwitis” and the ear-splitting five-star firecrackers.

She also advised parents to closely monitor their children to prevent them from becoming victims of firecracker explosion. (PNA)

Fake gov’t doctor faces trial

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MANILA, Dec. 5 (PNA) — For falsely representing himself as a licensed physician, George Comendador, former municipal health officer of Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur, is facing trial for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.

In a seven-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) ordered the filing of graft charges against Comendador after confirming that the respondent is not a licensed physician listed on the database of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The Ombudsman said that the municipality of Margosatubig suffered undue injury as it paid Comendador salaries and other benefits worth over PHP4,388,378.60 starting from January 1996 until his retirement in May 2013. (PNA)

DOH activates Task Force Zika in Region 9

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 5 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) has activated the regional “Task Force Zika” to oversee prevention programs against the disease here in Region 9.

Dr. Lenny Joy Johnson, DOH-9 local health support division officer-in-charge, on Monday said the task force consists of medical personnel from the DOH regional office and other stakeholders.

Johnson said the task force will conduct advocacy and surveillance against the Zika virus, and treatment if and when there is a positive case of the disease in the region.

She said the advocacy is focused on the 4S strategy which includes the following: search and destroy; self protection; seek early consultation; and, say yes to fogging only during outbreak.

“We are strengthening the surveillance and intensifying the advocacy on 4S in the region for the prevention of Zika,” she added.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a flavivirus. This occurs in tropical countries with large mosquito population.

The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes Aegypti in urban areas and Aedes albopictus in rural areas.

Signs and symptoms of the virus includes fever, conjunctivitis, skin rash, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.

The illness is usually mild and self-limiting with symptoms lasting for two to seven days.

Complications brought by Zika are Guillain-Barre’ syndrome, which is the sudden weakening of muscles and neonatal malformation, a Microcephaly condition where a baby’s head is smaller than those of other babies of the same age and sex.

In the Philippines, positive cases of Zika were discovered in Luzon and Visayas areas. (PNA)

Palace assures gov’t assistance to residents affected by conflict in Lanao del Sur

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By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Dec. 4 (PNA) – Malacanang assured on Sunday that the entire government is helping the residents displaced by the ongoing military operations against the Maute terror group in Lanao del sur.

”The entire government is helping all the victims of the current conflict happening in that area,” said Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar in an interview with dzRB.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar, Photo credits: Concept News Central,

Andanar said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Health (DOH), in coordination win the local governments are addressing the needs of the evacuees.

A week ago, the Maute Group occupied a portion of the municipal hall of Butig town, prompting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to launch an offensive that left 62 Maute members dead.

The military operations forced the local residents to flee their homes.

”Everybody in the government is helping because many of our countrymen have been displaced,” Andanar said.

Due to the terroristic act of the Maute group, the AFP has placed several areas in Mindanao particularly Lanao del Sur under red alert.

In a press briefing in Malacanang last Friday, AFP spokesman B/Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the government troops will continue the operations until they guarantee that the local terrorist groups will not be able to return to the area.

Padilla has appealed for full cooperation from the public, emphasizing that security is not only the responsibility of the police and military but “a share responsibility” of every Filipino.

Last Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte visited the wounded government troops in different hospitals in Cagayan de Oro. (PNA)

Zamboanga City needs more tour guides

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Photo source:

By Azer N. Parrocha

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 3 (PNA) –This city needs more tour guides to assist tourists, provide correct information about the city and help remove the stigma that it’s a place to be avoided or feared for safety concerns.

This is the sentiment of Zamboanga City tour guide Errold Bayona, who has been working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for almost six years to achieve this goal.

He said that at present, there were a total of 12 DOT-accredited tour guides in the city, and was hoping the local government and concerned agencies would address this lack.

Bayona lamented that during a recent tour guide training program, out of over 70 expected participants, only 12 managed to show up and only four managed to secure accreditation from the DOT.

“The thing is people don’t look at tour guiding as a career especially in a place that carries a reputation like that of Zamboanga,” Bayona said in an interview.

He also said that there had been a huge gap in the ages of tour guides — some being 60-years-old and others being 30-years-old — because very few residents showed interest in it.

”Some train with us for a few years and eventually go abroad,” he added, noting that tour guides were not well compensated.

’Surviving Zamboanga’

Bayona meanwhile sought tourists to help boost the image of Zamboanga City by avoiding bragging to their friends and family about having “survived” their visit.

”Tourists don’t come here because they think it’s not safe while those that do come here brag about coming, leaving and surviving — which shouldn’t be the case. We don’t brag about surviving in other tourist destinations,” he said.

He said that tourism stakeholders and ambassadors could start changing the city’s bad reputation by proper information dissemination and constant advertising.

Data from DOT Mindanao showed that the island acquired around 8.5 million tourist arrivals in 2015 with the bulk of these arrivals coming from the Davao Region (Region 11) with around 2.8 million arrivals.

Meanwhile, the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) generated around 800,000 arrivals, Northern Mindanao (Region 10) with around 2.7 million arrivals, Soccsksargen (Region 12) with about 1 million arrivals and Caraga (Region 13) acquiring around 1.2 million arrivals.

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo vowed to fan Mindanao tourism under her term, especially since she herself and President Rodrigo Duterte hail from the same region.

Teo is looking at developing Zamboanga’s pink sand beach, Las Islas de Santa Cruz, and the hidden paradise, 11 Islands, as new tourist destinations, particularly for backpackers.

Teo herself visited the pink sand beach on Friday to see the pink sand beach for herself and assure tourists that tourism in the Zamboanga Peninsula is safe regardless of the old stigma attached to its name.

“I personally came here because I want people to know that because ‘the Secretary of Tourism was here’, the more they should come here. I would like to show the world that Zamboanga is safe,” Teo said. (PNA)

DPWH extends Zambo sports complex rehab works deadline

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 2 (PNA) – The Department of Public Works and Highways(DPWH) Region 9 announced that the deadline for the completion of rehabilitation of the sports complex has been extended for three months from January to March 2017.

A private contractor is undertaking the rehabilitation works of the sports complex under the supervision of the DPWH.

Google map aerial view of Zamboanga Sports Complex.

The project cost is PhP187 million and to be finished within 297 calendar days.

The sports complex was destroyed since it has served as the biggest evacuation center for the more than 100,000 people displaced during the September 2013 siege.

Engr. Shadimar Jalaidi, DPWH-9 project manager, said there are several factors that caused the delay of the rehabilitation works at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

Jalaidi said the factors included weather disturbance, variation of orders and rocessing as well as the delivery of needed materials like rubber and artificial grass, which come from Germany.

The imported rubber will be used in playing fields and track oval while the artificial grass for the soccer football field.

Jalaidi said the imported rubber and the artificial grass are set to arrive on January since it take two months for the processing and delivery of the materials.

He said the rehabilitation works at the sports complex is now more than 30 percent completed.

The private contractor has employed more than 100 workers to undertake the rehabilitation works of the sports complex. (PNA)

Zamboanga City lands 3rd in 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 3 (PNA) — The Zamboanga City delegation landed third place in the just concluded week-long 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy held from November 27 to December 2 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Cebu City grabbed the championship with 42 gold, 30 silver and 31 bronze medals while Baguio City won second place with 38 gold, 30 silver and 30 bronze medals.

Dr. Cecilia Atilano, city sports development officer, told the Philippines News Agency on Saturday that this city’s delegation bagged 34 gold 20 silver and 25 bronze medals.

Atilano said most of the medals the athletic delegation of this city came from the pencak silat, weightlifting, wrestling, and karatedo sporting events.

She congratulated the local athletic delegation despite they only grabbed the third place in the 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy.

Zamboanga City has sent a 245-man delegation including 52 coaches and officials.

The athletes, who competed, were 17 years old and below.

They competed in the 26 sports events which includes the following: archery; arnis; athletics; badminton; baseball; basketball 3-on-3; boxing; chess; cycling; dancesport; gymnastics; judo; karatedo; lawn tennis; pencak silat; rugby football; sepak takraw; softball; swimming; table tennis; taekwondo; triathlon; volleyball; weightlifting; wrestling; and, wushu. (PNA)

Climaco thanks Bugante, welcomes Blanco to DOT

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Photo from Beng Climaco FB

by Vic Larato

Mayor Beng Climaco yesterday thanked former Tourism Regional Director Maryjune Bugante for her tremendous contributions to the development of Zamboanga City’s tourism industry as she also welcomed the appointment of Butch Blanco as the new regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region 9.

Mayor Climaco said she expects the city and the region’s tourism industry to be more vibrant and event productive in terms of tourist arrivals under Blanco’s watch.

“This time, we will continue to push for the recognition of the city’s other tourist destination,” the chief executive said in her weekly interview over Dateline Teleradyo on TV-11.

The mayor said she had seen Blanco working for tourism in the past even during her teenage days, and she hopes more tourism programs and activities now that he (Blanco) is in the DOT.

“We are working very hard to welcome foreign and domestic tourists coming over to Zamboanga,” she said.
Of late, she said travels have been made to other cities to learn from different local government units their good practices as far as promoting their tourism potentials, and see we can further improve our own,” Climaco said.