PHILIPPINES 6th IN WORLD FOR MARCOS ERA-LIKE CRONY CAPITALISM

Crony capitalists did not disappear after the Marcos regime was deposed through People Power in 1986, but continued their schemes to this day under President Benigno Aquino III, The Economist revealed. In its Crony Capitalism Index published Saturday, the prestigious British magazine explained why the rich gets richer in developing countries such as the Philippines as billionaires saw their wealth "doubling relative to the size of the economy." "Most countries in South-East Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, saw their scores get worse between 2007 and 2014, as tycoons active in real estate and natural resources got richer," the study revealed. The Economist ranked the country in its list for having huge crony-sector wealth, created by rent-seeking practices of the wealthy. "In technical terms, an economic rent is the difference between what people are paid and what they would have to be paid for their labour, capital, land (or any other inputs into production) to remain in their current use," The Economist's print edition explained. It also simplified the behavior of rent-seekers as "grabbing a bigger slice of the pie rather than making the pie bigger." The results revealed that the Philippines rose to sixth from ninth in the world since 2007 for a rising share of crony sectors in its Gross Domestic Product, currently at about 13 percent.

ALSO: Palaui Island: ‘Raw beauty’ in Cagayan

SANTA ANA, Cagayan—For the adventurous who are willing to endure the more than 12-hour, 600-kilometer road trip from Metro Manila to Palaui Island, a piece of paradise awaits you in the Babuyan Channel in northeastern Luzon.
The 2,439-hectare Palaui Island offers a virtually untouched landscape of grass meadows, rice fields and thick tropical forests, enclosed by a 10-km shoreline with stretches of white sand and coral beaches, mangroves and jagged rock formations. Last year, its beaches were ranked by the US-based media company CNN 10th best in the world for their “raw beauty.” “[It is where] glorious white sands meet volcanic rocks and blue-green waters topside, while coral gardens and a rich marine reserve meet divers under the surface,” CNN said on its website.
When 65-year-old basket weaver Catalina Baloloy, her husband, Sixto, and their four children moved out of Camiguin Island in the Babuyan Channel in 1986, all they hoped for was to find a better life in one of the towns of Cagayan province. As their boat reached Port San Vicente in Santa Ana town on a clear Sunday noon, they were captivated by the beauty of Palaui Island. “As we approached the port, our attention was glued to the beautiful island to our left, captivated by the view of the mountains and the thick forest that covered them. In an instant, we decided we wanted to live here,” Catalina said. Palaui Island has since become the Baloloys’ home.


ALSO: Why the Philippines is the place to be this summer

When you live in a country that fuses together urban sophistication, impressive skylines, gorgeous beaches and the friendliest people on this side of the world, it’s hard not to look forward to it at its finest – during the summer. Yes, the Philippines boasts some of the most exciting prospects for the summer, so before you book that trip to the Maldives or Ibiza, here are few reasons to make you stay in the Philippines for the summer holidays. 1. You can go back in time Well, okay – it doesn’t literally mean going back in time, but the Philippines is home to some of the most historic spots in the world! Corregidor Island, for one, is guaranteed to transport you back into the Second World War with its perfectly maintained Malinta Tunnel and Pacific War Memorial, among others. But if that’s not up your alley, fear not – there are many other options to satisfy your craving for exciting history. There’s also Mactan Island to check out Magellan’s Cross, or Fort Santiago to be a witness to the heroics of our countrymen during the Spanish era. 2. You can finally catch that perfect wave Even Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers can attest to this – the Philippines boasts some of the best surf spots in the world. Be sure to check out Siargao Island for a thrilling adventure that will surely be the talk of the town for whole of the summer. CNN agrees too – the Cloud Nine surfing hotspot on Siargao is among their Top 50 Best Surf Spots in the World. Now why would you want to miss out on that? 3. The food (Oh yes, the food) From the sisig of Pampanga to the lechon of Cebu, there is no end to the culinary feast that The Philippines can bring. Yes, the Philippines is home to a wide range of quality dishes – both local and international fare. Whether it’s a frosty glass of halo-halo by the beach that you’re craving for, or a sumptuous lechon dinner at the heart of the city, or a quick 2-piece chicken meal from Jollibee, the Philippines has it – and so much more.

ALSO: In Cebu, 7T homeless in Lorega fire

Around 7,000 people were left homeless after an estimated 500 houses in eight sitios were destroyed by a fire that hit Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, Cebu City, yesterday afternoon. According to the Bureau of Fire Protection the fire alarm was received around 4:57 p.m. The affected sitios were Lawis, Kamansi, Seares, San Roque, Laguna, Laray, Quadrangle and Itum-yuta. Councilor Dave Tumulak, also head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the victims comprise 1,500 families or roughly 40 percent of the barangays population. The BFP said the fire was declared under control around 7:26 p.m. They are still conducting an investigation where and how the fire started; however, it allegedly began at the house of a certain Bobby Hortezano. A man was looking for his 10-year-old daughter, Jaira Gutual, who went missing during the fire. A burned body was later found among the ruins but it could not be determined yet if it was human or animal. Elvis Nella, who lives in the house of his aunt in Sitio Lawis, said that they believe the fire started in Sitio Kamansi. He said the fire broke out an hour after he arrived from work. Nella said he now plans to stay in their house in Talisay City since his aunt’s house was among those that were destroyed. The barangay hall, chapel and sports complex of Lorega were partially burned by the fire. The affected families will be temporarily sheltered in the Barangay T. Padilla gym, the Day-as gym, the Zapatera gym and the Zapatera Elementary School.

ALSO: Banana plantation to rise around Maguindanao massacre site

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao - The area surrounding the site of the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre will soon be converted into a cavendish banana plantation, part of a bid to turn Ampatuan town into an agro-economic zone. Land owners, the municipal government of Ampatuan, the provincial government of Maguindanao, Malaysia’s Univex, and its local counterpart Al Mujahidun Agro Resources Development Inc. (ARMADI) signed a memorandum of agreement on Friday. With this development, the once barren land will soon become greener and will bustle with more economic activity with the multimillion-peso investment that the agreement will bring. Aside from the banana plantation, the project will also put up a halal banana processing plant, a science and technology school, a hospital, a huge warehouse and playground, a mosque and other facilities. The investors plan to initially open 6,000 hectares for the plantation with a capital of US$2,800.00 per hectare, and will offer priority employment preference for land owners.


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Philippines 6th in world for Marcos era-like crony capitalism


A bird's eye view of Makati City's Central Business District. Storm Crypt

MANILA, MARCH 24, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Camille Diola — Crony capitalists did not disappear after the Marcos regime was deposed through People Power in 1986, but continued their schemes to this day under President Benigno Aquino III, The Economist revealed.

In its Crony Capitalism Index published Saturday, the prestigious British magazine explained why the rich gets richer in developing countries such as the Philippines as billionaires saw their wealth "doubling relative to the size of the economy."

"Most countries in South-East Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, saw their scores get worse between 2007 and 2014, as tycoons active in real estate and natural resources got richer," the study revealed.

The Economist ranked the country in its list for having huge crony-sector wealth, created by rent-seeking practices of the wealthy.

"In technical terms, an economic rent is the difference between what people are paid and what they would have to be paid for their labour, capital, land (or any other inputs into production) to remain in their current use," The Economist's print edition explained.

It also simplified the behavior of rent-seekers as "grabbing a bigger slice of the pie rather than making the pie bigger."

The results revealed that the Philippines rose to sixth from ninth in the world since 2007 for a rising share of crony sectors in its Gross Domestic Product, currently at about 13 percent.

The Philippines recorded an economy heavily fueled by rent-heavy industries and wealth of dollar billionaires invested in such rent-seeking sectors, including the following:

Casinos Deposit-taking banking and investment banking Infrastructure and pipelines Real estate and construction Oil, gas, chemicals and other energy Steel, other metals, mining and commodities Utilities and telecoms services "The higher the ratio [of billionaire wealth to GDP], the more likely the economy suffers from a severe case of crony-capitalism," the report noted.

The industries are also said to be vulnerable to monopoly or requiring state licensing, which makes them a likely venue for graft and bribery, it added.

Hong Kong topped the list for crony sectors' 58 percent share in its GDP. Russia ranked a far second, while Malaysia, Ukraine and Singapore are the other three countries which surpassed the Philippines' crony capitalism score.

The magazine, however, admitted that its estimates of crony sectors are "crude" as businesses labeled to have heavy rent-seeking practices may actually be competitive, while other sectors deemed to be non-cronies may also be rent-seekers.

"The third limitation is that we only count the wealth of billionaires. Plenty of rent-seeking may enrich the very wealthy who fall short of that cut-off," The Economist added.

Also read STAR columnist Boo Chanco's take on The Economist's Crony Capitalism Index

To improve the country's ranking, The Economist suggests that government tightens antitrust rules, improve regulation and boost competition among rent-heavy industries.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Palaui Island: ‘Raw beauty’ in Cagayan By Melvin Gascon Inquirer Northern Luzon 3:09 am | Sunday, March 23rd, 2014


For the adventurous who are willing to endure the more than 12-hour, 600-kilometer road trip from Metro Manila to Palaui Island, a piece of paradise awaits you in the Babuyan Channel in northeastern Luzon. Slideshow by INQUIRER.net


Scuba divers enjoy the waters off Cape Engaño on Palaui Island in Santa Ana town in northern Cagayan province. The place was ranked by CNN 10th among the Top 100 beaches in the world in 2013. It highlights a well-preserved beach and a Spanish lighthouse on top of a hill. Chen Reyes-Mencias/Contributor

(Editor’s Note: As summer officially begins later this month, the Inquirer is running a series of articles on the country’s tourism crown jewels— somehow uncut but equally sparkling and surprising as the usual vacation haunts. They are meant to be must-reach destinations this season for the intrepid travelers, be they family, friends, couples or simply backpackers. The articles will appear three times a week, starting today. Please send us your own hot go-to discoveries to summer by.)

SANTA ANA, Cagayan—For the adventurous who are willing to endure the more than 12-hour, 600-kilometer road trip from Metro Manila to Palaui Island, a piece of paradise awaits you in the Babuyan Channel in northeastern Luzon.

The 2,439-hectare Palaui Island offers a virtually untouched landscape of grass meadows, rice fields and thick tropical forests, enclosed by a 10-km shoreline with stretches of white sand and coral beaches, mangroves and jagged rock formations.

Last year, its beaches were ranked by the US-based media company CNN 10th best in the world for their “raw beauty.”

“[It is where] glorious white sands meet volcanic rocks and blue-green waters topside, while coral gardens and a rich marine reserve meet divers under the surface,” CNN said on its website.

When 65-year-old basket weaver Catalina Baloloy, her husband, Sixto, and their four children moved out of Camiguin Island in the Babuyan Channel in 1986, all they hoped for was to find a better life in one of the towns of Cagayan province.

As their boat reached Port San Vicente in Santa Ana town on a clear Sunday noon, they were captivated by the beauty of Palaui Island.

“As we approached the port, our attention was glued to the beautiful island to our left, captivated by the view of the mountains and the thick forest that covered them. In an instant, we decided we wanted to live here,” Catalina said.
Palaui Island has since become the Baloloys’ home.

The same attractions lured other villagers here who have chosen to settle in Palaui, joining a small Agta community decades ago.

They are the residents of Punta Verde, a sub-village of about 100 households and the only inhabited portion on the southwest edge of the island that has been declared a marine reserve.

But it seems nature has a grand design to put Palaui Island in a remote location because this deters a possible tourist invasion, something that officials of the local government and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) are wary about.

Remote location

“Much as we would like to promote it, we are also aware of any possible abuse due to the anticipated heavy volume of visitors. Besides, we need to provide more amenities so that tourists who have high expectations from all the publicity will not be disappointed once they get here,” said Santa Ana Mayor Darwin Tobias.

Grace Berbano-Ruiz, who heads the Ceza tourism promotions department, said they deliberately made the prices of tour packages a bit steep in order to regulate the arrival of visitors and stop the exploitation of the island’s tourism potentials.

“We had to consider the high value of the [tourism] product that we are offering here, so the prices are also higher than usual,” she said.

The island can accommodate 175 people on a single day, so she said they had to limit the number of visitors.

Jump-off point

To reach Palaui Island, visitors may also take commercial flights to the Cagayan capital of Tuguegarao City and a three-hour drive to Santa Ana. The road reaches a dead end at the San Vicente fish port, the jump-off point to the island.

From the fish port, visitors can drop by the tourist information center where they can be briefed on what the island has to offer before they take a 30-minute boat ride to Palaui.

Natural wonders

The island’s main attraction is Cape Engaño, located on the northern tip of the island, which boasts of a white coral beach laid out on a cove and an 18th-century lighthouse on top of a hill overlooking the northeastern edges of the island.

Health buffs can have an exciting and refreshing workout by taking the climb to the top of the hill for a closer look at the lighthouse, named Faro Cabo de Engaño, which was declared an “important cultural property” by the National Museum in 2010.

Once at the top, one can gaze at the surrounding scenery, including a bird’s-eye view of nearby Dos Hermanas islets.

The cape has become a favorite picnic ground of visitors while the surrounding waters and coral formations are perfect venues for snorkeling.

The white sand beaches of Siwangag Cove, one of the filming locations for the international reality television show “Survivor,” and Punta Verde are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Trekking adventure

But a visit to the island will not be complete without visitors going on a trekking adventure, with the locals as guides. Visitors are required to engage the services of a tour guide for a fee of P300 for a group of four.

Diomeden Gagote, 37, a local guide, said guests could choose between two trails, which start from Punta Verde and end at Cape Engaño.

Recommended for beginners is the Lagunzad trail, a two- to three-hour trek through the forest and seaside. The more difficult Leonardo trail, which cuts through the island’s thick forests and steep climbs, is intended for more experienced backpackers.

On both trails, trekkers can make a side trip to the island’s “hidden” secret, the three-tiered Baratubot Falls, one of several on the island.

“One thing that’s always disappointing is when guests try to throw their trash anywhere during the trek. We never allow them to do that, so we ask them to dispose off their garbage properly,” Gagote said.

The tour offers instant lessons, courtesy of the tour guide, on the endemic flora and fauna on the island. A group of about 40 villagers, which has since been organized into a cooperative, is brushing up on birdwatching skills to enrich the visitors’ experiences in future engagements.

Modest accommodations

The island offers modest accommodations, which may be a boon or bane, depending on the visitors’ preference.

Those looking for decent and deluxe amenities for an overnight stay on the island may be in for disappointment because these can be found only in downtown Santa Ana.

But Palaui is perfect for those wanting a peaceful, relaxing sleep, without the amenities of modern living, like electricity, cable TV or Internet access.

Overnight accommodations are offered only at Nature Village, a 2,100-square-meter open space in Punta Verde, with four cottages that were donated to the islanders by the producers of “Survivor.” The crew stayed six months on the island for two seasons of the show.

Guests may also opt to pitch a tent and camp overnight at the grassy open space, surrounded by coconut trees.

“One thing we have always been proud of here is the peacefulness of the place. Visitors need not worry about their security while they are here because locals will not do anything to drive them away,” said Charlie Acebedo, 49, the Nature Village caretaker.

While in the village, visitors may also try the native cuisine through services provided by the Palaui Island Women’s Catering Association.

Relaxing massage

Guests who are tired from the long travel or from the day’s trekking or snorkeling may opt to enjoy a relaxing massage, also courtesy of the village women.

“We want to have more training programs so that we can perform other forms of massage,” said Elyn Gagote, president of the Island Spa, the locals’ name for their massage services.

Added learning adventures for visitors include catching a glimpse of the Palaui way of life, such as the making of the indigenous Dorsata honey of Agta natives and the pandan-weaving by the women of the community who turn out colorful baskets, bags and other handicraft items for sale.

“The weaving sessions have become bonding moments for our members while sharing jokes or listening to music from members with cell phones that have music players,” said Felisa Dollente, 52, president of the Pandan Weavers’ Association of Palaui.

Why the Philippines is the place to be this summer By INQUIRER.net
5:00 pm | Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – When you live in a country that fuses together urban sophistication, impressive skylines, gorgeous beaches and the friendliest people on this side of the world, it’s hard not to look forward to it at its finest – during the summer.

Yes, the Philippines boasts some of the most exciting prospects for the summer, so before you book that trip to the Maldives or Ibiza, here are few reasons to make you stay in the Philippines for the summer holidays.

1. You can go back in time
Well, okay – it doesn’t literally mean going back in time, but the Philippines is home to some of the most historic spots in the world! Corregidor Island, for one, is guaranteed to transport you back into the Second World War with its perfectly maintained Malinta Tunnel and Pacific War Memorial, among others. But if that’s not up your alley, fear not – there are many other options to satisfy your craving for exciting history. There’s also Mactan Island to check out Magellan’s Cross, or Fort Santiago to be a witness to the heroics of our countrymen during the Spanish era.



2. You can finally catch that perfect wave
Even Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers can attest to this – the Philippines boasts some of the best surf spots in the world. Be sure to check out Siargao Island for a thrilling adventure that will surely be the talk of the town for whole of the summer. CNN agrees too – the Cloud Nine surfing hotspot on Siargao is among their Top 50 Best Surf Spots in the World. Now why would you want to miss out on that?

3. The food (Oh yes, the food)
From the sisig of Pampanga to the lechon of Cebu, there is no end to the culinary feast that The Philippines can bring. Yes, the Philippines is home to a wide range of quality dishes – both local and international fare. Whether it’s a frosty glass of halo-halo by the beach that you’re craving for, or a sumptuous lechon dinner at the heart of the city, or a quick 2-piece chicken meal from Jollibee, the Philippines has it – and so much more.

4. We have some of the best beaches ever
The summer is the perfect time to hit up the beaches around the Philippines – and there are just so many to choose from. There’s the gorgeous Bohol for one of the most scenic destinations in the country, exciting Boracay Island for the partygoers and socializers and beautiful Palawan for some of the most exotic and solitary beaches in the Philippines. Local travel website tripmoba.com has some enticing travel packages for many of the country’s top beach destinations, and it’s so simple to use – a few clicks and you’re in for a summer holiday you won’t ever forget.



5. The list never ends
The Philippines never seems to run out of things to do – whether it’s going on a hike up Mt. Pinatubo, riding horses in Baguio or partying the night away around The Fort or Capitol Commons. Yes, the Philippines offers a widely extensive list of things to do, making it the perfect summer destination for families, colleagues and friends alike.

6. There’s always something to do for everyone
You don’t have to worry about mom getting bored or your youngest brother getting restless this summer – there are so many things to do across many different age groups, and now that it’s summer, there’s even more time to do it. tripmoba.com has a wide range of flights, hotels and experience packages that cater to many different ages and interests, and all it takes is a click of a button.

The up-and-coming Filipino website is so efficient that it’ll take just a few minutes to get your dream destination started.

The Philippines is really a melting pot of diversity – among people, cultures and natural wonders alike, and this summer, the country is set to take centre stage and show the world why it really is more fun in the Philippines.
So, share with us your trips and summer stories with #anongtripmo. We’d love to hear from you.

FROM PHILSTAR, THE FREEMAN

7T homeless in Lorega fire By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento, Flor Z. Perolina & Niña S. Abenoja (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 19, 2014 - 12:00am 2 139 googleplus1 0


Huge flames engulf houses in Barangay Lorega-San Miguel. REYNAN VILLENA

CEBU, Philippines - Around 7,000 people were left homeless after an estimated 500 houses in eight sitios were destroyed by a fire that hit Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, Cebu City, yesterday afternoon.

According to the Bureau of Fire Protection the fire alarm was received around 4:57 p.m. The affected sitios were Lawis, Kamansi, Seares, San Roque, Laguna, Laray, Quadrangle and Itum-yuta.

Councilor Dave Tumulak, also head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said the victims comprise 1,500 families or roughly 40 percent of the barangays population.

The BFP said the fire was declared under control around 7:26 p.m. They are still conducting an investigation where and how the fire started; however, it allegedly began at the house of a certain Bobby Hortezano.

A man was looking for his 10-year-old daughter, Jaira Gutual, who went missing during the fire. A burned body was later found among the ruins but it could not be determined yet if it was human or animal.

Elvis Nella, who lives in the house of his aunt in Sitio Lawis, said that they believe the fire started in Sitio Kamansi. He said the fire broke out an hour after he arrived from work.

Nella said he now plans to stay in their house in Talisay City since his aunt’s house was among those that were destroyed. The barangay hall, chapel and sports complex of Lorega were partially burned by the fire.

The affected families will be temporarily sheltered in the Barangay T. Padilla gym, the Day-as gym, the Zapatera gym and the Zapatera Elementary School.

Mandaue fire

In Mandaue City, two car surplus dealerships and a restaurant also went up in flames in Sitio Telecom, Barangay Casuntingan yesterday afternoon.

The Mandaue City Fire Department received the alarm at 2:55 p.m. and declared it under control 40 minutes after they arrived at the scene. It was raised to Task Force Alpha at 3:10 p.m. as per assessment.

More than 20 fire trucks from nearby cities and towns arrived at the fire scene and converged at Hernan Cortes St.

Fire marshal Senior Insp. Joel Abarquez could not yet officially pinpoint where the fire originated as of press time pending further investigation, but witnesses claimed the fire originated at the interior portion of JID Surplus Compound and spread to the adjacent 2-Way Car Surplus to the north portion and to Pampas Grill and Restaurant with Videoke rooms and billiard halls.

The fire also partially damaged the house of the owner of Pampas Grill.

JID Surplus manager Joseph Oliver Wenceslao doesn’t believe the fire started from their surplus center as there their electrical wirings are still in place and their car batteries were also stored separately.

However, Abarquez said video taken by a witness shows the fire started at JID Surplus, but he will still call representatives of both surplus shops to determine where the fire really began.

No injuries or casualties were reported, Abarquez estimated the damage at between P1 million to P3 million as there were cars destroyed. —/BRP (FREEMAN)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Banana plantation to rise around Maguindanao massacre site March 22, 2014 6:16pm 52 16 0 70



COURTESY OF PHILSTAR: Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu (middle), Michael Coote (left) and Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan town show the agreement binding them and all local and foreign benefactors, to cooperate in putting up a multi-million 1,500-hectare Cavendish banana plantation in the province. (John Unson)

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao - The area surrounding the site of the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre will soon be converted into a cavendish banana plantation, part of a bid to turn Ampatuan town into an agro-economic zone.

Land owners, the municipal government of Ampatuan, the provincial government of Maguindanao, Malaysia’s Univex, and its local counterpart Al Mujahidun Agro Resources Development Inc. (ARMADI) signed a memorandum of agreement on Friday.

With this development, the once barren land will soon become greener and will bustle with more economic activity with the multimillion-peso investment that the agreement will bring.

Aside from the banana plantation, the project will also put up a halal banana processing plant, a science and technology school, a hospital, a huge warehouse and playground, a mosque and other facilities.

The investors plan to initially open 6,000 hectares for the plantation with a capital of US$2,800.00 per hectare, and will offer priority employment preference for land owners.

“As a primary victim myself and now serving the province as their governor, we wanted the people to remember that we have no desire for bloody revenge [and] we are transforming the nightmare from that place," Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, guest speaker at the signing.

Ampatuan Mayor Rasul Sangki Jr., one of the witnesses to the massacre and whose clan owns most of the land that will be planted with bananas, said the project will change the image of their town.

“Our investors are Muslims too and they are generous that they decided to invest here, to bring hope to people...around 2000 new jobs are coming”, investor Gonzalo Ornadena, representing Malaysia's Univex, said.

Makmod Mending Jr., secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, described the joint venture as an “added boost” to the P2.4 billion in agricultural projects that the government has lined up for the region this year.

Mending added that he learned that some of the lands covered by the project are owned by families of combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

He said, the venture complements governments efforts to bring members of the MILF into the mainstream. The MILF is set to sign a final peace agreement with the government on March 27. — Ferdinandh Cabrera/JDS, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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