PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

TYPHOON 'DODONG' MAKES LANDFALL IN STA ANA, CAGAYAN


MAY 10 ---Typhoon Dodong made landfall at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday (May 10) over Pananapan point in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Province.
Typhoon Dodong (international name: Noul) made landfall over Pananapan point in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Province Sunday afternoon (May 10) – lashing the said town with near-super typhoon strength. Dodong intensified into a category five storm by international standards on Sunday, packing winds of up to 185 kph (115 mph) near the center and gusts of up to 220 kph. In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said that Typhoon Dodong has made landfall around 4:45 p.m. and is expected to make another landfall in the Batanes area on Sunday evening. As of posting time, the following public storm warning signals remain in effect: Signal No. 4 •Northeastern Cagayan •Batanes •Babuyan •Calayan Group of Islands Signal No. 3 •Rest of Cagayan •Apayao •Isabela Signal No. 2 •Northern Aurora •Kalinga •Mt. Province •Ifugao •Ilocos Norte •Abra Signal No. 1 •Rest of Aurora •Ilocos Sur •Quirino Typhoon’s wrath  READ MORE...

ALSO: Stormy Mother’s Day


MAY 10 ---Stranded passengers at Tabaco Port in Albay on Sunday May 10, 2015, jostle for their turn to board a passenger vessel bound for Catanduanes, after the Philippine Coast Guard lifted the suspension of all inter-island trips due to threat of Typhoon Dodong. PAGASA's early morning update indicated that landfall may occur over Cagayan area in north Luzon, Sunday afternoon. Danny Pata 
Storm signals up as ‘Dodong’ set to hit land today It’s Mother’s Day today, but it seems like our not so dear “Dodong” is stealing the show. Three areas in Luzon —Cagayan, Isabela and northern Aurora —were placed on Saturday under storm signal No. 3 as Typhoon Dodong (Noul) drew near the nation’s eastern coast. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) called on those in the eastern section of Luzon to refrain from venturing outdoors on Saturday and Sunday they could be swamped by large waves as Typhoon “Dodong” (international name Noul) drew closer. As of 5 p.m. Saturday “Dodong” was tracked moving west-northwest at a slower 18 kph although it maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph and gustiness of up to 195 kph. The storm was located 350 east of Infanta, Quezon as of 4 p.m. Saturday. READ MORE...

VELOSO's MOTHER: ‘It’s the mother in me, the pain in my heart, I’m sorry’ [Veloso grudgingly gave Mr. Aquino some credit. “What he did was not enough. But if he did something, even if it was too late, then thank you.” She added: “If government took care of Mary Jane’s case immediately, she might have been set free (earlier). Or at least, she won’t be on death row,”] Veloso said.


MAY 10 ---REMORSEFUL BUT … Celia Veloso sheds a tear as she explains the harsh words she uttered against President Aquino. EDWIN BACASMAS If only to save her daughter, Celia Veloso is willing to offer her life.
“It’s because of all the pain my heart, here,” she said in Filipino, her hand on her chest. She did not exactly apologize for her harsh words against President Benigno Aquino III when the family returned from Jakarta, Indonesia, but Celia acknowledged that lack of sleep, fatigue and emotional exhaustion might have led her to say the wrong word that earned the ire of Netizens on social media last week. More than anything, Veloso said, it was a mother’s heart that spoke that day and candidly revealed her true feelings. “I am sorry. It must have been me just being a parent,” she said. “As I’ve said before, I will do anything for my daughter. Even in Indonesia, I said that they can execute me, just send my daughter home,” Veloso added. Despite her plea for understanding, the older woman stood by the sentiments she expressed last week and largely blamed slow government action for her daughter’s death sentence. READ MORE...

ALSO: Malaysian JIs, Abus fly ISIS flags in Basilan


MAY 9 ---File photo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three Malaysian militants linked with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and their Abu Sayyaf cohorts were seen flying the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a remote Basilan town to get support from the international terror group, security officials said yesterday. Government forces had recovered two black flags, known as “shahada” by the ISIS, in Tuburan town. Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, chief of staff of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) and Joint Task Force Zambasulta, said the three Malaysian militants and Abu Sayyaf hoisted the flags at Sitio Project, Barangay Tuburan. Trinidad identified the three Malaysian militants as Mohammad Najib Bin alias Anas, Muhammad Joraime bin Awang Rainei alias Jandal and Mahmud bin Alih alias Handzalah Doc. Trinidad said the three foreign militants – experts in explosives – escaped from Malaysia and sought refuge with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan. He said government forces and militiamen encountered the group early Thursday, triggering a firefight that left two Abu Sayyaf killed. The three Malaysians were able to escape, leaving behind the two ISIS flags. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palani Beach: Masbate’s healing paradise

MAY 10 ---JUST LIKE BORACAY But without the congestion, the little-known treasure in Balud, Masbate, also boasts of a 10-km stretch of white sand beach with pristine waters only waist-deep even at 500 meters from the shore. MARC ALVIC ESPLANA/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

BALUD, Masbate, Philippines—It’s been there since anyone can remember, a 10-kilometer stretch of white beach in a secluded cove with a charming sunset kept secret by a range of rolling hills.

An hour-and-a-half drive from Masbate City, over a 68-km concrete road between grassy rolling uplands where grazing white Australian Brahmans look like marshmallows strewn over the hills, Palani Beach emerges only after negotiating another 2.5 km of rough dirt road.

The beach is located in Balud, a fifth-class municipality of 32 barangays on the southwestern tip of the Masbate peninsula that subsists on coconut farming and fishing in a land of large cattle ranches.

Palani’s sandy beach is wide and long enough to host a national beach football competition with 51 teams joining from different universities and football clubs in the country. The local government of Balud and the Filminera mining company sponsored the event that was held last April 16.

Palani Beach is a “paradise free from the blight of congestion in popular white-beach destinations,” said Willy Abesamis, the owner of the newly opened Paraiso del Palani resort.

ALSO: PH envoy killed in chopper crash; TALIBAN CLAIMS SHOOTING DOWN AIRCRAFT
[The Pakistan embassy official ruled out possibility of terrorism in the tragedy and said the crash occurred due to technical failure of the engine of the helicopter].


MAY 8 ---Philippine ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr. .
A Pakistani military helicopter crashed Friday, killing six people, including Philippine ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr. The Pakistani Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter as part of a plot to kill Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Lucenario was killed along with the Norwegian envoy Leif H. Larsen, the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors, as well as the helicopter’s two pilots, according to official tweets by the army. Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish and Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink were also injured, the army said. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to release a statement on the incident as of 6 p.m. last night, but an official who requested that he not be named confirmed that Lucenario was among the fatalities. A picture showing DFA officials and employees gathered before the flagpole of the home office as Marine soldiers rendering a salute was posted on the social media account of a diplomat. The picture was captioned: “Sad day for the Philippine foreign service as it mourns loss of Ambassador Domingo Lucenario Jr. who perished in a helicopter crash in Pakistan today.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: Malaysia offers help to end Mindanao war


MAY 10---An emissary from the Malaysian government was sent to the Sultanate of Sulu to discuss ways on how to end the old war in Mindanao. This was confirmed by Datu Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu, during the weekly Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City.He said the emissary went to the sultanate to discuss possible cooperation to end the long “war” in the regaion.Idjirani said the sultanate has given the emissary of Malaysia conditions for peaceful solution to the conflict. Among the conditions were the installation of the sultanate in Sabah, power sharing and a form of government similar to that of England where there is so-called House of Commons. The idea is a Parliamentary form of government but there would be two houses to make sure all those with lineage of the sultanate will be protected. He said talks about payment should not be brought up because they are the real owners of Sabah and they have people there that are being persecuted.Idjirani said that with the estimated $1-billion income of Sabah per annum, the sultanate is looking for a share of 10 to 15 percent not only for the family of the sultanate but also for the people of Sabah and refugees in the area that hailed from Sulu. The spokesman of the Sultanate disclosed they recently got reports that the Eastern Sabah Security Command rounded up Filipinos of Sulu ancestry in the area while praying. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

'Dodong' makes landfall in Cagayan


Typhoon Dodong made landfall at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday (May 10) over Pananapan point in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Province.

MANILA, MAY 11, 2015 (CNN PHILIPPINES) By Louie U. Navarro, Updated 23:15 PM PHT Sun, May 10, 2015 - Typhoon Dodong (international name: Noul) made landfall over Pananapan point in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Province Sunday afternoon (May 10) – lashing the said town with near-super typhoon strength.

Dodong intensified into a category five storm by international standards on Sunday, packing winds of up to 185 kph (115 mph) near the center and gusts of up to 220 kph.

In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said that Typhoon Dodong has made landfall around 4:45 p.m. and is expected to make another landfall in the Batanes area on Sunday evening.

As of posting time, the following public storm warning signals remain in effect:

Signal No. 4 •Northeastern Cagayan •Batanes •Babuyan •Calayan Group of Islands

Signal No. 3 •Rest of Cagayan •Apayao •Isabela

Signal No. 2 •Northern Aurora •Kalinga •Mt. Province •Ifugao •Ilocos Norte •Abra

Signal No. 1 •Rest of Aurora •Ilocos Sur •Quirino

Typhoon’s wrath

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Prior to its landfall, Dodong pounded the rice-producing province of Cagayan about 400 km (250 miles) north of Manila, with ferocious winds and torrential rains within the typhoon’s 100 km diameter, prompting PAGASA to warn local folks in parts of the Cagayan Valley of possible landslides and flash floods.

More than 1,200 residents from vulnerable areas were relocated earlier to evacuation centers. Affected families in the towns of Sta. Ana, Buguey, Sta. Teresita, Gonzaga, and Aparri were already evacuated less than two hours before Dodong made landfall.

Power was cut in Tuguegarao City, the capital of Cagayan province, on Sunday, a report from Reuters said.

The rough seas caused by the storm prompted many vessels ships to take shelter in ports, leaving more than 5,000 people stranded across the nation, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).

Cebu Pacific cancelled at least six domestic flights to the north.

"We strongly advise preemptive evacuation while we still have time, and we expect there will be a confluence of events – a high tide, heavy rainfall in the mountains, the possibility of a storm surge and strong winds," NDRRMC chief Alexander Pama told a news briefing before the typhoon hit land.

Provincial officials have alerted rescue units and positioned relief goods. Government trucks were also readied to ferry people away from low-lying and flood-prone areas.

Storm track

Based on PAGASA’s 10 p.m. weather advisory, the eye of Typhoon Dodong was last spotted at 100 km east northeast of Aparri, Cagayan.

Forecast positions:

• 24 hour (Monday afternoon): 170km north-northeast of Basco, Batanes

• 48 hour (Tuesday afternoon): 830 km northeast of Basco, Batanes (outside PAR)

• 72 hour (Wednesday afternoon): 2,260 km northeast of Basco, Batanes (outside PAR)

With its current speed and movement, Dodong will likely exit the Philippine territory by Tuesday morning (May 12) as it heads toward Japan.

"The weather is deteriorating quite rapidly. It's obvious that the typhoon is moving in very quickly," said storm chaser James Reynolds in Santa Ana hours before the typhoon made landfall.

Farmers wanted rain

Dodong entered the Philippines at a time when a volcano, Mount Bulusan, has been spewing ash in southern Luzon.

Farmers in Luzon had been hoping the storm would weaken while still providing much needed rains after a dry spell in the region, according to the charity World Vision.

But the storm has only got stronger and looks set to bring extreme amounts of rain to some areas.

Situated in a vulnerable part of the Pacific, the Philippines experiences an average of 20 typhoons a year, five of them destructive, according to the Asian Disaster Reduction Center. CNN's Jethro Mullen, Faith Karimi, Derek Van Dam, and Reuters contributed to this report.


PHILSTAR

Stormy Mother’s Day May 10, 2015 12:08 am


Stranded passengers at Tabaco Port in Albay on Sunday May 10, 2015, jostle for their turn to board a passenger vessel bound for Catanduanes, after the Philippine Coast Guard lifted the suspension of all inter-island trips due to threat of Typhoon Dodong. PAGASA's early morning update indicated that landfall may occur over Cagayan area in north Luzon, Sunday afternoon. Danny Pata

Storm signals up as ‘Dodong’ set to hit land today It’s Mother’s Day today, but it seems like our not so dear “Dodong” is stealing the show.

Three areas in Luzon —Cagayan, Isabela and northern Aurora —were placed on Saturday under storm signal No. 3 as Typhoon Dodong (Noul) drew near the nation’s eastern coast.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) called on those in the eastern section of Luzon to refrain from venturing outdoors on Saturday and Sunday they could be swamped by large waves as Typhoon “Dodong” (international name Noul) drew closer.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday “Dodong” was tracked moving west-northwest at a slower 18 kph although it maintained its strength with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph and gustiness of up to 195 kph.

The storm was located 350 east of Infanta, Quezon as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

READ MORE...
Pagasa said storm surges may reach up to 2 meters high, especially off the eastern coast of Camarines Sur, Quezon, Isabela, and Cagayan.

Areas under Signal No. 2 include: Calayan and Babuyan Islands, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, rest of Aurora, Polillo Island, Catanduanes and Quirino while placed under Signal No. 1 include: Batanes, Abra, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Benguet, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar

Pagasa said “Dodong” is likely to make landfall over Isabela and Cagayan early Sunday and is likely to exit the landmass via Aparri, Cagayan on Sunday afternoon, then exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Monday evening.

“It is advised to refrain from outdoor activities particularly along beaches of the eastern section of Luzon starting today (Saturday) until tomorrow (Sunday),” Pagasa said in its 11 a.m. advisory.

The typhoon is set to smash into a small cluster of coastal towns in Luzon early Sunday bringing with it maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers an hour, the state weather service said.

“Our advice is for people on the eastern seaboard to avoid outdoor activities,” state weather forecaster Fernando Cada said, while adding there was a possibility the typhoon could weaken as it nears land.

Storm surges — tsunami-like waves generated by powerful typhoons — that could reach 8.2 feet in height are forecast in Isabela province and two other areas of Luzon, he added.

He said heavy rain that could trigger floods and landslides was also forecast near the eye of the storm, which is forecast to veer northeast towards southern Taiwan after running into Luzon’s mountain ranges.

The coast guard said it has shut down ferry services on the threatened areas, leaving nearly 6,000 commuters stranded at ports according to a tally by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Several hundred people living at a farming hamlet below the restive Bulusan volcano in Sorsogon province were also evacuated Friday due to the potential threat of mudflows from accumulated ash deposits on its slopes.

Apart from people in the Bulusan area, no one else has been evacuated from areas threatened by “Dodong,” civil defense officials in these regions said.

“These people are trained to leave on short notice,” Norma Talosig, civil defense chief for the northeastern Philippines told AFP.

Over the next few hours, municipal mayors in these areas will decide whether evacuations are necessary, the state weather forecaster added.

Malacañang meanwhile gave assurances that national government agencies are fully coordinating with local government units in preparing for the onslaught of typhoon “Dodong”.

“Our national government agencies are conducting full coordination with our local governments because the advice to them really was to ensure that they are ready and are monitoring the typhoon’s track through Pagasa,” Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan. WITH REINA TOLENTINO, AFP AND PNA


INQUIRER

‘It’s the mother in me, the pain in my heart, I’m sorry’ Tarra Quismundo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:02 AM | Sunday, May 10th, 2015


REMORSEFUL BUT … Celia Veloso sheds a tear as she explains the harsh words she uttered against President Aquino. EDWIN BACASMAS 

If only to save her daughter, Celia Veloso is willing to offer her life.

“It’s because of all the pain my heart, here,” she said in Filipino, her hand on her chest.

She did not exactly apologize for her harsh words against President Benigno Aquino III when the family returned from Jakarta, Indonesia, but Celia acknowledged that lack of sleep, fatigue and emotional exhaustion might have led her to say the wrong word that earned the ire of Netizens on social media last week.

More than anything, Veloso said, it was a mother’s heart that spoke that day and candidly revealed her true feelings.

“I am sorry. It must have been me just being a parent,” she said. “As I’ve said before, I will do anything for my daughter. Even in Indonesia, I said that they can execute me, just send my daughter home,” Veloso added.

Despite her plea for understanding, the older woman stood by the sentiments she expressed last week and largely blamed slow government action for her daughter’s death sentence.

READ MORE...
On May 1, three days after Mary Jane Veloso was granted a last-minute reprieve—the only death convict out of nine saved from a firing squad for drug trafficking in Indonesia—the elder Veloso joined a Labor Day protest rally and lambasted the Aquino government for her daughter’s fate.

“Dumating na kami dito sa Pilipinas para maningil. Maniningil kami … sa gobyerno dahil hanggang sa huli, niloko pa rin kami (We came home to collect from the government that, until the end, had tricked us),” Veloso said, adding that President Aquino had been claiming credit for saving her daughter’s life.

Her words immediately provoked stinging rebukes on Twitter and Facebook, with most postings calling the 55-year-old Veloso an “ingrate.”

READ: Velosos home with KO punch at Aquino /

READ ; Netizens: #Firing squad for Celia Veloso

Many said they’d lost sympathy for the Velosos, while some theorized that the family had been “brainwashed” by militant groups. Not a few suggested that the elder Veloso, instead of Mary Jane, be executed.

Scripted?

Asked if she was fed the words to say onstage during that May 1 rally, a visibly agitated Veloso protested.

“I may be uneducated (walang pinag-aralan), but I have my own mind. I am the one who experienced, who saw, and felt everything that happened,” said the mother of five.

The Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, native, reached only sixth grade in school as she had to work on a farm to make a living. Years of tilling the soil had left her with fingernails that were chipped, swollen and discolored.

Husband Cesar and their five children similarly quit school early, with none of them finishing high school because the family had too little to get by.

Since Mary Jane’s arrest in April 2010, the family has been mostly out of work. They used to buy and sell small plastic kitchen implements, but following up the younger Veloso’s case had taken up most of their time.

So far, the family has been subsisting on the kindness of friends and supporters. Veloso said her daughter’s fellow inmates and even the prison security staff have been beyond generous in giving them help, funding their visits to Indonesia and giving them clothes and pasalubong (homecoming gifts).

Indonesian benefactors

Veloso pointed to the matching earth-tone top-and-bottom pair she was wearing during the Inquirer visit, and said it came from the family’s Indonesian benefactors. Her husband’s red Yogyakarta shirt, printed with the message “Peace, Love and Harmony,” was also among their gifts. Everyone in the family received handmade rosaries and silver necklaces with a crucifix pendant courtesy of their Indonesian friends, she added.

“Ang dami na nga ho naming utang (We owe a lot),” Veloso said with a candid smile.

She and her husband laughed when their Inquirer inquisitors teased them with their earlier quote: “Kayo naman ho ang sinisingil (So now you’re being asked to pay back).”

Wrong word to use

In retrospect, Veloso admitted it might have been the wrong word to use.

“Mali lang ang sabi ko na ‘paniningil.’ (It was a mistake to use the word ‘collect’),” she told a group of Inquirer editors and reporters in an interview on Thursday night.

“The government committed a lot of mistakes. The truth is, if my daughter’s execution had pushed through in April (among the many dates initially set), we would never have felt President Aquino’s presence. He really did nothing at the time,” Veloso said.

Reminded that the President did talk to Indonesian President Joko Widodo about the possibility of Mary Jane turning witness against the drug syndicate that tricked her into carrying the luggage hand-sewn with hidden packets of heroine, Veloso grudgingly gave Mr. Aquino some credit. “What he did was not enough. But if he did something, even if it was too late, then thank you.”

She added: “If government took care of Mary Jane’s case immediately, she might have been set free (earlier). Or at least, she won’t be on death row,” Veloso said.


PHILSTAR

Malaysian JIs, Abus fly ISIS flags in Basilan By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 9, 2015 - 12:00am


File photo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three Malaysian militants linked with the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and their Abu Sayyaf cohorts were seen flying the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a remote Basilan town to get support from the international terror group, security officials said yesterday.

Government forces had recovered two black flags, known as “shahada” by the ISIS, in Tuburan town.

Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad, chief of staff of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) and Joint Task Force Zambasulta, said the three Malaysian militants and Abu Sayyaf hoisted the flags at Sitio Project, Barangay Tuburan.

Trinidad identified the three Malaysian militants as Mohammad Najib Bin alias Anas, Muhammad Joraime bin Awang Rainei alias Jandal and Mahmud bin Alih alias Handzalah Doc.

Trinidad said the three foreign militants – experts in explosives – escaped from Malaysia and sought refuge with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan.

READ MORE...
He said government forces and militiamen encountered the group early Thursday, triggering a firefight that left two Abu Sayyaf killed. The three Malaysians were able to escape, leaving behind the two ISIS flags.

“These flags have been flying in Tuburan,” according to Trinidad.

“But from our assessment it is not sanctioned by the foreign group but the locals are trying to get support,” he said.

The Abu Sayyaf led by Isnilon Hapilon had openly pledged allegiance to the ISIS.

The military could not immediately say if those black flags were the same ones used by the group of Hapilon.

Troops also recovered two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) rigged in the area. – With Jose Rodel Clapano


INQUIRER

Palani Beach: Masbate’s healing paradise Juan Escandor Jr. @inquirerdotnet Inquirer Southern Luzon 1:22 AM | Sunday, May 10th, 2015


JUST LIKE BORACAY But without the congestion, the little-known treasure in Balud, Masbate, also boasts of a 10-km stretch of white sand beach with pristine waters only waist-deep even at 500 meters from the shore. MARC ALVIC ESPLANA/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

BALUD, Masbate, Philippines—It’s been there since anyone can remember, a 10-kilometer stretch of white beach in a secluded cove with a charming sunset kept secret by a range of rolling hills.

An hour-and-a-half drive from Masbate City, over a 68-km concrete road between grassy rolling uplands where grazing white Australian Brahmans look like marshmallows strewn over the hills, Palani Beach emerges only after negotiating another 2.5 km of rough dirt road.

The beach is located in Balud, a fifth-class municipality of 32 barangays on the southwestern tip of the Masbate peninsula that subsists on coconut farming and fishing in a land of large cattle ranches.

Palani’s sandy beach is wide and long enough to host a national beach football competition with 51 teams joining from different universities and football clubs in the country. The local government of Balud and the Filminera mining company sponsored the event that was held last April 16.

Palani Beach is a “paradise free from the blight of congestion in popular white-beach destinations,” said Willy Abesamis, the owner of the newly opened Paraiso del Palani resort.

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Abesamis had spent years in Manila as a banking executive but retired because the atmosphere in the city made him sick.

Palani, he said, offered a contrast with its “healing” environment.

Abesamis and his partner, Grace Dalidad, own a 1.5-hectare beachfront property that they bought two years ago from relatives of Grace and developed into a resort. They held a “soft launch” for the resort on April 15, just as visitors were streaming into Masbate City for the Rodeo Festival.

It took about a year to clear the thickets on their beachfront property before Abesamis and Dalidad could start constructing accommodation facilities.

Abesamis, who often visited Boracay before it became the country’s most popular white beach, found Palani to resemble the Boracay of the time when it had not yet been overrun by revelers.

In fact, Boracay can be seen as a small dot facing Palani Beach to the east across the Jintotolo Channel that connects the Sibuyan and Visayan Seas. It takes three hours by pump boat to cross over from Palani to Boracay via the waters off Roxas City on Panay Island.

Palani Beach is “swimmer-friendly” since its sandy beach falls gradually to the sea, with the water only waist-deep even at 500 meters from the shoreline, according to Abesamis.

Families with children would have fun because of the long stretch of shallow water and white sand beach to romp in, he said.

On a full moon, the glistening waters dance off a swimmer’s body and the water is so clear that one can see one’s feet on the sandy bottom, said Dalida, who enjoys relaxing on a hammock tied to a talisay tree on the beach on moonlit nights.

As of now, Palani Beach has remained unspoiled because of its very remoteness.

But Abesamis foresees the need for owners of the new resorts sprouting on the beach to agree on the kind of structures to be built and to adopt a waste-disposal system to save the beach from pollution.

The government of Balud Mayor Ruben Jude Lim wants to promote Palani Beach into a top tourist destination, according to Emilio Abelita, a consultant to the mayor.

It was Abelita’s idea for Balud to host the national beach football competition where 500 participants played in the boys and girls’ under-17 events.

The participants came from Masbate, Negros Oriental, Albay and Boracay. There were also competitors from Manila schools like De La Salle University, Far Eastern University, University of Santo Tomas and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and football clubs from various parts of the country.


BUNTOD SANBAR AND REEF

Players Jay Saulog 9; Christian Bangayan, 14; and Gabriel Lauer, 10, were excited when they arrived at Palani Beach by boat on the afternoon of April 15.

“It is our first time here in Masbate and the more than five-hour travel is all worth it,” they said.

Saulog and Lauer played in the elementary category, while Bangayan competed in the under-17 category. All three represented Team Boracay.

Bangayan found Palani Beach to be so much like Boracay, except that Boracay “tends to be always crowded” while Palani “seems to be peaceful,” he said.

Abelita said the local government hoped to promote Palani by word of mouth and its hosting of the beach football event was the initial come-on for visitors.

The government is considering holding a competition with international participants next year, he said.

There are daily flights from Manila to Masbate City, from where buses, jeepneys and utility vans can be taken to Balud town, with fares ranging from P70 to P75 per person.

Ten kilometers before reaching the Balud town proper, there is an access road to the right of the national highway going to Palani Beach. Here habal-habal motorcycles can be hired for P30 per person to get to the beach.

For a more comfortable ride, a 10-passenger van can be rented from Masbate City for P4,000 (round trip).

The budget traveler could take the bus from Manila to Pilar, Sorsogon, where a fast craft to Masbate City leaves at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 noon daily. The fast-craft journey from Pilar takes one-and-a-half hour, compared to the three to four hours via the roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) vessel. With a report from Virn Ivy del Valle


MANILA TIMES

PH envoy killed in chopper crash; TALIBAN CLAIMS SHOOTING DOWN AIRCRAFT May 8, 2015 11:34 pm by AFP WITH BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON AND CATHERINE TALAVERA


Philippine ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr. .

A Pakistani military helicopter crashed Friday, killing six people, including Philippine ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter as part of a plot to kill Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Lucenario was killed along with the Norwegian envoy Leif H. Larsen, the wives of the Malaysian and Indonesian ambassadors, as well as the helicopter’s two pilots, according to official tweets by the army.

Polish ambassador Andrzej Ananiczolish and Dutch ambassador Marcel de Vink were also injured, the army said.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to release a statement on the incident as of 6 p.m. last night, but an official who requested that he not be named confirmed that Lucenario was among the fatalities.

A picture showing DFA officials and employees gathered before the flagpole of the home office as Marine soldiers rendering a salute was posted on the social media account of a diplomat. The picture was captioned: “Sad day for the Philippine foreign service as it mourns loss of Ambassador Domingo Lucenario Jr. who perished in a helicopter crash in Pakistan today.”

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A spokesman of the Pakistani Taliban said the group struck the aircraft with a ground-to-air missile hoping to assassinate Sharif — who officials said had been traveling to the same region in a plane.

“A special group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had prepared a special plan to target Nawaz Sharif during his visit but he survived because he was traveling in another helicopter,” militant spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.

It was not immediately possible to verify the Taliban claim and the northern region where the helicopter came down, Gilgit-Baltistan, is not known as a stronghold of the militant organization.

The Ministry of Defense said it was investigating what caused the crash, in which the helicopter fell onto a school and set the building ablaze. Officials clarified the school was shut at the time.

A passenger in one of the three helicopters, who requested anonymity, said the school caught fire after the crash.

The helicopter was one of three carrying a delegation of envoys to inspect projects on a three-day trip to Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan territory where they were set to meet with Prime Minister Sharif.


FATAL FLIGHT Pakistani soldiers gather beside an army helicopter at a military hospital where victims of a helicopter crash were brought for treatment in Gilgit on Friday. Six people, including Philippine Ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr., were killed in the accident. AFP PHOTO

Sharif “expressed deep grief and sorrow” over the incident, according to a statement issued by his office, which said he had been on his way to the region but his plane returned to Islamabad after hearing the news.

Sharif was set to inaugurate a chair-lift at a ski resort, one of the region’s top administrative officials told AFP.

According to a list of passengers obtained by Agence France-Presse, the ambassadors of Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Romania, Norway, South Africa, the Philippines and Poland were scheduled to fly on the helicopter.

The injured were being airlifted to a military hospital in Gilgit, the region’s administrative capital, some 50 kilometers to the southwest, said another senior local police official.

In the city of Gilgit, a hospital official said the injured were being carried on stretchers to the emergency ward of the Combined Military Hospital.

Known for its spectacular mountain ranges and unique culture, Gilgit-Baltistan is a strategically important autonomous region that borders China, Afghanistan and Indian-held Kashmir.

A senior local administration official said the crash set the school building on fire, but that no children were in class at the time.

“The school, built by Pakistan Air Force for the children of the area, was closed as part of a security plan for the prime minister’s visit,” he said. Earlier, an official had said that the school was open.

Sher Ahmed, a local resident who was near the site of the crash, confirmed that the area had been under heavy security in preparation for the visit since Thursday.

“I was in my garden with my family watching the helicopters arriving when we heard a loud explosion and then the school building was in flames,” he said.

Illustrious career Ambassador Lucenario, known to friends as Doy, was the country’s ambassador to Kenya and non-resident envoy to Burundi, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Uganda, Somalia and Tanzania prior to his posting to Pakistan. He was also the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat).


Philippine Ambassador Domingo "Doy" Lucenario Jr with his wife and children posted on his Facebook page.

According to the DFA website, Lucenario earlier served as vice consul and legal officer at the Philippine Consulate General in Hamburg, Germany (1986 to 1990); officer-in charge/third secretary and vice consul at the Philippine Embassy in Berlin (1990 to 1992); first secretary and consul at the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia (1996 to 2000); and consul at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong (2000 to 2004).

At the home office, he served as assistant secretary for Consular Affairs from 2005 to 2009, and chairman of the National Committee on Illegal Entrants (NCIE), chairman of the Inter-Agency Commitee on Passport Irregularities (ICPI) and assistant secretary general of the National Organizing Committee on the Asean Summit of 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development of 2008 and the Special Ministerial Meeting on the Non-Aligned Movement in 2009.

Lucenario also served as deputy chief of presidential protocol and as project manager of the Philippine Machine Readable/E-Passport Program.

He was the only career Filipino diplomat who has the “rare distinction” of having been awarded by the President of the Philippines with three major presidential awards–the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu (Gold level) in 2009, the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Officer (Maringal na Pinuno) in 2008, and the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Grand Officer (Dakilang Kamanong), also in 2008.

These awards were conferred on various occasions in recognition of “his significant role in the implementation of the Philippine machine readable/e-passport projects, his outstanding service as the assistant secretary general of the National Organizing Committee for the Asean Summit and other international conferences, and for his exceptional and meritorious services as a career diplomat.”

Lucenario graduated from San Beda College with a degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1984 and passed the Bar the same year. He also held academic degrees in Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, graduating magna cum laude from Manuel L. Quezon University, Master of Laws from the University of Manila, Diploma in International Relations from the Deutche Stiftung fur Internationale Entwicklung (DSE) in Berlin.

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MANILA STANDARD

Remains of killed PH envoy back Friday By Vito Barcelo | May. 10, 2015 at 12:01am

MANILA--THE remains of Philippine ambassador to Pakistan Domingo Lucenario Jr., who was killed in a helicopter crash in Pakistan on Friday, will be sent back to the country in a few days, the Department of Foreign Affairs said as Islamabad dismissed the claims of the terrorist Taliban that it shot down the helicopter carrying the Filipino ambassador and 15 other people.

The DFA said it is now arranging the immediate repatriation of Lucenario’s remains, now in a military base in Pakistan and the Pakistani government has assured that the remains of the six people who died in the crash will be accorded full honor and respect.

“This is a moment of grief.


State condolences. Former Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik (right) offers his condolences to representatives of the Philippines Embassy in Islamabad after the death of Ambassador Domingo D. Lucenario Jr, who was killed in an army helicopter crash in northern Pakistan. The Pakistani government said they are investigating what caused the helicopter to crash, killing seven people including several foreign diplomats, as flags flew at half mast on a national day of mourning. AFP

All the bodies have arrived. We are in touch with the embassies” of the dead foreigners, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said, adding that Pakistani ministers and senior officials will accompany the dead bodies to their respective countries.

He said the bodies of the foreigners would be kept at a military hospital until arrangements are finalized to dispatch them to their countries.

Twelve people who were injured in the crash also arrived at the military base outside of Islamabad in a C-130 plane. The dead were killed when a Pakistani army helicopter carrying them made a crash landing in the country’s north.

The Pakistan official ruled out possibility of terrorism in the tragedy and said the crash occurred due to technical failure of the engine of the helicopter.

He said the military helicopter, carrying Islamabad-based diplomats, came down near Gilgit while making a crash landing due to engine failure.

“Pakistan Army had arranged top class security for the visitors and claims of TTP about hitting the helicopter are bogus,” he said.

He said that under instructions of the prime minister, the Pakistani Army deployed about 1,000 troops for security purpose and all the surrounding mountain tops were covered by these personnel.

The foreign secretary said two of the helicopter landed safely at Naltar area and the third one met the accident due to technical fault near the site of landing.

He said the prime minister had given permission for the trip of about 30 diplomats at the request of the dean of diplomatic corps.

He said members of the investigation teams have reached at the site of the tragedy and others are on their way and has started investigations and soon it would become clear as to what happened. The official said black box of the ill- fated helicopter has been recovered.


TRIBUNE

Malaysia offers help to end Mindanao war Written by Alvin Murcia Sunday, 10 May 2015 00:00


MARCH 2013 NEWS KUALA LUMPUR – The nearly P70,000 given annually to the sultanate of Sulu by Malaysia is cession money and not rental payment for Sabah, the country’s foreign minister said. “The 1878 agreement between Alfred Dent and Baron von Overbeck of the British North Borneo Company and the sultan of Sulu at that time stated that the sultan ceded the region of North Borneo permanently, and the heir is entitled to receive annual payment of 5,300 Mexican pesos. It is not payment for rent, but cession,” Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman told Malaysia’s TV3 Wednesday night (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 9, 2013 - 12:00am.

An emissary from the Malaysian government was sent to the Sultanate of Sulu to discuss ways on how to end the old war in Mindanao.

This was confirmed by Datu Abraham Idjirani, spokesman for the Sultanate of Sulu, during the weekly Balitaan sa Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City.

He said the emissary went to the sultanate to discuss possible cooperation to end the long “war” in the regaion.

Idjirani said the sultanate has given the emissary of Malaysia conditions for peaceful solution to the conflict.

Among the conditions were the installation of the sultanate in Sabah, power sharing and a form of government similar to that of England where there is so-called House of Commons.

The idea is a Parliamentary form of government but there would be two houses to make sure all those with lineage of the sultanate will be protected.

He said talks about payment should not be brought up because they are the real owners of Sabah and they have people there that are being persecuted.

Idjirani said that with the estimated $1-billion income of Sabah per annum, the sultanate is looking for a share of 10 to 15 percent not only for the family of the sultanate but also for the people of Sabah and refugees in the area that hailed from Sulu.

The spokesman of the Sultanate disclosed they recently got reports that the Eastern Sabah Security Command rounded up Filipinos of Sulu ancestry in the area while praying.

READ MORE...
“We want our people there to be protected and we are asking the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to help them including the son of the late Sultan Kiram who is jailed in Sabah,” Idjirani said.
The spokesman of the sultanate said they are also mustering support for their 2004 petition to the United Nations on their claim to Sabah.

The sultanate has been fighting to get back Sabah from Malaysia and in fact made an armed attempt last year but was repelled by the Malaysian Royal Security Force.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Ad Hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) over the weekend assured that they have enough numbers to pass the controversial proposed measure.

The panel chairman and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said despite having the numbers, they would only allow constitutional provisions to avoid being questioned before the Supreme Court.

“We will be very strict and every provision should be constitutional. We will not allow any unconstitutional provisions including the creation of separate constitutional offices,” Rodriguez said.

Recently, leaders of both houses of Congress agreed to pass the highly-controversial BBL before the sine die adjournment of the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress on June 11.

“We will try to do our best to hit the target dates,” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. was quoted as saying in an interview after attending their monthly meeting on May 4.

The meeting, which was held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas Center was attended by Belmonte; House Majority Floor Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II; Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairs of the House committee on ways and means; Senate President Franklin Drilon; and acting Senate Minority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Rodriguez said once they tossed the measure to the plenary, they would cease from deliberating other pending vital measures.

Rodriguez said the 75-man panel including the 23 ex-officio members of the BBL will vote tomorrow if they want this measure to be brought to plenary for further scrutiny and debate.

He assured that they can pass the measure before the scheduled sine die adjournment on June 11, end of the second regular session of the 16th Congress.

The Rodriguez committee will vote the amended House Bill 4994, or the BBL measure on May 11 and 12 and will be endorsed for plenary debate and approved it on May 18.
 


BANGSAMORO MAP

The committee is set to scrap at least eight controversial provisions, seven of which are unconstitutional.

Among the provisions in the BBL draft needed to be deleted are the creation of a separate Bangsamoro electoral body as the election body in the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous entity; the creation of a civil service office similar to the functions of the Civil Service Commission (CSC); the establishment of a Bangsamoro Commission on Audit (CoA); the provision creating a disciplinary authority over officials in the region which is similar to the Office of the Ombudsman;

The creation of a human rights body which will have jurisdiction over all human rights violations within the region; clothing the Bangasamoro government with primary responsibility over public order and safety in the covered territory; and

The provision mandating coordination protocol agreement before the Armed Forces of the Philippines can deploy its personnel in the Bangsamoro; and the so-called “opt-in” section that would allow 10 percent of registered voters of the barangay units of contiguous municipalities or cities outside the original Bangsamoro area to demand a plebiscite to propose joining the autonomous region.

For his part, Quimbo said congressional leaders also agreed to pass the key legislation that would boost the country’s competitiveness.

Quimbo said the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act (TIMTA), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Charter amendment, Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) Law, Fiscal Incentives Rationalization Bill, Mining Bill, merger of Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and among others will also be prioritized.
PNA

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BLOGGED

Who will benefit from an independent "Islamic state of Mindanao"? Why, Malaysia, of course!

Very soon, President Aquino and his MILF counterpart (egged on by Malaysia deal "engineers") might just present us with an independent Bangsamoro which could even federate with Malaysia in the future. Naknampucha! The beginning of the dismantling of the Republic! Some guys in Malacanang should hang their heads in shame!

When that happens, DON'T CRY FILIPINAS!

We at Philippine Sabah Claim Forum have been telling everybody over and over again, ad nauseum, that this so-called peace deal being engineered by Malaysia is NOT for our good but for the good of Malaysia. Why? Because those bleeding Malaysians will do anything, even make Filipinos kill Filipinos (thanks to our great commander-in-chief) so they could keep Sabah. It's up to Filipinos to stop the future dismantling of the Republic. ~ AdB For the Philippine Sabah Claim Forum 01 October 2013


Monday, 30 September 2013 Who will benefit from an independent "Islamic state of Mindanao"? Why, Malaysia, of course! Blogged from the SABAH CLAIM SOCIETY


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