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

'INENG' ONSLAUGHT LEAVES 35 DEAD, MISSING; STORM ON WAY OUT FROM RP


AUGUST 24 -Children line up for lunch at an evacuation center in Barangay Caraoan in Gonzaga town, Cagayan during the onslaught of Typhoon Ineng. MICHAEL VARCAS
The death toll from the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ineng (Goni) went up to 15 yesterday as rescuers retrieved four bodies among the miners trapped in a landslide in Mankayan, Benguet. The Benguet provincial police said a total of 18 people went missing in the landslide, which happened early Saturday. Two more remain missing in Bontoc, Mountain Province since Friday. Seven shanties used by miners at Sitio Elizabeth in Barangay Taneg were reportedly washed out by a flood and buried by a landslide at around 3 a.m. Cordillera regional police spokesperson Superintendent Cherry Fajardo said the body of Crispin Ablao was retrieved Saturday night. Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) – Cordillera regional director Andrew Alex Uy said Ablao’s body was fished out from the Basig River while the remains of three others identified as Felimon Adcapan, Armando Dayao and Jasper Olivarez were retrieved yesterday morning. The Cordillera police identified the missing miners as Ronaldo Angel, Paulita Angel, Ronald Paul Angel, Jonie Foster, Marpety Tumalban, Crisanto Ablao, Nardo Mocnangan, Marvin Baturi, Harold Baturi, Rocky Mangrubang, John Aluyan Jr., Jose Aluyan, Mark Balicdan, and Efren Balicdan. The OCD–Cordillera said combined search and rescue teams from the police, local government units, civilian volunteers and personnel from the Gold Rich Expo International Mining Co. and Lepanto Mines were still conducting search and rescue operations as of yesterday afternoon. Officials said poor visibility and heavy rains posed challenges to the rescue teams. READ MORE...

ALSO: Ilocos Norte in 'state of calamity', 7 killed as north reels from storm


AUGUST 22 --GO AHEAD, MAKE MY WAY A worker cuts up a fallen tree while heavy equipment (in background) works to clear debris and soil after a mountainside eroded due to heavy rains brought about by typhoon Ineng, along Kennon road, a main road leading to Baguio City on Saturday. AFP PhOTO Ilocos Norte under ‘state of calamity’ At least seven people were killed while thousands fled to higher ground as powerful typhoon Ineng (international name: Goni) brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines, triggering landslides and floods, officials said Saturday. Six people died in Mountain Province and Benguet in the northern highlands after they were buried in rocks and mud. The NDRRMC identified the casualties as: Eycar Manid-ing Mayon, 10 of Namatec, Sabangan, Mountain Province; Eric Celo, 26 and Markim Celo, 21 of Gambang, Bakun, Benguet; Michael Felix Guingaban, 58 of Labayan, Bangao, Buguias, Benguet; Glen Poloc Baldasan, 27 of Geweng, Cabitan, Mankayan, Benguet and Michael Martin Lagasan of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. A falling mango tree fatally hit Herminio Taguyo Jr., 47 of Pinili, Ilocos Norte on Friday. Benguet Gov. Nestor Pongwan however identified Noli Galidan and Nova Mae Tuazon as among those killed in a landslide but their names were not listed in the official NDRMMC report obtained by the Times. The NDRRMC report also listed five injured while two were missing in flooded areas. A total of 1,194 families or 5,416 people were evacuated from their homes in Regions 1, 2 and the Cordillera Autonomous Region. Abra In the northern province of Abra, two straight days of heavy rains caused a major river to overflow, Governor Eustaquio Bersamin said.READ MORE (Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija)...RELATED STORY.....

ALSO: MILF leaving BBL fate to Noy


AUGUST 24 -MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who chairs the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), stressed after the submission of the Senate version of the BBL by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that the MILF will reject a law lesser than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is still banking on President Aquino for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which was agreed upon by the peace panels. This, despite MILF’s admission that the versions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives were far cry from the original BBL proposed by the Aquino administration and the MILF. The MILF, in a statement posted in its Web site, maintained that there is still a chance for the BBL to pass. “The BBL is not yet dead on track. There is still chance for it to pass Congress. President Benigno Aquino III will deliver; we still believe in this. We also trust the collective wisdom of Congress to pass the proposed law, a good BBL,” it stressed. “On many occasions, the MILF has been in a situation fraught with dangers. But it never gave up; it never said die. No one knows exactly what is in the offing. Only God does,” the MILF said. It noted impressions from various sectors that the BBL is a lost case and that it is time for the MILF to disengage, citing belief that the two substitute bills presented by the Senate and Congress were far cry from the original BBL.
“With calmness and patience, the MILF has listened to all these pushing or bashing. While they are not taken as veritable truth, they are not passed on to the other ear either. Any idea has to be treated with respect. We said to our self: The day of reckoning is not far away. We will know who is correct and who is wrong. Let us wait for that,” the MILF said. “But the necessary question is: If the MILF is to disengage right now, what are the implications and alternatives? Who will be on the bad side of history? Truth is that many a person criticizes an idea or decision, but he or she has nothing to offer. Often their decision is caused by emotions and not a well-thought-out idea,” it added. READ MORE...

ALSO Ferrer: Marcos BBL perpetuates personality-based politics, clan dynasties


AUGUST 17 --The government peace panel said the substitute BBL filed by Sen. Marcos "radically altered" the composition of the proposed Bangsamoro parliament. Senate PRIB
The substitute draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) filed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may encourage "personalistic" politics and political dynasties, the government peace panel said Monday. Peace panel chair Professor Miriam Colonel Ferrer issued this warning after Marcos "radically altered" the allocation of seats in the proposed Bangsamoro parliament. In the original BBL proposed by Malacañang and supported by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 24 seats in the Bangsamoro parliament were allocated to parliamentary districts, 30 seats to party-lists and the remaining six seats to reserved seats for non-Moro indigenous peoples, settler communities and women, among others. In his version of the BBL, Marcos "jacked up" district representation up to 40 seats, reserved seats were increased to 12 and only eight seats were allocated for party-lists. "Lopsided representation in favor of district representatives, presumably elected on the basis of plurality or highest number of votes, will perpetuate personalistic politics, clan dynasties and weak political parties," said Ferrer. "On the other hand, we believe that allocating more seats to regional political parties and sectoral representatives would encourage the practice and development of a political culture in the region that is based on broad-based political parties with defined programs of governance competing in free and fair elections," Ferrer added. READ MORE...

ALSO: Misuari ‘willing to talk peace’ with gov’t if...


AUGUST 23 --NUR MISUARI 
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) fugitive founding chairman Nur Misuari is reportedly “very much willing” to engage in formal negotiations with the national government to resolve various issues, among them the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement, if the government would drop all the charges filed against him. Johnny Siao, chairman of the MNLF Misuari faction’s national border command based in this city, said that based on their latest communication, the rebel leader signified his intention to participate in a planned tripartite review for the peace process. But he said the government should also reciprocate such move by dropping the rebellion charges that had been filed against Misuari in connection with the Zamboanga City siege in Sept. 2013. “His (Misuari) tag as a terrorist should be dropped first before we start talking,” he said in an interview. Siao claimed that Misuari did not plan and led the Zamboanga City crisis and that it only escalated due to supposed erroneous interventions made by authorities and local politicians. Citing results of the MNLF central committee’s recent meeting held in Jolo, Sulu, he said they agreed to seek more engagements with the influential Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address Misuari’s case. For the review process, he said they will also negotiate for the participation of OIC members Indonesia and Malaysia. READ MORE...

ALSO: President of Davao del Norte media organization killed
[If proven to be related to his media work, Ybañez would be the 28th killed under President Benigno Aquino III’s watch and the 174th since 1986]


AUGUST 19 --Slain Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club president Gregorio Ybanez (contributed photo)
The president of the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club died Wednesday morning, hours after he was shot in Tagum City the night before, colleagues said. Gregorio “Loloy” Ybañez, who published the local newspaper Kabuhayan News Services and was also a director of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, died around 6:30 a.m., DNPRC vice president Boy Conejos told InterAksyo.com. He was the second journalist murdered in Tagum following the killing of broadcaster Rogelio “Tata” Butalid of Radyo Natin on December 11, 2013. A DNPRC statement on Ybañez’s death said he was entering his house in Mirafuentes Subdivision, Barangay Magugpo North when he was shot several times by a still unknown assailant driving a Honda Fit around 10 p.m. Conejos said Ybañez was hit three times in the chest and once in the right arm. He said authorities have not yet established the motive for the attack on Ybañez, although he said it was more likely to be related to “trouble” in DANECO than his media work because the victim’s newspaper was not considered “hard-hitting.”  If proven to be related to his media work, Ybañez would be the 28th killed under President Benigno Aquino III’s watch and the 174th since 1986, when democracy and freedom of expression were supposed to have been restored, according to a count kept by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Only a handful of the killings have ever been solved and no mastermind has yet been convicted and jailed, a record of impunity that has earned the Philippines the dubious distinction of being one of the deadliest countries for journalists.  READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Brilliance by affinity
[And it was enough that Benigno III was his mother’s son, never mind the fact that his stint as lawmaker—first as representative of his district in Tarlac and then as senator—had been completely unremarkable.]


AUGUST 23 -The assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was commemorated Friday with the usual statements on how he was a hero whose death galvanized a nation.
The late senator never got to be president, but his wife, and later his son, certainly did. In 1986, a revolution swept Aquino’s widow into power even as the people were well aware that she had no experience whatsoever in running a nation. It was enough that Ninoy and Cory were husband and wife; she would continue whatever it was he had begun. In 2010, the couple’s son benefited from the outpouring of sympathy after the death of his mother. Mrs. Aquino’s six-year administration was plagued by incompetence and instability, but she was not expected to be a brilliant president, anyway. It was enough that she restored democracy. Never mind, too, that along with democracy, the rule of the oligarchs was restored, as well. And it was enough that Benigno III was his mother’s son, never mind the fact that his stint as lawmaker—first as representative of his district in Tarlac and then as senator—had been completely unremarkable. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Ineng’s onslaught leaves 35 dead, missing


Children line up for lunch at an evacuation center in Barangay Caraoan in Gonzaga town, Cagayan during the onslaught of Typhoon Ineng. MICHAEL VARCAS

MANILA, AUGUST 24, 2015  (PHILSTAR) By Alexis Romero - The death toll from the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ineng (Goni) went up to 15 yesterday as rescuers retrieved four bodies among the miners trapped in a landslide in Mankayan, Benguet.

The Benguet provincial police said a total of 18 people went missing in the landslide, which happened early Saturday.

Two more remain missing in Bontoc, Mountain Province since Friday.

Seven shanties used by miners at Sitio Elizabeth in Barangay Taneg were reportedly washed out by a flood and buried by a landslide at around 3 a.m.

Cordillera regional police spokesperson Superintendent Cherry Fajardo said the body of Crispin Ablao was retrieved Saturday night.

Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) – Cordillera regional director Andrew Alex Uy said Ablao’s body was fished out from the Basig River while the remains of three others identified as Felimon Adcapan, Armando Dayao and Jasper Olivarez were retrieved yesterday morning.

The Cordillera police identified the missing miners as Ronaldo Angel, Paulita Angel, Ronald Paul Angel, Jonie Foster, Marpety Tumalban, Crisanto Ablao, Nardo Mocnangan, Marvin Baturi, Harold Baturi, Rocky Mangrubang, John Aluyan Jr., Jose Aluyan, Mark Balicdan, and Efren Balicdan.

The OCD–Cordillera said combined search and rescue teams from the police, local government units, civilian volunteers and personnel from the Gold Rich Expo International Mining Co. and Lepanto Mines were still conducting search and rescue operations as of yesterday afternoon. Officials said poor visibility and heavy rains posed challenges to the rescue teams.

READ MORE...

The OCD-Cordillera also reported the body of a certain Julius Gumisa was found yesterday in Suyang, Tabuk City. The victim, who was missing since Friday in Barangay Caluttit in Bontoc, Mountain Province, drowned.

Rescuers are still searching for Neil Cayangiw and Francis Castro, both missing since Friday after they were swept by the strong currents of the Chico River in Bontoc.

The OCD Cordillera report and the landslide incident in Mankayan were not yet reflected on the official report released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) yesterday morning.

The ten other fatalities were identified as Herminio Taguyo, 47, who was hit by a mango tree in Ilocos Norte last Friday and landslide victims Markin Celo, 21, Erwin Celo, 26, Michel Felix, 58, Glen Poloc, 27, Michael Lagasan, 59, Nova Tuazon, 17, Nole Lubante Jr., 21, and Jorie Catubing, 1, all from Benguet; and Ycher Mayon, 10, from Mountain Province.

Other persons who went missing apart from those who figured in the Mankayan landslide were Jay-Ar Mallari, 24 of Ilocos Norte, Jubert Bumatay, 21, of La Union, and Francis Castro, 17, of Cagayan.

The NDRRMC said the heavy rains and winds brought by Ineng also left ten people injured.

A total of 32,648 persons or 7,470 families were evacuated in the Ilocos region, Cagayan, Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), and Cordillera.

Of the evacuees, 3,327 families or 13,159 persons were inside evacuation centers while 4,143 families or 19,489 individuals were with their families or friends.

The amount of agriculture and infrastructure damage caused by Ineng hit P125.82 million. Infrastructure sustained P121.48 million in damage while agriculture damage reached P3.34 million.

The typhoon also damaged 197 houses in Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan.

A total of 36 roads, six bridges, and one spillway have been affected in Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Central Luzon, Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) and Cordillera.

Ilocos Norte was placed under a state of calamity as several areas in the province remained impassable due to flooding.

Despite the heavy rainfall, the regional disaster council in Central Luzon gave assurance that the dams in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan are not at spilling level.

This developed as the state weather bureau lifted all storm warning signals in Northern Luzon areas yesterday as Ineng moved further away from the country.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Ineng was spotted at 430 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes, packing winds of 140 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 170 kph.

The typhoon slightly accelerated from 13 kph on Saturday to 15 kph yesterday as it moved north northeast toward Japan, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

If it maintains its present speed and track, Ineng was forecast to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) last night or early this morning.

However, monsoon rains would still prevail over the western section of Luzon, including Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Ilocos region, the Cordillera and the provinces of Zambales, Bataan and the islands of Calayan and Babuyan in the next few days, PAGASA said.

The weather bureau warned residents of these areas against possible flashfloods and landslides.

It also continued to warn fisher folk against venturing out to the seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon and the western and southern seaboards of Southern Luzon due to big waves generated by Ineng and the southwest monsoon.

PAGASA weather forecaster Jori Loiz said improved weather condition is expected in the country by Wednesday. – With Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao, Helen Flores, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Eva Visperas, Ric Sapnu, Ariel Paolo Tejada

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Ineng death toll rises to 10 By Jaime Laude AUGUST 22, 2015


Photo taken by Mayor Robert Victor Seares Jr. of Dolores, Abra shows a damaged spillway in Barangay Calumbaya yesterday. Typhoon Ineng‘s continuous rains have isolated several sitios of the barangay. At right, photo from the Philippine Coast Guard shows personnel with a pawikan, or sea turtle, which they found near Pier 13 of the North Harbor in Manila. The turtle was turned over to the wildlife center in Quezon City.

MANILA -Six more people have been confirmed killed in landslides in the Cordillera region and Ilocos Norte as heavy rains and winds spawned by Typhoon Ineng (Goni) continue to lash areas in Northern Luzon, officials said yesterday.

The latest casulaties brought the death toll to 10 from last Friday’s four. A total of eight people were injured and two others missing, with some 11,500 persons displaced in Ilocos and the Cordillera region, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) reported three more landslide-related deaths in Benguet later in the evening as the death toll was pegged at seven earlier yesterday.

The NDRRMC identified the seven fatalities as Eycar Manid-ing Mayon, 10, who was buried alive in a landslide that hit their house at Barangay Namatec, Barangay Sabangan, Mt. Province; Eric Celo, 26, and Markim Celo, 21, who were also buried in a landslide that hit their village at Barangay Gambang, Baku, Benguet Friday afternoon;

Michael Felix Guingaban, 58, who perished in a mudslide at Sitio Labayan, Barangay Bongao, Baguias, Benguet; Herminio Taguyo Jr., 47, who was hit by an uprooted mango tree in Barangay Capangdangan, Pinili, Ilocos Norte; Glen Poloc Baldasan, 47, who was buried alive in a mudslide at Sitio Giwing, Barangay Cabitan, Manyakan, Benguet; and Michael Martin Lagasan, of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

Lagasan died after the car he was driving was buried in a mudslide in Barangay Palatong, Mankayan, Benguet, also on Friday.

READ MORE...

The CAR reported three more fatalities identified as Noli Lubante, Jr., 21 and his six-month pregnant wife Nova Mae after their house was buried in a landslide at Sitio Cotcot, Barangay Bulalacao, Mankayan town.

On the other hand, one-year-old Jury Catubing perished in a landslide that hit their house at Sitio Bayating, Barangay Topdac Atok.

The toddler’s parents Juanito and Regina with their three-year-old child survived but were injured.

Also among the injured were Lycar Manid-ing Mayon, 9, of Barnagay Namatic, Sabangan, Mt. Province; Jolier Dahlig, 67, of Barangay Napu, Badoc, Ilocos Norte; Maricel Ragasa, 25, of San Vicente, Ilocos Sur; and Efren Cabugan, 44, of Barangay Kayugasan, Uyugan in the island province of Batanes.

Except for young Mayon, who survived a landslide that resulted in the death of his younger brother in Mt. Province, the rest of the injured were hit by uprooted or fallen trees and branches that were blown away by the strong winds of the storm.

Officials said search and rescue teams are searching for Jubert Bumatay of Barangay Baraoas Norte, Naguilian, La Union and Jay-Ar Mallari, of Barangay Manalpak, Solsona, Ilocos Norte, who were both reportedly swept away by floodwaters.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Ilocos region reported yesterday that a total of 63 families or 268 individuals were displaced.

Cagayan Valley disaster officials also reported 1,777 displaced families or 7,443 persons, while the Cordillera region reported 160 families or 531 persons, for a total of 11,500 displaced individuals from three regions who have sought shelter in government-run evacuation centers.

Heavy rainfall spawned by Ineng in the Cordillera also left vast agricultural lands flooded with huge damage expected.

The NDRRMC has yet to come up with the damage assessment report from Ineng that rendered the entire island province of Batanes without electricity, as well as the towns Sanches Mira, Claveria, Sta. Praxedes, Pamplona and Sta. Ana in Cagayan Valley.

Officials reported Batanes was completely paralyzed without water and electricity. Several roads in the island province were impassable due to landslides and communications are down.

The entire provinces under the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are also experiencing power interruption or outages, the NDRRC reported.

The OCD-Cordillera reported that power was restored in Bangued, Abra while linemen from the Abra Electric Cooperative are undertaking power restoration work in most typhoon affected areas in the province.

La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town, also restored power yesterday while power restoration work is being undertaken at Sablan, Atok, Kibungan, Bakun, Buguias, Bokod and Mankayan towns.

Electricity was restored in at least 75 percent of Baguio City and in Lagawe, Ifugao’s capital town. Power in Tabuk City and Bontoc was restored while power cooperative linemen are undertaking restoration work in most interior villages in the provinces.

Roads

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that one lane in some roads in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte were blocked due to landslides.

There were also damaged portions on the concrete slab approaches of the Lana Bridge and the double barrel box culvert along Laoag-Sarrat-Piddig-Solsona Road that collapsed.

The passage along the Bacarra section of the Manila North Road and Laoag-Balacad road were blocked by uprooted and fallen trees.

The DPWH added only one lane of the Tagudin-Cervantes Road, Butac section remained passable to motorists due to landslides.

The Calungbuyan Bailey Bridge along Santa Rancho road in Ilocos Sur was washed out, the DPWH added.

There were also reports that the mountain slope protection along Alaminos-Bolinao road was damaged and the land scoured riverbank protection along Burgos-Agno Road in Barangay Bangan-oda, Agno, Pangasinan eroded.

Kennon road going to Baguio City is still closed to vehicular traffic, particularly at the Wabac section along Camp 7 and Camp 3 which were devastated by massive land and rock slides.

At least 15 provincial road systems linking the Cordillera region with its neighbors in Regions 1 and 2 were closed, including the Ilocos Norte-Apayao road, Claveria, Cagayan-Calanasan (Apayao) road, the Babalan-Pinukpuk and Lubuagan-Batong Buhay road in Kalinga.

Only one lane was passable at the Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya road, Baguio-Bua Itogon road, Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias, Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun, Buguias-Abatan road and Abatan-Mankayan-Cervantes. The Baguio-Bontoc (Halsema) road was closed on the Mt. Province side.

The Mt. Province-Cagayan via Tabuk-Enrile road was closed, while the Junction Talubin-Barlig-Natonin-Paracelis Calacad road was also shut down. The Mt. Province-Ilocos Sur road, particularly at Cabunagan and Dawdawan sections, was also impassable.

The Abra-Kalinga road system was also closed down while the Abra-Ilocos Norte road was opened yesterday.


FLOOD AGAIN – Residents walks on a knee deep flooded area of Barangay Poblacion, Bacnotan, La Union brought by monsoon rain of typhoon “Ineng” Saturday afternoon. (Photo by: ERWIN G. BELEO)

The Aguibo-Malibcong provincial road in Abra was also shut down.

No spillover Despite the heavy rains spawned by Ineng, the amount of rainfall was not enough to supply the Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela as it remains in critical level as of yesterday.

Magat reservoir authorities said the dam’s water level was only 178.58 meters, below the normal 183 meters.

On the other hand, the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan is threatening to overflow, prompting the National Power Corp. to undertake a preemptive release through its spillway with two gates opened at 0.5 meter high at noon yesterday.

Tom Valdez, vice president for corporate social responsibility of San Roque Power Corp., said the estimated outflow would be 400 cubic meters per second.

“That is only a small volume of water,” Valdez said, allaying fears that it would cause flooding downstream.

The conditions of the dams of Angat, Ipo, Bustos, all in Bulacan and Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija are still not at spilling level, officials added.

Outside PAR Storm warning signals remain hoisted in six provinces in northern Luzon even as Ineng slightly weakened and accelerated as it moved away from the Philippine area of responsibility yesterday.

In its 5 p.m. severe weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) placed the island province of Batanes under signal number 3.

Northern Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, was placed under signal number 2, while the rest of Cagayan and the provinces of Apayao, Kalinga, Ilocos Norte and Abra are under signal number 1.

Areas under public storm warning signals were advised against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Storm surges of up to one meter are also possible in areas under signals number 1 and 2, PAGASA said.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of the typhoon was located 105 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes.

Ineng slightly weakened and packed maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph.


TRAFFIC STOPPER — An early morning landslide cuts Kennon Road traffic yesterday in Benguet, following torrential rains that started Thursday due to typhoon ‘Ineng.’ The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that five people in Mountain Province, Benguet, and Ilocos Norte are among the casualties during the onslaught of Typhoon “Ineng”. In its bulletin issued at 11 p.m. yesterday (August 21), NDRRMC identified the casualties as Eycar Manid-ing Mayon, 10, of Namaetec, Sabangan, Mt. Province; Erik Celo, 26, and Markim Celo, 21, both residents of Gamban, Bakut, Benguet; Michael Felix Guingaban, 58, of Labayan, Bangao, Buguis, Benguet, who all perished due to landslides. Hermino Taguinio Jr., 48, of Barangay Capangdanga, Pinili, Ilocos Norte died when a mango tree fell on him. (Larry P. Fabian) PNA NEWS AUGUST 21, 2015

“Estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 500-km diameter of the typhoon,” PAGASA said.

Weather forecaster Samuel Duran said Ineng is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Monday, but said it may change as the typhoon continued to accelerate.

Ineng was forecast yesterday to move at the speed of 13 kph northeast. It is expected to be at 405 km northeast of Basco today and at 1,035 km northeast of Basco, or outside the Philippine area of responsibility, tomorrow afternoon.

Duran said provinces in Northern Luzon will continue to experience stormy weather today due to the typhoon.

He said residents in other parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, and the western part of the Visayas should also expect heavy rainfall as the weather system is expected to intensify the southwest monsoon.

Duran said the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao may experience gradual improvement of weather, but noted the possibility of rainfall due to the southwest monsoon.

“Fisherfolk are advised not to venture out to the seaboards of Metro Manila, Isabela, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union and the seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon,” the state weather bureau advised.

PAGASA yesterday raised a yellow alert rainfall warning in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon and warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas.

Occasional heavy downpour affected Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan and parts of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Zambales.

Light to moderate rains were also experienced in Cebu, Isabela, Pangasinan, Mindoro, Iloilo, Aklan, Negros Occidental, Leyte and Agusan del Norte.

No classes On the other hand, several local government units, including in Metro Manila, that are not under public storm warning signals declared the suspension of classes yesterday due to the yellow alert warning of heavy rains.

The Department of Education said among those that suspended classes in all levels include Cavite, Marikina, Quezon City, Parañaque, Makati, Pasay, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Caloocan and San Juan.

The city governments of Navotas and Valenzuela also suspended classes in all levels yesterday.

Among the higher education institutions that suspended classes are the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, City of Malabon University, City of Malabon Polytechnic Institute, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela, Valenzuela City Polytechnic College, University of Baguio, Bulacan State University and Adamson University.

Classes in areas under signal number 3 are automatically suspended in all levels, while classes up to high school are suspended in areas under signal number 2.

Pre-school classes are suspended in areas under signal number 1. – Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan, Jack Castano, Robertzon Ramirez, Ric Sapnu, Eva Visperas, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Raymund Catindig, Danny Dangcalan, Artemio Dumlao.


MANILA TIMES

ALSO: Ilocos Norte under 'state of calamity', 7 killed as north reels from storm  August 22, 2015 10:57 pm by FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO AND ANTHONY VARGAS, CORRESPONDENTS AFP and PNA


GO AHEAD, MAKE MY WAY A worker cuts up a fallen tree while heavy equipment (in background) works to clear debris and soil after a mountainside eroded due to heavy rains brought about by typhoon Ineng, along Kennon road, a main road leading to Baguio City on Saturday. AFP PhOTO


Ilocos Norte under ‘state of calamity’

At least seven people were killed while thousands fled to higher ground as powerful typhoon Ineng (international name: Goni) brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines, triggering landslides and floods, officials said Saturday.

Six people died in Mountain Province and Benguet in the northern highlands after they were buried in rocks and mud.

The NDRRMC identified the casualties as: Eycar Manid-ing Mayon, 10 of Namatec, Sabangan, Mountain Province; Eric Celo, 26 and Markim Celo, 21 of Gambang, Bakun, Benguet; Michael Felix Guingaban, 58 of Labayan, Bangao, Buguias, Benguet; Glen Poloc Baldasan, 27 of Geweng, Cabitan, Mankayan, Benguet and Michael Martin Lagasan of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

A falling mango tree fatally hit Herminio Taguyo Jr., 47 of Pinili, Ilocos Norte on Friday.

Benguet Gov. Nestor Pongwan however identified Noli Galidan and Nova Mae Tuazon as among those killed in a landslide but their names were not listed in the official NDRMMC report obtained by the Times.

The NDRRMC report also listed five injured while two were missing in flooded areas.

A total of 1,194 families or 5,416 people were evacuated from their homes in Regions 1, 2 and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

Abra

In the northern province of Abra, two straight days of heavy rains caused a major river to overflow, Governor Eustaquio Bersamin said.

At least six families were trapped in riverbank villages and will be rescued, he said.

“The rains were much stronger than we expected. The Abra River has turned into an ocean,” Bersamin told DZMM radio.

Thirteen domestic flights were cancelled on Saturday, the disaster council said.

Ilocos Norte

The provincial government of Ilocos Norte has declared the province under a state of calamity.

In a special session presided over by Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba on Saturday, members of the provincial board unanimously approved a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity at about 2:12 p.m.

Due to heavy flooding, thousands of households in low-lying villages in the province remain underwater while some villages remain isolated as of this posting.

Based on initial report of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), over 40,998 individuals or 9,402 families, covering 136 villages in Ilocos Norte are now affected due to flash flood.

Aside from one casualty and one injured due to a fallen mango tree in Pinili town at 10:30 am on Friday, Ilocos Norte’s search and rescue teams have yet to find one missing person identified as Jay-Ar Mallari, 24, in Barangay Mariquet, Solsona town.

As of 5 a.m. Saturday, light to moderate rains still prevails in the province under public storm signal no. 2.

The PDRRMC continues to conduct evacuations in areas threatened by flash floods due to washed out dikes and swollen rivers.

In Pallas Valley, Vintar town, at least three houses in Barangay Ester were partially covered by mudslide, according to Mayor Jose Foronda on Saturday.

Since Friday, the PDRRMC along with the various MDRRMCs responded to at least eight rescue operations and evacuated families in Barangays Manalpac, Nagpatpatan, Sta. Ana and Bagbag in Solsona, Catagtaguen in Banna, Cabaroan in Bacarra, Capangdanan in Pinili, Elizabeth, San Esteban, and Baresbes in Dingras and Barangay Loing in Piddig.

A tornado was also reported in Barangay Caunayan, Pagudpud that blown-off some GI sheets of a covered court here while a house was partially damaged in San Antonio, Sarrat.

While communication lines are generally okay in the entire province, power is still out in the rural villages of Batac City, some areas of Laoag City, Bacarra, Piddig, Sarrat, Dingras, Solsona, Pasuquin, Burgos and Pagudpud.

Due to fallen trees, roads were temporary closed in Barangays Magnuang, Billoca and at the Batac City market on Friday.

So far, the PDRRMC has initially recorded estimated damages worth P7.6 million on agriculture while estimated damages on infrastructure have yet to be assessed and evaluated.

Nueva Ecija

At least 10 houses were damaged Friday due to strong winds brought by Typhoon Ineng in Barangay Piut, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

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Based on the latest report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), four houses were totally destroyed while six others were partially damaged, affecting a total of 37 persons.

The RDRRMC also reported that the road along Daang Maharlika in Barangay Putlan, also in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, is not passable to all types of vehicles due to occasional to continuous mudflow coming from the mountain side as a result of intermittent light to moderate rains.

The maintenance crew of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was conducting clearing operation in the area.

Meanwhile, Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, has advised all local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMCs) to continuously monitor the situation and submit report any untoward incidents in their respective areas.

Typhoon Ineng is the ninth out of an average of 20 that hit the Philippines each year and is now heading to Taiwan, the weather bureau said.

Taiwan has evacuated people from outlying islands and troops are on standby for disaster relief as it takes precautions against heavy rains expected this weekend.
With ernie esconde, thom picaña, tina ganzon, william jun garcia,


TRIBUNE

MILF leaving BBL fate to Noy Written by Mario J. Mallari Monday, 24 August 2015 00:00


MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who chairs the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), stressed after the submission of the Senate version of the BBL by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that the MILF will reject a law lesser than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is still banking on President Aquino for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which was agreed upon by the peace panels.

This, despite MILF’s admission that the versions passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives were far cry from the original BBL proposed by the Aquino administration and the MILF. The MILF, in a statement posted in its Web site, maintained that there is still a chance for the BBL to pass.

“The BBL is not yet dead on track. There is still chance for it to pass Congress. President Benigno Aquino III will deliver; we still believe in this. We also trust the collective wisdom of Congress to pass the proposed law, a good BBL,” it stressed.

“On many occasions, the MILF has been in a situation fraught with dangers. But it never gave up; it never said die. No one knows exactly what is in the offing. Only God does,” the MILF said.

It noted impressions from various sectors that the BBL is a lost case and that it is time for the MILF to disengage, citing belief that the two substitute bills presented by the Senate and Congress were far cry from the original BBL.

“With calmness and patience, the MILF has listened to all these pushing or bashing. While they are not taken as veritable truth, they are not passed on to the other ear either. Any idea has to be treated with respect. We said to our self: The day of reckoning is not far away. We will know who is correct and who is wrong. Let us wait for that,” the MILF said.

“But the necessary question is: If the MILF is to disengage right now, what are the implications and alternatives? Who will be on the bad side of history?

Truth is that many a person criticizes an idea or decision, but he or she has nothing to offer. Often their decision is caused by emotions and not a well-thought-out idea,” it added.

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The MILF has reiterated its stand not to accept a watered down or diluted version of the proposed BBL, crafted following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in October 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro a year later.

It stressed the BBL was a product of 17 years of negotiations and various signed agreements, including FAB and CAB.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, who chairs the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), stressed after the submission of the Senate version of the BBL by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that the MILF will reject a law lesser than the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Iqbal was even quoted that if war breaks out with the non-passage of the BBL, the MILF has the moral ascendancy over the government for its failure to fulfill its commitment under FAB and CAB.

The MILF has branded both the Senate and House of Representatives versions, which removed several provisions deemed violative of the Constitution, as lesser than ARMM.

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Desperate Speaker seeks caucus to muster quorum Written by Gerry Baldo Wednesday, 19 August 2015 00:00



Pressed for time, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said he will call a caucus of all administration coalition partners to muster a quorum for the passage of the proposed Basic Law on the Bangsa-moro Autonomous Region(BLBAR).

The House has been plagued with absenteeism the last few days that resulted in the failure of the deliberation for the BLBAR to proceed.

“I will conduct an all-party caucus anytime soon,” Belmonte said after the session was adjourned again Monday night for lack of quorum.

Belmonte called on his peers to be present during the sessions and not keep the BLBAR hanging.

At least 146 of 289 House members have to be present to constitute a quorum.

Administration allies who are not in favor of the BLBAR were keeping themselves off the session hall instead of making their opposition to the bill known.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee tasked to review the proposed BBL, earlier warned the House may not be able to approve the measure branded by critics as lopsided in favor of its major proponent, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Quorum has been a problem of the House for the past two weeks.

Some 17 lawmakers are still on the list of interpellators who want to be clarified on the measure.

Among the 28 controversial provisions of the bill that has been deleted and wanted revived by the MILF is the “opt-in” provision which allows the expansion of the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region through a petition of at least 10 percent of residents and approval by a majority of qualified voters in a city or province in a separate plebiscite.

Bangsamoro parliament retained

The substitute bill on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region retained the provision on holding a parliamentary form of government in keeping with the spirit of the peace pact between the MILF and the government, Sen.Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, chairman of the committee on local government, which is tasked to deliberate on the controversial BLBAR said.

He added that in addressing the flaws of the draft BBL he tried to keep most of the concessions extended to the MILF under the peace agreement.

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On radio, Marcos noted that while there were clearly unconstitutional provisions in the draft BBL, legal experts were divided on the issue of the parliamentary form of government, under which the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region will be created under the proposed law.


MARCOS

“In their peace talk with the Philippine government, the MILF proposed that the form of government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region should be parliamentary and ministerial. That is why I kept the provision but we still have to discuss it thoroughly in the Senate deliberations,” Marcos said.

Retired SC justice Vicente Mendoza had earlier said that having a parliamentray system under a presidential form of government is incompatible and unconstitutional.

Likewise, Marcos said the provision is retained in his substitute bill in accordance with the principle of autonomy.

“If we say they have autonomy, we have to consider the wishes of the people of that autonomous region,” Marcos said.

However, Marcos said there is no guarantee that the Senate will retain the provision on the parliamentary form of government of the Bangsamoro government.

“We have addressed the provisions of the draft BBL that were clearly unconstitutional. But there are other provisions—like this parliamentary form of government—where opinions are divided and that the Senate has to decide on,” Marcos said.

Marcos said that while he retained the parliamentary provision in the substitute bill, he addressed the fears and suspicions of many people that the creation of the Bangsamoro autonomous region is a prelude to secession.

“That is why I made it very, very clear that the law cannot be used to separate the Bangsamoro territory away from the Philippines,” Marcos stressed.

Marcos said the parliamentary provision sparked suspicion of secession as it practically copied the government structure of Malaysia, which is the facilitator of the Philippine government-MILF peace talks.

Until now, Marcos said it remains a puzzle why the government agreed to let Malaysia to take part in the peace talks when it is not a disinterested party as it has a conflicting claim on Sabah.

“We can’t do anything about it anymore. So, what I did instead is to strengthen the provision to prevent the secession of the Bangsamoro territory from the Philippines,” he explained.

Despite giving most of the concessions to the MILF under the peace pact, Marcos said it is unlikely for the Senate and the House of Representatives to approve the draft BBL without any changes, as called for by the MILF and the government.

“We all know very well that, first the draft BBL will not pass in the House (of Representatives); second, it will not pass in the Senate. On the remote chance that it does pass Congress, I’m sure the Supreme Court will strike it down as unconstitutional,” Marcos said.

Since Monday, Marcos has been waiting for fellow senators to interpellate him on his substitute bill, the Basic Law on Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, but most of the 14 senators who reserved the right to ask questions sought more time to study the proposed law.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Retaining parliamentary provision in BBL hailed By Jose Rodel Clapano -August 18, 2015 -


Government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. STAR/File photo

The government peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) lauded yesterday both the House and Senate committees for retaining the provision in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on the parliamentary form of government for the new autonomous region.

“We laud the two chambers of Congress for retaining the provisions establishing a parliamentary form of government in the region, seeing as it is crucial to the reforms we hope to put in place in the Bangsamoro,” said government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

Ferrer said the parliamentary system is the most important structural change being introduced and that is a shift well within the powers of Congress to grant since the Constitution left it up to Congress to define the structure of government in the autonomous region.

She said that while the House ad hoc committee on the BBL chaired by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez retained the original proposal in the BBL, the Senate’s substitute bill radically altered the allocation of seats in the proposed Bangsamoro legislature.

The original proposal sets 60 members for the Bangsamoro parliament with the allocation of 24 seats to parliamentary districts, 30 to party-list groups and the remaining six seats reserved for non-Moro indigenous peoples, settler communities and women.

In the version of the Senate committee on local government, chaired by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the district representation was increased to 40 seats, reserved seats increased to 12 and only eight were allocated for party-list groups.

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In both versions, 60 seats would make up the Bangsamoro parliament.

“Lopsided representation in favor of district representatives, presumably elected on the basis of plurality or highest number of votes, will perpetuate personalistic politics, clan dynasties and weak political parties,” Ferrer said.

“On the other hand, we believe that allocating more seats to regional political parties and sectoral representatives would encourage the practice and development of a political culture in the region that is based on broad-based political parties with defined programs of governance competing in free and fair elections,” Ferrer added.

Ferrer appealed to senators to seriously reconsider the seat allocations in the regional parliament in order to ensure that new entrants in the electoral arena, such as the erstwhile Moro liberation fronts, women’s groups, environmental advocates and indigenous peoples, will stand a good chance to win seats.

“Our goal with this parliamentary form of government as envisioned in the original BBL is to ensure inclusive and more participatory governance. Allocating a large majority of the seats of the Bangsamoro parliament for parties and marginalized sectors will encourage politics based on principles and not personalities. It will empower the different segments of the people in the Bangsamoro,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said the government peace panel is ready to provide technical assistance to the Senate when floor debates start on the Bangsamoro bill to help provide insights on the intent of the proposed provisions in the original BBL, especially the rationale behind the proposed parliamentary form of government for the region.

More debates

The plenary debates on the substitute bill for the BBL hit another snag yesterday after senators asked for more time to study the changes made by the Senate committee on local government on the measure.

Senate President Franklin Drilon and committee chairman Marcos gave way to the request of the senators yesterday, effectively delaying for another week the debates on the proposed measure.

Fourteen senators have signified intention to question and scrutinize the substitute measure.

This prompted Drilon to approve the request for the interpellation on Monday next week after senators manifested that they wanted more time during plenary session.

Drilon added he respects the decision of each senator.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III explained that giving the senators more time to look into the two versions – one presented by the peace panel and the Marcos version – will enable the lawmakers to have substantive debates on the measure.

Drilon said he is also waiting for Marcos to provide him and every senator with a matrix on the changes made into the original draft BBL to give them better grasp of the measure.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano has challenged the Aquino administration to support his counterpart bill that will bring peace and development in Mindanao.

Cayetano made his challenge during a news conference Monday as he presented for the first time his Mindanao Development Act Bill that he would be submitting Friday next week.

He said his bill will be a counterpart of the BBL, now revised as the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as a result of the peace agreement signed with the MILF.

“The concept of this bill, we will challenge the government if they will allocate P150 billion for the BBL, why can’t they give a little bit over P100 billion to the rest of Mindanao, right?” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said he came to Zamboanga City to present his plans and get additional inputs before he files his bill.

He said they are still in the process of finalizing the Mindanao Development Act Bill. – With Christina Mendez, Perseus Echeminada, Roel Pareño


Ferrer: Marcos BBL perpetuates personality-based politics, clan dynasties By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 17, 2015 - 2:16pm 6 367 googleplus0 0


The government peace panel said the substitute BBL filed by Sen. Marcos "radically altered" the composition of the proposed Bangsamoro parliament. Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines - The substitute draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) filed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may encourage "personalistic" politics and political dynasties, the government peace panel said Monday.

Peace panel chair Professor Miriam Colonel Ferrer issued this warning after Marcos "radically altered" the allocation of seats in the proposed Bangsamoro parliament.

In the original BBL proposed by Malacañang and supported by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), 24 seats in the Bangsamoro parliament were allocated to parliamentary districts, 30 seats to party-lists and the remaining six seats to reserved seats for non-Moro indigenous peoples, settler communities and women, among others.

In his version of the BBL, Marcos "jacked up" district representation up to 40 seats, reserved seats were increased to 12 and only eight seats were allocated for party-lists.

"Lopsided representation in favor of district representatives, presumably elected on the basis of plurality or highest number of votes, will perpetuate personalistic politics, clan dynasties and weak political parties," said Ferrer.

"On the other hand, we believe that allocating more seats to regional political parties and sectoral representatives would encourage the practice and development of a political culture in the region that is based on broad-based political parties with defined programs of governance competing in free and fair elections," Ferrer added.

READ MORE...

With the Senate plenary debates on the BBL set this month, Ferrer appealed to senators to seriously reconsider the seat allocations in the regional parliament.

She said the proposed Bangsamoro parliament envisioned in the seeks to ensure inclusive and more participatory governance.

"Allocating a large majority of the seats of the Bangsamoro parliament for parties and marginalized sectors will encourage politics based on principles and not personalities. It will empower the different segments of the people in the Bangsamoro," Ferrer said.

The controversial BBL embodies the landmark peace agreement between the government and the MILF. It aims to create a Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the "failed" Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Opposition to the BBL grew this year after 44 Special Action Force commandos will killed in an encounter with MILF combatants and other rebels during a anti-terror operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January.


TRIBUNE

Misuari ‘willing to talk peace’ with gov’t if... Written by PNA Sunday, 23 August 2015 00:00


NUR MISUARI

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) fugitive founding chairman Nur Misuari is reportedly “very much willing” to engage in formal negotiations with the national government to resolve various issues, among them the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement, if the government would drop all the charges filed against him.

Johnny Siao, chairman of the MNLF Misuari faction’s national border command based in this city, said that based on their latest communication, the rebel leader signified his intention to participate in a planned tripartite review for the peace process.

But he said the government should also reciprocate such move by dropping the rebellion charges that had been filed against Misuari in connection with the Zamboanga City siege in Sept. 2013.

“His (Misuari) tag as a terrorist should be dropped first before we start talking,” he said in an interview.

Siao claimed that Misuari did not plan and led the Zamboanga City crisis and that it only escalated due to supposed erroneous interventions made by authorities and local politicians.

Citing results of the MNLF central committee’s recent meeting held in Jolo, Sulu, he said they agreed to seek more engagements with the influential Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address Misuari’s case.

For the review process, he said they will also negotiate for the participation of OIC members Indonesia and Malaysia.

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Ustadz Pendi Colano, a member of the MNLF central committee representing the Selatan Kutawato group, reiterated that they remain committed to the 1996 peace accord with the national government despite the past setbacks.

He said they continue to abide by the peace process and hopeful that the pending issues can still be resolved amicably and without the use of arms or violence.

“We are for peace. We believe that is also the stand of President Aquino,” he said.

Colano said the MNLF at-large is no longer a threat to national security and should be treated as such by the government, especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He said their members have successfully reintegrated with the mainstream society after the forging of the peace agreement.

“We’re already in the mainstream of the society and are now living simple lives.

We don’t want to engage in war anymore,” he added.


INTERAKSYON

President of Davao del Norte media organization killed By: InterAksyon.com August 19, 2015 2:13 PM  InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Slain Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club president Gregorio Ybanez (contributed photo)

MANILA, Philippines -- The president of the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club died Wednesday morning, hours after he was shot in Tagum City the night before, colleagues said.

Gregorio “Loloy” Ybañez, who published the local newspaper Kabuhayan News Services and was also a director of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, died around 6:30 a.m., DNPRC vice president Boy Conejos told InterAksyo.com.

He was the second journalist murdered in Tagum following the killing of broadcaster Rogelio “Tata” Butalid of Radyo Natin on December 11, 2013.

A DNPRC statement on Ybañez’s death said he was entering his house in Mirafuentes Subdivision, Barangay Magugpo North when he was shot several times by a still unknown assailant driving a Honda Fit around 10 p.m.

Conejos said Ybañez was hit three times in the chest and once in the right arm.

He said authorities have not yet established the motive for the attack on Ybañez, although he said it was more likely to be related to “trouble” in DANECO than his media work because the victim’s newspaper was not considered “hard-hitting.”

If proven to be related to his media work, Ybañez would be the 28th killed under President Benigno Aquino III’s watch and the 174th since 1986, when democracy and freedom of expression were supposed to have been restored, according to a count kept by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Only a handful of the killings have ever been solved and no mastermind has yet been convicted and jailed, a record of impunity that has earned the Philippines the dubious distinction of being one of the deadliest countries for journalists.

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After Butalid’s murder in 2013, a report by independent media outfit DavaoToday quoted Ybañez as saying his colleague’s death was believed linked to an “intra-management conflict” within the power utility and that six other journalists had also been receiving death threats because of their “stringing” commentaries on the issue.

“Death threats were sent thru text messages; a bouquet of flowers from a funeral parlor was also delivered. Some of my colleagues also received a gift containing white candles and a matchstick,” DavaoToday quoted Ybañez as saying at the time.

Last year, watchdog organization Human Rights Watch released a report on an alleged “death squad” supposedly operating under the auspices of the Tagum local government that was responsible for hundreds of deaths, including Butalid’s.

Butalid’s murder came at the tail end of a particularly bloody period that saw three Mindanao media practitioners slain in less than two weeks just before the end of 2013. On December 3, Michael Milo was killed in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur and, a week before that, Joas Dignos was murdered in Valencia, Bukidnon.


MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

Brilliance by affinity Aug. 23, 2015 at 12:01am

The assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was commemorated Friday with the usual statements on how he was a hero whose death galvanized a nation.

The late senator never got to be president, but his wife, and later his son, certainly did. In 1986, a revolution swept Aquino’s widow into power even as the people were well aware that she had no experience whatsoever in running a nation.

It was enough that Ninoy and Cory were husband and wife; she would continue whatever it was he had begun. In 2010, the couple’s son benefited from the outpouring of sympathy after the death of his mother.

Mrs. Aquino’s six-year administration was plagued by incompetence and instability, but she was not expected to be a brilliant president, anyway. It was enough that she restored democracy. Never mind, too, that along with democracy, the rule of the oligarchs was restored, as well.

And it was enough that Benigno III was his mother’s son, never mind the fact that his stint as lawmaker—first as representative of his district in Tarlac and then as senator—had been completely unremarkable.

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These are just two cases among thousands of mistaken competence by virtue of one’s relationships. How often has the electorate catapulted into office somebody just because he or she is the spouse, offspring or sibling of a well-known figure?

Now, in the presidential race, the adopted daughter of Fernando Poe Jr.—an actor who ran for president in 2004 and who, his supporters claim, would have won had he not been cheated—invokes her father’s heart for the people and makes references to him at every opportunity as her way of endearing herself to the public.

This, too, is the reason for the clamor—real, imagined, who knows?—for the widow of former Interior and Local Secretary Jesse Robredo to team up with the Liberal Party’s presidential bet.

These examples show how, rightly or wrongly, Filipinos are swayed by their cultural bias for family ties. Why must we attribute traits to a person just because he or she is related to somebody we know? Birth is random, and often the attributes are a product of speculation among anything else.

This has been deeply embedded in our voting history such that the attribution is automatic even before we have seen proof of the competence of the next person.

This lack of critical appreciation has escaped us for so long that we keep voting the same breed of people into office: entitled, and with no compulsion at all to do better because the scripts are already there. They just have to know the lines to be delivered by their characters.

Unfortunately, some don’t even take the trouble to memorize the words at all.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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