Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pacquiao’s brother seeking House seat faces residency questions

By Evangeline Escol

The congressional bid in Sarangani of senatorial aspirant and incumbent Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao’s anointed replacement, younger brother Rogelio “Roel” Pacquiao, is facing initial setbacks due to questions on residency.
Lawyer Michael Mamukid, Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Sarangani supervisor, said Tuesday the younger Pacquiao is not a registered voter of the province when he filed his certificate of candidacy for its lone congressional seat on Monday afternoon.
He said Roel, the incumbent chair of Barangay Apopong here and representative of the Liga ng mga Barangay in the city council, remains a registered voter of the city based on their records.
“We still received his COC since it is our ministerial duty as per our rules but we properly explained to him and his legal counsel the status of his registration,” Mamukid said in an interview over radio station Brigada News.
Roel filed his COC as official candidate of the People’s Champ Movement (PCM), the local political party founded by Rep. Pacquiao.
The PCM earlier chose Roel to seek the province’s congressional seat after Manny declared to run to join the senatorial race in the 2016 general elections.
Citing information received by the Comelec provincial office, Mamukid said the younger Pacquiao reportedly has a house in Alabel town in Sarangani but they have yet to verify it.
He said Roel applied last month for the transfer of his registration records to Alabel but stressed that the process is “not automatic.”
He said the application for transfer will still undergo hearings by the Election Registration Board as provided for in Republic Act 8189 or the Voter’s Registration Act of 1996.
Under RA 8189, the ERB will be composed of Alabel’s election officer as chair, and the most senior public school official and the local civil registrar or municipal treasurer as members.
Mamukid said the first ERB hearing on Rogelio’s case is set on Monday, Oct. 19, at the Alabel election office.
He said Roel and his legal counsel have signified to attend the hearing.
“The ERB will scrutinize the records that he filed and determine whether he is really a resident of the area,” he said.
He said any registered voter in Alabel may file an opposition to Roel’s application and would be properly considered by the ERB during the hearing. - From mindanews.com

Officials say no election hotspots in GenSan, South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 October) – There are no possible hotspots or “areas of immediate concern” so far in this city and nearby South Cotabato province, authorities said as the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2016 general elections entered its second day on Tuesday.
Lawyer Jay Gerada, Commission on Elections (Comelec)-South Cotabato supervisor, said this was based on the initial assessment conducted by local police and military units for the five-day poll-related activity.
He said Comelec Region 12 held a regional command conference last week to assess the region’s security situation and set the necessary measures for various election-related activities.
“There were so far no identified areas of immediate concern in South Cotabato,” Gerada said.
Comelec-South Cotabato has jurisdiction over this city, Koronadal City and the province’s 10 municipalities.
But Gerada said they are not leaving any chances in terms of the security measures, especially in election offices.
For the filing of the COCs, which will end on Friday, he said all election offices in the area have detailed police personnel.
He said the deployment, which was ordered by the Police Regional Office 12, is aimed to ensure the “peaceful, smooth and orderly” filing of COCs by local aspirants.
As of Tuesday morning, Gerada said they have not encountered any major problem in line with the filing of the COCs.
“We expect this to continue until the closing of the COC filing on Friday,” he said.
Senior Supt. Jose Briones Jr., South Cotabato police director, said they are currently on full alert and have implemented maximum personnel deployment in the entire province.
He said they are closely watching some localities in the province that are considered as potential “areas of concern.” - From mindanews.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

South Cotabato provincial board okays P2.49-B AIP for 2016

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 October) — The South Cotabato provincial board has approved an investment of around P2.49 billion for the local government’s priority programs and projects next year.
Board member Vicente de Jesus, chair of the board’s committee on finance and appropriation, aid Tuesday such funding comprise the provincial government’s Annual Investment Program (AIP) for 2016.
He said the AIP, which was crafted by the executive department, was earlier endorsed to the board by the Provincial Development Council (PDC), which is the province’s highest development policy-making body.
The PDC, which is chaired by South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, is composed of the province’s mayors, provincial officials and representatives of non-government and people’s organizations.
The AIP, as defined in the guidelines on provincial/local planning and expenditure management and the budget operations manual for local government units (LGUs), is the annual slice of the local investment development program of the LGUs.
It constitutes the total resource requirements of the LGU consisting of the annual capital expenditures as well as the regular operating expenditures that will serve as basis for the preparation of the annual budget and supplemental appropriations.
“The AIP is the main basis of our budget for next year. It covers the provincial government’s operations, delivery of regular and continuing services, and proposed public investment programs and projects,” De Jesus said.
The official said the approved AIP is a component of the Provincial Investment Program for 2014 to 2019.
He said it focuses on five development sectors that comprise social; administration; economic; technical infrastructure; environment management and disaster risk reduction/climate change adaptation (DRR/CCA).
The social development sector received the biggest allocation with P1.1 billion, followed by development administration with P640 million, technical infrastructure with P562.52 million, environment management and DRR/CCA with P175 million, and economic development with P118.7 million.
Around P5.13 million was set aside as assistance to national government agencies based in the province.
De Jesus said among the major projects lined up under the 2016 AIP is the rehabilitation of the provincial in Koronadal City. - From mindanews.com

Occupancy rate at Samal resorts drops 2 weeks after abduction

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 October) – The occupancy rate at the resorts of Samal Island has dropped by 50 percent two weeks after the kidnapping incident at the Holiday Oceanview Resort, an official of the Davao del Norte Tourism Council (DNTC) said Monday.
In an interview at the BIMP-EAGA and Tourism Investment Forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, DNTC president Araceli Ayuste said the local tourism has been severely hurt as shown in the cancellations of bookings since the September 21 kidnapping of three foreigners and a Filipina.
Ayuste, who owns Punta del Sol Resort, cited she had 15 bookings cancelled so far, roughly equivalent to P75,000 in revenue losses. She said this is far worse than during the lean period from July to October when the occupancy rate in most resorts was at least 70 percent.
She said it was an unusual drop and the biggest in the history of Samal tourism because no rebookings have been made unlike in the past when there were typhoons that hit Davao Region.
The worst typhoon that ever hit the region was “Pablo” in December 2012.
Ayuste said she was not expecting the impact would be this big because the kidnapping was an isolated case.
Samal Island represents 80 percent of Davao del Norte’s tourism, recording a total of 29,477 foreign and 649,915 domestic tourists last year.
In a travel advisory updated last October 2, Canadian government warned citizens against traveling to Mindanao, particularly the areas comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslum Mindanao, as well as the Zamboanga Peninsula and the provinces of Sarangani, Lanao del Norte, Davao Del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudurat “due to the serious threat of terrorist attacks and kidnapping”.
The advisory includes Davao City but Canadians are advised to “exercise a high degree of caution” while in its urban areas.
In a chance interview days after the kidnapping incident, Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte assured foreigners are safe here.
Ayuste said they are now shifting their focus to domestic tourists who would sometimes worry for their safety every time they make bookings with the resorts in Samal.
The island has 82 resorts with around 600 rooms. - From mindanews.com

Monday, October 5, 2015

Senate probe on Lumad killings: “apparent unholy alliance” and denials

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur (MindaNews/04 October) – The two-day Senate probe on Lumad killings ended Friday afternoon with Mindanawon senators Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino Pimentel III echoing the call of Lumads (Indigenous Peoples), church and local government leaders to arrest, disarm and disband the “Magahat-Bagani” paramilitary group that has been repeatedly accused of sowing terror in several towns in Surigao del Sur and whose disbandment has also been repeatedly sought.
But the Bishop of Tandag is still waiting for answers to critical questions about the “apparent unholy alliance between the military and the paramilitary which the military vehemently denies.” 

On Thursday, Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar told the Senate probe on Lumad killings called for by the Committees on Justice and Human Rights, and Cultural Communities that he is “baffled” why, despite the military’s denials of an alliance, Marcial Belandres, one of the leaders of the paramilitary group and principal suspect in the October 2014 killing of Manobo teacher Henry Alameda and Aldren Dumaguit, was among three persons presented as Datus in a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on September 15.
In that press conference, Belandres and company cleared the military of alleged collusion with the paramilitary group and instead pointed to the New People’s Army (NPA) as the perpetrators of the killings and harassments.
The press conference came two weeks after the September 1 attack on Sitio Han-ayan, Diatagon, Lianga where Emerito Samarca, executive director of an alternative learning center, Lumad leader Dionel Campos and his cousin Bello Sinzo were killed early morning of September 1 by armed men known in the area as “Magahat-Bagani,” allegedly with soldiers from the 75thand 36thInfantry Battalions. - From mindanews.com

Duterte declines team-up offer of Cayetano, Marcos

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 Oct) – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has declined the offer of two senators eyeing the vice presidency, to be their Presidential candidate in 2016.
In his television program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on Sunday, Duterte said he met with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., last week for about two hours each but declined the offer of the senators to run alongside with them, reiterating that he is not running for the highest post.
Cayetano announced his bid for Vice President at the Grand Men Seng Hotel on Tuesday and met with Duterte that evening while Marcos met with the mayor the following night.

The mayor said he has been public servant for half of his life and that for him, is enough. “I know the perils of public service,” he said.
Duterte on September 7 ended speculations about his political plans when he announced at the Grand Men Seng hotel that he was not running for President.
“I would like to categorically state now (to end) the agony of those who are waiting na hindi ako tatakbo ng presidente. Wala akong ambisyon maging presidente sa 2016,” he said.
He said he would retire from public service starting next year and urged his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, mayor from 2010 to 2013, to stage a comeback.
Duterte, mayor from 1988 to 1998, representative of the first district from 1998 to 2001 and mayor again from 2001 to 2010, served as vice mayor to his daughter-mayor from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, he was elected mayor for the seventh time with son Paolo as vice mayor.
Three candidates have declared their Presidential bids: Manuel “Mar” Roxas, the administration Liberal Party’s bet; Vice President Jejomar Binay; and Senator Grace Poe.
Poe’s running mate is Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero while Roxas and Binay have yet to name their running mate.
The filing of certificates of candidacy is on October 12 to 16.
When Duterte learned of Cayetano’s vice presidential bid, he said, “That’s good. Manihapon na lang ta. Naa si Pia (Senator Pia Cayetano), sila mag-igsoon gihangyo ko. They were presuming all along nga modagan ko pagka-presidente (Let’s just have dinner. Senator Pia was also there. The siblings urged me to run. They were presuming all along that I am running),” he said.
“Niingon sila na modagan ko kay naay good chances of winning. Niingon ko nga wala man, uwahi man ko sa survey, magdungan ta kapildi hinuon ani. Pangita na lang mo og winning candidates. (They told me to run because I have good chances of winning but I said I’m the last in the surveys, so we will both lose. I told them instead to look for winning candidates).
Whether I’m number one or five (in the) survey, it does not really matter to me,” he said.
Duterte, however, said that he would support Cayetano and Marcos because both are ambitious and are capable of leading the nation, having been in the Senate for years. - From mindanews.com

Friday, October 2, 2015

Soldiers escorted killers of Lumad leaders, witnesses say

TANDAG CITY (MindaNews/01 October) – Some 30 Army troopers were with the members of the paramilitary group Magahat who reportedly killed three Lumad leaders in a village in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on Sept. 1, evacuees who said they witnessed the killings said Thursday.
Erlinda Pagalan, of Km 16, Sitio Han-ayan in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga said the Magahat herded all residents of her place and other areas of Han-ayan to the basketball court of Km 16 and made them witness the killings.
“They arrived at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 1 and gathered us at the basketball court. Then the Magahat ransacked our houses and took cell phones, cash and anything that was of value to them,” Pagalan said.
Manobo children try to continue with their daily chores as students at the evacuation site in Tandag City on Octo. 1, 2015. Some 3000 mostly Manobo Lumads fled their homes in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and neighboring areas after the massacre on Sept. 1 of three Lumad leaders in the area by alleged paramilitary men. MindaNews photo by H. Marcos C. Mordeno[/caption]
“After that, they shot dead Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo in our presence,” she said.
“We were stunned and frightened, we thought they were going to kill us next,” she added.
Pagalan said the Magahat killed Emerito Samarca earlier, at about 4:30 a.m. of the same day with a bolo.
Jocklyn Enriquez, also of Km 16 said he believes Samarca was killed with a bolo so that the other residents could not be forewarned. “I saw Garito coming from where Sir Emok (Samarca’s nickname) was killed carrying a bolo that was dripping with blood.”
Pagalan said the Magahat and the soldiers talked for about two hours before leaving the place.
“The Magahat ordered us to leave the place in two days. If we wouldn’t leave, they vowed to return and harm us,” she said.
She said they started walking toward Diatagon proper at around 10:00 a.m. without taking breakfast and lunch. From Diatagon, they took multicabs to the sports complex in Tandag, the provincial capital, where they have been staying since. - From mindanews.com

Extortion behind SouthCot bus bombing that injured 18 – police

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 2 Oct) – Police authorities are eyeing extortion as behind the bomb explosion inside a passenger bus in Polomolok town in South Cotabato around noon Thursday that injured 18 people.
Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, confirmed Friday that the management of Yellow Bus Line (YBL) Inc. based in Koronadal City received a call from a person who claimed to be a member of the Al-Khobar gang several minutes before the blast.
“The caller identified himself as a member of the Al-Khobar and warned that they planted an explosive in one of their [YBL] bus units,” he said.
The official said a secretary of the bus company received the call around 11:50 a.m. or less than 10 minutes before the bomb exploded inside a YBL bus unit with body number 2008 and license plate MWD 296 at a portion of the national highway in Barangay Silway 7 in Polomolok.
The passenger bus, which originated from Koronadal City and en route to this city, had just left the public terminal of Polomolok when the explosion came.
It had also made a brief stop in Tupi town in South Cotabato as part of its route.
Eighteen of the 34 passengers, including a week-old baby, were injured in the blast and were rushed to various hospitals here.
Most of the victims only sustained minor injuries and four of them were still confined at a private hospital here as of Friday morning.
Citing accounts from witnesses, Camba said two unidentified persons boarded the bus along the national highway in Tupi town and placed a package at the overhead compartment near the center section of the bus.
The two reportedly disembarked from the bus at the Polomolok public terminal, he said.
“We’re not discounting other possible angles and our investigators are currently digging deeper into the case,” Camba said. - From mindanews.com
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