DAVAO CITY – Pope Francis has designated Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop of Cotabato, as his Special Envoy to the celebration of the 150th Rediscovery of the “Hidden Christians” in Nagasaki, Japan on March 16 and 17 this year.
Quevedo said it was officially confirmed after the Luneta mass on January 18, although he was informed about the assignment three months ago.
CAGAYAN DE ORO – A complaint was filed at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office Wednesday against suspects in the foiled ambush of Iligan City lone district Representative Vicente “Varf” Belmonte.
REGIONAL Prosecutor Jaime Umpa has assured the investigation of the complaint filed against four police officers for multiple and frustrated murders will be “transparent.”
“All steps that the (new) panel will undertake will be known to both parties and their counsels,” Umpa told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday.
CAMP IRANUN, Barira, Maguindanao – The Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) tasked to oversee the process of decommissioning the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) forces and weapons is eyeing Camp Abubakar, now known as Camp Iranun of the Army’s 603rd Infantry Brigade, to be the storage facility of firearms to be handed to IDB once the normalization process of the GPH-MILF peace agreement takes off.
The IDB, headed by Turkish Ambassador Haydar Berk, conducted on Tuesday a site inspection inside the camp, which was once the main camp of the MILF until the “all-out war” in 2000, and was briefed by Col. Arnel dela Vega, 603IB commander.
THE head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Northern Mindanao (CIDG-10) has denied framing up two of the four police officers who were accused of shooting four civilian persons last month.
CIDG-10 regional director, Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum, said it was Jim Jamaca, the summary killing survivor, who tagged the law enforcers as the alleged shooters of his cousins, Harold and Roland Jamaca, and his live-in partner, Maria Erica Yabut.
TO prevent a repeat of bus bombing incidents, which killed and injured passengers last year, the Philippine National Police (PNP-10) has suggested the creation of bus stops in every town.
PNP-10 said there should be a designated bus stop in every municipality and each stop has to be equipped with a high-definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera and “bus drivers should be ordered not to pick up passengers anywhere, so that all passengers aboard and their baggage will be checked thoroughly with the aid of metal detectors and K9 units to counter any related incident that may happen along the way.”
APIA, Samoa – Philippine environmental justice organization BAN Toxics (BT) presents key topics in an international workshop for the ratification and early implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury currently held in Apia, Samoa from January 19-21, 2014.
Representing the international nongovernmental organization (NGO) coalition Zero Mercury Working Group, the United Nations Environmental Programme invited BT to present on the following issues: mercury-added products and trade; artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM); stakeholder involvement in developing communication plans; and, NGO support to countries in ratifying and implementing the Minamata Convention.
ILIGAN CITY — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has thanked Pope Francis for blessing the peace process between the group and the government through the few lines he spoke about the subject during his four-day swing in the country.
“Thank you Pope (Francis)! We know how much value and influence your simple words work with people who follow and listen to you…. The moral suasion penetrates the heart and soul of every Filipino Catholic, we are sure, including those in the highest echelon of government and the lawmakers,” the MILF said in a statement posted on its official website.
CAGAYAN DE ORO - A covenant on taking a stand against threats on journalists in the city who tackle “sensitive” issues was signed by local law enforcement agencies, government sector representatives, church officials and the media held at the Archbishop’s House here Tuesday morning.
ILIGAN CITY—The hopes and dreams of the families of journalists slain in the Maguindanao massacre has formally reached Pope Francis through a letter, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).
The letter, written by kin of the 32 slain journalists, was read during the fifth-year commemoration rites of the massacre Nov. 23 last year in Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
THE head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Northern Mindanao (CIDG-10) has yet to comment on the complaint recently filed by three police officers, two of whom are facing charges, against him for allegedly intervening in the apprehension of four armed persons.
Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum, CIDG-10 regional director, said he could not yet issue a statement to the allegation that he interfered in the arrest of the suspects who were reportedly arrested for carrying weapons in Bolonsiri, Barangay Camaman-an on December 11, 2014.
PIGCAWAYAN, North Cotabato – A village leader prevented a bombing attempt here by quickly reporting to the nearest police detachment, about 12 hours after another improvised bomb went off in Kabacan town, also in North Cotabato.
Senior Inspector Donald Gabico, Pigcawayan police chief, said an improvised bomb was found by Barangay South Manuangan purok leader Godofredo Piala left by two men on a motorbike at a roadside at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
IN ASSERTING their collective rights as residents and taxpayers of the city, more than a thousand Kagay-anons have asked the majority bloc of the City Council to enact the P3.8-billion executive budget through a people’s initiative Monday.
This is the second time the group held a rally urging the legislative to consider the budget Mayor Oscar Moreno had proposed for this year.
IT’S not a zero budget for Philhealth, said Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, as he assured Kagay-anons that the Annual Budget for 2015 was approved by the 17th City Council with the interest of its constituents, especially the poor, in mind.
In this year’s budget, P42 million was allotted for the Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) Point of Care Program, which is higher than the P16 million requested by the executive department. The amount will benefit 17,500 poor families that will be hospitalized.
TWO of the four policemen tagged as suspects in the killing of three persons have denied they were involved in the murder, documents obtained by Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Monday showed.
In their counter affidavits, both Senior Inspector Ludwig Charles Espera and Inspector Arnel Gighe have vehemently maintained their innocence amid the accusation that they, together with PO1 Jun Reil Barrientos and PO1 Manuel Quipanes, are allegedly responsible in shooting to death three persons.
IN SPITE of the newly completed J.R. Borja bridge, the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) has determined that public utility jeepneys (PUJs) would still use the Governor Paciencio Ysalina bridge connecting the downtown area to Barangay Carmen, RTA chief lawyer Jose Edgardo Uy said Monday.
During the January 15-19 dry run, the RTA discovered that the PUJs passing through the new bridge caused traffic jam in the intersection of Max Suniel in Carmen and J.R. Borja bridge.
DAVAO CITY -- Ecumenical leaders have appealed to Pope Francis to “add his voice” in calling the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to return to the negotiating table.
In a statement dated January 18, Rev. Ephraim S. Fajutagana, chair of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), said: “injustices and social inequality are the roots of the armed conflict that the people wish to be resolved through the peace talks.”
THE 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division (4ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed 2015 with pride and optimism that it can accomplish more in bringing back Filipinos subjugated by the insurgency to the main stream of society.
Major General Oscar Lactao, 4ID commanding general, in his New Year’s message to the officers and men of the division, said that with the dedication and sacrifices of the soldiers, Northern Mindanao and the Caraga Region have slowly but sustainably changed the lives of communities who were once influenced by the New People’s Army (NPA).
AN ORDER to kill the only witness of the alleged summary execution of Harold and Roland Jamaca with a reward of P1 million has reached Rolando Jamaca, the father of the murdered Jamaca brothers.
Jim Jamaca, who survived the attempt on his life together with his girlfriend and his cousins who were allegedly summarily killed in December last year, may be in danger.
THE generation of today must go beyond the “selfie” culture and contribute what they can to society even at a young age.
This was the challenge of Tulong Kabataan, a coalition of student and youth groups from all over Northern Mindanao that conducted a feeding activity and play therapy to around 1,000 children in two barangays in Cagayan de Oro City over the weekend.
PEASANTS and indigenous peoples have called on Pope Francis to listen to the issues affecting these marginalized sectors like landlessness and the continued violence inflicted on them.
The Pope, who visited the country from January 15 until Monday, January 19, went to Tacloban to see the suffering of the people whose lives were affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda, but Mindanao was not on his itinerary.
REPORTS of homegrown terrorist cells suspected to be operating in Mindanao should not be ignored, the regional police chief said.
Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., the newly appointed regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Northern Mindanao, said the people must remain vigilant and be on lookout for the presence of suspicious individuals in their areas.
BUTUAN CITY -- It looks like the release of three policemen from Surigao del Norte who are being held captive by the New People’s Army (NPA) will be delayed further after the Caraga Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) refused to give in to the demand of the rebels for a troop pullout in the province.
Butuan City Mayor and RPOC chair Ferdinand Amante said the council would wait for instructions from President Benigno Aquino III regarding the demand by the NPA as a precondition to the release of the captives.
THE local government has decided on a P3.8 billion budget, because it has been ambitious enough that 2015 is its “momentum year,” Mayor Oscar Moreno said.
DAVAO CITY – A radio commentator who survived an assassination attempt nearly 10 years ago but was paralyzed from the waist down, passed away on January 15, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Media Safety Office announced in a press statement.
Alberto “Pastor” Martinez, 57, was a hard-hitting broadcaster in North Cotabato who had been receiving death threats before he was shot evening of April 10, 2005, some 200 meters from his radio station in Kabacan town. The bullet pierced his spine and lodged in his body.
DAVAO CITY – President Benigno Aquino III said nothing about the peace processes involving the Bangsamoro and the communist guerrillas in his speech to welcome Pope Francis in Malacañang, but the Pope expressed trust that the progress made in bringing peace to Mindanao “will result in just solutions” following the nation’s founding principles “and respectful of the inalienable rights of all, including the indigenous peoples and religious minorities.”
TACLOBAN CITY – Lumad leaders conferred on Pope Francis the title Apô (elder) Edsila on January 16 here in an event called “Gathering of the Poor” to be witnessed by Catholic sisters and Typhoon Yolanda survivors.
“We are bestowing on him the title Apô Edsila since he is worthy of high esteem with his love for us, indigenous peoples, and for his respect for the values and beliefs that we have held sacred since time immemorial,” said Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of the Mindanao-wide indigenous peoples' group Kalumaran.
WHILE accompanying his wife to work Friday morning, a resident in Barangay Bugo here noticed a bloodstained sack dumped in a vacant lot in front of a school that prompted him to get near and found a foot exposed.
The resident reported to Puerto police station that he found a body placed inside a sack tied with a shoelace at around 5:15 a.m. yesterday.
THE three-person panel of prosecutors tasked to conduct an investigation into the complaint filed by a retired policeman against four law enforcers and others who were involved in the alleged summary killing of his two sons and his nephew’s girlfriend last December has filed a motion to inhibit themselves from the case.
A copy of the resolution, dated January 15 and obtained by this paper Friday, stated that the three prosecutors have expressed their intent to drop the investigation of the multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints.
A FEW days after a broadcast journalist received threatening text messages after tackling the series of extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the city, the members of the media have condemned the threat and now urged the police to cleanse their ranks of erring law enforcers.