FOOD AID: Above, Kathryn Milliken, international program officer of World Food Program chats with Muslim children during a recent distribution of rice and food assistance in the towns of Mamasapano, Datu Unsay, Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak in the restive Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines. (Mark Navales)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 31 Jul) Some of the county’s top business leaders and government economic managers are expected to attend the two-day 15th Mindanao Business Conference here on August 31.
The conference will give business leaders substantial insights and comprehensive information about Mindanao.
“The presence of top business leaders will surely change the present image of Mindanao, since the problem on peace and order has been the major stumbling block in luring investors to do business in Mindanao,” said Teresita Sebastain, conference director and regional governor of the Zamboanga Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sebastian said they are expecting at least 1,000 participants toattend the business confab. “Aside from businessmen from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon, different corporate officials and representatives from neighboring countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the northern territory of Australia are also expected to participate as observers,” she said.
Jose Batausa, president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., the presence of top business and government leaders in the conference will help Mindanao achieve its goal of becoming the country’s most promising economic hub.
With the theme: “Mindanao: The Best of the Philippines,” Batausa said it willserve as an occasion to review and examine programs that will help boost the local products, especially the huge agricultural sector of Mindanao and the critical role of the small and medium enterprises in countryside development.
As many as 50 Small and Medium Enterprises from Mindanao have signed up to join the conference’s trade exhibition and fair. About half of those who will attend the fair are manufacturers of new products from the Zamboanga Peninsula region. At least 15 others said they will put up booths that will exhibit small items and souvenirs.
Celso Lobregat, the mayor of Zamboanga City, said the local government is supporting the conference. “We are supporting this important conference,” he said.
Zamboanga Peninsula region has posted the highest growth among the country’s 17 regions with a 7.2 percent jump in its gross regional domestic product in 2005, a significant improvement form its4.1 percent growth in the previous year.
The Minbizcon is an annual conference of all top chamber of commerce and industries in Mindanao. It has been held in different regions since 1992.
HATAGAN OG TRABAHO
HATAGAN og trabaho sa kagamhanan sa Cebu City ang mga binilanggo sa Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) diha sa South Reclamation Project (SRP).
Sa pagsulat niining lindog, gikataho nga pormal nang gipahibalo ni Mayor Tomas Osmena ang iyang plano nga hatagan niya og kahigayonan nga makatrabaho ang maong mga piniriso samtang nagserbisyo kini sa ilang mga silot bugti sa kasal-anan nga ilang nahimo sa balaod.
Giklaro hinuon ni Mayor Osmena nga ang patrabahoon mao lamang kadtong mga binilanggo nga hapit na nakagawas o duna na lay nahibilin nga pipila ka adlaw o bulan sa ilang sentensiya.
Gihugonhugon nga usa ka gatos ka pesos (P100.00) ang suhol matag adlaw sa patrabahoon nga mga piniriso ug libre pa gayod sila sa pagkaon.
Maayo kining maong lakang. Alang nako, dako kaayo kinig ikatabang aron mapahimuslan sa mga binilanggo ang mga adlaw sa ilang pagsilbi sa ilang sentensiya. Sa ingon, dili mausik ang ilang panahon.
Daghan ang nahinugon sa pagkasunog sa Plaza Fair, usa sa labing dakong department store sa Colon area sa dakbayan sa Sugbo, diin gibanabanang mokabat sa P15 ngadto sa 20 milyones ang danyos sa sunog.
Anugon gayod kaayo nga nasunog ang maong department store tungod kay barato kaayo ang mga kan-anan sa sulod niadto ug alegre pa gayod kaayo tungod sa daghang kalingawan sa sulod.
Ang Plaza Fair usa sa nag-unang shopping center sa dakbayan sa Sugbo, partikular na sa Colon area. Daghan ang nahinugon pag-ayo nga nasunog ang maong establisamento tungod kay mao man kadto ang punsisokan sa daghang mangaonay tungod kay daghan man kaayong baratong pagkaon sa kinaibabwang andana niini.
The Word of the Day:
affluent \AF-loo-unt\ adjective
1 : flowing in abundance 2 : having a generously sufficient and typically increasing supply of material possessions
Example sentence: While the affluent families head for their mountain getaways on sultry summer weekends, the less well-heeled seek respite in the river that flows through town. (Merriam-Webster)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Jul) The website of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) have disappeared, but the rebel groups continue its propaganda war despite losing one of the most visited site from the Internet.
The website philippinerevolution.org, which previously posted news and photographs of war victories against the military and police and anti-government propaganda is now home to travel and tourism portals. Gone was the red hammer and sickle flag; it was replaced by an image of a clear blue sky — Welcome to the Philippinerevolution.Org, it now said.
The new site is a far cry from stories of ambuscades of soldiers; of photographs of young warriors fighting for freedom and oppression and the right of the peasants.
It was unknown if the CPP-NPA website was defaced or hacked, as it was in the past, but losing the site did not prevent the rebels and their political wing, the National Democratic Front, in providing the media with latest news in the battle front.
With more than 450 members — from individuals to news media in the
Philippines and abroad — the CPP’s e-group and the NPA’s war bulletin continue to provide breaking stories and insight into the war that had already killed tens of thousands the past three decades.
The rebels last week released 15 news stories from daring attacks on soldiers and policemen in the southern Philippines to successful raids in the northern part of the country. They continue to boast of victories against the government and their latest news release warns of bigger attacks.
“Through relentless mass work and warfare, the people’s democratic government, the local Party branches, the mass organizations and the New People’s Army, together with the people’s militia and self-defense units in the guerrilla fronts, have been able to preserve their strength and grow on a nationwide scale.”
“The hundreds of NPA platoon now available for tactical offensives on a nationwide scale can bleed the enemy profusely. They can easily hit and run and avoid decisive engagements with any superior enemy force. At the moment, the NPA under the leadership of the CPP is determined to multiply the platoons as the attack units of the commands at the guerrilla front, provincial and regional units. These platoons can easily combine to launch bigger offensives or they can also combine with local guerrilla squads and the militia units for the purpose,” said the rebels in their latest statement.
With media as battlefront, the rebels in the southern Philippines may be winning the propaganda war and the military is steadily losing the battle on information. The Zamboanga City-based Southern Command, the biggest military installation outside
Manila, remains silent of many issues involving the communist and Muslim rebels.
And the same is true with the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Zamboanga del Sur province and the Philippine Marines and the Navy headquarters in the restive region.
Many security officials were either hiding from the media, prevented from talking by their superiors or afraid to give information, saying only generals or their designated spokesmen are authorized to talk. But they often blame journalists for stories critical of the military or the government.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also maintains its own website called luwaran.com that carries daily news and photographs about the rebel group. Eid Kabalu, the MILF spokesman, is always available for media interviews, unlike military generals and their public affairs spokesmen.
And this is also the same with Gregorio Rosal, the CPP spokesman, and other rebel leaders in Mindanao are as active as Kabalu. They regularly speak on radio programs and occasionally grant clandestine interviews in their hideouts for selected journalists.
The Internet has become the new venue for rebels to wage propaganda war and with no military websites to talk about in Mindanao; soldiers are losing in this battle for publicity.
MALABON (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Jul) A photojournalist was killed Monday in a daring broad daylight attack in Malabon City, north of Manila, reports said.
Reports said an unidentified gunman shot Dick Melendres at around 8:40 a.m. near his home. Melendres who worked with the tabloid Tanod was the 4th journalist killed since last month. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack and police said it is still investigating the killing of the journalist.
It was unknown if the killing had anything to do with the cell phone SMS Melendres received in November from Magiliw Ortega, a village official in Malabon, who was found dead inside his bedroom.
Melendres said he received the message from Ortega Nov. 29 at 5:27 a.m. which read: “Mrming slmat (thank you very much), but the journalist said he had no idea why the official was thanking him.
Police said Ortega, 41, was found in his room with a gunshot wound in the left temple. But investigators said the crime scene was apparently cleaned up and Ortega’s body had been removed and covered with blanket.
The killing came just 10 days after police arrested a 3rd suspect in the killing of a broadcaster in
City in the southern
Philippines. The man suspect was linked to the shooting of the 51-year Armando Pace. Police in Digos earlier said that two men had been held for questioning — one was arrested after his neighbors told police that he bragged killing Pace and the other was the alleged owner of a motorcycle used in the attack.
Pace was killed July 18 while heading home in Digos. The motive of the killing was unknown. Police officer Bimbo Labajo, of
City police force, earlier said that a man was being investigated after he bragged about killing Pace.
Gunmen also shot and killed George Vigo, a correspondent for the Union of Catholic Asian News, and his wife, Macel Alave-Vigo, also a broadcaster, on June 19 in
North Cotabato province.
Vigo was also the executive director of the non-government organization Peoples’ Kauyahan Foundation, Inc. which initiates community peace forums and dialogues in
North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.
Gunmen also ambushed and killed Albert Orsolino, a tabloid photographer for Saksi Ngayon, in
City in May. Orsolino was driving his car when gunmen, who were onboard a van, blocked his path and opened fire with automatic weapons.
Orsolino was a former president of the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas -Valenzuela) Press Corps. Police is investigating if the latest killing was connected with Orsolino’s murder. Other reports said Melendres and Orsolino were cousins.
The National Union of Journalists of the
Philippines said at least 45 journalists have been murdered in the country the past 5 years. The
Philippines now ranks second to
Iraq on the list of deadliest countries for journalists in 2005, according to international media group Reporters without Borders.
MARAWI CITY (Merlyn Manos / 30 Jul) Indigenous tribe leaders have opposed a proposal to include their ancestral domain in the so-called Bangsamoro homeland in the southern Philippines.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which is negotiating peace with Manila, has proposed the establishment of the Bangsamoro homeland that will include at least 18 indigenous tribes in Mindanao.
But at least 29 leaders and representatives of the different indigenous tribes they have their own separate system of governance and institutions in accordance with traditional customary laws.
The MILF, the largest Muslim rebel group in the country, is fighting for the establishment of a strict Islamic state and rebel leaders said they have the support of indigenous tribes in the restive, but mineral-rich Mindanao region.
The Word of the Day:
incunabulum \in-kyuh-NAB-yuh-lum\ noun
1: a book printed before 1501 2: a work of art or of industry of an early period
Example sentence: Among the library’s archives is a collection of exquisite incunabula. (Merriam-Webster)
With local elections next year fast approaching, giant billboards of government projects and photos of politicians are all over Zamboanga, but many roads in the southern port city remain dilapidated and without street lights, making it dangerous at night both for motorists and pedestrians. (Zamboanga Journal)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mike Banos / 30 Jul) Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. urged the Philippine media to keep close tabs on the Anti-Terrorism Bill which he fears could become a convenient tool to muzzle the press in the country.
“We need legislation to combat the sophisticated methods that terrorists employ to harm the innocent,” Pimentel said at the weekend in his keynote speech during the induction of the incoming Board of Trustees of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) at a local hotel.
“But everyone, especially the members of the media, are called upon to help see to it that the law on terrorism that comes out of Congress must not infringe upon our basic freedoms in the name of the fight against terrorism,” he said.
“I suggest that it is important for the PPI and for all other mass media organizations and concerned citizen groups to monitor the shape and form that this legislation will take,” he said. “Your views are especially welcome on the provisions on arrests without warrants, surreptitious wire tapping, scrutinizing your emails and other private communications, and probably even your bank accounts by government agents.”
Pimentel also warned that the difficulties the US press has been experiencing in publishing what Washington had at various times considered to be sensitive information is already “pressing on our shores” citing the news blackout over the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu Archipelago a year or two ago.
“It would do the PPI well to put their collective heads together and map out suggestions on how the press will handle matters involving issues on terrorism under present laws and the rights of our people under the projected anti-terrorism legislation.”
Amado Macasaet, PPI chairman and president, also warned that media and state can never mix, lest this spell the end of the latter as a democratic institution.
“Media and the state are classical adversaries,” Macasaet said. “They should never be friends. If media and the state should ever come to terms, we are finished.”
Elected new officers and members of the PPI Board of Trustees were Amado Macasaet, chairman and president, Publisher (Malaya); Isagani Yambot, vice president, Publisher (Philippine Daily Inquirer); Ronaldo Romero, treasurer, Editor-Publisher (Business World); Allan Mediante, trustee for Mindanao, asst. vice president (Mindanao Gold Star Daily).
Quirino Alban, trustee for Luzon, editor-publisher, Makiling Journal; Michelle So, trustee for Visayas, Executive Editor, Sun Star Cebu; and trustees Augusto Villanueva, Editor-in-Chief (Journal Group); Rogelio Salazar, Chief Executive Officer (Manila Standard); Antonio Katigbak, Managing Editor (Philippine Star) and Juan Mercado, Director (Press Foundation for Asia).
Also present during the induction were Jose Pavia, executive director, editor-publisher (Mabuhay) and Gary Mariano, Philippine Press Council chairman, asst. professor ( De La Salle University-Greenhills).
Besides inducting the new PPI Board of Trustees into office, Pimentel also inducted the charter officers of the Cagayan de Oro Communicators Association.
Also in the induction ceremony were Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Pablo Magtajas, Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Uriel Quilinguing and KBP-Cagayan de Oro Chapter Chairman Jonas Bustamante.