Ako (dakong kaliwa) at ang ang aming Batch 86 ng Immaculate Conception College.
SULU ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 31, 2007) – The Philippine military ordered US troops away from a government hospital after they forcibly closed it down in the southern province of Sulu.
US troops ordered Muslim doctors and hospital staff to close down the Panamao District Hospital at night since December 3. American troops who put up a base near the hospital even told the doctors to treat their patients at the municipal hall.
Dr. Silak Lakkian, head of the hospital, has complained about how US troops meddled into their operations. US soldiers insist there is a threat against them in the town from suspected Abu Sayyaf militants, but the report was disputed by local security forces.
American soldiers are in Sulu since 2006 to train Filipino troops and assist and advice them in the so-called war on terror. Rebels are active in Sulu province, about 950 kilometers south of Manila.
On Monday, the Philippine military banned US soldiers from near the hospital and even sent Filipino soldiers to guard the hospital.
The governor of Sulu, Sakur Tan, allowed the resumption of the hospital operations at night to cater to emergencies and patients in Panamao after a meeting with military and town officials over the weekend.
At the meeting, the US military commanders in Sulu apologized for the incident.“The hospital has resumed operations at night and everything is back to normal again,” Brigadier General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the Philippines Army Special Forces in Sulu, told Mindanao Examiner.
The news of the incident only broke out Saturday after hospital staff complained to authorities and journalists about how US troops forcibly shut down the hospital at night and even threatened to shoot anybody if there was an attack against the foreigners.
“US troops have no authority to impose on us,” the governor said.The US military tried to cover up the incident and denied it ever happened and blamed the local media for the “blunder.”
Local villagers and some Filipino troops also have complained about the arrogance of US soldiers in Sulu. Some US troops have allegedly treated Filipino soldiers like vassal.
Some US troops also prevented curious Muslim villagers to go near them in public places as though the locals were terrorists.
American troops had in the past also harassed Filipino journalists who were covering joint RP-US military war games in Zamboanga City and Sulu and in some occasions arrested and seized the cameras of reporters who took photos and videos of them.
It was also in Sulu that hundreds of US soldiers slaughtered some 800 Muslim villagers, including innocent women and children, during the Moro rebellion in March 1906 that has become known as the First Battle of Bud (Mount) Dajo also called the “Moro Crater Massacre.”
During this battle, 790 men and officers, under the command of Colonel J.W. Duncan, assaulted the volcanic crater, which was held by several hundred rebels protecting Muslim villagers. (Mindanao Examiner)
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 30, 2007) – Police have arrested one of two men linked to the murder of a Filipino broadcaster in the southern port city of Davao.
Police said Oliver Antoc, 31, was nabbed on Friday night in Davao City by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group while buying a roast chicken for dinner. They also seized a .45-caliber pistol from Antoc.
Two witnesses in the killing of Ferdinand Lintuan also pointed to Antoc as the gunman who shot the journalist inside his car on December 24.
It said it would file criminal charges against Antoc based on testimonies of the witnesses. It was unknown whether Antoc is a member of the Davao Death Squad or who ordered the killing of the journalist.
Two motorcycle gunmen killed Ferdinand Lintuan as he was driving his car.
Lintuan’s killing was previously blamed on the vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad, which is believed behind hundreds of extra-judicial killings the past years in Davao City.
Most of its victims were suspected criminals and thieves, but relatives and families of those killed have accused policemen as behind the Davao Death Squad.
Police gave no details about its investigation into the killing, but Lintuan’s murder was not the first in Davao City. Several journalists had been murdered in the past in Davao and among them were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani, Rogie Zagado in 1987 and Juan Pala Jr., in 2003.
Five journalists had been killed and two others wounded in separate attacks in the Philippines since early this year, according to the National Union of Journalists.
The Philippines is branded as one of the most dangerous place for journalists because of unresolved killings. Dozens of journalists were killed the past years and most of the cases remain unresolved.
More than 900 people, among them political activists, have been killed and hundreds are still missing since President Gloria Arroyo took office in 2001, according to the United Methodist News Service. (Mindanao Examiner)