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Contents

Army captures 3 NPA camps in Sultan Kudarat

by Allen V. Estabillo


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 May) – Government troops overran three major camps of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the mountains of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat following a series of operations in the area. Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said Friday they seized the camps after several intense encounters with suspected rebels under the NPA’s Front 72 and Southern Alip Regional Guerrilla Unit. “After our encounters, we continued to search the general area and found the abandoned temporary camps,” he said.

But he said they found the three NPA camps already dismantled supposedly to prevent his troops from using them. Bravo said they recovered from three camps several documents and personal belongings believed to be owned by the rebels and their leaders. The Army official described the fallen positions as “major or big camps with trenches and foxholes” and located near several caves that the rebels had used as shelter. “There’s a cave system in the mountains of Columbio and the rebels have used them for many years as escape route or for their protection,” he said. Bravo said their troops have taken over the abandoned NPA camps, which they consider as strategic positions in connection with their continuing operations against the communist rebels. He said one of their units is presently securing the area to prevent the NPA rebels, who reportedly fled towards nearby Tulunan town in North Cotabato, from reclaiming them.

The 27th IB launched the offensives against the NPA rebels following an encounter late last month at the boundary of Columbio and Magsaysay town in Davao Del Sur that left a soldier and five rebels dead. Prior to the encounter, an estimated 40 NPA members stormed a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan in Columbio, which is near the mines development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. Bravo said the rebels, posing as mining workers, attacked the detachment on board a hijacked forward truck. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)






NBI nabs illegal recruiter with 16 minors for deployment abroad

by (PNA)

FFC/NYP/EOF


TACURONG CITY, May 11 (PNA) -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Central Mindanao Friday busted an illegal recruitment syndicate that prey on young girls in Koronadal City and nearby municipalities.

NBI-12 agent Timotheo Rijano identified the suspected illegal recruiter as Mary Linao, 38 years old and resident of Tacurong City.

Agents processing the release of NBI clearance became suspicious of Linao, who facilitated the acquisition of NBI clearance for 16 minor women she recruited from Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

Rijano told reporters that entries to the birth certificates of 16 minors have errors and deficiencies that led them to believed they were fake.

Linao admitted that indeed the certificates were manufactured.

An applicant for NBI clearance needs to submit copies of his or her birth certificate from the National Statistics Office and in security paper (secpa) form.

The agent said the birth certificates of 16 applicants were not certified by the NSO, thus, making them fake and manufactured.

Linao later admitted that the girls will be deployed to the Middle East, particularly in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and nearby countries through a recruitment agency based in Manila.

She could not say whether her agency in Manila was legitimate or not since she was only dealing with another woman working in the said agency.

The "rescued" minors are now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and DSWD-12 is now coordinating with the DSWD in Maguindanao for the turn-over of the illegal recruitment victims aged 16 to 17 years old.

Linao has been turned over to the local police for filing of appropriate charges.

NBI-12 has issued advisories to parents in far flung areas to be extra careful with recruiters who promised decent job opportunities overseas to avoid having their children landing as slaves in foreign lands.

Parents were advised to check with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) the legitimacy of any recruitment agencies that hire minors for domestic works overseas.

POEA Files Illegal Recruitment Case against Recruitment Agencies, 9 Individuals

by ofwguide.com


For deploying Filipino workers to Syria despite the existing deployment ban, recruitment agencies and nine (9) individuals are now facing illegal recruitment cases filed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The POEA Administrator, Hans Leo J. Cacdac, said in his report to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, that their government agency assisted 26 OFWs in filing cases for possible violations of prohibited acts under Republic Act 10022 by their respective recruitment companies.

POEA has also endorsed nine illegal recruitment cases to the Provincial Prosecution Offices of Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Norte, Sarangani, Camarines Norte, Batangas, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Davao City.

The victims identified their alleged recruiters as Aida Pinagayan Zoraida Salem Nora Valadi Fatima Sabulawan Marlyn dela Cruz Crislyn Noble Juliet dela Fuente Jake Munib Olivia Dayao,

The Recruitments Agencies: The POEA news said that many of the agencies below either have expired, suspended or cancelled licenses:

HRHA Manpower International, Inc. Miss Diamond Star International Manpower Services Inc. MMM International Placement Corp. Multi-System Conexions International Inc. LFC International Human Resources RCS Promotions and Overseas Placement Inc. MSS Talent Management Services, Inc. Greengate Manpower Services Co.

The POEA chief encourages other Filipinos to report and file appropriate cases against individuals and recruitment agencies that are offering job opportunities in countries where a deployment ban is currently ongoing. The deployment ban to Syria was imposed on April 2011 because of continuous political conflicts and civil unrest.

DOLE-12 to hold confab on new wage order

by DANILO E. DOGUILES


KORONADAL City--The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) have slated a series of meeting with stakeholders on the new wage order after a successful symposium on wage order on May 1. RTWPB 12 Board Secretary Jessie de la Cruz said the activities are intended to encourage public awareness of Wage Order 17 that became effective last April 18. He said that wage symposiums will be held in Tacurong City for Sultan Kudarat area on May 4 (Friday); in Cotabato City on May 17 and in Kidapawan City for North Cotabato province on May 24.

"Wage clinics for General Santos City and Sarangani province area are tentatively scheduled on May 11. We aim to cover the entire Soccsksargen area before the end of May," he said. Through these wage clinics, DOLE 12 and RTWPB 12 explain how the board - which include among others labor and management representatives - arrived at the decision to order an additional P10 to 14 to the daily cost of living allowance (COLA), decide on the salient features of the new wage order, as well as penalties for non-compliance and provisions regarding exemptions. The activities are also venues where stakeholders can clarify issues regarding the provisions of the wage order and implementation of the same. During the symposium in Koronadal City on Tuesday, de la Cruz said the board decided to pass the new wage "motu proprio" after a series of public consultations, and based on the socio- economic data provided by the National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.

"We would like to clarify the wrong notion that only DOLE fi xes the wage in the region, he said. "Both the labor and management sectors are equally represented in the board. Simplicio Villarta Jr. of the Federation of Free Workers and Jomarie Angeles of the ALO-TUCP sit in the board as labor sector representatives while Atty. Eugenio Soyao and Warren Gregorio Manilay represented the management sector, de la Cruz said. The board is being chaired by the DOLE regional director. De la Cruz said that the board decides to raise the minimum wage based on the following criteria: needs of the workers and their families; capacity of pay of the employee or industry; comparable wages; and requirements for national development, investment, and employment generation.

Other factors considered were changes in the prices of the basic commodities and services, infl ation rate, and poverty threshold. "As of February 2011, poverty threshold level in Region 12 is at P226.62 per day for a family with five members," he said. "If we consider, our lowest minimum wage was already P234 before the implementation of the new wage order." Wage Order RBXII No. 17 orders the integration of the P15 COLA ordered in the previous order into the basic pay, which de la Cruz pointed out also increases the bases of computation of the 13th month pay and other benefi ts and bonuses of the laborers.

The wage clinic in Koronadal City was attended by more than 200 participants from labor and management groups, payroll offi cers of establishments, nongovernment organizations, media, private Schools, and other stakeholders. De la Cruz also pointed out that so far they have not received any petition or formal complaint against the implementation of the new wage order. PIA 12

Tacurong City takes part in Provincial-wide Clean-up Drive

by Ariesha Faith Martinez Dimaano


(May 8, 2012) Together with the municipalities all over Sultan Kudarat, Tacurong City conducted the Provincial-wide Clean-up Drive last May 7, 2012. More than 100 SPES grantees from the Local Government Unit of Tacurong, Southern Mindanao Institute of Technology (SMIT), and Notre Dame of Tacurong College (NDTC) participated in the said project.

Assigned areas for the clean-up drive were the public market and the city streets of Tacurong. Participants swept, trimmed the grasses, and accumulated garbage from 9:00 to 10:30 in the morning. This clean-up drive was in coordination with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), who collected the wastes for proper disposal after the cleaning. One of the SPES grantees from LGU-Tacurong, Reny Leen Matta, said, “As a SPES beneficiary and as a Tacurongnon, I realized that I have a great obligation and responsibility in terms of making our city clean and beautiful. Even though it can only be considered as a little help, I know that it already means a lot.”

The Provincial-wide Clean-up Drive is not a part of the regular programs of SPES. This was incorporated during the employment period of the grantees to raise environmental awareness and protection among youth, as well as to help the City Government in their advocacy to make the environment clean and green.

GenSan proposed as separate legislative district

by Allen V. Estabillo


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/04 May) – South Cotabato officials are pushing for the separation of this city into a separate legislative district before the May 2013 midterm national and local elections. Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes (South Cotabato, 2nd District) said Friday they are presently working for the referral to the committee on local government of House Bill (HB) 6038 or “an act reapportioning the composition of the first (1st) and second (2nd) legislative districts in the province of South Cotabato and thereby creating a new legislative district from such reapportionment” when Congress resumes its sessions next week. She said they expect the committee to immediately schedule the hearings for the proposed measure, which was filed by Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. (South Cotabato, 1st District) last March 19. “Right now, our target is to have this bill passed and hold the first elections for the reconfigured districts in [May] 2013,” she said. Fuentes, who is the bill’s co-author, said the measure mainly provides for the reapportioning of the present composition of South Cotabato’s first and second congressional or legislative districts. She said the reconfiguration will pave the way for the creation of a separate or lone congressional district for this city. The first district presently comprises this city and the municipalities of Tupi, Tampakan and Polomolok in South Cotabato. The second district is composed of Koronadal City and the municipalities of Tantangan, Banga, T’boli, Surallah, Sto.Nino, Norala and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato. Under HB 6038, Fuentes said South Cotabato’s first district will be reshaped into the towns of Polomolok, Tupi, Tampakan and T’boli. Koronadal City and the six remaining towns will compose the province’s second district. “We decided on this reconfiguration with the consideration of pushing later on for the creation of another separate district for Koronadal City,” she said. Koronadal, which is a component city of South Cotabato, is the province’s capital and the seat of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region. Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. The city, which has a population of 538,086 based on the 2010 census, has long been classified as an independent and highly-urbanized locality but it has remained a part of South Cotabato’s first congressional district. It was originally a component of the undivided Cotabato empire province until Congress approved its charter in 1968. Based on the 2010 census, the municipalities of Tupi, Tampakan and Polomolok of South Cotabato posted a combined population of 236,370, which is short of the 250,000 population requirement for the creation of a new congressional district.

The authors carved out T’boli town, which has a population of 79,175, from the second district to complete the population requirement. Early last year, the South Cotabato provincial board passed Resolution No. 5, which sought for the separation of General Santos City from the province’s legislative configuration and the re-apportionment of the area’s existing districts. Vice Gov. Elmo Tolosa, co-author of the resolution, said the proposal would significantly benefit the province in terms of increased allocation from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF and guaranteed representation at the House of Representatives for local constituents. Tolosa said they believe that being a first class province, there’s a need for South Cotabato to have more representation in Congress to cope with its rapid growth in terms of economic and social development. With a population of 827,200 based on the 2010 census, the province’s total population was projected to reach around 851,000 this year based on its annual average growth rate of 1.46 percent. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)

S. Cotabato officials attend water leadership program in Singapore

by Danilo E. Doguiles


TACURONG CITY, Sultan Kudarat, May 4 (PIA) -- South Cotabato government officials of General Santos City and Polomolok town are now in Singapore to attend a program on water resource management.

Tacurong City mayor Lina O. Montilla and other officials have been attending the 2nd Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Program from April 23 to May 4 at the National University of Singapore.

The two-week executive program was designed by the Temasek Foundation, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and Public Utilities Board, Singapore’s national water agency.

There organizing institutions selected distinguished teams of academics and policymakers from all over Asia who would benefit from the program.

Selected recipients are those who are committed in devising innovative thinking to address a critical health sustainability issue that is currently hampering Asia’s progress, “the growing water and sanitation needs of 3.7 billion people.”

Having passed a couple of assessments and interviews, Montilla, and other members of the Philippine team obtained free full tuition expenses and hotel accommodation from the program.

Other members of the Philippine team are General Santos City general manager Engr. Arn B. Gellangarin, Polomolok Water District general manager Engr. Andresito J. Degilla, Prof. Faustino Jerome Babate also General Santos City; Prof. Ma. Adela A. Fiesta from Cotabato City, and Ferdinand Ferrer, division manager of Gen Santos Water District.

Other countries also eligible for the scholarship are Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and China.

The program was designed for water leaders coming from Asia where increasing water and sanitation demands are currently becoming a challenge.

It exposed them to the best practices in water utilities governance, practical guidance on managing water utilities effectively and potential strategies to deal with existing and future challenges in their respective countries and localities.

For a convenient and effective learning, the program was conducted in a state-of-the-art classroom setting with the use of a combination of lectures, case studies and panel discussions among practitioners.

The teams also had the opportunity to go on site visits, which immersed them in the real scenario on how Singapore has dealt with challenges on its water resource management.

Montilla, along with the other members of the Philippine team, is expected to come home with advanced and improved knowledge on water resource management that would benefit not just the local government of Tacurong but the entire country as a whole. (DED/JBillano-PIA12/Tacurong LGU)

Solons oppose bid to void ARMM voters' list

by John Unson


COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Maguindanao's two congressional representatives are opposed to the general nullification of the list of voters in the province as petitioned by other local officials and groups.

Commission on Elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, in an interview yesterday with Catholic station dxMS here, said the poll body is yet to decide on the petitions through an en banc session.

Sarmiento, however, did not reveal who the petitioners were.

Sources from the league of mayors in the province said that the staunchest advocate of the nullification of voters in the region is Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, who is seeking a re-election in next year’s local elections.

Many mayors in Maguindanao already have plans of joining the administration’s Liberal Party, whose provincial chapter chairman in the province is Sultan Kudarat Mayor Tucao Mastura.

Mangudadatu aspired for governor of Maguindanao during the 2010 elections under the banner of Lakas-Christian, Muslim Democrats.

Representatives Sandra Sema and Simeon Datumanong, of the first and second congressional districts in Maguindanao, respectively, have separately expressed strong opposition to any invalidation of the voters list in the 36 towns in the province.

“Why single out Maguindanao if the basis in seeking the nullification of the voters' list in the province were cases of electoral fraud during the previous elections? This is so unfair,” Sema said.

Sema said she would write Comelec Chairman Sixtro Brillantes an official letter, manifesting her opposition to the petition.

“If we allow this to happen, it’s like putting all the blame on Maguindanao for all previous election irregularities in the autonomous region,” Sema pointed out.

Datumanong, a lawyer, said there are so many questions on the petition for the annulment of the voters' list in the province.

“These questions have to be answered first. If there were cases of cheating during the past elections, it was not a monopoly by Maguindanao,” Datumanong said.

Any annulment of the voters' list in Maguindanao would have to be preceded by extensive public consultations first, according to Datumanong.

“It would be a serious transgression of the rights of all legitimate, qualified voters in the province,” Datumanong said. “We were not consulted about this petition to annul the voters list in Maguindanao.”

Lawyer Rey Sumalipao, elections director in the autonomous region, said the poll body has found more than 100,000 multiple registrants in the ARMM’s five provinces.

Sumalipao, however clarified that Lanao del Sur, and not Maguindanao, has the highest number of flying voters.

Suprisingly, no one from Lanao del Sur asked for the annulment of the voters' list in all of the more than 40 towns in the province.

“Lanao del Sur has more multiple registrants, but why focus only on Maguindanao. Why invalidate the area’s voters list?" Datumanong asked.

Sumalipao said that as of April this year, ARMM already has 1.7 million registered voters.

“It may still even increase because of the continuing registration of voters using the automated registration system,” he said.m

SPES grantees participate in Labor Day celebration

by Ariesha Faith Martinez Dimaano


(May 2, 2012) SPES grantees from the local government unit of Tacurong together with other delegations take part in the celebration of Labor Cum SPES Day on May 1, 2012.

The SPES Day began with a parade of the SPES delegates from different places and schools of the province including Lambayong, President Quirino, Isulan, Bagumbayan, Provincial Capitol, Southern Mindanao Institute of Techonology (SMIT), Notre Dame of Tacurong College (NDTC) among many others. SPES grantees from Notre Dame Diocesan Schools, Quezon Colleges of Southern Philippines, Kings College also joined the whole-day event. SPES grantees of Kimsan Plaza and Tacurong Fit Mart were also present. This was followed by a mass in the NDTC Gymnasium, also the venue for this year’s SPES Day. In line with PESO’s objective to encourage greening activities for SPES beneficiaries, a tree planting activity was conducted along the national highway of Barangay Griño, Tacurong City. SPES representatives from all over the province were sent in the location to plant 100 seedlings of fire trees. A blood-letting activity in cooperation with the Philippine National Red Cross, Tacurong City Chapter was also part of the celebration of SPES Cum Day. A number of SPES beneficiaries from the different provinces donated blood for the organization.

LGU Tacurong earned awards in the two highlighted competitions of the event, the yelling competition and the popdance competition, where they both placed third. SPES delegates from President Quirino, Isulan, and SK Capitol brought home awards from the said competitions as well. Other activities such as “Larong Pinoy,” dance showdowns, and intermission numbers from the delegates were also participated by the SPES grantees, making the whole day activity complete. DOLE Assistant Regional Director for Region XII, Yahya A. Senti, delivered the Labor Day message and said that he hopes the SPES scholars would become good leaders of the community and the country in the future. Senti also hyped the event by doing a song number and reaching out to the SPES grantees himself. SPES Day was made possible through Department of Labor and Employment together with the Public Employment Service Offices in the Province of Sultan Kudarat.

MILF leader insists 'independence, full autonomy

by Jaime Laude


MANILA, Philippines - The 10-point general principles the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels have signed in Malaysia is not the answer to the Bangsamoro problem, a senior official of the rebel group said.

“This is not an agreement which will address the Bangsamoro issue,” said MILF chair for political affairs Gadzali Jaafar.

Speaking to a select of group of journlists at the MILF’s Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Jaafar and other senior members of the MILF central leadership, stressed that as far as the MILF is concerned, it will only enter into a peace agreement with the government if the problem of the Bangsamoro problem is totally and truthfully addressed.

He added that the 10-point general principles signed by the government and MILF peace panels will only serve as guide in the succeeding talks aimed at resolving the conflict in Mindanao.

“We want everybody to know that as far as the MILF Central Committee is concerned, there’s no other alternative but to have peaceful solution to the Bangsamoro problem," Jaafar said.

He said that in pursuit for the peaceful resolution of the decades-old conflict, the MILF abandoned its bid for an independent Mindanao state in favor of the Bangsamoro government that will exist and function under the national government.

For this purpose, he said the MILF is planning to call for the Bangsamoro Leaders’ Summit, which will give every Moro leader an opportunity to air their concerns and views and opinions on the problems of the Bangsamoro and how these concerns can be addressed.

Jaafar said that from the MILF's point of view, there’s only two solutions to the Bangsamoro problem: independence and full autonomy.

He said that this is because the Bangsamoro leadership have agreed to negotiate with the government it has already abandoned its bid for total independence.

“It is clear that outside of the total independence, the only solution is full autonomy,” he said, adding that the previous autonomy under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARRM) was a failure.

COMMENTARY: Digging for the long haul. By Edwin Espejo

by Edwin G. Espejo


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 April) — Troubled mining firm Sagittarius Mines Inc. cannot seem to find ways to reverse a provincial ordinance which virtually shut down its proposed US$5.9 billion copper and gold project in Tampakan, South Cotabato. There is no showing signs that the anti-open pit mining-dominated Provincial Board is going to amend, scrap or even relent to a review of the Provincial Environment Code. With SMI also hesitant to go to court to question the constitutionality of the Code, it can, for the moment, kiss goodbye its bid to commence commercial operation in 2016 after the Environmental Management Bureau of the environment department rejected its application for an environment clearance certificate, although it is now on appeal. SMI, a wholly foreign-owned company controlled by the world’s fourth largest mining company Xstrata Plc, will have to re-apply and go through another tedious process of obtaining a required clearance if its pending appeal is likewise denied or rejected. You can always argue that the hands of SMI were all over behind the recent resolution passed by host town Tampakan supporting the mining project. And only the naïve will say SMI was not involved in frustrating separate successive attempts by two fact-finding teams to reach Bong Mal where the indigenous Blaan tribe has vowed to resist the company. While those who blocked the church-backed mission this week and the one organized by the Left the week before to commemorate Earth Day were members of the Tribal Councils that have thrown support behind SMI, one also cannot be faulted if these anti-mining activists will accuse SMI of coopting the tribal leaders in exchange of promised job and other business opportunities. Most of the tribal chieftains in the host communities that will be affected by the mining operations have been recipient of grants, favors and even contracts to supply manpower. They have been given luxury vehicles and have been constantly bombarded with all glowing promises by company community organizers. But the resistance put up by some tribal leaders has some valid points and real concerns.

For one, SMI recently announced it will no longer include residents and tribal community members in the proposed relocation plan, raising the possibility that those who will not relocate will be forcibly evicted. SMI itself has announced that as many as 4,000 families will have to be relocated away from the village centers of Folu Bato (not Pula Bato), Danlag, Tablu and Bong Mal, all in Tampakan. Also probably not explained is that these residents will no longer be allowed inside the almost 4,000-hectare mining area site and who knows how many more hectares for SMI’s buffer zones. Tribal opposition has also evolved into spontaneous armed resistance with a group of armed Blaan men owning responsibility to a recent ambush that killed three drill men under contract with SMI. Of course, Wednesday’s attack by communist guerillas at a military detachment in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat is another grim reminder that SMI, while welcomed by some, are also despised and hated by others. SMI will have its hands full in addressing concerns from communities and residents that are against tis operations. It will also have to answer issues on the environment and the fragile ecology of the mining area. There is no easy way in for the company.

Army: NPA rebels in Davao del Sur free 5 hostages

by Orlando Dinoy with a report from Germelina Lacorte, Inquirer Mindanao


MAGSAYSAY, Davao del Sur – The Army announced on Saturday that the five civilians taken as hostages by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels fleeing pursuing soldiers had been released on Friday. “The five civilian hostages, including Barangay San Miguel Councilor Enteng Bunal, were released on Friday,” Obligado said. He said the NPA rebels, who were fleeing after attacking a paramilitary detachment in Barangay Bacungan on Thursday evening, seized the civilians and used them as human shields to deter pursuing troops. The rebels suffered four deaths in the ensuing clashes. One of the slain rebels was later identified as Jay Capalla. “They are safe now,” Obligado said of the hostages. But Obligado said the Army suffered yet another casualty in the running gun battle resulting from the pursuit operation. This brought the total Army death toll to two, he said. Obligado said the latest casualty was Private First Class Arnel Apacible. Lt. Col. Alex Bravo, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said the NPA rebels were now trying to disengage from the battle and were seeking refuge in the borders of Sultan Kudarat and Davao del Sur. Bravo said the Army was determined to pursue the rebels especially as they were sighted heading to areas which had no known civilian population. “We expect another encounter as we are tracking them down. This is a mountainous area and no civilian would be trapped in the expected firefight,” Bravo said. He said they had coordinated with the local governments of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Magsaysay town in case the clashes occur near civilian areas. “We have asked them to assist civilians for possible evacuations,” Bravo said.






5 die in clash near mining site

by Bong S. Sarmiento


KORONADAL CITY -- A soldier and four communist rebels were killed in a firefight in a remote village near the mining development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. in this city, an official said.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexis Noel C. Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, said the attack happened last Wednesday, when an estimated 40 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) stormed a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan, Columbio, resulting in the firefight that lasted for about 45 minutes.

Bravo did not identify the dead soldier who is from this city and holds a rank of private first class.

He said pursuit operations continue Friday against the NPA rebels at the boundary of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.

The rebels, posing as mining workers, attacked the detachment on board a hijacked forward truck, the military official said.

A militiaman, identified as Dionato Obias, was lightly wounded in the firefight.

The NPA rebels left the bodies of their two dead comrades, Bravo said, adding that residents reported to the military that the communist rebels brought along two more bodies.

The withdrawing rebels allegedly abducted five residents in nearby Barangay San Miguel in Magsaysay town to serve as human shields, Bravo said, adding they also took away a horse to carry a wounded member.

He identified the alleged abducted residents as Vicente Bunal, Jolly Paimalan, Elmer Entes, Rhyan Banua and Pablo Butaya.

Bravo said the troops recovered from the encounter site an M-14 rifle, a USAS 12-gauge shotgun, a fragmentation grenade, assorted ammunitions and 20 backpacks.

Colonel Glorioso Miranda, 1002nd Brigade commander, said the attack Wednesday "was aimed at intimidating the civilians who are supportive of the presence of 27th IB peace and development teams in their barangay." (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)






Over 13,700 jobs in Soccsksargen Region on Labor Day job fair

by (DEDoguiles/PIA 12)


KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, April 26 (PIA) -- At least 13,767 jobs are up for grabs in Labor Day job fairs in Soccsksargen Region, Director Chona Mantilla of the Department of Labor and Employment – 12 announced this morning.

Director Mantilla said that on May 1 job fairs will be held simultaneously at Southseas Mall in Cotabato City, at the city gymnasium in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato and at KCC Mall in General Santos City.

“Another job fair will be held at Gaisano Grand Mall in Koronadal City a day earlier (April 30),” she said.

Vacancies include 10,315 jobs for overseas employment and 3,452 jobs for local employment, she added.

One hundred fourteen establishments, including 52 local companies and 62 overseas recruitment agencies have registered their vacancies for the Labor Day job fairs.

Most of these -- 34 local employers and 25 overseas employers -- will be receive applicants at the KCC Mall Convention Center, she explained.

Most wanted for local employment are office clerks, service crews, industry workers, engineers, supervisors, among other while those needed for overseas employment are techvoc professionals, carpenters, masons, welders, electricians and other skilled workers as well as engineers, caregivers, domestics helpers, nurses and other hospital staff, and many others.

“As of last count, 7,175 applicants have already registered with our field offices and Public Employment Service Offices,” Mantilla said, “but walk-in applicants will also be entertained.”

Mantilla advised applicants to bring with them several copies of their pertinent documents such as transcript of record, clearances, résumé, certificates including passport, if available.

She also advised them not to forget to bring pens, to look presentable, and to be always ready to answer questions during the interview.

“The opportunity is there, they should take advantage,” she said “and should apply everything that they have learned in the career coaching at their local PESO and from the school’s career guidance office.”

She added that although Region 12 boasts of 94 percent employment rate, most likely there are more unemployed individuals seeking for jobs with the entrance of recent graduates into the workforce so applicants need to show their best.

Help from several offices, including National Bureau of Investigation, Social Security System, Philhealth and many others will be available at the job fair centers.

DOLE 12 aims to achieve at least 15 percent of the applicants during the Labor Day job fairs to hired on-the-spot.

In General Santos City, DOLE 12 in coordination with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) 12 will also launch convergence of DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment (SPES) and TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP).

Forty –two scholarship grants will be granted during the launching on May 1, Mantilla added, but at least 250 to 250 underprivileged young people ages 15 to 25 years are expected to benefit for the convergence program’s implementation this year.

DOLE 12 will also hold a Wage Clinic at Fred Ann’s Restaurant in Koronadal City in the afternoon of May 1.

Mantilla explained the clinic is an information and awareness drive to explain to stakeholders the implementation of Wage Order RBXII No. 17, which became effective on April 18.

Other field offices DOLE across the region have also planned several activities to celebrate Labor Day.

Among these are franchising seminar for small enterprises, mini-olympics for bankers’ association, and release of starter kits and Nego Karts in Kidapawan City; tree planting, blood-letting, and Pinoy games in Sultan Kudarat province.

Dengue cases drop in Region 12

by (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 April) – Dengue cases in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region have dropped by 40 percent in the last three months as the region remained below the alert or epidemic threshold of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 director, said Monday their records as of April 21 showed that dengue cases in the region have reached 452, or around 300 fewer than the confirmed incidence in the same period last year.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“There were no clustering of cases (in any part of the region) and the confirmed cases since January were considered under the alert threshold,” Convocar noted in a report released over the weekend by the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU).

The DOH’s National Epidemiology Center said a clustering of dengue cases happens when three or more confirmed cases emerge within an affected barangay or community in four consecutive weeks.

But Convocar said they already monitored four confirmed dengue deaths this year compared to only three last year.

This city and nearby Sarangani province reported two deaths each from complications caused by dengue shock syndrome, which comprised just one percent of the confirmed dengue cases, she said.

About 43 percent of the cases were plain dengue fever while 56 percent developed into dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The official said North Cotabato posted the highest dengue incidence with 137, followed by General Santos City with 102, South Cotabato with 78, Cotabato City with 59, Sarangani with 43 and Sultan Kudarat with 33.

The RESU report showed that Cotabato City’s dengue incidence increased by 7 percent or 55 to 59 cases when compared with last year’s records. This city and Sarangani posted a drop of 12 and 26 percent, respectively, but the confirmed dengue deaths in both areas increased by a case each.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) chief, earlier said the city has remained on alert against possible dengue outbreaks due to the erratic weather condition in the area.

The CIHSO has been closely watching Barangays City Heights, Labangal, Apopong and San Isidro here due to the rising cases of the deadly viral disease.

The four villages, which host several housing subdivisions and crowded residential communities, have registered significant cases of dengue in the last several years based on the CIHSO’s records. Sandig said their intensified campaign against dengue within the city’s 26 barangays is currently ongoing as set by the DOH’s 4-S strategy.

The 4-S strategy stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging.

DTI 12 SME caravan reaches Sultan Kudarat

by edgedavao.net


Once again, Sultan Kudarat province’s Department of Trade and Industry will gather micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Soccsksargen Region to help boost local enterprises. This time though, preferred participants to the SME Caravan 2012 at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Gymnasium in Isulan town on April 25 to 26 are those who have existing enterprises and are looking for means to improve their businesses. Sultan Kudarat Trade & Industry Provincial Director Nelly Dillera said the SME Caravan 2012 aims to provide the local entrepreneurs with first hand information on entrepreneurship – from improvement of product to capacitating entrepreneurs. “This year’s SME Caravan in Region 12 would help the growing number of entrepreneurs learn how to manage their businesses, access funds, maintain high level of product quality for food and enhance their awareness on sensing the right and legitimate local and international market opportunities,” Dillera said. “There shall also be a topic on Tourism Product Identification and Development to aid the tourism officers and even landowners in identifying potential area for tourism development.” Among the resource persons invited for the breakout sessions include Roberto Castañeda and Euclid Cezar. Castañeda, who will share his knowledge on developing an entrepreneurial mindset and surviving pitfalls of small businesses, is the founder of the Don Roberto’s Winery, producer of the world’s first mango wine. Besides, its green mango and sweet mango wines, his company also produces brewed coffee wine. Cezar, a professor of San Beda College – Manila, is a well-known business coach and host of “Super Entrepinoy” program. He is the owner of Ink More which sells ready-to-use ink cartridges. “We want to benchmark what these entrepreneurs have done to be able to inspire our ‘kababayans’ to aspire to attain what these entrepreneurs have achieved,” Dillera said in an interview with a local radio station. Other resource persons include Engr. Menandro Ortego, OIC Testing and Inspection Division of the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC), who will discuss food safety assurance system; and Dennis Monong, assistant vice president for Mindanao operations of People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC) who will teach MSMEs how to find best financing for their businesses. Side events such as trade fair of Region 12’s best products, market matching, product evaluation, design exhibit, online business name registration, and plant visit and assessment for the acquisition of Food and Drug License to Operate. Dillera said preferred participants are entrepreneurs involved in the region’s priority industries like processors of coffee, muscovado, banana, coconut, bangus/fishery, crafts, bamboo, pangasius, rubber, palm oil, mango, ICT-BPO. Dillera reported that number of new businesses in Sultan Kudarat has increased 84 percent, from 959 newly registered businesses in 2010 to 1,770 in 2011. Last year, 121 new entrepreneurs were created, which is 74 percent higher than the 107 new entrepreneurs in 2010. This is a two-day activity for free but reservations must be made for pre-screening. Contact the nearest DTI office for details and reservations.

Dengue cases drop in Region 12

by (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)


General Santos City (MindaNews) – Dengue cases in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region have dropped by 40 percent in the last three months as the region remained below the alert or epidemic threshold of the deadly mosquito-borne disease.

Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 director, said Monday their records as of April 21 showed that dengue cases in the region have reached 452, or around 300 fewer than the confirmed incidence in the same period last year.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“There were no clustering of cases (in any part of the region) and the confirmed cases since January were considered under the alert threshold,” Convocar noted in a report released over the weekend by the regional epidemiology and surveillance unit (RESU).

The DOH’s National Epidemiology Center said a clustering of dengue cases happens when three or more confirmed cases emerge within an affected barangay or community in four consecutive weeks.

But Convocar said they already monitored four confirmed dengue deaths this year compared to only three last year.

This city and nearby Sarangani province reported two deaths each from complications caused by dengue shock syndrome, which comprised just one percent of the confirmed dengue cases, she said.

About 43 percent of the cases were plain dengue fever while 56 percent developed into dengue hemorrhagic fever.

The official said North Cotabato posted the highest dengue incidence with 137, followed by General Santos City with 102, South Cotabato with 78, Cotabato City with 59, Sarangani with 43 and Sultan Kudarat with 33.

The RESU report showed that Cotabato City’s dengue incidence increased by 7 percent or 55 to 59 cases when compared with last year’s records. This city and Sarangani posted a drop of 12 and 26 percent, respectively, but the confirmed dengue deaths in both areas increased by a case each.

Dr. Edgardo Sandig, City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) chief, earlier said the city has remained on alert against possible dengue outbreaks due to the erratic weather condition in the area.

The CIHSO has been closely watching Barangays City Heights, Labangal, Apopong and San Isidro here due to the rising cases of the deadly viral disease.

The four villages, which host several housing subdivisions and crowded residential communities, have registered significant cases of dengue in the last several years based on the CIHSO’s records. Sandig said their intensified campaign against dengue within the city’s 26 barangays is currently ongoing as set by the DOH’s 4-S strategy.

The 4-S strategy stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate fogging.






Sultan Kudarat to host SME Caravan 2012

by Philippine News Agency


MORE than 100 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the Region 12 are expected to gather at the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Gymnasium here on April 25-26 for the SME Caravan 2012. Director Nelly Dillera, Sultan Kudarat Trade and Industry Provincial director, said the SME Caravan 2012 aims to provide the local entrepreneurs with fi rst hand information on entrepreneurship - from improvement of product to capacitating entrepreneurs.

Dillera said the focus of this year's SME Caravan in Region 12 is to help the growing number of entrepreneurs learn how to manage their businesses, access funds, maintain high level of product quality for food and enhance their awareness on sensing the right and legitimate market opportunities both locally and internationally. There shall also be a topic on Tourism Product Identifi cation and Development to aid the tourism offi cers and even Landowners in identifying potential area for tourism development.

Expert speakers will come from successful companies in Manila. Dillera said the SME Caravan shall also be highlighted by side events like Trade Fair of Region 12's Best Products, Market Matching, Product Evaluation, Design Exhibit, Business Name Registration on line and Plant Visit and Assessment for the acquisition of Food and Drug License to Operate. Par ticipants to the fair should preferably be existing entrepreneurs who are in the region's priority industries like processors of coffee, muscovado, banana, coconut, bangus/ fishery, crafts, bamboo, pangasius, rubber, palm oil, mango, ICT-BPO. PNA





Soldiers discover marijuana plantation in Sultan Kudarat

by Philippine News Agency


CAMP PANACAN, Davao City -- Members of the 27th Infantry Battalion discovered a marijuana plantation in Sitio Ubon, Barangay Makat in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat on Thursday afternoon.

Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, disclosed that the plantation was discovered while the troops were on security patrol around 5:30 a.m. on April 19.

He said the property was owned allegedly by Gipay Dalumatan and his son, Primi Dalumatan, residing at Barangay Makat proper, about four kilometers away from the plantation. He said some 30 fully-grown marijuana plants were uprooted and brought to the Columbio police station for proper disposition and further investigation.

He said the raiders were from the Peace and Development Team of Alpha Company led by 2Lt. Jayson Ramos.

Bravo said coordination had already been made with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA XII) for proper reports and documentation of the incident.

“We are doing everything we can, in coordination with the PNP, to stop the proliferation of marijuana in our area of responsibility,” he said.

CIDG-12 enlists 400 professionals as ‘agents’

by News Flash.


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region has tapped the services of various local professionals to assist its operations in the area.

Senior Supt. Noli Romana, CIDG Region 12 director, said some 400 professionals took their oaths recently to become part of the agency’s community investigative support or CIS unit in the region.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“The CIS unit is composed of former police and military officers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and other professionals who have volunteered to share information and their expertise to assist our operations,” he said.

Romana said the CIS members will also serve as “force multiplier” in the conduct of police operations as well as in the gathering of intelligence and investigative information.

CIDG launched the CIS program last year to involve the services of professionals in its special investigative work.

The agency initially targeted to recruit around 1,000 professionals throughout the country and train them to become CIS “agents.”

The CIS was conceptualized within the context of the Philippine National Police Letter of Instruction “Bayanihan,” which mainly aims to curb criminality and maintain peace and order with the participation of the community.

“The CIS will serve as the CIDG’s citizen investigative network whose function is to help in information and evidence gathering, pre-empt crimes and to solve cases,” a project briefer said.

It said the CIS members will become legitimate agents of the CIDG “as they were clothed legally with the power to arrest lawless elements, issued with the CIDG’s badge and identification cards and are on the official roster of the CIDG.” (PNA)

LAP/FFC/AVE/HST

Lift Tampakan open-pit mining ban’

by Othel V. Campos


DAVAO DEL SUR —- Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante and two fellow executives said the open-pit mining prohibition in South Cotabato spells certain doom unless lifted before irreversible damage is done to their economy.

“We are talking about an investment that promises to bring an economic push that we badly need; the open-pit ban puts everything in jeopardy,” she said.

Kiblawan is a second class municipality northeast of Tampakan which hosts the biggest copper-gold mine site in the Southeast Asia West Pacific Region.

Diamante said the town’s stake in the $5.9 billion venture includes the construction of infrastructure, concentrator, fresh water dam, and a waste rock storage facility, with potential revenue from property and operational taxes for expanding services to communities.

“This is an economic impact that we will protect and we will fight for even if we have to go to the courts,” she said.

A lawyer, Diamante said she has aligned with Tampakan Mayor Leonardo Escobillo, and Columbio Mayor Datu Amirh Musali of Sultan Kudarat to oppose the ban and press for its lifting.

“We have agreed to exhaust all administrative means.”

Diamante said they have sent manifestations to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Malacañang, including signatures of their constituents pushing for the mining project.

“In the spirit of public-private sector partnership, we will fight for this investment,” she said.

“The unconstitutionality of the South Cotabato provincial ban on open-pit mining is very clear in the face of an existing national law on mining,” she noted, referring to the 1995 Philippine Mining Act and its intent to open up business, trade and industry outside urban centers.

“We don’t want to unfairly burden a private sector investor who is willing to bring sustainable development to a remote municipality such as Kiblawan.”






Major irrigation system to shutdown for three months

by Bong S. Sarmiento


KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/16 April)—A major repair of an irrigation system that serves thousands of hectares of palay farms in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat will push next month, an official said. Ramon A. Bugacia, National Irrigation Administration manager for South Cotabato, said the Allah River Irrigation System (ARIS) will be shut down to restore the dam’s efficiency. “From the original four months, we have reduced the repair work schedule to three months to minimize its impact on palay farmers because when their livelihood is affected, it also has effects on the [local] economy,” he told reporters recently. The major repair works include two dams that have not undergone major rehabilitation works since they were commissioned in the early 1970s. Some P138 million has been allocated to cover the rehabilitation of the dams and line canals. “This is the biggest annual budget that we have gotten so far since previously we were only getting P30 million to P40 million a year, and this is because of the target of the Aquino government for food self-sufficiency and to stop rice importation by 2013,” Bugacia earlier said. Reynaldo H. Legaste, South Cotabato chief agriculture officer, earlier said the closure of the dams would affect an estimated 7,000 hectares of rice farms in South Cotabato and another 2,000 hectares in neighboring Sultan Kudarat. For the estimated 7,000 hectares of palay farms in South Cotabato that would be hit by the irrigation repair works, the yield would be equivalent to 28,000 tons or 28 million kilograms, Legaste said. “That is enough to feed the population of South Cotabato for three months,” he stressed. Based on the 2007 census, South Cotabato has a population of nearly 770,000 people. The estimated rice production loss in the province is equivalent to 30%, which normally is the surplus per cropping cycle that is brought to other neighboring regions like Davao. Legaste said this may lead to an artificial shortage in neighboring regions that would lead to price increases, as the demand would overwhelm the supply.

He failed to state though the possible price adjustment in the looming rice shortage projected to hit the area. In 2008, prices of rice almost doubled to P50 per kilo in Mindanao due to scarce global rice supply, sending a long queue of people in stores buying cheaper rice from the National Food Authority at a controlled volume. Today’s prices of premium commercial rice in South Cotabato range between P34 and P37 from between P30 and P35 per kilo a few months ago. Legaste said that farmers affected by the shutdown of the irrigation system would get subsidies if they resort to other crops. Also, they would still have an income since they would be hired as laborers in the irrigation system’s rehabilitation works, he said. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)






Major irrigation system in South Cotabato undergoes major repair starting May 1

by (PNA)

dct/LDV/AVE/RSS


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 16 (PNA) -- A major repair of an irrigation system that serves thousands of hectares of palay farms in the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat will push through starting May 1, an official said.

Ramon Bugacia, National Irrigation Administration manager for South Cotabato, said the Allah River Irrigation System (ARIS) will be closed down for repairs for three months to restore the facility’s efficiency.

“From the original four months, we have reduced the repair work schedule to three months to minimize its impact to palay farmers because when their livelihood is affected, it also has effects to the [local] economy,” he told reporters.

The major repair works include two dams that have not undergone major rehabilitation works since they were commissioned in the early 1970s.

Some P138 million has been allocated to cover the rehabilitation of the dams and line canals.

"This is the biggest annual budget that we have gotten so far since previously, we were only getting P30 million to P40 million a year, and this is because of the target of the Aquino government for food self-sufficiency and to stop rice importation by 2013," Bugacia said.

Reynaldo Legaste, South Cotabato chief agriculture officer, earlier said the closure of the dams would affect an estimated 7,000 hectares of rice farms in South Cotabato and another 2,000 hectares in neighboring Sultan Kudarat.

For the estimated 7,000 hectares of palay farms in South Cotabato that would be hit by the irrigation repair works, the yield would be equivalent to 28,000 tons or 28 million kilograms, Legaste said.

“That is enough to feed the population of South Cotabato for three months,” he stressed.

Based on the 2007 census, South Cotabato has a population of nearly 770,000 people.

The estimated rice production loss in the province is equivalent to 30 percent, which normally is the surplus per cropping cycle that is brought to other neighboring regions like Davao.

Legaste said this may lead to an artificial shortage in neighboring regions that would lead to price increases, as the demand would overwhelm the supply.

In 2008, prices of rice almost double to P50 per kilo in Mindanao due to scarce global rice supply, sending a long queue of people in stores buying cheaper rice from the National Food Authority at a controlled volume.

Today’s prices of premium commercial rice in South Cotabato range between P34 to P37 from P30 to P35 per kilo a few months ago.

Legaste said that farmers affected by the shutdown of the irrigation system would get subsidies if they resort to other crops.

Also, they would still have an income since they would be hired as laborers in the irrigation system’s rehabilitation works, he said.

Major irrigation system to shut down for 3 months

by Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper


"From the original four months, we have reduced the repair work schedule to three months to minimize its impact to palay farmers because when their livelihood is affected, it also has effects to the [local] economy," he told reporters recently.

The major repair works include two dams that have not undergone major rehabilitation works since they were commissioned in the early 1970s.

Some P138 million has been allocated to cover the rehabilitation of the dams and line canals.

"This is the biggest annual budget that we have gotten so far since previously, we were only getting P30 million to P40 million a year, and this is because of the target of the Aquino government for food self-sufficiency and to stop rice importation by 2013," Bugacia earlier said.

Reynaldo H. Legaste, South Cotabato chief agriculture officer, earlier said the closure of the dams would affect an estimated 7,000 hectares of rice farms in South Cotabato and another 2,000 hectares in neighboring Sultan Kudarat.

For the estimated 7,000 hectares of palay farms in South Cotabato that would be hit by the irrigation repair works, the yield would be equivalent to 28,000 tons or 28 million kilograms, Legaste said.

"That is enough to feed the population of South Cotabato for three months," he said.

Based on the 2007 census, South Cotabato has a population of nearly 770,000 people.

The estimated rice production loss in the province is equivalent to 30 percent, which normally is the surplus per cropping cycle that is brought to other neighboring regions like Davao.

Legaste said this may lead to an artificial shortage in neighboring regions that would lead to price increases, as the demand would overwhelm the supply.

He failed to state though the possible price adjustment in the looming rice shortage projected to hit the area.

In 2008, prices of rice almost double to P50 per kilo in Mindanao due to scarce global rice supply, sending a long queue of people in stores buying cheaper rice from the National Food Authority at a controlled volume.

Today's prices of premium commercial rice in South Cotabato range between P34 to P37 from P30 to P35 per kilo a few months ago.

Legaste said farmers affected by the shutdown of the irrigation system would get subsidies if they resort to other crops.

Also, they would still have an income since they would be hired as laborers in the irrigation system’s rehabilitation works, he said.

Al-Khobar gang blamed for latest North Cotabato bus bombing

by Jeoffrey Maitem and Dennis Santos

Inquirer Mindanao


COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Police officials here said Saturday they were certain that the al-Khobar extortion group, which has ties to the Abu Sayyaf, was behind the April 11 bus blast in North Cotabato that killed three persons and wounded more than a dozen others. Chief Suprintendent Felicisimo Khu, head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said two al-Khobar members linked to last Wednesday’s bombing were now being hunted down. The Rural Transit Bus had come from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and was on its way to Cagayan de Oro City when the bomb exploded. “The two suspects boarded the bus in Kabacan (North Cotabato) and they detonated the homemade bomb in Carmen (also in North Cotabato),” Khu said, adding that “we have a witness that identified the suspects as such.” He did not say how the witness was able to confirm that the suspects were members of al-Khobar. Khu said that Rural Transit did not receive any threat from the extortion gang prior to the attack. Khu said the police suspect that business rivalry, and not solely extortion, was the main reason the bus company was attacked by the al-Khobar gang, the same group that was responsible for over a dozen bus bombings in Mindanao since 2001. He said whoever was unhappy about Rural Transit’s presence in the Cagayan de Oro-Tacurong route might have contracted the al-Khobar to attack the bus company. He declined to elaborate on the theory though. To prevent a repeat of the April 11 incident, Khu said, the authorities have asked the Rural Transit management to prohibit bus drivers from picking up passengers outside designated terminal areas.

DA releases P6.9-M farm equipment to South Cotabato farmers

by PHILIPPINE NEWS AGENCY


GENERAL SANTOS City – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has released some P6.9 million worth of farm equipment to farmers’ groups in South Cotabato in a bid to further improve the area’s agricultural production. Amalia Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said the assistance was part of the ongoing implementation of the agency’s rice mechanization and post harvest facility assistance program, which was availed by irrigators associations and cooperative in the area. Datukan said it was also in line with the Agri Pinoy food staple sufficiency program pushed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala. “President Benigno S. Aquino III had endorsed this program as one of his administration’s top priorities,” she said. Under the program, Datukan said South Cotabato received an allocation of 32 hand tractor units worth P3.95 million; 10 units of rice threshers worth P1.13 million; one unit of four-wheel drive tractor worth P761,117; and, nine units of multi-purpose drying pavement worth P1.125 million. The recipients were the Parbangon Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan; farmers group Komatiku of Barangay Sto. Nino in Koronadal City; Lower Tampakan Creek Irrigators Association of Barangay Concepcion in Koronadal City; SANISCA Irrigators Association Inc. of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; PAGMACE Irrigators Association of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; Magic Flower Irrigators Association of Barangay GPS in Koronadal City; BINTIKU multi-purpose cooperative of Barangay Dajay in Surallah; SOCOSEPCO of Koroandal City; The Rice Field Irrigators Association of Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City; Country Folks Irrigators Assocaition of Bo. 3 in Banga; Modern Farmer Irrigators Association of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; Siok Communal Irrigators Association of Koornadal City; Cabuling Agricultural Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; and, San Felipe Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan are also beneficiaries. Datukan said the beneficiaries availed of the farm equipment through a cost-sharing scheme. She said the agency shouldered 85 percent of the costs while the beneficiaries contributed 15 percent as counterpart. The DA’s share for the total cost of the farm equipment was P6.09 million while the recipients’ share was P877,787. Datukan said the newly-released farm equipment was part of the P20 million worth of farm machineries earlier allocated for Region 12. Aside from South Cotabato, she said the agency also released 33 hand tractors, 11 threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to beneficiaries in North Cotabato. They have allocated 34 hand tractors, 10 threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to Sultan Kudarat as well as nine hand tractors and four threshers to Sarangani Province.

Biz rivalry eyed in Cotabato bus blast

by Bong S. Sarmiento and Malu Cadeliña Manar


KORONADAL CITY – Authorities are looking at business rivalry as a possible motive in the latest bomb attack against a bus company that killed three passengers and injured 17 others, a police official said Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Felicissimo Khu, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (Dipo) for Western Mindanao, said the business rivalry theory cropped up after the management of Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. denied they received extortion demands.

"Curiously, only the buses of Rural Transit have been attacked when there are many other passenger [buses] plying the same route," he said.

But police in North Cotabatao identified two alleged "remnants" of the notorious Al-Khobar Group as behind the Wedensday's bus explosion in Carmen, North Cotabatao.

Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, police provincial director, said they were able to identify the bomb couriers after witnesses spotted them in a gallery of photos of the most wanted criminals in Southwest Mindanao, which was presented to them during the investigations.

Salinas, however, refused to divulge to the media the suspects' identities for fear it might put at risk their surveillance, monitoring, and manhunt operations.

Salinas was certain that extortion was the motive behind the latest attack against Rural Transit.

"There is no doubt that extortion was the real motive, although we don’t discount the possibility that it was part of a terror attack," Salinas said.

Khu said since 2009, there have been 10 bomb attacks against the units of Rural Transit.

The latest occurred Wednesday morning in the town of Carmen, North Cotabato while a unit was moving towards the town's terminal. A 10-year-old girl was among the fatalities.

The bus was bound for Cagayan de Oro and came from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.

Khu said the improvised explosive device that was planted inside the bus was fashioned from a .60 mm mortar shell.

The police official said they would not have theorized business rivalry if other bus companies plying the same route has also been attacked.

Khu said they hope to crack the case with the help of a witness who saw the man who allegedly planted the improvised bomb.

The worst attack against Rural Transit was in October 2010, which killed 10 persons and injured several others when a bomb also exploded inside a unit while cruising Matalam town in North Cotabato en route to Tacurong City from Cagayan de Oro City.

The Al-Khobar, an extortion ring operating in Southwest Mindanao, has alleged links with a terror group, reports from the police said.

Salinas said they are now readying charges against those responsible for the attack.

According to the police official, it was unfortunate that despite their repeated appeals to bus companies not to pick up passengers along the highway, drivers and other workers of the Rural Transit, even from other bus companies plying the Cotabato-Davao highway, had “again and again” defied their orders.

“Witnesses saw two bomb couriers who posted as passengers boarded the Rural Transit Bus with body number 2922 and plate number KVS-740 when the vehicle was already in transit going to the Carmen highway. The suspects disembarked from the bus just few meters away from the transport terminal in Carmen town,” he said.





Power summit set in Davao

by Delon Porcalla


MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino will preside over the Mindanao Power Summit in Davao City on Friday to discuss with local stakeholders how they want to address the energy crisis in Mindanao.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the conference will start at 9 a.m. at the Waterfront Hotel. It will be attended by key officials including Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) chairperson Lou Antonino.

Lacierda belied insinuations that the scheduled Energy Summit is merely a moro-moro, or stage-managed, pointing out that Minda has been in charge of the summit mechanics.

“The Energy Summit was organized by Mindanao Development Authority, the (DOE) Department of Energy is only helping out. The lead government agency here is Minda of Secretary Lou Antonino which, you know, would look into the interest of the peoples of Mindanao,” Lacierda stressed.

Lacierda said the conference has been publicized in newspapers as well as aired over national television and radio stations.

“It’s not a secret-the Energy Summit is not a secret. The people of Minda have been preparing the people of Mindanao,” he said.

“You’ve got several stakeholders in Mindanao. You’ve got the generators, the transmission distributors, the electric cooperatives, the consumers, the local government.”

Lacierda said the conference is aimed at getting a consensus on how to address the energy situation in Mindanao.

He said President Aquino would allow the stakeholders in Mindanao to decide how to handle the power crisis in the region.

“There are proposed solutions but it is something that they would have to decide. That’s why the President has always stated it is open to everybody. Everybody should be on the same page when it comes to addressing the concern of energy in Mindanao,” Lacierda said.

“They have to come up with concrete solutions because this is precisely to address the energy situation in Mindanao. And it will be up to the people of Mindanao to come up and agree to that consensus,” he added.

In some areas in Mindanao, electricity is being rationed for almost three months now by local service utilities due to lack of supply from state-run hydroelectric plants in Lanao del Sur.

The affected provinces are North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

They are bracing yet for longer blackouts with the planned general maintenance check of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon to start anytime soon.

The facility produces 180 megawatts of electricity for the Mindanao grid, or about one-fourth of the island’s power requirement.

The DOE announced the impending maintenance check last Monday.

Local power cooperatives have been imposing two to four-hour sectional blackouts due to the scarcity of power supply.

Vice Mayor Joseph Evangelista of Kidapawan City, North Cotabato said the local businesses would be affected if the Pulangi IV facility will be shut for a periodic maintenance check.

“Businesses in Kidapawan City and in surrounding towns in North Cotabato have plummeted in recent weeks as a result of the lack of power supply and soon this facility in Bukidnon will shut down for a maintenance check,” Evangelista said.

The Cotabato Electric Cooperative, which serves Kidapawan City and the 17 towns in North Cotabato, said the shutdown of the Pulangi IV plant would increase to between 300 to 350 megawatts the power deficiency being experienced now in many areas in Mindanao.

Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., on the other hand, urged President Aquino to reconsider the emergency powers being granted by Congress to solve the present power shortage in Mindanao and strategically prepare for the upcoming power supply needs of the Luzon and Visayas islands in the coming years.

Espino cited the success of former President Fidel Ramos in solving the 8 to 12-hour blackouts that hit Metro Manila in1992.

“President Ramos was willingly granted emergency power through the Emergency Electric Power Law by Congress months after he assumed as President. By Christmas, in December 2003, the power problem was solved,” Espino said.

Espino also cited the recent warning of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that there will be a national crisis if the government failed to resolve the problem in power supply in Mindanao.

He confirmed Sen. Edgardo Angara’s warning that Luzon would also have power crisis in 2014 as well as the Visayas if there will be no new power plants.

Espino lauded Aquino’s initiative to preside the Energy Summit and sit down with stakeholders and discuss ways to address the energy crisis that has been causing up to 15-hour long power outages in Mindanao. - With John Unson, Non Alquitran






Pacquiao for senator in 2013?

by ABS-CBNnews.com


MANILA, Philippines - Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said Sarangani congressman and 8-division boxing champ Manny Pacquiao is welcome to join the senatorial ticket of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

In a visit to Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, Binay confirmed that the coalition of his Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party and former President Joseph Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) is attracting many potential candidates for the 2013 polls.

He confirmed Pacquiao is one of the names being floated as a possible senatorial bet. He added, however, that any talk of the Pacman's possible senatorial run will have to wait until after his prize fight with Timothy Bradley in June.

Pacquiao won a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections, but he is noted for being one of the top absentees in the House. He earlier said he does not want to run for re-election but will instead run for governor of Sarangani next year.

24 killed in Holy Week mishaps

by Ric Sapnu, Michelle Zoleta, Non Alquitran, Eva Visperas


MANILA, Philippines – A total of 24 people died while some 63 others were injured in various accidents during the Holy Week, disaster management officials said yesterday.

In a report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that most of the dead drowned while others figured in fire, vehicular and maritime accidents.

Out of the 24 fatalities, 12 drowned, nine were killed in a vehicular accident and three died in a fire.

All injured victims figured in vehicular accidents in Abra, Bataan, Benguet, Cotabato, La Union, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and Valenzuela City. One was injured after a motorized boat capsized in Agusan del Norte.

In La Union and Pangasinan, four people died in separate drowning incidents last Saturday.

Janiesha Avril Libadia, 3, of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur drowned while playing along the shoreline of Barangay Quirino in Bacnotan, La Union at about 10 a.m.

In Bauang town, Romulo Flores, 55, drowned while swimming in Bauang River at around 2 p.m.

In San Fabian, Pangasinan, Aron Ocampo, 14 of Villasis, Pangasinan and Bryan de Jesus, 14 of Angeles City, Pampanga drowned along the shoreline of Barangay Nibaliw at about 4:10 p.m. The victims were rushed to the Dagupan City Medical Center but died before receiving medical attention.

Drowning incidents also occurred on April 5 in Bangar, La Union and Cavinti, Laguna.

In Bangar, seven-year-old Bhejay Collado drowned at Busilac River at about 11:30 a.m. Before the incident, the victim and a relative reportedly crossed the river using a bamboo raft. Upon reaching the other side of the river, the victim was allegedly left alone by his companion, who bought something at a nearby store.

The relative then noticed that the victim was already missing. The boy’s lifeless body was later found in the river with the help of local residents.

Carlos Taylan, 13, drowned at 10:31 a.m. in Lake Caliraya, Cavinti, Laguna last Thursday. Taylan was rushed to the Laguna Provincial Hospital but died before receiving medical attention. The victim’s companion, Camille Taylan, 15, was immediately rescued by the authorities.

NDRRMC said the incident was brought to the attention of the Provincial Tourism Office because it was evident that the raft used by the victim lacked lifesaving equipment.

In Ifugao, disaster management officials recovered the body of a Romanian national who was reported missing last Wednesday.

The victim, identified as George Sfintes, 22, was reported missing while swimming in Tappiyah Falls with eight other foreigners.

Disaster management officials have coordinated with the Romanian embassy in Makati regarding the remains.

On Tuesday, one person died and two others were reported missing after a motorized boat capsized in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte.

NDRRMC said MB Lake Cruiser capsized along Lake Mainit near Sitio Sibayugan, Barangay Bunga in Jabonga town at about 4:30 p.m.

Passenger Melucina Mahilum, 63, drowned. Another passenger, Susan Beldimisa, sustained injuries.

The two other passengers that were reported missing are Antonette Sebian, 36, and Kris Alimpus, 10. The passengers were guests of Casili Lakeside Resort in Mainit, Surigao del Norte.

In Sariaya, Mauban and Infanta Quezon, three separate drowning incidents occurred that claimed the lives of two children and one male teenager during Sabado de Gloria, a pre-Easter Sunday celebration.

Police Senior Superintendent Valeriano de Leon identified the fatalities as Gilbert Ramos, Jannah Bauson and Daniel James Esplana of Candelaria, Mauban, and Infanta, Quezon.

They were declared dead on arrival by attending physicians after being brought by kin to the Candelaria United Doctors Hospital, Mauban District Hospital and CM Recto Hospital.

According to investigators, Daniel, 7, and his family were at Abiawin Beach Resort when the incident happened. Around 12:30 p.m. upon noticing that he was missing, they immediately sought the help of the Bureau of Fire and Naval Base to search for him.

Jannah, 6, was also with her family when she drowned. Her body was found at the adjacent Cabana Beach Resort in Mauban.

Gilbert, 17, was swimming alone at Triple J Beach Resort in Sariaya when he drowned due to the depth and strong current.

Another joyous outing ended in tragedy on Saturday, when a 47-year-old employee drowned in Marikina City.

The employees who attended the company outing were preparing to leave for home when they noticed that one of them, Bonifacio Esteban, 47, was missing. They found his body at the bottom of the swimming pool at about 3 p.m.

The attending lifeguards applied first aid treatment before rushing him to the Saint Vincent hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Local police already sought a copy of footage of the surveillance camera installed by the swimming pool to determine whether there was foul play.

Police investigators are also gathering evidence to determine whether the owner of Flamengo Garden Resort can be held liable for Esteban’s death.

Road kills

Meanwhile, seven people were killed and at least 13 others injured in three separate vehicular accidents in Bataan and Nueva Ecija.

Senior Superintendent Ricardo Zapata, Bataan police provincial director reported that four were killed in Samal town.

Zapata identified the victims as Samuel Vasquez, 22, Janmark Perrera, 21, Norman Cerezo and Jason Paragon. They were on board a motorized tricycle when they accidentally collided with a Bataan Transit passenger bus along Roman Highway in Barangay Imelda.

Vasquez, driver of the motorized tricycle, and Perrera died while receiving treatment at Bataan General Hospital in Balanga City, while Cerezo and Paragon are presently undergoing treatment.

In Mariveles town, Zapata said that four motorcycles collided while traversing the Roman Superhighway in Barangay Ala-asin at about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The fatalities were identified as Jesus Rubio, 39, Conrado Rodriguez, 54, and Marjorie Gaviola, all residents of Mt View, Barangay Cabcabin in Mariveles.

Those injured were Marvinz Gaviola, Allan Martin and the two kids identified as Allison Rubio, 4, and Mark Vincent Gaviola, 7, all of Barangay Cabcabin.

According to Nueva Ecija police director Senior Superintendent Roberto Aliggayu, two persons were killed while seven others were injured in separate vehicular accidents in Nueva Ecija.

The fatalities were identified as Alexis Orogo, 28, of Malabon City and a still unidentified motorcycle driver.

Those injured were Jerome Santos, 16; Melvin Santos, 18; Mervin Alvo, 18; Kevin Micahel de la Cruz, 18; and Noel Alvo, 19 of Barangay San Fabian in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. Romnick Castro and Don-Don Aguna, also injured, are both from Barangay Bonifacio in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija.

Aliggayu said that Orogo, driver of Mitsubishi Adventure, bumped a concrete fence in Barangay San Pascual, Talavera town, after its front tire exploded at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. Orogo died while undergoing treatment in hospital.

Meanwhile, the unidentified motorcycle driver died on the spot after he slammed into the rear portion of the ten-wheeler truck in Barangay San Andres, Guimba town.

Separate vehicular incidents in Cotabato and Abra also left two persons dead.

On Friday, one person died after a motorcycle lost control and bumped into a tree at Barangay Labaan in San Quintin, Abra at about 2 p.m.

The driver of the motorcycle, identified as Marcelino Cantano, 18, was brought to the Abra Provincial Hospital but died before receiving medical treatment.

Two other passengers – Rogelio Padillon, 24, and Rumar Palos, 20 — sustained minor injuries.

On the other hand, a vehicular accident in M’lang, Cotabato on Tuesday left one dead and 28 others injured.

Initial investigations revealed that the driver of a truck without a license plate lost control of his vehicle.

The authorities are still identifying the victim of the truck accident but most of the injured passengers are residents of Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat.

Meanwhile a fire incident in San Mateo, Rizal on April 5 claimed the lives of three people.

The incident occurred at 25 Wallastic St. Clemente compound, Dulong Bayan 1 in San Mateo town at 2:20 a.m.

The fire started from a charcoal-based cooker that was left unattended in the kitchen of one of the fatalities, Esperanza Gaboa, 65.

The two other dead were identified as James Bolaños, 12 and Ian Marko Bolaños, 10. The fire damaged about P200,000 worth of property.

Corn borer remains susceptible to Bt

by LYN RESURRECCION


ASIAN corn borer (ACB) (Ostrinia furnacalis) that destroys ordinary corn crops in the Philippines remain susceptible to or die when they eat the insect-resistant genetically modified Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn. This was the result of a study made by a team of scientists, led by Dr. Edwin Alcantara of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna. Members of the team are Drs. Arnold Estrada and Victor Alpuerto of Monsanto Philippines Inc., and Graham Head of Monsanto Llc. in the United States.

“So far, no field-evolved ACB resistance has been detected after almost 10 years of Bt corn adoption,” Searca Biotech Information Center said in a press release.

This study is very significant for the Philippines which has an increasing number of hectarage planted to Bt corn—from 300,000 hectares in 2007 to more than 600,000 hectares in 2011, based on data from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

The ISAAA report also said more than 300,000 Filipino farmers planted Bt corn.

Alcantara made the disclosure in his lecture, titled “Monitoring Cry1ab Susceptibility in Asian Corn Borer on Bt Corn in the Philippines,” for the Biotech Monthly Seminar. A copy of the study was obtained by the BusinessMirror.

The study made in 2009 showed that mortality response of ACB to the concentration of Cry1Ab protein in Bt corn ranged from 94.54 percent to 100 percent.

These are shown in the Isabela towns of Aurora (98.48 percent ACB mortality), Cauayan (94.54 percent), Echague (97.27 percent), Luna (98.67 percent) and Tumauini (98.56 percent); Koronadal, South Cotabato (99.10 percent); Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat (100 percent); and Los Baños, Laguna (99.10 percent).

“The Mindanao ACB populations from Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat and Koronadal, South Cotabato, were highly susceptible to [or killed by] Cry1Ab [Bt] protein, but less than 99 percent mortality was observed with all populations from Isabela province in Luzon, including a previously untested site at Tumauini,” the study said.

For the Cauayan ACB population, about 40 percent of surviving larvae developed into adults but the egg masses laid by these adults failed to eclose. Only the adults developing from survivors of the Echague population were able to produce viable egg masses.

The study also said that confirmatory testing with Bt corn leaves had no survivors, despite 100 percent survival of larvae on non-Bt corn, confirming the susceptible status of these ACB populations.

For the 2009 study the corn borer collection sites were selected from the areas where Bt corn had a relatively long planting history and high adaption levels. In selecting sites, it was assumed that resistance would be likely to develop in areas where there had been three successive corn cropping seasons.

The transgenic corn with the Cry1Ab protein from Bt was used to control the destructive populations of ACB which affect vast tracks of corn farm in the Philippines.

Bt corn was commercialized in the Philippines in 2002. However, before its commercialization, the study said that an important prerequisite is a monitoring scheme for detecting the early evolution of ACB resistance to Bt corn.

This required the estimation of baseline susceptibility of Philippine ACB populations to Cry1Ab, which can be compared with future estimates of ACB susceptibility obtained after deployment of Cry1Ab corn.

The study said the baseline susceptibility estimates also can be used as the basis for selecting a diagnostic concentration for resistance monitoring. A dose of toxin that kills 99 percent of susceptible individuals has been proposed for diagnostic bioassays.

The objectives of the study were 1) to quantify baseline susceptibility of Philippine ACB populations to Cry1Ab protein of Bt before the deployment of Bt corn, 2) to develop a diagnostic concentration for monitoring of ACB resistance to Bt corn, and 3) to use the diagnostic concentration to monitor field populations for changes in susceptibility to Cry1Ab toxin in locations where multiple Bt corn have been grown. The study was completed in several stages between 2002 and 2010. Baseline susceptibility was assessed between 2002 and 2004.

Since Bt corn was first approved for commercial planting in the Philippines in December 2002, by 2004 it covered only around 1 percent of the country’s corn area. Thus, all baseline data were collected before Bt corn was largely used in the Philippine agricultural system.

The largest number of the collections was made from Isabela province in Luzon, because this area has the largest land area being used for corn production in the country. Collections were also made on Mindanao and three other provinces on Luzon

In 2007 three potential concentrations for diagnostic bioassays were evaluated and the candidate concentration was validated later in 2007 and during 2008.

In 2009 ACB populations which had been exposed to three Bt corn crops were evaluated with the diagnostic concentration.

The study said it has developed a diagnostic concentration for Bt susceptibility that is currently being used for monitoring ACB-resistance development in Bt corn in the Philippines.

“The results of this monitoring program so far indicate that ACB populations in the Philippines remain susceptible to Cry1Ab Bt corn hybrids,” the study said.

CITCI netters advance in Davao tilt

by CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON


PLAYERS OF THE Cebu International Tennis Centre Inc. advanced to the next round of the 1st leg of the Smart Head Junior Satellite Circuit 2012 in Davao City. Kristin Renee Salimbangon advanced to the finals of the girls 12-under category, wherein she is seeded third. She will contest the title against no. 4 seed Kathlenrey Arandia of Cotabato City today. Enroute to the finals, Salimbangon thrashed Aubrey Calma of Cagayan, 7-6, 6-2, in the quarterfinals and blasted second seed Carlyn Bless Guarde of Sultan Kudarat, 4-1, 5-3, in the semifinals. The matches were shortened to accommodate all entries. Salimbangon’s younger brother Cesar Kristofer Salimbangon also advanced to the semifinals of the unisex 10 under. He arranged a semifinals match against the no.1 seed Alfred Derecto of Sultan Kudarat. He clinched his semifinals ticket by surviving the age-group’s 3rd-seed Minette April Bentillo, 1-6, 7-5, 10-7, also of Sultan Kudarat.

8 nabbed for fake fertilizers

by Alfred Dalizon


AUTHORITIES arrested eight members of a group selling adulterated fertilizer products in a series of raids in Mindanao Thursday.

The fake fertilizers were blamed for the massive decline of crops production in the region.

Pagdilao said CIDG agents stormed several warehouses and farmhouses in Davao City, Kapalong and Sto. Tomas towns in Davao del Norte, Pikit and Kabacan towns in North Cotabato, and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat and seized sacks of adulterated fertilizer products.

Among the confiscated evidence were sacks of ammonium sulfates, ammonium phosphates, urea fertilizers, muriate of potash and monosodium sulfate salt.

The raiding team arrested Edgar Calledo and seven of his workers caught mixing and repacking suspected adulterated fertilizer products inside a warehouse in Maa, Davao City.

The raid stemmed from a complaint filed by the La Filipina Uygongco Corp., and Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority in the region.

Pagdilao said the suspects’ modus operandi involves mixing salt with pure fertilizer products which they sell to unsuspecting farmers.

Police bust fake fertilizers gang

by Aaron B. Recuenco


Philippines – Police busted over the weekend a syndicate engaged in adulterating fertilizers in a series of raids on warehouses and farmhouses in Mindanao. Seized in the raids were thousands of sacks of fake ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, urea, muriate of potash, and monosodium sulfate salt. Director Samuel Pagdilao, head of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said separate operations were immediately launched after his men located the safehouses of the syndicate in several warehouses and farmhouses in Davao City, Kapalong and Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte; Pikit and Kabacan in North Cotabato, and Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. “These adulterated fertilizers are being eyed by authorities as the cause in the drastic decline of crops production in Mindanao,” said Pagdilao. The gang’s modus operandi, he said, is to mix salt to pure fertilizer products in order to increase the profit in the distribution of adulterated fertilizer products sold to farmers throughout Mindanao. Pagdilao said the suspected leader of the gang, Edgar Calledo, and seven of his workers were caught mixing, rescaling, and resacking of suspected adulterated fertilizer products inside a warehouse in Maa, Davao City.


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