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Zamboanga Del Sur News

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Province of Zamboanga del Sur - Archived News of Zamboanga del Sur

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Seal of Zamboanga del Sur Province
Interactive Google Satellite Map of Zamboanga del Sur
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Zamboanga del Sur Map Locator
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Municipalities within Zamboanga del Sur
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Provincial Capitol of Zamboanga del Sur
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Provincial Capitol of Zamboanga del Sur, Santo Niño, Pagadian city
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Lapuyan Falls: The favorite haunt of the fair Subanen maidens of Sitio Baga and all its neighboring areas, usual meeting place with many a young country swain in some secluded cavern beneath the rocky forest lane.
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Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines
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Village of Pedagan
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Lintugop, Aurora
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Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur
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Provincial human resource management office of santo niño pagadian city
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Civil Service Commision office in santo niño pagadian city

Contents

FEATURE: “Dormitoryo sa Barangay” sheltering poor students

By Gideon C. Corgue (FPG/GCC/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)

GUIPOS, Zamboanga del Sur - School children will no longer experience the danger of crossing rivers after a transient house was built in a remote barangay of this town.

Dubbed “Dormitoryo sa Barangay,” this project is a convergence initiative of 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) battalion, Philippine Army and the municipalities of Guipos and San Miguel. It was built in Barangay Calapan and inaugurated last Aug. 30 with Representative Aurora Cerilles of Zamboanga del Sur’s second district, barangay officials, teachers, parents and students in attendance.

Born out of necessity

53rd IB commander Lt. Col. Alvin Luzon said the project was born out of necessity. With the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) called “Bayanihan campaign” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the troopers were able to assess, identify and meet the pressing need of people and that is the transient house for schoolchildren.

Ugnayan sa Paaralan

The project, Luzon said, is anchored on the “Ugnayan sa Paaralan,” one of the 12 components of IPSP. “This is how government works,” Luzon declared adding that the activity also aims to help and enlighten the students and teachers about the role of the Philippine Army in pursuit of peace and development of the nation. IPSP-Bayanihan seeks to win peace as well as establish and maintain good community relations to gain full public support.

“With the troop’s social immersion of people in the communities they’ve found out that many schoolchildren particularly those living in remote areas have difficulty in attending classes in Calapan Elementary School especially during rainy season.

Schoolchildren cross rivers

Many school children living in Purok 5 of Barangay Calapan, Guipos and nearby Barangay Ocapan of San Miguel town, used to walk more than an hour in going to and from the school. “They crossed the rivers and creeks, risking their lives just to attend classes. That’s why our troops thought of putting up a project that would benefit the children,” Luzon said.

“We seek the help of local government units of Guipos and San Miguel because the beneficiaries are coming from these areas. We provided the manpower while the LGUs furnished the materials.”

With the project, the government soldiers believe that a lasting peace can be attained in the area.

Philippine Army, LGUs lauded

Meanwhile, Representative Aurora Cerilles, the event’s guest of honor and speaker lauded the Philippine Army and LGUs for launching the “Dormitoryo sa Barangay” saying that “the project is a noble endeavor designed to help the poor students.”

“I am very happy that this noble project was implemented by the Philippine Army and LGUs in this remote barangay where plenty of poor students are studying,” Cerilles said.

First-of-its kind project

“This is the first-ever and one-of-a-kind project undertaken by the government in the entire province,” Cerilles said adding that the project would help students to finish their studies.

The Dormitoryo sa Barangay has eight double-decked rooms, which would cater to 32 schoolchildren.

Education unhampered

With the project, Cerilles said children’s education will no longer be hampered because they have already a temporary house to dwell while attending classes during schooldays.

Punong barangay Mario Sumatra expressed his profound gratitude to the 53rd IB for conceptualizing the project.

“Nagpasalamat ko sa kasundaluhan sa 53rd IB ug sa LGUs sa Guipos ug San Miguel nga gihatagan nila ug solusyon ning problema nga nasinati sa mga nanagtunghang kabataan sulod sa pipila ka dekada na ang nakalabay,” Sumatra said.

(I thanked the 53rd IB troopers and LGUs of Guipos and San Miguel that they gave solution to this problem as experienced by the schoolchildren for a couple of decades already.)

Increase in enrolment

School head Alfredo Beton Jr. expressed optimism that with the establishment of “Dormitoryo sa Barangay,” the enrolment in the next school year will increase. In the past some students quit as they found it difficult to cross the rivers especially during rainy season.

“I am very glad about the great concern shown by the stakeholders for the students. The problem on illiteracy will now be properly addressed and the children can pursue their high school studies up to college,” Beton said.

Provides children’s safety

Erlinda Dela Pena said the project will benefit her 11-year old son Israelito, a grade 5 student since it provides safety to her son and to the rest of the students.

“Nanghinaut ako nga kini nga proyekto ipadayon sa Philippine Army ug sa LGUs sa Guipos ug San Miguel aron nga mabatonan sa mga kabataan ang basic nga edukasyon (I hope that this project will be sustained by the Philippine Army and LGUs of Guipos and San Miguel so that the students can acquire quality basic education),” Dela Pena stressed.

Samuel Relampago, grade 6 pupil of Dalapan Elementary School was very happy that the project was realized.

“Nalipay ko kaayo nga ang gobyerno mihimo ani nga proyekto. Dili na ko mouli sa among balay kada adlaw ug dinhi na gyud ko makatulog. Malaumon ako nga makapadayon na ko sa akong pag-eswkela sa umaabot (I am very happy that the government made this project. I won’t be going home daily to our house during schooldays as I will be sleeping here. I am hoping that I can finish my studies soon),’ said Relampago who is living in a far-flung hilly area at Purok 3, Barangay Ocapan in San Miguel town.


PIA, DENR to Tukuran studes: Be active partners in climate change advocacy

By Gideon C. Corgue

TUKURAN, Zamboanga del Sur, Sept. 16 (PIA) – Students of Tukuran Technical-Vocational High School (TTVHS) have been encouraged by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-9 and Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-9 to help solve climate change problems.

In a forum on climate change adaptation jointly conducted here on Tuesday by the DENR and PIA, Regional Public Affairs Officer Roservirico A. Tan challenged the students to do their share in helping solve climate change issues saying that “its adverse impacts are already felt in our country.”

“We reach out to you students because it is you who would inherit this earth that is still livable with clean and healthy environment and life-giving natural resources,” Tan pointed out.

Tan said the climate change advocacy campaign pursued by the DENR and PIA is a project of the national government aimed at raising the level of awareness of the public on climate change mitigation and adaptation to lessen its adverse impact on the humans.

Tan said “the campaign is truly a gargantuan task to perform by the agencies. That is why we need help from other sectors of society.”

“We are trying to reach out to the communities - especially the academe - to be our partners in helping us protect the environment,” Tan said, as he recognized the youth’s vital role in our society.

Tan explained the major effects of climate change particularly the extinction of living and non-living things. “The climate change has severely affected our environment,” Tan said.

Tan encouraged the students to support and the National Greening Program (NGP) by planting trees.

He also called on the students to support the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act otherwise known as Republic Act 9003.

Meanwhile, Zamboanga del Sur Information Center Manager Claro A. Lanipa emphasized that the said forum was conducted to address public apathy to climate change in order to engender active cooperation and support from all sectors.

Lanipa said this forum here was the second advocacy activity conducted by the DENR and PIA to public secondary schools in Zamboanga Peninsula. The first was held in Bayog National High School, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur on Aug. 22, 2014.

DAR turns over 25 Pamana projects to Zamboanga farmers

By Jonathan L. Mayuga

THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) recently turned over 25 projects under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) project to agrarian-reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) in Zamboanga del Sur.

The projects are aimed at spurring rural development and promoting peace and order in conflict areas.

For Zamboanga del Sur, the projects include water systems, postharvest facilities, solar and stilt dryers, farm implements and cattle fattening, among others.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Arturo Soria said the finished project was turned over to the barangay chairmen of the 25 villages in Dinas town, where the 25 ARBOs are operating.

These include multipurpose buildings for barangays Bacawan, Benuatan, Nian, Guinicolalay, Don Jose, Songayan, Pisaan and Lower Dipaya; water systems for barangays Kinakap, Ignacio Garrata, Legarda Uno, Dos and Tres, and Dimaya Proper.

Soria added that cattle for fattening were distributed for farmers in Dongos; six mud boats and a hand tractor for East Migpulao; tire path for Poblacion; solar dryer for Sumpotan and Sambulawan, stilt dryer for Locuban; and water systems for Sagacad, Legarda Uno, Old Mirapao and Nangka.

DAR-Western Mindanao Regional Director Julita Ragandang said 1,896 farmer-beneficiaries, comprising 6,088 households with an estimated 34,000 population, would directly benefit from the projects.

Randang added that the projects represent the initial offering out of the 166 projects that are being implemented by the DAR under the supervision of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

“They serve as DAR’s legacy to the public under the Pamana Phase 1 project in agrarian-reform areas,” Ragandang said.

DENR-9 readies for Sept. 26 “TreeVolution”

By Franklin P. Gumapon (FPG/PIA9)

PAGADIAN CITY, Sept. 12 (PIA) – To beat India’s record as having planted 1,945,535 trees for an hour in 408 locations with 340,200 participants, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-9 is joining other regions in Mindanao to plant 4.6 million trees in 9,200 hectares across the island on Sept. 26, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Dubbed “TreeVolution: Greening MindaNow,” the activity aims to achieve the 2014 target of the National Greening Program (NGP) for Mindanao by breaking India’s record of having planted the most number of trees in different locations simultaneously.

NGP is targeting 690,815 hectares to be planted with trees in Mindanao by 2016.

“For Zamboanga Peninsula, DENR-9 aims to cover 1,000 hectares to be planted with 700,000 seedlings in various NGP sites,” Regional Director Arleigh Adorable said.

Adorable also disclosed that some 35,000 participants/volunteers would be mobilized during the said activity involving 700 validators and independent witnesses from the academe and religious sector.

More, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Agriculture (DA) and the local government units (LGUs) have also signified to join the activity by planting 167,500 seedlings in 335 hectares, bringing a total of 867,500 seedlings to be planted within the region during the “TreeVolution” activity.

Presently, India holds the title in the Guinness World Records as having the most number of trees planted in various locations simultaneously.

Week-long 62nd Araw ng ZamboSur celebration kicks-off Wednesday

By Hirohito D. Cadion (PNA)

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur – The week-long celebration of the 62nd founding anniversary of this province kicked-off Wednesday simultaneously with the opening of the Batang Pinoy-Mindanao Leg in this city.

The celebration started with a parade through this city’s main thoroughfares that was participated in by local and national government officials as well as athletes from all over Mindanao.

Provincial Information Officer Marivic Jongco said several artists are coming to add extra excitement to the celebration of the 62nd Araw ng Zamboanga del Sur.

Jongco said the artists who are coming here are singers-composers Jaime Rivera and Marco Sison, pop singer Haji Alejandro and his daughter pop star Rachel Alejandro, singer-comedienne Norman Mitchell, artist Pinky Marquez, and guest performer Bimbo Cerrudo.

Jongco said Senator Cynthia Villar will be the guest of honor speaker during the Women Empowerment Movement-Rural Improvement Club (WEM-RIC) Night on September 15.

She said that Senator Jose Victor Ejercito will be the guest during the Josefina Herrera Cerilles State College (JHCSC) Night as well as in the culmination program of the anniversary on September 17.

The 62nd Araw ng Zamboanga del Sur is anchored on the theme: “Malahutayong Programa, Gipaluyuhan sa Katawhan, Kalambuan sa Lalawigan (Sustainable Program, People’s support, Development of the province).

Meanwhile, more than 3,000 athletes will see action in the four-day Batang Pinoy-Mindanao Leg that also kicked-off Wednesday in this city.

Youth advocates for climate change resiliency organized in TTVHS

By Alma L. Tingcang

TUKURAN, Zamboanga del Sur – About 81 students of Tukuran Technical-Vocational High School (TTVHS) attended the Advocacy Forum on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation which was held today, September 9.

Mr. Alfredo Sapuay, TTVHS principal welcomed the participants and expressed his gratefulness for being chosen as the venue for the climate change forum.

“The forum aims to address public apathy on climate change, adapt and strengthen mitigation measures, as well as inspire and motivate the active cooperation and participation of all sectors,” Zamboanga del Sur Infocenter Manager Claro A. Lanipa said, giving the rationale of the activity.

“Compared to other countries, the Philippines is very lucky because we have rich biodiversity,” says DENR RPAO chief Roservirico Tan. Climate change endangers the existence of flora and fauna in the country.

Participants took a closer look at the video documentary produced by PIA ZamBaSulTa. Aside from other advocacy materials being used in Climate Change Forums, this video is a localized version depicting disasters in Zamboanga Peninsula and awakens the sensibilities of participants.

They vowed to participate in all activities and support CC advocacy including tree planting in designated areas.

After the forum, the youth leaders identified the issues and concerns which are likely to happen in their respective communities to include sea level rise, flashflood, landslide, typhoon and El Niño. Tukuran is one of the coastal municipalities of Zamboanga del Sur.

Elected officers of “I am a Climate Change-Resilient Youth” Tukuran Chapter were the following: Warlito Nobleza – President; Iris Timosa – Vice President; Grace Angel Dayuha – Secretary; Kishel Mamentong – Treasurer; Famela Grace Tibor – Auditor; Elson Ladra – Business Manager and Queenie Jean Guliman – PIO.

The newly-elected officers took their oath of office before ICM Lanipa immediately after the forum.

DILG to complete Php6.1-M water system project in Zamboanga del Sur town

(PNA), FFC/TPGJR/HIROHITO D. CADION/UTB

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Sept. 8 (PNA) -– The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to complete the construction of Php6.1 million water system project that would benefit 439 households in five waterless barangays in Sominot, Zamboanga del Sur.

DILG Regional Project Development and Management Unit chief Eng’r. Moh Ali Hasan said Monday the implementation of the Level II water system project in ongoing in the barangays of Sawa, Lumangoy, Sto. Niño, Libertad and Rizal, Sominot town.

Hasan said the project is being implemented through the agency’s "Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig Para sa Lahat" (Salintubig) which is aimed to increase water service for the waterless population and to reduce incidence of water-borne and sanitation related diseases as well as to improve access of the poor to sanitation services

Sominot which comprises of 18 barangays is a fifth class town in the province of Zamboanga del Sur. It has a population of 16,652 based on the 2010 census on population of the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Hasan said the funding for the implementation of the project was released in two tranches. The first tranche, which is 50 percent of the total project cost was released last February 29 while the remaining 50 percent was released last week.

Sominot Mayor Teodoro Acosta said the beneficiary-barangays are among the waterless areas in his municipality.

Acosta said the completion of the project will answer the long-time problem on the availability of potable water supply in the five barangays.

At present, they rely on wells and underdeveloped springs as source of water.

House body OKs bill promoting non-violent discipline of kids

(ABS-CBNnews.com)

MANILA - The House Committee on the Welfare of Children has reported out for floor deliberation a bill promoting positive and non-violent discipline of kids.

House Committee on the Welfare of Children chairperson Zamboanga del Sur Representative Aurora Cerilles said House Bill 4907 would help secure children's well-being and safety at home, school, workplace, and all other settings.

Cerilles said it is imperative to establish a legal framework that will protect the young Filipinos.

House Bill 4907 is in substitution of House Bill 155, authored by Tarlac Representative Susan Yap.

"Children, as future productive citizens of the country, need to be cared for in an environment that fosters positive reinforcement of behavior rather than making use of punishment to supposedly facilitate learning," Yap said.

The measure prohibits any forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or degrading chastisement to children like kicking, slapping, pulling hair, twisting joints, dragging, forcing a child through the use of power, authority or threats, to perform physically painful or damaging acts, kneeling on stones, salt or pebbles, refusal to provide the child's physical needs, tying up a child, verbal abuse, swearing or cursing, and making a child look or feel foolish in front of one's peers or public by shaving hair.

The penalties under existing penal laws shall be imposed in the maximum period, except where a higher penalty is provided for under Act 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, under Republic Act 7610, or under Republic Act 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, or arresto mayor in its maximum period.

If the penalty imposable for the act is only arresto menor or arresto mayor, the prosecutor may refer the accused to the local Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) for assessment and intervention such as seminars and counseling on children's rights, positive and non-violent discipline of children, anger management, and referrals to other rehabilitative services.

The remedies available to the victim under Republic Act Nos. 7610 and 9262 shall be available to the child where applicable.

The measure also requires the respect and the right to privacy of the victim to cases of corporal punishment, in barangay, the police, school, public or private healthcare facility.

Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, any identifying information of a victim or immediate family member of the victim, without consent, shall be penalized with a fine of not more than P200,000.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in consultation with the Commission on Women and Children (CWC), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), other relevant government agencies, LLGUs, NGOs, and at least two child focused organizations, shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the proposed Act.

DA gives livelihood to Lapuyan women

(MDaguro/DA9)

Colorful asters, stunning rose buds, beautiful tulips and gorgeous angels made from corn husk were learned by some members of the Lapuyan Women’s Association and the Kasamahang Magsasaka Association during the Corn By Product Handicraft Hands-On Training in Lapuyan, Zamboanga Del Sur last August 26-27.

A total of 30 women actively participated the two-day hands-on training conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Institutional Development Services Section (IDSS) facilitated by its chief, Mr. Erwin Rodriguez.

This training aims to give value to what is considered waste and obtain income out of it. “Making beautiful flowers, angels, and other decorative designs using corn husks give livelihood to the farmer-mothers with a very low capital. We are hitting two birds in one stone here encouraging mothers to have additional income and recycling corn husks instead of burning them,” said Rodriguez.

Member of Lapuyan Women’s Association, Ms. Rowela Bayamban, 30 years old, a resident of Barangay Mahalingeb, Lapuyan Zamboanga Del Sur joined the training for the second time said “what I learned last year was very useful. During my sister’s wedding, I made the floral decoration in the church and in the reception. I am also into floral arrangement now in our church during thanksgiving, in our barangay on fiestas and in school for special events. With my products, people have appreciated them and got some orders like dozens of tulips. I sell them at P20.00- P35.00 a dozen depending on the style and the buyer’s choice that will fit to their budget.” She added, “ joining here for the second time is learning new trends like the making of angels and dolls. Surely, this is an additional income again.”

Violeta Quirong, 48, a resident of Barangay Katibong, Poblacion Lapuyan, Zamboanga Del Sur and a member of Kasamahang Magsasaka Association said “I enjoyed the training and I am very happy because I have been waiting for this. Now I have learned many things, I never thought that all those husks that we were burning after harvest were valuable. After this training, I have decided to be very careful in removing the husk from the cob to ensure quality husk to be used in my crafts. This is an additional income and also a help in saving our environment from pollution.”

The same training will be conducted in Bayog and Aurora both in Zamboanga Del Sur and Malangas in Zamboanga Sibugay that will be participated by 30 women per municipality.

DA releases P5.8-M machineries and equipment in Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur

(PNA), FFC/TPGJR/HIROHITO D. CADION/UTB

DINAS, Zamboanga del Sur, Sept. 4 (PNA) -– The Department of Agriculture (DA) has released P5.8-million machineries and equipment as well as farm working animals to groups of farmers here in the region.

DA Secretary Proceso Alcala led the distribution of the machineries and equipment Wednesday during the opening of the two-day First National Adlai Grand Farmer’s Field Days and Technology Forum in this municipality.

The beneficiaries of DA’s assistance are the farmers groups from the towns of Lapuyan, Tambulig, Ramon Magsaysay, Tukuran, Tigbao, Dumalinao, San Pablo, Mahayag, Labangan, Bayog, Dinas, Kumalarang, Guipos, Dumingag, and Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur; Siay, Titay, and Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay; Siocon, Liloy, Polanco, and Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.

The machineries and equipment included power sprays, water pumps, collapsible dryers, rice threshers, hand tractors and mudboats.

The Lapuyan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LAPAMUCO) also received a farm tractor worth P1.9-million to boost the cooperative’s corn production. A nursery will also be established for the cooperative.

Organic biological fertilizer plants will also be established for LAPAMUCO and the Convergence of Non-Government Organization of Zamboanga del Sur for the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CONZARRD) in Guipos, this province.

Alcala have also raffled off livestock, a water buffalo and a plow and harrow during the opening of the First National Adlai Grand Farmer’s Field Days and Technology Forum in this town.

The adlai forum ended Thursday. The event is anchored on the theme “Harnessing the Potentials of Adlai as Additional Staple Food for Filipinos.”

Cop nabbed in drug bust

By Dan Toribio Jr.

A policeman was arrested in a drug buy-bust operation at the port area in Purok Bagong Silang, Sta. Lucia District, Pagadian City at before noon last Sunday.

Arrested was Julster Templa Y Pede alias Jojo, 32, single, a policeman of the Margosatubig Police Station, Zamboanga del Sur and a resident of Purok Bougainvilla, San Pedro District, Pagadian.

Templa was arrested after he sold two sachets of suspected shabu to SPO2 Melbourne Mangubat who acted as a poseur buyer in exchange of P500 marked money.

The suspect was detained at the Pagadian police station while the confiscated items were turned over to the crime laboratory for examination.

1st FAB spearheads tree planting in Tukuran town

By Gideon C. Corgue

TUKURAN, Zamboanga del Sur – Some 1,000 seedlings of mahogany and narra trees and other non-fruit-bearing trees were planted by the residents of Barangay Tinotongan here on Friday, Aug. 29, during a tree planting activity led by 1st Field Artillery Battalion (FAB), Philippine Army.

1st FAB commander Lt. Col. Sonny Sales said the activity was in support of Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III dated Feb. 24, 2011 to implement the National Greening Program (NGP) with the private sector and other concerned agencies and institutions to address climate change problem.

Sales also said the activity also brought government services to the people in the area such as medical and dental services. It was the first time that such an activity was held in the said barangay.

1st FAB plans to replicate it in four other barangays, namely: Man-ilan, Sto. Rosario and Tinotongan of Tukuran town, and San Isidro and Tawagan Norte of Labangan municipality.

Speaking on behalf of Mayor Francisvic Villamero, Municipal Councilor Leomi Saysip said she lauded the efforts of 1st FAB at teaching and encouraging the people “to love our mother earth by doing their share in planting trees.”

“By planting trees in our mountains, we are helping the government in greening our environment and subsequently, we can mitigate the adverse impact of climate change that we are experiencing today,” Saysip pointed out.

Noame Mata, school principal of Tinotongan Elementay School said their teachers and students also actively participated in the tree planting activity.

“We are helping the government in planting trees because we want to preserve our environment. We don’t want to suffer from disasters like landslides and floods,” said Mata who led a group of teachers and students joining the activity.

Barangay kagawad Ronie Poro thanked the 1st FAB for leading the activity, saying “Akong gipasalamatan ang liderato sa 1st FAB tungod kay pinaagi sa maong kalihokan maprotektahan nato ang atong kalikupan (I thanked the 1st FAB leadership because through this activity, we can protect our environment).”

Participating in the tree planting activity were the 1st FAB personnel, barangay officials, teachers, students, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, and Civilian Volunteer Organizations.

Military: NPA strength declines

By Bong Garcia

THE strength and weapons of the New People's Army (NPA) rebels had been steadily decreasing in Zamboanga Peninsula, a top military official said.

Army's 1st Infantry Division commander Brigadier General Gerardo Barrientos attributed the decline to the ongoing "Bayanihan" peace development efforts.

Barrientos said another factor that contributed to the continued decline of NPA strength and weapons is the military's continued collaboration with local government units within the command's area of jurisdiction.

"The number of NPA members in the region and their firearms continue to decrease," Barrientos said in a statement, citing the NPA's manpower was reduced by around 10 percent while their firearms went down by five percent.

Barrientos said the troops from the Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion recently recovered two serviceable M-16 Armalite rifles and ammunition in an arms cache in the forested tri-boundary of Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte and Misamis Occidental.

He said the troops also recovered two handheld radio transceivers, two pairs of military uniforms, medical paraphernalia, personal belongings and subversive documents of high intelligence value.

Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Alvin Luzon said the arms cache was discovered after residents and former rebels informed them of the place where the NPA rebels kept their stash of weapons.

"These items were left behind because the NPA lacks the manpower to bring it due to numerous surrenderees and the capture of their members," Luzon added.

Barrientos commended the troops involved in the recovery of the arms cache, citing it was brought about by the good rapport of the soldiers to the community.

Zamboanga del Sur Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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