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Philippine News

General Santos City, Philippines - Archived News

Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
Barangay anim 4500.gif
A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.


Tax holiday for Pacquiao’s business

By Joseph Jubelag

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The city government here has given a six-year tax holiday for the newly-opened hotel business of couple Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao and wife Jinkee.

City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who was among the guests during the inauguration of Roadhouse Hotel located along Barangay City Heights here, said Pacquiao’s new business venture will help boost the local tourism industry. She said the tax holiday is given by the city government to any investor, like Pacquiao who is willing to put up business venture in the city. “This is one way of encouraging more investors to invest in the city,” Custodio said. Jinkee Pacquiao led the opening ceremony last Tuesday of the 42-bedroom county like hotel in the suburban Barangay City Heights which was attended by local officials including Sarangani Vice-Gov. Steve Solon and Vice-Mayor Shirlyn Nograles. The hotel is equipped with modern facilities including a coffee shop, restaurant and function rooms. “We assure that our guests will have a memorable stay in our place,” Jinkee said.

Troops overrun 3 NPA camps in Sultan Kudarat

By (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 11 (PNA) – 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 Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB), said Friday they seized the camps after several intense encounters with suspected rebels under the NPA’s Front 72 and Southern Alip Regional Guerilla Unit (SARGU).

“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 subversive 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 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) stormed a military detachment in Barangay Bacungan in Columbio, which is near the mines development site of foreign-backed firm Sagittarius Mines Inc.

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

PNP 12 starts early Brigada Eskwela in Gensan

By Nirvana Alpha Vita G. Fruylan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 10 (PIA) -- The Philippine National Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 started Friday its own Brigada Eskwela by conducting series of clean-up operations in public elementary and secondary schools in the city in preparation for the opening of classes in June.

According to a report from the Public Information Office (PIO) of PRO 12, the first activity was conducted in Dadiangas North Elementary School where personnel from the General Santos City Police Office (GSCPO) also joined forces in tidying the campus premises.

PRO 12 Regional Director, PCSupt Benjardi Mantele personally visited the place and led the group in repainting tables and desks, and in removing unwanted debris in the area as a support to the program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“We also cut grasses on the ground as well as sweep away dried leaves from the roofs of classroom buildings,” said PO1 Woody Butch Villaflores of RPIO, who disclosed that they are currently in Banisil High School for another clean-up activity.

Mantele also donated P10,000 each to two public schools in Gensan as assistance for the repair of damaged classroom buildings.

The early Brigada Eskwela of PRO 12 received positive feedbacks from parents by saying “this is a great help for parents as this will ease us with the burden of cleaning up our children’s school before the classes starts.” (DEDoguiles/PGFruylan-PIA12 Gensan)

Jinkee Pacquiao opens 40-room hotel in General Santos City

By reports that Jinkee Pacquiao, the wife of boxer-lawmaker Manny Pacquiao, has "opened her own hotel in General Santos City." The report noted: "The 40-room Road Haus Hotel, located right across the Pacquiaos’ commercial complex, boasts of a modern design with single, double and family rooms."

The report quoted Jinkee, who revealed that the hotel "took nearly a year to plan." also pointed out that "boxing photos of Manny, as well as Jinkee's own glamour shots and portraits of the Pacquiao family, can be seen all over the hotel."

Winner in Maasim election protest takes seat

By Allen V. Estabillo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 May) – With barely a year left before the next local elections, Arturo Lawa assumed his seat as mayor of Maasim, Sarangani after the newly convened board of canvassers finally announced him the rightful winner in the hotly contested May 10, 2010 elections. Lawa “lost” to Jose Zamorro by one of the narrowest margins in local elections, 15 votes or so, said the PCOS machine which erroneously transmitted results of the canvassing of nine votes during a test run at Precinct 21 in Kablacan village prior to the sealing of the machine. But in the certified election returns from the precinct canvassed on Monday, Lawa actually received 136 votes as against only 62 votes by Zamorro bringing the total votes he garnered to 5,440 as against 5,382 of his chief rival – a margin of 58 votes. As a Commission on Elections ruling prohibits pre-proclamation protests, Lawa was obliged to file his protest before the commission en banc. Lawa won his case but Zamorro filed an appeal which eventually reached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld Lawa’s victory. Armed with the Supreme Court ruling, Lawa tried to claim his seat last year but by then the municipal election officer who admitted to the PCOS machine error had already retired. In March this year, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo ordered Zamorro to vacate his post and appointed Vice Mayor Uttoh Salem Cutan as acting mayor. On May 7, Lawa, dressed in long sleeves finally held office for the first time as Cutan immediately relinquished his post as acting mayor.

Lawa was one of the two mayoralty candidates from the Sarangani Reconciliation and Reformation Organization (SARRO) party who survived the onslaught of winning candidates from the People’s Champ Movement of Rep. Manny Pacquiao who grabbed the lone congressional seat of Sarangani province. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)

SOUTHERN COMFORT: Long time coming

By Edwin G. Espejo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 May) — It is unfortunate that it took Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes (2nd District-South Cotabato) to amplify a bill separating General Santos City from the 1st Congressional District of South Cotabato. For more than 20 straight years, the South Cotabato first district congressional seat was controlled by the Antoninos. First by Adelbert Antonino then his wife Lualhati before daughter Darlene served it out for three consecutive terms. Their ally, Rep. Pedro ‘Jun’ Acharon Jr now occupies that position. It was Acharon who filed the bill reapportioning the first and second congressional districts of South Cotabato and separating General Santos City as a lone congressional district. When the framers of the 1987 Constitutional apportioned the number of legislative districts, it set a minimum in the number of population (one congressional district for every 250,000 population). Little did they anticipate that General Santos City, whose population at that time was just a little over 180,000, will rise to become one of the highly urbanized cities in the Philippines. Today, there are over 536,000 residents in General Santos City, well over the minimum. Based on the 2010 population census, it is now even entitled to two legislative districts. I have been repeatedly putting forward this idea since relocating here in 1999. (In 1997, I was commissioned by former Davao City councilor Aristeo Albay to make a study for possibly re-districting Davao City into four congressional districts. That paper was submitted to then 2nd District Rep. Manuel ‘Nonoy’ Garcia who said it cannot be done without amending the Constitution.) The latest incident where I had the opportunity to discuss this matter was with then Rep. Darlene Antonino who, in 2010, was then running for mayor. I understand that it will take an amendment of the Constitution to re-apportion the congressional districts as it is incorporated in the transitory provisions. The law provides that no new district shall be created unless a new territory is created. Re-districting the city and South Cotabato will not result into the creation of a new province or city. But it has been done before without resulting into amending the Constitution. Darlene Antonino-Custodio, now city mayor, however said it cannot be done without resorting to charter change which effect could lead to the opening of Pandora’s box. Acharon was also not receptive to the idea when he was still a may

The two were also lukewarm, if not dismissive, of dividing the city into two political and legislative district (east and west) with Silway River as its natural boundary, similar to nearby Sarangani whose two political districts is separated east and west by General Santos City (Sarangani, too, has a lone congressional district). This will enable the city to increase the number of seats in the city council which is long overdue. Silway River serves as natural boundary between the east and west side of the city. Having only 12 elected councilors for a city of over half a million is a political anomaly. Residents here deserve at least 16 councilors – eight for each district – for wider representation. It will also lessen the campaign cost for candidates for the city council as they will no longer campaign at large. And it can be done without even having to disturb the congressional districts. But if it can be done simultaneously,why not? It may be too late to effect changes in the districting and representation at the city council but this could be a good platform for next year’s local elections. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Edwin Espejo writes for

BSP orients businesses in Gensan on counterfeit money

By (DED/PGFruylan/PIA 12, GenSan)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 6 (PIA) -- The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recently conducted an orientation among business establishments here against the proliferation of fake peso bills in the market.

Cecilia C. Hortal, BSP senior currency specialist said business establishments should be more vigilant in identifying the security features of the new generation currency (NGC) so that they will not be victimized by counterfeiters.

Hortal explained that the NGC is more colorful with features that are difficult to copy like embossed prints, serial number, security fibers, watermark, see-through mark, concealed value, and security thread.

She disclosed that the P500 and P1,000 banknotes contain additional features such as optically variable device and another optically variable ink for the P1,000 banknote, which is hard for counterfeiters to fake.

Ordinary people, she said, can also apply the feel, look, and tilt (FLT) technique in determining whether or not the denomination is genuine.

The new banknotes, which were launched in December 2010, are not smooth but a little rough to touch because they are made from cotton and the Philippine abaca.

Serial numbers are composed of one or two prefix letters and six to seven digits in asymmetrical or increasing size.

When viewed against the light, the watermark on the blank space shows a shadow image of the portrait and the banknote's denomination; this can be seen on either side of the bill.

Security threads are readily observed on the banknotes when observed against a light source. In 20 and 50 denominations the security thread is continuous and 2 mm in width but in 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 denominations this is 4 mm wide, metallic and stitch-like.

Meanwhile, the BSP opined that it is advantageous for business establishments to have a counterfeit money detector especially that reproduction of fake bills has become easier because of technology.

BSP also urged people who have information about counterfeiting operations to report immediately to authorities or get in touch with the nearest BSP office.

DOLE-12 course commits to ISO 9001:2008 certification

By Catherine T. Apelacio

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 5 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office (DOLE) 12 select employees recently received an “Orientation and Refresher Course on Quality Management System Requirements and Auditing” recently to improve the agency’s commitment as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certification holder.

Romeo Ramirez, training director of Certification International Philippines (CIP), served as the resource speaker.

CIP functions to review, analyze, and reward businesses or organizations recipient of a host of standards to strengthen and help improve the system with the use of “technology, experience, and knowledge.”

DOLE-12 Regional Director Chona Mantilla hailed CIP’s enthusiasm in extending the necessary support to ISO-certified agencies in the country.

In her message, Mantilla conveyed her commitment saying “maintaining and sustaining the Quality Management System (QMS) is indeed a great challenge” but the greater challenge, she stressed, still lies in serving “our customers well and do so excellently and from the heart.”

The cover topics included the “Q101:Understanding and Implementing ISO 9001:2008 – A Strategy for Global Competitiveness," which points on the development of QMS model; the overall aim of ISO 9001:2008 and its structure; the eight Quality Management Principles and understanding the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.

Mantilla said the orientation has contributed not just on conceptual level of understanding but most of all on the actual learning experiences of DOLE-12 key officials, chiefs, and field office representatives attending the orientation.

She urged all participants to apply their learning when they go back to their respective field offices as a way to ensure the sustainability and their commitment to the core values embodied in ISO 9001:2008 certification.

DOLE XII gained its ISO certification 9001:2008 in October 3, 2011.

ISO 9001 fuels best practice and helps organizations to become more efficient toward a definite commitment to quality, which is a powerful force to attract and retain customers or clients while at the same time improving the “efficiency and profitability” of the company or organization.

Alongside its commitment to ISO standards, DOLE-12 also implements the present administration’s 22-Point Labor and Employment Agenda, which is bent to carry out “Human Resource Competitiveness and Industrial Peace Based on Social Justice.” (CTA/PIA General Santos City)

Separate district for GenSan by May 2013 polls pushed

By (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 4 (PNA) – South Cotabato officials are pushing for the conversion of this city into a separate legislative district before the May 2013 mid-term national and local elections.

Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes (South Cotabato, 2nd District) said Friday they are currently working for the referral to the committee on local government of House Bill No. 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 law, 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.

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, she said.

“We decided on this reconfiguration with the consideration of pushing later on for the creation of another separate district for Koronadal City,” Fuentes said.

Koronadal City, which is a component city of South Cotabato, is the province’s capital and the regional seat and center of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and 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 the province 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.

Comelec brings PWDs registration to GenSan barangays

By (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 3 (PNA) – In a bid to encourage persons with disabilities (PWDs) to take part in the 2013 mid-term elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec)office here has brought the its ongoing registration down to the barangays, an official said.

But even then, at least 11 PWDs have registered from the start of the year until last week, local Comelec data showed.

Clint Vincent Dumaguit, Comelec election assistant officer II here, said they actually began bringing the Comelec registration down to the barangay level in May last year not just to serve the PWDs but the general public as well.

“Some PWDs have the tendency to be ashamed to go to our office so we come to the villages to make the registration easier for them,” he said.

On normal days in the Comelec office at the back of the old city hall building, he added that they give special priority to differently-abled persons through the “PWD lane” especially when the lines are long.

The local Comelec office also accords special accommodation to pregnant women and older persons applying to become registered voters, Dumaguit said.

Special registration for PWDs in the city started on April 2 until April 30, with intermittent off days.

The venue should have been at the first floor of the old city hall building but the city Comelec, aside from bringing it to the barangay level, hold the special registration at its office in the second floor at the back of the city hall building.

The city has 26 barangays and so far the PWDs who registered came from the six villages of Buayan, Calumpang, City Heights, Fatima, Katangawan and Labangal, Dumaguit said.

He said they went to the villages with the support of the barangay governments, although there were some who did not lend help due to scarce resources.

With the latter case, Dumaguit said they just forego that barangay unit.

But he hoped that PWDs who did not come out for the special registration would enlist themselves as the Comelec has a continuing registration until October 31, 2012.

Gov’t Aids Davao Sur Villagers


44 Agencies Provide Various Programs And Services To Remote Community

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Some 2,000 residents of Malita town in Davao del Sur have benefited from the convergence of programs and services conducted by the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (ARENA) in Region-11 and the Army’s 10th Infantry Division recently.

Some 44 national government agencies provided services to the local residents, including job fairs, medical missions, and educational campaign during the activity, said ARENA-11 president Achilles Gerard Bravo.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offered an array of employment facilitation services for an easier and faster means of finding jobs.

The Department of Health (DOH) assisted rural health units in its distribution of medicines, information, education, and communication materials.

While the Department of Education (DEPED) conducted information and dissemination drive to the parents about its newly implemented K+12 program and distributed school supplies, while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) also launched information and dissemination campaign and skills demonstration.

“The purpose of the activity is to bring the government services directly to the people, which complemented the Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) of the 10th Infantry Division,” Bravo said.

For his part, Army spokesperson Captain William Rodriguez said, through the Peace and Development Teams (PDTs) from the 1002nd Army Brigade, that the government was able to identify the issues and concerns prevailing in the far-flung communities that need to be addressed by concerned government agencies.

As this developed, Malita Municipal Mayor Benjamin Bautista lauded the ARENA-11 for bringing the govern¬ment services to Malita.

He added that the presence of the military not only provided security but also facilitated the delivery of basic social services even in far-flung com¬munities.

Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo, 10th ID commander, said the govern¬ment has various programs for various social issues, which was exemplified through the spirit of “Bayanihan, Serbisyo Caravan” shown by the various stakeholders of peace and develop¬ment efforts in the area.

Region 12 labor groups seek more ‘substantial’ wage hike

By (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 1 (PNA) – Labor groups in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region called on the national government Tuesday to move for a more substantial wage increase and scrap the regional wage board in the region.

Hundreds of private workers belonging to organized labor unions in the region issued such call as they staged protest actions here and in other key cities in the area in commemoration of the 110th International Labor Day.

Adelaida Segumpan, Kilusang Mayong Uno (KMU) spokesperson in Region 12, noted the “heaven and earth” disparity between the daily minimum wage rate and the estimated cost of living level in the area.

She said that while private sector workers get a minimum daily pay of up to P270, the daily cost of living for a family to live decently should not be less than P700.

“What the workers needed now is substantial wage increase in order for us to cope up with the skyrocketing prices of petroleum products, basic commodities and services,” Segumpan said.

She described the recently approved P10 to P14 daily wage increase in the region “as a meager amount meant to pacify workers’ wrath against the callousness of the Aquino administration.”

Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said they are pushing for the abolition of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board as it supposedly serves more the concerns of the employers and not the workers.

“The wage board [has] become the mouthpiece of big businesses,” he said.

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

Meantime, thousands of jobseekers trooped to the three regional jobs fair organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12.

Chona Mantilla, DOLE-12 regional director, said the three jobs fair opened smoothly and they expect that more local job seekers will be hired on-the-spot in today’s activities.

The job fairs were done simultaneously at the KCC Mall here, Southseas Mall in Cotabato City and the city gymnasium in Kidapawan City.

“We’re targeting at least 15 percent of our job seekers to be hired on-the-spot,” Mantilla said.

She added that DOLE and its attached agencies are continually working to protect the rights and welfare of private workers in the region.

14,000 jobs at stake in three Labor Day jobs fair in Region 12

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 30 (PNA) – About 14,000 local and overseas job placements will be opened to jobseekers in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region during the simultaneous Labor Day jobs fair here and in two other cities in the region on Tuesday.

Chona Mantilla, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12 director, said Monday the three regional jobs fair are among the highlights of the agency’s celebration of the Labor Day in the area.

She said the jobs fair will be held at the KCC Mall here, South Seas Mall in Cotabato City and the city gymnasium of Kidapawan City.

On Monday, a pre-Labor Day jobs fair was also held at the Gaisano Grand Mall in Koronadal City.

“Our attached and allied agencies will also render free services, seminars and orientations to our job seekers and concerned residents,” Mantilla said.

Among the government agencies that signified to put up booths at the jobs fair venues were the Social Security System, National Bureau of Investigation, Pag-IBIG Fund and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

As of Monday, Mantilla said 114 companies and job placement agencies from the area as well as other key cities in the country have signified to join the activity.

She said they include 62 recruitment agencies that will offer 10,315 overseas placement opportunities, to both professional and skilled job seekers.

A total of 3,452 local jobs will also be opened during the three jobs fair, Mantilla said.

Dominia Milan, DOLE Sarangani-General Santos City labor officer, said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will also hold orientations for beneficiaries of its convergence program.

She said they have initially identified 44 scholars or beneficiaries for the convergence DOLE’s Special Program for the Employment (SPES) and TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP).

She said 22 beneficiaries each were chosen from the municipalities of Malapatan and Alabel in Sarangani province.

Milan said they’re hoping that more job seekers from the area would be hired “on-the-spot” in Tuesday’s jobs fair.

“We’re aiming to surpass last year’s record of 200 job seekers who were hired on-the-spot by the participating companies and recruitment agencies,” she said.

Milan said they are currently assisting the initial job seekers who have registered at their office come up with some of the requirements to increase their chances of getting hired “on-the-spot” during the jobs fair.

PNP-12 initiates SWAT competition

By. Catherine T. Apelacio

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 29 (PIA) -- The Police Regional Office-12 here initiated the 1st SWAT (Special Weapon and Tactics) competition over the weekend to harness even more the skill of members in the elite unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

For the first time, PRO-12 brought together SWAT Units based in different city and the provincial police offices in the region for a unique contest.

PSSupt. Robert Kiunisala, deputy regional director for operations (DRDO), said that for the past few months, police job has become more challenging as crimes have been more complex and more sophisticated.

He said rebels have remained a major threat to peace in the region. Thus, the police, especially the SWAT forces must always be prepared all the time.

“Whenever rebels operate, we must find them where they dwell and stop them in their planning and one by one bring them to justice,” the Regional Public Information Office (RPIO) 12 quoted Kiunisala as saying.

Undertaken to suppress criminal activities, the SWAT competition, “is a programmed training aimed to enhance and refresh individual’s efficiency and unit teamwork to ensure greater survival rating during hard times.”

SWAT, as PNP’s special elite force, is touted to be the show window of the organization, being most of the time at the forefront of police operations.

Kiunisala reasoned that it is important that PRO 12 equip its personnel “with the right skills and knowledge” to make them professionals as they should be and for them to immediately respond during emergency situation or whenever necessary.

He said the mere fact that their (SWAT) knowledge and training have been honed to greater degree and given the chance to compete with the other only showed that they were “very competent and skilled” already.

Kiunisala also reminded the SWAT team that they only use firearms and weapons to protect people from harm and not to sow fear and insecurity among them.

An awarding ceremony led by Kiunisala himself capped the three-day activity with the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) 12 proclaimed as winning team followed by the Cotabato PPO, the General Santos City Police Office, fourth; Sarangani PPO, fifth; South Cotabato PPO, sixth; Sultan Kudarat PPO, seventh; and the Cotabato City Police Office, eighth. (CTA-PIA 12, General Santos City/With reports from RPIO-PRO-12)

NDRRMC: 4 children die in GenSan diarrhea outbreak

By. LBG, GMA News

At least four children died in a diarrhea outbreak that hit areas of General Santos City from March 30 to April 19, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said over the weekend.

In its report posted on its website Friday night, the NDRRMC said at least 243 people were affected, 134 of them were children aged 10 and below.

The NDRRMC identified the four fatalities as:

- Rain Jairo Cabilo Dacayo, 9 months, Brgy. Labangal, died April 10 - Angel Bernon, 2, died April 10 - Calzuma Mustapha, 8, died April 13 - Kinjie Masangkay, 3 months, died April 18

The NDRRMC also said 175 people were affected in Purok Saludin in Labangal village, 134 of them children.

At least 45 were affected in Purok Salafan in Apopong village, while another 23 were affected in Purok Mudia in Labangal village.

Samples had been taken from a pitcher pump that was the victims' source of water.

Drinking water is being treated and containers being disinfected to address the problem, the NDRRMC said.

Suspension of banana venture eyed as land row heats up in South Cotabato village


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 27 (PNA) – South Cotabato officials are seeking the suspension of the planned expansion of banana plantations in a farming village in Tupi town due to a worsening land conflict in the area.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy Jr. said he is set to meet with representatives of a banana company to discuss the temporary deferment of its expansion in Barangay Koronadal Proper in Tupi until the ongoing land conflict in the area is resolved.

He initially declined to name the banana company, which is reportedly working on a contract-growing scheme for a 10-hectare plantation within the disputed area that spans around 45 hectares.

“We want the ownership of the area resolved first to avoid possible problems later on,” the governor said.

Tension gripped the village last February after a group of Moro residents intensified their claim over the lands, which they cited as part of their ancestral domain.

Alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) led by Nadsid Akmad alias Kumander Faisal reportedly converged in the area supposedly to assist the claims of Moro residents over the lands from local Christian settlers.

The provincial government initiated a dialogue to ease the tension in the area but the situation has remained volatile due to the pending resolution of the land dispute.

Pingoy said he directed the Provincial Environment Management Office to defer the issuance of environmental clearances to companies that were eyeing to engage in any business venture in the area to avoid complicating the situation.

“These might push the claimants to resort to violent means to gain ownership of the lands and we don’t want that to happen,” he said.

In support of the local government’s move, the governor said officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) provincial office have advised local landowners not to enter into any business contract with any entity without its endorsement.

The provincial government had asked DAR to conduct another survey of the area to resolve the ownership of the disputed lands, which were earlier distributed to 30 local farmers.

DAR had issued certificate of land titles to the farmers but Akmad’s group insisted that it was the real owner of the land.

13 colleges, universities in Region 12 raise tuition fees by 4-8%


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 26 (PNA) – Thirteen private colleges and universities in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region are set to raise their tuition and other related fees by four to 10 percent starting June, an official of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said.

Dr. Zohrahaydah Panawidan, CHED Region 12 assistant director, said the 13 institutions were among the 222 nationwide that applied and granted approval earlier this month by the CHED central office to increase their tuition fees in the upcoming school year 2012-2013.

“As cited in their applications, they were raising their tuition fees to cover for the salary increases of their teachers and the improvement of their facilities and equipment,” she said in a radio interview.

Panawidan said a total of 16 colleges and universities in the region has applied for tuition fee increases by the March 31 deadline.

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

But she said one institution later withdrew while the two others failed to complete their application requirements.

Panawidan said most of them applied for an eight percent increase but some also sought for 10 percent and four percent adjustments.

In this city, the colleges and universities that were raising their tuition fees were the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, Mindanao Polytechnic College, Ramon Magsaysay Memorial College and the General Santos Doctors Medical School Foundation.

They were joined by Notre Dame University in Cotabato City; Notre Dame of Salaman College in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; Southern Christian College in Midsayap, North Cotabato; Central Mindanao College and Notre Dame of Kidapawan in Kidapawan City; and, St. Alexius College, King’s College of Marbel, Green Valley College Foundation Inc. and Regency Polytechnic College in Koronadal City.

Based on data from CHED central office, the average tuition fee increase it approved for the 13 colleges and universities in the region was around eight percent, which is equivalent to P28.81 per unit.

The new tuition fee increase practically raises the average tuition fee in the region to P400.78 from the previous P371.97.

“The increases are actually minimal when added to the old rates,” Panawidan said.

The official assured that the 13 colleges and universities have complied with the requirements set by the agency with regards to the setting of tuition fee increases, among them the consultations with their stakeholders.

She said they reviewed the applications of the concerned institutions before submitting them to the CHED central office.

South Cotabato, Maguindanao execs set meet over boundary row

By. Allen Estabillo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Officials of South Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces are set to meet next week to discuss ways to resolve a worsening conflict among residents within their disputed boundaries.

South Cotabato Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said Tuesday Maguindanao officials agreed to meet with them and work on a possible settlement regarding the delineation of the boundaries of Tantangan town in South Cotabato and Mangudadatu town in Maguindanao.

He said they will discuss during the meeting some interventions to help ease the tension among land claimants that already led to the killing of a resident of Tantangan town earlier this month.

Pingoy said Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu has signified to attend the proposed meeting, which is being finalized by both local governments.

“Gov. Mangudadatu and I had initial discussions on this matter and we both agreed that it’s time for us to settle this matter to avoid further bloodshed among the claimants,” the governor said.

Pingoy said the local government has requested the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct a survey and set delineation marks on the boundaries of the two municipalities.

He said they also asked the Department of Agrarian Reform to provide copies of possible documents pertaining to the disputed lands.

“We’re currently compiling the registry and assessment records, survey maps and other related documents concerning these lands. Hopefully, we can come up with some settlement and bring peace to the affected areas in Tantangan,” Pingoy said.

On April 9, a resident of Purok Maharlika in Barangay Poblacion of Tantangan was killed in an attack allegedly staged by a group of land claimants from nearby Mangudadatu town.

The victim, identified as Army T/Sgt. Fernando Patria, was on his way home from his farm when he was waylaid by about 20 armed men allegedly led by a certain Kumander Patotoy.

The local police believe the incident was an offshoot of a long-drawn conflict over vast tracts of farmlands in the area, including Patria’s palay farm.

Tension also escalated in the area in July last year, prompting the municipal government of Tantangan to elevate the matter to the Provincial Peace and Order Council.

Tantangan Mayor Arnold Garingo said his town already lost some 143 hectares of titled private lands due to alleged illegal occupation by claimants from the neighboring Mangudatatu town and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

He said most of the lands that were annexed by the claimants were located in the lower portion of Barangay Poblacion and Barangay Cuyapo in Tantangan, comprising irrigated rice lands that stretch to the banks of Lake Buluan.

The mayor said the alleged "land-grabbing" activities started in 1994 and has worsened during the last several years.

He said some farmers in the area were forced to leave their lands supposedly due to threats of violence from the claimants, some of whom reportedly come from this city. (PNA)


South Cotabato cops note improved operations

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 24 (PNA) – Operations of police units in South Cotabato province significantly improved during the first three months of the year as they cleared over 73 percent of the crime incidents that occurred in the area.

Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato police director, said they achieved a crime clearance efficiency rating of 73.33 during the first quarter, which increased by 20 percent from last year’s records.

Crime clearance efficiency refers to the percentage of cleared cases out of the total number of crime incidents handled by law enforcement agencies for a given period of time.

In terms of crime solution efficiency, he said they slightly improved their rating from 25 percent last year to 27.33 percent this year.

“Out of the 793 crime incidents that we handled, 494 were so far cleared and 218 have been solved,” Delfin said.

The police official said among their major accomplishment for the period was the recovery of 15 of the 23 motorcycles that were stolen within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

He said they filed six cases on Monday against several identified carnapping or motorcycle theft suspects.

Delfin maintained that the province has remained generally peaceful and orderly as shown by the area’s crime statistics.

He said the average crime rate in the area during the first quarter of the year has gone down to 31.9 percent from the 35.7 percent in the same period last year.

In terms of illegal drugs, Delfin said they have so far arrested 33 suspects and launched 18 major operations in the area.

He said these operations have led to the recovery of some P5M worth of illegal drugs, specifically mehtamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" and marijuana.

The police official said they were able to arrest 75 persons with pending arrests warrants, including 18 who were facing illegal gambling charges.

Delfin added that they apprehended 12 suspects and recovered 18 high-powered arms in separate operations in Tantangan and Banga towns.

Gensan hosts Google Map Maker Summit Mindanao

By. (PGFruylan/PIA-Gensan)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 23 (PIA) --The Tuna Capital hosted Saturday another significant gathering of internet enthusiasts, the first ever Google Map Maker Summit Mindanao designed to “improve tourism and disaster preparedness in the country.”

City Media Affairs Officer, Avelmar Manansala disclosed that more or less 150 “mappers” composed of students, policemen, bloggers, representatives of the religious sector and the academe, local government unit’s (LGU) tourism and planning officers, and other stakeholders actively participated in the one day event.

“Google Map Maker is a product that enables people to add to and update the map for locations around the world,” said Aileen Apollo-de Jesus, Google Southeast Asia’s head of outreach.

Apollo-de Jesus explained that the summit is a joint project of Google and Department of Tourism (DOT) to “improve the accuracy of Google Maps in 80 provinces around the Philippines.”

Manansala said mapping Mindanao is very important since it will not only help in locating disaster-prone areas in the island to prepare for calamities, but will also “increase awareness in tourism-related spots.”

He said this will help tourists and even local residents to locate all the establishments in a certain area at any point in time that they search for its location using their mobile phones and other search gadgets.

“The more information you have about a certain place, the more it is enticing to visit that place,” he pointed out.

In General Santos City, Manansala revealed that there are over a hundred “active mappers” who are currently updating the latest Google Earth Map of the city by adding names of streets and photos of establishments to it.

He said Google chose Gensan to be the venue of the Mindanao Summit because it has “the most active community of mappers” in the area.

Manansala disclosed that the city government through Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio has recently intensified her administration’s computer literacy program through the conduct of trainings and seminars like Google Sketch-Up to aid in the said effort to map up the city and other areas in the region.

“We want to help map up the entire country so that nobody will be lost in the Philippines. This is also in support of the DOT’s campaign: It’s more fun in the Philippines,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Manansala said that Google is also encouraging interested LGUs and other local organizations to conduct their own local map ups or “mapping party.”

He said Google Map Maker Team Asia pledged to provide interested local communities with technical support and other help necessary for a successful conduct of similar event.

The Google Map Maker Summit Mindanao is in partnership with Soccsksargen bloggers or “sox bloggers” with brothers, Avel and Orman Manansala as the lead conveners.

Mindanao leaders to formulate policy agenda

By. (PNA)


MANILA, April 22 (PNA) — Mindanao leaders are going to formulate policy agenda affecting the region’s competitiveness, develop solutions and ensure support from the national government. This would be spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), which will gather inputs from the Mindanao regional business conferences of the PCCI. MinDA and PCCI will consolidate the results of this year’s consultations and use these to formulate the initial draft of a policy agenda for Mindanao. MinDA will provide the draft policy agenda by early June to concerned secretaries of the Aquino Cabinet, for them to review with their departments. The draft will be refined further at high-level roundtable discussions that will serve as a prelude to the 21st Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon), which will be held on August 2-4 in Butuan City. The event will allow Cabinet officials and the private sector to focus together on specific issues and bottlenecks affecting Mindanao’s competitiveness, and to develop appropriate commitments from government agencies, the business community and other stakeholders. The final draft of the Mindanao Business Policy Agenda will be presented to President Benigno S. Aquino III at the 21st MinBizCon. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program, is also supporting the holding of the consultation meetings. USAID, through the GEM Program, provides assistance to business support organizations to help them implement development strategies that will improve the competitiveness of major industries in Mindanao. The broad-based regional consultations started on April April 18, covering the areas of western Mindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); Cagayan de Oro City on April 24 for northern and eastern Mindanao; and General Santos City on May 8 for central and southern Mindanao. “These consultations are part of our continuing efforts in policy modification and advocacy to ensure that Mindanao imperatives in key sectors are addressed by the national government,” said MinDA Secretary Luwalhati Antonino. Issues pertaining to the power, agriculture, mining and transport sectors dominated last year’s discussions. “PCCI local chambers nationwide, through our regional governors and area vice presidents, provide our national board with inputs with which to formulate national policy positions,” said PCCI Secretary-General Crisanto Frianeza. “The Mindanao chambers are privileged to have an able partner in MinDA,” Frianeza said. “When the chambers come up with policy recommendations, MinDA assists not only in facilitating discussions but in providing inputs on how these recommendations can be refined.” “More importantly, the chambers and the government, through MinDA, readily find common ground and are able to push together for these recommendations,” he added. “We are working closely with PCCI in pushing for Mindanao-specific policies to create an environment conducive to business growth,” said Antonino. “We recognize the critical role played by the private sector in addressing our peace and development imperatives in the region,” he added.

Militants end anti-VFA protest in plaza named after US general

By. Edwin G. Espejo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 April) – The symbolism was not lost on the Leftist militants who staged a week-long protest caravan that coincided with the holding of another round of joint military exercises between Philippine and US troops. On the day they ended their island-wide caravan that brought them to several cities south of Mindanao, they chose to find themselves in the middle of the plaza named after an American general who led a bloody war of attrition against inhabitants of the island at the turn of the 19th century. General John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing was a major in the US Army when he was sent “to suppress the insurrection” in Mindanao and Jolo in 1899. He saw action in Lanao during the Filipino-American War and was a hero in the American colonial war in Cuba before he was assigned to the Philippines. Pershing was also the regimental quartermaster of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army which was immortalized by the late reggae master Bob Marley in his signature song ‘Buffalo Soldiers.’ Marley described the regiment as a US army unit which took in Cuban slaves to fight for America. Members of the Patriyotiko Mindanao kicked off their protest against the continued presence of American troops in the country on April 15 in General Santos City. They were joined by their fellow militants from Davao City in Cotabato City where a brief scuffle ensued allegedly involving a still unnamed soldier who punched a woman protester in front of the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in nearby Awang, Maguindano. The protest caravan brought them to the cities of Koronadal, Pagadian and Ipil before finally winding up in Zamboanga City. The protesters who claimed their numbers have swelled to 4,000, arrived in Zamboanga City Wednesday evening. Philippine and US troops will hold joint military exercises in Glan, Sarangani in June as part of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two countries. Glan, along with Zamboanga City, is one of the earliest settlement areas of the American occupation forces in Mindanao.

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 April) – The symbolism was not lost on the Leftist militants who staged a week-long protest caravan that coincided with the holding of another round of joint military exercises between Philippine and US troops. On the day they ended their island-wide caravan that brought them to several cities south of Mindanao, they chose to find themselves in the middle of the plaza named after an American general who led a bloody war of attrition against inhabitants of the island at the turn of the 19th century. General John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing was a major in the US Army when he was sent “to suppress the insurrection” in Mindanao and Jolo in 1899. He saw action in Lanao during the Filipino-American War and was a hero in the American colonial war in Cuba before he was assigned to the Philippines. Pershing was also the regimental quartermaster of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army which was immortalized by the late reggae master Bob Marley in his signature song ‘Buffalo Soldiers.’ Marley described the regiment as a US army unit which took in Cuban slaves to fight for America. Members of the Patriyotiko Mindanao kicked off their protest against the continued presence of American troops in the country on April 15 in General Santos City. They were joined by their fellow militants from Davao City in Cotabato City where a brief scuffle ensued allegedly involving a still unnamed soldier who punched a woman protester in front of the headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division in nearby Awang, Maguindano. The protest caravan brought them to the cities of Koronadal, Pagadian and Ipil before finally winding up in Zamboanga City. The protesters who claimed their numbers have swelled to 4,000, arrived in Zamboanga City Wednesday evening. Philippine and US troops will hold joint military exercises in Glan, Sarangani in June as part of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the two countries. Glan, along with Zamboanga City, is one of the earliest settlement areas of the American occupation forces in Mindanao.

Mindanao blackouts worsen with Pulangi hydro plant rehab

By. Allen V. Estabillo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The daily blackouts here and nearby South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces have stretched to four hours on Thursday as Mindanao’s power deficit increased to 276 megawatts (MW) due to the ongoing rehabilitation of the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon. Engr. Joseph Yanga, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) technical services supervisor, said they were forced to extend the rotating brownouts in the area to four hours from the previous three hours and 15 minutes due to the additional power supply cuts imposed by the Napocor and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). From its average contracted supply of 72 MW, he said Napocor further reduced the area’s allocation earlier this month to 54 MW or 51 MW short from its 105 MW peak requirement. Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. augments the area’s requirement by 30 MW based on a supply contract earlier forged by Socoteco II. “(But) for today, the Napocor is only giving us 45 MW. That leaves us short by 30 MW so we really have no other choice but extend the rotating brownouts,” Yanga told MindaNews. Based on an advisory issued by Socoteco II’s institutional services department, it would implement the rotating brownouts in four phases from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. based on the distribution of its 44 feeder stations. Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato. NGCP imposed drastic load cuts since February due to the rising power supply shortage in Mindanao that reportedly stemmed from the dwindling capacity of the Napocor’s hydroelectric plants in Bukinon and Lanao del Norte. As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the NGCP said Mindanao’s system capacity only stands at 955 MW or 276 MW short from its peak demand of 1,231 MW. The electric cooperative, which has been implementing two-hour daily rotating brownouts since last month, initially issued an advisory increasing the power curtailments to three hours and 15 minutes last Tuesday until the end of the month due to the scheduled shutdown of the Pulangi plant to undergo a month-long repair and rehabilitation. Yanga said they have scrapped the previous advisory and will instead issue daily notices to its consumers due to the uncertainty of the Napocor’s power generation capacity. “The allocations from the Napocor and NGCP presently changes on a daily basis and there were also unanticipated supply fluctuations happening from time to time within the Mindanao grid,” he said. He cited, as example, the cutoff from the Mindanao power grid of the 55-MW bunker fired power station of the Southern Philippines Power Corp. (SPPC) based in Alabel, Sarangani that covers for a portion of the Napocor’s power supplies to the area. Yanga said they expect the area’s power situation to stabilize towards the end of May when the rehabilitation of Pulangi IV will be completed. By then, he said the Napocor committed to restore the area’s allocation to 72 MW and increase it further to 74 MW by July. In Davao City, Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC) said it may result into a 30-minute daily power interruption if Napocor increases the load curtailment assigned to the distribution company.

DLPC has a 50MW diesel-fired standby power plant and has also purchased 30MW from the Sibulan and Tamugan hydro plants. DLPC and both the 26MW Sibulan and the 4MW Tamugan hydroelectric plants are owned by the Aboitizes. In a press statement Wednesday, DLPC said it will result into rotating brownouts once the deficiency in the Mindanao grid reaches 320MW. So far, Davao City has been spared by power interruptions. In Cotabato province, where the 100MW Mt. Apo Geothermal Power Plant is located, the rotating brownouts are even longer – from six to eight hours. The same situation is being experienced by Bukidnon residents. Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco) general manager Edgar Masongsong said their supply from Napocor has been reduced to 8MW. He said they are now negotiating for an additional 7MW from Therma Marine Inc. on top of the 5MW they have already contracted. Daily load demand in his franchise area, however, is from a low of 17MW to 23MW. Masongsong said they now are forced to cut power supply from six to eight hours in the areas covered by their two sub-stations. In Iligan city, the Iligan Light and Power, Inc. had earlier announced a two-hour rotating brownout once Pulangi IV is shut down. But power interruptions started only today (Wednesday). In 2010, most of Mindanao also suffered from rotating brownouts of up to nine hours due to the prolonged dry season, when the water level in Lake Lanao dropped to below critical levels. Fifty-three percent of Mindanao’s power supply comes from the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants, which have a combined installed capacity of more than 900MW. But their actual capacities were reduced to less than 600MW due to poor maintenance and heavy silt (in the case of Pulangi River). Business leaders and industry players have repeatedly warned that Mindanao will suffer massive power interruptions if no new capacities will be added to the existing available capacities by 2014. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews with reports from Edwin Espejo, contributor)

301 ALS teachers, students in Gensan complete computer literacy trainings

By. (PGFruylan/PIA-Gensan)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 19 (PIA) -- Around 300 teachers and students from Department of Education's (DepEd) Alternative Learning System (ALS) formally completed Wednesday the series of trainings conducted by the office of the SHEEP-Computer Literacy Program (CLP) of the city government.

Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio distributed the certificate of completion to the graduates who actively participated in the six-month computer literacy trainings designed to give equal opportunity to the out-of-school youths (OSY) who are eager to learn and be competitive.

ALS Education Program Supervisor, Gregorio Ruales said that there are more or less 5,000 ALS learners in the city, but only those living in the “downtown area” have availed of the additional free trainings.

“Most learners in the far-flung barangays had hard time attending the trainings since most of them don't have the money to defray the costs of daily food and fare. Nevertheless, this will not stop us from imparting the knowledge to others who were not able to make it,” he explained.

Ruales disclosed that Mayor Custodio also promised to support the ALS e-learning by providing them with computer units which they could use to educate other ALS learners in the remote areas of the city like Barangays Upper Labay, San Jose, Mabuhay, and Siguel.

“The effort of the city government to train the out-of-school youths in information and technology (IT) is very timely so they will not be left out with the fast changing economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, SHEEP-CLP head, Percival Pasuelo said they have conducted a total of four trainings to ALS implementers since November last year which include: Audio-Visual Presentation using ProShow, Newsletter Designing and MagPress Training, Digital Image Manipulation and Tarpaulin Designing using PhotoShop, and Web and Video Blogging.

He disclosed that ALS learners were also taught Basic Computer Operations,and Invitation and Calling Card making using Microsoft Word which they can use for livelihood.

“We learned that after the trainings ALS learners are now working part time in internet cafe's and printing press,” Ruales said.

Daily outage in GenSan, nearby areas extends to 3 hours as Pulangi IV shuts down for rehab

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The daily rotating brownouts here and the neighboring areas rose to at least three hours Tuesday as the National Power Corporation (NPC) pushed through with the scheduled shutdown of the Pulangi IV hydroelectric plant in Bukidnon to facilitate its month-long rehabilitation. Geronimo Desesto, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) institutional services manager, said in an advisory that they were implementing three hour and 15-minute rotating brownouts daily starting Tuesday as a result of the new power load cuts brought about by the Pulangi plant’s closure. He said they scheduled the power outages, which will run until April 30, in four phases based on the distribution of its 44 feeder stations. Socoteco II serves this city, the entire Sarangani province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato. Prior to the implementation of the new power curtailment schedule, Socoteco II had implemented two-hour daily rotating brownouts in the area due to the power supply cuts imposed by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP). NGCP imposed the load cuts due to the rising power supply shortage in Mindanao that reportedly stemmed from the dwindling capacity of the NPC’s hydroelectric plants in Bukinon and Lanao del Norte. Engr. Santiago Tudio, Socoteco I general manager, said the NPC shut down the Pulangi around 9 a.m. Tuesday based on an advisory issued by the NGCP’s substation in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat. He said the plant’s closure means an additional deficit of around 180 MW to Mindanao’s power supply mix during the peak hours. In an advisory posted in its website, the NGCP said the island’s power deficit presently stands at 234 MW and is foreseen to increase to 243 MW on Wednesday and 248 MW on Thursday. On Monday, the reported power supply deficit in Mindanao was at 74 MW or 160 MW less than the current shortage. “The areas that would be hit hardest (by the new load cuts) are those that have high power requirements like Zamboanga City, General Santos City and the Agusan area,” said Tudio, citing the NGCP’s advisory. In this city, which has a requirement of 105 MW, the NGCP further reduced its supplies by around 10 MW or a total deficit of 40 MW, he said. Since January, the NPC has cut down the area’s power supplies by 30 MW or around 30 percent of its power requirement. Socoteco II had forged a supply contract with the Aboitiz-owned Therma Marine Inc. (TMI) to augment the area’s power supplies by 23 MW, leaving its current deficit to around 17 MW. Tudio said that for Socoteco I’s service area, the average daily power supply cuts would reach around 5 MW based on the NGCP’s new load distribution schedule. Socoteco I, which has a peak requirement of 31 MW, covers Koronadal City, Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat and eight municipalities in South Cotabato. “Our regular supply has been reduced to 25 MW but we have a contracted augmentation of 5 MW from TMI so the impact of Pulangi IV’s shutdown will be very minimal here. At worst, our rotating brownouts may only reach about 30 minutes,” Tudio said.

Mayor distributes 145 computers to public high schools in Gensan

By. (PGFruylan/PIA-Gensan)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 17 (PIA) -- Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio distributed on Monday 145 new computer sets to nine public high schools here in a move to strengthen students’ competitive advantage in preparation for their domestic and global engagements.

The said activity was part of the SHEEP-Computer Literacy Program (CLP) of the local government, designed to improve the quality of education in public schools of the city to make them at par with other private teaching institutions.

According to SHEEP-CLP head Percival Pasuelo, the mayor handed over 20 units of computer each to Labangal National High School, New Society National High School, General Santos City National High School, Fatima National High School, Bula National School of Fisheries, and GSC National Secondary School of Arts and Trade.

Tinagacan National High School and AG Busano National High School each received 10 units of computer while Irineo National High School of Metro Dadiangas got an additional five units for its Computer-Speech Laboratory in addition to the 20 units that were turned over by the city mayor during Valentine’s Day, two months ago.

Earlier, Mayor Custodio disclosed that the goal of the program is to make sure that public school students in GenSan will not be left out in terms of information technology.

She said the purchase of the additional 500 units for the remaining schools is already on process and set to be delivered within the year.

Meanwhile, Pasuelo expressed optimism that with the new computer sets and the series of level-up trainings conducted by the SHEEP-CLP to public schools in the city, students and teachers will continue imparting the knowledge they have learned to move forward.

“The city government has provided them the necessary tools which they can use to bridge the gap from the traditional classroom teaching to computer-aided instructions for them to become globally competitive,” he said.

Peace and development volunteers in SocSarGen initiate march for peace

By. (CMO Bn/CTA/PIA General Santos City)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 16 (PIA) -- Around 600 peace-loving citizens from South Cotabato, Sarangani Province and this city converged recently in GenSan’s Oval Plaza to stage a March for Peace.

The peace and development volunteers (PDVs) which included members of civil organizations, the Philippine National Police, 1002nd Infantry Battalion and the Local Government Units of GenSan partnered and initiated the activity to express their commitment to peace and development.

Tessie Sugabo of the Indigenous People’s Sector, said “peace is the key to success. Without peace, we would not attain progress and development in our region.”

The march for peace was also important for Indigenous People (IP) to express their common sentiments of lasting peace in Mindanao especially in SocSarGen (South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos City).

Other organizations that joined the march included SarifMucsin Muslim Group, Southern Triangle Management Group, Inc., Reservist from 1205th CDC, ARESCOM, CAFGU members from 72nd IB, 73rd IB, the staff of KALINAW Sarangani, Indigenous People’s Community, and the Youth for Peace Movement (YFPM) volunteers.

Col. Joselito Kakilala, commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan, said he was happy to note that people in SocSarGen supported the activity which promoted peace and development in the region.

“Peace and development is the result of cooperation and concerted efforts. “Attaining lasting peace is a shared responsibility and everyone must take part in any undertakings to achieve it,” he added.

COMMENT: No sign of signing: Iqbal’s Past Opening Statements

By. mnicc

Part 4 of a series GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews /14 April) – If Government has changed the focus or core of the negotiation and has consistently firmed up this change, MILF has tenaciously held on to the talking point agreed in 1997 that was defined in the June 22, 2001 Tripoli Agreement of Peace. It has reposed trust in President Aquino III; yet it sounds frustrated.

December 5 -7, 2011

With MILF not yielding to the “3 for 1 Proposal”, Iqbal reaffirms during the 23rd formal exploratory talks their unchanged position, the urgency and auspiciousness of “signing a comprehensive agreement”. The MILF’s “expectation is not hard to fulfill … because all the issues … are already put on the table” – obviously referring to their peace draft proposal.

No Secession: The MILF option is not to secede but to have a “real self-governance in the Bangsamoro state … within the larger Philippine state” as contained in their state-sub-state proposal. Emphasizing the primacy of this option, Iqbal urges Government to stop “attempting to integrate the Moros into the national body politic” – with reference to the “partnership” offered in the “GPH ‘3 for 1’ Solution” – a scheme tried in the past and proven a failure.

Nothing Moving Away: In its December 8-14 editorial entitled “Grand Offer”,, the official website of MILF Central Committee on Information, clarifies the statement to mean: The talk is moving forward but on the part of MILF nothing is moving away from its original position of asymmetrical state-sub-state political settlement that will address the Moro right to self-determination.

Stern Reminder: Two closing statements of the editorial must be noted: (1) “If the Aquino Administration wants to solve the Moro Question and the armed conflict in Mindanao, let it be done by genuinely empowering the Moros, not through the policy of interference into their internal affairs;” (2) for Government to offer to MILF “something …like the flawed formula the MNLF accepted … will only prolong the peace negotiation and the chance of signing one will never happen under the Aquino administration”.

January 9 – 11, 2012

The same concern Iqbal repeats at the opening of the 24th formal exploratory talks: The need “…to assure ourselves that we are indeed in the right tract and the right pace” as the peace talks intensify “if we want to conclude the current GPH-MILF peace negotiation to a successful end, without derogating prior agreements”. As to the pace, the March deadline will be missed unless “we are sincere, dedicated, and work hard and in double time”. [Emphasis supplied]

Girl killed, two others hurt as strong tornado pummels South Cotabato town

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — A strong tornado pummeled two villages in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato last Tuesday afternoon, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring two other local residents. In a belated report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Friday the twister ravaged residential and farming communities in Barangays Poblacion and Lamdalag of Lake Sebu at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. It identified the lone fatality as KC Dawang, who was reportedly inside their house in Sitio Lem-ehek in Poblacion when it was struck by strong winds brought by the tornado. Two local residents - Imelda Swan of Sitio Lem-ehek, Poblacion and four-year-old Kayla Faith Tampungan of Sitio Tabudtod in Barangay Lamdalag - were injured after they were felled by house and tree debris. The NDRRMC said 15 families with 49 dependents in Sitio Lem-ehek in Poblacion and Sitio Tabudtod in Lamdalag also lost their homes as a result of the incident. Isidro Janita, South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief, said Friday they immediately extended food and relief assistance worth P19,800 to the affected residents. He said they have dispatched a team to the area to assess the extent of the calamity and address the other needs of the victims. Janita said the municipal government of Lake Sebu, through its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, has also extended emergency assistance worth 5,000 to the victims. The Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils of Poblacion and Lamdalag initially provided fuel supplies for the chainsaws that were used in the clearing of the felled trees, logs and other debris in the affected communities.

Motorcycles accidents on the rise in South Cotabato, neighboring areas

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 13 (PNA) – Health authorities have expressed alarm over the rising road or vehicular accidents involving motorcycles in South Cotabato province and the neighboring areas.

Dr. Rogelio Aturdido, South Cotabato health officer, said their records showed that 256 road accidents had occurred in the province during the first three months of the year.

He said 211 cases involved single motorcycles, 22 tricycles while the rest concerned four-wheeled vehicles.

He said the victims comprised 218 drivers, 109 passengers and 87 bystanders who were either killed or sustained serious injuries.

Of the injured victims, 153 sustained abrasions, 68 with lacerations and 17 with bone fractures.

“The trend is currently going up and what is alarming here is that most of the drivers involved in these accidents were under the influence of liquor or alcohol,” Aturdido said.

The official said 103 cases or 64 percent of the recorded road accidents in the province in the last three months took place in Koronadal City, South Cotabato’s capital and regional seat of Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.

He said 52 road accidents were recorded in the city in January followed by 21 in February.

In the first two weeks of March, Aturdido said the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital already recorded a total of 30 accidents in the area.

He said reckless driving, over speeding, distraction from cellular phones and substance abuses were among the main causes of accidents that involved teenage drivers.

Late last month, five people were killed while two others were injured when a multicab passenger van collided with a trailer truck along the national highway in Koronadal City.

To help address the problem, Aturdido said they have sought assistance from the Department of Interior and Local Government to ensure the strict enforcement of road safety regulations in the area.

He said they have also linked up with the Regional Development Council’s social development committee for the conduct of orientation-seminars on proper driving behavior among teen drivers in the area.

Police eye business rivalry in North Cotabato bus bombing

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 12 (PNA) - Authorities are looking at business rivalry as a possible motive in the latest bomb attack against a bus company that killed three persons and injured 16 others, a police official said on Thursday.

Chief Supt. Felicisimo 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.

Khu said that 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 toward 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 buses plying the same route were also 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 passing by Matalam town in North Cotabato en route to Tacurong City from Cagayan de Oro City.

Abalos co-accused may become state witness

By. Perseus Echeminada

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyer Lilian Radam might be dropped as an accused in the electoral sabotage case to make her a state witness against former election chairman Benjamin Abalos.

Prosecutor Maria Juana Valesa told The STAR in a telephone interview that Radam has implicated Abalos in alleged cheating during the 2007 midterm elections in South Cotabato.

“At present Radam is the principal accused and we are evaluating yet if we will file a motion for her to become a state witness,” she said.

However, Valesa said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) must approve any move of the prosecution.

The Comelec will hold a full session tomorrow, she added.

Valesa said the prosecution will try to present Radam during Abalos’ next bail hearing on April 18.

If Radam, who is under the protective custody of the Department of Justice, fails to appear, they will let the court decide on the motion of Abalos to fix bail, she added.

Abalos has filed a string of criminal and administrative charges against officials of the Witness Protection Program for obstruction of justice and failure to bring Radam to court.

Last month, the prosecution was supposed to present Radam as their witness to prove alleged conspiracy in massive cheating in South Cotabato.

Abalos said Radam has admitted in her sworn statement that she had tampered election documents during the 2007 election.

It was during his term as Comelec chairman that the cases against Radam and Yogi Martirizar were initiated and filed before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 114, he added.

However, Radam went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued against her.

She resurfaced September last year at the Department of Justice.

The Comelec had withdrawn the earlier case against Radam and refiled it to include Abalos.

Judge Eugene de la Cruz of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 117 has warned prosecutors that they would be considered to have waived their right to present their witness if they fail to bring Radam to court again.

Radam was originally charged before RTC branch 114 of Judge Edwin Ramizo.

The complaint alleged that on May 24, 2007 during the national canvassing of votes for senators, Radam and Abalos tampered and increase the votes of the pro-administration Team Unity candidates.

They are accused of tampering and falsifying the Provincial Certificate of Canvass of votes in General Santos City, the towns of Polomolok, Tampakan, Tupi, Banga, Koronadal, Norala, Sto. Nino, Surrallah and Tantangan in South Cotabato.

The allegedly tampered election results were submitted to the National Board of Canvasser at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

‘Too much already’

Meanwhile, Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos bared yesterday an alleged Comelec plan to clear Radam and another poll supervisor, Martirizar, to pin down his father.

Speaking to reporters, Abalos said he has reliable information that papers are being circulated

for the Comelec commissioners to sign.

“If this will happen, it would be too much already,” he said.

“They will move heaven and earth just so my father will be persecuted. I hope they reconsider because my father is already too old.”

He refused to divulge who’s behind the Comelec resolution.– With Edu Punay

South Cotabato gov open to tapping nuke to resolve Mindanao’s power woes

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 10 (PNA) – South Cotabato Governor Arthur Pingoy Jr. is open to the possibility of tapping nuclear power to help resolve the worsening power supply shortage in Mindanao.

Pingoy said the local government received some proposals over the possibility of putting up a nuclear power plant in the area and they initially showed some promise in terms of effectively addressing the island’s dwindling power supply.

Last week, former Tarlac Rep. Mark Cojuangco made a presentation on the matter at the in a meeting at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall in Koronadal City.

Cojuangco has been visiting several parts of the country, especially in Mindanao, to promote advocacy on tapping nuclear power as a “cheaper alternative” to coal, hydro, power barge and solar as power sources.

Pingoy said the tapping of nuclear power could solve the area’s power supply problems but stressed that such matter needs further studies and clarifications.

“We need to hear first from both sides - the anti and pro-nuclear power plant groups,” the governor said.

Pingoy, who is a former congressman, admitted that he was among the 197 co-authors of a bill that had sought for the reopening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

“But this issue should be undertaken objectively and should be based on facts. We can only decide upon hearing from the experts,” he said.

Citing Cojuangco’s presentation, Pingoy said the local government may not be able to cope with the financial requirement of about US$ 300 million to put up a 50-megawatt (MW) modular nuclear power plant in the area.

He said they could not also allow proposals to put up the project in Lake Sebu town being a protected area.

“There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered and clarified to us and our constituents,” Pingoy said.

He added that the local government will deal with the issue in another public forum being organized by proponents.

Pay hike Region 12 workers seen before Labor Day

By. (PNA)


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 9 (PNA) -- An increase in the daily minimum wage rates for private sector workers in Central Mindanao is looming, officials said.

Chona Mantilla, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 12 director, said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, which she also chairs, recently decided to hike the floor pay from P10 to P14 a day.

She noted the latest salary increase, or Wage Order No. RBXII-17, may take effect before May 1 or the Labor Day, a regular holiday to honor the workers.

Before it will be effective, it needs to be published in a local newspaper.

Under the new wage order, which will be implemented in two tranches, the daily minimum wage rates will range from P246 to P270.

The first tranche was expected to take effect before May 1 and the next on December 1, 2012.

In coming up with wage adjustment, the RTWPB decided to integrate the present P15 daily cost of living allowance (COLA) to the new basic wage.

The existing daily floor pay ranges from P234 to P260.

“The last wage order was issued more than one year ago and there being no petition, the RTWPB has resolved to review, motu propio (on its own), the existing minimum wage rates in the region,” Mantilla said.

Studies on the socio-economic condition in the region warranted the need to grant an increase in the minimum wage rates of private sector workers in Region 12 regardless of their position, designation or status of their employment, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, Mantilla said.

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

The Wage Board conducted public consultations early this year in parts of the region to determine if a salary adjustment is needed for the area.

Alfredo Hebrona Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry governor for Southwestern Mindanao, declined to give a comment on the looming wage hike, saying he was not privy to the deliberation.

Jessie dela Cruz, RTWPB secretary, said that exemptions maybe granted to certain types of establishments, such as those distressed and those whose assets are not more than P3 million.

Following the public consultations early this year, dela Cruz has said that the situation may not warrant an adjustment in the minimum wages of private sector workers, citing a report then by the National Economic and Development Authority that prices of basic consumer goods have remained stable.

Militant labor groups in the area since the past few years have demanded a legislated P125 across-the-board daily wage increase.

2 injured in road mishap involving Pacquiao’s dad

By.Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Two were injured when the private vehicle of Rosalio Pacquiao, father of Sarangani Representative and boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, collided with a mini-tricycle in General Santos City on Sunday.

The elder Pacquiao’s pick-up vehicle, manned by driver Pedong Pacquiao, was making a turn along NLSA Road in Barangay San Isidro when it collided with a mini-tricycle driven by a certain Bacar Lihang.

Rosalio, his bodyguard Arfenio Lico, and Pedong were unharmed, while Lihang sustained a bump and a gash on his brow. His passenger Ronald Albarina also sustained minor injuries on his elbow and back.

Albarina complained that Lico for allegedly punching him following the accident. But Pedong Pacquiao and Lico denied this.

The collision left the Pacquiao-owned vehicle with a shattered mirror, a scratched door and a dented stepboard.

Meanwhile, the operator of the mini-tricycle said it is open for negotiations with Pacquiao’s camp.

Gen. Santos City: TUNA CAPITAL


A bustling urban center that stands out in terms of progress and development in Southern Philippines is General Santos City.

Located between 125°1′ and 125°17′ east longitude and between 5°58′ and 6°20′ north latitude at the island of Mindanao, it is less than 2,000 kms. away from Singapore and is the nearest point in the Philippines to Australia.

The port city is southeast of Manila, southeast of Cebu and southwest of Davao (150 kms. away). It is bounded in the south by the magnificent Sarangani Bay and Mt. Matutum, the highest peak in South Cotabato, towering at 2,293 meters above sea level, in the far north.

The city enjoys good weather all year round and is generally typhoon-free and with evenly distributed rainfall.

It is home to over a half a million people (529,542) according to the latest census of population by the National Statistics Office with an annual growth rate of 3.53, the 7th fastest-growing city in the country.

It serves as a financial hub of the SOCCSKSARGEN Growth Region (South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and Gen. Santos) in Mindanao with over 50 banks in operation.

Gensan, as it is fondly called maintains some of the best support infrastructure in the East ASEAN Growth Area.

  • The General Santos International Airport keeps an instrument landing system and a runway capable of handling wide-bodied aircrafts;
  • The modern expansion of Makar Wharf presently facilitates more passenger and cargo traffic flow.

The Gen. Santos Fishport which is the most modern in the country and is accredited with US FDA and EU FDA Standards has just undergone expansion.

  • The 178-km all-weather world standard road network interconnecting it with the neighboring provinces provides efficient links for the products of South Central Mindanao to the ports of the world.

All these were made possible through grants from the USAID and the OECF of Japan totalling more than US$200 million.

General Santos City is rightfully the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

It has over 85 tuna value-added processors, 7 of the country’s 10 tuna canneries and hundreds of allied services all contributing 61,000 jobs for the city.

PH tuna fishers get boost


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - Philippine tuna producers can heave a sigh of relief, temporarily at least.

In the recently concluded 8th annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) held on March 26-29 in Guam, the Philippines was given the go-signal for a limited number of its fishing vessels to enter two pockets of Western Pacific high seas for at least one year. This, despite several island-nations in the area pushing for tighter controls.

These pockets of high seas were closed to tuna and purse seine fishing for two years beginning 2010.

The area covers more than 306,000 square miles of open seas south of Micronesia and north of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, where over 38 Philippine-flag purse seine fishing ships used to operate.

It is unclear yet how many of these Philippine fishing vessels will be allowed back in the contested area but industry sources here said the lifting of the ban will benefit RD Fishing and Frabelle Fishing, 2 of the country’s largest tuna fishing fleets which have already established bases in Papua New Guinea and have concession areas in Palau.

The 2 Pacific Island nations are near these pockets of seas in the Western Pacific.

Although the WCPFC lifted the ban, it is still imposing a three-month suspension of FAD fishing every year among its member countries. It also required all fishing vessels in the area to allow 100% observer coverage on board all purse seine operations.

Lifting of the ban

The next WCPFC meeting will be held in the Philippines in December.

The WCPFC is a sanctioning body with 18 members and 33 participating countries.

The Philippines is a signatory to the conference.

In 2011, total tuna landing at the General Santos City fishing port complex dropped by 21% from 143,139.17 metric tons in 2010 to 112,891.81 MT last year. Volume of landings of mature yellowfin tuna has also been on a steady decline from 33,369 MT in 2007 to mere 9,061.13 MT last year.

General Santos City is acknowledged as the country’s tuna capital and is host to 6 of 7 tuna canneries in the country.

Industry sources said some 120,000 residents here are directly and indirectly dependent on the industry.

The Philippines has been lobbying for the lifting of the ban, citing the severe economic backlash on the country’s tuna industry.

It even cited the slaying of 15 fishermen off the coast of Basilan in southern Philippines in January caused by rivalry over narrowing fishing grounds as a result of the WCPFC ban. -

General Santos City To Host Google Mapmaker Summit 2012


GENERAL SANTOS CITY- General Santos City will be one of the cities in the Philippines to host the Google Mapmaker Dummit on April 21, 2012.

Last March, a successful Google Mapmaker Workshop was held in Makati City.

This coming event highlights the significance and influence of Google Mapmaker in business, planning, information, disaster assessment and reduction and planning of local government agencies, health, tourism and a lot more.

The Philippines has active moderators and community mappers, encouraging Google to push through their local summits, aiming to develop interactive map through Google Mapmaker utilization.

Speakers from India will be gracing the said events.

It is open for free to all mapUp organizers, mappers, government agency workers, tourism employees and business establishment owners and for everyone who are interested in mapping their local communities.

The first leg of the summit will be in Bacolod City on April 12 at University of La Salle, on April 14 will be at University of Baguio in Baguio City and the last one will be in General Santos City at STI Campus.

GenSan journalist files reply to libel suit

By. (MindaNews)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – General Santos City-based journalist Edwin Espejo on Monday (April 2) submitted his counter-affidavit to refute the P18-M libel suit filed against him by used car dealer Mohammad ‘Bong’ Aquia, a friend of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao. In his counter-affidavit, Espejo raised four points in assailing the libel raps of Aquia. His lawyer Rommel Bagares, executive director of Center for International Law, said there is no statute governing libel in the internet. “It is a basic principle of criminal law that there is no crime where there is no law,” the newsman’s legal counsel said. His lawyer likewise argued that the “alleged libelous remarks attributed to respondent are not malicious in fact because in the very first place they fall under the exception of qualified privileged communication because the remarks merely restate or report the pronouncements of the Highway Patrol Group about complainant’s alleged involvement in a car syndicate.” Aquia’s alleged links to a car theft syndicate generated publicity after he was reported to have “sought refuge” in the house of Pacquiao at the time when he was “placed under surveillance” by the police for allegedly selling a stolen Starex van to a village councilor in General Santos City. Bagares said Aquia never denied that he was seen in Pacquaio’s house in his libel complaint. Pacquiao however denied he harbored Aquia as a “fugitive from justice.” The eight-division world boxing champion has admitted to being friends with Aquia and said he knew Aquia as a buy and sell dealer of second hand cars. But he also said it is Aquia’s lookout if the cars the latter sold are stolen. Pacquiao was also reported to have filed a separate libel case against Espejo saying that the report tarnished his image as a boxing icon and commercial endorser.

Espejo’s lawyer however said his client has not received any summons related to Pacquiao’s libel complaint. “Our information is that Rep. Pacquiao filed his complaint together with Mr. Aquia,” Bagares said. “In any case we reiterate our earlier call on Rep. Pacquaio to take this opportunity to work with journalists in pressing for the decriminalization of libel in the country.” Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.

Journalist on Internet libel: 'There is no crime where there is no law'


GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - Journalist Edwin Espejo, who is based here, has submitted his counter-affidavit to refute the P18-M libel suit filed against him by car dealer Mohammad "Bong" Aquia, a friend of Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao.

In his counter-affidavit, Espejo raised 4 points in assailing the libel raps of Aquia.

Rommel Bagares, executive director of Center for International Law and Espejo's lawyer, said there is no statute governing libel in the Internet.

“It is a basic principle of criminal law that there is no crime where there is no law,” the reporter's legal counsel said.

His lawyer argued that the “alleged libelous remarks attributed to respondent are not malicious in fact because in the very first place they fall under the exception of qualified privileged communication because the remarks merely restate or report the pronouncements of the Highway Patrol Group about complainant's alleged involvement in a car syndicate.”

Aquia’s alleged links to a carnap syndicate generated publicity after he was reported to have “sought refuge” in the house of Pacquiao at a time when he was “placed under surveillance” by the police for allegedly selling a stolen Starex van to a village councilor in General Santos City.

Bagares said Aquia never denied in his libel complaint that he was seen in Pacquaio’s house.

Pacquiao however has denied harboring Aquia as a “fugitive from justice.”

Where's Pacman's case?

The eight-division world boxing champion has admitted to being friends with Aquia and said he knew Aquia as a buy and sell dealer of second-hand cars. But he also said it is Aquia’s lookout if the cars the latter sold are stolen.

Pacquiao was also reported to have filed a separate libel case against Espejo because the story reportedly tarnished his image as a boxing icon and commercial endorser.

Espejo’s lawyer however said his client has not received any summons related to Pacquiao’s libel complaint.

"Our information is that Rep Pacquiao filed his complaint together with Mr Aquia," Bagares said. "In any case we reiterate our earlier call on Rep Pacquiao to take this opportunity to work with journalists in pressing for the decriminalization of libel in the country."

Espejo writes for, and Rappler. -

Gen San city gov't readies for Holy Week

By. Catherine T. Apelacio

ENERAL SANTOS CITY, April 2 (PIA)--The city government here is all set for the observance of the Holy Week.

In today’s City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) meeting, Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio asked the members to submit to her by tomorrow morning their final reports relative to their respective plan for the Holy Week.

“It is important that everything is in place and coordinated well especially with all the chiefs of police and other key line agencies and offices for the Holy Week,” the mayor told the Council members.

Custodio, however, pointed out the important role of police in keeping the peace and order in the city especially in ensuring the safety of the public during the observance of the season.

She said all key offices shall be on call during the observance and will be convened when necessary.

As this develops, the police assured the mayor that there was enough numbers of police personnel in the different police stations and when necessary the regional police headquarters will deploy personnel for reinforcement.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) GenSan, an elite military force based in the city will also join the police to tightly secure the parameters of GenSan.

In addition to the stand by security forces, Mayor Custodio also asked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Station here and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to help ensure that all-out security is concretely in place especially in Sarangani Bay.

PCG and the MARINA both reassured the lady chief executive that they have been regularly conducting patrol in the Bay area and will do more during the season of Lent.

Citing the influx of people after Good Friday, Custodio urged then the police and other security forces to particularly double their efforts of securing the city during Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.

“Ito kasing mga araw na to talagang marami ang pumupunta sa simbahan kaya kailangan ang ibayong pagbabantay,” she rationalized.

She said more police presence will be deployed in barangays with many churchgoers such as Lagao, City Heights, Calumpang, Bula, Fatima to include the city proper.

Custodio also ordered the police to coordinate with barangay chieftains for the mobilization of barangay tanods and other force multipliers who can help them to better secure the city-wide perimeter.

She also cited the readiness of the city government key offices led by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), City Health Office (CHO), the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), the City Engineering Office (CEO), the Delta 9 under the City Public Information Office (CPIO), including the City Quick Response Team (QRT) and the Interim Integrated Waste Collection Services Unit (IIWSU). (CTA/PIA General Santos City)

MSU launches Nutraceutical Laboratory

By. MSU-GSC/Danielle Anne De los Santos

GENERAL SANTOS CITY - Mindanao State University- General Santos City launches the 3.7 million worth Nutraceutical Laboratory with the inauguration ceremony Thursday, March 30, at the campus ground. The day was also the university’s 33rd Baccalaureate Services and Awards Ceremonies. Assistant Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Resources (DA-BAR) and Guest Speaker Dr. Teodoro Solsoloy led the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Chancellor Abdurrahman Canacan and Vice- Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Mary Lynn S. Abiera. Developing laboratories is one of the main thrust of DA-BAR. Solsoloy said there are good researchers but are nevertheless provided with insufficient laboratories. “There are studies which are just stuck in shelves, journals or publications. It’s time to explore more and prove more,” Solsoloy said. The Nutraceutical Laboratory, with its state-of-the-art equipment, aims to expose into a more comprehensive way various researches and studies on screen plant and animal resources for therapeutic properties. Chancellor Canacan expressed his heartfelt gratitude to DA-BAR for its support and partnership with the university. “This is not just a blessing but a big challenge for us,” Canacan said. Canacan hopes for the laboratory to be properly utilized by the students, the faculty and other users. Aside from aiding students on their studies, the laboratory was built also to benefit other researchers in the region to nurture their knowledge on environment for health and safety. Solsoloy said MSU-GSC is the perfect location for the laboratory and the ideal place to set up the laboratory considering it as the center of all universities and scientific communities in Mindanao. The laboratory can start its operation six months earlier than the targeted schedule speeded up by the faculty and university management joint efforts. Alumni Regent Dr. William R. Adan expressed his admiration to the performance of the university under the present administration. Research Director Dr. Edna Oconer said there will be no problem with the results of the tests in the laboratory as it is already complete with proper protocols. The nutraceutical building was a location for an old classroom. It was in summer 2011 when the university proposed the project to DA-BAR. The Nutraceutical Laboratory houses two rooms for different fields of specialization and is equipped with high-tech apparatuses. The first room is the Phytochemistry Room. It will cater the phytochemical screening of locally-found plants and animals in the region. The room accommodates different equipment for experiments to be conducted. The Bioassay Room will be used to check and house the specimens for the experiments and also equipped with modern apparatuses.

General Santos City, Philippines Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.