Archive | October 2006

Fr. Bert Layson: A plea for peace in Mindanao

Speech delivered by Fr. Bert Layson, OMI, 25 October 2006 in Malacanang. Father Layson was among 17 members of the Mindanao Grassroots Lobby Mission in Manila. There, they met with Malacanang officials, legislators, embassies and the press).

The reason why this delegation is here on a mission is because we are again worried. We are worried because of the “impasse” or “breakdown,” as the MILF says, of the GRP-MILF Peace Talks. The problem is real and we believe that if the impasse or breakdown is not addressed the shortest time possible, the situation on the ground could get out of control.

The all-out-war policy of the Erap administration in 2000 brought havoc and untold suffering to 800,000 civilians in Central Mindanao. When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took over the presidency, she shifted from the all-out-war policy of her predecessor to all-out peace policy. We welcomed her administration’s choice of diplomacy in resolving the conflict in Mindanao through the negotiating table over the military solution.

This did not, however, last. In February 2003, another war broke out particularly in the Buliok complex in Pikit, Cotabato. We were not prepared then nor did we expect that war to happen. For many months we agonized to see the suffering of 350,000 civilians in various evacuation centers even as we felt betrayed by both the government and the MILF for not being able to prevent that war. Read full text here.

Two Davao policemen, lawyer in drug mess sued

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / October 27) – The police office here filed
criminal complaints against two of its officers and a public lawyer in
the wake of a trafficking expose of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier this
month.

Aside from violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
the cases included bribery and obstruction of justice.

Read more of the story here.

The City Prosecutors’ Office received seven complaints Friday against
Police Officer 2 Enrique Ayao, Jr. and PO3 Arnold Dechavez, and lawyer
Marlon Melodias of the Public Attorneys’ Office, who acted as counsel
of a slain drug trafficker.

The Davao City Police Office has accused both Ayao and Dechavez for
violations of Section 5 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous
Drugs Act of 2002. The section refers to “the sale, trading,
administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and
transportation of dangerous drugs and or controlled precursors and
essential chemicals”. (To be updated)

DOH probes hazards of aerial spraying to workers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / October 27) – The Department of Health has
conducted a study on the effects of chemicals used in aerial spraying
to workers of banana plantations in Davao, a move that was long
suggested by the antagonists in the controversial plan to abolish
aerial spraying in plantations in the city’s outskirts.

But Dr. Paulyn Jean P. Rosell-Ubial, DOH regional director for
Southeastern Mindanao told MindaNews Friday that the study was not in
any way prompted by the proposed ordinance in the City Council to ban
aerial spraying in agricultural plantations but “as part of the
services of the DOH”.

Ubial said however, that the study would be piloted in Davao and
manned by the environmental unit of the DOH regional office. The
department would establish surveillance systems for occupational
diseases such as those in banana plantations among workers in Davao
City. She said the study would be conducted with the DOH’s National
Epistemology Center in Manila.

The study would review the medical records of employees of all banana
firms in Southeastern Mindanao, based on their required annual medical
check up with company doctors. The DOH would rely on the data at the
Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) as primary source of
information. (To be updated)

Davao bags first gold in track events

BACOLOD CITY (MindaNews/Oct 26) — Philip Ocon won Holy Cross of Davao College’s first gold in the 11th National University Games by topping the 800-meter run at the Panaad Sports Complex here.

Ocon, the 2006 Philippine Olympic Festival national track and field open gold medallist, crossed the finish line in one minute and 57.61 seconds edging Far Eastern University’s Psalm Yulo.

Yulo, a member of the national training pool, clocked 1:57.86 to bag the silver medal. Mark Alfie Jihadar of College of St. Benilde took the bronze medal with 1; 58.76.
In men’s shot put, Holy Cross bet Edward Pascua fouled in his final throw and settled for bronze medal. Elizer Sunang of University of the Cordilleras won the gold while Ryan Daluan of Ateneo De Manila University took the silver.

Pascua, the 2006 National PRISAA shot put gold medallist, was only good for 7th place in men’s discuss throw.

In Taekwondo at the Riverside College, University of the East men’s team and John B. Lacson Foundation College-Bacolod City women’s squad topped their respective class at the close of the Taekwondo event yesterday.
UE grabbed three golds and a bronze to rule men’s class while JBLFC-B pocketed two golds to top the women’s division.

In other events, Ateneo De Davao University men’s basketball team and Holy Cross of Davao College women’s volleyball squad suffered setbacks in their bid for the medal round.

AdDU bowed to La Carlota City College, 68 – 71 in men’s while Holy Cross lost to Ateneo De Manila University in four sets in women’s volleyball.

Defending champion West Negros College Mustangs trounced UAAP squad Adamson University Falcons, 76 – 71 at the USLS Gym.

Holy Cross-of Davao College men’s basketball team takes on two-time UniGames champs Emilio Aguinaldo College Fridaytoday 11 a.m. in a quarterfinals match at the USLS Gym.(Rico Biliran/MindaNews).

Reconciliation still elusive for feuding business groups

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 October) – An almost three-hour dialogue Wednesday
night between officials of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(DCCCII) and a five-man delegation from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce
and Industry in Manila failed to result in a “happy compromise” espoused by
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has warned against the possible repercussions of
disunited business sector.

“In the light of the political and security crises in our country today, it
would be very tragic if the business community would also show disunity and
instability,” Duterte, a key ally of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said
in an earlier statement.

Lawyer Bienvenido Cariaga, DCCCII president, told reporters later they have
agreed to discuss the issue in another board meeting of the chamber next
week.

DCCCII bolted PCCI on October 19 in protest over the latter’s alleged
unilateral decision to reduce the number of Mindanao’s regional chambers, a
move that also prompted the PCCI Vice President for Mindanao and all PCCI
governors in Mindanao to resign en masse. Read full story here.

Lack of sectoral representation in LGUs hit

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 Oct) — Sectors in the community are not well-represented in most local government units and that most of the local development councils are not functional in Mindanao, an official of a network of NGOs in Mindanao said.

Dolores S. Corro, coordinator of the Mindanao Coalition of Development NGO Networks, said the two are among so many things left to be desired with local governance 15 years after the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991 or Republic Act 7160.

Corro spoke with government officials in a press conference Wednesday in a forum held to make known feats of partnerships with local governments, private sector and civil society organizations.

She said a continuing survey conducted starting 2004 around Mindanao showed that most local government units have not convened the municipal development council or the city development council. Read full story here.

12 best practices in local governance in Mindanao cited

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 Oct) — Twelve outstanding practices in local governance were presented Wednesday for improved service delivery, local economic development, enhanced and functional local structures and better peace and development, according to a presentation by a research and extension group.

The Surveys, Training, Research and Development Services, Inc. (STRIDES), a joint effort of government, private sector and civil society organizations, presented 12 local government units at the Forum on Innovative Local Governance for Peace and Development in Mindanao in Apo View Hotel here in time for the 15th anniversary celebration of the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991.

Representatives from each municipality presented their achievements to other local government units, private and civil society organizations to help facilitate replication, expansion or upscaling.

Cited for improved service delivery were the municipality of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur for Reproductive Health and Child Friendly Services; municipality of Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte for solid waste management; and the municipality of Datu Paglas in Maguindanao for housing.
Read full story here.