Archive | June 19, 2007

Lamitan and Mati, two new cities in Mindanao

There are now two new cities in Mindanao bringing the total number from 27 to 29.

The “Yes” vote to city hood in separate referendum this month prevailed in Lamitan in the island province of Basilan and Mati in Davao Oriental.

Read the full story on inquirer.net.

What will cityhood bring to a town? I heard one thing is higher share of the Internal Revenue Allotment, that is why there was an opposition from the League of Cities in the Philippines against the creation of more cities. The opposition resulted in the order for moratorium on the conversion of towns to cities in 1999 (which, by the way, was not followed.) They have even raised the required income of a town to quality for cityhood from P20 million to P100 million just to fence off more conversions. Read More…

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Number of public health personnel dwindling in S. Mindanao

The number of health personnel in Southeastern Mindanao’s public health sector, is dwindling over the years owing to the national government’s lack of priority to health, the Department of Health regional director said.

Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial told MindaNews in an interview Tuesday the number of personnel serving in the region is threatened with the continued contractual arrangements in DOH-run hospitals and low salaries in local government-administered district and provincial hospitals.

Of the 600 personnel in the region’s biggest medical facility, the Davao Medical Center, only 300 have plantilla positions with the other half hired via contractual basis.

She cited that most of those hired on contractual basis are health aides, utility workers, and nurses.

She said the case is the same in the regional hospitals. Around two to three vacant positions for doctors in each of the 16 district hospitals in the region have been unfilled for there are no takers, she said.

Southeastern Mindanao comprises the three Davao provinces and Compostela Valley and the cities of Davao , Digos, Panabo, Samal and Tagum. Read More…

Priest as lead negotiator?

Why not? He is qualified and also deeply-rooted, according to the comments of those who support his appointment.

While there are mixed reactions to the appointment of Fr. Eliseo Mercado, OMI, as the government panel’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, there is no grand rule blocking his acceptance. Even the MILF says they have high regard and respect to the priest when they considered his appointment as a setback.

There has been mixed reactions before and there are more to it in this story where most of those who said their pieces stress he might be best as mediator, not as negotiator.

Right now if I am not mistaken, the mediator, or at least the formal one as there are other informal mediators like the third party monitors, is the Government of Malaysia.

Anyway, in my opinion, too, a negotiator plays not only a functional role but also a symbolic one. The Catholic community might be happy to see a priest in the realm but they might be turned off by the idea that a priest taking a partisan role could be risky especially in a peace process marred before with religious colors.

I may not have the wisdom yet or the objectivity required in looking at this situation, but maybe a priest could be more acceptable in negotiating with the New People’s Army, not with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The question now rolls on: if not him, then who?