Tuesday, July 28, 2015

$3B ADB lending boost to help end Philippines Muslim rebellion

From InterAksyon (Jul 28): $3B ADB lending boost to help end Philippines Muslim rebellion

MILF regulars, file photograph by Dennis Arcon, InterAksyon.com

The Asian Development Bank is to lend about $3 billion to the Philippines over the next three years, part of which will help support a peace deal ending a long-running Muslim insurgency, a joint statement said Tuesday.

The loan — up 66 percent from the $1.8 billion agreed for 2015-2017 — will help the Philippines build roads and other infrastructure, improve its basic education system and reform its capital markets, said the statement issued jointly with the Philippine government.

Bank president Takehiko Nakao said boosting lending to the country was in part aimed at "supporting the government in its effort to bring lasting peace and development" to the Muslim south.

His comments come after a peace deal was struck in March last year with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, aimed at ending decades of fighting that has claimed 120,000 lives.

Congress is currently debating the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to grant minority Muslims self-rule in the violence-racked area, which President Aquino hopes will be passed before next year.

The government also plans to pour large amounts of aid to the region, and the ADB said it is now working with local authorities to prepare a development plan.

The bank will also help the government raise adult literacy and improve job prospects for residents there, the statement added.

The Muslim rebellion, which began in the early 1970s, has plunged the region into widespread poverty with poor infrastructure like rutted roads, rudimentary ports, and schools destroyed due to intermittent fighting between government forces and communist guerrillas.

Rebuilding basic infrastructure, as well as improving literacy levels, would help the region attract business investment necessary to create jobs to help its people get out of poverty.


Thousands avail of Pacific Partnership medical, dental services

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 28): Thousands avail of Pacific Partnership medical, dental services

ROXAS CITY, Capiz – Thousands of Capiceños availed of the various health services by the international servicemen who  joined the Pacific Partnership 2015 in Capiz.

In Cuartero town alone, more than 1,000 residents benefited from the medical, dental and optometry services by the team.

Mayor Tito Mayo said that while they only targeted 50 residents from every barangay with a total of  22 barangays, there were also residents from other provinces like Iloilo and other neighboring towns in the province who also availed of such services.

Mayo said that their people patiently waited for their turn to avail of the health services from the international community, lining up starting early morning.

For Pacific Partnership Public Affairs Officer Lt. Timothy Pietrack, the overwhelming support of the local government unit of Cuartero made it  a successful event of the town.

He also acknowledged the hospitality and the warm appreciation and welcome of the people of Capiz for the team.

Pietrack said that their various engagements in Capiz have been a learning experience for every member of the team which could also be shared in their next Pacific Partnership engagements in the other parts of the world.

“We are honored and privileged to have worked with the Filipino people, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other government officials for they are very professionals and so welcoming,” he said.

He said that their stay in the Philippines, which is their longest ever Pacific Partnership engagement so far, was an opportunity to know more about the culture of the Filipino people.

Included in the Pacific engagements in Capiz are the medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic action, including disaster preparedness capacity building and gender and development training.

The medical engagements were earlier conducted in barangays Culasi and Loctugan in Roxas City as well as in Cuartero, while the Sigma town medical civic action is scheduled also this week.

The veterinary civic actions were likewise done in Dumarao, Cuartero and next in Pontevedra.

The surgical procedure for a short day recovery period cases are ongoing onboard United States Naval Ship Hospital Mercy docked in Culasi, Roxas City.


DAR completes Php3.6 M peace projects in S. Cotabato town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 28): DAR completes Php3.6 M peace projects in S. Cotabato town

The   provincial  office  of  the Department of Agrarian Reform in South Cotabato   has  recently  completed  P3.6  million  worth of peace  projects.

These projects, said Felix Frias, provincial  agrarian  reform program officer II,   were   carried  out  in Polomolok town  under  the PAyapa at MAsaganang pamayaNAn (PAMANA) Program to benefit Agrarian Reform Areas (ARA) in the Municipality of Polomolok, South Cotabato.

“Our team, along with the team from LGU Polomolok, conducted a joint inspection of the projects and found that 12 are already completed and are now ready for turn over to the local government unit of Polomolok,” Frias  said.

These projects include construction of lined canals in Barangays Magsaysay, Poblacion, Lapu, Upper Klinan, and Polo.

Multipurpose buildings were built in  Glamang and Silway 8.

Other projects include construction of a potable water system and intake tank at Brgy. Cannery Site, construction of submersible pump and rehabilitation of school stage at Klinan 6, road concretization at Lumakil and construction of solar dryer in Brgy. Bentung.

Frias  explained that  PAMANA allotted  Php300,000  for each  of the  12  infrastructure projects.

The PAMANA Project aims to provide for Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in conflict-affected areas by building projects that will reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities. 


MILF to push for peace agreements sans BBL’s passage in Pres. Aquino’s term

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 27): MILF to push for peace agreements sans BBL’s passage in Pres. Aquino’s term

Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said they will continue to demand for the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreements even if the Bangsamoro Basic Law will not be passed within the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

Though Murad has hoped for the passage of the BBL before the end of the term of the present administration in June next year, he was apparently opened to the possibility that the proposed law will not be approved.

“If not passed, we’ll continue to demand that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its annexes will be implemented,” he said.

“The ideal is that the BBL will be passed as it is now. Because we don’t want to fail the hope of our people,” Murad told 50 media members from across Mindanao and Manila-based journalists during a conversation at Camp Darapanan on July 25.

The MILF leader has also hoped that the original draft of the BBL will be passed according to the peace agreements with the government, but would allow improvements in some provisions of the BBL.

“It is now the responsibility of the Philippine government to deliver the agreements with the Bangsamoro,” he stated.

On their part, Murad assured that they will try their best to help “because we always consider that we are partners with the government trying to achieve genuine and long lasting peace.”

“As far as we’re concerned, we continue to uphold the agreements, to uphold the peace process,” he said, adding that he will see to it that his people abide with the peace process.

Murad believed that the success of the peace process “lies on the main support, popular support of the Bangsamoro people,” and he raised the need to rally with stakeholders who are not in the Bangsamoro territory.

The visit in Camp Darapanan was part of the site visitations which included the visit in Mamasapano during the Mindanao Media Forum held on July 24-26 in Cotabato City, which bannered the theme: “Beyond Mamasapano: Reporting the Bangsamoro Peace Process.”

The forum which was attended by media members from across Mindanao including some Manila-based journalists, was organized by the Mindanao Media Forum with convenor editor-in-chief Carolyn Arguillas of the Davao-based Mindanao News, Inc.

The MMF has drawn partnership with the Friends of Peace headed by Cotabato City Archbishop Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Institute of Autonomy and Governance, Embassy of Canada, Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and the Philippine Information Agency-Region XI, among others.


Cebuano News: Kapin libo ka tawo mitambong sa mga pulong-pulong nga gipasiugdahan sa TOG-10/PAF

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 27): Cebuano News: Kapin libo ka tawo mitambong sa mga pulong-pulong nga gipasiugdahan sa TOG-10/PAF

Kapin usa-ka libo (1,222) ka mga residente ug estudyante ang mitambong sa mga pulong-pulong ug dayalog alang sa kalinaw nga gipasiugdahan sa Tactical Operations Group, Northern Mindanao (TOG-10), Philippine Air Force (PAF), nga nakabase  sa Lumbia, ning siudad, sa milabay nga tuig.

Gituki sulod sa mga pulong-pulong ang mga isyu sa seguridad sa nasud, terorismo, insurhensiya ug ang dili maayong epekto sa illegal nga druga, si Lt. Col. Leo A. Fontanilla, TOG-10 Group Commander, miingon.

Matud pa usab ni Fontanilla, ang mga nasangpit nga kalihokan gipahigayon sa TOG-10, sa pagtabang sa 8TH ARCEN, 710TH SPOW, 300TH AISG, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), 4TH Infantry Division, Philippine Army (PA),  58TH Infantry Battalion (58IB), PA, ug nila ni 2Lt. Edio RJ V. Cabigun, PA, Ret., Sharlito Dinganon, rebel returnee ug  Minandro J. Aque, isip mga dinapit nga mga mamumulong.

Samtang si Fontanilla miingon nga ang mga pulong-pulog didto gipahigayon sa mga halayong barangay sa bukid sa utlanan sa probinsiya sa Misamis Oriental ug Bukidnon, partikular sa Tuburan, Dansolihon, Pualas, Pigsag-an, Lingating, Bayanga ug Cagayan De Oro City.

“Sa laing bahin, ang katawhan sa mga nasangpit nga mga barangay ang gipasabut kabahin sa mga gihimo sa gobyerno diha sa mga barangay, partikular sa PAF,  sa kampanya alang sa kahusay ug kalinaw sa nasud,” si Fontanilla midugang pag-ingon.


Peace pact unites soldiers, Lumads

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 27): Peace pact unites soldiers, Lumads

IMPASUGONG, Bukidnon — The Indigenous People (IPs) — traditionally known as “Lumads”— of Impasugong and Cabanglasan towns, and the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry (Dependable) Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division, launched a peace pact to condemn violence and raise strong commitment to promote peace in the province of Bukidnon.

In a ritual and peace pact dubbed “Panaghiusa hu mga kasundaluhan daw hu mga Lumad (unity of the soldiers and the indigenous peoples),” 71 tribal elders and leaders from the Higaonon, Talaandig and Umayamnon tribes along Kalabugao Plains, Mt. Kitanglad range of Impasugong, Upper Pulangui area of Malaybalay City, and the ancestral territories of Cabanglasan, all of Bukidnon, vowed to step up cooperation to bring in lasting solutions to conflicts so people could live peacefully and productively.

The tribal leaders have long sought for military and local government units’ (LGUs) help in their quest for lasting peace in ancestral territories that have been desecrated by the communist NPA rebels for a long time.

Lyco-Lyco Pintuan, one of the elders of the Higaonon tribe who recounted his ordeal with the rebels, expressed gratitude to the LGU and military’s response to the IP’s woes.

Pintuan said these insurgents violated the rights of the Lumads by building encampments, recruiting the IP youth, forcibly organizing the people as NPA supporters; subjecting them to forced taxation, compelling them unnecessarily to evacuate their territories and become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and coercing them to join mass protests in town centers.

This sad fate of IPs prompted the military and the LGUs to ally with the tribes and resolve these issues in the hope of winning peace once more.

Among the highlights of the event was the acceptance and adoption of Lt. Col. Lennon G. Babilonia, the Commanding Officer of 8th Infantry Battalion, as “Datu Impamani (guardian of the Lumads),” by the elders, during a sacred ritual called “Pagdang-ul.”

In the acceptance rites, Higaonon tribal leader Pintuan said he is blissful and very much overwhelmed on the occasion.“Many of our elders have been killed by the NPA in recent years, that’s why we live in fear. Our problems, particularly on security, made us hopeless. But now we have found new hope,” he said.

Lt. Col. Babilonia, now an adopted member of the elders of the tribe, showed his respect and honor to the Lumads.

“I am very much honored to be a part of the Lumads here in Bukidnon. My being a member of the tribe gives me and my men more responsibility in uplifting their rights and respecting their cultures and traditions. Our partnership will eventually be instrumental to fulfil our objective of winning peace for their safety and well-being; and for them to attain quality and progressive life,” he said.


Army, IPs in Bukidnon forge peace pact

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Army, IPs in Bukidnon forge peace pact

The military and the indigenous peoples (IPs) in Bukidnon forged a peace pact in a bid to establish lasting peace in the IPs ancestral domain in the province.

Representatives from the local government units (LGUs) witnessed the symbolic ritual of the peace pact known as “Panaghiusa hu mga kasundaluhan daw hu mga lumad” (Unity of the soldiers and the IPs) in Bukidnon.

Capt. Norman M. Tagros, spokesperson of the army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, based in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, on Tuesday, said that 71 tribal leaders representing various tribes in Northern Mindanao were present during the peace pact ceremony held in Impasug-ong Sunday.

Tagros said that the military, LGUs, and the IPs agreed to work together to ensure lasting peace in the ancestral domains of the province of Bukidnon.

He said that the tribal elders and leaders represented the Higaonon, Talaandig and Umayamnon tribes along Kalabugao Plains and Mt. Kitanglad area of Impasugong, Upper Pulangui area of Malaybalay City and the ancestral territories of Cabanglasan, all of Bukidnon,

The activity, aimed at strengthening the partnership and commitment of the soldiers and the Lumads in Bukidnon also highlights the acceptance and adoption of Lt. Col. Lennon G. Babilonia, commanding officer of the army’s 8IB, as “Datu Impamani” (Guardians of Lumads) through a ritual known as “Pagdang-ul.”

Tagros said that the tribal elders have been seeking assistance from the military and the local government units in their quest for lasting peace in their ancestral territories, allegedly desecrated by the communist NPA rebels for a long time.