Thursday, March 5, 2015

Eat Bulaga hosts laud Tabak division for supporting “Plastic Ni Juan” project

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 4): Eat Bulaga hosts laud Tabak division for supporting “Plastic Ni Juan” project

The 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division’s support to “Plastic ni Juan project” of GMA7 project received accolade from the host of the popular noontime show, Eat Bulaga.

Tabak troopers led by Lt. Col. Aude Mongao, 1st Civil Military Operations Officer, personally handed on Tuesday over eight tons of empty plastic bottles and containers to the management of Eat Bulaga right in its studio at Broadway Centrum here.

Plastic ni Juan project aims to collect plastic wastes to be made into tables and chairs for selected public schools that need them.

Mongao also said the troopers’ participation in the Eat Bulaga program was not primarily for educational purposes but in support of GMA7’s core advocacy, which is to extend assistance to schools, which are in dire need of tables and chairs for their schoolchildren especially those in the remote barangays of the country.

The Eat Bulaga management allocated 25 seats for Tabak officers and members who would come to watch the program’s segment “Juan for All, All for Juan,” where the plastic bottles collected by the troopers from the barangays they had visited would be turned-over.

Earlier, Eat Bulaga’s youngest host and child actress Ryzza Mae Dizon in her program dubbed “Ryzza Mae Show” extolled the 1st Infantry division for donating large volume of empty plastic bottles.

“Maraming salamat po sa inyong mga sundalo na nagdadala ng mga empty plastic bottles dito. Tiyak na nakakatulong ito ng malaki sa mga paaralan na nangangailangan ng mga lamisa at silya,” Dizon explained.

(I am thankful to the troopers for bringing empty plastic bottles here. Certainly this would greatly help the schools in need of tables and mono block chairs.)

Dizon invited Tabak hospital chief Col. Arsenio Belen to be her instant guest and asked him why the troopers were in GMA7.

Belen said “the troopers’ presence was a show of 1st infantry division’s strong support to GMA7’s project, which Tabak commander BGen. Gerardo Barrientos Jr. isvery supportive of.”

 TV host Vic Sotto also thanked the division for donating empty plastic bottles during Eat Bulaga’s segment “One for All, All for Juan”.

“Nagpasalamat kami sa 1st Infantry (Tabak) division na galing sa Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur pagdonate nila ng plastic bottles para sa  ‘Plastic Ni Juan’ project . Sila po ay kasama natin studio ngayon,” Sotto  happily said.

(I thanked the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division from Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur for donating plastic bottles for the “Plastic ni Juan” project and they are joining us in the studio now.)

Japan builds 'schools of peace' in N.Cotabato conflict affected town

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6): Japan builds 'schools of peace' in N.Cotabato conflict affected town

PIKIT, North CotabatoThe Japanese government will push its assistance to the interior villages of Pikit by constructing modern school buildings in conflict areas.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa, in a statement, said his government is determined to construct “schools of peace” in Datu Bitol Mangansakan memorial High School and Mapagkaya Primary School with a total budget of Php2.5 million.

The recent skirmishes involving rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) had displaced 1,982 families or 10,664 persona, more than 2,000 of whom were school children.

Ishikawa and ICAN Philippines Country Director Yukiyo Nomura signed the grant contract for the project on Capacity Building Project on Peace Education and Conflict Resolution in Bangsamoro Communities of Mindanao at the Embassy of Japan on February 25.

In a statement, the Japanese embassy said the project amounting to USD 575,692 (approximately 2.5 million pesos) is funded through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a small-grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Pikit has been the site of many skirmishes between government forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and school children, sadly, were the most vulnerable victims.

Many of the children have suffered psychological wounds. In addition, a lot of them have no access to schools due to insufficient school buildings. The lack of education in the area creates a drag on building peace.

Ishikawa said this project aims to introduce peace education through the construction of two “schools of peace.” It is expected that this project will contribute to the peace and stability in the area.

The Japanese NGO, ICAN, has been working to improve the lives of children in crisis situations mainly in the Philippines since 1994.

ICAN has been working to improve the livelihood of indigenous people in southern Mindanao and in General Santos City by building schools, providing training and workshops in different fields, such as education and health.

Japan believes that this project will strengthen not only friendship between the people of Japan and the Philippines, but also the existing strategic partnership between the two countries.

The two schools of peace in Pikit are expected to be completed by May in time for the opening of 2015-2016 school year.

Abu Sayyaf Group abducts 2 public school teachers in Zamboanga Sibugay town

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6): Abu Sayyaf Group abducts 2 public school teachers in Zamboanga Sibugay town

Two public school teachers were abducted by six gunmen suspected to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in an island municipality in the nearby province of Zamboanga Sibugay, the police reported Friday.

Senior Supt. Jose Bayani Gucela, Zamboanga Sibugay police director, disclosed the victims were seized around 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Moalboal, Talusan municipality.

Gucela identified the victims as Reynadit Silvano, 34, and Russel Bagonoc, 22, both residents of Moalboal and teachers of the Tuburan Elementary School, Talusan.

Gucela said the victims were aboard a motorcycle on the way to Tuburan Elementary School when waylaid by the suspects.

Gucela said the suspects dragged the victims to the shore and forced them to board on a motorized banca and sped to unknown direction.

He said that four of the suspects were identified as Naim Sabdani, Mansul Sabdani, Amadan Sabdani, and Edimar Isnain.

The Sabdanis were residence of Moalboal while Isnain and the other two unidentified suspects were members of the Abu Sayyaf’s Urban Terrorist Group (UTG).

Gucela disclosed that the suspects’ identities were established through the help of Kapdul Hadjiula, the sister of the Sabdanis.

He added that Hadjiula’s statement was corroborated by another witness, who saw the incident.

He disclosed that the motorcycle of the suspects was recovered near the barangay hall and basketball court of Moalboal more or less 200 meters from the place where the victims’ motorcycle was found.

He said policemen in coordination with the military forces are tracking down the victims’ whereabouts.

Army offensives vs. BIFF slow down but covert operations continue - AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6): Army offensives vs. BIFF slow down but covert operations continue - AFP

The military operation against Moro bandits in Maguindanao had slowed down as the BIFF fled to the marshland and disintegrated into smaller groups.

Local military officials are checking on reports, with the help of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that some outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have joined the MILF or mingled with the civilians.

While the operations have slowed down, Capt. Joann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the Army continued its covert operations.

Civilians in evacuation centers refused to return home for fear clashes will erupt anew.

Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Catapang has directed all military units to continue scouring and clearing small communities used by the bandits and its foreign allies in the so called "SPMS box."

"SPMS box" is a term used by the military on the area where the BIFF operates. These are the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan town), Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona, all in Maguindanao province.

Catapang said the SPMS box has been used by BIFF as haven for terrorists and bomb making factory.

"We have to assess further, there may be more camps down there, we will not stop here, we will continue hunting them down," Catapang told reporters.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu believed the massive military law enforcement operation has weaken the BIFF.

"All they can do is to hit and run, some have joined the civilians in evacuation centers," Mangudadatu said even as he appealed to civilians to provide the military and the police with the information about the BIFF.

"I hope they can help because it will bring normalcy in the communities. Once the BIFF is fully neutralized, then normalcy will be restored in the communities and they can continue farming," Mangudadatu told reporters.

No major skirmishes have transpired in the past four days of the 7-day law enforcement operation but 11 towns of Maguindanao's 36 municipalities were placed under state of calamity.

With the armed confrontation waning, government relief agencies have intensified its mission feeding the internally displaced persons which, as of last count, was about 45,000 individuals.

Several units of the 6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division have been conducting medical mission to the affected families in partnership with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's humanitarian arm - Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team (HEART).

"We are managing the evacuation sites. All government agencies are present in every evacuation site to attend to their needs, especially health and sanitation," Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM-HEART chair, said. "Food supplies are enough as of today," she added.

The all out law enforcement operation in Maguindanao has already resulted to at least nine BIFF were killed, three soldiers wounded and two BIFF camps captured.

Troops recover NPA camp after clash in Zambo Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6): Troops recover NPA camp after clash in Zambo Sur

Government forces have recovered a camp in the deep forest the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have abandoned following a clash in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, the military reported Friday.

Capt. Franco Salvador Suelto, Army’s First Infantry Division information officer, quoting a belated field report said the NPA fled as they failed to withstand the troops from the Army’s 10th Infantry Battalion in an hour-long firefight.

Suelto said the troops were on security patrol when they chanced upon the NPA rebels around 6:57 a.m. Wednesday in Sitio Sabangan, Barangay Dumalinao, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.

“Troops of the 10th Infantry Battalion were on routine security patrol when they were fired upon by the NPA group. An hour-long gun battle then ensued, resulting to the discovery of an NPA encampment and recovery of subversive documents in the area of engagement,” Suelto said.

He said the rebels, who belong to the NPA’s Section Committee Feliciano Alpha, were believed to have suffered casualties as bloodstains were visible in the abandoned camp.

He disclosed that one soldier was killed during the hour-long firefight against the NPA rebels.

“The NPA camp’s location is deep in the forested areas of the provincial boundary between Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga del Norte. This is a clear indication that they are encamping in uninhabited areas because they already lost their support of the local populace in their traditional areas due to continuous Bayanihan (Peace and Development) activities. The NPAs in Zamboanga del Norte are now tired and facing hardship on continuous evasion of military troops,” he added.

He said the troops are tracking down the whereabouts of the NPA rebels who abandoned their camp.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of our soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice in name of peace and development,” Brig. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos, 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division command, said.

Barrientos said the Tabak Division, through its field units, will pursue the NPA in Zamboanga del Sur to finally declare the province as “peaceful and ready for further development” this year.

“The Army will show the futility of NPA’s armed struggle and induce it to abandon the armed struggle and engage in peace negotiations with the government,” Barrientos added.

Phil. Army 7ID chief laments attack on government troopers

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 6): Phil. Army 7ID chief laments attack on government troopers

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija --Major Gen. Glorioso Miranda, commander of the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division base here, has lamented an ambush supposedly staged by insurgents which resulted to the death of five government troopers and wounding of five others in Barangay Legleg, Quirino, Ilocos Sur last week.

This as Miranda expressed on Friday sympathy to the grieving family of the soldiers.

"We extend our deepest sympathies to the relatives and friends of those killed," he said.

He lamented that the attack was made while the rest of the nation anchors hope on peace for progress.

“It is tragic that this armed group have taken arms against the Filipino nation when the people understand that only through peace can development and social justice ne attained,” he added.

The 7ID information identified the fatalities as Corporals Elemer Lacandile and Jan-jie Dela Cruz and Private First Class Rene Gil Ocampo, Jomark Villanueva and Charlynder Ramos.

Those wounded were Pfcs. Jayson Congora, Lester King Ancheta, Alvin Marinas, Danio Pascua and Roaldo Olipas.

The military said the victims were part of the government troopers from the Philippine Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion and the local police on board one KM450 truck, one KM250 truck and several PNP vehicles that were ambushed by abour 30 “insurgents” at around 7 p.m. last Feb. 26.

Two ambulances sent by the local government of Ilocos Sur that were used to evacuate the victims were also fired upon by the suspects, the military added.

“Fresh troops under Philippine ARmy 81st Infantry Battalion are now securing the encounter site,” the 7ID reported.

(Update)Two NPA commanders, 11 other cohorts nabbed in AFP-PNP operations in Caloocan, Quezon City

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): (Update)Two NPA commanders, 11 other cohorts nabbed in AFP-PNP operations in Caloocan, Quezon City

Joint military and police operatives arrested two New People's Army (NPA) commanders and 11 others during law enforcement operations in Caloocan and Quezon City Wednesday night.

Armed with three search warrants numbers 5044(15) to 5046(15) for Violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act), personnel from Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) swooped down in Barangays Urduja and 168 Deparo in Caloocan City and Barangay Kaligayahan in Quezon City Wednesday night.

The raid resulted in the arrest of at least 13 persons and the confiscation of assorted illegal firearms and explosives, AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said.

Among those arrested were suspected NPA commanders Emmanuel Bacarra and Ruben Saluta.

Presentacion Estrada Saluta, another suspected member of NPA, was also arrested in the operation.

Bacarra used to command his NPA forces in Mindoro while the male Saluta had his group in Panay.

They carried out extortion activities like burning of buses and facilities in their localities, Cabunoc said.

Their cohorts -- Enrique Ruiz, Eduardo Garcia, Leilani Marasigan, Roy Zulueta Baldostamo, Veraflor Santillan Guevarra, Emmanuel Estudillo Villamor, Policarpio Herrera and Miguel Domingo Cortez - were also captured as consequence of holding the firearms and explosives in their possession during the search.

The Salutas and Bacarra have criminal records ranging from murder to arson and were issued warrants of arrest by courts in provinces Quezon, Antique and Occidental Mindoro (Criminal case no. 2646-S).

Records show that they were also positively identified as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) and were filed with case of violation of Republic Act No. 6968, otherwise known as the Anti-Rebellion Act of the Philippines.

"Our operatives have been working on these cases for several months to identify the suspects engaged in different criminal activities in Southern Tagalog Regions. Our operatives from PNP and AFP shared intelligence information, compared notes until they were able to positively identify these personalities," Cabunoc stressed.

"Our law enforcers had ensured that the basic rights of the suspects were protected during their arrest. They are considered innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law," he added.

Cabunoc said that the AFP and PNP would continuously work together to protect the people from lawless elements, to bring justice and to maintain peace and order in our communities. ​

Kakilala is new AFP spokesperson

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): Kakilala is new AFP spokesperson

Brig. Gen. Joselito E. Kakilala formally assumed his new post as spokesperson of the 120,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Thursday.

He replaced Col. Restituto F. Padilla, Jr., during short ceremonies at the Del Pilar Lounge at AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Kakilala, who recently assumed command of the Civil Relations Service, will join the ranks of CRS commanders who also served as AFP spokespersons.

Among them are retired Generals Honesto M. Isleta, Oscar M. Florendo, Victor U. Garcia, Alexander B. Yano, and Jose Z. Mabanta.

AFP spokespersons are usually general or flag officers who serve in concurrent capacity.

The designation of the new CRS commander as new spokesperson is consistent with the realignment of assignments in the AFP aimed at facilitating a more proactive posture on public affairs, public information and civil-military relations.

AFP chief-of-staff General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang, Jr., has commended Padilla for his splendid job as a spokesperson.

For three months, Padilla successfully articulated the AFP’s messages to the public on burning issues including the military's challenges in social media, the rescue of Abu Sayyaf hostages, Sulu and Basilan military operations, the Papal Visit, and the Mamasapano encounter.

Padilla was appointed as AFP spokesperson in December following the retirement of Major Gen. Domingo Tutaan, Jr., and in addition to a primary designation last year as Assistant J-7.

He will now work full-time as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, J-7, the office that leads the formulation of strategies, policies, and plans for all Civil Military Operations of the AFP and a critical staff of the AFP's IPSP "Bayanihan."

Prior to his current post, he was the Philippine Liaison to the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii and received the US Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his work in planning and execution of Philippine-US military programs under the MDB-SEB.

Kakilala is expected to feel comfortable in his new assigned task, having served as spokesperson in the Philippine Army in 2003.

He also earned valuable field experience as commander of the 48th Infantry Battalion and 903rd Infantry Brigade.

Kakilala, an awardee of The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers in 2008, also received the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award in 2011 and the Award for Continuing Excellence and Service in 2014.

Rappler Talk: Moving on after Mamasapano

From Rappler (Mar 6): Rappler Talk: Moving on after Mamasapano

Armed Forces chief Catapang talks to Rappler about recent events that shook the Philippine military, and what can be done to move forward

[Video interview: Rappler Talk: AFP chief Gen Gregorio Catapang Jr. on moving on after Mamasapano]

Rappler talked to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.

Catapang visited soldiers in the frontline of an all-out-war against members of a breakaway Muslim rebel group, Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters, in Maguindanao Wednesday, March 4.

Catapang gave gold and bronze cross medals to two officers and five enlisted men who helped extract members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force on January 25 after a mission to kill Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. The police operation left 44 police, 18 rebels and five civilians dead.

Since last week military spokesmen say two camps of BIFF were overrun by soldiers in Maguindanao and nine BIFF rebels were killed.

What lessons did the military learn as an institution in dealing with the Muslims and indigenous people, and the realistic prospects for peace at this point? How successful is the Philippines' fight against terrorism? What is the military's role in this?

How about the situation in the South China Sea, where the Philippines claims disputed territories that cause tension between China? How is the AFP's modernization coming along? What is the military's role in climate change adaptation?

Watch the interview here.

AFP chief: 'Illogical' to go back to war with MILF

From Rappler (Mar 6): AFP chief: 'Illogical' to go back to war with MILF

'We don't want to repeat history. Going back to war with the MILF is quite absurd,' says Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr

NO TO WAR. General Gregorio Catapang Jr explains why the peace process is preferable to an all-out-war against the MILF.

NO TO WAR. General Gregorio Catapang Jr explains why the peace process is preferable to an all-out-war against the MILF.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr shot down calls for an all-out-war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), underscoring a non-military approach in achieving peace in war-torn Mindanao communities.

"We don't want to repeat history. Going back to war with the MILF is quite absurd. It's illogical. It's unlawful, maybe," Catapang told Rappler executive editor Maria Ressa on Rappler Talk on Thursday, March 5. (WATCH the entire interview: Rappler Talk: Moving on after Mamasapano)

He added: "Here are people asking for peace and then all of a sudden you tell them, 'No, let's just go to war to finish all these things.' Maybe it's unconstitutional that we do not want to give the peace that these people are asking from us."

The MILF agreed to talk peace in favor of wider autonomy for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – a product of the 1996 peace deal between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The MILF broke away from the MNLF in 1976 as it opposed peace negotiations with the government and wanted an independent Bangsamoro Islamic state at the time. It has now become the dominant Muslim rebel group.

Peace negotiations with the MILF gained traction with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014; Malacañang submitted the draft Bangsamo Basic Law to Congress 6 months later.

The incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, where 44 elite cops were killed in clashes with Moro rebel forces, along with 18 MILF fighters and 3 civilians, has led to widespread distrust in the MILF.

It happened at a crucial phase of the peace process when Malacañang was hoping that Congress would pass the Bangsamoro law before Congress adjourns on March 21.

The new target is June 30, although tough opposition is expected from lawmakers, who are seeking substantial amendments in the proposed measure.

'We have to pass BBL'

It's a race against time. Malacañang and the MILF are hoping to enact the law before President Benigno Aquino III steps down on June 30, 2016, and elect the new Bangsamoro entity that will replace the ARMM during the 2016 national elections.

Catapang said the government cannot abandon the BBL and remained hopeful that it will pass in the current 16th Congress. In the worst-case-scenario that it is thumbed down, Catapang said the next administration should pursue it.

"We just have to ask for the extension of the ceasefire agreement and then pass another law. Revise the law or improve the law. We cannot go on saying this will not pass. We have to pass it no matter how difficult the [process] it will have to go through," Catapang said.

ISIS or peace process?

In a forum on Wednesday, March 5, former AFP chief retired General Emmanuel Bautista also warned of the dangers of a collapsed peace process.

Bautista said it could make Mindanao the destination for ISIS terrorists the same way Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan and others had taken refuge there. The MILF maintained it was the MILF breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) that coddled Marwan.

The BIFF broke off from the MILF as it is opposed to the peace process. Military officers recognize the new splinter group cannot be allowed to grow the way the MILF did after it split from the MNLF. (READ: Real peace means the guns will have to go away)

The military, which was engaged in a decade-long war with the MILF until a ceasefire agreement was reached during the Arroyo administration, is the biggest supporter of the peace process.

Catapang laments what he called "emotional" calls for the military to swoop in on the MILF to avenge the death of the SAF commandos.

"It's easy to call for war. I hope they'll be the first one to be willing to be called into active duty. If they want war, they should be the first ones to volunteer to be in the front lines. Maybe they'll know what kind of war they're talking about," he said.

The military maintained the SAF operation involved strategic, operational, and tactical lapses. The cops killed top Marwan but 44 of the 78 who joined the operation were killed when MILF fighters and other armed groups in the area engaged the "intruders" pintakasi (free-for-all) style.

The MILF maintained that it was a "misencounter," and blamed the failure of the SAF to coordinate the operation and use the ceasefire mechanism that should have required the MILF to order its men to stand down while security forces conduct law enforcement operations.

The SAF, however, prioritized "operational security" and kept the operation a secret even from the military over fears that Marwan will be tipped off and would be able to escape like he did in past operations.

Sacked SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas openly blamed the military for its failure to fire artillery support that he believed could have saved his men. The military said it cannot blindly fire its cannons because civilians could be hit.

Forbidden area

What turned out be the bloodiest one-day security operation in the country's recent history brought public attention to the brutality of war that security forces have long been fighting in Mindanao.

"These things have been happening for the longest time, even during the 70s. People have difficulty understanding this kind of war," said Catapang.

Mamasapano is considered an area of the military because of the presence of various armed groups. Aside from least 3 MILF base commands, there are also the BIFF and other private armed groups maintained by politicians. It is a "forbidden area" that the military only previously entered with overwhelming force.

"In Mamasapano, the situation is quite difficult because their relatives, their friends are part of the MILF and they're part of BIFF. There's a new strategy that we have to look into to address the situation in Mamasapano," Catapang said.

It is located Maguindanao, the same province where one of the world's worst cases of election-related violence happened – the ambush of 58 people, many of them journalists, in a plot by the then ruling Ampatuan clan to derail the gubernatorial candidacy of rival Esmael Mangudadatu for the 2010 May elections.

After the January 25 tragedy, the military sought the cooperation of the MILF in its all-out offensive against the BIFF in Mamasapano and neighboring towns.

Head teacher, companion kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay - police

From InterAksyon (Mar 6): Head teacher, companion kidnapped in Zamboanga Sibugay - police

The head teacher of a school in Talusan town, Zamboanga Sibugay and a still unidentified companion were abducted Thursday afternoon, the provincial police reported.

The sketchy report said the Talusan police received a call around 2:30 p.m. Thursday that Nonoy Bagunok, teacher in charge of Mual Bual Elementary School, and his companion were seized by unidentified men who fled with them in a pump boat.

It added that authorities are investigating the incident and planning pursuit operations against the kidnappers.

REVIEW | Full text and frequently asked questions about the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law

From InterAksyon (Mar 5): REVIEW | Full text and frequently asked questions about the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law


MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. shake hands during the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress. (file photo)

It can no longer be denied that the peace process in Mindanao again hangs in the balance in the wake of the January 25 Mamasapano incident. Once again, we see the nation sharply divided into two camps, one calling for vengeance and "all-out war," the other fervently pleading that peace continue to be given a chance.

The polarity is disappointing, because it is the occasionally simplistic framing of the arguments - of which both camps are prone to - that prevents a fully enlightened view by the citizenry. The all-out war is a short-term and messy strategy that leaves so many innocent civilians hostage; while the view that anyone questioning controversial provisions of the draft BBL is an enemy of the peace process is just as disjointed.

Seen among the greatest threats to the chances of finally seeing the beginnings of sustained, and hopefully, lasting peace in the troubled south lies in the halls of Congress, where lawmakers appear to have taken a hardline stance to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law only with revisions they believe will prevent another Mamasapano. On the other hand, the informed views of ex-SC magistrates and legal experts as to the constitutionality issues; and even of those who warn against the lack of fiscal accountability and the mechanisms for good governance, cannot be ignored.

On the streets and on social media, the debate among ordinary Filipinos over the BBL, which would create a new autonomous homeland as part of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, has been just as heated.

Hoping to salvage a peace deal that could be one of its best legacies, the Aquino administration has urged critics of the BBL to first read the proposed measure before criticizing and revising it.

We are thus reposting links on the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to both the full text of the draft BBL and to frequently asked questions on the measure:



IS terror could 'spillover' to PH unless Mindanao conflict solved, security exec warns

From InterAksyon (Mar 5): IS terror could 'spillover' to PH unless Mindanao conflict solved, security exec warns

File photo of retired AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista

Unless the internal conflict in Mindanao ends, the country could see a spillover of violence from followers of the Islamic State, a ranking security official warned on Thursday.

"When the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as IS used to call itself) is defeated in Syria and Iraq, where will those members from Malaysia and Indonesia go? Where else they will seek sanctuary but in a place with continuing conflict?" Emmanuel Bautista, executive secretary of the Cabinet cluster on security, justice and peace told the forum, “Implications of Mamasapano on the Peace Process: Moving Forward,” in Makati City.

"We need to address this conflict (in Mindanao) because of the potential threat from the outside," Bautista, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, stressed even as he clarified that there is “no substantive evidence” of direct IS recruitment in the country although there are reports the extremist group, which has waged a brutal campaign and seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria, has a half-Filipino member.

The January 25 incident in Mamaspano, Maguindanao, which saw 44 police Special Action Force commandos, 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and at least five civilians killed in the clash that broke out during the operation to get Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” has led to calls from some quarters for the scrapping of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which would create a new autonomous homeland in Mindanao and cap the peace agreement between government and the MILF.

However, Bautista said the BBL’s passage would help resolve the internal conflict.

"We have been in conflict for the last 40 years, we can't go on fighting in the next 40 years," he said.

MILF’s Iqbal a registered voter since 2013

From MindaNews (Mar 5): MILF’s Iqbal a registered voter since 2013

“I am a registered voter.”

This is the disclosure of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal during a press briefing here Thursday.

Amid cheers and exhortations, a beaming Iqbal showed reporters the back portion of the voter’s identification card issued to him by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prove his claim. However, he asked that the card not be photographed up close, obviously to conceal his true name.

Iqbal, who hails from Datu Odin Sinsuat town, said that he registered as a voter in Maguindanao sometime in 2013, although he did not reveal whether he cast a vote during the midterm polls.

Iqbal’s being a registered voter as well as his remaining hesitation to disclose his identity outside the Moro revolution signifies the state of transition the MILF is currently in as a result of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) that it inked with government October 2012, and subsequently, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed March 27 last year.

Through the CAB, the MILF has agreed to end its rebellion against the Philippine state in exchange for granting the Moro people with a truly meaningful political autonomy, to be embodied in the envisioned Bangsamoro Entity.

By abandoning the use of force as a method to achieve its goals, the MILF committed to decommission its armed wing—the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF)—and set up a political party as its principal means for contesting elective seats in government.

On Saturday, March 7, the Comelec will conduct a special registration in Camp Darapanan, the MILF’s administrative complex in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The historic exercise is expected to net around 2,000 voters, mostly combatants who have already started the countdown towards the day they will ultimately abandon their guns.

Despite the recent threats of scuttling the peace process, Iqbal said their stronghold communities and mass supporters remain hopeful the milestones set in the transition roadmap the rebel group agreed with government will push through.

But the need to respond to the challenges posed by the fallout of the tragic clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 has derailed the transformation of the MILF into a democratic institution.

Iqbal said the MILF central committee’s oversight of activities related to the formation of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) had to give way to a focused attention on dealing with the Mamasapano incident.

“But we are not losing hope,” he assured.

The UBJP was launched Dec. 23 last year in Camp Darapanan.

Throughout its existence as a revolutionary organization since 1984, the MILF has shunned participation in electoral exercises, although it has not prevented its members, acting on their own, from doing so.

The upcoming plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, slated to be passed by Congress middle of this year, will be the first time it has officially sanctioned participation in Philippine elections.

Army, police chart security measures in NorMin

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Mar 3): Army, police chart security measures in NorMin

BOTH the military and police, including the local government unit of Misamis Oriental, have vowed to uphold the law to maintain the peace and security in the province and Cagayan de Oro.

The assurance was made should hostile forces attack the province and the rest of Northern Mindanao in light of the possible unrest once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) doesn't get ratified by Congress.

In a Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Committee (JPSCC) meeting held at the provincial training center on Tuesday and presided by Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano, the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Northern Mindanao and the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) said their forces are prepared to thwart possible attacks.

Emano, who chairs the JSPCC, said that convening the committee is to identify areas that would become possible entry points of ill-intent groups or people that would create havoc in the province and Cagayan de Oro City.

Emano said the JPSCC meeting came about when Lieutenant Colonel Jose Eriel Niembra, commanding officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, a unit of the 4ID, met with him and suggested that a province-wide security plan be put in place.

He said if ever the BBL will not be passed and violence will escalate, government forces are ready for whatever eventuality that may arise in the future.

One of the measures taken up by the committee, Emano said, was identifying the entry and exit points of the province, including Macajalar Bay on the north, Magsaysay town on the east, Lugait on the west, and Bukidnon on the south.

Communities should help

Although the army and the PNP have their own intelligence networks, Emano said the people in the communities can help in monitoring and watching out for presence of suspicious-looking individuals in their localities.

Major General Oscar Lactao, commander of the 4ID, said the military has always been prepared for any security threats or attacks but cautioned “let’s not be alarmed by this. Let’s just wait for things to unfold.”

Lactao also said the military is always on guard against the enemies of the state and those who violate the law “where in fact, we are gaining grounds and have already diminished the number of the New People’s Army in our area of responsibility.

However, we still have to address the situation in a couple of areas in the eastern part of Misamis Oriental.”

“Acts of terrorism can happen anywhere and we are not discounting the possibility that it will occur in the province, and we are doing ways to deter violence. And if it should unfold, we will always be there to protect our people,” Lactao added.
But the military and police admitted that they have not received intelligence report of destabilization as a result of the non-passage of the BBL, both agreed they should always be vigilant.

“We will not allow any violence to get out of control,” Lactao said.

Sabotage peace and order

Representing PNP-Northern Mindanao Director Agrimero Cruz Jr., Senior Superintendent Aurelio Trampe Jr., deputy regional director for operations, said they have received reports that some elements are out to sabotage the peace and order situation in the region but these have not been confirmed yet.

Senior Superintendent Leonilo Cabug Jr., Misamis Oriental provincial police director, said the provincial police have set up precautionary measures, like the installation of checkpoints and the deploying of police marshals (law enforcers in plain clothes) in buses plying Misamis Oriental.

Three-layer security plan

For his part, Niembra said the 58IB has employed the concept of three-layer security plan to address any threats, among them intelligence gathering, visibility through checkpoints, and “target hardening” of vital installations.

He added his battalion has been sending troops to the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office from time to time as deterrent forces.

Murad: MILF fighters will give up guns, join PNP

From ABS0CBN (Mar 5): Murad: MILF fighters will give up guns, join PNP

[Video report]

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad wants to allay fears over the creation of the Bangsamoro Police Force.

Murad told ABS-CBN New that the Bangsamoro security force will be under the Philippine National Police (PNP), and MILF fighters will surrender their weapons once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is in effect.

They will also have to apply for entry into the PNP service.

Murad said under their peace agreement with the government, the MILF will undergo decommissioning.

He replied "yes" when asked if they are ready to give up their weapons in exchange for the BBL and peace in Mindanao.

Murad said the BBL should be tackled separately from the Mamasapano incident.

He also wants a third-party investigation to find the truth on what really happened in the cornfields of Mamasapano on January 25.

Murad said the BBL underwent thorough scrutiny to make sure it conforms with the Philippine Constitution.

"Solution is we have to try to give trust, for political leaders to give a little trust. Unless ma-erase ang mistrust, hindi pwede maging partner ang Pilipino at Bangsamoro," he said.

Murad said BBL provisions on funds for the proposed Bangsamoro region, which some lawmakers are opposing, are not irregular.

"Exactly the same. Iyung normal na pondo para sa national agencies, para sa ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao]. Ang demand namin, 6 percent national revenue net collection, 2.4 percent ang ibinigay."

Murad also clarified the MILF's relationship with the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Some camps have cast doubt on the split, saying the two groups continue to support each other.

"Tingin namin, it is not necessary to fight each other. Ang hiling naman sa kanila, obserbahan muna nila itong peace process," he said. "Ultimately, pag successful tayo, iyung mga iba grupo will have no choice. If they will not join, they will be isolated. Ang mga kalaban na nila, ang mga tao."

Murad said MILF forces engaged the BIFF when the breakaway group demanded that they abandon their camp.

The fighting sent up to 11,000 families fleeing their homes in Pagalungan, Maguindanao.


The MILF chairman, meanwhile, said they do not believe the justice department has an MILF fighter who will stand as witness in the Mamasapano investigation.

The MILF admitted it fought with the PNP Special Action Force, but insisted it was in self-defense after Moro rebels were fired upon by the government troops.

Murad appealed to the people to give the BBL a chance.

He said it will not only benefit the Bangsamoro, but the whole country as well.

Meet the new AFP spokesman

From ABS-CBN (Mar 4): Meet the new AFP spokesman

Major General Ricardo Visaya and Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala share light moments before going to the war room. Photo from the Southern Luzon Command Armed Forces of the Philippines Facebook page.

The head of the military’s psychological warfare arm has been designated as the Armed Forces’ new spokesman.

Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, also concurrent chief of the Civil Relations Service (CRS), will replace Col. Restituto Padilla, who will now concentrate on his other job as assistant AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations.

Kakilala assumed his position as CRS chief only last month. The CRS is tasked to conduct psychological operations against threat groups.

The member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1984 was former chief of the Office of the Strategic Studies of the AFP. He was also the former commander of the 903rd Brigade.

Padilla, on the other hand, said he can now focus on his main job.

“I am permanently occupying a position that entails full time and my being spokesman is only a secondary job,” he said.

He believes his previous statements did not have anything to do with his relief as spokesman. “I believe there was nothing I said that would have caused that.”

Padilla played a big role in downplaying the alleged rift between the AFP and the Philippine National Police in connection with the Mamasapano incident.

New rebel group sprouts from infighting in BIFF

From the Daily Tribune (Mar 6): New rebel group sprouts from infighting in BIFF
The emergence of a new rebel group called Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) is a mere product of an internal squabble between two senior officials of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) after its founding chieftain Ameril Umbra Kato suffered a stroke a few years ago.

Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, newly installed spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), yesterday said that the differences between Kagi Karialan, Kato’s chief of staff, and Mohammad Ali Tambako, BIFF finance officer, led to the birth of JIM.

Initially, Tambako took the helm at BIFF but was immediately eased out after he was criticized by Karialan for the atrocities committed by the BIFF against farmers. According to Kakilala, the feud between Karialan and Tambako worsened in 2013 when Karialan was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and blamed Tambako.

Tambako went on to establish JIM in 2013.

However, Kakilala stressed that there are still strong ties between the BIFF and the JIM, citing Tambako’s close relationship with Kato.

“It is one and the same group. It was only a product of rivalry between Tambako and Kagi Karialan, the chief of staff of the BIFF,” said Kakilala in a press briefing.

Tambako, a Cairo-educated Muslim scholar, is a nephew of Ameril Umbra Kato, the founder of the BIFF.

The AFP also downplayed the threat posed by JIM as a group.

The military estimated Tambako’s group as composed of about 70 active members.

The JIM is currently coddling the group of Basit Usman, including the five foreign nationals spotted in Central Mindanao.

“There’s no problem, they’re coddling terrorists. They are bandits, still same old threat,” said Kakilala.

Kakilala said that the JIM is existing through its extortion activities.
He said the military has not established any foreign funding of JIM.

The AFP spokesman said the all-out offensive operations against the JIM and BIFF are continuing but there was no reported contact with the group during the past days.

“As of yesterday (Wednesday), they are still on the run,” said Kakilala.
“We are optimistic our offensive operation will have a positive impact…we will degrade their capability,” he added.

Kakilala said all of the displaced families in Pikit, North Cotabato have already returned to their homes, while 70 percent of the families who left their homes in Pagalungan, Maguindanao, have gone back to their residences.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano also bolstered reports on the alleged continuing recruitment of new members by the MILF despite forging a peace agreement with the government.

Cayetano’s latest revelation came three days after claiming that he has evidence showing that the group had coddled slain Malaysian terrorist and bomb maker Zulkipli bin Hir alias Marwan.

The senator revealed having received information that the MILF is conducting “massive recruitment” not for its political party but as combantants for its armed wing.

Cayetano, who was in Zamboanga City on Thursday attending the 40th day mass for Capt. Ryan Pabalinas, one of the fallen Special Action Force (SAF) members in the Mamasapano operation, appealed to his colleagues not to rush the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The senator, last Tuesday, revealed that he has in his possession some evidence proving that the MILF indeed coddled Marwan and that the government knew about this.

Such information also belies the government’s claim that they were unaware of the alleged ties or links of Marwan with the MILF.

“At a proper time, in a few days, we will conclude our research but as early as now I can tell you we have evidence that government knew the MILF protected and coddled Marwan. This is the reason why the BBL is being rushed since as we get to know more, more and more people ask if we can trust the MILF,” he asked.

The MILF leaders, the senator said, are also proving themselves to be defiant and refuse to surrender those involved in the Jan. 25 encounter and this does not bode well with the MILF, as they cannot not even hold their members accountable for the incident.

Giving justice to the families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) operatives in the Mamasapano massacre should be the priority, vis-à-vis the ongoing peace process, he added.

Cayetano also pointed out that during the Senate hearings, the MILF has not given any credible and concrete answers especially on its alleged links to terrorists.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. yesterday said his committee will not be stampeded into rushing the deliberations on the BBL , just so they could immediately wrap up the process following Malacañang’s insistence to pass the bill by June.

Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, maintained that his action on the measure will be based on his intention to craft a good law and not driven by a “deadline” set by other people.

He stood his ground even as the House and Senate leadership had agreed to pass the BBL by June before the end of the current second regular session of the 16th Congress.

“Haste could be a fatal waste. The BBL is not a magic pill to stop the war in Mindanao, although it’s an important element in the quest for lasting peace. I will try to meet the proposed deadline. But I will not sacrifice the necessity of getting it right,” Marcos said.

Marcos said the need to remedy the constitutional infirmities of the present BBL draft is one of the main reasons why prudence is the better course of action than merely trying to meet an obviously short timetable.

He noted that during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, many of the legal luminaries stated that several provisions of the BBL are unconstitutional.

Marcos suspended public hearings on the BBL after the January 25 Mamasapano clash where 44 SAF commandos were killed by the MILF and BIFF.

But before the BBL hearings can resume Marcos said he needs to wait for the reports of the inquiries on the Mamasapano incident conducted separately by the police, MILF, and the committee report of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Senator Grace Poe.

Likewise, Marcos said there are other practical considerations on governance and administration that need to be clarified.

The AFP is also struggling to bring back normalcy in Central Mindanao, requiring three more days to flush out the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province.

Kakilala said AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has extended the conduct of clearing operations before a detailed operational assessment is done for the military’s future actions.

“We would like to accomplish the clearing operations as fast as we can so that we can bring normalcy to the affected communities,” said Kakilala in a press briefing.

“Once we have flush out the armed bandits and terrorists from the affected areas, we will facilitate the safe return of the civilians back to their homes,” added Kakilala.

He cited the support extended by the MILF on the ongoing military operations along the Salvo, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak box –a known stronghold of the MILF.

The AFP spokesman said that the MILF has voluntarily relocated from the affected areas.

36 ASG bandits killed so far in ongoing military offensives in Sulu --AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): 36 ASG bandits killed so far in ongoing military offensives in Sulu --AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has announced that 36 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members have been killed so far in the ongoing military offensives against the bandit group in Sulu.

Strikes against the ASG have been ongoing for more almost two weeks, newly-appointed AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said during a media briefing on Thursday.

In the same campaign, 78 ASG bandits were reported wounded while 18 firearms were seized.

Government losses so far are four troopers killed and 44 wounded.

In the same briefing, Kakilala downplayed the ASG's ambush against a military supply column in Patikul, Sulu Wednesday morning which resulted in the death of three soldiers, including two officers, and wounding of six troopers, saying such was merely a "chance and a target of opportunity" attack.

"If their attack was really that overwhelming, then they should have managed to capture the weapons of our fallen troopers," Kakilala said in Filipino.

Efforts will continue until the ASG is incapable of carrying out terroristic attacks, he added.

The military will deal with the new armed group in Mindanao, Palace official says

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): The military will deal with the new armed group in Mindanao, Palace official says

The Palace has assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is dealing with lawless elements in the country to ensure peace and order.

“Ginagampanan ng ating Sandatahang Lakas ang tungkulin na tutukan lahat ng pagkilos ng iba’t ibang armadong grupo, lalong-lalo na ang mga naghahasik ng ligalig sa ating bansa at sa ating mga pamayanan. Hindi sila papahintulutang magsagawa ng mga aksyon na iyan at pipigilin sila ng ating Sandatahang Lakas,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.

He made the assurance following reports that a new group of lawless elements has emerged in Central Mindanao.

The AFP said on Wednesday that a new group called Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM), headed by Mohamed Ali Tambako, is coddling Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman.

Usman managed to escape while Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, was killed during an operation launched by the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) last January in Mamasapano, Maguindanao that also resulted in the death of 44 SAF members.

The military said Tambako used to be a member of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and is affiliated with the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiah, a militant Islamist group active in Southeast Asia.

The AFP said the new armed group is also a target of the military’s all-out offensive launched last week in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Armed men abduct, execute former village chief in Masbate City

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): Armed men abduct, execute former village chief in Masbate City

Unidentified armed men abducted and killed a former barangay captain (village chief) whose dead body was found by his relatives Wednesday night at Barangay B. Titong, Masbate City.

Police report identified the victim as Salvador Cabug, whose family household members were watching television at about 9 p.m. when the suspects suddenly barged in, dragged him outside the house and brought him to a secluded place of the barangay where they shot him dead.

Cabug's wife, Grace, sought help from authorities after the suspects fled.

They found Cabug's body peppered with gunshots and brought it to a funeral parlor for autopsy.

Police are now looking into the possible motive for the killing.

Decade-long rido in Lanao del Norte settled

From InterAksyon (Mar 5): Decade-long rido in Lanao del Norte settled


File photo of rido fighters in Maguindanao forest by Nonoy Espina.

TUBOD, Lanao del Norte - A rido, or blood feud, lasting more than a decade between the two Maranaw clans of Tawan-tawan of Salvador town and Asis of Sapad municipality of Lanao del Norte was finally settled on February 28 at the  Philippine National Police Headquarters command in Pigcarangan.

Witnessed by political and religious leaders, military and police officers from the two Lanao provinces, the two feuding parties, represented by Mayor Hassanor Tawan-tawan of Salvador and Mayor Paruk Asis of Sapad pledged and agreed to settle, respect and forget the past before the Quoran and signed the peace  covenant without having to exact blood money.

Police Senior Superintendent Madid Maricor Paitao, the provincial police director, recalled that the feud broke out some time in January 2004, after Macaradat Tawan-tawan, a provincial government employee under the Provincial Community Affairs Office (PCAO) was shot and killed by an unidentified assailant along the national highway of Maranding, Lala town while on his way to the the provincial capitol.

Macaradat allegedly had an intense dispute with one of the family members of the Asis clan.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday morning, Provincial Governor and Region 10 Development Council Chair Mohammad Khalid Q. Dimaporo said: "We are happy and elated that the two families of Tawan-tawan and Asis have finally come to terms and settled their "rido".

Gov. Dimaporo said, "It is a big milestone for us here in Lanao del Norte, because these two families are two very strong leaders in their respective municipalities."

Dimaporo added that, "at the height of the rido there was difficulty  administering not only the development programs of the province but also in maintaining peace and order in the respective localities."

"If there was a problem in Salvador and Sapad, I could not meet with both mayors at the same time. I had to go Sapad first, then to Salvador."

At least now, with the settlement of the feud, things can now move forward more readily," Dimaporo said.

The Provincial Board had created a Committee on Rido Settlement chaired by Provincial Board member lawyer Superman Omar Osop, Dimaporo disclosed.

Congresswoman Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo of the First Congressional District, was among the key leaders who witnessed the settlement. She said the settlement of the family feud "will be carried over from generation to generation".

"The are still few more instances of rido in the process of being settled but we are confident these will be resolved with the help of our local leaders," Dimaporo said.

Col. Gilbert I. Gapay, commanding officer of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade based in Maria Cristina in Iligan City, said "the military is committed to support the rido settlement in order to help build a culture of peace."