Bukidnon council wants "questionable" raising of oil prices classified as "heinous crime"

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / April 17) - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bukidnon  has asked Congress to classify as “heinous crime,” economic plunder,” or even “crime against humanity”  the raising of oil prices under “unjust and questionable” circumstances.

Surveyors find no common landfill site for Malaybalay, Valencia

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / April 17) -  A Korean consortium looking for a common landfill for this city and Valencia City has found a suitable place in the latter. But a councilor here expressed fear it may cause problem if the two cities would insist on a shared area.

Town accountant in Maguindanao slain in ambush

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / April 17) - Gunmen shot dead a municipal accountant of Parang, Maguindanao along the highway in Parang town on Thursday, police said.

Insp. Louie Pereras, chief of Parang PNP, identified the victim as Ereneo ‘Nonoy’ Frondoza, municipal accountant of Parang, Maguindanao, and resident of Barangay Sarmiento, Parang.

14 inmates, mostly high-profile, bolt Cotabato City jail

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / April 17) - Fourteen inmates, most of them considered ‘high-risk criminals’, escaped from their detention cells at the Cotabato City Jail on Thursday night.

DTI: Enlist as "super consumer"

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / April 17) – Tired of getting shortchanged by dubious practices and sub-standard services of commercial establishments and service shops in your areas? Be one of the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) “super consumers.”

Poll official's killing politically motivated – Pinol

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/16 Apr) – The killing of the election registrar in Tulunan town in North Cotabato could be due to political feud, according to Vice Gov. Manny Piñol. 

Earlier, the son of Francisco Mecutuan Jr. also said that politics could have caused his father’s death. But Lonlon Mecutuan refused to elaborate, saying they do not want their lives to be in jeopardy.

OIC to set up independent permanent human rights commission

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/16 April) – The 57-country Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is setting up an “independent permanent human rights commission,” the OIC Newsletter reported.

The pan-Islamic body held its first meeting on the proposed human rights commission on April 12, with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu presiding.

Post Lenten Reflections of an Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim: Moving Forward (2)

(In this concluding section, humanitarian worker Milet Mendoza, who was held captive in Basilan by the Abu Sayyaf from September 15, 2008 to November 14, 2008, provides further reflections on her experience. This, she explains, is being done to convey an inside view of what it is like to be a kidnap victim and hopefully produce a more informed approach to addressing the problem of kidnapping in the South and helping victims recover from an experience they will never forget. (Ms Mendoza gave MindaNews permission to run this two-part series- MindaNews ed)

Transforming the Negative to Positive

Is it possible to transform an experience as horrifying to a victim as being kidnapped to something that would turn out to be positive in the long-term? To me it is. The ability to do so, however, depends on so many circumstances: the victim’s background and personal disposition, the conditions under which he or she were kept while in captivity, and the manner in which the victim is treated after release. Essential to this is the understanding and support one receives from immediate family circle and friends. My own captivity experience, negative as it may have been, is something I had desired from the outset to turn into something positive not just for myself but for others as well. I did not want such an experience to be “wasted” without benefitting from it somehow. This was to be an important step for my healing, but obviously would have to be done at my own pace.

OFW kin to get free IT training from OWWA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/16 Apr) – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has launched a free training program on information technology (IT) for relatives and dependents of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao.

Election official slain in Tulunan

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/15 April) -- An election official in Tulunan, North Cotabato, was gunned down by two unidentified motorcycle-riding men in M’lang, of the same province, around 4 p.m. today.

SPO4 Albert Claudio, deputy chief of M’lang police, identified the victim as Francisco Mecutuan Jr., Commission on Elections officer of Tulunan and a resident of Matalam, North Cotabato.

Post-Lenten reflections of an Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim: Moving forward (1)

Part I 

Humanitarian Milet B. Mendoza was held captive for 61 days from September 15, 2008 by the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan. She concludes her captivity story with some insights on how to understand and approach the kidnapping problem in the complex areas of conflict. This will be published in two parts. 

(Note to readers: this is supposed to be the third part of Ms Mendoza's series on her captivity but she has opted to do a two-part post-Lenten reflection on Moving Forward. Ms Mendoza gave MindaNews permission to run this two-part series  – MindaNews ed)

An Inexplicable Calling

I have been fortunate to have worked in Mindanao for many years and particularly to have worked with our Muslim brothers and sisters in Central Mindanao as well as the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) area. As a program coordinator for Tabang Mindanaw, I coordinated humanitarian assistance for hundreds of thousands of indigenous Filipinos during the El Niño in April 1998 in Southern Central Mindanao, and also during the all-out-war between Philippine government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Central Mindanao which displaced hundreds of thousands of the civilian population from 2000 to 2003.

Yano wants quiet life after retiring

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 April) – “You don’t want me to have a rest?”
This was somewhat the bewildered reply from Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano when asked if he did not, at all, lobby for an extension of his tour of duty as the country’s top military official.

Butuan organizes 300-strong fully armed task force vs criminality

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/14 April) -- In its campaign against criminality, especially against the menace of drugs, this city has organized a 300-strong fully armed peace keeping task force composed of Army soldiers and paramilitary men trained in Davao City, to be deployed in its 86 barangays.

RDC-12 wants all nat'l gov't offices to transfer to Koronadal

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 Apr) – The Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao is pushing for the full transfer by June of all regional departments, bureaus and offices of the national government to Koronadal City, the region’s designated regional seat and center.

From 54% to 66%: more Mindanawons want GMA out by 30 June 2010

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 April) – Nationwide, 66% of voting-age Filipinos are against amending the Constitution to allow Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to remain in office after June 30, 2010, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported.

Army division chief asks public to report soldiers' abuses

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 April) – “Report to us.”

Vowing he will not condone or tolerate abuses by his men, Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division here asked the public to “inform me or my staff of any soldier” who does commit abuses.

1 killed, 2 injured in grenade blast in S. Kudarat

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/14 Apr) – A former barangay kagawad was killed while his wife and son were injured in a grenade explosion inside his house in the municipality of President Quirino in Sultan Kudarat province midnight last Saturday, belated reports said.

The agonies of an Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim (2): Coping with Captivity: One victim’s...

2nd of a series

The following write-up recounts how one victim of the Abu Sayyaf coped with her enforced detention for 61 days at the hands of her captors. While realizing that the ability and the means of dealing with such a situation is unique to each victim and is a product of one’s background and the circumstances under which one is held, it is hoped that this narration will help other potential victims find the strength to persevere under the difficult situations that they will find themselves in. At the same time, the writer also hopes that this recounting will provide others – families and friends of victims, the general public and those persons tasked with the responsibility of securing the safe release of victims – an inside look at how possibly a victim may be dealing with the difficulties he or she faces.

Ms Mendoza gave MindaNews permission to run this three-part series.

Armed men kill 2 PDEA agents

KIDAPAWAN CITY  (MindaNews/13 April) -- Armed men gunned down two operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA-ARMM) and seriously wounded two others in an ambush at Barangay Dumalangcob in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao at a little past 5 a.m., today.

Former Abu Sayyaf captive writes about life in captivity

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 April) –  Humanitarian worker Milet Mendoza has written a three-part series of her 61-day in captivity under the Abu Sayyaf, which she sent out by e-mail to friends on Maundy Thursday.

Mendoza said she wrote about her 61-day captivity in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan from September 15 to November 14, 2008, “in the spirit of sharing to raise understanding to the plight of the kidnap victims - past, present and future - particularly by those who are able to provide moral, spiritual, psychosocial support to the victim, and policy support to this pressing concern.”

The agonies of an Abu Sayyaf kidnap victim (1)

1st of three parts

The writer, a humanitarian worker, was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan in September of 2008. She recounts part of her ordeal in the hope that the public and particularly government officials who are tasked to address the problem of securing the safe release of other kidnap victims begin to appreciate the harrowing experiences that victims go through. It is easy to direct strategies from the outside when one is not personally affected. But if the welfare of the victims is primary in the declared intentions of said officials, it becomes necessary to see the situation from the perspective of the victims. This, it is hoped, will enable authorities to make their decisions in a more informed and humane manner. This first part recounts the fears and uncertainties that the writer experienced during her 61 days of captivity. This will be followed with another article which will try to explain how she coped with the situation, and finally a third article with her reflections on the entire experience.
Ms Mendoza gave MindaNews permission to run the series.

Bukidnon gov't to buy 12 new vehicles

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 April) -- The provincial government is buying at least 12 brand new cars, including service cars for the governor and the vice governor, and pick up vehicles for the different departments of the capitol.

180 families rendered homeless by Good Friday fire

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/10 April)---  A hundred and eighty families have been rendered homeless by fire that destroyed 158 houses in Puroks  3 and 4 in the city’s version of Tondo in Barangay Saray on Good Friday.

The fire started at 12:15 noon and was contained by 3 p.m.

How do you solve the problem of loose firearms?

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/09 April) – The Philippine National Police in Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao) has proposed the issuance of stickers on all registered firearms in the region, to distinguish these from illegal firearms.

Malaybalay to exhume bodies of slain rebels

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/8 Apr) – The city government here has approved the request of relatives to exhume the remains of slain communist ebels who were buried in a mass grave on April 1.

Fire in Cotabato City slums razes 50 houses

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/8 Apr) -- A fire right in the middle of a slum area here destroyed 50 houses as fire trucks had a hard time getting close to the fire due to the narrow roads. 

The noon-time fire today devoured shanties at Purok Islam in Barangay Poblacion-Dos, city officials said.

SC endorses opening of 5 more RTCs in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/07 April) – A proposal for the creation of five more Regional Trial Courts in Bukidnon has been forwarded to the House of Representatives, Supreme Court Administrator Justice Jose Perez told judges here.

Extortion eyed in bomb attacks on bus firms

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 April) – Police authorities are looking at extortion and business rivalry as possible motives in the string of attacks against a bus firm operating in Southwestern Mindanao during the past months, the latest of which was the bombing of one of its passenger units in Koronadal City over the weekend.

Malaybalay evacuees afraid to go home

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/07 April)  – Residents of barangay Zamboanguita who fled when suspected New People’s Army guerrillas attacked on March 31 a paramilitary patrol base in the village have refused to go home saying they were unsure whether it was safe to return, social workers said.

The attack left 18 persons killed – four members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit, 11  rebels and three civilians.

Fire guts Lantapan school rooms; damage placed at P5M

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 April) - Fire razed eight of the 16 rooms of the Valbueco Elementary School in Kulasihan in Lantapan, Bukidnon on Saturday, the Bureau of Fire Protection reported Sunday.

F01 Arnul Bonbon, BFP Lantapan fire arson investigator, told MindaNews via telephone that the fire started in an old classroom converted into a storeroom for broken chairs and tables. The fire spread fast to a whole block of classrooms.

Sulu officials cautioned vs illegal arrests; CSOs say 43 arrested

DAVAO  CITY (MindaNews/05 April) – The Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (Saligan-Mindanaw) and Bangsamoro Lawywers Network have cautioned  local government officials and the police and military in Sulu that the declaration of a state of emergency there does not give them “a blanket authority to arrest any or all suspects, even of terrorism,” as reports reaching the lawyers’ groups from Sulu’s civil society organizations,  indicate 43 persons have been arrested since the declaration.

DPWH to check on Mangima contractor's qualifications

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 April) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways  (DPWH) has vowed to look into the qualifications of H. Oaminal Construction, Inc., contractor of the P48-million Mangima road rehabilitation project in northern Bukidnon.

Alamada evacuees fear going home

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/05 April) -- Displaced families in Alamada, North Cotabato, have refused to return home due to threats of attacks allegedly by renegade Moro rebels in the area.

Security tightened in Region 12 for Holy Week

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/05 April) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Southwestern Mindanao or Region 12 is on heightened alert status following the bus terminal blast in Koronadal City on Saturday.

Community consultations on peace process start next week

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 April) –  The Bishops-Ulama Conference- initiated consultations with communities on the peace process will begin after the Holy Week for Catholics and Protestants but the Moro and Lumad sectors can already start their respective focus group discussions, Fr. Albert Alejo, project team leader of Konsult Mindanaw! told a press conference Friday afternoon.

5 injured in bus terminal blast

KIDAPAWAN CITY  (MindaNews/04 April) --  Five  passengers were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded just as Husky Bus 388 was entering the bus firm’s terminal along General Santos Drive,  Koronadal City at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday.


Moro woman is 2nd placer in bar exams

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 April) –  Mylene Amerol-Macumbal of the Mindanao State University ranked second in the 2008 bar examinations with an average score of 85.65 percent, just .05 per cent lower than the 85.70 rating of topnotcher Judy Lardizabal of San Sebastian College.

Ms Macumbal teaches taxation at the MSU-Institute of Technology in Iligan City.

Malaybalay mayor open to local peace talks with NPA

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 April) -- Mayor Florencio T. Flores Jr. has remained open to talking peace at the local level with the communist New Peoples Army (NPA) following the  most recent attack on a paramilitary post in a remote village here, killing at least 18, three of them civilians.

Homemade bomb explodes in Ipil; no one injured

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay (4 April 2009)  -- A homemade bomb exploded at around 4:10 a.m. last Wednesday, April 1, destroying the façade of the L&A Construction and Electrical Supplies in the downtown area here, but no one was injured.

Bukidnon's "Yellow Ladies" irk drivers but they produce results

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / April 3) - Half a year after the provincial government introduced female traffic enforcers now known as “Yellow Ladies,” has travel safety improved along Bukidnon’s highway? 

The Land Transportation Office in Bukidnon says there are gains to cite.

2 of 3 missing NPA members in ComVal found in Leyte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – Two of  three members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) who were allegedly abducted on January 26 by elements of the 66th IB and Scout Rangers in Compostela Valley were reunited with their families in the provincial jail in Palo, Leyte on April 1.

Karapatan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Kelly Delgado said  Ruel Cabales and Catherine Guinoo-Cacdac were confirmed to be at the Leyte provincial jail afternoon of March 30, when he got a call from Karapatan Eastern Visayas asking him about Cabales and Cacdac.

ICRC appeals anew to kidnappers to free Vagni and Notter

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is “relieved” that Filipino engineer Mary Jean Lacaba was freed Thursday evening but remains “very concerned about the safety of its other two kidnapped staff.”

Burying the enemy: what are the rules?

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/2 Apr) – “How do you bury your enemy?” Army personnel apparently had to attend to this issue as 11 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas were killed in a clash with paramilitary troopers in the outskirts of this city on March 31 and no relative had come to claim their bodies.

Virgie Flores, chief of the city social welfare and development office, said nobody claimed the bodies of the rebels killed in the clash at Zamboanguita village in Malaybalay’s Upper Pulangi district, at least 40 kilometers from downtown Malaybalay.

Bombing suspect nabbed in NorthCot

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/2 Apr) – A suspected bomber said to be among those behind an explosion that injured eight people in May last year was arrested Wednesday. 

The police identified the suspect as Emmanuel Ibarra Jr., who also goes by the name Jun Guevarra. He was earlier charged of violation of the Anti-Terror Law or the Human Security Act.

ICRC's Lacaba is free