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CHR welcomes plan to grant it power to prosecute

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / Nov 23) - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office here has welcomed the plan of legislators to clothe the institution with power to prosecute violators of human rights.

COMMENT: Disturbing questions (1) By Patricio P. Diaz

(1st of a series) 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 Nov) -- Due to the lack of space, we did not develop in our last Comment one introductory paragraph that was pregnant with disturbing questions. Behind these questions lie answers that could shed light on the present disaffection of the Moro National Liberation Front and the controversy over the implementation of the 1996 the Final Peace Agreement.

COMMENT: Once… Then… Now by Patricio P. Diaz

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 November) -- Once, they were one. Then, they split over the issue: "Autonomy or Independence?" Now, they will be contesting the same Bangsamoro territory and people because of their separate peace agreements with the Philippine Government. That's the 30-year MNLF-MILF story.

CA asked to junk motion for TRO vs aerial spray ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 November) – Individuals living near banana plantations here and organizations acting as third party intervenors in a case involving the ban on aerial spraying have asked the Court of Appeals to deny a motion that seeks to stop the city government from implementing the ordinance.

Kidapawan launches solid waste management program

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/Nov 17) – Local government officials, including environment experts from southwest Mindanao, today led the dry run of the implementation of the solid waste management project which aims to address the city’s growing garbage problems, especially in the public market.

COMMENT: Excuse, please. Correction

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 16 November) -- A report of Agence France Presse posted by last November 14 stated: “Under the 1996 deal (Final Peace Agreement), the MNLF agreed to end its bloody separatist campaign against the government in exchange for the creation of a Muslim autonomous area in the southern Philippines.”

COMMENT: Looking into Jeddah meeting

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 November) -- The oft-postponed Tripartite Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – at last – started last Saturday, November 10, late in the afternoon (towards midnight in Manila). With the OIC Peace Committee conducting the meeting, the other two parties were the Moro National Liberation Front and the Government of the Philippines.


COMMENT: Not for Filipinos. By Patricio P. Diaz

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 November) -- At 81, I am a retiree and a senior citizen. My SSS (Social Security System) pension is more than P1,000 short of what I need for maintenance medicines to control my asthma, allergy and hypertension. Charity and sacrifice bridge the gap. The need to keep up my reading and writing so as not to lapse to senility with the aid of a computer stretches more the charity and sacrifice.

GMA, Esperon, Razon respondents in first writ of amparo petition in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 Nov) – President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Armed Forces Chief of  Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Philippine National Police chief Avelino Razon and three other military officials are respondents in the first petition for writ of amparo in Mindanao.

COMMENT: More than the Mural. By Patricio P. Diaz

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 Nov) -- More than the mural depicting the history and state of press freedom, the perception of press freedom by the National Press Club was debased and distorted.  The integrity of that perception and of the officers running it needs restoration more than the originality of the defiled mural.

A national artist, a visual artist and an art critic are one in extolling a work of art as sacred and in condemning its retouching by anyone other than its creator in order to please a patron – not an art but a political patron – as a defilement, a form of censorship (, Nov. 5).

COMMENT: Arroyo on the Offensive

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 November) -- Following are quotes and citations from an article, "From the Desk of Donald Rumsfeld …", written by Robin Wright of Washington Post (, November 1, 2007):

"In a series of internal musings and memos to his staff, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that Muslims avoid 'physical labor' and wrote of the need to 'keep elevating the threat,' 'link Iraq to Iran' and develop 'bumper sticker statements' to rally public support for an increasingly unpopular war." (Bold supplied)

COMMENT: ‘Free Misuari’: Gloria’s Test


Two days after plunder convict Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the 30-month immediate past president, drove out of his luxurious estate-detention in Tanay, Rizal – released from life sentence by presidential clemency – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was put to the test by the Moro National Liberation Front.

DENR 12 calls onvoters to junk candidates who vandalize trees

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/12 Oct) – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today urged voters here and nearby areas to reject candidates in the upcoming October 29 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections who posted their campaign materials on trees and even on plants.

COMMENT: Proper or Arbitrary?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 Oct) – At around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, October 25, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye announced President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s order granting convicted former President Joseph Estrada presidential clemency.

JOINT STATEMENT of the GRP and MILF 24 October 2007


The GRP and MILF Peace Panels ended their two-day special meeting today on a high note with both sides expressing deep satisfaction over the successful resolution of major issues to overcome the impasse last September 2006 over the Ancestral Domain agenda on territory.

COMMENT: Pathetic Evasion


In trying to evade the monster named “bribe” with its several aliases that they have created, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the other chief dwellers of Malacañang look pathetic. True to the meaning of the word, they are both compassionately and contemptuously pitiful. But feigning innocence and anger, the President invites contempt more than compassion.

COMMENT: A $460-M Question

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 October) --Why did the government buy P329-million worth of textbooks and computer equipment with instructional materials for the public schools only to be left unused, gathering molds, moth-eaten and deteriorating in stockrooms all over the country? This the Commission on Audit revealed in its 2006 report (, Oct. 10).

Waway’s way: Inspiring tribal artists and craftsmen

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/10 October) -- Internationally known and multi-talented Talaandig artist Waway Saway still does what he does best aside from performing onstage or offstage: imparting his skills in indigenous arts. Despite possessing many talents, he is known for his simple yet unique, multi-medium and spontaneous ways of teaching. This gem of an artist from Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon can handle his students even if they reach a hundred, and regardless of age and gender, a trait that emerged effortlessly when he conducted a two-part comprehensive indigenous arts workshop with the tribal youths of Barangay Dalwangan here.

COMMENT: Guilt and Hypocrisy (3)

(Third of a Series) 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 October) -- How Arroyo could reward Estrada’s arrogance with benevolence defies reason. For all her conciliatory gestures since Day 1, on Estrada’s arrest, she only received derision in return. For instance, ignoring criticisms, Malacañang helped facilitate his knee operation in Hong Kong; yet, in a press conference there, he denounced Arroyo and her administration.

Davao City Council passes resolution in solidarity with Burmese people

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 October) – Davao City legislators on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution expressing the City Council’s “solidarity” with the people of Burma and supporting the calls of the United Nations (UN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the country, renamed Myanmar by its military junta in 1989, to “respect human rights, free Aung Sang Suu Kyi and all political detainees, and move towards democracy.”

Burmese in Davao: “In the language of freedom, our hearts should be beating together”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 October) – A Burmese national who is teaching in a local university here says the solidarity shown by Dabawenyos and other people outside Burma with their struggle back home, particularly at this time when a still undetermined number of protesters have been killed, has given them hope to continue their journey.

“Free Burma” picket staged in Davao City

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 October) –  The international solidarity for Burma's  freedom has reached this city.

Activists belonging to the Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC) lighted sticks of incense and burned small replicas of the Burmese flags in front of the Japanese Consulate office in Ramon Magsaysay Street here this afternoon.

COMMENT: Misunderstanding the calls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 August) -- Like well-rehearsed chorus members, they all sing in unison in response to the calls of the Catholic bishops, the Mindanao Bloc in Congress, other organizations and groups to stop the all-out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu (, August 21):

Maguindanaon arrested without warrant in Manila; incommunicado for 3 days

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 August) – A Maguindanaon farmer who arrived in Manila two weeks ago to apply for a menial job in the Middle East was arrested without warrant on August 3 and held incommunicado for three days and nights, Moro lawyers said in a press statement dated August 7.

Philippine Eagle couple found in Baliguian, Zambo Norte

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 August) –  On the first morning of freedom for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi on July 20,  reporters flocked to Zamboanga City to listen to his story and take photographs.

Tagging Islamic preachers in Basilan killings hit

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/6 Aug) – A Moro human rights group has berated the government for including a number of Islamic preachers in the list of those accused of killing Marines in Basilan.

JPEPA no longer a toxic reality?

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/05 August) – Senators might ratify the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) if it is true that Japan has committed not to export wastes to the Philippines in exchange for economic benefits the country will be getting under the treaty, Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. today said in a statement.

2 bodies of ‘salvaged’ victims found

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/04 August) -- Two bodies of persons believed to be victims of ‘salvaging’ (summary execution) were found floating in two big rivers in Southwestern Mindanao since Friday.

COMMENT: Confusion in Basilan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / August 3) -- The news just out, as this comment was being written, was confusing.  What really do the Arroyo government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police want to happen in Basilan with dire implication on the entire Muslim Mindanao?

DENR says 204 villages in Region 12 flood-prone

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/26 July) --  At least 204 villages in Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao) are reportedly vulnerable to flooding in case the continuing rainy season intensifies, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported.

COMMENT: SONA 2007: Quips and Cranks

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaViews/25 July) --State of the Nation Address 2007 is the best-written of all President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s seven SONAs. If, as reported, she wrote and edited it by herself, she writes better speech than any of her speech writers.

Kuwaiti court: death by hanging for NorthCot OFW

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/25 July) -- May Vecina, the overseas Filipino worker from Matalam, North Cotabato accused of killing the son of her employer in Kuwait, was sentenced to die by hanging, a foreign affairs official said.

CBCP: No more abductions of foreign missionaries, please

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 July) -- What happened to Italian priest Fr. Giancarlo Bossi should not happen again as foreign missionaries are giving great service to the people especially in Mindanao, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said in a statement posted on its website Saturday.

COMMENT: Fr. Bossi free; Peace hangs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 July) -- After 40 days as hostage, kidnapped Fr. Giancario Bossi, PIME was set free on a road in Karomatan, Lanao del Norte at about 9 p.m. last Thursday. But in the aftermath peace between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front hangs. And so it is in Muslim Mindanao.

Father Bossi freed

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 July) – “A priest is like a father and the father would like to return to his children.”

That is what Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi wants to do now after kidnappers who identified themselves to him as “Abu Sayyaf” set him free late Thursday night in Sultan Naga Dimaporo (formerly Karomatan) Lanao del Norte: return to his parish in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Soldiers in Basilan: from one to four battlalions

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 July) --  A total of four battalions of government troops is now stationed in Basilan to “stabilize” the situation in the island province following the July 10 clash between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon said. 

COMMENT: Unfair Share

GENERAL SANTOS CITY                 I

Mindanao has been getting an unfair share of the national budget – deemed not proportionate with its contribution to the national income. This has been the complaint of Mindanao leaders and the Confederation of Provincial Governors, City Mayors and Mayors’ League Presidents of Mindanao [CONFED Mindanao] raised again the unfairness during their organizational meeting in Koronadal City yesterday (July 17). (MindaNews, July 17)

On the burning of the birds: “we just did our job”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 July) --  "We just did our job."

The Regional Avian Influenza Task Force merely implemented the rules provided by the country's protection program and placed public safety over anything else when it burned around 270 heads of wildlife stock smuggled into the city from Indonesia this week, an official of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the DENR said.

COMMENT: End of the race nearing

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 July) -- How the Pimentel-Zubiri neck-to-neck race for the twelfth place in the senatorial derby will end depends on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing tomorrow, Friday, July 13.  Either Miguel Zubiri will be proclaimed or the Commission on Elections en banc will be ordered by the Court to allow Aquilino Pimentel III “to substantiate his claims that votes from Maguindanao had been manufactured and to question poll officials concerned”. (, July 10)

Smugglers use Davao as transshipment point for birds

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 July) -- Agriculture regional director Roger Chio said Davao City is just one of many entry points in Mindanao of the bird smuggling trade in the East ASEAN Growth Area but added that smugglers are eyeing birds for bigger markets in the Philippines like in Manila, where prices are higher. 

COMMENT: Will Arroyo do a Bush?

GENERAL SANTOS  CITY (MindaNews/11 July) -- In the event that former President Joseph Estrada is convicted of plunder will President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo do a Bush or more?

Ka Bel’s freedom inspires movements vs HSA, says Anakpawis

DAVAO CITY (Anakpawis) -- Anakpawis regarded here today the freedom of Congressman Crispin ‘Ka Bel’ Beltran as an inspiration for all the movements that aim to eliminate social injustices as exemplified in the anti-people provisions of the Human Security Act.

Smuggling of exotic birds should be stopped

DAVAO CITY  (MindaNews/10 July) --  Smuggling of exotic birds from countries in the East ASEAN Growth Area should be stopped as it could bring the Avian flu virus to Mindanao, an official of the Department of Agriculture said.

COMMENT: An Unholy Alliance?

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/4 Jul) – “Is your doctor tied to drug makers?” This, a leading newspaper asked in its July 2 editorial. Drug companies did not like the question.

COMMENT: On Wings of Doubt

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – As June 30 neared, the Commission on Elections was in an acid test.  It had to resolve election controversies to pave the way for the smooth transfer of offices from the outgoing to the incoming elective officials.   Two such controversies involved the elections in Maguindanao and in the first district of Lanao del Norte.

After abduction, Cardeno now faces rebellion charges

KORONADAL CITY  (MindaNews/28 June) -- After a two-day torture in the hands of his abductors on June 6 go 8, Bayan Muna  regional officer Gilbert Rey Cardeño is now facing charges of rebellion for supposed links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA).

SouthCot gov’t sets series of orientations on anti-terror law

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/28 June) – The provincial government of South Cotabato will launch a series of public orientations and dialogue with various sectors of the province on the provisions of the controversial Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007 before the law takes effect on July 14.

COMMENT: Alien’s Impression

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 June) – A 19-paragraph long article published in an Australian paper showed an alien’s impression of the Philippines based on his observations of the May 14 election.  Bulatlat that posted the article was silent about the paper’s circulation; however, it is assumed that most of the paper’s readers shared the author’s impression – partially, if not fully.

MINDAVIEWS: Comment: Mixed Comelec signals

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/26 June) -- To accuse the Commission on Elections of  railroading the canvassing of the senatorial votes in Maguindanao in favor of Team Unity candidate  Miguel Zubiri may be unfair but, unfortunately, the mixed signals from the poll body give the opposition grounds to suspect. It sounds firm but it appears pliant.

PBGEA posts P1-M bond for 3–month reprieve from aerial spray ban

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / June 22) – The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) posted today a million peso bond, a requisite to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction the court granted this week, prohibiting the city government from implementing its ban on aerial spraying for three months.