national news

Prominent Mindanao historian affirms BARMM coming-of-age

May 3, 2021

COTABATO City – An eminent historian has expressed elation over the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) two years after it was created by law following a plebiscite in 2019 and amidst a popular movement calling for an extension of the transition period from the old to the new autonomous government.      “Historic,” said Rudy Buhay Rodil, a prolific author and academic who used to teach at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology in Iligan City.      Rodil was a member of the government panel negotiating peace with the Moro National Liberation Front (1993-1996) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (2004-2008).      Responding to questions about his opinion on Muslim Mindanao, he said “the fruit of GPH-Bangsamoro husay exchanges, from 1975 to 2020, has ripened into the BARMM.”      Husay, according to the historian, means “peace processes or peace negotiation.”      “Yang husay, ito ang matagal na nating ginagamit sa lahat ng conflicts, nagkakaiba sa spelling depende sa tribu pero ang husay (means) fixing conflicts, laging meron palitan ng salita, kasali ang facial expressions or gestures by hand or fingers (Husay has been used in fixing all conflicts. It just differs in spelling depending on the tribe),” he said.      He added: “Maraming nuances ang husay exchanges. Naging simula ang paggamit ng (It has many nuances and it was first used in) peace process ng UN (United Nations) at ng (and) Peace Commission before it became OPAPP.”      OPAPP stands for Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. The peace commission was established by the Aquino administration in 1987.      Rodil added that the creation of the BARMM, even as it still awaits an extension of the period of transition, “is good not only for the Bangsamoro (but) also for the peoples of Mindanaw-Sulu, certainly for the Republic of the Philippines.”      “We have federalism in action,” he said.      Federalism has been a longstanding advocacy by several Mindanao groups over the last decades.      Proponents have cited its partiality to decentralized governance and more equitable enjoyment of opportunities and distribution of wealth.      Legislating federalism, however, has remained elusive.      A Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) was set up following the BARMM’s creation in 2019, the tenure of which is currently the subject of an intense campaign for an extension.      The period within which the BTA could operate before finally being disbanded was initially pegged at 2022.      But the Covid-19 pandemic posed practical and serious challenges to institution-building efforts, prompting a multi-sectoral push for an extension to 2025. (PR)

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DOLE, CPD strengthen parenthood, labor force employment program in R10

April 15, 2021

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY--The Commission on Population and Development (CPD)-10 and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-10 intensified the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning for Labor Force Empowerment (RPFP4LFE) program campaign for the reproductive age employees of three (3) multinational companies in Northern Mindanao.      This, after CPD-10 Regional Director Neil Aldrin G. Omega met DOLE-10 OIC Regional Director Albert E. Gutib for an intensified discussion highlighting content of the memorandum of understanding that supports to the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RA10354), Executive Order No. 12.      Both departments aim to address the unmet need for modern family planning among couples, women and individuals of reproductive age.      Gutib disclosed that the implementation is anchored from DOLE Department Order No.56-03, Series of 2003 which mandates all companies with more than 200 workers to establish a Family Welfare Program (FWP).      The collaboration shares the objective of serving the interests of the employees of SM Cagayan de Oro; Republic Biscuit Corporation; and Del Monte Phils., Inc. with the goal of reaching more individuals particularly those at the labor force who are deprived to avail free services from public health centers due to the performance of their productive roles.      Gutib added that the program strengthens its regional FWP implementation, as well as fostering public-private partnership and empowerment among the employees through promotion of their reproductive health rights by providing family planning information and services.      The implementing manufacturing and retail companies, all active members of the Northern Mindanao Federation of Family Welfare Committees have a total of 6,800 female employees who are in their reproductive age. (DOLE10/PIA10)

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BARMM targets more poor communities for housing projects

April 5, 2021

COTABATO City -- Poor communities across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are expected to benefit from the continuing housing program implemented under the Kapayapaan sa Pamayanan (KAPYANAN) project.      Abdulnasser Usman, KAPYANAN deputy project manager, said the undertaking is one of BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim’s flagship programs for the region.      “The decent housing projects include solar-powered lighting facilities and water connection,” Usman told reporters here in an interview Wednesday.      Also on Wednesday, construction of 50 housing units started in Barangay Damalasak, Pagalungan, Maguindanao.      On Tuesday, the KAPYANAN team led the groundbreaking ceremony for 50 units of permanent core shelters intended for indigent residents of Barangay Guinibon, Datu Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao.      Usman said each housing project costs P23 million, complete with solar-powered lights and community water facilities.      Since the pandemic restrictions that started in March last year, Usman said several groundbreaking ceremonies for KAPYANAN projects for the other BARMM provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi had been delayed.      “Due to the emergence of the virus, the implementation of the housing projects were momentarily halted,” he said, adding that the projects would soon resume.      He added that some challenges included construction bidding and donation of land property which caused further delays in the actual fulfillment of the projects.      Usman said that the approved target areas for housing projects in 2019 totaled 2,630 with Maguindanao having 1,130 core shelters, 1,000 for Lanao del Sur, and 500 for Tawi-Tawi.      “Besides, for the year 2020, a total of 5,000 approved core shelters were to be built equally for all five provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi,” he said.      Each KAPYANAN housing unit has a floor area of 36 square meters with two bedrooms, living, dining, and kitchen areas.      The housing projects are expected for completion this year. (PNA)

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Andanar: Normin poverty incidence drops to 17.3% with ELCAC

March 8, 2021

Prioritizing conflict-affected and poverty-stricken areas, Communications Sec. and Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS)-10 Martin Andanar said the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC)-10 marked a substantial reduction of poverty rate in the region from 32.3 percent among families in 2015 to 17.3 percent in 2018.      “The coming together of stakeholders, and the transformation into peaceful and productive communities were made possible with the implementation of CAPDev (Convergence Areas for Peace and Development), our enabling umbrella program that has been institutionalized at all levels of governance,” Andanar said during the Joint NTF-ELCAC and RTF-ELCAC-10 Meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, March 5.       The secretary also highlighted the Barangay Development Program, which he cites as a way to revisit and reorient one’s self on who and where the enemies operate; and recognize the fundamental tenets of good governance, citizen participation, and synchronized action by all sectors, not in combat, but in conviction to achieve the marching order of the President.       For his part, National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. thanked the secretaries, LGU officials and national agencies as they continued to manifest their commitment to end the local communist armed conflict.       He said the government is very proud of the Regional Task Force Region 10 under Andanar for accomplishing a lot for the region.       "We start this to collectively battle the pandemic, to ensure peace and safety for our people in northern Mindanao and Mindanao as a whole," Esperon said.       Assuring Esperon of the continued support for the President’s goal on ending local communist armed conflict, Andanar said, “The work continues and must be pursued with greater commitment and passion as the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte to ELCAC is by 2022, meaning less than two years from now or to be exact around 480 calendar days.” (RTP/PIA10)

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Public transport resumes with more expensive fares

May 4, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- Buses from one of Mindanao’s leading public transport firms are back on the road for the first time since the enhanced community quarantine was downgraded to modified community quarantine. Rural Transmit of Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) resumed operations on May 1st on its route in Cagayan de Oro City to Lugait, Misamis Oriental. On April 30, Iligan Mayor Celso Regencia issued Executive Order No. 40 placing the city under MCQ which allowed public transportation (jeepney, taxi, tricycle. trisikad and calesa) to operate within the city proper.  This now allows Iligan residents, who are dependent on public buses, to go home after they got stranded in other places. However, since buses from outside Iligan are not yet allowed to enter the city, the RTMI buses are operating meantime from their terminal at the Centennial Park at the boundary of Barangay Dalipuga, Iligan City and Lugait town in Misamis Oriental. Robert Abanid, RTMI dispatcher assigned at the temporary terminal, said six units of aircon and 12 units of non-aircon bus are now plying the said routes from 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM. "We have to comply with social distancing and limit the number of our passengers as required by the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board). To cope with the unoccupied seats, we have to implement the regular fare which is P165 pesos for aircon and P135 pesos for non-aircon in lieu of the 'promo fare' before the COVID (pandemic)," Abanid said. RTMI was offering a ‘promo fare” of only P100from Cagayan de Oro City to Iligan City for both for aircon and non-aircon buses prior to the lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aircon buses can accommodate a maximum of 49 passengers and non-aircon buses 33 but with social distancing enforced, aircon units are limited to 25 persons at any one time and non-aircon, 17. From the boundary of Lugait town and Barangay Dalipuga, passengers have to disembark and take a jeepney to go to the city proper for P20 pesos, although fares can vary from P22-18, depending on the driver. Meanwhile, public utility jeepneys plying within Iligan City proper are also observing physical distancing and can only accommodate half of their usual capacity. An Armak Jeep that usually carries 26 passengers is now allowed only a maximum of 13, while smaller jeepneys with a 14-passenger rated capacity are only allowed seven at  one time, said Raul Permites, chairman of Coalition of Lanao del Norte Utility Transport for Change (CLUTCH). Thus, the CLUTCH has petitioned the LTFRB to allow them to collect P12 pesos per passenger (not 15 as earlier reported) for the duration of the quarantine.  Permites said the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 in Iligan already approved the request but CLUTCH is still waiting for the response of LTFRB Region X. Iliganons have mixed reactions to the proposed increase. Commuters Ruperto Ybañez and Jun Pacapat said a 100% increase of minimum fare to P15 pesos is quite expensive but they depend on public transportation to go around the city. "It is not okay with me but I am forced to pay the amount to get to my destination," Ybañez said. "I only have a daily salary of P300. If you take P30 from that for my fare, and 50 pesos for my lunch, how much will be left from my salary? But then, I also understand the driver's plight," Pacapat said. Joe Limbaring, a jeepney driver on the San Miguel route, said he has been charging P10 per passenger but if a passenger only gives him P7 he is fine with it. Flor Montebon, a jeepney operator on the Ubaldo Laya route, said she allowed her three drivers to operate the three units and she is not collecting rental but the drivers take care of their fuel. "Wala ko naningil og 'boundary' kay lu-oy man gud pero tubilan lang nila ang jeep. Ayha nako magningil kung mobalik na sa normal ang tanan, akong tabang sa ilaha, pero sila nalang magpa-gasolina," Montebon said. (I did not collect rental because I pity them. I'll only start collecting when we are back to normal. It's my way of helping them but they will have to spend for their fuel.)

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DA-DTI Kadiwa at Diskwento Karavan offers consumers more affordable options

May 4, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Northern Mindanao have launched a joint project of provide consumers with a wider array of agri-fishery products, basic necessities and other prime commodities through the Kadiwa at Diskwento Karavan (KDK), at the DA-10’s parking area.  DA’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita and DTI’s Diskwento Caravan have been integrated in the KDK, a beefed-up marketing initiative which brings diverse and reasonably priced essential commodities closer to the homes of Kagay-anons amid the COVID-19 imposed community quarantine.  “We have laid this out to give our consumers access to a one-stop shop offering fresh produce and manufactured goods closer to their homes to decongest major public markets,” said Carlota S. Madriaga, DA-Regional Field Office 10 (DA-10) regional technical director for operations.  “Affordability is a key feature of the items being sold in the KDK. Since the capacity of business establishments have been reduced, this is a big help for our consumers trying to get by during this crisis,” she added.  The KDK sells agri-fishery and other food products as well as basic goods at cheaper rates, since middle men have been eliminated and farmers and manufacturers linked directly to consumers.   “We value the safety of our personnel, suppliers and consumers. Proper physical distancing and wearing of face masks are imposed, and we encourage shoppers to bring their eco- bags and grocery lists, which will help them finish faster and avoid possible infections through congestion.”  All these measures and the selection of barangays to be served are being undertaken in close coordination with the Agricultural Productivity Office of the Cagayan de Oro city government and barangay officials.  Merchants included in the kick-off are Canitoan Farmer’s Cooperative, Miarayon Talakag Highland Farmers Association, Farmgrown Association of Claveria, San Miguel, Oyster Mushroom, Municipal Agriculture’s Office of Claveria, CNQ Agriventures, Barra Agro Industrial Multi-Purpose Cooperative, True Chef’s Choice, Inc., Great Grand Intention Foundation, Inc., Ginama and private individual seller, Imee Poklawan.  KDK is set to serve more Cagayan de Oro barangays in the coming days.#(DA RFO-10)

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