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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Kanoy Bukidnon, a multi-sectoral group of young professionals in the province is organizing a forum on the Mindanao Peace Process on January 31, 2009 (Saturday).

The new group invited historian and MSU professor emeritus Rudy B. Rodil from Iligan City to give a lecture at the Bukidnon State University Media Resource Center from 1-6p.m.

Prof. Rodil, an author of several books on Mindanao and a peace advocate, was vice-chair of the disbanded government peace panel that negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He was also part of past peace panels, including the panel that negotiated for the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Among the topics to be discussed include the Memorandum of Agreement between the MILF and the government. There will also be a presentation on the history of the conflict in Mindanao.

Representatives from different sectors in the province were invited to attend the forum.

This forum is organized with the Bukidnon State University Social Science Department, the Davao-based Initiatives for International Dialogue, MindaNews, and Association of Local Artists of Bukidnon.

Officials at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have allowed the cutting of trees in a reforestation project in Baungon, Bukidnon to give way to a supposed ecotourism park that would serve as a “municipal landmark” and “tourist attraction”.

Roughly one hectare of trees has been cut at the 220-hectare Nicdao
Reforestation Project put up by the DENR in 1989, a move that has incensed
members of the provincial board.

“This is foolish, stupid, and dubious,” Board Member Rogelio Lago said after
the special session yesterday where local DENR officials were asked to
explain their action.

Lago, a former mayor of Baungon, told MindaNews the reforestation project
was funded by the Asian Development Bank.

The project site, which was planted to gmelina, was cleared on January 6
based on a memorandum of agreement between the municipal government and the DENR regional office, he added.

Then DENR regional director Maximo O. Dichoso and Baungon Mayor Ardan J. Roa signed the agreement on November 17, 2008.

Dichoso issued a memorandum on December 19, 2008 indicating his approval of the cutting of trees.

A total of 550 gmelina trees with an estimated volume of 253 cubic meters
and a diameter of 20-35 centimeters each were cut down, he said citing a
report from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office.

“How could they allow the cutting of the trees in a reforestation project
just for them to plant trees? This can push us to doubt their integrity,” he
said.

Lago said the clearing is shameful and that the provincial board is poised
to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation.

“We could even proceed to filing of administrative cases and complaints at
the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.

“Shame on them for allowing the clearing. The DENR has approved the cutting
of trees when in neighboring Cagayan de Oro people are suffering because of
the floods,” he said.

The eco-park project is eyed at Sitio Kamatayon, Nicdao, Baungon, near a
site where Lago said he had proposed a tree park during his time as mayor.
He said his proposal did not include cutting of trees.

Narzal Muñez, CENR officer of Talakag whose jurisdiction includes Baungon
and neighboring towns, appeared at the session to explain DENR’s side, as he
was the one who gave the recommendations for the MOA to Dichoso.

Muñez cited in a letter about the MOA to his superiors that “the development
plan (of the project) necessitates the removal of the existing gmelina trees
to pave the way for the introduction of engineering structures, ornamental
and flowering plants.”

Board members, however, lambasted Muñez.

“How could you as a forester allow that [cutting of trees in a reforestation
site]?” Board Member Oliver Owen Garcia said.

Lago pointed out that while the DENR has certified that the area is within a
“timberland project” it also said the land has undergone a cadastral survey
which would make it qualify under the alienable and disposable category of
lands.

Timberlands are owned by the state while alienable and disposable lands may be titled in the name of private persons or corporations.

Lago also said there were discrepancies in the tax declaration of the heirs
of Segundina Abugaa, who claimed the 200-hectare reforestation project is
part of her family’s property.

“I couldn’t see they paid taxes for cutting down the trees. There is no
permit to transport tax here,” he said showing a tax declaration document.

The MOA provided that Abugaa, referred to as “PO (people’s
organization)/claimant” may use 75 percent and the DENR 25 percent of the
sales from the felled trees.

Lago vowed to dig deeper into the case. He said he and Board Member Glenn
Peduche, chair of the committee on environmental protection, land use, and
zoning, will initiate the probe next week.

Baungon is one of the few areas where the rare large flower Rafflesia grows.

Scientists have discovered 23 species of Rafflesia aside from four others
which are yet to be verified.

The official state flower of Sabah in Malaysia, Rafflesia is also found in
the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Thailand.

Provincial board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. said an ordinance passed last year by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan could be Bukidnon’s recourse against abusive mining and quarrying operators.

Beltran told MindaNews Wednesday this could be a chance to regulate the applicants eyeing mining explorations or operations. The provincial board passed late last year an ordinance “further protecting the environment in the province” by requiring any person who is engaging in the business of exploration, development, and utilization of mineral and quarry resources to seek accreditation with the SP.

The ordinance requires a number of requirements to be submitted by the applicants to the provincial board. The accreditation will be made as a requisite to the issuance of the mining and quarrying permits. Read More »

What do you think is the best and the worst part of every Kaamulan Festival celebration?

Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma R. Zubiri Jr talks to a reporter in front the new Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center in Casisang, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on January 14 during inaugural rites.

1368-our-bukidnonPhoto Courtesy of  Earl Bolivar.

(Also appears at MindaNews.com) Some 50 to 60 armed men believed to be New People’s Army rebels attacked the city jail in Barangay Patpat here Wednesday carting firearms and wounding a policeman and a construction worker.

Police Chief Supt. Orlando Beñas said the attackers did not free any prisoner but just snatched the firearms. The incident occurred a little past 4:00 p.m.

By 5:50 p.m., Mayor Florencio T. Flores Jr. declared the area had been cleared and that there was no need to evacuate residents.  

Police and military officials tagged the attack to the communist New People’s Army.

The attackers snatched three armalite M16 rifles from the guards of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and three short firearms from local police. The pistols taken were identified as  a 9mm Berreta pistol, a .38 Armscor revolver, and a .43 caliber Norinco firearm.

The jail’s base and hand held radio and the police’s hand held radio attached to the mobile was also carted. Also taken were six M16 magazines full of live ammunition.

PO3 Ronnel Diez was hit in his left chest and arm.  Another person, identified as jail laborer Junmark Prandas  was also wounded in the attack.

Beñas said Diez was with a police team who were in the jail to turn over some detainees from the Police lock up jail in downtown Malaybalay.

Initial police account said the armed men drove in three vehicles, two multi cabs and a forward closed van type vehicle. Five persons including three women rode in the first multi-cab and reportedly posed as jail visitors.

But when attended by the guards they then declared they were from the NPA, fired at the building as some members were entering the jail, and took the firearms.

The incident took about 30 minutes, according to the police incident report obtained by MindaNews on January 22.

When police reinforcement was sent and troops of the Philippine Army drove to the jail, the attackers withdrew in two groups one towards southeast and another towards the eastern part of the hinterlands behind the jail.

Col. Danny Pabunan, deputy commander of the army’s 403rd infantry brigade, said the suspected rebels aborted their operation when the police and military forces came.  

He said they are conducting pursuit operations as of press time.

The jail warden is still mum on the incident as of press time.

Beñas stressed the motive was arm snatching and ruled out a report they were meant to grab an inmate. 

He said after carting the firearms half of number of armed men “withdrew to the mountainous area behind the jail” and another eastward behind the Carmelites monastery in a property close to the jail.

He said the attackers were heavily armed themselves, carrying M16 and machines guns.

Pabunan said the army prevailed in an encounter that ensured between his troops and the rebels’ blocking force in Sitio Pal-eng near a Carmelites’ monastery.   

Reports said the attackers planted land mines on the road to the jail from the Sayre Highway, but Pabunan dismissed it as probably “leftover firecrackers” or misplaced landmines. “It did not cause us damage,” he said.

Flores has assured residents the area is back to safety even if he said he is likely to call for an emergency meeting of the city’s peace and order council.

Just the night before, two persons were shot killed near a lotto betting station about 120 meters away from the gate of the army’s Camp Osito Bahian. The victims were identified as Bueno Samson, 50, a retired policeman who was reported to have served as bodyguard of the late Rep. Reginaldo Tilanduca, and a man identified as Roger Odilon Santos, 42.

The motive of the killing is still unknown.

The jail attack spawned panic in downtown Malaybalay City at around 4:15 p.m. when police received a report about the attack from residents in Patpat village who have heard of firefighting near the jail. 

School children and passersby near the police station were advised to go home and clear the roads as rumors spread that half of the attackers were moving towards downtown area in a bus they have taken over.

Patpat is around seven kilometers from downtown Malaybalay.

But as of 5:50 p.m. Mayor Florencio T. Flores Jr. spoke over radio station DXDB from the jail confirming that police and military personnel have cleared the area and there is no need to evacuate residents near the jail.

“The military and the police are here to plan out next steps. They will stay here,” Flores said assuring order was restored but admitting such things could happen to a peaceful city. Flores told DXDB the incident would mar the peace and order situation in the city.

But there is no plan, he said, to relocate the city jail since it’s already in an isolated area (from population).

Flores said he would likely call an emergency meeting of the city peace and order council.

A full report appears at MindaNews.com.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s proclamation taking at least 670 hectares from the Central Mindanao University’s titled property and awarding it to the Manobo-Talaandig tribe as ancestral domain will not hold through, as only Congress may alter a reservation, former CMU president Isabelo Alcordo said. “There is no way GMA can take land from CMU. The titling of CMU’s land is a closed issue,” Alcordo, third president of the university said.

Alcordo spoke to fellow members of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association Bukidnon Chapter on January 18.

CMU has challenged the proclamation in court and the case is now at the Supreme Court, according to Gideon Cabahug, one of the officials close to CMU officer in charge Rodrigo Malunhao, in a text message to MindaNews Monday.

Alcordo told UP alumni any legal mind would say CMU’s reservation is “untouchable”.

The President could not take away a titled land on the mere basis of a presidential proclamation, he said, adding [the titling process of the reservation] was completed during his term, in 1974.

“Unless they go to Congress and have them amend the title of this reservation,” he told MindaNews Sunday.


The University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) Bukidnon Chapter elected new sets of officers in a meeting on January 18 at the Central Mindanao University campus in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon.

CMU’s Dr. Luzviminda Simborio, the outgoing UPAA chapter treasurer, was elected president, replacing outgoing president BSU’s Dr. Estela Itaas.

The chapter held a convocation, fellowship, and general assembly meeting at the College of Veterinary Medicine Hall in CMU with the theme: “UP Alumni: Centennial Grand Hurrah”.

Two vice presidents were elected: businessman Rueul Gallo for central Bukidnon and CMU’s Mae Flor Prantilla for southern Bukidnon.

Lawyer Tala Tambaoan was elected secretary while CMU’s Dr. Cecilia Amoroso was chosen as the new treasurer.

DTI provincial director Ermie Abang was elected auditor. Journalist Walter Balane and Casisang Malaybalay City kagawad Mya Rosos were elected as public relation officers.

For the board of directors the following were elected: Engr. Leo Limbo and Dr. Edralina “Eddy” Santiago (for central Bukidnon). Dr. Zenaida Caintic and Dr. Raquel Espiritu (for southern Bukidnon). Dr. Itaas, immediate past president, automatically becomes a member of the board.

Former CMU president Isabelo Alcordo, a UP Alumnus himself and an invited speaker inducted the new officers. CMU officer-in-charge Dr. Rodrigo Malunhao was invited but was not able to attend.

Dr. Remy Barreto, outgoing chapter secretary, said there are at least a hundred members of the association as of press time.

UPAA Bukidnon chapter was organized in 1913, five years after the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908. (Bukidnon Our Home)

(First appearred in MindaNews.com on January 9)

He used to be a staunch critic of members of the broadcast media, even padlocking radio stations in Valencia City during his two-term stint at city hall. But guess who is now a broadcaster himself — operating, programming, and going on-air in his own radio station.

Former Valencia City Mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. now operates DXVC, a new 1-kilowatt FM radio station broadcasting from Bagonta-as, Valencia City.

The station styles itself as a member of a network of radio stations owned by the Polytechnic Foundation of Cotabato and Asia, Inc. (PFCAI).

Aside from playing music, the station airs a commentary program hosted by Galario himself. But former mayor said his radio station has a mission to report the truth in the city he alleged to be often shielded in media reports. He said the station’s programming is not “scripted”.

His son Glenn, who lost to Rep. Teofisto Guingona III (2nd Dist.) in the last elections, sits as a disk jockey, sources said.

Galario was elected mayor in 2001 when he, then a popular police chief, defeated former Bukidnon Gov. Carlos Fortich. He also won against then vice mayor Jose Leandro Catarata in 2004. Read More »

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri led inauguration rites of the multi-million Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center Wednesday described by his father Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. as the “best local government owned hospital in Mindanao today”.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who elder Zubiri said was the one who asked to lead the rites, skipped the ceremonies due to “bad weather”. 

Senator Zubiri exhorted the modern medical facility as a realization of Gov. Zubiri’s aspiration to provide quality health services in the province.

He said Zubiri’s thrust is in social services while other governors focus on infrastructure.

The building of provincial hospitals was born out of the problem of people asking for financial assistance from politicians because private hospitals are unaffordable.

He cited the Zubiris experience of seeing lines of people in their residence seeking money for medication among other reasons.

He said the Provincial Indigency Health Project, which is considered by the provincial government and other LGUs as a model, tried to address the problem, Zubiri said.

But there were large excesses incurred by the patients when going to private hospitals, he added.

Zubiri said the provincial government-owned hospitals were meant to address the excesses, to make health services more affordable.

Zubiri said the BPMC is the “largest and best government hospital in Northern Mindanao” citing the modern equipment and facilities imported from either US or Europe”.

Gov. Zubiri said they used funds sourced from Japan’s JBIC at P215 million and from Germany’s KFW at P142 million to build the BPMC and the provincial hospitals in Maramag and Manolo Fortich over the past three years.

He said it is for the “poorest among the poor” because they deserve only the best health services only the rich can afford”.

Dr. Sulpicio Henry Legazpi, Bukidnon Provincial Hospital chief, said it is also a way to keep local doctors from going abroad.

But Legazpi admitted to this reporter that while they opened the new hospital it won’t be operational immediately. Equipment and facilities are not yet complete in the new structure.

But he said more than half of the total of P150 million hospital equipment has already arrived. 

Legazpi prided the tertiary hospital as fully equipped affording “diagnostic capability at par with regional medical centers”.

He said they are looking at the first quarter as a target so operation will go on at the old Bukidnon Provincial Hospital near the Capitol.

But he announced a medical-dental-surgical mission from January 16 to19 at the BPMC site.

He announced that out patient medical consultations for children and adults would be held there also for consultations on eye, ear, nose, throat cases. There would also be dental clinics to be put up.

He said there would also be minor and major operations to be conducted for cases such as goiter, hernia, cataract and many others. 

He said a total of 50 doctors mostly from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine Batch 1962 are joining the mission.

He said Senator Zubiri sponsored the health mission.

Exactly 20 years ago on January 12, then Bukidnon bishop Gaudencio Rosales (now Manila archbishop Cardinal Rosales) wrote a letter to the Philippine Senate, succeeding series of fasting by both laymen and clergy, and picket actions by residents of the province, that led to the declaration of the Total Log Ban in Bukidnon.

Rosales urged for the legislation against destructive commercial logging and the declaration of the total log ban.

Rosales’ letter came after years of parishioners’ picketing, fasting, and other prayer and protest actions started in San Fernando town organized by PSK or the Pagbutaw sa Kamatuoran (To be awakened to Truth).

The pickets were addressed against CCA, a big logging concessionaire in the area, calling for a stop of operations. The pickets were marked by highway barricades blocking logging trucks in Malaybalay. Read More »

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is due to arrive in Bukidnon Wednesday morning to lead inauguration rites of the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center in Casisang, Malaybalay City.

Dr. Sulpicio Henry Legazpi, Bukidnon Provincial Hospital chief said the President has confirmed attendance for the much-delayed opening of the new 200-bed hospital.

Legazpi admitted, however, that the hospital will not be immediately operational because they still await arrival of more hospital  equipment.

He announced a medical-dental-surgical mission, however, on January 16 to 19, 2009 to be held at the new hospital.

It’s a case of a barangay asserting its power against a big business entity.

Members of a village council blocked trucks of a banana firm operating in southern Bukidnon from passing through barangay roads for a day to compel it to comply with its July 2008 commitment to “immediately” repair the roads.

The Dole South Skyland-Stanfilco Division Dangcagan Farms, which operates a banana plantation in Dangcagan town vowed to start road repair work in Barangay Osmeña this week, five months after it pledged “immediate repair of roads.”

Barangay chair Alejandro Durog told this reporter in a telephone interview that Dole failed to repair barangay roads and comply with other commitments forged during a meeting between the firm and representatives from Osmeña and three other villages, on July 24, 2008. Read More »

The city council here has approved P433 million for this year’s budget of the city government, including adjustments for City Hall reorganization.

The move was one of the first actions of the City Council this year on its first regular session on January 6.

The Council approved P175.17 million under general fund expenses budget for the 29 departments and units of the city government.

The city government also allotted P80 million for “statutory and contractual obligations” sourced from 20-percent development fund.

The city government’s mandatory budget for calamities and for gender concerns was pegged at P21.53 million each. Read More »

Police here killed a suspected robber and arrested two others in a pursuit operation Monday against a group of five men who reportedly held up a businesswoman outside the gate of Mindanao Grains Co. Inc. near Aglayan, a highway barangay here.

 

The suspects took the unidentified woman’s bags containing approximately P400,000 and fled on motorcycles towards Barangay Linabo where they were cornered, police said.

 

Police officials considered the incident as a score against robbers who have victimized business establishments and individuals south of poblacion Malaybalay City.

 

Police Superintendent Orlando Beñas told this reporter a suspect identified as Arnel Mañaga a.k.a. Matoy was killed in a “running gun battle” along the road in Sitio Lalawan in Linabo.

 

Mañaga’s address was traced to Dilapa, Quezon town in southern Bukidnon.

 

Police recovered a .45 caliber pistol in his possession, P53,000 cash and the red Honda motorcycle he reportedly used in his escape.

 

They nabbed another suspect, 31-year old Bernie Henteroni Jr. of Salay, Misamis Oriental, in possession of a 9mm pistol and P174,000 cash.

 

Malaybalay City police and members of the 1003rd Provincial Police Mobile Group (PPMG) were able to capture another suspect identified as Glecerio Refuela, 33, a resident of Quezon City.

 

Two other suspects were still at large.

 

Police recovered only P227,000 of the P400,000 declared by the victim to have been lost.

 

Beñas asked that their identities be withheld in media reports in order not to jeopardize search operations.

 

He said that today the suspects pointed to a man identified as Alexander Sersan as the ‘spotter’.

 

He said Sersan approached barangay officials in Linabo to clear his name.

 

Nonetheless, he was arrested and is now detained along with Hentoroni at the police detention cell.

 

Beñas linked the group to another robbery incident two months ago involving a corn farmer.

 

The farmer identified one of the suspects in the recent incident as the same person who robbed him.

 

The woman victim is engaged in the business of changing checks of clients of the grains company to cash. Farmers and traders sell their corn produce at the firm and are paid in checks. Instead of going to the banks to cash their checks, the clients go to the businesswoman.

 

Beñas said it is likely that there are ‘spotters’ who are looking for prey among people who exchange checks for cash in corn mills and other firms.

 

He warned business establishments to take precaution in handling cash transactions.

 

“If  they need to, they have to be escorted by security personnel. But if they can avoid bringing cash, they should use checks instead,” he said.

 

The police official alleged that a local businessman is behind this syndicate group.

 

He said the group, although relatively new, may be behind previous robbery incidents.

 

He said none of the suspects is in the city’s wanted list

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