latest headlines

Navy seizes P150-M smuggled cigarettes off Tawi-Tawi

November 11, 2020

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Naval Task Force 61 and its 3rd Boat Attack Division have intercepted a shipment of PHP150 million worth of smuggled cigarettes off Tawi-Tawi, a top Navy official said Saturday. They seized the shipment in waters off the island town of Simunul at about 9 p.m. on Friday, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander, Commodore Toribio Adaci Jr., said. Adaci said the wooden-hull vessel, M/L Nur 1, was intercepted following a tip-off on the entry of the smuggled cigarettes. He said the Nur 1 was found to be loaded with some 3,000 master cases of undocumented cigarettes with an estimated market value of PHP150 million. The boat came from Tarakan, Indonesia, and was en route to a private wharf in Indanan, Sulu. It was skippered by Sahibul Hiyang Sirajan and had an eight-man crew. “It has been the modus operandi of smugglers operating in the region to drop off their goods somewhere and utilize several smaller boats to distribute them to the different places in Western Mindanao,” Adaci said. He said the Nur 1 was escorted to the Lamion Wharf in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for refueling and reprovisioning and would be escorted to this city for turnover to the Bureau of Customs. Appropriate charges will be filed against the owner of the cargo, the vessel, and its crew. (PNA)

READ MORE
(Oped) Best interest of the child

October 29, 2020

ALMOST a month since classes reopened in all public schools, an estimated 22 million children and youth were not able to go to school to learn, play, and socialize with friends, schoolmates, and teachers because of the health risks of COVID-19.     Instead, learners began attending classes at home through various learning modalities such as distance, blended, or modular, as well as online and TV/ Radio-based instruction.   Adapting to these learning modalities has not been easy.While attending online classes at home, children rely heavily on parents and guardians to support them.   However, parents and guardians are also facing different challenges to make ends meet. Some have difficulties in their current work set up while others experienced loss of income and employment due to the lockdown and prolonged quarantine measures imposed to control the spread of the Coronavirus.   Most of the 800,000 public school teachers struggle with the technological difficulties of conducting classes in the digital platforms, compared to the ease of using blackboards and whiteboards. Teachers’ access to laptop and desktop computers, including internet connection, is also a major challenge in conducting online classes.     According to the Department of Education (DepEd), at least 13 percent or 99,155 public school teachers have no computers at home. The DepEd also said that even for 687,911 teachers with computers at home, 41 percent or 280,531 of them do not have access to the Internet, and 10 percent of them–71,128–said there is no Internet signal in their area.   Learning must continue   Amid all the challenges, children’s rights to inclusive and quality education, and to be safe from the health risks of COVID-19 must be fulfilled.   There are 1.6 billion learners globally, and 91 per cent of them were out of school, including children and youth from the Philippines because of the school closures due to the pandemic.   This is the first time in human history that an entire generation of children have had their education disrupted. By being out of school, children can feel anxious and can perceive time differently from adults. A few weeks or months out of school may seem a longer period to them. This means children tend to feel anxious about any period of time they are out of school and the learning and socialization they are missing. They fear they will not be able to catch up and start to worry that the longer schools are closed, the more likely they are to forget about the lessons.   Going to school is critical to children, especially to those living in the toughest places on earth.   For a period of five years, Save the Children has asked at least 1,215 children in six countries about their priorities during crisis. Nearly one in three or 29 per cent ranked education as their top priority, over food, clothing and shelter. These are children who were struggling to survive in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; child refugees from Syria and Afghanistan; children living in conflict zones in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Rohingya children in refugee camps in Bangladesh; and Children displaced by fighting in Ethiopia and South Sudan. Classes may have resumed, but millions of children may not be able to return to school.   These are children pushed into poverty because of COVID-19 as their families are having a hard time putting food on the table and roof over their heads. These are adolescent girls who face risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy or child marriage, trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty, and denied the chance to fulfil their potential. These are children living in conflict-affected areas who are at risk of being recruited into armed groups; children with disabilities; those living in places prone to extreme weather events; and children from indigenous people community.   The current pandemic exacerbates their dire situation, putting them behind and exponentially impacting their lives. This year marks the 30th year of Philippine ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC), once described by South African leader Nelson Mandela as “that luminous, living document that enshrines the rights of every child without exception, to a life of dignity and self-fulfillment.” One of the guiding principles of the convention is for all governments to consider the best interest of the child in all decisions affecting them.   The reopening of classes will meet the learning and well-being needs of children during these times. To ensure the success of distance learning during the pandemic, children, parents and teachers must be provided with support, through an effective feedback mechanism that will help the Department of Education come up with context-based and evidence-based solutions.   The fulfillment of the rights of every child to education during the pandemic can be supported in three ways: keep learning alive during school closure through inclusive distance learning; support every child to return to school when it’s safe to do so; and build back better and more resilient education systems.   Schools give children a sense of normalcy, and the routine of attending classes calm their souls amid adversities.   Education gives children hope and empowers them to build better lives.      ATTY. ALBERTO T. MUYOT Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children Philippines 4th Floor Sunnymede Building, Diliman, Quezon Avenue Quezon City Contact number:(02) 8682 7283 Email address:ceophilippines@savethechildren.org

READ MORE
DAGYAW 2020: 3rd Episode feature challenges of the business and economic sectors

October 29, 2020

The succeeding episodes of Dagyaw 2020 became a hit and It has reached thousands of viewers and users online. The 3rd episode which dubbed as USAPANG NEGOSYO AT EKONOMIYA will be rolled out on October 30, Friday, 9 to 11 AM.       The 3rd episode will bring us to know the state of the Business and Economic Sector in the Region especially during this most challenging time when we are put under the state of national health emergency due to COVID19 pandemic.      The Participatory Governance Cluster of the Cabinet through the Department of the Interior and Local Government Region X (DILG-X), Department of Budget and Management (DBM-X), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-X) will host the 3rd episode of Dagyaw 2020.        NEDA 10 and Oro Chamber will be the guest speakers for the said episode while DOLE 10 and DTI 10 will be the responders. The event will be available through the DILG-X official Facebook Page and will be simultaneously live-streamed on various government agencies’ social media pages.       Moreover, Dagyaw 2020 aims to build mutual trust between the government and the Filipino people by providing open, neutral, and protected space for dialogue on key national and local issues and plans in the post of COVID-19 pandemic. (DILG 10/LGCDD/ Roque Salvo)

READ MORE
Building a Strategic Comeback for 2021

October 21, 2020

For the past several months, hundreds of companies continue to be on the defense because of the influx of unforgiving adversities presented by the pandemic. As most businesses know by now, the lack of preparation and foresight, in a time when massive changes are happening rapidly, can bring a swift yet painful death.   Even if the atmosphere surrounding this health crisis has simmered down, the hard realities faced by executives such as the collapse of demand, the rise in unemployment, changes in psychosocial attitudes and behavior, supply chain interruptions, and the crippling economic recession should still be addressed to ensure the revival of struggling organizations.   A clear direction towards the future which also takes careful consideration of the present situation will help you transition into the much-awaited phase of renewal. To determine the proper course of action that will be followed by your business to effectively enter a period of growth and sustainability, business owners and key leaders must understand the gravity of strategic planning.   Strategic Plan — Seeing the Resurgence of Your Business   The thought of making decisions in the presence of uncertainty can be overwhelming but a solid strategic plan becomes your greatest asset in identifying these uncertainties and in constructing a roadmap that will drive your organization from where you are now to where you want to be.   In strategic planning, long discussions that revolve around the appropriate allocation and adjustments of limited resources and the needed flexibility of structures and operational systems to function in this new normal are expected to take priority as certain calls have to be made.   Familiar questions about the mission and vision will also be revisited as conventional solutions might no longer be viable in this ever-changing environment. Key business leaders must learn to quickly adapt and react to ensure that brand new opportunities will be maximized and that operations will not be damaged by the useless pursuit of obsolete ideas and processes. This will introduce a new competitive strategy that can guide the organization to where it wants to be years from now.   Apart from all that was mentioned above, the overlooked and underappreciated practice of family business governance plays a major role in the company’s goal of staging an impressive comeback for 2021 and it should be included in the strategic plan especially since most of the businesses in the country are family-owned. The crisis has revealed weaknesses in succession plans as leaders get sick without a successor stepping into the plate. We need to be reminded that no matter how groundbreaking the strategy is, if the people responsible for its implementation fail, then all efforts will be rendered pointless.   Now, the most important question we have for you is this: “Is your company prepared enough to plan for your future?   W+B Advisory Group and Icon Executive Asia, who have mounted several conferences and webinars attended by hundreds of high net worth and high profile business individuals and their management teams, recognize the significance of supporting all businesses — whether struggling or thriving — in their path of starting their strategic plan for the next year.   As they continue to champion their “Save Our Business” advocacy which produced the successful Family Business Governance entitled “The Power of Succession” that happened last August 29, W+B and Icon invites you to their upcoming webinar entitled  “Strategic Plan 2021: Setting the Stage for a Major Comeback” on October 24, 2020, Saturday, at 10 AM.   This event about strategic planning and corporate rehabilitation will feature top-tier speakers, namely Mr. Stephen Lin and Prof. Eric Soriano, who are renowned subject matter experts all over Asia.   Should you have any inquiries, you may reach W+B Advisory Group at 0945 342 4446 / 0917 324 7216 or send an email to inquiries@wbadvisoryasia.com

READ MORE
CPP-NPA documents reveal LGU officials “contribute” to rebels’ war coffers – AFP

October 21, 2020

CAMP EVANGELISTA  - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed  the detailed methods and tactics of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) in their extortion activities, and asked the LGUs, politicians and would-be candidates  to stop “contributing”  to the war chest of the communist rebels. In a press conference with officers of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club e3arly this week, Major General Andres C. Centino, Commander of 4th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force-Diamond,  bared that based on seized documents and also revelations of arrested rebels, the NPA  has been undertaking  two kinds of extortion: its regular extortion or Rebolusyonaryong Buwis sa Kaaway na Uri (RBKU) and its Permit-to-Campaign (PTC) and Permit-to-Win (PTW) fees for the election  of national, and LGU officials. The AFP-CRS  in its report, explained that the RBKU is the NPA’s principal means of financial and logistical procurement. Guidelines for the NPA’s fund-raising pursuits are issued by the CPP's Executive Committee.  In  their "modus operandi"  in exacting RBKU,  the NPA first identifies, through its local unit, its potential target, and then investigates them on their income for accurate computation of taxes. The NPA extortionists predetermine the minimum and maximum amount to be paid by the target. During negotiations, armed NPAs are usually in attendance to pressure the target to yield, added the report of AFP-CRS. Gen. Centino also said their (NPA)  targets also include agro-industrial firms, mining companies, bus operators, construction companies undertaking government projects, and even small businesses such as sari-sari store owners. According to  Centino, the standard rates are six to seven percent of the gross income for logging operators; one to two million pesos for bus companies; for big ranch proprietors, the NPA’s annual collection is based on every cow head; for agricultural landowners, the NPA’s collection depends on the hectares owned, such as 20-25 percent of net income for 151 hectares or more. Payments have to be in 100- or 1,000-peso bills, while small bills, checks and real properties are not accepted. “The target may substitute monetary payment with a computer unit or high-powered firearms, cellphones, medicines and equipment, among others. For long-term targets, re-negotiations are conducted after a year; and an annual increase is imposed,” the AFP-CRS said, adding that the collected fees are immediately remitted to the NPA’s higher organ where 80 percent of it is forwarded to the NPA’s National Finance Committee (NFC) while the remaining 20 percent is retained by the lower organs. Highest collecting rate for 2009 came from the business establishments with P42.2 million, followed by logging concessionaires with P28.7 million. AFP-CRS said that in its policy, the NPA metes out punishment to those who refuse to pay and to those who renege on their payments. In 2009, the NPA attacked at least 61 business establishments with an estimated P103 million in damages for non-payment of extortion fees. “The NPA is not selective of its victims for as long as it can exploit their vulnerabilities. By extorting from the simple farmers and workers, obstructing aid and progress, the NPA is further impoverishing poor households and villages,"  It was during the 10th Plenum of the CPP Central Committee in 1991 that the CPP saw the potential to exploit election season through the imposition of “Permit-to-Campaign” fees or otherwise referred to as access permits or Campaign Access Fee (CAF). The NPA began collecting PTCs during the 1992 national elections. In the last three national elections, the NPA was estimated to have amassed a conservative estimate of P93.8 million. The going rate is from P5,000 to P20 million from municipal councilor to president. The rates may vary in different regions and depending on the candidate’s affinity to the CPP-NPA movement. CPP-NPA allies are exempted from payment. In 2004, the NPA upgraded to Permit-to-Win (PTW) fees wherein they guaranteed votes of CPP-NPA sympathizers. As the NPA punishes those who refuse their extortion demands, the same punishments are meted out to politicians who ignore their PTCs and PTWs. Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights issued an advisory on February 25, 2010 condemning the NPA’s PTCs and PTWs as “repugnant in all possible ways to valued human rights principles and standards, not only of candidates and political parties, but of the individual voters as well.” Extortion is a criminal offense under the Revised Penal Code Articles 294, 295, 296, 299, 300, 301, and 302.  The documents show the NPA price for local candidates ranged between P150,000 and P1 million.  “Our deterrence efforts against NPA extortion, however, proved more effective when residents tip us of NPAs presence and when companies or local politicians inform us of their extortion letters and harassments. We urge the people to help us mitigate NPA extortion and harassments by reporting to law enforcers these incidents because if they choose to pay, the more that this will embolden the NPAs to extort and the more that harassments will continue,” the AFP said.

READ MORE
October 15 is GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY | Our cases are rising, our water supply failing

October 13, 2020

Cagayan de Oro’s COVID-19 cases have breached the 1,000-mark after the City Health Office released data Saturday showing Cagayan de Oro is undergoing a surge of COVID-19 infections fueled mostly local infections — beginning August with 154 cases. The infections quadrupled to 606 cases in September, with 26 new cases reported since October 1. Already, 81% of the city’s Temporary Treatment Monitoring Facilities (TTMF) and city isolation units are occupied (970 patients vs. 1,200 beds capacity). The city is closely monitoring the infection cluster at the Del Monte cannery in Barangay Bugo after 20 of its 4,000 workers were found infected. Factory workers are reportedly among the city’s COVID-19 “super spreaders”, making up 60 percent of confirmed infections, because many of them go home without taking a bath and washing their hands, city health officials said. A MindaNews report said the Center for Health Development in Northern Mindanao reported a total of 3,396 cases in Northern Mindanao as of 3 p.m. on October 9, of which 1,005 are in Cagayan de Oro City, 671 of which are local cases, and 334 locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos.   The worldwide commemoration of Global Handwashing Day this October 15th to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing, leads us to ponder if there is a tangible relation between the city’s continued inability to meet its residents’ need for a clean, safe and steady water supply and the rising cases of COVID-19, especially local infections among factory workers. Should the super spreaders among workers failure to take a bath and wash their hands be directly related to the lack of clean and steady water supply in their homes and work places, it would be in the best interest of all to know the truth behind such a correlation and act accordingly. Handwashing protects our own health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities, and the world. Why Does it Matter Now? The COVID-19 pandemic provides a reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus is also one of the simplest: hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap. To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, handwashing with soap must be a priority now and in the future. How Can I get Involved? It’s easy! Join the handwashing movement and help celebrate Global Handwashing Day and make handwashing a habit 365 days a year. Make handwashing a priority in your school and at work. Help build awareness about handwashing with your family, friends and community. If you have a problem with the water supply in your home or work place, report this immediately to the Cagayan de Oro City Water District website or Facebook page. You may also report related issues to our City Council Committee on Public Utilities chaired by Kag. Bong Lao, Committee on Health, Sanitation and Health Insurance chaired by Dra. Malou S. Gaane or Committee on Environment and Natural Resources headed by Kag. Eric D. Salcedo. Happy Global Handwashing Day everyone!    

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.