10.13.2009

PIA News Service - Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009

The Butuan Boat comes to life!

Coined the Voyage of the Balangay, this historical pursuit once again positions the Balangay or the Butuan Boat in the global limelight! The Balangay will sail across the globe in four (4) years time using the ancient technology, all dependent on the strength of the earth’s environment elements.

Starting from Manila, the balangay dubbed “Diwata Ng Lahi” will sail across the country for 144 days under normal weather conditions with the Philippine Waters comprising its First Phase from September to February 2010.

Its stop-over in Butuan City coined “Voyage of the Balangay Landfall” comprises its 5th Leg of 10. It is tentatively scheduled on the first week of December according to local historian, Greg Hontiveros.

Included in this 4-day stop over are reflected in the calendar of activities below.

The Second Phase comprising the countries of Southeast Asia-Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Taiwan that will be traversed from March to July of 2010 and eventually embark on an epic global trip through the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans until 2013.

The oldest evidenced water craft of its kind in Asia excavated in Brgy. Libertad, Butuan City, carbon-dated 320 A.D., the Balangay Boat has been identified to be the trading vessel used by Ancient Kingdom Butuan in trading with other Ancient Kingdoms in Asia like China, India, Malaysia etc. (Malou C. Furia, PIO-Btuan City/ PIA-Caraga)
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Thousands of Butuanons benefited from Mayor Plaza’s Barangay Visitation 

The seven days of Barangay Visitation conducted by Hon. Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II registered a remarkable number of attendees reflecting Two Thousand Nine Hundered Seventy Seven (2,977) beneficiaries of “free medical/dental” services and various kinds of medicines from the City Health Office with an estimated budget allocation of Fifty Thousand (Php 50,000.00) Pesos for medicines per barangay. Meantime, Four Thousand Three Hundred Nine (4,309) children benefited the Milk FeedingProgram from the City Nutrition Office amounting to more or less Thirty Four Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty (Php 34, 720.00) Pesos. 

Fourteen (14) couples who had been living together were officially married by Mayor Plaza at Barangays Florida and Sumile while 70 indigents received ten (10) G. I. Sheets each from the City Planning office as part of the Housing Repair Program of the City government. 

The City Veterinarian’s Office extended anti-rabies vaccination and de-worming of animals while the City Agriculturist’s distributed vegetable seeds. A number of haggard looking farmers experienced relaxation and therapeutic free massage from the expert massauers from Butuan City Manpower Training Center.

OSCA examined, diagnosed and treated 98 OPD patients in their Geriacare-Physical Therapy & Rehabillitatio Center last August 2009 and performed major surgery on six (6) patients with cataract at Butuan medical Center while two (2) were operated at Butuan Doctor’s Hospital using Phacoemulsification cataract surgery. All major surgeries were perfomed by Dr. Maria Theresa V. Heyrosa, MD, Eye Program consultant of OSCA which is headed and managed by Hon. Councilor Randolph Plaza.  
 
The number of attendance of clients served every barangay visitation has gradually increased as compared in the last two years owing to the simple truth perhaps that aside from the fact that all ervices are free, the ambience is like a grand fiesta celebration plus of course you get the chance to personally meet the chief executive, the elected officials and head of offices. An “open forum” is arranged by the PIO where a constituent can directly ask or demand from the mayor an immediate action on their requests while concerned chiefs of offices are on standby to answer queries. 

It is worth noting here that back in the 1990’s when Mayor Plaza served his first term of office as Mayor of Butuan, he has already practiced barangay visitation even before the emergence of the Local Code 1076 of the Philippines mandating all local chief executives to conduct barangay visitation in their respective areas of jurisdiction at least twice a year. (Malou C. Furia, PIO-Btuan City/ PIA-Caraga)
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Army Engineers to start building roads in the Andap Complex 

As part of the government’s Kalayaan sa Barangay Program, the 52nd Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army will start the construction of an all-weather road connecting Kilometer 5 of Barangay Diatagon, and Purok 5 of Barangay San Isidro, all of Lianga Municipality, Surigao del Sur. This project is part of a bigger road improvement program covering Post 1 up to Kilometer 16, Sitio Han-ayan, of Barangay Diatagon. 

In line with this, the 36th Infantry Battalion, 4ID Philippine Army has begun securing the area to prevent the disruption of the project. The Barangay Council of San Isidro, Municipality of Lianga, has also requested for the establishment of a CAA Detachment in their community for purposes of securing government projects as well as for flushing the NPAs out of their barangay.  
The efforts of the Philippine Army to address the problems of the community people have been criticized by several quarters and have even gone to the point of denouncing the presence of the military research team as an act of MILITARIZATION. The worst is that the Philippine Army has been accused of harassing the people in defense of so-called mining interests in the Andap complex. 

Pressed for answers on this accusation, LTC DENNIS GODFREY GAMMAD (GSC) INF PA, Commanding Officer of the 36th Infantry Battalion, said that they are not in the Andap Complex to support mining. “With or without mining projects, the Philippine Army will be in the area to secure government projects, and to dismantle the guerilla bases of the CPP-NPA”. 

The Andap Complex in Surigao del Sur has been proven by the Philippine Army to be the base of operation of Front Committee 19A of the CPP-NPA. Records of several violent incidents and reports of surveillance missions indicate that the CPP-NPA has been using the Andap Complex as staging ground for their different activities in the province of Surigao and nearby province of Agusan del Sur. 

“Today, all the efforts at denouncing the presence of government troops in the Andap Complex is nothing but a lame defense of the guerilla fronts of the CPP-NPA. No explanation is plausible enough than the fact that the Andap Complex is a guerilla base,” LTC GAMMAD concluded. (4ID, Philippine Army)
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More Surrenderees from GF 89 

Four members of GF 89's Militia ng Bayan surrendered to the Commander of the 8th Infantry Battalion yesterday, October 2, 2009.

Jumar Tilocan @ Andres, 28 years old from sitio Kaungahan, Barangay Canangaan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon together with Ronie Guinombay, Rudy Guinombay and Elyong Anci-an all residents of sitio Bandawan, Barangay Canangaan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon surrendered to the Peace and Development Team (PDT) of the 8th Infantry Battalion with their firearms composed of 1 caliber 30 M1 Carbine, 1 shotgun and 1 springfield rifle.

From the time Alfredo Mapano, the NPA's NorthCentral Mindanao Regional Committee leader, was arrested, more that 50 regular and militia ng bayan members of Guerrilla Front 89 have surrendered with their firearms. It can be recalled that Mapano, who has 8 warrants of arrest for various cases filed in Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur and Misamis Oriental, was arrested by the joint team of PNP and Army last August 1, 2009.

The mass surrender of GF 89 members have significantly reduced the strength and influence of the NPAs in the areas of Cabanglasan and hinter Barangays of Malaybalay City. (4ID, Philippine Army)
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Withdrawing NPAs Liquidated 1 CAFGU 

Members of New People's Army who were reported to have harassed commuters along the national highway in Lingig, Surigao del Sur last October 6, 2009 liquidated one (1) CAFGU at Km. 23, Road 5 at Barangay Bugak. The NPAs were withdrawing when they shot the unarmed CAFGU to death.

The CAFCU, identified as PAQUITO E CORTEZ SS-A002593, is deployed to 12 SDS CAA Company based in Surigao del Sur. (4ID, Philippine Army)
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Evacuation in Surigao del Sur: A Mere Creation of the CPPs Propaganda Machine 

Not a single shot was fired. So what caused the evacuation?

Various organizations coming from the extreme left have accused the Philippine Army, specifically the 58th Infantry Battalion of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, of terrorizing some 15 communities of the Manobo Tribe in Surigao del Sur. As per press release by the Friends of the Evacuees in Surigao del Sur, around 1,500 individuls from 15 lumad communities of Lianga, San Agustin, and Tago, Surigao del Sur were forced to leave their homes because of massive military presence in their barangays.

Yet local leaders, including the Roman Catholic Church, have denounced the allegations as mere propaganda. Fr. Florio R. Falcon, DCT, speaking on behalf of the Bishop of the Diocese of Tandag and the Board of Consultors, pointed out in a letter sent to some civil society members that people living around the so-called “affected communities” had been surprised by the massive evacuation because they have not heard of any eruption of hostilities, nor had there been massive deployment of troops by the Philippine Army. 

Fr. Falcon has clarified that what they have observed was just the usual military deployment in the communities as part of their routine operations to patrol the areas where sightings of NPAs have been reported. The operation could hardly be considered as something that could trigger massive evacuation. 

The subject military operation was not a military operation in the strictest sense of the word. When troopers belonging to the 58th Infantry Battalion went to Brgy Lagdik in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, they were there to start a process of community consultation-cum-problem identification towards identifying and formulating possible development projects for the communities. In fact, these activities were first presented to the Provincial Peace and Order Councils and the Municipal Peace and Order Council purposely to get their nod and support to the planned peace and development intervention. 

With the support of the local government units, the different government line agencies, and the local church and other stakeholders, the intervention eventually commenced last June 2009. Army Troops were deployed in the communities to be able to gather relevant information relative to the requirements of peace and development, the whole intervention being the expression of the 4th Infantry Division’s concept of Community Organizing for Peace and Development. The information gathering process would have matured into a full-scale development intervention where different government agencies, private sector, and the local government units would work hand in hand to address felt problems by and among the community people. 

Unfortunately, the noble intentions of the army was seen by the left as a threat not to the community people but to the operations of the CPP-NPA in the Andap Valley Complex. With the soldiers going the rounds of community discussion and consultation through community integration, the CPP-NPA feared that the people might eventually speak out and expose the CPP-NPA operators in the communities. It was this fear that compelled the CPP leadership in the area to start orchestrating the most organized evacuation that ever happened in Surigao del Sur. 

The paranoia of the CPP led to its desperate drive to cry foul even when what the Army intended to do was bring development into the communities of indigenous peoples in the Andap Complex. If it was not paranoia, then how else can one explain the massive evacuation when there were no armed hostilities, or that there was no massive military operation in the communities? 

At the expense of the people’s welfare, the CPP then mobilized its cadres, its front committees, and its organs both in the red area and the white area to conduct organized evacuation with the twin objective of dramatizing the impact of militarization, and the protection and defense of party organizations and structures in the Andap Complex. It was a mobilization to defend the established apparatus of the CPP-NPA, no more and no less. The lumad communities were merely used as faƧade. 

Finding no support from the local people except for the usual organizations who are known to close their eyes on NPA atrocities, the CPP propaganda machine orchestrated a national propaganda campaign that will bring attention to the plight of the evacuees in Surigao del Sur. Unknown to many people, the evacuation was the CPPs creation through its legal organizations and NGOs in the area. And the national exposure was no less than the result of the CPPs propaganda barrage. (4ID, Philippine Army)
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POLICE REPORTS
By PO3 Arturo Suganob Campania

Accomplishment on loose firearm 

On October 12, 2009 at 3:00 in the afternoon at Barangay Rojales, Carmen, Agusan del Norte, PNP personnel of Carmen Municipal Police Station together with Hon Jacarias Bago, Sangguniang Bayan member of Carmen, Agusan del Norte conducted verification on the drop box for unwanted firearms.

The drop box contains the following: one cal .22 revolver with defaced serial number and one homemade shotgun (sumpak). Recovered firearms are now under the custody of Carmen Municipal Police Station for proper disposition. 

On October 12, 2009 at around 4:00 in the afternoon at Santiago Municipal Police Station, one male person who requested for anonymity and resident of Barangay San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte brought his one unit improvised 12 gauge shot gun and turned over to the Chief of Police of Santiago Municipal Police Station. The surrendered of firearm was witnessed by Hon Elmer Monteclaro, Barangay Captain of Barangay San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte. Said firearm is now under the custody of Santiago Municipal Police Station for proper disposition. 

Also, at around 8:30 in the evening at the National Highway in Barangay Ampayon, Butuan City, City Mobile Group (CMG) personnel of Butuan City Police Office while conducting checkpoint operations at said place, one concerned citizen approached them and voluntarily turned-over his homemade cal .38 revolver without serial number. Said firearm is now under the custody of CMG BCPO for proper disposition. (PNP-13/ PIA-Caraga) 

Report on fire incident 

On October 12, 2009 at 7:30 in the evening, a fire incident transpired at the Unitop Commercial Building owned by Mr Frank Tenk located at Burgos Street corner San Francisco Street, Butuan City.

Responding personnel from Butuan City Fire Station led by FINSP Rey Antonio was able to control the fire at around 7:55 in the evening of same date. Initial investigation conducted by the BFP revealed that the fire started at the stock room of said establishment which resulted to an estimated Php 100,000.00 damages. No reported casualty during the incident. (PNP-13/ PIA-Caraga)

PNP arrests wanted person 

On October 9, 2009 at 6:00 in the morning in front of Claver National High School, Barangay Tayaga, Claver, Surigao del Norte, a certain Zaldy Larong, 27 years old, married and resident of Sitio Tayawod, Barangay Daywan, Claver, Surigao del Norte was arrested by PNP elements of Claver Municipal Police Station led by PINSP Renel E Serrano.

Suspect was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest (WOA) issued by Hon Judge Victor A Canoy of RTC Branch 29, Surigao City , docketed under CC no. 8402 for murder with no bailbond recommended.

Arrested person is now detained at Claver Municipal Police Station for proper disposition. (PNP-13/ PIA-Caraga)