PIA News Service - Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hostages freed after five days of peaceful negotiation

by David M. Suyao

AGUSAN DEL SUR, April 7 -- The 13 remaining hostages out of the 16 that were abducted by the armed tribal group on April 1, 2011, were finally freed after peaceful negotiations between the crises management committee (CMC) negotiating panel and their abductors.

At around 6:00 in the morning of April 6, the abandoned hostages were recovered by the CMC negotiating panel at Sitio Balete, Barangay La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. Except for some minor bruises and insect bites, all the abandoned hostages were in good physical condition, according to the negotiating panel.

The freed hostages arrived at the CMC center in Prosperidad town proper at around 9:00 in the morning, looking haggard, but the joy in their faces cannot be concealed upon seeing their relatives settled in one place, waiting for them. They were immediately ushered inside the house of Mayor Albin Magdamit that also serves as the CMC center and were immediately attended by physicians and psychologists for medical examination and stress debriefing.

“Except for fear and unnecessary movements in the area that made us weak, our abductors treated us well. They even let us eat first before they fed themselves,” one of the hostages who ask his name be withheld said.

According to Prosperidad mayor Albin Magdamit, the CMC, along with Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza took their cue from the clear instructions given by President Benigno Aquino III himself which is to exhaust all peaceful means to resolve the hostage situation. Mayor Magdamit added, the President has been keeping track of the situation from the very beginning.

“This development was a result of a dialogue between Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza and myself with that of the Perez brothers. The Perezes clarified their demand that what they only wanted was for them to be treated fairly which were then assured by Gov. Plaza and myself, because we believe that with these assurances, along with the mounting pressure from our troops on ground, forced the abductors to leave their hostages. As result, the commitment of the government to resolve the hostage situation was clearly manifested The preservation of lives, both of the victims and the abductors, was the primordial concern. In each step of the way, decisions were made with the ultimate goal of the safe release of the hostages. And as we all see, that at the end of the day, regardless of motivations or reasons behind any action of an individual or group of men, we are still governed by our laws and it is our job to see to it that these laws shall prevail,” Mayor Magdamit said.

As chairman of the CMC, Mayor Magdamit also expressed his deep gratitude to all the people who have been involved and have helped the CMC in one way or another in resolving the situation peacefully. He also acknowledged the full support given by the national government and other agencies in ending the crises. He also appreciated the media for their cooperation, understanding and professionalism in covering the incident. (PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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Butuan Bishop thankful for peaceful ending of hostage-taking in Agusan del Sur

by Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, April 7 (PIA) – Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan expressed his gratitude for the peaceful resolution of the hostage-taking in La Purisima, Agusan del Sur.

In an interview with a local radio station here, the leader of the Catholic Church in the city has been thankful to all the people who have offered their prayers which resulted to a peaceful ending of the hostage taking in Agusan del Sur where the remaining 13 hostages were abandoned by their abductors on Wednesday morning and rescued by the government troops headed by the 402nd Brigade of the Philippine Army.

Pueblos also lauded the joint efforts of the government forces and stakeholders for the successful outcome of the series of negotiations made with the hostage-takers.

Bishop Pueblos also enjoined the people to be transparent at all times and whenever problems or issues arise, they should get in touch with the proper authorities so that these may be resolved peacefully.

Known for being an advocate for peace and development, the church leader of the city’s Diocese is also the lead convenor of the Caraga Conference for Peace and Development (CCPD). It is composed of members from the religious sector, the government, non-government organizations, Indigenous Peoples, the business sector, the academe and the media. Representatives from these different sectors have come together for a common goal of genuine peace and holistic development. It is also dedicated to an improved coordination of relief efforts for people affected by conflicts and calamities in Caraga. (PIA-Caraga)

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DepEd-Caraga chief lauded stakeholders for the safe release of hostaged officials, teachers in Agusan del Sur

by Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, April 7 (PIA) – Department of Education (DepEd)-Caraga Regional Director Gloria Benigno today lauded the efforts of the public and private stakeholders for the safe release of DepEd officials and teachers who were held hostages by the group of Kinkin Perez in La Purisima, Agusan del Sur.

In an interview with the local tri-media in Caraga Region, the Education chief of the region expressed her gratitude to those who have resolved the hostage-taking peacefully.

“In behalf of the DepEd family headed by Sec. Armin Luistro, I personally thank government and private stakeholders who have exerted their relentless efforts in resolving the hostage-taking,” the DepEd regional chief said.

Dir. Benigno also thanked the cooperation of the national and local media who covered the event for responsibly delivering the news and information to the public.

“I would also like to thank the national and local media for cooperating with the local crisis management committee and for handling all information professionally,” Benigno said.

As of press time, report said that after the stress debriefing, the 13 victims are already reunited with their respective families.

It can be recalled that the 13 remaining victims were abandoned Wednesday morning (April 6) in an undisclosed area in Sitio La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur after they were held hostage by their abductors on Friday (April 1) at around 6 o’clock in the evening after attending graduation exercises. (PIA-Caraga)

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Balanghayan Grow a Million Tree Project launching set

by Nora CL Molde

BUTUAN CITY, April 7 (PIA) – The city government of Butuan will launch “Balanghayan Grow A Million Tree Project” a flagship program of the new administration on Saturday, April 9, this city.

Mayor Ferdinand Amante,Jr. said this is a tree conversion project that aims to reduce the vulnerability of Butuan City to natural disasters.

The launching will commence with a series of activities to include: “Commitment Signing” of the undertaking by the stakeholders, and by “Ceremonial Tree Planting” in six identified barangay sites of Butuan city. Identified barangays include Ampayon, Buhangin, Mahay, Bancasi, Libertad and Ambago.

Amante also said the project is in support of the national government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of climate change through the “Billion trees Project” of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

Amante also enjoined partners in the protection of our environment for the welfare of the present and future generations to participate in the project’s series of activities. (PIA-Caraga)

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Summer jobs available for 4,000 studes in Caraga

TANDAG CITY, April 7 (PIA) - More than 4,000 students coming from the poorest of the poor families aged 15-24 will benefit from the summer Job in Caraga Region.

Also known as Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES), it is set to start on April 11.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director Ofeliua Domingo said, registration and orientation are now ongoing. Domingo told Radyo ng Bayan, summer jobbers will render service either for 20 or up to 40 day period.

Qualified applicants are required to submit birth certificate, Income Tax Return (ITR) and grades.

RD Domingo also said, her office has already gotten the commitment of Local Government Units (LGUs). With a 60/40 sharing on the minimum wage payable unitl August, the bulk rests with employer-LGU.

Caraga DOLE Regional Director Office has earmarked P7M for SPES.

The SPES was started by the then President Corazon C. Aquino 19 years ago after the Congress enacted Republic Act 7323 on March 30, 1992. Subsequently, RA 9547, enacted in 2009, expanded the coverage of the program by introducing amendments to the original SPES law.

Any student may apply for employment under the SPES provided he or she meets the required qualifications as follows: He or she must be 18 years old of age but not more than 25 years old; the combined net income after tax of his or her parents, including his or her income if any, does not exceed the latest annual poverty threshold level for a family of six as determined and provided by the National Economic and Development Authority; and he or she must at least have gotten an average passing grade during the last school term attended. (Greg Tataro Jr./PIA-Surigao del Sur)

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Cebuano News: Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas, Suportado ni Mayor Jun Amante

BUTUAN CITY, April 7 -- Ang syudad sa Butuan nakigduyog sa nasyonal nga programa kabahin sa Iligtas sa Tigdas ang Pinas pinaagi sa usa ka Door to Door Measles Supplemental Immunization Campaign alang sa tanang kabataan nga nagpangidaron sa siyam (9) ka bulan hangtod otso (8) anyos ang edad. Kini unang gipahigayon ngadto sa Barangay San Vicente Health Center niining dakbayan sa Butuan niadtong Abril 4, 2011.

Ang mao nga programa gipangunahan sa Department of Health (DOH) og inabagan sa City Health Office (CHO) nga gidumalaan ni Dr. Josephine C. Chua uban ni Hon. Virgillo G. Nery, SP Chairman Committee on Health. Kini usab gitambungan usab ni Hon. Raul P. Carampatana, Punong Barangay sa Barangay San Vicente, og ni Hon Rauzil Carampatana, SK Federation President sa dakbayan sa Butuan.

Nag-awhag si Mayor Jun Amante ngadto sa mga ginikanan nga makig-alayon niini nga kalihokan sa tinguha nga mabakunahan ang tanang kabataan kontra sa tigdas og mamahimong tigdas free ang tibook dakbayan sa Butuan.

Kini nga aktibidad o gimbuhaton sa CHO alayon sa programang HEALING ni Mayor Jun Amante. (Jovelyn Cataluna Mejorada, Butuan City – PIO/PIA-Caraga)

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Cebuano News: Sec. Dinky Soliman modangat sa atong Probinsya

SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Apr. 7 (PIA) - Modangat sa atong dakbayan sa Surigao si Secretary Dinky Soliman, ang secretay sa DSWD isip pinasidunggang bisita ug mamumulong sa pagahimoon nga Convergence on Social Protection Services ug Convention of Daycare Workers karon nga adlaw Abril 7, 2011 sa Provincial Convention Center, Capitol Compound, Surigao City.

Dinhi usab pagahimoon ang Memorandum of Agreement signing on Convergence on Social Protection Services uban sa mga Regional Directors sa DSWD, DOLE, DOH, DILG, DepED, DENR, TESDA, DA uban sa atong gobernador Sol F. Matugas ug Secretary Dinky Soliman.

Dala sa maayong balita alang sa kaayuhan sa mga Surigaonon labi na kadtong mga pamilya nga naglisod ug walay hustong kapuy-an, ang Core Shelter Program maoy tubag sa dugay na nga problema sa tong mga katawhan ilabina kadtong nanimuyo sa mga coastal areas nga delikado kayo kung adunay moabot nga mga katalagman.

Ug tungod niini, bisitahan sa atong gobernador uban ni Sec. Soliman ug Director Mercedita Habagat ang Brgy. Tapian sa Mainit, Surigao del Norte aron pagahimoon ang inauguration of Day Care Center, Ground Breaking of Core Shelters ug MOA Signing. (Surigao Norte Prov’l Information Center/PIA-Surigao del Norte)