(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 19 July 2024) At 3:00 AM today, the Low Pressure Area (LPA) was estimated based on all available data at 135 km West Southwest of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro (13.1°N, 120.0°E). Meanwhile, another LPA was estimated based on all available data at 880 km East of Eastern Visayas (11.1°N, 133.8°E). 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to Southwest Monsoon. Possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate to at times heavy rains. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to Moderate winds coming from Southwest to Southeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.5 meters).

Tuesday, 01 August 2023

Sustaining the gains of peaceful Mindanao

By Renelle L. Escuadro

The island of Mindanao recouped its notable prestige as the “Land of Promise,” when President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. recently lifted Proclamation No. 55 that put the island under a state of national emergency of lawless violence.

On July 25, 2023, Proclamation No. 298 was put into effect stating that the conditions then prevailing for which Proclamation No. 55 was issued in 2016 have been significantly mitigated or reduced.

This served as one big, good news to the people of Mindanao who gave a nod to the presidential proclamation that the successful focused military and law enforcement operations and programs that promoted sustainable and inclusive peace made significant gains in improving and restoring peace and order in the place.

For one, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Maria Belen S. Acosta, along with the various Mindanao leaders thanked the Chief Executive for heeding their request to revert the said initial issuance.

“Together, we can now look forward to welcoming more tourists, attracting investments, and creating better economic opportunities - making Mindanao truly a fulfilled promise,” Acosta added.

Election, a barometer of peace

“Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

This famous adage is a good reminder to all Filipinos during election day. As a democratic country, Filipinos consider election as a significant event because this is when suffrage is exercised - our constitutional right to vote  for an  individual or a group whom we believe are leaders who will help the country in nation building.

Election is also a credible event that speaks of the peace and order situation of the island, as Mindanao has electorates who come from a sundry of culture and ethnicities, hence tagging some of its local government units as high risk even with grave areas of concern.


Caraga, reality check

Caraga Region is a cultural tapestry, as this is the home of several indigenous tribes including the Mamanwa, Manobo, Higaonon, and Talaandig who have survived the topography of the place as mostly mountainous areas, flat and rolling lands. This vulnerability gave ample room for insurgency to root well in the region for many decades.

In the recent Regional Command Conference and Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) Reactivation for the upcoming October 30, 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Regional Office 13 presented its comprehensive evaluation of the peace and order situation of Caraga Region in relation to the history of previous elections and its current threat situation.

Accordingly, out of 1,311 barangays in the region, 1,165 are areas of no concern. However, 16 barangays are identified as areas of concern due to political rivalry and 130 barangays are with communist terrorist group (CTG) threats. The region has no grave area of concern.

The PNP has already prepared action plans prior to, during and after elections such as deployment of personnel especially in the areas of concern and collaboration with other agencies emphasizing on the installation of radio repeater signals and radio communication equipment in far-flung areas and locations with poor connectivity. This is to ensure an unhampered communication and relay of vital information.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on the other hand, is positive that the region will have safe and fair elections (SAFE) with its current and major accomplishment of neutralizing a top new people’s army leader in a clash with the government troops. The unfortunate death of this rebel leader added to the weakened manpower of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) at 65% by second quarter of this year.

In addition, though still at large, the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) experienced the same downtrend of comrades at 68% for the same period.

The directors of the regional line agencies and chiefs of offices pronounced their message of support throughout the BSKE 2023 timetable. For one, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP)  guaranteed a no power outage in the region.

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) shared that out of 1,904 persons deprived of liberty (PDL), 789 are registered voters and will exercise their right to vote following the absentee protocol and schedule in their respective precincts.

To set a seal on healthy and emergency-prepared polling precincts, the Department of Health (DOH) will bring back its mobile medical team on election day to readily assist any type of emergency, among others.

With the reactivation of the RJSCC for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2023, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga Regional Director Venus L. Garcia expressed her commitment of support, in behalf on the PIA Caraga team, to the members of the RJSCC and reassured that the Agency will continue to provide necessary communication support on pre, during and post elections, including the massive information dissemination and comprehensive coverage of this year's local elections.

"Our aim is to present the truthful, reliable, and most comprehensive scenario of the elections. We will also be mobilizing our provincial information center managers and coordinators across the region as we target for clean, honest and violence-free elections," Dir. Garcia quipped.


The Caraganons have high trust to the prime movers of the RJSCC and to the rest of the frontliners for the conduct of the BSKE 2023 as they sincerely delivered their oath of commitment  to quote, “to uphold the nation’s democratic  processes to the end that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) objective is successfully achieved, and that the right of the people is rightfully preserved and protected, and that their will is upheld at all times.”

This development in Mindanao is a positive indication of the country’s milestone against lawless violence. With this, it is imperative that we exercise suffrage and we choose leaders with heart for peace. (RLE, PIA-Caraga)