Priest tells ARMM cops to bring back old glory, address negative issues

A Catholic priest on Wednesday urged police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to address issues hounding the country’s police force.

Speaking during the PNP-ARMM “21st PNP Ethics Day Celebration” at Camp Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun here, Fr. Charlie Seloterio, parish priest of Parang, Maguindanao, said the police, especially in the ARMM, should address the negative issues of kidnapping, corruption, torture, “kotong, holidup wherein some PNP members were believed to be involved.

This year’s theme was: “PNP, Leading the Right Path Towards Credible and Noble Service.”

The activity had Fr. Siloterio, parish priest of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish, as guest of honor and speaker.

Siloterio said the negative issues confronting the PNP should be addressed to bring back peoples trust and confidence on the country’s top law enforcers.

Speaking to officers and men of PNP-ARMM, headed by Police Senior Supt. Noel P. Armilla, Fr. Siloterio, remembered the advocacy of former PNP-ARMM Regional Director Noel Delos Reyes.

Delos Reyes advocacy and slogan was: “Ang Marangal Na Pulis ay Dapat Bigyan ng Parangal, Ang Pulis na Hangal Ay Dapat Matanggal.”

He said this motto signifies cleansing and transformation in the PNP organization in the autonomous region.

“Ang negative image ng PNP ay mababago sa pagsisikap ng pamunuan ng PNP na linisin at ituwid ang hanay ng PNP at ibalik ang tiwala ng mamamayan (The negative image of PNP can be changed through the efforts of its leaders and men to bring back the trust of the populace),” the priest said.

”We cannot avoid temptation but we can resist it, sa pamamagitan ng pagiging tapat sa sinumpaang tungkulin, kailangan mayroon tayong prinsipyo at idiyalesmo, mamuhay ng simple, because if you live simply, you serve faithfully and wholeheartedly, ilagay ang Diyos na sentro ng ating buhay at mga gawain (Through honest service and religiously adhere to your oath of office, being principle and ideal and live simply because if you live simply, you serve faithfully and wholeheartedly then put God as the center of your life and work),” he said.

Siloterio also urged the police to live with the “4M’s” of police life: Maka-Diyos (pagmamahal at pag-ibig sa Diyos), Makabayan (Pagmamamahal at paglilingkod sa bayan) Makatao ( paggalang sa dignidad at karapatang pantao) at Makakalikasan(Proteksyon sa ating ekolohiya.”

Senior Supt. Marcelo Pintac, chief directorial staff and Senior Supt. Elilzalde Quiboyen handed over a memento to Fr. Siloterio after the program. (PNA)

Add a comment

NorCot gov't still accepts scholarship for poor but deserving students

To accommodate more poor but deserving students in its scholarship program, the provincial government of North Cotabato extended the processing of application until January 15.

The deadline was earlier set on December 31.

Norito Mazo, provincial scholarship program coordinator, said the extended date of submission of application was aimed to allow applicants to submit documentary requirements after many have failed due to long Christmas breaks.

The Public Affairs Assistance Sports and Tourism Development Department, the office that accepts applications were also closed due to long breaks.

About 200 have already submitted documents but Mazo said more slots are still available for other poor but deserving students.

Mazo said qualifying examinations will be on January 30 in at least three venues in Midsayap Pilot Elem. School, Midsayap for District 1; Provincial Gymnasium, Amas, Kidapawan City for District 2 and Barangay Hall, Poblacion-A, M’lang for District 3.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza has urged students to apply for scholarship now while time still allows.(PNA)

Add a comment

Police raid Cotabato City home, seize guns, grenade, motorbikes, shabu

Policemen searching for loose firearms in a densely populated village here stumbled prohibited drugs, believed to be carnapped motorbikes and assorted guns and hand grenade Wednesday dawn, police said.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Cotabato City police chief, said it was a raid against loose firearms but lawmen found more and arrested three persons.

Senior Supt. Jun Caduyag, PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional director for Central Mindanao, said his unit was implementing “Oplan Paglalansag Omega” which aims to neutralize criminal gangs and those in illegal drug trade.

Caduyag identified the arrested suspect as Saynodin Andatuan and two of his men.

Caduyag said the raid was carried out before sunrise Wednesday in a house in Purok Narra, Barangay Bagua 3, Cotabato City.

”Our mandate is to neutralize criminal groups in the region,” Caduyag told reporters.

The raiding team seized three unlicensed cal. 45 pistols, a hand grenade, six Honda XRM motorcycles without legal papers, Php22,000 cash, five sachets of heat-sealed methamphetamine hydrochloride or locally known as shabu, a home-made holen (marble) gun which was a replica of Armalite rifle.

Andatuan and his men were slapped with violation of RA 10591 o Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

He said the raid was conducted in partnership with the Cotabato City police office and with a search warrant issued by Judge Ebrahim Bansawan of Regional Trial Court (RTC Branch 13).

Caduyag said the raid was launched after months of covert surveillance operations against the suspects and their activities.

He added more raids are coming until the lawless elements and law breakers are fully neutralized. (PNA)

Add a comment

Palo town ready for Pope Francis visit

Palo town, the center of Roman Catholic faith in the region, is now ready for the visit of Pope Francis next week, Mayor Remedios L. Petilla said.

One preparation that the town government will implement, the mayor said, is the re-scheduling of the weekly market day of the town that falls on Saturday to a weekday during the pontiff’s visit.

But Petilla clarified that vendors of food will still be allowed to sell food during Pope Francis visit, but they are only allowed several meters away from the road where people will line-up to see the motorcade of Pope Francis.

Senior citizens and person with disabilities will also have a special place during Pope Francis visit as the municipal government designated an area where instead of standing, they will all be sitting while watching the motorcade of Roman Catholic Church leader.

”We need to consider their conditions,” said Petilla. The security team approved the plan of the municipal government.

The mayor will also issue an order suspending class in all levels a day before Pope Francis arrival since most schools in her town will be used as holding area of pilgrims.

Petilla also called on residents of the town to observe the security measures that will be imposed during the pontiff’s visit to ensure not only the safety of the visiting church leader, but also the pilgrims. (PNA)

Add a comment

20 Moro bandits killed in continuing Army offensive in Maguindanao, Army says

The military here Wednesday said at least 20 Moro bandits were killed and scores wounded when the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion launched mortar attacks against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the borders of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.

Capt. Joanne Petinglay, chief of 6th Infantry Division public affairs unit, said the slain BIFF were taken by their fleeing comrade at the height of the offensive which also led to the fall of a major training camp.

"Civilians living near the camp confirmed to our ground troops that 20 BIFF were killed and brought deep into the marshland,” Petinglay said of the Army operation which was still going on to date.

The camp, situated in Sitio Pedtad, Barangay Midpandakan, Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao was captured Monday.

Petinglay said the BIFF second division camp has running trenches, 20 bunk houses and perimeter defense and checkpoints.

Also on Monday, the Philippine Army hoisted the Philippine flag in the area which was used by the BIFF as launching pad in extorting and harassing farmers during harvest season.

”The BIFF were surprised and they hurriedly dispersed towards the marshland,” Petinglay said.

Colonel Mel Feliciano, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces, said during the operation, the government troops also recovered bomb making devices, improvised bombs ready for disposal, bullets and assorted firearms.

”Their world is getting smaller,” Feliciano said of the outlawed BIFF which broke away from mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the failed peace agreement in 2008.

Feliciano said more camps will be attacked in Maguindanao and other areas in the region.

The BIFF, composed of about 1,000 lawless elements was blamed for the series of bombing incidents in Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Maguindanao.

In November and December, the BIFF carried three deadly bombing incidents in Kabacan and Mlang, both in North Cotabato.

Toks Masukat, village chair of Midpandakan, Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao, said at least 200 families have fled during the military offensive but they started returning home after the Army issued the green light it was safe for them to go back to their villages and sub villages.

Feliciano also lauded the villagers for providing vital information to police and military authorities which led to the military offensive.

Two soldiers were killed when BIFF simultaneously attacked Army detachments in the borders of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao over the weekend. Three other soldiers were wounded. (PNA)

Add a comment

Approval of Dagupan City's annual budget still uncertain --Councilor Seen

It is not yet certain whether the city's annual budget for 2015 in the amount of P691 million is included in the agenda for first reading in the city council during its second regular session for the year on Jan. 12.

Councilor Jeslito Seen, chairman of the Council's committee on finance and a close ally of Mayor Belen Fernandez said he already requested the chairman on the committee on rules to include his committee report on the budget in the next session of the city council.

The committee report was based on the result of the series of hearings on the budget conducted by Seen and heads of other committees sometime during the first week of November.

However, under the rules of the city council, a three-fourth vote of the 11 members of the city council is needed for inclusion of a draft resolution or ordinance in the city council agenda.

City Administrator Farah Decano, a former city councilor, expressed hope that the budget will be included in the council's agenda and subsequently passed as Dagupan, since January 1, is now operating on a reenacted budget of P628 million.

Decano cited Mayor Fernandez' appeal to members of the city council to now approve the proposed budget as the emergency workers of the city government numbering 650 and their families are now suffering.

In fact, even if it will be included in the next session's agenda, the measure will still go through processes like first reading where it will be referred to proper committees for study; then submitted to second reading and eventually third reading

Decano said under a reenacted budget, the city must undergo belt-tightening which it already started beginning the first working day of 2015.

"In the absence of a new budget, some of us are already coughing money from our own pocket because we don't want the delivery of services to our people prejudiced," said Decano, former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Pangasinan chapter. .

She said some employees of the city government are already doing some personal sacrifices, like double-tasking and even multi-tasking but their services are definitely limited.

The Job Order Employees (JOEs) or emergency employees who had been with the city government since day one of Mayor Fernandez refused to go and are volunteering their services, said Decano.

"We do recognize their (JOEs') services. We cannot say we don't need them because we really need them to render public service." said Decano.

She said, "if the budget is passed, then hopefully we can compensate the JOEs appropriately for the services that they had rendered." (PNA)

Add a comment

Bomb explosion injures rubber tapper in Basilan province

A rubber plantation worker was injured in an improvised bomb explosion in the hinterlands of Sumisip town, this province, a police official disclosed Wednesday.

Senior Insp. Achmad Alibonga, Sumisip police chief, identified the victim as Marjun Mallani, 25, a rubber tapper.

Alibonga disclosed the incident took place around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at a rubber plantation in Barangay Lukketun, Sumisip town.

Alibonga said investigation showed that Mallani was injured after he accidentally stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned out as a landmine while working at the rubber plantation.

Alibonga said the explosion severed one foot of Mallani, who was rushed to the hospital.

He said they are conducting thorough investigation in a bid to identify the suspect behind the incident. (PNA)

Add a comment

Cebu City cops on heightened starting Wednesday for Sinulog 2015

Senior Supt. Conrad Capa, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Wednesday declared a heightened alert status in preparation for the Sinulog.

Capa said this means that all CCPO personnel are not allowed to go on leave starting Wednesday until January 18, the day of the parade.

Capa said he will allow street parties, in contrast to recent years.

“Let the people enjoy Sinulog,” Capa said.

He said he will consult the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 if they will declare a gun ban during the Sinulog festivities.

About 700 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) 7 will be deployed in the city during the Sinulog.

At the Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama had all 500 traffic enforcers, parking attendants and office personnel of City Traffic Operations management (Citom) undergo a traffic management training on Tuesday, since all of them will be deployed to the field during the Sinulog activities.

He also urged the Cebuanos to help ensure that the Sinulog will be a peaceful and successful event.

“Sinulog is Cebu. Let us defend, protect and contribute to its success. To all the undesirables, please take a leave and be spiritual instead. Attend all the religious activities at the basilica,” he said. (PNA)

Add a comment