Mindanao Times » Mindanao Times Editor http://mindanaotimes.net Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:04:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.25 Editorial: Storm are warnings http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-storm-are-warnings/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-storm-are-warnings/#comments Thu, 20 Sep 2018 01:47:39 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62318 ]]> We can never prepare enough for the wrath of nature. Typhoon Mangkhut wrought devastation caused by landslides and floodings in northern Luzon and until now, many are still looking for missing love ones who could have been swept away at the height of the storm.

Images a day after show the coastline literally covered with trash, debris and flotsam which adds to the heartbreak of news slowly coming out from the disaster zones. We expect to see more of this sight in the coming days as rivers finally spew the remnants of the storm out into the sea. With disaster workers working on retrieval and relief operations, our coasts are left teeming with trash.
We all know the impact of trash floating in our seas. We are too aware of the number of beached whales and turtles that lost their lives after having swallowed plastic, twine or other debris floating that they mistake for food. Trash has destroyed habitats of fish and other aquatic animals and rendered some of our beaches unsafe for bathing. The coastal communities are bearing the impact of these problems.
September is the month dedicated to keeping coastal environment protected and healthy. During last year’s coastal clean-up day, two tons of trash were picked in the coastal communities of the Davao Gulf. Commodore Joselito dela Cruz from the Philippine Coast Guard-XI said the trash collected were mostly debris like driftwood and other items coughed up by the sea like plastic bags, plastic bottles, and other household waste in urban areas, particularly along the coast of Matina Aplaya, Boulevard, Isla Verde, Agdao and Sasa.
In one of the coastal clean-ups we were able to join last year along Sea Wall in Bucana, we found all kinds of trash – from shoes, broken chairs, kitchen utensils, medicine bottles, disposable diapers and all things imaginable – half buried in the sand. This shows how careless people are in disposing their household waste.
Coastal communities are challenged to come up with a holistic approach to keep trash to the minimum. We have to keep our source of life, our bodies of water, clean and renewable.

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Editorial: The days before martial law in 1972 http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-the-days-before-martial-law-in-1972/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-the-days-before-martial-law-in-1972/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:43:29 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62238 ]]> What binds people of a certain age, as seen on Facebook or maybe triggered by the recent photo exhibit at Art Portal Gallery on Davao City in the early 80s, is reminiscing about simple pleasures of the past and how they were shaped by that particular time in history.

There is a large dose of nostalgia when they talk of how far a peso can go, cinemas that feature “double with” films, the unpaved roads leading to beaches, the segregation of boys and girls in schools and the unforgettable taste of ice cream and snacks inside one of Aldevinco’s stalls.

But 46 years ago, in the early 70’s there is also another kind of reminiscing.

Former Mindanao Times editor now Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, a young journalist at that time, has a trunk-full of memories on the years prior to and during 1972. Since news doesn’t travel as fast as it is now, Mindanao Times which was a weekly then, wrote about vague whispers of something big about to happen that made the political opposition anxious and the media jittery.

We take the liberty of reprinting the column of Atty. Cesar E. Nunez, the TIMES’ former editor in chief, to take us back to the days shortly before martial law in 1972.

“President Marcos has issued public statements advertising to something terrible that is about to happen in this country – and charged Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. of giving aid and comfort to the Communists. Mr. Marcos’ charges, of course, were denied and made a basis of counter-charges.

“The charges and counter charges only served to aggravate the fears and anxieties of the people, many of whom are beginning to suspect that a situation is being created to justify the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

“Something big, as the President had viewed it, may really be happening and that the situation may be explosive. But, I believe, the President is not justified in unduly alarming the people.

“We expect from the President an example of calmness and confidence – not scary statements that are still to be substantiated.”

Two weeks after this came out, the Mindanao Times, like all other newspapers, radio and TV stations in the country were shut down. It returned a couple of weeks later with the galley sheets already passing through the scrutiny and approval of the Philippine Constabulary at the barracks.

It was a tough time for the media, but as Sec. Dureza would say, it took creativity and maybe a sleight of hand, to bring the news out.

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Ordinance on luminous markings set for another hearing: councilor http://mindanaotimes.net/ordinance-on-luminous-markings-set-for-another-hearing-councilor/ http://mindanaotimes.net/ordinance-on-luminous-markings-set-for-another-hearing-councilor/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 01:01:35 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62220 ]]> The proposed ordinance on the use of luminous markings is headed for its third committee hearing after it was temporarily delayed due to the change in command at the Bureau of Fire Protection XI.

The ordinance requires establishments to install photo-luminescent or glow-in-the-dark markings leading to stairwells, pathways, and all available emergencies.

Councilor Maria Belen Acosta, peace and order committee chair, said the markings are important in times of fire and calamity since they are not powered by electricity.

For now, the committee is still waiting for the new focal person to be assigned by BFP XI regional director Fred L. Trajeras.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) XI is already prepared to present to the committee the final specifications of the photo-luminescent markings.

Building owners and suppliers are also showing their support for the passage of the proposed ordinance. It was suggested that establishments should be given a year upon the passage of the proposed ordinance.

Cause of fire at

NCCC mall probed

Meanwhile, the BFP XI continues to investigate the cause of the fire that hit New City Commercial center (NCCC) mall in Buhangin at 12:57 a.m. at Sunday.

Senior Fire Officer 2 Ramil Gillado, the chief Investigator of the bureau told TIMES that the fire started at the 4th floor inside Cinema 2000.

Accordingly, a security guard saw a smoke from the Cinema area which is located at the fourth floor. Immediately, the Central 911 Fire Department, Bureau of Fire Protection 11, and fire volunteers responded to the area.

A fire-out was declared at 1:02 a.m.

The estimated cost of damage has reached to P400,000. There was no reported injured or casualty during the incident.

“Actually, when the firetruck arrived, the fire was already controlled through the effort of the security guards on duty using a portable fire extinguisher,” he said.


By Regina Mae Ronquillo and Rhoda Grace Saron

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LUNA advocates addressing backlog of Davao rape cases http://mindanaotimes.net/luna-advocates-addressing-backlog-of-davao-rape-cases/ http://mindanaotimes.net/luna-advocates-addressing-backlog-of-davao-rape-cases/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:54:26 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62218 ]]> The Luna Legal Resource Center (LUNA) continues to advocate judicial reforms in the judicial prosecution process in the city.

From 2017 to 2018, 105 rape cases have been recorded in the city but only 14 sought legal advice and nine cases were filed in court. Aside from this, LUNA recorded 64 child trafficking cases from January 2018 up to now.


Backlogs in rape cases were due to a delayed process in resolving the cases.


The average years for resolving one case will reach up to five years; by that time victims tend to lose their sense of involvement to cooperate with the court.


“There should be a speedy trial. The advocacy of LUNA is not only limited to the effective implementation of laws but for the higher judiciary to resolve the backlogs of cases,” said Eunice Casiple, the officer-in-charge of LUNA Legal Services Center.



Davao City leads the country in the most number of rape cases in the second quarter of 2018, based on the record of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The city has 42 cases for that period, followed by the cities of Quezon (41) and Manila (32), both in the National Capital Region, and two other prime cities in Mindanao — Cagayan de Oro (24) and Zamboanga (21).


One reason LUNA is advocating judicial reform is to educate the court judges and lawyers on the proper handling of the victims in rape cases.


“We want them to be sensitive enough to primarily protect the victims,” said Casiple.

According to Casiple, judges and lawyers have to be cautious in bringing the victims to the crime spots as it will only traumatize them.


Regarding the on-going issue of backlogs, LUNA conducted a round-table discussion with local prosecutors wherein they presented ongoing problems and the feed backs of the victims.


“From there, resolutions were made to address the issue,” Casiple added.


LUNA is a non-governmental organization formed in 2005 “to provide legal, psycho-social and other support to marginalized women and children who are victims of abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence in Southern Philippines.”


Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, for her part, had said that the Davao City Police Office is doing something about the cases through their Children and Women Protection Desk.

The Integrated Gender and Development Office and the City Social Services and Development Office, both offices under the local government, are also helping abused women.


“They have done lots of mechanisms,” Mayor Sara Duterte said earlier this month. “Very recently, during my term, we have put up the Kean Gabriel hotline which is the hotline to report anonymously because people are hesitant to report because they don’t want to be thought of as intruding into their neighbor’s businesses,” she said.


“We also have targeted activities for communities and then we explain to the children in a dialogue the right ‘touch’ of a relative,” the mayor added.


She said it was during this discussion that authorities discovered that many of the rape cases were “incestuous” or perpetrated by a family member, as well as by people personally close to the victim, such as friends and neighbors.


By Regina Mae Ronquillo and Julianne Suarez

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Editorial: Muddling the complex issue http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-muddling-the-complex-issue/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-muddling-the-complex-issue/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:00:01 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62109 Read more ›]]> The recent controversy surrounding the issue on high rice prices has highlighted the seeming failure of government to attain its goal of making the country rice self-sufficient.

The pessimist, of course, will always say that government will always fail in whatever goal it has.
But first, there is a need to answer the question of whether or not it is right for the country to become rice self-sufficient or just simply rely on those others that can provide the supply.

The validity of the question hinges on the fact that countries that export rice – an example that comes to mind is Vietnam – do not make rice as their main staple.

There is also a school of thought that there is a need to pursue the goal because of the fact that its impact to farmers will be massive if this is abandoned. Supporting this argument is the reality that the country has a vast of land suitable for improving rice productivity, but the failure is in the inefficient planning as well as the lack of supporting mechanisms to ensure that the goal is attained.
So what tack should the country pursue, self-sufficiency or import-reliability?

No matter the answer, what remains is the fact the government has only established a goal but has its eyes on other things. A grade-school boy knows that goal will just remain at that unless steps are undertaken.

What is happening is that the issue of rice sufficiency is drowned by the failure of government to come up with a comprehensive plan in attaining the goal.

Added to the gravity of the issue is the fact that some of those in government, and those others like them who have been profiting from this vulnerability, have been muddling the issue so that the focus will continue to be compromised.

And unless well-meaning individuals will impose their will to ensure that the problem is addressed, nothing will happen even after the next decade.

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Families of 14 road crash victims get ECC benefits http://mindanaotimes.net/families-of-14-road-crash-victims-get-ecc-benefits/ http://mindanaotimes.net/families-of-14-road-crash-victims-get-ecc-benefits/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2018 02:05:59 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62079 ]]> The Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) has granted benefits to the families of the 14 victims in the road crash between a utility van and 10-wheeler cargo truck in Barangay Astorga in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur last June.

“Those families were given benefits under ECC,” said Albert Bantan, the ECC information officer, on Friday.

ECC has offered P30,000 for funeral benefits. Spouses and parents of the victims also received lifetime and five-year pension, respectively.

On Sept. 25, Tuesday, the ECC will announce the additional financial assistance to the bereaved families.

“As to the monetary amount we’re given to them, that would amount to 45,000,” said Bantan, excluding the additional amount of pensions given to each families.

The ECC covered all employees in the “public sector including uniformed personnel and elected officials who are receiving regular salaries.” The overseas Filipino seafarers and employees in private sector with employer-employee relationship and house help are also encouraged to avail of the EC benefits.

In 43 years, the ECC already accumulated P64 billion to P65 billion in funds collected from both private and government employers.

By Regina Mae Ronquillo

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Editorial: Stunted growth, underweight children http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-stunted-growth-underweight-children/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-stunted-growth-underweight-children/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:00:04 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=62051 Read more ›]]> The recent result of the study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) on the health of children below five years, is alarming.

In the 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipinos FNRI, one in every three Filipino children below 5 years old is affected by stunted growth or a lack of height for their age, and one in three children was underweight for his or her age. This figure is considered a “medium to high level” public concern.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the Zamboanga Peninsula were among top regions with the highest number of stunted children. The regions with the highest number of underweight children aged 5 to 10 years old were MIMAROPA (Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan), Western Visayas, and Bicol Region.

According to The Future of Children published by the World Health Organization, stunting is an indication of malnutrition or nutrition related disorders. Contributing factors include poor maternal health and nutrition before, during and after pregnancy, as well as inadequate infant feeding practices especially during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and infection.

Proper nutrition should be observed all throughout a child’s growth to ensure proper development. The success of the campaign on breastfeeding should be enhanced to include nutrients such as Vitamin D for normal calcium absorption; Calcium for healthy bones and teeth; Protein for muscle growth and development; and, Iron for efficient production of red blood cells.

Stunting is irreversible. According to WHO, children over the age of two who are stunted are unlikely to be able to regain their lost growth potential. In addition, children who experience stunting have an increased risk for cognitive and learning delays. Further, the effects of malnutrition on a population have a larger implications, ‘it perpetuates poverty and slows economic growth.”

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Editorial: Rice sufficiency http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-rice-sufficiency/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-rice-sufficiency/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2018 01:19:28 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61984 ]]> Rice is our staple food and is therefore a gut issue felt by the rich who can buy high quality commercial rice and the poor, who line up to buy a few kilos of cheap NFA rice. Even if people say we should start looking for an alternative to rice, majority would rather buy rice, bukbok and all.

Last Monday National Food Authority regional director Lester Romeo E. Malana assured consumers the region has sufficient rice supply until December with at least 328,000 bags of rice as buffer stock available for distribution and that NFA rice in the local markets is even above normal.
In August this year, Zamboanga reported a shortage of commercial rice supply due to the stoppage of imported “smuggled” rice shipment, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. The Secretary said he will not tolerate rice smuggling which has been going on in the of Zambasulta (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) areas in previous years.
There is indeed available commercial rice in the market but fears are rife that the price may slowly be getting out of reach for the ordinary Juan and Maria. Director Malana has already cautioned consumers not to panic buying as it will affect the market.
But then most of the average income earners do not really have the cash to hoard rice on top of the rising cost of basic goods and food.
A Mindanews report quoted National Economic Development Authority 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim to have said rice production increased by 17.6 percent or 232,137 MT in the first semester of 2018 compared to 197,348 MT in the same period last year but this could only supply 47 percent of the total rice requirement in the region and in Sarangani province and General Santos City.
We have to admit that we are not rice sufficient and have to depend on imports to fill our warehouses and feed our people. The problems that we encounter in rice agriculture have not diminished over the years, rather, it has worsened with the rapid conversion of agricultural land to residential, industrial and commercial not to mention the impact of climate change.
Importation is a short term solution to rice sufficiency. The government has to fast track support by way of infrastructure, research and development support to the agricultural sector for us to achieve rice sufficiency in the coming years.

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Editorial: Bridge to Samal http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-bridge-to-samal/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-bridge-to-samal/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 16:00:30 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61932 Read more ›]]> Bridge to link city and Samal. This was the headline of Mindanao Times on Jan. 18, 1979, close to 40 years ago. The proposal was made by then Davao del Norte Assemblyman Rodolfo del Rosario who had requested the technical staff of the province and the Ministry of Public Highways (now Dept. of Public Works and Highways) under Engr. Wilfredo Valencia to make a study of the proposed bridge.

The bridge was seen as the answer to the island’s economic development. Back then, Samal Island was composed of three towns: Babak, Penaplata, and Kaputian. Del Rosario was already envisioning the transfer of the Davao airport to Samal “where there are still enough lands for construction of an alternate international airport like that of Mactan island.” He said with the construction of the bridge, the island could become a resort and tourism destination if properly developed and adequate facilities such as hotels and restaurants are in place.

Fast forward to 2018. The feasibility study of the Davao-Samal Bridge by the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is finished. With an estimated cost of P17.8 billion, the 1.2 kilometer bridge crossing Pakiputan Strait is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities from 30 minutes to five minutes.

Construction will begin in 2019 and eyed to be finished in 2020, said DPWH Undersecretary Ma. Catalina Cabral during the PhilConstruct 2018 confab here last Saturday.

The bridge is expected to spur economic development as it will ease movement of people and goods at a very low cost, considering the transportation to cross the island using a ferry or RoRo. Hotels and business establishments will definitely gain momentum with the accessibility of the city to neighbors in Davao del Norte and Davao City.

After 40 years, we will finally see a bridge linking the city to Samal.

Quite a long wait, but it is definitely worth it.

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Editorial: Being prepared http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-being-prepared/ http://mindanaotimes.net/editorial-being-prepared/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2018 01:03:58 +0000 http://mindanaotimes.net/?p=61886 ]]> Strong earthquakes have been shaking Davao City for a while now.

On Saturday, the city was jolted by a magnitude 5 tremor that didn’t leave too much damage other than a few skipping heartbeats, cracked floors, and spilled-over store shelves. It was nothing compared to the 6.4 magnitude quake in Davao Oriental that left that province shell-shocked.

It should be noted, however, that the Commission on Audit flagged the local government on the skimpy utilization of the P725.62 million available Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Funds (LDRRMF) when it only spent P171.98 in 2017. The non-use reportedly deprived constituents, particularly those living in vulnerable areas, of resiliency measures for “man-made and natural calamities.”

There was also the report by the Central 911 last year that 20% of the 182 barangays have no disaster risk reduction and mitigation plans in place due mainly to the lack of interest by the barangay leaders themselves.

With that said, Davao City is as prepared as any local government could be in dealing with natural disasters. Most barangay functionaries have their own rescue units that are capable of handling low-intensity emergencies. The Central 911 is equipped with all the bells and whistles one might expect from an axial control center and first responder on emergencies and crimes.

The Central 911 has been offering training to barangay volunteers so they can create their own first responders. This is done under the principle of resilient communities and the core training revolves around the need to enhance the skills on detecting early warning signs, preemptive evacuation, and disaster response. The rescue volunteers are also tasked to spread awareness to the people in community and schools in their respective so they know what to do not just during earthquakes but also in typhoons, floods, and landslides.

In case of Davao City, it’s best that the awareness level should go down to the grassroots because the city is sitting on two active fault lines located in New Carmen in Tugbok and in Barangay Ma-a, Talomo District.

Nobody can really prepare for the “Big One.” At best, we can only hope to mitigate the damage, and one can do that by being prepared as one can be.

That job should not be left to the government alone. No matter how small it is, everybody plays a part.

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