Items filtered by date: Friday, 08 September 2017

UAAP greats from all sports honored as Season 80 unfurls

The UAAP Season 80 officially opens at Mall of Asia Arena Saturday, September 9. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

The UAAP recognized its glorious past as it honored former athletes who personified the league’s theme for its 80th Season: “Go For Great.”

The parade featuring the member schools’ legends across all sports was the highlight of the nostalgic opening ceremony Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The league relived its rich history by bringing back its celebrated stars from different generations.


Host Far Eastern University drew the loudest cheers when the likes of volleyball standout Rachel Daquis and basketball hotshot Terrence Romeo walked down memory lane along with the school’s other greats.

“What I really miss about the UAAP is the crowd,” said Romeo in Filipino.

Ateneo wasn’t to be outdone with its star-studded volleyball tandem of Alyssa Valdez and Marck Espejo among its greats.

One of University of the East’s biggest stars Robert Jaworski wasn’t able to attend but part of its contingent was Tisha Dominguez-Abundo, who led the school to a volleyball title in the late 60s.

“I’m still hoping for our volleyball team to wake up from its long slumber,” said Abundo.

Olympian Yan Lariba of La Salle was represented by his mother Imelda during the ceremony. Former Green Archer Renren Ritualo, the deadliest marksman during his time, was also present.

Legendary basketball coach Aric del Rosario bannered University of Santo Tomas. Del Rosario built the UST dynasty that reigned from 1993 to 1996.

Del Rosario was joined by the likes of cagers Cyrus Baguio, one of the most exciting players to watch during his collegiate career, and Dylan Ababou, who was a vital part of the Tigers’ team that ended the school’s 10-year title drought in 2006.


National University had Danny Ildefonso, who went on to win a couple of PBA MVP awards and eight titles in the pros, two-time UAAP MVP Ray Parks and rising tennis star Tin Patromonio, who recently won silver in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

“It feels good as an athlete that your hard work and passion are recognized,” said Parks.

University of the Philippines flaunted senator Pia Cayetano, who was the Lady Maroons’ former captain who helped bring a volleyball title to the school in the early 80s. The Maroons also had Ronnie Magsanoc, who, along with Benjie Paras, was one of the leaders of UP’s championship run in 1986.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the selected few. It’s also nice to meet former greats whom you followed before but just formally met now,” said Magsanoc.

Adamson’s Ewon Arayi, who made her mark as a standout in women’s basketball, was also part of the gathering of stars.


  • Published in Sports

Gunplay comments point to Duterte ‘meltdown’ – Trillanes

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that he carries an “unlicensed” pistol in case he runs into arch-critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV indicates the chief executive “is clearly having a meltdown,” the lawmaker said Saturday.

In a speech at the 17th founding anniversary of Digos, Davao del Sur on Friday, Duterte said he packed a gun “kay di’ man ‘ni para sa kontra, naa man daghan man ko dihang security, kanang mag-personalay ta’g atubang ba (not for enemies since I have my security to take care of that but in case we run into each other).”

He also showed the pistol tucked in his waist and said: “Wa’y lisensya ni ha. Dili man kailangan og lisensya para mopatay og tawo (This is not licensed. You don’t need a license to kill a person).”

It was not the first time Duterte has publicly displayed a gun tucked into his waistband. He also did so in an early July speech at the founding anniversary of Davao del Norte.

In the same speech, Duterte also told soldiers they can challenge Trillanes to a duel should he shame them during a congressional inquiry.

“Putang ina ka, lumabas ka diyan, draw tayo (Son of a bitch, get out of there, let’s draw),” was what Duterte said soldiers should tell Trillanes.

Trillanes, a former Navy officer who was sacked from the service for involvement in a series of failed uprisings against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has been an outspoken Duterte critic. Lately, he has attempted to link Duterte’s son Paolo, vice mayor of Davao City, and son-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio, to smuggling.

In his reaction to Duterte’s tirade, Trillanes said: “I am now seriously concerned that he doesn’t have the psychological capacity to govern anymore and that he needs psychiatric help right away.”

He also suggested that the Presidential Security Group “needs to take away his (Duterte’s) pistol before he hurts himself or another innocent person.”


PROOF OF ‘SABOTAGE’? | ‘Malignant elements’ could be behind kids’ killings – Abella

Kian Lloyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, Reynaldo de Guzman
MANILA, Philippines — “The recent killings apparently targeting the youth should be viewed with suspicion and urgency” as these could be the handiwork of “malignant elements” out to “sabotage” the government’s war on drugs, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Saturday.

A day earlier, at the 17th founding anniversary of Digos, Davao del Sur, President Rodrigo Duterte himself claimed the killings of Kian Lloyd delos Santos, 17, Carl Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, were “sabotage.”

The successive killings have sparked widespread indignation against Duterte’s anti-narcotics campaign, estimated to have claimed more than 13,000 lives since last year, as critics saying the chief executive’s often incendiary words, liberally sprinkled by exhortations to kill, and assurances of protection to security forces are virtual marching orders to commit atrocities.

“Silipin mong mabuti kasi … sinasabotahe kayo (Look into these closely because you’re being sabotaged),” Duterte ordered Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

However, the Caloocan police have acknowledged separately killing Delos Santos and Arnaiz, supposedly after both young men shot it out with officers. However, subsequent investigations indicate they are likely to have been executed.

On the other hand, the body of De Guzman, who went missing at the same time as his friend Arnaiz, was found in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, head wrapped in packing tape and at least 30 stab wounds in the body.

Expounding on Duterte’s claim, Abella said: “The President’s campaign against illegal drugs has adversely affected many, including powerful narco-politicians and deep pocketed drug lords who flourished prior to this administration.”

“It should not come as a surprise that these malignant elements would conspire to sabotage the President’s campaign to rid the Philippines of illegal drugs and criminality, the centerpiece program of the administration, to succeed; which may include creating scenarios stoking public anger against the government,” he added.


BOUNTIFUL HAUL | Pinoy math wizards BAG 273 medals in Singapore math contest

Some of the medalists from the Philippines at the IMOYA awarding ceremony. Photograph courtesy of IMOYA

Filipino students recently bagged 273 medals in an international mathematics contest in Singapore.

The math wizards took home 32 gold, 75 silver and 166 bronze medals at the International Mathematics Open for Young Achievers (IMOYA) where 2,203 students from 10 countries and regions took part, according to Dr. Archieval Rodriguez, president of the Mathematics Development Academy of the Philippines (MATHDAP).

The contestants came from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

In the medal tally, China grabbed 55 gold, 120 silver and 300 bronze medals, followed by Taiwan with 34 gold, 70 silver and 170 bronze medals, and the Philippines with 32 gold, 75 silver and 166 bronze medals.

Here is the list of the winners from the Philippines:


Sebastian Calderon – Philippine Institute of Quezon City
Justine Mae Vito Cruz – Bangkal Elementary School Main
Leon Isaak Chua – Mother Goose Special School System
Ezekiel Meir Co – Jubilee Christian Academy
Hans Cedric Galande – Zamboanga Chong Hua High School
Lia Isabelle Gutierrez – Grace Christian College
Rafael Paulino – University of the Philippines (UP) Integrated School
Yuan Manolo Ramirez – Xavier School
Gio Almayda – Yadah Christian School
Patrick Louis Almoite – St. Paul College of Ilocos Sur
Ralph Uzzxyll Belleza – Sped-integrated School for Exceptional Children
Ian Ray Custodio – Dasmariñas II Central School
Andrea Margarette Ganancial – Tambo Central School
Ralph Justin Maliwat – Pasig Catholic College
George Sander Tan – Pangasinan Universal Institute
Ziron John Valaquio – SPED-integrated School for Exceptional Children
Johannes Raphael Dancel – Pasig Catholic College
Xiel Eunice Ramos – Silangan Elementary School
Patricia Marites Sanga – Taguig Integrated School
Jodi Nicole Suarez – St. Pedro Poveda College
Mikkel Bennett Sy – Pace Academy
Ravi Bahukhandi – British School Manila
Jannica Allison Lim – Zamboanga Chong Hua High School
Ma. Theresa Joana Rabe – Ligao National High School
Julia James Berin – Aquinas University of Legazpi
Kirsten Dominique Chan – Bayanihan Institute
Yna Dy – Ligao National High School
Jeannette Ong – De La Salle Lipa
Anjelo Jorel Paterno Chua – De La Salle University Integrated School
Alison Chloe Lim Tan – Ateneo de Manila University Senior High School
Shannon Gail Ho – De La Salle University Integrated School
Giwon Kim – Caritas Don Bosco School

Carl Francis Agcaoili – St. Joseph Academy of Valenzuela
Denric Moses Camay – Aquinas University of Legazpi
Gian Hector Diamante – Blessed Light International Christian Academy
Carla Josephine Foronda – Pasig Catholic College
Sean Wayne Mayao – Silangan Elementary School
Cyrus Nolasco – Dasmariñas Ii Central School
Brent Andrie Orate – Dasmariñas Central School
Marco Paulo Frois Rodrigues – Rainbow of Angels Learning Center
Scoutla Rue Rosarda – Imus Pilot Elementary School
Muhammad Farouk Tan Ii – Silangan Elementary School
Natalie Kaitlyn Ventenilla – Colegio San Agustin Biñan Laguna
Armand Jhacobo Villaseñor – Calamba Elementary School
Sharifah Hamidah Café – Silangan Elementary School
Chesqua Claire Carles – Catbabgan I Sped Center
Jeffrey Jan Jabanes – Pangasinan Universal Institute
Axcel Oliver Madel – Jose Maria College
Ryza Nicole Ojeda – Silangan Elementary School
Juwan Emmanuelle Osama – Rizal Elementary School
Janah Sofia Francheska Siaton – University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi
Casey Ysabella Soriano – Upper Bicutan Elementary School
Francesca Stephanie Tumaneng – St. Theresa’s College Quezon City
Charles Joshua Uy – Bethel International School
Gabrian Alcala – Dominican School Manila
Xandara Reyna Barrun – Silangan Elementary School
Eddrian Costes – De La Salle Santiago Zobel School
Cedric Gabriel Evasco – East Rembo Elementary School
Ma. Angelica Marquez – East Rembo Elementary School
Keanne Mchale Andreus Miguel – La Immaculada Concepcion School
Joshua Pagcaliwagan – Colegio De Santa Ana
Ma. Shenette Polintan – La Immaculada Concepcion School
Jasmine Claire Que – Post Elementary School
Luis Hugo Ramirez – Xavier School
Erickson Scott Yu Solima – Kong Hua School
Earl John Velasco – Doña Pilar C. Gonzaga Elementary School
Kyla Mae Villanueva- Silanga Elementary School
Macky Emerson Benitez – St. Augustine’s School
Chryss Anika Bersabal – Makati Science High School
Sean Austin Chan – Philippine Cultural College Manila Campus
Arthur Caleb Co – Philippine Science High School Central Luzon Campus
Kynier Fababier – Las Piñas City National Science High School
John Paul Lacsado – Taguig Science High School
Francis Raphael Macaraig – Canossa Academy-Lipa
Lady Propogo – Ligao National High School
Jose Enrique Ramirez – Philippine Science High School Bicol Region
Dominique Joy Rustia – St. Theresa’s College
Nathan Jeremy Ang – Lourdes School Quezon City
Mary Alyenne Josephine Azarcon – BHC Educational Institution
Rocelle Andrea Santos Belandres – State Fields School
Rose Anne Doblon – Taguig Science High School
Czhean Klyde Espiritu – De La Salle Lipa
Mikayla Ruth Estrella – St. Paul College Island Park
Abraham Isaac – Canossa Academy – Lipa
Julia Alexis Malinao – Taguig High School
Anisha Zwi Matanguihan – Falcon School
Audric Jean Ortiz – Taguig High School
Jan Hazel Ragudo – Philippine Science High School
Kaitlyn Shu Too – Jubilee Christian Academy
Justine Eusebio Soriano – Taguig Science High School
Julie Irish Villagomez – Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science & Technology High School
Princesa Joel Yumol – Colegio San Agustin-Biñan
Rhythm Paolo Lim Cabrera – Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science & Technology High School
Venice Ann San Miguel Carrasco – Taguig Science High School
Cristine Magdolot – Maria Asuncion R. Tiñga Memorial High School
Perry Dychengbeng Chua – Philippine Science High School Main Campus
Arjay Mark Padilla Domingo – Cauayan City National High School
Joshua Fruelda Esma – Ramon Magsaysay High School Cubao
Johnavel Marie Ureta Ninoy – Bacolod Tay Tung High School
Christine Joy Caleja Okubo – Philippine Science High School Main Campus
Jan Albert Quidet – Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science & Technology High School
Mariane Sta. Barbara – Taguig Science High School
Daven Matthew Sy Yu – British School Manila
Xavier Roi Dela Cruz – Philippine Science High School Main Campus
Moriah Senadrin Murillo – Jesus Is Lord College Foundation
Madeline Lim Tee – Jubilee Christian Academy
Makarios Joash Ycasas Wee – Philippine Christian Gospel School

Dana Francesca Abgelina – Colegio San Agustin Makati
Alexandra Louis Chan – Zamboanga Chong Hua High School
Leanne Joy Dormal – Bethel International School
Samantha Bianca Salazar – PAREF Woodrose School for Girls
Elaiah Asperin – Saint Jude Catholic School
Luke Jayd Baldonado – MSA Whiz Kids Academy
Arwin Peter Castro – Pasig Catholic College
Maria El Thea San Francisco Digol – SPED Learning Center
Justin Anthony Docdoc – Father Saturnino Urios University
Harvey James Dolar – Falcon School
Carsten Angelo Francisco – International British Academy-HEP
Rei Dawn Pilar Gamboa – Ateneo de Davao University Grade School
Chris Philip Gaurana – Jasaan Central School
Janamae Herrera – Kapitan Jose Cardones Memorial Elementary School
Elisha Beige Ilumin – Agoo Kiddie Special School
Laurice Reign Lanto – Montessori House of Learning
Brenan Louis Lao – Leyte Progressive High School
Justin Exzequiel Miraflor – Josephine F. Khonghun Special Education Center
Ma. Tricia Jasmin Ocho – De La Salle Zobel School
Carl Henrik Parugrug – La Milagrosa School
Jarren Permejo – Silangan Elementary School
Frank Joash Praxidio – St. Mary’s Academy Pasay City
Joseph Brixter Ranchez – Top Achievers Private School
Ma. Marju Jeremiah Sobeza – Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo
Christian Franz Solatorio – La Milagrosa School
Veronica Paige Tagoon – Doña Pilar Learning Center Foundation
Mark Justin Villafuerte – Don Bosco Technical Institute of Makati
Andreia Elainne Abainza – Aquinas University Of Legazpi
Ana Bea Aberin – St. Agnes Academy
Adriel Abrenica – Daane Brilliant Child Learning Haven
Ron Aldwyn Abustan – Fort Bonifacio Elementary School
Edan Viel Aguada – Top Achievers Private School
Ryckxeian Isaiah Alcubilla – SPED-Integrated School for Exceptional Children
Joseph Lyzander Atibagos – Dasmariñas II Central School
Gladjozynn Balacuit – University of San Carlos-South
Andre Gerald Dawe – Colegio San Agustin-Biñan
Erika Joy Dumangas – Colegio San Agustin-Biñan
Lorenzo Garcia – PAREF Westbridge
Alexis Griff Genovatin – Ateneo de Iloilo-Sta. Maria Catholic School
Maria Sophia Kristina Gonzales – St. Paul University Quezon City
J. Aesir Cedric Ibarra – Special Education Center for the Gifted
Jarvey Meejel London – Integrated Montessori Center
Catherine Anne Lupango – St. Pedro Poveda College
Ianne Christa Madrid – Jesus Is Lord College Foundation
Yvonne Lorein Malinao – BHC Educational Institution
Chelsea Mantele – Dasmariñas II Central School
Andrei Justine Ong – Life College
Allan Dave Pabillano – Comembo Elementary School
Crystal Aynrand Pacis – Universidad de Sta. Isabel
Sean Dior Pagsuguiron – St. Paul College Balayan
Jameiah Marielle Prayco – Francisco Benitez Elementary School Main
Erika Claire Ramos – Zamboanga Chong Hua High School
Angela Kyra Salarda – Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo
Shaun Nicolo Salazar – PAREF Southridge School
Nathan Roevesen Sanciangco – Don Bosco Technical Institute Makati
Max Ricmond Sangueza – Bayanihan Institute
Gia Cerise Sansaet – PAREF Woodrose School for Girls
Jeca Santillan – University of Perpetual Help-Molino
Trystan Cyd Santos – Pasig Catholic College
Elden Riguel Tan – Meridian Systems Academy
Kyla Keith Tan – Lanao Chung Hua School
Jasmine Villa – St. Paul University Quezon City
Oyayi Sofia Villegas – MSA Whiz Kids Academy
Benito Andre Yulo – Philippine Cultural College
Jester Jude Atienza – Stanford School of Batangas
Justine Ray Balopeños – SPED-Integrated School for Exceptional Children-Iloilo
Lheiza Jhoy Caro – Benitez Elementary School Main
Sheern Edwin Catequista – Shining Light Academy
Gabrielle Leonard Cuadra – Bangkal Elementary School Main
Julianna Erika Eduvane – Special Education Center for the Gifted
Qysha Nicole Estandian – Silangan Elementary School
Benjamin Lua – San Beda College-Alabang
Bettina Maria Mercado – St. Pedro Poveda College
Ma. Theresa Pacleb – South Central Integrated School
Maja Marem Jillzam Pagadora – Pacita Complex I Elementary School
Jhurgen Keith Selwyn Pascua – Eastern Gate Christian Academy
Lance Reynald Martin Pua – Philippine Yuh Chiau School
Marc Rivera – Merryland Montessori and High School
Maria Anezka Rivera – La Immaculada Concepcion School
Chauncey Rayle Rojo – Mary Infant Jesus School
Francis Solatorio – La Milagrosa School
Kyler Hewitt Sy – British School Manila
Cyr Lawrence Tan – Holy Rosary Catholic School
Gian Christian Josh Aquino – Lyceum of Aparri


Should Pulong show his tattoo? Twitter poll shows 50-50 split

Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte at the Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the smuggling of P 6.4 billion worth of shabu from China. (photo by Mong Pintolo, Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — Twitter users were neatly split in half as they voted in an InterAksyon poll on whether Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte should show a tattoo on his back that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed would prove his membership in the Chinese Triad.

276 Twitter users responded to the survey question: “Sen Trillanes says VM Paolo Duterte has a tattoo linking him to a drug triad & challenged him to show his tattoo. Should Duterte oblige him?”

50 percent said “Yes” and the other 50 percent said “No way!” Duterte’s response to Trillanes’ dare to bare his back.

Some Facebook users said Duterte’s refusal to show the tattoo proved he had something to hide. Others said he should have bared his back to prove Trillanes wrong once and for all.

But there were those who found Trillanes’ dare vulgar. Duterte’s lawyer, Rainier Madrid, took this route to question the senator’s motives, asking: “He (Trillanes) only wanted to see the body (of Duterte) … Is he gay?”


He quickly followed this by invoking his profession.

“It’s against my professional duty to let my client be exposed … under such silly circumstances,” he said.

On Thursday, during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of crystal meth, or “shabu,” from China, Duterte admitted he had a tattoo on his back but invoked his right to privacy when Trillanes asked him to show it.

Duterte’s name surfaced in the probe when it was mentioned by Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II in relation to the “Davao Group,” which allegedly facilitates the release of cargo at the Bureau of Customs in exchange for grease money.

But Taguba had stressed he did not personally know if Duterte was, indeed, involved in the Davao Group’s operations since it had only been mentioned by a certain “Tita Nani.”



After killings of teenagers, HRW urges UN inquiry into PH drug war

KILLED IN DRUG WAR. Protest placards, pictures and paintings from supporters fill the Delos Santos store shelves on August, 25, 2017, the eve of Kian's funeral. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler 


MANILA, Philippines – International watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Saturday, September 9 said the deaths of teenagers in the country in recent weeks highlighted the need for a United Nations (UN) inquiry into the Philippines' drug war.

The HRW in a statement said "circumstances suggest that the Philippine National Police deliberately targeted" at least two of the teens killed – Kian delos Santosand Reynaldo de Guzman.


"These killings demonstrate that Duterte's rejection of the rule of law has made all Filipinos potential 'drug-war' victims, no matter how young," HRW deputy Asia director Phelim Kine said in the statement.

According to Caloocan police, 17-year-old Delos Santos was killed in a drug raid in his neighborhood on August 16. Delos Santos allegedly shot at the cops, prompting them to retaliate.

But according to the Public Attorney's Office and the National Bureau of Investigation, the evidence showed that Delos Santos was murdered. (READ: Kian and Carl: What the deaths of two boys have in common)

De Guzman, 14, was last seen with another slain teenager, Carl Arnaiz. The two went missing on the evening of August 17.

Arnaiz allegedly robbed a taxi driver along C3 Road in Navotas early on August 18, then was killed in a supposed shootout with Caloocan City police. The PAO forensic team, however, said that the crime scene where Arnaiz was killed was apparently "staged."

De Guzman's lifeless body was found floating in a creek in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija on Tuesday, September 5. He had 30 stab wounds, and his head was wrapped with packing tape.

The HRW noted that packing tape "has been a gruesome hallmark of many drug-war killings" under the current administration

"The killings of Delos Santos and De Guzman bring to at least 54 the number of children killed by police and 'unidentified gunmen' in the 'war on drugs' since July 2016, according to data from the Children's Legal Rights and Development Center," the HRW said.

'Concerted action by UN crucial'

The New York-based organization noted major concerns about the "willingness and capacity" of government authorities "to conduct thorough, impartial, and transparent investigations" into killings related to the drug war.

"Concerted action by the UN Human Rights Council to address Duterte's abusive drug war is crucial. The council should press the Philippines government to accept an independent international investigation into all allegations of extrajudicial killings and to hold those responsible to account," the HRW said.

It also urged the UN Human Rights Council to press the government to cooperate with Agnes Callamard, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, to grant her "unfettered and unconditional access," and to immediately stop "all official incitement and instigation of drug war killings."

"A fundamental obligation of every government is to protect the lives of its children, not to empower police and their agents to murder them," Kine said.

He added: "Until Duterte ends his abusive drug war and allows a UN-led international probe, child-killers among the police will continue to get away with murder." –


Philippine Muslims called to jihad vs extremists

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The war with Muslim extremists in the Philippines calls for a holy war, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman told Muslim religious leaders or ulama in a conference here this week.

"Kung handang magpakamatay sila sa maling paniniwala nila, bakit hindi tayo handang magpakamatay kung tama ang ating paniniwala. Kung mayroong dapat magjihad ngayon, dapat tayong lahat (If they are ready to die for their wrong belief, why are we not willing to die if our belief is the correct one? If there are people who should launch a jihad right now, it should be us)," he said.


Hataman spoke at the Ulama-LGU Executives Multi-Sectoral Groups Conference on the Marawi Crisis held on September 6 in Cagayan de Oro. 

The prolonged war with local terrorist groups – the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group – linked with the Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi City is a wake-up call that prompted collective action from a region that has long suffered from violent extremism. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi)

The Bangsamoro mufti or top Muslim legal expert in the region issued a fatwa against radical extremism, an important ruling that sent a clear stand against the ISIS ideology that, the war shows, has radicalized many young Muslims in Central Mindanao.

The issuance of the fatwa on June 25 triggered commitments from dominant Muslim rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), local officials, and Muslim religious leaders who were previously accused of dangerous ambivalence about the Maute Group.

The MILF has offered to help the military stop armed groups from reinforcing the terrorists in the Marawi battle area, guarding the parts of its stronghold Maguindanao that are bordering Lanao del Sur.

Lanao mayors signed a manifesto declaring war against the Maute Group.

In a 3-day conference in Cagayan de Oro, the members of the Ulama League of the Philippines sat down to discuss their actions on the ground to "eradicate the misguided interpretation of Islam."

"We stand firmly with the idea that any form of terror including the action of ISIS and inspired radical Islamist groups based in Lanao del Sur often known as the Maute Group, Dawlah [Islamiyah], Abu Sayyaf are purely un-Islamic," said Alibasher Aldulatif, National Speaker of the Ulama League of the Philippines.

"No religion was never mentioned that allows bombing, kidnapping, assassination and extortion. The ulama must have a unanimous stand on this issue," he added.

Pass Bangsamoro Law

ULAMA CONFERENCE. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and high-ranking generals discuss Marawi rehabilitation with the Ulama League of the Philippines. Rappler

ULAMA CONFERENCE. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and high-ranking generals discuss Marawi rehabilitation with the Ulama League of the Philippines. Rappler 

Religious leaders and stakeholders agree that the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is crucial in addressing the problem of extremism in Mindanao. (READ: MILF, Maute Group battle for legitimacy)

The BBL seeks to create a new Bangsamoro region that will replace and will have wider powers than the current ARMM. This is opposed to the plans of the Maute Group to carve their own territory in Central Mindanao where ISIS will rule.

Hataman said the enacment of BBL alone will not stop violent extremism in Mindanao. But it's an important start.

"Alam ko hindi ito ang ultimong solution. Pero sisiguraduhin ko sa inyo, malaking bagay sa pagtapos sa problem natin sa extremista ang BBL (I know it is not the ultimate solution. But I'm assuring you, the BBL is crucial in ending the problem of extremism)," said Hataman.

"Kahit gaano katigas at kaastig ang Pangulo ng bansa, kahit gaano pa kalakas ang sandatahan ng bansa, hindi ho solusyon ang lakas at hindi po solusyon ang isang tao sa laki ng problema na hinaharap ng ating bansa. Dapat lahat tayo ang solusyon ng problemang ito," He added.

(No matter how strong the President of the country is, no matter how strong the military is, strength and one person alone are not enough to address the big problem the country is facing. We should all help in solving this problem.)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the passage of BBL was sidelined by the war, but he assured the religious leaders that President Rodrigo Duterte is committed to its passage.

The enacment of the BBL is one of the appeals of the Ulama League of the Philippines.

It also called for a congressional inquiry into the "realities of the Marawi siege that prompted the declaration of martial law in Mindanao," additional security forces in their areas, and the urgent rehabilitation of Marawi City. –


Negros Occidental rejoins W. Visayas regional dev't council

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Negros Occidental rejoined the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas (Region 6) during its 3rd quarter meeting in Kalibo, Aklan, on Friday, September 8.


It was the first time the province joined the council meeting after the abolition of Negros Island Region (NIR) on August 9.

RDC-6 chairperson and Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao said during the meeting that a series of consultation meetings were held in the past weeks to fasttrack the integration of Negros Occidental to Western Visayas. 

She also said that RDC-6 will conduct a dialogue with the local officials and the private sector in Bacolod on September 15.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr and Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia will present their respective development agenda and proposed projects during the meeting next week. (READ: Contractuals will be worst hit by dissolution of Negros Island Region)

The regional directors of line agencies are also expected to provide immediate response and feedback on projects that can be pursued and programmed in the next 5 years. 

Cadiao said she will preside the dialogue "to show to the local officials of Negros Occidental that we in the RDC-6 are committed to provide them full support in the pursuit of their development agenda and in pushing for their major development projects."

Negros Occidental Provincial Planning and Development Officer Maria Lina Sanogal, who represented Marañon in the meeting, said the RDC-6 chairperson expressed her full support for the Negros Occidental Development Agenda and committed to push for major development projects in the province.

The dissolution of Negros Island reverted Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental to Western Visayas and Central Visayas, respectively.

Meanwhile, Cadiao said RDC-6 will play a significant role in integrating and directing the cohesive growth in the Visayas area.

“We will be looking into infrastructure and economic plans, among others, that can be undertaken jointly or separately yet with a unified goal, answering the challenges faced by our country, amidst the opportunities presented by the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration,” the governor said.

Cadiao stressed that the feasibility study on the proposed inter-island link bridges in the Visayas, power connectivity, and plans for increasing air and sea transport connectivity within the Visayas region and with other parts of the country are “our priorities.”

“These will be undertaken on top of our development programs, projects, and activities for Western Visayas,” Cadiao said as she asked for support and cooperation from the body.

Private sector representatives in Negros Occidental and Iloilo also took their oath as members of RDC-6 during the Friday meeting. –


Negros Catholic leaders hit double standard in drug war

CRIME SCENE. Neighbors of teenager Kian delos Santos put candles and flowers in the spot where he was killed by the Caloocan City police. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler 


BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The 4 dioceses in Negros Island again condemned the spate of killings in the country due to the Duterte administration's war on drugs.

Bishop Patricio Buzon of Bacolod, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete, and Diocesan Administrator Rolando Nueva of Kabankalan issued this message in a joint statement Friday, September 8.


In their statement, the Catholic leaders criticized a double standard in the drug war.

"Due process is strongly demanded in cases where rich and influential people are involved like children of top government officials, while the poor who are merely suspected of the crime are summarily executed. We believe that this drug war as presently waged is based on a shortsighted and superficial understanding of the problem which needs a more comprehensive and integrated approach," they said.

The Catholic leaders said they sensed "the grief, the anguish, the fear, the confusion, even the outrage, and the many troubling questions of family members, colleagues, classmates, friends, and communities of those who were killed without due process, either as part of our government's war on drugs or counter-insurgency measures or as plain civilian banditry."

At the same time, they acknowledged the enormity of the drug problem, as well as the peace and order situation.

"They reveal to us not only the political and criminal issues involved. They also and more importantly mirror to us the deeper social ills plaguing for so long our country – much more our island of Negros! These social problems are deeply felt in areas where there is defective governance and great socio-economic-political-cultural and ecological imbalances," they said.

'Climate of fear'

Moreover, the church leaders challenged themselves and their dioceses to pray that the country may end the drug menace, but in a way that is just and lawful; to intensify evangelization particularly in forming consciences and promoting life, starting with families; and to work with government, civil society, and other churches in drug prevention and rehabilitation.

In 2016, they also issued a joint statement condemning the anti-drug campaign of the administration.

In their new statement, they said they reaffirmed their statement last year, condemning the increasing number of killings. They also reiterated the sanctity of human life.

"This statement has become even more necessary because of the unabated and appallingly increasing incidents of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) as part of 'One Time, Big Time' campaign, riding-in-tandem shooting, or anti-insurgency operations, as well as the ambushes perpetrated by the underground revolutionary forces. We are greatly alarmed, for example, by the spate of killings committed even in broad daylight that is still going on in the city of Guihulngan and the resulting climate of fear, demoralization, and unpeace," the church leaders said. 

In the Philippine capital, also on Friday, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle issued his strongest written statement against the drug war killings.

"We cannot allow the destruction of lives to become normal. We cannot govern the nation by killing. We cannot foster a humane and decent Filipino culture by killing," the Manila archbishop said. –


LP to Duterte: Let CHR probe killings

DRUG WAR PROBE. Commission on Human Rights chaired Chito Gascon(left), has been asking the Philippine National Police headed by Director General Ronald dela Rosa to share its case folders on the drug war killings, but President Rodrigo Duterte won't allow it. 


MANILA, Philippines – If President Rodrigo Duterte is really "serious" in solving cases of drug war killings, he should let an independent body such as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) do the investigation, the Liberal Party (LP) said on Saturday, September 9.

The LP said in a statement that this would yield more productive results than Duterte's order for Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa to look into groups allegedly "sabotaging" his government's war on drugs.


“On the killings, if the government is serious about solving them, it should allow an independent, impartial body – the Commission on Human Rights is constitutionally mandated – to conduct the investigation of these killings so as to be more credible to the public,” the LP said.

The former ruling party made the call a day after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his top cop to probe a supposed plot to weaken his government’s war on drugs, based on the gruesome killing of 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman.

Duterte had also thumbed down the request of the CHR to have access to PNP case files on killings in the drug war. The CHR had reiterated its request to the PNP following the deaths of teenagers Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz, who both died in the hands of Caloocan City police.

'Preposterous' sabotage plot

On the alleged plot to sabotage Duterte's war on drugs, the LP said, “The government should face the problem of drug-linked killings head-on, instead of trying to look for purported saboteurs and destabilizers when things have become too messy and bloody."

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin dismissed Duterte's sabotage angle as "preposterous and absurd," and joined calls for an independent investigation of the drug war killings.

"President Duterte has almost absolute control over government from the legislative to executive branches including the security sector. He has tons of intelligence fund at his disposal to go after the perpetrators of EJKs," Villarin said.

"It’s the height of irony to blame others while his PNP under General Dela Rosa has done nothing to curb the EJKs nor has the DOJ prosecuted people responsible for thousands of murders," he added.

For Malacañang, there is nothing surprising at all with the President's theory, given the “powerful narco-politicians and deep-pocketed drug lords” who were “adversely” affected by the drug war.

“It should not come as a surprise that these malignant elements would conspire to sabotage the President's campaign to rid the Philippines of illegal drugs and criminality, the centerpiece program of the administration, to succeed, which may include creating scenarios stoking public anger against the government,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

“The recent killings apparently targeting the youth should be viewed with suspicion and urgency,” he added.

Nothing new

Detained Senator Leila de Lima, an LP member, said Duterte's attempt to "re-angle" the killings of the teenagers as a ploy of his detractors was his way of deflecting criticism.

"Duterte did not expect the public relations backlash that the killings of the teenagers has produced. It is not as if these are new. Since day one of his drug war children and teenagers already started to fall like flies," De Lima said in a separate statement.

De Lima noted that the Davao Death Squad, which Duterte allegedly used for extrajudicial killings of crime suspects and his political enemies when he was Davao City mayor, "was famous for the killing of children and minors aged 12 to 18."

"Because they could not send them to jail under the Pangilinan Law, which Duterte occasionally criticizes, they just killed them right after letting them go. Most of them were knifed to death instead of being shot to make it appear that they were killed in gang wars," said De Lima, who tried to probe the DDS when she was CHR chief.(READ: The day Duterte faced the Commission on Human Rights)

The senator – Duterte's fierce critic – also took a swipe at the President's pronouncement that so he could not have sanctioned the teenagers' killing as one of the victims, Arnaiz, is his "relative."

"Mr President, the fact that Carl Angelo is your relative, even if it is true, and I doubt it, does not mean you didn't order his murder. It only means you really don't care who is killed in your drug war. There is no way you can spin that to bring 13,000 people – children, teenagers, and all – killed in your drug war back to life," De Lima said.

Public outrage over the drug war were sparked by the killing of Delos Santos, Arnaiz, and De Guzman – just weeks apart, and under suspicious circumstances. Delos Santos was killed in a Caloocan police operation on August 16, Arnaiz in another Caloocan police operation on August 18, and De Guzman on September 5.

The deaths of the 3 teenagers prompted Duterte to temper his messaging on his anti-drug campaign. He said he will not condone the killing of young Filipinos. –

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