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Only 3 schools used as evacuation centers in Iligan City, says DepEd


Jee Y. Geronimo


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday, June 5, that only 3 schools in Iligan City are being used as evacuation centers for residents of Marawi City affected by clashes between government troops and local terrorists.

Education Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said these 3 schools are Iligan City National School of Fisheries, Nangka Elementary School, and Pantar National High School.

"But classes in these schools are [being] conducted as evacuees only use the gyms or multi-purpose buildings and are not affecting the opening of schools. Displaced learners are still being encouraged to attend," Mateo said on Monday, during his visit with other DepEd officials at Ramon Magsaysay High School in Manila.

Regional directors of Zamboanga Peninsula and Soccsksargen also updated the DepEd's Central Office about evacuees in their schools.

"It appears that the transferees were more to the nearby municipalities more than spilling over to Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), but there is no specific data yet if there are really any transferees. But for now, it does not appear that there's a major spillover to Region IX," Education Assistant Secretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said.

For Soccsksargen, Mateo said only 16 displaced learners were accepted in some schools in the region. School officials areencouraging other displaced learners to attend the schools nearest them.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between the military and the Maute Group in Marawi City. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

The DepEd estimates that over 20,000 learners have been displaced since the conflict started.

"Scattered sila sa iba't ibang lugar sa Pilipinas… Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga, Cotabato, at saka dito sa Luzon, sa mga areas na may mga malalaking Muslim communities, sigurado tayong mayroong mga bata na mag-e-enroll din," Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained.

(They are scattered in different places in the Philippines... Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga, Cotabato, and here in Luzon, in areas with big Muslim communities, we're sure there will be transferees as well.)

'We want them to finish'

On Monday, Briones again urged schools to accept transferees from Marawi City and waive the learners' documentary requirements. The DepEd hopes these students will stay in their new school to finish at least school year 2017-2018.

"We want them to finish. Kung halimbawa nag-enroll sila dito sa Maynila, o sa Quezon City, gusto natin siyempre makatapos para hindi nadi-disrupt," she explained.

(We want them to finish. If for example they enrolled here in Manila, or in Quezon City, we want of course that they finish the entire school year so that there's no disruption.)

Briones said it's unlikely that families displaced by the conflict will immediately return to Marawi City once the clashes end.

"Tsaka it will take time for people to get over their anxiety and trauma. Hindi naman pag-settle down ng ating gulo ngayon ay babalik sila kaagad. Ang pressure dito sa mga lugar na lilipatan ng evacuees would not only be on DepEd but also in the provision of basic services and employment," she added. 

(Also, it will take time for people to get over their anxiety and trauma. They won't go back immediately right after we've settled this conflict... The pressure for these areas with evacuees would not only be on the DepEd but also in the provision of basic services and employment.)

As for damage to school properties in Marawi City, Briones said they are not yet sure about DepEd schools but they can "only project that it would be extensive."

Public elementary and high schools nationwide opened their doors to 22.89 million students on Monday. For schools in Marawi City and 8 other districts in Lanao del Sur, classes have been postponed for two weeks, at most. –


Hang in public ASG supporter Nobleza? Duterte can't do that

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's own chief legal counsel said Superintendent Maria Cristina Noblezacan’t be hanged in public for reportedly aiding terrorist groups in Mindanao.

“That is not the penalty imposed by the Constitution,” said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters on Monday, June 5, after being asked why Nobleza cannot be executed by public hanging.

“What [President Duterte] is saying is that this Nobleza has to be given the severest penalty imposed by law but that is not hanging, definitely not hanging,” he said.

Duterte, a lawyer, made the threat during a media interview on Saturday, June 3, in Cagayan De Oro. “The President, as we have known him by this time, he is fond of hyperbole because he wants some drama in some statements, to dramatize anything that he says, to get the attention of the people,” weighed in Panelo.

On Saturday, Duterte said he would order the public hanging of Nobleza for betraying the country.

Dapat bitayin at public hanging siya (She should be executed by public hanging). And I will not hesitate to do it if it comes to that. I will hang every traitor here in government,” said Duterte.

Nobleza is the police official who was arrested for an alleged attempt to rescue a terrorist involved in the foiled Bohol terror attack. 

A police investigation revealed that Nobleza was romantically involved with Renierlo Dongon, brother-in-law of several terror leaders in Mindanao.

Duterte claimed Nobleza accepted money from the Islamic State or ISIS in the Middle East and channeled the funds to terror groups in the Philippines.

“We looked at the remittances. The name always surfacing is that of the woman, Nobleza, the police woman who was being sent funds by one of the terror groups fighting in the Middle East. She is really the lady that is a traitor to her country,” said the President on Saturday.

Aside from public hanging not being in the Constitution, Congress has not yet passed any law reviving death penalty in the country. 

In the death penalty revival bill passed by the House of Representatives, House Bill Number 4727, hanging is one of the allowed methods of execution, aside from firing squad and lethal injection. –


Koko tells Lopez: No room for illegitimate traders in Duterte foreign trips

By: Jeannette I. Andrade - Reporter / @jiandradeINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 03:39 PM June 03, 2017

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III called on trade secretary Ramon Lopez to ensure that only legitimate traders are part of business delegations brought along by President Rodrigo Duterte to foreign trips.

Pimentel stressed that prospective foreign investors should not only be protected from corruption but also from fraud and deceit.

In a statement, the senate president urged the DTI secretary to “accredit only honest-to-goodness Philippine businesses in the delegations abroad” of Mr. Duterte considering the foreign trips are intended both to corner big ticket investments and forge closer relations.

Pimentel was referring to Mr. Duterte’s assurance to potential investors from Russia that there would be no corruption in their dealings with his administration.

Lopez and the business delegation as well as other government officials stayed behind in Moscow when the President had to rush back to the Philippines because of the situation in Marawi City.

The visit to Russia resulted in the signing of ten agreements, including those on defense cooperation, tourism promotions, agricultural enhancement, transportation technology, international film and art festivals, trade and investments, and on industry development.

Pimentel said that Mr. Duterte has vowed to pursue a drug-free country and a corrupt-free government and even offered to personally take care of complaints aired by foreign businessmen in their dealings here.

“We should also provide them with a fraud-free investment experience in the country,” he stressed.

Apart from securing deals in Russia, Mr. Duterte’s past visits has resulted in US$15-billion pledge for infrastructure from the Chinese government and a US$3-billion credit facility from the Bank of China. Japan also offered US$ 8.1-billion worth of loans and private investments.


Missing Japanese tourists found dead in Palawan

By: Redempto Anda - Inquirer Southern Luzon

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The two Japanese nationals who were reported missing since Tuesday were found dead off Northern Palawan’s Galoc Island, police said Saturday.

The bodies of victims Itani Masaru, 59, and Arai Yoshihiro, 24, were recovered by a police search and rescue team Friday afternoon in a remote island located west of Galoc Island in Culion. This after three of the crime suspects who confessed to authorities pointed out the location.

A police report filed by Senior Inspector Thirz Starky Timbangcaya said the suspects Michael Suangco, Aladin Mohameran and Reynante Labampa told investigators that the victims were shot and their bodies dismembered before being dumped into the water.

The suspects also sank the boat the victims boarded upon leaving Coron town last Tuesday.

Police investigators are also looking for another Japanese national Hiroyuki Nagaham, a businessman with work address in Barangay San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, who allegedly ordered the killing.
Police are also looking for Sonny Anicete, a resident of Puerto Princesa City, who was identified by the three suspects as their leader, and two other companions, Joebez Vizcara and an unnamed minor.

The victims left their hotel in Coron town on Tuesday purportedly to go off on an island hopping tour. The staff of the GMG Hotel where the victims were staying reported to the police the missing guests after failing to return the next day. JPV


Using mango seeds, Japanese creates forest in La Union

By:  - 



SAN FERNANDO CITY—One summer in the early 1970s, Osamu Nakagaki began to eat as many ripe mangoes as he could so he could retrieve good seeds he would plant at a denuded mountain in Barangay Cataclan here.

Only 25 at the time, Nakagaki was a volunteer of Japan Overseas Volunteer Cooperation (JOVC), an affiliate of Ja-pan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

“In April and May, I would eat ripe mangoes, then planted the seeds which were ready for replanting in December,” Nakagaki said.

Nakagaki and volunteers who came after him and their Filipino friends had to eat 2,000 mangoes to generate the seeds that soon grew into a mango orchard where the city’s botanical garden, established in 1995, is now located. The garden was opened to the public in 1998.

Former San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane Ortega said the botanical garden was selected by botanist Ronaldo del Rosario of the National Museum precisely because of the full-grown mango trees there.

Nakagaki, now 71, was a horticulturist, who later served as Jica’s country director. He was initially involved in a project to raise tomatoes and other crops during rainy months. But during his travels, he noticed the balding mountains and decided to shift from planting crops to reforestation.

“I learned that people were practicing ‘kaingin’ (slash-and-burn). They burned the trees to plant crops, but they were destroying the forests in the process. I came up with the idea of a forest conservation project and told (then) Governor (Juvenal) Guerrero about it, and he was receptive,” Nakagaki said.

He chose Cataclan, which was accessible only by a trail, even though it was only 8 kilometers from the city center. “From the foot of the mountain to the site, we had to walk for two hours,” he said.

Nakagaki decided to plant mango trees, after observing that “residents seemed not to care about forest trees and tended to cut them down. But they didn’t destroy fruit trees.”

“They waited until the trees grew and bore fruits which they could eat or sell. But before we could plant, we had to eat mangoes to have seeds,” he said, chuckling.

Nakagaki arrived in La Union province in November 1970 and stayed until January 1974. It was in 1972 when he started the mango planting project.

When he left the country, three more JOVC volunteers continued the project until about 20 hectares were covered with the sweet fruit-bearing mango trees.

In 2002, Nakagaki returned to La Union as Jica country director and was surprised to find a forest where he planted seeds.

His bond with La Union has not ended. Three years ago, when JOVC celebrated its 50th year, Nakagaki and other former volunteers returned to the botanical garden, this time to plant guyabano (soursop) seedlings.

The place, where the garden is located, was named Sitio Hapon in honor of the Japanese who reforested the mountain: Nakagaki, Yoshiro Kodera, Hitoshi Naguchi and Akio Yamamoto.

Last week, Nakagaki visited the city with his son, Naruhito, bringing along Japanese friends who invested in information technology (IT) enterprises. They were interested in hiring IT course graduates.



Duterte rejects second-hand boats, military equipment from US

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos /

President Duterte said he will no longer acquire second-hand military equipment from the United States (US) for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Addressing troops of the army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Igsoon, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Friday afternoon, Duterte said government forces will win over terror groups in Marawi City using the best military equipment.

He said that he is willing to spend more money than just settle for the surplus of the United States including firearms and boats.

“During my time, wala na akong secondhand mga barko-barko. It has to be brand new,” Duterte said.

“Hindi na ako tatanggap ng mga equipment ng military na secondhand. Iyong ibinibigay ng Amerikano, ayaw ko na ‘yan. Even if I have to spend double the money,” he added.

In a bit of pep talk, Duterte assured the soldiers they would triumph over terror groups.

“Dito naman sa extremism, mananalo tayo. But we will have losses, ganon lang talaga ang buhay. Pero sabihin mo matalo tayo, imposible ‘yan,” Duterte said.

“Kumpleto na ‘yung jets natin. Kung buhayin pa ako ng Panginoon, you will have about 24 jet planes. Mag-acquire pa ako ng 12. Subukan ko,” he added.

He revealed that the country has two sources of firearms, but stopped short of mentioning which nations these were.



Moro youth group calls to end Marawi airstrike

'The fact that the military made a mistake is enough reason to stop the airstrike,' says former human rights chair Etta Rosales 

Lian Buan

MANILA, Philippines – A youth Moro group called for the immediate termination of airstrikes over Marawi City on top of their pleas to lift martial law in Mindanao.

"Nananawagan kami ng 'no to airstrike' dahil nakikita naming pati kaming sibilyan ay kalaban na rin ng gobyerno, gusto naming ipaalala na ang tinutugis nila ay Maute lamang ngunit dahil sa airstrike ay sunud-sunod, nafi-feel naming mga sibilyan, pati kami kalaban na rin," said Sittie Janine Gamao of the Lanao-based Coalition of Moro Youth Movement.

(We are calling for an end to airstikes because we are seeing that even civilians are being regarded as enemies of the government, we want to remind them that they are hunting down the Maute Group only but because of the continuing airstikes, the civilians feel they're also the enemy.)

Gamao studied in Marawi and works as a government employee in Cotabato City. She goes home to Marawi City every weekend to her relatives. She has not been able to return since the declaration of martial law, but her relatives have managed to evacuate.

Gamao and fellow Maranaos, some of them displaced by the Marawi crisis, were in the capital to join several dialogues, including the martial law forum on Friday, June 2, led by civic groups, lawyers groups and representatives from the Commission on Human Rights.

"'Yung bahay ng mga kapatid ko doon sa mismong unang barangay ay 'yun ang inatake ng airstrike," said Norkaya Mohammad, an educator at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi. (My sibling's home is in the first village hit by the aistrike.)

Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana said they are looking into suspending airstrikes due to the deaths of soldiers.

On Thursday, June 1, the military's airstrike killed 10 of their own because they missed their target.

The first plane hit its target accurately, while the second one missed its target by around 100 meters and instead hit the soldiers, said Lorenzana.

The military has repeatedly given assurances about civilian safety from their aistrikes but the recent error was used as an example by former human rights chair Etta Rosales during the forum to bolster calls to end the airstrikes.

"'Yung nagkamali na 'yung militar, that is more than enough reason to stop airstrikes. Stop airstrikes, lift martial law, because it's not doing them any good," Rosales said. (The fact that the military made a mistake is enough reason to stop the airstrikes.)

As of the latest update, there are 2,000 civilians that remain trapped in Marawi City, most of them in areas controlled by terror group Maute.

Some of the civilians who have not managed to evacuate reported their homes being hit by the airstrikes.

Martial law triggers

Gamao said that martial law in Mindanao is now triggering animosity among Mindanaoans victimized by the martial rule of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.

"Nasa Mindanao ang halos lahat ng massacre na nangyari noong martial law, nariyan ang Palimbang massacre, Manili massacre, marami pong massacre," Gamao said. (It was in Mindanao where most of the massacres happened during martial law, there's the Palimbang massacre, the Manili massacre, so many massacres.) 

"Masyado rin naming tinututukan ang rape joke ni Pangulong Duterte dahil halos karamihan ng kababaihan na nagdaan sa martial law 'yun ang dinanas na karahasan," Gamao added.

(We're also focused on Duterte's rape joke because many women who experienced martial law experienced that kind of abuse.)

Gamao said that martial law may inadvertently lead young Muslims to join the radicalized groups.

These triggers, combined with what she said are "accumulated frustration" over the halted peace process on the Bangsamoro are being used as a pitch by recruiters.

Gamao said she encountered personal stories of this when they traveled to schools in rural areas in Lanao during the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

"Dito po namin nakikita yung entry point ng extremism. Sinasabi nila na wala na kayong mapapala sa gobyerno. Inaactivate nila ang frustration, disappointment na dinadanas ng mga tao doon para makapag-recruit sila," Gamao said.

(Here is where we see the entry point of extremism. They tell them not to count on the government anymore. They are activating the frustration and disappointment of the people there so they could recruit.)

Rosales said she is talking with officials and civic workers on the ground to formally organize and send their representative to the crisis committee in Marawi, so they could officially enter their position to call for the end of airstrikes.


Mohammad is one of the 71,000 people who have been displaced by the crisis in Marawi City. (READ: How to help Marawi evacuees through DSWD)

"Ang sabi sa mga taga-Maynila huwag kayong maniniwala sa mga taga-doon dahil wala kayo doon. Ngayon nandito na kami, tulungan niyo kami manawagan. Apat na araw bago ko iwanan ang cottage namin, inaanticipate namin na 60 days nandiyan ang martial law iraratrat nila ang bahay namin dahil walang tao," Mohammad said.

(They tell those in Manila to not believe what we say because they don't live there. Here we are now, help us call for help. It took me 4 days to leave my cottage and still we anticipate that if martial law lasts for 60 days, our homes will be destroyed because there's nobody there.)

Addressing the concern, Major Eduardo Espinas, chief of monitoring inquiry of the military's human rights office, called on Congress to pass the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) law.

Under the IDP bill, arbitrary displacement of people is penalized to protect the rights of IDPs.

"Dun po sa IDP bill makikita natin ang prohibited acts, ano po ang responsibilities ng different agencies at ano mga penalties, we ask for your support to call your congressmen para mapabilis ang proseso," Espinas said.

(In the IDP bill we'll know what the prohibited acts are, the responsibilities of different agencies and the penalties, we ask for your support to call your congressmen and expedite the process.) –


'Wonder Woman' grosses P48.39M on PH opening day

The movie breaks 2017's non-holiday opening day record in the Philippines


MANILA, Philippines – Wonder Woman has broken the Philippines' 2017 box office record for highest earning non-holiday opening day, according to Francis Soliven, general manager of Warner Bros Philippines. (READ: Movie reviews: What critics are saying about 'Wonder Woman')

Patty Jenkins' movie, which stars Gal Gadot, earned P48.39 million on its first day in cinemas, June 1. 

It beat the previous record holder, Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast, which starred Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Beauty and the Beast earned P47 million on its opening day in the Philippines.

Beauty and the Beast was released in the Philippines on March 16 and later became the country'shighest grossing film of all time, with cumulative gross earnings of P667.46 million at the box office. (READ: What critics are saying about the new 'Beauty and the Beast')

Wonder Woman has received good reviews abroad, with many critics saying it's the best of DC Comics' previous live-action movies.

It's also the first female-directed live-action movie with a $100-million budget, according to CinemaBlend

Wonder Woman has been banned in Lebanon, as part of their boycott of Israel. Lead actress Gadot is Israeli, served in the Israeli army for two years, and represented the country in the 2004 Miss Universe pageant. –

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