Sec Andanar cites resiliency, unity, hope in visit to Marawi City

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar cited messages of resiliency, unity and hope amidst war during his visit to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) operation center in Iligan City on 13 October 2017.

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Secretary Andanar shared in an interview with the media that he came personally to get first hand updates of recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City and emphasized the message of resiliency, unity and hope among Filipinos in this time of crisis.

During his visit, Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary and chairman of TFBM Cesar Yano said that through the sub-committee on reconstruction, there had been site development on transitional shelters at barangay Sagongsongan in Marawi City. In fact, there is already an ongoing construction of initial 1,100 units of these shelters by four groups in three months which started on 8 September 2017.

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The local government of Marawi and Mindanao State University (MSU) also assisted in the identification of 14 hectares of land for temporary shelters and permanent housing. There is also an ongoing inventory on internally displaced persons (IDPs) relocation preference and prioritization of IDPs for relocation with local government unit (LGU).

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In terms of health and social welfare, there had been a total of 108,028 medical consultations in 54 municipalities such as Tamang Serbisyo para sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya (TsekAP) services by the Department of Health (DOH). Aside from that, 68,289 individuals already received psychosocial services in 38 municipalities; the government has also provided evacuation centers with potable water and construction/installation of toilets, washing and bathing facilities. Further, 438, 440 IDPs received nutrition services in 51 municipalities.

On the other hand, relief assistance had been distributed to 78, 466 displaced families or 359, 680 displaced individuals, distribution of tents to decongest evacuation centers and early rehabilitation and recovery program through sustainable projects such as communal gardening and food production.

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Yano admitted that although the Maranaos are not used to gardening because they are more of trading and selling, they have learned to appreciate communal gardening as this makes their time useful in temporary shelters and evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, in terms of sustaining peace, the TFBM has created the technical working group to manage the return of IDPs; meanwhile trained policewomen had been deployed to counter violent extremism; and PNP posts has been established in evacuation and transition areas. According to Usec Yano, there has also been a culture of peace orientation to the youth IDPs in Iligan City and focus group discussion of women, peace and security among others.

Online war against terrorism

Among the itinerary of Secretary Andanar was a meeting with the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division of the Philippine Army in Marawi City who leads the war against terrorists in Marawi City.

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Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera in a presentation shared efforts of the Tabak Division in countering massive online production and information dissemination of videos and other materials about violent extremism. He said that apart from the battle on the ground, they are also fighting another battle in the internet against violent extremism.

He said that through their training, they have successfully taken down numerous sites online that are detected to be that of the violent extremist group producing videos which would invite and ignite violent extremism especially to the youth.

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He said that social media is one of the means the terrorist group use to recruit new members. Among the targeted sectors include the youth and even professionals.

Lt. Col. Herrera revealed that since the start of the war, they have strengthened their online presence. They have produced materials to explain the war and their efforts to fight terrorists in the area. They have also posted various news and articles about bravery of soldiers in the battle field and also soldiers who are helping Maranao civilians, among others.

These stories have helped in shaping up the image of soldiers, he said.

Establishment of Salaam TV and Radio

One of the final areas that Secretary Andanar visited was the MSU in Marawi City. He had a chance to speak with President Dr. Habib Macaayong and the rest of the top management of the school to share some good news.

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He shared that as the head for the Strategic Communications and Information Management group of the TFBM, the budget for the creation of Salaam TV and radio has been approved.

The secretary said that this TV and radio station is dedicated for the Muslim community, to give them a voice and share their stories to the rest of the country and the world.

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The proposed location for the said TV and radio station is in MSU and is expected to commence before the year ends or in 2018. (JMOR/PIA10)

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Farmers, residents benefit from new FMR in Lala town

Farmers and residents of Lala, Lanao del Norte are now enjoying multi-benefits of a new farm-to-market road (FMR) completed under DA’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). 

The 4.1-kilometer concreted FMR has started to benefit rice farmers in the rice-dependent barangays of Pinuyak, Simpak, and Maranding.

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According to barangay kagawad Arturo Arceñas, farmers used to traverse a much longer route just to deliver their produce to the market. 

“Before this road (in Maranding) was concreted, it is not being used by farmers and residents due to its poor condition,” he said, adding that not only their barangay has benefited from the project but internal barangays of Pinuyak and Simpak as well. 

“This new road has brought convenience to the people here,” he said. 

Around 4,100 households along the road’s influence area will benefit from the P33-million project, which was completed last August 2016. 

“For now, there is a huge change because the buyers are the ones who get our products and we can command a higher price due to its accessibility,” farmer Diogenes Sapatos said, who used to deliver their products using horses or carabaos to reach the market. 

Before, farmers incur a hauling cost of P50 per sack. But it has been reduced significantly, according to farmer Nerissa Gantalao.

“Now, hauling only costs us P15 per sack, and when it is time to deliver our products during a rainy season, it does take us too much time because the road is easier to access unlike before,” she added.

Students have now a more convenient walk or ride to school with the new road, said Pinuyak barangay captain Myrna Pama.

“During rainy days, students would find it difficult to walk through the road without getting their uniforms soiled. But with the paved road, they can just ride motorcycles going to and from their schools,” she said. 

To maintain the good condition of the road, barangay officials like Pama said they have issued a local ordinance that will allocate a budget for maintenance and repairs. 

“This road has ushered in progress to our barangay and changed our lives for the better,” she said.

Region 10 has seven other completed FMR projects under PRDP with a total cost of P215 million. (DA10)

Opening of classes in Iligan, Lanao del Norte unhampered – DepEd-10 chief

Amid rumors to postpone the opening of classes in this city and Lanao del Norte due to the Marawi crisis, Regional Director Allan G. Farnazo of the Department of Education (DepEd)-10 has clarified that the classes of all public schools in the area officially began on June 5.

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Director Farnazo together with Schools Division Superintendent Randolph Tortola visited the different schools here yesterday to see for themselves the opening of classes and the condition of the internally displaced learners at the evacuation centers.

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“We went to the different schools in region 10. In fact, we reached as far as Pantar in Lanao del Norte, which is just eight kilometers away from Marawi City, and we saw they were holding classes there, Farnazo said.

“In Pantar they’re having an inventory of 156 Grade 11 students, and we found them already enrolled. One hundred thirty-one of them were present when visited there,” Farnazo added.

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Farnazo reiterated the commitment aired by Education Secretary Leonor Briones to provide transportation allowance for Marawi teachers who would come to Iligan to teach internally displaced learners.

“There should be no compromises for education. Whatever is happening somewhere or wherever, we cannot sacrifice education, otherwise we will complement the problem if we will not make the children better educated,” Farnazo concluded. (lvgabule/PIA Iligan & Lanao del Norte)

 

Education not compromised amid Marawi crisis, says DepEd

“Education will not be compromised even with the present Marawi crisis.”

This has been stressed by Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones during the Meeting of DepEd Officials of Mindanao on May 30 at Luxe Hotel, here saying that the department will augment the teaching force, learning materials and create learning spaces for those who are affected by the siege.

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Briones also said that they are going to waive the requirements like birth certificates and cards so as not to hinder any child in continuing his or her studies. However, for the schools in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), opening of classes might be moved two weeks from the regular schedule on June 5.

“In times of war, you cannot be demanding all the usual bureaucratic requirements which we do under normal times but these are not normal times,” the secretary stressed.

As for the school preference of a learner, Briones said that any child who wants to go to school in a particular area be it in Marawi, Iligan or Cagayan de Oro City, will be accommodated.

“We will not sacrifice education,” Briones said as she explained that in order to do so, the department will augment the teaching force and for Maranao speaking learners, they have tapped the ARMM region to assist in recruiting those who can teach in Maranao language.

The budget for such will be obtained from the Alternative Learning System and Briones shared that the department is fully supported by President Rodrigo Duterte. Hence, they will be able to produce financing in times of crisis.

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In terms of security in schools, Briones said, “Schools are zones of peace. Walang giyera diyan, walang away, walang gulo (There is no war, fights and chaos in the areas of learning). We expect the combatants to respect that.”

This is also the reason why schools are not used as evacuation centers during crisis as the secretary emphasized.

As of press time, DepEd has tallied 1,005 learners in one evacuation center in Iligan alone. The regional directors and division superintendents are still doing an inventory as to the number of children and school facilities affected by the crisis in Marawi City so the department could eventually determine the intervention needed by the stakeholders.(RTP/PIA10)

Iligan evacuation centers cater to Marawi IDPs

Three evacuation centers in Iligan CIty, Lanao del Norte particularly  Buruun City National School of Fisheries, Ma. Christina Gymnasium and Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) who are catering to evacuees from Marawi city are being manned by the Iligan local government unit (LGU) and providing food to the different Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

In an interview with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-10 Regional Director Nestor B. Ramos yesterday, May 26, there were 296 families registered duly validated number of families of two evacuation centers in Iligan City. 

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But there are still families who opt to stay with their relatives in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro city but still for further verification, he said.

Meantime, until evacuees are still in these centers, national government and local government will continue to provide food to evacuees. DSWD is coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) and other agencies especially on health issues, DOH is there ready to address this issue, said Ramos.

In the meantime, we are asking our workers to do stress debriefing but since we have a language barrier, we are requesting Maranao speaking DSWD workers to do the stress debriefing to the evacuees.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ma. Yvonne Estose of the Iligan City Health Office shared that the health office is offering physical check up for evacuees from children to adults especially to those who have complaints with physical health. In fact, she said they found an old day infant who has 39.1C temperature. They immediately referred both the mother and the child to the city hospital for treatment.

Further, they provide medicines for a cough and colds and antibiotics and for hypertension. On the other hand, Dr. Estose said that most common illnesses of the adults are hypertension perhaps because of the heat of the weather. She also explained the importance of hygiene and sanitation. DOH is checking water and toilet facilities. There must be clean water in the evacuation center to avoid gastroenteritis or diarrhea, cough and colds and skin diseases. Sanitation is also important such as proper garbage disposal.

Anilo Laurete, barangay captain of one of the evacuation centers in barangay Ma. Cristina says that they have opened their gymnasium for Marawi clash evacuees as requested by Iligan CIty Mayor Celso Regencia. He said they have provided water and toiled facilities and make sure that the center is conducive and safe for IDPs from Marawi. (JMOR/PIA10)

PCOO, PIA establish command center in Iligan City

Aimed to provide accurate information on crisis situation in Marawi City, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has established a command center in Iligan City. 

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Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Harold E. Clavite shares in a press conference on May 29 that the PCOO through Secretary Martin Andanar established Mindanao hour with command center in cities of Davao and Iligan. Secretary Martin Andanar leads Davao operation while DG Clavite in Iligan. 

The press conference was held with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Iligan City local government unit (LGU), Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philippine Information Agency – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PIA-PCOO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) to update media on crisis situation in Marawi City.

Through this command center, the PCOO-PIA will provide much needed support to make sure information / consolidation of reports are smooth and correct. 

Further, all information from region 10 and ARMM, are verified in the command and coordinating center in Iligan and submitted to Davao, this is the same report OCD is giving to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). If there is new information, there will be press briefings daily. 

Clavite urges friends in the media to emanate information from the command center. “We try all our best to manage information well.”

He said, especially now there’s a lot of information going around social media. As much as possible we work together here to know the real information. This is the first time that region 10 and ARMM are working together. We have good working relationship and working together in crisis management. Clavite urges everyone to help each other to spread correct information especially on social media. 

Meanwhile, LtCol Benedicto Manquiquis, commanding officer, 1st Civil Military Operation (CMO) Batallion, 1stInfantry (Tabak) Division, is asking the public to let soldiers do the clearing operations. He says, “We see to it to minimize collateral damage such as in crossfire.” He also said they have snipers. 

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The situation in Marawi is different because this is urban setting, but we have equipment, which can see in nighttime to see lawless elements, he said.  

The civilians have guns but are not authorized to use said Manquiquis. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) uses calibrated airstrikes. AFP considers Ramadan and considers airstrikes without collateral damage.

“We are extending our helping hand affected by lawless elements in Marawi city. May nakarating tulong galing Metro Manila dala sa Philippine Navy nandyan sa Brgy Buru-un, Ma. Cristina, sa evacuation centers,” said Mayor Celso Regencia.

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He also explained lockdowns being implemented by the local government. According to him, this request of lockdown is from the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) if they have operations to avoid collateral damage in case of encounters in the city. It was implemented on the night before for three hours but in the morning, the city was business as usual.

If they need information di natin ipagkait sa kanila sa mga sundalo sa Marawi city ngayon.

We are trying to involve barangay captains, dapat we can come up to a timely information para hindi tayo mukhang kawawa. Kinausap naming sila na hind maging marahas, dapat observe human rights and rule of law. 

This time ang mga sundalo natin and PNP are more professional. Hindi pwede i-abuso mga tao at mga evacuees. 

Business as usual. Yung curfew hour kailangan sundin. We will validate gaano ka totoo ang impormasyon natin. 

The mayor also said, “Tuloy tuloy po ang pagtanggap ng evacuees, we can identify how many evacuees staying with their relatives.” 

A total of 47,293 families are evacuated from Marawi City and are now in Iligan, mayor Regencia said. (JMOR/PIA10)

BFAR turns-over fishing boats to Panguil Bay fishers

After they were told to stop using “sanggab” (filter nets) in catching fish and prawns, some 167 fishermen along Panguil Bay can now go fishing the right way.

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Fiberglass reinforced plastic boats have been turned-over here yesterday to each of the affected fishermen from the municipalities of Baroy, Kolambugan, Maigo and Tubod in Lanao del Norte, Aurora and Tambulig in Zamboanga del Sur, and Ozamis City in Misamis Occidental. They will use these fishing boats with “government-approved” fishing gears.

Agriculture undersecretary and national director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Commodore Eduardo B. Gongona together with BFAR-10 Regional Director Asuncion J. Maputol, municipal mayors and the members of the Panguil Bay Development Council (PBDC) and Iligan Bay Management Council (IBMC) personally handed the fishing boats to the recipients.

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In his message, Undersecretary Gongona underscored the importance of forging a stronger partnership between and among the local government units (LGUs), PBDC, IBMC, officials of the national government as well as the stakeholders “in ensuring the sustainable use and development of the two bodies of water.”

“After a series of rigorous consultations and deliberations, Panguil Bay was declared ‘sanggab’ or filter nets-free,” he said, adding “without your coordinated efforts and hard work, the conservation of this water resource would have really been a huge challenge.”

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‘The filter nets are destructive fishing gears that have seriously damaged the marine environment of Panguil Bay, affecting the volume and quality of catch of thousands of municipal fishers,” Gongona maintained.

In a related development, PBDC members are calling for the removal of tower type fish corrals within the bay, as these are also considered destructive. (FPG/PIA10)