CHR-10 cites land rights, gender equality as major IPs issues

In the last leg of the National Inquiry on the Situation of Filipino Indigenous Peoples (IPs) on October 27 at Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-10 reported that land rights, gender equality, migration, government service accessibility and employment are among the major issues of the IPs in Mindanao.

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CHR Focal Commissioner on IP Rights Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said that the inquiry includes three thematic areas which are the protection and promotion of the IPs’ land and cultural rights, effectiveness of the current government process to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of IPs, and the state of economic and social development of IPs in the Philippines.

 

“Layunin ng National Inquiry na alamin ang kasalukuyang kalagayan ng ating mga kapatid na katutubo sa buong Pilipinas at ilarawan kung ano ang antas ngayon ng pagkilala at pagtupad sa inyong karapatang pantao,” Gana stressed.

 

(It is the aim of the National Inquiry to know the current situation of the IPs in the Philippines and describe the level of recognition and fulfillment of your human rights)

 

IP communities in regions 9, 10, CARAGA and BaSulTa (Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi provinces of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) participated in the national inquiry.

 

Community leaders and members from Bangigi, Subano, Manobo, Bajau, Kolibugan, Sama Bangigi, Sama Dilaut, Sama, Tausug, Bukidnon, Manubo Pulangyon, Yakan and Talaandig shared some of their experiences in their area which hindered them to establish their cultural identity and further brace development.

 

Representatives from BaSulTa said that one of their primary concerns is the treatment of women in their area especially in Jolo noting that most women are not prioritized in accessing education since they will just be confined in homes as housewives.

 

Aside from gender equality, illegal employment of Badjaos in Malaysia was also reported where the group’s representative stated that they are still seeking for a bilateral agreement of the two governments (the Philippines and Malaysia) to lessen undocumented employment in the neighboring country.

 

When it comes to health concerns, most of the IPs mentioned that the government still lacks medical service and provision of medicines in their areas. They stressed that the proximity of their areas and the cultural practices of some groups may cause such health service gap.

 

The Badjaos also cited less to no employment opportunities for their graduates.

 

These concerns and more were tackled carefully by the CHR as these outputs of the National Inquiry will comprise the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Observatory (IPRO). The CHR also said that such issues will be raised to the national government agency concerned for appropriate actions.

 

 

“Ang lahat ng mga kaalaman at datos na lilitaw sa National Inquiry ay gagamiting batayan upang magpadaloy ng kaukulang serbisyo at tulong para sa mga katutubo sa Pilipinas (All of the information and data that will emerge in the National Inquiry will be used as basis to provide appropriate service and aid to the Indigenous People in the Philippines),” Gana said.(RTP/PIA10)

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Duterte: Liberation of Marawi marks beginning of rehab

Following the day after the top terrorist leaders of Marawi siege, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed in a military assault, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte(PRRD), declared the liberation of Marawi from the control of terrorists.

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“I hereby declare Marawi city liberated from the terrorist influence… that marks the beginning of rehabilitation,” said Duterte.

The president also commended the valor of the troops as they braved the dangers posed by gun fires and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in fighting against the terrorists and in rescuing hostages.

Symbolizing the achievement of victory against the terrorists, the President led the raising of the Philippine flag held at the Jamiatul Philippine Al-Islamia campus, located at the main battle area.

Ending of Crisis

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año  said in a press conference on Monday that “the Marawi crisis will be over–sooner than later. The resistance of–or what is left of it— the terrorists will crumble.”

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Meanwhile, Col Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao,  said that the death of terrorist leaders led to the declaration of Marawi’s liberation as they are the “center of gravity, they are the ones who are binding Maute-ISIS together.”

“It [the declaration] is a strategic message to tell the world na tapos na itong problema sa Maute-ISIS [that the problem with Maute-ISIS is over], na they cannot be victorious anymore. Patapos na po [This is about to end.],” said Brawner.

Beginning of Rehabilitation       

Brawner also asked the residents of the Marawi City to be patient as clearing operations of the area are being conducted.

“We will rescue remaining hostages and make sure na wala ng stragglers na naiiwan at mga IEDs [that there will be no longer stragglers and IEDs in the area].. tuloy na pa tayo [we are ready for]  sa next phase which is the rehabilitation,” Brawner said.

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Brawner also shared that the cleanup drive ‘Brigada Marawi’ has began last week.

The  Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams will also check and remove remained IEDs.

Meanwhile, Post Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA) teams composed of various national and local government agencies had begun their assessment on the damages in 24 barangays in Marawi City.

The results of the data analysis, consolidation, and report development of the assessment is to be completed before October ends.(LEAntonio-PIA ILIGAN/LDN)

AFP chief says safety of hostages being prioritized

Following the death of Marawi siege top leaders, Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines General Eduardo M. Año, emphasized during the press conference held in Camp Ranao last October 16 that the safety of hostages was being prioritized in their operations.

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Año said that rescuing the hostages was the main goal of the troops that day.

 

He also said the group of Hapilon and Maute together with hostages was seen dashing from one building to another at around 1:30 a.m. with the intention to escape from the main battle area with the hostages.

 

“In our rescue operations, we are very careful. We do not fire on anybody carrying arms; we make sure na hindi hostage [that they are not hostages],” said Año.

 

Prioritizing the protection of the hostages, 20 were rescued including a two-month-old baby.

 

“It is worth the effort that we save a life. One additional life that we save is good enough and worth the effort,” he added.

 

Boosting the morale         

 

Año said that the death of the top leaders boosted the morale of the soldiers.

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“It will even inspire the armed forces, policemen and other law enforcement agencies to go after the remaining enemies and finish them all,” said Año.

 

“Nawala lahat ng pagod. Kahit walang tulog, walang pahinga, hindi makakain on time, lahat yun nawala,” he added.

 

[All of the exhaustion was gone. Even if they were not able to sleep, to rest, to eat on time; all of it was gone.]

 

Año also said that full support is the biggest recognition that soldiers can receive.

 

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “The biggest reward is that they did their job properly and being happy that it is over.”

 

Countering Backlash and Extremist Ideology

 

With the death of the two top leaders of Marawi siege, Año said that the military is ready for the possible retaliatory attacks from other terrorists.

 

“We have forces employed all around. Huwag mag alala [do not worry], but of course we need the supporting cooperation of the community na makapagreport ng [to report] suspicious persons immediately and we will take action,” said Año.

 

While there are plans to go after Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters when the Marawi conflict ends, Año said “We will make sure that there will be forces left behind in Marawi.”

 

“Kailangan pa rin ng pwersa dito, kasi tutulong sila sa reconstruction and rehabilitation ng Marawi,” he added.

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[Armed forces are still needed here, as they will be part of the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts for Marawi.]

 

Meanwhile, Secretary Lorenzana said that the government started initiatives to counter extremist ideology.

 

“We have talked with the ulamas (Muslim scholars) and imams (officiating priest of a mosque). I asked them to [monitor] madrasahs (Islamic schools); what they are teaching to the kids, and who are the teachers,” said Lorenzana.(LEAntonio-PIA ILIGAN/LDN)

4ID activates new battalion to secure Southern Bukidnon

Philippine Army activated its 88th Infantry (Maringal) Battalion and placed it under the operational control of 4th Infantry Division to address the threat situation in the Southern part of Bukidnon.
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In a simple ceremony on October 19 held at the 88IB headquarters in South Poblacion, Maramag town, Bukidnon, MGen Ronald C Villanueva, 4ID commander underlined the specific tasks and mission of the said battalion that are aligned to the current campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which is the Development Support and Security Plan “Kapayapaan.”
 
He also emphasized during the program about the ultimate objective of the New People’s Army (NPA) terror group.
 
“When we talk about terrorism, we don’t only mean Maute or ISIS, we also talk about the New People’s Army that have longed made the lives of our people in Bukidnon miserable. Not only that they burn trucks and plantations but also extort hard-earned money from poor farmers and worst, recruit children to fight against the government,” said Mgen Villanueva.
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He further said, “I would like yo emphasize this with the presence of our local leaders in today’s ceremony that the real intent of the NPA is not to topple down the armed forces but to take the governance from you. This is the reason why we remain strong, resilient, and have improved our security stance in order to not just eliminate but to fully address this insurgency situation that have longed been affecting our Country’s development.”
 
Villanueva said to the soldiers of the battalion that he expect them to bear the professionalism as the they execute their tasks.
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Build bridges from among the people, earn their respect and gain friends. There is no room for any Human Rights violations. We have already gained an immeasurable people’s support especially during our efforts in Marawi. Don’t let one mistake destroy what we have sacrificed for our Country. We support the intent of our Commander-in-Chief to protect the state and the people. Again I remind all of you to perform only your duty as a disciplined soldier, MGen Villanueva concluded.
 
The activation and deployment of 88IB that is composed of 450 soldiers is part of the president’s plan to hasten the resolution of all internal conflicts in the Country. This will help pave way for the smooth implementation of all Government programs and services that would benefit every Filipinos in all parts of the Archipelago. (4ID)

ADVISORY: AFP-Smart activates Text Hotline 7444-1678

The Armed Forces of the Philippines [AFP] in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. [Smart] has activated a text hotline: 7444-1678, where the public can directly interact with the AFP.

According to Maj. Alwin Maneja: “The service is initially available for Smart, Sun & Talk N’ Text subscribers in Central Mindanao, the strategy is to eventually have a text hotline for all mobile phone users all over the country.  We prioritized Mindanao due to the ongoing conflict in Marawi City.  Still, we are extremely grateful to PLDT & Smart for acting very quickly to provide the AFP with this capability.  We are continually working and consulting with PLDT & Smart as we further enhance this capability.”

The AFP is encouraging Filipinos in Central Mindanao to provide the text hotline with actionable information and at the same time sign-up for the service so that they may be updated of the events and activities of the AFP.

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The AFP assured the public that they will reply promptly, and act appropriately particularly on reports that pertain to national peace and security.

To use the service, Smart, Sun & Talk N’ Text subscribers in:
-Misamis Oriental
-Agusan Provinces
-Surigao Provinces
-Bukidnon
-Davao Provinces
-North Cotabato
-Sarangani
need to type: EMC (ang inyong lugar/address at impormasyon) and send to: 7444-1678.

For subscribers in:
-Misamis Occidental
-Zamboanga Provinces
-Lanao Provinces
-Basilan
-Sulo
-Tawi-tawi
-Sultan Kudarat except Columbia
-Maguindanao
Type: WMC (ang inyong lugar/address at impormasyon) and send to 7444-1678.

Maj. Maneja added: “The value of using the keywords EMC & WMC will guarantee that the messages are sent directly to the AFP’s Eastern or Western Regional Commands for quicker response and action”. (Smart Inc. COmm)

NNC urges shift to healthy lifestyle to avoid non-communicable diseases

The National Nutrition Council (NNC) region 10 through Talakayan sa PIA on 12 July 2017 urged the young ones and even adults to change from fast food habits to healthy home-cooked meals diet.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, root crops, fat-free or low fat milk, lean meats, poultry, fish, egg, beans and nuts. It is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.

Based on the national nutrition survey of FNRI-DOST, there has been a shift in the dietary pattern of Filipinos in terms of quality and quantity over the years. The typical diet consists mainly of cereals which are sources of carbohydrates. The consumption of meats, vegetables, milk and milk products and eggs has increased. However, there has been a decline in the consumption of starchy roots and tubers and fruits. Further, WHO recommends consumption of 400 grams of of fruits and vegetables per day. However, Filipinos only consume maximum of 249 grams of fruits and vegetables a day.

 

Meanwhile, in schools, Department of Education has issued Department Order No. 13 series of 2017 Policy and Guidelines on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in schools and DepEd offices. This policy aims to make available healthier food and beverage choices among the learners and DepEd personnel and their stakeholders; provide guidance in evaluating and categorizing foods and drinks and provide guidance in the selling and marketing of foods and beverages in schools.

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Sheila Rose Balbanida, nutrition dietitian of Department of Education (DepEd) region 10 said that they are currently holding trainings for health officers, canteen managers and public school personnel to identify which food or food groups to be sold in school cafeterias. Right now, they have identified foods that are categorized as healthy and unhealthy for consumption.

According to Marissa Navales, regional nutrition coordinator that they are campaigning to increase awareness on the importance of healthy diets which protect against both under and over nutrition and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases and certain types of cancer.

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Unhealthy diet is composed of foods that are energy-dense yet nutrient poor and are high in saturated fats, trans-fats, refined carbohydrates or sodium. A diet low in fruits and vegetables or fiber is also characteristic of unhealthy diet. Meanwhile, this leads to poor nutrition and is one of the major risk factors for a range of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, diabetes and other conditions linked to obesity.

NNC also encourages everyone to check the National Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF), Pinggang Pinoy and Nutritional Guide Pyramid to get a list of what to eat to become healthy through their website www.nnc.gov.ph.

The theme this year for national nutrition month is “Healthy diet, gawing habit – FOR LIFE!” (JMOR/PIA10)

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)