Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Commander

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 28, 2008) – Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, outgoing commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade, takes up operational matters with Gov. Migs Dominguez Wednesday, August 27. Thousands of civilians displaced by the attack of rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) elements who killed two innocent civilians August 18 are being sent home by civilian and military authorities after a week-long manhunt operation by the military. In June, Pangilinan and his troops also warded off rogue MILF forces that attacked villages in Maitum. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Plaque to Commander

MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 28, 2008) – Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan (left), outgoing commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade, awards a plaque of appreciation to Rolly Fabrigar, publisher and editor of Sultanate Wide News tabloid, during the Change of Command ceremony of 1002nd Infantry Brigade Thursday, August 28. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Change of Command

MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 28, 2008) – Major General Jogy Leo Fojas (center) administers the Change of Command ceremony from Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan (left), outgoing commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade, to incoming commander Col. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz III Thursday, August 28, in Camp Brig. Gen. Hermenegildo Agaab in barangay Malandag. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Assumption of Command

MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 28, 2008) – Col. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz III assumes command of 1002nd Infantry Brigade Thursday, August 28, in Camp Brig. Gen. Hermenegildo Agaab in barangay Malandag. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Army Brigade Commander

MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 28, 2008) – Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, outgoing commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade, gives his remarks Thursday, August 28, during his Relinquishment of Command. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sending back home

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) - The internally displaced persons (IDPs) or evacuees are addressed by Vice Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon as they leave Wednesday, August 27, some 23 evacuation centers set up by the local government in and around the poblacion. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Peace ride

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – Mayor Jojo Lopez and Gov. Migs Dominguez, volunteers and donors escort thousands of evacuees to their villages Wednesday, August 27. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Peace caravan

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) - At 2:30pm Wednesday, August 27, eight dump trucks roll out of the town hall premises carrying some 1,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their respective places thru A Peace Caravan-Balik Kalinaw Maasim (Return to Peace Maasim) spearheaded by Gov. Migs Dominguez, Vice Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon and Mayor Jojo Lopez. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Evacuees go home

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – Evacuees go home Wednesday, August 27, as government troops wind up a manhunt operations in mountain hideouts of rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces that killed two civilians in their attack of Maasim town a week ago. The internally displaced persons received immediate relief assistance from the municipal and provincial government, donors and volunteers, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Balik Kalinaw

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – Gov. Migs Dominguez leads the Balik Kalinaw Maasim (Return to Peace Maasim) ceremony Wednesday, August 27, in the town plaza where internally displaced persons (IDPs) are advised to go home as security threats in the villages have died down. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Homeward bound

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – Mother and child wash up Wednesday, August 27, as they prepare to go home in the village abandoned by residents a week ago as an aftermath of the raid by rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front elements who killed two innocent civilians. Civilian and military authorities have organized a Peace Caravan-Balik Kalinaw Maasim (Return to Peace Maasim) Wednesday afternoon for at least 12,000 internally displaced persons. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Cleaning up

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – An evacuee who fled her village along with thousands of persons a week ago dries clothes as civilian and military authorities give the go signal for evacuees to go home Wednesday, August 27, after a military manhunt operation against rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces who attacked Maasim town and killed two civilians August 18. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Boodle fight

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – A soldier prepares the table for a boodle fight Wednesday, August 27, in an army camp in Maasim as government troops take a respite after a week of hunting down rogue Moro Islamic Liberation front elements who killed two innocent civilians, ransacked the public market and attempted to overrun the police station in Maasim on August 18. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Army Division Commander

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 27, 2008) – Gov. Migs Dominguez and Maj. Gen. Jogy Leo Fojas, commander of the Army 10th Infantry Division, review tactical maps Wednesday, August 27, in a military camp in Maasim. The general visited troops who pursued rogue Moro Islamic Liberation forces that attacked Maasim poblacion August 18, killing two innocent civilians. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Recovered from MILF

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 25, 2008) – Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan,commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, inspects Monday, August 25,recovered home-made firearms and paraphernalia belonging to rogue MoroIslamic Liberation Front (MILF) elements in the hinterlands ofbarangay Pananag. Troops of the 27th and 73rd Infantry Battalion arerunning after criminals under Alo Binago of the MILF who attackedMaasim poblacion last week that killed two innocent civilians. Thesoldiers returned to camp Sunday midnight after two days of fiercefirefights. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Donors, government help 12,000 Sarangani evacuees

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 25, 2008) – Provincial and municipal government officials continue to pull together donations from various sectors to help affected families here as government troops pursue rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who attacked Maasim poblacion August 18 and killed two innocent civilians.

As of 8am Monday (August 25) the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) has listed 2,234 families evacuated to safer grounds.

The PDCC reported 12,249 individuals are estimated to be in 18 evacuation centers managed by the local government units.

"We need more medicines. Ayokong may mamatay sa sakit (I don't want to lose lives from sickness)," Governor Migs Dominguez said in a briefing with employees and volunteers Sunday morning.

The governor also emphasized on cleanliness and adequacy of potable water for the families. "Dapat malinis ang mga evacuation areas all the time," he said.

The United Nation's Act for Peace has pledged to provide food for 500 families in the next five days.

World Vision is giving food for three days for around 1,000 families.

You Against Corruption And Poverty (YACAP) party-list Rep. Carol Lopez arrived to help anything "on top priority" for the evacuees.

At least 300 bags of rice have been distributed to the evacuation centers since August 19 from the provincial government and municipal government of Maasim.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a convoy with three truckloads of non-food items Monday (August 25).

Evacuees received sleeping mats, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, buckets, basins, jerry cans, soaps, toothpaste, and toothbrush from ICRC for 1,200 families.

Other non-government organizations helping are Sarangani Province Empowerment and Community Transformation Forum Incorporated (SPECTRUM), Friends of Vice Governor Steve Solon, Makati Mayor Jojo Binay's Office, ABS-CBN and the Philippine National Police.

Items donated were medicines, additional bags of rice, milk, canned goods, noodles, biscuits, dried fish, sugar, and used clothing.

"Our role as your public local officials is to ensure the safety of the innocent civilians," Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon told evacuees Sunday.

For his part, Mayor Aniceto "Jojo" Lopez has instructed municipal employees "to see to it that lahat ng kailangan nila ay maibibigay (all their necessities will be addressed), such as food and water."

"At dapat laging malinis ang area para maiwasan ang sakit (And the evacuation sites must always be clean to avoid diseases)," the mayor said.

According to Jocelyn Lambac, project manager of Kalinaw (Peace) Sarangani Unit under the office of Governor Dominguez, "volunteer organizations and students have been bringing along donations of packed assorted food and clothing."

"We see to it that we are in contact with the civilian evacuees and facilitate their needs," said Ben Solarte, disaster management and quick response team leader.

Volunteer-employees from the provincial Capitol have been camping out in Maasim and assisting the local government since fighting broke out.

A lawless group of MILF killed two innocent civilians when they raided Maasim a week ago triggering evacuation in some villages. Military manhunt operations are ongoing. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Red Cross assistance

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 25, 2008) – An International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) volunteer assists displaced persons sheltering in Colon Elementary School Monday, August 25. An ICRC convoy with three truckloads of non-food items such as sleeping mats, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, buckets, basins, jerry cans, soaps, toothpaste, toothbrush arrived here this morning for 1,200 families in the different evacuation areas. Donors and the local government units provide food items. Rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces killed two innocent civilians when they raided Maasim a week ago triggering evacuation in some villages. Military manhunt operations are ongoing. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

World Vision relief goods

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Volunteers of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, unload three truckloads of relief goods Sunday, August 24, for at least 1,363 families in evacuation centers as an offshoot of the attack by rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces that attacked Maasim poblacion. The packed goods with a pack containing a mat, blanket, half dozen canned goods, biscuits, and 10 kilos rice that would last for three days. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Hunted Maasim attackers suffer "30 casualties"

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces that attacked Maasim have suffered 30 casualties as government troops caught up with them Saturday (August 23), a military officer said today.

"There are more than 30 casualties from the enemy," said Lt. Col. Alexander Ambal, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion. "Kahapon ang report sa atin marami na silang hinahatak. Our information come from our troops on the field na talagang nakikita nila tinatamaan, tumitilapon yung mga kalaban."

Two government soldiers were wounded, Ambal said.

The military fired gun-howitzers Saturday.

Two army battalions have been pursuing the MILF band that attacked Maasim town August 18, killing two innocent civilians and terrorizing residents. The rebels also ransacked stores in the public market and attempted to overrun the police station but were repulsed by police.

On Saturday (August 23), army troops overran hiding places of the MILF band, Ambal disclosed. Firefights erupted at 7am killing 10 bandits in barangay Pananag.

Two MG-520 rocket-firing attack helicopters conducted bombing runs in rebel hideouts in sitios Tadaskilib, Kiongo and Kaliong in Pananag. The attack helicopters resumed their flights Sunday.

"Our soldiers were deployed here to bring justice to the criminals sa ginawa nila dito sa Maasim at pagpatay sa dalawang inosenteng sibilyan na walang kalaban laban," Ambal said.

He said government troops are continuing their manhunt operation against the criminals under a certain Kumander Alo Binago. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Maasim playground

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Children happily play at the public plaza Sunday, August 24, as they feel government attention and influx of donors helping internally displaced persons affected by the recent attack of Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces in Maasim. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Business confidence

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Business confidence at Maasim public market returns to normal immediately as the government swiftly acted against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces that attacked Maasim which included this drugstore photographed Sunday, August 24. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Atis vendor

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Eming Bidro, 60, enjoys a brisk sale of atis Sunday, August 24, in downtown Maasim even as government troops press on the manhunt for Moro Islamic Liberation Front attackers that killed two innocent civilians August 18. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Relief of operation

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Governor Migs Dominguez directs government relief workers Sunday, August 24, to ensure that food and medical needs of evacuees are met as donors pour in food supplies for more than a thousand internally displaced persons. Evacuations were triggered by the August 18 attack of a band of Moro Islamic Liberation Front that killed two innocent civilians and ransacked the public market. Government troops are hunting down the bandits. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Guns of Maasim

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Gun-howitzers that had bombarded positions of some 50 to 70 Moro Islamic Liberation Front raiders of Maasim town, who shot two innocent civilians in the head and terrorized civilians August 18, fall silent Sunday, August 24, as ground troops close in on the position of the Maasim attackers to serve justice to the innocent civilians who lost their lives in the MILF attack. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Frontline briefing

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – A military officer briefs Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon in a frontline visit Sunday, August 24, to ensure that the civilian populace is away from bandits being hunted down by military troops in the hinterlands of Maasim. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Business as usual

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – It's business as usual Sunday, August 24, for public transport along the highway from General Santos City to Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum (Makima) as the military manhunt goes on for the band of Moro Islamic Liberation Front that killed two innocent civilians in a blatant attack of poblacion Maasim August 18. Government troops are closing in on the position of the raiders to serve justice to the innocent civilians who lost their lives in the MILF attack. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Internally diplaced persons

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Residents displaced by fighting between government troops running after a band of rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces who killed two innocent civilians and ransacked Maasim public market on August 18 arrive at the municipal gymnasium Saturday, August 23, for safety. (Photo by Allan C. de Lima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Evacuee's lament

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Teary eyed Cherry Anne Ling sings "Only for you my God" to more than 200 family evacuees at the municipal gym Saturday, August 23. Hundreds of persons including her family have fled a village where encounters between Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces who killed two innocent civilians in the town raid August 18 and the military broke out. The province's Area Coordinating Center, with its quick response team and Kalinaw (Peace) Sarangani Unit, has been receiving donations from Association of Catholic Doctors, Nurses, and Health Professional in Asia (ACIM-Asia) and United Nations' Act for Peace and facilitating relief operations to the affected families. (Photo by Bon-bon Quiño/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Evacuation center

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon (in red shirt, left) and Mayor Jojo Lopez (in blue) visit displaced civilians evacuated to a public school in Lumasal village Saturday, August 23. Military troops are hunting down a band of Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who killed two civilians in Maasim. Authorities said at least 10 bandits have been killed since fighting erupted August 18. (Photo by Bon-bon Quiño/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Civilians' safety first

Maasim, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) - Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon (in red shirt, center) talks to evacuees at Maasim Poblacion Elementary School Saturday, August 23. They are the new sets of evacuees who arrived Saturday morning after hearing gunfire in their area. Over 1,916 families or 9,830 dependents were displaced from the nine barangays affected by the Maasim attack of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Photo by Bon-Bon Quiño/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Government gains ground vs. MILF raiders in Sarangani

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 24, 2008) – Army troops are advancing into hiding places of a band of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), triggering firefights Saturday (August 23) that killed 10 bandits in barangay Pananag.

An official report confirmed the death of 10 members of MILF in an encounter which started at 7am.

The military operation was a response to the criminal attacks by MILF rebels in Maasim August 18 that killed two innocent civilians and robbed several stores in the public market. The MILF also pillaged villages in Maitum town in June and held civilians hostage as they retreated towards Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.

Sarangani has remained to be peaceful until some MILF rogue elements believed to be coming from the different parts of the region especially from Cotabato and Palimbang attacked.

"We are gaining ground in surrounding the enemy," said Governor Migs Dominguez, referring to some 70 MILF rogue elements led by a certain Alu Binago.

Binago and his men are held responsible for the killing of two innocent civilians when they attacked Maasim poblacion Monday.

Two MG-520 rocket-firing attack helicopters conducted runs Saturday in sitios Tadaskilib, Kiongo and Kaliong in Pananag identified to be the rebels' hideout.

The 73rd Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Alexander Ambal has overrun the said lair.

"Hopefully we will see justice served to the innocent civilians who lost their lives in the recent attack in Maasim," Governor Dominguez said.

"We see to it that we are in contact with the civilian evacuees and facilitate their needs," said Ben Solarte, disaster management and quick response team leader.

"Donations from various agencies are pouring in, giving assistance to the evacuees," he added.
A total of 1,916 families have been transported into different evacuation centers in Colon National Elementary School, Maasim Elementary School, municipal gym, Daliao and Kanayan barangay halls, Lumatil barangay hall, Kanalo barangay hall, Pananag Elementary School and Crossing Lobo Evacuation Center, Lumasal and Banwang Elementary Schools.

The provincial government is using government trucks in transporting the evacuees to the evacuation centers.

The provincial and municipal social welfare and development offices and the quick response team facilitate the distribution of relief goods to the families.

"Kalinaw gyud unta (We really hope for peace)," said Layong Sanatan from Lumasal.

Sanatan, along with more than 200 families evacuated at the gym were provided with food and clothing from private donors.

Kalinaw Sarangani Unit project manager Jocelyn Lambac said in Daliao, families helped each other despite lack of food and transportation.

"Our task is to reach out to these families and tell them to calm down at talagang kinakausap naming sila (we really talk to them)," Lambac said.

Kalinaw facilitates and helps access assistance from donors. "And we see them all coming to help us after knowing what's happening to the innocent civilians," Lambac said. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Upland Rice Harvest

MALUNGON, Sarangani (August 22, 2008) – Local women (background with baskets) harvest upland rice Friday, August 22, together with government workers under the Indigenous People's Development Program of Governor Migs Dominguez in sitio Lamlifew, barangay Datal Tampal in Malungon. The governor's special project in preserving the culture and tradition of indigenous people in Sarangani includes the planting of traditional rice varieties which not only give a high yield, but are also disease resistant, glutinous, and very tasty. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Military briefing

Kiamba, Sarangani (August 21, 2008) - Mayor Rom Falgui (left) briefs Governor Migs Dominguez and Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, commander of 27th Infantry Battalion, on Kiamba's territorial boundaries and terrain as hot pursuit operations for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front criminals who attacked neighboring Maasim town Monday morning is on going. The military briefing Thursday, August 21, is one of the governor's meetings during the day as he closely coordinates with municipal leaders to maximize safety of civilians and speed up justice for the death of two civilians in Maasim. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Town peace council meeting

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (August 21, 2008) – Governor Migs Dominguez observes behind Mayor Aida Singcoy (center) who is presiding the Municipal Peace and Order Council meeting Thursday, August 21, attended by Philippine National Police, Moro National Liberation Front officials, Philippine Army, and barangay officials. Governor Dominguez tells constituents to always confirm text messages with local officials which could be a form of psychological warfare tactic by criminals. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Rebels surrender

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (August 21, 2008) – Governor Migs Dominguez checks an M1 Garand rifle from one of the four New People's Army (NPA) returnees Thursday, August 21, at Malapatan town hall. The four (in white shirt) were members of NPA Front 71 operating in the hinterlands of Alabel, Malapatan and Glan. Also in photo are Mayor Aida Singcoy (left), town councilor Jinal Panayaman (center), and BGen. Gaudencio Pangilinan Jr., commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Peace monitoring

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 21, 2008) - Governor Migs Dominguez arrives in Maitum for a peace and order evaluation with municipal officials Thursday, August 21, as heightened alert in villages across the province is set out against armed intruders. The governor, who earlier in the day attended a peace and order council meeting in Malapatan town, has been directing manhunt operations for rouge Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces who raided Maasim town and killed two innocent civilians on August 18. The MILF from Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat also ransacked four villages of Maitum in June with a string of atrocities. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crying for justice

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 20, 2008) – Miguela Redukto, 64, expresses her grief Wednesday, August 20, before Governor Migs Dominguez as she seeks justice for her slain nephew Julito Umas. Redukto is an aunt of Umas, a tricycle driver and family breadwinner who was one of the two innocent civilians killed by rogue armed men believed to be members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Monday dawn at the poblacion. Sarangani has remained to be peaceful until armed men believed to be coming from the different parts of the region especially from Cotabato and Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat attacked. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Supplies

Maasim, Sarangani (August 20, 2008) - Evacuees help out in unloading 100 sacks of NFA rice from the provincial Capitol Wednesday, August 20, for residents who opted to stay in the poblacion while military operations are launched against suspected rouge Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces who killed two innocent civilians and wounded another. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Right to defend

Maasim, Sarangani (August 20, 2008) - Mayor Jojo Lopez gets updates from the villages Wednesday, August 20, in a defensive post around the municipal hall. The mayor has ordered civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) to carry firearms and defend lives and limbs as well as properties as mandated by the Constitution. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sarangani villages activate defense force

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 20, 2008) – Sarangani town mayors were directed by Governor Migs Dominguez Wednesday (August 20) to organize a defense force in villages, particularly in coastal areas, to foil rouge armed groups from harming civilians.

The governor issued the order in the wake of Monday's dawn attack by suspected rogue elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in poblacion Maasim that killed two innocent civilians and wounded another.

Civilian volunteer organizations (CVOs) are authorized to carry firearms to defend the province from any intrusions of armed men.

Police regional director Felizardo Serapio has sent word that "civilians can be tapped with coordination with barangay captains and mayors," Dominguez said, a constitutional right to defend life and limbs as well as property.

The first priority to be closely monitored is the coastal areas for intrusion or withdrawal of enemy troops. "Orders are to engage if enemy is visible," he said.

Municipal Disaster Coordinating Councils were activated immediately to prepare for any outbreak of hostilities as government troops are pursuing the armed men who attacked Maasim.

A military commander assured military operations are in "confined places" and "not widespread" that could affect civilians.

Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, commander of the 27th Infantry Batallion, said government troops "know where they (MILF) are and we are following them."

Santiago said the ongoing military operation is in response to the crimes committed by the lawless elements that ransacked some business establishments in Maasim public market and killed two innocent civilians. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Manhunt for Maasim attackers

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 19, 2008) – Governor Migs Dominguez (center) confers Tuesday, August 19, with military officers hunting down suspected rouge elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who killed two innocent civilians and wounded another at dawn Monday as the MILF forces ransacked the public market and attacked the town police station. The police repulsed the raiders believed coming from different parts of the region especially Cotabato and Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat. Sarangani has always been striving for peace but the attack triggered the full force of the military and police to hunt down the criminals. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Army troops pursuing MILF

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 19, 2008) – Military troops are conducting hot pursuit operations in "confined places" against suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces.

"Our military operation is not widespread," according to Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, commander of the 27th Infantry Batallion based in Maasim, whose troops are running after MILF forces who attacked Maasim town Monday.

"We know where they are and we are following them. Hopefully makuha natin yung gumawa ng kasalanan at pananagutan talaga nila. Kung ayaw nilang sumuko, syempre panagutan talaga nila yung ginawa nila (we will capture the perpetrators to face their criminal acts. If they will not surrender, surely they must face the consequences of their deeds.)"

Santiago disclosed this is a military response to the crimes committed by the lawless elements that ransacked some business establishments in Maasim public market and killed two innocent civilians.

Santiago ascertained the armed men were members of the 105th MILF based in Maguindanao and not from the local places in Sarangani.

"We are confident that we can maintain peace and order here in Sarangani because we have sufficient forces and we can address any eventuality that could happen."

"We are in coordination with the local government. They are very supportive with logistics, food, and moral support."

"We are very happy that the community is helping us by giving us information and pointing us the enemy. They are very cooperative."

"Civilians should remain calm. We are doing everything we can in order to arrest the criminals and we will seek justice for the victims." (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Monday, August 18, 2008

2 civilians killed, 1 wounded in MILF attack

MAASIM, Sarangani (August 18, 2008) – Governor Migs Dominguez condemned as "criminal act" the attack of rogue elements in Maasim poblacion early today that killed two civilians and wounded another.

Suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces ransacked a pawnshop and drugstore in the public market as they simultaneously attacked the town police station starting 1:50 am. They carted away a video camera, assorted jewelry and medical supplies, according to an initial police report.

The armed men surrounded and fired at the police station, which is beside the municipal hall. "We had to defend," said Police Senior Inspector Joffel Remudaro, town chief of police.

Policemen repulsed the attackers in a firefight that lasted 30 minutes.

Remudaro said the police recovered two rounds of unexploded RPG (Rifle Propelled Grenade) shells. One was at the police station fence. "May isang rifle grenade pumasok sa station pero di sumabog," he said.

The rebels destroyed a transformer of Socoteco II power utility, plunging the coastal towns of Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum into total darkness.

The rebels also killed James Raymund Ruiz, 21, and Joleto Umas, 34, during the attack and wounded Jason Urapa, 20.

When a reporter asked if the Maasim attack has a "connection" with what was happening in Lanao del Norte, the governor said certain factors will try to strive for an all out war.

"However, what we see is a criminal act," Dominguez said. "Hinahabol natin yun mga responsible doon sa criminal act na nangyari."

The military and police are pursuing the bandits numbering about 60 to 80.

Transportation along the General Santos City-Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum highway was unaffected.

At least 120 families from Upper Daliao evacuated their village and now housed at the barangay hall in Daliao.

"We are doing everything we can. The local government and the provincial government are working hand in hand so that all of these IDPs (internally displaced persons) are well taken cared of," Governor Dominguez said.

Barangays Lumasal and Nomoh have 1,500 and 575 evacuees, respectively at their public elementary schools.

A quick response team deployed by Gov. Dominguez is attending to the evacuees' needs with food supplies and standby vehicles.

"We always strive for peace," Dominguez said. "Sarangani has remained to be peaceful until some rogue elements believed to be coming from the different parts of the region especially from Cotabato and Palimbang attacked." (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Press Statement: We are for peace but we shall not cower in fear

We are appalled at the brazenness and treachery of the armed attack at the Maasim town early dawn today which resulted into the death of two innocent civilians and the wounding of another.

No amount of justification could placate the families of our dead and sooth the anxiety and fear of residents who have lived in peace and harmony throughout the years.

We shall remain steadfast in our quest for peace but we shall not cower in fear in the face of open challenges.

We will relentlessly pursue the attackers and bring to justice who wrought havoc to our peaceful lives and those who will continue to threaten us.

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are now pursuing them.

Let me assure the residents of Maasim and in Sarangani that the local government units will continue to protect your lives and properties.

Let us not be driven into fear and submission.

(Sgd)

MIGUEL RENE A. DOMINGUEZ
GovernorSarangani

Friday, August 15, 2008

Parent Leaders Training

KIAMBA, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – Vice Mayor Elmer de Peralta delivers a message to 100 participants of Parent Leaders Training at Kiamba Central Elementary School. Sitting at the table, from right to left, are Glenda Morales, principal of Alabel Central Elementary School; Leticia Orodio, district supervisor and principal of Kiamba Central Elementary School; and Lilla Fantone, a school teacher. The Parent Leaders Training is part of the "CLASSRoM Project" - Comprehensive Learning Assistance & Support for Schoolers, a joint effort of municipal government, Synergia, Department of Education, Kiambayahinan Foundation and Alcantara Foundation. (Photo by Abner Arzaga/KIAMBA NEWS & INFORMATION CENTER)

Women for peace

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – Women and mothers take their snacks listening to the "Kadsisinabuta" peace consultation Thursday, August 14, in Teneb Elementary School, barangay Mindupok, with provincial and municipal officials, tribal leaders, and Muslim elders. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Peace here and now

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon urges constituents for brotherhood among "Sarangans" during the "Kadsisinabuta" peace consultation Thursday, August 14. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Peace for us

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – School kids flash the peace sign at the "Kadsisinabuta", a peace consultation and medical outreach Thursday, August 14, in sitio Teneb, Mindupok, a Muslim barangay. Provincial and municipal officials, tribal leaders, and Muslim elders attended the consultation. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Medical outreach

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon observes at a dental surgery conducted by the Hearts and Brains, Incorporated from General Santos City during the "Kadsisinabuta", a peace consultation and medical outreach Thursday, August 14, in sitio Teneb, barangay Mindupok. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Mayor's appeal

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – Mayor Elsie Perrett speaks before provincial and municipal officials, tribal leaders, and Muslim elders at the "Kadsisinabuta" peace consultation Thursday, August 14, in barangay Mindupok. (Photo by Afren de Guzman/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Feeding day

MAITUM, Sarangani (August 15, 2008) – A school kid and 200 more enjoy "champurado" on their feeding day Thursday, August 14, as "Kadsisinabuta" peace consultation is going on in Teneb Elementary School. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sarangani pilots new amnesty program

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 14, 2008) – Sarangani is the pilot province of the Social Integration Program (SIP), an amnesty program whereby former rebels and their dependents are provided a set of interventions to facilitate their integration into mainstream society.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has also picked Sarangani as the venue for the first leg of the SIP information drive nationwide.

SIP is being implemented pursuant to Administrative Order No. 172 promulgated on March 23, 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The program, in contrast to previous amnesty programs of the government, provides increased remuneration for surrendered firearms, explosives and ammunitions.

"For instance, an M16 rifle previously valued at P18,000 is now valued at P50,000 under the SIP," said Atty. Reuben Dasay Lingating, SIP program manager.

"Each former rebel is granted with an immediate assistance allowance of P20,000 while undergoing the process requirements for the grant of socio-economic intervention," Lingating said.

However, Lingating pointed out that the program shall not cover those with pending cases in courts involving crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols, even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs.

Lingating, who briefed the Provincial Peace and Order Council about the program, awarded immediate assistance to 22 former rebels from the province on August 8.

The former rebels had surrendered to 1002nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army from the period March 30, 2007 to July 31, 2008.

An OPAPP press statement said "while some were armed members, others held positions ranging from political guide, vice platoon leader, squad leader, and team leader."

According to the military, most of the rebel returnees were from barangay Datal Anggas in Alabel while others came from the hinterland barangays of Malapatan and Malita, Davao del Sur.

Four who surrendered last week, according to a press release issued by the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, yielded two Garand rifles, a homemade M79 grenade launcher, a 12-gauge shotgun and several ammunitions.

"In an interview, Eufemio Diamante (alias) Janggo said that the government's program is a big help for them as they returned back to their respective communities," the 1002nd Infantry Brigade press release said.

"Janggo narrated that he returned to the folds of the law after he realized that they were only used by the NPAs in the extortion activities which only benefited their commanders," it added. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Ceremonial turn-over of workbooks

KIAMBA, Sarangani (August 14, 2008) – Mayor Rommel Tomas Falgui (in white shirt) poses with Grade I pupils, teachers and parents during the ceremonial turn-over of workbooks as part of the "CLASSRoM" project at Kiamba Central Elementary School (KCES) Tuesday, August 12. At the right side of Mayor Falgui is Leticia Orodio, principal of KCES and district supervisor of Department of Education. At the mayor's left is Cecile Dominguez, executive director of Alcantara Foundation. "CLASSRoM - Comprehensive Learning Assistance & Support for Schoolers" is a joint effort of the municipal government, Synergia, DepEd, Kiambayahinan Foundation and Alcantara Foundation. (Photo by Charmie D. Lising /KIAMBA NEWS & INFORMATION CENTER)

DENR Central Office visitation

KIAMBA, Sarangani (August 14, 2008) – Mayor Rommel Tomas Falgui (left) discusses the status of the 50-hectare rubber plantation at Falel, Tamadang with the visiting representatives of DENR-Forest Management Bureau Central Office on Tuesday, August 12. Sitting in front of the mayor (from right) are Tamadang barangay chairman Rudy Tagum, and from DENR Central Office, Orlando Panginiban, Bliss Corro and Marlou Atienza. Mer Olvida who sits beside Mayor Falgui is representing ECOGov II which is a partner of the rubber plantation project under the hunger mitigation program of DENR. (Photo by Allan C. de Lima/KIAMBA NEWS & INFORMATION CENTER)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sarangani adopts social integration plan

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 13, 2008) – The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) has officially adopted the Local Social Integration Plan (LSIP) to manage "forces, arms and ammunitions of former rebels and their transition to civilian life."

The LSIP "is one of the tools to be used in the maintenance of peace and order in the locality," according to a resolution unanimously passed August 8 by the PPOC.

The resolution was approved upon the motion of Board Member Victor James Yap, Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee chair on peace and order.

At the same time, PPOC members from the police and military issued "commitments" during a workshop to provide former rebels with a "halfway house" and arms storage for surrendered firearms.

For their part, provincial offices for social welfare, health services and Gov. Migs Dominguez' Kalinaw Sarangani peace program "committed" rice for former rebels, and their stress debriefing with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

Social workers are giving livelihood assistance for former rebels as they undergo a healing and reconciliation process. Their medical needs in the treatment of TB and malaria fall under the care of the provincial health office.

Other commitments by line agencies reported during the workshop are: Alternative Learning System (DepED); job placement and skills development (DOLE); livelihood technical assistance (DTI); seedling distribution and advocacy on the preservation of the environment (DENR); Tulay sa Pangulo Project and solar panel for rebel returnee community (DAR); and manual labor employment (DPWH).

Non-government organizations would pave the way for social preparation and coordination. On the other hand, the Sarangani Indigenous People Professionals Association (SIPPA), in collaboration with mayors' offices, vowed to speed up the healing process and reconciliation.

SIPPA would also seek the assistance of tribal leaders in leg-working and information drive on traditional way of managing conflicts.

"The Social Integration Program of the National Committee on Social Integration under OPAPP involves a comprehensive peace process agenda that calls for a principled negotiated settlement with all armed rebel groups under the Rule of Law and in accordance with the Constitutional processes specifically management of forces, arms and ammunitions of former rebels and their transition to civilian life, is considered an integral part of the peace process and post-conflict security reform, and as essential confidence-building and peace building nature," the PPOC resolution stated.

In its resolution, the PPOC said a "significant number of rebel groups … are threat to the Peace and Order situation in the locality."

In the quest of finding solution to this problem, the PPOC tapped the National Government thru the OPAPP "for a more comprehensive approach in the management of these rebel groups."
The OPAPP, thru the National Committee on Social Integration, responded by assisting the PPOC in crafting an Action Plan or better known as the Local Social Integration Plan of Sarangani Province solely intended for the rebel groups. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Internet for medical mission

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 12, 2008) - A staff from the Information Communication Technology team of the Capitol checks on the wireless internet connection provided by Smart Bro Inc. at the Capitol gymnasium Tuesday, August 12, attracting a curious boy. The gym is turned into a hotzone area for the international health mission conducted here by the Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia (ACIM-Asia). The mission is giving medical services and free medicines to some 2,000 Alabel patients during the week. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Catechism

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 12, 2008) – Aspirant nuns from the Oblate Sisters Society of Saint Pius X congregation in Iloilo City conduct catechism by reading Bible stories to indigent children patients in their one-week medical mission which started Monday, August 11, at the Capitol gym. (Photo by Bon-bon Quino/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Polish doctor

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 12, 2008) – Polish pediatrician Elizabeth Kawolska, with a volunteer nurse from Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, gives a free medical check-up to an indigent boy from Alabel during the one-week Rosa Mystica Medical Mission which started Monday, August 11, at the Capitol gym. Mission members are the Oblate Sisters Society of Saint Pius X congregation in Iloilo City. The congregation invited Polish and French doctors and doctors from General Santos City for the mission. (Photo by Bon-bon Quino/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taekwondo champs

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 11, 2008) - From left to right 1st row, Josephine Gaceta, Girlie Bantas, Josie Jean Pantojan, Mary Joy Lerias, Kimberly Siblos, Coach Romelen Espiritu and, 2nd row from left to right, Omar Mohammad Jr., Jowil Lumbad, Julius Sarcauga, Florante Torien, Jimboy Abanto and Jeoffrey Elma all from Alabel National High School pose after they were presented to Capitol employees and officials Monday, August 11. They are winners of individual gold medals during the 10th Regional Taekwondo championship held at Mlang, North Cotabato last August 9-10. The team's trip was sponsored by Board Member Aniceto Lopez III. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Health Missionaries

ALABEL, Sarangani (August 11, 2008) – Fr. Daniel Conture, a French-Canadian priest and director of the medical mission presents the other missionaries to Capitol employees during the flag ceremony Monday, August 11. The Rosa Mystica Health Mission team, which offers medical and dental services with free medicines, is conducting a five-day medical mission sponsored by ACIM-Asia (Association of Catholic Doctors and Nurses in Asia). (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)