Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eat-all-you-can

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 31, 2009) - Residents and tourists enjoy the bangsi (flying fish) grill Saturday, January 31. Thiseat-all-you-can feature of Bangsi Festival offers at least 1,000 kilos of fresh bangsi for the public to partake. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Ceremonial repair

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 31, 2009) - Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro leads the ceremonial repair of a culvert Saturday, January 31, during the ground-breaking ceremony of the farm-to-market road that traverses a large swath of rice field in barangay Kiambing. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Bangsi grill

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 31, 2009) – A resident prepares her bangsi (flying fish) grill Saturday, January 31, as the municipality celebrates Bangsi Festival with free offering of grilled bangsi to tourists and residents. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATIONOFFICE)

3rd Placer

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 31, 2009) – The Notre Dame of Maitum contingent wins 3rd Place in Bangsi Festival's street-dancing showdown Saturday, January 31, taking home a cash prize of P12,000. (Photo byCocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

2nd placer

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 31, 2009) – Team B of Malalag National High School places second with a cash prize of P15,000 during the street-dancing showdown of Bangsi Festival Saturday, January 31.(Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Seaworld in the sand

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) – Locals and tourists find the beach transformed into a seaworld in one of the sand castle-building competition entries Friday, January 30, as Maitum celebrates Bangsi Festival. The Sangguniang Bayan has cited the bangsi (flying fish)processing industry as highly significant to the municipality being among top producers of marinated flying fish and other fish by-products within the region. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Pawikan release

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - From right, Mayor ElsiePerrett, Rep. Cesar Jalosjos of Zamboanga del Norte and Vice Mayor Tito Balazon release Hawksbill turtles Friday, January 30, as part of Bangsi Festival celebration. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Lumba bugsay

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - Fishermen from barangay Mabay paddle to the finish line ahead of the pack, winning 1st Place in the lumba bugsay (boat race) as one of the 2nd Annual Bangsi Festival events. The festival's theme is "Inaalagaang Karagatan, Nagbunga ngKasaganaan" (Maitum Sea, Sun, and Shore, bounty and beauty). (Photo byCocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Bangsi Festival founder

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) – As founding mayor of Bangsi Festival, Mayor Elsie Perrett delivers her message in the opening program Friday, January 30. The Bangsi Festival is a marketing pitch for Maitum's One Town One Product, the marinated flying fish (bangsi).Around a thousand households depend on the bangsi industry, with average annual catch of more or less 600 tons. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Spectators

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - Kids patiently wait for the fluvial parade to start Friday, January 30, in celebration of the 2nd Annual Bangsi Festival. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATIONOFFICE)

Opening dance

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - Young dancers perform a modern contemporary dance entitled "Paglalakbay sa Karagatan" during the opening program Friday, January 30, of the 2nd Annual Bangsi Festival.(Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Hawksbill

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - A two-year old Hawksbill turtle is on its way to the sea after being released by municipal officials Friday, January 30, in celebration of Bangsi Festival. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Fluvial parade

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) - Maitum fisher folk join the fluvial parade Friday, January 30, in celebration of the 2nd Annual Bangsi Festival. Production of marinated bangsi (flying fish) in Maitum is a P10-million village industry. Bangsi is Maitum's One Town One Product (OTOP) with the marinated and half dried flying fish as apopular pasalubong and breakfast fare. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Friday ride

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 30, 2009) – A fisherman and his kids rush up to join the fluvial parade Friday, January 30, in celebrating Bangsi Festival which is also in honor of local fisherfolk who capture flying fish or bangsi for livelihood. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Half-dried bangsi

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 27, 2009) - Nerissa Ovalo, 23, collects half-dried bangsi at barangay Old Poblacion Monday, January 26. Maitum is celebrating its 2nd annual Bangsi Festival on January 30-31. (Photoby Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Bangsi Festival

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 27, 2009) – Poster of Bangsi Festival onJanuary 30-31, a marketing pitch for Maitum's One Town One Product –the marinated flying fish. At the same time, the community honors thefisherfolk who capture flying fish or bangsi for livelihood. (MAITUMINFORMATION OFFICE)

Maitum Bangsi Festival

It's free: Grill ur bangsi
By SERAFIN RAMOS JR.MAITUM

Sarangani (January 27, 2009) – A thousand kilos of fresh flying fish shall be offered free to the public on Saturday (January31) for grilling in time for lunch during Bangsi Festival's "SugbaSugba sa Dalan" in front of the town hall.

The Bangsi Cooking Contest follows to discover new recipes in bangsi cookery.

Bangsi (flying fish) has come a long way to become Maitum's One Town One Product (OTOP) from decades of providing livelihood to coastal households.

Its number one value-added product, the marinated and half dried flying fish, is a popular pasalubong and breakfast fare.

"Marinated bangsi alone, roughly its P10-million industry, includes processors in (barangay) Old Poblacion," said Engr. Nenita Barroso,provincial director of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)." Other products were introduced last year," she said.

Entrepreneurshave developed other value-added products like bola-bola, tocino,siomai, bangsi rolls, chorizo, lumpia, embutido, burger patties and nuggets made of bangsi.

"Packaging has improved from ordinary plastic pack into a branded and labeled packaging," Barroso noted.

Barroso added around 125 households in Old Poblacion are beneficiaries of a vacuum pack machine from DTI.

For those who drink with local buddies, bangsi kinilaw is still the best pulutan: fillet the fish, cut the head, peel off the skin.Include the head in your kinilaw if you like something crunchy.

The Bangsi Festival on January 30-31 is a marketing pitch for Maitum's OTOP.At the same time, the community honors the fisherfolk who capture flying fish or bangsi for livelihood.

"Around a thousand households depend on bangsi industry, with average annual catch of more or less 600 tons," said Beth Ramos – Palma Gil,municipal accountant and information officer.

In a Sangguniang Bayan resolution creating the festival, marinated flying fish or bulad was cited as "highly significant to the municipality because it is one of the top producers of marinated flying fish and other fish by-products within SOCSARGEN area."

The festival would give "more meaning to its One Town, One Product for purpose of promotion to boost the morale of its fisherfolk aiming for higher family income as well as its diverse culture, tourism, and economy."

Palma Gil said the festival's theme is "Inaalagaang Karagatan,Nagbunga ng Kasaganaan" (Maitum Sea, Sun, and Shore, bounty andbeauty).

Coastal barangays here offer high economic potential due to the abundant catch of flying fish, availability of local skills in fish processing, and unique technology on marinating fish being practicedby residents.

Majority of the fishing households has pamangsihan, a gear used in catching flying fish.This indicates how significant flying fish catching plays in the livelihood of the community, which is done whole year round, with peak season noted during September to May.

The men are the ones involved in capture fishing while the women are in fish drying and marinating activities.

According to Wikipedia, flying fish are found in all of the major oceans, particularly in the warm tropical and subtropical waters.Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins which are unusually large, and enable the fish to take short gliding flights through air,above the surface of the water, in order to escape from predators.(SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yes we can!

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 26, 2009) – Gov. Migs Dominguez gestures as he quotes US President Barack Obama, "Yes we can", in attaining lasting peace during the 40th foundation anniversary, Parents Alumni Teachers Association and Students (PATAS) day and 3rd Karagsakan Festival (Happiness) of Malalag National High School Monday, January26. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Mayor Perrett

MAITUM, sarangani (January 26, 2009) - Mayor Elsie Perrett assures the community Monday, January 26, that the authorities are doing their best to keep the celebrations peaceful and encourages the people to be courageous and be united in keeping the municipality a good and peaceful community. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATIONOFFICE)

Love song

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 26, 2009) - Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett and Vice Mayor Tito Balazon sing the Ilocano love song entitled "Ti Ayatti Maysa nga Ubing" (When a child loves) as Kagawad Rey Mayled plays the drums in a special number Monday, January 26, during the 40th foundation anniversary, Parents Alumni Teachers Association and Students (PATAS) day and 3rd Karagsakan Festival (Happiness) of Malalag National High School with this year's theme: "Pagkakaisa tungosa maunlad na pamayanan". (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Civilians spot Maitum explosive, suspects

By SERAFIN RAMOS JR. and BETH RAMOS – PALMA GIL

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 26, 2009) – An improvised explosive device(IED) blew up at a vacant lot here around 5pm Saturday (January 24) in what witnesses said was lobbed by two motorcycle-riding men coming from the direction of General Santos City.

The IED exploded at a grassy portion 15 meters from the concrete wall of a Globe Telecom cellsite in the poblacion, according to a report from the 28th Infantry Battalion based here.

Nobody was hurt and no damage was reported.

According to witnesses, the IED was tossed by two unidentified teenagers who fled towards the direction of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat province.

The military has deployed additional troops to man checkpoints and conduct roving patrols around the town center to protect vital installations and civilians.

"Ang pangyayari kaninang hapon na kung saan ay meron na namang pumutok na bomba ay nagpapatunay na ang mga lawless elements ay determinado natakutin ang mga tao. Pero nagkakamali sila dahil ang mga tao na mismoang nagbibigay ng impormasyon upang sa ganun ay hindi sila magtagumpaysa kanilang layunin," Lt. Col. Ferdinand Budeng said Saturday.

"Nakikipag-cooperate na ang mga tao sa militar at pulis para ma-solve ang problem na ito."

"Hindi nagtagumpay ang mga terorista dahil walang casualty sa mga tao at walang nasirang mga ari-arian," said Budeng, battalion commander ofthe 28th IB.

The blast came in the wake of a detonation by police and military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams of an IED left in front of the town hall Friday (January 23).The IED was spotted by a civilian, prompting employees to evacuate the building. No one was hurt.

"We will not be cowered by the recent bombing incidents and we would like to make a statement that they cannot prevent us from our day today activities especially our forthcoming Bangsi Festival," Mayor Elsie Perrett said.

Bangsi Festival, a marketing pitch for Maitum's One Town, One Product– the marinated flying fish (bangsi) - culminates on January 30 and31. The festival's theme is "Inaalagaang Karagatan, Nagbunga ng Kasaganaan" (Maitum Sea, Sun, and Shore, bounty and beauty.)

"We will intensify our vigilance and we will do our best to protectour people from these lawless elements by all means," the mayor said.

Budeng said the military has placed heightened security on 24-hourduty. "We will see to it that all vital installations are well-guardedby the military and police," he said.

On Friday, civilians, military and police operatives jointly foiledthe attempt to explode a timed IED hidden beside a ramp where people pass towards the municipal hall's main door.

Budeng said the IED was made of 60 millimeter mortar fitted with alarm clock and blasting cap.

Army and police EOD operatives from General Santos City, 107 km east of Maitum, detonated the IED minutes before it was set to blow up at11:40am."We are thankful for the vigilance of the community and I ask each and every one of us to be more vigilant in order to thwart any attempt of lawless elements to sow terror and fear in our beloved community,"Perrett said in press statement.

"We thank the AFP and PNP for handling the situation carefully anddiligently which resulted to zero casualty," the mayor said.

Perrett said "this is no time for blaming and pinpointing at each other because this will only divide us. The other side would be happy if we did. Instead, we need to cooperate and work closely together.Report any suspected IED to proper authorities, stay calm to avoidchaos and confusion. Let us not allow the terroristic behavior of somepeople who want nothing but to destroy the peace in our community andstall our development initiatives."

Cesar Tayan, president of a motor cycling group, said that around8:30am Friday, he noticed "a black triangle thing covered by black electrical tape with penlite battery and two inches plastic clip colored green."

He quickly called the attention of the police on duty and informed the chief of police who asked all employees to vacate the municipal hall.

Another witness, an on-the-job trainee at the town hall, noted that at about 8:20am, as she alighted from a tricycle, she saw two men seated at a bench at the right side of the town hall entrance.It was the same place where the IED was planted.

"Yung isa, mga 5'4" ang height, katamtaman ang pangangatawan, naka RayBan, puti na t-shirt ang suot, fair skinned," she disclosed.

"Yungisa putot siya, medyo kulot at makapal ang buhok, naka red shirt,medyo maitim, may itinago kaagad sa likod niya noong nakita niya ako."

She also noticed a black motorcycle parked in front of the bench where they were seated. "Mga bagong mukha, at hindi ko kilala," she said.

Upon discovery of the IED, the municipal hall was cordoned off bypolice. EOD personnel detonated the IED around noon.At the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council meeting, chief of police PInsp. Joel Marfil Fuerte pointed out the need for a more vigilant community by saying "we cannot do it alone."

"So far, na-prevent natin ang pagkakaroon ng damage or casualty so maganda ang nangyari dahil sa pagkikipagtulungan ng ating civilians,na-recover natin yong bomba bago pumutok," Fuerte said. (SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Improvised explosive device (IED)

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 26, 2009) – A civilian spotted this improvised explosive device (IED) Friday, January 23, placed beside a ramp where people pass towards the municipal hall's main door. A witness earlier saw two men seated at a bench there. The witness said:"Yung isa, mga 5'4" ang height, katamtaman ang pangangatawan, naka RayBan, puti na t-shirt ang suot, fair skinned. Yung isa putot siya, medyo kulot at makapal ang buhok, naka red shirt, medyo maitim, may itinago kaagad sa likod niya noong nakita niya ako." (Photo by Afrende Guzman/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

IED detonated

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 26, 2009) – An Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team member inspects the remnants of an improvised explosive device (IED) after detonation. The IED left in front of the town hall Friday, January 23, was made of 60 millimeter mortar fitted with alarm clock and blasting cap. No one was hurt. (Photo by Afren deGuzman/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

MILF "child warrior" in gov't. custody

By SERAFIN RAMOS JR.MAITUM

Sarangani (January 24, 2009) – An armed "child warrior" of theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), wounded and captured in a recent firefight, has been taken to custody by the provincial social welfareand development office (PSWDO), a military officer said.

"The boy is recuperating and has been turned over to PSWDO for proper care," said Lt. Col.

Ferdinand Budeng, commander of the 28th Infantry Battalion based in Maitum."The capture of the child warrior belies the claim of the MILF that they are not using children in combat operations," Budeng said.

The 16-year old MILF combatant (name withheld) was captured when 28thIB troops under 1st Lt. Roberto Maduli overran December 16 an MILF105th base command outpost in sitio Kadapukan, barangay Tuanadatu.

The boy who was wounded in his right thigh was armed with a caliber 45pistol with two magazines and 14 rounds of ammunition.

The "child warrior" was immediately brought to the Maitum Emergency Hospital for initial treatment then brought to a hospital in General Santos City for further treatment.

While in General Santos City, he was under the care of the PSWDO and given medical assistance up to his discharge with counseling for him and his family. His rehabilitation after treatment is still understudy by the PSWDO.

In a press statement issued September 18, 2008, the Commission on Human Rights condemned "the use of children as soldiers by any armed groups."

"Whether the recruitment be voluntary, by undue influence, by reasons of revenge and especially if done so by force, the use of children to carry arms is a violation of the right of the child to be free from harm from abuse and exploitation and from forced labor," CHRchairperson Leila de Lima said.

The CHR chair said "one of the most harrowing vestiges of any war is the involvement of children as soldiers."

"The Commission on Human Rights has received reports from the media and other partners in the civil society that Non-State Armed Groups,like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, have resorted to the use ofchildren, individuals below eighteen years of age, as soldiers," deLima said.

"Recruitment of children in armed groups is one of the sixgrave child rights violations identified by the United Nations'Security Council."

The CHR said "such an abominable practice must be put to stop."

"Your children's place should never be in the trenches of war-ridden fields but in schools where they can develop and actualize as complete individuals living lives with dignity and humanity," according to the CHR press statement.

In a series of encounters when the boy was captured, government troops overran MILF outposts manned by some 75 lawless MILF group (LMG). The 28th IB seized the "LMG satellite camp with 20 bunkers, five outpostsand running trenches," Budeng disclosed.

"There was no casualty on government side while enemy blood scattered at the camp and in their withdrawal route," Budeng added. (SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Treatment

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 24, 2009) – A nurse injects intravenous medicines for the immediate recovery of a "child warrior" taken into custody by the provincial social welfare and development office. The Commission on Human Rights said "one of the most harrowing vestiges of any war is the involvement of children as soldiers." (Photo by BethRamos – Palma Gil/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

For rehabilitation

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 24, 2009) – A 16-year old combatant (name withheld) is visited at a hospital while recuperating from wounds in his right thigh. The Commission on Human Rights said the use of children, individuals below eighteen years of age, as soldiers, is one of the six grave child rights violations identified by the United Nations' Security Council. (Photo by Beth Ramos – Palma Gil/MAITUMINFORMATION OFFICE)

Child warrior

MAITUM, Sarangani (January 24, 2009) – A "child warrior" of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) lies in a hospital bed after being wounded and captured in a firefight. The Commission on Human Rights condemns "the use of children as soldiers by any armed groups." (Photoby Beth Ramos – Palma Gil/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rail hauls war armaments, arrests suspect

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 22, 2009) – A joint military-police raid atdawn Wednesday (January 21) in barangay Pananag nabbed one suspect andrecovered high-powered firearms and war paraphernalia.

The operation was conducted by virtue of a warrant of arrest againstsuspected Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group (LMG) membersresponsible for the August 2008 attack of Maasim municipal hall,police station and the killing of two innocent civilians.

"At around 5am, we arrived in the area and immediately our troopssurrounded the vicinity where the suspects are reportedly hiding,"said 1st Lt. Marvin Maraggun of the 73rd Infantry Battalion."Since our soldiers are close to the houses, they saw the peopleinside throwing items outside," the lieutenant said.

A team of Maasim police moved into the houses and started a search leading to the arrest of one of the suspects caught in possession ofan M-1 Garand rifle.

"He will be charged with illegal possession of firearms other than the case filed against him with the rest of the suspects," said SeniorPolice Officer Leodivicio Ramos, member of the 16-man team who served the warrant.

The warrant of arrest docketed under criminal cases 3043-08, 3044-08 and 3045-08 were against LMG members accused of arson, robbery andmurder.

Military intelligence reports indicated that at least five suspects were taking refuge in the village. Police said two informants identified the arrested suspect who was caught in the possession ofthe M-1 Garand.

Authorities seized the M-1 Garand rifle, M-79 home-made rifle,ammunitions, three pieces of propellant charger for Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and other war paraphernalia.

These are now under the custody of the Maasim police.According to a military spot report, a certain 2nd Lt. Duazo happenedto stumble on the three propellant chargers which prompted the troops to search for other war materials."They (suspects) were caught in big surprise," Ramos said."We saw them throwing the recovered items outside the house, some ofthem we found just concealed under banana trees near the house," Ramos added.

According to the military, the recovered home-made M-79 rifle was similar to the one fired upon some 300 family evacuees in nearby Ireneo Lopez Elementary School in Lumasal Wednesday last week.

In October 8 last year, a joint military-police search operation in Datu Dani, Kiamba town, led to the surrender of Moro Islamic Liberation Front high-ranking official Victor Watamama."We will not stop hunting those who attacked Maasim poblacion and killed innocent civilians," 73rd Infantry Battalion Commander Lt. Col.Edgardo de Leon said. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Recovered armaments

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 21, 2009) – A police officer inspects recovered armaments after a raid conducted by joint military troops and police at dawn Wednesday, January 21, among several houses in barangay Pananag. The raid was done by virtue of a warrant of arrest to suspected Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group (LMG) members responsible for the August 2008 attack in the town's municipal hall, police station and the killing of two civilians. The raid led to the capture of one of the suspects. (Photo by Romina Rabina/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Donation

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 21, 2009) – School principal George Liansing (right) shakes hands with outgoing plant manager of the Southern Philippines Power Corporation (SPPC), Archimedes Donato, and incoming plant manager Bernardo Zamora, at the turn over ceremony and signing of the deed of donation Wednesday, January 21, of a welding machine set from SPPC and Alcantara Foundation for the Alabel National High School. The school begins implementing the Department of Education's technical and vocational curriculum to cater to the rising demand for technical jobs. Also in photo are SPPC human resource manager Joel Aton and the school's faculty and students. (Photo byRomina Rabina/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Organic rice farming

KIAMBA, Sarangani (January 20, 2009) – Federico Gil, national president of Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ngAgrikultura, flattens the soil Monday, January 19, during the"Kiambayanihan" at sitio Baybay, Tambilil in a communal organic rice planting activity to bring back the "agri-culture" of farmers helping one another. (Photo by Allan C. de Lima/KIAMBA NEWS & INFORMATIONCENTER)

Communal organic planting

KIAMBA, Sarangani (January 20, 2009) - Members of Association of Sustainable Agricultural Practitioners of Palimbang join the farmers of barangay Tambilil during the "Kiambayahinan" at sitio Baybay,Tambilil Monday, January 19. It is a communal organic rice planting activity which is an initiative of bringing back the "agri-culture" off armers helping one another. (Photo by Allan C. de Lima/KIAMBA NEWS &INFORMATION CENTER)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Political science

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (January 19, 2009) – Governor Migs Dominguez addresses political science students of Mindanao State University Monday, January 19, as guest speaker in celebration of the political science week. Gov. Dominguez encouraged students to "make a voice" in finding solutions and giving direction for the country by being critical about government, and as future politicians, to follow his foot steps in providing hope and inspiration for the people. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Guest of honor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (January 19, 2009) – Governor Migs Dominguez receives a certificate of appreciation from Mindanao State University officials Dr. Prescillano Campado (left) and Professor GeorgeGuerrero. The governor is guest speaker Monday, January 19, for the political science week celebration. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

Barangay development

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (January 19, 2009) – Governor Migs Dominguez (2ndfrom right) with (from left) provincial administrator Fredo Basino, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Legal Counsel Atty. ElvieAlbano, DBP Regional Marketing Center-Southern Mindanao SeniorAssistant Vice President Fernando Lagahit, and OIC-provincial treasurer Reynaldo Caasi, sign the P26-million loan agreement Monday,January 19, for Sarangani barangays' development through infrastructure projects and the delivery of basic social services.Sarangani is the first to avail a DBP loan this year as the bank continues to provide financial assistance for countryside development.(Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Makati offers services, scholarship to Maitum

MAKATI (January 19, 2009) – Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay has offered the municipality of Maitum scholarship for training in Makati's best practices.

"We are offering you 10 scholars in our University of Makati," Binay told 26 Maitum delegates during the signing of a "Sisterhood Relationship" January 12.

Makati's hospital services were also made available. "Send Maitumians to our hospital, just make sure you send their medical abstract,"Binay said.

The Maitum delegation was led by Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett, withVice Mayor Tito Balazon, Sangguniang Bayan members and municipal department heads.

The sisterhood pact seals the friendship, cooperation, and sharing between the country's financial capital and a poor town with rich heritage and natural resources.

Binay stressed the importance of a local government unit (LGU) getting into business to generate revenue locally.He hailed the sisterhood pact as a milestone for the two LGUs.

Binay said he was proud to have Maitum as Makati's sister community."This pact is a sign of trust and confidence for both of us," Binay said. "I wish our SEF (Special Education Fund) will be liberalized sowe can share with you our resources."

The Makati mayor asked Maitum officials to start programming their Lakbay Aral and trainings."You will be given free board and lodging when you are in Makati to train in any of our programs and best practices like rescue, socialservices, to name a few," Binay said.

"Our friendship and cooperation is not one way. We would also like to learn from you how you delivered basic services despite low income.You managed to live peacefully in the midst of cultural diversity,"Binay added.

For her part, a "deeply honored" Mayor Perrett said the sisterhood with Makati City would "usher in development in our municipality interms of information technology, governance, education, urban planning, and tourism."

Perrett said the relationship between the two LGUs would strengthen the "exchange of information, lessons, and experiences that will benefit both our constituents."

"Maitum is an ideal cultural destination – with its archaeologicallandmarks, uncharted caves and waterfalls, unspoiled beaches, pawikanand bat sanctuaries. It is home to more than 40,000 diverse, warm and peace-loving people," Perrett told her hosts. "We are eager to share these natural endowments with you." (Beth Ramos – Palma Gil/MAITUMINFORMATION OFFICE)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Makati crowd

MAKATI (January 18, 2009) – Mayor Jejomar Binay, flanked by Maitum Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett and Maitum Vice Mayor Tito Balazon, leadsthe crowd of Makati Officials and employees during a cultural presentation by Maitum municipal department heads January 12. (Photo by Kagawad Rey Mayled/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tboli dance

MAKATI (January 18, 2009) – Maitum municipal department heads perform a Tboli dance to the delight of a Makati City Hall crowd led by Mayor Jejomar Binay and other Makati officials. (Photo by Kagawad ReyMayled/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tboli in Makati

MAKATI (January 18, 2009) - Mayor Jejomar Binay shows off the Tboli bolo "Bangkong" and other gifts given by Maitum officials and employees visiting Makati for the signing of sisterhood agreement January 12. (Photo by Kagawad Rey Mayled/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sisterhood Relationship

MAKATI (January 17, 2009) - Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett and Mayor Jejomar Binay seal a "Sisterhood Relationship" in a ceremony at Makati City Hall on January 12 where Mayor Binay stressed the importance oflocal government units getting into business to generate revenue locally. (Photo by Beth Ramos - Palma Gil)

Makati-Maitum sisterhood

MAKATI (January 17, 2009) - Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett and Mayor Jejomar Binay sign the sisterhood pact between their local government units for friendship, cooperation and sharing of best practices.Maitum Vice Mayor Tito Balazon and Maitum and Makati officials witness the January 12 signing. (Photo by Beth Ramos - Palma Gil)

Cultural exchange

MAKATI (January 17, 2009) – Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay - wearing tinalak, tribal beads, malong and a kris – receives Maitum Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett at the Makati Mayor's Office on January 12. (Photo byBeth Ramos - Palma Gil)

Friday, January 16, 2009

5th Maitum Safari Photo Contest 2009: Bangsi Festival

Guidelines

The photo contest is open to all those who may wish to compete, photographers or otherwise.
Entries must speak about Maitum in terms of progress and development in its natural resources, wildlife, culture, investments, and tourism sites.

Entries must have been taken only within Maitum from June 1, 2008 to Jan. 31, 2009.
This year’s theme is: “Hurdling Turmoil, Strengthening Progress”.

All entries must be accompanied by an official entry form bearing the title of the picture, brief description of the picture, name and signature of the photographer, address, date the picture was taken and where it was taken. Entry forms may be secured from the municipal government office and maitumsafari2009@gmail.com.

Nudity, vulgar, obscene, and scandalous photos are automatically disqualified. Photos should dwell on the theme: “Hurdling Turmoil, Strengthening Progress”.

Entries should be in 12” x 8” color or black and white prints, unmounted and taken in either film or digital format.

Entries must be candid photos and not posed. Photos must be in their original form, not cropped nor-super-imposed or retouched.

Entries must be accompanied by negatives. In case of digital photos, it must be accompanied by CD containing the images in JPEG formal.

Photos must not have identifying marks that would indicate its owner.

Participants can submit as many entries but not less than five (5). Should a participant submit less than five, it shall be disqualified.

There will be a three-day safari (free board and lodging for non-residents), on Jan. 29-31, 2009.
All entries must be submitted on or before Feb. 7, 2009 with duly accomplished entry forms to the Office of the Municipal Information Officer or Office of the Provincial Information Officer, Alabel, Sarangani Province. Entries will be displayed in an exhibit at the municipal hall starting on May 1, 2009.

Prizes will be given out for :

First prize P10,000
Second prize 8,000
Third prize 6,000
Fourth Prize 4,000

The Maitum municipal government reserves the right to cancel the contest in the event that an insufficient number of entries of suitable quality are submitted.

Winning entries maybe reproduced and/or reprinted into any size for exhibition by the municipal government without seeking permission from the owner nor paying compensation for the acquisition of said photos. Proper credits, however, shall be given to the owner.

Deadline for submission of entries will be on Feb 7, 2009. Judging will be on Feb 10, 2009.
The decision of the Board of Judges of the Maitum Safari Photo Contest is FINAL.

JUDGING CRITERIA:

Content (Relevance to Theme) – Does the photo contain visual elements that best typifies or illustrates the theme? 30 percent

Composition/Arrangement – Is the photograph beautiful? Are the objects in the photo arranged in a meaningful, pleasing manner or are they “haphazard”? Did the photographer use an interesting point of view or perspective? 30 percent

Technical elements – Is the object of the photo in focus? If not in sharp focus, does it appear to be an intentional effect to enhance the image in some “artistic” way? Did the photographer use proper lighting of the subject”. Do any extremes of darkness or brightness lend to or detract from the image content? 20 percent

Creativity – Does the photographer show some creative thought or original idea in the making of this image? 20 percent

5th MAITUM SAFARI PHOTO CONTEST (2009)
(Entry Form)

Title of the Picture______________________________________________

Brief Description of the Picture____________________________________
_________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________

Date the picture was taken_______________________________________
Place the picture was taken_______________________________________
Name and signature of the photographer____________________________
Address/mobile no. of the photographer_____________________________

Coco farmer

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 17, 2009) – Unhusking coconut seems easy for this farmer who spends the whole day working his farm just along the national highway. Coco production is one main industry of Maasim.(Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

The winner

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – The referee raises challenger Elmer Legaria's hand after winning against Rene Bucag of Cagayan De Oro in the main event of Maasim's Boxing for Peace Thursday, January15, for the Mindanao Professional Boxing Federation Featherweight Championship. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Referee stops contest

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – The referee signals a stop to Elmer Legaria (center) of Maasim as Cagayan de Oro's Rene Bucag grimaces in pain during the main event of Maasim's Boxing for PeaceThursday, January 15, for the Mindanao Professional Boxing Federation Featherweight Championship. Legaria is a ward of Mayor Jojo Lopez's Ireneo Miguel Lopez stable. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)

New champion

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – New Mindanao Professional Boxing Federation Featherweight Division champion Elmer Legaria poses after winning the main event match against Rene Bucag of Cagayan De Oro Thursday, January 15, at Maasim's Boxing for Peace. (Photo byCocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Officials visit evacuees

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr. (2nd,right) and Lt. Col. Edgardo de Leon spend leisure time with teachers of the Ireneo Lopez Elementary School in Lumasal Thursday, January 15.Lopez advised the villagers to go back home the next day. The school is where 300 Tboli families found shelter since last week after leaving their homes alarmed by the presence of Lawless Moro IslamicLiberation Front Group consolidating in their village. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Evacuation center

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon talks to evacuees at Ireneo Lopez Elementary School Thursday,January 15, where over 300 families from sitio Kyongok, barangay Pananag sought refuge upon seeing members of the Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group consolidating in their area. (Photo by Bon-BonQuiňo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Blast inspection

MAASIM, Sarangani (January 16, 2009) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon and Lt. Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, inspect Thursday, January 15, the area where an M203 round exploded 50 meters away from Ireneo Lopez Elementary School that serves as evacuation center of over 300 families. Villagers offar-flung sitio Kyongok, barangay Pananag fled hours before a chance encounter January 8 of patrolling army troops and members of the Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group (LMG). Suspected LMG fired the explosive Wednesday evening (January 14) towards the school-evacuation center of civilians, mostly children. (Photo byBon-Bon Quiňo/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rebels continue to terrorize civilians

LUMASAL, Maasim, Sarangani (January 15, 2009) – Suspected members ofthe Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front Group (LMG) fired an explosive Wednesday evening (January 14) towards a school-evacuation center of civilians, mostly children.

Although no one was hurt among those taking shelter at Ireneo Lopez Elementary School, the evacuees feared the rebels are going after them for fleeing their village.

More than 300 families fled here after sighting scores of armed LMGsin their village up the mountains of Lumasal which is alongside two MILF camps.

"We believe these terrorists meant to harass the civilians while a pursuit operation is ongoing against them in the mountains," PoliceProvincial Director Danilo Peralta said.

An Explosive Ordinance Disposal team is conducting an investigation with the municipal police. Shrapnels found resemble an M-203 and fired with an improvised M-79 grenade launcher.

The impact area was a hill some 50 meters left of the school premises where the evacuees have been staying the past six days.

"We condemn this terrorist act against our innocent civilians who are defenseless," Mayor Aniceto Lopez, Jr. said."If they want to engage in a firefight, then they have to wage battle with the military and the police, not these innocent Tboli residents,"the mayor said."We were afraid.

We thought there will be more explosions," LitoTamnay, an evacuee, said. Tamnay's wife grabbed her nine children immediately and hid inside the classroom.

Jesel Chie, a 13-year old boy, related he trembled for fear after the explosion. His father, Nardo, said: "We wanted to run and hide but it was raining so we just lied down and find cover."

According to residents, two young men riding in a motorcycle stopped in the vicinity and fled after the explosion at about 8pm Wednesday.

Two platoons of the Barangay Defense System were taking turns in guarding the evacuees day and night.

These Tboli families found temporary shelter here Thursday last week after they sighted the armed LMG consolidating near their village.

Two hours after they vacated their homes, a firefight took place between the armed men and patrolling military troops.

"We have an ongoing operation in the boundaries of Kiamba and Maasim for one week already," said Lt. Col. Edgardo de Leon, commander of73rd Infantry Battalion.

"Our target is the reported LMG consolidating in Upper Lumasal. Ourtroops are closing in and they are running out of food.

We suspect that the explosion was meant for us to redirect our operations to ease the pressure on them," de Leon disclosed.

But De Leon said he was sending one platoon with armor to the evacuation center instead of pulling out the troops from the ongoing operation.

"They should not target the innocent civilians who are the victims oftheir hatred," said barangay police Jerry Ali, a Muslim.

Some groups of civilians have sworn to defend their families against the rebels. Mayor Lopez promised to help them."We cannot depend so much from the military. Let us keep the civilians to remain vigilant and be able to defend themselves at once," Lopezsaid.

Task Force Makima (Maasim-Kiamba-Maitum) Director and Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said the task force's information system will be more enhanced for the community to safeguard themselves and fully cooperate.

"We have our multiplier forces, these are our civilian forces who are the composite of the task force," Solon said.

Since last week, three explosions have occurred in Region XII, earlierin Midsayap and Kalamansig, causing injuries to at least three innocent civilians.

"I condemn the barbaric act of attempting to terrorize and harm innocent civilians who have taken shelter in public school because of the presence of armed LMGs," Governor Miguel A. Dominguez said.

"We will continue to pursue any armed group with the full strength of the armed forces. We will not allow any armed group to continue to sow fear and harm civilians," Dominguez said.

"No amount of justification can be made for terroristic activities. I call on all the citizens of the region to remain vigilant in combating lawless groups whose mission is to sow fear and terror," the governor added. (Russtum G. Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kiamba fish

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 14, 2009) – These hook and line fisher folk would soon benefit from the town's old port which is due to be developed as a satellite fish port for General Santos City fish port.The P7-million project is a joint undertaking of the local government of Kiamba, with emergency livelihood assistance from the Department ofAgriculture. At least 30% of tuna, tuna-like and other marine yields in GSC fish port are from Kiamba and nearby Maitum. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vice Gov. with inmates

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon chats with inmates on his visit at the provincial jail Monday,January 12, where inmates who were detained for more than ten years wait for their names to be called for a speedy trial inside the Justice on Wheels bus parked inside the jail compound. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Sarangani inmates

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Overstaying and still behind bars, inmates await their names to be called. Speedy administration of justice through the mobile Justice on Wheels fast tracks the releaseof 60 detainees Monday, January 12, after court hearing inside the Justice on Wheels bus parked inside the provincial jail compound in barangay Baluntay. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATIONOFFICE)

Gov. Migs visits jail

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Governor Migs Dominguez visits the provincial jail Monday, January 12, where he assists courtofficials ensure a speedy trial with the Justice on Wheels for inmates who were detained for more than ten years. The mobile court made possible the release of 60 detainees during the day. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Justice on Wheels rolls out in Sarangni, Hears, frees 93 inmates in one day

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Sarangani's Justice On Wheels,a bus-turned- mobile court, rolled out for its maiden trip Monday(January 12) to the provincial jail, resolving cases of 93 inmates whoare now free men after a day in court.

Most of them have served the term of their sentence and some werealready "overstaying".

But Judge Oscar Noel said hearings will continue overtime for 69 cases involving more than 100 detainees.

"With the Justice on Wheels, the hearing was requested by thedetainees who are willing to plea bargain for lesser offense and pleadguilty so that they can be released if the possible sentence will belesser or just equal to the preventive detention," Noel said.

"One thing would be sure that today they would know why they are goingout of jail and what would be their penalty," the judge said.

"(The mobile court) is actually just like a regular court, only thatwe are bringing justice closer to the people. Nothing is specialexcept that we are now hearing their cases at the bus," Noel said.

The Justice on Wheels Project is under the Supreme Court's Justice Enhancement and Empowerment Program (JEEP). In Metro Manila, itstarted with two buses of the Supreme Court.But "it is only the first time in the country that a local governmentunit donated a bus to the Supreme Court to be used as mobile court,"Noel said.

Noel said the Justice on Wheels can really help declog and expeditecourt proceedings especially where municipalities are separated and it would require a lot of expenses for litigants to bring their witnessesto testify in court."Those who are coming from Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum towns would havetheir cases heard in their respective municipalities," Noel said.

Records show some detainees have been detained at the provincial jail for 18 years now.

Joery Labuayan of Malungon town was accused of illegal possession offire arms and cattle rustling when he was 18. After spending 17 yearsin prison, Joery finally leaves the jail Monday (January 12). Ifconvicted, he could have served lesser jail time."I blame nobody for what happened, it's just that we are poor and Iknow nothing to defend my case," Joery said in vernacular.

Jacinto Jayno, 53, was accused of murder and sentenced to 8 years andone day to 12 years imprisonment. Jayno was released after pleadingguilty to a lesser offense and having spent 13 years in detention.

Leodigario Watin, 59, with three others, has spent 18 years in jail for frustrated murder but convicted for physical injuries.

Roberto Mustafa, after spending 13 years in prison for robbery of a carabao and some mamon (a kind of cheap bread), had his last hearing five years ago and realized his past: "Magpakabuotan gyud ta (We haveto be kind always)," Mustafa said."We really thank the government for giving us another chance to live anormal life," he added.

The provincial legal office reports part of the reasons of the clogging of dockets is the very slow movement of cases. Cases filed in 1997 are still in court, mostly due to the absence of witnesses, beingtoo expensive for their part to be brought to court.

A single litigation for a complainant from the municipality of Maitum will cost him P5,000 and his witnesses to come to the Regional TrialCourt (RTC) in the capital town Alabel for a hearing.

The RTC in Sarangani has in its latest statistics more than 3,000cases pending and unresolved. The prosecutor's office on the otherhand is receiving the influx of a minimum 15 cases per week.All these will be resolved by the sole provincial prosecutor of the province. At the prosecutor's office, there is already a pending 1,500cases left unresolved by the previous fiscal on duty.

Due to clogged dockets, the provincial jail has exceeded its projected capacity of inmates by 50 percent.These inmates are either waiting for their arraignment for many yearsalready, or for dismissal of their cases due to lack of witnesses.

The provincial government provides P9 million subsidy per year to runthe provincial jail.The Justice on Wheels is a source of hope for inmates still behind bars, a jail official said.

The provincial initiatives in helping out in the dispensation of justice are a fulfillment of a social responsibility as well as moral obligation, according to a Justice on Wheels briefer.

The speedy administration of justice is part and parcel of thedirection of a progressive approach on peace and development in the province."The objective of the mobile court is to help ease out the dockets ofthe court by providing a venue of trial in the municipality the mobile court can be transported," the briefer stated. (Russtum G.Pelima/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

The bus

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Judge Oscar Noel (2nd, left) confers with court personnel Monday, January 12. The Justice on Wheels mobile court (background) is a source of hope for inmates still behind bars at the Sarangani provincial jail. (Photo by CocoySexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

Mobile court hearing

ALABEL, Sarangani (January 13, 2009) – Judge Oscar Noel hears cases Monday, January 12, at the Justice on Wheels mobile court for Sarangani provincial jail inmates. (Photo by Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANIINFORMATION OFFICE)