Friday, March 31, 2006
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has appealed to investors who plan to put up businesses in Mindanao to begin pouring their investments now so that the "final mile to lasting peace in Mindanao is made more smoothly."
Keynoting the 2006 Philippines Development Forum (PDF) at the Taal Vista Lodge here, the President likened her vision of peace in Mindanao to a journey already at its last mile "when the destination is in sight but the winds of resistance are blowing most fiercely."
"Therefore, to help us through this last mile more smoothly, I want to make a personal appeal to all of you who plan to provide aid to Mindanao as peace dawns: Please consider providing your aid now even as we await the final signing of a final peace accord as several nations have already done under the Mindanao Trust Fund of the World Bank," she said.
The President pointed out that this "proactive gesture of generosity and confidence will put more air in our sails at a pivotal moment in our journey as we strive to reach the safe harbor of peace in Mindanao."
She stressed that with the help of the proponents of PDF, peace in Mindanao before the year ends is achievable.
The PDF is the primary mechanism of the Government for facilitating substantive policy dialogue among stakeholders on the country's development agenda.
It also serves as a process for developing consensus and generating commitments among different stakeholders toward critical actionable items of the Government's reform agenda.
The PDF evolved from the Consultative Group Meetings, held every 18 months or so among the Government and members of the international development partners community, which together comprise the Philippine Consultative Group (CG).
The CG is co-chaired by the Philippine Government, represented by the Secretary of the Department of Finance, and the World Bank. (PRESS RELEASE)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
text DARWIN T. WEE
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
text & photo HADER GLANG
This was evident during the consultation Monday, dubbed as the Regional Forum on the Comprehensive Peace Process, conducted by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with various stakeholders in key cities in Mindanao.
Maintaining that Bangsamoro juridical entity should not have any jurisdiction over the city, Mayor Celso Lobregat said, “We are here to ask once more, leave Zamboanga City alone in peace. The ancestral domain issue is only being used to expand ARMM.”
“We are all Filipinos. We are all Zamboanguenos. We should be united. There should be no move to dismember any part of the city,” he said, and voiced out that the Bangsamoro Homeland will not solve the peace problem in Mindanao but divide further its people.
At the forum, members of the City Council of Zamboanga as well as some political leaders from Isabela City, Basilan and so with Pagadian City and Sibugay Province also voiced their opposition and presented their resolutions to OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza.
Vice Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco opened her salvo with a categorical question pointed at Dureza where she asked the peace process presidential adviser if Zamboanga City will be under the MILF.
The business sector of the city also submitted a strong opposition against the inclusion of the city in Bangsamoro juridical entity. The Association of Barangay chairmen of the city led by its president Councilor Abdurahman Nuño also presented a resolution signed by all its members expressing a similar objection.
Congressman Erbie Fabian said that not only Zamboanga City should not be included but also the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Pagadian, Dapitan, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Isabela City.
Dureza accepted all the resolutions and promised that it will be considered when the panel meets again. “The government will consolidate all points from the forums and will be considered by the panel while negotiating peace with the MILF.”
He assured the locals that the government peace talks in Mindanao are open. He tried to ally fears that secret talks are going on between Manila and the MILF, saying: "The government is transparent in the peace talks with the MILF and there is nothing to hide to the people about the peace process.”
Responding to Zamboanga’s opposition, Jun Mantawil, chief of the MILF Peace Panel Secretariat, lambasted Lobregat for being too arrogant by deliberately paying no heed to what is already established by facts of history.
“One cannot undo what history has done already,” he said at the MILF's official website.“The world will not yield to the caprices of those who are ungrateful to the past.”
He said in creating the Moro Province in 1903, Zamboanga which included the present-day Zamboanga City, was not only made a component district but the latter was even made at one time or another its capital.The other districts were Cotabato, Lanao, Sulu, and Davao.
Security was tight at the Zamboanga City Coliseum where the three-hour forum was held.
Mantawil also clarified that the MILF Peace Panel has so far did not come out with any details of the recently-held 11th GRP-MILF Exploratory Talks, saying the two Parties have not finished discussing the finer points of the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement of 2001.
“We only came out with general statement and no details, because the two Parties have ended their talks inconclusively and any statement to this effect is speculative.We have to meet very soon to conclude and come out with a joint statement.”
However, no fixed date for resumption is given, as this would depend largely on the Government of Malaysia being the facilitator of the talks, he clarified.
Over 2,000 participants including representatives from LGUs, civil society organizations, religious sector, IPs organizations and academe in Western Mindanao attended the forum. (ZS)
text HADER GLANG
Monday, March 27, 2006
text & photo HADER GLANG
Saturday, March 25, 2006
text & photos HADER GLANG
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thousands of people face a grim situation after a fire razed their homes in the urban village of Zamboanga City, just few meters from a university, residents and regional fire officials said.
Three people were taken to hospital for slight injuries before the fire was extinguished after 2,000 houses in Barangay Camino Nuevo were destroyed Thursday night, leaving hundreds of families homeless just after 6:30 p.m., the officials said.
“The fire was too fast and it spread to many houses,” said Norma Miranda, 52, an apartment tenant who said that she still still looking for her husband since last night (Thursday) fire. “Nothing left for us except a bag.”
City Fire Marshall Senior Inspector Janice Espero said a fallen and unattended candle apparently caused the fire which swiftly spread through the congested area where most houses were made of wood and light materials.
“An elderly woman asked her grandchild to light candle in the altar when the fire occurred,” Espero said.
She clarified that the area that was affected by fire reached to 5 hectares and not more than 10, as earlier reported.
The first flame was noticed in the interior of Fermin Drive and rapidly spread to Boholano Drive, Carino Drive and areas near Ateneo de Zamboanga University. The six-hour blaze was put out at past 12 midnight, according to radio reports.
Although the fire was the biggest so far to hit in Zamboanga since the late 50s, but it’s common in the city due to the proliferation of crowded areas with thousands of people, mostly squatters crammed into small spaces.
The city government declared the affected village under a state of calamity and called for relief and humanitarian assistance for the fire victims. (ZS)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
text DARWIN WEE
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is ready to assume governance of its ancestral homeland once peace pact is forged with the Philippine government, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar said on Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Economists review ARMM's economic programs & policies
Members of the Regional Economic Development Committee (REDC), a sectoral committee of the Regional Economic and Development Planning Board (REDPB) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao came together on March 21, 2006 to discuss the newly reformulated Regional Economic Agenda and the possible integration of the Local Economic Development (LED) Framework into it.
The review and re-assessment of the region’s economic programs and policies have been among the priority directives of Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan in a bid to effectively facilitate the economic development as well as address the pressing social issues in the ARMM.
According to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-ARMM Secretary Ishak Mastura the issue for ARMM line agencies has always been on how to efficiently coordinate and link up their programs and projects with the Local Government Units.
“The regional government is taking vital steps that would allow provincial and municipal government units in the ARMM to have more prominent roles in our development efforts. The encouragement and assistance we have been giving to harness the potentials of their leading local products and industries are just one of our initial steps,” said Regional Gov. Ampatuan.
Member agencies were asked to identify priority projects which can be complemented by the LGU facilitated LED Framework, a project under the Local Government Support Program for ARMM (LGSPA) of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and being undertaken in partnership with the DTI-ARMM.
The World Bank defines LED as “the process by which public, private and non-government sectors work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation. The aim is to improve the quality of life for all.”
The project’s main objective is to provide support and assistance to LGUs in implementing strategic thrusts designed to improve the local economy and contribute to the alleviation of basic social problems such as poverty and the like. (BPI-ARMM)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
text HADER GLANG
The U.S. Embassy urges 18- to 25-year-old college students to apply to attend one of three “Democracy Summer Fest” camps in May being sponsored by the U.S. Embassy.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
In their individual privilege speeches, Jimenez and Mannix questioned the circumstances that led to the approval of Resolution 202 last week. They claimed that they were not furnished copies of the report, which they also claimed, was undated.
The motion to reconsider and recall Resolution 202 was killed by a vote of 10 against, 3 in favor and one abstention.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
text HADER GLANG