Tag Archives: Mayor

[People] The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado by Fr. Shay Cullen

The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado
by Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullenWe are facing a growing crises and epidemic of child sexual abuse according to the numbers that are being reported and by educated guess that thousands more go unreported. It takes much courage and bravery for a child or threatened adult to report such crimes in a culture of apathy and indifference. Our Catholicism is challenged as useless if there is no action for justice. Sympathy among the authorities for accused rapists is mind-boggling and when it comes to child abuse, with brave exceptions, public opinion is a cold silent iceberg of injustice.

Mykie Prado was found raped and murdered on the 21st of February 2010 in Aklan. She died of multiple stab wounds. There were witnesses, they pointed to the culprit. A rape charge was filed against the suspect Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years (photo on http://www.preda.org). A medical report confirmed that the child had been sexually abused before she was murdered.

On the 19th of October 2010, an arrest warrant was issued against the accused who is in hiding and all the police, local NBI and CIDG have failed to arrest him despite pleas of social workers and the international justice group appealing to the Department of Justice for Mykie Prado and to prevent others like it from happening. An appeal by a German Mayor and many supporters yielded no arrest. The suspect is allegedly protected by the Mayor and the family of Mykie has been constantly threatened and intimidated to withdraw charges. But they hold fast.

In a letter to the Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima and child’s rights advocate Assistant Secretary of Justice Geronimo Sy, a brave woman witness writes:

Please, just call me Lena. I’m living in Sitio Luho, Brgy. Buruanga, Aklan.
May this letter serve to reveal the truth of Mykie Prado’s death. Ever since February 21, 2010 until today, 2013, my conscience hasn’t given me rest anymore because I know what actually happened that day when Mykie Prado died.

We don’t know how to really help to cause righteousness in Mykie’s case, because we are afraid of the Mayor (name deleted) of Buruanga, Aklan and the local police. Following I am writing to you what has actually happened, asking your good office to judge for yourselves whether it’s right and just what they have done.

Mykie is the third of six siblings. Since her parents, due to severe poverty, weren’t able to raise and feed all of them, they felt forced to give Mykie to far relatives. Those relatives promised to offer the child an education and a good future. The man’s name is Bernard Cahilig.

Bernard Cahilig is living together with his live-in partner Felicidad Gonzales, who is separated from her husband whom she has several children with. One of her sons, Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years old, was living with them at the same house together with Mykie.

On February 21, 2010, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) came home from a birthday party at our neighbor’s. He demanded Mykie to buy alcohol for him. It took a while before she returned home, since our neighbors offered her some food. When Mykie eventually arrived back home, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) was very angry that she hadn’t returned at once. We heard Mykie cry. At 3 O’clock in the afternoon, she screamed: “Father, help me!” Also Felicidad, Dennis’ (Eustaquio Gonzales) mother, heard the cry since she was standing outside just like us. She asked her son. What are you doing with the child again?

That day, it wasn’t only us who heard Mykie scream ” Father, help me!”. Also Felicidad’s visitors who were staying at her house heard Mykie crying; a couple, Mr. Democrito and Mrs. Ruby Barrentos, from Poblation Malay, Aklan. About 20 minutes had passed, when Dennis (Gonzales) stepped out of the door. He was holding Mykie, his face and t-shirt covered with blood.

Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) threw Mykie in front of the door on a place covered with stones. Then he and his mother rolled her on the rocky road. Thus, the murder is covered up and it looks like an accident. Afterward Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) used the water of our faucet outside of our house to wash his face. We were threatened that if we told anybody what really happened, he will be back and kill us too.

We were afraid. Maybe he really meant to kill us in case we told somebody since the mayor is a good friend of theirs. We were in panic. Our neighbors carried Mykie on a wooden board used for sifting rice to the hospital. Felicidad sent her son to hide in the mountains right away.

When Mykie arrived at the hospital, she was already dead. She had lost too much blood because of the stabbings in her body. Not only had she been stabbed but raped as well. The people asked for the knife and the addict son. Both knife and son had disappeared……..(to be continued). Full text at http://www.preda.org

Even to ignore or cover up such a crime is to our great shame, many children like Mykie Prado, a 7 year-old gets no justice. Yet a courageous and brave woman speaks out for a little girl. Thousands more are victimized. In India, Hindus and Muslims are outraged at the rape and murder of children there. They hold aggressive protest demonstrations on the streets. In the Philippines, there is silence by Church, government and the public at large. So what’s the point of being Catholic? shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org; http://www.predafairtrade.net

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in the Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line)

Need Help? Contact: predainfo@preda.org

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[In the news] Rama Free legal aid program for elderly -Cebu Daily News

Rama Free legal aid program for elderly

Cebu Daily News
March 27, 2012

THE Cebu city government is trying to arrange for lawyers to provide free legal assistance to senior citizens on top of the P5,000 financial assistance that the elderly will receive this year.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the program is part of his vision for a livable city.
“When I come back (from my Japan trip), I want to see this program functional and operational,” he said.

The mayor leaves today for Yokohama, Japan, for an official visit. He will be back on April 1.
Rama said he already wrote Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young and designated him as acting mayor in his absence.

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

[In the news] Ecology lawyer calls Gwen case a SLAPP -Cebu Daily News

Ecology lawyer calls Gwen case a SLAPP
Cebu Daily News
March 16, 2012

An ecology advocate said the complaint filed against her by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia over moves to stop the Cordova Reclamation Project was a form of human rights violation.

“I will not be cowed,” said lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, co-founder of the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC), in a press conference.

“If her objective is to silence us, she will not succeed.”

Ramos said the group will seek the aid of the Commission on Human Rights and the Cebu Archdiocese, as well as seek all legal options to protect fisherfolk complainants who are being “harassed” by Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy.

She said three fisherfolk from Cordova who were among the petitioners in the administrative and criminal complaint filed against the governor and Mayor Sitoy before the Ombudsman refused to go back to their homes because of fear of reprisal.

Ramos said the governor’s complaint of malicion prosecution filed against her last Wednesday was clearly an act of “harassment and intimidation.”

She said the governor’s charge falls under the category of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation or SLAPP, which are generally viewed as a violation of human rights.

Garcia filed a case against the lawyer on Wednesday for “malicious prosecution” in violation of Sec. 35 of the Ombudsman Act of 1999, which defines the offense as committed by a person, who, acting with malice or gross bad faith, files a completely unwarranted or false complaint against a government official or employee.

Ramos, Vince Cinches and some Cordova fisherfolk filed a complaint with the Visayas Ombudsman last week against the governor and six other officials, including the Cordova mayor and DILG secretary, for allegedly failing to protect the environment and the livelihood of affected Cordova fisherfolk.

Ramos said that before they field a case against Capitol and Cordova officials, they sent letters seeking a dialogue.

“We were forced to file this case because the DILG did not do its job,” she said, adding that the DILG should have checked the reclamation project when concerns of local residents were first raised.

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

[In the news] Fisherman felt scared on meeting with mayor -Cebu Daily News

Fisherman felt scared on meeting with mayor
Cebu Daily News
March 12, 2012

THE mayor said he just wants to ask questions, the fisherman admitted lying out of fear and ecology advocates cry harassment.

This is the drama unfolding around the Cordova reclamation project.

When faced by Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, a complainant against the project admitted that he lied about his involvement in the case.

Edie Quijano, 46, said he told Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy he does not have anything to do with the case filed by green groups with the Ombudsman-Visayas against the mayor and six other government officials last week.

“I told him that I did not know about the case even though I was one of the people who filed it,” Quijano told Cebu Daily News in Cebuano.

He said he felt nervous when three barangay tanods went to his house in barangay Carolinas last Saturday and told him that Sitoy wants to see him.

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

[In the news] CDO Now Movement chooses to stay transparent, honest | Sun.Star

CDO Now Movement chooses to stay transparent, honest | Sun.Star.

By Michael Andrew W. Yu
March 13, 2012

THOUGH its recall campaign has already been terminated, Save CDO Now Movement said it still chooses to stay on the course of transparency and honesty.

Tito Mora, spokesperson of the movement, said they did not purposely file the petition with spurious signatures just to make a point.

“Save CDO Now Movement is not just about making a point. It is about pointing to the direction of our vision of a safe Cagayan de Oro. That is where we want to go to, that is where all this leads to and that is what we want to build,” Mora said.

He said they respected the pronouncement of the city’s political leaders from “politicizing” their cause.

“We rejected the temptation to shortcut the process. We paid out of our pockets and people donated, that even just one peso was so precious to us,” he added.

Last week, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) called off some petitions for recall election filed at its offices due to “lack of budget and time.”

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] DENR Make up for damage to sea grass, marine life -Cebu Daily News

DENR Make up for damage to sea grass, marine life
Cebu Daily News
February 24, 2012

Cordova town is expected to lose sea grass and other marine life during the 10-hectare reclamation for a roll-on-roll-off port.
The damage was acknowledged by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which issued an Environemntal Compliance Certificate in March 2, 2010.

In the Impact Management Plan (IMP) of the agency, Cordova is required to “compensate” for the loss by “supporting any project to increase sea grass and other species and rehabilitation in another area”.

As a condition of the ECC, Cordova also has to raise 100,000 mangrove seedlings in a nursery within one year and plant them in any potential aeras and make sure at least 25 per cent survive.

The ECC was issued to Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy as the project proponent.

In recent interviews, the mayor insisted the reclamation was a project of the Provincial Capitol, not Cordova town.
However, the ECC states that the local government has to set up marker buoys and containment nets to limit destruction to the marine eco system.

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

[In the news] Logging, mining blamed for recent flood in Jabonga -MindaNews

MindaNews » Logging, mining blamed for recent flood in Jabonga.

By Erwin Mascariñas
February 21, 2012

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/20 February) – Logging and mining activities around Lake Mainit and its nearby areas were major factors in the recent flood that hit Jabonga town in Agusan del Norte, the town mayor and an environment group said.

Mayor Glicerio M. Monton acknowledged that these activities have caused siltation in the river which channels water from the lake into the sea.

“The major river that traverses Jabonga has been silted to the point that it has even diverted from its original route. Before it would take three or more days of nonstop rains to start flooding, now flood waters will immediately rise in just three hours,” said Monton.

He added that while the townsfolk have become used to flooding for decades now and have become resilient, it was a gradual process for them.

“Last year the major flood that swallowed the entire town for two months was a huge eye opener. Last week the water rose so fast that people who were used to flooding panicked,” the mayor said.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[In the news] Irate Cagayan de Oro folk take crusade vs mayor from virtual to real world – InterAksyon.com

Irate Cagayan de Oro folk take crusade vs mayor from virtual to real world
by Cong B. Corrales, InterAksyon.com
January 14, 2012

 CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Irate residents of this city launched a public forum on Friday to give the public a venue to vent their outrage against the perceived inutility of City Hall in responding to last month’s devastating flashfloods, which claimed hundreds of lives.

The forum, initiated by Save CdO, a group of city residents who started a virtual forum for survivors of tropical storm “Sendong” on Facebook, was launched at the Kiosko Kagawasan at D.V. Soria with at least 200 people in attendance despite the rain and hundreds more walking in to sign the petition to recall Mayor Vicente Emano.

There was also no electricity, prompting organizers to bring in a generator. Group members said City Hall had not processed their application for a permit to hold the forum.

Flood survivors took turns recalling how they made it through the catastrophe and of the city government’s inadequate response.

Save CdO spokesman Tito Mora announced that they have gathered more than 10,000 signatures for the recall petition.

Read full article @ interaksyon.com

[In the news] CDO mayor faces brewing protest storm – INQUIRER.net

CDO mayor faces brewing protest storm
By Danni Adorador III, Mozart Pastrano
Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 2, 2012

 CAGAYAN DE ORO—A storm is brewing that threatens the hold on power of Mayor Vicente “Dongkoy” Y. Emano, who is accused of not taking action despite storm warnings and of mishandling relief operations in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Tropical Storm “Sendong.”

Concerned residents here took to the pulpit over the weekend to discuss the state of the city after a concelebrated Mass at St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral officiated by Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ.

They then led churchgoers on a peaceful march on the Misamis Oriental Capitol Park to protest the way the city government was handling the calamity.

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III sent word to organizers to announce to residents that he would lead a Senate investigation of the culpability of officials in the unprecedented scale of devastation and death that befell the city on December 16 and 17.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[In the news] Citizens launch movement for ‘Sendong’ – www.sunstar.com.ph

Citizens launch movement for ‘Sendong’
By Annabelle L. Ricalde
December 31, 2011

 A GROUP of concerned citizens in Cagayan de Oro City called Save CDO Now Movement converged on Thursday to come out with a plan to avoid the repeat of the same tragedy brought by Tropical Storm Sendong.

“Sendong”, which brought massive flash floods in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, and Dumaguete, left thousands dead and hundreds missing.

Lawyer Kristine Ravanera of Task Force Macajalar, one of the members of the movement, said the main goal of the group is to help the local government of its “present programs and to present a master plan.”

“Because as we have observed, we have not heard or seen any statement from the local government since the tragedy happened. Even the distribution of relief goods has no proper system. Very disorderly,” Ravanera told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

She clarified that the movement is not initiated to oust Mayor Vicente Emano, as reported earlier.

Ravanera said the movement is not about personalities and alliances though some political figures and local officials were present on Thursday to support the group’s advocacy.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama asks court to postpone demolition of houses in Bry. Luz | Sun.Star

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama asks court to postpone demolition of houses in Bry. Luz | Sun.Star.

By Jujemay G. Awit

THE Cebu City Government will intervene in the impending demolition of the homes of 36 families in three sitios in Barangay Luz.

The families from Sitios Nangka, Lubi and Mabuhay received a notice to demolish last Nov. 3.

In a letter to Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 11 Judge Ramon Daomilas Jr., who penned the notice to demolish, Mayor Michael Rama asked for a six-month postponement of the demolition.

Rama wants time to look for a relocation site for the families that will be displaced, as well as allow the City Government to investigate what happened.

“Why is the Philippine Commission for the Urban Poor only prioritizing those in Mahiga Creek?” asked Evangeline Abejo, president of the Nasudnong Katawhang Kabus Federation in Cebu City, which assisted the Barrio Luz Urban Poor Federation in their bid not to have their homes demolished.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] Davao Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lambasts Human Rights Commission over child offenders anew | Sun.Star

Davao Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lambasts Human Rights Commission over child offenders anew | Sun.Star.

VICE Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lambasted the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Davao for its alleged statement that anyone below 21 years old is considered a child.

Kini pud mga human rights na below 21 is child pa daw dapat. Mao na nag-antos ang katilingban tungod sa inyong ka bright. Ang bata inyong gipadako, nagtuo siya na wala siyay tubagonon. Maayo unta mahitabo na sa inyo (to be victimized by minor criminals) kay pikatan ta gyud mo,” Duterte said.

Have something to report? Tell us in text, photos or videos.

Duterte dared the CHR to make a complete list of innocent victims of criminals and compare those with criminals who die within the past 10 years in Davao City.

“Tan-awa ang produkto sa inyong kabuang. Kung mao na inyong kalipay, OK lang. Kamong nawad-an ug mahal sa kinabuhi, adtoa ninyo ang CHR. Ayaw mo panghugas ug kamot kay apil mo diri. Tubaga na ninyo,” said the vice mayor.

Duterte supported the move in Congress to suspend the implementation of the controversial Juvenile Justice Act, saying the law is a copycat and is not suited in the Philippines.

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

[In the news] QC informal settlers resist demolition; negotiations ongoing – Inquirer.net

QC informal settlers resist demolition; negotiations ongoing.

By Chona Yu, Karen Boncocan

MANILA, Philippine – Tensions rose as authorities attempted to demolish some 1000 houses in Barangay (village) Old Balara in Quezon City Wednesday morning but authorities are trying to prevent an outbreak of violence through negotiations, according to reports culled by INQUIRER.net.

A 990AM report said residents became hostile as they prevented the demolition team together with some 200 policemen deployed in the area from taking down their homes. Some residents also barricaded the middle of Commonwealth Avenue, causing traffic in the area.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[Blogger] Brazen Display of Power – Carpe Diem

Seize the Moment. Be Critical. Be Involved. Be Heard Home About Brazen Display of Power July 7, 2011 by dars0357 Davao Mayor Sara Duterte punching a sheriff. Photo from newsinfo.inquirer.net

by Darwin Mendiola
Carpe Diem

The TV footage last Friday which caught Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte punching a local court sheriff who was then serving a demolition order struck me as something very odd but not unusual.

It was very odd for me to see a local government official who came from a political clan not known to have a soft spot for the well being and interest of their constituents to go out of her way even preventing the execution of a court order to make her appear as if she cares for them.

But it was not unusual to see a local government official to brazenly display her power and in this case even her physical power over a hapless government employee who was just following an order.

While others may find her action laudable for showing a firm resolve to stop the demolition team headed by the poor sheriff from tearing down the shanties of 217 families inside a contested property in Barangay Soliman in Davao’s Agdao district, but the unnecessary use of violence on the part of the Mayor Duterte only shows what she is capable of doing with the power she has. Perhaps taking some lessons from her dad, Rodrigo, a long-time Davao City mayor who was allegedly behind the vigilante Davao Death Squad, and now serves as the city’s vice mayor.

As far as I remember, it is not the first time a politician is involved in a violent skirmish. A year ago a mayor from Lanao Del Sur was accused of mauling a businsessman and his son at the Valley Golf Club in Antipolo City.  This kind of actuation, I believe, exemplifies the character of our local politicians who act like monarchs with unbridled arrogance and no respect for others by demonstrating their complete authority over their domains.

Mayor Duterte’s claim that she felt insulted by the sheriff’s insistence on serving the notice of eviction when she was asking for a two-hour reprieve provided us a clear motive that she was acting to salvage her wounded pride than to prevent a possible violent confrontation between the demolition team and the informal settlers.

In the first place, if the good mayor is really concerned with the safety of informal settlers living in danger zone, her government should have long provided the people with a decent housing program and not to wait for this mess to happen.

I fully support the public call for a nationwide moratorium on demolition not to make local government officials look good and caring but because it is a recognition of our right to housing and the state’s obligation to fulfill this right by developing and implementing policies which will lead to the realization of a mass housing program for the poor with the guarantee of job provision and delivery of basic social services.

This should be the way how the government officials must use their power because the power they have does not emanate from them but from the people.

[In the news] Foot patrol mulled to curb illegal mining in Tampakan | Sun.Star

Foot patrol mulled to curb illegal mining in Tampakan | Sun.Star.

By Bong S. Sarmiento
Thursday, June 2, 2011

KORONADAL CITY — The local government unit in Tampakan, South Cotabato wanted regular foot patrols in a landslide prone illegal mining site where three miners were buried alive in April.

In a recent interview here, Tampakan Mayor Leonardo V. Escobillo said the patrolling of a composite police and military team would “deter small-scale illegal miners from returning” to Barangay Pulabato.

“We don’t have enough local police forces, so instead of setting up a detachment there, I proposed a regular foot patrolling in the area,” he said.

The mayor noted that with the measure, they hope to prevent another deadly landslide incident, which was blamed on the illegal sluice mining, locally called banlas.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. earlier said that an estimated two hectares of the mountains have reportedly been destroyed by guerilla banlas operations within the Tampakan project.

Banlas or sluice mining method employs the pouring of large amounts of water on a mountain’s surface to extract the rocks containing the gold ore.

Banlas mining was first uncovered in T’boli town, another gold rush site in South Cotabato, and has invaded Tampakan town a few years ago despite the crackdown ordered by the Provincial Government.

Escobillo said that checkpoints have been set-up in the roads leading to the mountains also in line with the efforts to curb illegal mining activities in the town, host of the massive Tampakan copper-gold project of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc.

Critics had earlier criticized Sagittarius Mines for failing to keep illegal mining activities away from its tenement.

Sagittarius Mines is controlled by Xstrata Copper, the world’s fourth largest copper producer, with Australian firm Indophil Resources NL as minority equity partner. Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp. owns a stake at Indophil.

The Tampakan copper-gold project represents the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in Southeast Asia. If developed, the mine could be the biggest in the Philippines and among the largest copper mines in the world.

Current estimates indicate it could yield an average of 375,000 tons of copper and 360,000 ounces of gold per year over a 17-year life of mine, the company said in a study.

With a required capital investment of US$5.9 billion, the Tampakan project would be the largest foreign direct investment in the Philippines should it go on commercial stream in 2016.

The Tampakan project, however, is presently hobbled by the environment code of South Cotabato that bans open pit mining, the method Sagittarius Mines said it will employ in extracting the minerals. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 03, 2011.

[Event] Occidental Mindoro celebrates Mangyan Day – mindoropost.com

Source: http://mindoropost.com/2011/05/03/occidental-mindoro-celebrates-mangyan-day/

Occidental Mindoro has celebrated Mangyan Day on April 28 to recognize the contribution of Mindoro’s indigenous people in the development of the province.

San Jose Mayor Jose T. Villarosa disclosed a package of support for the Mangyans, including in education, health and agriculture.

Villarosa said the San Jose government would hire Mangyan educators to teach ethnic children.

Employees of the Municipal Health Office will also conduct regular monthly visits in Mangyan villages, he said.

For agriculture support, Villarosa said that 16 carabaos (water buffaloes) would be given to the Mangyans.

[Urgent Alert] Harassment of anti-mining rally in Cagayan

from encycl.opentopia.com

DATE OF INCIDENT:       7 AM, APRIL 29, 2011

The Mayor of Gonzaga, Cagayan together with more than one hundred PNP operatives coming from the provincial command and the towns of Sta. Ana, Buguey, Sta. Teresita and Camalaniugan, Cagayan trooped inside the compound of St. Anthony Academy of Gonzaga last April 29, 2011 at around 7:00 AM to stop the planned assembly of the people of the town against the existing mining activity in the area.

According to Ms. Rochell S. Garma, the cashier and registrar of the said school, she saw the policemen around the periphery and even on the school ground.  She also saw Mayor Carlito F. Pentecostes Jr. scolding Mrs. Adelaida Sotoza with Ms. Marge Pamintuan, a representative of Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment and other people in front of him. Ms. Garma added that she heard the Mayor angrily utter “Punyeta kayo, nanggugulo kayo”  (Bullshit, you are creating trouble) addressing his words to the people. The incident prompted Ms. Garma to take a photo of the Mayor.

One of the Mayor’s bodyguards upon seeing Ms. Garma taking photos of the angry Mayor, immediately grab the camera and gave it to the Mayor. The angry mayor upon receiving the camera immediately threw it the ground which broke the camera.

Mr. David Sueto, one of the participants of the aborted assembly narrated that he was standing and talking to somebody on his cell phone in front of the registrar’s office when the Mayor arrived. The Mayor upon reaching his position asked him what he was doing there. According to him he stopped talking on the phone when he heard the Mayor but the mayor slapped him and his cell phone fell to the ground. After slapping him the mayor asked him to leave the area.

Another participant, Mr. Romeo Gayudan, was slapped on the face by one of the mayor’s bodyguards. He narrated that the he heard the mayor asked his bodyguards to bring him to the mayor. While they were walking towards the mayor one of the bodyguards punched him. Gayudan added that he was not able to recognize who hit him because it came from his back.

A few minutes after Sr. Myrna P. Fetalvero of the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters (FAS) and the head of the said school arrived. She talked to the mayor and that prompted the mayor to have a dialogue with them. The Mayor and Sr. Myrna together with other people went inside the SAAG function room to talk.

After the dialogue the mayor apologized to some people. The Mayor left the school at around 12 noon but many policemen stayed behind.

As a result of the harassment, the planned rally was aborted.

[In the news] Hopes dim for 17 miners | The Philippine Star News Headline

Hopes dim for 17 miners | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

MANILA, Philippines –  Hopes of finding more survivors dimmed yesterday even as rescuers raced against time in the search for up to 17 people believed trapped after a landslide hit a remote gold-rush area in Pantukan, Compostela Valley on Good Friday.

Rescuers dug out two more bodies from tons of soil and mud yesterday in the frantic search for other miners still unaccounted for more than two days after the landslide.

The official death toll from Friday’s disaster reached five but Pantukan town Mayor Celso Sarenas conceded the chance of finding more survivors was slim.

Thirteen miners have been rescued while 17 are still missing.

Officials identified four of the fatalities as Marjun Guilabtan, 18; Relieto Tabay, 22; Jun Rex Torrejos, 15, and Marvin Anglai.

Soldiers and miners were digging with shovels and hands, and a backhoe from a nearby mining operation was helping in the rescue.

“We have to be realistic,” Sarenas declared. “We believe most of the missing were in their bunkhouses when the landslide occurred.”

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said the troops have shifted from search and rescue to retrieval operations in the affected area.

Read full article @ PHILSTAR.com

[In the news] Mindanao landslide toll rises to 27 —authorities – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos

Mindanao landslide toll rises to 27 —authorities – INQUIRER.net, Philippine News for Filipinos.

By Frinston Lim, Dennis Jay Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 11:01:00 04/22/2011

Filed Under: Mining and quarrying, Landslide

Photo : Inquirer.net

PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley—(UPDATE 3) At least 27 bodies have already been pulled out of mud as rescue and search operation continued in the disaster-hit area of Kingking village here.

Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas said among those dead were children but he could not say how many exactly. He said the toll count was as of 2 p.m.

Fears about more casualties have mounted as the number of missing persons could easily hit more than two dozen, sources said.

Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Compostela Valley police chief, said poor visibility due to thick clouds prevented Air Force helicopters from landing at Panganason village.

Six people were earlier rescued by soldiers, policemen and civilians after a part of a mountain collapsed in Panganason, Kingking village around 2:30 a.m., according to Lieutenant Colonel Camilo Ligayo, commander of the army’s 701st Infantry Brigade.

Read full article @ Inquirer.net