A soldier was killed

TAGUM CITY, Davao Del Norte Philippines—A soldier was killed and another was wounded when government troops and suspected New People’s Army rebels clashed anew in Monkayo, Compostela Valley on Wednesday afternoon, police said Thursday.

The firefight in Sitio (sub-village) Anagase started at 2:45 p.m. when patrolling troops of the Army’s 8th Special Forces Company chanced upon some 20 NPA rebels, according to Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Compostela Valley police director.

More from INQUIRER


Governor Migs Dominguez

A series of violent incidents rocked the province of Sarangani since Sunday when a bomb explosion nearly hit the vehicle of the governor while a mayor was nearly ambushed.

Reports showed that the convoy of Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez was nearly hit by a bomb explosion Monday morning. The incident happened at 11:40 a.m. Monday just as Dominguez’s convoy was passing through Lun Masla Bridge in Malapatan town.

More from MB.COM


This famous gold rush site in the mountainous district of Mt. Diwalwal (also known as Mt. Diwata) is now being considered seriously as a prime tourist spot in Compostela Valley (ComVal) province.

Christine Dompor, senior tourism operations officer of ComVal’s provincial tourism services, said Mt. Diwalwal will be part of the attractions under their Bulawan Tourism Junction project – a tourism information center to be set up by the province.

More from MB.COM


KIDAPAWAN CITY

Communist rebels on Sunday claimed to have killed two soldiers in an ambush in Davao del Sur province.

In a statement, Simon Santiago of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Menardo Arce Command said the firefight that ensued from the ambush in Patulangon village in Sta. Cruz town lasted for two hours.

"The firefight lasted for almost two hours and resulted to two dead and one wounded on the enemy side. The NPA suffered no casualty and seized one M14 rifle," Santiago said.

He said the rebels were positioned on top of a hill when they fired at a military truck carrying militiamen and soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division.

The Rooster Crows to Start the Day




Bob, not only do you write well, I find your experiances facinating. Thanks for some great reading. Many expats could benefit from your optimistic view of life as the husband of a lovely Filipino. We hear lots of "Facts and statistics" about living here and some are even quite negative. A little optimism goes a long ways. Please keep in touch and we look forward to any writings you might send us in the future.
SteveinDavao

Mr. Bob Biehl
Great writing, very enjoyable, would love to read more!
SteveinDavao


To keep you happy Steve here is another article from Bob.
It is 4am and too hot to sleep. The windows are closed to keep out the mosquitoes and the fan just moves around the stifling hot air. So it is, here in Mindinao, just 7 degrees north of the equator. It is always hot but later today the sea will come in under the house and a breeze will make it bearable again.

Today is the day I will re-marry my bride. She came to me over 18 months ago on a fiancée visa and all she asked was could we go home one day and get married again so everyone would know it was real. Now that day is here.

The caterer came last night and brought his crew of 2 men and a woman. They brought a pig and big knives and started cooking about 6pm and at 1 am they were still butchering and cooking. This is the way of a big celebration, Filipino style. Bottles of Red Horse are passed around and the cook chain smokes as he cuts the pig with his razor sharp blades.

My wife has been shopping for 3 days for this event. The boxes of groceries, the boxes of vegetables, and the ordering and killing of the lechon baboy has been done. All this as a Tito takes care of me and makes sure I am comfortable and have nothing to do but observe, Meetings with Pastor has been done, flyers have gone out, and it is now the calm before the storm which will be the Thanksgiving ceremony my wife has dreamed of. We leave in a few hours for the resort and best guess is there will be at least 200 people who will come and celebrate with us. We will have a service then everyone will eat the pigs and spaghetti and vegetables and fruit salad.

What a culture shock this is for me. Until I met my wife I led a pretty isolated life, governed by work and money. Now there is so much more. I have become a member of a huge family who has taken me into their lives and are gracious like no other,

My wife has adjusted well to living in the US making lots of friends from Filipinas like herself, We go to parties once or twice a month but nothing compares to what is happening here today. Meanwhile my adjustments are even more difficult than hers. Learning that family is more important than self, learning that sacrifice is the normal not the exception, these are things I am still learning.

Its 10 am and time to go to the resort. All the cousins, uncles, neighbors and friends start loading the multicab till it is overflowing. But wait we still need to put about 10 people in the truck before it is full. With a grunt and a groan the overloaded vehicle lurches forward into the traffic and we are on the way. My wife has been scouting for 3 days and found a wonderful little resort in the neighboring town and we have about a half hour ride to get there. The road is rough but our driver is careful and we get to the turnoff to the resort no problem. Then another kilometer or so down the road roller coaster road make of black volcanic dirt and we arrive at the gate. A blow of the horn and magically the gate opens to a beautiful resort.

We unload the vehicle and the driver is off again for the 2nd load of people, maybe 20 this time, meanwhile the women from the church are busy preparing the meal. The 40 cases of soda are stacked to one side and 2 big coolers are full of ice and filled with the soda. An hour later I am showered and dressed and we are all waiting for my wife to arrive. Right on time, 1 ½ hours later my wife arrives and we get ready to settle in for the service and renewal. Though this was not our wedding, there was a protocol to what we did. We are not Catholic so the service was quite simple. Then a simple stand up and reciting of our vows, a signing of the marriage certificate( which won't be recorded) several group pictures and we were done. The children who had been tired of waiting had already filled the swimming pool and the tables and chairs were moved around to accommodate the diners.

Everyone gathers for the magnificent feast and all are fed until they can eat no more. So much pork fat is consumed it would make a cardiac surgeon have heart failure, but everyone is happy and relaxed. The kids are back in the pool, the men are in the gazebo built over the sea, smoking cigarettes and sneaking some tanduay, and the women are off gossiping about the men and the neighborhood news. A couple of hours later the karoke starts and it will continue until 4 am when I finally get up from our cottage and with a smile and grin, graciously unplug the machine. There are people sleeping everywhere. There was only one other cottage with 3 small beds and it was full. There where people sleeping on the benches, sleeping on the lounge chairs, and even on the ground. At least 100 people had gone home in the evening yet there were still people sleeping everywhere.

Finally about 5am the rooster crows to start another day and everyone starts to stir and awaken. Water is boiled for the Nescafe and Milo and the women start gathering evertyhing together as the time to leave is shortly upon us. Promptly at 8 am my wife orders us all out of the resort into the road to wait for our ride, because we must return the resort to the management by 8 o'clock. There we sit in the middle of the road 60 people waiting for a ride back to the city and so ends our Thanksgiving celebration, my wife and I have come half way around the world to spend with family and friends.


My Thoughts from Mindanao



This article came from Bob Biehl


It is early morning here in northern Mindinao and I am struck by the culture and attitudes of what I see and hear and feel.

As I sit on the steps of the family home at 5 am I realize how different my life has become. This is the first trip back home since my wife came to America more than 18 months ago to be my bride. Even though I had traveled to Mindinao 5 times when we were getting to know each other., this is the first time I have come here without an agenda. So I get to sit and relax and just watch the world go by.

Early in the morning all is quiet except for the roosters as they talk up and down the neighborhood. Funny how we become accustomed to the crowing of the cock and though it is noisy it seems all is quiet. The neighbor is out washing her laundry at the common pump, quietly going about her duties without complaint or even dislike. This is just part of life here where it is rare to own a clothes washer.

Slowly the barangay comes to life. The boy down at the end of the bamboo walkway comes out to another pump and begins to take his bath. Soaping himself all over he takes his shower with a bucket and a dipper. Meanwhile grandfather stands at the window combing his hair and enjoying the first rays of light.

First one and then another teenager awakens and comes out of their bamboo shack to walk the two hundred yards out to the road to go to the bakery to buy the pan de sol. One after another the fires are lit as people awaken to start their day. The bathing begins as mothers bring their naked children to the pump and give them their bath.

The tide is out and stray cats and dogs are moving along the seabed searching for something to eat. Soon the tide will rise and once again our home will be over the water. Every day, twice a day the sea comes in under the house and washes away the garbage, the trash, and the bathroom remains which falls through the floor as this is the method of getting rid of the waste from our bodies each day. The smell here is putrid but this is life and poor people must do what they can do to live each day.

As I look around at the squatter huts built on bamboo poles covered with rattan walls and and palm fronds for a roof I can't help but think how lucky our family is. My wifes family lives in a concrete house with glass windows, a good roof and real doors, with electric and even a plasma tv and big refrigerator. All this compliments of a daughter who married 8 years ago and moved to the US and now has a good job to send money home to better the life of her father, her siblings, her nieces and nephews and even the neighborhood. She feels guilty she cannot do more, never understanding that no matter how much you do it will never be enough.

The lack of medical care, the squalid conditions, and the poor hygiene make life here painful and you would think that their lives would be filled with despair, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The human spirit thrives whatever the conditions around it. As I sit on the porch steps drinking my coffee everyone greets me with a smile and a good morning wish. As they struggle down the bamboo walkway with the buckets of water, careful not to step where the boards are loose, the daily routine is done without thought or care. This is life, what else could one do.

Its 630 now and the noise level is starting to rise. As neighbors talk from one hut to another, as the children start to play, as the cooking begins another day is awake and who knows what it will bring.

News from Digos and Tagum

DIGOS CITY—-At least 17 incumbent mayors in Davao del Sur and DavaoOriental are fully backing the presidential bid of Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard-bearer Gibo Teodoro until the May 10 balloting, local political kingmakers said.

Rep. Franklin Bautista of the second district of Davao del Sur saidthat they are fully supporting Gibo because of his superior capabilityto lead the country.“ Grabe ang push namin kay Gibo dito sa Davao del Sur (We’re pushingvery hard Gibo in Davao del Sur),” said Bautista.
More from Sarangani

TAGUM CITY, DAVAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – The vice mayor of Pantukan town, Compostela Valley, died Saturday evening after suffering a heart attack while campaigning for reelection here.

Vice Mayor Hyrone Ranain succumbed to cardio-pulmonary arrest secondary to hypertension while campaigning at the mining community of Gumayan, Barangay (village) Kingking at 6:30 p.m., said Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Compostela Valley police chief, quoting a municipal health officer.

Ranain was 52.

More from Inquirer

FOM QUESTIONNAIRE for active members


Please find this questionnaire for you to fill in.
Please print this off and fill it in and bring it to next meeting.
OR
Add your answers to the e mail and send to me.
Thanks everyone




FOM QUESTIONNAIRE Name leave blank if you wish


…...............................................................................

Are you happy with the venue?


Please give 5 things you like about FOM

1/
2/
3/
4/
5/


Please give 5 things you do not like about FOM
1/
2/
3/
4/
5/

What social things and events would you like to see happen in FOM ?.






Do you want FOM to form working committees or to remain voluntary.?





Have you anytime or services you can offer FOM from time to time?





Do you have a guest speaker in mind you would like to consider ?







What other things would you like to say about FOM. Please write on reverse.

Swiss man still missing

There is no word of a Swiss businessman abducted in the southern Philippines one week ago. swissinfo.ch reports from Mindanao, an island where armed groups are rife.

The police suspect Abu Sayyaf, the most prominent Islamist group, of being behind the kidnapping of a 72-year-old Swiss-Philippine dual national, who was taken by people posing as policemen and army officials.


More from Swiss info

Indigenous peoples (IPs) are the majority beneficiaries of the livelihood projects of the antipoverty program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Mindanao.

This was bared in the recently concluded Mindanao-wide World Bank review mission of the DA’s five-year program, the Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP).

MRDP, now on its second phase, is a multimillion-dollar program jointly funded by the World Bank, the national government and local government units. For five years, the program has allotted close to $30 million for its livelihood component, the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD).

Among the country’s marginalized sectors, a total of 6,055 IPs in Mindanao benefited through agribusiness opportunities and capacity-building activities through the CFAD.

More from Trading Markets

A suspected New People's Army (NPA) was killed following an hour-long clash with government forces in the southern Philippine province of Davao del Norte early Friday morning, a military statement said.

About 4 a.m., elements of the Army's 60th Infantry Battalion engaged 30 rebels at Sitio Lumabag, Palma Gil village in Talaingod town, said a statement signed by Capt. Emmanuel Garcia, chief information officer of the Army's 10th Infantry Division.

Trouble in Budkidnon




Four tribesmen were killed in a spate of retaliatory killings involving tribal clans in southern Philippines over the weekend, police said on Wednesday. The killings, called pangayao or tribal war, affected several villages in Mindanao island's Bukidnon and Davao del Norte provinces, and could possibly spread to other tribal communities whose residents have relatives involved in the incidents, according to Senior Inspector Michael Seguido, police chief of Talaingod town in Davao del Norte that borders Bukidnon.



Waiver of Temporary Visa Extension Fees

Travel Advisory: Waiver of Temporary Visa Extension Fees



In light of the recent flight restrictions in European Airspace imposed due to the volcanic ash from the Iceland Volcano, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) of the Philippines is waiving temporary visa immigration fees in favour of affected passengers.

Extension of temporary visitor's visa of affected foreign nationals may be done at the Main BI office, satellite offices, field offices, sub-port offices and at the airports.

The waiver is subject to presentation of a certification from the airline of their confirmed booking dates.

Kindly forward this information to your friends and contacts who are currently still in the Philippines affected by the flight restrictions over the past week.

Thanks to AL

A big thanks to Al Barnett for chairing the meeting this week, and thanks to him for all his hard efforts in preparing the quiz/treasure hunt. It was lots of fun, and although my team did not win, it is something new and entertaining.

We also spoke about the problems Al had with the cable company, and his meetings with the City , regarding customer service in Davao.

You may recall that one of the things to come from this was the possibility that some of the FOM member's could give sometime to training certain companies in basic English, for greeting and dealing with customers.
Those that would like to be involved please contact myself on jgrant8165@yahoo.co.uk.

We also spoke about setting up a related site, for the people of Davao to make comments good and bad about customer service, I will like to have your thoughts on this too.
Again contact jgrant8165@yahoo.co.uk.

Thanks again to Bruce for looking after the mailing list for the last few months, it is now down to me, and if any of you are not getting e mails, please contact me and I will rectify this.

We spoke about the house fire that destroyed Migs home, and THANKS for those who expressed sympathy and help..THANK YOU.

I sent out the menu for c5, and many of you noticed that it said plus VAT and service, I have contacted management and they say in a rush to get the menu done for us, it should have read NO SERVICE CHARGE.

I hope to arrange a night out there soon, anybody interested please contact me, its a family friendly place, it must be if I am allowed to go.

Thanks to Steve for taking the time to talk about the prison visit, and to Reg for the raffle.

I have noted comments about the venues ability to provide suitable food for the p100, and I will be in talks with the owners next week to rectify this. But it has been noted.

Finally I mentioned that a local business man would like investors to come forward in exchange for a 2.5 monthly commission. Those wanting more information, please contact me.

Thanks to you all attending, and see you at the next meeting.




Maguindanao and improvised land mine in Davao

The massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao, including 32 media workers, has landed the Philippines as the top 3rd country in the world where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday said unpunished violence against mediamen in the Philippines soared last year, catapulting the country from 6th to 3rd in its annual Impunity Index.

The Index is a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Ranking is done by calculating the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country’s population.

More from abscbn

Elements of Task Force Davao discovered Tuesday an improvised land mine at a highway used by government forces on Tibuloy village, Davao City.

Initial reports said the six-kilo anti-tank mine had a blasting cap and wire that could be used to detonate the explosive remotely.

More from abscbn

Twenty-six police officers from the Davao City Police Office and the Police Regional Office (PRO) XI were placed under preventive suspension for 6 months without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman for their failure to solve summary killings in Davao City.

The 14-page Ombudsman order dated January 11, 2010 was sent to Camp Crame only on April 16.

Ordered suspended are former Davao City police chief Senior Superintendent Catalino Cuy, who is now serving as chief of the Philippine National Police Directorate General; and another former Davao City Police Office director Senior Superintendent Jaime Morente.

More from abscbn

House fire



This is not an FOM issue, but I need your help.

I have just learnt that Migs ( MY OTHER HALF), home in Manila has burnt to the ground completely.

The fire claimed everything the family has in the world, but no one was in anyway hurt.
Thank god everybody was ok.

Migs, who is at the moment with me here in Davao has one bag of processions and nothing else.
His two brothers, sister and parents now only have the clothes they wear.

Sorry to say my financial position is making it hard for me to do anything to help.

I would request that if anyone can help either financially or maybe by donating ( household items via Manila), please get in touch with me by e mail JGRANT8165@YAHOO.CO.UK

I apologise for using the mailing list in this way, but desperate times require desperate measures.
Those in the Philippines can donate here

BPI
Account number: 03190289-51
Account name: Eduardo Bassig

Or you can contact Migs via mobile:09185195101
Thank you
John

The national sport





News updates

Three days after the series of blasts in Basilan, another explosion rocked the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, this time in Davao City, where two men emerged hurt on Friday.

Superintendent Querubin Manalang, public information officer of the Davao regional police, said the blast happened at the Rizal Special Education Center along Camus Street at about 4:45 p.m.

Injured in the incident were 26-year-old Daniel Ligandang Banggaan, who was the security guard on duty; and Alfred Duria, 33, a deaf-mute and former student of the school.
More from GMA

Attackers hurled a grenade at a school for handicapped children in the southern Philippines on Friday, wounding two people, the police and military spokesmen said.

Two men on a motorcycle threw the grenade at the school in the southern city of Davao, injuring a security guard and a deaf-mute student, they said. The motive for the attack was still unknown.

More from ABS CBN

The local transcription sector is set to benefit from the recently approved healthcare law of the United States.

Lizabel Holganza, president of ICT Davao Incorporated, the umbrella organization of all information and communication technology groups in the city, explained that the US healthcare law is expected to broaden health insurance coverage by making it available to those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

More from Davao Today


Imagine a resort within a 760-hectare banana plantation replete with a 60-hectare forest, amenities comparable to resorts in Bali and a service de luxe that is truly Filipino. That is the experience at the newest resort in the Davao Gulf which is now being developed by the Tuason family in the vast Hijo Estate in Madaum, Tagum City.

Aptly called the Banana Beach, this latest attraction in the middle of a banana plantation in the province of Davao del Norte, the number one producer of bananas in the country, has more to offer than any other resort in the region, if not the country.

For only P500 day package, visitors can partake of the restaurant’s ala carte or set menus and a variety of thirst quenchers and signature desserts. The same goes for Tagum residents and senior citizens who are given a 20 percent discount. While the day package can be used solely for food and beverages, it is but wise for guests and patrons not to bring in food and drinks.

More from Manila Buletin


Justice Secretary Alberto Agra cleared yesterday two members of the Ampatuan clan of involvement in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last Nov. 23.

Cleared of multiple murder charges were detained Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Mamasapano Mayor Akmad Ampatuan.

Agra directed prosecutors to remove the names of the two from the charge sheet.

Agra, however, said the charges against former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. remain.

In clearing Zaldy Ampatuan, Agra said conspiracy was not established. In his decision, Agra acted on a petition for review filed by the two Ampatuans.

More from Philstar

Lets go the falls






More violence in Mindanao

Leftist rebels burned three heavy equipment owned by a banana exporting company in two villages of a southern Philippine city of Davao on Wednesday night, military officials said on Thursday.

The equipment, consisting of a truck used in transporting Cavendish banana, a bulldozer and a backhoe were torched by gunmen believed to be members of the New People's Army in Tibuloy village, Toril district at 8:30 p.m., Randolph Cabangbang, regional military spokesperson said.

More from Philstar.com

Election violence erupted again in the Philippines on Thursday as a grenade attack killed two people and injured a dozen during a meeting of local candidates.

Police officials said an unidentified man lobbed a grenade into the meeting in Datu Odin Sinsuat, a town in Maguindanao, the southern province where 57 people were massacred in November in the worst election-related violence in the country’s history.

Violence caused by political bosses — fueled by a proliferation of illegal weapons — has repeatedly plagued elections in the Philippines. And before the attack on Thursday, according to police statistics, 33 people had been killed this year in attacks linked to the upcoming elections. More than 2,000 have been arrested for violations of a gun ban.

More from NYTimes

Al is doing the next meeting



Our next meeting is on the 21st of April at our normal venue at
From NCCC mall Matina (Ma-a), travel south (away from down town towards Toril) on MacArthur Hwy. Apporx 1km or 1/2 mile to Tulip Drive on left (Buffet Palace on left.

Turn right at Jetti Station on Morales Village Road. There is a large Coca Cola sign with Morales Village at the corner.
Breakfast and coffee p100

Lets enjoy
COFFEE AND ROLLS
9.15 - INTRODUCTIONS AND NEW MEMBERS WELCOME
9.30 - CONSUMER HELP AND PROBLEMS WITH SKY CABLE
9.50 - THE LOST QUIZ (BRING A FILIPINO FRIEND AS HE OR SHE WILL BE VERY HELPFUL)

We will be arranging a FOM night out for all, so have some ideas in your mind, and we be reviewing our trip to the Prison at the beginning of the month. What an experience!!




THIS MEETING HAS NO SPEAKER AND IS DESIGNED AS A FUN EVENT





In brief

A media worker was killed in Misamis Occidental province yesterday, the latest violent incident authorities believe to be related to the upcoming elections, police said.

Edwin Segue, a freelance radio reporter for several radio stations in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental, was attacked by two motorcycle-riding gunmen shortly after 4:00 p.m. when he drove his vehicle along Don Anselmo Bernard Avenue in downtown Ozamis, Ramon Diones, city police chief, said.


DAVAO WAS named the top "next wave city" for 2010 by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT), and the Department of Trade and Industry.

In a press briefing, the BPAP and the CICT said the Top Ten Next Wave Cities in the Philippines are Davao, Sta. Rosa, Bacolod, Iloilo, Metro Cavite, Lipa, Cagayan de Oro, Malolos, Baguio and Dumaguete. These cities will get priority in terms of investment promotion.

Davao was named the top next wave city due to high number of "quality talent," lower cost of doing business, and infrastructure.


About 26 manufacturing companies in Davao Region found to be emitting black smoke will again undergo an on-the-spot monitoring on air pollution.

The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) in Region XI has intensified its campaign to look into air pollution caused by manufacturers operating in the Davao Region.


British Advisory


Listed below is advisory from the British Embassy in Manila.

Please read.

ALSO NOTE OUR NEXT MEETING IS NEXT WEDNESDAY 9AM



Travel Summary

  • We advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of ongoing terrorist and insurgent activity. We advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reason. See the Terrorism and Local Travel sections of this Travel Advice.
  • There are also ongoing clashes between the military and insurgent groups in the Sulu archipelago including Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Jolo. See the Terrorism and Local Travel sections of this Travel Advice.
  • There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
  • There is a threat from kidnapping in the Philippines. A Swiss national was kidnapped in Zamboanga City, Mindanao, on 5 April 2010 and has yet to be released.
  • The European Commission has announced an operating ban on all air carriers certified in the Philippines, with effect from 1 April 2010. This follows an audit of the Philippines carried out by ICAO in October 2009. The EU ban has been imposed because the Philippine regulatory authority is unable to verify that these airlines comply with international safety standards. More information can be obtained on the following website: http://ec.europa/transport/.
  • We recommend that you avoid flying with Philippine-certified airlines subject to the EU operating ban, which came into effect from 1 April 2010. See the Air Travel section of this advice for more details.
  • Around 70,000 British tourists visit the Philippines every year (Source: Philippines Ministry of Tourism). Most visits are trouble-free. 138 British nationals required consular assistance in the Philippines in the period 1 April 2008 – 31 March 2009 for the following types of incident: deaths (44 cases); hospitalisations (27 cases); and arrests, for a variety of offences (23 cases). During this period assistance was also requested with regard to lost or stolen passports (79 cases).
  • We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See the General (Insurance) section of this Travel Advice.

Safety and security

Terrorism There is a high threat from terrorism throughout the Philippines. Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and the intent to carry out these attacks at any time and anywhere in the country. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

On 13 November 2007, a bomb exploded in the car park of Congress in Quezon City, Metro Manila resulting in a number of deaths and injuries. Among those killed was a member of Congress. We advise against all travel to south west Mindanao covering the following areas, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM, including the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi) plus the eastern provinces of Sarangani, North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay. We advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao. This is because of ongoing terrorist activity there have been a number of terrorist attacks against civilian targets, most recently in December 2008. See the Local Travel section of this Travel Advice.


Samal


Davao,Basilan,Digos,Tagum unrest

At least nine people have been killed in an attack Philippine military officials blame on the Abu Sayyaf group.

The attackers set off bombs around Isabela city on the southern island of Basilan on Tuesday, before a series of gunbattles with security forces, officials said.
More from ALJEZZERA

Tagum

Suspected New People’s Army rebels released Monday night a candidate for mayor who was seized while campaigning in a rebel-infested area in Lupon, Davao Oriental over the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Arfran “Boy” Quiñones was turned over by the rebels to his wife Luz in a hinterland village bordering Lupon and Mati City at 8:30 p.m., said Senior Superintendent Efren Perez, Davao Oriental police chief.

Along with Quiñones, the rebels under a certain Danilo Nodalo alias Benjie of the rebels’ Front Committee 18 also freed Ronisito Pedro, a village councilor of Barangay (village) Marayag, also in Lupon.

More from The Inquirer

DAVAO

DAVAO MINE

Elements of Task Force Davao discovered Tuesday an improvised land mine at a highway used by government forces on Tibuloy village, Davao City.

Initial reports said the six-kilo anti-tank mine had a blasting cap and wire that could be used to detonate the explosive remotely.

Digos

DIGOS

A candidate for councilor in Davao del Sur province was shot dead in Digos city, Monday night.

Police identified the victim as McArthur "Tol" Cortez, a candidate for councilor in Sarangani town.

Soldiers killed in Davao, and plane crash in Tagum

Three soldiers were killed in an encounter with communist rebels in Davao City on Sunday, a military spokesman said.

The soldiers, whose identities were withheld pending notification of their relatives, were earlier wounded in the clash but later died, according to Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

A small Cessna aircraft crashed in Tagum City, Davao del Norte Sunday morning while spraying pesticide at a banana plantation.

Initial reports said the small plane owned by the Philippine Agricultural Aviation Corporation crashed in a field at Purok Mangga-Avareda in Pagsabangan village at 7:45 a.m.

The pilot, Capt. Randy Raagas, and was immediately rushed to Davao Regional Hospital for treatment.

From ABS CBN

Goodbye guys


Two of our FOM friends are off back to the US, Louis leaves tomorrow and in a few weeks Bruce goes too.

Take care guys, and please stay in touch with us via Friends of Mindanao.

More pictures from Ma a Prison visit





Pearl Farm Video

Communist insurgents and a plane crash

Communist insurgents ambushed a military patrol Sunday and opened fire on a helicopter trying to provide cover to security reinforcements in the outskirts of Davao City in the southern Philippines.

A rebel spokesman Simon Santiago said New People’s Army forces attacked members of the 69th Infantry Battalion in the village of Lumiad in Paquibatao District.

“Members of the 1st Pulang Bagani Company-New People’s Army ambushed the 69th Infantry Battalion. The reinforcement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a bomber-helicopter, was hit by the NPA and immediately retreated. Based on initial reports, NPA forces have recovered one high-power weapon from the enemy,” Santiago said.


Plane Crash
A small plane for farm use crashed on early Sunday in a village near Tagum City in the southern Philippine province of Davao Del Norte, police said.

The pilot of the plane used for spraying fungicides in banana plantations, Captain Randy Raagas, is under observation at the Davao Regional Hospital due to injuries, said Tagum City police chief Giusseppe Geralde.

The plane was on its way to the village of Tanglaw in nearby Dujali town when it went down at 7:30 a.m., and the authorities are still investigating the circumstances behind the mishap, he said.

Davao Prison








This last week a number of FOM members, attended Ma a prison here in Davao City.

Over the next week we will have an article here about some of the progressive things we saw

In the meantime to wet your appetite, here are a few pictures taken on the day.


investigate the deaths

Speaker Prospero Nograles has accused Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of turning a blind eye on political killings following an incident that took the lives of two volunteers for a partylist group.

Nograles urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate the deaths and find the real culprits.

Over the weekend, the bodies of Juliana Noquera and Ronald Miranda, campaign volunteers for the partylist groups Bantay of Representative Jovito Palparan and Alliance for National Democracy of Pastor Jun Alcover, were found in separate areas in the city after they were reported missing.

Seven Philippine soldiers were wounded

COTABATO (Philippines), April 6 (Bernama) -- Seven Philippine soldiers were wounded in a land mine blast, which believed to be carried out by suspected leftist rebels on Monday in the restive southern Philippines, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

Troops were on board a military truck when a land mine planted by suspected New People's Army (NPA) exploded along the highway in the village of Binay in Magpet township of North Cotabato province, China's Xinhua news agency cited Major Andolong Dorado, a civil-military officer, as saying here.

"Our men are tracking down the perpetrators. Those soldiers hurt in the attack are safe," he said.

seized by suspected Islamic

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — Friends of an elderly businessman seized by suspected Islamic militants in the southern Philippines pleaded for his release Tuesday, saying his health was very fragile.

The emotional appeals came as authorities indicated they knew where Charles Reith, 72, a man of Swiss descent, may have been taken after being abducted from his beach-front home in the port city of Zamboanga on Sunday night.

"He has been sickly. We are appealing on the kidnappers to take immediate care of him and then free Mr Reith," said Al Alhabshi, a close friend and a business associate.

"He is suffering from pneumonia and is still recovering from a mild stroke two months ago," Alhabshi told AFP. "He needs his maintenance medicines."

Regional military chief Lieutenant General Benjamin Dolorfino said troops had received information as to the whereabouts of Reith but declined to disclose details.

"We have alerted the military units in the city and in nearby island provinces," Dolorfino told reporters.

"We have also intensified intelligence information (gathering) to determine which group is holding the victim."

Police said on Monday they suspected that the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf network was behind the kidnapping.

The Abu Sayyaf is on the US government's list of wanted foreign terrorist organisations and is blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks, as well as a host of kidnappings for ransom in the southern Philippines.


Good news from Mati, but bad news elsewhere


MATI CITY, DAVAO ORIENTAL -- The picturesque Dahican Beach in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental is fast becoming the skimboarding destination in Mindanao with annual competitions being participated in by wave riders from various parts of the country.

In the 1st Mayor’s Cup competition over the weekend, 45 skimboarders and surfers trooped to Dahican to challenge the 10-foot waves on the beach. Hundreds more watched in awe as wave riders glided and floated into the air and waves with grace and ease.


And more good news

by Noel Baguio

Davao City (6 April) -- Some 85 cases long pending in court were speedily resolved when the Justice on Wheels rolled out in the Province of Davao del Norte on March 30, 2010.

Executive Judge Rowena Apao-Adlawan of the Regional Trial Court-Branch 30 in Tagum City said a considerable number of inmates involved in these cases are now free men after languishing many years in jail.


AND BAD NEWS TOO

DAVAO CITY – Two poll campaigners of retired Major General Jovito Palparan’s Bantay partylist group were found dead after they were abducted by unidentified men in Calinan District here, police said on Sunday.

The body of Juliana Noquera, 51, of Barangay (village) Dominga, Calinan, was recovered on a beach in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte on Saturday, while that of Ronald Miranda, 49, of Landmark village in Buhangin District here, was found in Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur, on the same day, he said

AND MORE WORRYING NEWS

MANILA, Philippines - Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Monday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to place the city under its control to stop the rising number of election-related violence.

"I want the Comelec to take control [of Davao City]," Duterte announced, adding that placing the city under Comelec control would assure a fair and clean elections.

Duterte made the call after his political opponents accused him of involvement in the kidnapping of 2 supporters of Bantay Laya party-list Rep. Jovito Palparan last March 24 and the harassment of campaigner of House Speaker Prospero Nograles in Paquibato district last March 11.


AND EVEN MORE

A policeman was injured when suspected members of the New People’s Army ambushed a police convoy in Davao del Sur province early Tuesday morning, the provincial police chief said.

Senior Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa said one Inspector Rodrigo Tajos sustained shrapnel wounds on the right side of his face after an unidentified number of armed men ambushed members of Sta. Cruz police station at 10 a.m.

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