Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fuentes squares off with Miguel

Incumbent South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Vance-Fuentes is seeking re-election but will miss her vice governor who decided to slide down to running for board member due to health reasons.

Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is seeking re-election.
Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes is seeking re-election.

She will face former Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel who is fighting off a Sandiganybayan conviction for hiring his private lawyer to notarize the lot where the city hall now stands.

Fuentes instead tapped Liberal Party’s and former Koronadal mayor Vic de Jesus as her running mate to replace lawyer Cecil Diel who will go back as provincial board member.

De Jesus, a member of the provincial board, will face fellow incumbent provincial board member and Philippine Councilors League chapter president Bernie Palencia who is vice to Miguel.

The other candidates vying for the top post in the province are independents Lino Saig for governor and Teresito Betita.

In the congressional race for the 2nd District of South Cotabato, it will be a one-on-one race between re-electionist Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez and comebacking former congressman Arthur Pingoy.

Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez
Rep. Ferdinand Hernandez is seeking a second term.

Pingoy lost to Fuentes in his re-election bid in 2013 after Miguel also joined gubernatorial race.

Pingoy and Miguel have joined forces in their bid to topple Fuentes who has not lost in an election since 1992.

In Koronadal City, re-electionist Peter Miguel will have as opponents former vice mayor Jose Lleda from the Nationalist People’s Coalition and independent candidate Efren Biclar.

Miguel’s vice mayor Eliordo Ogena is also seeking re-election and will face Oscar Pagunsan.

In the congressional race in the 1st District of South Cotabato which includes General Santos City, Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr (AIM-LP) is seeking a third and last term as congressman.

He will be up against outgoing General Santos City Councilor Dominador Lagare III (PCM-PDP-Laban) and Ryan Rivera (KBL).

Rivera is elder brother of General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

Pacquiao allies slug it out in Sarangani

Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon no longer will enjoy the luxury of running unopposed like he did in 2013.

He will face former allies of party mate Manny Pacquiao who is leaving as representative of the lone district of Sarangani to run for a seat in the Philippine Senate.

Solon who is seeking a second term, will face Juan Domino who also ran but was defeated in the 2010 elections then also under the ticket of People’ Champ Movement, a party founded by Pacquiao.

Incumbent Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon


Also challenging the incumbent governor is Mohammad Aquia, a friend of Pacquiao who is the official bet of the ruling administration party headed by the Liberal Party.

Solon still listed the PCM as his party and took former Provincial Board member Elmer de Peralta as running mate as Vice Governor Jinkee Pacquiao has decided to quit politics to concentrate on raising their children and helping her husband win a senate seat.

The PCM has allied with Vice President’s United Nationalist Alliance after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte decided not to run for president.

The PCM earlier stated it will support Duterte who si a member of the PDP-Laban.

Domino was once a political rival of the Chiongbians from whose family Solon belonged.

Juan Domino
Juan Domino

In 1998, Domino defeated Solon’s mother Lucille Chiongbian-Solon for the lone congressional district of Sarangani but was disqualified by the Commission on Election for failing to establish his residency in the province.

He again ran for governor in 2001 but was defeated by Chiongbian ally and then re-electionist Gov. Miguel Escobar.

In 2010, he lost again to Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez who dislodged Escobar in the 2004 election s amid report of widespread corruption in the province.

Escobar was already convicted twice for separate accounts of malversation of public funds, the latest of which came out only last week.

Mohammad Aquia

Aquia, on the other hand, also ran as for vice governor as an independent in 2007.  He used to hang around Pacquiao’s mansion and was once implicated in a carnapping incident.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s younger brother Rogelio (Roel) Pacquiao also filed his certificate of candidacy for the seat vacated by the former world boxing champion.

Roel, who could face disqualification for reportedly failing to meet the one-year residency requirement, will be challenged by 3 relatively unknown opponents.

Brothers Pacquiao (from left Bobby, Roel and Manny)
Roel Pacquiao (middle) is flanked by brothers Bobby (left) and Manny (right)

They are Elson Formoso who is running as an independent, Megie Orig of the Nationalists People’s Coalition and Victor Mejia of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

Roel transferred residence in Alabel, Sarangani and has already filed a petition to transfer his voting precinct.  The Commission on Election however has to act on his petition.

Pacquiao is a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod f General Santos City by virtue of being the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen of the city which he won via a toss coin over former ABC head Lourdes Casabuena.

Presidential snub

It is standard operating procedure and security protocol for the presidential guards to take over the security operations from local government units whenever Philippine president makes out of town public appearance.

It is usually the Malacañang protocol officer who makes arrangements in advance along with the designated detail head of the Presidential Security Guard (PSG).

Aquino arrived on Saturday in General Santos City but broke presidential protocol when he – or whoever was on top of his visit – deliberately snubbed Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

Not only was Rivera kept in the dark.

The whole city was denied the courtesy of being informed even.

The president, according to sources, stayed overnight Saturday at the posh Greenleaf Hotel in the busy central business district in the city for a personal visit to a former member of the PSG who was to be buried today, October 4, in Sto. Nino in South Cotabato – some 75 kilometers away.

While his visit was personal, the president owe it to the people of General Santos to be informed of his presence.

This blog got its information of the presidential arrival Thursday and made hurried efforts to confirm it from city hall sources, including a text message sent to the city mayor himself.

Gensan Mayor Ronnel Rivera said nobody coordinated with him or his office until he left Friday afternoon for Cebu City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Gensan Mayor Ronnel Rivera said nobody coordinated with him or his office until he left Friday afternoon for Cebu City.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

On Friday, Mayor Rivera sent this text message: “No idea about Pnoy.  Wala man coordination sa ofis.” By noon, Rivera had already left for Cebu for a scheduled visit to his family.

On the same day, the a source from Koronadal said MARO and the Philippine Information Office reportedly requested for a news blackout of the presidential arrival as it was a private visit.

Friday evening, two presidential helicopters slipped into the city under cover of darkness.

On Saturday, all major roads and city streets were swarming with policemen and military personnel with armored personnel carriers and tanks deployed along the national highway from General Santo City going to South Cotabato.

Still no word from Malacanang to city hall.

By afternoon, the while stretch of San Miguel Street, a 200-meter four-lane avenue that separated SM and Greenlea Hotel was close to vehicular traffic as the president had already checked in.

Still no presidential word for city hall prompting a source to send the following text message:

“The whole stretch of San Miguel was closed without SP reso(lution) or CMO’s advise.  Grabe talaga si Pnoy!  Sa sobrang tuwid ng daan di man lang marunong lumingon kahit simpleng respeto lang.”

Greenleaf Hotel was reportedly fully booked for the day and vehicles of hotel guests had to be parked at the parking bay of SM Gensan City Mall.

Inside the hotel were “a lot of AIM people roaming around.”

AIM is Achievers with Integrity Movement, a local political party founded by former city mayor Adelbert Antonino.

Malacanang point person for Mindanao is Secretary Luwalhati Antonino who is also head of Mindanao Development Authority.

Luwalhati is wife of former General Santos City Mayor Adelbert Antonino.

They are parents of Darlene Antonino-Custodio who lost her 2013 re-election bid to the incumbent Mayor Rivera.

The Antoninos were the erstwhile undisputed political kingpins of General Santos City.

But for the first time since 1987, not a single Antonino is holding an elective post after Darlene lost her re-election bid to Rivera by a margin of over 12,000 votes.

Luwalhati earlier announced AIM’s candidates for the 2016 local elections.  Again no Antonino will be vying for an elective post next year.

Adelbert is now reportedly sickly and has turned over the rein of their businesses to Darlene who is said to be disinterested in seeking another run for city mayor.

Luwalhati and Adelbert are reportedly estranged with rumors Adelbert had sired a son from another woman in Panay Island.

Eliza has resigned from Roxas and is now into franchising of uppity restaurants.

Was the president still smarting from the 2013 debacle of Darlene who lost despite 2 hurried visit to feverishly pitch for her re-lection two weeks before the last local election?

He even made a swipe of Rivera and his slate for using yellow as party color.  As if it is Aquino’s birth right to use.

Aquino conveniently forgot that the Antoninos were staunch allies of deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos.  Adelbert even ran under Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) in the 1984 Batasan elections but lost in his political election bid.  He ran again as KBL candidate in the 1987 restored Philippine Congress and won.  That win began the 26-year reign of the Antoninos in General Santos City.

In 2009, before Aquino declared his candidacy for president, the Antoninos – particularly Darlene and her mother Luwalhati – were bent on campaigning for Mar Roxas.

After all, Eliza Antonino – younger sister of Darlene – worked for several years as senior aide to Roxas.

As fate would have it, Roxas gave way to Aquino.  Now, it is Aquino’s turn to pay back a friend.

Roxas himself has taken a similar attitude towards city hall.  While many local government units received locally assembled patrol cars, none were given to the city while he was DILG chief.

Roxas is now the anointed and declared presidential candidate of the ruling party

On August 25, he arrived in the city to hand out awards some local government officials in the region.  He, too, snubbed Rivera who texted a day before his arrival the following: “No idea kung naa siya. (No idea if he will be around)”

The Rivera family owns the RD Group of Companies with RD Fishing as their flagship business.  RD Fishing is the country’s 2nd largest tuna fishing firm and also the city’s biggest fishing company.

The RD Group employs close to 10,000 employees from at least 52 diversified business firms that include a bank and a lending company, pawnshop, drugstore, livestock and poultry, real estate, packaging, resorts and hotel, aqua and marine culture, shipyard in addition to several fishing-related businesses.

The Riveras also run and operate diversified fishing companies in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Solomon Islands.

The Riveras and the Antoninos are former close allies with Rodrigo Rivera Sr – father of the city mayor – and Adelbert Antonino, together with fishing magnate Marfenio Tan, hooking up to put up the local TV franchise of ABS-CBN in the late 1980s.

The partnership simply folded up when ABS-CBN bought them out but Adelbert reportedly failed to liquidate the joint venture.

Relationship between the Riveras and the Antoninos soured when, in 2001, the former’s eldest son Ryan Rivera ran and contested the congressional seat left vacant by Luwalhati Antonino.  Ryan lost to Darlene who went on to serve 3 consecutive 3-year terms until 2010.

In 2010, Darlene won as city mayor.

Ronnel Rivera made several attempts to join AIM as a candidate for city councilor but was not accommodated.

He instead ran as independent and emerged No. 1 city councilor that year.

It was an ominous sign for the Antoninos.

The end of their political reign in the city finally came in 2013.

Rivera is a close friend and local party mate of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao who is allied with Vice President Jejomar Binay.  So the political drifts of the Riveras and the Antoninos are staying true to their courses.

Between 2013 and Saturday, Aquino has not visited the city despite the many opportunities and invitation to come over for big conventions, celebrations and festivals like the 75th Founding Anniversary of the city last year.

How can one president miss that milestone of a celebration for Mindanao’s fastest growing city?

Now, will anybody still wonder why the presidential snub?

General Santos City clamps on smoking  

General Santos City officials are not worried being accused as copycats of neighboring Davao City.

“It is for the good of our constituents,” Mayor Ronnel Rivera said during the launching of a new city ordinance that put more teeth on a 23-year old city law that bans smoking in public places.

The new city ordinance now bans smoking in enclosed public building or privately owned but used, rented or occupied by the government offices and agencies or any of its instrumentalities and in any workplaces, whether public or privately-owned.

It repealed the City Crdinance No. 9 series of 1992) or the 1992 Anti-Smoking Ordinance passed by the City Council.

A K-9 team from Task Force Gensan was among those who joined the caravan in the launching a new ordinance that put more teeth on city-wide smoking ban.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
A K-9 team from Task Force Gensan was among those who joined the caravan in the launching a new ordinance that put more teeth on city-wide smoking ban.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

The new smoking ban also is in effect in public outdoor spaces where a crowd of people gather or congregate regardless of ownership.

Covered under outdoor spaces are parks, playgrounds, sports grounds, or centers, gaming areas, cock fighting areas, healthcare/hospital compounds, memorial parks, memorial gardens, beaches, resorts, pools, market streets, sidewalks, parking areas, walkways, entrance ways, waiting areas, stairwells, and the like.

Councilor Rosalita Nuñez, principal author of the ordinance, said the local legislation carries with it fines and imprisonment or both for violators.

Also covered by the ban are government-owned vehicles and public transport.

The new anti-smoking ordinance also makes permitting, abetting, tolerating or knowingly allowing smoking in the restricted areas unlawful and violators will likewise be penalized for it.

It will also be unlawful to obstruct or refuse the entry of any member of the Anti-Smoking Task Force or its duly deputized enforcers into places covered by the ordinance.

Mayor Rivera said the ban is good for the health of residents here especially when told that smokers hooked up on cigarettes are getting younger.

He also cited statistics pointing to 10 Filipinos dying every hour due to cigarette smoking.

Rivera himself is a heavy smoker but quit 5 months ago due to advice of his doctors.

Another former heavy smoker, Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr, said he will introduce another ordinance banning the retail sale of cigarettes by the stick or packs in the city.

“There are no graphic warnings in cigarettes sticks and packs which is a violation of the Philippine Clean Air Act,” he said.

Gacal is hoping his proposed ordinance will make it more difficult to sell cigarettes in the city.

Gacal, one of the trusted lawyers of former 8-division world boxing champion and Rep. Manny Pacquiao, suffered from massive stroke 2 years ago but survived his life-threatening ordeal.

He said he has quit smoking since then.

The city is hoping to follow the lead of Davao City which has been clamping on smokers for over 2 decades.

Prominent personalities have been arrested, including government officials who recently attended the convention of the Philippine Councilors League in Davao City.

Like Rivera, Davao City Rodrigo Duterte was a former heavy smoker.

But his no-nonsense drive to rid public spaces and establishments of smokers has earned the city raves for successfully implementing the smoking ban in the city.

Aside from ban on smoking, Davao City is also strictly implementing a ban on firecrackers and pyrotechnics and imposing a city wide speed limit.



Gensan tuna producers seek regional cooperation

Better regional cooperation in the light of declining world tuna catch is top among the agenda of the 17th Philippine National Tuna Congress next month.

More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the Philippine tuna congress which will be held on September 3 and 4 at the SM General Santos Trade Halls.

Fisheries scientist Keith Bigelow of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States Department of Commerce is slated to give inputs on Initiatives on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud in relation to increased monitoring on the traceability of global tuna catches.

Invited to the national tuna congress is Sukchai Arnupapboon head of the Fishing Ground and Fishery Oceanography Section Head of the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center who will report on 2014 Oceanographic Survey in Sulu-Sulawesi Seas, a strategic tuna fishing ground in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

Philippine tuna catch is having a down year in 2015, a global trend, prompting producers to seek greater regional cooperation. PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Philippine tuna catch is having a down year in 2015, a global trend, prompting producers to seek greater regional cooperation. PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Also expected to speak at the national tuna congress is Indonesian Marine and Fishery Affairs Minister Susi Pudjiastuti who will tackle her country’s approach on regional fisheries sustainability.

The Indonesian minister made an international splash when she spearheaded the blowing up foreign fishing vessels caught illegally fishing in their territorial waters.

Indonesia likewise required the reflagging of foreign fishing vessels operating in their territorial waters which drew varied protests from foreign fishing companies who are also obliged to follow the country’s policy of full complement of Indonesian fishing crew.

But the major concern among local fishermen here is the declining catch which saw a dramatic dive ion the first half of this year.

According to General Santos City fish port manager Mario Malinao, citing local landings at the fishing port complex in the city, local tuna catch have gown down by 25 percent.

Just six months after posting a 10-year record high 101,480.19 metric tons (MT) in 2014, fish landing in General Santos dropped to just 42,064.73 MT in the first 6 months of this year down from 55,846.31 MT over the same period last year.

Approximately 90 percent of total fish landings in General Santos City are tuna and tuna like species.

Malinao however said despite the drop in local tuna catch in General Santos, the country’s famed tuna capital, overall landings in the first half of this year is up by 9 percent – aided primarily by a 50 percent hike in frozen tuna imports.

The bulk of landings at the fishing port complex in Tambler, General Santos City in the first semester this year came from the 72,875.01 MT of imported frozen tuna, which registered a hefty 50 percent spike over last year’s 48,464.62 frozen imports.

While General Santos produces approximately only 60 percent of the country’s annual tuna output, it is the primary origin of the Philippine’s annual tuna exports which, in 2014, amounted to US$459.83 million but down from US$664.50 million in 2013.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera however is confident the local tuna industry will be able to bounce back from what is now being widely accepted as a down year in Philippine tuna production.

He emphasized the need for greater cooperation among tuna producing countries in South East Asia, particularly the Philippines and Indonesia which lie in the strategic international migratory path of tuna and which share international sea boundaries.

He also admitted that most Philippine tuna companies, which have invested in tuna canning and processing in Indonesia, have suspended or scaled down their operations there amid declining tuna catch and uncertainties in the fishing policies of the Philippine’s neighboring country.

Mayor Rivera is hoping the two countries can re-establish fishing ties after the bilateral agreement were terminated by Indonesia in 2010 following a 2-year extension in 2008.

The Philippine tuna congress is one of the major highlights of the Philippine tuna Festival which reels off on September 1.

Gensan politics:  Antoninos throw in the towel  

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – An election loss removed from position of power and influence in the city, the once politically formindable Anonino family is, for the first time since 1987 – a period of 29 years – not fielding any member for any elective post in the local elections here next year.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) secretary general Lualhati Antonino on Tuesday confirmed that it is Councilor Richard Atendido who will carry the torch of the Achievement with Integrity Movement (AIM) as its mayoral candidate.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

The anointment of Atendido as AIM standard bearer was decided early July but was announced only today, August 4.

Antonino, herself former congresswoman who represented the 1st Congressional District of South Cotabato, said Atendido is well qualified for the position.

She also said lawyer Loreto Acharon, younger brother of Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr, will be the party’s bet for vice mayor.

In 2013, her daughter Darlene Antonino-Custodio lost a re-election bid to Mayor Ronnel Rivera by a margin of just over 12,000 votes.

The Antoninos also lost control of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the following barangay elections when Councilor Rogelio ‘Roel’ Pacquiao was elected president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC).

Councilor Pacquiao is the younger brother of Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao who, in 2007, lost to then Rep. Darlene Custodio in the congressional race in the first district of South Cotabato.

Rep. Pacquiao later transferred residence to Sarangani where he won in the lone congresional district of the province.

In 2013, he and Rivera formed a formidable alliance against the Antoninos to capture the city hall leadership under the People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

PCM now controls 9 of the 14 seats in the city council.

What doubly was a bitter defeat for the Antoninos is that despite the full backing of President Benigno Aquino III, who twice visited the city to pitch for Darlene during the campaign period, she still lost to Rivera.

Lualhati did not explain why the Antoninos are no longer running for any elective post in the city.

Darlene reportedly expressed her desire to retire from politics and concentrate on raising her children while patriarch Adelbert Antonino is reportedly preoccupied with their family business.

The Antoninos are originally from Nueva Ecija but built their fortune on their logging business in Mindanao.

Both parents of Adelbert served as senators of the Philippines.

Their party mate and longtime ally Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr is still eligible to run for a third term.

Lualhati, a close ally of President Aquino, is believed to help in the campaign presidential campaign of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for whom another daughter Liza works as staff.

Rivera was not immediately available for comment.  He was still on official leave as of this writing.

But Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr, a stalwart of PCM, said the Rivera-Atendido fight will be a mismatch.

Rivera is scion of the wealthiest family in General Santos who has diversified business interests anchored on its fishing business – the RD Fishing.

The Riveras own close to 50 corporations with interest in banking and finance, real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, aquaculture and many more.

Its fishing operations are now largely foreign based.

An elder tribeswoman’s rage  

When someone rages at you without even glancing at your face, you know there is not only anger and hatred.  There is the feeling of being betrayed.

Once given a beaded necklace by Ata Manobo tribal chieftain Bai Bibiyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco is now the most despised woman of the tribe after she launched a botched ‘rescue attempt’ of  700 internally displaced tribe members seeking sanctuary at the heart of Davao City.

In a 5-minute video clip posted by Kilab Multimedia, Bai Bibiyaon only glanced once at Rep. Catamco, holding the beaded necklace she gave the legislator while she ranted and fended the hands off her shoulder.

“I gave you this bead necklace to signify we don’t want violence,” she said as she touched the memento.

The steely stare of Ata Manobo cheiftain Bai BibiyaonLigkayan Bigkay in this file p[hoto by Kilab Multimedia.
The steely stare of Ata Manobo cheiftain Bai BibiyaonLigkayan Bigkay in this file p[hoto by Kilab Multimedia.
At least 2 times, she told the lady legislator from Cotabao to shut up and listen.

“We don’t trust your words now,” Bai Bibiyaon bluntly and forcefully said.

Bibiyaon was speaking for members of her tribe who left their homes in the remote villages in Talaingod after the military occupied their houses and the schools.

“You said before you will come but the day you came you brought soldiers with you. That is painful to us,” she told Gotamco who continues to interrupt her.

Catamco denied she brought soldiers but reports said 2 Army generals were with her when they forcibly entered the Haran Mission inside the compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

She was also with around 500 soldiers, Davao City riot police and members of the military-backed paramilitary group Alamara.

One of the Alamara members who accompanied Catamco tearfully hugged his parents who are among those seeking refuge at the Haran Mission.

“I don’t want to be forced to join the Alamara for our tribe will be split apart,” Bai Bibiyaon railed.

The tribal chieftain said they were angered when Catamco brought with her precisely soldiers they fled from.

“In our times, it takes only two datus to sit and resolve our problems,” she rued about the failure of authorities to address their problem.

In another scathing rebuke, she told Gotamco, “Don’t look down at us because we have not been to school.”

A graduate of Ateneo de Davao University, Catamco was earlier quoted by the press to have said that the Ata Manobos stink.


Rep. Nancy Gotamco, holding a microphone, was with 2 Philippine Army generals when she entered the Haran Mission at teh UCCP compouned in Davao City.PHOTO COURTESY OF KILAB MULTIMEDIA
Rep. Nancy Gotamco, holding a microphone, was with 2 Philippine Army generals when she entered the Haran Mission at teh UCCP compouned in Davao City.PHOTO COURTESY OF KILAB MULTIMEDIA

“Did you say we stink?  Didn’t you see that our supply is limited and we have to pay for it not like in the mountains where water is flowing,” Bai Bibiyaon reminded the legislator.

Every time Catamco tried to interrupt, she was bluntly told, “Keep quiet. Don’t answer me.”

Among Philippines tribes, it is disrespectful to interrupt an elder, much more a chieftain, while he or she is talking.  More so, if one is in a middle of discourse describing a litany of grievances.

Bibiyaon is no ordinary elder and chieftain of the tribe, one of a handful of women tribal chieftains in Mindanao.

In her younger years, in 1994, she led the ‘pangayaw’ (tribal war) against the Integrated Forest Management Agreement project of Alcantara and Sons (Alsons) in Talaingod which resulted into bloody and violent clashes between the military and members of the tribe aided by the New People’s Army.

Alsons eventually pulled out of the area.

Bibiyaon said they thought they will be spared violence and harassment by the military in the city.

She was wrong.

Catamco wanted the evacuees to go back home and brought with her government trucks.

But Bibiyaon wants nothing of it.

“I will not go back because things will be the same.  I will face death in the hands of the soldiers and the Alamara,” she said.

Catamco eventually left empty handed.   Not a single soul from the evacuees went with her.

But that was not after acting Davao City Mayor Paolo Duterte arrived and held a dialogue with the evacuees.

He made them choose between going home and staying behind.

They all chose the latter.


(In the aftermath, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte derided Rep. Catamco for going beyond her mandate and intruding into the executive function of the local government of Davao City)





Phenomenal kid makes smashing pro debut

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Power-hitting Vinz Paras left many in awe after scoring a rousing first round knockout in his first professional boxing fight at the atrium of Robinson’s Place here.

Paras unloaded a barrage of powerful combination forcing his opponent Romeo Garde of Davao City into corner.

An amateur standout who cannot wait to turn pro, Paras displayed ring class by throwing an array of punches that pinned Garde in the ropes near the latter’s corner.

Garde, who made the mistake of trading punches with Paras, absorbed punishing body punches that scarily sent him down in the canvass for more than 5 minutes.

It was over in 1:31 seconds in the first round.

Vince Paras, left, digs to the body of Romeo Garde.  Paras went on to score a 1st round knockout victory over Garde in General Santos City Saturday evening.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Vince Paras, left, digs to the body of Romeo Garde. Paras went on to score a 1st round knockout victory over Garde in General Santos City Saturday evening.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Mayor Jojo Lopez of Maasim town in Sarangani, who took the 18-year old Paras under his wing, said he was ‘disappointed’ the fight ended too quickly.

But he was all praises for his new ward.

Paras caught the attention of television networks when he was billed as the next big thing in General Santos City boxing.

He was featured by the British Broadcasting Corporation and GMA News’ Jessica Soho in run-up coverage to the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algeiri fight last year.

In the main event, local boxing sensation Jake Bornea knocked out Richard Rosales in the 4th round to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific flyweight title.

Bornea improved to 10-1 with 5 knockout victories.

Promising Gensan pugilist Jake Bornea (left) scored a 4th KO win over Richard Rosales to capture the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight crown.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Promising Gensan pugilist Jake Bornea (left) scored a 4th KO win over Richard Rosales to capture the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight crown.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

His win made it a double victory as twin brother Jade also scored a six-round unanimous victory over Salatiel Amit of Cebu in the undercard.

In the co-main event, Jelbirt Gomera stopped journeyman Prell Tupas in the 3rd round to remain unbeaten in 8 pro fights and capture the Philippines Boxing Federation super bantamweight title.

John Vincent Moralde made a workmanlike 3-round demolition of William George of Bukidnon for his first fight after his victory over Australian Brayd Smith who died due to head injuries after their match in Queensland Australia last March.

Other results: Junuel Lacar was held to a draw by Jimboy Haya while Jetro Pabustan walked with a decision victory over Virgilo Silvano.

Dominador Diama Jr likewise won over Marjun Pantiligan while Rene Margace stopped Romulo Ramay in the 3rd round.

Joey Antonio scored a majority decision against Lony Cadayday while Mark Bawaan and Holly Quiñones fought to a draw.

Controversial stoppage mars Gensan boxing

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – A questionable referee decision to stop the fight with only 6 seconds left in the second round sent plenty of boxing fans fuming and disappointed.

Boxing hopeful Daryl Basadre lost for only the second time when referee Ramil Uvalo waived his hands to signal the end of the fight after 22-year old boxer tripped and tumbled backwards after escaping from the barrage of punches by Kenny Demecillo in his own corner.

Basadre lost in his bid to capture the World Boxing Association Oceana bantamweight crown.

Uvalo defended his decision to stop the fight saying Basadre was defenseless.

But a review of the fight showed Basadre was able to free himself from the corner but fell down as he retreated.

Daryl Dasadre (right) connects to the head of Kenny Demecillo.  Basadre lost a controversial 2nd round TKO after referee Ramil Uvalo stopped the contest with 6 seconds left in the 2nd round.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Daryl Dasadre (right) connects to the head of Kenny Demecillo. Basadre lost a controversial 2nd round TKO after referee Ramil Uvalo stopped the contest with 6 seconds left in the 2nd round.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

There was no punch thrown when he fell backwards.

Manager JC Manangquil and his co-manager Dexter Tan of Sanman Promotions vehemently protested the decision but the fight supervisors upheld the referee.

Basadre was leading in points as he took the first round by repeatedly rocking the Cebu-based Demecillo.

He was scoring heavily in the second round until Demecillo tagged him with less than 20 seconds left in the second round.

A judge who scored the fight but who requested that his name be withheld said Uvalo erred in his decision.

Former GAB Region 11 chairman and fight judge Jaime Mata however defended Uvalo and said it was a judgment call by the referee.

“Maybe in his judgment Basadre was already defenseless. The safety of the boxer comes first,” he said.

WBA Oceania supervisor Ferlin Marsh also said he was satisfied with the decision of the referee.

Basadre dropped to 14-2-1 with 10 KO victories.

World boxing title hopeful Harmonito dela Torre scored his 11th stoppage win in his undefeated 15 fight record.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO
World boxing title hopeful Harmonito dela Torre scored his 11th stoppage win in his undefeated 15 fight record.PIC BY EDWIN ESPEJO

In the main supporting bout, Harmonito dela Torre hardly sweated as he sent Eusebio Baluarte into the canvass twice in the fourth round to earn his 6th straight KO victory and improved his undefeated record to 15 victories.

It was dela Torre’s 11th KO win.

In another exciting bout, Rinmar Metuda scored a hard fought unanimous decision win over tough Jerry Castroverde in the afternoon’s most exciting bout.

Metuda dropped Castroverde in the second round with a wicked right hook.

In the fourth round, however, Castroverde returned the favor by knocking down the Gensan kid with a grazing left.

The two exchanged heavy blows throughout the scheduled 8-round fight but Metuda prevailed by scoring the more telling blows.

Other results:

Mike Angelo Plaña eked out a dull unanimous win over showboating journeyman Philip Parcon.

Hometown boy Marquil Salvaña showed too much class for Roger Chavez and scored a 4th round TKO victory.

Also winning by stoppage were Junie Salogaol who TKOed Armand Yee in 2nd round, Reymart Gaballo who made a short workout over Rocky Alvarez in the first round and Joyjoy Formentera who retired Allan Doronilla in the 2nd round.

Jonathan Francisco outlasted Reymund Dayham over 6 rounds while Joey Antonio won by unanimous decision over 4 rounds against Gerald Barcenas.

Captured soldier’s kin appeal for his release

GENERAL SANTOS C ITY – The mother and sister of Pfc. Khen Subere today (June 5) appealed to both the New People’s Army and the Philippine Army to agree to a suspension of military operation to facilitate the release of the 26-year old soldier who was seized by the rebels close to 2 months ago.

In a tearful plea, Lucia Subere said her son went missing after he left a relative’s house in Tboli, South Cotabato. He was last seen on April 11.

On Tuesday, June 2, the New People’s Army in Far South Mindanao announced it is holding Subere captive and a prisoner of war (POW).

Ka Alejandro Magiting, spokesperson of the NPA rebel’s Mt. Daguma Operational command, said in a press statement that “Subere was arrested while conducting civic military operations within a guerrilla zone” on April 12.

Magiting did not explain why it took more than 50 days before they made the announcement.

Duterte help

Lucia Subere said they have also sought the help of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in negotiating for the release of her son.

Motabang daw siya,” Lucia told the local media here.(He will help)

The Suberes are from Carmen, Davao del Norte.

Duterte has been approached by families of soldiers and policemen captured by NPAs for his ability to convince the rebels to release their captives.

But Fr. Raul Valle, who was contacted by the NPA rebels, said military operations and rebel processes prevented the early release of Subere.

(From left) Fr. Raul Valle, Bishop Redeemer Yañez, Lucia Subere and Khlaunden Subere.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
(From left) Fr. Raul Valle, Bishop Redeemer Yañez, Lucia Subere and Khlaunden Subere (holding microphone).FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Niingon man sila (rebels) na ilang i-release,” the Catholic priest said.(The rebels said they will release him)

Subere’s sister Khlaunden also appealed to the rebels to free her brother who, she said, is supporting her studies.

Khlaunden is fourth year in college and will graduate this school year.

Siya lang gapa-eskuwela sa ako,” the 19-year old Khlaunden cried.(He is paying for my studies)

Lucia Subere (left), mother of Pfc. Khen Subere, and her daughter Khlaunden appeal to his captors and the military to suspend military operations so that her son will be released safely.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Lucia Subere (left), mother of Pfc. Khen Subere, and her daughter Khlaunden appeal to his captors and the military to suspend military operations so that her son will be released safely.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

She said Pfc Subere went home a week before he was seized by the rebels.

According to fellow soldiers, Pfc. Subere reportedly left their headquarters in Maasim, Sarangani on April 11 to withdraw from his ATM. It was not clear why he ended up in Tboli, South Cotabato.

The Suberes checked Landbank if withdrawals were made on his ATM accounts.

They were told that the account of Subere was intact and that no withdrawals were made on April 11.


The Suberes are worried the military will not exert efforts for the safe release of Khen after Lt. Col. Roland Alcudia declared the embattled solider AWOL (absent without official leave).

Pfc. Khen Subere. Photo courtesy of Khlaunden Subere
Pfc. Khen Subere. Photo courtesy of Khlaunden Subere

In an earlier interview, Alcudia said Subere was declared AWOL on April 13, the day after he went missing.

Subere was also dropped from the rolls on April 23, Alcudia added.

Alcudia however said they still need to investigate the circumstances behind the earlier disappearance of the soldier.

He admitted that they had no idea where Subere was until the NPA claimed he is in the custody of the rebels.

But Fr. Valle said until Subere returns safely to his family and gives his story, he is considered captive of the rebels.

“He is a victim of circumstances,” Fr. Valle said.

Fr. Valle, along with Bishop Redeemer Yañez and Rev. Allen Veloso of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, appealed to the military to immediately suspend operations to facilitate the orderly and safe release of Subere.