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De Lima's Call


The only known, at least to this corner - should there be another or others of it - the only highlighted piece of legislation ever authored by friend Rudy Bayot had still to meet stinging opposition from the two highest public officials in this city.

First, Dist. 1 Cong. Celso Lobregat publicly asked him to withdraw his resolution reminding the public of the tragic death of Erica Jane Rosal.

Now, Mayor Beng Climaco Salazar herself directed Coun, Bayot, to immediately remove the “marker” he constructed along the Lunzuran section of the Zamboanga City by-pass road. In her weekly press briefing at city hall yesterday, Climaco said that upon hearing several complaints and discrepancies in the proposed City Council Resolution No. 123, she immediately instructed Bayot to remove the marker and demolish all other structures he had constructed in the area.

“Although there is a council resolution granting him (Bayot) to put the marker, nonetheless, he must remove that because it is within the by-pass road area and it is for the DPWH to do the corrective measures. But it must start from Coun. Bayot,” Climaco said.

The mayor expects Councilor Bayot to abide by her directive to resolve the issue once and for all.

But of course, he has no other option, the mayor’s order takes the form of a repeal. On matters of law implementation, hers is the sphere of authority. And it happens, Bayot had jumped the gun on the council resolution, having unilaterally constructed the marker right in the area of the by-pass road network, whether affecting the ongoing construction or not, to WS is of no moment.

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Citing stuffed hands in attending still to the needs of thousands of siege-affected families temporarily housed in transitory sites’, Mayor Beng Climaco has asked Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo to provide a catchment area other than Zamboanga City for deportees from Malaysia

Her request was formalized in a resolution, sponsored by City Disaster Risk Redcution Chief, Dr. Elmeir Apolinario and approved by the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) members.

The mayor has also brought the same matter to the attention of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) during the meeting of Mindanao Regional Peace and Order Council chairpersons and vice chairpersons in Sultan Kudarat.

Zamboanga City will be accepting deportees who are residents of the city and not those from other areas. The CPOC was prompted to approve the resolution, as more than 5,000 Filipinos who have been arrested in Sabah, Malaysia for “undocumented migrant status” will be deported to the Philippines through Zamboanga City that started this month. The first batch arrived Thursday night and were temporarily housed at the DSWD center in Talon-talon for documentation and assessment.

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What the police envisioned to be implemented a day right after Valentine’s day, procrastinated and is still undergoing a series of consultations with village officials, police and other stakeholders relative to the proposed “one-way” traffic scheme prior to the issuance of an executive order by the mayor.

The scheme was recommended by the traffic division of the local police in a bid to address the worsening traffic problems in areas within the seven-kilometer radius of this city compounded by the ongoing road diggings of the ZCWD for its pipe-laying project. She added the proposal had already been discussed and approved by the Zamboanga City Traffic Operations Management Committee (ZCTRMC.)

What higher planning body is there other than the ZCTRMC?

“…discussed and approved by the Zamboanga City Traffic Operations Management Committee, yet is dilly-dallying at City Hall, when the public is beset with gigantic traffic turmoil… Whew!

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Amid protests from Mindanao leaders, 53 of the 311 “scalawag” policemen have been shipped for deployment to Basilan.

The remaining 258 who ignored the order, have either resigned or face charges for gross neglect of duty.

Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa reported, the cops will work in Basilan for two years.

And Gen. Eduardo Ano, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), earlier clarified that the deployment of the 311 cops from Metro Manila will not be concentrated in Basilan alone.

“Their main job is to take care of the town centers, urban centers so that the AFP will concentrate on the hinterlands,” he added.

Ha! “... take care of town and urban centers.” But we thought, as punishment, they would be thrown to dangerous areas in mountain lairs to fight terror groups.

For God sake’s, they are in Paradise!

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Two impish town councilors stymied the grant of P60 million aid, as Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol withheld the aid to a conflict-stricken area in Butig, Lanao del Sur, when the duo allegedly made a pass at his female staff.

The agricultural support plan was for the grant of seedlings, machinery and other farming facilities to Butig residents so they can recover from the devastation caused by clashes between government forces and local supporters of the international jihadist group, the Islamic State (IS), whom authorities tag as the Maute Group.

Piñol said the misconduct of the two officials, he identified to be Saibin Panolong and Makakiling Ismael, jeopardized the agricultural support plan grant.

The misdeed of the suspects was to have allegedly touched the butt of one of the Piñol’s female staff, an engineer, during their February 9 visit to “the de facto capital of the Islamic Caliphate in the Philippines.”

The controversy went viral when Piñol uploaded the suspects’ photos on Facebook, describing the two Butig councilors as bastos na unggoy (rude monkey) because of their alleged actions.

Panolong and Ismael apologized on Monday through an open letter uploaded on social media in reaction to Piñol’s demand for a public apology.

They said they “unintentionally” touched the female staff of Piñol when she was taking pictures while they were moving hurriedly at a congested area.

Owwws...? For when the complaint was to have “touched”, it can only be with an offending palm, and not the back of one’s hand. As reported, too, only by one individual but two.

They continued, however “We offer our sincerest apologies to her if we hurt her due to our haste. We were not able to say sorry at the time,” Panolong and Ismael said in their joint statement.

“It is true we laughed because we were joking that it is hard to be old because we can be left behind. People in Butig know that we just like to joke around but we did not really intend to be rude or make fun of her,” they added.

They expressed willingness to step down as councilors should we be proven guilty of such an indecent act the two added.

Good for them, Piñol viewed the open letter as an “acceptable” letter of apology so as “the incident will no longer be disputed just to put this issue to rest,” and that the molested engineer had said “she was willing to forgive and forget.”

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Embattled Senator Leila de Lima yesterday renewed her call for Filipinos to stand up against President Duterte, whom she branded a “sociopathic serial killer” and “dictator.”

De Lima made the call a day after SPO3 Arthur Lascañas resurfaced to retract his earlier statement made under oath before the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee in October last year denying the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS).  In a press conference Monday, Lascañas, who is now retired, admitted to the existence of the DDS of which he is a member. He detailed the hit jobs he pulled reportedly out of his “blind loyalty” to the then Davao City mayor Duterte.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said Lascañas decided to change his statement after a “ghostly encounter.”, having had an alleged encounter with a demon-like figure.

“Then, there was a bright light coming from everywhere and then nakita niya yung bata (He saw a child). The bright light erased the darkness that symbolized a demon,” said Alejano, who is not usually one to tell jokes.

Alejano narrated that the child or minor Lascañas saw in the encounter was the same child whom the cop killed in the past.

This prompted Lascañas to decide to seek atonement, he added.

We see that only in the movies.

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Foreign ministers of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations are up in arms against China, as they issued a joint call for the dismantling of its weapon systems stationed in the disputed South China Sea. This was reported by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.

“The Asean members have been unanimous in their expression of concern about what they see as a militarization of the region,” Yasay said. (By Jimmy Cabato)

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