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Yasay's strike one - out!


Very likely, SS may miss seeing print tomorrow, the 11th, for two chief reasons. By morning, WS (Writing Sniper) will be heading back to town from Ipil after attending the regional assembly of the WMR-3 Eagles Club the night before. And when back, induction preparations for the evening ZC Western Eagles Club may get in the way, particularly so, for the third time in alternate fashion, WS will again be sworn back in as president.

We expect to have visiting Eagles from the Zamboanga Peninsula and ARMM 1 and 2. The other four local club members were also invited.

Keynote Speaker will be Director III Lyndon Espacio, CESE of the regional PDEA office.

Our theme is, “Widening insights in reaching greater heights.”

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Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco is evidently bothered the expected massive repatriation of thousands of undocumented Filipinos from Malaysia. Untiringly, she has been bringing her concerns to practically to all concerned national officials. Now, it’s even up there in Malacañang, as she formally asked the intervention of President Rodrigo Duterte on subject issues.

Records, so far show over 7,000 undocumented Filipinos had been rounded up in Malaysia and will soon be repatriated to the country with Zamboanga City as the last port of call via Tawi-Tawi. Salazar, in her letter specifically recommended that reception and processing of repatriates be undertaken in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, instead of sending them all to Zamboanga City. Even as the city is willing to extend support in receiving repatriates, the mayor contended, the City still has 18,125 internally displaced persons to attend to in 11 transitory sites as they wait for the completion and turnover of 6,483 houses as a result of the Zamboanga siege in 2013. She said, due to the limit of the city’s absorptive capacity, because of the siege victims, the city can assist only 500 repatriates, considering the capacity of the DSWD processing center in Talon-Talon, who are from the city and nearby areas of the Zamboanga Peninsula.

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“Project Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded” upon revival in the first week of this month, has netted ten persons, including a sub-leader of a criminal group in separate police operations against prohibited drugs in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The Police Regional Information Officer, Supt. Rogelio Alabata, speaking for RD P/SS Billy Beltran, disclosed that the operations were conducted in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The operations were launched in Zamboanga City, Sibugay, Del Sur and Del Norte. In Zamboanga City, operatives of Ayala Police Station, Regional Drug Enforcement Unit 9 led by Supt. Ferjen Torres, Regional Public Safety Battalion 9, 55th Special Action Battalion and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 9, conducted an anti –illegal drugs operation in Purok 7, Barangay Recodo at around 6:00 a.m. that led to the arrest of Ababil Hasan y Jamil, 33, married, Barangay Treasurer of Sangbay Small, Basilan Province.

Authorities confiscated from his possession a .45 caliber pistol  bearing serial number 107193, two magazines with ten ammunition, holster colored black and assorted drug paraphernalia.

The operating team was targeting the Allama Group, said to be responsible in the resurgence of drug pushing and other criminal activities in Recodo.

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So, former US Barak Obama was not such a patsy, after all. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared on Thursday that last year, with Obama still president, China attempted to restart rreclamation at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but was stopped by the United States

The incident, according to Lorenzana, happened in May last year when the US “quietly” told China to stop reclamation in Panatag, also called Bajo de Masinloc, located 124 nautical miles northwest of Luzon.

Just exactly he meant in saying this, to WS is sketchy - Lorenzana immediately clarified that the manner in which the US stopped the reclamation was not authoritative as “they have channels of talking to each other.”

“So that’s the red line, according to the United States, building something at the Scarborough Shoal is a red line to them,” he added.

Even President Rodrigo Duterte had stated that once the Chinese begin exploring and putting rigs in the disputed waterways, he would talk to Beijing, Lorenzana said.

Besides Panatag Shoal, the Chinese are also scouting or exploring Benham Plateau, also known as Benham Rise, east of the Isabela coastline to “put submarines” there.

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So, not waiting for strike 3, it’s simply strike one for the very efficient Foreign Sec. Perfecto Yasay, Jr. Malacañang has named Undersecretary Enrique Manalo as acting head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, replacing Yasay as the Commission on Appointments has thumbed down his appointment

“He will hold the position until the President appoints a new Secretary. Manalo is an excellent transition man and has been on top of many crucial issues together with Atty. Perfecto Yasay,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

As this developed, the shaky confirmation of Environment Sec. Gina Lopez may be dealt the same fate if rejected, too – “one strike, you’re out”

Yasay, a lawyer, is the first Duterte Cabinet appointee to be rejected by the appointments body, whose members questioned his previous American citizenship and passport.

Duterte had said he would give the position to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, his running mate in the May 2016 polls, after the one-year ban on the appointment of losing candidates to government posts.

Cayetano, however, was mum on the announcement.

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The environment committee of the Commission on Appointments (CA) has terminated the public hearing on the appointment of Gina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday.

The panel, chaired by Senator Manny Pacquiao gave the oppositors a chance to raise their respective objections to Lopez’s designation.

The committee will decide on the case next week.

The CA panel received 23 sworn oppositions and almost all of them protested the order of Lopez to close down 23 of the 41 mines in the country.

The committee allowed 21 of the 23 oppositors to read their respective position papers questioning Lopez’s qualifications and capacity to head the agency.

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Pres.Duterte is disgusted over the fatal ambush of a police team allegedly by the New People’s Army (NPA), and ordered government forces to “wage war” against the communist rebels.

Speaking to reporters in Davao del Sur, Duterte directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to use all assets in battling the communist group.

And by normal standards, that order takes the form of an “all-out war.”

“I’m sorry that this gory incident had to happen,” he lamented, adding, “But I can assure everybody that the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police would respond. This time I’m using everything. I have encouraged the police to call in the air assets”

The ambush occurred as the government and the communist rebels were planning back-channel talks on resuming peace negotiations.

Repeated clashes between communist rebels and government troops prompted Duterte to cancel the peace talks in January. Duterte’s decision not to release around 400 political prisoners was also blamed for the collapse of the talks.

Duterte also said, before negotiations resume, communist rebels must cease attacking government troops and stop collecting so-called revolutionary taxes.

Till then, folks, it’s on to Ipil now. (By Jimmy Cabato)

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