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It’s on its final stage. Our city, after been entered into sisterhood ties with far-flung cities in the country, overlooking a neighbor city is set to ink one today, 11th October. Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and her counterpart Mayor Al-Qaid Akbar of Isabela City, Basilan are the signatories.

The sisterhood agreement is aimed at strengthening not only the friendship between the twin cities, but also to institute a working channel of communication to facilitate exchanges of information and technology in matters of urban planning policies and development, socio-cultural activities, and income generation and fiscal administration the two neighbor cities. , will sign the agreement forging the sisterhood ties.

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The Western Mindanao Command on Saturday lauded the Philippine Marine Corps for its contributions to government’s bid to crush the Maute terror group.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. commanding general of WestMinCom told Marine personnel in Marawi City Saturday that he is grateful to them for restoring government control over many areas there following tedious operations in the past four months.

It was Marine servicemen who reclaimed from Maute terrorists the vital bridges connecting main thoroughfares in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao del Sur.

He said he has promised the Marines serving in Marawi City appropriate citations as soon as the government’s mission of clearing the area from Maute terrorists is accomplished.

More than 20 Marines were killed while dozens more were wounded in encounters with Maute gunmen since the conflict in Marawi City erupted on May 23.

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President Duterte has again set a target date for the end of the Marawi crisis – amid hopes it would be over in a week.

And he is saddened by what he described as the onset of terrorism, but assured the country was coping with the threat.

Authorities earlier claimed that around 40 to 60 rebels are still holding 40 hostages and this has prompted the troops to calibrate their operations to ensure the safety of the civilians.

That, from all indications, is the leverage favoring the enemy, as Armed Forces spokesman Major General Restituto Padilla Jr .had so aptly admitted.

Padilla said, the military could easily subdue the terrorists by pulverizing their hideouts through airstrikes but the presence of the civilian hostages are tying their hands. Also, he reported, some of them have sought sanctuary inside mosques. There could definitely then be repercussions here abroad, when religious buildings are destroyed by bombs, and scenes of bodies of hostages lying tattered side by side the extremists, are posted on social media.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un runs the risk of being “destroyed first,” President Duterte warned on Tuesday following his appeal for closer international cooperation to thwart any nuclear attack by Pyongyang.

In his visit aboard an Australian ship docked at the Manila pier, the President affirmed that nations must band together to stop North Korea’s “violent” intents, and to prepare, too, in case of a devastating nuclear catastrophe.

At present, Duterte acknowledged that China is the “only monkey wrench” to North Korea’s nuclear plans. He said China was worried about North Korea’s nuclear attack since it would destroy the region immediately.

“The small guy there in North Korea is playing with dangerous weapons. And I hope it would not deteriorate into something violent, but you can never know what’s in the criminal mind,” the President told the Australian Navy aboard Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Adelaide.

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The Duterte drugs war appears headed toward the right direction - shifting from the perceived targets of the poor, and gunning now for the affluent. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is set to investigate at least three mayors from the South Cotabato – Cotabato – Sultan Kudrat – Sarangani – General Santos City (Socscsksargen) region linked to the illegal drugs network of arrested suspected drug lord Mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr., of Maasin, Sarangani.

PDEA director-general Aaron Aquino said the involvement of the three mayors in the illegal drug trade was uncovered based on the contents of a “green book” seized during the raid launched by PDEA agents last Friday on the house of Mayor Lopez.

Aquino said the “green book” contained the names of the three mayors who were linked to the illegal drug transactions of the El Patron drug network allegedly led by Lopez.

He said the names of the three mayors were listed in the multi-million illegal drug transactions of the drug ring.

“We are closely monitoring the illicit activities of the three mayors who will be the next target of our anti-drug operations,” Aquino said.

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The killer Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday nailed its 5th victim. This time the CA rejected the appointment of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

Ubial’s appointment had been opposed by several parties, whose allegations she denied.

Interviewed by reporters after the confirmation hearing, a teary-eyed Ubial told reporters she cries easily because she’s fond of watching teledramas.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who had grilled Ubial last week about her travels abroad, sometimes with family members, said, “Smoking is dangerous to your health, like lying is dangerous to your confirmation.”

Former Philippine Health Insurance Corp.  interim president Hildegardes Dineros had earlier accused Ubial of lying when she said he resigned voluntarily, saying he was ousted upon her instigation.

During the hearing, Senator Manny Pacquiao also questioned Ubial over a social media post by her son, which criticized the senator.

“Perhaps, she should tell her son Karl not to comment because it’s bad that you’re doing your job in the government… and then there are bad comments on the other leaders of the country,” Pacquiao said.

Ubial’s son Karl, had joined some of her official trips abroad, but Ubial said they personally shouldered the expenses.

The Palace on Tuesday expressed regret over the decision.

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As anticipated, a principal suspect in the hazing death of UST law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo returned to the Philippines on Tuesday after weeks of staying in the United States and following a police search for him.

Aegis Juris member Ralph Trangia arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 11:40 a.m. on board EVA Air flight from the United States through Taipei in a connecting flight. He was accompanied by his mother.

In other developments:

• University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina on Tuesday shrugged off the inclusion of his name in the criminal complaint filed before the Justice Department in connection with the hazing conducted by Aegis Juris Fraternity members that resulted in the death of 22-year-old freshman law student Castillo.

“I am sure it is baseless since I have not breached any law and have always discharged my functions as dean with utmost diligence,’’ Divina said.

• Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Tuesday ordered the Manila Police District to go after the 35 suspects in the death of Castillo.

He tasked the police to hunt down the suspects to ensure justice was served to Castillo’s family.




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