Archive for May, 2011

House okays bill protecting children in armed conflict

House okays bill protecting children in armed conflict

The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a bill declaring as a criminal act the use of children by government security forces or other armed group in an armed conflict.

Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina), author of House Bill
4480, said the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts
shall be prohibited under the proposed act.

“The bill will prosecute those responsible especially for grave child
rights violations in armed conflict. Children shall be provided
relief, protection and rehabilitation in such situations,” Teodoro

Teodoro said the prohibited acts include killing, torture, intentional
or causal maiming, rape, abduction, cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment or punishment of children and taking them as human shields.

Also included in the prohibited acts are the recruitment,
conscription or enlistment of children into government armed forces
and other armed groups.

The bill bans military operations near the premises of schools,
hospitals, places of worship and other public places where children
can usually be found.

The bill also prohibits hamleting, food blockade, intentional delayed
reporting of a child in custody, false reporting of a child in custody
and false branding of children.

Under the bill, parents, ascendants, guardians, step parents or
collateral relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or
affinity can be charged in court if they are found guilty of
encouraging, compelling, coercing, or influencing their child or
children to be part of any armed group.

Anyone found guilty of committing the offenses shall be punished with
a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six years to life imprisonment
and a fine of P500,000 to P2 million.

Teodoro said the bill, to be known as the Special Protection of
Children in Situations of Armed Conflict Act of 2011, is guaranteed
under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Optional Protocol
on the involvement of Children in Armed Conflict and all other human
rights treaties.

“Protecting children from the ravages of war is a moral imperative, a
legal responsibility and a question of international peace and
security,” Teodoro said.

Teodoro said protection of children from armed conflict is an
important aspect of any comprehensive strategy to resolve conflict and
should be a priority not only at the international community but also
by every State, especially when it is experiencing armed conflict.

Deputy Speaker Maria Isabelle Climaco (1st District, Zamboanga City),
also an author, said the bill will ensure that children are considered
as Zones of Peace entitled to special protection during an armed

Climaco said the Philippines has a long history of armed conflicts
and Filipino children are the most affected sector with the
consequences of these conflicts impacting severely on their lives.

“Their rights are flagrantly violated and disregarded.  Many of them
continue to become victims of killing, maiming, rape and other forms
of sexual violence and abduction,” Climaco said.

Other co-authors of the measure are Reps. Josephine Veronique
Lacson-Noel (Lone District, Malabon City), Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd
District, Cavite), Eufranio Eriguel (2nd District, La Union), Aurora
Enerio-Cerilles (2nd District, Zamboanga del Sur), Cinchona
Cruz-Gonzales (Party-list, CIBAC) and Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District,


14 vie to be ARMM governor, 16 for vice governors

14 vie to be ARMM governor, 16 for vice governors

When the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) closed on Friday the period of filing certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the August 8 Autonomous Region in Muslim in Mindanao (ARMM) polls, there were 14 aspirants for the gubernatorial post and 16 for the vice gubernatorial post.
But Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said that the number of candidates could still be reduced as the poll body still has to screen their COCs.
The candidates include incumbent and former governors of the ARMM and of provinces not only in Mindanao but also one from Luzon; a former party-list representative; and a former police director.
The 14 candidates seeking to get elected ARMM governor are:

  1. Ashmaira Mayasa Abdullah
  2. Mamintal Alonto Adiong (incumbent Lanao del Sur governor)
  3. Saad Ibrahim Amate
  4. Pangalian Macaorao Balindong
  5. Ephraim Baldomero Defino
  6. Mujiv Sabbihi Hataman (former Anak Mindanaw party-list representative)
  7. Alvarez Silal Isnaji (former OIC ARMM governor)
  8. Ansaroden Magangcong Sani Banuas Luman Moner
  9. Pax Pakung Sandigan Mangudadatu (former Sultan Kudarat governor and representative)
  10. Kadra Asani Masihul
  11. Datu Habib Sarifuddin Samanodi Maulana
  12. Elsie New Orejudos
  13. Saidamen Balt Pangarungan (former Lanao del Sur OIC governor)
  14. Sahiron Dulah Salim (former police director)

For Vice Governor, 16 candidates have filed their COCs:

  1. Acting ARMM governor Ansaruddin Abdul Malik Alonto Adiong,
  2. Mikunug Pangcatan Ampao
  3. Arab Dimasimpun Ampasao
  4. Shariffa Ziola Anding Bago
  5. Datu Pelaez Alo Carudin
  6. Margarita “Tingting” Delos Reyes Cojuangco (former Tarlac governor)
  7. Bobby Mana-ngaran Datimbang
  8. Alikhan Awar Dimaro
  9. Gani Usman Gaddung
  10. Abdulbasit Ampaso Hadjinor
  11. Omar Tani Hassiman
  12. Fatani Sultan Abdul Malik
  13. Basher Dimalaang Manalao (former Lanao del Sur governor)
  14. Kano Pasandalan Nor
  15. Marconi Curso Paiso Al Haj
  16. Abdusakur II Abubakar Tan

Incumbent ARMM assemblyman Khadafy Mangudadatu, the brother of Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, had earlier filed a COC for vice governor but then chose instead to run for re-election in the ARMM Regional Assembly.

The campaign period for the 2011 ARMM elections is set for June 24 to August 6. Election day is August 8.

On Friday, PDP-Laban introduced Mangudadatu and Cojuangco as the party’s official candidates for the regional polls.


Sultan Kudarat rallies behind Mangudadatu’s candidacy for ARMM governor

Sultan Kudarat  rallies behind Mangudadatu’s candidacy for ARMM governor

By Anthony S. Allada

THE CANDIDACY of Datu Pax Sandigan Mangudadatu for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao got the backing of his former constituents in Sultan Kudarat where he served for about 20 years.

Mayor Florante L. Agduma of Lambayong town in Sultan Kudarat said that they are all behind Mangudadatu’s quest to further serve his fellow Muslims and Christians alike.

“I know very well this man. He really wanted to serve.That’s the mission of his life,” Agduma said, adding his townmates and other residents of neighboring municipalities in Sultan Kudarat will actively campaign for their former governor and congressman.

Mangudadatu skipped reelection as congressman of the second congressional district of Sultan Kudarat in the 2010 national and local elections as he intends to wrest the ARMM gubernatorial seat. He transferred  his voter’s registration from Lutayan to Buluan, Maguindanao where he was born.

He filed his COC for governor last May 22, 2011 under the PDP-Laban Party along with running-mate Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, aunt of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who claimed to be registered in Dato Odin Sinsuat, also in Maguindanao.

Their tandem will slug it out with Acting ARMM governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong and Abdusakur Tan, the son of Basilan governor Sakur Tan. (ASA)

Annual inspection for public and private school buildings pushed

Annual inspection for public and private school buildings pushed

The government will soon conduct an annual inspection of public and
private school buildings to ensure its stability in the face of

Under House Bill 4605, authored by Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd
District, Pampanga) and Diosdado Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur),
an annual inspection of all private and public school buildings in the
country shall be made at the beginning of every school year.

Arroyo said the structural integrity of a school building and its
fitness, including its capacity to accommodate the number of students
and capacity to withstand earthquakes and typhoons and other similar
natural occurrences will be taken into account.

“To be considered during the inspection is the availability of comfort
rooms, proper ventilation and lightings in the schools,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the bill is a preemptive and preventive measure to
minimize, if not totally avoid, the occurrences of similar tragedies
in the future.

“This could be done economically by using existing local government
resources in ensuring the suitability, safety and structural design of
the school building,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo cited the November 7, 2008 incident in Petion Ville, a suburb
in the Hatian capital of Port-au-Prince where a three-storey
Evangelical Promise School building collapsed. At least 50 people died
and hundreds injured and many trapped in the rubbles for days.

Arroyo also mentioned the tragedy at the Central Colleges of the
Philippines in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija during the July 1990 earthquake
and the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that hit China’s southwestern
province on Sichuan last May 12, 2008.

Under the bill, the mandatory annual inspection shall be conducted
yearly by city or municipal engineers and building officials within
these areas at least 45 days prior to the start of every school year.

The bill mandates the city or municipal engineer and building
officials to submit a comprehensive report disclosing their findings
and recommendations.

Under the bill, concerned officials who refuse to act on the report or
recommendation shall suffer a jail term of 6 months to 2 years and a
fine ranging from P10,000 to P100,000 or both, at the discretion of
the court plus perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

Candidates for ARMM governor, vice governor

Candidates for ARMM governor, vice governor

An updated list from Comelec-ARMM showed that those vying for the gubernatorial position include Ephraim Delfino, Alvarez Isnaji, Elsie Orejudos, Pangalian Balindong, Kadra Masihul, Pax Mangudadatu, Sahiron Salim and Acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Alonto–Adiong.

Those running for the vice-gubernatorial position so far include Shariffa Bago, Basher Manalao, Margarita Cojuangco, Bobby Datimbang, and Abdusakur Tan II.

Gov says ambushers only want money

Gov says ambushers only want money

By Anthony S. Allada

Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu has theorized that the five men who ambushed their convoy on their way home to Isulan last Sunday afternoon in Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao were only after money.

“It may not be politically-motivated. The ambushers could be robbers or extortionists,” Mangudadatu told the Mindanao Newsmakers Online.

Mangudadatu accompanied his father, Datu Pax S. Mangudadatu, in filing the latter’s Certificate of Candidacy for governor in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Sunday morning in Cotabato City.

Reports said six were wounded in the ambush and were brought to the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital.

Mangudadatu said the victims, all residents of Barangay Kakal, Ampatuan were taken cared of by attending physicians.

“We already provided assistance to the victims,” he said.

Kidnap victim released in Maguindanao

Kidnap victim released in Maguindanao

After a week in captivity, a Filipino-Chinese businesswoman was released by her kidnappers in Maguindanao Tuesday dawn.

Military reports said Suken Mantique, 47, a grocery store owner was freed at around 4:30 am in Datumen village, Kabuntalan, Maguindanao.

Mantique was fetched by soldiers and was immediately brought to a hospital in Camp Siongko in Datu Odin Sinsuat.

The victim was kidnapped by a armed suspects at her grocery store in North Upi town on May 17 and was brought to an area reportedly a territory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The military said the victim was released through the efforts of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, a body composed of government and MILF representatives.

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