Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ITOGON TRAGEDY | Where are the 10 mayors in Benguet at the height of 'Ompong' typhoon

September 19, 2018
 Where are the 10 mayors in Benguet at the height of 'Ompong' typhoon. Editorial photo credit to The Philippine Star
Barangay Ucab in Itogon, Benguet, where rescue operation is on-going and this is where miners and families were reported buried alive. Part of benguet most affected of the landslide and no force evacuation from LGU was reported.

Residents tramp through the mud in a landslide-hit area in Itogon, Benguet Sunday. Image and caption credit to ABS-CBN News
Rescuers retrieve one of the bodies buried under tons of mud in Barangay Ucab, Itogon Benguet on September 17, 2018. Image and caption credit to ABS-CBN News
According to DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya, names of the municipal/city mayors cannot be divulged at the moment since the department is still investigation the performances vis-à-vis the Operation Listo protocols.

“The department doesn’t want trial by publicity so the actual names of erring mayors will be released after the investigation is complete,” he said.

DILG is now validating reports on the absenteeism of at least 10 municipal mayors in Cagayan Valley and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in the height of the powerful typhoon 'Ompong'.

That is the biggest question to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as the qualified political agency to be the representative of President Duterte to empower sanction to LCEs days ahead to be physically present in their respective LGUs before, during and after the onslaught of Ompong.

Rescuers carry a body bag containing a landslide victim, triggered by heavy rains during Typhoon Ompong, in Itogon, Benguet province on September 18, 2018. Image and caption credit to The Philippine Star
Image credit to The Philippine Star
“As mandated by the Local Government Code, the presence and support of mayors in their respective areas of jurisdictions are imperative for them to carry out measures to protect their constituents from the harmful effects of disasters and calamities,” he added.

If proven negligence, chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk management council need to write an explanation why no disciplinary action shall be given to them.

“I emphasize that we do not necessarily aim to look for bad performance but we also hope to find best practices,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to DILG Undersecretary for peace and order Bernardo Florece Jr. assigned as OIC while DILG Sec. Eduardo Año is on official travel abroad, local chief executives which are the municipal/city mayors are liable to attend to their municipality needs during natural calamity to ensure the safety of the people in their LGUs.

If found liable for absenteeism and negligence of duty may be sanctioned with administrative cases.

Suspension of LCEs for cases filed with the ombudsman for “erring mayors” and may face dismissal.

Rescuers retrieve one of the bodies buried under tons of mud in Barangay. Ucab, Itogon Benguet on September 17, 2018. Image and caption credit to ABS-CBN News
Based on the DILG’s Operation Listo protocols, LCEs  whose local government units (LGUs) fall under the alpha (low-risk), bravo (medium-risk) and charlie (high-risk) areas during typhoons are mandated to undertake necessary critical preparedness actions as part of disaster preparations.

On the other hand, according to DILG Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (CODIX) chief Edgar Allan Tabell said that in the absence of a national law on forced evacuation, it is up to the LGUs to undertake forced evacuations in their LGUs.

“There is enough authority for mayors to conduct forced evacuation under the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code. So, even in the absence of a specific law, there is legal authority for the mayor to implement forced evacuation if the conditions so warrant,” he said.

“We received a report that the LGU conducted preemptive evacuation prior to the onslaught of Ompong. Unfortunately, the miners evacuated to another area which happened to be landslide-prone,” he added.

He added that the DILG, as lead agency of the Management of the Dead and Missing cluster, has activated the MDM-Benguet to extract these missing persons in coordination with other national government agencies in the cluster.


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Source: PhilStar

Itogon landslide is another wake-up call: Duterte calls mining a "monster"

September 19, 2018

composite photo of President Rodrigo Duterte (from ABS CBN) and militant groups on protest as they march to the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City on Tuesday, urging the government to stop large or small-scale mining (photo from Manila Times)

Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday stressed his call to end mining, citing that the practice could no longer continue because it had “created a monster in the country.”

The chief executive made the statement a day after he called on Congress to “abrogate” the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, following the landslide in Itogo, Benguet that killed dozens of trapped miners.

During his briefing after the typhoon in Isabela, the president said the miners must be stopped, saying “the time has come when our motherland is overused and abused.”

“Even before, I wanted to stop [mining]but [could]not for the fact that it is allowed by law. If it is allowed by law, little could I do anything about it. I cannot stop mining because I am not allowed to abrogate any law here, but I want to stop it because it has created a monster in this country,” the President said.

“How much [will]P70 billion [do]to the country if you compare it to the losses of the Philippines because of mining. There are a lot of holes [in the lands],” Duterte said.

The president also called the monstrous activity “obnoxious, if not downright stupid.”

“Whether it is really boring the hills and mountains from the inside, or carving out as it widens and widens … contrary to what they say, [in mining areas there is no] reforestation,” he said in mix of English and Filipino

“It is, to me, obnoxious, if not downright stupid, these mining people, occupying and mining watershed areas,” he added.

The recent typhoon-induced landslide in Itogon that buried a bunkhouse in the mining village of Ucab, is yet another terrible reminder of the perils of mining activities, particularly small-scale mining.*

The victims of Ucab landslide was reportedly among those who were involved in illegal gold mining activities near the bunkhouse.

The bunkhouse was used to be occupied by Benguet Corp. which is a few kilometers away from the company’s Balatoc and Dalicno mines.

The said village mine said was reportedly declared by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as a geohazard zone prone to landslides. 

Reports also said that Benguet Corp had already sent letters to the small-scale miners to vacate the area for safety purposes.

So far, the authorities of the Northern Luzon Command have recovered 39 bodies from the site of the bunkhouse.

Rescuers, on the other hand, fear that dozens more were trapped under mud and rocks are now dead.

The mining village landslide site in Itogon, Benguet / photo from Sunstar 

Source: Manila Times

Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Is Nowhere to Be Seen During the Onslaught of Typhoon Ompong

September 19, 2018
Nasaan kaya si Teddy? (Where is Teddy?)

The absence of Congressman Teddy Baguilat Jr. right after the devastation brought by Typhoon Ompong did not escape the watchful eyes of the netizens. As a public official, people expected that he would be the first one to be seen in the places where fatalities occurred, assisting his constituents during the crucial time.

The Aftermath

The most affected place in Ifugao was the Mayoyao which is now under a state of calamity due to extensive destruction of crops and agricultural products. Ompong’s wrath left damage to water, electricity, and transport system. Two Ifugaos died during the landslide in Itogon, Benguet mines. The Ifugao State University was partially-destroyed.

Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) was one of the worst-hit areas with 68 dead, many were injured, and 68 missing people. The multiple mudslides, rockslide, and landslide incidents trapped a number of people as well as flooding incidents caused the massive rain caused the sad plight of the residents.


His absence was further bashed by a lot of people when President Duterte immediately flew to Benguet to visit the casualties and extended help to affected families. The president was seen talking to the families of victims and consoling them during the moment of crisis.

On the other hand, Baguilat, who is known for his vicious verbal attacks against President Rodrigo Duterte’s governance was missing in action. He is under the umbrella of Liberal Party.

Netizen’s Reactions

Chatie Lagrana -“Puro sila paninira sa Pangulo at sa Gobyerno eh sila mismo sa sariling lugar walang magawa.”

Nhor Maslamama – “Yan kasi naninira kay tatay digong ay na iinggit sila. Kasi gusto nila tumaas pero hanggang jan lang sila mga LP. Wla ng boboto sa inyo.”

Datu Samad Paindong Pagayao – “teddy baguilat syan ns nga ba sinasabi nsming mamayan puro ka lang paninira sa govt. wala ka naman nagagawa sa sarili mong lugar ssan ka noong bagyo. Tindi kapal ng mukha mo salot ka sa bayan.”

The big question remains

Where was Congressman Baguilat during that time?

Foreign Political Analyst Shares The Secret Of Duterte’s Popularity

September 19, 2018
Political Analyst and founder of the geo-political website Eurasia Future Adam Garrie shared the reasons why President Duterte is so wildly popular and also the most misunderstood leader in the world.

Rockstar President

In an article written by Adam Garrie himself in his Eurasia Future website, the political analyst divulged the secrets of duterte’s success. He also shared the leader’s political beliefs and accomplishments.

Here are some of the points he highlighted:

War On Drugs. The president’s war on drugs were the most maligned reform he ever had. It is also the most controversial. He received criticisms both from the domestic opposition, as well as foreign institutions such as the US Congress, the European Union, and even the UN. Despite these oppositions, he continued his all out war against drugs and criminality. Today, the country is a lot safer and the country was saved from Narco Politics.

Economic Revival. Although the inflation rate is high, the president have expanded ties with diverse countries like China and Russia and other ASEAN countries to foster economic partnerships.

Anti-Corruption. Duterte have also taken a zero tolerance approach to those corrupt members of the government. He has fired over 500 people since he took to office.

Peace here and abroad. Duterte wisely allied himself with China, instead of following the opposition’s  reckless policy of confronting with the giant. He also strengthened ties with Russia and just recently, visited Israel and Jordan.

Non-Aligned foreign policy. Aside from improving ties with China, Duterte shocked the world when he visited Russia, which promised the Philippines of providing assistance on security issues. The president is slowly but surely distancing himself from the US.

Church and State. Duterte took to heart to maintain the legal separation of Church and State. He expressed his active support to same sex union and may sooner than later sign a bill legalising Divorce in the country.

Loved By The People, Defamed By Ignorants

Millions of Filipinos and non-Filipinos admire the presidents for very simple reasons. He lives his life humbly, he serves his people courageously, and he is answerable to nobody except his people.

Tiglao to Ex-COA Commissioner who called out Pres.Duterte: "Ang kapal nito na sasalita-salita pa ngayon.."

September 19, 2018
Pres. Duterte, Heidi Mendoza, CJ Corona (Photo credit to Reuters, Inquirer)
Amid the controversial issue that rises between President Duterte and the Commission on Audit (COA) , because of the President's recent remarks against COA, a lot of people then again reacted to it. 

Some defended President Duterte from criticisms over his statement against the commission and some sheltered COA from the President's annotation.

It has been reported that on Sunday, September 17, 2018, President Duterte slammed the COA over its prohibition on some government spending and joked that COA employee should be pushed down the stairs.

The President allegedly made these remarks after Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos claimed that COA does not permit cash advances for the purchase of building materials planned for disaster victims.

Malacañang already explained the President's side and earlier said that the latter's remarks just demonstrates that he wants to just sped up the relief and rescue efforts for casualties of cataclysms and cut limitations in the delivery of assistance in times of crisis.

Meanwhile, it has been also reported that Heidi Mendoza , United Nations (UN) Undersecretary General and former Commission on Audit Commissioner, recently called out President Duterte for the latter's comment against the commission and told the president to respect the constitutional commission “for they deserve it.'
COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza (Photo credit to Manila Bulletin)
Now, Rigoberto Tiglao, a Filipino diplomat, writer and political analyst, who is patent for being fearless in speaking his mind over various national and political issues, took to social media to expressed his dismay to Mendoza for calling out the president and said that the woman is shameless for speaking and claiming that COA is a respected institution.

"Ang kapal nito na sasalita-salita pa ngayon, claiming COA is a respected institution. It was she who made COA Aquino's deadly weapon", he wrote.

Tiglao also shared an article published by Manila Bulletin regarding Mendoza's answer to President Duterte. Tiglao surprisingly recollected and introduced the former commissioner as a false star witness versus the late CJ Renato Corona. He too shared a video link from Youtube showing the former COA commissioner taking the witness stand.

According to Tiglao, Mendoza was also the one who instructed Ombudsman Morales to purposely misinterpret Corona's dollar accounts so that his holdings were computed to be $28 million and not just $1 m and as a reward, former President Noynoy Aquino allegedly nominated her to a UN post.

"Remember her? She wanted to be a star witness vs Corona, but Senate president Enrile correctly told her to get out of the witness stand.. It was she who coached Ombudsman Morales to deliberately misinterpret Corona's dollar accounts (counting transactions as balances) so that his holdings were computed to be $28 million and not just $1 m.", he exclaimed.

"Aquino of course richly rewarded her by nominating her to that UN post.", he added.

Below is his full Facebook posts:

Post 1:

Screenshot of Mr. Tiglao's post (Credit to his Facebook page)
"Remember her? She wanted to be a star witness vs Corona, but Senate president Enrile correctly told her to get out of the witness stand.. It was she who coached Ombudsman Morales to deliberately misinterpret Corona's dollar accounts (counting transactions as balances) so that his holdings were computed to be $28 million and not just $1 m."

Post 2:

Screenshot  of Mr. Tiglao's post (Credit to his Facebook page)
"Remember her? An Aquino appointee to the COA who had retired already, she falsely testified (portraying herself to be objective as she was with COA) that $28 milllion entered Corona's dollar holdings. She devilishly counted a $100 deposit and a $100 withdrawal as $200. In reality, Corona had just $1 m. When she was ordered out of the witness stand, Ombudsman Morales simply read Heidi's false report.

Aquino of course richly rewarded her by nominating her to that UN post.

Ang kapal nito na sasalita-salita pa ngayon, claiming COA is a respected institution. It was she who made COA Aquino's deadly weapon."