Items filtered by date: Sunday, 11 June 2017

Aguirre asks DILG to babysit Maute terror suspects

Maute group top leader Cayamora Maute, 67, is escorted by a government trooper after his arrest by members of Task Force Davao. INQUIRER FILE / ARJOY M. CENIZA

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II will ask the Department of Interior and Local Government to provide for manpower, food and other provisions for the detention of alleged Maute members and supporters in a military camp in Cagayan De Oro City.

The Supreme Court has directed the Cagayan De Oro Regional Trial Court to handle the cases filed against Maute suspects who were ordered detained inside Camp BGen Edilberto Evangelista, headquarters of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

In a letter to DILG Officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy, Aguirre said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had no budget to provide for the daily needs of detained Maute members.

“As such, may we request for the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology), through your office, to provide the adequate manpower, food provisions and other related resources for the apprehended members of the Maute group and other lawless elements sympathizing to their cause,” said Aguirre’s letter which will be sent to Cuy on Monday.

Authorities already have in custody Cayamora and Farhana Maute, parents of alleged terror group leaders Omar and Abdullah who are holed up in Marawi City fighting government forces. Arrested with the Maute parents were some relatives and supporters.

Aguire was in Cagayan De Oro City to oversee the inquest proceedings against arrested Maute members and supporters.

The justice chief was expected to meet with Cagayan De Oro City Prosecutor’s Office officer-in-charge Merlyn Uy to get a briefing on preparations in setting up a temporary office in the city. CBB/rga



From cramped store, family keeps PH flag soaring for decades

GENERATIONAL SEWERS Luningning Tan-Gatue, 83, gets help from granddaughters Addrianne
Marie Tan and Addrielle Ann in preparing the Philippine flag to be flown on Independence Day
today at their shop in Santa Cruz, Manila. —RICHARDA. REYES

Luningning Tan-Gatue, 86, has kept the Philippine flag flying for decades.

Flag-making is her family’s business. And the period leading up to Independence Day is extremely busy for her.

Granddaughter Addrianne Marie goes over the orders, which could come in the “hundreds of thousands” during the “peak season” from mid-May to June 12. Addrianne’s twin, Addrielle Ann, takes charge of the payroll and other administrative matters.

The twin’s mother, Carmelita, makes sure the orders are ready for pick up. Quality control is her forte. Her husband, Gregory II, oversees the needleworkers and cutters who work at the back of their cramped store on Rizal Avenue Extension in Santa Cruz, Manila.

Family emblem

The hubbub at the front store, and the nonstop whirring of high-speed sewing machines at the backroom means business is good. Add to the tumult the sound of metal against metal as a worker installs eyelets on every finished flag. The cord that goes through the eyelets will keep the flag attached to the pole as the 1-meter-by-2-meter tricolor flutters against the wind.

Luningning, who comes from Laguna, has a keen sense of business she acquired from her husband, Gregorio Tan-Gatue. She has kept the family emblem as First Family of Philippine Flags soaring for decades.

“The secret is hard work, and to make sure the business stays in the family,” she said. “You can start from scratch, but if you work hard, you will reap the fruits of your labor.”

According to Gregory, the Tan-Gatue flag-making business started around 1910. His great-grandfather, Alejandro Tan-Gaute, a Chinese, went into business supplying linen to the US troops.

But the troops also needed the US flag, and Tan-Gatue, an entrepreneur, ventured into making flags and emblems, with the help of the US officer who provided him with the specifics.

When the Commonwealth government was created, a Philippine tricolor was needed to fly beside the star-spangled banner. Again, Tan-Gatue was commissioned to mass produce the item.

When the US flag was finally lowered, and the Philippine flag raised to fly alone, signifying the country’s independence from the United States during ceremonies at Luneta on July 4, 1946, the Tan-Gatues hold the distinction of having sewn both flags.

Today, the Tan-Gatues flag-making business remains in the hands of cousins. Luningning’s Super Atlas Flag competes with International Flag House and Global Flags, which are owned by the brothers of her late husband.

Addrienne and Addrielle, both graduates of De La Salle University, belong to the fifth-generation Tan-Gatues being groomed for the business.

Business side of sewing

While the twins know and understand the process from cutting to sewing, they are more inclined to do the business side. Addrienne has a degree in business management, while Addrielle finished marketing.

Still, the same love for the business seems ingrained in the two girls. Like their grandmother and parents, the twins also spend their days at the Super Atlas Flag store in Santa Cruz.

Today, the most popular flags are made of nylon, which usually lasts from three to six months, depending on the weather, according to Luningning.

“Nylon is lighter, so you can see they flutter nicely,” Luningning explained.

Top client

Flags that are displayed outside buildings are either made of nylon or cotton. For those displayed inside offices, the tricolor is usually fashioned from satin.

The Philippine government is the No. 1 client of the Tan-Gatues. How many flags do they order? Luningning can only say “thousands, thousands.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines needs flags for its offices, camps and various field units. The Philippine Veterans Administration Office needs flags to give to the widows and families of deceased veterans. The Department of Foreign Affairs needs flags for all the embassies and consulates abroad.

There’s also a flagpole at every provincial capitol, every town and city hall, every barangay hall and all schools nationwide, public and private.

Producing flags for more than 41,000 barangay halls alone could keep Luningning’s workers busy.

“We don’t advertise, we don’t offer our services anymore. People come to us to place orders. And offices invite us to attend biddings,” Luningning said.

As the matriarch, Luningning could sit well on her laurels. These days, her twin granddaughters are already trained to attend biddings, raising the Tan-Gatue emblem even higher that their great-great-grandfather could ever imagine.



‘He was a good man who shouldn’t have died too young’

John Romulo Garcia of Bohol is among the 13 soldiers killed in Malawi on Friday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SAN MIGUEL, Bohol—Princess Garcia failed to stop her tears from flowing when talking about her brother, John Romulo Garcia, who died on Friday in Marawi City.

John, 28, and a member of Philippine Marine Corps, was among the 13 soldiers who were killed on Friday during the gun-battle with Maute militants in Marawi.

The news of her brother’s death was too painful for 19-year-old Princess.

She said they learned about what happened through Facebook postson Friday night.

They didn’t believe it at first until they received a call from John’s commanding officer.

Many had posted on Facebook that he had died. But we, his family, didn’t know about it. When we learned about it, we were very shocked,” she added.

After confirming his death, John’s parents, Sylvia and Romulo, immediately flew to Metro Manila on Saturday to retrieve their son’s body.

Condrada Relampagos-Caresosa, 76, was sobbing, saying her grandson was a good man who shouldn’t have died too young.

She said John was special to her since he was her first grandson.

Condrada Relampagos-Caresosa and Princess Garcia are waiting for the arrival of the body of Sgt. John Romulo Garcia who was killed in Marawi on Friday. -Leo Udtohan, INQ

Caresosa said she had to comfort her daughter, Sylvia, whose world came crashing down upon learning that her son was gone.

Although the tragedy was painful, Caresosa urged her family to accept God’s will.

Caresosa had already cleaned the Garcia’s house in Barangay Kagawasan, San Miguel, in time for John’s arrival.

Certificates of recognition and awards received by John including his two paintings were displayed in the living room.

Caresosa said they had expected John to come home since March.

But it was postponed because he was deployed to augment the security force in Manila for the Association of Southeast Asian Nation Summit.

His task was to guard the President of Vietnam.

John promised to come home but was instead deployed to Marawi when the fighting broke out on May 23.

The family’s fears came true when John’s Facebook page was filled with condolences from friends and neighbors.

At that time, they didn’t know that John was one of those killed in Marawi on Friday.

They received a confirmation later from John’s superior officer.

John was the eldest among five of his siblings.

He grew up in Bohol and had graduated from Central Visayas State College of Agriculture Forestry and Technology (now Bohol Island State University) before joining the Marines in 2012.

Caresosa said they discouraged John  from joining the Marines, but the passion to serve the country prevailed.

He chose to serve the country. There was nothing we could do to stop him,” she said.

Although it pained them that he was gone too soon, Princess said she was proud of her brother who died serving the country./rga



Killers: Bohol board member ordered mayor-wife’s kidnap slay

Cousin and driver of Niño Rey Boniel publicly confess how they kidnapped, shot and dumped into sea Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel
By:  - 

Bohol Board Member Niño Rey Boniel and his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel in an undated photo (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

CEBU CITY— The cousin and driver of Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel have publicly confessed about how they kidnapped, shot and dumped into the sea, Boniel’s wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel, on the orders of her husband.

In a news conference on Sunday, Niño’s cousin, Riolito Boniel and his driver, Randel Lupas, said the board member masterminded the murder of his wife on the night of June 7 (Wednesday).

Riolito said the board member had his wife tied up and her mouth covered with a duct tape. She was then wrapped with a blanket.


Lupas said Niño ordered him and another man identified as Jay-r to load Gisela onto a pump boat.

Lupas said that when he carried Gisela, the mayor was struggling and trying to scream.

Riolito said Gisela was then wrapped in a fishnet with rocks that weighed about 30 kilos before she was shot.

Her body was then dumped in the waters between Cebu and Bohol.

Riolito said he had known that the couple had marital problems and had been fighting.

Niño, Riolito, Lupas and two others have been detained at the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) to face charges for the kidnapping and murder of Gisela.  SFM

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Alejano wants Philippines renamed

Magdalo partylist solon proposes new body to come up with new name for nation 'to ditch colonial past'

Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano (AP FILE PHOTO / AARON FAVILA)

MANILA — How can the Philippines assert its independence? For Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, it helps to ditch the very name given by Spanish conquistadores.

Citing the need to be “truly independent,” Alejano has sought the creation of a proposed Geographic Renaming Commission to come up with a new name for the country within one year of its establishment.

Under House Bill No. 5867, the proposed commission will be tasked to submit its recommendations to the President by the end of its one-year life span.

The proposed commission will be composed of three commissioners from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino.

A secretariat will be formed to provide technical support for the office. The proposed commission will also be authorized to create technical committees and engage the assistance of experts and professional advisors.

For the commission, Alejano sought an initial allocation of P30 million from the General Appropriations Act.

The bill explained that renaming the country is meant “to throw away the vestiges of colonialism, to establish our national identity, and to define how our nation, our people and our national language will be addressed internationally.”

“Ideally, the name of a country should define not only its land, but also its people and patrimony. In addition, the new name must also reflect our history, culture, society, and national sentiments,” Alejano explained in his bill.

The measure also noted that many nations formerly under colonial yoke have reverted to their precolonial names to gain a sense of national pride and identity.

Alejano noted that precolonial Philippines was divided into various kingdoms, rajahnates and sultanates, and the colonizers further “muddled our identity as a people and nation.”

During the expedition of Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1542, the country was named after the prince who would later become King Philip II of Spain. A common suggestion for the country’s new name would be
Maharlika, popularized by dictator Ferdinand Marcos.  SFM/rga



Du30 urges Pinoys to ‘preserve sovereignty’ but skips Independence Day rites

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops in Iligan City. (PNA file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was supposed to lead the country’s 191st Independence Day at the Rizal Park in Manila Monday. But the chief executive was nowhere to be found. 

Department of Foreign Affairs chief Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters the President had skipped the early morning event because he lacked enough sleep after his visit Sunday night to the wake of the Marines slain from the clashes in Marawi City. 

“I talked to his people and inquired sabi [they said] no problem. He’s okay but tired and doesn’t feel that well so better to rest,” Cayetano said. 

Later in the day, Cayetano told reporters the President would not also attend the Parada ng Kalayaan event at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, which would be held Monday afternoon. 

Earlier, Duterte led the arrival honors at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City for the eight Marines and approached the fatalities’ relatives to express his sympathies and condolences.
 The President also extended financial assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers.

In his prepared speech for the Independence Day anniversary, Duterte, who earlier placed Mindanao under martial law amid threats by Islamist militants led by Maute Group to establish an ISIS province in Southern Philippines, urged Filipinos “to pay homage” to the “heroism” of “our forebears” by “preserving our sovereignty and performing our own civic rights and responsibilities.” 

“After all, it is our inherent duty as citizens to ensure that the Philippines fulfills its destiny as a great and prosperous nation,” the President added. 

The celebration in Luneta, including the flag-raising ceremony and the wreath-laying rite at the Rizal Monument, was led by Vice President Leni Robredo and members of the Cabinet with Cayetano representing Duterte. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, DFA chief Alan Peter Cayetano, and Vice President Leni Robredo during the Independence Day rites at the Rizal Park in Manila. Photo from OVP

In a statement, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said, “The Judiciary pays homage to all Filipino heroes; draws inspiration from them; reflects with sorrow on the fallen in Marawi; and renews its commitment to the people to defend their freedoms.” 

U.S. congratulates PH, honors ‘enduring alliance’ 

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said that “on behalf of President Trump and the American people,” the U.S. was congratulating Filipinos in commemorating their Independence Day. 

“The United States proudly stands with the Philippines as a longstanding ally, especially as the country confronts challenges associated with terrorism and extremism, including recent attacks in Marawi City and elsewhere,” Tillerson said in a statement. 

“We admire the resilience and strength of Filipino people in battling adversity and building a more prosperous and secure future,” he said. 

“On this special day, we honor the enduring U.S.-Philippine alliance, built on our shared democratic values, growing commerce, and strong people-to-people ties,” added Tillerson.


MAHAL MO BANSA MO? | Look: Here’s how some Pinoys showed their love for PH on Independence Day

MANILA, Philippines – There’s just one event to celebrate: the anniversary of Philippine independence from more than 300 years of colonial rule. 

But 119 years since the country was freed from Spain’s control, the Philippines had faced numerous challenges and struggles and thus commemorating Araw ng Kalayaanhas taken new meanings and forms, reflecting the spirit of the times. 

Below are some of the things Filipinos did on June 12 to express their patriotism: 

1. Fly the Philippine flag in Marawi to symbolize the liberation of the city from the clutches of terrorists. 

This is what was done Monday morning in the Lanao del Sur capital that continues to be attacked by the ISIS-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups led by Isnilon Hapilon. A flag-raising ceremony was held at Camp Bagong Mai Pakpak that was attended by soldiers, government officials, and residents. 

Smoke billows at the site of fighting between government soldiers and Maute group, near a mosque in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 30, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

2. Paint the walls of a community near the West Philippine Sea just like what artists from DAKILA and Active Vista did. 

They created a 1,260 square-foot mural on the walls of an area in Sto Niño, San Felipe, Zambales province containing the lyrics of the national anthem Lupang Hinirang and various interpretations of Filipino freedom. 

Part of the 1,260 square-foot mural on the walls of an area in Sto Niño, San Felipe, Zambales by artists from DAKILA and Active Vista
Another portion of the 1,260 square-foot mural by DAKILa and Active Vista

3. Troop to the Chinese Embassy in Manila and condemn China’s reported war threat if the Philippines asserts its sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

This is what activists from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan did on Monday. 

Photo of June 12, 2017 protest-rally outside Chinese Embassy in Manila from Obet de Castro/Bayan

4. Plant the Philippine flag within the West Philippine Sea territory while you sing Lupang Hinirang

This is the other activity by members of DAKILA in Sitio Liwliwa, San Felipe, Zambales. The group says it is composed of artists, students, and individuals working together to creatively spark social consciousness formation towards social change. 300w, 630w, 640w" sizes="(max-width: 679px) 100vw, 679px" style="box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; max-width: 100%; height: auto; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;">

5. Offer flowers to Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and other national heroes who gave their lives for the country and made us enjoy the freedom we have today. 

This is what public officials did at the Rizal Park in Manila led by Vice President Leni Robredo and at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City led by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo. 

Vice President Leni Robredo at the Rizal Park in Manila on Monday, June 12, 2017. Photo from OVP


6. File a bill seeking to rename the Philippines with something that would help establish the Filipinos’ national identity and independence. 

This is what Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano did. He introduced House Bill 5867 or An Act Constituting a Geographic Renaming Commission to Rename Our Country. 

“If we want to be truly independent, then we should throw away the bonds of colonialism by establishing our own national identity. For our country to move forward, we should identify a name for our country that genuinely reflects our national aspirations, a name that signifies our values and self-determination,” said Alejano. 


Explosions rock Marawi as flag raised in city to mark Independence Day

By Neil Jerome Morales and Simon Lewis, Reuters

Photo: A military helicopter flies past a mosque in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 28, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters
Bomb blasts rocked Marawi City in the southern Philippines on Monday as the national flag was raised to mark independence day, almost three weeks after hundreds of Islamist militants overran the town and hunkered down with civilians as human shields.

Rescue workers, soldiers and firemen sang the national anthem and listened to speeches as three OV-10 attack aircraft darted through the cloudy sky, taking it in turns to drop bombs on areas where fighters are still holed up.

“To our Muslim brothers there, we want to tell them to stop their meaningless fight because we are all Muslims,” Vice Provincial Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. told the gathering.

Flag ceremonies are normally performed twice a week, but this was the first in the mainly Muslim town since May 23, the first day of the siege, when the militants killed and abducted Christians, and torched a cathedral.

Almost the entire population of about 200,000 fled from the lakeside town on the Philipppines’ southernmost island of Mindanao, but beyond the checkpoints fencing it off there are still some 500-1,000 civilians trapped or being held hostage.

As of Saturday the number of security forces killed in the battle for Marawi stood at 58. The death toll for civilians was 20 and more than 100 had been killed overall.

The seizure of Marawi by fighters allied to Islamic State, including some from the Middle East, has alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear the ultra-radical group – on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria – is trying to set up a stronghold on Mindanao that could threaten their region.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday he had not expected the battle for Marawi to be as serious as it has turned out, adding it had now emerged “that Baghdadi himself, the leader of the ISIS, has specifically ordered terroristic activities here in the Philippines”.

Duterte did not say how he knew that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose movement is commonly referred to as ISIS, had given instructions for the attack on Marawi.


Foreign Affairs Minister Allan Peter Cayetano said in an independence day speech in Manila that the militants’ had planned to take over at least two or three cities in Mindanao.

Their plot was foiled because troops made a preemptive raid on Marawi to capture Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf group and Islamic State’s “emir” of Southeast Asia.

“We want to coordinate very well with Indonesia and Malaysia so they won’t also suffer in the hands of extremists,” he said.

“But the president knew at the start of his term that, as the allies become more successful in Syria and Iraq, they (Islamic State) will be looking for a land base, and Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines will be a potential target to them.”

Washington said at the weekend it was providing support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to clear the militants from pockets of Marawi. Manila said this was technical assistance and there were no U.S. “boots on the ground”.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said support included aerial surveillance and targeting, electronic eavesdropping, communications assistance and training. A U.S. P-3 Orion surveillance plane was seen over the town on Friday.

The cooperation between the longtime allies in the battle is significant because Duterte, who came to power a year ago, has taken a hostile stance towards Washington and has vowed to eject U.S. military trainers and advisers from his country.

The Pentagon has no permanent presence in the Philippines but for years has kept 50 to 100 special forces troops in the south of the country on rotational exercises.

Duterte said on Sunday he had not sought support from Washington to end the siege and had not been aware that U.S. special forces were assisting.

Cayetano said the government did not need to be involved in decisions on U.S. participation because of a bilateral visiting forces agreement and, with “events happening real time”, such matters are left to the armed forces and defense department. -Additional reporting by Karen Lema and Manuel Mogato in MANILA


Duterte: No denying it, PH soldiers are pro-U.S.

The President, before thanking the United States for aid in Marawi City, says he can't ignore the rapport between Filipino and American soldiers 


By Pia Ranada


VISITING TROOPS. President Rodrigo Duterte visits soldiers wounded during clashes in Marawi City, June 11, 2017 in Cagayan de Oro. Malacañang photo 

Before reluctantly thanking the United States for helping the government's fight against the Maute Group in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted one thing to media: Filipino soldiers in general like the US and there's nothing he can do about it.

"Ito talaga ang sentimyento nito, pro-American, pro-American talaga ang mga sundalo natin, that I cannot deny," said Duterte on Sunday, June 11, during a media interview in Cagayan de Oro City.

(This is really their sentiment, our soldiers are really pro-American, that I cannot deny.)

Duterte was there to visit soldiers wounded during clashes in Marawi City. He gave each of them P110,000 in financial assistance as well as pistols and mobile phones.

The rapport between Filipino troops and the US is likely because many soldiers went there to study, said Duterte.

"Almost all officers will go to America to study about militaristic thing. Kaya meron 'yan silang (That's why they have) rapport and I cannot deny that," he said. 

Decades of the Philippine military working closely with their American counterparts have led to better coordination and a high level of interoperability between the two forces. (READ: Duterte's pivot to China won't be easy for Americanized AFP)

The Philippines and the US hold at least two military exercises annually as part of the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Because of Duterte's orders not to hold joint patrols or military exercises in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), the focus of recent military exercises has been on disaster response and counterterrorism.

That Sunday press conference, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año stood behind Duterte as he was speaking.

Lorenzana is definitely one military man with firm ties to Washington. The former army commander took a crisis management course at the US State Department and served as defense attaché to the US from 2002 to 2004.

Lorenzana was instrumental in cultivating military bilateral relations between the Philippines and the US. He helped develop the terms of reference for the Balikatan exercises between the military forces of the two countries.

The defense chief was supposedly one of the major voices who convinced Duterte to continue with the Balikatan exercises despite the President's previous announcement that the 2016 military exercises would be the last during his term.

The Balikatan pushed through this year but with major changes – it did not include an exercise to counter an invader on Philippine shores.

The change was made to conform to Duterte's objective not to anger China, which continues to claim almost the entire South China Sea despite a 2016 international court ruling that nullified its expansive 9-dash line.

Duterte may be prioritizing warmer ties with China, but it seems he is also aware that existing ties between his own soldiers and the US military is not something to brush aside. –

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