The shrinking of Bangsamoro land redux

Posted in bangsamoro land with tags on April 1, 2014 by cha4t

By Cha Monforte

The shrinking of Bangsamoro land redux

Will the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front bring rapid urbanization to the incoming Bangsamoro in Mindanao? Urbanization we simply mean as that kabibo, jolly mood of places buoyed up primarily by the entry of big bulk of new residents or population to a rural, humdrum places due to exciting economic developments happening or placement of new system, structure, big infrastructure or project that generates jobs and livelihood opportunities.

Through the almost three decades Mindanao areas subjected for Muslim autonomy and self-rule have gone expanding and shrinking – and changing by legal sanctions and after plebiscites. There are few places that are already thriving cities in Moroland but most of those covered in regional autonomy are dull, backwood rural places, mirroring the accumulated results in the long state of war and economic underdevelopment of places dominantly populated by the Moro people. No doubt about it, as many see how cities and even towns in the Christian side of Mindanao have been rising and roaring like urban tigers since the recent last decade.

There is this smaller Moroland within the original Moro-Lumad land, that is Mindanao during the pre-Spanish time. Bangsamoro area was first postulated big, then it had shrunk, expanded and expanded- formally or secretly- and is continued to be sought for expansion even now.

The Framework Agreement recently signed states: “The core territory of the Bangsamoro shall be composed of: (a) the present geographical area of the ARMM; (b) the Municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunugan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the Municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit, and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite; (c) the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; and (d) all other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro…”.

The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao now is composed of predominantly five Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan (except Isabela City), Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Its regional capital is at Cotabato City, although it is outside of its jurisdiction. In 1989, 15 provinces and 11 cities had a plebiscite on whether they would be included in the expanded ARMM. In the end only four provinces (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi) voted in favor of inclusion in the new autonomous region, thus shrinking the Bangsamoro or Moroland conceived while the MNLF waged its war.

The autonomous Moroland was bigger before- in concept. The 1976 Tripoli Agreement between Marcos and the MNLF put 13 provinces and their inclusive cities under autonomy. To realize the agreement amid the separatist war of Moro rebels, Marcos created two autonomous governments for the Muslims along with the division of the rest of the country into administrative regions. The two regional governments were for Regions IX and XII covering a total of 10 provinces, thus expanding again Bangsamoro spaces. But the 1977 plebiscite rejected it, and Bangsamoro shrank again. Marcos recoiled, creating one Regional Autonomous Government for Western and Central Mindanao region, covering the same 10 provinces even as Bangsamoro fronts persisted their war.

It was during the time of President Cory Aquino that the official four-province Moro territory was enshrined by the organic act (R.A. No. 6734) creating the ARMM. During President Macapagal-Arroyo’s reign, another plebiscite was made in 2001 to ratify the law (R.A. 9054) expanding ARMM, and so the official Bangsamoro grew in size, with the addition of the province of Basilan (excluding Isabela City) and the Islamic City of Marawi, 6 Lanao del Norte towns, and 6 other North Cotabato towns.

The controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) provided for an expansion of the Moro region with the additional 712 villages but the Supreme Court aborted it, declaring the Arroyo government-MILF deal as unconstitutional.

Current MSU-IIT Chancellor Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol in his 1993 dissertation book offered the “Option 3″, a much bigger area of autonomy that besides ARMM’s first four provinces would have the whole of North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, the cities of Iligan, Cotabato and Zamboanga, Sarangani Island, and 17 other towns in Zamboanga Norte and Sur, South Cotabato and Sarangani Province. Dr. Tanggol has decision matrix taking the factors of Moro ancestral domain, Moro population majority, Tripoli agreement, various fields of feasibility, and the “return of Moro sovereignty over the most part of Mindanao where Moro sultanates used to lord it over until foreign masters imposed their will on the unwilling Moro.”

Verily, Bangsamoro area is still subject for a flux by the requirements of local legislative-executive fiat and plebiscite as provided by government-MILF Framework Agreement. But efforts to expand the Bangsamoro consumed a lengthy time already while waves after waves of Christian in-migration has been continuously taking place and the tides of history and regimes of private land ownership of Christian migrants or non-Muslim population over the once claimed Moro-Lumad land are irreversible already.

And there’s this Christian majority’s opposition and resistance to be under Muslim autonomous region. Take the vocal and ultra-aggressive stance of Zamboanga leaders, and in many other considered places. The rising of Ilaga armed hostilities can no longer be allowed to disturb up all efforts of peace this time. But as it has been, resolution on the ticklish and contentious issue on the area of Bangsamoro boils down on what the people residing on considered spaces would decide during plebiscite, and naturally, hitherto Moro ancestral lands that are dominated already by non-Muslims negated proposals to be included.

With the incoming establishment of Bangsamoro, will a part of Mindanao be in for a lifetime of land boundary and scope conflict akin to Arab-Israeli conflict? Good for the two countries, they have hollowed biblical sites to cash in on from tourism, as they have high technologies, venture capital and bullish commercial trading while they are at war against each other. But the part of Mindanao, the Bangsamoro-by whatever size it has- which has been burning in decades remains largely stagnant, dull and rural while it has great untapped wealth. The closure on the issue of territory is needed now for the Bangsamoro to be seen as stable and fixed target of Middle East investors to be attracted by one Bangsamoro government. That’s a best bait to unprecedented growth and urban development in the Muslim side of Mindanao. (follow @chamonforte on Twitter, Cha Monforte on Facebook)

500 Masons in Mindanao converged in Davao City

Posted in masonic lodges in davao city on March 11, 2014 by cha4t

feb 23, 2014

More than 500 members of the highly respected masonry organization from all masonic lodges in Mindanao ended their two-day Mindanao communication Saturday at Grand Men Seng Hotel Davao in Davao City.

“It’s actually a convention, which we call as communication. We have a very successful event,” said Felicisimo Ramos Sr., grand lecturer of Masonic Lodge 149 in Davao City.


He said that the national communication of masons is scheduled on the coming third week of April in Metro Manila.

The Mindanao masonic affair was graced by national mason grand master Juanito Espino and Mindanao mason grand master Floren Lumo.

It was hosted by Masonic District R 11-A, which is composed of 7 masonic lodges in Davao City and one in Digos, Davao del Sur.

The other masonic lodges in Davao Region is Masonic District R-11-B, which is composed of two masonic lodges in Tagum City, Davao del Norte and two masonic lodges in Mati, Davao Oriental.

Ramos said that there were already 10 Mindanaons who had become masonic national grandmasters, among whom coming from Davao City were businessman Desiderio Dalisay, physician Rizal Aportadera and former public works regional director Juanito Avergas.

Wikepidia describes freemasonry or masonry as referring to “a civic movement promoting fraternity and good works. Freemasonry defines itself as ‘a regular system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.’ In particular masonic meetings are characterized by initiations and rituals. As such masonry has been viewed historically by churches and governments as secret societies.”

“Its historical origins date as far back to 1717 in England, during the Enlightenment period. During that time, an intellectual movement arose throughout Europe based on rationalism, which held that only eternal truths could be attained by reason alone. Members are organized into lodges, the basic organizational structure, which operates under the jurisdiction of a grand lodge,” says Wikipedia.

In the country, the first masonic lodge in the Philippines was established in 1856 by Jose Malcampo Monje, a naval captain who became the Governor General of the Philippines from 1874 to 1877.

It was a group of young Filipino students studying in Spain who helped spread the movement rapidly in Philippine circles, among whom were Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Jose Rizal.

Upon their return to the country, many formed lodges first in Manila in 1891and later throughout the archipelago, even as far as Zamboanga. In 1893 these different lodges were organized under the Grand Regional Council led by Ambrocio Flores. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Duterte still coy in running for President

Posted in mayor digong duterte on March 11, 2014 by cha4t

feb 21, 2014

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is still coy to the idea of running for President.

In his speech before local government treasurers and assessors who gathered for their national convention Tuesday in Davao City, Mayor Duterte threw series of conflicting political statements in view of the upcoming presidential election by 2016.


He has been overwhelmingly endorsed to be President by netizens in the social media, which he acknowledged.

Apparently joking with the audience gathered in huge SMX conference hall of SM Lanang Premier, he said, “I’ll not run kay ako lang dapat ang sikat, wala ng mga general o admiral. When the time comes.”

Then he continued: “It’s getting late in the day. I started as a mayor here, and end as a mayor. I really don’t know.”

Before he spoke, the mayor had a hard time going on stage as a lot of treasurers and assessors mobbed him for a “selfie” photo shoots with the backdrop of the event’s mural.

“Before we need to have a photographer to take pictures, now with the new technology it comes to be easier. Picture-picture daw pag may time kasi magiging next President na daw,” he mayor said.

Duterte also made comic potshots hinged on recent issues and events involving him like the rice smuggling issues involving David Tan, and on his exchange of words with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales.

He said it is all but “all verbal” stories in his shoot and kill statements to smugglers and about extrajudicial killings on crime suspects.

The mayor shared a bit on Davao history and on his family’s life that featured his mother Soledad Roa, a teacher, and his father Vicente Duterte, former governor of the old, big Davao that consisted today’s Davao and Compostela Valley provinces.  His father and mother came from Leyte and Cebu, respectively.

He recalled the difficulties that his parents met in migrating to settle in the old Davao.

“We hacked our way here,” he said adding that Davao then was divided among bigwigs and in various modes of productions as Davao del Norte went for hemp and banana production, Davao Oriental went to Rabat and coconut production, and southern Davao to Almendras.

Duterte is on his new first term as a mayor after graduating twice as three-termer mayor in the city, interrupted only by sliding to become congressman and vice mayor, both for a term only, when he met a term limit since 1988.

He is credited for making Davao City as one of the most peaceful cities in Southeast Asia. He would be 69 years this coming March 28. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

MGB-XI notifies deficiencies of Nadecor-Calalang group in copper-gold exploration application in Pantukan, Comval

Posted in nadecor calalang, nadecor ricafort, St. Augustine Services Inc. on March 11, 2014 by cha4t

feb 21, 2104

The Mines and Geo-Sciences-XI has recently bared its findings stating eight deficiencies in the application of Nationwide Development Corporation (Nadecor) for copper and gold exploration in gold-rich barangays in Pantukan, Compostela Valley.

The application for the Declaration of Mining Feasibility of Nadecor under the group of a certain Conrado  Calalang was assessed to have suffered deficiencies, among which are the proof that Calalang is the authorized signatory of Nadecor, environmental compliance certificate (ECC), prior free and informed (PFI) consent of the indigenous people and endorsements of LGUs of five barangays, Sangguniang Bayan of Pantukan and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Compostela Valley.


The MGB-XI’s letter was dated Feb. 7, 2014, signed by OIC regional director Noel Angeles.

The letter found its way to the legislative council of the municipality.

One municipal councilors who came to have a copy of the letter said on the condition of anonymity that all they wanted is peace and order to reign in the area following the burning of a backhoe owned by the municipal LGU Wednesday last week by still unidentified elements.

He said he did not know why the municipal backhoe was deployed in the mining area and as to which competing group Mayor Roberto Yugo is siding with in the present dispute.

The gold-rich areas have been lately disputed by two contesting groups from the same corporation Nadecor- the Conrado Calalang group and Jose Ricafort group, which are locked in corporate and legal struggle that reached in the Supreme Court.

The burning was the latest violent incident following armed skirmish between the hired tenement guards of the two groups last year that resulted to the killing of one belonging to Ricafort’s group.

Three years ago Nadecor started exploring the area as one company backed up by its service provider St. Augustine Services, Inc. (St. Augustine Gold & Copper Ltd.) which has a tie-up with Aurubis Ag, a multinational foreign mining firm.

The exploratory phase accordingly found the areas to be rich of copper and gold resources.

The same requirements had already been complied by erstwhile united Nadecor which were claimed by the Ricafort’s group being the original board of directors.

Calalang’s group earlier set up its own new board of directors that triggered corporate battle.

St. Augustine firm is reportedly backing up the Calalang’s group.

Nadecor has an approved Mineral Production Sharing  Agreement (MPSA) over 1,656 hectares, which attracted St. Augustine firm to make a tie up with Nadecor.

The MPSA covers five barangays- Kingking, Magnaga, Tagdangua, Araibo and Napnanap. The barangays are adjacent to the small scale mining sites that experienced disastrous landslide in 2011.

Environmental groups which barricaded the town’s highway section last year to oppose open-pit mining said that St. Augustine is the local firm put up by a US-based multinational mining firm named Russel Mining and Minerals, Inc.  (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Mayor Duterte to farmers: “hit a jackpot, plant cacao now”, he’s choco-allergic though

Posted in mayor rodrigo duterte on March 11, 2014 by cha4t
feb 10, 2014
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has advised farmers to seize on the opportunity promised by cacao plant, telling them they might “hit a jackpot” as there is a current “hiatus” or supply shortage of it now due to the uncontained plant disease that brought destruction to the huge cacao plantations in South America.
In his weekly “Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa” TV program Sunday, the mayor aired his directive to his city agriculturist and workers to go to the rural areas and lecture farmers on how to plant cacao.
“It can easily be planted, intercropped under coconut trees or just under the forest. I’ll make connections for the farmers with my businessmen friends,” he said.

In his discussion on cacao, the mayor bared a bit of revelation of one of his diseases at his old age now. He is allergic to cacao’s sweet by-product – chocolate.
“Allergic ko sa chocolate, kung makakaon ko mangluspad ko, magsuka ko after 5 minutes (I go pale and vomit),” he said, adding he shared the same disease with a lady friend who would suffer a migraine and even rolled on the floor when a chocolate-induced allergy hit her. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

2 Customs Davao execs cry foul over ABS-CBN TV Patrol report on rice smuggling

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2014 by cha4t

jan 26, 2014

Two officials of the the Bureau of Customs Port of Davao singled out in ABS-CBN TV Patrol news report Friday evening by its reporter Jay Ruiz as suspected to be in cahoots with rice smugglers cried foul, saying that the report is “grossly unfair and malicious”.


BOC Davao Collector Pacasum (left) and Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte

In an interview Friday night, BOC Davao Acting District Collector Samsom Pacasum said that he was deeply hurt by the news report that seemed to portray him along with former Acting Collector for Operations lawyer Edward James Dy Buco as being punished for the recent release of rice shipments passing the Davao port.

“We were just following the order of the courts and even sought for the Commissioner’s appropriate action,” Pacasum said, referring to the rice shipments in 167 containers that were issued of alert and hold orders by BOC Davao late last year due to lack of import permits from the National Food Authority.

The Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 16 and the RTC of Manila, Branch 16, in December last year respectively issued injunction orders to BOC Davao to cease and desist from issuing any alert, hold or seizure order to specific shipments of the contesting shipper.
Pacasum said that he was guided by the memorandum issued by BOC Commissioner John Sevilla that specific shipments subject of injunction that subdued the requirement of lack of NFA import permit would have to be released upon compliance of applicable customs rules and regulations.

For his part, lawyer Dy Buco texted his statement: “I vehemently protest the false and malicious news item broadcast (Friday night) over ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol News program stating that I, together with Collector Pacasum, were removed from our posts as punishment for allowing the release of 167 containers of rice in Davao City.

First, I’m no longer assigned in Davao Port when the rice shipments were released. I have been reporting with the Legal Service under the DepComm for RCMG. The new CPO directed me to report to the Office of DepComm RCMG which happens to be my mother unit.

Secondly, the rice shipments were released pursuant to a court order and not because Collector Pacasum wanted it released. We tried to hold the release of the rice due to persuasions from higher officials and various offices to defy the injunction order.

Collector Pacasum was the one who issued the alert and hold orders which I prepared. How could they say then that we allowed its release and be punished for such action. I have sent an urgent request to the Secretary of Finance (Cesar Purisima) and Commissioner of Customs for a clarificatory statement on this matter that caused grave damage and injury to me and my family, otherwise, appropriate charges will be filed before the court and proper bodies.”

The report said that Pacasum and Dy Buco were among the 12 BOC officials relieved by Commisioner Sevilla from their posts this week and were ordered to be transferred to Customs Policy Research Office under the Dept. of Finance. (Cha Monforte)


Watch the ABS-CBN TV Patrol report:

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“Hataman, a posterman of ARMM reforms” – PNoy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 16, 2014 by cha4t

feb 13, 2014

President PNoy Aquino was all praises to ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman in his speech during the 2nd ARMM LGU Summit of Governance and Development Wednesday at Waterfront Insular Hotel in Davao City.

He praised Hataman for making serious reforms in ARMM as he cited the national government’s strides in making peace and delivering accomplishments covering governance, election, education, health, education, and investment in Mindanao’s Muslim areas.


In his speech, the President snapped descriptive praises to Hataman as “indeed a ghost buster”, a “posterman”, a spin off from posterboy, and the ARMM governor who did not make “apparition projects”.

The President made a length in citing Hataman’s role in pushing serious reforms in ARMM’s governance.

At one time, he said that Hataman smashed the ingrained padrino system in ARMM, saying marami siyang binungggo (he made collision with many interests).


Before the presidential speech, Hataman spoke citing his administration’s accomplishments, among which were the road concreting spanning 574 kilometers through the DPWH, the shaking off of ARMM’s dependence to contractors as ARMM has now a fleet of heavy equipment brought from savings, and the boosting of rice production worth by more than P1 billion in last year.

Hataman particularly thanked the President, saying that it is PNoy and her mother late President Cory Aquino who directly deal peace in Mindanao.

The governor vowed to support the political will of the President in pushing peace in Mindanao.

The summit was attended by governors, mayors and other officials in ARMM-covered provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

The summit had for its theme, With theme: “Strengthening Regional Stakeholders’ Partnership towards Revitalized ARMM in Transition to Bangsamoro”.

After years of talking peace, the Philippine government and the MILF recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that will allow the rebel group to set up a new autonomous government with larger territory and expanded powers and end four decades of conflict that has killed tens of thousands. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)


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