Archive for the comval Category


Posted in comval, comval sex scandal, Comval's Big Flood coming on January 4, 2013 by cha monforte

Let’s bore a hole through the valley!
Help: A Diversion Canal is Needed!
Mega Dike! Mega Project!
(1st edition, serving like a draft working paper for all netizens who want Comval’s mainland valley to live, not die)


photo by XL Fuentes/FB


photos by Dante Plaza/FB


Where is Comval’s mainland valley heading to after typhoon Pablo?
If by climate change, it becomes a usual path of typhoon?
That the development and growth of small scale is irreversible,
That it has a vast learned army of small miners now 2 decades after the Diwalwal gold rush,
That the valley’s larger eastern region is tried and tested a highly mineralized region,
That stopping the small-scale mining now is a best recipe for insurrection,
That its northern, eastern and southern upland borders, that have 2nd-growth forests have been subjected to decades of kaingin, poaching, lumbering, logging apart from logging to support gold tunneling, can no longer hold enough the fallen rain water they take,
That these result to fast cascading of rainwaters, silted rivers apart that the grown-up small scale mining has been disgorging soil wastes, mud through the decades,
That its western part has propensity for cash crop production, while also being subjected to clearing and logging,
That for more than a decade now, during continuous rains, waters from the valley’s silted rivers and tributaries exit largely to Agusan river, but for umpteenth times during the past floods, backflows occur and backwater came to meet cascading rainwaters from the valley’s exploited uplands, forming a flood that usually submerged parts of Monkayo, Montevista, Nabunturan,Compostela and New Bataan,
That often it would take a week or 2 weeks’ time before floodwaters would drain to silted Agusan River sans the rains,
That this flooding problem in Comval’s mainland valley has been here for about a decade already, and each flood incident occurs, it becomes more destructive, the toll and damage more higher, the number of fatality is increasing,
That continuous rains, heavy downpours brought the valley’s flooding,
That the Big Flood is yet to come, that would inundate greatly, including Mawab that has waters draining via Hijo River in the valley’s north, emptying to Davao Gulf,
That the case of typhoon Pablo is special, an exemption in fact,
That typhoon Pablo brought heavy rains and strong winds never before experienced by the valley’s population,
That typhoon Pablo was a fortuitous event, a force majeure, with its strongest winds and heavy rains in its eyewall unfortunately hitting the valley that looks like a stretched pan-like figure with bloated parts inside it for the smaller hills and mountains,
That New Bataan was hit the hardest and was just ill-fated to be passed by the eyewall of a perfect storm that the valley’s people had first experienced in their lifetime,
That New Bataan poblacion sits in a lowland is surrounded by rivers and tributaries running from its proximate, high eastern mountains, and the town center is in fact cut by a river,
That Pablo’s heavy rains, and strong winds traveling west in direction, counter clockwise in movement, pounded on the high eastern border or the western border of Davao Oriental, and there high volume of rainwaters landed in the chain of mountains of Manurigao, Mandayar, Katalogan, as though they were tilted roofs; and the rainwaters, not so much held by a spoiled 2nd-growth forest, searched rivers and tributaries and cascaded so fast downhill, overflowing the bigger Andap, Mayo and Batoto rivers of New Bataan, while the Agusan- Manat Rivers in the town’s west also overflowed and also a heavy volume of its water crept into New Bataan, badly submerging the poblacion, drowning and missing a lot of its people,
That the character of the water runoff from the high mountains of the valley was just shown to the max by typhoon Pablo,
That this shows the way how flooding comes to the valley every year especially during the rainy season, thus becoming a perennial problem that worsens and becomes more destructive for each passing year,
Where do we go from here now after Pablo?
Let’s bore a hole through the mainland valley!
A Diversion Canal going south, passing the Hijo River, emptying into Davao Gulf is what I have in mind.
It’s a long, big man-made canal which would divert the floodwaters trapped in the valley during continuous rains on rainy season, or as brought or triggered by a typhoon.
It can be multiple-use canal system, a flood-draining, an irrigation and transportation canal for Comval’s mainland valley to survive, live and not die by Big Floods.
It’s a Mega Dike, a Mega Project that should be entertained by the government
(N.B.: Yuletide Season sometimes gives us time to reflect and analyze- to help)

– Cha Monforte  1/4/2013

NEWS: Joecab: it’s “either, or” pa rin

Posted in comval, cong. rommel amatong, gov jose caballero, gov. chiongkee uy comval, joecab with tags , , , , on April 25, 2009 by cha monforte
Political smoke rising in Comval
april 8
Former Compostela Valley Governor Jose “Joecab” Caballero has said that as usual he is contemplating at press time to “either for governor or for congressman”.
In a phone call answering a query in a text message, he said that “everything is not definite yet” adding that it is dependent on “things that are still so much in fluid” in vague reference on his planned bid in 2010.
He said that either he would square off with reelectionist Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy whom he has not yet fought in the past elections, or “pwede ring balikan (make a return bout) with second district Congressman Rommel “Bobong” Amatong.
Political kibitzers this time are saying that in whoesoever Caballero would fight it out could surely make a big run for his money since the latter has still a remnant following despite the reported swaying of Lakas incumbents over Caballero’s leaders.
They reckoned that whoever is Joecab’s rival would have to spend at least P30 million to defeat the governor adding that though Caballero would still lose but his rival would have to spend such big amount, making Caballero like a hot potato both of Uy and Amatong.
Caballero under Kampi party was overwhelmingly defeated by Cong. Amatong in the last 2007 polls while his daughter suffered the same fate by Gov. Uy of Lakas party.
Caballero at present has a running blocktime radio program “Joecab Express” over Radyo Rapido based in Davao City in the mid morning from Monday to Friday.
The program usually tackles more legal issues with the former governor, who is a lawyer, sharing his legal advises to text senders.
But at times Caballero and his co-anchormen dashed out political potshots such as that the express vehicle Joecab was driving was enroute to the Capitol, “byaheng Capitol”, or they tackled issues about Uy’s administration.
His co-anchormen are Davao City-based broadcasters Kiking Quimpan, Lyndon Catulong and Leo Villareal.  (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Nabunturan councilor-anchor files libel suit vs. municipal planning officer over broadcast in new FM station

Posted in atty carlo ancla, comval, freddie coronica nabunturan, mayor macario humol, nabunturan, nabunturan councilor alfoson "jun" tabas, prosecutor II Alona Labtic with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

COMPOSTELA VALLEY- Nabunturan town councilor Alfonso “Jun” Tabas Jr. filed Tuesday a libel case against one municipal planning and development coordinator Freddie Coronica stemming from a broadcast in a government-paid program over a new FM station in town DXPA 103.1 on January 24, 2009 when he attacked Tabas with a mouthful of allegedly scathing libelous remarks.

Tabas is a blocktime anchor of the same station and a known broadcaster here who ran independent and won a councilor’s slot in the last 2007 polls. He is known to be oppositionist to last-termer Mayor Macario Humol.

Tabas complaint was lodged to and docketed by the provincial prosecutor’s office with NPS No. XI-01-INV-09B-0002/9 Tuesday afternoon.

In his complaint received by prosecutor II Alona Labtic, Tabas stated that Coronica allegedly attacked his reputation during the radio program “Padayag sa Nabunturan” by calling him words as “kagawad Tigbas (a hack)”, “kagaw… kagaw sa katilingban (germ), “baboy… irong buang, askal…asong ulol” (pig…mad dog)”, “attack and collect, defend and collect (AC-DC)” broadcaster, “may pagkadakung mota (has big mote in the eye)” and “nagpakaulaw na sa SB (he put the Sangguniang Bayan to shame)”.

Coronica was guesting in the local government-paid blocktime aired on that date at around 6:30 A.M. when he talked about the P90-million bond flotation project of Humol administration, which is as press time being questioned by Tabas and other oppositors in court.

Tabas stated in his complaint that to vindicate his honor as public official, pastor of Missionary Baptist Church and as an active member of Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), he was forced to engage the services of a counsel and paid an acceptance fee of P50,000 to his lawyer.

Tabas stated that that he was executing the libel as criminal case with the reservation of filing administrative cases against the same respondent in other bodies, ostensibly the Ombudsman and Civil Service Commission.

Tabas’ complaint was supported by affidavit of witness Hernanito Clet, a personal assistant of Tabas who claimed he made audio recordings on the program anchored by municipal information officer Jennifer Echavez and guested by Coronica.

DXPA 103.1 had just started broadcasting last December and is owned by former Congressman Prospero Amatong and his family. With its 1,000-watt power capacity, it accordingly reaches its broadcast to as far as portions of Davao City , Mati, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur.

Meanwhile, reports said that earlier before Coronica’s recorded lambasts Tabas had castigated for several times Mayor Humol, Coronica and other municipal personnel and officials in his own daily morning radio program “Katin-awan”.

Tabas is defended by lawyer Carlo Ancla.

Respondent Coronica would still have to execute his answer to the complaint before the office of the provincial prosecutor would weigh and rule whether Tabas libel complaint would to be dismissed or not. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: Political year

Posted in alleged sportivo scam in davao del norte, boardmember artemio san juan, comval, cong way kurat zamora, davao del norte, gov. chiongkee uy, governor rodolfo del rosario, tagum with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

We’re definitely on political times down the road. Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario said it so Monday during a Kapihan. On the broadside, he described the spread of malicious text messages on the alleged Sportivo overprice scam as one political intrigue, even while he dared the unknown cabal to come out into the open and then prove and substantiate allegations. Veteran and seasoned Igacos politician, Boardmember Artemio San Juan has no reservation in saying that this year is when intrigues will fly thick and fast.
Good for Gov. RDR and BM San Juan. They said what should be expected. Recalling back during the gubernatorial reign of Joecab in Comval, this is the same time of his last term term when he got an ultra-filibustering and obstructionist majority of boardmembers led now Gov. Chiongkee Uy. Joecab’s executive budget was re-enacted for the majority’s intentioned failure to approve. On a hailstorm of allegations vented by Joecab’s oppositionists over the media, new budget approval was snagged while the issue of pork barrel for direct disbursement by the legislative department landed on COA’s frying pan. The cooked menu was named disallowance.
That was history though but preluding Joecab’s electoral defeat. The lesson learned is that towards halfway of a term is already a political season and politicians have to start politicking in the open. It’s now time to cast that phrase out, “malayo pa ang eleksyon, trabaho muna.” It’s no-no now. Such is good for the last year. The pundits are after all right. If outsiders and challengers could not make a dent in the public mind later this year, they could not break even with the incumbents considering the latter’s administration advantages. January 2010 is time for premature electioneering already.
So with this, the choice of Comval Lakas to make this month, January as the time to decide whether the congressional standard-bearer is Vice Gov. Ramil Gentugaya or congressman’s daughter Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay is just right and fitting. At least the one who is left out by the party has still the time to jump to opposition’s ship and dovetail with the national opposition presidentiables and senatoriables. That way he or she could still have plenty of time to organize a districtwide or provincewide political structure and machinery.
The case of former Davao del Norte Gov. Yayong Gementiza is an exemption. He was shoved out from Lakas on the rather eleventh hour, two months before the 2007 elections, while he was the sitting governor. When he jumped to United Opposition, it was not late as he had all the provincial activities and government manpower and logistics served for his reelection. But RDR had more logistics, men, media, bailiwick, techniques and organization than what a personalistic Yayong could muster for a win.
The Big Ramil-Maricar Problem of Comval Lakas is different. If it’s BM Maricar now, then VG Ramil is shunted out from provincial-sponsored activities and mass gatherings from this month up to the election ban time as it would be a duty of of Gov. Uy in the tandem to expose and promote Maricar as his runningmate. VG Ramil could still invoke his inclusion being a VG to whatever provincial activity but it would be a sneaky one, if not a cat-and-mouse affair- he’ll appear first onstage while Maricar is still away and coming.
But that’s still an iringan win-win solution while VG Ramil holds his ground as a Lakas member banking on the possible free zone stance or lobotomy of Uy on the last hour. But it’s better for VG Ramil to jump ship to the opposition on this scenario as he has his own logistics and two mayores and the people’s opposition temper on the waiting to favor him. But a longstanding-Lakas member Ramil to the opposition? It’s too unlikely, but just maybe.
On the other hand, if the choice is VG Ramil, the same scenario would hold true to the provincial activities except that BM Maricar is a lesser political mortal for constant isolation. The big problem is that she has a card, in fact a wild card who could throw a money wrench to Lakas in Comval Uno- Cong. Way Kurat Zamora, a stage-, propa- and gimmick-savvy and most popular politician in Comval, while he has three mayores at his side. Which could trigger a chain reaction to District 2, and voila- provincewide! Being that, Cong. Way Kurat is good opposition material and a potential regional opposition chairman, from whom funding flows in the likes of Joe Tejado during Erap’s presidential running in 2001 elections.
But a Way Kurat to the opposition? He who delivered over 13,000 votes margin to GMA over FPJ in 2004 elections and who consistently participated in slaying the four impeachment complaints against GMA? It’s still likely since GMA has already been repaid by Way Kurat’s votes. Bayad na. A plain citizen Way Kurat could have the best potential of becoming a cabinet member, chairman or undersecretary of a national agency under a new President coming from the opposition. On this good scenario, Way Kurat has nothing to lose even if Maricar loses. But he has more to gain if Maricar wins. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, text 09069104553, e-mail:

OPINION: So cool Misa de Gallo then

Posted in comval, tagum city with tags , , , , on December 17, 2008 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

They say it’s officially Christmas starting today, with the first Misa de Gallo held just this dawn. This is one cherished Filipino custom that lasts for nine days, from today until the Christmas eve, December 24. It started during the Spanish colonial period, and accordingly was initially intended for farmers who wanted to attend Christmas Mass but could not leave their fields.

There’s this passing nostalgia to be with kababayans each dawn, and the longing to share victory in a cool, foggy Yuletide Season after a fight not to drowse off during each dawn mass. Well, that was so before in my youth in a backwoods of a countrysides. There was so much excitement to meet the dawn while serving as sakristan under the tutelage of a motherly Sister Cima of fma, like when we were made to believe then that Santa Claus is coming to town to give toys to good boys and girls.

It was also then that barangay farmers,  when the GKKs weren’t so strong, for which the dawn masses were first intended for them by the friars, had no luxury to rise up at dawn just to trek downhill for long walk to the church in the poblacion. But I saw a few of them possibly rising by 2:00 or 3:00 dawn to walk for 1 or 2 hours just to catch up dawn masses.

It was only last year (a poor churchgoer am I) that I learned that GKK chapels had then been holding dawn mass celebrations. The GKK, the harbinger of the purok, offers a most proximate and so closed affair for Misa de Gallo, with your own neighbors and other familiar faces attending. I must say that in towns, where there are no long-known vendors of the common puto maya and tsokolate, dawn mass goers have been savoring the shrunk pandesal they bring home after a drop in a town bakery. Though lacking in snack delicacies like the many that spring up abundantly and cherish in other places like in Luzon or in Cebu in church frontyards, the Yuletide cheer and wish for abundant life isn’t lacking for the Mindanaoan probinsyanos subsisting on pandesal after dawn masses.

It is also so for the forsaken farmers and poor to merry over what they could easily afford from what’s left from their bonuses, if ever there is still after going from London (loan dito, loan doon, the teachers’ lingo, you know), even while TV advertisements have always show the noche buena meal of the privileged after the December 24 night Misa de Aguinaldo: lechon, hamon, cheeses, a variety of salads, pasta, embotido and sweets.

Del Monte seasons these locally, while Davao del Norte and Comval bananas show the craving of the rich countries for desserts on the table during the Holiday. But otherwise, and sadly, beyond our preference for the basic staple rice, Compostela and Pagsabangan landowners now plow their fields for dollars’ sake, but understandably, out of economic necessities beyond what rice could offer for their children and future. Ultimately, it’s for Pete’s sake.

There’s also this nostalgia creeping in us for a so cool, so foggy dawn. Before it was always raining during the Yuletide Season. The thick fog and the rains are gone now. There was hot streak of sunlight yesterday. The cool and humid December before is gone now. After decades of unabated illegal logging activities in our provinces and illegal loggers have continued to have still their best laughs, while our environment and local government officials continue to see and hear no evil, this is what we have now: our weather has become so feckle, and for the other man-made destructions against our surrounding and environment, nature has been fighting back like what it struck in Masara and Diwalwal landslides, and in the flooding in the many lowlands in our provinces.

After today’s first Misa de Gallo, I can only reminisce on those good old dawns when so mountain-fresh and so thick fog envelop entirely my hometown Nabunturan in so cool embrace during the Yuletide Season. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, e-mail:

OPINION: Forget Sto. Tomas and Nabunturan cityhood

Posted in bayugan agusan del sur, cabadbaran agusan del norte, comval, davao del norte, mati davao oriental, nabunturan, nabunturan cityhood, sto tomas davao del norte cityhoo, sto. tomas, tandag surigao del sur. requirements of cityhood with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2008 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

nov 20

There was that buzz last week that the cityhoood in Nabunturan is forthcoming. Was it another diversionary stuff for the P90-million bond flotation that the town’s administration pushes to be implemented? (The bond float pushers are now respondents to an injunction case filed by representatives of people initiative petitioners in town. We’ll not touch this for now at the risk of being held in contempt of court). But sadly, for Nabunturan, the cityhood isn’t really coming (so with Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte) since the Supreme Court the other day struck out the 16 new cities including the near Mati in Davao Oriental, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte and Tandag, Surigao del Sur. They’re now back as municipalities!

Forget the costly hoopla and celebrations when these towns became cities via Congress and not via the requirements of the New Local Government Code. What now magistrates, when the “city” officials have been already called as city mayores, city vice mayores and city konsehales? Throw into the garbage cans their calling cards, stationeries, and discard the new  “city” logo and seal, or put white-outs to the word “city” in the birth and marriage certificates of those who were born and who married during the time when Mati, Bayugan, Cabadbaran and Tandag were still called as “cities”?

In declaring the 16 cityhoood laws unconstitutional, the High Couirt pointed out: “The Constitution is clear. The creation of local government units must follow the criteria established in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. There is only one Local Government Code. The Constitution requires Congress to stipulate in the Local Government Code all the criteria necessary for the creation of a city, including the conversion of a municipality into a city. Congress cannot write such criteria in any other law, like the Cityhood Laws.” It’s really a big sorry for our four neighboring towns.

The trouble with their city conversion was that they had their congressmen sponsored their respective cityhood bills when their annual income had not yet hit the P100-million mark. They asked for exemption for it and the Congress granted. That’s via legislative fiat.

Really, forget the congressmen unless they sponsor for the further revision of the New Local Government Code (LGC) and not file bill through the short-cut, backdoor route. You see there’s that ultra-resistence from the cities as the SC’s nullification came from the court case filed by the the league of cities. They, like Tagum City, just don’t want more towns to become cities to eat with them the big IRA allocation for the cities.

But now the real route to cityhood is the New Local Government Code, as amended. Through this, the 3 requirements are needed: 100 square kilometer land area, 150,000 population based on the latest 2007 census and P100 million annual income. Nabunturan has 245.26 sq. kms land area, check. In 2007 census, it has only 67,365 population, fail. By next month, the town’s real income is still less than P100 million as the P40-50 million is still a planned borrowing for the bond float. I said it before, at the very least, the town could only hit the 150,000 population mark in 15 years.

Monkayo is more dejado since it already has the land and income requirements. If Mayor Manuel Brillantes is wise enough, he’ll have to lobby for the correction of the wrong boundary line of Comval’s north and Monkayo gets big chunks of population of Laak, and the Agusan del Sur towns of Santa Josefa and Veruela, and presto, it immediately qualifies to become a city. In 2007 census, Monkayo has 90,971 population.

What’s in a name? Nabunturan town can still function like a city without a city tag if has all the amenities, facilites and services well in place for its residents to live in comfort and convenience. Unfortunately, the town administration of Mayor Macario Humol has apparently been lacking of efforts in delivering good, potable water for the poblacion residents. This, for one gauge alone. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, e-mail:, or

NEWSFEATURE: Candles lit inside the horror bardown area for Diwalwal’s unknown deads

Posted in comval, datu kamini banad, diwalwal, diwalwal disasters, diwalwal discovery, kapitan franco tito with tags , , , , on November 2, 2008 by cha monforte

nov 3

Candles were lit and prayers were also made yesterday for the thousands of miners whose bones and skeletons remain to be buried and unearthed underground the gold-rich Mount Diwata.

Diwalwal barangay captain Franco Tito in an interview said that several miners who are still eking out a living in his barangay went yesterday’s All Souls Day and on Saturday’s All Saints Day inside bardown areas and lit candles for their dear departed who remained buried in caved-in rocks and soils.

“They pray for either their still missing friends or relatives,” Tito said.

A length down from the surface of the known Balite area in Diwalwal lie various bar down areas, some miners dubbed as “horror areas” where mostly still unnamed small scale miners were buried alive and crushed to death in various big bar downs and cave ins in the mining area.

The “horror areas” that became a big cemetery for Diwalwal desaparecidos are located within the 600 meter level up to the surface in the 729-hectare Mt. Diwalwal where small miners and their service contractors and providers are permitted operations following the government direct production regime started in 2002.

But Diwalwal for becoming a fuller community after it became a barangay in 1987 has now a cemetery of its own, while the Catholic Church and those of various faiths and denominations established their own chapels, churches and places of worships.

“Last Saturday, the military under the 66 IB, barangay tanods and barangay officials made a joint cleaning operations to prepare our cemetery,” Tito said.

The plentiful gold sands and nuggets from the crushed surface head of the Balite vein was first found for discovery on September 23, 1983 by a band of three Naboc residents led by Mansaka Datu Camilo “Kamini” Banad.

The group first panned for gold draining crushed earth from cliffs and mountainsides down to the Balite river to capture gold sands.

In a narrative made by this writer on Diwalwal’s evolution towards the mid 80s, there was yet no great human toll reported in those days before a stampeding population rushed up to Diwalwal and intense squabble over mineable areas took place, panning, skidding mountain ridges, digging shallow pits, holes and later tunnels anywhere in Diwalwal, and hard rock mining or underground tunneling inevitably came to its being.

At the earliest, towards the mid 80s, when some tunnels started producing gold, a group’s control over a particular productive group could be wrested by another group, especially following cave-ins and landslides that destroyed and covered tunnel portals.

By then, tunnels were also often ransacked by armed men holding up the operating group at bay. Devoid of formal rules and the presence of the government in the wilds, the rowdy situation had inevitably led many miners to arm themselves, giving Diwalwal some people’s monicker “Little Texas” or “Wild,Wild West”. Control over mineralized areas was largely a tough-guy engagement between and among groups.

It was in this epoch that human deaths occurring underground and aboveground Diwalwal have been reported time and again on various causes- bardowns, cave-ins, landslides, accidents, stabbings, shootings, explosion, toxic fumes, disease, sickness, brawls. Estimates varied though.

But it was the most disastrous bardown-cavein-landslide-fire on May 30, 1989 at the Balite, Diwalwal’s most bullish area in the mid to late 80s, that shook Diwalwal down to its knees, and changed it.

A day after that worst disaster, sources interviewed at that time placed varying conservative estimates from over 1,000 to over 3,000 who were buried or killed inside Balite’s bosom.

When Diwalwal rose like a Phoenix three years after the Balite disaster, competing mining players came with centralized operations and virtually did away with the conflict-prone “follow the vein principle” in tunneling that used to result to hangering among tunnels and adits (destinos), and conflicts including armed skirmishes inside tunnels and aboveground.

The underground area was then delineated vertically downward, “tonton system” which was based of agreed old claims and networks, replacing the free-for-all claim system based on “follow the vein” principle.
In the past,  “follow the vein” scheme often resulted to indiscriminate tunnelling, encroachment and hangering activities, as tunnels batted for speed in their operations without much regard to leaving natural and fortified timberings and to the status and directions of other operations. As a result, tunnelling conflicts often broke out and unsafe underground workings were formed that could easily cave in during continuous rains.

But deaths continued underground and on the surface of Diwalwal still in the ensuing years on the epoch characterized by new conflicts between the Southeast East Mining and the miners and big local mining firms which once started from small mining corpo entities.
A source, who is a long-time resident of the place, rawly reckoned though that the death statistics in Diwalwal could already hover about 20,000 through its over 20-year history, about 60 percent of which occurred underground.
There was a time towards the mid 80s that Nabunturan town saw a family burying three brothers killed in a Diwalwal bardown.
But since Diwalwal miners came from all over the country, the gravity of deaths in the mining area eluded probe.
But it appears that each of the towns, cities and provinces near to Diwalwal had their own share of son or sons devoured by the gold mountain even while nobody knows exactly how many died in and on the mining area that is now seen as a National Treasure, that is vied by foreign corporations, the controversial Chinese firm ZTE Corp. for one. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

OPINION: Short draft memoirs: Joecab at his loneliest

Posted in cha music, comval, dona luz sarmiento, gregorio dujali, laak, new bataan, pantukan, rey pajarito, roger m sarmiento, sto. tomas davao del norte with tags , , , , on October 25, 2008 by cha monforte

BY Cha Monforte

It was the day after. Jose “Joecab” Caballero was finally defeated- confirmed by humiliating election results. He was then called as phenom- for slaying big political dragons- long-reigning old Davnor politician Gregorio Dujali and he became a vice gov in the then big beautiful undivided country of Davao del Norte; next the Sarmientos- then known as an institution, first the matriarch Dona Luz, then he became the first Comval gov after Comval was separated from Davnor in 1998; next the son politico-economic heir Roger “RMS” in the 2001 gubernatorial toss up, then Joecab got his second term and went straight getting his last term without a hitch knocking off a token candidate suspected to have run for a proxy war within the unified Lakas ticket in 2004.

But for the so much heck of his organized sectors including the kabirs on dispersal binge Joecab’s camp was so much enthralled and so his formidable opposition camp was also so much enthralled of his nine-year rule characterized by a patronage-driven populist programs. They both seemed put in so overblown expectations that on one hand, Joecab got the province’s District 2 for his own congressional bid and put her daughter then Boardmember Kristine for the gubernatorial bid, while on the other hand, the unified opposition ruing against him had all but made an overkill in plugging all holes in skittish electoral campaign against Joecab’s political machinery and logistics which turned out to be only made of so much hoopla and pretensions. Joecab the phenom was overwhelmingly defeated already in the night of May 14, 2007 election day when the first rush of low turn out of votes for him and Kristine started trickling in to his Dragon headquarters. I heard that in the dead of that night his headquarters was already deserted by his lawyers, loyal followers, so-called strategists, so-called planners, so-called propagandists. I was not in the inner circle of them.

In the early morning of May 15, 2007, at around 6:00 A.M. I and Rey Castardo, also an info man, visited Dragon, and there we saw a gloomy pall of light iinside. Joecab had apparently no sleep, also with Kristine and Madam Mimi. Except for Anamei’s pretty, red-eyed PGO ladies who were sipping San Mig light beer perhaps for a drowse or juices in cans, there were already no Rey Pajarito and lots of political CAOs upstairs of Dragon, that building by the church which became the base in erecting the foundations of the Comval provincial government. There were few CAOs downstairs, but reports said the CAOs failed to deliver the goods for the liners while some of them allegedly stashed it for themselves kept pestering as gripes in the rounds. Accordingly, one had already taken an early vacation, while another one had bought a brand new motorcycle. Joecab had as mouthful on dirty politics and massive vote buying.

Seeing our presence supposed meant to troop around to empathize and give our last salute to the man who recruited us in the first place, he directed me to write a PR for ABS-CBN and the Inquirer. I hurried to write a piece from his dictates. When it was made, as usual he made corrections carefully choosing words not as a politician but more as a lawyer. Almost the journalistic PR was mangled by his own legalese words. I couldn’t do otherwise but finalized it, still fine-tuning it within journalese acceptability. And the usual of him as one abante-atras PR chief dawned again on him. He kept the PR close to his chest, reflecting. He was beaten to the draw in post-election news as a sore loser.  The final PR was never faxed to news outlets. Towards the midday when Dragon was at its loneliest, I and Rey Castardo called it quits. We hit the road for home gutom. The End.

Last month at the height of the issue on ZTE deal on Diwalwal, I got a chance to see Joecab, the citizen, for the first time at his Panorama home after that gloomy day for an interview on the issue. He said he has already secured peace as plain citizen and stopped counting his political wounds. “I enjoy being a fulltime father now,” he said adding that for nine years he had been always with the people of Comval. But Joecab even berated me in dragging him to the issue, that he would be summoned (not in legalese usage) in an SP probe-inquiry, and even questioned who am I writing for now. It was just like Cong. Way Kurat last Tuesday for suspecting me to be still loyal to one-way PR conscious Joecab. But by that I got the opportunity to level off with Cong. Way K. For all and sundry, I’m back to fulltime media works after a long interregnum. Chief government propagandists who have been used and out of delicadeza and deference must also bow down to the new power holders and not cling to positions even protected by the CSC.

We were with the defunct Northern Star in the days of the cut-and-paste newspaper layouting, covering Mankilam to as far as the interior Sto. Tomas, Pantukan. Laak, New Bataan and up Diwalwal. Also, the good thing in the media now, Press Sec. Jess Dureza, is that the Internet and cellphone spell a difference in getting and sending facts and news at least expense compared to the past ever-peripatetic days. It’s different now in the media, you can now live by and with it but a story is always made for the love of writing and of the profession, said publisher Bert Gorgonio last April when rice prices skyrocketed. “Gwapo ni kay wa tay mga amo,” he added. But the blood of a writer runs deep in me just like Bert, who also had a stint working in Surigao government. Objectivity and fairness in journalism has always been our constant guide. At the end of the day, it will always be our readers who will judge and sustain us. When we err just like any human, we are humbled by your notice of correction or side as we take your right to reply as sacrosanct to a working press. We just always try and strive to be your real press. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, e-mail: or

NEWS: Kabir, a political animal no more- Comval Pagro

Posted in comval, comval news, dr. rolando simene comval pagro, ex-governor joecab caballero, gov. chiongkee uy, provincial elder prospero amatong with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by cha monforte

oct 20

The kabir chicken that former Compostela Valley Gov. Jose “Joecab” Caballero had then been massively reproducing and dispersing in droves of thousands to the farmers in the province is political animal no more under the administration of Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy.

In an interview, provincial agriculturist Dr. Rolando Simene said that the provincial government is no longer dispersing kabir but only maintaining about 400 kabirs at the Lamdag center for breeding with the local bisaya and other chicken breeds for experimentation.

He said that Uy remained committed to develop further the sprawling 97-hectare Lamdag agri-eco-tourism center of the provincial government at Pasian, Monkayo.

He added that the governor is actively pursuing to develop more the fresh milk production from the buffalo stock at the agricultural center in view of the melamine scare in the country.

In early 2000s Caballero started the development of the Lamdag center which was then lying as idle, neglected provincial farm barn since when the province was not yet separated from Davao del Norte.

There was one time that the former governor was named by the monicker “Cabirero” by his oppositionists including the present governor, who was then serving as the senior boardmember during Caballero’s third term.

Uy before becoming a boardmember ran but was defeated by the recent birthday celebrator last Saturday, provincial elder Prospero Amatong during the 1999 toss up for the district 1 congressional post. They had only a margin of over 1,000 votes in the election where Uy was then allied with Caballero.

Earlier reports said that Caballero would be running for a “comeback either-or”, meaning either as congressman in District 1 where he was defeated by Cong. Rommel “Bobong” Amatong in the last polls, or as governor.

This developed as reports also said that District 1 Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora is also entertaining to run as governor in the province, besides eyeing to run as mayor in Compostela town.

If Joecab’s comeback is realized, he would no longer have thousands of kabirs in his hand. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: MILF’s “dormant” Pantukan camp also watched- police

Posted in comval, madaum, MILF, pantukan, tagum with tags , , on September 6, 2008 by cha monforte

aug 25

Text messages on MILF attacks to Boringot false

Madaum not likely an MILF entry point- Chiongkee

Although the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s camp in Pantukan is described by the military as “dormant’ but nevertheless it is also being watched just in case.

Regional police spokesperson Chief Inspector Querubin Manalang Jr., in one news report over the weekend, bared that ”there are also MILF units in Madaum, Tagum and in some parts of Davao Oriental” but he discounted that the possibility that nearby MILF units could launch attack to Davao City.

Earlier, AFP vice chief of staff Lieutenant General Cardoso Luna said that the other MILF camps being watched, especially those in the Davao Region, which are considered as dormant besides the one in Pantukan are located in Tarragona in Davao Oriental and Sarangani in Davao del Sur.

He identified the MILF areas in the Cotabato-Maguindanao area as well as those in Lanao provinces as the most active these days.

But Compostela Valley Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy defused talk that the Madaum could be an entry point for MILF attack saying that it is mostly populated by Kalagan Muslims whom he long knew to be peace-loving and “mababait” (good) people.

Madaum is where the Uy family hailed from since when the father of the governor and City Mayor Rey Chiong Uy arrived in the city and had his residence and trading business there with a lot of Muslim sukis until they moved in to the city proper in 1980.

Gov. Uy said that the Kalagan Muslims at Madaum had in effect adopted his father as one of their own while the latter stayed long in the place and as they cared for his father, who first arrived as a stranger Chinese merchant in the place populated by Muslims. “Palangga nila si Papa”.

He added he grew up there until when he was twenty something and had learned of the good ways of the Muslims which he said allowed to even speak the Kalagan dialect.

As this developed, Sidlak’s police sources said as “false and untrue” the text messages the circulated last Friday about armed attacks being carried out by MILF in Comval like the gold mining area in Boringot, Compostela.

Chief Inspector Manalang also said that in their 24-hour monitoring they have not yet seen any MILF troop movements and sightings in the region.

Manalang described the likelihood of MILF attack to Davao City as “very slim” adding that the MILF could not match yet the superior firepower and number of personnel of the police and military.

Aside from the round-the-clock monitoring, the police has also increased its number of mobile checkpoints.

Earlier, Tagum City Police Superintendent Dario Gunabe said that the city’s 100-strong police have been doing their best to ensure the safety and security of the city populace and are always ready to counter terrorist threats in the wake of the MILF attacks in Lanao, Cotabato and Sarangani provinces.

Meanwhile, listed in the annexes to the aborted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain ((MOA-AD) between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF are all the 13 barangays of Pantukan including the poblacion that are subject to territorial ancestral domain claims by the MILF and are subject for inclusion to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) through a plebiscite, 25 years after the signing of a Comprehensive Agreement with the MILF.

Pantukan’s 13 barangays are Araibo, Bongabong, Bongbong, Kingking (poblacion), Las Arenas, Magnaga, Matiao, Napnapan, P. Fuentes, Tagdangua, Tag-Ugpo, Tambongon, and Tibagon.

These are under Category B or the ” Special Intervention Areas which refer to conflict affected areas outside the BJE which shall be the subject of special socio-economic and cultural affirmative action implemented by the Central Government pending the conduct of a plebiscite not earlier than twenty-five (25) years from the signing of the Comprehensive Compact to determine the question of their accession to the BJE.” These are subject to further negotiations by the two parties.

In all, Davao Region has 32 barangays subject for inclusion in JBE thru a plebiscite, but it has none in Davao del Norte.

Gov. Uy opposed the inclusion of the entire Pantukan saying that it was a “foolish idea” made without consultations with the Pantukan people (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News with various reports)