ORMOC CITY ‘Balikatan’ planned
A GROUP of American and Filipino soldiers visited officials of this city to discuss the possibility of holding joint military exercises here in April next year.
Mayor Richard Gomez said he is amenable to hosting the military exercises if it would help improve the peace and order situation in the city.
The military exercises, called “Balikatan,” are designed to serve as a venue for Philippine and US military forces to exchange combat expertise.
Capt. Louis Kalmar, humanitarian and civic assistance planner of the Philippine-US Balikatan program, said the Balikatan exercises would also bring a medical mission, help construct and repair school buildings and bring books and learning materials.
The plan to hold Balikatan exercises here came on the heels of President Duterte’s statement asking US military forces to leave Mindanao in the wake of increased security threats as a result of a massive offensive against Abu Sayyaf.
Kalmar said Balikatan teams plan to return to this city in December to finalize plans for Balikatan 2017. Vicky Arnaiz, Inquirer Visayas
Allies vs drugs
THE MANGUDADATUS of Maguindanao province are supporting the government’s war on drugs through a series of dialogues with the province’s leaders, including members of the Ampatuan clan.
The Mangudadatu and Ampatuan clans are known to be political rivals. The rivalry turned deadly when, in 2009, members and supporters of the Mangudadatu clan, along with 32 journalists, were killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre allegedly perpetrated by members of the Ampatuan clan.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu on Tuesday convened the Provincial Peace and Order Council, which was attended by Ampatuan clan members, following the arrest of Vice Mayor Abdulwahab Sabal of Talitay town on Sunday. Mangudadatu declined to comment on the arrest. Mayor Maroph Ampatuan, of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, who also attended the council meeting, said the Ampatuans support the antidrug campaign of Mangudadatu.
In a gathering in Rajah Buayan town, Khadafeh Mangudadatu, Maguindanao assemblyman and the governor’s younger brother, described pushers as threats. Rajah Buayan Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan said he was committed to support a collective fight against drugs. Nash B. Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao
Aid for cop
A POLICEMAN, who was shot and wounded in a drug buy-bust operation in this city, is getting P200,000 from the Central Luzon police to help finance surgery to repair his damaged face.
PO2 Arnie Omega received the money from Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police director. Omega was shot on the face in a Sept. 3 gunfight that killed drug suspects Rudolph Cabigting, 31, and Jaycee Cris Teope, 34, during a police sting operation in Barangay East Bajac-Bajac.
Omega was the fifth policeman in Central Luzon to be wounded in the government’s war on drugs. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY
BUKIDNON province will continue to have power after a plan to disconnect electricity in the province because of unpaid bills has been put on hold.
Oliver Owen Garcia, lawyer and board member, said the power transmission firm Bukidnon Sub-transmission Corp. (BSTC) had agreed not to cut off power to the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco), the province’s power distributor.
BSTC last week threatened to cut off Bukidnon’s electric supply over P7 million in unpaid bills.
Buseco said the plan to cut off power has no legal basis, accusing BSTC of “economic sabotage.”Jigger J. Jerusalem, Inquirer Mindanao
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