Tag Archive: South Cotabato


Four persons were killed while almost 4,000 were affected by floods and landslides caused by heavy rain in four provinces of Central Mindanao, authorities reported Thursday.

Floods and landslides affected 43 barangays in nine towns and two cities of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and Sarangani, said Minda Morante, director of the Office of Civil Defense-12.

Tupi town of South Cotabato and Brgy. Rajah Muda of Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, declared a state of calamity because of the floods, Morante said in an emailed report.

Couple Nonoy, 74, and Monita Ga, 71, of Brgy. Bunao, Tupi, South Cotabato; Diron Tamarang, 70, of Brgy. Lunen, also in Tupi; and Anita Ochova, 63, of Glan, Sarangani, died in landslides caused by heavy rain, she said.

Five persons, identified as Mercy Magbanua, 27; Kathlyn Magbanua, 1; Jay Argal, 24; Cristy Ochova, 31, and one Jojit Mangisel were injured, she said.

Of the 3,985 individuals affected by floods, 1,798 were evacuated and are currently staying in barangay halls, daycare centers, gymnasiums, and homes of relatives, Morante said.

Most of the evacuees came from Tacurong City and Isulan, Sultan Kudarat; Koronadal City and Tupi, South Cotabato; and Glan, Sarangani.

Floods also left at least four bridges impassable to motorists and caused at least P6.9 million in damage to agriculture, Morante said.

More than 500 hectares of rice fields, more than 80 hectares of cornfields, and at least 7.5 hectares of fishponds were damaged because of the floods, which also left at least 50 farm animals dead or missing, she said.

Heavy rains brought by an intertropical convergence zone hit South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and Sarangani from Tuesday night until Wednesday morning, causing the floods, according to Morante.

Local governments are now providing relief goods to the evacuees and are still monitoring the situation in affected areas, she said. (John Roson)

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Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members torched a bulldozer near a fruit-packing plant in T’boli, South Cotabato, Tuesday night, the military said Wednesday.

The bulldozer, owned by Jargon construction company, was burned near Japanese-owned agro-industrial firm Sumifru’s plant in Sitio Spring, Brgy. Poblacion, around 8:37 p.m., said Capt. Rey Balibagoso, public affairs officer of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade.

Residents told local authorities that two unidentified men carrying long firearms hurriedly withdrew from the area after burning the equipment, Balibagoso said.

The bulldozer was only partially burned because residents put out the fire, he said.

It is believed that the NPA was behind the attack because Jargon had been receiving extortion letters and threats from the rebel group before the incident, Balibagoso said. (John Roson)

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26 hurt in South Cotabato bus crash

Twenty-six people were injured when the passenger bus they were riding figured in an accident in Tupi, South Cotabato, Monday night, authorities said.

The 26 were brought to different hospitals with the help of the local government, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

All were passengers of a Husky bus (MVV-171) that figured in an accident in Brgy. Crossing Rubber around 7 p.m., the NDRRMC said in a report.

Supt. Marvin Fontalva, Tupi Police chief, said the bus skid and turned one side down along the National Highway.

“Nawalan ng control ‘yung driver kaya siya tumagilid,” Fontalva told Bandera in a phone interview.

The passengers only suffered “slight injuries” and some were allowed to go home immediately after treatment, he said, adding that the driver is in now police custody. (John Roson)

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The Army pulled out the 27th Infantry Battalion from the area of armed tribal group leader Daguil Capion after its troops were involved in an incident that killed his wife and two sons.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said he ordered the pullout after meeting with tribal leaders on Oct. 31.

“Napag-usapan is gusto nila (tribal leaders) to give justice [to the victims], kung puwedeng ‘yung 27th IB ay maalis dun, palitan ng ibang army, so 39th IB will be taking over,” Bernardo said.

The pullout, which took place on Nov. 1, saw the 27th IB withdraw from the entire town of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, as well as adjacent barangays in Tampakan, South Cotabato, and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, 10th ID spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said.

The tri-boundary – called Kitaco for short – is known to be the area where B’laan tribesman Daguil Capion’s armed group operates.

It also hosts the “exploration site” of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc., which plans to dig a gold and copper mine.

The area will now be secured by the 39th Infantry Battalion, which is headed by Lt. Col. Norman Zuniega and based in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Paniza said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial took over as commander of the 27th IB on Monday, following the resignation of Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo.

Bernardo led the turnover ceremony at the 27th IB headquarters in Tupi, South Cotabato, around 9 a.m., Paniza said.

Bravo resigned as commander of the 27th IB to give way to an investigation on the Oct. 18 incident that killed Capion’s wife Juvy, 31, and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan.

“He (Bravo) resigned out of ‘delicadeza’ and to give way to the ongoing investigation on the incident. Tinanggap naman ng higher headquarters ‘yung decision niya,” Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said. (John Roson)

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The commander of an Army battalion in Central Mindanao has resigned from his post following the incident that killed a tribal leader’s wife and two sons, military officials said.

Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo’s resignation as commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion takes effect Monday, when a new commander will take over, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said.

“He (Bravo) resigned out of ‘delicadeza’ and to give way to the ongoing investigation on the incident. Tinanggap naman ng higher headquarters ‘yung decision niya,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division which supervises the 1002nd Brigade and effectively, the 27th IB, confirmed Bravo’s resignation.

Bravo will be replaced by Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial, Paniza said in a text message.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th ID, will preside over the turnover ceremony at the 27th IB headquarters in South Cotabato and hold a media conference later at the Task Force Gensan headquarters in General Santos City.

Bernardo will discuss, among others, the results of an inquiry over the Oct. 18 incident that killed armed tribal group leader Daguil Capion’s wife Juvy, 31, and their sons Pop, 13, and John, 8, in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Rodriguez said.

Thirteen members of the 27th IB were recommended by the 10th ID’s board of inquiry to face court martial proceedings over the incident.

The soldiers, led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, were checking the reported presence of armed men in Brgy. Kimlawis but were fired upon so they retaliated, according to the military.

Jimenez admitted failing to assess who they were facing and found out later that they clashed with the group of Capion, whose family members were in the area, Paniza said in a recent interview.

The board of inquiry had requested the Army headquarters to convene a general court martial for Jimenez, Sgt. Dennis Murillo, Sgt. Rommel Ballenes, Cpl. Robert Godio, Cpl. Ayiha Namla, Cpl. Brucekhan Sahali, Cpl. Bashir Said, Cpl. Julah Majid, Cpl. Jemson Jadjuli, Pfc. Marlowe Gayamot, Pfc. Joel Lopez, Pfc. Darryl Tayamora, and Pfc. Richard Julian.

The soldiers will be tried for violations of Articles of War 76 (Misbehavior before the Enemy), 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman), and 97 (Conduct Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline), according to Paniza.

The incident happened at the gold and copper-rich boundaries of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur; Tampakan, South Cotabato; and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, where foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. has an “exploration area.”

Capion, a member of the B’laan tribe, is described by anti-mining groups as a “tribal warrior” opposing Sagittarius Mines’ plan to dig a mine in the area.

The military and police, on the other hand, labeled Capion a “bandit” for his alleged involvement in several incidents, including the burning of mining equipment and ambush on security forces in the area. (John Roson)

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(updated) The Army removed from their posts a company commander and 11 soldiers as it admitted seeing lapses that might have led to the death of three civilians, including two minors, in a clash near Sagittarius Mines Inc.’s (SMI) exploration site in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, on Thursday.

1Lt. Dante Jimenez, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Coy, and 11 of his men were relieved so they can be investigated by a board of inquiry, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said.

Paniza said Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th ID, ordered the creation of the board of inquiry immediately upon learning of the deaths of B’laan tribeswoman Juvy Capion, 31, and her sons Pop, 13, and John, 8.

Jimenez and his men will stay at Camp Manuel Yan, the 10th ID’s headquarters in Mawab, Compostela Valley, while undergoing investigation.

Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion, was also summoned to the 10th ID headquarters but was not relieved, Paniza said Friday night.

Battalion commander’s relief retracted?

In an interview Friday morning, Paniza said Bravo was relieved along with Jimenez.

“Parang ganun ang mangyayari, somebody will take over while they are undergoing investigation, para ma-determine natin kung mayroon bang lapses doon sa rules of engagement,” Paniza said by phone.

But Bernardo, in a later interview with another media entity, said Bravo was “recalled for investigation.”

A source in the 10th ID confirmed that Bravo was indeed among those relieved, until Bernardo made the “clarification” in the afternoon.

“He (Bravo) was relieved under the doctrine of command responsibility, as battalion commander. Temporary lang naman ‘yun while the investigation is ongoing and that’s only procedural,” the source said before Bernardo was interviewed.

“Kaninang umaga malinaw na malinaw he (Bravo) was among those who were ordered relieved, as per our higher-ups, that’s where we based our earlier statements on,” the source said, after being told of Bernardo and Paniza’s new pronouncements.

Paniza issued a statement Friday evening, denying “news” that Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista ordered Bravo’s relief.

Lapse seen

In the Friday morning interview, Paniza assured someone will be made responsible for the deaths of civilians in the clash.

“Isa sa mga assurance namin sa public is we will see to it na may mananagot dito sa nangyari kasi hindi naman natin puwedeng sabihin na collateral damage lang ito. May pagkukulang talaga, so somebody has to answer for this incident,” he said.

Asked if that meant military saw lapses, Paniza said: “Most likely… hindi pa man natin ma-determine kung gaano kalaki ‘yung lapse, but since may incident na ganun, posible na may managot talaga sa nangyari.”

“We also welcome any independent investigation para madetermine kung ano talaga ang katotohanan,” he said.

No raid

Paniza, however, dismissed environmentalist groups’ claims that Juvy and her sons were killed in a “raid” launched by the 27th IB.

He maintained that the soldiers were “patrolling” in response to reports on the presence of armed men, and were fired upon until forced to retaliate by the armed group of Juvy’s husband Daguil Capion.

“Ang nakikita namin doon, na kaya pala nandoon ‘yung asawa’t mga anak niya… siguro pinaakyat ni Capion dahil matagal na niya hindi nakikita ‘yung pamilya niya, hindi na siya nakakababa. Hindi naman na-verify, hindi naman na-check ng tropa natin na may iba pang occupant maliban dun sa grupo ni Capion,” Paniza said.

Juvy and her sons are residents of the lowlands of Sitio Datal Blao, which lies near the boundary of Tampakan, South Cotabato, he noted.

Bandit?

The regional military spokesman also brushed off anti-mining groups’ claims that Daguil Capion is a B’laan warrior tasked to protect the tribe’s ancestral domain, a large part of which is now occupied by Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

“Bago pa man nagkaroon ng SMI sa lugar na ‘to, itong si Daguil Capion notorious na ito na bandido, marami na itong pinaggagawa… ngayon nung di napagbigyan ng SMI ‘yung kanyang mga hiling, ginamit niya yung SMI na rason para ma-justify ‘yung kanyang mga pinaggagawa,” Paniza said.

Among the recent attacks blamed on Capion is the June 20 ambush that killed retired Supt. Villamindo Hectin, a security consultant of SMI, and PO2 Rey Tonso, a member of the Davao del Sur Provincial PNP’s Public Safety Company.

Paniza noted that even he has had his share of encounters with Capion during his stint as commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion, which guarded Kiblawan from 2008 to 2010 before the 27th IB came.

“Napakatagal na problema na ‘yung banditry diyan, napagsalin-salinglahi na lang hanggang sa makaabot dun sa grupo ni Capion, nag-umpisa ‘yan sa cattle rustling… pag wala na silang makuha na mga farm animals, ang ginagawa naman nila nagtatanim ng marijuana. Several times na naming hinabol-habol ‘yang mga ‘yan dahil nagtatanim ng marijuana” he said.

Information drive

Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade which directly supervises the 27th IB, said the unit, for its parts, is conducting an information drive on the incident and extended financial assistance to the victims’ family.

“We see to it that timely information are sent to the persons or groups na dapat makaalaam nun in order to prevent wrong speculations. We also see to it that all possible assistance to the bereaved family,” he said.

The military shouldered all expenses for the burial of Juvy and her sons, which was scheduled to be held yesterday in Sitio Datal Blao, Rodriguez said.

Sagittarius Mines Inc. is the local partner of Swiss company Xstrata Plc. in operating a proposed gold and copper mine in an area straddling boundaries of Kiblawan, Tampakan of South Cotabato, and Columbio of Sultan Kudarat.

The area has a two-billion ton deposit of copper and gold, according to feasibility studies done by the companies. (John Roson)

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(see update here)

The wife and two young children of the leader of an armed tribal group were killed while his daughter was injured as government troops clashed with the group near Sagittarius Mines Inc.’s (SMI) exploration site in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, early Thursday, the military said.

Killed were Daguil Capion’s wife Jovy and their children Pop, 14, and John, 10, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, spokesman of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said.

Capion’s 7-year-old daughter Vicky was wounded on the left ear and was treated before being brought to a relative.

The clash occurred around 6 a.m. in Sitio Aliong, Brgy. Kimlawis.

Rodriguez said members of the 27th Infantry Battalion, led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, patrolled the area after receiving a report on the presence of armed men, but were fired upon and forced to retaliate.

The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes, after which the armed men withdrew towards Mt. Bololomot, leaving behind the three bodies and injured girl, he said.

Also found at the site were a rifle grenade, empty shells of M16 rifles, and two M16 magazines with live rounds of ammunition.

Soldiers informed Jovy’s parents of the incident and are extending any possible assistance in coordination with the Bongmal Tribal Council, Rodriguez said.

Capion, a member of the B’laan tribe, was implicated in the ambush that killed retired Supt. Villamindo Hectin, a security consultant of SMI, and PO2 Rey Tonso, a member of the Davao del Sur Provincial PNP’s Public Safety Company, last June 20, also in Brgy. Kimlawis.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), an anti-mining group, condemned the attack on Capion’s family.

“It was well known that he (Capion) is not a rebel, not a member or supporter of either the communist insurgents or the Muslim rebel groups. He is a B’laan warrior tasked by his clan to protect the ancestral domains. In this case, the most obvious threat against their domain right now is the Tampakan mining project of SMI,” ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera said in a statement.

Sagittarius Mines Inc. is the local partner of Swiss company Xstrata Plc. in operating a proposed gold and copper mine in an area straddling boundaries of Kiblawan, Tampakan of South Cotabato, and Columbio of Sultan Kudarat.

The area has a two-billion ton deposit of copper and gold, according to feasibility studies done by the companies.

(see update here)

(John Roson)

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Three people, including a pregnant woman, drowned when a flash flood caused by heavy rains hit a village in T’boli, South Cotabato, Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

Killed were 23-year-old Jocelyn Gulac, who was 5 months pregnant, Jasmin Gulac, 12, and Maricel Buhali, 13, Capt. William Alfred Rodriguez, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 1002nd Brigade, said.

Heavy rains caused the Safali River in Brgy. Sinolon to overflow around 4:30 p.m. and sweep away the three, who were then washing clothes at the river bank, he said.

“Tumaas yung tubig sa ilog, nalunod sila,” Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato provincial police director, said, adding that rescuers recovered the bodies the same day and brought them to a local funeral parlor.

Jocelyn Gulac’s remains were found at Brgy. Veterans, Surallah, while Jasmine Gulac and Maricel Buhali were found near the Sinolon Bridge.

Meanwhile, 12 barangays in Tulunan, North Cotabato, also experienced floods around 10 a.m. Saturday.

No casualties were reported, but the floods damaged about 29 hectares of rice fields, Senior Insp. Benjamin Mauricio, Central Mindanao regional police spokesman, said. (John Roson)

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Three people drowned when a flash flood caused by heavy rains hit a village in T’boli, South Cotabato, Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

Killed were Jocelyn Gulac, 23, Jasmin Gulac, 12, and Maricel Buhale, 13, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Heavy rains caused the Sapali River to overflow and sweep the three away, the agency said.

“Tumaas yung tubig sa ilog, nalunod sila,” Senior Supt. Randolph Delfin, South Cotabato provincial police director, said, adding that rescuers recovered the bodies the same day and brought them to a local funeral parlor.

The incident occurred in Brgy. Sinolon around 4:30 p.m. (John Roson)

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Bomb found inside bus in Gensan

Authorities found an improvised bomb inside a passenger bus in General Santos City late Friday afternoon, police said Saturday.

The bomb, composed of two rocket-propelled grenade tubes, a bottle of black granules, an improvised blasting cap, a 9-volt battery, a fuse holder, and switches, was found inside a Husky bus (LBX-662), Soccsksargen regional police spokesman Supt. Resty Damaso said.

Members of the 12th Regional Intelligence Division, General Santos City Police, and PNP Special Action Force intercepted the bus, which came from Cotabato City, in front of the Iglesia Ni Cristo church along the National Highway in Brgy. Apopong around 4 p.m.

“Nakasagap kasi tayo ng intelligence report na may sumakay sa Tupi (in South Cotabato) na lalaki na kahina-hinala, so nag-checkpoint na dito sa Gensan,” Damaso said.

Authorities are still trying to identify the man with the help of other passengers.

“Mga half a kilometer palang after sumakay bumaba na daw ‘yung lalaki kaya may concerned citizen na tumawag sa intel operatives natin. Buti naagapan,” Damaso said. (John Roson)

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