Tag Archive: Sultan Kudarat


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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Unidentified armed men shot dead a Protestant pastor, his wife, and two children in an ambush in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, on Wednesday night, police said.

Rey Debarbo, 44, a Fundamentalist Baptist pastor; his wife Renaly, 39; and their daughters Catherine Faith, 14; and Karen, 8, all suffered multiple bullet wounds from an M16 rifle and a caliber-.45 pistol, PO1 Ernie Lagaña, investigator at the Isulan Police, said by phone.

Rey, Renaly, and Karen also suffered bullet wounds to the head while Catherine Faith’s face was grazed by a bullet, Lagaña said.

The shooting occurred around 9:10 p.m. while the Debarbos, residents of Brgy. Kalawag Dos, were passing through Leonora Homes, Brgy. Sampao, on a motorcycle.

“Nag-attend sila ng birthday party ng kaibigan nila. Nung pauwi na po sila, parang inabangan sila,” Lagaña said.

The investigator, however, said he and his team-mates know nothing more about the gunmen as people living near the crime scene were already asleep at the time of the incident, or just do not want to testify.

Wala pong mag-witness sir eh, kasi nung pumunta po kami dun, nung nagputukan na daw po, sarado na lahat ng bahay. Patay lahat ng ilaw pagdating namin,” Lagaña said.

Police have also interviewed the birthday celebrant, Adie Duran, who told them that Rey was a both a “Skylab” operator and pastor in Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Inaalam pa namin ang motive sir, kasi ‘yung pastor naman po parang imposible naman na magkaroon ng kaaway ‘yun… tapos yung mga bata, wala naman ‘yung mga kamalay-malay,” Lagaña said. (John Roson)

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At least six people were injured when a bomb exploded and hit two passenger buses in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, late Saturday afternoon, police and military officials said.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police director, said the explosion occurred at the “roundball,” or rotunda, in Brgy. Kalawag 2, around 5:45 p.m.

The explosion hit a Husky bus (UWI-541) driven by Nelson Pallado and a Yellow Bus Line unit (MVV-325) driven by Robinson Salatutan, Balquin said in a text message.

The blast injured Salatutan and his 23-year-old conductor Emil Sangki, as well as passengers Hilmor Hapinat, 36; Jonathan Delfin, 23; Kevin Dolfo, 19; and Rachel Catequista, 27, Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said in a separate message.

Initial investigation by the Army’s Explosives and Ordnance Disposal team indicated that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device made of ammonium nitrate, fuel, and oil, and had nails for shrapnel, Asto said.

Flames engulfed the Husky bus, which was traveling from Cotabato City to Tacurong City, and had to be put out by firefighters, Balquin said. (John Roson)

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Police are now tracking down the owner of the bomb-laden motorcycle that was found at a Sultan Kudarat rotunda leading to Maguindanao on Friday.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police director, said the motorcycle was found to be registered to a certain Cristobal Campungan, a resident of Quezon blvd. in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

“We have already asked the provincial director of North Cotabato to help locate the owner of this motorcycle and invite him for questioning, why his motorcycle was used, at bakit isang taon nang expired ang rehistro,” Balquin said in a phone interview.

The motorcycle was found at the rotunda in Isulan on Friday, the third anniversary of the massacre in neighboring Maguindanao.

Two sets of bombs – one with two 60-millimeter mortar ammunition and another with two 81-millimeter mortar ammunition – were found hidden under the vehicle’s seat.

Police and military personnel, who responded to a tip form a “concerned citizen,” found the bombs already smoking when they arrived at the scene, but still managed to defuse these.

‘Yung dalawang IED (improvised explosive device) na ‘yun pagka sumabog will create tremendous damage, injuries kung hindi man, o baka marami ang mamamatay,” Balquin said in an earlier interview.

Balquin said they have yet to determine if the bombs were intended for those who attended the massacre’s commemoration, including Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto’ Mangudadatu who “usually” passes by the rotunda. (John Roson)

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Authorities in Sultan Kudarat defused two powerful bombs rigged into a motorcycle that was left at a rotunda leading to Maguindanao on Friday, the third anniversary of the infamous massacre in the neighboring province.

Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police director, said one of the bombs had two 60-millimeter mortar ammunition while the other had two 81-millimeter rounds.

“When our EOD (explosives and ordnance disposal) team arrived, umuusok na ‘yung cord, fortunately ‘yung blasting cap na mag-iignite sana para mag-create ng explosion ay hindi pumutok,” Balquin said in a phone interview.

The bombs, which have a cellphone as triggering device, were placed under the seat of the motorcycle left at the rotunda in Isulan, he said.

“‘Yung dalawang IED (improvised explosive device) na ‘yun pagka sumabog will create tremendous damage, injuries kung hindi man, o baka marami ang mamamatay,” Balquin said.

A “concerned citizen” called the Isulan Police around 8:20 a.m. and reported seeing the motorcycle at one of the rotunda’s exits – the one leading to Maguindanao.

Members of the Isulan Police, along with soldiers, arrived around 8:30 a.m., cordoned the area, and were able to defuse the bombs around 9 a.m.

Balquin said they have yet to determine if the bombs were intended for those who attended the massacre’s commemoration, including Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu who “usually” passes by the rotunda.

Mangudadatu’s wife, relatives, supporters, and more than 30 media personnel were killed in the massacre in Ampatuan town on Nov. 23, 2009. (John Roson)

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2 drown, 1 missing in Mindanao floods

Two people drowned while another is still missing as flash floods caused by a low-pressure area (LPA) hit several areas in Western, Central, and Southern Mindanao, authorities said.

Ruel Aling, 22, and Zosito Andamon, 28, drowned when floods hit Sta. Cruz and Digos City, Davao del Sur, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Authorities are searching for Arjay Javier, who went missing after jumping into a river in Makilala, North Cotabato, which had strong water current caused by heavy rains.

The 17-year-old Javier was reportedly drunk on Sunday afternoon when he jumped into the river and was carried away by the strong current, the NDRRMC said.

Rains brought by the LPA also hit Davao del Sur on Sunday night, causing the Sibulan River in Sta. Cruz to overflow. Waters from the river flooded Brgys. Darong, Sibulan, and Astorga.

Floods also struck 21 barangays in Sultan Kudarat and Buldon, both of Maguindanao, as well as Brgy. Poblacion in Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, the NDRRMC said.

“Waist-deep floods and strong winds occurred in these areas, causing passengers to be stranded for few hours,” NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos said.

The latest flooding occurred in Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay, around 4 a.m. Monday.

The continuous heavy rainfall brought by the LPA and Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone caused the water level at the Sibuguey Valley River to rise, according Ramos.

Waters from the swollen river caused floods in Brgys. Poblacion, Balugo, Sta. Barbara, San Jose, La Victoria, Gandiangan, Lumpanac, and Lower Baluran, he said.

Some 250 families from Brgy. Poblacion were evacuated to higher ground and took shelter at a “bagsakan center,” while the affected residents of the other barangays opted to stay with relatives, Ramos said. (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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