Zamboanga City and Zamboanga Peninsula
LATEST UPDATE: July 1, 2020 - 2:25pm
LOCATION:
ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE
ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR
ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY
ZAMBOANGA
ZAMBOANGA CITY
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July 1, 2020

The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mortalities in Zamboanga City has increased to six after one of three new cases succumbed to the virus.

This, as the list of active cases soared to 39, with 172 recoveries out of 217 listed since March. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 29, 2020

A kidnap gang member, whose group linked with the Abu Sayyaf, was captured in a police operation Sunday in the coastal village of Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay, official said.

The arrested suspect was identified as Akmad Manguda Pagalala, 44, a fisherman and member of the Kiang Balimbingan Group, whose band is linked with the Abu Sayyaf and tagged to be involved in the abduction of Chinese businessman and local wealthy personalities in Zamboanga Sibugay area, said Police Regional Office 9 (PRO) director Brig. Gen. Jesus Cambay Jr. 

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 26, 2020

Officials say the national government has ensured to hasten the process and health protocols for the 5,300 Filipinos that will be deported by the Malaysian government in the southern part of the Philippines.

The deportees detained in Sabah will be sent by batches—400 each—starting this week.

National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., flew to Zamboanga City Thursday, along with National Defense Undersecretary Cesar B. Yano, who is leading the Task Group on the Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos, to fine-tune the process for the arrival of the deportees from Sabah later this month. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 25, 2020

An archdiocesan priest was pinned to death after the pickup truck he was driving collided with a 10-wheeler truck and crashed along the roadside shortly before midnight on Wednesday along the Maria Clara Lorenzo Lobregat Highway in an east coast village of Zamboanga City, police say.

The fatality was identified as Fr. Alfredo Alavado, 55, parish priest of Our Lady of Fatima in Barangay Manicahan east of this city, says Maj. Chester Natividad, chief of Police Station 4 in Barangay Culianan. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 24, 2020

The list of coronavirus disease cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula soars to 220 after 12 confirmed cases were confirmed as of Tuesday in the region, the Department of Health in the region says.

The new cases were registered in Zamboanga del Sur with 10 confirmed cases, including nine locally stranded individuals mostly coming from Cebu and two from Quezon City.

Another one case is a returning Overseas Filipino Worker. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 22, 2020

The police anti-drug unit arrested five suspected drug dealers and seized P224,000 worth of shabu in separate entrapment operations over the weekend in Zamboanga City, a security official says.

The police says three of the arrested suspects were under the regional watch list of notorious drug dealers while the other three suspects were newly identified dealers. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 19, 2020

A military official says at least three Abu Sayyaf members and a medic surrendered to the military troops with two high-powered firearms in Patikul town, Sulu.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., 11th Division and Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), says one of the three Abu Sayyaf members who surrendered to the 45th Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Ruben Guinolbay Wednesday at Barangay Tugas was not just an ordinary member as he served the group'ss medical doctor.

Vinluan has requested to keep the identities of the three surrenderees, citing security reasons and ongoing follow-up operations by the troops. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 18, 2020

There are only 35 active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zamboanga City, way lower than what the total number of cases suggests, according to the local task force on the coronavirus disease.

The task force here came out with the active figure after many professionals and businessmen said local authorities are allegedly using the total figure to scare the people.

The task force said that, based on the report of the City Health Office, the active cases are among the 190 total cases since March. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 16, 2020

After losing a around P3 billion due to the coronavirus lockdown, the business community in Zamboanga City is appealing to the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease to relax the classification of the southern port city to modified general community quarantine.

The IATF-EID listed Zamboanga City as among the areas in Mindanao, including Davao City, to continue under the GCQ until June 30.

Pedro Rufo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc. (ZCCIFI), appeals also the local government and its IATF to have empathy for people who have suffered as a result of the more than three months of lockdown. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 15, 2020

The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 9 (BJMP) has declared the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (CRC) as free from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after 14 of its personnel and 62 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) infected with the virus have all recovered.

“This is to inform the public that as of this date (June 13), Zamboanga City Jail male and female dormitories are now COVID-free,” BJMP 9 Community Relation chief Jail Sr. Insp. Roneil Inot said in a statement.

Inot said all of the 14 personnel who were confirmed positive with COVID-19 and the 62 PDLs and placed in isolation quarter for quarantine inside the CRC have already all recovered as there tested negative from COVID-19 virus.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 12, 2020

Military officials say the three Filipinos, who drifted last week in the border of Sabah and intercepted by Sabah authorities on suspicion of being members of Abu Sayyaf group, were turned over to the Philippine military in Turtle Island. 

The apprehended personalities were turned over by Eastern Sabah Security Command chief Maj. Gen. Datu’ Hazani Bin Ghazali at the maritime boundary of the Philippines and Malaysia, near Great Bakungan Island last Sunday to Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

Sobejana says the turnover was timely while he was visiting the far flung towns in the border of the Philippines to strengthen relationship with the local government units and stakeholders in Taganak Island. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 11, 2020

Zamboanga City health authorities say 24 more former persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) released through court orders have contracted COVID-19.

The new cases bring the number of cases in the city to 183 and in Zamboanga Peninsula to 189, according to the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) COVID-19.

The City Health Office of Zamboanga City says the 24 are among the 216 PDLs in a third batch of PDLs on a 14-day quarantine before being allowed to go home. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 8, 2020

A leader of a kidnap-for-ransom group linked to the Abu Sayyaf and wanted by Sabah security forces was killed Monday in police operation in Titay town, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The slain suspect was identified as Mamay Aburi, sub-leader of a KFRG that is linked with the Abu Sayyaf group, according to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 9.

The combined units of the CIDG and police intelligence units in the region, backed by the military troops from the 44th and 42nd infantry battalions launched the law enforcement operation to capture the suspect based on a warrant of arrest issued by a local court for violation of firearms and explosives.

Aburi was also wanted for robbery. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 8, 2020

The Zamboanga City council strongly supports the use of bicycles as a ‘new normal’ mode of transportation and is asking the local government to put up support infrastructure for the safety of the bikers.

Councilor Rogelio Valesco says he has filed a resolution calling for the city planning and the city engineer’s office to realize the establishment of bike lanes in the streets of this city, home to almost a million people.

Valesco says, while there might be features for the bike lanes in the mater development plans (MDP) for the city, these have not yet been put up. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 7, 2020

The Philippine National Police has designated a veteran of intelligence operations as the new regional police commander of Zamboanga Peninsula late this week following the reshuffle of senior police officers.

Police Brig. Gen. Jesus Cambay Jr. assumed Thursday as director of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO) in the place of Police Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, who retires on July 3.

Cambay, a native of Lagawe, Ifugao and member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Makatao” Class of 1989, will lead the 8,000-strong regional police office. 

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 4, 2020

 A woman, whose 18-year-old son tested positive for COVID-19 and has passed on, has been confirmed to have contracted the virus as well, bringing the number of cases in Zamboanga City to 155 as of Wednesday, according to authorities.

The local Inter-Agency Task Force COVID-19 says the latest case, tagged as ZC155, is a 43-year old woman and mother of ZC145. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 2, 2020

The leadership of the military Western Mindanao Command welcome 25 incoming Philippine Military Academy cadets from nearby provinces who will be on a seven-day quarantine before heading to Baguio City.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Westmincom, led the reception of the arrival of the incoming cadets.

The incoming cadets, 23 men and two women, took a rapid COVID-19 test during their courtesy call on Sobejana.

"I hope that by 2024 all of you who are gathered here today will successfully graduate from the academy and form part of the AFP,” Sobejana says during his brief talk with the cadets. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

 

May 30, 2020

A military official says at least 94 Tausug families who have been displaced for three years from the terror attacks of the Abu Sayyaf group managed to return home

The military say the 94 families were among the almost 200 families who were preemptively evacuated in 2017 in some barangays in Patikul due to the series of atrocities launched by the terror group. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 25, 2020

The military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) supports the call of the Bangsamoro region for a thorough and impartial investigation into mortar shelling that killed two children and injured a number of others Sunday in a village in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.

This, as the military says an ISIS-inspired terror group may be responsible for the mortar explosion in Barangay Kitango.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of Westmincom, says there were no troops from the 6th Infantry Division in the area when the incident happened.

"We have no operating troops in the area when the incident happened as we respect the Holy Ramadan," Encinas says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 19, 2020

The Bureau of Customs district office in Zamboanga City and local law enforcement destroy Tuesday approximately 5,000 smuggled cigarette master cases which were seized in this city, official said.

Lawyer Sigmundfreud Barte, customs district collector, says the seizure of the master cases of smuggled cigarettes estimated to be worth P210 million was a result of of operations done with the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, police and the National Bureau of Investigation since June of last year.

A master case has 50 cartons of 10 packs each.

The destruction of the contraband was conducted in a warehouse of a private shipping line. The cigarettes were drenched with water from a firetruck before being destroyed by a payloader and forklift. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 16, 2020

An official says a total of 3,170 persons were arrested for violating the protocols during the two-month implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Zamboanga peninsula.

The peninsula, which was placed under ECQ from March 17 to May 15, is now transitioning to general community quarantine. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 15, 2020

A regional health official says residents have to maintain vigilance against the possibility of coronavirus disease contamination when majority of the areas in the country will transition from enhanced community quarantine to general community quarantine.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, Department of Health 9 assistant director, says it will be a challenging period for health workers as they face several tasks during GCQ on how to guide the community.

“The people have mixed feelings about being happy and apprehensive when we scale down from enhanced to general community quarantine, but this is worth to say that we have to stay vigilant when we will go on general quarantine,” Brillantes says in virtual presser in Zamboanga. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 13, 2020

Thirteen of the 60 former persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) released in Zamboanga City this week and placed under quarantine have tested positive for COVID-19.

The results were based on the rapid testing through the Genexpert tests in the laboratory of Zamboanga City Medical Center, Dr. Dulve Amor Miravite of the City Health Office says.
 
The 13 newly-confirmed cases were among 60 released from the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center on court orders. They have been brought to an isolation center in the Cabatangan Complex.

They had previously tested negative for COVID-19.

The 13 newly confirmed cases were immediately separated from the 47 former PDLs and brought to the isolation center in the Cabatangan Complex.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 10, 2020

The construction of a "world class" treatment facility at the Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City will boost the morale of frontline troops, the Western Mindanao Command says.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana says the adjusted tactical operation and force protection for soldiers will be complemented with the ongoing construction of a high-tech treatment facility at the command's headquarters.

He says the establishment of the new treatment facility is a Department of Defense project being implemented under the Department of Public Works and Highways' ‘Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad’ (TIKAS), which started last May 7. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 7, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 9 is has distributed the Social Amelioration Program to 80% of beneficiary families affected by the community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This as the remaining barangays in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Isabela City which have not completed the distribution and payment of SAP grants have until Saturday to do so.

Ivan Erick Salvador, DSWD-9 spokesman, says the agency has already sent the forms and cash grants to 1,845 out of 1,904 barangays in the region. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 6, 2020

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH-9 assistant regional director, says COVID-19 isolation centers are needed as three laboratories that were visited by Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., also presidential peace adviser, will be operational by next week.

Brillantes says the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) TB laboratory that was converted to molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) lab is already operational while the two others that are to run next week are those of the Department of Agriculture (DA) lab and the Philippines Red Cross. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 4, 2020

Zamboanga del Norte on Monday records its first COVID-19 case, the Department of Health says.

The patient is a foreign national who visited Dipolog City and was hospitalized due to a heart condition in one of the hospitals in the city.

The patient, whose nationality was not made available, was airlifted to Manila and was later tested Monday to be positive from the virus, said the DOH in its advisory here.

The case emerged days after Zamboanga del Norte was put under General Community Quarantine  after recording no single case from March up to April 30.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 30, 2020

A former town councilor and his wife were killed in an ambush Wednesday in the hinterland of Sirawai town, Zamboanga del Norte.

The fatalities were identified as Hadji Lagumbay Galo, 51, a former councilor of Sirawai, and his wife Marida Abdullah-Galo, 51, a businesswoman, both residents of Barangay Balonkan, according to Maj. Helen Galvez, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO).

Galvez says the victims were on board their tricycle when they were ambushed on Wednesday morning by unidentified suspects along the road of Barangay Piacan while they were on their way to their coconut kiln dryer near their residence. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 29, 2020

Delayed test results have made it difficult for the Zamboanga City government to determine actual COVID-19 numbers, prompting it to extend the enhanced community quarantine in the city until May 15.

The Sangguniang Panglunsod approved a resolution for the extension of the ECQ presented by the local Inter-Agency Task Force COVID (IATF) and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, says Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, CDRRMO chief.

However, the city council resolution will still seek the concurrence of the national IATF-COVID on the extension ECQ extension which will run until May 15.

Health authorities say they are waiting for pending test results in the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) to help determine the extent of the COVID-19 infection in this city. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 29, 2020

The military says troops have recoevered an arms cache of the New People’s Army in Godod town, Zamboanga del Norte.

The weapons were reportedly found based on a tip from a former rebel.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commander of the 44th Infantry Battalion, sent soldiers to look for the arms cache hidden in the vicinity of Barangay Bunawan. They found two AK47 assault rifles and a caliber .45 pistol of the defunct Guerilla Front 13 under Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, the military also said.

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 28, 2020

An Army officer who was discharged after he recovered from COVID-19 tested positive in a third swab test, according to the Department of Health regional office in Zamboanga City.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH-9 assistant regional director, says the 52-year-old senior officer had been in medical isolation at Camp Sang-an in Labangan town for the extended quarantine while waiting for his test results.

The military official was one of three patients discharged early this month in Zamboanga del Sur.

Brillantes says the officer was discharged last April 7 from the COVID referral hospital in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur and will be brought back there.

"Based on the result of the swab, it is correct he was again positive of SARS Cov2. This is possible to happen, because this virus corona, a new strain which scientists are still studying the character," Brillantes says. 

He says this re-emerging case is the third in Mindanao with two other patients in Davao City also testing positive days after their discharge from confinement. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 27, 2020

Police Regional Office 9 has collected and contributed more than P7.8 million from its personnel in the Zamboanga Peninsula region to help indigent Filipino families, according to official.

The collection was in line with the “PNP Bayanihan Fund Challenge” known as “SAP” (Sariling Alay ng Pulis Para Sa Mahirap Project), a response of the PNP leadership to President Rodrigo Duterte's call for the entire Filipino nation to raise funds to support the campaign of the government and help those who are greatly affected by the COVID-19 crisis especially those belonging to the poorest of the poor families. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 27, 2020

Police Regional Office 9 has collected and contributed more than P7.8 million from its personnel in the Zamboanga Peninsula region to help indigent Filipino families, according to official.

The collection was in line with the “PNP Bayanihan Fund Challenge” known as “SAP” (Sariling Alay ng Pulis Para Sa Mahirap Project), a response of the PNP leadership to President Rodrigo Duterte's call for the entire Filipino nation to raise funds to support the campaign of the government and help those who are greatly affected by the COVID-19 crisis especially those belonging to the poorest of the poor families. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 22, 2020

Regional police in the Zamboanga Peninsula can deploy an additional 4,000 police personnel to assist local government units in the implementation of quarantine measures.

Col. John Guyguyon, deputy for administration of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO), says augmentation forces are being readied following the requests received by the police command from the various local government and barangays.

Guyguyon says "it has been observed that local government and many barangays have been requesting additional security forces to help them enforce the strict implementation of ECQ."

Initially, PRO-9 deployed 200 personnel from the Regional Training Center.

However, they will be pulled out on next week and will go on quarantine. — The STAR/Roel Pareño
 

April 21, 2020

A 94-year-old woman who had tested positive from the coronavirus disease died in Zamboanga City on Tuesday.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, assistant regional director of Department of Health 9 (DOH), says the patient is the first among confirmed cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula to succumb to COVID-19.

Brillantes says the woman, who was initially confined in a private hospital, was connected to a mechanical ventilator when she was transferred to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) COVID-19 facility.

Brillantes says the patient is one of the 12 positive or confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region with four  listed in Zamboanga del Sur (three recovered and discharged), six in Zamboanga City (three recovered and discharged) with two other residents who are confined in Manila. — The STAR/Roel Pareño
 

April 20, 2020

The provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur has restricted the entry of vehicles into the province as a precaution against the novel coronavirus.

The strict restriction and suspension order is contained in an Executive Order No. 2020-11 issued by Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Victor Yu to prevent the spread of the disease as the province remains under the state of calamity and continues to impose an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Restrictions will not apply to those exempted under the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease and those with the proper coordination with the province's COVID-19 task force.

Zamboanga del Sur connects Zamboanga Peninsula and the Lanao provinces.

The Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Health Office has eported at least four confirmed COVID-19 cases already, where three patients have recovered. The province also has 33 suspected cases and 744 possible cases. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 16, 2020

The police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group apprehends Thursday three people for violating the Price Act Law and seizes 464 liters of unbranded isopropyl alcohol in a sting operation in Zamboanga City.

The CIDG-9 field unit personnel launched an entrapment operation at noon along Alejo Alvarez Street, just beside the Camp Batalla along R.T Lim Boulevard, which led the apprehended of a certain Arnold Sotto, 40, and two accomplices.

The operatives seized from the possession from the suspects 464 one-liter plastic bottles of 70-percent solution isopropyl alcohol.

The CIDG said each bottle of alcohol was allegedly being sold for P350 pesos.

Sotto, however, denied ownership of the seized product, citing he was just requested to pick up the boxes of alcohol. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 15, 2020

Naval forces intercepted a watercraft loaded with 200 cases of smuggled cigarettes on Tuesday while near the waters off Zamboanga City.

Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), says Naval Special Operations Unit 9 and the Naval Intelligence Security Group spotted the “jungkong” watercraft with its five crew members sailing towards the coast of Barangay Campu Islam.

Kagaoan says naval forces immediately conducted an interception operation and seized the jungkong watercraft that was discovered to be loaded with 200 master cases of smuggled cigarettes with brands marked “Bravo” and “Fort”.

"Our troops sustain the conduct of maritime interdictions to curb illegal activities such as smuggling in the southern frontiers," Kagaoan says.

Initial investigation showed the jungkong reportedly came from Sulu. The naval authorities were also tracking down the owner as one person has claimed ownership of the contraband. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 14, 2020

A soldier who may have contracted COVID-19 through local transmission is the eighth confirmed patient in Zamboanga City.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, chair of the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) COVID-19, says the patient is a 41-year old soldier who tested positive Monday night according to results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.

Salazar says the patient is presently confined at the COVID center in Zamboanga City Medical Center.

April 13, 2020

The Zamboanga City government started burying the remains of COVID-19 fatalities without burial rites last week.
 
The local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) COVID-19, chaired by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, confirmed some of the remains of those who died from the deadly virus have been buried in sites earlier identified.

The task force said only the remains of those whose families have no means to bury their dead patient and those who have died of COVID-19 are buried there.

A marker with the names of those who were buried was also placed for identification, the IATF says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 12, 2020

Security forces arrested an Abu Sayyaf member Saturday during a raid in a remote coastal village east of Zambanga City.

The captured suspect was identified as Barri Happil, 40, a resident of sitio Palo-palo, Barangay Muti, some 58 kilometers away from the city proper, says Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, director of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO).

Quidilla says teams of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Field unit 9, Marines and police operatives tracked down the suspect who has standing warrant for illegal possession of explosive. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 9, 2020

The number of patients confirmed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in this city hit seven on Thursday, with the latest case being a 94-year old woman.

The local IATF chaired by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, reports that the latest patient has no travel history outside the city.

The elderly patient is currently confined in a private hospital and medical authorities are investigating how the victim contracted with the virus. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

 

April 7, 2020

A male physician listed as a person under investigation died Monday night while confined in one of the hospitals in Zamboanga City for symptoms of coronavirus disease, according to the regional Department of Health official.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH assistant regional director, confirmed the death of the patient, a 38-year-old physician. He says a swab sample will be sent to a testing lab in Davao City.

"Again, we are saddened to note and to inform you that we had again one fallen doctor who is labelled as PUI," Brillantes says in a streamed press briefing.

Brillantes said while the 38-year-old doctor was not assigned as a medical frontliner, he is the first doctor in the city believed to have died of COVID-19.

According to Brillantes, the victim, who was a pediatrician in a state-run hospital had traveled to Manila and returned to Zamboanga City on March 11 and went on self-quarantine upon arrival. The doctor fell sick on March 26 and was admitted to a hospital on April 3. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

April 2, 2020

Military engineers have worked overtime to complete and bring to full operations a facility for COVID-19 patients in Zamboanga City, where three cases have already been confirmed.

Personnel of the Army's 54th Engineer Brigade along with other stakeholders had been working since last week to put up the facility.

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), says the 54th EBde of the Philippine Army (PA) renovated the out-patient department of the Zamboanga City Medical Center as the city's quarantine and isolation center

"To fast track the renovation of the four-storey building, the 54EBDE deployed all its available skilled personnel including three enlisted women," says Brig. Gen. Anthony Cacayuran, commander of the 54th EBde.

March 31, 2020

The military's Western Mindanao Command has placed ten soldiers on its the list of persons under investigation (PUIs) after showing symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of Westmincom, says they have also listed at least 359 soldiers as persons under monitoring (PUMs) and have placed them under mandatory quarantine.

He says the PUIs and PUMs are from units in Central and Western Mindanao.

Encinas says two of the ten PUIs have been confined in the hospital for isolation but were all described to be in stable condition. Swab samples have been taken for testing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 30, 2020

Three new cases of coronavirus disease were confirmed in Zamboanga peninsula areas on Monday, according to the Department of Health (DOH) and the local Inter-Agency Task Force COVID-19.

The new three confirmed results brings the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region to four,  with the first case reported in Zamboanga City last week.

Test results from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Manila showed two persons under investigation (PUIs) in Zamboanga del Sur have tested positive, Gov, Victor Yu and the members of the Zamboanga del Sur Task Force COVID announce.

The two positive results were among the 7 PUIs’ specimen samples sent to the RITM in Manila, Yu says.

Health officials say the two positive cases include a 52-yea-old male from Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur who had travel history in Taguig and who traveled home via Zamboanga City last March 14.

The other patient is a 62-year-old female who had traveled to Manila last March 5 and went back in Pagadian City on March 7, where she manifested symptoms six days later.

According to health officials of Zamboanga del Sur Task Force COVID, the two patients were described to be physically and clinically stable.

Zamboanga City has registered its second confirmed case also on Monday, a 48-year old woman who also had travel history in Manila, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 24, 2020

The local inter-agency task force announces Tuesday night the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Zamboanga City

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, chair of the local task force, says in an emergency press briefing that the first confirmed case is a 29-year-old man.

"With sadness we have already a first confirmed case as of 8 p.m. tonight," Salazar says.

Dr. Emila Monicimpo, of the regional Department of Health office, says the patient had traveled to Manila and returned to the city on the first commercial flight on March 13.

Monicimpo says the patient sought consultation on March 15 at a private hospital and was found to have symptoms of COVID-19.

She says that, based on the triaging and protocol, a swab sample was immediately taken from the patient and sent to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa on March 17 along with the 14 other samples.

City Health Officer Dulce Amor Miravite says the patient is included in the 31 persons under investigation (PUIs) in the city.

The COVID-19 case is an outpatient and has been under home quarantine and under tight surveillance by health personnel.

"His condition is improving and his family members who were considered as persons under monitoring and are not showing symptoms," Miravite says

“Just tonight we received the results and the 14 case turned negative but the 15th case is positive who is a 29-year old male patient,” Monicimpo said. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 23, 2020

The Zamboanga City government is still waiting for results of a confirmatory test on a potential COVID-19 case who has since died after being in the hospital for symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease.  

The patient, a 57-year old female, had history of travel, which made her a patient under investigation, says Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite of the city health office.

"The case patient died Saturday. She had co-morbidity because she was known to be a diabetic patient. But we have got specimen sample and had sent it to RITM in Manila and we are awaiting for the confirmation result," Miravite says in a video teleconference for media.

She says those who had contact with the patient are already under quarantine. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 19, 2020

Security personnel led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group have arrested two online sellers who jacked up the price of rubbing alcohol in an entrapment operation in Zamboanga City

The CIDG-9 field unit and special operations group backed by forces from Air Command Group 9 and Regional Mobile Force Battalion and with personnel from the Department of Trade and Industry launched the entrapment operation Tuesday afternoon and arrested three people in Barangay San Roque.

Police Col. Tom Tuzon, CIDG-9 director, says authorities arrested the following suspects:

  • Arnel Salih Santos, 33, of Barangay San Roque
  • Arman Graciano Plateros, 32, of Barangay Vitali
  • Maria Azha Solis Arroyo, of Zone 3, Barangay Guisao

Tuzon says the suspects were arrested for selling overpriced alcohol and sanitizer, which violated Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act as amended by RA 10623. The law is meant to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at reasonable prices at all times.

The suspects were allegedly selling the alcohol at triple the price per bottle. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 18, 2020

All residents of Zamboanga City have been directed to stay under and expanded and enhanced community quarantine that starts on Friday.

"All the doctors and medical experts said the only manner to restrict this disease if all will stay at home and quarantine ourselves with our families and in the city follow this decision," Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said.

Salazar says strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households while movement shall be limited to access to basic necessities for a month.

"What is quarantine? At this point we assumed everyone is positive. Sweden advises healthy individuals even those with symptoms of COVID to stay at home and recover. Data says you will recover. Why burden the health system further COVID or not? Because at this point the number of cases don’t matter, the number of critical cases matter so stay at home and we quarantine together," Salazar says.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 17, 2020

The military in the southern Philippines is shifting its focus to supporting the Department of Health in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

However, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), says there is no suspension of operations against terror groups.

"We shifted our focus towards in helping address pandemic of COVID-19. Dito tayo naka-focus ngayon, supporting the DOH being the lead agency," Sobejana says.

Sobejana says Westmincom has been closely coordinating with the regional and local governments.

The command has also made available its assets, including airplanes and ships, for logistical support.

That includes transporting specimens taken from persons under investigation to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Manila.

The DOH regional office has listed 39 PUI cases and 1,893 persons under monitoring.

In Zamboanga City, there are at least 12 PUI cases and 119 PUMs. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño 

March 10, 2020

Fifty armed gunmen suspected of being members of the New People's Army torched heavy equipment in Tambulig town, Zamboanga del Sur on Monday, police say.

Col. Rhoede Espero, Zamboanga del Sur Police Provincial Office director, says the gunmen swooped down on the construction barracks at Barangay Lower Liason.

Workers at the barracks were already resting when the gunmen arrived and torched a small backhoe, a water tanker owned by Tambulig Mayor Charlotte Dumanjug Panal, a larger backhoe and a payloader owned by a Bebot Buenafe of Mahayag town. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

March 3, 2020

A junior police officer from Quezon City was killed after a fish carrier truck skid on side and pinned him to death Monday after along the highway in R.T Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay, according to police.

The victim was identified as Police Lt. Chester Malangan Banghulot, 44, a resident of Quezon City and assigned to the Zamboanga City Police Station 11 as part of his Field Training Program (FTP), according to R.T Lim Police Station chief Capt. Carlito Requilme.

The driver of the ill-fated fish carrier truck with plate number MAK 1347 was identified as Muktar Hamia Maulana, 51, a resident of Barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 12, 2020

The Department of Science and Technology's regional office in the Zamboanga Peninsula has provided more than P3 million in grants to six conflict-vulnerable communities along the coast of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Martin Wee, DOST regional director, says the grants were used for the establishment of solar-driven seaweed nursery farms and floating dryer facilities under the DOST's Grants-In-Aid (GIA) program.

Local government units in Alicia, Payao, Mabuhay, Talusan, and Olutanga each received P501,990 while the Katipunan Vegetable and Agar-Agar Grower's Association in Ipil received a grant of P493,500. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 11, 2020

Zamboanga City authorities have placed 10 Korean fishermen under mandatory quarantine and has ordered their boats to stay anchored off the coast of the city.

Local quarantine and health officials declined to provide details on the fishing boats and their crews, saying only that they have travel history in a country with confirmed novel coronavirus cases.

The government has imposed a travel ban on arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and on arrivals with a 14-day travel history in those places. The Bureau of Immigration has expanded the travel ban to include Taiwan.

According to security sources, the two boats arrived near Barangay Recodo on Sunday and were immediately inspected. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 10, 2020

Provincial and local police chiefs have been directed to stamp out corruption and illegal gambling in their areas of operation in the Zamboanga Peninsula or lose their posts.

Police Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, director of Police Regional Office 9, said the order was contained in a special directive issued by Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, Philippine National Police chief, to crack down on illegal gambling and illegal drugs while also working on the campaign on ending local communist armed conflict.

"Following the Special Directive of the chief PNP to crackdown illegal gambling in the country, I ordered a 'No Take' and 'One Strike Policy'," Quidilla says after meeting with the the police provincial directors, city and municipal police commanders of Zamboanga Peninsula at Camp Romeo Abendan in this city.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

February 6, 2020

Human rights group Karapatan condemns the arrest of engineer Jennefer Aguhob, a member of its national council, in Western Mindanao on Wednesday.

She was reportedly arrested on murder charges based on a warrant issued by a Dipolog City court in July 2019. 

Karapatan says her arrest "based on charges she wasn't aware of, based on incidents that she had no knowledge of, and based on an alleged crime that she had no participation in, depicts the kind of judicial harassment faced by human rights defenders and critics of this administration." 

Under normal procedures, those accused of a crime are given a chance to answer a criminal complaint against them before the matter is brought to a court.

January 31, 2020

A platoon of New People's Army rebels surrendered to the military troops Thursday in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay province, the military says.

Col. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, says the 28 NPA rebels also yielded seven firearms as well as explosives as they surrendered at the brigade headquarters on Friday morning.
 
He says the rebels from the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee that operates in Zamboanga peninsula and Misamis Occidental, were presented to the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) represented by Interior and Local Government director Mario Baterna, and 1st Division chief Brig. Gen. Generoso Poño.

Nicolas says the rebels were recruited into the NPA with promises of financial support for their families. — The STAR/Roel Pareño
 

December 17, 2019

Commanders and chiefs of police in Western Mindanao will be relieved of their posts if they fail to prevent the indiscriminate firing of guns during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the regional police office says.

Police Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, Police Regional Office 9 director, makes the stern warning as police are getting ready for more patrols during the holiday season.

"The 'One Strike Policy' will apply to police officers and commanders and chiefs of police for failure to resolve within 24 hours any indiscriminate firing incident that will result in death or injury," Quidilla says.

Although illegal, some Filipinos celebrate the holidays by firing their guns in the air, which risks people getting hit by stray bullets. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

December 16, 2019

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and police personnel seized some P3.7-million worth of shabu and arrested three suspected drug personalities in separate entrapment operations since Sunday night.

The fresh arrest was made near the port area Monday morning as the suspected illegal drug courier sold the shabu to a police operative in disguise.

The arrested suspect was identified as Rudy Gamboa Frias, 33, a resident of Barangay Asturias, Jolo, Sulu, said Police Capt. Edwin Duco, spokesman of Zamboanga City Police Office.

Frias, a vulcanizer, claimed he was just tasked by a certain Mhudz based in Jolo to deliver items in exchange for payment of P1,000 per delivery.

The operatives recovered from Frias at least 10 plastic sachets of shabu with an estimated market value of P300,000 and the marked money used in the buy-bust operation. 

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

November 20, 2019

The 1st Infantry Division has activated its 11th Division Sniper Company for deployment against terrorist and insurgent groups.

Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, acting commanding officer of the 1st Infantry Division led the activation of the 11th DSC in simple rites at the training center in Camp Sang-An in Labangan town, Zamboanga del Sur.

Gaerlan says the 11th DSC is a highly specialized force multiplier that will provide sniping capability and conduct reconnaissance and surveillance operations to the division's units operating in the Western Mindanao and Lanao areas.

He says the 11th DSC is composed of five officers and 63 enlisted personnel. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

 

 

November 18, 2019

The Zamboanga City-headquartered Western Mindanao Command and a fishing industry association are working together to provide relief packs to benefit 3,000 families affected by the series of earthquakes in North Cotabato earlier this month.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command chief, says his area command, in partnership with the Southern Philippine (SoPhil) Deep Sea Fishing Association Inc., has collected a large volume of relief goods in response to a call for assistance for the quake victims.

Sobejana says relief goods that were donated have been repacked since Saturday and will be forwarded immediately to the Eastern Mindanao Command who would conduct the distribution for the affected families in North Cotabato. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

November 15, 2019

Two Abu Sayyaf members, who evaded military operations in Sulu and went into hiding for three years, surrendered Thursday to the troops in Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commanding officer of the 44th Infantry Battalion, says the two former Abu Sayyaf members also surrendered two Garand rifles when they turned themselves in.

The two surrenderees were only identified as Jolo Usman and a certain alias Jul, both from Sulu and followers of notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Sibih Pisih.

"The two were Sulu-based but escaped from the area and lay low in Zamboanga Sibugay area since 2016," Templonuevo says, citing initial results of their tactical debriefing on the two Abu Sayyaf members. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

November 12, 2019

Hundreds of naval reservists are in Zamboanga City for an exercise to prepare them for national emergencies and disaster response operations in the southern Philippines.

Naval Forces Western Mindanao formally kicked off Monday its five-day "Exercise Pagsasama 2019" at Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan, NFWM commander, said Exercise Pagsasama 2019 is a Philippine Navy exercise to enhance its regular and reserve forces' capability in conducting naval operations.

Kagaoan said the training will enhance the readiness and interoperability between the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Navy Reserve Force, which includes Marine reservists, in case of national emergency situations and disasters.

The exercise will train sailors and Marines in humanitarian missions, community relations and maritime operations.— The STAR/Roel Pareño

November 11, 2019

The Zamboanga City police anti-drug unit arrested a young drug dealer and seized some P1.3-million worth of shabu in an entrapment operation over the weekend, a security official says.

The recovery of a large volume of illegal drugs comes as police and agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have been pursuing high-value targets behind the continued distribution of illegal drugs in this city.

The suspect was identified as Ameer Hajail Pula, 23, a resident of Barangay Recodo, says Police Col. Joseph Thomas Martir, director of Zamboanga City Police Office.

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 31, 2019

City police intelligence unit and anti-narcotics personnel seized a kilo of cocaine worth P5.3-million and arrested a suspect in an entrapment operation Thursday afternoon in a food chain in this city.

The police elements from the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) intelligence division under Police Col. Edilberto Alvarez and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office led by agent Jury Rocamora launched the buy-bust following the information and tip about the illegal trade of cocaine.

Police Capt. Edwin Duco, ZCPO spokesman, says the entrapment operation resulted the arrest of Timhar Jumala Alih, 45, of sitio Pitogo, Barangay Sinunuc east of this city. 

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 30, 2019

Police personnel conducting zoning operations in villages in Zamboanga City caused panic among residents because of reports that the members of the Moro National Liberation Front  members were gathering in the city.

The tension increased as residents Army and police personnel going to the barangays of Rio Hondo and Sta. Catalina on Tuesday night to verify the presence of the MNLF members.

Rio Hondo and Sta. Catalina were two of the most devastated villages following the 2013 siege in this city by an MNLF faction led by founding chairman Nur Misuari.

"These were just rumors spread by irresponsible netizens. There is no such thing," says Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command.

-- The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 27, 2019

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 9 and police arrested five suspects and seized two kilos of shabu worth P13.6 million on Sunday in a buy-bust operation in a village in Zamboanga City

The handover of the illegal drugs was to be done aboard a rented public utility jeepney commissioned by the suspects when they were arrested while traversing in front a fast food chain along San Jose Gusu shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday

The suspects agreed to settle with their kilos of shabu with the payment of P3.2 million which turned out to be boodle money in 32 bundles with each topped with a genuine P1000-peso bill.

The PDEA and police team recovered from the suspects two large transparent zip-lock plastic bags containing 1 kilogram each of shabu concealed in black plastic wrapped with packaging tape and the paper bag. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño

 

October 27, 2019

Forty-two former rebels of the New People’s Army have received their National Certificate (NC2) skilled workers after graduating from Technical Education and Skills  Development Authority courses in Dao, Pagadian City.

Capt. Clint Antipala, public affairs chief of the 1st Infantry Division, says the former rebels and their dependents in their blue togas walked to accept their respective certificates during the graduation rites.

Antipala adds the capability enhancement for the rebel returnees is part of the government’s program under its Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) in helping the former rebels earn a living. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 24, 2019

An improvised explosive device exploded in front of the Zamboanga City house of a Sulu town mayor on Thursday morning, although police say nobody was hurt in the blast.

The explosion happened outside the the house of Pangutaran Mayor Ashri Taib on Bienvenido Drive in Barangay Canelar Moret, Police Capt. Edwin Duco, spokesman of the Zamboanga City Police Office, says. The explosion was around six meters away from Taib's house.

Col. Antonio John Divinagracia, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga, says the IED is likely not part of a terrorist plot.

"The IED attack appeared to be directed to specific target and not terror-related," Divinagracia says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 17, 2019

Two suspected members of an Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group, believed to be on a kidnapping mission, were captured in a raid Wednesday by police elements in a village in Zamboanga City, a security official says.

The arrested suspects were identified as Mergan Esteban Cabil, 24, and Basher Tilani Tuwa, 34. — The STAR/Roel Pareño 

 

 

October 13, 2019

Maj. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of Western Mindanao Command, says all available naval and air assets have been utilized by Task Force Hyrons to look for the couple who were abducted from their resort in Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur on October 4.

Encinas says ground troops have expanded search and rescue operations across the Zamboanga peninsula. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño

 

October 13, 2019

Personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and police dismantled a drug den and arrested five suspects—including its operator, who is tagged as a high-value target—Thursday night in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay, official say..

Jacquelyn de Guzman, lawyer and PDEA 9 regional director, says her personnel, backed by the police regional drug enforcement unit and local police, raided the drug den at Purok Malipayon, Barangay Buluan about 11 p.m.

They recovered nine heat-sealed transparent plastic containing shabu weighing 20 grams with a street value of P136,000. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 8, 2019

Anti-drug police seized around P500,000 worth of shabu and arrested two local businessmen in a buy-bust operation Monday in Zamboanga City, police say Tuesday.

Police Maj. Helen Galvez, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 9 (PRO), says police arrested Domen Yu of Barangay Tetuan and Norman Cabili Selisana of Simunul town, Tawi-Tawi.

The city police's Station 6 launched the buy-bust operation after surveillance on suspects on Monday evening. A tip had prompted the surveillance operation that led to the buy-bust.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

October 7, 2019

The city prosecutor has dismissed a libel complaint filed by Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar against former Rep. Celso Lobregat (Zamboanga City) sparked by allegations of using government resources during elections in May.

Lobregat distributed copies of the decision in a conference held at his residence along Nuñez Street on Sunday.

Dipolog City Prosecutor Herminia Enero, assigned as acting city prosecutor for Zamboanga City, dismissed the complaint for insufficiency of evidence.

The complaint stemmed from video footage that Lobregat showed a press conference on May 8 alleging 400 sacks of rice were withdrawn from the City Social Welfare Office and transported to Salazar's residential compound on May 7.

This was a few days before the midterm polls.

Salazar, in her complaint, accused Lobregat of showing the video and accusing her of using government’s resources for her campaign.

In showing the video footage, Lobregat was quoted as saying: “you decide for yourself, you can see for yourself, these are government resources that are being delivered to the house of the mayor. Xxx you are not supposed to use government resources to your advantage.” — The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 25, 2019

Marines captured a follower of a notorious Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader during a tracking operation in a village east of Zamboanga City, the military says.

Col. Antonio John Divinagracia, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga, says Abu Sayyaf member Amran Dala was captured in Barangay Mercedes on Monday by personnel of Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 and of Police Station 4.

Divinagracia says Dala, who has a standing warrant of arrest for murder, is a follower of Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, one of the remaining henchmen and successors of slain Islamic State for Iraq and Syria Southeast Asia emir Isnilon Hapilon.

Hapilon was killed during the Marawi siege in 2017.

Dala is being subjected to a tactical debriefing to find out whether there are any terror plots against the city. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 14, 2019

Police say a fire officer was killed while six of his passengers were injured when the pick-up truck they were on board collided with a passenger bus on Friday along the highway in Liloy town, Zamboanga del Norte.

Police Major Helen Galvez, spokesperson of Police Regional Police Office 9, identifies the lone fatality as Fire Officer 1 Clayton Dela Cruz Sabanal, 33, assigned at Salug Fire Station and a resident of Poblacion East Salug, Zamboanga del Norte.

Galvez says the six injured victims were Josephose Macatual Alisna, 30; Richard Ligarte Cabardo; Jayson Acla, 18; Alfahad Mohammad Muksan; Jolito Siasico Gomez and John Dave Miraveles Oxino, 17. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 13, 2019

Thousands of residents of Zamboanga City were forced to evacuate as a flash flood inundated at least nine barangays due to incessant rains triggered by the southwest monsoon, also known as habagat.

The local weather bureau said heavy rain was due to the southwest monsoon, which was enhanced by tropical depression Marilyn.

The City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office has received no reports of casualties so far since the flooding started at dawn. The city government implemented forced evacuation in the flooded villages. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 6, 2019

A military official hails the Western Mindanao Command after it was conferred with the most highest proficiency status in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ transformation roadmap.

Armed Force Chief General Benjamin Madrigal, who was guest of the 13th Founding Anniversary of Westmincom, conferred Westmincom with the Proficiency Status and lauded the leadership of Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana for steering the command.

The Westmincom received the Gold Trail Blazer Award after garnering 97.3% of its proficiency in the programs adopted not only in the security operations against various threat groups but also in looking up the welfare of individual soldiers.

“The rating was so high and this prove that you cannot just proceed with operational accomplishment without pursuing transformation,” Madrigal says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño 

September 4, 2019

The police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are verifying the identities of three slain drug suspects and another who was arrested during a raid in a recognized Moro Islamic Liberation Front camp in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The joint anti-drug operation by the PDEA, police and military at Purok Javier, Barangay Upper Pangi, left PDEA agent Jack Roland Bastatas dead and a police officer wounded.

Jacquelyn de Guzman, a lawyer and PDEA-9 regional director, says they are coordinating with the MILF leadership through the ad hoc joint action group of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities for more information on the suspects.

The suspects who were killed were identified as Ibrahim Cula, Absar Cula and Jan-jan Mauli. The arrested suspect was identified as Rosalie Gonzales Cula.

"It is officially listed (as registered MILF community) and we don’t want to make any assumption that will have a possible effect (on the peace process)," De Guzman says.

De Guzman says the MILF leadership has continuously assured them that the front is firm in supporting the peace process.

The MILF has long declared that illegal drugs are strictly prohibited in its communities. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

September 2, 2019

Rep. Mujiv Hataman (Basilan) turns over a Boston Whaler speedboat to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana at the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.

The purchase of five Boston Whaler speedboats was funded by a P30-million allocation from the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao when Hataman was regional governor.

The speedboats are for the joint task forces in the Western Mindanao Command, which also operates in provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that replaced the ARMM. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 29, 2019

A lack of tuberculosis medicine from the central office has led to regional Department of Health offices to seek supplies from among themselves, a Health official in the Zamboanga Peninsula says.

Dr. Mary Rose Bugtay, DOH-9 cluster head for the infectious control unit, says the shortage is due to delayed deliveries from suppliers because of changes in packaging.

Bugtay says that in Region 9 alone, about 700 to 800 patients are waiting to get their tuberculosis medicine.

She says the region began to notice the lack in supply early this month although the central office advised them of a possible shortage as eaely as April.

“So what we did just to ensure to avoid from having stock out of the anti-TB medicines we try to manage our medicines at the local level by borrowing from provinces which still have available medicines while there is not delivery yet from the central office,” Bugtay says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 26, 2019

The new commander of Task Force Zamboanga has been told to make sure the regional business hub is safe from terror threats.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, 1st Infantry Division chief, issued the toll order to Col. John Divinagracia, who assumed leadership of the joint task force on Monday at Camp Arturo Enrile based in Barangay Malagutay in Zamboanga City.

Divinagracia replaces Col. Leonel Nicolas, who assumed last week as the 102nd Infantry Brigade commander. The brigade operates in the Zamboanga Peninsula and in Misamis Occidental.

"As the new commander of the Joint Task Force Zamboanga ensure there will be no untoward incident in Zamboanga City," says, adding an incident in the city will affect the entire region. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 20, 2019

The chif of Joint Task Force Zamboanga is now the commander of the Army brigade covering the Zamboanga peninsula.

Col. Leonel Nicolas now commands the 102nd Infantry Brigade based in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay after a change of command ceremony on Monday afternoon.

Nicolas replaces Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, who was promoted as assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division.

Nicolas is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1991 and is an Airborne Ranger. He has been hailed for preventing kidnapping and bombing incidents in his more than two years as JTFZ commander.

August 17, 2019

Officials say at least four Vietnamese fishermen were apprehended after the Philippine Coast Guard intercepted its fishing vessel suspected to be illegally poaching on turtles in the waters off Taganak Island, Tawi-Tawi.

Commodore Joseph Coyme, PCG Southwestern district commander, says his unit stationed at Great Bakungan were conducting maritime patrol when they spotted the unregistered vessel which turned out to be manned by Vietnamese fishermen about 3 p.m. Friday in the vicinity waters of Langgaan Island. 

Coyme says the Coast Guard personnel immediately intercepted the vessel which has no safety security environmental number tag, a tagging system that is being applied to all vessels in the country for purposes of security and identification. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 9, 2019

Four New People's Army rebels surrendered to the military in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay on Thursday, a security official says.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commander of the 44th Infantry Battalion, says two women, a team leader and a medic surrendered to troops and gave up the location of their arms cache. In the cache were an M14 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, an M1 Carbine, and a cal.38 revolver.

He says the rebel returnees also yielded two land mines, ammunitions, three cellphones and subversive documents described to be of intelligence value.

Templonuevo says the four told them they decided to surrender after hearing from former comrades who entered the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 7, 2019

More than 250 soldiers from different Army divisions have started marksman training at Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

The Army's 1st Infantry 'Tabak' Division is hosting Squad Snipers Training Class 3, facilitated by the Mobile Training Team, Marksmanship Training School of the Training and Doctrine Command, in Camp Sang-An in Labangan.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, says the training aims train the marksmen in using the standard issue Remington R4A3 assault rifles.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines acquired the R4A3, also commonly known as the M4 carbine, to replace the longer M16 rifle. 

Ancan says the 275 candidates will undergo the six-week course designed to train them to to shoot accurately and to provide covering fire as their squad advances.

"Bear in mind that many people sleep peacefully at night because there are men stand ready to protect them and that is our sworn oath," Ancan tells the trainees.

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

August 3, 2019

A military official says at least four members of the Islamic State-inspired terror group Dawlah Islamiyah surrendered to the authorities Friday in Lumba Bayabao town, Lanao del Sur.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, commander of the 103rd Brigade, says the group members also yielded a rocket propelled grenade, a carbine, three handguns, a caliber .45, two .38 revolvers, and ammunition when they surrendered in his headquarters at Barangay Sabala Bantayao.

“The two local terrorists were involved in the attack of Butig town in 2016,” Brawner says.

The military official says the surrender of the four members was a result of the joint efforts of the police and the local government led by Mayor Mahar Dagalangit of Lumba Bayabao town. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

July 22, 2019

Two unidentified gunmen shot a public school teacher inside her classroom in Guipos town, Zamboanga del Sur on Monday, police say.

Police say the victim was identified as Narcisa Caay Gumibao, 58, Grade 9 class adviser of Balongating National High School in Purok Bonifacio, Barangay Balongating.

Police Staff Sargeant Mylin Mancia, case investigator, says the gunmen were riding a motorcycle while looking for Gumibao at the school campus.

Mancia says the two suspects asked some of the students there if they know the teacher and her room. The students gave them directions to Gumbao's room/

The two suspects immediately went to the classroom and shot Gumibao several times wihtout warning. Some of Gumibao's students were already in the classroom when she was shot. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

July 20, 2019

Authorities say a trainee of the Bureau of Jail Management and Pelonogy 9 was killed while three others were injured in a multiple crash involving two trucks and a motorcycle along the highway of Pagadian City,  Zamboanga del Sur.

Police Lt. Col. Alvin Saguban, Pagadian City Police chief, identifies the fatality as Jail Officer 1 Junrey Benag, 26, a BJMP trainee.

The victim was already scheduled to report for formal duty on Monday.

Police investigation reveals that the victim was riding his motorcycle supposedly to attend his last day training at the BJMP regional headquarters when he was hit by a speeding cargo truck loaded with feeds about 5:10 a.m. Saturday along the highway in Barangay Tiguma. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

July 13, 2019

A security official says the naval forces intercepted a motorboat loaded with smuggled rice worth P12 million Friday near an island off Basilan province.

Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao, says the personnel of the Naval Task Force 61 were conducting maritime security patrol when they spotted the motorlaunch suspiciously steaming near the vicinity of Lampinigan Island.

Kagaoan says the naval forces immediately intercepted the watercraft and discovered it was loaded with 10,000 sacks of smuggled rice. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

July 2, 2019

The regional police office has placed all of Zamboanga peninsula on full alert status in response to the bombing last week of a military outpost in Indanan, Sulu.

Police presence in many areas across the region have been doubled and leaves for police personnel have been cancelled.

Provincial directors and station commanders have also been told to intensify and conduct target "hardening"—or making targets more difficult to attack— by ramping up police operations as well as intelligence gathering.

Security is also tight at all police checkpoints and at chokepoints. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 26, 2019

Personnel of Naval Forces Western Mindanao intercepted a ‘jungkung’ watercraft loaded with 600 master cases of smuggled cigarettes in waters off Zamboanga City early Wednesday.

Rear Admiral Erick Kagaoan, NFWM commander, says the naval personnel were on patrol when they spotted and intercepted the Azeez Express about 3 a.m. in waters off Bagong Calarian.

They immediately brought the watercraft and its six-member crew to the Majini Pier in Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

They discovered the suspicious watercraft was loaded with 600 master cases 'Bravo' cigarettes.

Kagaoan directed the naval team to immediately turnover the seized contraband to the Bureau of Customs district office for proper inventory.

“The foiling of the alleged illegal transport of smuggled imported cigarettes is a result of an intensified and focused maritime patrol and operation of the Philippine Navy in collaboration with other Law Enforcement Agency,” Kagaon says.

Kagaon vowed the NFWM will remain vigilant in the conduct of the sea operations to deter any unlawful activities in its area of operation. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 26, 2019

Two alleged communist rebels surrendered to the military Monday due to hardship and starvation while running away from the combat operations, a security official says Wednesday.

The two New People's Army rebels, who identities are being withheld for their security, surrendered to the 51st Infantry Battalion and 5th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Rogongon, says Capt. Clint Antipala, acting public affairs officer of the 1st Infantry Division.

Lt. Col. Jasper Edward Obar, commander of 51st IB, says the two alleged rebels claimed during debriefing that relentless combat operations had forced them to always be on the run and that they could only eat one meal a day.

“Life in the mountains was very hard. It was difficult than when we were still members of the NPA. This is beside the uncertain direction to what we are really fighting for,” alias Braga was quoted as saying in Bisaya by the military officials. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 24, 2019

Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc., through West Metro Medical Center, is building its fifth cancer center after a formal groundbreaking ceremony in Zamboanga City on Monday.

The MPHHI, which is part of Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investment Corp., will be constructing its the cancer treatment facility inside the compound of the WMMC located at the Veterans extension this city, says Ramon Diaz, president and chief executive officer of WMMC.

The center will cost more than P300 million to build.

Diaz says the West Metro Cancer Center is estimated to become operational by the first quarter of 2020.

He says the establishment of the cancer treatment facility is not an easy project to complete but is urgently needed in the region.

"And a cancer center in Zamboanga City and Western Mindanao is definitely worth having. It is about time that people here have access to quality cancer treatment. As you might have noticed, this is what West Metro tries to be here in Zamboanga. We want to be a hospital that brings to the community services that used to be unavailable, because truly, as our tagline says, West Metro cares," Diaz says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 24, 2019

At least eight public high school students were injured when the ceiling of the covered court they were using as a temporary classroom collapsed Monday morning in a remote village in Zamboanga City.

Local officials and teachers say the incident occurred 8:30a.m inside the Sinubong National High School, Barangay Sinubong, about 26 kilometers from the city proper.

The victims were identified as Michaela Martinez, Jenelyn Ebag, Shaina Alipan Radzmi Jainal, and Mica Macaso, all Grade 9 students at the school.

School teachers said more than 50 students were gathered at the covered court, which they had been using their temporary their old classroom had a leak in the ceiling. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 22, 2019

Police say suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen released unharmed nine Badjao tribesmen in Sulu after the hostages offered no means to pay ransom.

The police forces recovered the hostages about 10 p.m. Friday along the road of Barangay Kahawa, Talipao town. 

The victims told the police they were on board their fishing boat when they were taken at gunpoint by the gunmen in speedboats in the waters off Lahad Datu, Sabah. They said six of their companions were left behind. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 20, 2019

The Philippine Navy have intercepted a motor launch off Zamboanga City and seized about P25 million in smuggled cigarettes before dawn on Thursday.

The naval personnel under the Naval Forces Western Mindanao launched the operation following inter-agency tips about the smuggling of imported cigarettes.

Customs district collector Segundo Sigmunfreud Barte says the navy operatives intercepted Motorized Pumpboat Parniza about 1:30 a.m in the waters off Barangay Baliwasan Seaside.

Authorities believe the contraband was to be unloaded along the shoreline of sitio Estanvac, incidentally a few hundred meters away from the Naval Forces Western Mindanao headquarters in Barangay Campung Islam, adjacent to the village of Baliwasan.

The naval personnel immediately conducted board and search operation and discovered several boxes of "Bravo" brand smuggled cigarettes. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 16, 2019

A former policewoman and 13 other drug pushers were arrested in a series of buy-bust operations in Zamboanga City on Saturday.

Police Colonel Thomas Joseph Martir, Zamboanga City Police Office director, said the anti-drug sting yielded more than P205,000 worth of shabu.

Martir identified the arrested former policewoman as Charlotte Reyes Foncardas, 37, jobless and resident of Barangay Tetuan.

Police said Foncardas was arrested along with six others identified as:  

  • Jayson Bonifacio Taytay, 40
  • Eliner Marcelino Perez, 28
  • Joe Vincent Miguel Pantaleon, 29
  • Lionel Hipolito Dagalea, 32
  • and Joemar Siason Dagalea, 45.

All are residents of Barangay Guisao in Zamboanga City.

Martir said the seven other drugs suspects were also arrested by operatives from the different police stations.

The police official noted that those arrested were college and high school graduates and mostly jobless. -- The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 14, 2019

A police official says a male teacher and a grade 6 pupil were injured when a rifle grenade accidentally exploded while students were playing with it Thursday inside a public school in Liloy town, Zamboanga del Norte.

The injured victims were identified as Desiderio Pizon Acain, 54, teacher of Ganase Elementary School, and John Michael Fabraquel Baunillo, 12, a grade 6 pupil of the same school, saiys Police Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, director of Police Regional Office 9.

Police investigation disclosed that the students were playing with the rifle grenade when it accidentally exploded about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

The explosion injured two victims and partially damaged a classroom. The injured victims were brought to Liloy Integrated Hospital for treatment. Responding police recovered pieces of shrapnel from the parts of the rifle grenade. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 14, 2019

A police official says three drug dealers, including a female student, were arrested by police forces and seized more than P1 million worth of shabu during three separate operations in Zamboanga City,

The suspected drug dealers were identified as Adamay Abduhari Sipin, 19, a female college student; Munir Jalaidi Adjid, 42, a businessman and Arial Bael Buhian, 52.

The confiscated illegal drug substance were brought to Crime Laboratory Office for examination while all arrested drug suspects were detained at respective police stations and charged for violation of Republic Act 9165, known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 13, 2019

The cousin of a newly elected vice mayor of a town in Zamboanga del Sur was gunned down in Pagadian City on Thursday morning, police say.

The victim was identified as Sammy Nian, cousin of Vice Mayor-elect Matt Nian of Dinas town.

Police Brig. Gen. Froilan Quidilla, director of Police Regional Office 9, says the victim was shot dead by the two unkown gunmen around 7:20 a.m. near the Cabahug Hospital in Barangay San Pedro.

Polcie say Nian was in a motorized tricycle when the gunmen rode by on a scooter and shot him three times when it stopped near the hospital to drop off two passengers.

A pursuit operation is under way. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City 

June 12, 2019

A suspected kidnapper tagged in the abduction of an Italian priest 12 years ago, was killed in drug raid pre-dawn Wednesday in a coastal village of Zamboanga City.

Masdal Jakaria, suspected to be a member of KFRG Muloc and the Waning Abdusalam Group, was killed in a joint police and military operation to serve a search warrant for suspected violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act at Jakaria's safehouse in Barangay Mampang.

Police Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, director of Zamboanga City Police Office, says Jakaria opened fire on the team serving his warrant, triggering a shootout. 

"The suspect was involved in the abduction of a foreign priest," Martir says, referring to the abduction of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi.

Bossi was abducted by 10 gunmen of the Waning Abdusalam Group on June 10, 2007 while he was on his way to Barangay Bulawan in Payao town, Zamboanga Sibugay to officiate a mass.

Bossi was freed after 41 days in captivity. Operations to find him left 14 Marines and nine others dead in an ambush on July 11, 2007 in the hinterlands of Al-Barka in Basilan. — The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 5, 2019

A security official says troops recovered several high-powered firearms and other paraphernalia hidden by the Abu Sayyaf group in an island off Sulu. 
 
Maj. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, says the troops from the 6th Special Forces Battalion and five members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team were conducting security patrol when they were led to cache of firearms hidden by the surviving Abu Sayyaf members in Minis Island off Barangay Latih, Patikul town.

Pabayo says firearms, magazines and ammunition were kept by the fleeing Abu Sayyaf to avoid detection by pursuing military forces.

The cache include one M14 sniper rifle and one M16 assault rifle, a bandolier, three M14 magazines, another magazine for M16 all loaded with ammunition, a set each of military and police battle dress uniforms. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

June 4, 2019

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has sent a battalion of soldiers to Zamboanga City to secure it as more troops are poured into operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.
 
The military says the 74th Infantry Battalion arrived in Zamboanga City on Monday from Sumisip, Basilan. The 74th IB will replace the 11th IB, which is going back to the Capiz-headquartered 3rd Infantry Division.

Col. Leonel Nicolas, commander of Joint Task Force Zamboanga, says there will be a smooth transition as the two battalions trade places.

"There will be no security vacuum in the deployment. We don’t have anything to worry about," Nicolas says.

The JTFZ, which has at least three battalions of Army troops in and around the city, can also mobilize Air Force and Navy units based in the city.

— The STAR/Roel Pareño in Zamboanga City

June 2, 2019

An intelligence officer working in the anti-drug campaign and a businessman were killed while two others were wounded in separate gun attacks in the Zamboanga Peninsula on Saturday, a security official says.

Police Corporal Edgar Gaganting, assigned at Police Station 4 as intelligence officer and anti-drug enforcer, was shot by two unidentified motor riding assassins about 5:35 p.m along the road at Barangay Tumaga, Zamboanga City.

Gaganting, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head, was rushed to the hospital was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 28, 2019

An industrial canning steam boiler exploded in a factory in Zamboanga City on Tuesday, killing a worker and leaving two others injured, police say.

The city's Police Station 9 reports the incident occurred inside the steam section facility of Southwest Asia Canning Corp. in Barangay Talisayan before noon.

Police Major Chester Natividad, Police Station 9 commander, says assistant boiler operator Zacarias Alberio Rico, 49, of Barangay Talisayan was killed in the explosion.

Francisco Caunsag Dumagal, 39, chief operator, and Mark Anthony Villaflores, 28, the safety officer of the canning factory, were injured.

Police say the three were troubleshooting the steam boiler when it exploded. — The STAR/Roel Pareño 

May 27, 2019

A teenager was killed after he was struck by lightning Sunday in a coastal village in Tabina town, Zamboanga del Sur.

Police identified the victim as a 16-year-old Grade 8 student and resident of Purok Quarry, Barangay Abong-Abong.

Police Major Helen Galvez, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 9, said investigation disclosed the victim was aboard on a banca on an errand to buy some spare parts for their motorized pumpboat when he was struck by lightning about 7:15 a.m while heading to Barangay Poblacion.

A witness, identified as Ronilo Ocang, said the banca was heading towards Purok Quarry when it was hit by lightning. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 27, 2019

Personnel from the  Bureau of Customs, Coast Guard and Marines destroy 575 boxes of smuggled cigarettes worth around P30 million in Zamboanga City on Monday.

Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 seized the smuggled cigarettes from a warehouse in Barangay Arena Blanco on Saturday night, Customs District Collector Segundo Sigmunfreud Barte.

Barte says the Marines immediately alerted Customs about the discovery of the smuggled “Union” cigarettes and subsequently conducted the raid and confiscation of the contraband.

Barte says warehouse workers managed to scamper and swim away.

May 26, 2019

Rep. Celso Lobregat has filed an electoral protest against Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar over alleged irregularities in the May 13 polls, the congressman announces Sunday.

Lobregat says the case was filed by his lawyers last Thursday and received by the Comelec Judicial Records Division. The protest was logged as EPC No. 2019-001.

“We are protesting the results of the mayoralty race in Zamboanga City as they are not truly reflective of the actual and legitimate results due to electoral fraud, anomalies, irregularities and errors. We are filing this electoral protest so that the true will of the people will prevail,” Lobregat says.

Lobregat says that as early as the day after the elections he had already raised concerns over the results, which he says were “unbelievable”.  — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 25, 2019

Security officials say a young fighter of the New People’s Army voluntarily surrendered to the military after escaping from the rebel group reportedly due to frustration and hardship in the mountains of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, commanding officer of 44th Infantry Battalion, says the 21-year-old NPA defector also yielded his M14 rifle during his formal surrender at the battalion headquarters. — Report from Roel Pareño

May 22, 2019

The regional police command is deploying 503 new officers to its mobile public safety units.

The new police personnel have trained in the Basic Internal Security Operations Course aside from the baic recruit and field training courses.

Police Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, director of Police Regional Office 9, says the new cops were given a traditional send-off ceremony at Camp Col. Romeo Abendan in Zamboanga City on Monday.

Of the 503 new personnel, 190 were sent to the Regional Mobile Force Battalion-9. Another 78 were sent to the Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company while 61 will augment the Zamboanga Del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company.

The Zamboanga Del Sur Provincial Mobile Force Company gets 79 new cops and the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Mobile Force Company gains 93.

"The fresh batch of police force will beef up the existing deployment at the Public Safety Forces Company for police visibility and internal security operations across the region," Licup says. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 21, 2019

Australian troops are in Zamboanga for a training exercise on urban warfare with personnel of the Philippine Army.

The Philippines-Australia Army to Army Exercise 2019 formally opened Monday with troops of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division at Camp Sang-An in Labangan town, Zamboanga del Sur. 

— The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 20, 2019

Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson visits Zamboanga City to address the crew of HMAS Childers, an Australian patrol boat docked in the city for a maritime training exercise with the Philippine Navy.

The Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy will conduct the two weeks of exercises in the waters off Basilan and Sulu. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 16, 2019

In a statement after the proclamation, Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar calls on the city's residents to forget their political differecnes and buckle down to work for the development of the city.

The mayoral race between Salazar and Rep. Celso Lobregat was described by residents here as a rematch of the clash between the two influential clans in the 1980s, when the legendary Mayor Cesar Climaco defeated the Rep. Maria Clara Lobregat.

Salazar, a niece of Climaco, started her political career with the Lobregats as councilor and later as vice mayor. She was also congresswoman of the 1st District before running for mayor under Celso, son of Maria Clara Lobregat. This temporarily stopped the clan rivalry.

However, the animosity resumed in 2013 as she joined the Liberal Party to run for mayor as mayor to replace Lobregat, who ran for Congress. 

Rep. Lobregat, who joined the administration’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipio-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), was officially endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Salazar, ran under LP but distanced herself from the dwindling party by using her local group called Team Climaco or Team Pink. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 16, 2019

History repeats itself between two influential political clans as Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar defeats Rep. Celso Lobregat in the race for city hall.

Salazar, popularly known as Beng, will be officially proclaimed Thursday once the city board of canvassers finishes  the remaining 2% of the election returns from the remaining seven precincts in the city.

As things stood Thursday, Salazar had more than 144,000 votes against Lobregat's 111,000. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 12, 2019

An undetermined number of communist rebels, and a soldier, were wounded in a clash between Army and police personnel and members of the New People's Army in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, the military says.

According to 2Lt. Angel Manglapus, acting public affairs officer of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, troops from the 44th Infantry Battalion and Police Mobile Force Company were in a firefight with around 30 rebels at Barangay New Tampilisan.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo says they launched the operation following reports of the presence of the NPA rebels "reportedly threatening and harassing the populace in the area."

-- The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 8, 2019

Police and military personnel a man suspected of being a member of a kidnap-for-ransom gang and of being involved in the illegal drug trade in a pursuit operation in Labason town, Zamboanga del Norte on Tuesday, regional police say.

The captured suspect was identified as Asbi Samdani alias Asbih, 39, said to be a member of the Barahama Alih Group, a notorious criminal gang operating kidnap-for-ransom and illegal drug trade in Zamboanga peninsula.

Asbih was reportedly tracked down and arrested in Barangay Osukan, Labason town on Tuesday afternoon by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of Zamboanga Sibugay, Regional Drug Enforcement Unit 9, the military and the regional intelligence unit. — The STAR/Roel Pareño

May 7, 2019

Gun attacks in Pagadian City and Sominot in Zambaonga del Sur on Monday left at least four dead and two injured, police say Tuesday.

Police say the shooting in Pagadian City ohappened Monday night at the New Agora in the city's Sta. Lucia District.

Police Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, Police Regional Office 9 director, identified the victims as Noel Solmeron Carbonillas, 40, of sitio New Agora, and Mario Binghay, of legal age of Barangay Banale.

Unidentified gunmen also attacked and killed a barangay kagawad (councilor) and a watchman in the presence of his horrified children in Barangay Pictoran, Sominot town earlier that afternoon.

Licup identified the victims as Donald Espejo Monto, 41, barangay kagawad, and Antonio Patacte Malim, barangay tanod of Barangay Pictoran. — Roel Pareño

Follow this thread for updates from Zamboanga City and the Zamboanga Peninsula.

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