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Good news for our local teachers. City Mayor Beng Climaco an increase next year on the monthly allowance. From P700 per month, it was raised to P1,000.

She rued, if the police are receiving P1,000 each monthly, so must the teachers.

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Police and military forces have captured a suspected Abu Sayyaf member tagged in the mass abduction of foreign tourists on Sipadan island in Malaysia.

The suspect is Abdulmubin Kudalat Salahuddin, currently working as a security guard assigned in a mall here, acting Zamboanga City Police Office director Senior Superintendent Diomarie Albarico, repoted.

Albarico said Salahuddin was intercepted by the intelligence units of the police and military backed by the anti-terror forces of the Joint Task Force Zamboanga and the 5th Special Action Force Battalion about 10:45 p.m on the old highway of Barangay Guiwan.

When arrested, operatives recovered a fragmentation grenade placed inside his sling bag.

Based on the intelligence dossier, Albarico said Salahuddin was tagged as allegedly supplying firearms and ammunition to the Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf group.

And P/Insp Edwin Duco, City Police Office spokesman, said investigation later also found Salahuddin to be involved in the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping incident.

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Two foundations involved in the operation of the Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga vehemently denied allegations of Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Esra Cankour of the school’s connections with terror groups.

The denial to allegations of terror links by the Ambassador were contained in a statement sent by the Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation (ICAD) and the Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Inc (PDF) to media entities.

“ICAD and PDF vehemently denied (deny) that it is (they are) a terrorist organization(s) and that it (they participated in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.  We do not and have never had any links with any group involved in terror attacks,” the statement said.

The Ambassador’s “irresponsible and untruthful” statement, has placed the students and teachers of the school in grave danger, according to the statement.

The statement also outlined several social contributions given by the foundation to the community such as scholarships and grants, disaster relief and beef-sharing programs in different cities of the Philippines.

Maruf Celebi, Turkish Tolerance School Administrator, also strongly denied the allegations and described such allegations as politically motivated.

He described the school as an institution focusing on education and academics particularly  on making their students excel in the fields of Science and Math.

That the Turkish government’s allegation is politically motivated is something to be considered, for the ambassador identified the terrorist group as the Fetullah Gulen Movement, blaming Gulen - a US-based cleric, and his followers - for orchestrating last year’s July attempted coup, in which rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and fighter jets, bombed parliament and tried to abduct or kill President Tayyip Erdogan.

More than 250 people died and 2,000 more were injured during the failed coup, Cankour said.

In social media, former media man Roland Ramos likewise defended the school raking in several likes and favorable reactions.

But one calculated response came former ZC Task Force Commander, who later rose to become Armed Forces Chief Yano until retirement. Yano said, “She (Ambassador Esra Cankorur) represents the Turkish Pres and govt. She may have known something that others are not privy to..just my thought.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday ordered a separate investigation into the alleged Turkish terrorist group that has branched out in the Philippines since 1997 .

Cayetano said he was tapping all concerned agencies, the Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Customs, to strictly enforce the law and rules on foreign individuals and businessmen coming to the country.

In the same breath, Cayetano thanked the people of Turkey and the ambassador for their concern for the Philippines

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Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is back to his old fighting form, mouthing tirades against the Catholic Church.

In his speech at the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour Philippine reception in Davao City on Friday night, Duterte lambasted priests and bishops in the Philippines by accusing them of womanizing and other excesses.

He even encouraged his audience composed of Filipino-American delegates to read the book “Altar of Secrets” by the late journalist Aries Rufo, published in 2013.

The book tackled corruption, sexual abuses and other controversies that rocked the Philippine Catholic Church.

Church officials have been vocal in condemning the extrajudicial killings linked to the administration’s crackdown on the narcotics trade.

And Duterte cracked another confession of a wrongdoing, saying he and the Catholic clergy have the same weakness - womanizing.

But this time he practically issued a disclaimer to an earlier declaration - that unlike Church leaders, he is not corrupt.

“This I can promise you,” adding in Pilipino, “Even if I am this way, somewhat rude and uncouth, with outright vulgarity …I can guarantee you. There will be no corruption. There will be no abuses in government.”

“If I have committed a wrong before your eyes, your estimation, that’s your problem. I have my problems to solve. If you think that you are the guardians of all the souls of this universe, go ahead. But do it in the proper way,” he added.

And Malacañang was quick to add that Duterte was not “anti-Catholic” but was merely dispirited at the “adversarial” response of the Catholic Church to his deadly anti-drug war.

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Whereas before, Pres. Duterte was adversarial to the Americans, this time he has changed, acknowledging military assistance from the United States, as well as that of China’s, adding he would also welcome any aid from Russia in the fight against Islamic State (IS)-inspired militants in Mindanao where he had declared martial law.

Addressing diplomats in Davao City on Friday, the President said the Philippines would “stay with the Americans” under a 66-year-old defense treaty, but he again reminded Washington not to meddle with the way he runs the country, especially his human rights record and his bloody war on drugs.

And creditably, that ambiance is characterized now under the new Trump leadership, unlike the past of Obama’s.

“Let us give credit where credit is due. The United States helped the Armed Forces in this fight, and China committed and delivered a lot of firearms for us,” Mr. Duterte said.

“I don’t know about Russia but (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, he said he will help. I welcome all of that,” he added.

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A muscular handshake that turned their knuckles white seems to be giving way to a budding friendship between United States President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The unexpected bromance between the leaders of America and France was on full display for the world on Friday at the annual Bastille Day military parade and celebration in Paris.

Yet, amid all these vibes, feminists still spoke ill of Trump when the latter quipped a complimentary word - beautiful - to Marcron’s wife.

Dirty minds. Think so?

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The recommendation made by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to downgrade the charges against former President Benigno Aquino drew condemnation from both the families of the slain “SAF 44” and officials of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Saturday.

The families and the VACC instead said they want Aquino to be indicted for homicide.

The reaction came following Morales’ recommendation to dismiss the charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against Aquino for “lack of probable cause” even as she ordered the former president to be tried for usurpation of authority and a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for “criminal negligence.”

As clearly pointed out, SS joins the VACC damnation of both family members and the VACC. (By Jimmy Cabato)




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