Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Bus Company plans to cut short Davao-Cotabato route

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- The lone bus firm servicing the Davao-Cotabato route is stopping its trip to North Cotabato on April 1, a company official said.

"Mulcting, extortion and the increasing number of non-paying passengers ... prompted the bus management to stop servicing almost one half of the franchise routes," said Eddie Soledad, Cotabato area manager of Weena Bus Company.

Soledad said the firm loses at least P7,000 a day per bus to people who refuse to pay fare.

"When asked to pay, these passengers would threaten our bus conductors and drivers," Soledad said.

He said Weena is planning to service the Davao to Kabacan, North Cotabato route only and would stop servicing the Kabacan to Cotabato City route "unless the local government units of the towns serviced by Weena would help us address the problem."

"This is to protect the lives not only of our drivers and conductors but (of) the riding public as well," he said in a radio interview.

Extortion gangs with terror links have launched bomb attacks on the bus firm.

The Weena management has already informed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Central and Southern Mindanao about the "temporary trip cut."

Babylen Mangelen, LTFRB Central Mindanao administrative officer, said her office was working with the bus management to find solutions.

Cotabato Mayor Muslimin Sema said he doesn’t see any problem if Weena stops servicing the route to his city since there are other public utility vehicles available for commuters.

But Mayor Loreto Cabaya of Aleosan, North Cotabato was saddened by the firm's plan.

"The bus firm had been part of our lives," he said.

Move to Install Sema as MNLF Chairman Questioned

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- An official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) denied any move to oust their chairman, Nur Misuari.

Hatimil Hassan, MNLF interim vice chair, earlier told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) that the central committee was planning to replace Misuari with MNLF secretary general Muslimin Sema.

Sema is mayor of this city and was one of the members of the MNLF Council of 15, the group that ousted Misuari as chair after his arrest on rebellion charges in 2001.

But Emmanuel Fontanilla, MNLF legal counsel and spokesperson for Mindanao, said Hassan has no legal personality to speak on behalf of the organization, adding that the MNLF faction led by Misuari is the one recognized by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

He also said Sema could not be MNLF chair considering he is no longer an independent member of the movement.

"He's already working with the government. How can he represent the true sentiment and aspirations of the Christians, lumad [indigenous people] and Muslims?" Fontanilla asked.

He accused the government of using divide-and-rule tactics to weaken the MNLF’s struggle.

According to him, the MNLF is set to hold its congress in Marawi City on April 5.

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