Davao is safe for ships

This old report from the International Maritime Bureau was simply outrageous.

“The center said ships calling at Davao in the Philippines have also reported men firing rocket-propelled grenades at ships from banca (small canoe with outriggers). In the past 4 weeks, four ships have been attacked this way.”

This report was part of the FF World Ocean News to warn against pirates.

I have been a resident of Davao for the past 52 years, a member of the media and an elected official. I can attest that no incident of this type happened in Davao.

Clear proof of this is the uninterrupted sailings of banana boats from Davao to Japan, China, South Korea, Middle East and other destinations.

This news would definitely help correct the utterly erroneous IMB report.

Another soldier senator?

Is he cooking up another coup or building up forces to follow the lead of Antonio Trillanes to win but not sit in the Senate?

Check out jailed BGen. Danny Lim in uniting a squad of military oriented groups.

Soldiers/Policemen in the are Senate Pong Biazon, PMA classmates Gringo Honasan and Ping Lacson, and Trillanes, who like Lim is incarcerated.

My house as rebel camp?

Press Statement

October 3, 2008

I have received reports this morning that one radio station in Davao City reported that NPA rebels “were being housed” at the “residence” of one Peter Lavina in Tamayong.

I do not know of any other Peter Lavina in Davao City. So, the alleged report must be referring to me as the only Peter Lavina in our city.

I called up Bombo Radyo at about 8:00 a.m. and confirmed from Bombo Brix that indeed their report was based on “police intelligence report” that the house of Peter Lavina is being used as a “camp” of the NPA.

I vehemently deny that I, Councilor Peter Lavina, owns a house or has a “residence” in Tamayong or in any part of the 3rd District.

In fact, I am not familiar with the place. The only time that I was in Tamayong was in 2007 to join members of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s party to greet Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on his birthday at his Prayer Mountain.

I have not been to Tamayong before or after that. Moreover, I have not been to the 3rd District for a long time given that I stay and serve in the 1st District.

The news report based on so-called “police intelligence report” is, therefore, totally baseless and false.

It maligns my good name and standing in the Davao community and pictures me, an elected public official, as harboring rebels.

I have requested the radio station to help correct this mistake. Now, I ask police and military authorities to re-verify its sources of information. It is truly lamentable that certain members of the police to fall for such elementary error. Had they checked the story first with me, I could have there and then confirmed the falsity of the report.

Damage, unfortunately, has been done now. Not only to me personally and officially, but more importantly, to the truth of the story and to the reputation and integrity of our intelligence community for such a grossly erroneous report.

Councilor Peter T. Laviña

1:32 p.m.

Work of the devil

I fully agree with the police investigating this gruesome crime. This is the handiwork of the devil.

This is the worst bank robbery in the country and merited front page billing at Yahoo.

The massacre of bank employees was simply unprecedented.

Paul replies to NPA threat

From my inbox, here’s Paul Dominguez’s reply to the New People’s Army death sentence issued on the anniversary of the revolutionary group last March 29:

“I was surprised to receive information that the Valentin Palamine Command of the New People’s Army has issued a threat against my person and accused me of being involved in “deceit, coercion and murder” due to my involvement in the exploration phase of the Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) project in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

The allegations being made against me are all the more disconcerting since I resigned from SMI as president on April 1, 2007 when Xstrata exercised its option to acquire a majority stake of SMI and took over the management of the company.

For the record, the accusations being made against me are totally unfounded and without basis in truth and in fact.

It is not true that I caused the militarization of Tampakan during my tenure as SMI president or that the exploration activities conducted by SMI dispossessed communities of their land and livelihood. On the contrary, the investments being made by SMI have created opportunities for the Tampakan residents and have the full support of all the lumad tribal councils, the barangay councils and the municipalities presently involved with the project. These facts are easily verifiable.

The principal focus of the management team during my tenure as SMI President was to undertake social development and environmental programs to precisely ensure that the host communities would be the first to benefit from the investments being undertaken in Tampakan. These programs were well received by the community and enabled the company to carry out its exploration activities without any major security-related incidents.

In fact, several of these community-based programs received awards and accolades from both local and foreign entities. The Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) honored SMI as the recipient of its highest award – the Presidential Mining Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) in December, 2006 in recognition of the company’s programs and projects for environmental protection and development of the host and neighboring communities. PMSEA also honored the company with a Special Award for the Best Mining Forest Program.

Under my watch, SMI initiated community development activities in education, capacity building and health, with special focus on the indigenous communities in whose lands the mine may eventually operate. As a result of these education initiatives, over 8000 school children in Tampakan, Colombio and Kiblawan continue to receive scholarship grants and financial assistance. In addition, several of these innovative development programs were recognized as model projects by our national officials as well as visiting international dignitaries.

In a visit to Tampakan in 2006, Tanzanian Mining Minister Lau Masha lauded the project, saying that he would encourage mining investors in Tanzania to “learn from Tampakan” and would push for the adoption of SMI’s best practices in Tanzania ’s mining projects. Among the innovative programs that Minister Masha wanted to replicate in Tanzania was the SMI Competence Center which undertakes skills development and adult literacy programs for the host communities to enable them to be the first to be gainfully employed by the project. This unique program was given the National Kabalikat Award for Industry by Tesda in 2007.

During my tenure, SMI also encouraged the three municipalities presently involved in the project to form an alliance to accelerate growth and development and jointly address whatever issues that may emerge in the course of development of the mining project. This initiative referred to as the KITACO Growth Area ensures that all sectors within the three municipalities of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio which are in three separate provinces are consulted at all times thus assuring full project transparency.

Over the last four decades, I have been involved in both government and private sector initiatives to bring about peace and development in Mindanao . My term as presidential assistant for Mindanao during the Ramos administration was characterized by significant economic growth and infrastructure development in the island as well as more cooperation with our neighbors in ASEAN.

Today, I continue to be involved in several private sector and civic organizations whose objectives are to promote peace and development, poverty alleviation and sustainable development particularly in Mindanao . I remain steadfast in my commitment to help accelerate the development of Mindanao .”

Back as battleground

Top honchos of the economic team of the government are in Davao City today to present the state of the economy to local officials and business sector.

Last week, controversial Joey de Venecia was here too as guest of local lawyers campaigning for truth.

This week, Jun Lozada is expected here for his provincial campus tour.

Davao City is back as a battleground for the hearts and minds of the people.

We recall that during the late 1970s and into the 1980s, this city was the laboratory of the urban war between NPA partisans and government-backed vigilante groups fighting for the loyalty of the people. It was a nasty experience that left the city with scars.

Would I expect this new game to be any different.

Nah, the visits of Joey de Venecia, Jun Lozada and the economic team would be as unproductive.

(6:15 a.m.)

Peaceful Davao del Sur

I was in Davao del Sur yesterday for the birthday of my wife’s nephew in Digos City, 55 km south of Davao City.

After lunch, we proceeded to my in-laws farm in Sta. Maria, another 35 km south, where we witnessed the death of a young tarsier found by farm hands.

Other than that tragic loss, the province was a complete serene greenery of mango, coconut and sugar plantations. No troubles at all.

That is why I fully agree with its governor, Dodo Cagas, that the recent travel advisory of the Canadian Government was baseless.

I am certain that those bureaucrats in Ottawa have not been to this peaceful place. And yet they decide the fate of not just travelers but the whole province.

(5:42 a.m.)