March 13, 2008



As the last survey of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) gave Zamboanga del Norte a very hard blow when it was cited the poorest in the country at that time, the latest survey was claimed as a show of growth.

Although it has still been among the Top Ten poorest in the country today, the provincial government was elated to know that poverty incidence in the province from 2003 to 2006 dipped by 1.5%. In 2003 NSCB report, it was pointed out that 64.6% of the people of the province were miserably poor.

In 2000, the board recorded it to be in the 17th rank among the poorest in the country, which meant only 47% of the people were poor. But poverty incidence rose by 17.6% in 2003 makint it the poorest province in the country at that time.

With the 2006 survey, the province went to a run higher than the province of Tawi-Tawi in the ladder of poverty incidence, making it to the second poorest spot. Tawi-Tawi registered a poverty incidence of 78.9%, the 14.6% higher than Zamboanga del Norte when it was dubbed as the country's poorest. 

Despite the NSCB report, many ZaNorteans were allegedly not pleased considering that the province had climbed only one step ahead of the No. 1 poorest. However, Gov. Rolando Yebes stressed that it was not easy to change the province's category overnight.

The National Statistical Coordination Board gave Zamboanga del Norte a very hard blow when it was cited the poorest in the country in their 2003 survey, the latest survey is claimed to show an incident of ‘growth’.

"It's not easy to fight poverty in the province especially if it has been wallowing in it for 12 long years already," the governor said, adding that even with the 1.5% decrease in the poverty incidence he was already happy. "It means that what I have been working hard bears fruit and has poitive result," he explained.

The rise of the province to the second rank as poorest, the governor explained further, was already an achievement on the part of the provincial government whose dream is to alleviate the condition of the people and give them opportunity for a better life. To raise the life standard of the ZaNorteans, Gov. Yebes pointed out, he had pushed for the implementation of the different livelihood projects in all barangays in the province today.

"...and I made sure of their sustainability and considered the vast majority of the people benefited by subjectig all project proposals under meticulous study," he disclosed.

The Provincial Planning and the Provincial Governor's Office took charge of all project proposals for livelihood projects. Other programs pointed out by the governor which elevated the category of the province included the Strong Nautical Highway at Pulauan Port, the conversion of said port into Port Management OPffice, the improvement project at Dipolog Airport including the instlallation of Instrument Landing System.

He also cited the ongoing negotiation to have direct chartered flights from Asian neighbors, and ethanol and cassava flour plots which will be possibly placed in Gutalac. Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Rosevic Lacaya-Ocampo stressed that the province's rise to the 2nd category shows that Gov. Yebes' implementation of many infrastructure development projects, the tourism industry, agriculture, education and health and social services had done the "push." (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)

Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email:


Phili's Angels extend services to ZaNorteans

A group of wornen from Scotland, calling themselves as Phili's Angels arrived Sunday to donate several items  to the new ZaNorte Medical Center and to give free medical services to ZaNorteans.

In a simple ceremony held Monday, Phili's Angels handed to Gov. Rolando E. Yebes brand new washing machine, dryer, suction machine, pulse oximeter and 250 bed sheets with pillow cases. The Phili's Angels also extended free medical services to the ZaNorteans at Sindangan District Hospital, Sibutad Municipal Hospital, ZaNorte Madical Center and at barangay Aliguay in Dapitan City.

The group also visited the orphanage in barangay Sicayab, this City, bringing foods and gifts to what they called as Little Angels. They also visited Dipolog Medical Center College Foundation, Inc. giving students, especially, those in medical courses, inspirations in pursuing the medical profession. They also discussed the possibility of working in their home country.

A picture of Phili's Angels on their way to the Phillipines.  They have been fundraising to provide medical supplies and equipment to help an ex colleague, Filipina ZaNortean Jo Morellos Morrison, who has moved to the Phillipines to help those in need.  These 6 ladies flew out to Manila at their own expense and will end up in a place called Dipolog to assist where they can.


From left to right:

Moira Sinclair, Sheena Moffat, Mhari Linklater, Doris Shearer, Ann Brough and Susan Bruce (Excerpt:

Aside from the medical services, the Phili's Angels also gave attention to environmental concerns as they visited Libuton Cave and planted trees near the cave.

For his part Gov. Rolando Yebes could not believe that Phili's Angels choose to visit and extend services to the Philippines considering that the country is notoriously known for Security threats and insurgency. The governor is grateful to Phili's Angels as they have clearly demonstrated love with service to the people of ZaNorte. Yebes also urged the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution making it known to the public that Phili's Angels as ambassadors of ZaNorte. 

The Phill's Angels is composed of Moira Sinclair, Sheena Moffat, Mhari Linklater, Catherine Edwards, Anne Brough, Susan Sinclair, Doris Shearer and Filipina ZaNortean Jo Morellos Morrison. Moira Sinclair is the group's chairperson while Morisson is the group's coordinator and responsible for bringing Phili's Angels to ZaNorte.

Phili's Angels, it was learned, was coined by the group from the word Philippines, a country which they want to visit and bring their hearts through services and friendship. The ladies from Scotland who now called themselves as friends of ZaNorte are friends of Morrison, a true-blooded ZaNortean. (Philettatiempo, Southpoint, Vol.1No.10)

Credits: The Southpoint is the latest weekly news publication circulated in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Misamis Occidental. It is registered under DTI Permit No. 00282924. The Southpoint can be reached through the following contact info: Sindangan, ZN; Landline: 212 – 4019; Mobile No.: +63 921 458 3830. Email:




A businesswoman, a rubber plantation owner and a cashier of a rubber businessman of Godod, Z.N. recently fell victims to robbery/holdup by still unidentified suspects.

It was learned that Cristina Tayoma, a storeowner was divested of P30T on February 20 and two dys after Samuel Dancac suffered the same fate when bonnet-wearing holduppers held them up and took away their cash.

Another unidentified victim was also robbed of her cash on the same day that Dancac was held up. The victim was reportedly a cashier of a businessman engaged in rubber business. It was disclosed that the crimes, were done by four unidentified men whose faces were covered by bonnets.

Residents in the area beleived alarmed by the sereis of robbery incidents in the area were allegedly leaving to seek refuge in a safer place. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)


 SC proposal on Neri’s case a “wise compromise: Aquino”

The proposal of the Supreme Court (SC) to allow former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Romulo Neri to testify at the Senate’s inquiry into the cancelled National Broad-band Network (NBN)-ZTE project, but with the condition that the senators refrain from asking him three questions regarding his conversation with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was a “wise compromise” while awaiting the final decision of the High Tribunal on the matter.

Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, dean of the Graduate School of Law of the San Beda College, in an interview at national television station NBN-4’s “Boses” last night, said the SC’s proposal “would have allowed the hearings to go on while we await the judgment of the SC on the three questions.” 

However, the Senate outrightly rejected the proposal, saying this would diminish the powers of the Senate to call any witness or resource person to an inquiry, or to ask certain questions. Fr. Aquino stressed that the SC decision was “necessary so the leaps and bounds of the Executive Order 464 will be defined clearly.”

He said it is also unfortunate that the lawyers of persons invited to Senate inquiries could only advise their clients but “can’t speak” for their clients. “You are practically helpless (at the Senate hearings),” he said. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the revocation of E.O 464 effective yesterday.

Neri agreed to resume his testimony before the Senate but would not answer questions regarding his conversations with the President after he told her about an alleged P200-million bribe offer by former Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos for the approval of the NBN-ZTE project. He said this was “privileged communication” with the President.

Neri also asked the High Tribunal to stop the Senate from arresting him for refusing earlier to testify again in the Senate.  The SC would have to decide whether the Senate has the right to arrest uncooperative witnesses and if the questions that Neri refused to answer were covered by executive privilege. (PIA-ZN)



Due to the opening of the Zamboanga Peninsula Regional Athletic Meet on March 24, Gov. Rolando Yebes disclosed that his State of the Province Address which was set on the same date was rescheduled on March 31.

A scene from last year’s State of the Province Address of Gov. Rolando Enriquez Yebes

In a letter sent to Vice Governor Francis Olvis and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the Provincial governor explained that the postponement of the SOPA allows the officials of the provincial government to witness and to particiapte in the cited affair which will be hosted by the province.

Earlier, the governor's SOPA was scheduled on March 24 which will come right after Easter Sunday. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)


Dipolog's InFra projects overpriced?


A Barangay health center without a comfort room costing P300T?

Barangay Captain Nathan Patangan of Barangay Diwan recently confirmed report that a Barangay Health center constructed during the administration of Mayor Roberto Uy cost P300T but without a comfort room.

He disclosed that since the health center buidlin was already completed, he had directed the Barangay health workers to hold office in the said building starting December last year.

However, he was refused by the head of the Barangay health workers since it had no comfort room. It was learned that the plan of the cnter was signed by Engr. Nedelia Magdayao and former Mayor Roberto uy.

Barangay Captain Patangan was surprised why the fomer Barangay Officials could not construct it using their 20% Economic Development Fund budget of 1.3M in which P130T could be used for such purpose.

He disclosed he had recently appropriated for the construction of a multi-purpose building which would house the Barangay health center complete with facilities including the toilets.

He also planned to construct an SK Center amounting to P120T including CR to answer the problem of the youth leaders who did not have any place to hold their sessions all these years. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)


LAND TAX Division extends 10% discount

The Land Tax Division of Dipolog City Treasurer's Office recently urged land taxpayers in the city to their land taxes at the earliest time possible in order to avail of the 10% discount which expires on March 31 this year.

Source disclosed that the Land tax Division Chief  Rebecca Naquila urged taxpayers to settle their obligation or surcharges which would be exacted upon them if they pay past the expiry date.

With three weeks more to go, the landowners were reminded to visit the Treasurer's Office as soon as possible. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)



The Office of the Provincial Agriculture is p resently working to make Barangay for its different agricultural programs and livelihood projects. This was disclosed by Mr. Vicente Sanchez, Jr. of the Provincial Veterinarian's source of food among the people.

It was learned that Diwan Barangay Captain Nathan Patangan had strongly supported the projects and consequently approved an ordinance which created a fish sanctuary in the Barangay.

On the other hand, ZaNorte's Supervising Agriclutirsts Maybel Bustaliño disclosed that her office had extensively implemented the province's Hi-Green Program in Diwan, especially in what she called as Pinakbit Group.

Other adjacent barangays like Cogon, Sangkol and Sinaman, Ms. Bustaliño said have also been infected with the Hi-Green 'fever' of the province.

"We are working hard to really place a link between the farm and the market as ordered by the provincial governor," Ms. Bustaliño stressed. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)




After almost two decades of just "wasting away", the Zamboanga del Norte Sports Complex had recently undergone facelifting in preparation for the holding of the Regional Athletic Meet on March 24-28 this year.

Gov. Rolando Yebes disclosed that the province had appropriated P6M to rehabilitate the old sports complex facilities which were just left out for a long time already.

The Zamboanga del Norte Sports Complex had recently undergone facelifting in preparation for the Regional Athletic Meet that will be held here on March 24-28 this year.

However, the governor pointed out, as of the moment, they have just done repairs to the old grandstand considering the enormous amount it could spend for a new one. It could be remembered that the province has no longer hosted any athletic meet since 1992 due to lot problem.

The cited lot problem was finally resolved in 2005 when the provincial government purchased the lot owned by the Martinez Family. "After the regional meet, I wish we could host a palarong Pambansa which we hosted in 1982 yet," the governor said. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)



“Lozada has said his piece, had his way and eventually enjoyed it. Now, let him face the proper forum to prove his allegations.”

Thus said Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, dean of the Graduate School of the San Beda College of Law, as he stressed that it is now time for the Senate’s National Broadband Network (NBN)-ZTE probe star witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr. to face the proper forum to prove his allegations. At the same time, Fr. Aquino urged the people “to make up their minds” and look for the truth in the courts “before believing what Lozada is saying.”

“We should let him testify before the court and then, we can find out if he is really telling the truth,” Fr. Aquino said in an interview over national television station NBN-4’s “Boses” last night. The San Beda Law dean also said another Senate witness, Dante Madriaga, and former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Romulo Neri must also face the court “so that we can find out the truth.”

Stressing that he is as ardent as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in finding out the truth, Fr. Aquino said the Senate investigations would not fulfill this goal, but only in the proper forum which is the Office of the Ombudsman.

“I’m not saying that what is happening in the Senate is not important, what I’m saying is that if we want to find out the truth, then, we should go to the court,” he said. “Exposes are very easy to make, just ask for a privilege speech and then you can do it. But none of these exposes present evidence. These are only allegations. We should go to the proper court to find out the truth,” he added.

Fr. Aquino also said the rallies staged by the critics of the Arroyo administration in Metro Manila must not be interpreted as the sentiment of the entire country. “What Imperial Manila wants does not necessarily mean that it is also the voice of the whole country,” he said. “In fact, I’m not even sure if what is happening now is the pulse of Manila,” he stressed. (PIA-ZN)



Speaking strogly against the use of the air compressors inm fishing activities, Provincial Fishery sector designate Mr. Vicente Sanchez, Jr. disclosed that such constant use will endanger the life of fishermen.

He urged all Municipal Agricultural Officers to implement the provincial ordinance which bans the use of air compressor in their fishing activities.

It was learned that more fishermen in Manukan and Jose Dalman have already employed the use of the cited gadget in diving Andres-andres, a local variety of seashells which are reportedly in deman in Manila and even abroad.

Reports recaching Mr. Sanchez's office alleged there were already few cases of death among divers. Recently, he disclosed he would be calling all MAO of coastal municipalities to discuss with them the strict implementation of the cited fisery law. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21)


By Ike Señeres


I wrote in my prior article that cooperatives could be formed to realize the five advocacies of the United National Integrated Development Alliance (UNIDA), namely shelter, health, agriculture, peace & order and education or SHAPE for short. One important ingredient for ensuring the sustainability of development programs is clearly assign the tasks to operating groups and to clearly define the performance targets of these groups.

Being the organization assigned to lead the shelter sector, the Inter-Charity Network (ICN) is now given the task of organizing cooperatives that would go into the business of building social housing for their own members. It appears that it would be a good direction to build condos where it is possible, to maximize the values of the available lands. Until now, we are still talking to key players who could possibly head the formation of United National Health Association (UNAHEALTH). Once it is formed, UNAHEALTH will become the organization that will be assigned to lead the health sector. Eventually, it will be given the task of organizing cooperatives that will go into the business of building small hospitals for their own members.

Already formed but still in the process of gathering its internal strengths, Sama-Kabuhayan, the lead organization of UNIDA for the agriculture sector is now assigned the task of organizing cooperatives that would build corporate farms for their own members. The Citizen’s Foundation for the Prevention of Crime & Injustice (CFPCI), the oldest member of UNIDA, will be assigned the task of organizing cooperatives that would provide third party services to the police stations and courthouses, mostly in the area of information and communications technology (ICT).

The University Consortium for Resource Networking (UNICORN), the second oldest member of UNIDA, will be assigned the task of organizing cooperatives that would build schools for the children of its own members. Possible entry points could be vocational schools and day care centers. In all cases, the businesses built by the cooperatives will stand side by side, on equal footing, together with the existing condos, hospitals, farms, third party providers and schools owned by corporations, in the spirit of cooperation under the leadership and guidance of UNIDA. (ESSAYS IN DEVELOPMENT SERIES- 12 March 2008)


NSCB latest survey:
Year 2000: No. 17; Year 2003: No. 1; Year 2006: No. 2

Nalaksi na gikan sa pagka numero uno nga pinaka-pobre nga probinsya sa tibuok Pilipinas ang Zamboanga del Norte subay na sa bag-ong migula nga survey sa National Statistical

Dili na numero uno nga pinaka-pobre nga probinsya sa tibuok Pilipinas ang Zamboanga del Norte subay na sa bag-ong migula nga survey sa National Statistical Coordination Board kon NSCB.

Coordination Board kon NSCB. Bisan tuod ug nagapabilin gihapon ang lalawigan sa ZaNorte sa Top Ten poorest province sa survey sa National Statistical Coordination Board sa tuig 2006 apan nagpakita nga miuswag ang kahimtang sa mga katawhan kon ikumpara sa tuig 2003.


Juan’s World
Southpoint Editorial Cartoon (Southpoint, Vol.1No.10)




I have the occasion to talk to the Committee on Agriculture of the Sangguniang Bayan of Katipunan the other day per their invitation. The Committee chaired by councilor Ben Drillon requested our Office (the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian) to assist them in drafting their so-called “The Rabies Control Ordinance of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte”.

I was lucky that I brought with me Dr. Alicia Argana, a field-experienced veterinarian, who did all the answering to a lot of questions about rabies. The doctor is an authority when it comes to the topic of rabies because her doctoral thesis is all focused to rabies. The intention of the Committee is to arrive to an ordinance that will eventually control rabies in the Municipality of Katipunan, including that of its 30 barangays. The target, I was told, is “Rabies-Free Katipunan by 2010”. The committee chairman told me that Mayor Cris Eguia has manifested to purchase P100,000-worth of rabies vaccine vials for his municipality to immunize all dogs in their area of responsibility. Is this the upshot of the “rabies scare” in Katipunan after the death of the rabid teacher victim? Maybe, it is! But I see this act of the good mayor and his council a commendable one.

While Dra. Argana gave some important information about rabies that somewhat relieved the fears of some councilors, I assisted the committee in rephrasing some of the provision of the draft ordinance so that they won’t run in conflict with certain provisions of our national law, the Republic Act No. 9482. Also, I recommended the insertions of some needed clauses, like the penalty clause in order to put more teeth in the implementation of such ordinance, and the appropriation clause to ensure regular annual funding of its rabies control program.

By the way, Republic Act No. 9482 is a new law pertaining to the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program of the national government. The consolidated bills from the House and the Senate was approved by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last May 14, 2007 to be known as “The Anti-Rabies Act of 2007”. The law regulates rabies spread from dog to dog and from dog to human, and imposes various heavy fines to dog owners who violate the law. It also regulates the impounding and disposal of stray dogs through euthanasia (mercy killing) not with the use of electricity (electrocution) nor with painful means but through painless death with the use of barbiturates, a kind of drug that once injected into the dog’s body it attacks its central nervous system and stops eventually the heart to beat. Seemingly, the new law evades a conflict with Republic Act No. 8485, otherwise known as “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998”, which prohibits the killing of animals by painful or brutal means.

Finally, the new law encourages also the dog’s depopulation (minimization of dog’s population) by way of spaying the female and caponizing the male adult dog. Admittedly, the program of preventing and controlling rabies spread cannot be done alone by any LGU. Its success or failure depend heavily on the level of  the coordination and collaboration shared by other agencies like the DepEd, the DOH, the Barangay Officials, the NGOs and POs, and the DA, to name few. (The New Nandau, Vol. XVII No.35)


Credits: The New Nandau is a member of the Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI). Editorial office is located at 076 Quezon Avenue, Dipolog City with Tel. No. (065) 212-3794; Cell No. +639205201041. Email: freedom_nandau



Is it for real?

Contrary to an earlier announcement that it would open during the first week of March, the Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center will be finally opening on April 2.

Gov. Rolando Yebes reasoned that the hospital staff were still busy equipping the new hospital and hauling the needed equipment. Provincial hospital Chief Dr. Chita Cunanan disclosed that they had transferred the Out-Patient department first since they had to complete the equipment of the Operating room yet.

The hospital administrator, Rosevic Lacaya-Ocampo also disclosed that they have added more room for charity ward in order to accomodate indigent patients under the LANDO BIBO program.

It was learned that Gov. Yebes had recently received more hospital equipment donated by Phili's Angels in Scotland this week, not to mention those donated also by the ZaNorte group in the U.S. like ZAMNAI and ZAMNAC. (Press Freedom, Vol. XX No. 21


Credits: Press Freedom is published every Saturday and entered as 3rd class mail matter in Dipolog City. Printed by Young Printing Press with Editorial Office located at Upper Turno, Dipolog City. Tel. No. (065) 212-4343 or 212-6665. Email: freedom_nandau





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