MSU: New IT Building Nears Completion

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By Asa Madale

INFORMATION and communication technologies are powerful tools in enhancing learning and communication processes for marginalized communities and individuals. Such technologies are vital in advancing peace for sustainable development. However, such technologies contributed to the emerging “digital divide” between the information-rich (those who have access to these resources) and the information-poor (those who not have).

Thus, the challenge everyone faces is in developing  the capabilities to provide and offer access to such technologies.
According to Mindanao State University president Macapado A. Muslim, “One of my top priority programs when I assumed office on January 2008 was to provide the main campus an improved capacity in instruction, research, and extension by equipping it with relevant modern technologies such as the establishment of  the College of Information Technology (CIT). This will create more employment, livelihood opportunities and economic growth among the people by developing potential IT business applications for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the rest of Mindanao.” Muslim  said the construction of the College of Information and Technology  (CIT) three-story school building is near completion, including  work to modernize its facilities.

Earlier, President Benigno S. Aquino III,  who led the groundbreaking of the CIT school building  on April 23,2013 said in his speech in Filipino “For more than five decades, the MSU has cultivated and shaped the mental abilities of thousands of children in Mindanao. Once the project is completed , President Aquino III said students and the community near MSU will benefit from the modern computer training center, new teleconference , and multi-media room and laboratory for teaching information technology.

The MSU’s College of Information Technology building is to be utilized as the Information Center of the university, Mindanao’s  biggest, which operates as an umbrella outfit for several other state universities across Southern Mindanao. Muslim  said the visit  of President Aquino marked a new milestone in the MSU main-campus enhancing to pursue its dream to become “a world class university by 2020”.

Muslim  said the move to modernize, improve and develop the ICT  facilities at the main MSU campus here will provide an improved capacity in instruction, research, and extension by equipping  it with  relevant and modern technologies. The system  will also establish an information technology literacy program that is responsive to the multi-sectoral needs of the ARMM. The establishment of  the CIT will likewise serve as a host for information relevant to the socio-economic  development of the region. Muslim further explained that the idea of improving and modernizing the ICT at the main campus will provide greater opportunities for the university to effectively carry out its role in providing the less-privileged population of the ARMM region access to information and quality education, which are both essential and crucial to ensuring sustainable peace and development in the area.

The  CIT building  will also house  classrooms and computer laboratories, a computer training center, system department computer studies, support services, training department services and training department server farm, personnel office, an information technology library, books/holdings and other amenities.

For this school year 2014-2015, the CIT’s on-going projects iclude the upgrading of existing local area network, design and implementation of comprehensive fiber optic backbone for MSU-Marawi, establishment of CCTV camera network in the campus, enhancement of MSU website portal, and improvement of payroll system and computerized enrollment system.

Power sector debt: $ 34-B

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by Herman Tiu-Laurel

WHILE the country is being distracted with the Napoles hearings revolving around P 10-Billion pork barrel scams involving four dozen opposition and administration “sow-lons”, a national shame of $ 34-Billion or P 1.5-Trillion of unjust debt on the shoulder of the people continues to weigh down the nation, its economy and its chances for economic take-off astride other Asian countries. The P 1.5-Trillion debt of the power sector is a fifth of the total debt of P 5.46-Trillion and yet there has been no executive or legislative investigation, senate hearing or national media uproar on it, thence the continuing public ignorance of this national shame and injustice.

The P 1.5-Trillion debt is the combination of the National Power Corporation (NPC) and Power Sector Asset and Liabilities Management (PSALM) current obligations amounting to $ 16-Billion and $ 18-Billion respectively. These two debts began as a single debt, of NPC in 2001 of $ 18-Billion. Gloria Arroyo’s third Yellow government, after Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos, passed the Electric Power Industry Reform (Epira) law creating PSALM to liquidate NPC debts by buying and selling of NPC assets for private takeover. It should shock the nation that after 12 years and 91.75% of NPC assets privatized, NPC debt remains almost unchanged, while the new mountain of debt of PSALM had been created.

Iligan, EPIRA gone amok
Iligan City, Mindanao, is a prime case. Blessed with the Maria Cristina Falls and the wellspring of the massive Agus-Pulangui hydro-electric system. Iligan City with its 60,000 power consumers had for the longest time the lowest power cost in the Philippines. Up to only recently, delivered power cost there was only P 5/kWh; today Iligan City residents will face a 100% increase to P 10/kWh. The rise of globalist economic colonialism in the guise of “free trade” and “privatization” in the 80s, reassertion of oligarchy-elite Philippine politics with Corazon C. Aquino’s ascendance and the surge of profit-manic Filipino family-corporations led to the Epira and privatization of the power sector.
There was no Mindanao power shortage in 1992 but Cory Aquino, two days before her term ended, signed a midnight IPP contract for the Alcantara family-capitalist group (relations go back to Boston). The Alcantaras bought land for project at P 200/sq. m. and valued it at P 20,000/sq. m.. A three years later FVR signed a second Alcantara IPP, the two now valued at m P 3.5-Billion. The BOTs expired and returned to NPC, but confiscated by Iligan City for tax delinquency. In 2010 despite a higher P 500-M bid the plants the Iligan City council resold them to Alcantaras for P 300-Million, less than 10 cents to the Peso. Rehab cost of P 34-M was bloated to P 614-M and entire project cost to P 1.5-B as rate base.

Worse privatization cases
According to PSALM it has privatized 26 power generating plants and 4 decommissioned facilities (whatever that means) for 91.73% of its assets in Luzon and Visayas. Among the assets bought from NPC to privatize is the Bohol-Panay Power Plant Complex which was set up for P 19-Billion but sold to SPC for P 293-M, or two centavos to the Peso. One power plant in the complex was rehabilitated by NPC for P 1-Billion, that alone was a huge loss. Investigating further we found that a Chan Lok Lim heads SPC, he was formerly with ITE Power Corporation, a Singaporean company; we can be sure that behind these are also British finance-capital groups.
Another privatization scam sale and transfer of Transco, the transmission grid of NPC before which was earning P 16-B per annum when it was privatized. A Ramos-Razon-Carlyle first took over the $ 6-Billion grid for half that price, and then a transfer to the Sy-China Grid Corporation group for a $ 1-B down payment on a price of $ 4-B, to become National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). NGCP is now raking in profits that used to go to NPC and NGCP debt to Psalm is part of the latter’s P 568-B collectibles. NPC continued to pile up debts because its profit centers were gradually removed from it,

What’s With PNoy?

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by: Ramon Orosa

SO PNoy went to Zamboanga to try and put an end to the conflict. After one week, he’s back in Manila, but though reduced, the fighting has not ended. Somehow, his “visit” to Mindanao has raised questions although even prior to his visit, other questions were already being raised.


For example, the MPM and all the brouhaha about government and the malfeasance of legislators high and low and the assemblies to protest and keep the pressure to ensure that PNOY follows his own slogan of “Matuwid na Daan”. The peoples” demand is that PNoy applies the demand for accountability before the bar of justice across the board, meaning allies and foes alike, seeking not just examples to prosecute but to have hailed to court any and all involved within 100 days as his sign of sincerity if he is truly allied with the MPM as his minions have declared although there is a strong sentiment that that was no more than an attempt to preempt the MPM march.

Some have suggested that a diversionary tactic had to be created. The problem is that as I had it recounted to me, two weeks before the Zamboanga problem started, a senior ranking military official had already indicated that indeed such a development would take place in Mindanao without being area specific. #OpinYon #opinion

read cont | http://bit.ly/15Ictyo

Japanese Embassy Awards Mindanao Classrooms

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TWO turnover ceremonies were held in Mindanao on September 17 -18, 2013 for projects implemented by a Japanese NGO “ICAN.” Both projects were funded by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects, a grant funding program of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA).


On September 17, the ceremony was held at Bia-o Primary School in General Santos for the project called “Community Development Project with the Children of Indigenous Community in Mindanao” (Phase 2), amounting to US$ 240,693 (approximately PhP9.8 million). The ceremony was attended by Hon. Ronnel Rivera, Mayor of General Santos City and representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd) and the community as well as staff members of the Embassy of Japan and ICAN. #OpinYon #foreign #japan

Australia Provides Emergency Aid for Mindanao

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THE Australian Government today announced it will provide up to Php10 million (A$252,000) in emergency aid for families left homeless by the humanitarian crisis in Basilan and Zamboanga City.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said the conflict in Zamboanga and Basilan has created a humanitarian crisis deserving an Australian response.

“We are deeply concerned by the recent violence in Mindanao and the effect this has had on local people,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

(image credit - http://australasianinlandmissions.com/)
(image credit – http://australasianinlandmissions.com/)

More than 120,000 people have been displaced and 10,000 homes destroyed by fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a splinter group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City and the province of Basilan in Mindanao.

At the request of the Philippine Government and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Australia’s assistance will provide emergency aid including food, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, blankets, water containers, kitchen and hygiene kits for people left homeless by the conflict.

“Many people have lost their homes and livelihoods and are now staying in evacuation centres with very limited access to food, health, hygiene, water, and other basic services,” Ambassador Tweddell said.

“The Australian Government is making these items available through our partnerships with the Philippine Red Cross, the World Food Programme, and the United Nations Population Fund to assist the Philippine Government to respond quickly and effectively to the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga City and Basilan.”

Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MNLF broke out in Zamboanga City on September 9, and by September 13 had spilled over to the nearby island of Basilan.

In partnership with the Philippine Government, Australia’s aid program is working to improve the conditions for peace and security in Mindanao. #OpinYon #Foreign #Australia #Mindanao

Mindanao Conflagration

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By Herman Tiu-Laurel

IN AUGUST of 2012 at the height of peace talks between the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), the two negotiating parties belittled the possibility that the forces of Nur Misuari and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) and Amerail Umbra Kato’s BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) could derail the talks.

The convulsions the past week in Mindanao shows the folly of the government and MILF’s presumptuous disregard for the other stakeholders in Mindanao’s future. Then chief GRP negotiator and now Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen said, “As far as Nur forces, it is nothing we are too bothered about.”

On August 12, 2013 MNLF founding Chairman Nur Misuari declared the establishment of the United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik in in his Sulu stronghold, envisioning a territory consisting of Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan, and Sabah. This declaration came amidst the final stages of peace negotiations between the GRP and MILF to set up the Bangsamoro Political Entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that became part of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and created by law through Republic Act No. 6734 known as the ARMM Organic Act.

continuation | http://bit.ly/1a2XwES