Wednesday, April 12, 2006

PRO 10 vow to intensify fight vs. illegal drugs in Normin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Cagayan journal / April 12) Police Yesterday vowed to step up the government's anti-illegal drug campaign in Northern Mindanao and warned syndicates to stop their nefarious activities or end up in jails.

Senior Supt. Rolando T. Dela Vega, Northern Mindanao police spokesman, said the campaign against illegal drugs will continue as the PRO 10 regional director Chief Supt. Florante Baguio urged the public to help authorities fight the menace of society.

Dela Vega who is the former regional training supervisor at the Special Training Unit 10 said Baguio lauded the members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other law enforcement groups for their dedication to their jobs that led to the confiscation of illegal drugs in the region.

The police recently destroyed some P30 million worth of confiscated chemicals and laboratory equipment used in the manufacture of shabu including separate raids and the uncovered drug laboratories in Misamis Oriental and Iligan City.

“The destruction of the illegal drug substance and laboratory equipment is part of the relentless effort by the PRO 10 to eradicate the distribution of illegal drugs in Northern Mindanao," Dela Vega said adding Baguio commended the good work of the law enforcers in the region.

Police report said burned chemicals were among those confiscated from a warehouse owned by businessman Stephen Gaisano in Cugman here, Lugait town in Misamis Oriental and Barangay Saray, Iligan City.

"The police destroyed almost 1, 300 kilos of chemical substance used as main ingredients in the manufacture of shabu, these are composed of black powder, white flakes and sodium hydroxide. And almost 3,000 bottles of acetone chloroform and other liquid chemicals," Dela Vega said.

He said the illegal chemicals could have supplied the entire region and destroy many lives had it was not confiscated by the police.


The lost Gospel: The Quest of Judas Iscariot


The existence of the Gospel of Judas —as well as the Gospels of Mary, Thomas, Peter and 30 or so other Gnostic (literally "special knowledge") texts—has always been known, mostly through the words of the very man who condemned them as heresies. Saint Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyon in Roman Gaul, who lived from A.D. 130 to 200, declared in his "Adversus Haereses" [Against Heresies]: "They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. . . . They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas."

Following Saint Irenaeus’s condemnation of all gospels save the four—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—that today compose the New Testament, nearly 2,000 years of ex-communications, bloody crusades and murderous inquisitions have all but erased nearly any traces of the 30 or so "heretical" gospels.

The scientists and scholars have verified the authenticity of the document and not the story it tells. Neither is the document the first lost gospel to be unearthed.

The Nag Hammadi Library, from which the Gospel of Thomas was part of, was discovered in Egypt in 1945. The Akhmim Codex, from which the Gospel of Mary was part of, was discovered also in Egypt in 1896. What these documents do shine light upon is the nature of the early Christians, before the gospels were codified as the New Testament and of how various groups in secret, fearing persecution, practiced Christianity in myriad ways.

Saint Irenaeus wrote the "Adversus Haerese" during the Age of Martyrs when Roman authorities tortured and murdered Christians for their faith. Experts explain that he reasoned: If people were dying for their faith, they had to clearly know what they were dying for.

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are arguably the most narrative, most compelling and least contradictory. Experts agree they are also the four earliest to be written, from AD 65 to 95. Scholars agree that all the gospels were written anonymously; only later were these attributed to their alleged authors.

The other gospels labeled heretical and Gnostics were mostly written at a later period at around AD 100 to 200. They also tend to be much more philosophical and contain assertion contradictory to other gospels. The Gospel of Mary that portrays her as an apostle of equal stature challenges the patriarchal traditions of the church. The "Gospel of Judas" would have a traitor as the most enlightened apostle. In general, Gnostic beliefs—that enlightenment comes from in-depth knowledge, intimate catechisms and personal reflection—were troublesome to the orthodox church, which maintained the apostolic succession of bishops and the central authority of the church.

Even in the 21st century, most Christians still know little of church history—of the roots of the Reformation, of the atrocities during the Inquisitions or even of the recent debates on Vatican II reforms and laity empowerment through Basic Christian Communities. Adding to the confusion are such fictional novels as The Da Vindi Code and the reactionary tirades against them.

The "Gospel of Judas" may not rehabilitate the most hated man in history. But it may get us to know more about our faith. Watch it. Google it. Wikipedia it. Read it. That knowledge, despite all the sensationalism, may make one’s Holy Week the most meaningful and reflective yet. We have to know what we are living for.

The lost Gospel: The Quest of Judas Iscariot

The covers of the May 2006 National Geographic magazine and two National Geographic books, 'The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot' and 'The Gospel of Judas,' an annotated translation of the text, are seen in this handout photo. Judas Iscariot, vilified as Christ's betrayer, acted at Jesus' request in turning him over to the authorities who crucified him, according to a 1,700-year-old copy of the 'Gospel of Judas' unveiled on April 6, 2006.

The ‘Gospel of Judas’

When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."

The Gospel According to John

"You will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them," Jesus tells Judas.

"Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom," Jesus says to Judas, singling him out for special status. "Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star."

Jesus tells Judas, "You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."

The Gospel According to Judas

Was Judas Iscariot, the most reviled man in history—whose very name has become synonymous with betrayal and greed—the only apostle to truly discern Jesus Christ and His one unwilling accomplice?

Is it an irrelevant heresy revealed to capitalize on the current fascination with the film and novel The Da Vinci Code as well as the advent of the Holy Week? Or is it an earth-shaking discovery that will rehabilitate the memory of Iscariot?

The story behind the "Gospel of Judas" is one of tomb raiders digging up caves in the Egyptian desert; of seductive, sweet-talking thieves looting looters; of clandestine meetings between scholars and a wily antiquities dealer in Switzerland; of a priceless treasure slowly crumbling in bank vault in Hicksville, New York; and of experts on ancient Coptic language, papyrus and carbon-dating coming together to stake their reputations on a possible hoax. It is the stuff of mystery thrillers and Hollywood blockbusters. But this is real.

After some 17 centuries, scientists and scholars have authenticated and deciphered the only known copy of the "Gospel of Judas." The National Geographic, which helped assemble the team of world-renowned experts to verify and deduce the artifacts, airs its television documentary.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

JI plans bomb attacks in key cities

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Cagayan Journal / April 12) The suspected muslim terrorists, Jimaah Islamiya are planning to conduct bombing operation starting April 16, police reports said Tuesday
The Regional Intelligence and Detection Group based in Camp Alagar said the target areas are cities of Davao, General Santos Koronadal, Zamboanga and Makati.
Regional police director Chief Superintendent Florante Baguio said, he received reports an hour after a command conference in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
:We're strengthening now our security in the region. Our policemen are now on alert and strenthening intelligence gathering for these terrorists to counter," Baguio said.
Baguio said a certain Jeya Ewal and six others were tasked to conduct the operation in Davao City.
He also said that a certain Siyah Muhar with seven members were tasked to operate in General Santos and Koronadal Cities and Abdul Muhamad and six others in Zamboanga and Basit Alharem together with six members were assigned in Makati City.
"They are all Indonesian citizens and have trainings here as what reported," Baguio said adding they are still conducting validation and intensify intelligence monitoring and initiate appropriate security measures for possible diversionary attacks," said Baguio.
Meanwhile, Army;s 4th Infantry Division commanding general Cardozo Luna ordered different local army battalion commanders in his area in Northern Mindanao to strengthen security in the region for the said terrorist attacks.
"We are now on continuous alert. We are also focusing on that intelligence report even the intesified operations against the NPA," Luna said.
Last month, a powerful bomb explosion ripped through a passenger bus in Digos City in Davao del Sur province. wounding at least 17 people.
"The rebels here in region 10 stepped attacks against us these past few weeks because some of their comrades killed," Luna said.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Baguio, Castillo raise alert level in North Minda

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (cagayan journal/11 April) - Northern Mindanao police head Chief Superintendent Florante Baguio Monday placed the entire region on heightened security alert under the 75-day summer security plan “Oplan-Bantay-Lakbay.”

In a command conference, Baguio instructed the directorate for operations to relay for immediate implementation the implementing guidelines of Oplan-Bantay to police provincial and city directors and heads of the PNP regional support units.

“This summer, all policemen should be alert and visible at all times. The threat on terrorism still there,” Baguio said.

Baguio said that the summer security plan of the PNP started nationwide a week ago.
“This plan is to coincide with closing of the school year when the most students are expected to flock home to the provinces for the Holy Week and summer vacation,” Baguio said.

Baguio said the 75-day security plan covers the last week of March until the second week of June when regular classes resume.

“We will deploy more men to air, sea and land transportation,” he said adding in anticipation of the heavy commuter and motorist traffic in the region.

As part of the security plan, police personnel will conduct security checks at air, sea ports and bus terminals to guard against criminals and terrorists who may take advantage of the holiday season.

“Police units will conduct patrol operations, particularly in beach resorts and tourism spots in region 10,” Baguio said.

Baguio also instructed his men to coordinate with the ships owners and personnel in a move to impose additional security measures at the seaports in cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Ozamis.

Meanwhile, regional traffic management chief police Supt. Felixberto Castillo said that elements of the PNP Regional Traffic Management Group would spearhead the road safety operation.

“ Our men will be deployed along national highways, primarily in the entire region,” Castillo said.

Castillo also said that police assistance centers will be established along the highways.

“These centers will serve as quick reaction points for security and medical assistance,” Castillo said adding that the centers would also the advance command post for traffic management and security operations.

Under Oplan Bantay-Lakbay, Castillo said all police assistance centers are linked with Patrol 117 and TXT PNP 2920 nationwide emergency hotlines.

Gov’t to act on plight of jailed Mindanao IPs

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Cagayan Journal / 11 April) THE Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has lauded the efforts of private organizations who recently released a study on the plight of at least 574 detained indigenous peoples (IPs), of whom 433 or more than 75.43 percent are in Mindanao.

The OPAPP, in coordination with the Mindanao Economic Development Council, has had a long-standing initiative on dialogues and consultations with IPs regarding the ancestral domain aspect of the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The issues on ancestral domain – and on inter-tribal disputes and conflicts including those indirectly related to the IPs’ right to self-determination and non-discrimination – have figured prominently in a situation analysis on detained IPs in Mindanao and the rest of the country.

Private organizations led by the Ateneo de Manila Law School recently launched a 96-page “Situation Analysis of Indigenous Peoples in Detention: A Baseline Study” at the Ateneo Professional Schools building at the Rockwell Complex in Makati City.

The study, in partnership with the World Bank and the Assisi Development Foundation Inc. (ADFI), began with a training program for at least 17 field coordinators on May 17-19, 2004 at the Pearl Manila Hotel and continued with an evaluation and reporting seminar of the same field coordinators on Jan 7-9, 2005 in Davao City.

The Ateneo Human Rights Center Katutubo Desk and the Ateneo Legal Services Center with their “Free the Indigenous Peoples Legal Assistance Program” conducted the study with assistance from WB Development Innovation Marketplace–Panibagong Paraan and the ADFI under its chairman.

The 19-member group of field coordinators on March 27 launched their baseline study, which included an excerpt from a paper on the IPs’ quest for justice that ADFI Tabang Mindanaw emergency humanitarian and Pagtabangan BaSulTa (Basilan/Sulu/Tawi-tawi) program executive coordinator Merlie B. Mendoza earlier delivered at the United Nations Development Programme Asia Pacific Rights and Justice Network Regional Workshop on Nov. 19-21, 2003 at the Triton Hotel in Ahungulla, Sri Lanka.

Citing a 2003 NCIP primer on Mindanao, the Mendoza paper revealed that the entire Philippine archipelago has been home to around 12 million IPs from 110 various tribes or ethno-linguistic groups, or around 17 percent of the country’s then 71-million total population.
The paper also revealed that IPs are situated in at least 61 out of 78 provinces nationwide, with roughly 60 percent (or about 7.2 million) based in Mindanao, with the others scattered in the rest of the archipelago’s islands.

AHRC Executive Director Carlos P. Medina Jr. cited the provision of legal assistance to IPs through “alternative lawyering” and ultimately their empowerment through the use of the nation’s laws as instruments of truth and justice.

The country’s IPs, “particularly those living in marginalized areas and in places affected by armed conflicts, suffer from various forms of violations of their human rights,” Medina said.

“Regrettably, many of these violations go unpunished and attempts of IPs themselves to seek justice have oftentimes not only been futile but have led to further violations of their rights,” Medina added. “Indeed, for many IPs, justice is just a dream.”