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COTS outbreak in Ormoc

KALAHI-CIDSS adapts bottom-up budgeting

Ormoc city government shutdowns LMC

Peace security watchdogs meet at 19th IB

ESAMELCO withdraws application for P757M loan; vows to re-file later

Groups clamor for detained poet’s release

Escudero-Trillanes bill banning sex change angers transgenders

MCA-P and VF sign agreement to combat Trafficking in Persons

Samar solon solicits support for “green” programs

MGB-8 recommends suspension of all small-scale mining permits in East Samar by DENR Secretary






NPA camp seized by government troops in Northern Samar

By 20th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
March 16, 2012

BRGY. MAGSAYSAY, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar  –  A newly abandoned communist terrorist’s camp was recently discovered by government security forces in the hinterlands of Barangay Gebunawan, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar yesterday 15 March 2012 at around 7:30 in the morning.

Lieutenant Colonel Noel A. Vestuir, 20IB’s Commanding Officer, in his report to 803rd Brigade Commander, Colonel Rolando Malinao, said the camp was seized by the operating troops of 20IB under 1Lt. Florencio Tayo III and 1Lt. Robbi Irvin Cruz.

The camp has forty (40) bunkers that can accommodate more or less sixty (60) communist terrorists, three (3) guard posts, one (1) mess hall, two (2) comfort rooms, two (2) kitchens and has just been abandoned by the CTs (Communist Terrorists) as they evade armed engagement with the operating troops. The camp was seized after 20IB has launched sustained combat operations in the area of Lope de Vega in response to the information tipped-in by some residents in the nearby barangays of the presence of armed men roaming in the area extorting money and food stuffs from the peace-loving people early this week.

The recent accomplishments by the 20IB troops against the NPAs in the area of 1st district of Northern Samar have disrupted the impending terroristic activities that are being hatched to be conducted by the NPA. The government troops has dislodged them from their guerilla camps and cut-off their supply support lines that they forcibly take from the residents in the area.

The discovery and seizure of the said camp in the area was made possible through the information provided by local populace and is a clear indication that enemy revolutionary organization has already alienated the people and the communities where they got their support through their forced extortion activities.

LTC Vestuir, 20IB’s Commanding Officer commended his troops for a job well done. He also thanked the continued support of the people in the government’s efforts of “Winning the Peace”.

“Through the timely and accurate information tipped by the residents, our troops were able to discover the NPA encampment, a staging place of their terroristic activities in the area. The seizure of the said NPA encampment is a big blow to the CTs considering that we have denied them of their safe haven and sanctuary and once again proven that the people are with us in our pursuit for peace in this part of the country”, said Vestuir.

Vestuir also calls for the fleeing Communist Terrorists to lay down their arms in order to once again live decent and normal lives along with their families.





Arrest of other wanted persons in EV

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
March 16, 2012

CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  PNP PRO 8 persistent in its implementation of LOI “Manhunt Charlie” has again scored anew on the accounting of wanted persons in the region.

A laborer from Barangay Comatin, Javier Leyte was apprehended by virtue of Warrant of Arrest by Javier Police Station led by PSI Jimmy Boy Balasanos on March 13, 2012.

Subject person was identified as Tammy Albarico y Dimas charged for the crime of Rape in relation to RA 7610 otherwise known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act" issued by Honorable Buenaventure A. Pajaron, Presiding Judge of RTC-8, Branch 10, Abuyog, Leyte.

Another person identified as Jonathan Pales y Barbetcho, 18 years old, single, farmer, a resident of Kananga, Leyte was arrested on March 12, 2012 by Kananga Police Station led by PSI Jose B. Yap for the crime of Robbery with Force upon Things, issued by Honorable Apolinario Buaya, Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 35, Ormoc City with recommended bail of P24,000.

On March 12, 2012 at Area 7, V and G Subdivision, Tacloban City, operatives of RPSB-8 led by PInsp. Ray Vincent N. Magto and PInsp. Dennis A. Mancenido conducted manhunt operation against wanted person that resulted to the arrest of three (3) persons charged for the crime of Rape issued by Honorable Agerico Avila, Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 30, Basey, Samar.

Subject persons were identified as Marc Brosas Y Lacaba, 19 yrs old, single, farmer; Elmer Alvarado, 32 yrs old, single; and Raffy Virgo y Bernales, 19 yrs old, single, all residents of Barangay San Juan, Sta. Rita, Samar.





RAFI to award winners, finalists of Triennial Awards

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
March 15, 2012

CEBU CITY  –  After three years of nomination, extensive screening, and validation, two winners out of 10 finalists will be honored during the 5th Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) Triennial Awards on March 22 at Marco Polo Plaza.

The winners will receive a trophy, cash prize of not less than P400,000, and the opportunity to travel in the Visayas and Mindanao to share expertise to various groups.

The RAFI Triennial Awards is the premier service and humanitarian award in the Visayas and Mindanao, which recognize the philanthropic, humanitarian, and holistic efforts of individuals and institutions in enhancing the quality of life of various groups and communities.

Five finalists vied for each of the awards category – the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual and Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Outstanding Institution. They are Fr. Angelo Buenavides, Prof. Estrella Cantallopez, Apolinario Leyson Sr., Fr. Dennis Tamayo, and Rene Vendiola for the individual cateogory, and Agri-Aqua Development Coalition Mindanao Inc., Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc., Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation Inc., SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, and The Great Physician Rehabilitation Foundation for the institution category.

These finalists were selected by an independent search committee composed of distinguished representatives from the academe, private sector, and civil society. They are Island Souvenirs President Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, The Freeman and The Philippine Star Columnist and “Straight from the Sky” Host Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, Marcellin Foundation Inc. Founder Brother Crispin P. Betita, University of the Philippines-Tacloban College Dean and Guiuan Development Foundation Inc. Founder and Executive Director Margarita dela Cruz, and Mag-uugmad Foundation Inc. Executive Director Leonardo Moneva.

The Search Committee is chaired by dela Cruz who was an individual category finalist for the 3rd RAFI Triennial Awards and a member of the 4th RAFI Triennial Awards Search Committee.

The selection process starts when individuals and institutions are nominated for the RAFI Triennial Awards. The search committee validates each nominee in the Visayas and Mindanao before the short-listed nominees are screened by the RAFI Board of Trustees to determine the final awardees.

The RAFI Triennial Awards was launched in December 6, 1996 during the 39th anniversary of the foundation to commemorate the philanthropic, humanitarian, and holistic ideals of RAFI founders Don Ramon Aboitiz and his son Don Eduardo Aboitiz. It is now on its 15th year this year, which is also the 45th year of RAFI.

It is one of the awards capabilities of RAFI, recognizing individuals and institutions that go the extra mile in bringing about change and in uplifting the quality of life of communities.

For more information about the RAFI Triennial Awards, please contact (032) 418-7234 loc. 105 and look for Cathy Margate, or visit or





Guv to grace 491st Magellan Landing

March 14, 2012

BORONGAN CITY  –  It’s all systems go for the 491st commemoration of Ferdinand Magellan’s landing on Homonhon Island in Guiuan town.

To drumbeat the occasion the local government unit of Eastern Samar sponsored a forum on the province’s history at the Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School on March 14.

Around 300 students from the third and fourth year classes of the school in Borongan City came to listen to local historian and Guiuan parish priest Msgr. Lope Robredillo.

Robredillo, in his one-hour presentation traced the roots of the province of Eastern Samar from the 1400s to the Spanish era.

“Contrary to popular belief, Magellan did not discover the Philippines,” Robredillo said.

“We already had trade, a political system before Magellan landed but what makes his landing significant is because it was the first time people from our side of the world has an encounter with someone from the west,” he added.

The local historian’s lecture touched the political, economic and social development of the identity of the “Ibabaonon” or Eastern Samareño.

According to Robredillo, before the Spanish arrived, the locals in the province ate their meals on the floor.

“This is why we don’t have a local term for a table – we call it “lamesa” because we didn’t have tables before the Spanish,” Robredillo said when he discussed the Hispanization of the Eastern Samareño culture.

According to Provincial Tourism Officer Crescentia Quitorio, the province’s tourism office has made the forum a part of the activities to make sure that the commemoration is also felt in other parts of Eastern Samar.

“Magellan’s landing is just one of the activities sponsored by the provincial government in its effort to preserve our history and promote appreciation of our culture,” Quitorio said.

This year, just like the years before, Quitorio and her staff will also be in Homonhon Island with the governor of the province for the commemoration rites that include a re-enactment and thanksgiving mass.

“I feel that as the father of this province, it is my duty to make sure people are encouraged to learn and appreciate our roots and our history,” Gov. Conrado B. Nicart Jr said in his message to the students of ESNCHS.

In Guiuan, the town where most of the other activities will be held, a trade fair that showcases local produce was opened on March 13.





Cayetano: Fighting corruption is the key to improving Philippine business and investment climate

Press Release
March 14, 2012

PASAY CITY  –  Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the government to step up its efforts in fighting corruption in the country if the government wishes to attract more foreign investments.

The senator lamented the Philippines’ ranking as the third worst among 142 countries in terms of procedures to start a business in the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report

He cited the report’s findings that the country still performed poorly in containing diversion of public funds, irregular payments and bribes, favoritism by public officials and the burden of customs procedures.

The minority leader also echoed the call of the Asian Development Bank to fight corruption as a means to effectively promote the public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the country.

He pointed out that it is important for investors in the country to see that the government operates with transparency and accountability.

The lawmaker noted that enacting laws like the pending Freedom of Information (FOI) bill would go a long way in ensuring that transparency and accountability are upheld in the government.

“The FOI bill will provide the public access to government information including transactions and contracts. Doing this would help prevent corrupt practices because everything will be done out in the open. Prospective investors and business owners especially can know that what they see is what they get,” he said.

Cayetano also pointed out that the government needs to improve on the current process of starting and maintaining businesses in the country for the benefit of local business owners.

“Prospective business owners in the country, both local and foreign must be able to trust the government with their hard earned capital,” he said.

He said the Aquino government must step up its anti-graft and corruption drive, to do nothing more would further endanger our image to prospective investors and businesses,” he said. “There is so much that needs to be done,” he said added.





19th IB pushes peace, development dialogues in Carigara villages

By 19th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
March 13, 2012

CARIGARA, Leyte  –  In order to enrich the culture of peace within the hearts and minds of every constituent, the Army’s 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion through its Barangay Peace and Development Organizing Teams (BPDOT) launched on March 11 a Peace Forum at Brgy. Upper Sogod of this town.

It was learned from Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro S. Nacnac, commanding officer of 19th IB that he recently deployed the Barangay Peace and Development Teams to conduct the first-ever Peace Forum in the barangays of Carigara.

A Peace Forum is a multi-sectoral initiative to have a whole of society approach in solving conflict issues. It is a conflict resolution activity where people are given the opportunity to discuss and take action on the most important issues affecting peace in their own communities.

“This activity is about understanding both the simple and profound meaning of peace as far government agencies are concerned. We bring in the representatives of the different agencies so that the people would know the services of our government”, Nacnac said.

Nacnac also said having an initial attendance of about a hundred residents who actively participated the launching of the program is a good start for a team of soldiers who have just stayed a week in the barangay. He stressed that soldiers indeed were able to establish harmonious relation with the civilians in Brgy. Upper Sogod.

The Peace Forum includes a workshop, an activity which requires the participants to answer few basic questions about peace and development. This was followed with the ceremonial signing of the participants’ commitment to advocate peace and development initiatives of their community. Eventually, the participants concurred that absence of peace is a hindrance towards development.

According to the speakers of the forum, peace comes in various meanings.

Ms. Ma. Concepcion Javines, principal of Sogod Elementary School discussed that peace could be achieved when discipline is developed among children because they are the future leaders of the nation.

Mr. Ronnie Acebedo of DILG-Carigara and SPO4 Basalla of the Carigara Municipal Police Station both agree that peace is manifested when services are delivered and when citizens obey the law.

On the other hand, Rev. Fr. Ivan Petilos, of the Holy Spirit Parish remarked that peace can be achieved when “man fears God” as he discussed the direction of the Catholic Church on the implementation of the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC).

Nacnac said that the presence of the military forces is neither a threat nor an implication that there’s conflict in the barangays. He concluded that Peace Forum is a step towards achieving lasting peace and development.

With greater hopes of accomplishing more, Nacnac called on the different agencies to join them as the 19th Infantry Battalion does its share in the Army Transformation Roadmap and the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) ‘Bayanihan’.





PAMANA program sabotages the peace process and backs all-out war

Press Release
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
March 12, 2012

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today slammed the implementation of the P50 million peso Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program in the Samar provinces as a betrayal of the peace process. "This so-called "peace and prosperity" program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process brings nothing but cosmetic solutions," said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. "The people are seeking social justice over landlessness, unemployment, high prices of commodities, oil and utilities, foreign control of the economy and other basic problems. Constructing roads and bridges in Western Samar and Northern Samar is merely glossing over the root causes of the armed conflict."  (read Attaining elusive peace in Samar Island thru P50M focused projects under P-Noy’s PAMANA program)

Fr. Salas furthermore said the PAMANA program also supports the military's all-out war under Oplan Bayanihan. "PAMANA should in fact be called "pambala" for serving as fodder for the 8th Infantry Division's psywar and offensive operations. The military is tapped to join the construction projects. The 8th ID uses these projects to facilitate its "peace and development" operations – which are in reality psywar and offensive operations against the New People's Army. Human rights violations in the region continue to rise under the curtain of these ‘peace and development’ operations."

The NDF-EV spokesperson also asserted the Aquino government should release Eduardo Sarmiento and his fellow NDFP peace consultants to pursue the discussion of socio-economic reforms. "Eduardo Sarmiento has been advocating the people's demands for peace for decades, having been involved in the 1986 peace talks with the former president, Cory Aquino. But Noynoy Aquino is a poor shadow of his mother, who released the political prisoners who fought against the Marcos dictatorship. The stance of the current president is more in line with the dictator who imprisoned and killed his father, Ninoy Aquino, along with many other martyrs in the antifascist struggle.

"NDF-EV challenges the Aquino government to release Eduardo Sarmiento and the NDFP peace consultants and work for badly needed socio-economic reforms. The people's sufferings continue to worsen while the peace talks stagnate and the socio-economic crisis rages. The Aquino regime should heed the people's plight, not add to their burdens with Oplan Bayanihan as well as deceptions such as the PAMANA program."





Extortionist entrapped by RID, PRO 8 operatives

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
March 12, 2012

CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  On “anti-extortion and mulcting operations, the PNP PRO 8 advises the public to immediately coordinate with other law enforcement agencies for the full implementation of said operations.

A 44 year old “extortionist” was arrested by operating elements of PRO 8 Regional Intelligence Division (RID) in an entrapment operation at P. Zamora Street in this city.

RID PRO-8 Acting Chief PSSupt Tomasito Torrano Clet identified the suspect as one Marlon Alcober Buenaventura, 44 years old, married and a resident of Barangay 95, Caibaan, Tacloban City.

Clet said that Buenaventura was arrested around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon on March 10, 2012 at the vicinity of Sto.Niño Church at P. Zamora Street this city.

Prior to the arrest of Buenaventura, a certain Eleanor Ramirez Bico, 66 years old, widower from Barangay Tigawon, Calanipawan, Tacloban City sought the assistance of RID PRO 8. Bico said that she had been repeatedly extorted of cash money with a total amount of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300,000) by the suspect.

Instead of giving the demand to the suspect, Bico personally went to seek the police assistance. The RID PRO-8 immediately conducted an entrapment operation at the yard of Sto.Niño Church.

Thus, when the victim was handing down the demand money to the suspect, the latter, upon sensing the presence of the PNP operatives suddenly sped-off on board his service motorcycle and incidentally bumped an ambulant vendor and consequently fell off the ground leading to his apprehension.

Recovered from the suspect were two (2) Five Hundred peso bills (P500) as marked money with serial numbers WD138410 and KM560317 including his black XRM 125 HONDA motorcycle with plate number HK 5192.

Arrested person together with the confiscated items were brought to Tacloban City Police Office, Police Station 2 for record purposes and subsequently brought to RID Office for further investigation and documentation.





Bottled water out, water dispensers in at impeachment trial

By Office of Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
March 12, 2012

PASAY CITY  –  People who have been religiously following the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona may be surprised to find a more environment-friendly ‘Season 2,’ when the defense panel starts its presentation of evidence at the widely watched proceedings beginning Monday.

In a memorandum submitted to senators dated March 7, Senate Secretary Emma Lirio Reyes informed the chamber’s 23 members that instead of distributing bottled water to senators, witnesses, and members of the prosecution and defense teams during session and the impeachment trial, three water dispensers will be set up inside the chamber, including two at the session hall and one at the senators’ lounge.

The chamber’s decision to stop using bottled water in session was made upon the suggestion of Sen. Pia Cayetano, who felt that the institution should set a positive example to the public by doing away with practices that are wasteful and harmful to the environment. The bottles can be prominently seen on top of the desks of senators and prosecution and defense lawyers, and on the witness stand in the course of the trial’s live marathon coverage.

“May we inform that, upon the recommendation of the Honorable Pia Cayetano, two (2) water dispensers inside the session hall, one (1) water dispenser at the Senators’ lounge and individual glasses will be provided for use during session and impeachment proceedings, in lieu of the bottled water distributed to the Honorable Senators, prosecution and defense teams,” the memorandum signed by Reyes said.

“This is proposed in line with our efforts to make the Senate a more environmentally conscious government agency,” it added.

The memorandum was in response to a letter earlier sent by Cayetano who suggested the shift.

In her letter dated February 28, Cayetano said, “We are well aware of the detrimental effects of plastic bottles on the environment from its manufacture to its disposal. In the 24 days of the impeachment proceedings, we have contributed a considerable number of plastic bottles which produce a tremendous impact on the environment.” She suggested that the legislative pages can draw drinking water from the said dispensers and give the same to requesting parties.

“The Senator or member of the defense and prosecution teams may opt to bring their own glass or use the ones provided by the Senate,” the senator added.

It may be recalled that it was also upon Cayetano’s suggestion that the Office of the Senate Secretary ordered the establishment of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and enforce a ban on plastic bags within the institution’s premises last year. The move resulted in the immediate reduction of the garbage being generated by the Senate by 50 percent.

“I laud the Secretariat for its efforts to make the Senate a more environmentally conscious government agency…The aforementioned shift from bottled water to the use of water dispensers will just be a continuation of the prior efforts of the Senate,” her letter also said.

The development also takes special relevance as the countries mark ‘World Water Day’ on March 22, which calls for a sustainable environment and emphasizes efficient use of water resources.





Women and men on the streets for International Women’s Rights Day

Women in the Armed Forces of the Philippines joins the activity. (Photo by Myra M. Tambor)

March 10, 2012

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Women along with men from various organizations coming from the barangays of Catbalogan came together for a fun walk along with various government agencies.  This was the scenario of the International Women’s Rights Day in Samar’s capital, Catbalogan City.

The fun walk was organized by the Local Council of Women headed by the Chairman, Mayor Coefredo Tekwa Uy and Sangguniang Panglungsod Chairperson on Women and Family, Councilor Stephany Uy Tan.  The parade was enthusiastically joined by various government agencies of the local government unit, national government agencies, PNP and 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, private sector, people’s organizations, non-government agencies such as Plan International, Family Planning Organization of the Phils. and Katungod Han Samarena Foundation, Inc. with private individuals.

Prior to the international women’s rights day, the local council of women or LCW was formally established through an Executive Order of the Mayor Uy.  As one of the women’s month activities, a strategic planning workshop for the council was held. The workshop identified action plan to be implemented within the month and a year long activity plan to ensure that women’s agenda will be incorporated in the City Development Agenda in the succeeding years.  The council is pushing for a women development agenda as well to be funded by the gender and development fund of the city.

In a short program after the parade, women powerful voice of its rights and advancement were shared by resource persons from various sectors, such are DTI Provincial Director Engr. Meilou Cinco Macabare, Deped Schools Superintendent Dr. Thelma Quitalig, Community Women and Religious Sector Love Lapura and Business Sector Marife Zosa.  The call for gender equality and continued support for women’s cause as partner for development was echoed by the message of Councilor Stephany Uy Tan.  She clearly said “genuine partnership for gender equality is the key for women’s involvement in community development, whereby women and men hand in hand work together for a common goal”.

An affirmation to the support was also signed by participants on the occasion, pledging to support the endeavors that affirms women’s worth and dignity by encouraging discourses on women and gender issues with the aim in mind of facilitating government action that will improve their social and economic situation and eliminating all avenues for oppression and prejudice against women instead open wider opportunities and access to social services.

Focusing on the year’s celebration theme of Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability; Everyone’s Responsibility, the local council of women will go radio, school and barangay hopping, saturating all sectors for the call of women on massive awareness campaign of Magna Carta of Women, Climate Change and Gendering Disaster Risk Management in the communities as part of the Women’s Month-long activities.





10th Asia-Pacific moot-court competition in international humanitarian law

March 8, 2012

BEIJING  –  More than 60 law students and scholars representing 20 universities from Asia and the Pacific will participate in the 10th Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot-Court Competition in Hong Kong on 8-10 March. Each team will vie for the championship currently held by Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

This year, for the first time, the event will have a strong live presence on social media, in many different languages. "In this region, everyone is connected on Facebook, Weibo or Twitter," said David-Pierre Marquet, the communication coordinator at the regional delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Beijing. "Not only will it be possible to follow the debates live in Chinese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Japanese and English, but those who do so will be able to ask questions and interact with like-minded users from around the world."

The teams, from the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Thailand, China and elsewhere, will have their knowledge of international humanitarian law tested by a panel of distinguished judges, lawyers and other legal experts. The team representing the Philippines in this regional event, from the University of Cebu, won the national round last September in Manila.

"Over three intensive days, young lawyers will crack tough cases that are anchored in the reality of wars and other conflicts," said Richard Desgagné, the ICRC's regional legal adviser for East Asia and South-East Asia. Only the best team will take home one of the region's most prestigious prizes.

"The 10th edition of this event is a very important milestone for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement," said Alain Aeschlimann, the ICRC's head of operations for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific. "The moot-court competition aims to spread knowledge of international humanitarian law throughout the region and beyond, and the 10th anniversary is a mark of steady interest in the subject." This year, for the first time, the event will welcome teams from universities in Viet Nam and Iran.

"This is not simply a promotional event," said Mr Desgagné, "Most of the participants grew up without first-hand experience of war. The moot court shows how international humanitarian law, which deals with how wars are waged, can ensure respect for human life and dignity. The sessions illustrate how this area of law is used in action, as it is being applied."

The ICRC has been co-organizing the regional round of the Asia-Pacific Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot-Court Competition with the host, the Hong Kong Red Cross, since 2005. The ICRC also plays an active role in 10 local-level moot-court competitions in the region.

The ICRC is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organization that works to assist and protect victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. As guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC promotes this law to a wide range of audiences in the Philippines and around the world.



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