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23rd May 2015
South Leyte LGU lines up activities for July 1 anni
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 23, 2015, 12:08 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, May 21 (PIA)  --  Referees of basketball games are all invited to participate in a seminar-workshop designed to further hone their skill, the event open for amateurs and those who had already officiated, for three days, May 22- 24 at the city gym here, 

According to Joseph Windsor Pajao, provincial sports coordinator, this will be the first time a seminar-workshop on basketball officiating will be conducted by game officials of global standing. 

The instructors of the three-day referee seminar-workshop included Anthony Sulit, Commissioner of the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA), himself a former FIBA International Referee, and Rey Canete, a national referee, Pajao said during the Provincial Report cable TV program Tuesday. 

He expected more or less a hundred and fifty individual participants, mostly members of sports groups and organizations all over the province. 

Even walk-in participants are welcomed, Pajao said, adding that registration is free as the activity was backed up by the provincial government. 

Those who can undergo the said seminar-workshop will be the ones to officiate the inter-IAD basketball championship tournament next month, starting on June 19, the games part of the activities for the 55th founding anniversary of the province on July 1, Pajao said. 

Another sports event, which will start also on June 19, will be a National Dart Tournament, now on its fourth year in the province, sanctioned by the National Darts Federation of the Philippines, and will be competed by nationally-ranked players all over the country. 

The darts tourney, called the Gov. Roger Mercado Cup, carried a P 100,000.00 prize for the top winner, said Stephen Facundo, in-charge of the darts competition. 

Aside from sports, a province-wide search for the next singing star will also be held on June 28, said Nedgar Garvez, Provincial Tourism Officer who was tasked to handle the singing contest. 

As of the moment, 13 towns have already signified having their own elimination rounds, while Maasin City still has two Saturdays of elimination. 

Contestants are limited to those who have not yet won regional or national solo singing championship, Garvez said.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


21st May 2015
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 21, 2015, 5:04 am

Duterte welcome “fit for a president”

MAASIN CITY – Southern Leyte’s welcome for Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was “fit for a president”.

“It’s just like we are welcoming the president,” said a policeman who braved the heat of the sun while waiting for Duterte to arrive. 

The “son of Maasin and Southern Leyte” walked into a rousing welcome in his birthplace.

Tarpaulin streamers with the words “Welcome Home!!!” were prominently displayed in strategic areas of the city.

In spite of the lavish expression of support for a possible presidential bid in the land of his birth, Duterte refused to be carried away.

Duterte arrived by helicopter at the Maasin port where he was met by government officials led by Gov. Roger Mercado, Rep. Damian Mercado and Maayor Maloney Samaco.

Also on hand to welcome the mayor were members of the Roa clan, Karancho motorcycle club members and political supporters.

Duterte was ushered by a motorcade to the Maasin City Hall where he spoke before incumbent and past barangay captains from the city’s 70 barangays.

Along the way, curious residents lined the road eager to catch a glimpse of Duterte.

In his talk before the barangay captains, Duterte insisted that he is going around only because of his advocacy for federalism. 

‘I am just raising the awareness for a federal state,’ Duterte declared in two different venues where he spoke Sunday.

Duterte noted that President Benigno Aquino III, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Teresita Deles and Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Al-Haj Murad have all warned against violence if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fails.

“Why am I so passionate about this thing?” he asked.

He proceeded to answer his own question emphatically.

“Because Mindanao and Davao City will be the battleground,” he added.

Duterte said that if there is anybody who does not want trouble in Mindanao, “it is me!”

The mayor lamented, however, that “no one seems to be minding the store”.

“I have yet to hear an official of this government who would offer a word on what we will do (in case violence breaks down),” he added.

When their turn to speak came, Gov. Mercado, Rep. Mercado and Samaco all expressed their support to whatever decision Duterte will make in the future. 

The mayor took a quick lunch at the city council session hall hosted by Gov. Mercado which was attended by Southern Leyte mayors. 

From there, Duterte proceeded to the Laboon Barangay gym to address the fourth Roa Clan grand reunion. He was joined by the three top officials until his last stop.

The mayor’s mother, Soledad Roa-Duterte, was a member of the clan which forms the majority of Barangay Laboon.

After his talk, Duterte briefly visited Laboon Elementary School where four of his primary school classmates were waiting.

The mayor recalled that he stayed with his grandmother for a year in Laboon which explained his brief stint at the school.

The four – Constancia Magaran-Ortega, Magdalena Antoc-Francisco, Leonila Faelnar and Paterno Jacobe – welcomed him with leis after he entered the school gate.

For a brief moment, the five who briefly shared a common bond more than six decades ago stared at each other speechless before Duterte recovered his bearings and started to converse with his former classmates.

“You go to Davao. I will spend for your fare and accommodation there,” he told them.

The four stared briefly at the mayor, unsure if they heard it right before clapping their hands to express their appreciation for Duterte’s offer.

By the time the mayor headed back for Cebu, many people in Maasin and Southern Leyte said they know whom they will vote for president in next year’s polls.

It seems they have already made up their minds, even before Duterte could even make his. (CHITO A. FUENTES)


13th May 2015
Duterte campaigns for federalism type of government
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 13, 2015, 8:39 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, May 11 (PIA)  --  Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pitched a federal type of government when he visited this city Sunday to attend a Roa clan reunion, his middle name which he traced his roots as coming from barangay Laboon this city.

“I have no plans to run as President, but I am here to spread the message of federalism,” Duterte declared following a warm welcome where he was mobbed by admirers mostly man-on-the-street types as soon as he landed by helicopter at the port area and motored to the City Hall.

He was met by high officials from the city and province, including City Mayor Maloney Samaco, Gov Roger Mercado, Cong. Damain Mercado, and some Mayors coming other municipalities of the province, along with other provincial and city officials.

At the third floor lobby of the City Hall that was used as an improvised stage with the use of a riser, Duterte led his captive audience to a 30-minute walk down memory lane of national history, in which he clarified that 70 years before Magellan came to Limasawa, the Muslims have already established a stronghold in sizeable parts of Mindanao.

But in the current issue of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Duterte did not categorically state whether he is pro or against it, saying only that federalism can address the divisions of various tribes and clans in different parts of the country.

In a federal government set-up, the national government will take care on matters relating to national concerns, while the rest will be delegated to the local government, Duterte said without further elaboration other than saying that a change for federalism would undergo a constitutional amendment.


He endeared with the masses with his no-nonsense style of speaking that include a spattering of invectives in the local dialect to the amusement of the crowd.

Gov. Mercado acknowledged Duterte’s help in times of calamities experienced by the province, such as the Guinsaugon disaster and in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, where he came by chopper to deliver a P 3 Million check to the provincial government.

Cong. Damian Mercado said he can very well relate with Duterte’s candid style as also his own, saying he supported the advocacy and cause of the visiting Mayor from Davao City.

City Mayor Samaco also pledged an all-out support for whatever plans Duterte may have in the near or far future.

After lunch, Duterte proceeded to barangay Laboon to meet his kin, and by four in the afternoon departed for Cebu.  (esg/mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


Duterte tells 'truth' why Davao is safe
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 13, 2015, 8:31 pm


CEBU CITY – “You want to know the truth? If you come to Davao and engage in illegal drugs, you’re dead!” Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said.

The mayor was in Cebu for various speaking engagements including a forum at the University of San Carlos (USC) audio-visual hall.

During the forum, a female teacher from a government educational institution asked the mayor Davao’s secret in maintaining peace and order in the biggest city in the world.

The teacher noted that Davao was recently given recognition as the 9th safest city in the world.

Duterte responded candidly, without batting an eyelash, that drug pushers end up dead when they bring drugs into Davao.

“I’m not bragging. I’m really going to kill you,” he added.

The mayor revealed that he was investigated en banc over allegations of his complicity in the summary killing of a suspected personality.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who was Commission on Human Rights chairperson during the administration of ex-Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, conducted the investigation.

The tough-talking Duterte has earned plaudits for turning Davao around from a virtual wastebasket in the early 80s into the fifth biggest economies among Philippine cities.

His firm and relentless campaign against crime and syndicates have captured the imagination of many people who want the Davao experience duplicated in the entire country.

Davao’s peace and order has become an exception in a country where law and order is being challenged on a regular basis.

Duterte insists the growing criminality requires drastic solutions.

“I will bring back the death penalty,” the mayor declared when asked what he will do if ever he becomes president.

Every time he says that, the applause is spontaneous. 

While Duterte continues to deflect calls to run for president, he has titillated listeners with his unequivocal commitment to peace and order.

For people who receive a daily dose of reports of heinous crimes and the breakdown of law and order in many places, Duterte continues to win believers over to his uncompromising stance against criminals.

Little wonder that while Duterte insists he does not covet the presidency, more and more people hope he will change his mind and give in to a growing clamor.

In all his speaking engagements, Duterte is being mobbed by listeners who want to have their pictures taken with him, a ritual which is becoming a fad in social media networks.

Duterte has learned to oblige people who line up for the familiar “selfie” with him.

Even usually disinterested media practitioners asked Duterte to pose with them after the media forum at the Adnama building Monday.

And even after he declared point-blank the secret of Davao’s safety, his audience in USC did the same.

While Duterte insists he has not decided on the presidential draft, the response at his speaking engagements show that many of those who have heard him have found their presidential bet. (CHITO A. FUENTES)


9th May 2015
Malnourished kids to benefit from boxing bout pay-per-view proceeds
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 9, 2015, 7:47 am

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, May 5 (PNA) - Malnourished children in the city will get a taste of nutritious food from a civic group with funds taken from the proceeds of pay-per-view during the Sunday’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) president Dennis Capuyan said the undernourished children in various villages have been their beneficiaries in every fight of the Filipino ring icon, on top of establishing the city’s relocation site.

“For this year, we will still coordinate with the city health and city nutrition office to identify malnourished children that will benefit our feeding program,” Capuyan said.

Based on the 2014 weighing activities, 12 percent of the city’s 33,776 pre-school children were found to be underweight.

With minimal ticket cost, the city’s super dome, having 8,000 capacity, was nearly filled with boxing enthusiasts during the most-awaited battle of the boxing champions.

The Ormoc boxing fans declared self-holidays from their individual occupation and joined the world in witnessing the biggest fight of the century dubbed as “battle for greatness” on Sunday. (PNA)
lam/SQM/Elvie Roman Roa/egr

Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 9, 2015, 5:50 am

Duterte drawing support of relatives from all over 

MAASIN CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to draw support from relatives in different parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Davao mayor, considered by many as an “undeclared” presidential contender, will visit Cagayan de Oro Saturday before swinging to Maasin Sunday as guest speaker of different chapters of the Roa clan.

Duterte’s mother, Soledad, a school teacher born in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Sur, belongs to the influential Roa clan that has members in different parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

On May 9, Duterte will speak before Roa clan members from northern Mindanao at the Xavier Estates Clubhouse.

He will also be the guest of the Rotary District Convention 3870 led by Gov. Manuel Along at the Pryce Hotel.

From there, Duterte will fly to Maasin, Southern Leyte to speak before another gathering of the Roa clan in Leyte.

This is a sentimental journey of sorts for the Davao mayor who spent his primary years in Barangay Laboon where the majority of the residents are Roa clan members.

Local officials are also expected to roll out the red carpet for their now-prominent town mate who is gaining ground as a presidential timber after surprisingly coming in third in two separate surveys last March.

Duterte tied for third with Manila Mayor Erap Estrada in the Pulse Asia survey and with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas in the Social Weather Stations poll.

While many politicians are still hesitant to come out and express their support for Duterte, his relatives are coming out in droves for him.

Members of the Saligumba clan in Tagbilaran joined the Duterte and Roa clans during his visit in the Bohol capital.

He was also welcomed by the Roa clans in Ozamiz and Valencia, Bukidnon, the Samporna clan in Iligan City and the Dutertes in Pagadian.

Last March, the influential Veloso clan held a reunion in Cebu City which was attended by the Petillas of Leyte including resigned Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Leyte Gov.  Petilla and the clan matriarch, Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla.

Also present were Danny Javier of the Apo Hiking Society and his brother, Javier Mayor Sandy Javier, Siquijor Vice Gov. Dingdong Avanzado, among many others.

While the reunion did not explicitly mean the clan’s endorsement for Duterte, it opened communication lines at the very least.

Duterte’s father, former Davao Gov. Vicente Duterte, was mayor of Danao City in Cebu before the family migrated to Davao. 

The elder Duterte, the last governor of undivided Davao, also served briefly as Cabinet secretary.

Duterte continues to resist calls for him to run but so far the clamor has not subsided. 

Whatever his political plans, one thing Duterte has seen so far is the outpouring of support from his relatives on both his paternal and maternal sides. (CHITO A. FUENTES)


8th May 2015
Board Member hints surprise drug test for capitol employees
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 8, 2015, 9:59 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, May 5 (PIA)  --  A provincial board member here has warned about a sudden drug testing activity to be undertaken for employees in the provincial capitol, with dismissal from service as consequence for being found positive of illegal drug use.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Atty. Abelardo Almario issued the stern warning in an interview during a recent cable TV program Provincial Report in which he was the guest.

Told that the element of surprise may be lost now that he has announced the possible conduct of drug test soon, Abelardo said this has to be done so the employees can be aware.

Earlier, Gov. Roger Mercado also did the same thing on warning the employees during a Monday flag-raising ceremony about three weeks ago, Abelardo said.

That a drug test can mean there are already employees hooked on illegal drugs, Abelardo simply replied, “there are many.”  

The planned unscheduled drug testing is one of the heightened strategies the provincial government has accelerated to show that it is serious in its campaign to rid the province of illegal drugs.

In one of the meetings of the provincial anti-drug abuse council presided by Gov. Roger Mercado, it was agreed to put up a reward money for anyone who can share information on the underground drug business that result to an arrest and eventually filing of a case in Court.

During those series of meetings the matter on drug test was taken up, not only among employees but will start among provincial officials, according to Gov. Mercado.   (esg/mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


27th April 2015
Tempers flare among Ormoc councilors during session
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 27, 2015, 10:14 am


ORMOC CITY-THE 13th Sanggunian Panlungsod (SP) here consists of a healthy mix of members from the opposing camps.

Notwithstanding their political allegiances, they have managed to coexist albeit uneasily to protect their own interests. Everyone is careful not to rock the boat

The minority pro-administration is careful not to ruffle feathers so as not to give their counterparts a reason to block the mayor’s programs. The majority opposition doesn’t want to be seen as obstructionists. Besides, they enjoy riding on the accomplishments of the mayor.

Which is why heated debates from the rival camps, which happen very rarely, are a welcome treat for reporters covering the SP.

Their prayers were answered last Apr. 23 during discussions on the overdue resolution authorizing Mayor Edward Codilla to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA).

A quick approval was expected after a thorough discussion on the matter by the Committee on Social Welfare three days before.

So the presence of Social Welfare Asst. Vilma F. Mendoza of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) came as a surprise considering questions on the MOA have been sufficiently answered.

The SP’s motive was revealed when Councilor Vincent L. Rama complained of having not received a copy of the ESA’s master list of beneficiaries. According to him, he wrote CSWDO Officer Marietta Legaspi twice – March 11 and 19 — asking for the list.

But Mendoza denied knowledge of Rama’s concern considering Legaspi, who was on an official trip to Baguio, did not inform her about it.

Asked for the whereabouts of the second in command of CSWDO, she replied that Social Welfare Officer IV Imelda M. Dadulla attended a groundbreaking for a daycare center.

This prompted Rama to remark: “For the record, this shows the incompetence of that office!” Administration Councilor Ruben Capahi advised his colleagues to defer Rama’s concern and focus on the matter at hand. “Why don’t we reserve our comments when Mrs. Legaspi is here? However long and voluminous that list may be, perhaps we can wait and call Mrs Legaspi to our caucus next week or at a proper time when she is here. But for the moment that we are discussing the (MOA), I suggest that we proceed there from. If we wish to summon Mrs. Legaspi at the caucus next week, by all means let’s do so,” he said.

This did not calm Rama who was apparently trying to contain his frustration.

“I need that list now! I need that list now! I need that list now!” he told Mendoza in a fit of tantrum.

He also alluded that the CSWDO was hiding something.

But Capahi replied it was unfair to grill a person who is not present and therefore unable to defend herself.

“It is always a concern for me when the person involved in the matter such as this happens to be elsewhere not for personal reasons, but because of an official travel in relation to the functions that she performs for the city government. Because Mrs. Legaspi is not out gallivanting somewhere, she is on official travel,” he said.

Capahi further cautioned Rama from using inappropriate words. “I do have a concern about adjectives being used [here] – ‘incompetence’ for instance, ‘lack of transparency.’ All of these have been resolved in the sense that the master list has been disseminated to the barangay officials. How more transparent can we get?” he said.

Capahi went back to his point for them to go back and focus on the subject matter. “Why don’t we confine ourselves to the discussion on the resolution? There was not even a question on the resolution itself nor of the [MOA] that we have digressed precisely because Mrs. Legaspi is not here.”

Councilor Bennet Pongos came to the defense of Rama, his party mate, saying it was not uncommon for the SP to ask invited personalities like Mendoza questions that are not related to the main agenda.

But Capahi answered it is uncommon for the SP to raise to invited personalities matters they know nothing about.

“I do agree with Councilor Pongos when he said that we have called resource persons here and asked them about matters that are not necessarily related to the matter at hand. But that is precisely my concern. The person central to this is Mrs. Legaspi. She is not here. The (letter) request was [addressed] specifically to her and she is not here. The person she sent as representative this afternoon does not have that discretion.”

Aside from highlighting Rama’s temper and putting Legaspi on a bad light, the exercise did not accomplish anything to improve the lives of the Ormocanons.

The councilors were about to pass the resolution anyway which they did.

A veteran journalist and editor, Felix Codilla III writes from Ormoc city. The above article is republished from Codilla’s latest report. 


25th April 2015
Duterte to fulfill Pagadian promise
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 25, 2015, 7:47 pm

PAGADIAN CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will be arriving in this city Monday to fulfill a promise he made just over a month ago.

Duterte was scheduled to speak at a multi-sectoral forum on “Peace and Order, Insurgency, Economic Development and Political Reform” at the Saint Columban College (SCC) gym last Jan. 26.

His trip was aborted by heavy rainfall at the Pagadian airport which made it impossible for his plane to land.

The private plane which flew him to Pagadian from Zamboanga City circled the airport three times but the extreme weather conditions prompted the pilot to abort the landing.

Supporters and sympathizers who prepared a warm welcome for him both at the airport and the SCC gym were clearly saddened but were pleasantly surprised when Duterte’s voice was heard sometime after the aborted landing was announced. 

Immediately after landing at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao, Duterte took pains to relay his personal apologies to the people who wanted to hear him speak.

Speaking through phone-patch, Duterte assured his Pagadian audience that he will push through with his visit.

On Monday, Duterte will honor that promise.

Among those who will welcome the mayor at the airport are his fraternity brother, lawyer Paul Jumawan and Barangay Captain Matt Nian.

He will pay a courtesy call on Gov. Antonio Cerilles at Balay Timuay where he will also be treated to lunch.

At 1:30, Duterte will speak at the federalism forum coordinated by Ed Beltran at the SCC gym which was organized by the Mayor Rodrigo Duterte movement, the same group that invited him last January.

He will briefly meet with local supporters before flying back to Davao.

A lot of things have changed since the mayor’s aborted trip.

While he has consistently declined the calls for him to run in next year’s presidential elections, Duterte has become a legitimate contender according to poll surveys.

Duterte tied for third with Mayor Erap Estrada behind the faltering Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe in the last Pulse Asia survey.

Mindanao came out strong for its most prominent political leader when Duterte topped the polls with 35 percentage points, the highest rating in the said survey.

Duterte again tied for third, this time with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas behind Binay and Poe in the Social Weather Stations poll less than a month later.

Both surveys were held when Duterte was merely starting with his listening tours which have taken him to various parts of the country.

While his strong showing in Mindanao and most of the Visayas is expected, the huge and warm turn-outs in different parts of Luzon has surprised even rabid supporters.

Duterte’s track record in turning around Davao City from a virtual basket case in the early 80s to the top five economies among cities in the country has titillated not only businessmen but virtually all sectors of society.

His firm and uncompromising stance against crime is the main reason why Davao is now considered the fourth safest city in the world in contrast to its violent reputation as the country’s version of the killing fields.

Add to that his graft-free reputation and proven competence, it is no wonder people insist to prod him to run in spite of his protestations.

Duterte has tried to tone down his speaking engagements saying he is merely pushing for federalism, but most of the time he leaves his audience gasping for more.

The man who only agreed to become the “face” of federalism has now been catapulted to the threshold of a presidential run by those who see him as the best card in a country that has run out of options. (CHITO A. FUENTES)


21st April 2015
Medical Mission Matters heals 95 kids with facial deformities in Southern Leyte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 21, 2015, 10:19 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, April 21 (PIA)  --  Some 95 kids, mostly infants, are now being treated for a free surgery at the provincial hospital in barangay Dongon here, so that the in-born anomaly on their faces and voices can be corrected. 

Medical Mission Matters, a newly-organized non-government organization based in Ilo-ilo and founded by Dr. Lawrence Malley, spearheaded the free cleft and palate surgery since Friday last week, in cooperation with the city and provincial governments, among other sectors. 

“We have a total of 164 successfully conducted operation since we began in December 2014 following the approval of our papers by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in November 2014,” said Lyla Grace Isiderio, the Office Manager, in an interview Thursday at Dongon National High School where the patients and their families are staying for the duration of the mission.

 This has been their fifth surgery operation, and the first held outside San Jose, Antique, Isiderio said, adding that she is hoping the 95 patients on their list would be added to their record of successful operations. 

She said their activity has been sponsored by Smile Train, an International Organization with the same advocacy as theirs. 

At the dySL Kapihan sa PIA where they were invited as guests, Isiderio said the cleft palate operation normally costs P 120,000.00 but because of the mission this is free of charge  --  including other expenses of patients such as laboratory, transportation, and food. 

Ronald Woods, a foreigner who had married and lived in barangay Asuncion, Maasin, said the huge costs on medical procedures was waived, courtesy of the efforts of the specialists and expert doctors from St. Luke Hospital who volunteered their time and talent. 

“This is a labor of love for them,” Woods said, referring to Dr. Richard Cabotage, a plastic surgeon, and Dr. Hedwig Reyeg, anesthesiologist. 

And Woods himself started rolling the unselfish labor of love, for he was the one who initiated to bring a cleft child from barangay Asuncion to San Jose, Antique, for treatment, until in the process the idea of an outreach operation in the province was conceived and now realized. 

“My mission is to eliminate this deformity in Southern Leyte, then move on to other places,” Woods said during the dySL kapihan sa PIA.  (esg/mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)

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