AWARE-Samar accusations of
rape and sexual abuse of Military Operatives in Paranas are unfounded and
ROSA MA. CRISTINA T. ROSETE (FA) PA
Commanding Officer, Kamurayaw
Company, 8ID, PA Detachment, Zone 1 Paranas,
September 3, 2005
"We do not tolerate our
men in committing such sexually malicious acts on women and children."
The presence of military troops in the
municipality of Paranas for
five months now has contributed much in its peace and order situation. If
indeed there have been cases of rape and sexual abuses on women and children
perpetrated by our personnel (link), then, we should have been bragged with
complains by no less than Mayor Elvira Babalcon since the main detachment of
troops deployed in the interior barangays of Paranas is at the poblacion
The municipal and barangay officials are in
close contact and have been working hand in hand with the military troops in
various developmental efforts in the area and they have been informed during
their MPOC meetings and Peoples’ Day that any misdoings from our personnel
will be reported at once at the main detachment for appropriate action.
However, up to date, there have been no complaints filed on such allegations
at Paranas Police Station or even hearsays from the local folks that have
reached our detachment. Said issue if indeed true will immediately be the
“talk of the town” as it is scandalous.
It is clear that statements of AWARE-Samar
are just to discredit the men in uniform as their allegations are unfounded
We do not tolerate our men in committing such
sexually malicious acts on women and children. Much of the troops’
developmental efforts in Paranas area were even focused on women, youth and
children affected and victimized by the CPP/NPA/NDF deceptive agenda. We
challenge therefore AWARE-Samar and including the Paranasnons who are aware
on the issue to allow the victims to formally file charges against our
erring personnel, rest assured it will be acted upon if it was committed.
Lukban and His Camp
By CHITO DELA TORRE
"But perhaps Basaynons and
Catbaloganons should proclaim him, first, as an “adopted son” by way of a
resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan of each of their towns..."
Did you know that Vicente
Lukban, for whom Camp Lukban was named, was not a Samarnon? He was a native
of Labo town in Camarines Sur where he first saw the light on February 11,
1860. However, he married Pacencia Gonzalez, a Samareña. After over 3 years
of a colorful military career marked by battles against Spaniards and
American soldiers, while he was under command of General Emilio Aguinaldo,
he joined the rank of businessmen in Tayabas and there won as governor. In
1916 he died.
Hardly however does every
Samarnon, particularly Catbaloganons and Basaynons know this man for whose
“commitment to Philippine Independence” the present military camp, now
serving as headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division
(known also by its signal name, “Storm Troopers” - following the “Desert
Storm” legend before the end of the first millennium, was named. Even the
8ID does not possess an official document showing why Camp Lukban was so
named. There are also no accounts about his being considered as an “adopted
son of Catbalogan”. There are not here even records linking “Lukban” to “Lucban”,
another known family name, and to “Lucban” the street.
But perhaps Basaynons and
Catbaloganons should proclaim him, first, as an “adopted son” by way of a
resolution of the sangguniang bayan of each of their towns, next, as a hero
by way of a resolution from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Samar or if
this is not possible at the local level then perhaps the SP could urge
Congress through Samar’s Representative Reynaldo S. Uy of the First District
and Representative Catalino V. Figueroa of the Second District, then, put up
a giant statue for him right on the site which history could claim of his
most valuable contribution to the fight for Philippine Independence.
The 8ID could not possibly
initiate this move. It was a late comer and late occupant. It has been here
only 17 years ago. Lukban, the camp, was there a long, long time ago.
Vicente Lukban became a
general in the army of Gen. Aguinaldo. In 1899, he was assigned to Leyte and
Samar. He established a hideout at the rocky cliffs of the
Caves in Basey - which later became known among the Basaynons as the
“Panhulogan Caves”, noting the place by the legendary Golden River as where
Lukban’s soldiers dropped big rocks to ward off or drown American soldiers
who were sent out to get him. That was to be Lukban’s last line of defense
against the American, until November 1901. He survived, just as he did in
August, 1901 in an attack elsewhere in Samar that resulted in the capture of
his beloved Samareña wife. He suffered wounds but managed to escape. It was
in February, 1902 that the American soldiers captured him successfully.
Gen. Lukban was imprisoned
thrice. First, in 1894, the very same year that he became a freemason, a
member of Andres Bonifacio’s KKK (or the Katipunan). Spanish soldiers
tortured him, until he was released in 1897, eight months after Dr. Jose P.
Rizal was shot to death at Bagumbayan. Next, in February, 1902, for a few
weeks, though. Finally, just for being suspected that he had again involved
himself in “further insurrection attempts”, he was hailed back to the karsel,
but only briefly.
During his leadership in
Samar, the guerillas, including the Pulahanes, in the whole island enjoyed a
centralized authority. More and more Samareño and Samareña guerillas joined
the expanding groups of Pulahanes whose mettle and genuine fight for
nationalism was found out during the command of the American forces in the
Philippines by General Arthur MacArthur (a hero of the American Civil War
who was later military governor of the Philippines, and father of Gen.
Douglas MacArthur who figured in history as the Liberator of the Philippines
when he saved Leyte and the Philippines from the vicious and tyrannical
hands of the Japanese Imperial Army). With their general in command, the
Pulahanes fought savagely against the Americans. Since his fall, the local
resistance groups weakened.
Vicente Lukban has been
considered by the “Storm Trooper” magazine of 8ID as a “revolutionary
general serving the government under General Emilio Aguinaldo. That magazine
said of him: “He studied at the prestigious Ateneo Municipal de Manila and
law at San Juan de Letran, and then worked in the Court of First Instance in
Quiapo, Manila, before becoming Justice of the Peace in Labo.”
The magazine continued to
say of him when he was in the revolutionary Katipunan society, Lukban
“established lodges (of the freemason) in the region” and “set up
cooperatives for small and medium scale farmers who not only helped them
economically but also helped raise funds for the revolt against Spain.”
Of his imprisonment in 1894,
the “Storm Trooper” said: “Days of imprisonment in a flooded cell left him
with a permanent limp. He denied his involvement in the revolutionary
movement but, unlike Luna who hardly stopped talking - Lukban refused to
expose his fellow revolutionaries.”
The magazine said further:
“August 1897 saw his release from prison and he formally joined Aguinaldo
and participated in several battles against the Spanish (soldiers). After
the Pact of Biak na Bato towards the end of that year, he went into exile
with Aguinaldo in Hongkong and became part of the revolutionary junta.
“There, according to some
sources, he studied military science under Commander Joseph Churchase.
“In 1898, he returned to the
Philippines and fought very successfully against the Spanish. Painted in
contemporary American accounts, Lukban is described as little more than a
wily oriental bandit with a touch of a sneaky Chinese blood in him, a useful
addition to the weaponry of propaganda warfare after the Boxer Revolt.
General Vicente Lukban was probably the most competent and imaginative
general in Aguinaldo’s team.
“He certainly outshone the
erratic Antonio Luna and managed to impose discipline on his forces that
Luna failed to achieve, and which, indeed, cost the latter his life.”
The magazine also said about
his being a hero: “Indeed, one of the few who did not surrender. His name
is rarely connected with the ‘Bayani’, the Filipino heroes, most of whom
would hardly rate a mention in any objective hall of heroes, possibly
because his major actions were against the US, rather than the Spanish and
he was strange that he was assigned to what at first appears to be mere
backwater, Leyte and Samar, in early 1899. Yet as the war of independence
faltered in Luzon, it became clear that
Samar, at least the Visayas,
could be the kernel of a continuing guerilla warfare, which could last for
years. “These islands had an international trade in abaca, through British
trading houses like Smith,
Bell, which could provide income to keep the fight going
and provide a channel for the influx of arms and ammunition.....
“General Arthur MacArthur
offered $5,000 for Lukban’s head, and nobody tried to collect. He was
offered the position of governor of
Samar under the American regime, with autonomy, if he would
surrender, but he refused to accept the offer.”
Some twists in oral tales
had portrayed the general from Labo as a killer of priests and the doctor of
Balangiga massacre in September, 1901. These were not the case. As for the
massacre, the “Storm Trooper” said: “Although bearing command
responsibility for the Balangiga incident, he only learned about it a week
later, on October 6, 1901. Other than a letter to town mayors encouraging
them to follow the Balangiga example on the same date, there are no
published records of his reaction to the news or later comment from him.”
The magazine said: “There
were many myths about him - that he’d had every priest on Samar killed and
replaced with his own men, for instance, or the tale that his men had
wrapped an American sympathizer’s head in the stars and stripes and set fire
to it. These stories are nonsense, but he may even have encouraged them, he
knew the value of propaganda.”
Women in Samar seek redress to Col.
Palparan’s crimes against humanity
A Press Statement by
the Advocates for Women’s Action, Rights and Empowerment – Samar (AWARE-Samar)
"AWARE-Samar believes that militarization is a patriarchal mode of conquest
of a fascist orientation to subdue the most vulnerable sectors of society –
the peasantry, the women and children."
The Advocates for Women’s
Action, Rights and Empowerment – Samar (AWARE-Samar) stands in solidarity
with all the survivors and victims of human rights violations perpetrated by
the military establishment under the command of Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr.
We mourn for the lives lost and seek redress for the victims-survivors.
Justice ought to be served to the more than 4,127 individuals , more than
2000 families and 100 communities affected and/or displaced in the course of
the military’s Reign of Terror in Samar.
While we recognize the
relief and transfer of Col. Palparan from the post as Regional Commander of
the 8thIDPA, as a gain to our advocacies for justice and peace in Samar, we
firmly believe that this is not enough. Palparan should be punished for his
crimes against humanity, along with his Commander in Chief, Gloria Macapagal
Most affected by
militarization are the women and children who are amongst the evacuees or
those bereaved of a love one. In the course of AWARE-Samar’s participation
in the documentation of human rights violation cases in Samar since
Palparan’s deployment, the group learned that there were cases of rape and
sexual abuse that were perpetrated by military operatives in some barangays
in Paranas. Although the victims did not came out in the open, we seek
justice in their behalf. AWARE-Samar believes that militarization is a
patriarchal mode of conquest of a fascist orientation to subdue the most
vulnerable sectors of society – the peasantry, the women and children. We
further condemn the dastardly acts of extra-judicial killings, tortures,
harassments, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and other crimes against
humanity of the military under the command of Col. Palparan.
We urge the provincial
government under Gov. Milagrosa Tan to pay heed to the plight of the women
and children in Samar. By clinging to a fascist military commander, our
local government officials are in effect tolerating these abuses.
The damage created by the
military’s psychological operations, of sowing lies and slandering the
names of legitimate peoples organizations such as AWARE-Samar have gone
unchecked since activitists have become targets for liquidation. During
these period, leaders and members of AWARE-Samar had been targets of
harassments . The organization concentrated on documenting the cases of
human rights violations, and providing protective custody and facilitating
sanctuaries for women and children victims of displacement.
Speech of Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan Jr.
delivered during the 8ID 17th Founding Anniversary on August 22, 2005)
"...we believe that continuous progress and development can only come into
realization after the attainment of true peace and stability."
At the outset, I take
pleasure in extending my warmest greetings and felicitations to all of you,
the members of my Command, our dependents and of course, our civilian
partners & friends who are always here to complement our efforts in the
performance of our mission.
As we celebrate our 17th
Founding Anniversary, we cannot help but look back and vividly recall where
we have started & how far have we gone through. Knowing our colorful &
glorious past, we can wrap-up that the 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers)
Division is the totality of all its internal security operation gains in
Eastern Visayas region through the years.
Both the smooth and rugged
roads we have trudged set forth the foundation of what is 8th Infantry
Division today. It is therefore indeed, appropriate to express our gratitude
to all the previous 8ID Commanders who have significantly steered the
Command in our peace, security & support-to-development efforts.
We likewise pay tribute to
our fallen comrades who, in one way or another, have meaningfully sacrificed
their lives in our quest of protecting our democratic government & the
integrity of our nation.
Moreover, I would like to
emphasize that this accomplishments could have been far from realization
without the support of our civilian counterparts. That is why we have some
of them with us this morning, for us to recognize the unconditional support
they have extended which contributed much in our mission accomplishment.
Our theme for this years
celebration, “8ID: KAAGAPAY SA KAPAYAPAAN TUNGO SA KAUNLARAN”, renews our
commitment to uphold our mandated task of creating a “PHYSICALLY AND
PSYCHOLOGICALLY SECURED ENVIRONMENT THAT IS CONDUCIVE FOR PROGRESS AND
I would like to inform our
constituents that, from the time I assumed to date, the Command have
initiated twenty-four (24) engagements with the NPAs, with a recovery of
twenty-eight (28) high-powered & two hundred nineteen (219) low-powered fire
arms. In addition to this is the neutralization of seventy-three (73) NPAs,
sixteen (16) enemy camps and six (6) identified safe houses not to mention
the neutralization of other members of their intelligence & support system.
I have stated that to inform
you, that we are determined to continue performing our mission and we vow to
double-time our effort to reduce the insurgency problem in the region to an
“insignificant level” at the soonest possible time. Because we believe that
continuous progress and development can only come into realization after the
attainment of true peace and stability.
We are very well aware on
the plans and maneuvers of CPP/NPA/NDF and their allies to mount actions
against our Internal Security Operations. They will always make moves to put
us under deep scrutiny through their biased fault-finding activities with
the goal of discrediting our organization and get the sympathy of the
With these prevailing facts,
I renew my instruction for all of us, the Officers, Men & Women of the 8th
Infantry Division, to continue establishing and maintaining sincere
friendship with our constituents, whose rights we have sworn to protect and
Remember that the innocent
civilians, to include our families, are the sole meaning of our existence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Let
this anniversary make us continue to bear in mind the Army’s purpose.
Despite the political turmoil that the country has experienced in the past
weeks, let us continue to uphold our constitution and follow the
Chain-of-Command. Let us prove our predecessors and our fallen comrades
that, “the spirit of service, strengthened by its customs & sacrifices,
shall not be dishonored by mediocrity”.
Along this line let me
borrow the words of our very own Chief of Staff, General Generoso S. Senga,
and I quote: “Every Filipino Soldier must be a symbol of peace. Let us
insulate ourselves from politics and refuse in entertaining the idea of
supporting any extra-constitutional step to remove the duly constituted
This is not the time for
weakness. But rather, a time for display of courage to face whatever
challenge would stand to delay our good intentions.
Proving one’s worth is an
endless task. Let us therefore take every opportunity to show our people
that we are always united to protect them and be their continuing partner in
progress & development.
As we mark this milestone &
enter in the new chapter of history, let us renew our strength & prepare to
continue tackling our multifarious tasks that lies ahead. Let us maximize
our effort to neutralize the enemy and give them no space for maneuver.
Likewise, let us continue to
be relevant to the nation’s developmental needs by continuously providing
assistance to our Local Government Units and Line Agencies in the delivery
of the basic social services intended for our constituents.
To our beloved friends &
fellow workers in the government who are fortunate to be here to witness
this occasion, rest assured that the 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division
will continue to be your dedicated partner in the pursuance of a lasting
peace, stability, development & progress.
Once again, to the members
of my Command, let us renew our loyalty to our constitution, to our flag,
our country and our people.
Maupay nga aga ngan damo nga
Salamat ha iyo nga tanan!
Pastoral Letter on Solidarity with our fellow Samarnons and the Whole of
(Pastoral Letter No. 2, Series of 2005)
Rev. JOSE S. PALMA, DD
Bishop of Calbayog
August 11, 2005
"...The public have hurled the blame to either the NPA or the military. With
intensified militarization, fear and displacement had been the sad life
story of hundreds of Samarnons."
Samar Day (August 11) is
a welcome event for all of us. This year we do well to reflect on our
situation as Samarnons, as Filipinos and as believers in the Lord. It is a
fitting moment to look around us and in us and recognize our lights or
blessings as well as our shadows or woes as we live in Samar we call our
We consider as blessings
our seas teeming with abundant fish and our land thriving with coconuts and
other vegetations. God's blessings too and source of our pride and hope are
our mineral deposits and our virgin forests. So too are the various endemic
birds, reptiles, flowers and plants. The awe‑inspiring Suhuton and Calbiga
caves, the many waterfalls of Calbayog, San Jorge and other towns, the dozen
rivers with deep and clear waters are blessings to appreciate and enjoy.
They are likewise business ventures in the future.
Aside from seeing the
good and the beautiful around us we take notice of the noble and beautiful
in us. We the Catholic community (which comprises 95% of Samar's population)
share the sentiments of every Samarnon of good will in our longing for peace
and progress. We all dream of a brighter tomorrow which spells fuller human
life for us. How we all long that our children should be in the classrooms
rather than in the streets or in the fields. We long that a few years from
now because of better job opportunities we can rise above the stink and
squalor of poverty. We recognize also as light our religiosity that we hope
can transcend the painful divisions caused by petty politics and ghetto
But even as we thank the
Author of life and goodness who blessed our homeland and has sown the seed
of hope in our hearts, we must recognize the shadows and call evil by its
real name. We must define the shadows, or worse, the darkness that suffuses
We label as shadows the
years we have allowed vested interests to plunder our resources. We have
tolerated inept large‑scale logging industries and unscrupulous mining
practices. These enabled others to cart away our wealth and resources,
leaving behind floods and un‑arable lands causing pain and misery to our
communities. Likewise either because of ignorance, ineffective laws or greed
we ourselves have destroyed our corral reefs and seas.
But the more urgent of
our concerns which is not just a shadow but a frightening darkness that has
suffocated Samar is the culture of death and fear at this hour and moment.
It revealed its ugly face in the brutal massacres that took away and
desecrated lives. The public have hurled the blame to either the NPA or the
military. With intensified militarization, fear and displacement had been
the sad life story of hundreds of Samarnons.
This is the time when we
have more questions than answers. When do we see the end to this culture of
fear and death? Is this all‑out‑war policy sanctioned by the GMA
administration? Is this the best solution to the insurgency problem? Is
there a connection between militarization and mining? Can we still consider
the threat to or loss of lives and limbs and the ever‑present fear as "small
Perhaps we have to wait
for some time before we may have the answers to our questions. Meantime, we
echo what a brother bishop said. To all Samarnons, but in particular to the
victims, let there be no desire for revenge because we are angry. But let us
not remain silent either, because we are afraid. Even as we speak with
courage and in pursuit of the truth, we don't label persons as enemy. For
indeed, we are all brothers and sisters in need of God's mercy and
Last Sunday's Gospel
reading (Mt. 14:22‑33) reminds us that if we look only at our woes and the
immensity of our problems we have cause to fear and to sink. And so today we
focus our gaze on Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. In him we see, and we
are grateful, for the grandeur of our person and the grandeur of creation.
In him we are all brothers and sisters called to love each other and to love
Samar and the Philippines. In Jesus we renew our solidarity with all
Samarnons of good will. But we want to manifest our solidarity especially
with those who have lost a loved one or those who suffer in this moment of
In Jesus we renew our
solidarity with all of creation. And so we pledge to care for and protect
our seas and rivers and our forests and mineral resources. Thus we uphold at
least a 50 year moratorium on mining and large scale logging. In Jesus we
hear the bidding to walk in faith and hope. We also want to walk in charity
and generosity. And yes, even with the willingness to sacrifice if need be,
that all of us may live in peace, that peace which is the fullness of God's
More social services
instead of troops
By DANILO REYES, Asian Human Rights Commission
August 4, 2005
"...it should be food instead of bullets. Justice instead of impunity.
Teachers instead of troops."
Deploying more troops in
Eastern Visayas to combat the alarming trend of insurgency to me does not
solve the insurgency itself, nor get support from the community soldiers
ought to protect. Of why most people take arms and raise against the
government is because of abject poverty, deep-rooted injustice, abuses by
police and military, absence of adequate social services and failure of
justice system, among others.
should have been pulled on addressing this compelling problems, which to me
pushed most people to take arms and to rebel, instead of confronting them
head-on with arms and force.
Instead of deploying more
troops and putting more government troops lives to risk, sacrificing the
lives of poor villagers during firefight, a large scale displacement during
fighting, pursuing and killing the communist rebels, the government should
have address the compelling problem and root-cause of problem.
Whether they are soldiers,
rebels, villagers and those parties involved in combating insurgency we
should also think that these people have also their own family who don't
want them to loss. They also have their wife, children and relatives who
loved them and don't want them to die even they maybe worst, bad or good as
a person in life.
In every war there’s always
a 'human person behind it'. Some scholars, and this what previous defense
secretaries have been advocating that to promote peace, stable economy,
development and others for the country's interest the government should
combat threats to national security by force and arms.
But to me, it's only pouring
gasoline into a bursting flame. If there's a need for that then there should
be a balance on it. So why is budget expenditures for social services, basic
education among others is low than that of the defense if reports are true?
Even if the defense and
military's expenditure is high...still reality suggest most soldiers and
their family are poor and still haven't had enough. Some of them even
rebelled against the government. History and lessons in the past have told
us this. When previous administration waged 'all-out-wars' in
Mindanao years later the lives of ordinary and poor remains the same,
if some may have improved, but rebellion and arms struggle hasn't been
solved. During those wars, hundreds if not thousands of people died,
displaced and some haven't recovered yet. History repeats itself, and I feel
sad that we haven't learned of our lessons in the past yet. We are only
pushing the people to rebel, breed more rebels, giving opportunity to some
armed strugglers to take advantage of this situation and eventually let
people die, get killed, displaced and ensue more injustice at everybody's
To me, it should be food
instead of bullets. Justice instead of impunity. Teachers instead of troops.
Deeper understanding of rebellion's root-cause instead of a knee-jerk
reaction of troops deployment. Whether they are soldiers, rebels, villagers,
government leaders or anybody, nobody can claim victory...but all losers in
war. The decade-old problems of insurgency and rebellion speaks the proof of