residents of San Jorge, Western Samar and San Jose de Buan, Samar
A Press Statement by
September 23, 2008
September 16 and 18,
2008 the residents of Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge,
Western Samar and Brgy. Hagbay, San Jose de Buan,
Western Samar saw
three (3) fighter planes flying over the boundaries of their Barangays.
These three (3) planes dropped something that caused big explosions.
They also saw white smokes from the place were these bombs were
dropped and felt that the ground shaked as these explosions took
place. Aside from the bombs dropped from these planes, they also heard
more explosions, not coming from these planes, which emitted black
smoke. These other explosions again caused the ground to shake.
This series of
bombings were accompanied by arrests, detentions, interrogations,
torture, illegal search of houses and killing a farmer from these two
As a result of these
series of atrocities, the residents of Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge
Western Samar were forced to evacuate to the town proper of San Jorge,
Western Samar to seek refuge. On the other hand, the residents of Brgy.
Hagbay, San Jose de Buan, Western Samar were forced not to go to their
farms to work because of fear that they might get hit by the bombs
being dropped by these planes. These further resulted to the
disruption of the economic activities of the people in the said
We, in the Human
Rights Alliance, KATUNGOD-SB-KARAPATAN, condemns in the strongest
possible terms these terroristic activities perpetrated by the
elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the command of
the 8th Infantry Division.
These terroristic acts
is a clear indication that the military is not considering the lives
of the civilians and the people whom they are mandated to protect as
stipulated in our Constitution: a clear indication that they are not
as they always project in the media that they are respecting the human
rights of the people.
We call on all
peace-loving people of Eastern Visayas, to be vigilant and to take an
active role in the promotion and protection of the people who have
become victims of human rights violations. This is the right time for
us to join hands in condemning the continued disrespect of the
military on the sanctity of the lives and livelihood of the people of
Kathrina R. Castillo, Secretary-General, cel no. 09272776270
On Coastal Clean Up,
pollution prevention is the key
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
Today, the third
Saturday of September, September 20 to be exact, thousands of people
will descend on beaches, lakes, streams to remove trash and debris.
Volunteers of all ages from various sectors will form the largest
one-day volunteer event.
Coastal clean up isn't
just about pollution clean up, it is also pollution prevention. People
must be made aware that there will be no trashes to pick if people in
the first place will not throw wastes especially the non-biodegradable
ones any where much less on the beach where the waves will wash the
wastes to the sea.
What makes any Coastal
Clean Up unique is its debris collection component and sustainability.
More focus is given on the non-biodegradable trash. The event focuses
on educating and empowering people to become a part of the marine
must be used to educate the public, business, industry and government
officials about the problem of pollution prevention. It is believed
that understanding the problem is the key to finding long-lasting
People must be
informed that a report on the conduct of a study of plastic marine
garbage identifies plastics as the number one marine debris hazard.
Among the results of
the study is that a plywood that enters the sea decomposes only after
A cigarette butt that
entered the ocean in 1986, starts to decompose in 1991 which is five
A Styrofoam cup that
enters the ocean decomposes only after eighteen years while it takes
fifty years for a tin can to decompose.
If one thinks it is
shocking to know that it takes 450 years for a plastic bottle that
enters the sea to decompose, wait till he is informed that it takes
one million years for a glass bottle that enters the ocean to
The Philippines has
18,000 kilometer coastline that lies in the central tropic marine
bio-diversity of the world, thus there is a need for volunteers to
clean up along the coast or under sea.
Coastal Clean Ups will
not only promote recognition and facilitation of volunteerism. More
so, it will show that volunteerism activity when properly managed
could play a vital role in addressing environmental issues, pollution
prevention and human development in general.
Tacloban’s HUC bid
By CHITO DELA TORRE
A big sign board still
hangs infront of the fish market at
City’s reclaimed site in the supermarket area. It proclaims that the
“improvement of drainage system” project at the fish stall market
building at Quezon boulevard, with a project cost of P448,559,52
(there’s an error here: the comma before “52” should be a dot,
otherwise the figure would read 448 million or something), has a work
duration of “45 calendar days”. It also contains this message
attributed to city mayor Alfred S. Romualdez (his handsome facial
photo is there): “Padayon an pagpauswag Tacloban Yes to highly
Eyes of market-goers
have not been on that signboard for the nth time that I went there to
buy fish. They were on the fish species for sale, mostly outside of
the building where stalls are supposed to be the only place where fish
should be displayed and sold. Have Taclobanons cared not to notice
the project, and the “highly urbanized” campaign slogan? These are
important matters which they should be concerned about and give their
+ + + + + + + +
For the first time,
last Sunday evening, as I was looking for a trip back to Basey town to
deliver additional applications for agrarian titles (SP Form No. 1)
which I reproduced upon reaching Tacloban from Cogon, I found out that
the city now has a new look of a passenger taxi cab. It was waiting
for paying passengers bound for Basey. It had 3 young riders already
seated and 5 seats were vacant. I paid P40 for each of the vacant
seats and let the vehicle go. Its driver, who happens to dine and
sometimes sleep in a house at Calbang (a community along the highway,
a short distance from the Sta. Rita end of the San Juanico Bridge) -
said 5 yellow-painted cute sportscar-like cabs like the one he was
driving are now plying the city, and 10 more that are still painted
white and to be painted yellow are soon to be registered with the Land
Transportation Office. All these new taxis, which sport the name
“Jega Spider”, are owned by JEGA Corporation Inc., a transport
services outfit, which is preparing a fleet for the transport units
needed once Robinson’s mall opens at Marasbaras, Tacloban. The
corporate owner’s address is at Jega Bldg. in
San Jose, Tacloban. According to the driver, the corporation is
proud to announce that the JEGA Spider taxis are “fast and economical,
sleek and comfortable” and, with reliable drivers, they go out on the
road for a 24-hour service “anywhere in Metro Tacloban”. Ah, I see, I
said. This could be part of the “highly urbanized city” pursuit of
Alfred. These taxis emerged only at this time that Alfred is into his
second year of his first term as city mayor and when he is praying
hard for the approval of President Gloria Arroyo to make Tacloban a “HUC”.
A taxi going to Basey for some weeks now only suggests that Basey is
part of the concept of “Metro Tacloban”. Make no mistake about it. I
have no objections. In fact, I heartily welcome both the taxi and the
+ + + + + + + +
Cogon, a big barrio of
Basey with a total warm body population of 1,500 (including those at
its two sitios of Cambabang [between Cogon and the next barrio of
Cancaiyas, and surrounded by lowland ricefields] and Guinpongdoan
[nestling on a mountain and accessible from Bulao - an agrarian reform
community - and Cancaiyas] and part of the houses at sitio Macaranas
of New San Agustin) is gearing to score triple successes in its
Gulayan sa Barangay project. Thanks to the initiative and efforts of
kagawad Ramon J. Gad. When he was still the village chief, Cogon
bought a piece of private land which soon was converted into a
barangay plaza (well, it has a cemented basketball court that is a
favorite playing ground for children and adults for many years now).
A few months ago, Ramon, the barangay council agriculture committee
chair, has asked the constituents to cultivate the spacious vacant lot
on the “ilawod” side of the plaza. After a series of “pintakasi”,
plots emerged, one set immediately planted to upo, patola, okra and
hantak by 14 members of the Lupong Tagapayapa who also built a fence
around their yard and a “balayan nga pakamburan” (trellis, a
latticework for plants) all from bamboo that is available in the
barrio. Another set was completed by the local barangay health
workers who soon planted their assigned lot with upo, patola and
hantak. When revisited by me last Sunday to retrieve the CLOA from
Guinpongoan, the third set was already completed with 3 long rows of
plots which would be used for demonstration planting of Ampalaya seeds
by Neil Anasarias, a technician of the municipal agriculturist’s
office. This set, prepared by 4 tanod members, has another plot
reserved for eggplant and its far “ilawod” end is already planted to
okra and hantak. Ramon had been frequenting the agriculturist’s
office for seeds to be planted and for technology to be imparted.
Ador Amascual had appreciated that and has not hesitated for once. He
gave Ramon a 300- or 340-gram can of “Isabel(a?)” Ampalaya seeds which
are sold in Quezon City and this is what the tanod will be growing, and, harvesting after 4 or 6
months. Ramon told all planters to own their harvests and divide
among themselves the income from their harvests and then to continue
planting in their assigned areas at the plaza.
Teodorico D. Porbus,
an avid supporter of the vegetable production project of mayor
Wilfredo O. Estorninos and president of Baktas Kabub’wason Rural
Workers Association, assured Ramon of a ready market for their
ampalaya. Dioring accompanied me to Cogon to also look into the
progress of the local tuba-tuba planting activities. He had opened a
new tuba-tuba nursery in his birthplace at barrio Villa Aurora, one
which will soon be yielding long and healthy ampalaya vegetables. He
said, his cousin, a big marketer in Tacloban, is ready to buy all the
harvests from all the ampalaya gardens in Basey. He stressed that
Tacloban seems no longer to be buying its supply of ampalaya and other
vegetables outside of Leyte. This trend will continue because many
Leytenhon are now into vegetable production, and now, Basaynon will
hop into the band wagon, although not conscious of the fact that they
are already indirectly supporting the highly urbanized city bid of the
+ + + + + + + +
At past 7 p.m.
last Sunday, a car with red plate SES 576, apparently with one rider
apart from the driver, was moderately running Salazar street to Sen.
Enage street and onward. A cab driver commented, “bilib, an gobyerno
natrabaho bis’ gab-i hit Domingo”. I said to myself, “tuod ito, kay
Fighting former Olympic gold medalists
Pacquio and Pancho
Villa have one thing in common
By ALEX P. VIDAL / PNS
Manny Pacquiao will
not be the first Filipino world champion to fight a former Olympic
gold medalist in the person of Oscar De La Hoya, who pocketed the
United States’ lone gold medal in boxing in the lightweight division
in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
popularly known as “Pancho Villa”, was the first “brown bomber” to be
pitted against an Olympic champion.
In fact, Pancho Villa
(92-8, 25 KOs, 4 draws), the first Filipino and Asian world champion,
never won a single fight in his trilogy with Frankie Genaro (94-26, 18
KOs, 8 draws),
flyweight gold medalist in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
Jongjong Pacquing came closed to fighting 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
featherweight gold medalist Meldrick Taylor (38-8, 20 KOs, 1 draw) for
International Boxing Federation (IBF) light welterweight title in Las
Vegas on Sept. 3, 1988 but pulled out in the eleventh hour after he
injured his knee.
Pacquing (59-24, 30
KOs, 5 draws), of Cagayan De Oro City, was already in
when the injury occurred. He was replaced by James Buddy McGirt who
was knocked out in the 12th round.
In their first meeting
on July 6, 1922 in Jersey City, New Jersey, the fight between Villa
and Genaro ended in no contest.
In their rematch on
August 22, 1992 in Ebbets Field,
Genaro showed who’s the boss and outpointed the Ilonggo buzzsaw in 10
After racking up nine
straight wins on American shores, Villa faced Genaro anew for the
American flyweight champion on
March 1, 1923 at the
Madison Square Garden
in New York.
Genaro continued his
mastery over the visitor from Ilog, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental by
pounding out another points victory after 15 rounds.
A fourth meeting did
not materialize after Villa died of tooth infection 10 days after
losing on points to Jimmy McLarnin at the Oaks Ballpark, Emeryville,
California on July 4, 1925.
Villa’s title was not
at stake when he lost to McLarnin thus the New York State Athletic
Commission (NYSAC) declared Villa’s title vacant after his death and
proclaimed Genaro the new champion.
Always seeking the
best competition, Genaro lost his American title to Fidel LaBarba in
1925 and dropped a decision to former world champ Newsboy Brown in his
Genaro was a
quick-footed fighter who combined agility and aggression to become a
world champion. His day finally came in 1928 when he defeated Frenchy
Belanger to win the NBA flyweight crown. Although he lost the title in
his first defense against Emile Pladner, he took it right back by
defeating Pladner one month later.
Genaro made successful
defenses of the NBA title against Ernie Jarvis, Yvon Trevidic and
Belanger before meeting Midget Wolgast, who was recognized as world
flyweight champ by the New York State Athletic Commission. The
unification bout ended in a draw and each champion went their separate
ways. Genaro made successful defenses against Victor Ferrand, Jackie
Harmon and Valentin Angelmann until being knocked out by Victor
"Young" Perez in 1931.
Genaro never fought
for another title but did manage to beat future featherweight champion
Joey Archibald in 1933 before retiring in 1934. In all, Genaro met 10
world champions. Among those not already listed are Bushy Graham and
Willie LaMorte. He also met three Hall of Famers.
Basey losing 2,000
hectares to Sta. Rita?
By CHITO DELA TORRE
hectares of land could be breaking away from Basey,
Samar where the original government land classification map drew
it. That is, if this vast tract and mountain of land had not already
been sliced effectively and arrogated as part of the adjoining town of
The occurrence is not a natural phenomenon. It is a mere result of
This has come about
during the administration of Sta. Rita mayor Atty. Silverio “Silver”
Macariola. The mayor at the time in Basey was Atty. Wilfredo “Didi”
Estorninos (today serving the first term of his next three-term
opportunity to serve as mayor, a position to which he was reelected
unopposed for his last term of office in an election that placed his
vice-mayor Engr. Vicente “Vic” Labuac as his successor until June 30,
2007 when he Didi defeated Vic). Didi suspected years ago that
Silver’s administration was already extending its authority across
There allegedly were
reports from the field that taxes were demanded by Sta. Rita from
owners of lands that belonged to Basey. The lands affected were said
to be lying east of the boundary of Basey and Sta. Rita starting
somewhere at Cantaba (the sitio village that meets the eye when
descending the last height of the asphalted highway from San Juanico
Bridge and turning left for the end of the asphalted road at Calbiga,
Samar) which kisses the imaginary boundary line of Dolongan, a barrio
of Basey, and ending somewhere north-northeast ahead of Magsaysay (the
barrio next to sitio Cantaba) and further ahead.
A feeling went up that
on account of the undue arrogation of the 2,000 hectares, Sta. Rita
benefited from it in terms of an increase in its income, or via the
internal revenue allotment.
There was some amount
of push that the matter be brought to the sangguniang panlalawigan of
Samar for a remedy. Of course, to Basey, the remedy was for Sta. Rita
to stop owning the 2,000 hectares. The latest suggestions – between
August, 2006 and early this month of September, 2008 – included the
conduct of government surveys that would firmly establish the exact
boundary between Basey and Sta. Rita, including the boundaries on the
peripheral south of Pinabacdao town in Samar which kisses the northern
and northern-eastern lines of Basey and Sta. Rita, on the map, that
For Didi, the full
exercise of taxation and political and administrative authority by the
municipal government of Basey will enable the town planners of Basey
to complete their comprehensive and integrative development plans.
This is especially true now that mayor Estorninos is giving much
attention to his goal of increased food production in support of the
promised “food basket” program of Samar governor Milagrosa Tee Tan and
the dream of President Gloria Arroyo to make the Philippines truly
self-sufficient in food. Didi is convinced that the more than 10,000
hectares of land beyond 8 kilometers from the poblacion towards the
north, and up to the town’s western boundary with Sta. Rita, when
fully developed thru the opening of viable roads and massive infusion
of farm machineries and technology, could yield a volume and supply of
food more than what the townspeople would need year-round.
Today, though, Basey
is craving for funds from all sectors, especially from the Office of
the President, with which to build good roads into the more than
10,000 hectares which, incidentally is entirely part of the
19,893-hectare Samar resettlement (as established by Proclamation 2292
of then President Ferdinand Marcos), and introduce support services
that would attract socio-economic investments and ultimately pave the
way for better modernization and globally responsive innovations.
At the moment, mayor
Estorninos and his constituents must not be left to themselves. They
need every push and help. Even mayor Kim Adolfo of Sta. Rita and his
constituents can significantly help.
Gov. Tan and
vice-governor Jesus B. Redaja and his members of the sangguniang
panlalawigan could be of special help. Representative Sharee Ann Tan
could give a very big help, but the biggest help will come from
President Arroyo, particularly now that she has started giving Samar
her various serious attention (her latest itinerary will even include
a visit to Eastern Samar to look into the other international tourism
needs of Calicoan island and to attend the Balangiga massacre
commemorative events). In the meantime, the lands bureau of the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources can contribute with
technical maps and advice. No, I’m not saying they should come to
me. I’m nobody on this matter, just a plain Filipino citizen. If
they want to take action now and at once, they need to contact Didi.
And, just a by the
way: Sta. Rita has a Year 2000 population of 30,118 and is made up of
30 barangays. For year 2008, during which every barangay in the
Philippines is entitled to an IRA share of P80,000 for every 100 or
more population, Sta. Rita has P3,040,000 on that basis, but its share
based on population is P7,621,978.91. Based on equal sharing, Sta.
Rita has an IRA of P11,666,748.47.
On the other hand,
Basey has a population of 43,809 as of Year 2000, and since it has 51
barangays, its P80,000-per-barangay share sums up to P4,080,000, while
its share based on population is pegged at P11,086,767.85 and its
total share from the equal sharing (of P307,019.70 per barangay) is
P15,658,004.52. The computed total IRA of Basey for Year 2008 is
rounded to P30,824,770. (Sta. Rita’s is only P22,328,727.)
terrorized residents of Matuguinao
A Press Statement by
August 26, 2008
July has been a
terrible month this year for residents of some interior barangays in
Matuguinao, Samar because of military operations in their area causing
several human rights violations.
On July 7, 2008
military elements belonging to the 63rd Infantry Batallion (IB),
Philippine Army (PA), picked up two children, brothers Gino dela Cruz,
12 years old, and Lino dela Cruz, 10 years old, who were on their way
home to Brgy. Carolina, Matuguinao from their farm and brought them to
their operations in search for camps of the New People’s
Army (NPA) in the area. The soldiers flicked the boys’
ears and hands and threatened to kill them if the soldiers get
ambushed by NPAs after they release the boys. The same day while
tagging the boys along, they illegally searched Elveria dela Cruz’s
house in Brgy. Rizal, Matuguinao while no one was home. They also took
some belongings and dumped the old clothes outside the house.
In Brgy. Carolina,
Matuiguinao, elements of the same military unit arrived at the barrio
on July 16, 2008 and fired several shots at Alvin Tenedero, a resident
of the said barangay. Fortunately, he was able to run to avoid the
shots. Then they threatened the residents and accused the men of being
members of the NPA. Some of the residents were forced to do chores for
the soldiers. The same day, three (3) houses including the personal
belongings inside were burned down by the same military unit in Brgy.
On July 22, 2008,
Bernabe dela Cruz was fired at by soldiers and his house located at a
farm at Brgy.
Carolina was bombed. Fortunately, he was able to escape. The same
day, elements of the same military unit went back to the barrio proper
of Brgy. Inubod and threatened the residents and illegally searched
almost all the houses in the barrio to look for fire arms but failed
to find one.
Bisayas, the Regional Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights, condemns in the strongest possible terms these
state-sponsored terrorist acts by elements of the 63rd IB, PA. These
incidents are manifestations of the implementation of the government’s
anti-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya II (OBL II). State
elements who are supposed to protect the lives of civilians are the
number one violator of human rights. The findings of the UN Special
Rapporteur Philip Alston is further proved that the Armed Forces of
the Philippines is in the state of total denial of being responsible
for these human rights violations even with clear statements of the
We call on all
concerned agencies and institutions to conduct an investigation
regarding the incident and take necessary actions to protect the lives
of innocent civilians against atrocities of state agents. Let us break
the culture of impunity.
We also call on the
peace loving people of Eastern Visayas to be vigilant and to expose
any violations of human rights done by state agents. With the united
stand and effort of our communities, we can defeat OBL II.
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– The country abounds with heroes, from the folk heroes recorded in
the country's ancient epics through the centuries of foreign rule in
the country up to the present.
The long list of men
and women who gave up their lives in defense of the Filipino people's
rights and liberties testify to the heroism of the people. It is a
good thing that the government has allotted one day as National Heroes
Day because many heroes have been forgotten.
By their deeds and
sacrifices, the country's heroes wrote the pages of the country's
annals not only with their blood but by their deeds that raised the
dignity of the Filipino as a people. It is important to study the life
and works of these heroes for posterity to see and emulate their noble
lives and deeds.
In Eastern Visayas,
seldom remembered is the Waray hero Juan Ponce Sumuroy who led the
Sumuroy Rebellion of 1649-1650 first began in Northern Samar. His
trusted co conspirator David Dula sustained the quest for freedom with
greater vigor but he was wounded, captured and later executed in
Palapag, Northern Samar by the Spaniards together with his seven key
lieutenants, one of who was the great great grandfather of current
Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza.
There is Valeriano
Abello, the Boy Scout hero of the Leyte Landing, among the honorees.
Abello was the courageous solitary figure who appeared on the beach of
Tolosa, Leyte, and signaled using semaphore flags to the
forces aboard the ships offshore that civilian lives were endangered
by their impending bombardment. After reaching the ships on an
outrigger banca paddled by two local friends, Abello pointed out the
Japanese artillery emplacements and defensive positions and helped
spare many civilian settlements and populations from destruction by
American carpet bombing.
Another is Jaime C. de
Veyra of Tanauan, Leyte who through his pen, as editorial writer of El Renacimiento advocated liberty and freedom. Later, he became the first
Filipino governor of
Leyte and was appointed Resident Commissioner for the
Philippines at the
United States Congress in Washington, D.C. and chairman of the
Institute of National Language which recommended to Congress the
adoption of Tagalog as the basis of developing a national language in
And there were the 400
brave men from Balangiga who dared to stop the abuses by the American
soldiers during the American occupation. It said that while all 74
American soldiers were eating their breakfast, they were suddenly
attacked by the townsfolk, resulting in 54 deaths and 18 wounded. So
grisly were the deaths that it was prominently played up in the news.
Survivors recounted how the night before there was a procession of
women followed by baby coffins. The women turned out to be men and the
coffins contained rifles. At 6:30 a.m., the bells of Balangiga were
rung, signaling the attack of 400 men led by the highest town
The country's heroes
also include those who selflessly worked for the welfare and progress
of Philippine life through honest and dedicated public service – the
Overseas Filipino Workers, the cab driver who returned huge amounts of
money left behind by a passenger, the teachers who sacrificed their
lives and who died protecting the sanctity of the ballots, the
government forces who died and those still living who continue to do
their task of protecting the people and upholding the rule of law ,
the farmers who toil the soil so that Filipinos will have rice to eat,
the students who by their achievements announced to the whole world
the existence of their respective hinterland homes, the government
workers who continue to serve with commitment despite the meager pay.
These are the unsung heroes of the country.
These are the
seldom remembered heroes of the nation, men and women who lived and
died for freedom and liberty, men and women who work for peace, unity,
integrity and truth.