This page features some special news reports and documentaries

special report 13


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The voice as sweet as honey

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 29, 2006

Honey Rinz Lacandazo Molon, an eight-year-old Grade III pupil who champions in the "Pasikatan sa Kantahan 2006" rendered a tagalog song during the "PANINDUGAN" CATV program recently. Mesmerized at her young angelic voice were PIA-8 regional director and program host Olive Tiu and guest Manuel S. Ogena, vice president, Technical Services Sector, PNOC-Energy Development Corporation.  (Photo by Vino R. Cuayzon)

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte   – The petite young girl stood out from among the other contestants not only because she is the smallest and the youngest but because she has a voice as sweet as her name –Honey.

The eight year old Grade III pupil from a public elementary school whose young angelic voice rang sweetly to the ears of the judges won as champion in the Pasikatan sa Kantahan 2006 besting older but also terrific singers from as far as Hilongos, Baybay, Mayorga, Tacloban, Palo and other places of the province of Leyte.

Honey Molon whose father is from Barangay Catmon, an interior barangay of Tanauan, Leyte, was the recent guest of the Panindugan CATV program of PIA. She appears like any other eight year old children, playful, always smiling but unusually evoking wisdom and self confidence.

At the Panindugan program, Honey rendered the tagalong song, Bukas na lang Kita Mamahalin and the staff and the crew were all mesmerized at her rendition. Even the vice President of PNOC EDC who was also guest in the program was all praise of Honey.

When asked how she learned how to sing, she said she has been singing as far as her young memory brings her. Her mother encourages her to sing well by teaching her the lyrics and the right way to pronounce the words. How is she able to emote the song? She said her mother explains to her the story of the song and so she is able to put herself into it. She is a wise girl, indeed!

Right after the Pasikatan sa Kantahan during the 15-day celebration of the Tanauan Day and the Feast of the Patroness, Our Lady of Assumption, Honey got the attention of many people, among them one of the best musical artist in the region, Mr. Clark Gravoso, who accepted the proposal of Mayor Roque Tiu for him to give voice lessons to Honey and twenty four other young singers of the municipality. This way, the singing voice and potentials of Honey and the other young singers will be honed and developed.

At the set of Panindugan, she caught the attention of a media practitioner who is also a piano instructor at the People’s Center in Tacloban City, Engr. Jim Bermejo who offered her a scholarship at the piano school. The girl’s eyes sparkled upon hearing the offer. She said it is one of her dreams to be able to play the piano but she knows that her Papa and Mama might be over-burdened so she has not opened this up to them. Now that Engr. Bermejo has offered, she and her parents gladly accepted for her to have piano lessons every Saturday.

Hopefully good things will continue to come to this girl whose sweet as Honey name and voice continue to catch the attention of people and goes on to bring inspiration to other young children who have the talent for singing to develop their God-given talent.





Celebrating the APO-SSU 20th chapter anniversary

August 20, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Alpha Phi Omega (APO) Theta Alpha chapter of Samar State University (formerly Samar State Polytechnic College) will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on August 21, 2006.

After the rumors that have spread over the town that fraternities and gangs are villains in the society, the APO Theta Alpha Chapter will be celebrating the anniversary in the very different way.

A mural painting by APO members on the walls of Samar National School along San Roque Street.

According to the officers and prominent members of the said fraternity, they want to clarify the negative issues that are being attacked to the said organization through rendering community services. So far, the Pledgees or the neophytes of APO have already rendered different community services like clean-up drive at Barangay San Pablo, Tree Planting at Buri Island, Donation of Book Stands and conducting a clean-up drive in the SSU Main Campus. These activities are part of the trainings being initiated by the said fraternity and sorority, which is under the stewardship of Mr. Bonifacio Cosmod, the Master Initiator.

Dr. Frank Reed Horton founded Alpha Phi Omega, on December 16, 1925, at Brainard Hall 2nd Floor, Lafayette College, Easton Pennsylvania, USA. And it was first founded outside the United States at Room 214, Nicanor Reyes Sr. Memorial Hall of Far Eastern University, Manila Philippines on March 2, 1950 by Mr. Librado I. Ureta.

APO is an organization that has produced great leaders of the Country like: DAR Under Secretary Teddie E. Rivera and prominent members of the Society such as: Honorable Kenneth Abad, Barangay Chairman of San Pablo Catbalogan, Samar, Honorable Romeo Abad, SK Chairman, San Pablo, Catbalogan, Colonel Joel Joseph Cabides of 801st Brigade 8ID Philippine Army. The organization has also honorary members like: Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

Mr. Amador Hurtado one of the Founders of Theta Alpha Chapter proudly recounts his memory being the pioneer and of the founders of APO Theta Alpha Chapter that though it may seem difficult and odd to be a pioneer member of the organization, yet its worth it because of brotherhood. He also explained to this reporter that Alpha Phi Omega is not an ordinary organization because it has produced great leaders in the country like, Hon. Jijomar Binay, Makati City Mayor and Hon. Lyndon Barbers, Governor of Surigao Del Norte.

This reporter has also conducted further research with pertains to the founders of the Theta Alpha Chapter and found out that there were the 9 founders: Mr. Manny Articulo which is now a mayor in one of the municipalities in Cagayan Valley, Mr. Paul Balagat, a businessman which is now based in the United States of America, Mr. Pablo “Bull” Cinco, Acting Alien Control Officer Bureau of Immigration of Samar Province, Mr. Leo Frincillo, A Major in Philippine Marines, Mr. Amador “Totoy” Hurtado, Businessman, Mr. Ike Mamaki, Businessman, Mr. Rolando Manatad, a Doctor which is now based in Southern Leyte, Mr. Julius Missiona, a Broker in Cebu Family Savings Bank, and Colonel Oscar Pedrosa, Philippine Army which is now based in Dumaguete City.

Members of APO proudly enumerate the great people of this organization in order to show to the world that APO has special visions in this planet and that is to promote brotherhood and service to mankind. This reporter was amazed, when they mentioned that Mr. Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States of America is also an APO!

In spite of the hardships and attacks to fraternities, Alpha Phi Omega remains strong and still producing more and more better citizens of the society because of its guiding principles that can boost the organization’s credibility such as: Leadership, Friendship, and Service. The only secret that binds the members of Alpha Phi Omega is the true brotherhood and unity.

One of the members of the organization told this reporter that, APO is an effective character-building institution and this is the main spice that makes the members different than the other ordinary citizen of this country. “Actually, we have the 4 folds programs of Service of APO which are the following: to render service to the fraternity and sorority, to render service to the student body and faculty, to render service to the youth and community and to render service to the nation as a fully participating citizens,” Mr. Adrian Molito Grand Chancellor of Theta Alpha Chapter said.

An alumni member of Alpha Omicron Chapter of Divine Word University, Tacloban City and now a member of APO Maqueda Alumni Association of Samar Province has also revealed promising programs and visions for the Fraternity and Sorority and according to her, “we would like to erase the negative brand of fraternity to the people’s mind by showing them that we are not villain members of the society rather we are promoting brotherhood and service to the people”.

The said Chapter has three proposed projects like: Community-based services through clean-up drive, anti-drug campaign, hospital visits and jail visits. National level services such as tree planting and blood letting. The last proposed project would be tie-up activities with Local Government Units (Municipalities and Barangays) and Non-Government Organizations. The organization is now conducting Public Awareness Campaign to rebut the negative brands of Fraternities and Sororities.

According to Mr. Pablo “Bull” Cinco Jr., son of the Former Samar Governor Pablo Cinco Sr., that APO is training the youth to be better students who will stand out from whatever field they indulge in. The said Alumni member proudly incited the first batch who survived in Theta Alpha chapter of then Samar Trade School (now SSU), they were all board passers and became professionals and now serving the country through their respective professions.

Two proud members to mention are Major Princillo who is a member of the Philippine Army, which is now based in Jolo, Solo and Attorney Antonio Pagatpat Regional Director of National Bureau of Investigation NBI 08. “It is very sad to know that people are generalizing the fraternities into gangs in which very contrary to the reality,” Mr. Bull Cinco said. He also added that APO is recognized as International Fraternity through the services and dedicated and disciplined members.

The Alumni and the resident members will celebrate the anniversary by a simple Beach Party here in Catbalogan.





For a vote against the impeachment?

PGMA grants clemency to Cong. Uy’s nepotism conviction

August 16, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  – After three years of living as a convicted person, finally Congressman Reynaldo Uy of Samar’s first district received his Presidential Pardon, Monday last week, restoring the solon’s full civil and political rights.

Cong. Reynaldo Uy

The solon has been convicted by the Sandigan Bayan on September 2, 2003 with two counts of nepotism charges filed against him by Sofia L. Patrimonio, and was penalized to pay a fine of 1,000 pesos for each conviction with a subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

The granting of the executive clemency by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to Cong. Uy however, was in time when the Congress is set to vote on the substance of the impeachment complaint against the president filed by the Black and White movement.

In an interview aired over a radio station in Calbayog City, Cong. Uy quickly dismissed public speculations that he bargained his vote against the impeachment because of the pardon he got from the president.

But it can be recalled that the solon from Samar’s first district voted in favor of the impeachment of PGMA last year, during the time when Cong. Catalino Figueroa of Samar’s 2nd district was negotiating for his anti-impeachment vote to get MGen. Jovito Palparan’s head rolling from Samar; Cong. Uy however did not attend the plenary in congress when the final resolution of the impeachment trial has been undertaken.

“But I am casting my vote against the impeachment now because it is only meant to harass the president, and we should help this government move on, and this will not happen if the president is always tailed by aggravation of her political foes”, Cong. Uy disclosed.

He also added that the situation being faced by President Arroyo at present is almost the same as what had happened to him, accordingly, his conviction to the nepotism charges was a product of blatant manipulations by his political nemesis, stressing that it was done mainly to prevent him from serving his constituents and for some people in Samar’s first district to monopolize power.

Strong Opposition

Upon knowing that the Board of Pardons and Parole, thru its chief parole officer Ernesto P. Dizon, that Cong. Reynaldo Uy’s petition for an executive clemency will be treated on July 2006, Sofia L. Patrimonio, the private complainant filed her petition for strong opposition to the solon’s request for a presidential pardon.

In her petition, Patrimonio claimed that the convicted felon if allowed to be pardoned would undoubtedly have a very mocking respect for the country’s laws and the judicial system.

Patrimonio likewise cited that the presidential pardon will quash the misdeeds of the convicted solon, “and would only prove to the public that crime after all can be paid by a stroke of a presidential pen”, she said in her petition.

And further stipulated to the Board of Pardons and Parole that Cong. Uy does not deserved to be granted with presidential pardon by the very president that he accuses of having committed fraud and for alleged electioneering in last year’s impeachment complaint filed in congress.

History of the Case

Based on the Fourth Division of the Sandigan Bayan obtained by the writer, Cong. Uy was convicted with two of Nepotism charges filed by one Sofia  L. Patrimonio, on September 2, 2003, the material evidences presented was based on his stint then as the Mayor of Calbayog City.

The charges which were docketed as criminal case numbers 25641 and 25642, were tried during the colon’s mayoralty stint, to which on April 16, 1993 by his capacity as an appointing officer, appointed Mr. Frederick B. Uy, his nephew, as Agricultural Technician I at the Calbayog City Agriculture Office who indicated on his personal data sheet that he is not in any way connected to the appointing officer up to the third degree of consanguinity or affinity as required by law, but later Frederick got a promotional appointment in July of the same year as the General Maintenance Foreman for the said city but on his data sheet this time, he indicated that he is already connected with the appointing officer; that Antonina Uy was also hired as Office Helper on September 1993, but the solon pleaded not guilty to the two charges during the arraignment.

Both of the subject employees are children of Pedro Uy, the brother of Congressman Reynaldo Uy.

It was only in April of 2000 that the evidences were formally offered to the prosecution, to include the personal data sheet, appointment papers, live birth certificates, plantilla of casual employees and affidavits, and eventually the court admitted the exhibits after almost two years, that was in February 18, 2002 and the trial went on.

Along the trial process, the court found the evidences against the solon relatively strong and were made even stronger by the testimonies of three witnesses, Sofia Patrimonio, the private complainant, Manuel Barral, a former Sangguniang Panglungsod member, and Vicente Catorce, the city’s HRMO IV; thus, based on the evidences, the fourth division of the Sandigan Bayan as presided by Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario ruled out that Cong. Reynaldo Uy is guilty of the nepotism charges.

The Rebuttal Evidences of the Court

According to the decision, the verbal admission of Cong. Reynaldo Uy during the court proceeding that Frederick and Antonina Uy are his nephew and niece respectively are cited as judicial admission, to which in accordance with the new civil code, the two subject employees are relatives within the third civil degree of consanguinity, thus, “their appointment to government service by the appointing officer, which is their uncle, was a clear violation of the Nepotism Law”, the decision explained.

The Sandigan Bayan likewise ruled out that the defense of Cong. Uy stressing his exemption from the nepotism law for being a medical practitioner as prescribed by the Administrative Code of 1987 is invalid; the court decision informed that the said exemption refers mainly to the appointees and not to the appointing entity.

The court likewise disagree on the defense claim, that Antonina Uy’s appointment was exempted from the rule of nepotism because she is a registered nurse and that she was assigned at the City Health Office.

But the court decision stipulated that “those exempted from the operation of the rules on nepotism are: persons employed in a confidential capacity; teachers; physicians; and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines”, further stressing that the position of a nurse was not included in the enumeration.

Likewise, the court justified the verdict against the solon, saying that the convict cannot rely on the claim that he signed the appointment papers of the two employees based on the HRMOs certification indicating that all requirements had been complied with, citing that “ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith”.

And things went worst for Cong. Uy, when a letter purportedly sent by the solon to the complainant offering moral or financial help was presented as evidence, to which the court described the actuation as an offer of compromise.

“In criminal cases, an offer of compromise by the accused is an implied admission of guilt”, the decision said.





Barangay Nutrition Scholar The unsung community-volunteer

August 7, 2006

NAVAL, Biliran  –  She performed religiously a tedious regular monthly and quarterly weighing of all children from 0-24 months old and likewise assisted in the annual weighing of 0-71 months old kids as part of monitoring the nutritional status of children in the community, carry-out other equally tiresome work like in providing basic nutrition services and referrals of families to different service providers, assists the barangay chairman in organizing and reactivating the barangay nutrition committee, acted as nutrition action officer and many other nutrition-related functions that required her full attention and dedication.

On top of these functions is the preparation of various reports which needs a lot of mind-boggling mathematical applications, careful presentation of data for better analysis and evaluation of records for purposes of depicting the real nutritional status of the people in the community and for the proper sourcing-out of different kinds of interventions to give solutions to the nutrition-related problems and deficiencies in the community.

These are the difficult and complicated tasks put on the shoulders of a community-volunteer who carried them out without a single groan of hesitation and not even showing a few whisper of disgust even at the expense of receiving monthly honorarium good only for a one day allowance of rich kids at P100. to P300.

This volunteer is one precious member in the community who looks after the welfare and upliftment of the nutritionally-depressed baby boy or girl, the adult men and women and the rest of the constituency who need the gentle caress of her nurturing hands and the warm presence of affection.

This frontliner in the delivery of the nutritional needs of the community with age ranging from 18 to 60 years old heartily swear the Hippocratic-like oath of allegiance of doctor of medicine to provide the best health services for the best interest of the people in the community.

She is the present-day Florence Nightangle who cares and heals not only the sick and the wounded but also offers the best and most accommodating health care services worthy of praise and commendation.

To the dedicated and sincere men and women doing nutrition-devoted community volunteerism, the prize of success lies in the invaluable accomplishments and feat of achievements rests in the immeasurable contentment of the public.

She may not have the adequate educational attainment that the difficult job so requires but to her educational insufficiency is not a hindrance in achieving success in one’s field of work since it can be replenished by the happy and amiable faces of the nutritionally rehabilitated children in the community whom she has rendered her unselfish service.

To Mrs. Leonarda Sanosa Tol, a BNS for almost 20 years now of Barangay Calumpang, one of the biggest barangays in the municipality of Naval in the province of Biliran in terms of household population, the best happiness can only be achieved in the faithful and dedicated service to our fellowmen.

To the 22,000 plus Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) in the country today, we, who followed every precious trail of your untiring endeavors and we who watched every valuable move of your determined deeds, salute and congratulate the unsung heroes who transformed the malnourished children as well as the unhealthy adult populace back to its normal condition and the nutritionally depressed community transformed into a healthy and strong society necessary in achieving a strong country in general.





This man rose above disability and became a Barangay Chairman

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 30, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  There is no such thing as disability, just this ability. This is what a seven year old child who is a polio victim, always told himself. And this he proved to himself is indeed true. He has been the barangay chairman of his barangay for many years already and this year, he was elected as President of the Federation of Persons with Disabilities of Leyte, Inc.

Romulo Advincula, president and Patrio Barca, secretary of the Federation of Physically Disabled Persons of Leyte, Inc. were this week’s guests at “Harampang ha PIA” hosted by RD Olive Tiu.

Romulo Advincula was a very healthy, intelligent and normal child until he became very sick when he was seven years old. That was also the time when his parents had a stormy marriage that led to their separation. He was brought to the hospital but he was not given so much attention because of his parents’ marital problems.

He got well, thanks God. But his two feet were affected and can no longer walk. He walked sitting down since then. Despite his disability, he continued going to school and was able to be on top of his class, humbly and patiently turning deaf ears when young children made fun of him because of the way he walked.

After graduating in the elementary level, however, his father could no longer send him to school and so he made himself useful in their home doing light chores.

Forever believing that there is no such thing as disability, Romulo did not have any inferiority complex and had a very good relationship with the people in his barangay. When he had money, he lent this to the needy people of the barangay. Through this, he was not only able to earn good income but also earned the respect of the people.

As the famous Helen Keller once said, ”Faith is  the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light”. Just like Helen Keller, Romulo is an amazing example of a person who regarded his physical disability as an advantage rather that a weakness and therefore saw no limit to what he could achieve.

In 1989, he was requested by the people of his Barangay to run as barangay chairman which he readily did and so he was elected by a big margin as the chairman of Barangay Bungdo, Julita, Leyte, a duty which he performed so well.

His barangay used to be a notorious barangay where bickering and shouting incidents are very common. Today because of Romulo’s ability, the barangay is a peaceful and progressive barangay. His secret? He requested the support of the police so that everytime there is bickering and shouting incidents, the culprits were punished by making them clean and weed the barangay plaza or the comfort room.

Disability means so many things to so many people. The disabled or differently abled population encompasses a variety of physical conditions such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, paralysis, attention deficit disorder and depression. There are many more.

But as Romulo and many people with disabilities know, it’s a mistake to confuse disability with inability.


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