City gov’t eyes
economic feats in PINES; project proposals expected to draw foreign
By JOHN HECTHOR SAY, Samar
CATBALOGAN CITY – in
preparation with the upcoming Philippine International Eco Show
(PINES) of DTI’s Center for International Trade Missions and
Expositions (CITEM) to be held on August 26-28, 2010 at the SMX
Convention Center Pasay City, the city locals of Catbalogan begun
securing certain project slots for the aforesaid conference, Assistant
City Planning officer Raul Reyes says.
International Eco-Show (PINES) is an international
conference/exhibition that showcases a diversified shelf of innovative
environment-friendly materials, products and services. It is slated to
feature an exhibition, a conference, business matching and
eco-business tour. Target visitors are Venture Capitalists; Urban
Planners, Property Developers; Contractors, Architects, Designers,
Original Equipment Manufacturers, Multinational Corporations, Motor
Vehicle Assemblers, Hospitality Related Industries (Hotels, Resorts,
Spas, Wellness Centers, Cruise Liners), Importers, Wholesalers,
Distributors, Facility Managers, Government Agencies, Non-Government
Organizations, Green Building Materials and Technology Providers.
Formed under the Kyoto
Protocol, the said event is idealized towards creating a greener and
healthier earth that doesn’t only bring environment-conscious products
and services but is also set to do reforms and innovations in the
trade systems of the world.
By this sense, and to
make Catbalogan a feasible entry for this conference, the City
Planning Office has already formulated a short list of eco-projects
that it may present to the foreign investors (whom the city targets to
realize the plans). Among these are the construction of a small-scale
tidal power generation plant in Brgy. Silanga, the creation of a
tourism loop within
(comprising Catbalogan City itself, Daram, Babatngon and Calbiga) and
a project called Cradle-to-Cradle Solid Waste Management.
Engr. Reyes further
explains that these projects do not only seek economic aids for
Catbalogan but will also generate direct or indirect financial and
aesthetic benefits to other areas within the region, particularly
those that comprise the tourism loop.
Samarnes.com is also
put to become the official media partner of the City Planning Office
for the PINES.
Turbines in the sea
Being the major
project proposal of the City Planning Office, the construction of a
tidal power-generation plant is expected to receive the fastest
approval from the investors in the PINES conference. This is what Engr.
Reyes calls as a Techno and Eco-Tourism venture.
The prospect area for
the power plant to be built is on the bay situated between the island
of Buri and the barangay of Silanga. The area is currently being
crossed with a causeway which particularly prevents the strong flow of
the waters running on its sides. Engr. Reyes pushes that if only a
huge hole would be bored in the causeway, great chances are seen to
occur that the waters from the surrounding bay will increase in
current pressure. Especially that the area is prone to tidal
activities, rich energy source is expected to materialize.
Micro-turbines will be
built under the causeway which will be used to generate energy. With a
length of about 140 meters, the water flowing under the causeway is
estimated to produce a sizable amount of energy enough to feed a
particular commercial unit or residential region with sufficient
energy needs. Additionally, the city also plans to use the now-rich
surrounding water areas as a fertility ground to culture certain
breeds of fish, such as bangus, tilapia and sea cucumber due to the
fact that oxygen is already in free flow in these waterways. With
this, Buri and Silanga can feasibly become affluent processing zones
for fish- and energy-related products.
However, to secure the
safety of the fishes and to protect mother nature, screens would be
built near the causeway to safeguard these sea creatures from the
The improvement of the
local airport is also thought to become a major outcome of the
project. With lots of investors and business enthusiasts to flee on
the island, and with a bulky number of tourists to set foot on the
beaches, the development of the airport is no way an impossibility.
The Tourism Loop
As seen in the map,
Catbalogan is situated in very strategic position in Eastern Visayas.
Its port operates with neighboring islands and it is positioned in a
commanding location that concretizes it to become a major gateway for
several destinations in the region.
The tourism loop being
developed by the city is aimed to make Catbalogan a high-caliber
retirement place for tourists as well as to discover hidden riches of
its neighboring municipalities, particularly Daram and Calbiga.
However, the loop also includes the
an area found in the island of Leyte. Though it may not serve as a
major tourist destination, the place is intended to carry loads of
passengers who travel via Catbalogan-Daram-Tacloban route. By this
scheme, Batbatngon will benefit from the loop mostly by means of sea
traffic and other related services.
activities include sea diving and beach events in Daram, spelunking,
cave trekking, white water rafting and waterfall amusements in Calbiga
as well as commercial, entertainment, leisure and socio-cultural
festivities in Catbalogan City. The city is also envisioned of
becoming a MICE destination (meetings, incentives, conference and
exhibitions) where it can accommodate visitors from all-over the
country to hold big business and educational forums.
With concrete plans
underway, this tourism loop is expected to generate good economic
benefits for the province of Samar.
From bins to kitchens
Engr. Raul Reyes would
also be preparing a presentation in PINES that will practically
feature a restaurant-waste collector relation which he calls
Cradle-to-Cradle Solid Waste Management. This project in particular,
is dubbed as a corporate social responsibility plan.
The project is aimed
towards making Catbalogan a self-sufficient city for food needs. Here,
restaurants and other food-related processing establishments are
suggested to form organizations in order to systematize the process of
waste-food disposal. More so, an envisioned union of waste collectors
is also expected to be formed for it to become a backing agency for
the restaurants. They’ll be collecting wastes from these food houses,
process them as livestock feeds and in return, become suppliers of raw
materials (especially meat).
Other waste products
would also be used as fertilizers for local farms, thus creating
organic agricultural fields (planned to be in Mahayag). Expert
agriculturists and food scientists will be hired so that waste
collectors would be correctly guided on their tasks.
Clearly, the project
will form a cyclic or closed loop, wherein food processors are
required to feed their wastes to waste-collecting agencies and in
return, the latter will solely provide the raw materials for the
Voters’ Walk for Unity
in North Samar successful
By AILENE N. DIAZ
May 1, 2010
Samar – The Diocese of Catarman led by Bishop Emmanuel
C. Trance and the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum initiated
a unity walk called Voters’ Walk for Unity on April 24, 2010 for a
Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP) Elections.
The Unity Walk took
off at 5:00 in the morning at University of Eastern Philippines
Grandstand and reached the Sacred Heart Plaza fronting Catarman
Cathedral, an hour after.
In a program
afterwards, sector representatives were given time to share his/her
thoughts and opportunity to express their support to the advocacy of
the diocese and NSPDF.
All are one in pushing
for a clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful elections and
this could only be achieved according to them, if people will stop
selling their votes and candidates will refrain from vote buying.
Dr. Mindanilla Broto,
vice president for external affairs of the University of Eastern
Philippines said, that the University is with the group in the crusade
for a CHAMP elections. She said we have to select leaders who are
honest themselves and who advocate for a peaceful and meaningful
PSInspector Rafael Habawel Tayaban expressed his order to carry on and
encouraged everyone to move as one as he shouted “let’s do it
Mr. Joe Lim, also stressed his belief that there is strength in unity
and that he will not waiver his advocacy for a peaceful polls.
On her part, youth
representative, Ms. Annie Mey Tantuan vowed not to sell her votes and
encouraged youth to be an instrument of CHAMP for 2010 elections.
Col. Rolando Malinao,
Deputy Commander of 803rd Brigade assured the people that the Armed
Forces of the Philippines is ready for the CHAMP elections. He said
that in any successful endeavor, it requires a collective and
concerted help of everybody and the help of God.
Sis. Maribel Carceller,
the director of SHIFT Foundation, Inc. on the other hand, made an
appeal to everyone to lead a meaningful life. She said, if you sell
your votes, you are not selling yourself but you are selling your
Ms. Maribel Buenaobra
of The Asian Foundation, took part in the program and expressed her
appreciation to the Diocese in leading the advocacy in promoting a
Bishop Trance on his
part informed the people of what the Diocese, NSPDF and PPCRV have
been doing in pursuit for a clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and
peaceful elections. The NSPDF and the Diocese thru its social action
commission and PPCRV is in the frontline for voters’ education and in
establishing a pre-during and post election monitoring scheme.
Bishop stressed that
the election is the future of the country and this is the future of
the people. The Bishop further said, “we have to work together, we
need to work together to avoid cheating to happen”.
The program ends with
the lighting of torch, offering of prayers, releasing of doves,
signing of covenant for a CHAMP elections.
The event was
participated in by members of NSPDF, priests, PPCRV Volunteers, UEP,
youth, AFP, PNP, other national government agencies, non-government
organizations, religious and renewal communities such as Couples for
Christ, Familia, Women for Christ and Servants of God Community.
On the 3rd year commemoration of Jonas’ abduction and disappearance
Mrs. Edith Burgos:
What can the Presidentiables do for Jonas Burgos and the human rights
situation in the Philippines?
April 28, 2010
– “Today, April 28, 2010, I dare all presidential candidates to make
a stand on enforced disappearances, torture, extra judicial killings
and other violations of human rights. I challenge all of them to bare
their human rights agenda instead of wasting their time mud-slinging.
I ask all those seeking the highest post in the land what they can do
for Jonas and the human rights situation in the country because this
present government of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo has done nothing to find my
son and give justice to what happened,” said Mrs. Edita Burgos in
commemoration of the 3rd year of the abduction and disappearance of
Jonas Burgos, activist, agriculturist and son of media icon Joe
Three years ago today,
Jonas was forcibly taken by armed men, believed to be members of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, from a mall in Quezon City while
eating inside a fast food restaurant. Since then, the
family and friends have searched for him, yet he remains missing.
“We have brought his
case to the Court of Appeals, the Commission on Human Rights and even
the United Nations.” says Mrs. Edith Burgos, “Unfortunately, the CA
refused to grant me the Writ of habeas corpus and the writ of amparo,
the Supreme Court has remained silent on my appeal for the reversal of
the CA’s decision. This petition was filed in
August 1, 2008, more than 1 year and 8 months ago, meanwhile the
officers whom we have charged in court have been promoted. So now we
ask – where is justice?”
Like other families
who have lost their loved ones through enforced disappearances,
extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations, Mrs. Burgos
has not stopped and will not stop searching for her son, Jonas. She
will continue to seek for justice for him and for the thousands of
victims of human rights violations under the present government.
According to the human
rights group Desaparecidos, the human rights situation in the
Philippines within this decade and under the leadership of President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has been at its worst since the time of the
Marcos dictatorship. A total of 1,118 victims of extrajudicial
killings and 204 victims of enforced disappearance has been documented
by the human rights group Karapatan. The figures are only for the
period of 2001-2009, add other cases that have been documented from
January to April of this year, have yet to be added.
Aside from the
enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killings, other human rights
violations continue to be committed by the Arroyo administration. “If
this is the case, then we cannot hope for any justice from the current
government.” Mrs. Burgos stated, adding that with just 12 days to go,
they have not heard any Presidential candidate offer their human
rights agenda to the Filipino people. “What can Noynoy Aquino, Manny
Villar, Erap Estrada, Gibo Teodoro, Dick Gordon, Eddie Villanueva,
Nick Perlas, Jamby Madrigal and Jaycee delos Reyes do to improve the
human rights situation in the country?” Mrs. Burgos asked.
Deputy Secretary General Lorena “Aya” Santos could only agree. “In
case these Presidential bets have forgotten, may we remind them that
human rights issues – economic, social, civil, political and cultural
rights – are the issues we as a nation must confront. Thus, we
challenge those running for positions in government to present their
human rights agenda to the nation and show us how they will protect
the rights of the Filipino people.
WWIII may not be caused by gasoline but by water – DENR-CENRO
By ALICE E. NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
BORONGAN CITY, Eastern
Samar – Information Officer, Ms. Dorinda Labro of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CENRO) warned the public, as
she quoted a world report that says, “should water shortage reach a
global scale, the Third World War may not be caused by gasoline but
Labro said that there
is about 2,000 cubic miles of ground water which the whole world gets
from, and should it be contaminated, trouble might just take place in
any given time.
Philippines might not
be spared of the scrambling for drinking water, because even if we
might have sufficient supply for all the Filipinos, foreigners would
come and plunder our water.
“Let us not forget
that water is more important than the solids we take,” Ms. Labro spoke
on air over Radyo ng Bayan-DYES through Soc Aberia’s afternoon
program, “Info Centrum”, in connection with the World’s observance of
the World Water Week.
The DENR Information
Officer has been going around the province and the Region to advocate
for a better and protected environment in order for man to save
himself and the planet from global warming.
At present, she is a
hospitable host to another environment-friendly lady volunteer from
Germany, Maria Kleimann, whom she said she has conducted to several
areas in the province.
In a brief telephone
interview, the 19-year old German lady informed this writer, that
cleaning and greening is a big thing in her country. She also said
that, in her rounds with Ms. Labro, she noticed that people have cut
several rainforest and burnt them, unlike in Germany, when they plant
and cultivate trees and manage well their trashes.
Dorinda said her guest
does not even eat meat. She prefers vegetables instead, cooked with
coconut milk, because eating meat adds to the emission of methane gas,
In order to save
the environment particularly, water, Labro advised his listeners to
maintain a simple lifestyle: put off the aircon unit when coolness has
prevailed the room; don’t swing the electric fan when only one person
is using it; unplug appliances when not in use; never fill the glass
to the brim with water, when you can’t consume the whole amount,
otherwise you will just throw away the remaining water; if you can use
up a pail of water when bathing, then, spare the other pail for
Leyte IDOL Season 5
grand winner named, received standing ovation from judges, crowd
Media Relations Center
March 23, 2010
TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte
mined again another singing sensation as the Season 5 Leyte IDOL Star
Category drew to a close Sunday night naming young mother May Obando
as this year’s grand winner.
May wowed the judges,
who stood on standing ovation in almost of the three performances she
rendered during the Grand Finals night held at the Leyte National High
School Gymnasium and earned herself P150,000 as cash prize and P50,000
worth of other prizes.
The newest Leyte IDOL
winner sang the songs May Bukas Pa in the OPM Category, On My Own from
the play Les Miserables in the Broadway category and went upbeat in
the RNB Category – all three performances given high points by the
judges composed of singer Bituin Escalante, singer comedienne Joy
Viado and songwriter Jonathan Manalo.
May’s husband and kid
was among the hundreds of crowd that jampacked the LNHS Gym together
with the rest of the IDOL finalists’ supporters from Tanauan, Leyte,
Ormoc City and Baybay City.
Also named as first
runner up in this year’s Leyte IDOL was Reginald Detabali of Ormoc
City who got the prize of P100,000. His singing style was being
compared by the judges to artist Gary Valenciano.
Ormoc belter Christine Ricarte took home the cash prize of P50,000
after being named as the second runner up. Christine was likewise a
favourite early on with the judges with her solid renditions of chosen
songs in the three different categories set for the night.
Though she did not get
the top three spots, Tanauan’s Mary Rose Modesto was named as Texter’s
Choice for having gathered the most number of votes through texts.
Leyte Governor Carlos
Jericho Petilla opened the Grand Finals Night with an OPM number and
after which vowed to continue the said singing search saying this is
more than just a talent search but already an institution in the
provincial government that provide opportunities both in singer
careers and other personal developments of Leyte’s young talents.
Also present during
the night were Palo Mayoralty candidate Remedios “Matin” Petilla,
Tacloban Mayoralty candidate Councilor Bob Abellanosa, Board Members
Lesmes Lumen and Evangeline Esperas, Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu,
Babatngon Mayor Charita Chan, Tabango Mayor Benjamin Jonathan
Remandaban and other officials from the provincial government.
The grand finals night
was seen worldwide over live mainstreaming through ABC-5 and heard
over live simulcast over local AM radios DYVL Aksiyon Radyo and DYDW
Radyo Diwa. Leyte Samar Daily Express was also one of the Leyte IDOL’s
official media partners.
Protect Witnesses to Maguindanao Massacre
Two Relatives of
Witnesses Killed; Many Suspects Remain at Large
By HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
NEW YORK –
Philippine authorities should act swiftly to protect eyewitnesses to
the November 2009 massacre of at least 57 people in Maguindanao
province on Mindanao, and to protect their families as well, Human
Rights Watch said on Monday.
Concerns for the
safety of witnesses are highlighted by the killings of two relatives
of witnesses and the shooting of a third; the large number of police,
military, and paramilitary personnel implicated in the massacre who
remain at large; and lax security measures that allowed one suspect to
escape detention, Human Rights Watch said.
"Witnesses won't come
forward if there is a 'second Maguindanao massacre' of witnesses and
their families," said Elaine Pearson, deputy
Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The government needs to act
quickly to protect witnesses and their relatives, and to arrest and
securely detain the remaining suspects."
On November 23, 2009,
in the town of
Maguindanao, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, dozens of gunmen
stopped a convoy that was en route to file Buluan Vice-Mayor Esmael
"Toto" Mangudadatu's candidacy for the upcoming Maguindanao
gubernatorial elections. The gunmen summarily executed at least 57
people, including Mangudadatu family members and supporters,
bystanders, and more than 30 media workers.
Those charged with the
killings include members of the local governing family, the Ampatuans,
together with police, military, and paramilitary personnel. Andal
Ampatuan Jr., mayor of Datu Unsay and son of the Maguindanao governor,
Andal Ampatuan Sr., is the lead suspect in the case. He was charged on
December 1, 2009; he is in custody while his bail hearing continues.
have come forward to testify about the massacre.
On February 21, 2010,
the elder brother of one suspect-turned-witness, Police Officer 1
Rainier Ebus, was shot multiple times in Datu Piang and severely
wounded. According to credible sources that could not be confirmed,
Ampatuan's men had offered Ebus 5 million pesos (over US$100,000) to
recant his witness statement. The brother was shot after he refused to
Credible sources also
told Human Rights Watch that another witness was offered 25 million
pesos (over US$500,000) to recant his signed witness statement. He
refused. Within weeks of testifying in court, two of his family
members were shot dead. The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group
(CIDG) told Human Rights Watch that local police were investigating
A member of the
Ampatuan paramilitary forces told Human Rights Watch that the
Ampatuans have placed a bounty on the heads of those who cooperate
with investigators to testify against the Ampatuan family. He said
that in late 2009, men linked to the Ampatuan family ordered him to
kill one of the men involved in the massacre. The paramilitary force
member said he escaped the Ampatuan fold after hearing that he was the
next to be killed. He said he has learned that there is a 2 million
peso (over US$40,000) bounty on his head.
Human Rights Watch
urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to thoroughly and
transparently investigate these killings and acts of intimidation
against witnesses. To the extent that jailed Ampatuan family members
are implicated, the NBI should investigate the Philippine authorities
responsible for their custody.
Department, on February 9, filed charges against 197 people for 57
counts of murder on February 9, 2010. Arrest warrants have yet to be
issued due to judicial delays, though some of those implicated are in
custody charged with other crimes.
Of the 197 charged, 63
are police officers. Forty-nine of these police officers are under
"restrictive custody"; the remaining 14 are "absent without leave." A
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group spokesperson told Human
Rights Watch that firearms are confiscated from police officers under
restrictive custody and the officers are largely restricted to the
police camp, though they can leave under guard. They remain on active
duty and can be assigned administrative tasks.
Human Rights Watch
questioned the effectiveness of this custody status since at least one
police suspect, Anwar Masukat, escaped restrictive custody in late
December or early January, reportedly swore an affidavit recanting his
witness statement, and is now missing. Masukat had initially provided
a signed statement implicating Ampatuan Jr. as the leader of the
Maguindanao massacre. In his new statement, he pointed instead to
another police witness as the massacre's mastermind. The Investigation
Group spokesperson told Human Rights Watch that Masukat escaped
restrictive custody while en route from Camp Crame, in Manila, to his
unit in Maguindanao.
The threat to
witnesses is highlighted by the government’s lax detention of a
suspect in custody, Human Rights Watch said. Retired Police
Superintendent Piang Adam, the former Maguindanao provincial police
director, escaped from the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Jail in Tacurong
City between February 16 and 17. The Sultan Kudarat provincial police
director, Senior Superintendent Suharto Teng Tocao, is a relative of
Adam, and his jail guard, Taha Kadalum, was his cousin and has since
been charged in relation to the escape.
Following this escape,
the Philippine police chief, Director General Jesus Verzosa, ordered
tighter security on all jail facilities and noted the need for a
review of security systems and procedures. Human Rights Watch called
on Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno to carry out an urgent review of
the detention arrangements of all those implicated in the Maguindanao
massacre and publicly report on the findings and measures taken.
Human Rights Watch
stressed the need for stronger witness protection measures to ensure,
in keeping with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's statement of
November 25, 2009, that "the perpetrators (of the Maguindanao
massacre) will not escape justice."
The United Nations
special envoy on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, recommended
in 2007 that the government ensure protection for persons who testify
in killings for as long as they are at risk, and that they be provided
housing and other assistance to ensure their security and well-being.
Human Rights Watch made similar recommendations in its 2007 and 2009
reports about extrajudicial killings. None of these recommendations
have been implemented.
Human Rights Watch
called on the Arroyo administration to provide sufficient funding to
ensure adequate protection for witnesses and their families, and urged
the government to promptly investigate acts of witness intimidation
and killing, and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to
justice. Security forces and the Justice Department should take the
measures needed to protect their physical safety, including relocation
where necessary, and ensure that witnesses and their families are
afforded appropriate housing. Witnesses who are themselves implicated
in the killings should be appropriately – and safely – detained prior
Human Rights Watch
also urged the Philippine Congress to increase significantly the
penalties for intimidating or assaulting a witness. Currently,
intimidating a witness incurs a fine of not more than 3,000 pesos
(US$65) or imprisonment of six months to one year, or both. Offenses
against intimidating witnesses should also be expanded to include
offenses against their relatives.
has a long way to go to live up to her promise that the perpetrators
of the Maguindanao massacre do not escape justice," Pearson said. "The
legacy of her administration will depend in great measure on the
outcome of this horrific case."
Rape cases up 22%
By Office of Rep. Emmylou "Lala" Taliño-Mendoza
QUEZON CITY – A
total of 3,159 rape cases were reported to the authorities countrywide
in the 12 months of 2009, up 22 percent from the 2,585 recorded over
the same period in 2008, Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza
Citing National Police
statistics, Taliño-Mendoza, a gubernatorial candidate in her home
province, said the 2009 figures translate to an average of almost nine
rape cases being committed every day, or one incident every
"The actual number of
rape cases is of course much higher than those reported, possibly as
many as 6,000, since many women and girls still opt not to complain to
the authorities," Taliño-Mendoza said.
She cited a study
showing that "half of rape victims would not file a complaint because
of the stigma and the embarrassment of recalling their ordeal to the
Metro Manila had 466
rape incidents last year; Western Visayas, 429; Central Luzon, 316;
CALABARZON, 312; Bicol, 293; Southern Mindanao, 203; Central Visayas,
160; and MIMAROPA, 153.
Ilocos had 145 cases;
Northern Mindanao, 144; Eastern Visayas, 119; Western Mindanao, 109;
Cordillera, 93; Caraga, 78; Central Mindanao, 73; Cagayan Valley, 53;
and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, 13.
To cope with the surge
in rape and other sexual assaults on women and children, Taliño-Mendoza
The establishment of
one rape crisis center in every city and province, as mandated by the
Rape Victims' Assistance and Protection Act;
The creation of a desk
for women and children in every barangay hall;
A forceful campaign
against drug and alcohol abuse, and all forms of pornography;
The installation of a
National Sex Offender violator Public Website patterned after that of
the U.S., to enable the public to alert themselves about the possible
presence of sex malefactors in their communities; and,
The setting up of
fully trained anti-sex crimes units in every regional police office.