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8th ID releases P147,600 for Balik-Baril Program

Mass surrender of NPA supporters in Eastern Samar

LMP holds Visayas island cluster conference

Mayaw-Mayaw takes center stage at Kamurayaw Festival in Pinabacdao, Samar

Calbiga town undergoes ‘economic’ workshop

Tanauan skimmers rein in Surigao 3rd National Skimboarding fete

30,500 bags of NFA rice delivered to Samar

Army soldiers reach out to uphill barangays through medical-dental mission

Tarangnan police collars murder suspect who eluded arrest for 19 years

Samar lady solon fulfills inaugural address promise on health through sponsoring the training of Botika ng Bayan operators


Samar solon sponsors surgical mission with UST Medicine Class of 1964

June 6, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Leyte  –  Poor Samarnons who maybe enduring their minor ailments because of feeling the pinch of difficult times may now be relieved.

USNS medical mission in Gandara, Samar
Patiently waiting Samareños coming from the towns of San Jorge, Gandara, Matuguinao, Tarangnan and other nearby towns form a long line while waiting for their turns for a free medical treatment during the 2 days USNS Medical Mission in Gandara, Samar on Thursday.

Samar lady representative to second district, Sharee Ann Tan in collaboration with the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) medicine class 1964 will sponsor a Surgical Mission on June 16-20, 2008.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Rodulf Mabulay said that screening for patients eligible to undergo surgery is being done this week until June 13, 2008. He added that the patients he has screened are suffering from goiter and other boil problems.

The younger Tan has sponsored several medical-dental and even surgical missions with the help of Samar Governor Milarosa Tan. These medical missions are a favorite activity of the elder Tan who claims to being able to touch the masses through this activity.

On the other side of Samar, the United States Navy is creating a stir in the LGUs of First District as it embarks on engineering, medical and dental mission. Together with the 546th Engineer Battalion of the Philippine Army, the US Navy repaired the Municipal Health Center of Sta. Margarita, an existing Botika ng Barangay in the same town.

In Calbayog City, the mission is also presently constructing Calbayog Main Health Center in Barangay Capoocan and a communal septic tank with built-in waste treatment facility at Barangay Rawis.

Meanwhile in Gandara town, the engineers are repairing the water system of Gandara District Hospital.

The USN also conducted Medical and Dental Missions in San Isidro, Northern Samar on June 1 and 2. Yesterday, they have completed their second day of the same activity in Gandara Central Elemenatry School in Gandara, Samar.

Two more LGUs stand to be the venues of another Medical Dental Missions like Sta. Margarita on June 7 and 8.

In Calbayog City, patients are expected to flock to German Gmeiner Elementary School from June 10-13, 2008.





Region 8 police formally accepts transformation torch

June 6, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Philippine National Police Regional Office-8 (PNP-PRO 8) headed by its regional director PCSupt Abner D. Cabalquinto formally accepted  the burning torch of transformation from PRO-5 RD PCSupt Paterno Bangui together with the prime mover of PNP Reform Deputy Chief for Administration, Police Deputy Director General Jesus Verzosa yesterday,  June 5, 2008.

Attended by officers, ladies and men of PNP-PRO8, Program Management Office and PRO-5, the ceremony was held at Camp Ruperto Kangleon Grandstand in Palo, Leyte after a one-hour 12.8 kilometers Torch Run which started in five 5 assembly points in San Jose Airport via Coca-cola, MacArthur Park, Petron Gas station junction, St. Paul’s Business School and PRO-8 gate 2 all ending at the RECOM grandstand.

In his speech Deputy Dir. Gen. Verzosa disclosed that the PRO-8 Torch Run was so far the fastest and the longest miler run in the country with region 8 as the 10th leg transformation torch run relay having its theme: Running the race towards genuine transformation inside the PNP organization.

The symbolic burning torch signifies according to DG Verzosa signifies the seriousness they want in reforming policemen in uniform and generate awareness of various projects under the PNP Integrated Reform Program (ITP). The torch has traveled 2,000 kilometers covering the first 10 police regional offices.

DG Verzosa further said the PNP Transformation Torch envisioned to blaze a path of positive change in the PNP, making it capable, effective and credible police force which will meet the needs of Filipino people in recent times.

The Program Management Office (PMO) was mandated to oversee programs and projects of PNP organization in addressing dysfunction and the felt needs of policemen thereby facing the challenge to gradually transform the police force physically, emotionally and spiritually centering on the purpose driven life.

PRO-8 Dir. Cabalquinto on the other hand, sees the torch as a symbol of change a noble epitome to institute changes and reforms from within the organizations and within a person. A series of notable projects has been instituted nationwide to uplift the plight of the men in uniform.

In region 8, the regional PMO, will tour the different provincial offices to advocate on the ITP program and encourage a replication of the Torch Relay activities in all municipal police stations. The torch run will not stop but will still continue in educating our personnel Cabalquinto said.

High impact projects in PNP reforms includes personnel quartering and Shelter programs, health care project to attend to the health welfare of policemen, PNP scholarship & Educational Assistance Program. Legal assistance program to assist police with legal cases, Himlayan ng Bayaning Pulis and the Model Police station were just some of the mentioned reforms.





UN Rapporteur Alston stands by his findings on Philippine killings

Press Release
By Philippine UPR Watch
June 4, 2008

GENEVA, Switzerland  –  "I am simply being faithful in playing my role as an honest broker," this was the response of Prof. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to the statement of Ambassador Erlinda F. Basilio of the Philippine Mission to the UN calling Alston's report "inaccurate, highly selective and biased.”

UN Rapporteur Philip AlstonAlston was one of the first UN special rapporteurs who gave their reports to the 8th session of the UN Human Rights Council which runs on June 2-20, 2008.  He stood by his findings that so many of the cases remained unexplained, that only a few cases have been prosecuted and that there has been no conviction of military personnel involved so far. Mr. Alston reiterated that on the issue of the number and characterization of the killings, the methodology used by the Philippine government was defective.

After Alston’s report, the Philippine Mission in Geneva submitted a 6-page statement lambasting and vilifying the report as well as Prof. Philip Alston himself. Practically ignoring the extraordinarily harsh Philippine reply, Alston was happy to note that the general response of Philippine society to his report was favorable and that human rights defenders have continued to commend and make reference to his report and recommendations.

The Philippine UPR Watch delegation here was astonished at the continuing denials, twisting of facts, unabashed namecalling and even ad hominem arguments of the Philippine Mission to the conclusions and observations of Prof. Alston. The delegation, composed of Fr. Rex Reyes of the NCCP, Marie Hilao Enriquez of Karapatan, Atty. Edre Olalia of NUPL, Dr. Edith Burgos of Desaparecidos, Donnie Mapanao of Migrante-Switzerland, Trisha Garvida of Karapatan and union leader Ed Cubelo, expressed disbelief at the rehash of worn out and discredited explanations as well as the highly exaggerated claims on the effectivity of the Philippine government’s efforts to address the killings.

At a side event entitled, "Confronting Extrajudicial Killings: Promoting Life and Human Rights: The Situation in the Philippines," Prof. Alston said he was honored to participate in some small way to the efforts to stop extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. He went on to happily note the drop in the number of extrajudicial killings since he began his mission in the Philippines. Alston said that, “The decrease in number while a cause to congratulate, is likewise a cause to condemn because it merely shows clearly who are behind the extrajudicial killings.”





18 secondary schools in Leyte are recipients of ICOT-P

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 4, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  There are already 14 secondary schools in the DepEd Leyte Division and four secondary schools in the Tacloban City Division which are recipients of the Income Creating Opportunities through Technology project (ICOT-P) of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla.

Students from these 18 schools were among the 700 students who graduated on May 30, 2008 during the ICOT-P graduation rites at the Tanauan Civic Center in Tanauan, Leyte, Mrs. Aurora Villarente, ICOT-P manager informed.

Under the Leyte Division, the ICOT-P schools are Palo National High School in Palo; Anahaway National High School in Palo; Tanauan National High School in Tanauan; Kiling National High School in Tanauan; Tolosa School of Fisheries in Tolosa; and Tolosa Comprehensive School in Tolosa.

Also ICOT-P recipients are the Santa Fe National High School in Sta. Fe; Alang-Alang National High School, Alang-alang Comprehensive High School, and Astorga National High School, all in Alang-Alang; San Miguel National High School and Sta. Cruz National High School, both in San Miguel; and Juan S. Tismo National High School and Pagsulhugon National High School, both in Babatngon town.

Under the Tacloban City Division, the ICOT-P secondary schools are the Marasbaras National High School, San Jose National High School, Tacloban City National High School and Tacloban National Agricultural School.

During the Graduation Rites, Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu welcomed the graduates and the government officials present saying that the Local Government of Tanauan is honored to host the graduates, who despite being uncapable of pursuing college education because of financial constraints, courageously accepted the invitation of Governor Petilla to instead learn to become modern technology farmers and entrepreneurs, in order to become productive members of their respective families and communities.

The respective school Principals presented the ICOT-P graduates while the confirmation of graduates was done by Leyte Division Superintendent Sol Lumarda and Tacloban City Division Superintendent Dr. Ronilo Firmo for the Leyte Division graduates and Tacloban City Division graduates, respectively.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla was clearly inspired by the spectacle which is the fruit of his innovation and vision for the sake of the youth in the province.

In his keynote address, Gov. Petilla pledged to continue the project and to introduce more skill that will create opportunities, among which are driving, waitering, food service industry skills. Currently, Information Technology and welding courses are being taught in the pilot schools in Tanauan and Alang-Alang.

Governor Petilla said that ICOT-P will also be introduced in other secondary schools in Leyte so that High School students who are sure of not being able to pursue college education because of financial difficulties, will have the opportunity to become economically productive after graduation in High School.

PAGCOR Vice Chairperson Remedios Matin Petilla who was the fist district of Leyte representative when ICOT-P was introduced congratulated the graduates and the schools and expressed her gratitude to Governor Petilla for thinking of projects that will benefit the youth who are the future leaders of the province of Leyte.





NGO, DepEd, military join hands vs. illiteracy in Biliran

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 4, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The GMA Kapuso Foundation, the Department of Education and the Philippine Army 19th Infantry Battalion joined hands to conduct the “Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan, Alay sa mga Kabataan” project in the province of Biliran on May 21 -22, 2008.

The three coordinating entities chose Biliran as one of the provinces that need educational assistance for Grade I pupils, Second Lt. Gabriel Aranez, public information officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Kananga, Leyte, disclosed.

Under the Unang Hakbang Sa Kinabukasan Alay sa Mga Kabataan, which is aimed at uplifting the morale of children entering the Grade I level of formal education and making the financial burden of the parent lighter, the group proceeded to the municipalities of Kawayan, Culaba, Maripipi and Almeria to distribute school supplies to the children who will enter Grade I this coming school opening.

The two day activity resulted in the distribution of 1,740 bags of GMA Kapuso Foundation-donated school supplies. Each bag, 2Lt Aranez informed, contained 1 school bag, 5 notebooks, 2 pencils, 2 pads of paper, 1 eraser, 1 pencil sharpener and 1 box of crayons.

The Department of Education Biliran Division facilitated the presence of the school children and teachers, provided the distribution centers, food for the group and service vehicle for the staff.

The 19th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army provided two trucks for the transport of the supplies and also provided personnel for manpower and security of the delegation.

The three agencies of goodwill were represented by Ms. Tina Dungca and Mr. Leon Defuntorum of GMA Kapuso Foundation of the GMA7 Network, Ms. Sarah Apurillo who is the OIC School Division Superintendent of DepEd Biliran Division, 1Lt. Malinche Tomarong Commanding Officer of “B” Company, 2Lt. Gabriel Aranez who is the Civil Military Operations Officer of the 19IB, and MSgt. Flor Sampayan of the CMOU, 8ID.

The activity was a great success as could be glimpsed in the smiles of the 1740 little “angels” who are looking forward to entering the formal education on June 10.

What made the activity significant is that in the history of Biliran, there has never been an outreach program that was aimed at uplifting the morale of small children to seek for a better education. What a better way of inspiring and boosting the morale of these children to study than by giving importance to their first step in school, than providing them with school supplies needed for their education.

With this activity which is in support to the Education for All program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the GMA 7, the Department of Education and the 19th IB won the hearts of the people of Biliran.





Farm to market roads in 15 barangays of Basey becomes a reality

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 2, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Fifteen remote barangays in Basey, Samar will soon be accessible to all types of vehicles with the implementation of the Farm to Market Road projects under the Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector (INFRES) project, Ms. Bonavie M. Robenio, Public Information Assistant of the municipality said.

The Bulao farm to market road in Basey, SamarThe farm to market roads is a long time dream of the people in these 15 barangays. Thanks to the earnest and paintaking efforts of the local government officials led by Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos, the project finally pushed through.

The 36.355 kilometer FMR-Infress project comes in three packages. FMR package 1 will include the farm to market roads at Barangay Old San Agustin-So. Rono-Bulao-Cogon-New San Agustin.

Package 2 will include Bulao-So. Can-umran-So. Rizal-So. Biga-Mabini-Del Pilar-Guirang while Package 3 will include Barangays Magallanes-Serum-Panugmunon-Burgos-Del Pilar-Guirng-San Fernando-Pelit-Loog-So. Rawis-So. Wespal.

The project aims primarily to reduce poverty in remote and rural barangays which is attributed to low agricultural productivity and inaccessibility. It is funded by the Asian Development fund with counterparts from the LGU and the barangays in the 20-43.2 and 7.7 sharing.

The office of the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator spearheaded the compensation of 687 identified affected persons, those who owns lots, crops, trees and structures will be affected by the project implementation through the land acquisition resettlement plan.

Since 2004, the Farm to Market Road issue in these barangays has been pending, Mr. Manuel Orejola, the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator said. Thanks to the current municipal officials led by Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos, the project will at last push through with the help of the INFRES project of the Department of Agriculture.

The FMR-INFRES Project is funded by the Asian Development Bank providing 50% while the local government unit provides 42.3 % of the funding while the barangay equity is 7.7%.

Mayor Estorninos said that the opening, rehabilitation and construction of 36.355 kilometer Farm to Market Road in the 15 target barangays will hopefully reduce poverty which is prevalent in the areas, by linking the constituents to “civilization;” augment the income of the farmers through increased agricultural production and access to market places. It will also hasten the delivery of basic services in the areas, Mayor Estorninos said.





An Waray partylist rep turns-over to Tanauan fertilizers worth P1.3M

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 2, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  An Waray Partylist Representative Florencio Gabriel Noel, recently turned-over to the local government of Tanauan, Leyte, organic fertilizers amounting to P1.3 Million, in support to the enhanced food productivity program of the municipality.

An Waray partylist representative Bembem Noel
Congressman Bem Noel

The turn-over ceremony which was conducted on May 31, 2008, 9:00 o’clock in the morning at the Tanauan Civic Center, was attended by the local government officials, barangay chairmen of the 54 barangays in the municipality, and the farmer beneficiaries.

Congressman Noel turned over the fertilizers to the local government of Tanauan headed by Mayor Roque Tiu and were distributed to the 54 barangay chairmen of the municipality, in his desire to enhance the productivity of the local farmers especially those who were victims of the latest flooding that hit the Region early this year.

When Congressman Noel was re-elected, he promised that his priority will be agriculture, both the coconut and rice farmers. His priority is proving to be the right choice especially in the light of the looming world food crisis which will automatically affect the country and the region, in particular.

In accepting the donation of Congressman Noel, Mayor Roque Tiu express the gratitude of the people of Tanauan particularly the farmers who will be benefitted by the generous gesture. More than the fertilizers, Mayor Tiu said that the concern of Congressman Noel to the plight of the local farmers, is what is most touching.

Mayor Tiu said that the fertilizers will be given to the local rice farmers who availed of the certified seeds provided by the Department of Agriculture Region 8 under the leadership of Director Leo Cañeda and the certified seeds which was made available by the local government.

The local government prioritizes agriculture in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s call for enhanced rice production in order to ensure the availability of rice and other food products to the Filipino people.

Mayor Tiu expressed hope, that with the support from the Regional and provincial offices of the Department of Agriculture, from Congressman Noel and other benevolent people,  the farmers of Tanauan will increase their production not only for Tanauan, for Leyte but for the entire Eastern Visayas region.





House Special Committee on Reforestation approves Rep. Mercado’s bill

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
June 2, 2008

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Southern Leyte province Lone District Representative Roger Mercado’s pet project of reforesting 65 hectares of idle lands in barangay Bogo this city has been widely approved in a public hearing held Saturday at the Kinamot Restaurant here.

The greening project was the main subject of House Bill 568, which carries the title “An Act providing for the Reforestation of the Sixty Five Hectares of Public Land in Barangay Bogo, Maasin City, Province of Southern Leyte and appropriating funds therefore.”

Present during the gathering were Cong. Angelito Gatlabayan of the 2nd District of Antipolo City, Cong. Emil Ong of the 2nd District of Northern, and Cong. Florencio Noel of “An Waray” Party List.

They constitute, including Cong. Mercado himself, the Lower House’ Special Committee on Reforestation chaired by Gatlabayan.

Provincial and City officials led by Gov. Damian Mercado and City Mayor Maloney Samaco, respectively, joined the public hearing, along with barangay officials from this city’s 70 barangays and some national line government agencies.

In his opening talk, Cong. Mercado informed the guests that planting trees has become a tradition in the city and the province, where any significant date and commemoration, either personal or official, will be marked with a tree-planting activity.

Gatlabayan remarked that Cong. Mercado’s initiative was “a major step to re-enforce and strengthen efforts to reforest the country”, adding that a reforestation measure even called for a planting of two billion trees nationwide.

Having passed the required public hearing the reforestation bill would be presented to the plenary for further discussion, then sent to the Senate for a counterpart measure there, said Cong Mercado.

He estimated that the budget appropriation for the bill once enacted into law would be P 10 million.





Cops issue warning on “Budol-Budol” operations

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
May 29, 2008

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The Philippine National Police (PNP) stationed in this city went around using its patrol car Tuesday to several barangays, warning people about the presence in the city of three lady “budol-budol” operatives, and urging the residents to report to them any suspicious-looking persons.

The patrol car’s “bandilyo” or public announcement covered the barangays from Pasay up to Badiang, so the people can be made aware of the development and avoid becoming a victim, said Police Superintendent Jaime Yamba, the new City Police Chief.

Reached by phone on why the bandilyo was made, Yamba revealed that on Monday this week the three were able to fool a resident of barangay Pacu, who gave in P20,000 worth of jewelry and cash in exchange for a fake set of jewelries.

Yamba, who assumed the new post only last May 12 by swapping with Supt. Pepito Generan, did not name the victim for confidential reasons.  Generan is now the Deputy Provincial Director stationed at the PNP provincial headquarters.

The unnamed victim described the perpetrators as three ladies, two in their twenties and one in the fifties, long-haired, and approached their intended target with a story of pity the uninitiated may readily sympathize.

The dramatic peak of the story centers on the need to look for an abortionist, since one of the ladies was “pregnant” while serving as a domestic help in Manila by her male employer; the need to return to Manila once abortion was done, and to do so they will leave a boxful of jewelry in exchange for money used as fare in the return trip to Manila.

The sympathetic victim-to-be would readily moralize on the dangers and sin of abortion, offer advice to give birth no matter what, and gives in the required cash and jewelry to exchange with the “offered” jewelry, Yamba narrated, quoting the victims tale.

This was the first time a pity story was used for a budol-budol operation, since in the past the deal was about striking a business, and “cash” in a basket is left, not jewelry, only to be found later that under the pile was a cutout of old newspapers only, while the  “peso bills” on top were fake.

Yamba said he ordered that the information be disseminated to household levels in barangays, but he also cautioned those who would withdraw big amounts in banks to also be alert.

Meanwhile, Yamba said he had made the rounds of commercial banks in the city following a directive from the Chief PNP in the light of the bloody RCBC heist in Cabuyao, Laguna.

He said some banks were found wanting in their emergency calls and closed circuit television cameras inside, but they all pledged to complete the required lines to the Police and the CCTVs within the month.





Leyte NPA leader travels back into the folds of law

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
May 28, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Twelve years after joining the New Peoples Army in 1996, NPA leader Crispulo Agunos y Mulay alias Alex, M-uy, Langkoy, a resident of Sitio Kawayan, Barangay Rizal, Kananga, Leyte, returned to the fold of law on May 21, 2008. 

Agunos’ journeying back into the folds of law was not an easy one. A platoon leader of Platoon NEPAL, North Leyte Front, Agunos went into hiding in Metro Manila for two years, since 2006, bewildered and disillusioned because the CPP-NPA’s promise that it will alleviate him and his family from dire poverty remained unfulfilled.

It was in 2006, ten years after he was recruited at the very young age of 20 to join the guerilla forces, when he suddenly realized that all that the CPP-NPA gave him were empty promises.

While in hiding, he learned from other rebel returnees that they were being treated well by the Government after they returned into the folds of the law. This gave him hope that he will after all not spend the rest of his life hiding.

Thus, on that faithful morning of May 21, 2008, NPA leader Crispolo Agunos, 32 years old and married, voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Col. Henry M. Bumiltac, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion, and to Kananga Mayor Elmer M. Codilla, at the Kananga Mayor’s Office.

2Lt. Glenn Mangohon, acting information officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion based at Barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte disclosed that Mayor Codilla gave the surrenderee Fifteen Thousand Pesos in order that he and his family will be able to start a livelihood activity that will enable them to lead a decent and productive lives.

Mayor Codilla said that it has and it will always be his thrust to welcome into the folds of law, lost brethren and to help them make find their way into the mainsteam of society by giving them livelihood assistance.

For Lt. Col. Bumiltac, the surrender of Agunos, is another victory against the communist terrorists, a tangible proof of the efficacy of the people’s support in the fight against insurgency. The military has gained momentum and it will continue to make the Communist Terrorists’ world smaller everyday till they find no other way out but surrender and return into the folds of the law, Lt. Col. Bumiltac stressed.

This is consistent to the collective objective of the unit totally disable the North Leyte Front and of the government to totally eradicate insurgency which President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said, is the hindrance to the development and economic growth of the countryside.

Meanwhile, Colonel Raoul Reyes, the Brigade Commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, based in Carmen, Bohol, reiterated the Government’s call for the communist terrorist leaders and members to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law.

He also thanked the people for their support and he enjoined them to continue supporting the Army in its mission to pave the way for an insurgent-free community.

At last, Agunos, the NPA rebel, has found his way back into the folds of the law. Not all who were persuaded by the Communists Terrorist to join them are as lucky as Agunos. Many of them offered their lives for a lost cause.

May the story of Agunos, be repeated in the lives of other lost sheep and be the light that will guide them towards the folds of the law.



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