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Catbalogan city council member to sponsor ordinance to establish city AIDS council

Mac Arthur Park Beach Resort would need P700 million in investment for rehab

Samar governor Mila Tan suspended, Redaja assumed into office

Sandiganbayan denies motion of accused Samar governor, 2 others

Eastern Samar Governor is LGU Adviser for Public Affairs, PGMA says

Evardone visits Maslog town, releases P1 million dev’t fund

Trio of young leaders embarks on a crusade for good, ethical governance

PGMA rides through storm Pablo in region 8

An Waray partylist donates P1M for training center in Basey

Road rehab in Samar’s capital city to usher in agricultural productivity


ASIA: 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By Asian Human Rights Commission
December 9, 2008

HONG KONG  –  "There is no getting away from the fact that despite 60 years being passed after the UDHR, the actual enjoyment of human rights in most countries of Asia is even much less than what it was, 60 years ago. There is more talk about human rights but the systems in the region are mostly non rule of law systems. In the promotion of human rights in the region therefore, institutional reform should be the primary focus in human rights work” said Basil Fernando, director of AHRC on issuing a statement in regard to the 60th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

AHRC has stated that the primary obstacles for the protection of human rights are the defects of the systems of administration of justice. These defects are due to the lack of political will on the part of these states to invest adequate funds for proper administration of justice and very often due to deliberate attempts to suppress these institutions in order to place the executive above the law and outside accountability.

AHRC in its statements distinguishes rule of law countries with non rule of law countries. While there are many limitations on rights even in countries where systems of rule of law are well established, even the possibility of protection of rights does not exist, in countries where the systems of administration of justice themselves are fundamentally flawed. In rule of law countries like the United States and Europe in recent times, there have been serious problems manifested by such issues as the Guantanamo Bay detention centre maintained by the United States, new laws suspending civil liberties and anti-terrorism laws such as the Patriotic Act of the United States and similar laws in many European countries. Also many practices still persist in these countries, against the right of women and other rights relating to sexuality and other freedoms, and restrictions on civil rights imposed on migrants and minorities.

Most alarming is the attempt by the United States to reduce the absolute prohibition against torture and thereby to challenge one of the most well established principles in human rights. It is for the human rights community in these countries and the international community to utilize the space available within their political and legal institutions and to fight back against these serious inroads into human rights.

However, what is faced in non rule of law countries is something much worse. Even the possibility of fighting for these rights is prevented by the absence of institutions, or fundamental flaws in the existing institutions. The most prominent of such flaws is the predominant place acquired by the police, thereby crippling other institutions of the administration of justice. In many countries there is hardly anything that maybe called policing according to the rule of law. The police themselves become the main violators of rights and often arrest, detention and torture become means of extortion and undue enrichment by the police. The criminals often find their closest allies within the policing system. Organized crime is often a combination of mafia elements with sections of the local police. The police engage in arbitrary deprivation of life under many pretexts.

Encounter killings and self-defence killings are terms given to police killings of arrested persons. Besides this, the police also a play role in causing disappearances, kidnappings and attacks on journalists, human rights activists and political opponents of the ruling regime. Many of the authoritarian regimes in the region have developed many forms of political manipulations of the police. Within that set-up, the proper receiving of complaints and investigations into complaints cannot take place. The result is that people who suffer even grave abuses do not come forward to make complaints and various forms of fear psychosis prevail in societies.

The prosecutors can hardly do anything when the policing system itself engages in violating rights. Often, the prosecution systems like the department of the Attorney General in different countries come under the executive control of the existing political regimes. The judiciary itself is subjected to executive control and corruption. In many places, the legal profession is not allowed to play a significant role in protecting the rights of the people. Often, part of the legal profession itself is brought under serious corrupt practices when some lawyers merely become mediators carrying bribes to the police or others. Very large sectors of the legal profession are demoralized and frustrated, according to AHRC.

Mr. Fernando said that, what we have pointed to is a very serious problem. After 60 years of the UDHR, we cannot claim that the human rights situation in the region has improved. In many countries, both in civil and political rights as well as in economic, social and cultural rights, there is a very significant deterioration. We many talk about human rights more than before. The people may be demanding human rights more than before.

However in actual fact, violations of human rights have become far greater. Various forms of arbitrary deprivation of rights, torture, denial of fair trial, is wide spread in many places. There is more unemployment and despite greater education among women, the actual enjoyments of rights have not become any easier for larger sections of the population who are poor. Various forms of domestic violence and killing of women, depriving their personal liberties is so common. Anti-terrorism is often used to bring laws which suspend the rights of the entire population. Life often for many remains a nightmare.

On the occasion of the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR, these grim realities need to be reflected. And the governments and the people have to reckon with this serious deprivation of rights. Local and international communities need to develop their energies to fight for improvement of the institutions of protection of rights which means improvement of the institutions of the administration of justice.





Body punches 'killed' De La Hoya, says Roach

December 7, 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada  –  It was Manny Pacquiao's well-executed body punches as early in the second round that brought down Oscar De La Hoya and put a grotesque finale of the much-ballyhooed "Dream Match" at the MGM Grand here December 6.

Pacquiao-de la Hoya fightThis was confirmed by Freddie Roach who explained that De La Hoya started to deteriorate in the second round after he felt Pacquiao's power while being bombarded with body shots in the opening round. "The body punches killed De La Hoya," quipped the 48-year-old Roach. "I knew it because he started to slow down in the third and fourth after he felt Manny's power."

Roach said the whole plan to tire out the taller De La Hoya worked effectively as early in the fourth round when De La Hoya could no longer avoid Pacquiao's dizzying body shots.

In the fourth round, the good-looking 10-time world champion had an ugly gash in the lower left eye courtesy of the Filipino buzzsaw's powerful jabs that flickered like howitzers.

The slower De La Hoya, 35, did not answer the bell in the ninth round thus the bout, touted as the biggest fight transaction in 2008, went down as an 8th round technical knockout (TKO) defeat for the man known as Golden Boy who once conquered Hollywood with his good looks aside from winning the United States' lone gold medal in boxing in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Nacho Beristain, De La Hoya's Mexican trainer, admitted he had to halt the fight "because that was the right thing to do, De La hoya being a prominent personality in boxing."

He did not go down from Pacquiao's avalanche of body punches but De La Hoya was brought to the hospital "as a precautionary move" although he wasn't hurt, confirmed De La Hoya's childhood friend Eric Gomez who presented a grim face during the post-fight press conference.

De La Hoya's second TKO loss in a checkered career impaired his record to 39-6, 30 KOs. He had been busted by middleweight champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins who joined him in the ring and had predicted "De La Hoya will send Pacquiao to school."

Pacquiao was comfortably ahead on the scorecards of judges Stanley Christodoulou (79-72), Adalaide Byrd (80-71) and Dave Moretti (80-71) at the time of the stoppage.

Referee Tony Weeks admitted he didn't expect the fight to last in the eight round but said he was prepared to pull the plug if De La Hoya was hurt and wouldn't fall because he was protected by the ropes. Pacquiao, who improved to 48-3-2, 36 KOs, outpunched De La Hoya, 585-402. Pacquiao connected 224 as against De La Hoya's 83.

De La Hoya, who owns the Golden Boy Promotion that co-promoted the pay-per-view show, did not show up on the post fight press conference. He submitted only 51 power punches against Pacquiao's 195. De La Hoya, however, connected 32 of his 238 jabs as against Pacquiao's 29 of the 252 thrown.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said the press people was right when they reported earlier that the fight would be a mismatch for De La Hoya. "They are right, it was a mismatch," he said.

Several Mexican fans cried when Pacquiao's hand was raised by Weeks. Filipino fans who were outnumbered by De La Hoya's supporters inside the arena, bursted in jubiliation when it was confirmed their idol, the underdog, had scored a big upset.

"De La Hoya is my idol. He is still my idol. It so happened that there are lots of Mexicans in my division. I am not really a Mexican killer. I love the Mexicans," declared Pacquiao who was unmarked and could have fought De La Hoya for 20 rounds.

The post fight press conference extended for two hours after more than 500 journalists, who came from different countries, obliged the ring superstar for autographs and photo-ops. Filipino politicians led by environmental secretary Lito Atienza and Ilocos Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson did not leave Pacquiao's side from start to end of the press conference.





DENR cites Tanauan mayor for invaluable help in marine turtle conservation program

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 7, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The efforts of the local government of Tanauan, Leyte on protecting and conserving marine turtles has caught the attention of the national agency in charged of protecting the natural resources of the Philippines.

A sea turtle found in Tanauan, LeyteThe Department of Environment and Natural Resources Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Pawikan Conservation Project presented a Certificate of Recognition to Mayor Roque Tiu of Tanauan, Leyte for his invaluable contribution to the Marine Turtle Conservation Program.

The citation was signed by Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim, DVM and Assistant Director Jose Andres Diaz, DVM on September 15, 2008 at Quezon City, Philippines.

However, the same was presented to Mayor Roque Tiu on December 3, 2008 by Mr. Tito Simbulan of DENR Region 8. Another citation was presented to Vice Mayor Agapito Pagayanan Jr., and Mr. Ricardo Macapanas, the fisherman who caught the first marine turtle that was returned to the coastal waters of Tanauan last year.

Mr. Simbulan was in Tanauan, Leyte on December 3 to put a tag on an Olive Ridley marine turtle which was caught by a Tanauan fisherman from Barangay San Roque, Mr. Ricardo Grabillo, on December 1 at the San Roque, Tanauan shores.

Before returning it to the sea, Mr. Simbulan first measured the marine turtle and found out that its carapace was already 48 inches in length and 46 inches in width.

Mr. Simbulan put the tag PH 098313 on the Olive Ridley marine turtle so that anyone who will catch it in the future will know that it came from Philippine waters. He then asked the Bantay Dagat Task Force of Tanauan to guide the “ocean ambassador” back to the waters where it truly belongs.

It would be recalled that two Olive Ridley sea turtles were successively found by a local fisherman of Tanauan, in the first week of October 2007. Two weeks after, another sea turtle was found and returned to the sea after the DENR staff put a tag on the creatures.

Later, a big green sea turtle was found by a local fisherman and then less than one month later, the Olive Ridley sea turtle measuring 18 inches in width and 20 inches long was found and guided by towards its natural abode after being tagged by Mr. Tito Simbulan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Asked to comment on the Tanauan shores as becoming to be known as a Haven for ocean ambassadors, Mayor Tiu said it is an honor to host the endangered species of sea turtles even as he gave the assurance that the officials and the people of the municipality will see to it that these creatures will be always be safe in their own rightful abode.

Mr. Simbulan said that scientists refer to sea turtles as the only living remnants of the dinosaur age, but maybe not for long. Unless sincere efforts are undertaken, sea turtles might follow dinosaurs into extinction.

There are more than 220 species of sea turtles, popularly known in the Philippines as pawikan, in the world, but only seven are considered marine (saltwater).

Five of these seven species are present in the Philippines. These are the GreenSea Turtles (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).

The most common species in the Philippines is the Green Sea Turtle, which is also found in all tropical and sub-tropical seas. Its most distinct feature is a more blunt and wider head than that of the Hawksbill Turtle. It grows up to 1.5 meters long and weighs up to 185 kilograms.

The largest species is the Leatherback Turtle, which grows more than two meters in length. The Hawksbill Turtle, as its name suggests, can be identified with its pointed beak and attractively marked shell of overlapping plates. On the other hand, the Loggerhead Turtle is known for its disproportionately bulky head. Of the five Philippine species, only the Olive Ridley Turtle is considered as carnivorous.

The Olive Ridley sea turtles, named for the olive color of its heart-shaped carapace, are considered as the smallest marine turtles measuring only 2 to 2 ½ feet and weighing 35 to 40 kilos.

Mayor Tiu said that municipal government and the fishermen of Tanauan are aware that the Philippine government has launched the Pawikan Conservation Project which is aimed at securing the protection of all the Philippine Sea Turtles. The LGU is bent on doing its best to support and make this program a success, Mayor Tiu added.





8th Infantry Division holds fellowship with region 8 media

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 7, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army led by its commanding officer, Major General Arthur Tabaquero, is scheduled to sponsor the 8ID - Media Fellowship on December 9, 2008, 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon at the Division Headquarters based at Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar.

The fellowship is being conducted with the end-in-view of creating an atmosphere of fun, improve physical fitness and closer camaraderie between the media and the army, MGen. Tabaquero said.

The highlight of said activity is the holding of a sportsfest which will consists of badminton, basketball, volleyball and table tennis events where the members of the media can socially mingle with the Commanders, Officers and Men of the 8th Infantry Division thru sports activities, Major Leo Lorenzo A. Madronal, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations, G7, informed.

The Sportsfest will be followed by a “boodle fight” dinner and fellowship with the officers and men of the 8th Infantry Division led by MGen. Tabaquero.

Major Madronal informed that media practitioners in the Region have been invited to attend the  8ID - Media Fellowship. Major Madronal expressed hope that the invited media practitioners will honor the humble invitation.

True to its slogan “At Your Service, Across the Land,” the Philippine Army is not only the protector of the people but also a partner in nation building because of its participation in the socio-economic programs of the country.

Aside from counterinsurgency campaigns, the Philippine Army helps provide assistance in areas that lack needed vital facilities and service like roads, bridges, schools, health and sanitation, livelihood, among others.





Judge to DPWH: Eastern Samar bad roads, an insult to its people

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
December 5, 2008

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  “We respectfully disagree that the weather is the culprit of our bad roads.  As if we do not have a government! This is so much an insult to the people of Eastern Samar and we hold the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) responsible, but it always understands the contractor, why?”

These were the fuming words cum impromptu speech of San Julian Municipal Judge Reynaldo “Lulo” Alconaba during the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) Assembly on Wednesday at the Provincial Capitol as he referred to the worsening road condition of the province.

Apparently addressing his manifestation to the DPWH which was solely represented in the forum by Engineer-III, Tili Sabulao of ES District, Alconaba argued that it is not always raining in the province as what is always heard of DPWH men as an alibi for the very slow rehabilitation of the road network.

“Sometimes the weather is fair and sunny! Huwag niyo na kaming lokohin! I am an ordinary citizen but I travel everyday to San Julian, my goodness! Kung intact ang pera bakit hindi na-i-implement ang project? Ang hirap diyan may mga 40% daw na cut-off from the total cost of the project which goes to private pockets.  I donno! Pokpokin niyo ang contractor, ask him kung hindi niya kaya. And if it is necessary, let us replace the district engineer and the regional director or anybody who does not perform his assignment”, Alconaba’s frankness continued.

Engr. Sabulao who was sitting across their “accuser” was very professional though and remained silent until he was asked for comment, and, as in previous assembly of this kind, he was consistent to say that any project involving beyond P20M is not of their District’s concern but of the Region’s.

A few minutes after, the Municipal Judge was somewhat apologetic to his Kumpadre and clearly said, “I don’t want to hear your reasoning, but of course, I am not taking it personally against you but please tell your boss, diri rason it uran”.

His Excellency Bishop Immanuel Trance (Catarman) who played moderator in the forum impressed upon the body that a resolution addressed to DPWH be signed, urging them to implement the road rehabilitation.





32 former rebels formally enlist in govt’s social integration program

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 5, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  In line with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s peace and development efforts, about 32 former rebels were formally accepted into the government’s social integration program during the formal reception ceremonies conducted at the Municipal Gym of Kananga, Leyte on December 23, 2008.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, Brig. General Arthur Tabaquero, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, PNP Regional Director Abner Cabalquinto, Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla, PA Cynthia Nierras, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Atty. Reuben Lingating, PIA Director Olive Tiu and Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Clotilde Malatbalat attended the formal reception ceremonies.

In the Reception Ceremonies, Governor Petilla presented each of some 20 former rebels with the basic assistance of P5,000.  Several of the former rebels have already received financial assistance and rewards from the Provincial Government.

Governor Petilla gave an additional P25,000 to one former rebel who surrendered an M-16 rifle. For surrendering 25 pieces mortars, another rebel was awarded P200,000 by Governor Petilla.

The National Government, through OPAPP Social Integration Program, in support to the efforts of the Provincial Government of Leyte, a milestone in the pursuit of genuine and lasting peace in the community, also awarded the 32 former rebels with P20,000 financial assistance.

Preceding the ceremony, a Social Integration Program Orientation for Local Peace Partners and service providers in the province of Leyte was conducted to increase awareness of the Program and to further drum up support and participation to the Program.

With the promulgation of Administrative Order No. 172 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 23, 2007, the National Committee on Social Integration was created to implement the Social Integration Program.

The Social Integration Program is a process whereby former rebels and their dependents are provided a set of interventions to facilitate their integration into mainstream society. The program provides an increased remuneration for surrendered firearms, explosives and ammunitions.

The program also provides immediate cash assistance of P20,000 each while the former rebels undergo the process requirements for the grant of socio-economic interventions. The Socio-Economic interventions in the amount of P50,000 is in the form of capital goods.

Convergent efforts with other agencies are exerted for the former rebels’ livelihood skills development, job placement, educational assistance, health services, “balik-probinsiya” or access to other basic social services.





9th SIPPAD Assembly condemns killing of media man

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
December 3, 2008

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  The 9th Assembly today at the Eastern Samar Provincial Capitol of the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) marked the drafting of a resolution which strongly condemned the death yesterday afternoon, of radio broadcaster Leo Luna Mila who according to reports was shot near the gate of Radyo Natin (FM) in San Roque, Northern Samar while on his way home after his radio program.

The victim sustained 6 gunshot wounds, 2 on the thighs, 2 on shoulders, 1 breast and 1 on the head. Responding authorities saw his motorcycle with the engine still running, but his dead body was found few meters away from the station's gate. The report added that Mila was known to be vocal and “hard hitting” against irregularities in government.

However, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone who also has the heart for media practitioners reacted by saying that the crime must had been done to silence the media thus, he insisted that the inclusion of the following clause be included in the draft:  “We view the killing as another assault to press freedom”.  Evardone also stressed that a thorough investigation be conducted by police authorities so as to put the perpetrators behind bars.

Asked to comment on the crime, Gen. Lanuza of the 8ID said that to arrest the criminals, they need the full support of the public, referring to the much needed information which will contribute to their immediate arrest.

The resolution was signed on the spot by the three bishops of the Samar Island: Crispin Varquez (Borongan, ES), Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Emmanuel Trance of Catarman and Gov. Evardone and the assembly participants.





Samar acting governor fast tracks agricultural needs of constituent-farmers

December 3, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Fast tracking provision of services to his constituents, acting Governor Jesus Redaja personally delivered tilapia fingerlings, certified seeds and fertilizer coupons to farmers in Basey, Calbiga and Paranas, on Tuesday.

Samar acting governor Jesus B. Redaja
Samar acting governor Redaja

Accompanied by newly appointed provincial agriculturist Lina Saises, Redaja delivered 100 bags of tilapia fingerlings to the barangays near the Golden River in Basey, Samar. Redaja also promised to give eight hand tractors to Basey in his consultation with the farmers.

The acting governor is taking advantage of his ninety days reign as governor due to the suspension of Milagrosa Tan.

In Calbiga town, Redaja assisted by Mayor Melchor Nacario infused tilapia fingerlings to the Calbiga River for small fisherfolks to utilize once matured.

In Paranas, other farmers also were given tilapia fingerlings.

Samar LGU in coordination with the Hunger Mitigation Program of the agriculture department is trying to double its efforts in agriculture seemingly neglected by the former leaders. Late last month, Redaja convened all municipal agriculturists to strategize means to double production in rice and other agricultural products.

Redaja then sponsored the freight of some 6 thousand bags of certified seeds for delivery to farmers. The Agriculture Department then gave out the seeds for free.

In a FIELDS caravan in October, farmers wailed the unavailability of a provincial agriculturist to converge programs that could benefit the farmers in Samar.

With Redaja at the helm, the farmers are assured of full support though for a limited time.





Simple ceremony marks PNP Samar’s chief turn-over of command

December 3, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Simple ceremony marks the turn-over of command of responsibility from PSSupt Asdali Idja Abah to PSSupt. Pepito M. Pacada on Tuesday at the Samar Police Provincial Office (PPO) headquarters.

PSSupt Asdali Idja Abah
Out-going Samar PNP chief PSSupt Abah

PSSupt. Rey Lañada of PRO 08, Deputy Commanding General of 8th Infantry Division, Ernie Redaja, representative of acting Samar Governor Jesus Redaja, the chiefs of police (COPs) and a few media men witnessed the event.

Abah in his message told the crowd that he will retire from government service after some 37 years, serving then the Integrated National Police (INP), the Philippine Constabulary (PC) and now the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In Samar, Abah served for two years and five months. He added that he will miss the service having devoted 70% of his time to the service of the PNP.

“I have known no other life than being a man in uniform,” the emotional Abah said. He recalled that it is with Samar that he proved his mettle as a leader capable of leading men and women to a more peaceful Samar.

It was also in Samar, he said when he lost his nephew (a PNP member) who was ambushed in Pinabacdao some two years ago. But he was also in Samar, when his mission to go to Mecca (a very significant accomplishment for a Muslim) was realized, he noted.

He enjoined his men to give the same support he got to Pacada.

Abah received two medals from Lañada, Medalya ng Paglilingkod and Medalya ng Kagalingan. He also got a plaque from the Samar media citing his availability to answer issues when needed and calling the media from time to time for updates and milestones of his period in office.

In his acceptance speech Pacada promised to equal Abah’s prowess in leading the more than 700 PNP officers and men.

The new chief vowed to instill discipline, including tamang bihis (proper attire or uniform) and uphold human rights. Like Abah, he sought the support of the LGU, the army and the PNP personnel.




Samarnons join worldwide remembrance of AIDS Day

December 2, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  More than four hundred Samarnons gathered early Monday in remembrance of World Aids Day this December 1, 2008.

World AIDS day observance in Samar
Samar provincial officials (L-R) Acting Governor Jesus Redaja, BM Eunice Babalcon and BM Ida Lim spearheaded the commemoration of the World AIDS Day on December 1 in Catbalogan City.

The Samar Provincial AIDS Council (SPAC) spearheaded the commemoration. Samarnons in red had an early morning warm up exercise before jogging around downtown Catbalogan.

They returned to Imelda Park, Samar Capitol Grounds for a brief program that featured Ms. Rina, an HIV/AIDS victim who testified the life she is living with HIV/AIDS. She narrated that she went abroad because of poverty and did not expect such an affliction would shatter her dreams.

However with the support group that she met, she has been given a chance and vowed to join the advocacy group to educate her fellow Filipinos. She also urged the policy makers to make the anti retro viral drug be available to victims like her as most of them may not be capable to buy the drug.

The lady also enjoined her audience to spread the information and education that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through body fluids like semen, cervical mucus, breast milk and blood. She also told her audience that a mere handshake will not infect another.

Lore Donceras, a nurse at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) told the audience ways to avoid AIDS like abstinence, being faithful to ones partner, correct use of condom, avoiding taking drugs and education or the correct information as regards HIV/AIDS.

Ms. Eunice Babalcon, Samar Board member who chairs SPAC said that HIV/AIDS is not just a health issue but a social concern. She noted that Ms. Rina left the country because of poverty.

SPAC with other NGOs have been holding activities for HIV/AIDS awareness since November 24 when the group unveiled the WAD icon.

Waraya and Kartada Samar, two youth groups have been replicating the adults advocacy on HIV/AIDS.

Other groups include the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), Leyte Family Development Organization (LEFADO), Population Services Pilipinas Inc. (PSPI), Population Commission, schools like Samar College, St. Marys College, Samar State University, Red Cross, Catbalogan City government, JIL, and the two fraternities called Alpha Rho and Alpha Kappha Omega.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army also provided the critical mass of joggers to draw attention to World Aids Day 2008.





COMELEC official in Biliran urges new voters to register

December 2, 2008

NAVAL, Biliran  –  The Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) here urged new voters to register as COMELEC registration of new voters starts today in preparation for the 2010 elections.

Atty. Sabino C. Mejarito in an interview this morning, disclosed that all the Municipal Election Offices (MEOs) are now ready to register new voters starting today, December 2, 2008 until December 15, 2009 nationwide.

He said all MEOs are open from 8:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, Monday to Friday so that maximum number of new voters can register.

He added that those who are qualified to register are the youth who already reached the age of 18, voters who changed their family name due to change in marital status or the correction of entry and active voters who transferred to a place as his new residence.

The COMELEC official clarified that deactivated voters who wanted to be reactivated from the list of voters due to his failure to vote twice in the last two consecutive elections and those transferees with reactivation can register by next year yet after a hearing to be conducted by the members of the Election Registration Board (ERB) for that purpose in January 2009.

Youth voters who will reach the age of 18 in May 2010 cannot register this year but they are qualified to register next year, the COMELEC official added.

Atty. Mejarito explained that the processing of the registration of new voters will be made through Data Capturing Machine (DCM) where a registrant’s personal information such as picture and other relevant data will be encoded in the machine.

Another feature of the DCM is that taking of the registrant’s fingerprint will be done through a process called biometrics in order to ensure that there will be no double registration, he said.

In order to maximize the registration of voters, Atty. Mejarito plans to establish satellite COMELEC offices in schools in far-flung barangays in the province. This he said, will provide comfort and convenience to the new voters to register aside from encouraging bigger participation in the registration.

He projected an increase of 20,000 new voters especially coming from the youth group after December 2009 that will be added to the 88,541 registered voters in Biliran province during the synchronized local and national elections in May 2007.

He estimated that 20 million new registered voters nationwide will come from the voting population aged 35 below after the registration in 2009 which when added will make the total voting population of the country  from 48 to 50 million in 2010 elections.



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