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8th ID army chief condemns ruthless acts of NPAs in North Samar

PIA 8 director tutors Army info officers on news writing

Leyte tapped to host PRISAA 2010

NCR retains Palarong Pambansa crown for the fourth consecutive year

PGMA bats for teamwork as unifying factor for the country during opening of Palarong Pambansa 2009

Tanauan riders rule the 2nd Nasugbo Nat’l Skimboarding Competition

2 NPA camps, war material cache discovered

NPA leaders and 5 others surrender with high powered firearms

Gov. Evardone graces 488th Magellan Landing Commemoration

Pinabacdao project impresses WB representative



Army rescue child NPA courier in Samar

June 10, 2009

SAN JORGE, Samar  –  The Presidential Decree 603 (Child and Youth Welfare Code); Republic Act 7610 (providing for special protection of children against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination) and the Anti-Violence against Women and Their Children Act (RA 9262) which defines violence against women and their children, providing for protective measures for victims and penalties for the perpetrators of the violence. But these laws are constantly violated by the New Peoples Army in Samar.

Rescued NPA child courier in Samar
Rescued NPA child courier alias Dayocdoc demonstrates his skill in handling an M16 armalite rifle during a press conference in a radio program over DYMS-Catbalogan on Tuesday, June 9.

On 06 June 2009, the 34th Infantry (Reliable) Battalion had negotiated and talked to Hon. Leonardo S. Berbes, Ex-Brgy Chairman of Brgy. Hinayagan, Gandara, for the surrender of a child courier of the CPP/NPA by the name of Joel Silverstre alias Dayocdoc, a 12 years old and a native of Brgy. Montalban, Matuginao, Samar.

According to Hon. Leonaldo S. Berbes, this child had been used by the NPA as their courier for almost a year. He is in charged of the collection of Revolutionary Taxes of the populace, a look-out for government troops operating in the area and as an errand boy to buy foods and supplies for the members of the NPA and was also taught how to fire a gun.

Joel Silverstre is an orphan and had stop schooling. His mother died years ago and his father had left them without support and worked in Manila. His likes for gun and adventurism were used by the NPA and recruited him as their courier at the age of 11 years old. According to him, he was promised by the NPA that he will be given a firearm once he is also capable of handling one, for the meantime he will first serve as a courier.

LtCol. Dionisio C. Miguel, commanding officer of the 34IB, had given orders for the immediate turn over of the child to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to undergo consultation and that this unit is committed to uphold the standard and policies for the welfare and protection of children in our Area of Operation. This unit also condemns the CPP/NPA of using children as their courier and combatants.





Northern Samar’s new DepEd Division office building and Library Hub soon to serve the public

June 10, 2009

CATARMAN, Northern Samar  –  Northern Samar’s New Division Office Building and Library Hub will be opened soon for business next week. This was learned from Dr. Thelma C. Quitalig, the schools division superintendent, in her opening remarks during the blessing last Friday of the new division building and library hub.

An emotional division chief said that the blessing of the new building was historic and further said that her heart was filled with joy and sense of accomplishment. “This is the day that God has willed us to be here to witness the ritual showcasing of one of the big accomplishments we have made as an organization”, Quitalig said.

Quitalig further elaborated how the “beautiful edifice” started. Upon her assumption to office as the schools division superintendent of Northern Samar on June 4, 2003, she then dreamt of constructing a new division office building.  When news spread out that central office will construct its new library hub, her dream suddenly became a big hope. She hoped that soon that building will be afforded to the province.  She then believed that because she has put premium on commitment, perseverance and excellence – all these won the hearts and minds of education stakeholders that consequently led to the granting of P8 million worth of a two-storey building.

The 2-storey building will now house the administrative personnel, the medical and dental unit, the planning unit, the legal unit, all on the second floor and the division library hub which is considered one of the biggest hubs in the country is located on its first floor and would be operational this week. The second floor is however still undergoing its finishing touches while awaiting for the remaining P2 million from the central office.

Meanwhile, the Division Library Hub project supports the Early Child a Reader Program (ECARP) of the Department of Education which aims to develop love and habit of reading among children in public elementary and secondary schools.

The library hub will serve as warehouse library of books and supplementary reading materials in all levels and will exclusively serve the five hundred twenty (520) public elementary schools, sixty-six (66) secondary schools, one hundred fifteen thousand five hundred fifty-four (115,554) elementary teachers, nine hundred seventy-three (973) secondary teachers and three hundred fifty-seven (357) administrators of the Division of Northern Samar.

Governor Raul A. Daza in his message remembered the school where he went while he was still a child.  He related that his mother was a school teacher in one of the barangays in Calbayog City. The building where his mother taught was very dilapidated that seemed ready to be blown away during stormy days.  Their house was more sturdy than their school building.  The governor then related his elementary and college days, the experiences of his mother and his experiences as a working student in their library where he spent most of his time, “where I was working to help my mother defray expenses in my schooling.”

“Sometimes people say tell me where your house is, and I will tell you who you are, and this morning as we witness the blessing of this new division office building, we get a glimpse of the good leadership of Dr. Quitalig,” the governor said.

Addressing the educators who attended the blessing, the governor further said that “there could be no quality education if there is no suitable building and classrooms since education is the best equalizer in a society and that teachers hold the balance of social equality for their sincerity, devotion and passion to serve the school children.  In the midst of the global economic crisis, there is a ray of hope in the distance horizon and the dawn of promise, so I share with you, your deepest passion to serve the people of Northern Samar”.

He also congratulated, Dr. Thelma Quitalig for her efforts in looking for financial support from the central office in order to realize the completion of the project.

On the other hand, the assistant schools division superintendent and Project STRIVE Manager Mrs. Juanita F. Layon, said in her closing remarks that “the province is blessed to have been given our own ‘Library of Alexandria’ where learners’ thirst for knowledge will be easily satisfied with the flowing information from its soon to be book furnished shelves. The hunger for teaching resources can now be easily satiated with the sumptuous array of soft and hard materials available within our reach. This library hub could be one of the best things that ever happened to our never-ending quest for learning and excellence”.

The assistant schools division superintended then concluded that “this edifice however does not only address our needs for better learning resource but it also provides us with a venue wherein the humanistic and holistic concerns of our divisional management can find meaning. As the seat of our administrative concerns this building is a beacon for all teachers, school officials and the general public to find solution to their professional and personal problems. It is simply because in this office we have leaders and workers with hearts that beat for others, a conscience that puts the welfare of others above self and a sense of empathy to the feelings of others.”





Geothermal tax share to be used for Leyte’s school building program

By PMRC Leyte
June 10, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  With the Philippine National Oil Company reportedly set to pay its royalty tax share amounting to more or less P450 million to local government units in Leyte soon, Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla said, the province is going to devise a school building program where its provincial share would go.

Gov. Petilla said for several years now, they have been urging the geothermal company to pay their royalty taxes to the province, the host municipality and barangay and has even taken matters to the court to determine how much is really owed to the respective local government units.

Under Section 294 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, provides that 45 percent of the royalties from the exploitation of natural resources should go to towns, 35 percent to barangays and 35 percent to the province.

Should the payment of these royalty shares go through in the latter part of the year, the governor disclosed the province would utilize the tax share in a school building program that would address the classrooms problem of many public elementary and high schools in the province.

“The plan is to devise a school building program where those that would be prioritized are schools lacking in classrooms then those that are badly needing of repairs,” Gov. Petilla said.

It can be recalled that in the last visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the province during the latter’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2009, the President announced that the royalty shares of the local government units where the sources of the geothermal power generation have been determined and will soon be released.

The Department of Budget and Management has computed royalty tax shares which will be released to the host local government units after President Arroyo earlier ordered the DBM together with the Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Finance (DoF) and the Department of Interior and Local Government to work on the computation of the royalty shares and have these released at the soonest possible time to the LGUs that play host to the country’s geothermal power plants.

The province of Leyte will reportedly receive P4,101,338 for 2007 and P17,616,006.80 for the year 2008.

The municipality of Kananga will receive the royalty tax share of P6,280,921 for the year 2007 and P26,173,490.40 for 2008 while Ormoc City will receive P2,947,090 and P13,462,524 for 2007 and 2008 respectively.

For the host barangays, a royalty share of P4,729,204 and P19,817,809 for 2007 and 2008 will be given to Barangay Lim-ao and Barangay Rizal and another P155,956 and P539,349 for Barangay Tongonan in Kananga town.





Sec. Claudio keynotes June 12 Kalayaan activities in Region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 9, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs, Secretary Gabriel Claudio, will keynote the 111th Commemoration of Philippine Independence in Region 8.

Secretary Claudio who is from Region 8, is the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) steward in Region 8, Department of Labor and Employment Region 8 Director Forter Puguon bared during the media launching of the Region 8 Independence Day activities at Panindugan Television program of the Philippine Information Agency.

Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Secretary Gabriel Claudio
Sec. Gabby Claudio

Director Puguon said that the June 12 activities will start with a 6:00 o’clock mass at the Santo Niño Church, to be followed by the flag-raising and wreath-laying activities at Plaza Rizal, just in front of the church.

A motorcade will be conducted from Plaza Rizal to the 5,000 people capacity Tacloban City Convention Center where the short Commemorative Program will be held.

In consonance with the theme: Kagitingan, Katapatan at Kasipagan Tungo sa Tunay na Kalayaan, the distribution of Livelihood assistance, training certificates and emergency employment certificates to the CLEEP beneficiaries in Region 8 will be done by Secretary Claudio with Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras and Director Puguon assisting him.

After the program, the Service Caravan and Jobs Fair will be officially opened. Director Puguon said that the various government offices will offer emergency job placements in the Jobs Fair and will also provide services to the public. Various CLEEP products will also be displayed for sale.

The Jobs Fair is scheduled on June 12, 13 and 14 for government jobs, local employment and overseas employment.

A closing program will be conducted on June 14 to give recognition to everyone who helped make the commemoration a success.

Director Puguon also called on the public to display the National Flag prominently in their respective homes and places of work to show their support to the Historical celebration.





Reg 8 conducts underwater, watersurface, shoreline clean-up on June 10

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 9, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  On June 10, 2009, hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life, young and old, executives and ordinary office staff, businessmen and consumers will move towards the four identified areas of Tacloban to form the largest one-day volunteer event.

The multi-sector Clean Up Drive which will start at 6:00 o’clock in the morning, is one of the highlights in this year’s Independence Day celebration in Region 8, Philippine Ports Authority Manager in Region 8 Winfred Elizalde informed.

The Clean Up Drive chairman, Ports Manager Winfred Elizalde, who was among the guests during the Panindugan television program of the Philippine Information Agency, said that what makes this Clean-Up different is that the volunteers will not only clean the trash and the debris along the shoreline but also the surface of the ocean and even under the ocean.

Manager Elizalde said that government agencies, non-government organizations and local government units are all invited to participate in the Clean Up and help save the environment just as the heroes gave their lives to save the country from foreign invaders.

The Clean Up will be conducted in four areas of Tacloban shoreline, from the Cancabato Bay to the San Juanico Strait, Manager Elizalde added.

The elements of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard will do the underwater clean up, Manager Elizalde said. The Philippine National Police and the Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force have already signified their participation to the clean up endeavor.

The members of the Region Eight Administrators League have signified their full support to the endeavor while the barangay officials in the clean up areas are also expected to support the activity.

Manager Elizalde called on the volunteers to bring their clean up tools and garbage bags. A garbage truck will be assigned in each of the four clean up areas where the volunteers could dispose of the garbage they have collected.

The Clean Up Drive is not just pollution clean up, Manager Elizalde said, it is also a wake up call for pollution prevention. People must be made aware that there will be no trashes to pick if people in the first place will not throw wastes especially the non-biodegradable ones any where, much less on the shoreline where the waves will wash the wastes to the sea.





Search is on for ten outstanding children of Filipinos abroad

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 8, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Search for Ten Outstanding Expat Pinoy Children has been launched for the third consecutive year by the Bank of Philippine Islands Overseas Banking Group.

The award is part of BPI’s efforts to give recognition to Filipino overseas. Hand in hand with providing financial and banking needs, the bank also aims to inspire the overseas Filipinos by lauding the source of their motivation and hard work, their children.

Through this campaign, BPI wants to raise public awareness about the great contributions of the Filipino expatriates not only to the Philippine economy but to nation-building as well.

In order to qualify, the nominees must be children of Filipinos working abroad aged 15 to 21 years old.

The nominees must be presently enrolled, have parents or relatives who are BPI depositors, and belong to the top 10 percent of his or her class.

The nominees must submit an essay entitled “Ano ang papel ko sa pagpapaunlad ng ating pamayanan bilang anak ng isang Expat Pinoy?” In English, the title is “What is my role in the development of our society as a son or daughter of an Expat Pinoy?”

The essay may be written in English or Filipino, typewritten double spaced and must be between 1,500 to 2,000 words.

Moreover, the nominees must submit other documentary requirements which include accomplished application form; proof of enrollment; diploma or certificate of graduation; certified true copy of grades along with list of awards, if any; birth certificate; and certification from BPI proving existing account.

Another requirement is the letters of nomination from the principal, college dean, superintendent, parish priest, managers of BPI or BPI Family Savings Bank, or head of a civil or church organization.

Nomination forms are available at any BPI and BPI Family Savings Bank branches nationwide. The nomination form can also be downloaded from or under Promo Page - Remittance.

Mailed entries must be postmarked not later than August 28 to Paul Joseph V. Fonte of the Marketing Department, Overseas Customers Segment, Bank of the Philippine Islands at 6/F BPI Family Savings Bank Center, Paseo de Roxas cor. Dela Rosa St., Makati City 1226, Metro Manila.

Application period is from June 1 to August 28 and the winners who will receive Php 50,000 each, will be announced in August.





New computer sets given to Tanauan’s CeC

By PMRC Leyte
June 8, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Ten new computer sets were given by the provincial government of Leyte to Tanuan town’s eSkwela center, a flagship project of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) that is envisioned to provide ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for Filipino out-of-school youth and adults.

This now brought the total number of computers at the Tanauan Community e-Center to twenty.

Under this project of the CICT, community-based e-learning centers or eSkwelas are being established in major centers around the country to conduct ICT-enhanced alternative education programs for interested individuals.

The center serves as a venue where out-of-school learners and other community members can learn new skills and competencies, review for the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Examination of the DepEd-BALS, and help prepare learners to rejoin the formal school system.

According to Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla this is one project wholly supported by the provincial government as it brings e-learning opportunities and ICT learning resources to mobile teachers, instructional managers and out-of-school learners in an exciting, innovative, and locally meaningful way.

On the other hand, Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu said the new computer sets provided by the provincial government would be a great help in making available ICT-enhanced alternative education programs for more out-of-school youths.

Enrollees of the program identified by the Division Office of the Department of Education in Leyte are called learners who are taught according to their own pace. Interactive topic modules are employed to teach the learners the five learning strands geared to help them develop basic skills in preparation for employment, vocational courses or tertiary education.

The five learning strands include communications, critical thinking and problem solving, productivity and sustainability of natural resources, development of self and sense of community, and expanding one’s world vision. The modules include audio and text materials in English but for discussions, learners can use Filipino or English.

Tanauan eSkwela based at the Tanauan Community e-Center is the first community e-center in Leyte and was launched in February of this year through the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) together with the local government of Tanauan.

Other select eSkwela project sites established in the country include Quezon City, San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City and Ormoc City.





PGMA confirms attendance as keynote speaker during South Leyte’s 49th Anniversary

By PIA Southern Leyte
June 4, 2009

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be the keynote speaker during ceremonies marking the 49th anniversary celebration of Southern Leyte province on July 1.

This confirmation was relayed by Presidential Assistant (PA) for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras on Monday to Gov. Damian Mercado while the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting was in progress at the RK Kangleon Function House.

At the start of the PDC meeting at around ten o’clock in the morning, Board Member Jason Calva, chair of the steering committee, was wrapping up his discussion on the activities related to the July 1 festivities, wherein on the day of the anniversary proper itself the President had signified her intention to come.

Calva said this was agreed during the President’s visit last April 15 at barangay Benit, San Ricardo, during the inauguration of the Benit RO-RO terminal, although this would be updated with constant follow-up and proper confirmation.

By around 11:40 in the morning, Gov. Mercado received a call from PA Nierras through his cellular phone confirming the President’s attendance as guest of honor for this year’s anniversary.

Gov. Mercado immediately relayed the just-in information to the audience, adding that the President will also grace the inauguration of the new Maasin city wet market at the reclamation area.

In his bi-weekly radio program over radio station DYDM, Maasin City Mayor Maloney Samaco said the President will also led the groundbreaking rites for the construction of a mall building, also scheduled to be built at the reclamation site anytime this year.

He was referring to the plans of the city government to put up a new structure to house the Gaisano shopping mall in the city.

There were no other details yet as to the President’s itinerary in the city and province if and when such schedule pushes through as of this writing.





PCA hails biggest donor of nursery, earwig lab and office

June 4, 2009

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  The Philippine Coconut Industry (PCA) Regional Office 8 through Regional Manager Edilberto Nierva hailed President of Samar Coco, Engr. Julio Co for donating close to P2M to establish a coco nursery, earwig lab and a PCA satellite office in Calbayog City.

In the blessing of the coco nursery on Wednesday, Nierva profusely thanked the low profile Co who just smiled at the accolades heaped on him by Nierva and Mayor Mel Sarmiento.

According to Meinard Montano, PCA Coconut Development Officer (CDO) in Calbayog City, Co has been helping PCA since 2004 by funding coconut nurseries as the businessman was deeply concerned that coconut productivity was dwindling.

Montano then proposed a coconut nursery which Co immediately approved.

The first coco nursery, said Montano had only 10 thousand seed nuts and yearly then, it became automatic for Co to finance the venture while working closely with the hardworking Montano.

The seed nuts were given free to coconut farmers.

Presently erected at Barangay Trinidad, Calbayog City is a modest PCA office cum Earwig lab, a coconut nursery housing some 15,000 seed nuts along with suggested intercrops like eggplants, pechay and other greens.

Nierva in his message said that Montano’s close partnership with Co will surely benefit coconut farmers in the fist district of Samar.

Co, meanwhile said he did not think twice to fund a noble cause as a form of doing his corporate social responsibility.

Brothers Tomas and Julio Co are big businessmen in Calbayog dealing with different business establishments where coconut is clearly one of them.





RH bill protects young people from internet pornography, says RH supporter

June 4, 2009

QUEZON CITY  –  Amid sex video scandal involving celebrities, a non-government organization supporting the highly controversial “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2009” that proposes age-appropriate responsible sexuality education, found an ally in no less than the Malacanang’s Executive Secretary himself.

Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) lauds Sec. Eduardo Ermita for admitting to media that he is pushing for sex education.  In news reports, Sec. Ermita said that sex education help prevents unwanted pregnancies.  Further, Sec. Ermita said that Pres. Arroyo is endorsing sex education for the benefit of our younger people.

“Reproductive health advocates welcome this statement of support on sexuality education,” San Pascual said. “Mandatory age-appropriate responsible education is one of the main features of the reproductive health bill,” added San Pascual. Unfortunately, some officials of the Catholic church are contesting this provision laments San Pascual.

Some officials of the Catholic church does not want adequately trained teachers discussing responsible sex education to young people as they want to leave this responsibility to the parents alone.  In the RH bill, parents as much as the school system will have a joint responsibility in molding children to become responsible in their behaviors and help prepare them into adulthood.

“The youth of today are easily influenced by their peers and the media in matters of sex,” said San Pascual.  “They are internet savvy and much more technologically advanced.  A parent who is less equipped with moral sense and without much familiarity with computer technology, and at the same time busy raising income for the family, would most likely not able to protect their child from being exposed to pornographic materials proliferating in the net,” warns San Pascual.

Contrary to what the oppositionists claim, the proposed adolescent reproductive health education does not only provide information to prevent unwanted pregnancies but also includes formation of attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behavior and sexual health.

“Empowering the youth with proper information and values is important to help them make responsible decisions on sex. We urge lawmakers to heed the call of not only the officials of this country, but more so, of the majority of Filipino people who demands the access to comprehensive reproductive health services,” San Pascual concluded.





South Leyte to invite Pacquiao as guest on opening day for 49th Provincial Anniversary

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
June 3, 2009

MAASIN CITY  –  Fans of Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao in this city and the entire province of Southern Leyte may have the chance of their life to see in person their idol on June 26, the opening day for this year’s anniversary celebration on July 1.

Manny PacquiaoAt the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting Tuesday morning at RK Kangleon Function House presided by Gov. Damian Mercado, City Mayor Maloney Samaco moved to pass a resolution requesting the presence of Pacquiao for the Inter-town Boxing Competition at the Capitol Sunken Garden in the evening of June 26.

Aside from viewing the boxing bouts, the southpaw boxer was also invited to grace the provincial derby, which is being scheduled to be held on the same June 26 evening.

Copies of the resolution will be definitely sent to the Pacman’s camp, and it was not known yet whether he can make it if his schedule permits.

Other activities during the day for the opening salvo on June 26 will be a province-wide cycling competition, which would take off at seven in the morning, and the blessing of the newly-finished Legislative Building by nine, also in the morning.

By three o’clock in the afternoon, an anniversary walk will be held, wherein participants will hike from the Anatalio Gaviola Public Plaza in the city’s center up to the capitol building, a distance of about three kilometers.

Tickets will be duly distributed after the walk, and door prizes will be given to those whose names will be taken from the “tambiolo”, the prizes ranging from several kilos of rice to appliances, among others.

Provincial Board Member Jason Calva, the chairman of the steering committee, presented an overview of the activities that can be expected for this year’s anniversary celebration.

At the start of his presentation, he had hinted for the province to invite Manny Pacquiao as guest on June 26 for the boxing competition and provincial derby.

And before he ended the rundown of activities, he had asked that a resolution be passed for the mentioned purpose, in which Mayor Samaco, chairman of the City Sports Council and a sports enthusiast himself, readily took the floor and sponsored the needed resolution, unanimously carried.

Calva said this year’s anniversary theme is “Southern Leyte: Ang Sinugdan…”





CPP/NPA on a killing rampage

June 3, 2009

10th ID, Camp Panacan, Davao City  –  In a statement dated May 26, 2009 which was made public Sunday, the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) said that Evelyn Pitao-Dadula had given the military information that led to the killing of her brother, Danilo, in Tagum City in June 2008 and the arrest of her former party husband, a communist guerilla named Ka Emong, in January 2009.

The CPP/NPA also blamed Evelyn for being responsible in the arrest of Leoncio Pitao in November 1999.

“Based from their statements, it has become evident that the killings are perpetrated by the CPP/NPA to punish alleged violators within their ranks,” Major General Reynaldo Mapagu of 10ID said.

The admission of the CPP/NPA of owning the murder came after they have pinpointed the military as the perpetrator along with the condemnation from the Pitao family and militant groups like Karapatan.

The military leadership has continuously denied the involvement of the military in the alleged killings.

“It is the strategy of the CPP to use the military as the scapegoat every time they commit atrocities in order to discredit the government. The fact that the CPP/NPA admitted the series of murders means that the military is vindicated of all the accusations being attributed to it,” Mapagu said.

The NPA admitted to have perpetrated recent murders including that of Ex-Army Manny Villa who was executed in Matanao, Davao del Sur, Ruben Bitang in Panabo City, and Staff Sergeant Rolen Manlangit in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

“They have gone indiscriminate and berserk in their killings. They have put justice in their own hands. They are now paranoid as the AFP has continuously diminished their influence in a lot of areas in Davao Region. When they are pushed to the wall like this, it is their normal reaction to cleanse their ranks, including their supporters, of possible traitors. It is their paranoia that makes them commit costly mistakes like committing murder against their own people as they have done in the past,” Mapagu further pointed out.

It is also evident that there is an ongoing rift between the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command and the Pulang Bagani Command under Leoncio Pitao.

“There has been massive demoralization and in-fighting within their ranks. The mass surrender of fighters is an indication of this. The main issue is the loss of funds which were earlier reported to have been bungled by key party leaders of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee,” Mapagu added.





Poll Automation Oversight Committee to summon Comelec, Smartmatic – Chiz

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
June 2, 2009

PASAY CITY  –  Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday said the joint congressional oversight committee will summon officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the remaining bidder to answer questions on the poll counting machines to be used for the 2010 elections.

“Now that it seems there will be a winning bidder, it would be good to hear from them the answers to simple questions related to the implementation of the poll automation,” he said.

Escudero, who is co-chair of the oversight committee, said the hearing will be held in the next two weeks and will focus on the technology and capability of the winning bidder to effectively and fully implement the automation of the elections.

“I still have to be convinced that poll automation will be fail-safe. In a closely-contested election, there can be no margin for error. We cannot afford to have a repeat of 2004,” he said.

Escudero has called for partial automation of the elections, warning that the country was not prepared to conduct full automation at this time.

Only the consortium of Smartmatic and Total Information Management Corp. (TIM) remains in the running for the P11.3-billion automation contract. On Monday, the AMA Group of Companies and Election System and Software (ES&S) withdrew its bid offer, complaining that the SBAC changed the bid requirements too late in the process.

SBAC chair Ferdinand Rafanan has said that he expect the committee to submit its recommendations after the post-qualification screening is completed early this week.





Borongan is still a City

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
June 2, 2009

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  To the protagonists the series of motions in the Supreme Court for Borongan cityhood with the hanging decision of the High Court is  better-off which likewise, could be music to their ears.

In a brief talk with Mayor Fidel “Panka” Anacta, he laments that despite the efforts being made for the cityhood, some opt to talk about the disapproval issue.

“Borongan remains a city, until the final decision of the Supreme Court,” Mayor Anacta insisted.

He said that today (June 2) Supreme Court deemed it to include in their priority agenda.  It can be recalled that the initial decision was 6-5 in favor of the League of Cities of the Philippines who lodged the opposition against the 16-would-be cities, Borongan and Catbalogan included.  On second motion, the High Court decided a 6-6 vote which certainly called for another hearing because, obviously, the vote meant either way.

With the review today, and with the retirement of two justices who were not pro-Borongan Cityhood, many Boronganons keep their fingers cross, hoping that everything turns favorable.

As for Mayor Anacta, with the help being extended by Mayor Alexander Pimentel, President of the 16 aspiring city mayors, there is still hope that Borongan will become a city.

“I wish more people could talk about what could be best for Borongan”.

Anacta who is now on this third term as mayor believes, that should the cityhood is confirmed and ruled, it will be of benefit to the majority.



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