Leyte Governor Carlos
Jericho Petilla said in his short commemorative message that with the
passage of time Leyteños and the Filipino people “are filled with a
sense of urgency of honoring the legacy of our last living heroes who
have survived the big war and are now in the twilight of their years”.
“More than any other
reason, you are why we still remember what happened 65 years ago, you
are why we keep coming back. You remind us that humanities must
support one another. To those who achieved victory 65 years ago we
thank you for your service,” Gov. Petilla said in his message.
Isabelo C. Figueroa,
95 year old, was the oldest living World War II veteran and was
awarded through the effort of the Department of Tourism in
coordination with the Leyte provincial government during yesterday’s
commemorative program of 65th Leyte Gulf Landings.
Other veterans who
were awarded were Felicisimo Negro, 91, of Tacloban City; Catalino
Vivero, 91, Barangay Capangijan, Tolosa; Teofisto Demapiles, 92, Palo,
Leyte; Pedro Echaves, 92, of Basey, Samar; Calixto Real, 93, Tacloban
City; Felicisimo Gonzaga, 93, of Palo, Leyte; Jesus P. Majay, 93, of
Baybay district, Basey; Forperio Saño, 94, of Dulag; and Francisco R.
Diaz, 94, of Tacloban City.
Meanwhile, Captain Vic
Jones, Defense Attache’ of the Embassy of Australia said in his
message that attending the commemorative celebration was both an honor
and privilege for him and that despite the sacrifices of war, bonds of
friendships have been forged despite geographic differences and close
relationships are being shared by Australia with the province and the
Japan ambassador to
the Philippines Makoto Katsura in his message in behalf of the
Japanese government once again apologized not only to the World War II
veterans but the entire Filipino nation for the military atrocities
the Japanese soldiers had committed during World War II, a battle he
said that was widely considered to have unnecessarily cost the lives
of thousand of Filipino soldiers and civilians.
US Ambassador Kristie
Kenney said that many children in America has a vision of Leyte and
that as a child growing up, she never imagined that she would have the
honor someday of coming and personally thanking the veteran for their
sacrifices and for the freedom they have given the people.
Macapagal-Arroyo, on the other hand, was not able to give her
commemorative speech as heavy rains poured down during the program,
said during her media interaction that the national government has
ordered to fast track the processing of the release of equity
compensation for World War II Filipino veterans.
9,000 have already
received the benefits it was learned and over 200 of them were from
Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) is now working with the US Department
of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) in receiving and processing the
applications for the World War II Filipino Veterans Equity Fund after
US President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law last February this year. Claims must
be received no later than February 16, 2010.
Job bridging event in
Samar kicks off
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE (PIA
October 20, 2009
– TESDA’s job bridging event in Samar province
kicked off with some 457 job applicants trying their luck at the Samar
State University (SSU) Gym on October 14, 2009.
The governor, in a
statement, said that he pushed through with the scheduled outreach as
the people of Homonhon had already been waiting for the various
services coming from the province. Among those that the governor
brought with him for distribution are packs of rice, toothbrushes,
toothpastes, sports equipment and Philhealth cards.
Also highlighting the
project is the turn-over of the provincial financial aid to every
barangay worth P20,000.
When the group took
off at Guiuan port for
Philippine Atmospheric Geographical and Astronomical Services (Pag-asa)
reported that a Low Pressure Area (LPA) was entering the Philippine
Area of Responsibility and its path was going towards Guiuan. Sea
condition between the island and mainland Guiuan, a 2-hour boat ride,
is unpredictable especially during tide changes. Boat travel even
becomes more dangerous when there are weather disturbances as waves
reach to as high as a 3-storey building.
“I am happy the
governor visited our barangay despite the difficulty in coming here,”
Inapulangan Barangay Captain Arlene Yaquit, said in vernacular during
her message. “Aside from the assistance he brought here, the people of
my barangay are thankful that we have been visited by the highest
official of the province,” she continued.
Inapulangan was also
committed an additional P50,000 on top of the provincial aid for a
water system project. Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members Jovi Opinion,
Colon Yu, Karen Alvarez, Enerio Sabulao, Betty Reyes and the governor
each pledged financial assistance for the project.
The governor and the
Project BEN team also visited barangays Betaogan, Canawayon and
In Betaogan, the
governor made an inspection on the lemon plantations on the barangay.
The said barangay is the largest lemon-producing village in the entire
province. Evardone said he will ask the Office of the Provincial
Agricultural Services (OPAS) to make necessary interventions
especially on its fertilizer problem. Jodi Paano of OPAS said that his
office will provide necessary assistance to lemon producers especially
in developing an organic fertilizer instead of using commercial
fertilizers to cut their plantation cost.
The Project BEN team
also visited the islands of Manicani, Tubabaw and Victory, all of
Guiuan town. In Manicani, Governor Evardone revealed that he already
asked the electric cooperative to study about the possibility of
putting electric posts from Tubabaw Island to energize the whole
“This might not be
realized soon but I intend to have the island energized,” the governor
said to the islanders. The 4 barangays of Manicani are only reliant on
generators for electricity during night time.
of Tubabaw Island have raised their hopes after the governor announced
that he is asking Provincial Engineer Dindo Picardal to start explore
the possibility of constructing a bridge that will connect the island
to mainland. “Once it is realized, we can bring our heavy equipment
here and start road projects to connect the 5 barangays of the island.
Punong Barangay Evelyn
Lanzaderas of San Pedro said that she is thankful the governor has
provided her barangay’s public school funds for constructing a new
building. “We really need the building as children are having a hard
time in the limited classrooms the school has,” Lanzaderas said. The
provincial government has allocated some P150,000 for the said
The project BEN, which
will stay in Guiuan for 4 days, will also bring its services to some
50 more barangays in the mainland in 5 different locations. Guiuan is
the 10th town visited by the project aimed at bringing the government
closer to the people.
TTMIST DOST scholar
tops provincial Statistics Quiz in Samar
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE (PIA
October 18, 2009
– Rodney Manalo, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST)
scholar and a first year Bachelor of Science in Electronics and
Communication Engineering (ECE) student topped the 18th Samar
Provincial Quiz at the GSP Headquarters, Catbalogan, Samar.
The statistics quiz
held Friday, October 16, 2009 serves as the highlight in the NSO
celebration of National Statistics Month.
Manalo enrolled at
Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST)
topped contestants coming from schools all over
Second placer was from
the Samar State University (SSU) Arvie Jay Castillo a Bachelor of
Science in Statistics college freshman.
Garnering third was
another lad from TTMIST named Kevin Collin Colitoy, a civil
In a phone interview
with TTMIST President, Dr. Socorro Bohol, she said she is happy and
honoured that TTMIST students are being recognized for their exemplary
performance in academics and other activities showing their abilities.
Both Manalo and
Colitoy received accolades for their consistency in entering rounds
two and three of the statistics quiz.
Their coach Mr. Teodoro
Amatosa, Jr was all praises for the duo who reaped honors for TTMIST.
All three winners
will represent Samar province in the regional statistics quiz that
will be held in November according to NSO Assistant Provincial
Director Romeo Gabatbat.
Pacquiao-Cotto key-rings to raise funds for RP typhoon victims
By ALEX P. VIDAL /
California – The World Boxing Council (WBC) has offered its “modest
support to the great people of this extraordinary boxing country
(Philippines)”, which was recently slammed by deadly typhoon “Ketsana”
that killed hundreds of people and rendered thousands of families
homeless, by selling commemorative key-rings of the first WBC Diamond
Belt fight ever between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Angel Cotto on Nov.
14 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The project dubbed
“WBC Asia Relief fund – Philippine Disaster”, offers circle keyring
model double face key-ring: one face with Pacquiao, the back face with
Cotto 1 ¾ inches diameter, glove model big (3 inches tall by 2 ¼ wide)
shiny finish and old metal matt finish for the following prices: 5
assorted key-rings = $50 US plus shipping; 10 assorted key-rings = $95
US plus shipping; 15 assorted key-rings = $140 US plus shipping; 20
assorted key-ring = $185 US plus shipping; and 50 assorted key-rings =
$450 US plus shipping.
According to the WBC
News released from the office of president Jose Sulaiman Chagnon in
Mexico City dated October 12, 2009, “all the money raised will be sent
for charity to the Philippines through the Games and Amusement Board
chaired by WBC vice president Eric Buhain.
“The WBC joins the
world helping force just like we did in 2005 in the Asian Tsunami
disaster. Extra donations will be really appreciated by our Philippine
brothers,” said the WBC News.
Associated Press has
reported that authorities sent more than 200 coffins recently to the
for the grim task of burying the storm's victims, including a family
of eight whose house was buried under a torrent of mud.
The nationwide death
toll from landslides and flooding reportedly stood at more than 600
since back-to-back storms started pounding the northern Philippines on
Hundreds of thousands
are still displaced, and the damage from the worst flooding in 40
years has run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
The death toll was so
high that some areas ran out of coffins. More than 200 wooden caskets
assembled in neighboring provinces were expected in
where more funerals were planned, said regional disaster-relief
director Olive Luces.
Baguio city, in the
heart of the Cordillera mountain range where at least 277 people died,
organized a burial for a family of eight, including six children,
whose house along Marcos Highway was pinned down by other houses that
tumbled down a mountainside late the other week.
In the face of the man-made disaster of killings and human
groups launch Fact-finding Mission for slain rights advocate Fr.
QUEZON CITY – While
the nation is still reeling on the aftermath of the natural calamity, Ondoy, the human rights alliance, Karapatan, with Katungod-Sinirangang
Bisayas-Northen Samar and the Promotion of Church People's Response (PCPR),
on October 7, embarked on a National Fact-Finding Mission (NFFM) to
Northern Samar to look into the man-made disaster of killings and
other human rights violations in the province. The mission will look
into the killing of human rights advocate and Roman Catholic Priest
Fr. Cecilio Lucero. Members of the NFFM will work closely with the
Diocese of Catarman and other people’s organizations in the province.
Fr. Lucero, 48, was
ambushed on September 6, 2009, by a group of armed men near the
village of Layuhan, San Jose, Northern Samar. He died instantly while
his companions were seriously injured. Fr. Lucero, a member of the
PCPR, was a priest of St. Joseph Parish Church in Catubig and was the
Chairperson of the human rights desk of the Social Action Center of
the Diocese of Catarman.
The NFFM for Fr.
Lucero, themed "A Journey for the Truth," aims to document and gather
information relevant to the case.
Council Member, Fr. Dionito Cabillas, noted that more than a month has
passed after Fr. Lucero's ambush but police authorities have yet to
identify the perpetrators and the motive of the killing. Fr. Cabillas
also said that police should also look into the military's harassment
of Fr. Lucero. "For a long time, Fr. Lucero, had been receiving death
threats from the military for his criticisms of government policies
and human rights abuses in Northern Samar. And yet, the police have
come up with nothing in their investigations," wondered Fr.Cabillas
The mission also aims
to document the other cases of human rights violations in Northern
Samar which may be related to the killing of Fr. Lucero. Fr. Cabillas
said that according to initial data gathered by Katungod-SB-NS, other
victims of extrajudicial killings in the region were individuals
directly assisted by Fr. Lucero. It can be noted that leaders,
residents and organizations in the province have expressed alarm and
worry on the unsolved killings in the province.
Other cases of
killings and other human rights violations in the province remained
undocumented and unreported so that the mission will try to look into
these cases, too. “This situation becomes more alarming considering
the fact that Samar and Leyte are in the priority areas of the
government’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya; and the
President has repeatedly announced that the government must end the
insurgency by 2010. This counter-insurgency program is one of the
reasons for the extrajudicial killings, disappearances and other human
rights violations, as reported by Prof. Philip Alston, the UN Special
Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in his
visit to the Philippines in 2007, “ Fr. Cabillas said.
The mission, shall
report their findings on October 16, the 40th day of Fr. Lucero's
death, and shall submit their findings to pertinent government
agencies and other organizations.
chairman dies in a shooting incident
By NINFA B QUIRANTE (PIA
October 15, 2009
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
A barangay chairman from Villahermosa, Pagsanghan died yesterday,
October 14, 2009 in a shooting incident in the vicinity of Barangay
Samar as he was en route to his barangay on board a motorcycle
In a spot report
provided by Samar Police Provincial Office (SPPO), it said that
Barangay Chairman Rene Tabianan y Dante, 46 years old sustained neck
injuries from a .45 caliber pistol used by the three unidentified
The victim died on the
spot. Witnesses said that suspects fled towards the hilly portion of
dispatched a team to pursue fleeing suspects but were unable to effect
The case is now under
It will be recalled
that in May of this year, a Pagsanghan SB member named Florencio Ripol
was also riddled with bullets by unidentified suspects in Barangay
Concepcion, Gandara while the victim was alighting from a motorboat
from Pagsanghan. It was not clear what happened to the case.
Million grant provides needed food, keeps WFP’s newly-arrived choppers
in the air
By NPPA / PNS
MANILA – The United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Sunday welcomed a US$4.5 million
donation from the Government of Japan that will feed hundreds of
thousands of flood victims in the Philippines as well as providing
much-needed financial support for WFP’s newly-arrived helicopters.
The contribution, the
largest to date in support of WFP’s flood relief efforts, will be used
to buy 6,700 metric tons of rice – enough to assist the efforts to
provide food assistance to 670,000 people for one month. It will also
help to ensure that WFP’s three emergency relief helicopters remain
airborne over the course of the next month to facilitate a swift and
coordinated response by the Government of the Philippines and other
from the Government and the people of Japan could not have been more
generous, nor more timely,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Country
Director in the Philippines. “It allows us, working in close
collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development,
to provide urgently needed food assistance to hundreds of thousands of
people in real need. It also comes at the very moment when our new
helicopters arrived, which will vastly expand the relief capacity of
Government and humanitarian agencies as long as we have the necessary
funding to keep them flying. We are extremely grateful.”
Two of the planned
three helicopters arrived in
Manila on Saturday, flown in onboard a cargo aircraft from
Turkey. The third, en
route from duty in Laos, is expected within the next few days. The
newly-arrived helicopters, Russian-built MI 171s capable of
transporting 2.5 metric tons of cargo or 22 passengers, will
strengthen the ability of the Government and humanitarian agencies to
reach thousands who are cut off and isolated by the floods.
Close to four million
people were affected by severe floods provoked by Tropical Storm
Ketsana (Ondoy) that struck the country on September 26. WFP urgently
needs US$26 million to provide food assistance, air services,
logistical support, and emergency telecommunications to one million of
In addition to the
helicopters, WFP has been airlifting other urgently needed supplies
and equipment into the country in recent days. More than 105 metric
tons of high energy biscuits have arrived in recent days. Seven
inflatable boats with outboard engines, the first of 30 requested by
the Government, have arrived to improve access to inundated areas.
Four large generators have also been shipped in to provide power for
field hospitals and other critical government facilities, including
the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council.
Besides Japan, other
donors who have so far contributed to WFP’s flood relief effort in the
Philippines include UN CERF (US$3 million); Spain (US$2 million);
Australia (US$1.7 million) and ECHO (US$600,000).
UN climate negotiators
in Bangkok turn deaf ear to Ondoy and Pepeng onslaught
October 10, 2009
BANGKOK – As the
climate talks in
limped to a close, Greenpeace called on the leaders of the rich world
to make the political decisions needed to save the climate.
The United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) intercessional meeting
in Bangkok made progress on the negotiating text, but without emission
cuts or finance on the table for developing countries, which is being
promised by the industrialised world, this process cannot make the
progress it needs to get to a strong deal for the climate.
demanding industrialized nations, which have gotten rich at the
expense of the earth’s atmosphere, to cut their carbon emissions by at
least 40% of 1990 levels by 2020. Carbon dioxide emissions are largely
responsible for the phenomenon of climate change. Greenpeace is also
telling the industrialized world that it should put up an annual
US$140 billion fund for climate change adaptation, mitigation and
forest protection in countries that are suffering as a consequence of
the industrialized world’s long-history of carbon emissions. These
commitments should finally be made at the UN Summit on Climate Change
in Copenhagen this December, the finalé in a series of climate
negotiations in a year identified as a turning point for the earth.
Current severe weather
events in Luzon are dramatically illustrating how countries like the
Philippines are most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with the
devastating impacts of climate change. “While the world’s leaders
were beating around the bush talking semantics in Bangkok rather than
content and commitment, hundreds of people are dying and nearly a
million Filipinos are displaced by floods and landslides caused by
typhoons Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma),” said Amalie Obusan,
climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Who is
going to pay for the rebuilding of lives and property? Where will the
money that is needed to help countries like the Philippines adapt and
prepare for future severe weather events and other catastrophic
impacts of climate change come from?”
The atmosphere in
Manila politics is currently charged with finger-pointing as to which
agency and what entities should have been responsible preparing for
such calamities brought on by climate change. “Arguments on issues
such as dependability of dams and road structures, water resource
protection, urban planning and disaster response, are being thrown
back and forth among local government agencies. But this is only
identifying the problems when calamities have already happened. We
need to also address the source and the solutions. The truth is
countries like the Philippines cannot handle the impacts of climate
change themselves unless historical emitters of carbon dioxide around
the world commit to deep emissions reduction and funding for
developing nations,” added Obusan.
In particular, all
eyes are on President Obama’s administration to make the shift to the
deep emissions cuts that the world has been wanting for decades.
“The US is trying to
impose its own domestic limitations on the international community -
limitations driven largely by the fossil fuel lobby. It is climate
science and the needs of the most vulnerable that should determine the
Copenhagen outcome, not the US fossil fuel lobby and the most
wealthy,” said Martin Kaiser, Greenpeace International climate policy
advisor. “It’s time for President Obama to be the climate leader that
he says he is.”
Greenpeace said the EU
must also take responsibility. “The EU is all over the place. Its lack
of a strong target, its lack of finance on the table, and its
inconsistent internal policy on what a Copenhagen outcome might look
like has only increased developing country mistrust in the process.
The EU has a big week of decision-making coming up and we expect the
leaders Brown, Merkel, Sarkozy in particular - to resolve those
issues, to step up and to follow Norway,” Kaiser added.
“At the end of the
day, we can’t change the science – so we have to change the politics –
and that means strong leadership – now. Dangerous climate change
waits for nobody.”