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Army troops discovered NPA main camp in Northern Samar

Pinabacdao and Daram, Samar named ZFF beneficiaries

Cong. Evardone keeps an eye on power concerns at budget deliberation

Morong 43 relatives appeal for speedy Supreme Court action

TRO stops implementation of the Appropriation Ordinance No. 13-002 for Samar’s 2010 Annual Budget

Samar welcomes Multi-Sectoral Quick Reaction Team (MSQRT)

2 dead as a passenger bus fell on a mountainside in Maasin City

Gandara Mayor posts bail for gun ban violation

Mining exploration permits should remain within bounds, says Leyte guv

DPWH bans putting names or pictures of officials in project billboards





Robredo stresses the need to involve civil society in governance

September 24, 2010

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Jesse Robredo, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary stressed the need for local governments to involve civil society in governance.

DILG secretary Jesse Robredo at the SIPPAD Assembly in Catbalogan, SamarCiting his 19-year experience as Naga City Mayor, Robredo cited this in his keynote address as he faced the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) assembly on September 22, 2010 in Catbalogan, Samar.

SIPPAD is an assembly of the three Bishops of Eastern, Northern and West Samar provinces with the army, police, academe, civil society and the media.

“Sharing power, they will return us back the power,” Robredo said.

In Naga City, he said, there is a People’s Council and in all government dealings, processes and transactions, the people’s council is always represented.

“Good governance and good politics can go together,” the veteran mayor encouraged the three governors present namely: Eastern Samar Governor Conrado Nicart, Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and Leyte Governnor Jericho Petilla.

“Good governance costs sacrifices in almost everyone,” the former Naga City mayor added.

He admitted that some political systems promote divisiveness but the leaders can do better by inviting them (civil society) to participate in governance.

“But the civil society must have a legal personality.” Robredo cleared.

The more than a hundred SIPPAD members were clearly smitted by the articulate secretary who has been under fire lately for the botched hostage drama crisis and the jueteng pay-offs recently bared by retired Bishop Oscar Cruz.

While the media was unable to get the comments of the three governors present on his proposals, it was inherent that they may have considered his suggestions as they attentively hang on to every word and sentence uttered by this multi-awarded gentleman from Bicol.  (PIA-Samar)





PDEA declares it still has to recover some 946 kilos of cocaine from Samar

September 24, 2010

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director of Region V declared that the agency has still to recover some 946 kilos of cocaine from the shores of Samar.

Speaking before the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) on Wednesday at the New Maqueda Bay Hotel here, retired general Pedrito Magsino said that the agency has recovered so far, only some 554 kilos of the dangerous cocaine with only 300 kilos coming from Eastern Samar.

It will be recalled that in December, fisherfolks started discovering bricks of cocaine from the waters fronting Eastern Samar.

As some did not know its contents, some turned the bricks to the police while some did not. Apprehensions of cocaine bearers that proliferated in Manila, Cebu and even Bicol followed.

PDEA people have also been scouring the coastal barangays of Eastern Samar from San Policarpo, Oras, Llorente, Salcedo and other areas.

The recovered cocaine is part of the 1500 kilos of cocaine dumped by a foreign vessel in the seawaters of Eastern Samar in December.

Directror Magsino said it was supposed to be delivered to China but because authorities detected the contraband, the ship disposed them in the Pacific Ocean and eventually washed away in the shores of Samar.

The PDEA official urged the help of the SIPPAD members to disseminate information to barangay folks to yield the cocaine in their possession to spare their children from the danger it poses.

When Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy asked the retired general whether the cocaine seized from Ilocos Rep Ronald Singzon in Hongkong was from Samar, Magsino said yes.

As Task Force Commander of Samar Cocaine, Magsino told the group that they will try to recover the dangerous cocaine to spare the country from the dangerous drugs.  (PIA Samar)





Leyte guv favors sexuality education in schools

By Provincial Media Relations Center
September 23, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla said he plans to set talks with the Department of Education in the region to discuss on how to carefully, but effectively thread on the sex education in schools issue.

This as the governor expressed alarm that mothers giving birth are getting younger, while the number of unwed are increasing.

The governor added that one way of addressing this statistics is teaching sexuality in schools, particularly among high school students.

“It is alarming that our young mothers are as young as 13 to 14 years old. If they could be properly informed on sexuality and making them aware of appropriate behaviors, we can lessen this number of pregnancies in our locality,” Gov. Petilla said during his recent visit to a school in Brgy. Maragongdong, Dagami, Leyte.

He said it would be safer for children to learn about sexuality in schools, where information is checked thoroughly, and where the children can ask questions without feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable compared to asking the same from their parents.

Considering the opposition sex education in schools gets particularly from the Church, this is a matter that should be given much weight and talked about exhaustively before implementation.

The province is presently implementing a holistic approach to address teenage pregnancies, to decrease maternal and child mortality, and providing facilities and services to pregnant and expectant mothers in the province.

To recall, prior to the opening of classes during the present school year, DepEd has issued a statement on the need for a sex and reproductive health to be included in the curricula of public schools.

The reason behind DepEd’s plan is the growing population of the country and the detrimental effects of this social concern. It is aimed that through proper sex education, the youth will be educated on the importance of family planning and health.

According to the DepEd, sex education will open the minds of students on how to value life and their sexuality. Reproduction, human sexuality, and body image are already being discussed in subjects like Biology, MAPEH, and even in Values Education.

Teachers welcome these educational discussions as part of their responsibilities as the students’ second parents, however, the plan met staunch opposition from the Church, contending among others that sex education program as a form of "contraceptive imperialism" that assaults moral sensibilities and values of young people and actually encourages sexual promiscuity.





Public sector union with only 10% membership now qualifies for registration

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 23, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Beginning September 1, 2010, an organizational unit would need only at least ten percent (10%) membership out of its total number of rank-and-file employees to be able to apply for registration.

The Public Sector Labor-Management Council has reduced the percentage of membership requirement for the registration of public sector unions through its Resolution Number 4, series of 2010.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), as Secretariat to the Council, said that lowering the percentage of membership requirement aims to encourage government employees to self-organize.

Since 2004, the PSLMC has required at least thirty percent (30%) membership requirement for registration to avoid fragmentation of employees in small organizational units wherein each faction has an employees’ organization of its own, creating divisiveness and practically diminishing their collective strength.

In a report posted at its website, the CSC said that the PSLMC was created by Executive Order No. 180, which provides the guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize among government employees. Its task is to implement and administer the provisions of said executive order.

The CSC said that public sector unions need to register in order to acquire legal personality, and thus be entitled to the rights and privileges under EO 180.

As of June 30, 2010, there are 1,727 registered public sector unions in the country, the CSC disclosed. Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, government employees are granted the right to self-organize, or to form, join and assist unions for the advancement and protection of its members’ interests.

The CSC said that public sector unions serve as the collective voice of government employees, adding that they can be a partner of management in the crafting, implementation and monitoring of policies.

Unions are also encouraged to serve as watchdogs for graft and corruption in their respective agencies.





Court grants Preliminary Injunction, prevents Samar Governor from implementing AO 13-002

September 23, 2010

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Judge Clemens, Branch 31 Presiding Judge, resolved affirmatively the motion of Hon. Noel Sermense and four other Board Members (petitioners) for the issuance of Preliminary Injunction to enjoin Samar Governor Sharee Ann T. Tan, (respondents) from implementing or executing the Appropriation Ordinance No. 13-002, series of 2010 approving the Annual Budget for FY 2010 of the Province of Samar. The seven-page decision was released on September 20, 2010, in time for the expiration of the Temporary Restraining Order on the same issue, which lasted for twenty days since August 31, 2010.

SP secretary Alfredo Delector on the witness stand during the September 17 hearing at RTC branch 31 in Calbayog City.

The substantial testimonies of Samar Provincial Board Secretary Alfredo C. Delector and Provincial Assistant Accountant Francasio Detosil together with the documentary evidences presented by the petitioners proved to be sufficient basis for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. “The injunction is proper to restrain the threatened enforcement of a law which appears to be invalid”, the decision clarifies.

The ruling anchored on the still undisputed testimonies of Mr. Alfredo C. Delector that has brought clout on the Appropriation Ordinance No. 13-002, approved on August 26, 2010, as being passed irregularly.

The court maintained that the significance of treating the proposed budget of the Province of Samar was underscored, considering that it was simply treated under the item for “other matters”, instead of being specifically included in the agenda for the regular session.  Article 415 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 199 provides that budget deliberations should be a primary business during sessions.  In this instance, it was clearly violated, the court specifies.

Moreover, it has observed that the oral recall of the Samar proposed budget and Annual Investment Plan from the Committee on Finance and Appropriation and Committee on Laws and Legal matters was highly irregular and in violation of Section 16, Rule IV, of the Rules and Procedures of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The rule provided that the recall should be made through a written petition of the majority of all the members. Mr. Delector’s testimony confirmed that there was no written petition and that there was no valid suspension of the rules under Section 21, Rule XI of the rules and Procedure of the same Body.

Similarly, Sections 4 and 7, Rule VII of the same Rules of Procedure was violated when the proposed budget was not called for second reading, which is mandatory under that provision.

Accordingly, the rights of some of the Board Members to take proper notice of the proceedings and to due process were denied since the said Budget appears not to have been approved by the majority of all the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. It was only approved by six (6) members including the Vice-Governor as evidenced by the signatures affixed to the said ordinance. Appropriation Ordinance 13-002 is classified under Article 107 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Local Government Code of 1991. As such, it needed the approval of the majority of all the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Samar or at least eight (8) members of that August Body.

The urgency of issuing a Preliminary Injunction was determined after hearing sufficient and convincing evidences from the witnesses. Mr. Detosil testified that there were already acts done, such as that checks had already been prepared for the proposed adjustment of salaries, to implement the questioned budget.  The injunction was released in order for the respondents to refrain from the continuance in the performance of the acts complained for a limited period of time and prevent from serious damage.

It may be recalled that during the start of the court proceedings that lasted until 8:00 in the evening on September 17, Judge Clemens ruled negatively on the motion of respondents for him to inhibit from hearing the said case. The petition was based on allegations that Clemens is publicly identified to be a political ally, having worked as an executive assistant and was recommended to the position as Assistant Prosecutor by Mayor Reynaldo Uy of Calbayog City. On the grounds of Utang na Loob, the petitioners believed that Judge Clemens could not act with impartiality on the case. However, Clemens refuted all these allegations stressing that Mayor Uy is not a party to the case and that never in his entire life as prosecutor, was he accused for playing partisan politics.

The next hearing of the case has been set on October 1, 2010 where the petitioners of this case continue to pray for the declaration of nullity of the said appropriation ordinance.





Nolcom Chief challenges “politically influenced” to avail SIP

September 22, 2010

CALBAYOG CITY  –  “Try it, pag di pa rin kayo satisfied, balik kayo sa bundok at away ulit tayo”, said Northern Luzon Command chief LtGen. Gaudencio Pangilinan before the CSOs (civil society organizations) in an interview conducted on Friday during the sessions initiated by Vera Files at Mimosa, Clark Pampanga.

LtGen. Gaudencio Pangilinan, Northern Luzon Command Chief, in an interview before the CSOs at Mimosa, Clark Pampanga.  (photo by GDR)

Pangilinan was addressing his challenge to the rebels such as the New People’s Army (NPA), Abu Sayyaf, MILF and MNLF who have been considered as major threats in the Internal Security Operations of the military.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) by law is not illegal because communism is allowed in the country but what is unlawful is their methodology like the extortion activities that the NPA is doing. Its arms strength in his area of responsibility is about 300, dispersed in different locations also intensifying their propaganda on social injustice. The Abu Sayyaf on the other hand could be a problem of future generations, he added.

The Nolcom chief stressed that the “whole of nation approach” of Aquino’s administration is focused on preventing the recovery of NPA or politically influenced in most areas. They could be right in their struggle but it is wrong to take arms against the government.

Under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, the Social Integration Program (SIP) has slowed down because of the many factors that affected the delivery of basic services intended for the rebel returnees or “Balik Loob sa Lipunan”, and this was admitted by Pangilinan. According to him, they failed to deliver their commitments such as the payment of surrendered firearms and giving other assistance intended for the recipients.

“We have a lot of commitments na di pa namin nabayaran, and we’re doing our best not to ruin the reputation of the organization and our efforts”, he emphasized.

Through the help of the local government units and the business sector, the SIP is the best solution to resolve insurgency problems in the country, he said.

One way of monitoring suspected “politically influenced” is through the “order of battle” (OB) list wherein LtGen. Pangilinan called it as wanted list for those persons who have outstanding warrant of arrest in court. He clarified that the military cannot effect arrest or prosecute cases in court for it is not mandated in the military doctrine. By practice, they conduct intelligence and investigation, and lately they underwent legal offensive studies.





East Visayas board members elect new set of officers

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 22, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines (PBLMP) in Eastern Visayas recently conducted a general assembly at the Vicmar Beach Resort in Tacloban City.

The meeting aimed to elect the new regional officials of the organization and chart its development agenda in the regional level in terms of legislative initiatives that advance the objectives of the PBLMP.

Following tradition, the current vice-chairman of the league, Northern Samar Board Member Albert Lucero was chosen as the chairman.

Elected as vice-chairman was First District of Leyte Board Member Roque A. Tiu while Southern Leyte Board Member Daisy Gamale was elected as secretary.

Elected as treasurer was Board Member Eden Apolinar of Biliran while Second District of Leyte Board Member Anlie Apostol was selected as auditor. Northern Samar Board Member Alberto Mendador was chosen as the PRO.

Elected as board members of the league were Samar Board Member Noel Sermense; Third District of Leyte Board Member Bernardo Jonathan Remandaban; Biliran Board Member Eriberto Tubis; Southern Leyte Board Member Teopisto Rojas, Jr.; and Eastern Samar Board Member Floro Bacato.

The assembly also served as a venue to discuss concerns in local legislation and provide inputs on current trends, and a chance to acquaint the members with the best practices of other provincial boards in the region.

The election was supervised by DILG Region 8 Director Francisco C. Jose. From the National Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines, present were La Union Board Member Henry A. Bacurnay Jr. of Bauang, La Union who is running as president of the League and company.





P-Noy names new GSIS president, 13 other new officials

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 22, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  President Benigno S. Aquino III on September 20, appointed Hong Kong-based fund manager Robert Vergara as new president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), including 13 other new officials in government corporations.

The new GSIS President, who took over the post vacated by Winston Garcia, finished his Master of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and graduated magna cum laude in Bachelor of Science degree in Management Engineering and Mathematics from Ateneo de Manila University.

Before the GSIS appointment, Mr. Vergara served as a fund manager and director of Lionhart (Hong Kong) Ltd. specializing in equity arbitrage and relative value trading.

Mr. Vergara has vast experience in wealth management. He had previously worked in Morgan Stanley Asia and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Asia.

The President also named three new members of the GSIS board of trustees, namely George Yu, Roman Felipe Reyes, and Danilo Gozo.

Meanwhile, President Aquino has also appointed Domingo Diaz as new member of the board of the Land Bank of the Philippines representing agrarian reform beneficiaries, and Tomas de Leon Jr., on the other hand, represents the private sector as member of the board in Land Bank. Mr. De Leon takes the place of Cyril del Callar.

The President also appointed three commissioners in the Social Security System, namely, Jose Cuisia Jr. as representative of the employer’s group; Daniel Edralin as representative of the workers’ sector; and Marinita Mendoza as woman representative.

Furthermore, Grace Cenas was appointed administrator of the National Dairy Authority (NDA), replacing Orkhan Usman. Ms. Cenas had previously worked as NDA-Central Visayas manager.

Appointed government board members of the Philippine Coconut Authority were Ponciano Batugal, Cesar Villariba Jr., Rafael Sarucam, and Marcos Dumandan.





Enhanced Justice on Wheels launched in Calbayog City

By PIA Samar
September 21, 2010

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy attended the launching of the Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program (JOW) at the grounds of the Calbayog City Sports Center, recently.

Justice on Wheels. Court hearings are conducted here. Mediation process, arraignment, resetting and other legal remedies.  (Gina Dean-Ragudo)

Deputy Court Administrator Nimfa Cuesta-Vilches graced the event.

In his message, Mayor Uy commended the Supreme Court for the program. "The simple bus transformed into a courtroom will undoubtedly benefit the especially poor sector of society who are facing problems in the courts; that it is not only a symbol but an actual proof of bringing justice close to the people“, Uy said.

For her part, DCA Vilches said that she is happy to have Calbayog as "launch site" for the Enhanced Justice on Wheels Program in Samar Island. She thanked Mayor Uy and other LGU officials for the support in the launching program.

Vilches also thanked the LGU for providing doctors during the medical and dental mission for the Calbayog Jail inmates.  She noted that some 4,299 inmates have been released under the program since it was re-launched in 2008.

In that day's JOW program in Calbayog, 63 inmates were also released.

Chief Justice Renato Corona, Justice Antonio Nachura and Court Administrator Midas Marquez were not able to make it because of a Supreme Court en banc session that day.  (with Ron Ricafort)





US Embassy conducts seminar on designing disaster resilient communities for EV LGEs

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 21, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners and the Embassy of the United States of America in the Philippines recently conducted a seminar for Disaster Resilient Communities for local government executive and environment planners, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City.

The seminar was participated by local government executives, regional agency heads and environmental planners from the different provinces of Eastern Visayas. For the province of Leyte, Board Member Roque Tiu was tasked by Governor Petilla to attend in his behalf.

The seminar which was held on September 15, 2010, was facilitated by Dr. Gavin Smith, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disaster of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Ms. Mayu Muñariz, Director of the PIEP on the importance of Environmental Planning and how the workshop was conceptualized.

Mr. Joseph Tordella, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, Manila delivered the welcome remarks while Mr. Elias Fernandez, Jr. gave the Opening Remarks and informed the participants that the seminar aims to incorporate lessons from the Ondoy disaster and in “recognition that we live in a fragile world.”

Dr. Gavin Smith talked on the topic Opportunities for Community Collaboration Across Hazard Management and Climate Change Adaptation. When Dr. Smith took over the podium, he immediately asked, “Is there an opportunity to change things?” He talked about how land use planning can play an important role in hazards mitigation in relation to climate change.

Dr. Smith related the experiences from Hurricanes Fran (1996) and Floyd (1999). He said that risk reduction and disaster recovery was not very difficult because of the availability of federal dollars. After Hurricane Katrina in North Carolina, he worked with Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal.

The lessons learned from the US experience include the important role of planning for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction; develop pre-event plans for post-disaster recovery; disaster recovery plans created after an event can succeed under the right condition; invest the time necessary to build a diverse coalition of support for disaster recovery planning.

Other lessons identified include, emphasize local capacity building as part of a disaster recovery plan; incorporate land use planners and land use planning principles into recovery plans; recognize and embrace technical, political and collaborative leadership; establish and regularly update the recovery plan fact base; incorporate hazard mitigation practices into recovery plans and institutionalize sustainable development and disaster resilience through planning for post-disaster recovery.



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