SELDA calls for
immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners
October 14, 2010
MANILA – In the
light of Malacanang’s amnesty to rebel soldiers by virtue of
Proclamation No. 50, the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at
Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners, today
aired their demand for the release of all 378 political prisoners in
the country, saying this is a political decision which should be
exercised by the President, as much as the amnesty for the rebel
soldiers is a political act.
“While we welcome the
intent for the freedom of the rebel soldiers, we are adamant in
demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of all political
prisoners. They do not need amnesty, since almost all of them were
charged with trumped-up and fabricated common crimes while they were
persecuted for their principled opposition to various anti-people
policies. They are demanding for their freedom,” Fr. Dionito Cabillas,
SELDA Secretary General, said.
Cabillas cited the
case of the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested,
tortured and detained since February 6, 2010, among the several cases
of political prisoners.
“There has been no
let-up in the international community’s appeals and demand for the
release of the Morong 43. Pres. Aquino should now decisively make a
political act by releasing the Morong 43,” Cabillas added.
According to data from
Karapatan and SELDA, under the Arroyo government, there were 2,425
victims of arbitrary arrests, 1,092 of them were tortured. Among these
cases are that of political prisoners Myrna Cruz and Randy Malayao,
both detained in the Cagayan Valley Region. Cruz, a former teacher and
a consultant of peasant organizations, was illegally arrested last
March 2010 and has remained incarcerated at the Tugeugarao City Jail,
despite state prosecutors’ orders for the dismissal of murder charges
and her release. Malayao, a consultant of the negotiating panel of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), was acquitted from
murder charges filed against him for the killing of former Cagayan
governor Col. Rodolfo Aquinaldo and his aide, but he remains detained
at the Ilagan City Jail in Isabela.
“Both Cruz and Malayao
have suffered unjustly for crimes they did not commit, and yet no
attention has been given for their eventual release,” Cabillas said.
SELDA also called for
the withdrawal of fabricated charges against activists and leaders of
progressive organizations such as former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo
and NDFP consultants Vicente Ladlad, Rafael Baylosis, and Randall
“These charges, which
have been consistently proven false, are pure harassment and
persecution of Ocampo, Ladlad, Baylosis, Echanis and others, for their
political beliefs. The continuing spate of trumped-up charges against
human rights workers in Negros, Bicol and Mindanao indicates that
these practices continue,” Cabillas ended.
Allied forces, Japan
diplomats confirm attendance to 66th Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – Leyte
Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla confirmed the attendance of
dignitaries coming from the Allied Forces and from Japan to the 66th
Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings on October 20.
Among those who
confirmed their attendance to the commemorative program were the
representatives of the United States of America, Australia, Canada,
New Zealand and Japan, Governor Petilla, who underscored that this
year's commemoration have been kept simple but significant, informed.
The good governor
added that the attendance of Honorable Samuel B. Bagasin has also been
confirmed. Honorable Bagasin is the Undersecretary for Civil,
Military, Veterans and Reserve Affairs of the Department of National
The visitors from
Australia will be led by Mr. Andrew Byrne, Minister and Deputy Head of
of the Embassy of Australia.
Canada will be
represented by Mr. James Trottier, Counselor for Political and
Economic Section, Embassy of Canada.
No less than His
Excellency Andrew Graeme Matheson, Ambassador, Embassy of New Zealand,
will arrive in Leyte to grace the 66th Leyte Gulf Landings
In order to extend
Japan's message of solidarity, His Excellency Makoto Katsura,
Ambassador, Embassy of Japan will once again grace the Commemorative
Program. His Excellency will be accompanied by Colonel Yuki Matsuzaki,
Defense Attache, Embassy of Japan and Mr. Yoshino Hirosato, Secretary
of the Ambassador.
The representatives of
the United States of America will be Ms. Leslie Basset, Deputy Chief
of Mission, US Embassy and Mr. John Skelly, Director, Manila Regional
Office, US Department of Veterans and Affairs, Embassy of the
The Leyte Gulf Landing
Anniversary commemorates the successful liberation by Allied Forces,
of the Philippines from Japanese occupation during WWII.
remembers the return of General Douglas MacArthur and his men who
landed on the shores of Palo, Leyte. General MacArhtur had been forced
to retreat from the islands two years earlier by advancing Japanese
forces at which point he valiantly vowed: "I shall return".
The landing preceded
the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 22-27, 1944 that involved more
than 739 ships in what is considered as history's largest sea battle.
DOT 8 stages Regional
Photo Exhibit and Competition to commemorate 66th Leyte Gulf Landings
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – A
Regional Photo Exhibit and Competition will be staged on October 18 to
22, 2010, at the People’s Center and Library, sponsored by the
Provincial Government of Leyte, with the Department of Tourism Region
8 and the Camera Club of Leyte and Samar cooperating.
Director Karina Rosa
Tiopes said the Regional Photo Exhibit and Competition will showcase
the legacy of the past with the theme: “Passing on the Torch of
Heroism to the Youth of the Land.”
“This is in line with
the 66th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings to honor once again
foes and friends alike who strove hard to attain peace and promote
harmony among the people of the world,” Director Tiopes said.
The activity coincides
with the 4th Leyte Province Business Month celebration which focuses,
among others, on the Tourism sector as a vehicle to propel the
socio-economic growth of the Province of Leyte, Region 8 and the
nation as a whole.
The exhibit will
feature the works of professional photographers as well of winning
entries of the amateur photographers, Director Tiopes added.
Meanwhile, Ms. Trina
Dacuycuy of DOT 8 informed that the Competition has three categories.
The first category is dubbed as Uniquely Leyte which is an open
category to include landscape, still life and portrait that showcases
the uniqueness of the Province of Leyte, Ms. Dacuycuy said.
The second category is
the Heritage Structures which include photographs of houses,
buildings, monuments in Eastern Visayas that have been inexistence
prior to World War II.
The third category is
the Interpretation of the theme “Passing on the Torch to of Heroism to
the Youth of Today.”
At stake are
attractive cash prizes and trophies, Director Tiopes said.
National Rover Moot in
Maasin City on October 22-28
By BONG PEDALINO
MAASIN CITY, Southern
Leyte – It’s official. The gathering of adult scouts nationwide has
been finally scheduled this month, on October 22-28, 2010.
The activity, which
will be held at the sprawling Danao Forest Park here, will also be the
occasion for One Visayas Boy Scouts jamboree.
This was revealed on
Tuesday by Mayor Maloney Samaco on the sidelines of the pinning of
ranks ceremony for CAFGUs into enlisted army reservists at the city
Samaco said he
expected some 5,000 visiting scouts, boys and adults, to converge to
this week-long event, which was set to happen in the Scouting Month of
Told that the dates
covered with the holding of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK)
elections on October 25, Samaco said the coincidence had to be
accepted since no other dates were allowed by the Department of
Education (DepEd) as these days have no classes, being a semestral
In the city-paid,
block-time radio program on Wednesday, Samaco disclosed he would allow
the participating Rover Scouts to get back to their respective
barangays to vote on election day.
Samaco said he also
expected Vice-President Jejomar Binay, the National President of the
Boy Scouts, to be around to grace the opening ceremonies on October
22, a Friday.
Since last year, the
City government has been preparing for the holding of the rover scouts
meet, seeing the activity as an occasion to showcase the city’s
tourism potentials and boost the local economy.
It was first scheduled
in May but was put-off because of the automated polls, then moved to
October since there was widespread talk the barangay and SK polls
would be postponed.
It was moved again
to November the moment it was clear the village and youth elections
would be a go, then settled finally on non-school days of October
using the school’s mid-year break. (PIA
CENRO Sta. Rita holds
community assemblies in Marabut and Basey, Samar
By PURIFICACION S. DALOOS
TACLOBAN CITY – In a
bid to curb the perennial problem of timber poaching within its area
of jurisdiction, the Community Environment and Natural Resources
Office (CENRO) Sta. Rita, Samar has intensified its information
campaign on the importance of forest conservation and protection.
Led by its CENR
Officer Forester Pierre C. Gillo, a community assembly was recently
held in Barangay Tinabanan, Marabut considered as one of the hotspots
of timber poaching within Samar province.
The assembly brought
together the barangay chairmen and other leaders of barangays
Tinabanan, Legaspi and Tagalag all of Marabut,
Samar which are
considered by the Department as timber poaching hotspots. Also in
attendance were representatives of the Philippine National Police and
the Philippine Army as well as the municipal government of Marabut,
“The barangay assembly
was conducted mainly to increase the awareness of the communities on
biodiversity conservation and to empower them by providing updates on
national laws relevant to protected area management and biodiversity
conservation,” CENR Officer Pierre Gillo said. This is also consistent
with the DENR direction “From the Ridges to the Reefs” being espoused
by Regional Executive Director Primitivo C. Galinato, Jr. This
recognizes the need for the protection of the forest areas as an
important ecosystem. “Whatever happens to the forests will surely
affect the lowland ecosystems,” Gillo added.
During the assembly,
they were given information on the Salient Features of Forestry Laws
particularly Presidential Decree 705 with its amendments, as well as
the Chainsaw and Wildlife Acts which are being implemented by the DENR.
Since the forestlands of Marabut are within the Samar Island Natural
Park (SINP) which is a declared Protected Area, the participants were
also given information on the importance and significance of
conserving the resources within that area.
While timber poaching
has become a source of livelihood for some in Marabut, particularly in
barangays Legaspi, Tinabanan and Tagalag, CENRO Gillo is optimistic
that this can be minimized, if not totally eradicated. He encouraged
them to avail of alternative programs being offered by government such
as the Community Based Forrest Management Program. Through the CBFMP,
organized communities are given a tenure instrument through the CBFM
Agreement which gives them stewardship of a given area for twenty five
(25) years, renewable for another term. Through this, the organization
may go into agro forestry as an alternative to timber poaching, while
conducting forest conservation and protection activities.
“I hope that you will
share with your constituents whatever we have shared with you today.
Our responsibility to protect the forest is for the common good,”
CENRO Gillo told the participants in Marabut. He further challenged
them “to protect our forests now, or we may one day wake up without
any more forests to show our children”.
CENRO Gillo revealed
that they have also conducted a similar barangay assembly in Guirang,
Basey for the three (3) hotspot barangays of Inuntan, Mabini and
Guirang. The conduct of the barangay assemblies aims to address the
issue on rampant timber poaching, kaingin and charcoal making,
wildlife hunting and trading in these areas.
the creation of a Local Tourism Council a priority
By EMY C. BONIFACIO,
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
At least 20 participants of a DTI-GTZ facilitated workshop held in
Catbalogan, Samar on October 7 identified the creation of a Tourism
Council as a priority in Tourism Industry Development Program (TIDP).
This was the consensus reached by participants, representing both the
public and private sector, in a participatory deliberation using the
COMPASS process in evaluating the TIDP implementation.
It would be recalled
that both the Tourism Industry Development Project (TIDP) and the
Business Permits and Licensing System (BPLS) were the two main projects that were identified during the
previous Local and Regional Economic Development (LRED) Planning
conducted by the local government unit of Catbalogan through the
support of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and German
Technical Cooperation (GTZ).
“The compass workshop,
as the term literally means, is a monitoring and evaluation tool that
would tell us where to go, what has been done, and measure whether
what has been done was in line with what has been previously designed.
It is intended to align strategies, track progress on action plans,
define critical success factors and the future activities,” explains
DTI Officer-in-Charge, Ms Meilou Macabare.
The workshop focused
on developing Catbalogan as a world class tourist destination by
harnessing and protecting its environmental capacities. During the
discussions, the individual roles of the various stakeholders in
achieving its vision were properly delineated. Concerns, such as
tourism sites inventory, budget, information materials, tourism
office, facilities, human resource development, infrastructure and an
active tourism council were listed down as important factors to be
In so far as what has
been done to promote local tourism is concerned, the group was
unanimous in saying that much has already been done, but its impact
was not very much felt by the local populace and was not successful in
inviting more tourists. A necessity to revisit the critical success
factors, which were identified, was suggested.
As its next doable
steps to tourism promotion, the group will be lobbying with the Local
Chief Executive for the immediate creation of a Catbalogan Tourism
Council through an Executive Order. This will ensure the appointment
of a Tourism Officer who will oversee the Tourism Office and its
functions. Furthermore, it is expected that the Local Legislative
Council will ultimately pass an appropriation ordinance, where funds
will be allocated for the sustainability of the project.
The LGU was proud in
announcing that despite the lack of funds on tourism promotion,
Catbalogan got nominated in an OTOP national competition. News
features on the tourism potentials of Samar has been published on
local and national television networks. Business wise, increased
bookings on hotel accommodations and increased daily trips of
transport services are positive indicators of a growing tourism
activity in the area.
However, in the
sharing of experiences, Ms. Charo Cabardo, a critic and a respected
resource person recalled having read a newsletter which was published
in the 1980s. Somebody was quoted to have said, “Don’t dilly-dally
there, there’s nothing in there!” Ms Cabardo recalls the statement to
have meant that Catbalogan is not a good place to visit. According to
her, sanitation laws are not properly implemented, thus, markets,
terminals, public parks and places are dirty. “These are deterrents in
promoting tourism activities in the area” she adds. The concern was
well noted and will be properly indorsed during a meeting with the
8th ID deploys
additional Battalion to Samar
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
To strengthen the campaign against insurgency in the region, the 8th
Infantry Division has deployed a battalion of government troops in
Samar on Monday.
In a press release
penned by one LtC Noel A Vestuir (GSC) PA it said that Major General
Mario F. Chan, Commander of the division that the 87th Infantry (Hinirang)
Batallion, under Lt Col. Leo Lorenzo Madroñal after an organizational
training is now prepared to pursue of what has been left in the CPP/NPA
remnants after the troops incessant operations and overrunning of
To recall, 87th IB was
created in April and immediately underwent training in Brgy Erenas,
San Jorge, Samar.
Aside from the
rigorous training, the troops mission-essential equipment have also
been fortified through modern and high tech equipments in warfare as
part of the army’s modernization program.
Some of these are K3
crew-served weapons, Squad automatic weapons, 90 millimeter recoiless
rifles, mortars, grenade launchers, sub-machineguns, harris radios to
name a few.
With all these in
place, Chan believes that the battalion is ready to help the
government end insurgency in the region.
In a simple send-off
ceremony on October 11, 2010, Chan stressed the need to uphold human rights not
only that of the civilians but even captured ‘enemies’ of the state or
‘prisoners of war’.
Recently, some 16
camps of the CPP/NPA have been found in the tri-boundaries of Samar
A series of encounters
also took place between the insurgents and government troops. The most
recent of which was the encounter between some elements of the 34th IB
underi 2nd Lieutenant Collado and some ten members of NPAs in Barangay
Gusa, San Jose de Buan, Samar some 2 days ago. No casualties were
reported however, but the troops think that the rebels have
‘immersed’; themselves in the area.
MGen. Chan noted that
despite the diminishing strength of the ‘enemy’, he ordered a no let
up operation on the pursuit of the rebels. He however added that the
government is ready to welcome those who will change their minds in
favor of the state.
He reiterated that
“There is no happiness and satisfaction derived from killing NPA
rebels, only dissatisfaction. The real sense of fulfillment comes in
embracing a rebel back to the folds of law and help him become
productive and contented citizen of this country”. (with
report from 8th ID)
Chan urges Samar governor to construct roads, bridges and electricity to Samar remote
areas to address insurgency
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
The commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division MGen. Mario Chan
urged Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan to hasten the construction of
roads, bridges and power to Samar’s remote barangays to discourage
Speaking before the
Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting on Friday, October 8, 2010, Chan also solicited the synchronized implementation for projects to
usher development in the area.
He recounted that the
army has discovered a camp by the insurgents located in the
tri-boundaries of Samar provinces, particularly, Las Navas (north)
Jipapad (east) and Matuginao (west). The government troops have
discovered that the Central Party Committee of the CPP/NPA has been
camping in Samar Island.
Although Chan admitted
that there are but a few of the rebels left including their arms,
still he believes that the army alone can never solve the problem.
The army chief also
recommends that local leaders must take a strong stand against CPP/NPA.
The insurgency problem, he believes needs a highly coordinated and
synchronized response from all government entities.
Further, he stated
that the army needs additional troops particularly the return of the
43rd Infantry Battalion and the 46th Infantry Battalion that have been
deployed to Mindanao.
Chan, like former 8th
ID Chief Arthur Tabaquero also hailed
Cebu for being able to fizzle out the flames of insurgency.
He urged the local
government to increase/expand the ‘mobility corridors’ for them to
pursue insurgents so that peace and development can truly come in.
With the Millennium
Challenge Corporation’s road project in Samar, the officials believe
that road access to the more remote places in the island will be
implemented by the three provincial leaders. (PIA-Samar)
Mining firm alarms LGU
By ALICE NICART
Samar – The local government unit (LGU) of Borongan is set to file a
temporary restraining order (TRO) against a mining firm which is
allegedly extracting the top soils of several northern barangays: Siha,
Maypangdan, Tabunan, Tamoso even Bugas.
Administrator, Dayan Agda stood firm in his statement to this writer,
that this mining firm did not seek the permission of Borongan LGU in
regard to its operation which to his information had been on-going
since May 2010.
“We are filing a case
against this mining company,” Agda confirmed over the phone.
Provincial Legal Office of the Province, thru Mr. Victor Apura denied
any knowledge about the extracting operation being done along the
outskirts of Borongan.
The information trail
followed Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR)
pronouncement on air through Radyo ng Bayan DYES, that such activity
is on-going in these barangays, with the residents unknowing of the
hazard it poses their environment even to their future.
Dorinda Labro informed that some residents are paid P220 a day to
extract the top soil around them, by the mining operators.
“But the residents do
not know the name of the Mining firm,” Labro said.
particularly to the residents of barangay Siha and San Saturnino (Takyang)
where, there are currently paid labors, to understand the consequences
when their top soil would all be transported to far America (as
“Wara ta na
pagtatanman, kay milyon ka tuig it at huhulton antis hibalik an sugad
nga kadamo han tuna nga nawara”, cautioned Dorinda. [We would have
nowhere to plant on, as we will have to wait for million years, before
we can restore the same volume and fertility of our soil]. She also
stressed that, if we will have to make clay out of stones, that would
be hardest and most difficult.
Speaking from the
spiritual view, Dorinda said, that the minerals we see from under the
ground are all God’s gift to mankind and a Land Title, if somebody had
to argue, entitles him only to harvest what are on top of the ground
and not those from underneath.
reaching the office of Mr. Agda said that these soils are extracted
for exploration purposes; they are being tested either for
confirmation or otherwise, for rich mineral reserves in the Borongan
However, the staunch
environmentalist strongly argued that any mining firm must not pursue
an activity as it is damaging to mankind.
“All those under the
ground, including the water belong to the State”, Labro argued.
(PIA Eastern Samar)
PNP Eastern Samar
bares “gun ban” enforcement progress
By ALICE NICART
Samar – At least four persons had been arrested and one caliber .45,
one caliber .38 and a home-made shotgun with 13 assorted live
ammunitions were confiscated by the Eastern Samar Police Provincial
Office (ESPO) in the implementation of the election “gun ban”.
The ESPO report
indicated the arrest of one Paquito Oculana y Noroña of Oras Municipal
Police Station on September 25 for illegal possession of caliber.38;
Sgt. Diego Luan Coranez, of the 546th Engineer Brigade, Borongan,
arrested on Sept. 27 due to possession of caliber .45; Joey Lingan y
Amores of San Julian on Sept. 30 for possession of home-made shot gun
and Fred Barsana, Gen. McArthur, Oct. 6, for possession of home-made
The report added that
a total of 345 checkpoints have already been conducted and is still
on-going on a 24-hour operation on different strategic locations in
every municipal police station, until the “gun ban” order is
terminated on November 10.
Prior to the full
“gun ban” implementation, on September 29, a Joint Security Control
Center (JSCC) coordinating conference was held at the conference room
of the PNP administration building at Camp Asidillo, which was
attended by Provincial COMELEC Supervisor, Atty. Butch Bautista and
Lt. Col. Hermilo Demafiles, Battalion Commander of 14th Infantry
Battalion, Philippine Army with the 23 chiefs of police of the 23
municipal police stations. PSSupt Felixberto Marudo Castillo, PNP
Provincial Director spearheaded the election-related activity.
(PIA Eastern Samar)