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SELDA calls for immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners

Samar’s anti-corruption group moves on

DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo formally signs MOA with SIPPAD

LMP Leyte prexy being groomed to be the LMP national president

PhilHealth hikes quarterly premiums of individually paying members from P300 to P600

RP-MCC compact provides $434M for 3 major anti-poverty, anti-corruption projects

Robredo stresses the need to involve civil society in governance

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




Mining company, DENR, LGU MacArthur, local NGO ink MOA to ensure environmental protection

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 16, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  An environmental guarantee fund mechanism was signed between the NICUA Corporation, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Environment Management Bureau, Local Government Unit of MacArthur, Leyte, and a Non-Government Organization particularly the Senior Citizen’s Association, on October 14, 2010 at Barangay San Pedro, MacArthur, Leyte.

A report from MGB Regional Information Officer Dante Operio stated that said guarantee fund known collectively as the Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund (CLRF), aims to “ensure the just and timely compensation for damages and the progressive and sustainable rehabilitation of any adverse effects” that NICUA may cause in its mining explorations and subsequent commercial production in MacArthur, Leyte.

CLRF shall be in the form of the Mine Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) and Mine Waste and Tailings Fees (MWTF) which will then be deposited as Trust Funds in a Government depository bank to be used for the physical rehabilitation of areas and communities affected by NICUA’s mining operations and for research on the technical and preventive aspects of rehabilitation, MGB 8 says.

The MRF shall be in two forms namely, the Monitoring Trust Fund (MTF) and the Rehabilitation Cash Fund (RCF).

The MTF shall be in cash in an amount of not less than one hundred fifty thousand pesos to cover maintenance and other operating budget for the transportation and travel expenses, cost of laboratory analysis, supplies and materials, communication services, consultancy work, and other reasonable expenses incurred by the monitoring team.

On the other hand, the RCF will be equivalent to 10% of the total amount needed to implement the life-of-mine Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) or P5 million, whichever is lower.

“There are differences between large-scale and small-scale mining operations,” MGB-08 Regional Director Roger A. de Dios said. “Large-scale mining operations are heavily capitalized, using state-of-the-art technology that minimizes environmental costs.”

Furthermore, he added that “these (large-scale mining) are expertly regulated under the strict provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and are required to post trust funds to cover the ecological repair in the aftermath of such mining operations.

On the other hand, small-scale mining can be likened to that of kaingin. With limited capital, small-scale mining and quarrying operations scratch the earth, cut trees, and open up the land polluting our waterways.

“Very little revenue flows to the national government – which, in the end, will be tasked with \repairing the damage done to the environment,” Director de Dios added.

The signatories for the said Contingent Liability and Rehabilitation Fund MOA were Alex R. de Leoz, NICUA Executive Vice President; Roger A. de Dios, MGB-08 Regional Director; Primitivo C. Galinto Jr., DENR-08 Regional Executive Director; Letecia R. Maceda, EMB-08 Regional Director; Hon. Rene R. Leria, Municipal Mayor of MacArthur, Leyte; and Andres C. Ruba, Sr., President of Palale Unit Senior Citizens Association of Macarthur, Leyte representing the people’s Organization.

The members of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) will then be designated by this Committee to monitor compliance of NICUA Corporation on its environmental protection program. (with report from MGB 8)





Labor union leader released from jail

Press Release
October 16, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Last October 13, 2010, by order of the Regional Trial Court Branch 8, Tacloban City, labor union leader and Anakpawis Partylist Nominee Vincent “Bebot” Borja was released from the Tacloban City Jail.

It can be remembered that Borja was arrested last May 7, 2007 in Ormoc City by the elements of the 19th Infantry Battalion led by then Battalion Commander Col. Lope Dagoy using the warrant of arrest of a certain “Tata Borja”. He was subsequently detained at Ormoc City Jail and was later on transferred to Tacloban City Jail and was made to face a murder charge.

During the last hearing, witnesses appeared and testified in open court that Bebot Borja is not Tata Borja, the principal accused in the case. In that juncture, the court has no recourse but to release Bebot Borja.

The arrest of Borja and the rest of the political prisoners in the Region and in the country is the result of the implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya II wherein its legal component includes making and filing trumped up cases against leaders and members of the progressive organizations and partylists.

As of the today, the region has a total of 15 political prisoners, six of them were females.

The release of Vincent “Bebot” Borja only goes to show that these trumped up cases will eventually be dismissed. The implementers of OBL II and the succeeding counter-insurgency programs of the State can never silence the people in its struggle for human rights, genuine land reform and national industrialization.

Onwards with the struggle!

Free all political prisoners!






8ID intercepts splintered NPA members

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
October 15, 2010

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  Terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) in the island of Samar suffer another major setback following the sustained successful feats of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division few days ago in the tri- boundary of Samar provinces.

Report reaching this headquarters from 20th Infantry Battalion states that a civilian provided information that some armed terrorists whom they believe to be part of the main enemy group engaged by the government forces in a series encounters recently were seen loitering in the periphery of Brgy Macatingog, Calbayog City attempting to source out support from the local folks.

Acting on the said report, the 20IB immediately organized and sent troops led by 1st Lieutenant Julius Muyco to check the enemy presence in the area. While traversing the route towards the barrio, troops encountered about seven (7) members of the armed terrorist NPA who immediately fled away after almost few minutes of exchange fires. An M16 rifle was recovered by the troops after the wounded rebels hurriedly escaped from the encounter site. No one was hurt in the government side while it could not be ascertained in the NPA side.

Meanwhile, Major General Mario Chan, Commander of the 8ID commended his troops for their heroic deeds. He also appreciated the action of the civilian who provided the timely information on the activities of the CTs in their barangay.

“The NPAs has no way to run.  They can no longer hide and seek refuge with the masses they believed to be theirs.  As I commend my troops for their successful deed of their mission, I would also like to recognize the support of the local folks for without it, our mission would not be carried out successfully”, says Major General Chan.

He also calls on the people in the province to report any person, wounded or not, that are seen in their barrio since the 8ID is openly willing to provide assistance even to enemy. “We once again solicit support to our people to report to us any wounded person that you believe to be engaged by our troops in a series of encounters. We are willing to help them provide the necessary medical assistance and treatment and I assure them that they will never be harmed”, the good general concludes.





NPA’s pathetic move, “tell a lie”

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
October 15, 2010

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  The terrorist New People’s Army (NPA) has no way to run but to tell lies after the successive successful feat of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division against them for the past few days particularly in the tri-boundary areas of the of Samar provinces.

It can be recalled that assorted high powered firearms, war materiel, explosive materials, medical supplies & equipment, communications equipment, subversive documents and other high valued equipment and personal belongings were recovered following the capture of various NPA’s huge encampments and safe houses that resulted to the major lost in their underground movement.

As expected, the terrorist NPA resorted to their hopeless move of bringing front lies and propaganda in order to project their false strength to the people and pretend to be winning their barbaric cause.

In the recent statement made by Karlos Manuel of the Efren Martires Terrorist Group [ The people support the continuing struggle of the NPA ], he accused 8ID particularly pointing fingers to the troops of 34th Infantry Battalion to be human rights violators citing the long used worn out issues that are kept recycled which they usually use every time they encounter major setbacks.

It seems that Manuel’s propaganda line which includes the destruction of crops, abuses and looting are all usual lies of the NPAs considering the fact that the mentioned areas where he alleged to be disturbed by the troops are excluded in the areas where troops were deployed.  Also Manuel’s statement is indicative of his lack of knowledge of what is really happening in the ground considering his statements are far from reality. It is a proof that indeed 8ID has already dislodged them from their former strongholds, heavily disrupted their command, control and communications and usual supply lines in the area.

In the onset, the people no longer believe in their usual lies as manifested by the location of captured enemy encampments and with the frequent information support of the people that resulted to major engagements.  If it is true that the support of the people is still at their end, how come that most of the captured enemy encampments are located in some isolated places very far away from the people? This fact only denotes that the masses are now alienating themselves from the underground movement and the terrorist are no longer accepted and welcomed in the barangays.

This was confirmed by Roberto Gacuma alias Huling, the former Secretary of NEF, ESPPC, EVRPC who served 29 years in the underground movement before his integration to the mainstream society that the NPA’s had undergone various reforms in order to regain their losing ground and control of their previously controlled mass bases.

He also revealed that they could no longer contain the losing grip of the people to their movement because the propaganda that they were using before are no longer true and applicable at present.

He also said that the use of propaganda lines such as military abuses, destruction of crops, inhumane acts towards civilian, torture, violations of human rights and the like are the NPA’s last resort since they have nothing more to say to counter the consistent successes of the government forces and dictate or refocus the military’s attention away from intensified combat operations.

Meanwhile, Major General Mario Chan, 8ID’s commander said that the 8ID remains focused on their mandated task of protecting the people and the state and assured that their rights are protected at all times.

He further stated that the gaining tempo of his command favouring the people’s interest will be sustained despite of the relentless propaganda effort of the enemy to discredit the legitimate operations.

“We believe that our people know the truth behind these enemy propaganda and they are intelligent enough to recognize issues to believe in.  While the enemy keeps on throwing dirty mud against our end and false accusations to be hated by the people we are serving, we will continue to perform things that we ought to do and assured that our people will be peacefully sleeping at night against the NPA,” vows General Chan.

“In so doing, we would like to give account of our successes to the reports and tips of our people that had contributed a lot to our efforts of addressing these threat groups that continuously disrupt the attainment peace and development in this part of the country.”, General Chan concludes.





Outgoing DPWH chief leaves with flying colors in Eastern Visayas

October 15, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  “It is hard to maintain being number one” said the chief of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Eastern Visayas in his relinquishment speech made during the turn-over ceremony of new leadership of the office held today at the DPWH Multi-Purpose Hall, Candahug, Palo Leyte.

Regional Director Angelito M. Twaño who served DPWH 8 for two years, stressed that DPWH 8 ranked number 1 in terms of performance based on their central office’s report as of July this year.

Director Twaño informed that DPWH 8 was in number 13 spot in terms of performance among the DPWH regional offices nationwide before he was assigned as regional director here in the region.

Twaño who admitted he was hesitant to accept the post here in DPWH 8 because of the distance from his home place, which is in Pampanga, sald that DPWH offices have no good working conditions and bonding of employees was absent.

“I started retooling DPWH 8” Twaño said thus making the regional office a good place to work and for employees to become productive in their respective scope of work.

Twaño who will leave DPWH 8 for a new assignment at the Bureau of Maintenance in Manila proudly reported that the quality control section of the regional office is the best among the DPWH regional offices in the country.

Several vital offices under DPWH 8 were also rehabilitated to make the working environment of the employees more conducive and to make it appear more presentable to the public.

In the aspect of human resource development, Director Twaño made promotions to key positions at the regional office and other district offices in the region that helped boost the morale and productivity of employees in DPWH 8.

It was learned that under Twano’s leadership, Eastern Visayas region got substantial infrastructure projects that helped boost its economy and tourism industry.  (PIA 8)





Peasants to launch marathon protest-march against ‘Peasants’ Enemy No. 1’

“Military, police sabotage will not stop us!”

Press Release
October 14, 2010

Peasant groups announced today that efforts of foil-up from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police will not stop their weeklong protest march against the Aquino’s Haciendero Republic.

Dubbed as the “Lakbayan ng mga Magsasaka Laban sa Hacienderong Rehimen ni Aquino!”, peasants and other sectors  from Southern Tagalog led by KASAMA-TK and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog will march from their provinces on October 18 until they reach Mendiola bridge on October 21.

The groups slam Noynoy Aquino’s administration for its apparent incompetence to address the root problem of land reform in the country. They named Aquino as “Peasants’ Enemy No. 1” for continuing Arroyo’s bloody military rule in the countryside with the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya.

Axel Pinpin, Secretary General of KASAMA-TK said that Aquino has deliberately made no mention about the issue of genuine land reform three times already: from his inauguration, State of the Nation Address and first 100-days speech. Instead, within 100-days of Aquino’s rule, the people only heard empty words on wang-wang, hotdog and condoms. Now even his blossoming love-life seems more important than the poor he ought to serve. Pinpin stressed that the peasants will no longer expect anything fruitful from this regime.

“At this point in time, we anticipate no one else but the military and police to stop us from airing our protests. This may be in form of blockades and added checkpoints around the region or any way that can harass the people who are to participate in the Lakabayan. But we warn them that they will not be successful, nothing can stop our rage against this regime’s ignorance to the peasants’ plight,” Pinpin stressed noting reasons such as the election gun ban that may serve as plots to trumped-up more charges and prevent the protesters from reaching Manila.

On October 5, three days before Aquino’s 100 days, three peasant organizers dubbed as the “Lumban 3” which includes Darwin Liwag, vice-chairperson of KASAMA-TK were arrested at a checkpoint in Lumban, Laguna by military elements. The three are still detained today and are charged for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and for allegedly being members of the New People’s Army.

Pinpin, as a former political detainee himself from the ‘Tagaytay 5’, recalls a similar instance in the past. On April 28, 2006 military men illegally arrested and charged them with similar accounts three days before the May 1, Labor Day protest. They were later on presented to the public as a group set to “overthrow Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and destabilize the government.”

“We demand the immediate release of our fellow peasants including all political detainees in the country. Aquino’s amnesty to Antonio Trillanes and 300 other rebel soldiers only reveals his character of petting the military to ensure that his state power is intact,” Pinpin said. He added that Aquino may be fearful of any coup de-tat that may occur since his mother’s governance was wrapped with numerous cases of military rebellion.

Meanwhile, Andrianne Mark Ng, BAYAN-ST spokesperson, stated that the new regime just like Arroyo’s tactics employ state violence to quell the people’s dissent in the region. Within 100 days of the Aquino governance, 5 out of the 9 extrajudicial killings in the country came from the Rizal province. In Batangas, the continuous presence of the CAFGU and recruitment to minors led to a brutal beat-up of a 17-year-old boy who lost his sanity in the incident.

“With the extension of Oplan Bantay Laya until 2011 and the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of the Anti-Terror Law of 2007, the peasants and people who remain as critics to the government risk once again to become the next victims of human rights violations,” Ng stressed.

“We have seen how the president of Chile responded on saving the lives of Chilean miners who were trapped underground for two months. Here in our country, the president himself buries the peasants to their graves with the continued implementation of bogus laws and policies such as Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms, and the Stock Distribution Option,” Ng added.

He also commented that from Aquino’s main promise of erasing corruption nothing has happened. Jueteng is still rampant and accountable individuals such as Rico Puno go unpunished. Meanwhile, Gloria Arroyo remains scot free from her crimes of corruptions to the people. “Just yesterday Arroyo testified for the NBN-ZTE scandal, how can that happen when she remains the primary culprit of the corruption case?” Ng said.

The groups vow to expose the true color of the Aquino regime and oppose the anti-people policies that will only worsen the people’s poverty. “It is clear that the people are not his boss, only those who serve as cohorts to his Haciendero Republic,” Pinpin stressed.





Calls for 50% Renewable Energy commitment by 2020

Greenpeace delivers solar panels to Malacañang

October 14, 2010

MALACAÑANG COMPOUND, Manila  –  Greenpeace volunteers and members of Solar Generation Pilipinas Youth today delivered solar panels to Malacañang Palace as part of a call to President Benigno Aquino III to lead the Philippines on the road to an Energy Revolution. The group is supporting the President’s vision to become the ‘Renewable Energy (RE) Champion of Southeast Asia’ and is proposing a roadmap to increase the Philippines’ use of RE to 50% by 2020.  This uptake of RE will be coupled with the phase out of unsustainable sources of energy, particularly climate change-causing coal power, to propel the Philippines toward a green development pathway.

As part of the activity, Greenpeace activists decorated Malacañang with pinwheels signed by thousands of Filipinos urging “P.Noy” to lead the global Energy Revolution.  They displayed banners calling for an “Energy [R]evolution Now!” and for “50% Renewable Energy by 2020.”

“We want President Aquino to enjoy firsthand the benefits of renewable energy.  Imagine if we had delivered a dirty coal plant here – or much worse, a dangerous nuclear plant – we doubt that he would relish living beside it. Filipinos want what PNoy wants -- good, clean, dependable energy.  PNoy knows renewables can provide that. The Energy Revolution Roadmap that shows how our country can achieve this and more,” said Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate & Energy Campaigner.

“This is also a reminder to P.Noy that people are rallying behind him on this. Pinoys want to see a concrete plan of action toward making the dream of a carbon-free development future for the country a reality. The Filipino people could be leading the rest of the world in an Energy Revolution,” she added.

The Philippines has enacted a landmark Renewable Energy Law last 2008 which has spurred many RE projects throughout the country.  But a lot more needs to be done.  The RE Law’s vision to steer the country toward a secure and sustainable energy future, while helping mitigate climate change, must be reflected in the Philippine Energy Plan. This entails a corresponding decrease and phase out of fossil fuel use, particularly coal power which is the single greatest contributor to climate change. 

“We are also asking PNoy to come aboard the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, when she visits Manila this November, to sign on to the Energy Revolution roadmap. Time is running out. While world leaders wait on each other to be the first to commit, people in places that are most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with climate change – like the Philippines – are regularly suffering from the impacts.  If the Philippines makes the first commitment to specific targets, this will send a very strong message to other heads of states that they should already be committing substantial targets. Our country could be leading Developing Asia and the rest of the world toward a clean development path and a carbon-free future.  PNoy should show the world what true leadership and people power are really like!” Obusan concluded.





The people support the continuing struggle of the NPA; 8th ID is on the run because it is despised by the people

Press Release
Efren Martires Command
New People's Army-Eastern Visayas
October 12, 2010

The Efren Martires Command today scorned 8th Infantry Division chief Gen. Mario Chan as talking bull for calling on the New People's Army to surrender [ 8ID chief Chan calls NPAs in Samar to lay down their arms ], while it is in fact government troops that are on the run because they are not welcomed by the people. "After more than 30 years of fighting, the NPA remains unperturbed by the Aquino government's renewed offensives because of the people's continuing support," said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. "The 8th ID is only wearing itself out in its much-ballyhooed relentless and massive operations. It is the 8th ID that is on the run, not the NPA, because the NPA is welcomed and sheltered by the people, who on the other hand reject government troops as thieves and ruthless killers."

Manuel also pointed out the 8th ID is committing violence against the people because it is not winning against the NPA. "No one wins a war by forcing it on the people. But the 8th ID blames and attacks the people because of the NPA's perseverance and growing strength. It is has also been brought to the attention of the NPA that while the military pretends to observe human rights, it is in fact forcing the victims to absolve them of any wrongdoing, or else go incognito so they wouldn't be identified." Manuel cited recent examples of human rights abuses by the 8th ID:

1. September 20. In Brgy. Casapa, Jiabong, soldiers from the 34th IB looking for the NPA harassed and threatened to execute 30-year-old Rosalie Gagbo and her three children aged one to four years old. Gagbo, wife of a barangay councilor, was also beaten with a stick on the neck and forced to sign a document stating she was not abused by the soldiers. The soldiers also stole two chickens and a bolo. They also came back after a week and forced Gagbo's seven-year-old son to sign a document attesting his mother was not abused.

2. In the space of a week beginning September 20, more than 20 soldiers from the 34th IB operating against the NPA swindled Irene and Serafin Pacios, Jr., who ran a store in Brgy. Bunga, Motiong. The soldiers consumed on credit nearly P4000 worth of rice, soft drinks, biscuits, canned sardines, cigarettes, and Colt 45 beer. But they left after paying less than half of what they consumed and still owe at least P2200. The Pacios couple could not run after the soldiers because they had no nameplates and did not identify themselves or their commanding officer. In an earlier military operation, store owner Wenceslao Jomagdao was also swindled in the same way by soldiers and has not been indemnified to date.

3. The same troops in Brgy. Bunga also stole the papaya and sugarcane harvests of Arcenia and Jose Labong, while also trampling their rice harvests. A sack of cassava and a chicken owned by Gabriel and Remedios Pacleta were also stolen.

4. In Matuguinao, helicopters ferrying troops and supplies have been indiscriminately landing on and ruining rice fields; the farmers have all been eagerly expecting their first good harvest since the intense and prolonged dry spell of the previous months. In the interior barangays of San Jose de Buan, columns of the 34th IB on scouting missions have been trampling over and destroying the precious crops and livelihood of the poor peasants.

Manuel urged other victims of human rights violations to press for justice and indemnification against the 8th ID's abuses. "Other human rights violations are believed to have been perpetrated in massive military operations carried out in Catbalogan, San Jorge, Gandara and Paranas in Western Samar, as well as in Northern Samar. These abuses show that while the military is claiming gains over the NPA, it is the people who have been hardest hit. The NPA vows to make the 8th ID pay dearly for the sufferings of the people. The 8th ID will surely be on the run because of its isolation from the people and abuses. The Aquino regime will also certainly be shaken by the people's resistance to its dastardly, US-backed "counter-insurgency" campaign."





Broadcasting student of USJR wins Ms. Anyag 2010

October 14, 2010

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  A 19-yr old 3rd year Mass Communication major in broadcasting student of San Jose Recoletos University, Cebu City has won Calbayog’s Ms. Anyag 2010 on October 13 held at Calbayog’s Sports Center.

Crowned Miss Anyag 2010 Ma. Genefe Navilon
Miss Anyag 2010 Ma. Genefe Navilon (photo by CJ Bordeos)

Ma. Genefe Navilon has competed against 13 candidates vying for the title and got hold of the 3 special awards such as best in swim wear, best in casual wear and best in gown.

Previous pictorials and exposures revealed that she has an edge compared to other contestants because of her beauty, elegance and wit.

She proved her worth during the preliminary interview conducted by Assistant City Tourism and Information Officer Ronald Ricafort, when she justified what motivated her to take up broadcasting which according to her – “obviously an influence of her father”, Gene Navilon of DYOG Radyo ng Bayan Calbayog.

The Q & A (Question and Answer) Portion, translated into different vernaculars, had something to do with the two major causes of poverty in the Philippines which is corruption and population explosion. Each finalist had to decide from among the two causes, “Which has a greater effect of the worsening poverty situation in the Philippines?” Navilon preferred to be read and convey her answer in English; and she considered population explosion as one of the major causes that has aggravated poverty in the country and the people should be thought how to exercise family planning method.

Ms. Anyag Ma. Genefe Navilon said in an interview that the result was so surprising.

“I never expected to win at all because I was afraid of the other contestants. They really did their best and I never thought… really I’m shocked, so shocked when I got those awards. I dedicate the crown to my parents and my family because they fully supported me and they love me”, she said.

From among the 5 finalists, Candidate No. 2 Meliza Jean Caguioa got the 2nd runner-up title and she who also obtained Ms. Congeniality and Best in Kimona and Patadyong awards; while the 1st runner-up went to Candidate No. 7 Nina Sherra A. Tagalog.

Other special awards such as Miss Talent with her Kuracha version went to Abigail Pedrosa, a 4th year high school student of Christ the King College; Ms. Photogenic - Ma. Gladyss Gontinias, a 3rd year BS Criminology student of Northwest Samar State University; and Most Punctual went to Samantha Erica Kenney.

The annual search for Ms. Anyag is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Calbayog.


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