More than a thousand
farmers marched in Catbalogan for Peasant Day and “World Foodless Day”
Samar Peasants Demand:
“Food, Not Bullets!”
“Stop The Island-wide Military Campaign of The 8th Infantry
“No to Large-Scale Foreign Mining in Region 8!”
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Led by the Kapunungan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA),
more than a thousand farmers from San Jose de Buan, Motiong, Calbiga,
Paranas, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, Matuguinao, Jiabong, Catbalogan and
Calbayog converged Saturday morning in Catbalogan to join in the
celebration of Peasant Day and “World Foodless Day.”
The mobilization, the
biggest in the province since the assumption of the new Aquino
administration, was simultaneously coordinated with another mass
action in Tacloban City, as part of a regional campaign of peasant
organizations spearheaded by the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha
Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) to highlight the present struggle of
the sector against poverty, hunger and human rights violations.
According to SAGUPA-SB,
the widespread landlessness of the peasants, the absence of any
relevant government subsidy program for agriculture, and the
anti-peasant policies such as the failed CARP (and its proposed
extended version called CARPER), land conversion schemes and the
pro-imperialist Mining Act of 1995, are among the major reasons for
the rampant poverty and hunger of peasant families in Region 8.
The militarization in
the countryside meanwhile, according to KAPAWA, continues to bring
about human rights abuse and damage to livelihood which further
aggravate the alarmingly high level of poverty and hunger being
experienced in Samar especially by the poor peasants. Recent surveys
conducted by the government has ranked the province sixth among the
poorest, and fourth among the provinces with the highest incidence of
malnutrition of children. “’Food, not bullets!’ is the loud cry of the
peasants of Samar,” KAPAWA said in a statement.
A massive military
campaign which covers significant portions of all the three provinces
of the island of Samar is currently escalating. Aside from incidents
of harassment and physical abuse of civilians by soldiers of the AFP,
there have also been a number of recent reports of theft and
desruction of crops by elements of the 8th Infantry Division in the
interior barangays of Jiabong, Motiong, and San Jose de Buan. In
Matuguinao, military helicopters have been reported to have been
indiscriminately landing and trampling on rice fields.
Aquino has given us much talk about reforms and his so-called
righteous path; but with mounting state terrorism, the exact opposite
is definitely what’s happening in Samar,” KAPAWA added.
The delegates from the
town of Jiabong, meanwhile, said that they have an added reason to be
worried about the recent series of military operations as this might
be used to force the communities to accept the entry of the
foreign-owned Manganese Mineral Belt Mining Corporation despite an
existing provincial ordinance which prohibits large-scale foreign
mining in the whole province for 50 years. According to
Jiabongnon-Nagkakaurusa nga Parag-uma Hingyap Kauswagan (JINGYAP), the
people of the town are against the setting up of a 2,000 hectare
manganese mining concession in Barangay Bawang because it threatens
Jiabong’s tahong industry, the vast farmlands in the town’s plains,
and the forest watershed not only of Jiabong but also of neighboring
is considered to be a kick-off activity for a series of peasant and
multi-sectoral mass actions in Samar which aims to drumbeat, among
others, the call for the passing into law of the Genuine Agrarian
Reform Bill (GARB); the institutionalization of a comprehensive
agrarian subsidy program; the wage increase for farm workers; and an
aid system for victims of calamities and infestation. The current
peasant campaign, according to KAPAWA, shall treat as urgent the
demand to put a stop to the escalating militarization and human rights
violations in the island, and to large-scale foreign mining in the
province and the whole region.
8ID condemns NPA’s
serious attempt to stop development in Samar
BY CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
Catbalogan, Samar – The recent claim of the National Democratic
Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) labeling the partnership of the local
government of Samar along with Army’s 8th Infantry Division and US
government Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for development as
“militarization” is a clear attempt to hinder development in the
island of Samar. [see
Militarization in Samar confirms
"counterinsurgency" purpose of MCC assistance]
Mr. Santiago Salas,
the dismissed priest turned spokesman of the political arm of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in
Eastern Visayas kept on barking the development assistance of the 8ID to be
“militarization” which is a usual tactics of the CPP-NPA-NDF to create
wedges between the collaboration of stakeholders and the soldiers in
described when there is a pursuit of military aims with a strong
influence of military government and the government policy is invested
in the military”. This is not what is happening here in Eastern
What the 8ID is doing
in partnership with the local leaders of the three provinces is the
conduct of routine security operations in order to preempt the enemy’s
illegal activities such as liquidation, extortion and brutal violation
of human rights that sow terror in the local communities which
definitely hinders the desired development particularly in the
The decision of the
MCC to partner with other relevant stakeholders such as the local
government to ultimately realize its cause to bring-forth development
in Samar is an intelligent choice because development could never be
attained with the absence of harmony. More so, peace and security is
an essential pre-requisite to attain development.
The MCC compact
project provides funds amounting to $214.4 million to construct and
repair 220 kilometers of Samar Road. This road, which passes through
15 municipalities, will improve access to markets and services for
farmers, fishers, and small businesses in some of the poorest
provinces in the island that will greatly improve the lives of our
Who among our people
is not favor for these projects? Who among our people still wants to
remain stagnant to their barrios without any dreams to be progressive
someday? And who among our people does not want to be progressive and
competitive not only in their neighboring barrios or towns but to the
other nation as well?
The answer is obvious,
only the CPP-NPA-NDF desires that the people and our country to remain
impoverished and poor. Why? Because when people progresses, all
propaganda lines and issues that they frequently recycle to brainwash
these people will be proven to be lies.
tortures, harassment, indiscriminate firing, robbery, destruction of
property and other human rights violations are all activities of the
CPP-NPA-NDF that they finger pointed to be allegedly being practiced
by the soldiers.
Who will forget the so
called “Catarman incident” where eight (8) policemen were mercilessly
killed last August 21, 2010?
massacre” that robbed two (2) lives and left one (1) in a critical
March 21, 2010? In this incident, Mylene dela Cruz who endured gun
shots at her right leg and still under medication through the
assistance of the 8ID. Also, the killing of an innocent farmer known
as Arman Diaz of Brgy Madoroto of same municipality who was
mercilessly slain by the terrorist in front of his children and wife
and afterwards dragged and exhibited at the center of barangay plaza
The torture of Luis
Durico, brgy Chairman of Genaronagan, Lope de Vega in Northern Samar
and was also brutally slaughtered by the terrorist with his body also
dragged at the center of brgy and beheaded in front of family and
constituents in March 2010?
The nation-wide anti-DPA
campaign named “Oplan Ahos-Zombie”, “Operation Missing Link”, “Kadena
de Amor, “Takip Silim, “Purga” and “Paglilinis-hanay”; Digos Massacre,
use of landmines and countless burning of buses, destruction of cell
sites, extortion, permit-to-campaign fees, etc. are all perpetrated by
barbaric and animalistic acts of NPA in terrorizing the civilians are
already well known tricks of soliciting support, following the Sun
Tzu’s dictum, “Kill one to terrorize one thousand”.
History speaks that
countless violation of human rights were recorded but as if the NDF
who shouts for a genuine human rights were voiceless and effortless.
Meanwhile, the 8ID as
well as the Army units in the area remain steadfast in their mandated
mission and continuously upholding the programs that promotes peace
Major General Mario
Chan, the 8ID’s commander assured the public that the forthcoming
projects of the MCC will be properly supported and secured as well as
the other NGO’s who desire to help Samar to become a developed and
“We are appealing to
the public to work hand-in-hand with the authorities to include media
entities, various religious and people’s organization to take account
our moral obligations to maintain harmony in the province”, Major
General Chan adds.
“Mr. Salas must
apologize to the people for persecuting the common good of the people
and for mocking the long desired development of the island. He is
depriving the people of things that they supposed to deserve long
“It is therefore
incumbent upon him (Salas) being the former priest to be responsible
in everything he say and do, to correct his erroneous statement and
apologize for the wrongdoings to the Samareňos”
In his concluding
statement, Major General Chan explained to the people that development
and security must go hand in hand. “Development could never be
achieved if we will continue to allow these armed bandits to terrorize
our people and hinder the economic growth and developed of our three
(3) Samar provinces”.
An Waray stages 3rd
Oktubafest on October 23
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – As
part of its continuing efforts to promote the coconut industry in
Eastern Visayas, the An Waray Party List is set to hold the 3rd
Oktubafest on December 23 at the Leyte Park Convention Center along
Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City.
Mitchelle Basal, the
Chairman of the Executive Committee of Oktubafest, informed that the
Oktubafest is a food, drink and music festival showcasing the local
The annual event aims
to promote the Region’s cultural heritage as well as highlight the
local tuba industry.
The Oktubafest will
kick-off with the Opening Program at 8:30 in the morning.
The Tuba Techno
Marketing Seminar, a seminar on different technologies and marketing
skills under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology,
Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Coconut Authority
will start at 9:00 o’clock in the morning. The target participants are
tuba producers from various municipalities in the Region.
The opening of the
Tuba Trade Exhibit Booths of the Tuba producers and representatives of
different Local Government Units, will open at 9:00 o’clock in the
One of the highlights
of the 3rd Oktubafest is the Tuba Photo Essay Contest, an exhibit of
different photo essays that feature tuba and the cultural milieu of
Eastern Visayas. This is open to all interested participants.
Another highlight is
the On the Spot “Kawit” Art Contest, a painting contest highlighting
the lakug or kawit, which is an indispensable tool for tuba gathering.
This is also open to all interested participants.
What is Oktubafest
without the Wine Tasting Contest? This year, the guests of the
festival will help in choosing the best Bahal and Bahalina through a
wine tasting festival. The guests will be given the chance to sample
the different varieties of tuba from the different municipalities.
A cooking contest
wherein the Best Tuba-Infused Dish and Kotil will be chosen will be
opened to LGU contestants with ages 16 to 25 years old.
A Kuracha Dance
Contest will be conducted at
4:00 o’clock in the afternoon while at
7:00 o’clock in the
evening, a Winaray musical variety show and a Waray Group Singing
Contest will be conducted. The Winaray Group Singing Contest features
a choreographed group singing highlighting the best Waray folk music.
Leyte is RP’s most
business-friendly province for second time
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – The
province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas region has once again proclaimed
as the Most
Business-Friendly Province of the Philippines.
Leyte Governor Carlos
Jericho L. Petilla personally received the award during the Awards
Rites held at 9:00 o’clock in the morning of October 15, from no less
than President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The awarding Most
Business-Friendly Local Government Unit Awards was one of the
highlight of the three-day Philippine Business Conference held at the
Last year, on October
21, also at the historic Manila Hotel, Governor Petilla received the
first Most Business-Friendly Province Award of the Philippines.
The province of Leyte
under the leadership of Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, has been
promoting trade and investment not only in for Leyte but also for the
entire Region 8.
Perhaps, a very good
proof for its being business-friendly is the passage of the Leyte
Investment Code and the institutionalization of the Leyte Province
Business Month celebration every October of each year.
The province of Leyte
has been in constant collaboration with the business sector of the
province thru the Leyte Chamber of Commerce. In fact the
was constructed with the partnership between the Leyte Chamber members
who donated the money needed for the renovation of the Old Prison to
the SMED Center. The Leyte SMED Council is chaired by the LCCI.
In order to assist
starting entrepreneurs in the field of Information Technology,
Governor Petilla in partnership with the Department of Science and
Technology, launched the Technology Business Incubator at the ICOT
Park which is a PEZA Zone.
entrepreneurs are provided six months free office space and equipment
facilities, business development and technical services.
Business-Friendly LGU Award seeks to recognize municipalities, cities
and provinces for their efforts in instituting good governance in
promoting trade and investment such as innovative and sound business
licensing procedures, and efficient conduct of daily operations.
The award highlights
the best practices of local government units that promote the growth
of businesses, including investment promotion and streamlining of
procedures for issuance of business permits in the most expedient,
efficient and friendly manner. This is seen to significantly help
lower the cost of doing business in the country.
The Search for the
Most Business Friendly LGU Awards which has three categories namely,
Province Level 1: 1st - 3rd class provinces and Level 2: 4th - 6th
class provinces; City Level 1: 1st-3rd class cities and level 2 for
4th-6th class cities; and the Municipality Level 1 for 1st -3rd class
municipalities and Level 2 for 4th -6th class municipalities.
The awards criteria
for the province level are Trade, Investment & Tourism Promotion;
Quality Management and Innovation; MSME Development; Public-Private
Sector Partnership; and Inter-Local Government Relations.
The Leyte Chamber of
Commerce and Industry under the Leadership of its president Mr. Willy
Julio, has nominated the Provincial Government of Leyte to the Search
for Most Business-Friendly Province Award.
Samar confirms "counterinsurgency" purpose of MCC assistance
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
October 13, 2010
Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today slammed 8th Infantry
Division chief Maj. Gen. Mario Chan for launching widespread military
operations under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya, and for coercing the
local government in Western Samar to support the Aquino government's
"counterinsurgency" campaign. "It is clear Gen. Chan is asserting
military supremacy in making the inappropriate and insulting demand to
the Western Samar provincial government to increase and expand the
"mobility corridors" so the 8th ID troops could pursue the New
People's Army," said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. "This
proves the government's so-called development projects, especially
under the aegis of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, are not really
beneficial to the people but in support of the "counterinsurgency"
campaign. It is in fact the military that is calling the shots, and
the militarist solution to social unrest lurks behind the
Samar Road and other alleged development projects. While pretending to
aid the people of Samar, the more than $200 million MCC development
assistance is actually serving as the Trojan horse of militarization."
Fr. Salas also said
the ongoing militarization in Northern and
Western Samar belie the Aquino government's promises of peace and
development. "Human rights violations continue under the extended
Oplan Bantay Laya, and are bound to mount after January 2011 when the
Aquino government pursues a new scheme in the mold of the US
Counterinsurgency Guide. Gen. Chan's pronouncements the military
ushers in peace and development are thus nothing more than
sugarcoating militarization. Since August in fact, wide areas of the
countryside in northern, western and eastern
Samar are now warzones where the military violates human rights
and international humanitarian law with impunity. These include areas
in the Western
Samar towns of Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara,
Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao, on to Las Navas and other
Northern Samar towns, as well as Jipapad in
Eastern Samar. The 8th
ID troops encamp in civilian communities, putting these in danger, in
gross violation of international humanitarian law. Troops from the
52nd IB, 63rd IB, 34th IB, Scout Rangers and other military and
paramilitary units have also been accused by civilians of summary
executions, torture, harassment, indiscriminate firing, robbery,
destruction of property and other violations."
spokesperson called on the local government, Church, media, human
rights advocates and other sectors to expose and oppose the
militarization of Samar and to reject the US Counterinsurgency Guide
and its MCC component. "The victims of human rights violations
must stand up and demand justice and redress for the decade-long
ordeal caused by Oplan Bantay Laya. The people must unite, expose and
oppose the militarist and fascist solutions being railroaded by the
Aquino government as directed by the US COIN Guide. If it wants to
show its genuine concern for the people, civilian authority must
confront and reject the fascist imposition of military supremacy. The
path to genuine peace and development is not that made by the few and
by the interests of
US imperialism; it is
made by the people's struggle for justice, national freedom and
Palo archbishop is
Cebu’s new archbishop
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – Palo
Archbishop Jose S. Palma is the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Archbishop Jose Palma (left), newly-appointed Archbishop of Cebu,
beside Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to the
Philippines, taken during the Centennial Celebration of the
Diocese of Calbayog on April 10, 2010 at Sts. Peter & Paul
Cathedral in Calbayog City, Samar. (photo by ROMEO S. DURMIENDO)
Archbishop Palma will
replace Ricardo Cardinal Vidal whose resignation was finally accepted
by Pope Benedict XVI, a report posted at the CPCP website stated. It
was learned that Cardinal Vidal submitted his letter of resignation in
2006 when he turned 75 years old.
appointment was announced at the
at 6:00 in the evening, Manila time, on October 15.
PIA has been trying to
reach Archbishop Palma, but to no avail, as of press time.
The CBCP report
however said that when reached, Archbishop Palma said he is
“overwhelmed by the love of God” and the trust of the Holy Father.
“Unworthy as I am, I
accepted the appointment out of obedience,” he said. This was the same
message when he was appointed as Archbishop of Palo while serving as
bishop of the Diocese of Calbayog.
When reached by PIA,
the clergy in the Archdiocese of Palo expressed mixed reaction at the
Archbishop’s new appointment.
Reverend Fr. Gilbert
Urbina of the Saints Peter and Paul Parish of Ormoc City said, “This
was a speculation that has been in the air for a long time already and
now it has been confirmed.”
prestige of his new assignment, we thank God for this special grace
and rejoice with the people of God in Cebu for this great gift from
God,” Fr. Gilbert added.
Msgr. Ramon Aguilos of
Our Lady of Lourds Parish exclaimed, “I rejoice over his new
appointment, at the same time quite sad to know he is leaving the
Archdiocese of Palo at the time that we are preparing for Palo’s
“But that’s how the
Church operates. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the
name of the Lord. The sadness who knows, is a preparation for better
things ahead for the Archdiocese of Palo,” the good Msgr. said.
The Lord will give us
a Shepherd after His own heart in the same manner that He gave us ABP
Palma as a gift for us for four years and 7 months. I pray for his
fruitful shepherding in the community entrusted to his care,” Msgr.
Fr. Isagani Petilos
said that his is actually a mixed reaction. He said, “yes, we are
happy with his appointment as the new Archbishop of Cebu and
hopefully, the next Cardinal, but we are sad because we will miss a
great shepherd and father. He has a lot of dreams for the Archdiocese
of Palo, for our people and for the clergy.”
“These will all be
passed on to his successor and we pray that the next Archbishop may
continue to carry his dreams for the Archdiocese,” Fr. Petilos
For his part, Fr.
Amadeo Alvero, the media coordinator of the Archdiocese, said, “we are
all filled with mixed feelings. We are happy and proud that our own
Archbishop is now the Archbishop of Cebu. At the same time, we are
also sad because he will leave us.”
“We know that he has
been a good bishop, a caring father, an understanding brother, and
above all, a loving shepherd to all of us. Surely, he will always be
in our hearts always. We will pray for him to remain faithful in his
love and service to God and to the people whom God entrusted to him,”
It was in March of
2006 when the 60-year old prelate was appointed as archbishop of Palo
Archbishop Palma was
born in Dingle, Iloilo on March 19, 1950. He studied his philosophy at
St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary his theology at St. Joseph Regional
He then earned his
Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the
of Sto. Tomas in Manila, and his doctorate at the St. Thomas Aquinas
Pontifical University in Rome.
He was ordained priest
for the Archdiocese of Jaro on August 21, 1976. After a year as
parochial vicar at the Jaro Cathedral, he was given a teaching
assignment in St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary.
He then became rector
of the St. Joseph Regional Seminary. At the same time he occupied
several positions in the diocese. In 1997 he became the parish priest
of the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Jaro.
In 1998, he was named
Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu by then Pope John Paul II. A year later, he
was transferred to the Diocese of Calbayog.
Archbishop Palma is
currently serving his first term as vice-president of the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Cardinal Vidal will
continue to head Cebu archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator with
powers of an ordinary bishop until Archbishop Palma’s installation.
seeking US jobs continue to decline
MANILA – The number
of Filipino nurses aspiring to practice their profession in America
continued to drop year-on-year in the third quarter, the Trade Union
Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) reported over the weekend.
and former Senator Ernesto Herrera said only 2,227 Filipino nurses
took the US NCLEX for the first time from July to September, down 38
percent or 1,355 fewer compared to the 3,582 in the same three-month
period in 2009.
TUCP now expects some
5,000 fewer Filipino nurses taking the NCLEX the whole of this year,
according to Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on
labor, employment and human resources development.
Thus far, a total of
7,780 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time from January
to September, down 35 percent or 4,074 less versus the 11,854 in the
same nine-month period last year.
The NCLEX is the
licensure exam administered by the US National Council of State Boards
of Nursing Inc. The number of Filipino nurses taking the test for the
first time is a reliable indicator as to how many of them are trying
to enter the profession in the US, Herrera said.
A total of 15,382
Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time in the whole of
2009, down 5,364 or 26 percent from 20,746 in 2008. All told, since
2005, some 90,000 Filipino nurses have taken the NCLEX for the first
time, that is, excluding repeaters.
Despite the decline in
the number of Filipinos nurses seeking US employment, Herrera said the
Philippines remains America's largest supplier of new foreign nurses,
South Korea, Canada and Nigeria.
Outside the US, the
Philippines is also the United Kingdom's third biggest supplier of new
foreign nurses, after India and Australia.
Herrera said many
Filipino nurses have temporarily sought employment in local
industries, mainly services, while waiting for more gainful work in
foreign labor markets.
"We now have thousands
of registered nurses engaged in services that have nothing to do with
their profession, working as contact center staff, baristas, cashiers,
even lotto terminal operators," Herrera said.
The Philippine Nurses
Association (PNA) earlier estimated at 200,000 the jobless nurses in
the country. "A total of 37,679 new practitioners passed the local
licensure exam in July. They are now competing for jobs with some
160,000 unemployed nurses," PNA said.
TUCP supports the
continued deployment of Filipino nurses to lucrative overseas labor
markets. "We obviously have a large surplus of nurses," Herrera said.
"We would prefer that
government encourage the deployment of nurses, and discourage the
placement of domestic helpers overseas," Herrera said.
abroad are generally less vulnerable to employer abuse. Their skills
protect them. Their skills are not easy to replace, so employers are
careful not to mistreat and drive them away," he said.
"As to domestic
helpers, they are extremely susceptible to abuse because they live
with their employers, and their skills are easy to replace," Herrera
"In Hong Kong for
instance, for every Filipino domestic helper, there could be dozens of
Indonesians, Thais and even local Chinese replacements waiting in
line. This is also true in the Middle East. Potential substitutes from
Sri Lanka and Indonesia abound," he added.