denounce partisan activities of the military and police
By GINA DEAN-RAGUDO,
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar
– To denounce the alleged political interventions of certain
military and police personnel as well as DepEd (Department of
Education) employees in connection with the forthcoming SK and ABC
Federation Elections, a joint conference of the PCL (Philippine
Councilors League) and LMP (League of Municipalities of the
Philippines) Samar Chapter was conducted on November 16, 2010 at
Calbayog City Cultural Convention Center.
Eighteen (18) mayors
representing the municipalities of Villareal, Basey, Matuguinao, Sto.
Niño, Almagro, Paranas, Catbalogan, Daram, Hinabangan, Tarangnan,
Marabut, Pagsanghan, San Jose de Buan, Sta. Rita, San Jorge, Jiabong,
Gandara, and Sta. Margarita and 14 PCL officials were present.
The move for coming up
a joint executive and legislative conference was on the basis of the
alleged involvement of a military officer under the name of 2nd Lt.
Eduardo R. Mendoza of the 34IB, where an unsigned letter coming from
him was distributed to some barangay captains of Paranas directing
them to attend a meeting in Brgy. Calapi, Motiong,
Samar. The letter
was expressly directing them to attend an Orientation Seminar on
Integrated Territorial Defense Security System (ITDSS) and to witness
some talks initiated by officials of the province on developments
projects of the barangay to be given by Congresswoman Milagrosa Tan.
Another set of letters
came out with the same purpose signed by a certain Sgt. Romeo Paldez
of 34IB Alpha Company situated in Poblacion 2, San Jose de Buan, and
was also distributed to the barangay captains and the SK officials in
San Jose de Buan, Samar.
The situation has
worsened when San Jorge Mayor Nancy Grey while conducting barangay
visitations was being tailed by some policemen led by P/Inspector
Cerilo Apiten, Jr. The day after, the same group of personnel escorted
the relatives of the different barangay captains convincing them to
join with the group of barangay captains who were already “housed or
hamleted” in Hotel Maqueda Bay in Catbalogan Samar, through the behest
of the Provincial Governor; that on November 6, 2010, some barangay
captains of her municipality were also invited to attend a meeting in
Catbalogan Samar but were no longer permitted to return home until now
and their respective families could not reach or contact them.
Furthermore, a certain
SSgt. Guillermo Daga of the 52ndIB has allegedly exerted influence
over some CAFGUs and threatened them to be relieved from duty by
transferring to another area if they refuse to support their SK and
ABC candidates in the upcoming elections.
In Sta. Rita, teachers
whose children are SK officials were also intimidated.
circumstances as manifested by some witnesses became the basis of
creating a joint resolution by the PCL and LMP calling the attention
of the Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and
Local Government and Department of Education to conduct an
investigation and inquiry on the alleged partisan activities committed
by the military, police and educational personnel in preparation of SK
and ABC Elections this December.
Prior to the joint
conference, Samarnews.com was able to talk with LMP-Samar Chapter
President Reynaldo Latorre and
PCL President Rogelio Casurao mentioning on the suppose neutrality (afar
politician’s maneuver) that the military should execute in effecting
security operations in Samar Province.
To counteract the
alleged “military intrusion” in politics, a reliable source said that
Defense Committee Chair Mel Senen Sarmiento sent a text message to
MGen. Mario Chan of the 8ID informing him that an investigation over
the matter will be conducted and his men will personally appear before
replied through a text message also that he would like to exempt the
34th Battalion commander in the investigation.
Pia raises alarm on
growing cases of Filipino ‘drug mules’
PASAY CITY – Senator Pia S. Cayetano is calling on the Senate to investigate the alarming
increase in the number of cases of Filipinos being victimized by
international drug syndicates and used as ‘drug mules,’ most of them
In a privilege speech
delivered on Wednesday, Cayetano said 630 Filipinos are currently
detained in prisons facing drug trafficking cases. China has the
biggest number with 250 detainees, 75 of whom are already on death
“What is more
disturbing is that majority of the drug mules are women,” added the
lady senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and
Family Relations. She noted that women make up 62 percent, or six out
of every ten Filipinos detained abroad for drug trafficking.
She said drug
syndicates have been employing individuals to become drug mules in the
guise of recruiting them for legitimate work overseas. Drug mules are
used to transport illegal drugs through various means, including
handling sealed packages, swallowing the substances or hiding these in
their underwear, and even surgically implanting the drug packages in
their abdominal cavity or placing these inside the mules’ genitalia.
She noted that last
month, a Filipina was sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the
Yogyakarta’s Lower Court in Indonesia. Also just last week, a Filipina
was arrested for carrying almost two kilos of heroin in Guangzhou,
Citing reports from
the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), she said drug
syndicates prefer women drug mules due to leniency in the inspection
of women in airports. This in turn makes women prey to the syndicates.
“Drug syndicates have
lured our women to allow themselves to be used in this illegal drug
trade with a promise of a better life. Filipino women choose to leave
the country thinking they have legitimate job offers from drug
syndicates. To make it even harder to resist, these drug syndicates
facilitate their travel by providing for their plane ticket and even
giving them pocket money to spend.”
Once they get to their
destination, however, the victims are left with no choice but to
follow the orders of the drug syndicates for fear that they might get
harmed, she added.
“Syndicates even go to
the extent of having relationships with Filipinas. Members of drug
syndicates con them into becoming drug mules by first courting them
through internet chat rooms then making them their girlfriend or
Cayetano is slated to
file a resolution directing the appropriate committees of the Senate
to investigate, in aid of legislation, the alarming increase in cases
of Filipinos, especially women, who are being used as drug mules by
undergoes thorough inquiry
By GINA DEAN-RAGUDO,
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar
– The excitement of Pacqiao-Margarito’s fight easily vanished when a
fire broke out at
2:40 in the afternoon
on November 14, 2010 in Purok 2, Brgy. Aguit-itan,
aftermath of Aguit-itan fire. (photo by Gina Dean-Ragudo)
The narrow streets and
pathways in the area made it difficult for the fire fighters to gain
access and extinguished the thick burst of flame which lasted for more
than 2 hours.
Based on CUHD (City
Urban Housing Division) record, 269 houses were burned, but other
concerned offices have yet to figure out the exact number of victims.
BFP (Bureau of Fire
Protection) Calbayog continuously conducts investigation on how the
fire started and the total cost of damages.
The city government
immediately provided temporary shelters for the victims although
others chose to live with their relatives while the rest opted to stay
near the place for fear that they would not be allowed again by the
city government to restore their structures.
CUHD Chief Cicenio
Oquendo identified Western Heights Subdivision in Brgy. Matobato as a
suitable relocation site aside from the temporary shelters earlier
provided such as island town terminal near the pier site, Jogger’s in
Brgy. East Awang, and SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) Hall.
SOS Children’s Village
in Brgy. Dagum has also agreed to accommodate a number of families to
be temporarily transferred.
Aquino requested the chairman of Aquit-itan to discourage residents to
rebuild their houses in the area as the city government would like to
control the “mushroom” of structures that would lead again to another
It was found out that
there were concrete structures built in the vicinity owned by
Aguit-itan based inhabitants and car-line or island town locals
managing businesses in Calbayog.
Aquino stressed during
the CDCC (City Disaster Coordinating Council) meeting Monday morning
that Calbayognons should be given priority in terms of relocation
sites and other assistance.
The urgent need to
resolve this crisis has led the CDCC to seek help from the private
sectors for food, clothing and cash donations which should be given
directly to the Community Affairs Office and the City Social Welfare
and Development Office.
acknowledged the assistance extended by Catbalogan Filipino-Chinese
volunteers; Gandara and Sta. Margarita BFP, ATO Calbayog and
Tinambacan BFP Sub-station.
NDF-EV condemns yet
another 19th IB massacre claiming the lives of a distinguished
scientist and his two assistants
By NDF-Eastern Visayas
November 17, 2010
Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today condemned the massacre of a
prominent botanist and his two assistants last Nov. 15, and pinned
responsibility on the 19th IB, calling for its expulsion from the
region for committing mass killings and other human rights violations
for so many years.
"The NDF-EV condoles
with the families and friends of University of the Philippines
professor Dr. Leonardo Co and his assistants, Sofronio Cortez and
Julius Borromeo, who were indiscriminately fired upon and killed by
19th IB elements while doing fieldwork in Kananga, Leyte," said Fr.
Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "We join the call for justice for
Dr. Co and his assistants, as well as for survivors Policarpio Batute
and Ronino Gibe, and the many other victims of the 19th IB.
The NDF-EV does not
believe that an encounter occurred between the New People's Army and
the 19th IB elements and that Dr. Co's group was caught in the
crossfire. It is highly improbable for Dr. Co and his companions to
accidentally stray near an NPA camp or an NPA unit on maneuvers and
suddenly find themselves in a crossfire. The NPA camps are well-hidden
and highly secure areas inaccessible to most, and an NPA unit on
maneuvers also stays away from civilians to maintain secrecy and to
avoid endangering them. Rather, it is the NDF-EV's belief that Dr.
Co's group was mistaken for an NPA unit by the 19th IB elements led by
Lt. Ronald Ocheamar, who attacked based on a flimsy intelligence
report, and who furthermore violated the rules of engagement by
indiscriminately firing without verifying their targets. We trust that
the NPA's Mt. Amandewin Command in Leyte is investigating this grave
incident to clarify what really happened and to help attain justice
for the victims."
Fr. Salas also said
that the onus is on the 19th IB, dubbing it the "Massacre Battalion"
for its involvement in at least three previous massacres and other
rights violations. "If confirmed, the killing of the UP professor and
his assistants will be the second massacre in
alone by the 19th IB. To remember, the first
Kananga massacre happened on
April 16, 2003, with
the mass torture and massacre of nine civilians – including a pregnant
woman and four minors. The victims were doused with boiling water
before being shot in the head at close range. Moreover, on Nov. 21
will be the commemoration of another 19th IB massacre, this time of
ten peasants in Palo, Leyte in 2005 who were peacefully working when
earliest documented massacre by the 19th IB involved the killing of
the Nuguit family – three children, the father, and the mother who was
also pregnant – whose house was strafed in Palapag,
Northern Samar on
January 28, 1999. The 19th IB is also accused of other rights
violations, such as the extrajudicial executions under Oplan Bantay
Laya that victimized progressive activists, as well as CPP-NPA cadres
Bibiano Rentillosa and Antonio Ramos, who were killed after being
captured alive in 2006 and 2007, respectively."
spokesperson called on the Aquino government not to whitewash but to
swiftly investigate the incident and render justice to the victims,
and to take steps to end the brutal militarization of
Eastern Visayas that led to the massacre. "We call on Justice Secretary
Leila de Lima as well as the human rights committees in the Senate and
Congress to probe and punish the responsible for this latest atrocity
by the 19th IB as well as previous ones, so justice can finally be
rendered to the battalion's various victims. The survivors and
potential witnesses Policarpio Batute and Ronino Gibe must also be
protected from retaliation and whitewash attempts by the 8th Infantry
Division. This latest atrocity should also be a wake-up call to the
Aquino government to end Oplan Bantay Laya now and to desist from
crafting more military campaigns that mostly harm civilians.
Eastern Visayas is in
the throes of massive militarization because it is a priority area for
the government campaign against the NPA. But as this new Kananga
massacre shows, the government campaign is turning into senseless
violence against the people because trigger-happy soldiers have been
enjoying impunity for too long, despite so many complaints over human
Fr. Salas also called
on the peace negotiating panels of the Aquino government and the NDFP
to take the Kananga incident as a challenge to persevere with the
peace talks. "The senseless deaths of Dr. Leonardo Co and his two
assistants epitomize the sufferings of innocent civilians and the
crying need for peace and justice, in the face of government
offensives that wantonly violate human rights and international
humanitarian law. The NDF-EV hopes that the recent tragedy will spur
the Aquino government into showing its political will for
negotiations, rather than pursuing the militarist and fascist approach
of Oplan Bantay Laya over the past decade."
8ID recognizes new
breed of soldiers, CSO entrusts firearms
By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
Catbalogan, Samar – 333 new Privates of the Army’s 8th Infantry
Division faced the people from all walks of life who witnessed their
graduation rites in the hollow ground of the Division Headquarters,
yesterday morning, November 16.
Vice-governor Mimyet Bagulaya handed over an M16 armalite rifle to
a new enlisted private during the ceremonial entrustment of
firearms at the 8ID grounds.
friends and people from different sector, young and old assembled
around the ground not wasting their opportunity to witness such a
historic event where their love one is involved.
their expectation as they saw the graduating class march, execute
rifles and performs traditional Filipino martial arts and self-defense
pose almost perfectly. The heavy downpour of rains in the midst of
the program did not stop the parade even when the 8ID marching band
demonstrated their exhibition that fully added colors to the
activity. Spectators bid satisfaction to their faces as the band
completed their show with a pass-in-review.
Significant to the
activity is the ceremonial entrustment of firearms to the newly
enlisted privates done by the representatives from the people of all
walks of life. It was spearheaded by Vice-Governor Ma. Mimietta
Bagulaya of Leyte representing Governor Jericho Petilla, as the
ceremony’s guest of honor and speaker.
fisher folk, nurse, doctor, student, parents, lawyer, NGO, GO and
media were some of the few who made themselves available to entrust
fire arms to the soldiers. This symbolizes that these people entrust
their protection of rights, security and safety to the soldiers whom
their primary duties and responsibility is to defend the constitution.
In a statement made by
Major General Mario Chan, chief of the Army in
Eastern Visayas, he said that the new breed of soldiers will be an
additional force to secure the people of Region 8 against the people
who vehemently destroy and violate our people’s rights.
“With the additional
forces, the 8ID will surely perform its tasks of protecting our
people’s right against the rebels who violently destroy its sanctity.
With these reasonable forces that adds to the 8ID troopers, rest
assure that our people can expect more than what we are doing for the
sake of peace and development in this part of the country,” General
Vice-Governor Bagulaya said in her message that the men and women of
the 8th Infantry Division have continuously contributed devotion to
duty according to constitution.
“With these additional
forces to the 8ID, I am optimistic that our problems against
insurgency will surely come into end. That’s why all members of the
society, government and non-government agencies should give their
share for the ultimate attainment of peace not only in Samar but also
in Leyte provinces,” says Vice-Governor Bagulaya.
In the end, the
ceremonial entrustment to the newly enlisted privates gave more hope
for the people of Region 8 to once again re-experience the peaceful
environment that they long experienced before the advent of the
terrorist communist in their provinces.
Pia condemns killing
of top Filipino botanist in reported NPA-army crossfire
PASAY CITY – Senator Pia S. Cayetano today expressed sadness and condemnation over the
death of one of the country’s top Filipino botanists who was
reportedly killed while doing field research on a Leyte mountain
during an alleged crossfire between soldiers and communist rebels last
Monday. [read news]
Cayetano said the
death of Leonardo Co, a University of the Philippines-trained botanist
known for his work in helping communities identify and classify herbal
medicinal plants in their locality, is not only a loss to the
scientific community, but also to the environment as well as the field
of traditional herbal medicine.
“I am saddened by the
loss of Leonardo Co who personifies what we may call as ‘people’s
scientists.’ His role in the community may have been low-key and
perhaps often unnoticed, but it has brought invaluable help to our
people in developing their knowledge and skill on traditional herbal
medicines,” said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on
health and Demography.
“It is unfortunate
that the lives of innocent civilians, including that of Co who
dedicated his profession in the service of grassroots communities and
the environment, had to be cut short by continuing hostilities between
the armed forces and communist rebels.”
At the same time, the
lady senator called for an independent investigation into Co’s death
and the two forest guards who were with him when the encounter
“The government must
immediately conduct an independent probe to ascertain the cause of
Co’s death and the two forest guards who were killed with him. It
still must be established whether the bullets that took the three
innocent lives came from the rebels or soldiers, or whether there was
any foul play involved.”
Co’s team was
reportedly in the Kananga forests conducting a study on tree
biodiversity and collecting seedling specimens of wild trees for
replanting as part of his work as biodiversity consultant of the
Energy Development Corp. (EDC).
called on the government to provide sufficient security for scientists
and foresters doing field work in far-flung provinces, especially
those known to be areas of conflict between government troops and
armed rebel groups.
She made a similar
appeal on behalf of medical professionals doing volunteer work in
rural areas after a volunteer nurse was raped and maimed by still
unidentified perpetrators in South Upi, Maguindanao last September.
Innovaland to build
Condominium in Palo; elates Mayor Petilla
By BRYAN M. AZURA, RETA-8
PALO, Leyte – Palo
Mayor Remedios ‘Matin’ Petilla was all praises to the senior corporate
officials of Innovaland Sales and Marketing after the latter paid her
a courtesy visit and informed her that Innovaland Realty and Prime
Peak Properties will soon start a construction of a condominium
development at Brgy. Candahug, this municipality.
Innovaland, one of the
fastest growing real estate companies in the country, said that it
already forged into an agreement contract with
RBC Distributors, Inc. owned by Romeo Carbonel based in Tacloban
City which includes a condominium development in a 3-hectare lot owned
by the latter located near the boundary of Tacloban and Palo facing
the Leyte Gulf.
general manager of Innovaland, said that the development worth
P1Billion will include 6 buildings of 7-storey each enough to house
420 condo units. “This is going to be the first in Region 8 and the
construction will start soon,” Gesite said who is a native of
Balangkayan, Eastern Samar. “I am glad that Mayor Petilla warmly
welcomed us,” he continued.
Mayor Petilla said
that she is glad that Innovaland has considered her town to be the
host of one of its expansion projects. The municipality currently is
the primary choice of real estate developers for housing ventures
because of its large raw lands ideal for improvement. Among those that
made into this town are the Vista Land and other locally based real
President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovaland, said that
basically, business expansions of his company is challenged by the
inability of the majority of Filipinos to own house and lot in their
own country. “Owning house and lot here is basically unaffordable and
inaccessible,” Pionilla expressed in a message.
Poverty, according to
him, has been the primary culprit of the fate of the many Filipinos.
“That is why we innovate ways so that every Filipino family will have
their own house and lot,” Pionilla said.
The company’s recent
developments were focused on low to medium-cost housing units. It
started going into realty in 2003 and has since built various
ambitious projects in Baguio, Tagaytay, Cavite, Pampanga, Bulacan and
Pionilla added that
aside from real estate, it now has ventured into consumer products
direct selling business to practically provide entrepreneurial
ventures to many Filipinos paving a way for them to own decent housing
units. Gesite said that the company has so far developed health
products for sale and more will be included in the product list before
the year ends. These will be available to anybody who wants to go into
business for a minimal investment. For inquiries and free product
presentation, just call or text 0926-573-3611.
“We want to empower
every Filipino so that real properties will not just be for the rich
and the famous but to every ordinary citizen including the people
belonging to the marginalized sector of the society,” Pionilla said.
expressed that other than housing priorities, also included among the
crucial concerns of her administration is the absence of a decent
memorial park in her jurisdiction. Although plans for developing a
park are underway, Innovaland said it will consider the intention of
the former governor and congresswoman. “We will look into the
possibilities as we want to live up to our name which comes from the
word ‘innovate,’ Gesite said.
view of the proposed P1B 7-storey, 6-building condominium
project to be undertaken by Innovaland Realty at the boundary of
San Jose, Tacloban and Candahug, Palo, Leyte.