Chiz condemns culture
of impunity in the military
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
March 22, 2011
PASAY CITY – “How
can we call for an end to the culture of impunity among our government
agents dealing with people in government custody when they also do it
to their very own men?” Senator Chiz Escudero asked.
Escudero posed this
question after the so-called torture video found its way to the net,
showing men in uniform beating up a group of recruits with sticks and
ropes. In the video, the trainees, obviously in excruciating pain,
could be heard in screaming.
According to Escudero,
chairman of both the committees on justice and human rights and the
national defense and security in the Senate, this clearly calls for
reforms on moral and ethical trainings in the military and police.
“This culture of
impunity does not make a loyal, disciplined, obedient and fierce
soldier. The recruits undergo training, and rigorous it should be for
them, but the design should be geared toward molding their characters
into warriors who can follow lawful orders. The training showed they
are being to become fierce animals without reasons.” Escudero said.
Escudero stressed that
such acts had no place in a civil and democratic society like ours and
was clearly a violation of the anti-torture law the senator sponsored
in the Senate.
“The law was crafted
precisely to stop the culture of impunity which has been found
prevalent not only in government institutions nowadays but also in
facilities on the other side of government. It is a law that should
uphold every aspect of human rights,” he said.
the present military leadership to conduct a thorough review of its
policies and programs to improve the quality of its graduates not only
in terms of their physical training and abilities, but also in terms
of the overall makeup of the soldiers it produces.
“Our military trainers
should bear in mind that discipline is not acquired only through
physical and mental stress. The primary training that should be
instilled in the trainees’ minds is the privileged position they are
in for having the duty and honor to serve their country and their
people” Escudero said.
leads 8ID’s successes; camp and war material seized and repel enemy’s
By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
March 21, 2011
Catbalogan City, Samar – With the continuous support of the civilian
populace to the government’s Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP)
“Bayanihan” particularly in “winning peace”, two successful feat had
once again marked the Army’s 8th Infantry Division’s security
operations in Northern Samar this past few days.
In Silvino Lobos,
members of the 803rd Infantry Brigade’s Task Group Panther
successfully overran the New People’s Army’s (NPA) camp in the
hinterlands of Brgy. Senonogan de Tubang around
5:45 yesterday afternoon following a tip from a civilian.
Reports from Colonel
Oscar Lopez, Commander of 803rd Bde disclosed that the troops under
First Lieutenant Nieves were conducting a routine security patrol when
an undisclosed civilian approached and informed them on the presence
of armed men allegedly seen in the aforesaid place.
Lieutenant Nieves then
followed the routes directed by the said informant until they
encountered some undetermined number of armed terrorists which
immediately resulted to a firefight. Exchange of fires ensued for two
(2) minutes before the rebels fled away bringing along their wounded
comrades while leaving their camp behind. No one was reported hurt on
the side of the government.
Recovered in the area
are three (3) improvised explosive devices (IEDs), tents, personal
belongings and voluminous subversive document with significant
In the municipality of
Catarman, an undetermined number of NPAs harassed the Cag-abaca
Detachment of the 52nd Cadre Battalion at around 1:05 this morning.
Accordingly, the NPA’s attack failed due to the timely information
provided by the residents in the area allowing the troops to prepare.
The NPAs were armed with assorted high powered firearms when they
attempted to take over the camp. Firefight lasted for more than two
(2) hours before the enemy hopelessly abandoned their positions.
No troops were hurt
during the scuffle while it is still being determined whether there
were wounded on the enemy side as of press time.
General Mario Chan, 8ID’s commander highly commended the collaborative
efforts of the civilians.
successfully carry out our mandated task without the support of our
people. While I am congratulating my troops with their sacrifices and
determination to overpower the evil desires of these terrorists, I
would also like to appreciate our people who exert more effort just to
contribute with our aspirations,” says Major General Chan.
He further said that
with the unwavering support of the people to thwart the enemy in the
area, peace will soon be won in the province.
He also said that
another NPA plan was thwarted due to the unwavering support of our
people. It only proves that insurgency could not be totally solved by
a mere military solution. It needs intervention of our people and the
“As I was saying, this
feat can be attributed to our people. Our services can be fully
carried out if our people also show concern, not just for our
soldiers, but for themselves too,” he says.
“Our people are
already tired of waiting for their long desired peace and development
in the region. Even they are voluntarily giving their share to lessen
the burden of our government to fast track the solution of the
insurgency problem which continues to mocks the decent living
condition of our people. And now that they keep on showing their
ardent desire for peace, the 8ID assures them with remarkable services
for the sake of peace, prosperity and eventually development in Region
8 ,” vows General Chan.
Solid Waste Management
head, barangay officials confront private garbage collector for breach
By GINA DEAN-RAGUDO, Samar News.com
March 17, 2011
CALBAYOG CITY – Calbayog
City’s sole private contractor for garbage collection fumbled when he
was confronted with several complaints from the participants,
questioning his capabilities to fulfill the conditions in the contract
between the local government.
occurred on the first day activity of the “2nd Solid Waste Management
Summit” participated by 18 barangays held at the Sport’s Center.
According to some
barangay officials, the garbage truck has no “distinct sound” such as
they could not attend to it in times of collection. Others said that
it failed to collect regularly, and unmindful to observe proper
sanitation and solid waste segregation.
That moment, Solid
Waste Management Head Reynaldo Gonzaga directly confronted Greg
Jusayan, the city’s contractor for garbage collection and told him his
defiance to comply with various conditions in the agreement despite
the warnings made by the office. He stressed the contractor’s clear
violations in the agreements which are valid grounds for breach of
Another issue surfaced
questioning the privatization of garbage collection overlooking its
consequence. “Kay nano nga ginkontrata an collection san basura nga
mas maupay man an sadto nga ciudad an nakuha?, Brgy. Captain Ener
Engr. Gonzaga withheld
any information that could possibly stain the corporate approach and
intention of the previous administration in privatizing the garbage
collection of the city. But in an interview with Samarnews, he
revealed that his office was not made part in the drafting of the
terms and conditions of the contract until it was perfected by both
parties. Being mandated by law for solid waste management advocacy and
other technical expertise, its office was not furnished any copy of
the contract signed between the city government and the contractor for
garbage collection. He added that he attempted tackling the issue
before the local chief executive but it resulted an adverse effect.
Such as when the
contract was implemented in 2006, there was no coordination from the
contractor to his office in terms of garbage collectors’ training and
orientation; or requesting for a certification whether or not the
contractor’s implementation of the program was in conformity with the
office and with the agreement between the city government. As far as
he knew, the conditions required the contractor to provide 6 units of
garbage trucks to accommodate its collection to 22 barangays but only
3 are being used. These trucks are just being parked anywhere within
the city area because no motor pool was built for it. His more or
less 10 garbage collectors have no sanitation gear or garments to
protect themselves from all forms of bacteria; and he also have
skeletal manpower to clean the city streets.
The summit, which had
been bombarded with diverse reactions and complaints in terms of
garbage collections, somehow brought an advantage to Gonzaga in
bringing the issue to the local chief executive.
On the other hand,
Jusayan tried to explain that his units were sometimes undergoing
mechanical problems which made it unavailable for collection.
To appease him from
answering the complaints, Gonzaga advised all to be responsible in
their respective areas by implementing Republic Act 9003 or Ecological
Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 that mandates the barangay level to
segregate and collect solid waste specifically biodegradable,
compostable and reusable wastes; and can even adopt this law through a
barangay ordinance in consonance with the Integrated Solid Waste
Management Ordinance of the city.
The barangay shall
also be responsible for ensuring that 100% collection efficiency from
residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural sources, where
necessary within its area of coverage, is achieved.
He added that the law
further states that every barangay shall establish a Material Recovery
Facility (MRF) either barangay-owned or leased land or any suitable
open space to be determined by the barangay concerned through its
Sanggunian; and the barangay or cluster barangays shall allocate a
certain parcel of land for the MRF which shall receive mixed wastes
for final sorting, segregating, composting, and recycling. The
resulting residual wastes shall be transferred to a long term storage
or disposal facility or sanitary landfill. In case of Calbayog City,
its 4.9 hectares Sanitary Landfill is located at Brgy. Dinagan.
Cristina Maghacot of East Awang also reminded her fellow officials to
exercise discipline in their respective constituency because solid
waste management problem is everybody’s concern and not by the private
Though there was no
clear solution on how or when to resolve the issues, participants have
made themselves cooperative in the workshop proper for the preparation
of their action plan in the effective implementation of RA 9003 in
their respective barangays.
consultation on Tourism Development Area I, Leyte-Samar Interface
By EMY BONIFACIO, Samar News.com
March 16, 2011
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
The Department of Tourism through its Regional Director, Ms. Karina
Rosa Tiopes, Mr. Antonio Cinco and staff initiated a one day
consultation with the tourism focal persons of Catbalogan City and the
Municipalities of Talalora and Daram.
The forum held at
Flaming Hat on March 12, 2011 was intended to look into the identified
tourism loops and make an analysis as to its strengths and weaknesses,
preparatory to the drafting of a concrete and doable tourism action
plan for the next three years in the respective areas.
The LGUs concerned
were advised to seriously focus and commit themselves in developing
one tourism product that will be considered a legacy for all the
Area (TDA) I includes all municipalities of the 1st District of Leyte
and the 2nd District of Samar. The clustering or identification of
Strategic Destination Areas was based on the creation of the Central
Philippines Tourism Super Regions in 2008 by former PGMA.
Dir. Tiopes envisions
that the identified Strategic Destination Areas (SDAs) will have
direct international access with seamless interconnectivity and world
class tourist facilities and products that would meet the demands of
tomorrow’s tourists. It will consider sustainable development of
tourism products, environmental protection, adequate infrastructure,
national management of destinations, capacity building, investment
promotions, effective marketing and improved business environment as
vital components or strategies towards the attainment of the said
With the Tourism and
Investment Code already in effect in Catbalogan, an active Tourism
Council and a Technical working Group contributing in giving tourism
industry a push, a Tourism Value Chain Analysis was conducted by Mr.
Antonio Cinco. The value chain is an analysis tool for strategic
planning. It identified a sequence of business activity of every
sector in making a product.
“Thus, all other
sectors need to be mobilized effectively because if an operator
performs or does not perform in accordance with what has been planned,
the entire market is affected. A chain is as strong as the weakest
link”, explains Mr. Cinco as he stressed the importance of
coordination of all sectors in the community.
The three LGUs were
made to demonstrate the respective loops in terms of tourism sites
identified, modes of transportation, travel time and activities that
can be offered to tourists.
Raul Reyes, the
designated Tourism Officer of
shared new concepts in marketing Catbalogan as a tourist destination.
He mentioned about the city seascapes with overlapping islands that
are comparable to that of the Carribean. Furthermore, the city
identified 7 populated islands under Catbalogan jurisdiction, 27
unnamed islands and 7 with coral reefs that need developing. Tourism
interests in Catbalogan include religious, historical, cultural and
On the other hand,
Talalora has adventure and village tours as tourism activities while
Daram will capitalize on the sun, sea and sand features as a potential
pointed out various challenges such as the inavailability of a
concrete monitoring or database as to the arrivals of tourists in the
area which is made as the basis for funding assistance from the DOT.
There was an observation raised as to the lack of enthusiasm of hotel
and restaurant owners in attending seminars to upgrade their skills
and get involved in tourism planning. The immediate organizing of the
Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), Catbalogan
Branch was suggested to foster collaboration and cooperation among
accommodation providers. An immediate establishment of a Tourism
Assistance Center where visitors can converge should also be
prioritized. It was suggested that the center be situated near the bus
terminal or the port area where it is visible, accessible and
Before the day ended,
Dir. Tiopes required the LGUs to submit three priority sites for
development, identify operators and enablers (value chain mapping) and
discover the opportunities and constraints, timelines and responsible
agencies as outputs of the consultation.
“We should not forget
to involve the community. In the end, it will be the people who can
make tourism happen. Let’s identify our respective roles in the
tourism industry. I’m calling on the legislators present to come up
with ordinances that would promote tourism in your area. Let’s work
together in achieving peace and project the image that Samar is not a
risky place and a visit to Samar is worth it” were Tiopes’s final
message of encouragement to the participants.
participation of the three LGUs headed by Hon. Stephany U. Tan of
Catbalogan, Mayor Lou Astorga of Daram and the representative from
Talalora was very well appreciated.
Greenpeace calls on
Philippine government to scrap all plans for nuclear power
March 16, 2011
QUEZON CITY –
Greenpeace today called on the administration of President Benigno
“Noynoy” Aquino III to abandon all nuclear power plans, including
those currently included the Philippine Energy Plan and the Energy
Reform Agenda, and instead focus on achieving long term sustainable
progress through safe and reliable renewable energy and energy
organization also challenged legislators, particularly those who have
just this week reversed their pro-nuclear stance, to author a bill
that would declare the Philippines a nuclear energy-free zone.
“Our thoughts remain
with the Japanese people, who in the aftermath of the earthquake and
tsunami are now faced with a dreadful situation, where instead of
being able to plough all resources into rescue and relief efforts, the
government is dealing with a crisis caused by the inherent and
inescapable risks of nuclear power,” said Amalie Obusan, Climate and
Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“It is unfortunate
that Philippine nuclear proponents need a tragedy such as the one
unfolding in Japan, for them to reflect on their dangerous
propositions. But they should go beyond merely statements that they
are reconsidering their position on nuclear energy, or are putting a
moratorium on their nuclear proposals. Nuclear power should be
removed from the country’s current and future energy plans: it should
be deleted from the energy agenda, and there should be legislation to
block all future nuclear proposals,” she added.
Nuclear proponents in
the Philippines have been trying to promote the technology with claims
that nuclear power is ‘safe,’ and that it is a ‘cheap’ source of
electricity. But the statements from the nuclear lobby are more
rhetoric than reality. Nuclear power has been proven to be an
economic and environmental disaster around the world, aside from
threatening peace and stability, and shrouding communities residing
near nuclear power plants and waste sites under constant fear of
Japan, which has 54
nuclear reactors (11 of which have been shut down since the quake),
still has one of the highest costs of electricity in
Asia. France, which operates 58 reactors that provide 83% of the
country’s electricity needs, is the largest nuclear energy user, but
looking at its economic development for the last 40 years with
comparable countries that have made very different energy choices
reveal that no competitive advantage can be attributed to nuclear
In the Philippines,
the lack of a nuclear safety framework, which include legal and
governmental infrastructure, radioactive emergency response and
management systems, protocols on radioactive materials transport and
nuclear waste management, and accident liabilities, are questions that
nuclear advocates have never addressed.
“After more than half
a century of study, development and use, nuclear technology still
cannot guarantee energy security, much less the safety and health of
people and the environment. Nuclear energy is inherently dangerous
and an expensive distraction. Progress can only be achieved through
clean renewable energy, unhindered by dirty, dangerous and finite
fuels. The government must phase out both nuclear plans and fossil
fuels as soon as possible, and invest in renewable energy and energy
efficiency technologies that are not only environmentally sound, but
also affordable and reliable,” said Obusan.
8th RCDG Samar
Reservists launches a successful assembly test
By EMY BONIFACIO, Samar News.com
March 15, 2011
CATBALOGAN CITY –
Another first in the 8ID’s history was witnessed by the military and
the civilians alike, when more or less 200 reservists from the western
part of Samar flocked to the 8ID camp to register as additional
members of the Army Reservists Group for an assembly test last March
12, this year.
The 1st Ready
Reservist Battalion will be enrolling 556 volunteers with ages ranging
from 18-65. In order to qualify, they must have graduated from the
Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) for college graduates and
Citizens Military Training (CMT) for high school graduates, ex-CAFGUs,
retired military personnel and professionals, preferably priests,
lawyers, doctors and all others.
“Reservists will be
called to duty to assist in Disaster Risk Management and Relief
Operations and environmental protection. However, in times of war,
they can be engaged in military operations”, informs Col. Fernando B.
Felix, the 8RCDG commander.
The applicants will
undergo documentation procedures by filling up the Reservist’s
Information Data Sheet, after which they will be provided with
uniforms, identification cards and will be issued their respective
serial numbers. For the actual services rendered, a corresponding
subsistence allowance will also be given to these volunteers.
Applicants can either be an enlisted personnel or an officer with
designated military ranks just like those in active service, depending
on their positions or stature in the community. A governor can have
the rank of a Lt. Colonel and a mayor can be a major.
The whole day activity
was filled with the usual surprises initiated by the 8th Infantry
Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Mario F. Chan.
It started with an
orientation to various military operations and tactics,
reorganization, instructions and personnel build-up to respond to
given scenarios. Furthermore, they were made to familiarize with the
regular infantry operations, mechanized infantry operations, field
artillery, signal operation and others.
In the afternoon,
actual demonstrations by the reservists were conducted. The
simultaneous and precise moves made by the group in responding to the
security threats were more than an assurance that they really will be
an additional productive workforce for the military.
“We should help in
training the youth in the concepts of nationalism, patriotism and
discipline by supporting the ROTC program. This is a source of
professional upliftment for us and part of the continuous education”,
CG Chan was quoted as he commended SSgt. Eugene Calumba of the
North Western Samar State University
in Calbayog City for making it on top as the ROTC Commander and a
The newly installed
ARESCOM Commander, Col. Alex Albano, shared his personal concern by
conceptualizing an innovative learning through engagements in simple
capability demonstrations. He commended the participants as full front
catalysts for development by maximizing their non-traditional military
roles. He encouraged everyone to be the dedicated pioneers of
reservists who will continue to symbolize the committed and
responsible citizenry. In his final statement, he stressed the
importance of their role in promoting peace and development that would
lead to the improvement of the quality of life of every Samarnon.
CG Chan assured to
strengthen the organization towards efficiency. He promised to
continue to instill the discipline and harness the national character
and national spirit of the Filipinos. He succeeded in inspiring the
reservists present when he said that “the best soldiers come from
The usual performance
of the 8ID dancing band enlightened the mood of the activity. It was
culminated with the singing of the military hymn.