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Leyte SP to hear anew proposed Leyte-Mindanao power grid sharing project

ANAD oppose nomination of Diokno and Tañada as next Ombudsman

NDF-EV urges Gov. Nicart to support the peace talks at the national level

NDF-EV slams 8th ID's US-funded “road to war”

Chan: “We are more than ready!”

NDF-EV criticizes MSQRT as a palliative measure and a platform for absolving human rights violators

Sec. Robredo offers P200K for identity and P1M for the arrest of mayor Uy’s killer

Samar I DPWH initiates media conference for transparency efforts

Artists, journalists, academe call for release of detained cultural worker

DOT-8 conducts workshop on tourism plan preparation





8ID chief MGen. Mario Chan discusses with the attendees of the 17th SIPPAD Assembly on the army’s plan to rehabilitate the road networks in the tri-boundary of Samar island to promote development in the Samar provinces.

The military is using SIPPAD to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan

June 29, 2011

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today the 8th Infantry Division is using the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan. “The military has long exerted undue influence on SIPPAD,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “But the Church-backed multi-sectoral assembly is now making a very dangerous mistake in rubber-stamping the 8th ID's so-called road projects under Oplan Bayanihan that pretend to have the good signboard of “peace and development.” In fact, Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Oplan Bantay Laya in pursuing the purely military solution to the armed conflict as well as eschewing human rights and international humanitarian law. Soliciting the support of civilian agencies and non-governmental organizations is part of the strategy and tactics of Oplan Bayanihan to camouflage the continuing climate of impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Fr. Salas added that the 8th ID's military campaign in Samar has all the indications of US intervention, from Oplan Bayanihan itself, to logistical support and the road networks to facilitate troop movement. “Oplan Bayanihan is based on the US Counterinsurgency Guide, which takes pains to sugarcoat that its core focus is the violent suppression of revolutionary movements inimical to the interests of US imperialism and its puppet regimes. Thus, while 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan mouths slogans like “peace and development,” his troops are in fact on offensive operations in Samar and Leyte at this very moment. The 8th ID has also crowed to the media about receiving new weapons, electronic equipment, and military vehicles from the US. The soon to begin “road to war” sponsored by the US Millennium Challenge Corporation is merely the icing on the cake.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also chastised the Catholic Church in Samar for waltzing with the military through SIPPAD. “Is the Catholic Church in Samar turning its back on the majority of its flock as well as the Christians who were martyred by Oplan Bantay Laya? Remember your flock who are mainly peasants exploited under the present dispensation and oppressed by Oplan Bayanihan. Remember Fr. Cecilio Lucero, Pastor Edison Lapuz, and many other Christians who were victims of political killings and other human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya and that persist to this very day. The Catholic Church in Samar should beware of and reject the vicious example of the clerico-fascist Fr. Romeo Intengan, who advised the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it is acceptable to commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the anti-communist crusade of Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Fr. Salas also called on the people to strengthen their militant and revolutionary struggles in the face of the 8th ID's political and military offensives. “The people must strengthen the struggle for human rights and other mass struggles for basic democratic rights and burning issues. Fight for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and other basic socio-economic reforms. Build the broad alliances to expose and oppose the continuing corruption, puppetry and fascist state terrorism under the Aquino regime. Support and join the revolutionary struggle for social justice, national freedom and democracy.”





Greenpeace slams Aquino Government for lack of leadership on Renewable Energy

Aquino going Gray not Green with Energy choices

June 29, 2011

MANILA  –  Greenpeace is deeply disappointed at yesterday’s inauguration of a new coal fired power plant in Naga, Cebu, by President Aquino, the Philippine’s second new coal fired power plant this year.

“Coal burning for power generation has been a huge contributor to the climate change impacts that the Philippines is dealing with right now. Instead of relying on short-sighted, reactive measures he should focus on long-term solutions that benefit everyone by delivering energy security and energy access for all. Instead of continuously promoting coal, President Aquino must take this golden opportunity to make sure the massive uptake of renewable energy is realized here in the Philippines,” said Amalie Obusan, Climate and Energy Campaigner.

Earlier this month, the President graced the Department of Energy's grand launch of the National Renewable Energy Program in Manila, and is yet to set an ambitious but realistic target of 50% RE by 2020.  While the nation anxiously waits for they President to act on his bold statements the President is losing focus by inaugurating coal power stations in the Provinces.

The new IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy released in late May 2011 reveals that only 2.5% of viable renewable energy resources are needed to provide up to 80% of global energy demand by 2050 using currently available technologies.

Similarly, the Silent Energy [R]evolution analysis released by Greenpeace last week shows that since the late 1990s, wind and solar installations grew faster than any other power plant technology across the world - particularly coal. The window of opportunity for renewables to both, dominate new installations replacing old plants in OECD countries, as well as ongoing electrification in developing countries, closes within the next years.

Greenpeace’s recent release of the “Philippine Energy [R]evolution Roadmap to 2020” forecasts how renewable energy can power more than 50% of the nation’s energy needs by as early as 2020.  The Roadmap outlines how, with intelligent planning, the current administration can steer the country towards development powered by sustainable energy.

If President Aquino continues to consider coal as part of the energy mix of the country, then the legacy he leaves the Filipinos is another 30 years of pollution and carbon dioxide emissions - not to mention the extra costs to deal with the health impacts. Greenpeace calls on the Philippine government to scrap all new proposals for coal-fired and nuclear power plants and shift those investments to the development of the renewable energy sector and energy efficiency measures.

Coal is the biggest obstacle to a clean, secure energy future. The lack of urgency and political will on the part of the President makes the Philippines Southeast Asia’s laggard on renewable energy development.

“Key decision makers such as local government units should exercise extreme caution and refuse the offer of this whole broken notion of cheap power from coal.  Coal is a finite resource and will inevitably raise prices in the future, not to mention the external costs on health, water resources and climate change.” concluded Obusan.





Baguio pride month forum focuses on transgender rights

By PROGAY Philippines
June 24, 2011

BAGUIO CITY  –  Human rights violations committed by the government and private parties against transgender Filipinos may soon be subject to international legal censure and corrective measures, if activists and lawyers succeed in getting the attention of the United Nations.

This historical milestone was revealed in “TRANSforming Views: The TRANSituation and the Right to Live, Love, Be: a Forum on the Transgender Situation” today at the University of the Philippines Baguio. The forum was sponsored by the Lesbians for National Democracy and the UP Kasarian Gender Studies Program as part of the LGBT Pride Month activities of Baguio Pride Network.

Ms. Raye Baquirin, Baguio Pride Network provided the social situation framework of Transpinays or transexual Filipino women in the presentation “TRANS101” a module popularized by the Society of Transexual Women (STRAP) lined up the severe social barriers that transwomen face, and proposed ideas on how the majority of Filipinos can break free of misconceptions and actions that violate the rights of transwomen.

Atty. Evalyn Ursua discussed the complaint filed by three Filipino transwomen with the United Nations Human Rights Committee under the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, with her as their legal counsel.  According to Atty. Ursua, the complaint focused on the refusal of the government to recognize the change of their gender in legal documents and to address discrimination in the public and private sectors.

She expressed confidence that the UN Human Rights Committee will make findings of human rights violations against transsexuals by the Philippine Government and direct it to pass laws and undertake other measures addressing gender identity and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Other reactors included Carol Galvez of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and Oscar Atadero of the Progressive Organization of Gays (PROGAY Philippines), who both stressed the need for more advocacy highlighting the needs of transgenders. Galvez zeroed in on the rising incidences of hate crimes committed against transgenders in Metro Baguio.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, spokesperson of the Makabayan coalition, sent a solidarity message that urged the assembly to support the anti-discrimination measure he filed in Congress, House Bill 1483, a proposal that would help protect gender identity rights and help transgenders get free access to many public facilities that are frequently denied them.

The forum is a runup to the fifth lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride organized by the Baguio Pride Network for June 26th along the city’s Session Road.





Gen. Chan receives support from SIPPAD stakeholders

June 23, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) on its 17th assembly held yesterday at Saint Mary's College, expressed an all-out support to MGen Mario F. Chan's vision and thrust to arrest the insurgency problem in his area of responsibility by building road infrastructures.

"I am not convinced that we can win this war by the conduct of offensive operations. Please join us in our effort to interconnect the three provinces through the construction of circumferential and radial roads which is expected to boost the economic development within the area." says Chan during his first attendance in the SIPPAD forum.

According to Chan, the roads will facilitate the easy transport of agricultural products of farmers coming from the rural areas. It would also invite more investors to come and visit the tourism potentials of Samar which, he said, is far better than those in Bohol and Cebu.

In a brief power point presentation, the 8ID Commanding General toured the SIPPAD attendees to the various areas that need immediate road construction and rehabilitation in the three provinces. Included in the presentation were actual footages of the status of roads and updates of on-going road constructions which were surveyed by the 8ID team, headed by the general himself.

Chan assured the group of positive support from the governors, congressmen, DPWH and the Department of National Defense in the pursuit of these road networks. Coordination meetings have already been facilitated. He even gladly informed about its favorable endorsement made by the Regional Development Council to the NEDA when the same proposal was presented a month ago.

In a statement of support, a parish priest from Borongan attested that projects are better accomplished, in so far as quality is concerned, when it's being undertaken by the military under its Engineering Battalions.

Chan is decisive in pursuing these road networks despite being criticized by the NDF-EV as the "road to war". This, he said, is understandable because people who have been deceived by their propaganda will now be open to the realities and opportunities of a better life outside their reins.

"These roads will hasten development and will end the lingering poverty in Samar" Chan added.

Given priority is the Gandara-Matuguinao road which he projects to be passable by September and the on-going construction of the San Jose de Buan road.

A resolution to this effect has been favorably considered by the SIPPAD assembly.

Chan was commended and was accorded a unanimous applause that signified an all-out support from the three (3) bishops and the stakeholders for the effort. Likewise, he was congratulated for making the 8ID under his leadership on top of all the other Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Army nationwide for its performance.

The commanding General expressed his commitment to make Samar as one of the country's best tourist haven in the world.

The SIPPAD is an island-wide, multi-sectoral assembly that is being held quarterly and whose deliberations focus on poverty alleviation, good governance, environment and peace and security. The Dioceses of Calbayog, Catarman and Borongan take turns in the hosting of the said forum.

During the assemblies, reports and updates on the above mentioned thematic concerns are presented.

Invited in the 17th forum were personnel from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). They discussed programs for the rebel returnees and strategies to reintegrate these returnees to the mainstream.

The Samar Partnership for Peace and Development (SPPADE) gave an overview of the newly launched anti-corruption group, Multi-sectoral Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA-Samar); mining and quarrying issues affecting the environment and the outputs of the Tripartite Samar Development Agenda Conference.  Fr. Cesar Aculan and Ms. Emy Bonifacio shared in the presentation.

Moreover, the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum (NSPDF) and the Eastern Samar Peace Development Forum (ESPDF) narrated the various activities that were conducted on their respective levels.

Dr. Jimmy Sanico and Mr. Agustin Docena, members of the SIBF, gave an update on the status of the Samar Island Natural Park Bill which has been pending at the House of the Representatives since the 12th congress. However, it was learned that in a Committee Hearing held last June 8, the bill was approved. Considering the long process that it still has to undergo before approval, the assembly passed a resolution to personally deliver letters to the congressmen requesting for their support. The letters will be signed by the three Bishops.

The assembly was participated by at least 70 stakeholders. Also in attendance were Most. Rev. Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog, Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Trance of Catarman and Most Rev. Crispin Varquez of Borongan.

The next SIPPAD meeting, which will be accommodated by the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, is scheduled on September, this year.





Competent tour guides needed to complement tourism promotion efforts

By Provincial Media Relations Center
June 22, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Competent tour guides will complement the province’s efforts in tourism promotion as well as acquire a marketing style and strategy for the province as it continues to prime Leyte as an alternative tourist destination.

This was disclosed by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla as one of his priority program – the Income Creating Opportunities thru Technology Project (ICOT-P) – expands its tour guiding implemented among identified schools in Leyte.

“For the tourism industry to grow, competent tour guides are needed for tourists and visitors to have a pleasant and enjoyable experience in our place, return to the area in the future and tell others about it,” Gov. Petilla said.

The governor pointed out the roles of tour guides are critical in the growth of the industry as they are the force multipliers in gaining more and more tourists to come to the area.

Through the ICOT-P program among schools, students can be taught tourism hospitality and learn how tourists are greeted and treated. As the most human aspect of tourism, hospitality relates to the ability and enthusiasm of people who deal with tourists. Hospitality in most cases involves everyone in the community.

This expansion in the ICOT-P program is also in line with the Tourism Act of 2009 which aims to develop the country as a prime tourist hub in Asia as well as a center of world congresses and conventions "by promoting sustainable tourism anchored on the country's history, culture and natural endowments, and ensuring the protection, preservation and promotion of these resources."

Local government units have been encouraged to continuously improve on the tourism chain of 5As to double tourist arrivals and increase actual tourism receipts this year.

The 5As refer to arrival (efficient services at airports and seaports as well as adequate facilities), access (roads and other basic infrastructure), accommodation (hotels and restaurants), attractions (natural and man-made like beach, mountain and golf), and activities (rest and recreation).

“Someday this tourism promotion will translate into an economic enterprise.  Tourism is an economic driver and having ready and competent tour guides would help Leyte in developing and expanding its tourism industry,” the governor said.





PRO 8 renders testimonial honors for PCSupt. Loot

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
June 21, 2011

CAMP RUPERTO K KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  Police Chief Superintendent Vicente Areno Loot, Deputy Regional Director for Administration, gets his One Star Rank Promotion last week and a Testimonial Honors was rendered today June 21, 2011 at PRO8 Grandstand, Camp Ruperto Kangleon, Palo, Leyte.

Arrival honors start at 10:00 AM and the program proper will starts at 10:30 with an Invocation; Introduction of the newly promoted PCSupt; remarks by PCSupt Loot, message of PCSupt Arnold R. Revilla, RD.

Also included in the program was the pinning of ranks for the promotion of PSSupt Felix Alberto Diloy, Chief, RHSSG and PSSupt Roel Balintong Acidre, who got their promotion to next higher rank.

PCSupt Vicente Loot took oath last June 15, 2011 along with other 14 newly-promoted police one-star generals before Philippine National Police chief Director General Raul Bacalzo at Camp Crame.

In an interview with Freeman Cebu, PCSupt Loot said 14 of them hold the position of deputy regional director for administration, the second highest position in their respective regional offices. Loot, 51, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1982, is currently the Deputy Regional Director for Administration of Police Regional Office-8 (Eastern Visayas)

PCSupt Loot further said some politicians from Cebu allegedly tried to block his promotion and made him undergo a thorough investigation in every step of the promotion processes.

“Ang sala lang nako kay bana ko og politician,” Loot said as he enumerated some qualification standards to get the rank such seniority, length of service, education, absence of charges, among others.

The promotion starts with the Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board after which the PNP signs the endorsement to the National Police Commission. The secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government endorses the papers to the Civil Service Commission, which will check the records before the same are submitted to the Office of the President for approval. It took about four to five months before President Benigno Aquino III approved PCSupt Loot’s promotion on June 3.

He said the promotion is a challenge and added responsibility for them to live up to the expectations of the rank.  Loot’s family witnessed the oath taking.





Number 9 most wanted person in Javier, Leyte nabbed

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
June 21, 2011

CAMP RUPERTO K KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  Elements of Javier Municipal Police Station and augmentation troops from Regional Public Safety Batallion 8 arrested the number 9 most wanted person in Javier, Leyte last June 17, 2011 at about 10:00 AM in Brgy. New Taligi, Abuyog, Leyte.

The police authorities led by PInsp Antonio Angcay Jr., conducted a manhunt operation at Brgy. New Taligi and resulted to the arrest of Emmanuel Cinco alias Tawe, 65 years old, and a resident of Brgy. Sta. Fe, Abuyog, Leyte.

He was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Hon. Buenaventura A. Pajaron, Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 10, Abuyog, Leyte for the crime of rape docketed under Criminal Case number 2947.

In another development, Iñigo Sedanza y Gecomo alias Inying, 53 years old, married, jobless and a resident of Sitio Bakhawan, Brgy. Nato, Taft, Eastern Samar was arrested by elements of the Taft Police Station led by PInsp Noe A. Aclan, chief of police, and PInsp Jerome B. Camacho, police chief of Dolores Police Station at 10: 25 PM of same date.

He was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Hon. Filotea M. Estorninos of RTC Branch 04, Dolores, Eastern Samar for the crime of murder docketed under Criminal Case number 399-11-5.

PCSupt Arnold Rayala Revilla, RD PRO8 lauds the PNP personnel for doing their duties as law enforcers and encourages all the people in the community, the Barangay Tanods and Force Multipliers under Police Regional Office 8, to help the police in the campaign against Wanted Persons.

Revilla also urges those with any important information useful to the police not to hesitate to call the PNP Hotline 323-7267 or 323-3023.





Tacloban marks 150th birthday of Jose P. Rizal

June 19, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Simultaneously with similar programs nationwide, the Tacloban City government led a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of the country’s pre-eminent national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The activity at the aptly named Plaza Rizal, located at the corners of Justice Romualdez and Real Streets in Tacloban City started at 7:00 AM after a mass at the nearby Sto. Niño Church.

The flag-raising ceremony was led by Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez, with the Knights of Columbus and the city’s Traffic Operations Management, Enforcement and Control Office (TOMECO) doing the honors.

In his message, Mayor Romualdez enjoined Taclobanons to emulate Rizal’s nationalistic spirit even as he thanked participants for their time in giving special attention to the national hero’s birth anniversary.

He then led a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the refurbished monument of Dr. Rizal, together with Director Francisco C. Jose of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Regional Deputy for Eastern Visayas Dalmacio Grafil of the Knights of Columbus, city department heads, and other civic groups.

Among those spotted in attendance were City DILG Officer Adoracion Peregrino and staff, Health Officer Dr. Jaime Opinion; Planning Officer Roland Hidalgo, CSWDO Liliosa Baltazar; Personnel Officer Pinky Brosas, the Girls Scouts of the Philippines, members of TOMECO, and employees of the city government.

The Tacloban city band led the Group Singing of “Ako Ay Pilipino”, and wrapped up with a merry rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” in tribute of Dr. Rizal. The Tacloban city government pursuant to Proclamation 154 of President Benigno S. Aquino III sparked off the Rizal@150 commemoration by hanging a giant streamer at the city hall starting last week, to better remind clients and visitors of the momentous occasion.





ANAD to vote NO on the proposed RH bill

By ANAD Partylist
June 19, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  Instead of abstaining or not voting at all, the Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Partylist decided to take the anti-RH bill stand on House Bill 4244 otherwise known as the Reproductive Health Bill now pending in plenary of the House of Representatives.

“I cannot stomach the confusion wrought among our people by the Maoist pseudo partylist lawmakers, who ever since have professed pro-RH bill stand,” said ANAD Rep. Jun Alcover in explaining his change of heart from a RH bill proponent to one that is opposed to it.

“Indeed, my endorsement then of HB 4244 was anchored on my firm belief that this could best serve the interest and welfare of our people and country. But the way Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Kabataan is discussing the issue as seen in their statements issued to the media and in the different forums conducted, it is very clear that raising of the issue of divorce and interloping the same in the discussions on the proposed RH bill definitely has muddled the very core issue of House Bill 4244,” Rep. Alcover explained.

“Why are they discussing the issue of Divorce when not even a single word or phrase about it can be read in the entire text of HB 4244, as submitted to the plenary debates? Truly this reflects the utter insincerity of these proponents of the RH Bill where plainly their focus is not to defend the measure and ensure its passage in the House but to sow confusion among our people,” Rep. Alcover added.

Pointing to a converging and tactical alliance among the Maoist pseudo partylist groups and the Socialist-leaning Akbayan, solely on the issue of the proposed RH bill intently interspersed with the subject of Divorce, Rep. Alcover decried the propensity of these groups to foment misunderstanding, confusion, and chaos among our people. “Amidst the strong opposition of the Roman Catholic Church anchored on the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the Church, they intensely wanted to drive a wedge to divide our people and country. This vividly tells us of their real character and intention which they shall actively partake to the detriment of our country’s future,” he said.

“ANAD maintains that the root cause of the problem of poverty among our people is not the ever increasing population but terrorism that has pestered our people’s lives, especially those in the countryside, covering some 42 years already and still continuing. Because of this I am seriously questioning their sincerity on HB 4244,” he pointed out.

“With these developments unraveling before us, I find it best to vote NO rather than submitting an abstention when we shall be asked to vote in the House,” clarified the ANAD solon.


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