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Civilian tips, leads to seizure of two (2) NPA encampments in Northern Samar

Internet mug shot photos of ex-PGMA not those submitted to Pasay RTC – Robredo

Eastern Visayas generally peaceful during Pacquiao-Marquez fight

Ochoa hails exceptional public servants

8ID, a partner organization in conducting YLS 2011

War heroes honored

Leyte guv congratulates Leyteños for latest prestigious recognition

An Waray Representative admits Anti-RH stand

Consultation-dialogue clears issues on government programs

Gov’t does not abandon its duty in responding to maritime piracy – NMP executive director







DA-8 embarks on intensified promotion of organic farming in East Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 3, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Agriculture Regional Office 8 has embarked an intensified campaign to promote organic farming in Eastern Visayas.

The DA is wasting no time in advocating the program as mandated under Republic Act (RA) 10068 otherwise known as Organic Agriculture Act of 2010.  The law provides for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the country to increase productivity, reduce environmental degradation, cut expenses on imported farm inputs, and protect the health of farmers, consumers and the general public.

No less than Agriculture Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Gerundio led the organic farming promotion as he exhorted the local government partners in the provinces of  partners  in the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran “to go back to the basics” through organic farming.

“There is now a global or worldwide trend to re-embrace the natural farming system due to prevalence of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives that excessively harm the environment,” RED Garundio said.

RED Gerundio made the call to the participants composed of local chief executives, municipal agriculturists, agricultural technologists and other key partners who attended the Orientation and Briefing on the Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) held in Maasin City, Southern Leyte and Almeria, Biliran on November 24 and 25, 2011, respectively.

“We have ‘bad habits’ formed during the Green Revolution” in the 1960s. But we can not blame anyone because at that time the world was faced with an emerging food shortage due to rapid population increase. Hence, the world resorted to science to develop high yielding varieties in the hope of meeting the global food requirements.  But high yielding varieties also require high application of inorganic fertilizer, pesticides and artificial enhancers that significantly contributes to environmental destruction. It was proven that chemicals destroy soil micro-organisms resulting in poor soil structure and aeration, thus decreasing nutrient availability,” Director Gerundio explained.

The briefing paved the way to initially orient the participants on the program and to organize provincial and municipal/city Local Technical Committees for the OAP. It will be patterned from the composition of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) which is composed of representatives from the DA, DILG, DENR, DAR, DOST, DTI, DepEd, DOH, small farmers organizations, NGO, the academe, and the private sector/agribusiness firms.

Each member-agency/sector will have an important role to plan in order to successfully carry out various activities under the program, RED Gerundio said.

Also present as resource speakers during the activity were OAP Regional Focal Person Engr. Melecia C. Gordillo, OAP support staff and DA-8 Executive Assistant Mr. Onisimo C. Paduano, Eastern Visayas Organic Agriculture Network Chair and VSU Dean Dr. Edwin A. Balbarino, and Ms Ma. Elena A. Mendoza, LGU Ormoc City Marketing Division chief.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines organic farming as a production system that avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives.

Organic farming systems rely on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilt, support plant nutrients and control insects, weeds and other pests.

The DA in coordination with its LGU-partners will be conducting similar orientation briefing in other provinces in the region before the year ends, Mr. Francis Rosaroso, DA-8 chief information officer said.





Political prisoners in Southern Tagalog launch hunger strike; slam Arroyo's gov't spent hospital arrest

By KARAPATAN - Southern Tagalog
December 3, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  To mark their protest against illegal arrest and injustice, political prisoners detained in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan will go through fasting starting today, Dec. 3, coinciding with the International Solidarity for the release of political prisoners.

The indefinite hunger strike and sympathy fasting of relatives with human rights group Karapatan - Southern Tagalog (ST) will be simultaneous with other political prisoners’ detained in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal provincial jails. This campaign on hunger strike also occurs in other detentions of political prisoners in different parts of the country.

A mass will be held at Camp Bagong Diwa at 9 A.M., followed by the start of the sympathy fasting.

“The funny thing about our country today is, the state keeps on putting innocent people in jail while thieves can leave the country. And while political prisoners die behind bars for made-up criminal charges, the biggest corrupt politician gets to enjoy a presidential suite in a private hospital,” said Glen Malabanan from KARAPATAN - ST.

According to news reports, the said suite in St. Luke’s Hospital, Taguig, where Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is confined, is worth P50,000 per day.  Some of the amenities inside the suite are a 42 inch plasma television, hot and cold water dispenser and DVD and VHS players. Arroyo also requested for a cellphone and laptop for internet access.

On the other hand, Nestor San Jose, a political detainee in Quezon Provincial Jail has died due to an illness while detained at the Quezon Provincial Jail last November 9 due to lack of health assistance by government.

In Batangas Provincial Jail, several family members of political prisoners will shave their heads while inmates will get a “Free all political prisoners” tattoo in solidarity to free all political prisoners.

“It’s a Filipino customary that once one family member suffers, the others suffer as well.  We call on to the government to free all political prisoners so that no family will suffer anymore,” said Bishop Arthur Asi of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Southern Luzon Jurisdiction.

The supporters and family members also stormed in front of Camp Crame today to denounced the continuing human rights violations in the region. Family members of victims - Lino Baez father of Noel Baez who was beaten and harassed by the military in Batangas after declining to be a CAFGU recruit; and the mothers of Billy Betrina and Maricon Montajes who were illegally arrested, along with four others from Batangas - supported the event.

Starting today, the simultaneous programs in different provincial jails and in Bicutan will start with protest actions at 10 A.M. and a 4 o’clock habit which is a regular noise barrage every 4 P.M.





LGBTs want DOH's Ona to resign for anti-gay AIDS pronouncements

By PROGAY Philippines
December 2, 2011

MANILA  –  Human rights activists recoiled in horror at homophobic remarks made by Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona before an AIDS convention and demanded his resignation from office for discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations who are part of the country's priority populations for HIV prevention.

Speaking before the Plenary Meeting of the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel, Ona suggested the gathered AIDS prevention workers that parents should reign their homosexual children and get them tested. He was immediately met with angry hoots and whistles from AIDS activists.

"We want Ona ousted. Bigots do not deserve high government posts, and more so he should not serve as a chair of PNAC if we do not want his unscientific biases to taint the good work of our unsung AIDS preventions heroes nationwide," said Marlon Lacsamana, the founder of the Philippines LGBT Hate Crime Watch, a human rights watchdog.

"We're wasting our hard-earned taxpayers' money on homophobes as he is undoing decades of evidence-based prevention practices that aim to encourage homosexuals and transgenders to voluntarily seek testing, counseling, and treatment. Ona's words will drive LGBTs away from HIV programs and make us so vulnerable to infections," Lacsamana said.

Oscar Atadero, human rights officer of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) stated that it was very regrettable that Ona uttered his remarks when the World AIDS Day theme this year is about “Getting to Zero.”  The global call by the United Nations for Zero New HIV Infections is designed to ensure that most at risk populations (MARPs) get much improved access to treatment for all.

"Instead of achieving zero deaths, suggesting that gays, bisexuals and transgenders get tested en masse will achieve zero access, zero treatment and zero saved lives. It feels like gays, bisexuals and transgender being given a marching order to file into gas ovens in Europe during the time of Hitler," Atadero said.

The Philippines remain one the countries with punitive anti-gay laws, such as the Anti-Vagrancy Law, and rampant violence against LGBTs inflicted by police and village security forces. The UN point out that these anti-LGBT policies prevent homosexuals, transgenders, and their partners from accessing life-saving information and treatment.





Rep. Alcover warns of increased NPA attacks as the CPP’s 43rd founding anniversary nears

By ANAD Partylist
November 30, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  The Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Partylist called on government security forces to be doubly on alert against increased Maoist terrorist NPA in the run-up towards the 43rd founding anniversary of the Maoist terrorist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26.

“As in their tradition, they conduct series of harassments and violent attacks, with impunity, against innocent civilians and government security facilities from the period covering at least 2 months leading to December 26,” said ANAD Rep. Jun Alcover as he reminisced his days in the Maoist terrorist underground organization when this occasion is always marked by the blood of innocent Filipinos offered in the altar of Maoist terrorist revolution.

The burning of several heavy equipments owned by private contractors of government-funded projects and the unabated detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), “Shall intensify as Dec.26, which is also the birth anniversary of Mao Tse Tung, founder of Maoist communism, draws near,” Rep. Alcover warned.

The recent IED explosion killing 3 army soldiers a few hundreds of meters from a 69th IB, PA patrol base in Barangay Guinobatan, Davao City is part of the NPA’s series of anti-people and anti-government actions leading to the Dec. 26 founding anniversary celebration.

On the other hand, Rep. Alcover strikingly slammed the Maoist terrorist group’s relentless lies and pretensions as it continued to demand the release of 17 arrested and detained NPA leaders who they claim are NDF political consultants covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

“How can they demand from government when the diskette that Jose Ma. Sison and Luis Jalandoni boisterously claimed to contain the list of JASIG covered NDF political consultants turned out to be blank where not even a word or a letter could be retrieved from it. This is the worst of the many Maoist terrorist chicanery committed,” he pointed out.

“There should be no further release of any political detainee unless ordered by the courts. The release of Maria Luisa Purcray, Jaime Soledad, and Jovencio Balweg is more than enough to show government’s sincerity in pursuing peace,” the former NPA political and commanding officer turned pro-democracy advocate emphasized.

With the scurrilous lies relentlessly pursued by Joma Sison and his peers, covering some 20 years of peace talks with government, OPAPP Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles now has realized that the 3 year timetable for the peace agreement to be signed by both the government and Maoists terrorist is impossible to attain.

“With this development, ANAD’s position on the peace talks is proven correct. It is best for government to stop all of these senseless and useless peace negotiations in order to save taxpayer’s money needed to fund pro-people and poverty alleviation programs of the government,” Rep. Alcover said.





Women’s rights group slams special treatment for GMA, deplores situation of women political prisoners

November 29, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  “Hospital detention for a notorious human rights violator like Gloria Arroyo, who has no life-threatening illness, is special treatment at its best. This is in stark contrast to the situation of the sick and elderly women political prisoners and other political prisoners who are languishing under dire conditions in jail. This is injustice and double standard at its worst.”

Thus said Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi, on the court order issued yesterday for the transfer of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

Palabay cited the case of Moreta Alegre, a 65-year old farmer who was imprisoned at the Correctional Institution for Women together with her husband Jesus and son Selman because of trumped up charges of murder, and is suffering with arthritis, hypertension and weak heart due to long years of imprisonment.

“Alegre, together with her family, was among the vocal critics of land grabbing in their community in Negros Occidental, when the landlord heaped upon them fabricated charges of murder to silence their opposition,” she added. Moreta has been in prison for seven years already.

Thus, the woman leader demanded that Arroyo should be detained in a regular jail facility, in the interest of justice, and should not be accorded privileges such as hospital detention.

Tanggol Bayi said that as of October 31, 2011, there are 356 political prisoners (PPs), 77 of them were arrested under the Aquino regime. Of this number, there are 35 women political prisoners, 43 sick and 10 elderly PPs. They are subjected to illegal arrest and detention, extreme torture and unjust conviction on trumped up charges.  Women and children, in particular, are doubly violated through sexual molestation or rape. Political prisoners, more often are charged with criminal offenses to deny the political nature of their case and to reduce them as “common criminals.”

Award-winning film on women political prisoners

In line with the upcoming commemoration of the International Day for Political Prisoners on December 3, Tanggol Bayi is supporting the screening of “Ka Oryang,” a film by Sari Dalena, at the Cine Adarna, UP Diliman on December 2 at 7pm.

“It is my hope that the film will help raise awareness on the conditions of political prisoners and the human rights violations they endured during Martial law that is still happening to this day,” said Dalena.

The film won the Best Pictures, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Music awards in the recent Cinema One Originals Film Festival. Alessandra de Rossi, Joem Bascon and Emilio Garcia stars in this film. “Ka Oryang” is about a young woman who witnesses the beginnings of a revolution during Martial Law, giving a glimpse of the lives and experiences of female political detainees and their struggles.

Cinema One Originals, UP Cineastes’ Studio, and the UP Film Institute organized the screening in UP Diliman. Part of the proceeds will be given to Task Force Freedom, a movement for the release of Maricon Montajes, a UP film student and political detainee in Batangas City Jail. Montajes, 22 years old, was charged with fabricated charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives while she is conducting research for her film thesis in Batangas.





Another two NPA camps overran by 20IB troops in Northern Samar

By 20th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
November 28, 2011

BRGY. MAGSAYSAY, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar  –  The relentless conduct of focused and sustained combat operations by the troops of 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion, 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army in the tri-boundary of municipalities of Catarman, Bobon and Lope de Vega all of Northern Samar resulted to two encounters on November 28, 2011.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Noel Vestuir, Commanding Officer of 20IB, the operating troops under 2Lt. Joter Lobo PA and 2Lt Al Peter Galula PA, received information volunteered by some barangay resident that armed men believed to be CTs (communist terrorists) are present in an area located in between Barangays San Julian and San Pascual of Catarman, Northern Samar.

Early morning, the troops proceeded to the said area and caught the enemy by surprise. Firefight ensued for about an hour that forced the enemy to withdraw towards different directions.  The troops were able to overrun the enemy encampment which has 20 bunkers that could accommodate more or less 30 communist terrorists. The troops also recovered 460 rounds of ammunition for M60 machine gun link; one sack of rice; kitchen utensils and cooking paraphernalia; personal belongings and one bag of CT documents. The government troops suffered no casualty while on the enemy side, there are undetermined number of wounded as troops found traces of bloodstains in the former enemy position.

At 12:30 afternoon of the same day, the government troops while pursuing the fleeing communist terrorists, encountered again a group of around sixty (60) fully armed NPAs about 500 meters from the previous encounter site.  After more than an hour of exchange of fires, the government troops overran and seized the enemy position which is another encampment. The said camp has 30 bunkers that can accommodate more or less 60 CTs.

The recent accomplishments by the 20IB troops against the NPAs in the area of 1st district of Northern Samar have disrupted the impending terroristic activities that are being hatched to be conducted by the NPA. The government troops has dislodged them from their guerilla camps and cut-off their supply support lines that they forcibly take from the residents in the area. The discovery and seizure of the said camp in the area was made possible by the information provided by local populace and is a clear indication that enemy revolutionary organization has already alienated the people and the communities where they got their support through their forced extortion activities.

LTC Vestuir, 20IB’s Commanding Officer commended his troops for a job well done. He likewise extends his thanks to the people of the area for the timely information provided to the soldiers. LTC Vestuir also calls for the fleeing Communist Terrorists to lay down their arms in order to once again live a decent and normal lives along with their families.





Unfair, inhumane treatment

‘GMA very depress, shamed, weakened by govt attacks,’ ex-DOJ bares

November 27, 2011

ILOILO CITY  –  Totally embarrassed.  Seriously affected.  Sicker and in depression.  While at it, a big victim of propaganda war.

Such summed up the first-hand observations of former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez on the current physical state and plight of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

A staunch ally, Gonzalez is among the Arroyo loyalists who remain in close contact with the beleaguered former President now incumbent Representative.  In fact, Gonzalez was with the Arroyos over the weekend with GMA now under vicious government attack while in hospital arrest.

“We talked…and she shared her concerns on what is being done against her…the former First Gentleman (Mike) was saying he could not understand where all the hatred is coming from and why (President Benigno) Aquino is doing this to them,” Gonzalez said in an interview with Bombo Radyo’s John Talento.  “But what can she do?  What can Gloria do?  Let us just pray.”

Gonzalez also disclosed the changed physical condition of GMA.

“When I was there she attempted to stand up from her wheelchair.  While doing that, she almost lost her footing...and she lost so much weight,” Gonzalez added.

Yet depression and all, the former Justice Secretary expressed optimism on the outcome of Arroyo’s case as he downplays the government’s supposed evidence.  Such as he also quipped, “for as long as she stays alive.”

Similar sentiments from another Arroyo ally Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo who is among those who has reached out to the ailing former President.

Pelayo in a message to Ilonggo media contacts decried the unfair treatment of the Aquino administration.

“Accord the former President due process and respect the law of the land,” came Pelayo’s message as he also came out in national television in defense of GMA.

Local political analysts are divided on the handling and mis-handling of the Aquino administration on Arroyo’s case.  Yet what is similarly heard is the shared opinion, that sadder and sicker even are the former Ilonggo Arroyo people who have now seemingly dumped GMA.

“Give it to Secretary Raul and the likes of Mayor Pelayo who are real friends and decent people in government for they are particularly there in GMA’s lowest time,” said a retired teacher.

“Shame on the other politicos who made good during PGMA’s term and now not only have jumped ship to Aquino but has help trample the rights of Gloria,” said another war veteran.





‘Child criminals’ on the rise in Bacolod, Iloilo

November 27, 2011

ILOILO CITY  –  Children as victims and children as suspects are both on the rise with highest in statistics in Bacolod City and the Province of Iloilo.

With official figures released by Police Regional Office (PRO) 6, 2010’s record of 983 total crimes committed by children is expected to be “outnumbered” this year.

This as between January to June of 2011 alone, the total has reached 811 already topped by Bacolod City with 244.  Iloilo Province is 220 to date from its total of 320 last year.

The 2011 crimes with children as suspects has theft as number one crime followed by physical injury.  Incidentally, physical injury too is the crime committed to children.

In Iloilo, theft is number one as well committed by “child criminals” while rape is a significant number at 12 child-suspects to date.  Illegal possession of firearms has two on record in Iloilo in contrast to the six of Bacolod.

Even Frustrated and Attempted Murder and Homicide charges have children as suspects with six in Iloilo and three in Bacolod.

Good news for Capiz with the least in child-criminals at “only” 20 to date.

To note, PRO 6 in a report also released statistics on criminal incidents against children in Western Visayas Region.

With total recorded incidents at 1,389 for the period of January to June of 2011 alone, physical injury and maltreatment top the nature of crimes committed.

In Iloilo province, physical injury and maltreatment too is the top crime committed against the children at 181, a near second to Bacolod City’s 186.

Sadly, rape is next highest in Iloilo crimes with minors as victims at 80 incidents, way higher than Bacolod’s 23.

The rest of the statistics recorded 29 child abuse cases, 25 acts of lascivious conduct and 12 threats.  Further still is 7 on attempted, frustrated murder and homicide and 4 on seduction and abduction cases.

To note, in 2010 crimes against children reached 2,695 topped then by Negros Occidental with Iloilo province still the close second.


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