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Groups clamor for detained poet’s release

Escudero-Trillanes bill banning sex change angers transgenders

MCA-P and VF sign agreement to combat Trafficking in Persons

Samar solon solicits support for “green” programs

MGB-8 recommends suspension of all small-scale mining permits in East Samar by DENR Secretary

2 wanted persons for murder arrested

e-Blotter starts at 3 police offices in Eastern Visayas

Leyte scores two big wins in Sinulog fest 2012

Carigara celebrates 441st Founding Anniversary

Leyte festivals queens shine in 2012 Sinulog Festival Queen pageant






ESAMELCO withdraws application for P757M loan; vows to re-file later

February 18, 2012

BORONGAN CITY  –  As questions on technicalities hounded the first hearing on its P757M loan application, ESAMELCO had to pull back before the battle could even begin.

“We did not even have the chance to present the projects that would have convinced the consumers that the loan would improve our services,” Engr. Greg Lim-it, ESAMELCO Technical Chief said after the hearing on February 17 wrapped up.

Apart from government officials and interest groups, close to 200 consumer-members flocked to ESAMELCO’s main office in Borongan City for the hearing as talks of the cooperative’s loan application and a subsequent power rate adjustment spread like wildfire.

“We came because we wanted to let them know that we can’t afford an increase,” Jim Vinas, president of the 300-member Borongan Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association said.

But the legal battle expected to ensue between counsels for the electric cooperative and local government units that filed petitions for intervention was cut short when ESAMELCO legal counsel Atty. Jose Michael Edwin Amancio, a few minutes into the afternoon, announced that the application was being withdrawn.

Atty. Mae Mercado-Bacsal, legal counsel for the City Government of Borongan and Atty. Maureen Obon, legal counsel for the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar, during the morning session questioned ESAMELCO’s supposed compliance with the pre-filing requirements set forth by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Both lawyers manifested that although a copy of the application was received, its annexes were not attached after Amancio presented a certification/affidavit of service issued by Borongan City Council Secretary Antonio Sacmar.

“The secretary may have issued the certification but he is not a member of the board and nor is he authorized to act in its behalf,” City Councilor Jennifer Anacio said.

For its part, the Provincial Board, through board secretary Franklin Robedizo confirmed that the certification it issued only mentioned the receipt of the application but not that of the appendices.

Had ESAMELCO’s loan application been approved, consumer-members would have to pay P1.173 per kilowatt-hour for the Reinvestment Fund for Sustainable Capital Expenditures shown as RFSC rate on the electric bill; a 179% increase from the present rate of P0.4004.

According to officer-in-charge Marilen Reyes the loan is needed to finance the upgrade of the electric cooperative’s facilities including its electrical transformers.

“With the increasing demand for power and with our consumers’ increasing power use, we fear that our transformers might exceed their capacity limit soon. We would want an upgrade to be in place before that happens,” Reyes said.

ESAMELCO, in the next two to three months will go to the 22 municipalities and one city in the province to discuss the projects it plans to undertake related to its P757M loan.

“We want to get our consumer-members’ comments on the projects and we want to get their support,” Lim-it said.

“But we will definitely re-file the application,” Amancio said.





DAR’s online legal case monitoring system to hasten resolution of agrarian-related cases

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 17, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)’s latest innovation, the operationalization of the online Legal Case Monitoring System (LCMS), will fast track the resolution of agrarian-related cases.

DAR Region 8 Director Eliasem Castillo said the no less than Undersecretary Anthony Parungao explained that under this project, all agrarian-related cases whether filed at the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) or at the Legal Division in all DAR offices nationwide are to be entered into this web-based system for easy monitoring and tracking on the development of these cases.

Under this latest innovation in modernizing the outlook of the entire DAR organization, involved parties can inquire regarding the status of their case at the DAR Central Office or at any of its Regional and Provincial Offices nationwide.

Director Castillo said that last week, point persons in DAR Region-8 who are to handle the job were trained by DAR Central Office staff to be able to comply with the new system being developed by the agency and avoid erroneous entries.

Director Castillo said that for 2012, some 2,380 cases throughout the region are targeted for resolution by the DARAB within the year.

Director Castillo added that at the Legal Division, DAR lawyers are set to represent agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) as counsels in about 2,273 cases both in regular courts all over Eastern Visayas and at the DARAB; while some 3,355 other Agrarian Law Implementation (ALI) cases, such as inclusion and exclusion of ARBs, retention and protest from the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), among others, are to be resolved also within the year.

During the training USec Parungao stressed that the online monitoring system will simplify the process in order to hasten the resolution of these cases.

The DAR management is optimistic that this modernization project will help the Department in achieving its targets particularly in the speedy resolution of cases affecting land acquisition and distribution.

Meanwhile, DAR Region 8 Information Officer, Jose Alsmith Soria, disclosed that last year, a total of 2,092 cases throughout this region involving some 1,715 ARBs were resolved by the DARAB.

On Agrarian Reform Law Implementation, a combined total of 4,049 cases involving some 3,307 ARBs forwarded to the Legal Division, both at the regional and provincial offices were resolved in 2012; while a total of 2,482 cases where DAR lawyers appeared as counsels for ARBs both in regular courts and in DARAB were likewise, resolved, Soria added.





Region 8 launches Yes for Peace campaign

PIA 8 regional director Olive Tiu (w/ microphone) introduces the organizers of the “Yes for Peace - Bayanihan Para Sa Kapayapaan” led by DepEd education program supervisor Rosemarie Guino (4th from left), PHILPOST operations chief Cirio Oscar Espos (right) and Alpha Phi Omega fraternity members from the different chapters in Tacloban to the media during the Harampang ha PIA in Tacloban City, February 16. (Vino R. Cuayzon)

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 17, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Ten million votes for peace is the aim of the ‘Yes for Peace” campaign which was launched in Eastern Visayas on February 16 at the Harampang Ha PIA media interaction.

Yes for Peace campaign hopes to solicit the positive responses from the public particularly the students Grade four and up to fourth year High School nationwide.

Ms. Rosemarie M. Guino, DepEd 8 Education Program Supervisor, said peace is very important in the promotion of education in the country and that the 10M votes is a significant voice from the people who wants peace to prevail for development to prosper.

Although three young college students Ace Norman Alvero, Daryl Cawad and Gibson Goles were the ones who requested PIA’s help for the launching, the project is actually a project of the Department of Education which hopes to gather all the survey forms before the third week of February because on February 22, a simultaneous nationwide pledge for peace will be held in an event dubbed ‘Panunumpa ng mga Kabayani para sa Kapayapaan.’

The DepEd memorandum that committed to take action on the campaign through a nationwide survey among public students 10 years old and above was downloaded to the regional offices last December 15.

Ms. Guino expressed optimism that DepEd can deliver the needed number of responses as the call for peace has always been part of the education agenda.

Also present during the launching were Mr. Cirio Oscar Espos of Philippine Postal Corporation and members of the APO Fraternity which is a private partner of DepEd in the endeavor.

It is always the children and the teachers that ultimately suffer whenever peace and order in an area is not stable. How can the human resources be developed if education is disrupted due to a conflicting environment without peace.

The survey result will be presented in a report that will be submitted on February 25 to the peace panel, to the government, the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) amid the ongoing peace negotiations.

Mr. Espos said that the role of Philpost is to facilitate the delivery of the filled up survey forms from the municipalities to the Central Office where the survey forms will be opened and counted.

He added that anybody can fill up the survey form because the essence is that each voice of every Filipino who is for peace should be heard.

The form can be downloaded through the internet via, Mr. Espos said, or one can also vote online, he added.

Meanwhile, the local media was requested to help in promoting the activity and also enjoin everybody to fill up the forms expressing support.





Stable income for artists still a challenge

Press Release
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
February 16, 2012

CEBU CITY  –  Growing up in a family of painters, Dorby Alcoseba saw firsthand the struggling life of an artist.

Though his heart is on art, Alcoseba pursued a college degree in computer engineering hoping to have a more stable life. After two years of working in an office job, his love for the art haunted him back.

“The life of an artist is a struggling one. But it’s what I really want. What’s important is to go where your heart is,” Alcoseba, a fulltime painter, said in Cebuano.

The artist is one of the guests in the February 11 episode of Pagtuki, the official radio program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), which is aired at DYLA, every Saturday from 10-11 a.m.

The February 11 episode talks about the "life of an artist", as a celebration for the National Arts month in February.

Having a father and an uncle who are painters, Alcoseba is no stranger to canvass and watercolors. He knew then that painting was his calling, just like his father.

For July Carmel, a degree holder in mass communication, she chose to work as a fulltime dancer in a dance group rather than pursue a career in communication.

Though the pay is not as high as a regular job, she said that what is important is she is happy with what she is doing. Carmel was a scholar for being a member of the university's dance and theater group.

“Performing, dancing...these are my passions,” she said.

Dennis “Sio” Montera, vice-president for visual arts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, said that a stable income is one of the greatest challenges of an artist.

"Being an artist is a lifetime commitment. It has no boundaries, no limits, and no bosses. But it is not a regular job. Financially, it’s a challenge. Artists need to learn how to be flexible because we all have bills to pay. Despite that challenge, you might wonder why artists are happy... because we are happy with our time and in what we do,” Montera said in Cebuano.

He advised starting artists across different fields to not give up and to pursue their passion for the arts, despite the struggles.

Montera expressed his hopes that the government will initiate programs to further develop and preserve Philippine arts.

“Art should be given importance because this reflects us as a race,” he pointed out.





On top of ongoing external financial audit

Former TUCP Sec-Gen. Herrera faces expulsion from TUCP

Press Release
February 16, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Former Senator Ernesto Herrera and his rump group is facing expulsion proceedings from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) in the light of formal complaint filed against them.

Parallel to the proceedings, there is an ongoing external financial audit of projects received by Herrera and his group in recent months given in aid or in grant by the Philippine government and international partners for TUCP’s principal work to improve the conditions of work and life of working people and their families in the country.

“We are giving Mr. Herrera and his rump group time to explain why he and his faction should not be expulsed from TUCP. There are formal complaints especially against him and he should answer why he (Herrera) is making actions inimical to TUCP. If he will not respond within several days given to him by constitution and by-laws, he has waived his right to be heard,” said Alan Tanjusay, TUCP Advocacy Officer.

“This is a TUCP internal due procedures which are working in progress precisely to address all these issues,” Tanjusay added.

Tanjusay made the statement after TUCP President Democrito Mendoza and the TUCP General Council made a courtesy call to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz Tuesday in presenting to the department newly-elected TUCP Secretary-General Victorino Balais and the appointment of TUCP Assistant Secretary-General Attorney Hernan Nicdao.

With them are the presidents of the 20 biggest labor federations affiliated with TUCP, comprising more than the majority considering the TUCP has 25 affiliate organizations.

During the call, Tanjusay said Mendoza assured Baldoz that the country’s pioneer labor center is resilient despite overt actions of Herrera and his group construed by many as inimical to the TUCP, the largest and pioneering trade and labor movement in the country and to the gains it made through the years.

During the call, Mendoza narrated to Baldoz and other DOLE officials the circumstances that surrounded the attempts of Herrera and his rump group to grab the TUCP presidency and takeover the TUCP building and offices on the night of January 25. The maneuver is seen by many as desperate effort to seize documents and dossiers that might cement his complicity into allegations of pocketing TUCP funds.

The attempt was thwarted by the responding policemen from the Quezon City police District.

Herrera proclaimed himself president of TUCP on November 11, 2011. For such he was ousted as Secretary-General of TUCP. He then attempted to takeover TUCP compound a day after he was voted out and replaced by the TUCP General Council due to an externally audited discovery of large sums of financial anomalies, loss of confidence and gross mismanagement of TUCP affairs during his tenure as Secretary-General for 34 years. He was replaced by Balais, president of Philippine Trade and General Workers Organization (PTGWO), one of the biggest labor federation in the country and a loyal TUCP affiliate.





San Jorge no. 1 most wanted person arrested

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 15, 2012

CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  A man charged for Murder and listed as rank number 1 Most Wanted Person in the municipality of San Jorge, Samar finally arrested by authorities.

On February 13, 2012 joint elements of San Jorge Municipal Police Station led by PSI Eric Leuterio and 52nd IB Philippine Army, CAA led by SSg Jose Panghari arrested and identified the suspect as Lobriquito Borden Paragatos, Jr., 50 years old, farmer and a resident of said place.

The Warrant of Arrest was issued by Honorable Judge Feliciano Aguilar of RTC Branch 41, Gandara, Samar for the crime of Murder with no bail recommended.

Upon, apprehension, the team recovered a long bladed weapon locally known as “sundang” and a high powered homemade long firearm which was strategically placed near the window fronting the door of the suspect’s house.

Arrested person is now temporarily detained at San Jorge MPS for proper disposition prior turn-over to the court concerned.

Another wanted person was arrested by the elements of Hernani Municipal Police Station and Mc Arthur MPS led by PInsp Mamerto Camarillo Conopio, chief of police of Hernani MPS on February 12, 2012.

Arrested person was identified as Roberto Daguinod Natividad, of legal age and a resident of Barangay 6, Gen. McArthur, Eastern Samar. He was arrested for the crime of Theft by virtue of Warrant of Arrest issued by Honorable Leandro C Catalo, Presiding Judge of RTC 8, Branch 2, Borongan, Eastern Samar with recommended bail of P60,000 and is now under the custody of Hernani MPS for documentation prior turn-over to the court of origin for proper disposition.





Leyte SP passes resolution interposing no objection to NICUA Mining operation in MacArthur, Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 14, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Provincial board members of Leyte recently passed a resolution interposing no objection to the magnetite sand operation of the NICUA Mining in the municipality of MacArthur, Leyte.

The resolution was made after verification was made by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources through its chairman, First District of Leyte Board Member Roque Tiu, on the documents transmitted by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 8 Director Roger De Dios.

In his letter to the Sanggunian, Director De Dios said the mining firm was able to secure the necessary documentary requirements including resolution interposing no objection from the respective Sangguniang Bayan of MacArthur, Leyte as well as from Barangays Pongon and San Pedro in same town.

NICUA was granted with two MPSA in the municipality of MacArthur under MPSA-290-2009-VIII of Vincent Tan Tiong and MPSA-317-2010-VIII of Edgar Lim.

To recall, on December 10, 2011, the Director of MGB appeared before the members of the provincial board for the purpose of final consultation regarding the favorable endorsement to the Magnetite Sand Project of Tan Tiong and Lim under the Mines Operating Agreement with NICUA Corporation.

In the final consultation, the MGB Director assured the Board that the mine rehabilitation program of NICUA Corporation at Barangays Pongon and San Pedro will be faithfully implemented by the company and as a safety net, a rehabilitation cash fund has already been allocated.

The MGB Director said that a Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) was already organized, specifically to monitor the activities of NICUA Corporation until the time that the mined-out area is completely rehabilitated, with representatives from the National Irrigation Administration and Department of Agriculture as member. The MGB chief said added that soon, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Department of Agrarian Reform will also be represented.

Furthermore, the chairman of the Committee on Environment of the Provincial Board was also included as one of the members of the monitoring team as ordered by the provincial government of Leyte and approved by the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

During the final consultation, the MGB also reaffirmed its commitment to strictly comply of its strict with the requirement of consultation before any mining permit is issued at his level and for securing a resolution interposing no objection to any mining project or proposal pursuant to Section 21 of the Environmental code of the Province of Leyte and Sections 26 and 27 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines.

Board Member Tiu, however, stressed that the issuance of resolution interposing no objection is only for mining firm's operation in the municipality of MacArthur.

It was learned that the said mining firm has yet to comply in securing the necessary documents for their mining project in the barangays of the municipalities of Javier, Mayorga and La Paz.





Arrests of other wanted persons in EV

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 14, 2012

CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  PNP PRO8 intensifies IMPLAN “Manhunt Charlie” regionwide.

February 9, 2012 at Barangay 3, Catbalogan City, elements of Catbalogan Police Station led by PSI Rex Berida Cantillep arrested one Marcos Tan Ilao, 42 years old, married, driver and a resident of Purok 7, Barangay Guinsorongan, Catbalogan City by virtue of Warrant of Arrest for violation of Section 2 (g) in relation to Section 3 (c) RA 9287 with recommended bail of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20, 000) for his temporary liberty.

ILAO is temporarily detained at Catbalogan Police Station lock-up cell and subject to turn-over to court concerned.

On February 10, 2012 at P-5, Tinaplacan, Tinambacan District, Calbayog City, elements of Tinambacan Police Sub-Station led by SPO3 Joselito Dean Serrato arrested a certain Arsenio Francisco Asoque, 70 years old, farmer and a resident of said place by virtue of Warrant of Arrest issued by Honorable Judge Myrna Clemens of MTCC, Calbayog City with recommended bail fixed at P12,000 for his temporary liberty.

Subject person was brought to Calbayog Police Station lock-up cell for proper disposition.

At Barangay Mahayag, Villareal, Samar, on same date, joint operatives of Western Samar Criminal Investigation and Detection group led by PSI Cirilo C Apetin, chieo of police, Villareal Police Station and PSI Manrico C Acorda (CIDG) arrested one Pablo Gerente Alcorroque, 63 years old, widower and Lourdes Nono Gerardo, 35 years old, married, both residents of said place, by virtue of Warrant of Arrest for Malversation of Public Funds (Article 217 of the RPC) issued by Honorable Judge Yolanda Dagandan, Acting presiding Judge of RTC Branch 33, Calbiga, Samar.

Recommended bail is fixed at P40,000 each for their temporary liberty, and they were brought to Villareal MPS  for proper disposition.

February 8, 2012 at about 8:17AM, elements from Matalom Police Station led by PSI Catalino V Landia, chief of police, arrested one Artemio Gado Papa, 23 years old, single, and a resident of Barangay San Salvador, Matalom, Leyte.

Papa was arrested by virtue of warrant of Arrest for the crime of Discharge of Firearms with Serious physical Injuries issued by Honorable Carlos C Fernando, Presiding Judge, Branch 2, Mandaue City and he is now detained at Matalom PS lock-up cell.

Another suspect was arrested by the elements of Tunga Police Station led by PSI Annabel Globo Davocol, chief of police.

Arrested person was identified as Alcher Naadat Lamsin, 23 years old, single and a resident of Barangay San Roque, Poblacion, Barugo, Leyte. He was arrested by virtue of Warrant of Arrest for the crime of Attempted Murder issued by Honorable Judge Lauro Ap Castillo,  RTC Branch 36, Bulwagan ng Katarungan, Carigara, Leyte and is now temporarily detained at Tunga Police Station lock-up cell.

On February 8, 2012 at Barangay San Miguel, Tanauan, Leyte, elements of Tanauan Police Station led by PCI Edgardo Fajardo Esmero, COP arrested one Jimmy Garcela Asdilla, 37 years old, married, PUJ driver from Barangay Paraiso, Dagami, Leyte by virtue of Warrant of Arrest for the crime of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Serious Physical Injuries with Permanent Deformity, with corresponding bailbond of P8,000 issued by Honorable Sarah L. Dapula, Tanuan MTC.





55 poor Eastern Visayas LGUs among 600 focus areas in implementation of bottom-up budgeting

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 14, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Budget and Management informed that at least 55 poor Eastern Visayas LGUs are among the 600 focus areas in the implementation of the bottom-up budgeting, an approach that will incorporate in the budget of key departments the priority requirements of poor local government units.

DBM Regional Director Imelda Laceras said that the 55 poor town and cities were identified by the Cabinet’s Human Development and Poverty Reduction (HDPR) cluster.

Included in the listing released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are 22 focus areas in Samar, 15 in Leyte, 12 in Northern Samar, and 6 in Eastern Samar.

Director Laceras disclosed that the identified LGUs should be able to identify poverty reduction program and projects that they cannot fund at the local level.

The national government should be able to extend a lending hand by way of seeing to it that the priority programs of these pilot LGUs will find their way to the budget of concerned agencies, the lady director said.

”The agencies will combine their respective services in poor communities by taking on the prioritized list of projects and programs and incorporating these into their budget proposals for 2013,” Laceras added.

The early initiation of the bottom-up planning process will ensure that the needs of the poor municipalities will be adequately funded in the 2013 budget.

The identified municipalities were selected based on factors that include the magnitude of the poor in the municipalities, number of population minus number of poor, amount needed to be mobilized every year to eradicate poverty in the area, and the density of the poor by province.

Other factors which are taken to consideration are areas enrolled in the Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) and Kapangyarihan at Kaunlaran sa Barangay expansion areas and the conflict- affected municipalities listed under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

In Samar, the identified LGUs are Basey, Calbayog City, Calbiga, Catbalogan City, Daram, Gandara, Hinabangan, Jiabong, Marabut, Matuguinao, Motiong, Paranas, Pinabacdao, San Jorge, San Jose de Buan, Sta. Margarita, Sta. Rita, Sto. Niño, Tagapul-an, Tarangnan, Villareal, and Zumarraga.

Identified areas in Eastern Samar include Arteche, Dolores, General Macarthur, Llorente, Oras, and Quinapondan.

Meanwhile the identified areas in Leyte include the towns of Abuyog, Alangalang, Albuera, Babatngon, Barugo, Burauen, Calubian, Carigara, Dagami, Dulag, Hilongos, Jaro, Matalom, Tanauan, and Villaba.

Identified Northern Samar municipalities are Bobon, Catarman, Catubig, Gamay, Las Navas, Lavezares, Lope de Vega, Mapanas, San Isidro, San Jose, San Roque, and Silvino Lobos.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said, in his recent visit here, that the national government will be providing next year an additional budget of P8 million to P12 million to each identified poor area in the country under the new approach.

The financial assistance that will be channeled through concerned national government agencies is at least up by 20% than the annual allocation that these poor municipalities have been receiving in the past years.

In line with the present administration’s goal to reduce poverty and achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the national government will begin instituting a “bottom-up” approach to the ongoing 2013 budget preparation process.

Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that budget preparations will be guided by needs identified at the grassroots level, so that the 2013 budget will most decidedly be a people-centric budget, aimed not just at the proper allocation of resources, but also at the substantial reduction of poverty.

The DBM will invite an initial set of agencies to spearhead the new approach. These are the Rural Development agencies (Departments of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, and Environment and Natural Resources) and Conditional Cash Transfer Program agencies (Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Education, and Health).

”The agencies will combine their respective services in poor communities by taking on the prioritized list of projects and programs and incorporating these into their budget proposals for 2013,” Laceras added.

Early initiation of the bottom-up planning process will ensure that the needs of the poor municipalities will be adequately funded in the 2013 budget.

To recall, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said, in his recent visit here, that national government will begin instituting a “bottom-up” approach to the ongoing 2013 budget preparation process.

This, he said, is in line with the present administration’s goal to reduce poverty and achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.



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