Farmers and fishers of Leyte cry freedom from mining
Groups demand national
intervention over Chinese mineral extraction
June 12, 2012
MACARTHUR, Leyte – Due to threat to food sufficiency and security,
villagers from MacArthur town in the province of Leyte urged the
national government to act on the continuous conversion of rice fields
to mining areas.
‘Since 2010, day and night, silence has become alien to our ears as
loud machines continuously extract magnetite from a once rice
producing irrigated lands,’ a farmer from Pongon village said, who
wished not to be identified due to fears of harassment.
Landowners either sold or leased their lands to the mining company
leaving their tenant-farmers jobless and eventually forced to work for
Nicua Mining Corporation which exports magnetite sand to China.
A barricade has been installed by both the farmers and fisherfolk from
the nearby Villa Imelda and Liwayway villages to prevent further
damages to Lake Bito where tilapia fish is grown.
“A series of fish mortalities this year is enough and scientific
studies from government agencies have proven that among others, oil
and grease from mining have contributed to the recent fish kills in
the lake,” said Jesus Cabias, president of Unahin Lagi Natin ang Diyos
– Bito Lake Fisherfolks Association (UNLAD-BLFA)
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) stressed that
three factors led to the fish kills in the lake.
“Domestic pollution, irresponsible aquaculture practice and
contamination from oil and grease from the mining operations are
factors that should be dealt with equally and comprehensively,” said
Dr. Nancy Dayap, an environmental scientist from BFAR.
The study of BFAR complements the studies of the Visayas State
University conducted by a team led by Dr. Humberto R. Montes, Jr.,
Director of the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental
“The elevation of the lake is lower than that of the mining site and
naturally the turbid water coming from the mines will backflow through
the lake’s outlet and eventually intrude the lake – the recent
settling pond water backflow has proven this,” said Montes.
Montes further stressed that a study conducted in 2010 predicted that
the water level of the lake may decrease if large excavations are
conducted in nearby areas.
In a Solidarity Mission conducted by the Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice
and Peace (CBCP-NASSA) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) together with the
Social Action Centers of the Archdiocese of Palo and Dioceses of
Cabayog and Borongan, the villagers in the barricade lamented the
gradual drying up of Lake Bito.
“This is the first time in the history of the lake that it dried up
and the water level has gone down, the theory of VSU experts are
becoming true. We’re afraid, very much afraid – our freedom is
suppressed and our economic, social and cultural rights are violated.
Ganun na lang ba ‘yun? (Is that it?),” said Cabias.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of CBCP-NASSA and recipient of
the international Goldman Environmental Award 2012, who led the
Solidarity Mission said that the series of unfortunate events are
gross negligence and plunder, violation of human rights and disrespect
for the integrity of creation.
“What is the national government doing? We demand national
intervention. For the villagers, there is imminent danger – their
lives and livelihoods are at stake, sacrificed over Chinese demands.
Can we eat magnetite sand? Why are we prioritizing mining over rice
and fish production?” said Gariguez.
“We are calling the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Secretary Ramon Paje to visit MacArthur and all other national
officials to visit MacArthur to see for themselves how the Chinese
suck our magnetite sand and transport it with ease to China. We are
fighting for our sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal, but here in front
of us – face to face – they are gradually claiming our lands,”
DILG highlights disaster preparedness in Tapatan Roadshow
Jesse Robredo hands over a replica of the P1M PCF check to Mayor
Susan Parilla of Naval, Biliran.
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
June 11, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Secretary Jesse M. Robredo of the Department of the
Interior and Local Government (DILG) led in the regional launching of
the Seal of Disaster Preparedness during the Tapatan roadshow on
Disaster Preparedness on Monday, June 11, 2012 held at DPWH Mutli-Purpose
Hall, Government Center, Palo Leyte.
During his speech introducing the Seal of Disaster Preparedness and
interfacing with local chief executives and their respective LGU DRRM
officers; member agencies of the Regional DRRM Council; media; and
civil society groups underscored the need for local governments to be
both “mahusay at matapat”.
He expressed hope that the system of instilling good governance by
providing incentives for performance while providing guidance on
standards would be felt by the community.
Aside from leading in the signing of the pledge of commitment to
Disaster Preparedness during the Tapatan roadshow, Secretary Robredo
also distributed checks to seven (7) municipalities who were awarded
in the 2nd round of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) last 2011.
He also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with 20 LGUs who are
recipients of the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig (SALINTUBIG) 2012 program.
Likewise he signed a Usufruct contract with the provincial government
of Leyte led by Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla on the use of the
lot where the regional office and Leyte provincial offices are
Earlier, Secretary Robredo awarded medals of merit to several
deserving police officers during the Flag Raising Ceremonies at the
Police Regional Office-8 in Palo, Leyte. A press conference was
likewise held by Secretary Robredo at the PNP regional office.
The regional forum, with the tagline, "Magtapatan tayo: handa na ba
kayo?" is a nationwide initiative of the department acting as Vice
Chair of the National DRRM Council for Disaster Preparedness. The
series of regional forums aims to harness commitment of LGUs to
formulate and implement DRRM Plans; ensure establishment of DRRMOs and
to clarify the roles and issues regarding disaster preparedness.
Samar province taps various agencies to support former rebels
By DPAO, 8ID PA
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan Samar – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers)
Division, Philippine Army participated in the Resource Mapping
Activity as part of the Local Integration Program (LIP) of the
Provincial Government of Samar on June 8, 2012 at the Governor’s
Office, Provincial Capitol, Catbalogan City.
The resource mapping intends to tap government and private agencies in
identifying available services within their respective organizations
to be included in the LIP package for former rebels.
Part of the activity is the drafting of the Implementing Rules and
Regulations (IRR) for the Local Social Integration Plan of Samar with
LtCol. Cerilo C Balaoro Jr, Commander, 87IB heading the 8ID
delegation. The activity was also attended by representatives from
PSWDO, PPO PNP, Department of Health, Office of the Governor, TESDA,
DEPED, DILG, CSO of Samar and Ms Emy Bantillo of OPAPP.
Recently, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Samar had passed a
resolution adopting the Comprehensive Local Integration Program as the
Local Social Integration Framework of the Province and
created/functionalized the Joint Validation and Authentication
Committee under Executive Order No. 02, Series of 2012 as a
sub-committee of the Samar Provincial Peace and Order council. 28
April 2012, Adoption of Comprehensive Integrated Program.
“The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army will fully support the
Local Integration Program of the Provincial Government of Samar in
order to attain a genuine peace in the Province” BGen Gerardo T Layug,
Commander, 8ID, PA said. “We also call on the rebels who want to join
the peace and development efforts of the government to avail of the
Provincial Government’s Program” for former rebels,” added Layug.
In Northern Samar, the Provincial Government also passed an Ordinance
05 series of 2011, granting monetary rewards to facilitators of
voluntary surrender of any CT member last May 2011. The ordinance is
part of the Local Integration Program of the Province.
DILG highlights disaster preparedness in Tapatan forum
June 9, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – In order to highlight the need for local government
units and all stakeholders to be prepared for any disaster, the
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 8 will
conduct its own edition of the Tapatan roadshow on Disaster
Preparedness on Monday, June 11, 2012.
According to DILG-8 RD Pedro A. Noval Jr. the activity at 9:00 AM - 12
noon at DPWH Multi Purpose Hall, in Palo, Leyte to be headed by DILG
Secretary Jesse M. Robredo will see the regional launching of the Seal
of Disaster Preparedness. The series of regional forums aims to
harness commitment of LGUs to formulate and implement DRRM Plans;
ensure establishment of DRRMOs and to clarify the roles of everyone
regarding disaster preparedness.
A PressCon will be held at the PNP Regional Office-8 Conference Room
from 9:00-10:00 AM, right after the Flag-Raising Ceremonies at the
Thereafter, Sec. Robredo will proceed to the DPWH Multi-Purpose Hall,
Government Center, Candahug, Palo, Leyte for his speaking engagement
and interfacing with local officials and other stakeholders in the
Tapatan on Disaster Preparedness.
The regional forum, with the tagline, "Magtapatan tayo: handa na ba
kayo?" is a nationwide initiative of the department acting as Vice
Chair of the National DRRM Council for Disaster Preparedness. It aims
to harness commitment of LGUs and stakeholders for concrete actions to
prepare against disasters. It likewise seeks to clarify roles and
issues regarding disaster preparedness.
Aside from Local Chief Executives, also invited to the gathering are
the respective LGU DRRM officers; member agencies of the Regional DRRM
Council; media; as well as civil society organizations and private
organizations with advocacies on DRRM.
Highlights include: an Interfacing with Secretary Robredo;
distribution of checks to seven (7) municipalities who were awarded in
the 2nd round of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) last 2011; a
signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with 20 LGUs who are recipients
of the Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig (SALINTUBIG) program; signing of the
USUFRUCT contract with the provincial government of Leyte on the use
of the lot where the regional office and Leyte provincial offices are
located; and signing of the pledge of commitment to Disaster
Preparedness of all participants.
DAR installs 17 officials in Eastern Visayas
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
June 8, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – Pursuant to Special Orders 144 and 232 issued by
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, seventeen (17)
reassigned and newly designated officials were installed in the
different DAR offices in Eastern Visayas.
The implementation of said Special Orders was capped with Regional
Director Eliasem Castillo of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Region 8 formally installing on Thursday, May 31, Lawyer Sheila Enciso,
former Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Oscar Reloj and
Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer (CARPO) Melecia Ong to their new
posts as the Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD), Assistant
Regional Director for Administration (ARDA) and chief of the
Operations Division all at the regional office here, respectively.
Other officials mentioned in the two special orders and their
assignments are: Atty. Nellie Canillas Dulfo as Provincial Agrarian
Reform Adjudicator for Northern Samar; Ismael Aya-ay as PARO-II,
Biliran; Elisea Orapa as PARO-II, Southern Leyte; Pax Rojas as PARO-II,
Samar; Leovigildo Monge as PARO-II, Leyte; Ramon Castroverde as PARO-I,
Southern Leyte; and Leonora Asaldo as Chief, Operations Division,
The other newly installed officials were Noel Salloman as Chief,
Beneficiaries Development Coordinating Division, Biliran; Danilo
Lozada as Chief, Administrative Division, Southern Leyte; Francisco
Diloy as Chief, Beneficiaries Development Coordinating Division, Leyte;
Rosemarie Balanquit as Chief, Administrative Division, Northern Samar;
Jose Balberde as Chief, Beneficiaries Development Coordinating
Division, Northern Samar; Tomas Martinez as Chief, Operations
Division, Leyte; and Atty. Bryan Lassiter as Chief, Legal Division,
They were earlier recommended by the Regional Director to take the
said posts as he believed them to be the best in their fields.
Director Castillo expressed optimism that implementation of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) particularly in the
acquisition and distribution of the remaining 66,000 hectares of
agricultural lands in the region will be accelerated now that “we have
put the right persons in the right posts.”
The movements in the DAR Eastern Visayas came as a result of the
retirement of RARAD Wilfredo Navarra, ARDA Antonio Tan, PAROs Venerio
Yap of Biliran and Gregorio Fiel Jr. of Samar and DAR-Biliran
Operations Division Chief Violeta Abad from government service, Mr.
Sen. Pia: After 1 year of debates, RH Bill hurdles period of
interpellation, moves on to amendments
By Office of Senator Pia
June 6, 2012
PASAY CITY – Slowly but surely, the controversial Reproductive
Health (RH) Bill is moving forward in the Senate.
After nearly one year of plenary debates, the chamber on its Tuesday
session terminated interpellations on Senate Bill No. 2865, the
proposed ‘Reproductive Health Act.’ The measure co-sponsored by
Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor-Santiago moves on to the
next stage, the period of amendments.
“I’m happy and relieved that after almost a year of defending the RH
Bill, we have finally terminated the period of interpellation,” said
Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Health and
Demography and on Youth, Women and Family Relations, “I’m now looking
forward to starting the period of amendments.”
In an unexpected turn yesterday, Senate President Juan Enrile, a known
critic of the bill, withdrew his intent to resume his interpellation
after all other interpellators were done with their turn. This
prompted Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III to manifest that there were
no more senators left to ask questions on the bill before moving to
terminate the period of interpellation.
Cayetano delivered her sponsorship speech on the RH Bill nearly one
year ago on June 7, 2011. Since then, a total of nine senators had
taken the floor to interpellate the lady sponsors.
“There have been a lot of points raised by my colleagues that we will
be able to use to improve the bill, and I would like to thank them for
sharing their inputs and concerns with me,” she pointed out. “I
certainly hope that in that whole year that we’ve spent debating on
the bill, my co-sponsor (Defensor-Santiago) and I have also been able
to enlighten some of them on their questions and concerns.”
She continued: “I’d like to reassure everyone that we’ll continue to
work hard on this measure with the end in view of passing an RH Bill
at the soonest possible time while also taking into consideration the
valid points raised by some of our colleagues.”
Cayetano concluded by thanking the ‘Pro-RH’ groups and individuals who
had religiously attended the Senate sessions to follow the debates and
provide inputs to support the sponsors.
“We’d like to thank the supporters, non-government organizations and
individuals who patiently came here, sometimes almost every day, to
assist us in the defense of the bill. Our work is far from done, but
we should consider this a triumph on the part of everyone who values
the lives of mothers.”