Former rebels avail Local Social Integration Program grant in Samar
and Jeffrey Labong receiving cash assistance worth P20,000 thru
Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) at Paranas, Samar and
received P10,000 cash assistance and educational benefit from
By 87th Infantry
Battalion, 8ID PA
June 14, 2012
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – The Office of the Presidential Adviser for
Peace Process (OPAPP) in coordination with Provincial Social Welfare
and Development Office (PSWDO) and 87IB spearheaded the conduct of
Resource Mapping Activity relative to the drafting of the Implementing
Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the implementation of the
Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) in Samar Province.
Initially, LTC Cerilo C Balaoro Jr INF (GSC) PA, commanding officer of
87th Infantry Battalion, gave a brief presentation on the
current stating of the former rebels relative to the Local Social
Integration Program (LSIP) and synopsis on the case of Mr. Artemio
Labong of Brgy Pagsanjan, Paranas, Samar former NPA militia courier
and custodian of explosives. Highlighting said activity is the
awarding of educational assistance for Labong’s children.
The salient points discussion for the welfare of Former Rebels (FRs)
were: Half-way house, Health and Medical Assistance, Psychological
Debriefing, Livelihood Training or Economic mainstreaming among
In march 13, 2012, cash assistance was already issued and received by
the former rebels from the municipal government of Paranas, Samar
worth of P20,000 thru Local Social Integration Program (LSIP). It was
discussed that the success of the integration program with Labong
family as a model to encourage other NPA members to return to the
mainstream of our society. Other significant matter discussed is to
institutionalize the integration program for the benefit of current
FRs and anticipation for the influx of surrenderees.
activity was attended by the following participants: PHO, Dr Dulce
Cemal; TESDA, Ms Cleta Omega; DepEd, Dr. Thelma C. Quitalig; CSO, Ms
Albine Valdes; DOLE, Ms Fe Estrelles; OPA, Ms Anila Taran; and
representative from OPAPP, Ms. Imelda C. Bonifacio.
CSOs unite to fight Bt talong, calls the supreme court to issue TEPO
and continuing mandamus
June 14, 2012
QUEZON CITY – Farmers, scientist, doctors, lay leaders, members of
the academe and consumers today unite to fight the Bt talong field
testing, and calls the Supreme Court to protect the constitutional
rights of the people. Members of Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa
Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG), Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT),
Consumer Rights for Safe Food (CRSF), Philippine Misereor Partnership
Inc (PMPI), PILIPINA, SEARICE, MIRIAM Peace, Lingkod Tao Kalikasan (LTK)
and SARILAYA joins the petitioners call for the Supreme Court to
immediately issue the Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO)
to stop the Bt eggplant field trials.
Bt talong is an eggplant genetically modified to produce a toxin to
combat the Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB). Bt stands for Bacillus
thuringiensis, a soil bacteria whose genes are inserted to the
eggplant to produce toxins against FSB. Bt talong, which was
originally from India, is now being tested in different sites across
the Philippines for planned commercialization this year. In India
however, the Minister on Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh order a
moratorium on the commercialization of Bt Brinjal (Indian term for
eggplant) due to concerns on health, environment and control of
agrochem giant Monsanto in their food systems. The Bt brinjal
developer Mahyco is a local subsidiary of Monsanto.
“We praise the Supreme Court for acting swiftly on the petition of the
people to stop the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) eggplant field testing.
Through the issuance of the Writ of Kalikasan, it has temporarily
stopped the new application of permits to field test Bt talong. We
praise the court for its decision to protect the Filipino people’s
constitutional right to health and to a balanced and healthful
ecology” said Dr Chito Medina, national Coordinator of farmer-scientis
The Writ of Kalikasan (writ of nature) is a legal remedy for
environmental cases to protect and advance the constitutional right of
the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. Recently, petitioners
sought for a Writ of Kalikasan against the field testing of the Bt
eggplant, which the Supreme Court en banc granted. The petitioners
include former Senator Orlando Mercado, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward
S. Hagedorn, Rep. Teodoro Casiño, Dr. Charito Medina of Magsasaka at
Siyentipiko sa Pagpapaunlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG), lawyers Harry
Roque and Maria Paz Luna, scientists Dr. Ben Malayang III of Silliman
University and Dr. Romeo Quijano of University of the Philippines (UP)
Manila, Catherine Untalan of Miss Earth Foundation, Leo Avila,
representing the City Government of Davao, and activist-musician Noel
The group however is still very much concerned, as the Supreme Court
has yet to issue a writ of continuing mandamus and Temporary
Environemntal Protection Order (TEPO), while field testing of Bt
talong still continues. “We firmly believe that if the multi-location
trials of the genetically modified (GM) eggplants persist, they will
pose serious threats not only to the farmers, but also to the
consumers’ health and the environment as well” added Medina.
SIBAT whose work focuses on developing groundbreaking technologies
using science and technology that are appopriate for community
development, sees that if the multi-location field trial of Bt talong
continue, this will affect organic farmers due to possible
contamination of native eggplant varieties. “Studies show that
cross-pollination among eggplants is high, where insects acting as
pollinators could travel a reasonable distance. The inevitable
occurrence of contamination could greatly affect the rich biodiversity
of eggplants and related varieties in the Philippines. Contamination
of the non-GM plants would undermine not only the farmers’ freedom of
choice in seeds and technology, but the consumers’ right to
information and freedom of choice as well. Also, GMOs is inconsistent
with the Organic Agriculture Law that excludes the use of such
products” said Shen Maglinte of SIBAT.
CRSF is a network of advocates who aims to build a pro-active and
empowered network of consumers and producers working, coordinating and
cooperating towards the availability and affordability of safe and
nutritious food. Grace Chua of CRSF said that genetically modified
produce which contains a gene of a foreign species such as that of a
bacteria is not equivalent to natural crops and therefore needs
extensive tests for its safety for human consumption and environmental
impact. “International studies have shown that GM products have
adverse effects on the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems
of laboratory animals. If Bt talong will be commercialized, it will
greatly threaten the health and safety of the Filipino consumers. We
believe that consumers should have the right to choose to be free from
consuming Genetically Modified Organisms but is not given this right
because of the lack of proper labeling laws” said Chua.
Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc said that they are very much
concerned with the recent developments on agriculture in the country.
According to Yolly Esguerra, PMPI secretariat that “the government has
the obligation to provide a balanced information on any technology
that could potentially harm so as the people can have an informed
opinion on the issue. However, government agencies and their
scientists harp on the supposed benefits and advantages of Bt talong
and continue to downplay new data and information presented by
independent scientists, experts and institutions on the possible
dangers of Bt talong.”
In India, the Ministry of Forestry and Environment imposed a
moratorium on the release of Bteggplant, citing its impacts not only
on food safety and security, but also on the Indian peoples’ culture.
Considered to be the world’s center of biodiversity of eggplant
varieties, the crop plays a tremendous role in the everyday life of
Indian peoples. In the Philippines however, there were no known
studies made by regulators such as the National Committee on Biosafety
or the Bureau of Plant Industry on the effects of Bt eggplant on human
health and the Environment.
“The Indian government chose to uphold the welfare and interests of
its people after extensive consultations across the nation. But here,
the Bt talong field testing commenced even without proper consultation
and information to the community. This has prompted Brgy Pangasugan of
Baybay, Leyte, Sta Barbara of Iloilo and the City of Davao to stop the
field test in their areas. In Davao, the Bt talong field test was
ordered to be uprooted because of lack of consultation” added Basilio
Prado, a MASIPAG farmer based in Nueva Vizcaya.
Prado added that there are many options to control the fruit-and-shoot
borer which is safer and less expensive. “Bt talong is just a ploy to
further commercialize agriculture and take away the rights of the
farmers to seed sharing and appropriate, safe technologies. It is
puzzling why the proponents has been focusing on Bt talong, whereas in
India a moratorium on the commercialization was passed by the Minister
of Environment of Forestry and Environment as they are also cautious
on the damages that Bt eggplant may cause” added Prado.
“We therefore implore the Supreme Court to likewise protect the
Filipino people against a possibly harmful technology. We urge the
honorable justices to immediately halt the field tests until the
proponents can present objective and empirical data that could satisfy
the multitude of farmers and consumers. And until there is no
independent and scientific study on the safety, environmental
sustainability and socio-economic impacts that is both acceptable to
the public and the proponents, we urge the Supreme Court to issue the
proper orders to cancel all the field tests, and revoke all the
permits related to the said project. There are better alternatives and
agricultural systems that will ensure better incomes for the farmers,
safe food for the consumers and protection to the environment.
Finally, we pray that the Supreme Court to uphold Republic Act 10068
to ensure the protection of the farmers and the consumers as well”
RAFI Micro-finance eyes expansion
June 14, 2012
CEBU CITY – With the aim to serve and help more women
micro-entrepreneurs, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
Micro-finance is set to establish more branches in the provinces of
Leyte and Bohol, and Cebu City.
During the June 9 episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of
RAFI, Noneto Gonzales, area manager of Micro-finance Leyte, said that
there are plans of putting up additional branches in Central and
Eastern Visayas, especially in rural areas.
A branch in Jagna will soon open in June for Bohol clients. More
branches in the northern part of Leyte will also be set up.
According to Richard Candelada, branch manager of Ormoc City, Leyte,
there are currently around 800 active members in Ormoc and more than
1,600 members in the entire Leyte.
RAFI Micro-finance already has branches in Ormoc, Sogod, Baybay,
Maasin, Albuera, Bato, Merida, Kanangga in Leyte and in the
municipalities of Ubay, Tubigon, Talibon, and Dawis in Bohol.
RAFI Micro-finance is a program under the Micro-finance &
Entrepreneurship focus areas, which believes that a better life begins
with a stable and rewarding livelihood.
RAFI Micro-finance also trains their members in saving for their
“In RAFI Micro-finance, we discipline our clients to have savings.
Membership process is also very easy. Giving of loan is individual. We
don’t have collaterals and character is one of our bases. We also
accept big amount of loans,” Gonzales said.
Clients are also given health insurance upon membership. They can
benefit from this for hospitalization purposes.
"RAFI Micro-finance program continues and never stops thinking of ways
to enhance the business skills of its clients, such as giving them
free trainings,” Candelada said.
Ma. Luisa Olita, Ormoc Client Advisory Board (CAB) president, shared
the big changes in her life when she joined the program, saying, “As a
member of five years, I was able to build my own house, expand my
sari-sari store, buy things for our house and two motorcycles. I also
learned to have discipline in handling money, such as being thrifty.”
RAFI Micro-finance Leyte will have a general assembly on June 16 at
the Visayas State University (VSU), Baybay, Leyte. Members from Bato,
Baybay, and Ormoc are expected to participate in the activity. There
will be a medical mission, which includes free general consultation
and pap smear. PILMICO will also conduct a seminar on hog-raising.
“Pagtuki” is aired over DYLA every Saturday at 10 a.m.-11 a.m. The
program tackles timely and relevant issues affecting the Cebuano
For more information about the radio program, visit www.rafi.org.ph or
VP Binay renews call for return of Balangiga bells
By OVP Media
June 14, 2012
MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay Thursday reiterated his
call for the return of the Balangiga bells to the Philippines.
“The Balangiga Bells are a remembrance of the men, women and children
of Balangiga who died in our struggle for freedom. They hold a special
meaning to Filipinos,” Binay said.
He said that the return of the bells is as an act of goodwill that
would further strengthen the longstanding diplomatic relationship of
the United States and the Philippines.
On May 3, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead wrote Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stating his opposition of
the Bells’ return to the Philippines.
“I strongly oppose any efforts to deconstruct our war memorials that
honor our fallen soldiers,” he wrote.
“While we respect the fact that the Bells serve as a war memorial for
US soldiers who were killed in Balangiga, I hope that the United
States will take into consideration that the Bells are a memorial as
well to the many innocent civilians who were murdered in the wake of
the indiscriminate retaliatory attack ordered by General Jacob H.
Smith,” Binay said in response to the opposition.
In 1901, General Jacob H. Smith issued an order to "kill everyone over
the age of ten" and make Samar island "a howling wilderness” after
Filipino freedom fighters killed an estimated 48 of his men and
wounded another 22.
The Balangiga Bells were then taken by US forces as a war trophy in
the aftermath of the Balangiga Massacre in Samar during the
The Vice President wrote to United States Ambassador Harry K. Thomas
in October last year, expressing optimism that the US Congress will
decide favorably on a pending resolution to return the bells.
“Since the Filipino populace, the Wyoming Veterans Council, and the
Catholic Church are considered as the major stakeholders in this
issue, it would be safe to assume that the people’s voice calls for
the return of the Bells to the Philippines,” he said in his letter.
Efforts to return the Bells to the Philippines have started in 1957
when Jesuit historian Father Horacio de la Costa requested the 13th
Air Force in San Francisco, California to repatriate the bells.
Meanwhile, the Balangiga Historical Society through the National
Historical Institute and the Department of Foreign Affairs initiated
formal government efforts in reacquiring the Bells in 1989.
Two of the three Bells are displayed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in
Wyoming, while the third is being kept at the 2nd Infantry Division
Museum in Camp Red Cloud, Uijeongbu in South Korea.
Herrera rebuked for harassing labor department
June 14, 2012
QUEZON CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment recently
rebuked ex-Senator Ernesto Herrera for his rude objection on the
representation of former SSS Commissioner and Trade Union Congress of
the Philippines (TUCP) General Secretary, Victorino F. Balais, as
adviser and delegate to the 101st Session of the International Labour
Conference being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Mr. Herrera disputes the right of TUCP GenSec Balais to represent the
Filipino workers in the ILC in Geneva. He forgets that Balais
represents not just TUCP, but the two biggest labor federations in the
country. His own PTGWO and, being its nominee, TUCP President
Mendoza’s Associated Labor Unions (ALU),” stated Atty. Hernan Nicdao,
TUCP Assistant General Secretary.
The ALU counts among its members the unions in Metrobank, Mitsumi and
Philex Mining. More than half of unionized workers in Cebu are card
bearing ALU members. On the other hand, the members of PTGWO of Balais
are the unions in San Miguel Corp., Coca Cola, Security Bank, Maynilad,
Manila Water, MIESCOR, Philippine Racing and Manila Jockey Clubs.
In a statement issued by DOLE Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz, the Labor
department said that in the designation of the Worker’s Delegates to
the convention, the DOLE used the criteria of being the “most
representative status” under Convention 144 is being used who may
represent. The statement conceded that “the first and second largest
federations [in the country are] Mr. Democrito Mendoza’s Associated
Labor Unions (ALU) and Mr. Victorino Balais’ Philippine Trade and
General Workers Organization (PTGWO)”.
“On the other hand, what labor group is Herrera representing? He is
president of a very small labor federation which may not even qualify
by DOLE standards for lack of the requisite 10 company union members
with valid collective bargaining agreements,” continued Nicdao.
“Herrera should stop his illusions of being a labor leader. He is not
a labor leader as he leads no groups of workers. His band of TUCP
renegades is not just a pocket minority, it is a group of paper labor
federations without affiliates or union members. The only ones with
actual members are not even legitimate TUCP affiliates,” emphasized
General Council, the highest governing body of TUCP has expelled
Herrera on March this year for alleged financial mismanagement. He was
also fired the same month by his former mother union of the ALU for 43
years for being a discreet president of another labor federation.
Cayetano seeks wider access to tertiary education for top students of
public high schools
June 14, 2012
PASAY CITY – Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano has asked
the national government to provide more deserving public school
students easier access to tertiary education.
He said it is the State’s duty to ensure that quality education is
accessible to all regardless of the economic status of students.
He filed Senate Bill No. 3225 entitled the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of
2012, which aims to help outstanding graduates of national high
schools to gain access to college education.
“The bill seeks to enable students of public high schools who graduate
among the top ten of their class to earn full scholarships provided by
the government in the state college or university of their choice,” he
Cayetano said he expects some 24,905 top ten students from the public
high schools to benefit yearly, providing them the opportunity to
pursue their dreams of a better a life armed with a college education.
He lamented that according to the 2010 Annual Poverty Indicators
Survey, 16% of the estimated 39 million Filipinos between 6 to 24
years old are Out-of-School-Youth (OSY).
“This translates to 6.24 million OSY or one out of eight Filipinos
aged between 6 to 24 is an out-of-school youth,” he said.
He noted that the survey also revealed that the foremost reasons were:
1) high cost of education; 2) employment/looking for work; and 3) lack
of personal interest.
“These data is indicative of the need to make education more
accessible to the students,” he said.
The minority leader said he is hopeful that this incentive will
encourage deserving but underprivileged students to study and work
harder to excel academically in order to qualify for a full
scholarship until they graduate.
Local talents shine in Talentadong Catbaloganon
By LAIMINH MABULAY
CATBALOGAN CITY – Talentadong Catbaloganon (TC), the two-day
competition sponsored by the City Government of Catbalogan in line
with the city’s 5th Charter Day Anniversary Celebration, has produced
two sets of winners after competitions conducted separately in the
barangays of Silanga and Guinsorongan last June 10 and 11
Jake Santos, a resident of Brgy. Guinsorongan, bested nine other
contestants in Silanga to claim the grand prize of P3,000. A former
semi-finalist in the nationwide talent show “Pilipinas Got Talent”,
Santos wowed the audience and judges with his ability to change vocal
range from male to female in his “doble-cara” style of singing “Aray
Naku!”. GV Rondalla, a 12-member group comprising students from the
Special Arts Program of the Samar National School placed second.
Maikee Mendiola, an 18-year old girl from Brgy. 03 Poblacion completed
the top three with her rendition of “And I am telling you, I am not
going”. The second and third placers received P2,000 and P1,000
In Brgy. Guinsorongan, Samuel Thomas, proved that the adulation of his
neighbours was not just a matter of hometown pride when he bagged the
grand prize after a song and dance performance of Michael Jackson’s
classic hit “Billy Jean”. Aira Mae Contemplo and JLJ Crew completed
the winners’ circle in this second leg of the competition. Aira Mae
placed second after giving a touching rendition of the song “Liparin
mo ang Pangarap” and was followed by the the all-male, four-member
dance group, who landed on the third spot. The winners also received
cash prizes worth P3,000, P2,000 and P1,000 respectively. As with the
Silanga competition, all the winners here will provide the
entertainment on the fellowship dinner, which is the main event of of
Catbalogan’s 5th Charter Day Anniversary.
All of the winners will have the chance to showcase their winning
talents on the fellowship night on June 15, 2012 in front of city
officials and other important guests. All of the 18 competitors in
Silanga and Guinsorongan had to undergo a screening process which was
conducted by the Waray-waray Youth Advocate, who are the main
organizers of the event. The first screening was held on June 9 at the
City Hall Lobby while the second round of screening was held in Brgy.
Silanga on the morning of June 11. Ten contestants ended up competing
in Brgy. Silanga while eight contestants competed in Brgy.
TC was patterned after today’s popular talent competitions such as
American Idol and Pilipinas Got Talent, where a panel of judges would
critique contestants’ performances. But whereas the latter depended
largely on viewers’ votes in determining the winner, here, the judges
themselves carry the task of choosing the winner based on a set of
criteria which included Performance (50%), Entertainment Factor (40%)
and Costume (10%).
The panel of judges comprised of Vien Aying, the President of the
Waray-waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA); Mr. Anecito Sultan, a Physical
Education Instructor from the Samar State University; Hon. Dexter Uy,
the SK Federation President; Mr. Juniel Tagarino, Catbalogan City’s
first ever Catbalogan Idol, and Ms. Arlene De la Torre, who is the
current Officer-in-Charge of the Music, Arts Physical Education and
Health Department of Samar National School.
Chiz seeks nominations for CJ post from Visayas
By Office of Senator Chiz
June 13, 2012
PASAY CITY – Sen. Chiz Escudero is encouraging the people from the
Visayas to participate in the selection of the next Chief Justice by
nominating candidates from the region they feel fit to occupy the top
post in the Supreme Court.
Escudero, the Senate representative to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC),
said the search for the next chief magistrate is not limited to
applicants and nominees from Luzon and from within the Supreme Court.
“The hunt for the next Chief Justice is an open season and is not
limited to the Supreme Court justices. We need someone who is neutral
and not identified with partisan groups. Applicants and nominees
within and outside the highest court of the land are welcome as long
as he or she is qualified, reputable and has a clean record,” Escudero
Under the existing JBC requirements, all court applicants must be
Filipino citizens; possess proven competence, integrity, probity and
independence and a member of the Philippine bar; at least 40 years
old; and have been in the practice of law in the Philippines for at
least 15 years.
In addition, aspirants for the top magistrate post are now required to
submit a waiver on the confidentiality of bank deposits, income tax
return (ITR) and the opening of the statement of assets, liabilities
and net worth (SALN), as a result of the proposal put forward by
Escudero to the JBC following the conclusion of the impeachment of
former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“He can apply or be nominated either by a group, by an individual, by
a classmate, by a friend, by a relative. It doesn’t really matter for
as long as after being nominated, he should manifest his intent to
accept and he should manifest before the committee that he is
accepting the nomination. We will be accepting applications and
recommendations until June 18,” Escudero said.
Among the nominees outside the Supreme Court as of June 8 are former
University of the Philippines law dean Raul Pangalangan, Revenue
Commissioner Kim Henares, family law expert Katrina Legarda, Solicitor
General Francis Jardeleza, dean emeritus of the Ateneo Law School
Cesar Villanueva, and Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
Five sitting magistrates of the Supreme Court – Associate Justices
Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro,
Arturo Brion and Diosdado Peralta – are automatically nominated for
the top post by virtue of seniority.
Another NPA camp seized by government troops in Samar
By 20th Infantry
Battalion, 8ID PA
June 12, 2012
BRGY. MAGSAYSAY, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar – Due to the accurate
and timely information given by peace loving residents in the area,
the troops of 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion, 8ID, PA under the
leadership of LTC Noel A Vestuir was able to engage local terrorists
in series of encounters at the outskirts of Barangay E Duran, Bobon,
Northern Samar last June 7-9, 2012.
According to LTC Vestuir, 20IB’s Commanding Officer, civilian
informants in the area has tipped-in information about the presence of
armed Communist Terrorists (CTs) that are conducting house to house
visitation and collecting food stuffs from the residents in the
barangays located the tri-boundaries of the municipalities of Bobon,
Catarman and San Isidro all of Northern Samar.
Reacting to the said information, 20IB has sent troops to verify the
reported presence of the CTs in the area. On June 7, 2012, the troops
under 2LT Al Peter Galula while approaching the forested area of Brgy
E Duran, chanced upon a group of more or less 10 communist terrorists
which resulted to an encounter that lasted for five minutes. During
the conduct of pursuit operations, another engagement took place
between the said group and the troops led by 1LT Franchild Dusil last
June 8, 2012. It was followed by two (2) more skirmishes until the
following day. As a result of the said encounters, a communist
terrorist camp was seized on June 9, 2012. The said camp has thirty
five (35) bunkers that can accommodate more or less seventy (70)
The recent accomplishments of the government 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 had 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
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 decent and normal lives along with their