Hospital Ship USNS Mercy visit Samar, Philippines
By RICKY BAUTISTA
CATBALOGAN CITY – The San Diego-based Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy
is now in Samar Philippines as part of their four-month humanitarian
mission to four Asian nations.
Accordingly, the vessel would complete to visit Cambodia, Indonesia,
the Philippines and Vietnam in the seventh year of a program called
Pacific Partnership, according to the Navy.
Today, while parked at Calbayog City territorial sea, several surgical
operations on board and medical and dental visitation to Samar
municipalities, particularly in this city, have been scheduled. The
MEDCAP includes services on medical, dental, optometry, women’s
health, and general out-patient consultation.
On June 15, the medical team of the USNS Mercy will hold its “press
briefing” at Ciriaco Hotel in Calbayog to members of the tri-media
based in Eastern Visayas.
From June 18-24, the enlistment of possible patients will take place
as Surgical Civic Action Programs (SURGCAP) will only be held in
Calbayog City. Actual surgeries will be performed on-board the USNS
Mercy ship after the enlistment.
In this city, health authorities’ said medical consultations and free
check-ups will be held on June 25 to 30 this year. With the assistance
of the City Health Office, the MEDCAP in this city will be at the
Silanga Elementary School, Barangay Silanga, among other locations in
City Health Officer Dr. Amalia Tirazona said the MEDCAP is set to
cater at most 400 patients per day and will further be assisted by
Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN HEALS)
nurses stationed at the City Health Office.
Catbalogan Councilor Stephany Tan also revealed there were also a
series of sub-activities relative to the Pacific Partnership 2012
scheduled in this city in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the goal of the program is to build relationships that will
help in the event of a natural disaster.
"A lot of planning and coordination among host and partner nation
governments and military, civilian organizations and agencies have
gone into getting us to this point," said Capt. James Morgan, the
The team was guided with the theme: ‘Preparing in calm to respond in
Converted from an oil tanker in the mid 1980s, the Mercy first saw
duty in the Persian Gulf War. Following that deployment, it left its
berth at Naval Base San Diego.
However, the 2004 tsunami that struck Indonesia prompted the hospital
ship to return to the area every year since.
The Mercy carries about 400 Naval medical personnel, along with
civilian crew members with the Maritime Sealift Command. Crew members
on the Mercy will provide medical, dental and veterinary care in the
host nations and help with civil engineering projects.
Pacific Partnership also includes personnel from the Army, Air Force
and Marine Corps; U.S. State and Justice Departments, Agency for
International Development and National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Japan will contribute a landing ship, helicopters, a medical team and
representatives from the country's volunteer organizations.
Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands,
New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will also
deploy personnel in support of the mission.
organizations scheduled to take part include the UC San Diego
Pre-Dental Society, a student-run free dental clinic; Project Hope,
which launched the first civilian hospital ship, LDS Charities; and
the University of Hawaii.
ANAD twits NDF’s recent call to resume peace talks!
By ANAD Partylist
QUEZON CITY – “They’re again singing the same old song in the same
broken record with the same vile and venom of their devious commitment
to destroy our country’s political structure, economy, and throw-in
more hardships against our people!” This is the reaction of the
Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (ANAD) Partylist to the Maoist
terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF’s reported willingness to resume formal peace
negotiations with the government, during their recent meeting in Oslo,
Norway, last June 14-15, 2012 (Reds Ready to Resume Talks with Gov’t,
“Nothing new did come out of that meeting!” said ANAD Rep. Jun Alcover
adding that Maoist terrorists willingness to resume the peace talks is
expected considering the heavy losses they suffered due to the
military’s sustained operations against them. Rep Alcover explained
that Jose Ma. Sison and his wards wanted to have some sort of a
breathing space and time to re-group and reconsolidated their forces,
and replenish their resources they badly needed.
“Despicable is their intention to resume the stalled talks yet still
anchored on conditions that were already rejected by the government
and most of these were blatant violations they themselves committed
yet pinned the blame on the government,” said Rep. Alcover.
Among others, Rep. Alcover referred to the following conditions
presented by NDFP panel head Luis Jalandoni during that meeting: a)
Respect for and compliance with all bilateral agreements without
qualification; b) Release of all 356 political prisoners in accordance
with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Hernandez political
offense doctrine; c) Respect for and compliance with the Joint
Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG); d) Release of all
14 NDFP Consultants and JASIG-protected NDFP personnel; e)
Reconstruction of Document of Identification (DI) list; use of
encrypted photos as legitimate photos.
Items c, d, and e are obviously designed to rectify a foolhardy Maoist
terrorists’ blunder when, upon verification, the diskette purportedly
containing the list of NDF consultants covered by JASIG that was under
the care of the Archbishop of Norway turned out empty and definitely
not damaged as claimed by an Associated Press report (para 11,
Philippine Officials, Rebels Fail to Break Impasse, 6/17/12.
“Is government giving Joma’s war-addicts the privilege of coming up
with a list on a diskette that was already proven to contain nothing?”
asked Rep. Alcover as he warned the President that this act alone is
tantamount to pushing the country to the ‘wolves.’
“What about the premeditated, abrasive, and unabated attacks committed
by the terrorist NPAs against innocent civilians, a number of which
resulted in the killing of children in Northern Samar and other parts
of Mindanao. Is government closing its eyes to these gruesome
violations against humanity in exchange for a highly suspect and
dubious peace with Maoist terrorists that never believes in peace but
fully exploits every opportunity of any peace negotiation to advance
their violent national democratic revolution,” quipped Rep. Alcover.
With the seeming success by the AFP against the NPAs, Rep. Alcover
urged the government to unleash the full force of the law against
these terrorists. “Time and again, ANAD maintains that any peace talk
with Joma’s cabal of wicked liars is a futile political exercise and a
total waste of taxpayers’ money. Government stands to gain nothing,
including peace, in dealing with a Godless and violent group known to
be adept in swinging the swords of war against helpless and innocent
Filipinos,” the sole pro-democracy solon said.
should now face reality and accept the dire consequences and failures
of his peace initiatives since 2010. The Maoist terrorists must be
made to realize that government means business regardless of the cries
and protestations expected to be mounted by Maoist sectoral front and
partylist organizations, like BAYAN, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT,
Anakpawis, and Kabataan even if they (partylist groups) belong to the
majority group in Congress supporting his administration,” he pointed
Matuwid na Daan, DA’s response to call for transparency in gov’t
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
June 18, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture is slated to launch on
July 5, 2012, the Matuwid na DAAN project, in response to the call for
transparency in government transactions and as a manifestation of its
desire to win back the trust and confidence of the Filipino people.
DA Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio said that officials
from the DA Central Office recently visited Eastern Visayas in order
to introduce the new project to the DA Regional Field Unit 8 staff.
“Dir. Gary Glenn B. Fantastico of the Department of Agriculture
(DA)-Information Technology Center for Agriculture and Fisheries (ITCAF),
together with ITCAF Consultant Mr. Carlo Cachuela, introduced to the
DA-8 management the Matuwid na DAAN Project which stands for the
Department of Agriculture Accountability Network which will be
launched on July 5, this year,” RED Gerundio said.
The Matuwid na Daan is basically a web portal which provides
readily-accessible information on DA’s performance and
It will virtually, give face to DA’s advocacy on adhering to
accountability and transparency in pursuing food security while
promoting public awareness of its community-focused projects and
activities nationwide, Director Fantastico said.
Matuwid na Daan, Director Fantastico disclosed, will feature a running
account of all DA projects vis-à-vis their fund allocation and
cumulative disbursements, completion period, percentage of
accomplishment and other relevant data, including regularly updated
photos, so as to enable the public to track down and evaluate the
proper use of agency resources.
Dir. Fantastico said, “This website will empower the DA constituents
and the rest of the nation to contribute to the effective and
efficient implementation of agriculture-related projects in their
respective localities by reporting their actual status, validating
receipt of government assistance or otherwise, sharing knowledge and
skills, introducing best practices, or simply becoming aware and
making full use of the government’s services for community-based
Dir. Wilson A. Cerbito, DA-8’s Regional Technical Director for
Research and Regulations commended the DA-ITCAF for coming up with
such a project for it has opened an opportunity for DA-8 to show its
outputs on the Inventory System on Agriculture and Fishery Investments
(ISAFI) Project which was already implemented in the four provinces in
the region, namely, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran and Eastern Samar.
RTD Cerbito further revealed that ISAFI Project will be rolled out to
the two remaining provinces, Samar and Northern Samar, by July of this
year, as ordered by the DA Central Office.
The Information Technology Center for Agriculture and Fisheries of the
Department of Agriculture is mandated to formulate policies and
guidelines in the design, acquisition, maintenance, use and disposal
of IT to guide all DA units/offices and National Information Network
stakeholders and key players in their related activities.
Rape suspect arrested in Tolosa, Leyte
By RPCRD, Police Regional
June 18, 2012
CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – PNP PRO 8 stands firm on the
Chief PNP’s marching order to sustain the accounting of wanted persons
giving due attention to the service of warrants.
On June 15, 2012, the Tolosa Police Station led by PInsp Pascacio,
chief of police, arrested 44 years old Jimmy Varona alias “bogoy” of
Barangay Malbog, Tolosa, Leyte on a Tolosa Wanted Person Warrant. The
warrant was issued by Honorable Salvador Apurillo, Presiding Judge RTC
8 Tacloban City for the crime of Rape with recommended bail of One
Hundred Twenty Thousand Pesos (P120,000). Varona was then turned-over
to the issuing court.
On the same date, at approximately 10:30 in the morning, Matag-ob
Police led by PSI Maturino Diaz, chief of police, arrested Cresente
Imelda Ignas for the crime of Murder issued by Presiding Judge
Apolinario M. Buaya of Branch 35, Ormoc City with recommended bail of
P120,000. Subject person was brought to Matag-ob Police Station for
proper disposition prior turn-over to issuing court.
On a belated report on serving of search warrant, joint elements of
Libagon Police Station, Southern Leyte PPSC and Southern Leyte CIDT
led by PSI Jay Cinco Balderian, PSI Eleazar Ramirez Gonzaga and PSI
Ferdinand M Mendoza respectively, conducted search and seizure at the
residence of Herbert Lasala Mendez, 31 years old, married and a
resident of Barangay Nahulid, Libagon, Southern Leyte. The warrant was
issued by Honorable Rolando L. Gonzales of RTC Branch 39 for Violation
of RA 8294 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammos).
The search resulted to the confiscation of one (1) unit .38 caliber
homemade revolver without serial number; two (2) live ammos and a
Suspect was not able to present any firearms license when demanded by
the operatives witnessed by the Barangay officials of said place.
Mendez together with the confiscated items was brought to SLCIDT for
proper disposition and filing of appropriate charges in court against
VP Binay: Cases filed vs. recruiters to Syria; BI personnel face
By OVP Media
June 18, 2012
MANILA – The government has filed 29 illegal recruitment cases
against agencies and persons recruiting Filipinos to work in Syria
despite a government ban, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
The Vice President added that 14 show-cause orders have been filed
against Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel for their alleged
involvement in the illegal smuggling of Filipinos.
Binay said these actions underscore government's determination to
enforce the deployment ban to Syria. He echoed appeals from other
government authorities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) not to go
Binay is the Presidential Adviser on OFW Concerns. Concurrently, he is
the chairman emeritus of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking
(IACAT) and chairman of the Presidential Task Force Against Illegal
"To date, 668 OFWs have been repatriated from Syria. Of the 668, only
330 had verified passports issued by the DFA (Department of Foreign
Affairs)," he said.
"Only 196 departures or 59 percent of the total verified passports
were recorded by BI officers," he added.
The anti-trafficking czar said the data was culled from the interviews
conducted by IACAT staff on returning OFWS.
Upon the order of the Vice President, the IACAT recently implemented a
mandatory interview of all repatriated OFWs from the war-torn Middle
"The DOJ (Department of Justice) is set to issue formal administrative
charges against the 14, with the hearing to commence within the week,”
"Before the end of the month, the DOJ will also be issuing show-cause
orders to 11 additional Immigration officers, based on the findings in
the interventions made on the latest batch of repatriates from Syria,"
he further said.
He said that the filing of administrative charges against BI personnel
shows the government's commitment to eliminate the causes of
trafficking and punish those who help in the illegal smuggling of
Moreover, the Vice President reiterated the call for OFWs not to seek
employment in Syria.
“I am asking our kababayans, for their own safety, not to accept any
employment offers in Syria. Your lives are not worth any amount of
money that you may potentially earn there,” he said.
appealing to all our kababayans who are planning to work abroad, to
please go through the proper legal channels to avoid becoming victims
of trafficking and illegal recruitment syndicates,” he concluded.
Stop the magnetite mining operation in Mac Arthur Leyte - EVEF
By Eastern Visayas
Ecumenical Forum (EVEF)
June 16, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – “Save Lake Bito, Now Na” was intentionally posted by
the Nicua Mining Corporation (NMC) in their streamers just across the
barricade of the concerned constituents of Mac Arthur, Leyte who are
affected by the magnetite mining operation in their locality.
“It was, indeed, an inconsistent and irresponsible act of NMC and the
local officials of Mac Arthur, Leyte who joyously and festively
culminate their Tree Planting activity last June 11, 2012 by posting
all those streamers with ironical statements. While they superficially
express their concern to save Lake Bito through their streamers, we
have seen how they undermine the people’s legitimate demand to stop
the mining operation as it grievously affect the source of livelihood
of the people”, Rev. Irma Mepico-Balaba, of the Advocacy and Education
Committee of EVEF said as she had personally witnessed it last Monday.
She added, “we are calling the Local Government Unit of the
Municipality of Mac Arthur, Leyte as represented by the Municipal
Mayor to take a responsible action in addressing these problems faced
by his constituents by revoking the NMC’s permit to operate within the
whole municipality and to assist the people who are economically
displaced and dislocated due to the mining operation.”
EVEF condemn those officials and leaders of those concerned government
agencies and others like them, who connive with big mining businesses,
foreign and local, to cheat the people of what is justly for them.
To recall, it is not only the fisherfolks who depended their
livelihood on fishing at Lake Bito who are affected by the magnetite
mining operation but also the farmers who were displaced as the NMC
started to convert the agricultural land into a desert since it
started its operation.
With this, according to Balaba, “EVEF resolutely take our position for
the NICUA Mining Corporation to cease its operation. Correspondingly,
we are challenging the DENR and MGB to be intentional and transparent
in looking into the violations of NMC on the environmental compliance
and to effect cancellation of their Environmental Compliance
Certificate for them to stop the operation.”
concluded, “EVEF will always stand in support to the victims of the
foreign mining corporations who are greedily draining the natural
resources at the expense of the people’s livelihood and environmental
destruction. It is imperative of our Christian faith to be faithful in
our calling as stewards of God’s creation and to protect it from
whatever forces that will cause its destruction. STOP THE MAGNETITE
MINING OPERATION IN MAC ARTHUR LEYTE AND OTHER MINING OPERATIONS IN
EASTERN VISAYAS! NO TO EXPLOITATION OF OUR PHILIPPINE NATURAL
5,000 join pilgrims’ walk to Sulangan, Guiuan
Samar Governor Conrado B. Nicart, Jr. (center) walks beside
Vice-Governor Christopher Sheen P. Gonzales (right) during the
first ever Pilgrims’ Walk to Saint Anthony of Padua Church in
Sulangan, Guiuan on June 12, 2012. The two government officials
walked the 21 kilometer pilgrimage route with some 5,000 other
devotees. (Photo by GARRY A. BALANO)
By MEDORA NIMFA QUIRANTE
BORONGAN CITY – More than 5,000 Saint Anthony of Padua devotees
walked the 21 kilometer road that leads to barangay Sulangan’s parish
church on June 12, 2012.
According to Guiuan Tourism Officer Aurora delos Reyes, one of the
event organizers, the devotees took off from Guiuan’s Immaculate
Conception Church, located at the heart of the town, at 2:00 AM.
Besides pilgrims from Eastern Samar, the first ever Pilgrims’ Walk
also attracted participants from other provinces in the region.
“Based on the registration sheets we have, there are even devotees
from Manila and other parts of the country. We even have some who came
from other countries,” delos Reyes said in an interview.
Eastern Samar Governor Conrado B. Nicart, Jr and Vice-Governor
Christopher Sheen P. Gonzales were also spotted during the activity,
the former coming with other key officials in the province.
In a separate interview, Guiuan Mayor Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan said that
the activity is part of the local government’s “intensive tourism
Delos Reyes said that the town offers three packages for prospective
tourists: historical and educational - which includes a tour of its 16th
century church and other historical landmarks, adventure - a tour
package for surfers and skim boarders, and religious - which centers
on the pilgrimage to Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Sulangan.
Saint Anthony of Padua’s feast, a day after the Pilgrim’s Walk, saw
thousands of visitors – foreign and local alike.
Sulangan is considered the prime pilgrimage site in the province.
“Roughly 40% of the tourists that visit Guiuan come because of
Sulangan,” delos Reyes said.
According to the tourism officer, the LGU hopes to make the event
bigger next year because it is also expected to benefit
Mining, an issue of social justice - VP Binay
By OVP Media
June 15, 2012
MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said communities that host
mining operations should be the first ones to benefit from the
economic gains from the mining industry.
“Mining goes beyond economic considerations. It is above all, a social
justice issue. Communities that host mining operations should be
granted opportunities like education, health care, clean water, and
power as a bare minimum,” Binay said in a speech at the Philippine
Society of Mining Engineers’ 2nd Mining Convention in Davao City.
“The social and human profits emanating from mining should merit
honest and profound focus. Minerals are non-renewable and once they
are utilized, they will not grow back. It is therefore important that
the gains from this enterprise bring financial strength to the true
owners of this wealth – the people,” he added.
The Vice President also cited mining’s economic potential saying the
Philippines has about 9 million hectares of potential mining land with
only 1.4 million hectares being covered by mining permits.
“We have billions of tons of metallic and non-metallic mineral
deposits buried within our soil,” Binay said.
“This is the strange contradiction that we live in, so many look for
food and decent living above ground, while so much wealth lies
literally beneath our feet,” he added.
However, Binay also acknowledged the impact of mining to the
environment. He urged industry stakeholders to apply every measure and
technology to ensure that the impact on the environment is managed and
that proper rehabilitation is undertaken.
“Exceeding the bar of our desire to protect and preserve the earth we
live in, is our duty to use its resources wisely and prudently for the
benefit of all men,” Binay said.
“We cannot forever look at these riches as taboo and refuse to touch
them, but neither can be we wasteful and careless in its consumption,”
Binay also said that he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with President
Benigno Aquino III in believing that a multipartite approach can find
sustainable and environmentally-sound mining principles that will help
the mining industry fulfill its true role in the economic development
of the country.
He added that at the moment, the government is currently drafting a
mining policy statement that seeks to increase the government’s share
in mining revenues.
“I would like to reiterate that this policy statement, as President
Benigno Aquino III himself has said, is still a work in progress. Our
beloved President has assured us that discussions with the various
entities that are very much concerned with mining in our
country—including ecological groups, the mining groups, and local
government units – will still have to be made,” Binay said.