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Culture meets contemporary in City's kick-off program

Karapatan signs petition for disqualification of Abang Lingkod partylist

Former rebels received financial and goods assistance under the local social integration program

Cayetano opposes Sarmiento’s CJ nomination

Asian Parliamentarians to discuss ways for eliminating torture

2 murder suspects arrested

8ID trains army recruits for peace and development in Samar

Iskolars of Mayor Tekwa receives school supplies

Layug: Pacific Partnership 2012 accomplishments exceeded targets

PP12 turns-over Medical Kits and Sports Equipment to Catbalogan City




Silvino Lobos ranks the poorest in EV

NSCB releases 2009 city/municipal poverty estimates for Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 8, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  National Statistical Coordination Board Region 8 head Evangeline M. Paran informed that NSCB has just released the 2009 city/municipal poverty estimates including that for Eastern Visayas.

This is part of the agency’s continuing effort to be more relevant and to respond to the clamor for updated poverty statistics at lower levels of disaggregation, Director Paran said.

The poverty estimates were the results of the Project on the Generation of the 2009 Small Area Estimates (SAE) of Poverty of the NSCB, with funding assistance from the World Bank (WB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

The poverty mapping methodology combined the data sets of the 2009 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), the 2009 Labor Force Survey (LFS) and the 2007 Census of Population of the NSO to come up with the 2009 small area poverty estimates at the city and municipal levels, Director Paran added.

Director Paran expressed hope that these data will be useful in the targeting of beneficiaries and implementation of poverty alleviation programs in the region. She also called for feedback on the policy uses of these poverty statistics.

Based on the 2009 small area estimates (SAE) of poverty, 86% or 121 of the of the 143 cities and municipalities in Eastern Visayas have poverty incidence ranging from 32.1 to 60 percent while 22 municipalities and cities have poverty incidence ranging from 32 to 20.5.

Only three municipalities in the Region have poverty incidences higher that 60.0%. These are Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar with 64.8% poverty incidence; Jipapad, Eastern Samar with 60.6% poverty incidence and Maslog, Eastern Samar with 60.2 %.

It was noted that the poorest municipality in Eastern Visayas has lower poverty incidence than Siayan in Zamboanga Del Norte which is the poorest city/municipality in the Philippines with a poverty incidence of 79.9%.

Of the poorest 20 municipalities in 2009, 17 municipalities are from Mindanao, 3 are from Luzon, none from the Visayas.

For Eastern Visayas, the poorest 20 municipalities in 2009 are all in the Samar Island provinces, 11 municipalities are from Northern Samar, seven municipalities are from Eastern Samar and three municipalities from Samar.

Moreover, of the ten municipalities/cities in Eastern Visayas with lowest poverty incidence in 2009, seven are from the province of Leyte while three are from the province of Biliran.

These include Tacloban City, Leyte with 20.5% poverty incidence; Tunga, Leyte with 23.1%; Isabel, Leyte with 23.7%; Tolosa, Leyte with 24.4%; Palo, Leyte with 24.6%; Almeria, Biliran with 26.8%; Tanauan, Leyte with 27.0%; Naval, Biliran with 27.8%; Maripipi, Biliran with28.0% and Ormoc City Leyte with 28.3%.





Climate reality, crisis yet to be addressed

Sign People's Survival Fund Bill, Aquino urged

By The Climate Reality Project
August 7, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Metro Manila and many surrounding provinces have been experiencing heavier and longer precipitation for almost a week now. Storm surges have gone beyond the usual areas and communities which never experienced flooding are facing a new challenge alien to them.

"This is the 'new normal'. We are facing a phenomenon we never experienced before and this is happening very rapidly," said Rodne Galicha, Philippine district manager of The Climate Reality Project (TCRP), founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States which has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, guided by one simple truth: 'The climate crisis is real and we know how to solve it.'

"Awkward as it may, extreme drought and high temperatures are felt in the other side of the world such as the United States – and here in our country, prolonged rain which results to extreme flooding," Galicha said.

Extreme weather conditions are becoming more evident as more heat is trapped by the thickening of the atmosphere due to high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. As temperatures increase, more water is evaporated from the oceans into the sky.

"This is a wake-up call to all of us – climate change mitigation is indeed a must. In our own little ways we can still make a change: proper garbage disposal, use recyclable bags in supermarkets, proper drainage system, among others, to avoid mass disasters due to floods," said TCRP member and Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta.

Tons of non-biodegradable garbage were washed ashore by big waves and storm surges in Manila Bay and in neighboring coastal areas. Clogged canals and sewage systems due to plastic and solid wastes intensified Metro Manila's flooding, as well.

"But the issue now goes beyond garbage, we should look at our mountains and forests especially Sierra Madre, are there enough trees for our watershed? Or do we still wait for another Ondoy to awaken our sleeping consciousness?" Rueda-Acosta said.

TCRP member and Mariduque Council for Environmental Concerns (MACEC) Executive Director Miguel Magalang said that while mitigating measures are to be implemented, adaptation strategies must be localized and done comprehensively with assured capacity building and financing.

Magalang said that disasters serve as also a wake up call for all sectors of society to actively involve in disaster risk reduction planning and budgeting processes so that details of hazards and risks and scrutinized and matched with appropriate strategies that will be mainstreamed in local programs, projects and activities of the local governments with corresponding budgets from the local community development funds and the disaster risk reduction and management funds.

"We therefore, urge President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to immediately sign the People's Survival Fund Bill into law which has been approved by the House of Representatives and Senate before it's too late," said Magalang.

The People's Survival Fund (PSF) aims to finance adaptation programs and projects that are directly supportive of the objectives enumerated in the Climate Change Action Plans of local government units and communities. Hence, strengthening the Climate Change Act of 2009 by providing predictable, adequate, continuous and untied financing for local climate adaptation.

The current situation also challenges the House of Representatives to reconsider its move to repeal Section 21 of RA 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Law of 2010. That provision of the law ensures enough funding for pre-disaster and post-disaster events, risk reduction and quick response activities.

"Saving lives, livelihoods and infrastructure is the essence of Section 21. Politics should not deny safety and security of the poor and vulnerable," Magalang added.

"However, while we mitigate and adapt, we are deeply concerned with the continuous exploitation of our natural resources and unabated carbon emissions of developed countries – the solution to the climate crisis does not lie only on us but to the genuine commitment of the global community especially of the Annex 1 countries," Galicha said.

"Ultimately, the solution to this crisis is climate justice – going beyond monetizing Mother Earth – giving back what is due to nature," concluded Galicha.

TCRP stressed that the current flooding in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces is only a prelude to more complex hazards and disaster that may happen in various parts of the country. This is a real challenge for all local government units to prioritize serious and long-term solutions to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities.





Samar PLGU-DA holds 2nd Provincial Farmers and Fisher folks Congress

August 6, 2012

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The Provincial Government of Samar and the Department of Agriculture Samar successfully conducted the 2nd Provincial Farmers and Fisher folks Congress at Samar Gymnasium, Catbalogan City on August 6, 2012.

During the Congress, DA Region 8 Director Antonio Gerundio encouraged the farmers to be an agribusiness enthusiast or be an entrepreneur.

“Think of how much will return to you if you invest in any kind of farming, and how much you will benefit from it,” he said. Good harvest with good profit, he added.

Gerudio also encourage farmers as parents to encourage their children to eat vegetables.

Abito Diaz, Matuguinao Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council Chairman (MAFC), a farmer owning one hectare rice field said that this is his first time to attend a Farmers Congress, and he learned a lot from it.

Diaz also benefited from DA seeds distribution and AKBAY financial assistance of 10,000 pesos.

The whole day event was led by Vice Governor Stephen James Tan, Provincial Agriculturist Anita Taran with farmers representatives in fisheries, livestock, corn, rice, and High Valued Commercial Development Program (HVCDP) from 26 Municipalities of Samar as participants.

Vice-Governor Tan said that this 2nd Farmers Congress is right on time in the sense that the province will conduct an Annual Investment Plan (AIP), and with the request from the farmers he said that agriculture will get the 2nd highest budget for the next year 2013.

“More on road networks or concreting of farm to market roads are our priority to help our farmers,” said Tan.

The Farmers Congress was also attended by representatives from the Provincial Agriculture and Fisheries Council (PAFC), Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (RAFC), National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAFC DA Quezon City), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Samar, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), PAGASA, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Region 8 and Department of Agriculture Region 8.

During the Activity, Vice-Governor Tan led the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Automatic Weather Station (AWS) between Director Rosella Gopo DOST and Eduardo Dela Cruz of PAGASA.

This MOA is in line with the AWS device received by Governor Sharee Ann Tan during the Disaster Risk Reduction Management meeting recently.





Jackfruit FIESTA opens at Baybay City

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 6, 2012

BAYBAY CITY, Leyte  –  A two-day Jackfruit FIESTA opened in the morning of August 6, 2012 at the Visayas State University in Baybay City, Leyte.

Spearheaded by the Visayas Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Program and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 8, the Jackfruit FIESTA is a collaborative effort to further push Eastern Visayas as the Jackfruit Capital of the country.

The thrust is towards globally competitive and sustainable Jackfruit industry in Eastern Visayas.

Mr. Francis Rosaroso, chief information officer of DA-8 informed that the opening program gathered about 150 people coming from the government and private sectors and from the stakeholders of the jackfruit industry from all over Eastern Visayas.

FIESTA, Rosaroso said is the acronym for the Farms and Industry Encounters thru Science and Technology Agenda.

Highlights of the two-day activity include the Jackfruit Forum and Roadmap Development Workshop, media conference, product demo, poster and essay writing competition, “pinaka” contest and jingle contest, among others, according to Rosaroso.

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam), locally known as “Nangka”, is one of the popular fruit species in the Philippines. This is manifested by its wide distribution and cultivation. Its many uses (at least 18 has been recorded so far) and excellent adaptation to a range of growing conditions may have contributed to its popularity.

Jackfruit is an evergreen tree, which grows up to 70 feet under favorable conditions. It also bears fruit as early as 3 years after planting and produces fruit that weighs as much as 50 kg.

In the Region, production has steadily increased through the years, which enables Eastern Visayas to ship to other regions and major cities like Cebu and Manila, some 100 to 500 fruits or 2-3 tons per week.

Eastern Visayas has the best jackfruit variety. Claimed by scientists as the sweetest jackfruit ever, with a taste and aroma far more superior than all the rest, is the new jackfruit variety called EVIARC Sweet which grows to about seven meters and produces an average of 35 fruits annually, each weighing about 12 kilograms, nearly half (42.58 percent) of it edible.

It is golden yellow, juicy, very sweet, smooth and crispy textured with a very strong aroma that only langka can give.

Nearly 3,000 has. of jackfruit are planted in Eastern Visayas, and already about 15 percent of that is EVIARC Sweet. The largest farm is a 30-hectare jackfruit plantation in Ormoc City.

Dr. Carlos S. De la Cruz, head of the Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) in Abuyog which developed the EVIARC Sweet said EVIARC is named after its parent institution, the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center.

One reason for the take off is that the cleft grafting of EVIARC Sweet has a 92-percent success rate in propagation, De la Cruz said.

EVIARC Sweet was certified a new variety in 2006. Since then, farmers have been trained on cleft grafting which joins a rootstock and a scion (or "branch") of a mother tree until they are united permanently; it is the most common method of propagating jackfruit.

Leyte now has 28 scion groves or nurseries where seedlings are raised.

The new variety has a very high potential as an export revenue earner and very suitable for reforestation, ecopark and watershed development. It is a platform technology since it could spawn processed products such as juice, tart, pastilles, puree, jelly, jam, candies, vacuum fried and dehydrated jackfruit and more.





New, young lawyers score old, bad practice

Criminal complaints filed vs. PNP officials et. al. for violent dispersal during SONA rally

By National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
August 6, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  The human rights lawyers’ group National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) assisted members of various people’s organizations and those injured during the violent dispersal at the SONA rally last July 23, 2012 in filing criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against PNP officials and members of the anti-riot contingent.

In the 20-page complaint, Renato Reyes Jr. (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), Cristina Palabay (KARAPATAN), Bishop Solito Toquero (United Methodist Church), Fr. Rennie Delos Santos (Iglesia Filipiniana Independiente), Leonardo Sabino (Promotion of Church Peoples Response) and community members of Bayan Muna and Kadamay filed criminal charges for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 (Public Assembly Act) and physical injuries against PSupt. Mario O. Dela Vega, PSR Supt. Richard Fiesta, PSR Supt. Joel D. Pagdilao, PSupt. Marcelino DL. Pedrozo, Jr., and PSupt. Ronnie Montejo of the Quezon City PNP, and other John and Jane Does for their responsibility in the illegal blockade and the violent dispersal that left at least 84 rallyists injured.

Also charged were PNP human rights officers led by lawyer PSupt. Nicanor Salamera who were present and embedded within the police phalanx.

The complainants are represented mainly by young and new lawyers of the National Capital Region Chapter of NUPL who were also on hand at the SONA rally. Atty. Carlos Montemayor, of the NUPL-NCR chapter as well as the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said:

“This should not only be a precedent but also a deterrent to the old, bad, predictable and even comical practice of the police and other law enforcement units of impeding, obstructing and disrupting an evidently legitimate and legal assembly. The fortress set up by the police is not only a violation but also a curtailment of a basic democratic and constitutional right to peaceably assembly. The law enforcers should be the first ones to comply and ensure respect for the law. That is what we were properly taught in law school. That is what we correctly answered in the bar exams.”

Atty. Montemayor added that the PNP officials’ statement that the rally was conducted without a permit is wrong and without legal basis. “The application for a rally permit was received at the Office of the Quezon City Mayor on July 10, 2012 but was not acted upon and hence, as BP 880 provides, the application is deemed granted after two working days by operation of law without need of any further document or action as the application itself ipso facto and ipso jure becomes the permit. It is just silly and plainly absurd to blindly and arrogantly require a written permit when none is necessary as it is the Constitution and the law that bestow the permit,” he explained.

NUPL Secretary-General Atty. Edre U. Olalia concurred: “With the permit deemed granted by operation of law, respondents have no legal ground to block, delay, suppress, deny, disrupt or prohibit the exercise of the right of our clients to peaceably assemble to air their grievances and to seek redress with the government. What is even more ironic is that so-called PNP human rights officers were just standing there, either plainly ignorant of a simple law that they conveniently but wrongly invoke to suit their purposes or totally uncaring about rights violations happening right under their very noses. It is obvious that these officers were just deployed there for tokenism.”

The complainants alleged in the complaint that the PNP officials and personnel openly and continuously violated several sections of BP 880 such as failure to observe maximum tolerance, failure to display the required nameplates, violating the required buffer zone distance from the activity, and obstructing, impeding and disrupting a peaceful assembly.

Those who were injured likewise charged respondents with physical injuries for the inordinate use of force. The NUPL lawyers explained that the liability of the PNP officials stem both from the principles of conspiracy and command responsibility.

The NUPL likewise strongly assailed the seemingly unjustified inaction of city mayors in relation to applications for rally permits. Both Attys. Olalia and Montemayor stressed that “such apparently deliberate inaction palpably manifests the utter disregard in a quite nonchalant and even cavalier fashion of the citizens’ basic constitutional rights to free speech, assembly and redress of grievances – rights whose assertion and exercise by rallyists like Complainants have benefited those who are presently inside the revolving doors of political power themselves.”





No bank loans for LGUs without good housekeeping seal - DILG

August 5, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today hailed new rules that allows only local governments that have been conferred with its Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) to secure a loan from banks and other financial institutions.

DILG-8 Regional Director Pedro A. Noval Jr. said that as a result of talks between DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) issued Finance Circular 1-2012 on April 16, 2012 listing down SGH as one of the stringent requisites for LGUs applying for authority to borrow money from banks and other financial institutions.

“We are glad that SGH is now being recognized by other national government agencies and other concerned sectors as an effective way to determine whether an LGU has good financial management; is ready to secure loans; and pay for them,” Dir. Noval said. He believes that this will further encourage LGUs to observe transparency and accountability.

The SGH is being conferred to local government units (LGUs) that have no adverse report from the Commission on Audit, and complied with the posting of the required 12 financial documents. SGH awardees are also eligible to receive an incentive fund ranging from P1 million to P7 million for their local development projects.

Just recently, the DILG launched the SGH Bronze, Silver and Gold wherein aside from the two previous requirements, additional requisites include compliance with the Government Procurement Act and the Anti-Red Tape Act, a comprehensive development plan, and an above benchmark performance in the local governance performance management system.

Secretary Robredo in a statement said that with the inclusion of SGH as an additional requirement for borrowing LGUs, “good local governance is fast becoming the norm and is the way to go for local governments.”

“Now, only those LGUs with the Seal and who walk the Daang Matuwid will be able to borrow money from banks to finance their local projects,” the DILG Secretary said.

The BLGF circular laid out new documentary requirements, which LGUs need to submit to BLGF before they can be granted Certificates of Borrowing and Debt Service Capacities should they need to borrow money.

The BLGF circular superseded Local Finance Circular 1-2000 issued on January 19, 2000. Under the new circular, aside from the Seal of Good Housekeeping, the following documents were added to the original requirements: letter-request from the local chief executive; certification from the local legislative body that the proposed project to be financed by the loan is included in the Approved Annual Investment Plan for the current year; authenticated copy of the resolution authorizing the local chief executive to negotiate and contract a loan; proof of compliance with the full disclosure policy of the DILG, among others.

In Eastern Visayas, DILG has identified at least 118 LGUs which may be eligible to be conferred the SGH by DILG Central Office this year, up from the 35 LGUs which were granted the award last 2011.





Government sets aside P100-M for Burauen-Albuera road opening

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 5, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The national government has allotted P100 million to facilitate the opening of Burauen-Albuera Road, an official of the Department of Public Works and Highways, recently informed.

The Burauen-Albuera Road will enable travelers from Tacloban City to reach Ormoc faster passing through five towns with combined length of 89 kilometers, very much shorter that the existing 107 kilometers of Palo-Carigara road.

The Road will also offer a shorter route from Tacloban City to Baybay City with a difference of 30 kilometers from the existing Dulag-Abuyog route.

DPWH Region 8 Director Rolando Asis said that with the financial commitment of the DPWH main office, his office will proceed in 2013 with civil works which was halted by funding constraints this year.

“The budget will allow us to open an additional six kilometers of new road next year,“ Director Asis informed in a press statement.

He added that some P300 million is needed to fully open the remaining 8.43 kilometers road plus an additional P500 million is needed to construct four bridges along this span of road.

Last year, the DPWH pegged the cost of concreting of the entire road span at P1.3 billion based on the 2011 cost estimate. The road project was backed by the members of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council.

Director Asis said his office is strongly lobbying for the release of additional budget requirements to meet the two-year timetable for the opening of the new road which will connect the western and northern parts of the Province of Leyte.

The regional office has not received any funding for the project in 2012 for failure to meet some requirements, however, road opening works continue this year utilizing the 2011 allotment, Asis added.





DPWH Leyte II reports 84.42% accomplishment on FY 2012 regular infra projects

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 5, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Leyte Second Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways has an overall actual accomplishment of 84.42 percent on Fiscal Year 2012 regular infrastructure projects.

This impressive accomplishment has been realized under the leadership of District Engineer Ma. Margarita C. Junia with the strong support by the Assistant District Engineer Joel Melchor R. Boco and the section chiefs of the district engineering office.

The Leyte II Engineering District 2012 regular infrastructure projects amounted to P231.170 Million, DE Junia informed.

The Leyte II District Office has completed 8 projects while another 4 projects were ongoing and one project under the Water Supply/Retarding Basins/Rain Collection and Sewerage.

DE Junia identified the completed projects as the Road upgrading of Burauen-Mahagnao road which amounted to P19.464 million; the upgrading of the Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La Paz road which amounted to P16.650 million; and the rehabilitation and repair of Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road with a funding of P30.377 million.

Also completed were the road reblocking with asphalt overlay along Daang Maharlika Kilometer 950+000-Kilometer 951+ 012; Km 958+000-Km 958+804 which amounted to P20.177 million; road reblocking with asphalt overlay along Daang Maharlika Km 945+000-Km 945+291 amounting to P2.117 million; reblocking with asphalt overlay along Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road amounting to P20.739 million; reblocking with asphalt overlay along another portion of Palo-Carigara-Ormoc Road amounting to P5.992 million; and road reblocking with asphalt overlay along Jaro-Dagami-Burauen-La Paz road amounting to P4.650 million.

Meanwhile, the on-going projects are the Road Upgrading of Bagahupi-Sta. Cruz-Barugo-Carigara Road amounting to P24.978 million; the Kiling, Tanauan-Tabontabon-Julita Road amounting to P36.961 million; the Road Opening of Bagahupi-Babatngon-Sta. Cruz-Barugo-Carigara Road at the Highway Boundary of Leyte 1 and 2 amounting to P26.220 million; and the Road Upgrading of another portion of Kiling-Tanauan-Tabontabon-Julita road amounting to P21.735 million.





8th ID honors its exemplary soldiers

August 5, 2012

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  On the occasion of its 24th founding anniversary on August 3, 2012, the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army presented four various awards to its soldiers for the successful operations in the insurgency areas in the region.

The awarding which was held at Camp Lukban, Maulong, Catbalogan City was presided over by 8th ID Commander MajGen Gerardo Layug together with Central Commander Lieutenant General Ralph Villanueva who presented the awards to the soldiers.

The Best Junior Officer of the year with a 5,000 pesos cash award was given to Lieutenant Jorge Panaquiton who led the operating troops of Alpha Company, 87 Infantry Battalion that overrun an NPA camp at outskirts of Barangay Pagsanjan, Paranas, Samar on March 2012. The enemy encampment was being utilized as a bomb-factory by the terrorist group based on the recovered improvised explosive devises.

The Best Enlisted Personnel of the Year with 5,000 pesos cash award was given to Private 1st class Alvin Lapitan who also gained accomplishment in Paranas and Calbiga successful operation.

The Best CAFGU of the year with 5,000 pesos cash award was given to Allan Tulin for the successful operations in Northern Samar.

The 803rd Peace Maker Brigade, who has 4,400 total Combat operations with a 46 engagements and successful operations, received the Most Combat Efficient Infantry Brigade/Infantry Battalion with 15,000 pesos cash award.

Another Most Combat Efficient Infantry Brigade/Infantry Battalion with 15,000 pesos cash award was given to Lieutenant Colonel Cerilo Balaoro Jr.

The 87th Infantry Hinirang Battalion under the leadership of Lt. Col. Balaoro Jr. is right on track in its Internal Peace and Security Operations for the 1st semester of this year 2012 here in the province. Hinirang Battalion accomplished 1,450 operations and 22 successful Combat Operations.

During the period, significant accomplishments includes seizure of bomb factory in Paranas, Samar and capture of three New People’s Army (NPA) members in Calbiga, Samar.

The half-day celebration was attended by distinguish guest, among who were the three governors of Samar Island namely, Samar Governor Sharie Ann Tan delos Santos, Eastern Samar Governor Conrado Nicart and Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza who is the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council.





Cayetano pushes for continuance of 2004 and 2007 poll fraud Senate inquiry

Press Release
August 3, 2012

PASAY CITY  –  Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano called for the continuance of the Senate inquiry into the alleged 2004 and 2007 poll fraud in response to the granting of the bail petition of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in relation to the electoral sabotage raps she is currently facing.

He pointed out that while the Senate’s main function is not to prosecute cases, its investigations do tend to produce facts that can be used for prosecution that will help move the wheels of justice in the country.

“Look at the plunder case against the former President filed in the Sandiganbayan. Almost all the evidence used to mount that case was taken from the Senate investigation. We produce results,” he said.

The senator said that he has informally talked to Senator Aquilino Pimentel III asking him to continue the Senate inquiry into the alleged poll fraud.

“Our job is to find the truth in aid of legislation. We need to get the facts. We cannot change, amend or strengthen the law if we don’t know what really happened. Based on that, we can make recommendations,” he said.

The minority leader lamented the fact that the joint panel’s investigation into the issue has yet to yield results saying he was “a bit dissatisfied with the results of their investigation”.

“Remember, the result we want here is not to point fingers at who cheated or not. If no one cheated, then let’s be honest with ourselves to say that no one cheated. But if someone did, we should determine who they are and how they did it,” he said.

Cayetano stressed that with the 2013 midterm elections looming on the horizon, the Senate’s inquiry is more urgently needed.

“The automation in 2010 was so important because it made it hard for election operators to sell their trade. This is why we have to make sure now that the PCOS machines will not be tampered with. But that’s only safeguarding the election itself. Cheating happens before, during and after the elections,” he said.

“Our role in the Senate is to keep exposing and re-exposing, to keep at them regarding this issue. If those who cheat see that this government means business and that it will put those who cheat behind bars, you’ll have less people cheating in 2013. If not, it will be business as usual for election operators,” he added.



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