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Army troops join Peace Workshop for Women in Samar

PNP SCOUT to beef up campaign against local terrorist movement in Eastern Visayas

PRO8 nabs brgy chairman for rape

Livelihood assistance given to FRs

Joint assembly of RDC, REAL tackles convergence towards rapid, inclusive, sustained economic growth

Army troops conduct bloodletting activity

FOI death by inaction looms in Congress

NCPW kick-off ceremony draws multi-sectoral support

Alangalang acquires P13-M fire truck from Korea

Cash assistance released to 15 former rebels




Karapatan keeps fight vs. Cybercrime law, calls attention of UN

October 10, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Karapatan, on October 8, 2012, brought the issue of the Cybercrime law to the attention of the United Nations, through Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

While the Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) for the implementation of the Cybercrime law for 120 days, “the people must remain vigilant against all possible maneuvers by the Aquino government to implement the said law,” said Karapatan secretary general, Cristina Palabay.

The letter of complaint sent to the United Nations asked the Special Rapporteurs to urge and recommend to the Government of the Philippines to junk the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other similar measures, such as the Anti-Terrorism Act, that suppress civil liberties and human rights; and for the Aquino government to take measures to respect and uphold the freedom of speech, expression and of the press.

Karapatan said that the cybercrime law will pave the way for more abuses by the government. Karapatan uses the internet to “articulate our analyses on rights violations which, most of the time, are not reported on mainstream media. The internet is a tool for us to expose state-sponsored abuses. With the enactment of the Cybercrime law, our right to free speech is clearly jeopardized.”

Palabay added that, “the Aquino government did not only violate our basic rights embodied in the Philippine Constitution, it also transgressed international human rights conventions and declarations, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders of which the Philippines is a signatory.”

“With the Supreme Court’s TRO, the people have won, partially. We owe it to the people to keep up the fight against this repressive measure. The cybercrime law must be scrapped as soon as possible. We will not allow the ghost of martial rule to haunt us again, whether online or offline,” Palabay concluded.

To date, 15 petitions to declare the said law unconstitutional / null and void has been filed before the Supreme Court.





Airline company launches direct flight services from Iloilo to Tacloban City

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 7, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Starting October 5, 2012, businessmen and travelers can already travel from Tacloban directly to Iloilo City, thus making the three Regions in the Visayas Islands more accessible.

The Cebu Pacific Air launched on Friday, direct flight services from Iloilo to Tacloban City in the province of Leyte.

The route serviced by an ATR 72-500 aircraft will be on a thrice weekly schedule, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It has an estimated flying time of about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Flight #5J156 of Cebu Pacific leaves Iloilo at 06:05 in the afternoon and arrives in Tacloban at 7:15 in the evening, every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Meanwhile Flight #5J157 leaves Tacloban at 7:35 in the evening and arrives in Iloilo City at 8:45 in the evening.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla who is the chairman of the Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council welcomes the new development saying that the introduction of this new route is seen to strengthen the economic ties between Iloilo and the province of Leyte and the Eastern Visayas as a whole.
It will also be beneficial to local travelers who want to explore Iloilo and Tacloban without having to connect flights, Governor Petilla added.

Tacloban is the provincial capital of Leyte and the regional center of the Eastern Visayas (Region VIII). It is a tourism hub and the primary gateway to Eastern Visayas. The region is known for its natural ecological beauty and diversity and for its historical significance in the Second World War.

Some of the most frequented destinations in Leyte include the scenic San Juanico Bridge, the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, the neoclassical Leyte Provincial Capitol and the monumental MacArthur Memorial Park, and the now famous Kalanggaman Island.

Aside from Iloilo to Tacloban, Cebu Pacific is also opening 5 more inter-island routes to boost Philippines’ most extensive route network.

It will launch thrice weekly flights between Cebu and Busuanga, and between Tacloban and Legazpi starting October 4, 2012. Both routes will operate on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday frequency, using an ATR 72-500 aircraft.





With PH now has world’s highest electricity rate – a forthcoming social ‘typhoon’, says ALU-TUCP

By Associated Labor Unions (ALU)
September 30, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Today’s largest confederation of labor unions in the country, the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP warns of workers’ unrest if the government fails to act on rising electricity rates after hitting an all-time high record of 13.66 pesos per kilowatt hour in Manila Electric Company’s (MERALCO) five million customers in the past thirty days.

“This development is alarming because it will hurt the already precarious income of workers. The rising cost of electricity, at the same time, scares new investors from coming in. And worse, it will force existing businesses to close shop and transfer to other neighbouring Southeast Asian countries where electricity is cheaper.

The ultimate impact is: more and more Filipinos will be jobless, or, more and more will be aspiring two jobs at one time for them to cope,” said Gerard Seno, ALU national executive vice president.

“Aside from losing jobs, the most painful effect of government powerlessness over high electricity rates is the fact that 6% to 11% of the workers’ monthly salary goes to their electric bills. This means they will pay more for the monthly electricity than their budget for food, water, fuel, tuition fees and other basic commodities. If this trend continues to surge, workers’ unrest is very apparent,” he stressed.

Monitoring of electricity rate made by TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza showed the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) residential rates hit an all-time high of P13.66 per Kilowatt hour (kWh) beginning August. At a dollar equivalent of US$.33 per kWh this amount is the highest residential rate in the world surpassing those of Denmark and Germany, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Japan, Belgium and Netherlands at 22 to 32 US cents per kilowatt-hour.

On one hand, the electricity rates in neighboring Asian competitors Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Indonesia are steady at 0.086 to 22 US cents per kilowatt-hour.

Seno stressed that the ALU and an employers group have been urging Energy secretary Jose Rene Almendras since last year to make drastic actions on the energy problems issue but there has been none thus far.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that open access will be implemented next month. Under open access those customers with 1 megawatt load can now choose their power producer. However, the ALU and the TUCP Party-list shares the fear that once open access kicks in, the captive residential market faces the prospect of increased residential rates once Distribution Utilities lose their large industrial and commercial loads.

While open access promises to be potentially damaging to the interests of consumers, the ALU and the TUCP Party-list want to get a firm commitment from the DOE that open access will be held in abeyance until a comprehensive, national, multi-sector consumer impact assessment is undertaken.

The DOE must create a clear energy roadmap on how to bring down the power rates in the country even as it ensures energy security. The mandate of the government particularly the DOE is to protect the consumers from excessive corporate profiteering and ensure reliable, affordable power. It must do its job to safeguard the public, Seno said.





Balangiga Encounter: A day to remember

September 29, 2012

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City  –  The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army joins the whole Samarnons in commemorating the heroism of the twenty-eight ranking revolutionaries in their quest for freedom against the American occupational forces in Balangiga town in a week-long celebration from September 24-29, 2012.

The highlight of the celebration was the re-enactment of the “Balangiga Encounter of 1901” which was performed during the commemorative program at the Municipal Auditorium, Balangiga, Eastern Samar on September 28, 2012.

The commemorative program was graced by Atty Jonisito Umali, Undersecretary, Department of Education and was also participated Hon Vircuso S De Lira, Mayor, Balangiga, Eastern Samar; Hon. Ben P Evadone, Congressman, Lone District of Eastern Samar; Hon Modesto A Eder, Sangguniang Bayan Member, Baalangiga, Eastern Samar; and Col Romeo Labador, Commander, 801st Infantry Brigade.

According to Atty Umali, “tama na ang pagmamalabis ng mga dayuhang Amerikano, ipinakita dito ang tunay na katangian ng isang tunay Pilipino, matapang, matalino at higit sa lahat may malasakit at pagmamahal sa bayan” at “tayo pong lahat ay magsama-samang mangarap, mangarap po tayo na ating tatalunin ang kahirapan” added Umali.

During the commemoration on September 28, 2012 of the Balangiga Encounter Day a thanksgiving mass was celebrated which was followed by a Civic Military Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony participated by the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

The Balangiga Encounter Day was commemorated with a series of activities such as bloodletting project dubbed as “Dugong Bayani” last September 24, 2012 followed by a Multi-Hazard Drills; Agro-Industrial Fair; Jobs Fair; Quiz Bee; Harana Contest; Laro ng Lahi; Poster Making Contest and the Commemorative Program on September 28, 2012.

Based on the article written by Ruben Matias from the Cultural Foundation “On September 28, 1901, Filipino patriots armed only with bladed weapons made a surprise attack on the superior armed American soldiers of the Company C on the Ninth Infantry Regiment of the US Army garrisoned in Balangiga, Samar and almost wiped out the entire Company. The Americans called it a “massacre” and “the bloodiest chapter in the history of the American Army in the Philippines.” The Filipinos depicted it as a fair armed encounter employing guerilla tactics which the American soldiers were not used to as they were inclined to the classic battle mode of standing your ground and shooting or charging the enemy and fighting hand-to-hand. Gen Vicente Lukban (named after the main Army camp of 8ID) called the incident as “Our Glorious Victory of Balangiga.”





Thousands troop to LSDC for BHW Congress

By Provincial Media Relations Center
September 29, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In an effort to recognize the invaluable efforts being rendered by barangay health workers (BHWs), the provincial government of Leyte convened more than 4,000 health volunteers for the 4th Leyte Provincial Barangay Health Workers Congress held at the Leyte Sports Development Center.

Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla assured the thousands of BHWs in attendance coming from the more than one thousand barangays of the province, of a free health insurance coverage under PhilHealth.

Gov. Petilla said that since BHWs are the ones giving much needed government health services to the grassroots, they should also be covered by medical insurance themselves, should they need it.

“We are enrolling all our BHWs to ensure that they are covered of medical expenses should they need one. It’s the least that we can do for our frontliners in health care,” Gov. Petilla said in his keynote speech.

The governor likewise lauded the BHWs for their dedication. In a town where health services are scarce, the BHWs ably fill in the void by dispensing effective and efficient health services, the governor added.

The governor said that the provincial government has already put in place some initiatives, including the upgrading of health facilities to ensure that health programs will find its way to the barangays particularly in far-flung areas.

He likewise mentioned that the province in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Health, have continuously provided training and capability building support to barangay health workers in the province for better health care.

Gov. Petilla also made mention of the benefits that the government is offering as incentive to these health heroes who assists the government in the realization of its health policy.

Republic Act No. 7883, otherwise known as the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995 clearly stipulates that accredited BHWs are entitled to receive incentives and benefits which include hazard and subsistence allowance. They should also have access to educational programs to upgrade their skills and knowledge for community work or to pursue further training, scholarship benefits and training grants, among others.





Government, private sector convergence to help poor children, families in Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 29, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  On the third week of September, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the World Vision, a child-focused non-government organization committed to converge in helping poor children and families in the provinces of Leyte and Samar.

Both entities pledged to complement each other’s resources for the well-being of children and the communities in Eastern Visayas.

DSWD Region 8 Director Leticia Diokno informed that the DSWD hopes to forge stronger relationship with World Vision to address concerns like improving service delivery.

“Poverty reduction is a challenging task and we cannot do it alone,” Director Diokno said, underscoring the fact that tapping the private sector is a development strategy which is being promoted by the current Administration.

For his part, Mr. Ernesto Macabenta, Associate Director for Visayas of the World Vision, expressed his supports the co-sharing of resources for the well-being of children.

“We cannot work alone. I feel that this is the right time for us to come together with the binding principle of contributing to the well-being of children. I hope we can build and strengthen our partnership from now on,” Mr. Macabenta said.

Present during the convergence forum held at the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City were representatives from World Vision and its local partner in the provinces of Leyte and Samar, as well as DSWD’s Poverty Reduction Programs staff on ‘Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program’, Kalahi-CIDSS, Sustainable Livelihood program and supplemental feeding.

To recall, in the month of August this year, no less than the Provincial Government of Leyte through Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla supported the stakeholders’ forum on Health and Nutrition organized by World Vision.

In his speech, Governor Petilla said, “I am with you, in ensuring that all the children and their families especially the underserved and underprivileged in Leyte and Samar are provided with high-quality healthcare services along with a good education, a good nutrition program and a good environment.”

World Vision serves the provinces of Leyte and Samar in 151 barangays and 11 municipalities. It has been serving more than 100,000 children in 33 provinces and 43 cities nationwide, and has been working in partnership with government agencies and community partners for 55 years.

World Vision continues to open education opportunities for children, sustainable livelihood for the parents, health programs, child protection in the Philippines as it operates in 29 provinces and over 1,000 barangays.

World Vision is a child-focused, relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and communities worldwide to overcome poverty and injustice.

Furthermore, World Vision works for the well-being of poor and vulnerable people through Sustainable development by enabling communities to use their own resources, capacities and potentials so that they can own and define their own development process and achieve healthy, fuller lives of dignity, justice and hope; Disaster relief, by responding to life-threatening situations where its involvement is needed and appropriate.

It seeks to protect vulnerable people, especially children amid difficult circumstances by providing emergency relief such as food, water, shelter, medicine and clothing, and preparedness for future disasters.





DPWH 2nd Leyte Engineering District sets to remove illegal structures

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 28, 2012

CARIGARA, Leyte  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways Second Leyte Engineering District is set to demolish or remove at least 11,000 illegal structures along the road right of way limit of national highways.

DPWH 2nd LED District Engineer Ma. Margarita C. Junia informed that this will be implemented to the fullest with the creation of a team that will reinforce the effort to keep road of way free from obstructions.

“The six-man team will solely focus on demolition of illegal structures. It seems that people just disregard our notices. We should not wait for erring residents to do the removal but we have to do it in a respectful manner,” DE Junia said.

Currently there is only one road right of way agent in the district, which is detrimental to their campaign to keep road sides free from encroachments such as houses, fence, posts, waiting shed, stores, among others.

“Even before the formation of a demolition team, we already started removing structures. In fact, we have pending 30 cases now at the Capoocan municipal court,’’ Junia said.

The demolition started at Barangay Pinamopoan and Barangay Lemon in Capoocan, Leyte, which are two areas along national roads with many encroachments.

“Many houses are very close to the pavement along this road section. We have removed 50 structures and some 80 that were just removed on the encroachers’ own initiatives,” Junia added.

Moreover, DE Junia informed that the 2nd LED just finalized the inventory last week following the installation of warning signs in every kilometer stretch of primary and secondary roads.

The DPWH steps up check of the road right of way to keep motorists safe and to prepare the national road for future expansion, Junia said.





K9 dog sniffs out illegal drugs in Northern Samar, brgy kagawad arrested

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 27, 2012

CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  Police authorities intercepted a shipment of illegal drugs with the use of canine sniffing dog inside a provincial bus in a bus terminal in Northern Samar recently.

Police Regional Office 8 Regional Director PCSupt Elmer Ragadio Soria said that joint elements of Northern Samar Police Provincial Office and Catarman Municipal Police Station seized a black bag containing several sachets of suspected “shabu” from a barangay kagawad aboard a Silver Star Bus at New Catarman Bus Terminal in Catarman, Northern Samar in the afternoon of September 24.

“We received verified information about the said drug shipment, thus, an operation was immediately conducted. Since the alleged drugs were on-board a vehicle, the use of K-9 sniffing dog proved to be helpful’, Soria said.

Garret Lluz y Esponilla, 32, single and a barangay kagawad of Brgy. Poblacion 5 in Catubig, Northern Samar has just arrived from Manila on board a Silver Star bus with body number 201-001 when policemen halted him at around 4:25PM on Monday.

The operating team politely introduced themselves as police officers and informed the bus driver about the operation to be conducted on said vehicle. On the process, the “Labrador” K-9 dog of the team sniffed something from the Lluz’ luggage. The suspect voluntarily confessed to the police officers that he was in possession of illegal drugs carefully tucked on a white t-shirt inside his black backpack.

Without being coerced, he opened the bag waiving his rights not to be searched and the police team found therein 21 sachets of white crystalline substance believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride locally known as “shabu”.

The police also confiscated 2 units Samsung mobile phone with charger, a Nokia BL-4V battery, Silver Star Shuttle and Tours Inc. ticket number 700381 with attached Silver Star ticket with Travel Detail, a SONY memory card Adaptor MSAC-M2, Smart Buddy Browser, Community Tax Certificate No. CC1200926457715, Identification Card for Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Identification Card as Barangay Kagawad, Non-professional Driver’s License, white t-shirt with markings Alpha Phi Omega and one unit SONY PSP 4 GB (MP4, MP5, GAME).

Soria extols the employment of K9 sniffing dogs to police works especially in solving and preventing crimes and in saving lives and properties.

“The K9 sniffing dogs augment the PNP in its law enforcement functions, combating and preventing lawlessness and criminalities. They also play a vital role in responding to crisis situations and in maintaining law and order,” the Regional Director disclosed.

Canine dogs work closely with their handlers to enforce laws and apprehend criminals. A primary role for police dogs is pursuing and apprehending suspects that attempt to escape law enforcement officers. K-9 dogs also tend to be trained for one specialty skill such as identifying narcotics or smuggled goods, search and rescue operations, detecting accelerants at an arson scene, or locating human remains.

The discovery and confiscation of said illegal drugs and the arrest of the suspect were made at the height of intensified campaign of Police Regional Office 8 against the proliferation of illegal drugs in Eastern Visayas. Since the assumption of PCSupt Soria as Police Regional Director last August 6, PRO8 had already conducted 19 positive police operations resulting in the arrest of 22 suspected drug pushers and the filing of appropriate drug charges against them in court.

A case for Violation of RA 9165 against Lluz was filed at Northern Samar Provincial Prosecutor’s Office docketed under NPS Nr. VIII-II-INQ-R5-00033.





VP Binay: Barangay officials now Pag-IBIG members; presses for GSIS coverage

By OVP Media
September 27, 2012

MANILA – Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today said barangay officials may now become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, even as he pressed for their membership in the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Addressing the annual convention of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Pasay City, the Vice President also proposed the economic clustering of barangays and the establishment of local government unit (LGU) banks and LGU Cooperative Banks to further push the viability of barangays as engines of growth.

Binay said while barangays officials are expected to be at the forefront in responding to calamities and even domestic concerns, they have in the past been deprived benefits as government employees.

“Noong ako ay mayor pa lamang, lagi kong pinapansin na ang ating mga opisyal ng barangay – na inaasahan natin na laging naririyan tuwing may sunog, baha, aksidente o away ng magkakapitbahay – ay ni hindi man lamang miyembro ng GSIS. Kung kayat kapag matapos ang mahabang taon ng serbisyo, ang ating mga opisyal ng barangay ay magreretiro na ni wala man lamang katiting na pensiyon mula sa pamahalaan,” he said.

The Vice President said he will request President Benigno Aquino III and the GSIS to consider immediately extending GSIS membership to barangay officials.

Binay, who is Chair of the Pag-IBIG Fund, announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Pag-IBIG and the Liga ng mga Barangay, allowing barangay chairs and their kagawads to become Fund members.

As members of Pag-IBIG, barangay officials would be able to avail themselves of Multi-Purpose loans for educational, health and other needs. They may also secure Calamity Loans, and Housing Loans as well as other benefits that the Fund offers.

"Maaari na kayong makapag-ipon para sa inyong kinabukasan. Sa tulong din ng kasunduang ito, may pagkakataon pa na tapatan ng barangay ang inyong ihuhulog sa Pag-IBIG kaya’t agad na magiging doble ang ipon ninyo," he added.

The Vice President also proposed the clustering of barangays to promote investment, with the view of improving the "viability of the barangays as engines of economic development."

"Under the Local Government Code, the barangays are already empowered to promote this kind of initiative and the USAID has proposed funding for such an initiative," he said.

He likewise proposed adopting the ideas of countries like Germany and Costa Rica in setting up local government banks and LGU cooperative banks.

According to Binay, local government banks "could tap local resources and provide greater focus on local projects." Meanwhile, cooperative banks provide a way to pool the resources of local government units, especially adjacent ones.





PRO8 scores anew in anti-drug war

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 26, 2012

CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  Few days after arresting 10 drug pushers in a span of two weeks, two more suspected drug pushers were arrested in separate buy-bust operations conducted by Police Regional Office 8 on Monday.

“Illegal drugs are the menace of our society. It destroys the future of our children,” said PRO8 Director PCSupt Elmer Ragadio Soria. He added that the arrests are part of the police’s intensified crackdown against the illegal drugs following his assumption into office more than a month ago.

Soria identified the suspects as one Joerven Felidolfo Garces Pantorilla, 26, and a resident of Arrandaza Street, Ormoc City and Rammel Tingzon Ubarco, 41, of Barangay Highway, Dulag, Leyte. Both listed in PRO8 watchlist of illegal drugs personalities.

The Regional Director informed that on September 24, Pantorilla was arrested by Ormoc City Police Office- Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) led by PCInsp Ibrahim Jambiran in a buy-bust operation.

Pantorilla was caught as he handed over a sachet of shabu to a poseur buyer at about 7:00 PM on Monday. Also confiscated from him were one aluminum foil strip; an improvised tooter; improvised lamp; one Nokia cellular phone; assorted plastic sachet and the 500-peso marked bill used as buy-bust money.

On same date, Ubarco was apprehended in a buy-bust operation at Barangay Highway, Dulag, Leyte by the joint elements of PAIDSOTG, Leyte PPO and Dulag Police Station led by PSInsp Alberto Renomeron Jr.

Ubarco allegedly sold a pack of suspected shabu to an operative when he was apprehended past 4 p.m. Two more packs of suspected shabu were seized from Ubarco aside from the 500-peso bill used as marked money.

Soria lauded the capture of the suspects, saying the prevention of street crimes and proliferation of illegal drugs are priorities of the Police Regional Office 8. The suspects were placed under surveillance for almost a week before the buy-bust was initiated.

“As much as possible, we prefer to be proactive rather than reactive. The recent arrests speaks well in our effort in the prevention of the proliferation of drugs in the region and is indeed a major accomplishment,” said Soria.

Confiscated items were turned-over to PNP Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis and the suspects were charged with violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.



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