detained poet reaps int’l clamor amidst military threats
By FREE ERICSON ACOSTA
November 15, 2012
QUEZON CITY –
The world’s oldest international literary organization, the PEN
International, heightened its call to release Filipino poet Ericson
Acosta and other imprisoned writers in various worldwide activities
observing the PEN’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer today, November 15.
For the past three months,
detained poet Ericson Acosta, 40, has been receiving serious threats
from state elements. Acosta, his family, visitors and supporters, have
also been subjected to various forms of harassment – from text
warnings of a planned assassination, rumors of an armed rescue plot,
and outright intimidation. Acosta’s supporters in Calbayog City, and
his elderly parents, Isaias and Liwayway Acosta in Manila receive the
same death threats via SMS. For more than a year, Acosta, his family
and visitors, have been directly intimidated by the military camp-out
at the Calbayog civilian jail where he is detained.
The PEN International’s
Writers in Prison Committee has expressed serious concern on the
prolonged detention without trial of Ericson Acosta. Acosta was
arrested in San Jorge Samar in February 2011 because the laptop he
carried roused the suspicion of soldiers. Since last year, various PEN
Centers in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and the United
Kingdom have mounted activities in support of Ericson Acosta’s
release. Other prominent organizations, like the Amnesty International
and the International People’s Art Network, have also called for
In Manila, the PEN’s
Philippine Center led by National Artist for Literature Bienvenido
Lumbera mounted a writers’ forum today at the University of the
Philippines. The local Writers in Prison Committee has put together
literary contributions from different writers groups in Metro Manila,
Baguio, Davao, and Samar; as well as appeals from artists, human
rights advocates, international solidarity groups and Filipino
communities from all over the world.
The Day of the Imprisoned
Writer is an annual, international day intended to recognize and
support writers who resist repression of the basic human right to
freedom of expression. This year, PEN International highlights the
cases of Regina Martínez, a Mexican journalist (murdered); Shiva Nazar
Ahari, journalist, human rights activist and blogger (Iran); Muharrem
Erbey, a human rights lawyer and writer from Turkey; Eskinder Nega, a
journalist and blogger (Ethiopia); and Ericson Acosta, a Filipino
poet, songwriter and activist.
The AFP in Calbayog suddenly
deployed three more squads last week to supposedly foil plots of an
armed rescue mission. The military camp-out right beside the Calbayog
Sub-Provincial jail upon Acosta’s detention has been transferred to
another area, allegedly for the purpose of preventing the same rescue
operation. These patchy military suspicions are used by authorities to
justify repression in Calbayog and other neighboring towns in Samar.
Yet the clamor for Ericson
Acosta’ release has only gained more popular support from fellow
artists. Local youth rock bands have frequented the Calbayog jail to
jam with Acosta, and provide guitar riffs for his compositions. Band
members were individually confronted by military elements in most
unlikely places like internet cafes. But still, Acosta’s music echoed
in the latest youth rock event held on November 10 in the largest
university in the city. Last week, 30 writers from a National
Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)-sponsored writers’ workshop
visited the jail. The writers held a short program filled with
solidarity messages that ended in a highly-emotional group singing of
Acosta’s 79-year old father
laments, “Our petition for review before the DOJ (Department of
Justice) has been pending for more than a year now, when it should
only take 60 days for them to issue a resolution. Why is my son being
kept in prison?” Acosta’s colleagues from Philippine PEN assert that
“His [Acosta’s] commitment to shared ideals can never be a basis for
his imprisonment. The writer must create, imagine, speak truth to
PRO8 arrest 8
suspects as anti-illegal gambling campaign continues
By RPCRD, Police Regional
November 14, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 will
continue to enforce its anti-illegal gambling drive as eight more
persons were arrested by different line units of PRO8 recently for
engaging in the illegal numbers game, according to its director.
“hapa-hapa” gambling operation is still being patronized by some
bettors and we will continue to go after them,” Police Chief
Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria said while announcing the
accomplishments of his men.
Soria added that he
reiterated his directives to unit commanders to sustain their
anti-gambling campaign even with the absence of big-time illegal
gambling operators in the region.
First to fall was 22-year
old Ronald Oliva y Solayao, resident of Brgy Canlapwas, Catbalogan
City who was collared by local police officers under Police Senior
Inspector Rommel B Sorila while in the act of soliciting bets for “swertres”.
Police also confiscated a bundle of stubs with different number
combinations, a black ballpen and P81.00 cash as bet money.
In Hilongos, Leyte, Wilfredo
de Veyra Vargas, 44, and his live-in partner Teresita Vienes, 42, both
residents of Brgy Catandog 1, were caught while engaged in ‘swertres’
by joint elements of Hilongos Police Station under Police Chief
Inspector Virgilio D. Plaza and Games and Amusement Board -
Anti-illegal Gambling Unit (GAB-AIGU) led by Director Omar Villarba,
resulting in the confiscation of 8 tally sheets with different number
Jerry A. Bascon, 28, single
and a resident of Brgy Mayuga, Liloan, Southern Leyte was arrested by
PO2 Roderick A Lapingcao while in the act of collecting “swertres”
bet. Also seized from the violator are 2 tally sheets with number
combinations, 2 lotto tips, 2 stubs and bet money amounting to
with cash bet amounting to P173.00 were also confiscated from Charlie
Bolo y Ligas, 28, of Brgy Capacuhan, Anahawan, Southern Leyte by
policemen led by PO2 Paul C. Tupaz when law enforcers conducted
anti-illegal gambling operations in said area.
In Brgy Cabaohan, Pastrana,
Leyte, policemen led by PO3 Raul Baldesco conducted police operation
against one Diosdado Catindoy, 47, married of Brgy Jones, while
engaged in “swertres.
Confiscated from him were
stubs with different number combinations, a black ballpen and P50.00
Marven Dico y Epiz, 21 and
Rolando Pakiding y Lopez alias Lando, 44, were also arrested by
policemen in Maasin City and Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, respectively,
while also engaged in “swertres”, with cash bet totaling to P203.00
and illegal gambling materials confiscated by the police.
One alias Emboy Dionaldo and
his unidentified cohort however evaded arrest when a police team led
by Police Senior Inspector Ricky C. Geli tried to arrest them in Jaro,
Leyte. The duo left behind one unit motorcycle with Plate No. 6737HL
and 300 pieces tally sheets with different ”swertres” combinations.
They are now the target of manhunt operations by the local police.
The arrested suspects were
detained at the local PNP station pending the filing of complaints for
violation of Republic Act 9287 or the Amended Gambling Law in court.
Director Soria commended his
men for their no-nonsense efforts in addressing the on-and-off
operations of illegal gambling in their area of jurisdiction as he
vowed further to continue the PNP’s anti-illegal gambling drive in the
DOE grants gasoline
station loan in LGUs without gasoline station
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
November 13, 2012
PALO, Leyte –
The Department of Energy has introduced the granting of gasoline
station loan in order to promote retail competition in the Downstream
Oil Industry as well as to encourage and support new industry
participants who are interested to put up gas station business
especially in areas or local government units without gasoline
Director Zenaida Monsada,
chief of DOE’s Downstream Oil Industry Management Division, gave this
information during the multi-sectoral advocacy on downstream oil
industry forum, held recently at the Leyte Oriental Hotel.
One of the pillars of
deregulation is to encourage the entry of new industry participants,
Director Monsada said.
To this effect, the Gasoline
Station Lending and Financial Assistance Program was introduced,
Director Monsada said.
In order to be able to avail
of the credit assistance, the borrowers must first successfully
complete the two-fold program on management and skills training in the
retailing of Petroleum Products for the establishment, operation,
improvement, management and maintenance of gasoline stations within
the current deregulated environment.
The financial assistance
covers the retailing of all Petroleum Products sold in gasoline
stations, including LPG.
Director Monsada said that
the total amount earmarked for the Program is Ninety-Four Percent
(94%) of the Three Hundred Million Pesos, equivalent to Two Hundred
Eighty-Two Million Pesos (P282M).
This Program Fund shall be
made available by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)
through the DOE and administered by the Development Bank of the
Director Monsada said that
the local government units may also apply as the usual problem of the
applicants is the land property.
All eligible projects
(Projects) can avail of the one hundred percent (100%) loanable amount
provided that such amount shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the
total Project cost or Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00), whichever is
The maximum term of the loan
shall be seven (7) years and payments of principal shall be made
monthly; provided, that the first installment shall be due within six
(6) months from the date of initial release of the loan proceeds,
Director Monsada said.
Drive vs. PAGs,
loose weapons are PRO8’s top priority – Soria
By RPCRD, Police Regional
November 13, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Vowing to ensure a peaceful and orderly 2013
midterm elections, the region’s top police official has ordered his
men to step up their investigation of individuals who may be employing
“partisan armed groups,” particularly those with links to some
politicians, and to spare no one in their campaign against PAGs and
“We are cross-checking and
ironing all the information that we could get on these aspects to make
the 2013 elections peaceful and credible,” Police Chief Superintendent
Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 regional director said.
“Among the critical factors
are the possible employments of the PAGs being cuddled by politicians
and loose firearms. We are reviewing the assessment of our
intelligence units, records of poll-related violence in the past
elections and consolidating the operational targets,” Soria added.
The police regional director
disclosed that at least two remaining PAGs are being monitored by his
office as they also aimed to neutralize them before the campaign
period. He added that he ordered his field commanders to conduct a
stepped up crackdown on PAGs and to continue the massive drive against
loose firearms across the region that may be used as an “instrument of
violence” during the 2013 polls.
Since assuming post as the
region’s top cop, Soria ordered a massive drive against them which saw
the Joint Special Operations Task Group on PAGs smashing a number of
suspected members. At least four positive police operations resulted
in the arrest of 3 members of one group, including Samar’s Most Wanted
criminal, and also one member from the other group. All four suspects
have pending arrest warrants for murder.
“While there are no
monitored activities by PAGs in the region as of this time, continuous
monitoring is being undertaken by our men as they maybe recommissioned
by some politicians to be utilized in the coming elections,” Soria
said, adding that remaining members with existing arrest warrants are
subject for neutralization and he hopes the police would eventually
Aside from conducting
assessment and monitoring on the existence of PAGs, Soria also already
directed his men to religiously implement checkpoint operations and
conduct random checkpoints as part of the measures to control the
proliferation of loose firearms and constrain the movement of PAGs.
“The conduct of random
checkpoints has been proven to be an effective formula in running
after PAGs, that is included in our security plan for the elections,”
Soria averred, adding that this initiative would be part of the police
effort to safeguard the elections.
PRO8 is also making
political and security assessment particularly focusing in areas where
there have been election-related violent incidents due to existence of
intense partisan political rivalries and lawless groups in the past
The PNP earlier launched
Task Force: Secured and Fair Elections (SAFE) with their operations
focusing on the campaign against loose firearms and PAGs that are
considered the major contributors in election-related violent
incidents in the past elections.
New ICRC website
reunites dispersed families
November 12, 2012
GENEVA – War,
disaster and migration separate thousands of family members every
To help members of dispersed
families restore contact with each other, the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC) is launching a new website –
familylinks.icrc.org – on 13 November.
change the way people go about getting back in touch with family
members they've become separated from," said Olivier Dubois, deputy
head of the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division of the ICRC.
"Staying in touch with other members of one's family has a huge effect
on a person's well-being and their ability to cope with a crisis. We
have developed this simple, user-friendly website together with
national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies for people who want to
restore contact with relatives during or after a crisis," he
explained. "A few clicks will put them in touch with dedicated
specialists who will provide personal follow-up on enquiries."
Regardless of whether people
are fleeing armed conflict, other violence, natural disaster, poverty
or other causes of hardship, displacement can cause them to be cut off
from their loved ones. Whatever the reason for a person's struggles,
staff and volunteers of the Red Cross and Red Crescent network strive
to ensure that they are treated with dignity, respect and compassion.
"What makes the new
familylinks.icrc.org website special is the way it combines suitable
technology and unique resources," explained Mr Dubois. "The
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has a grassroots
network of volunteers already on the ground, in virtually every corner
of the world, who actively search for missing persons. No other
organization in the world can provide such a service."
One example of the strength
of the grassroots network is provided by the story of a Libyan man who
fled his country in 1968 and settled in Switzerland. For decades, he
was totally cut off from relatives and friends. This year, with help
from the ICRC and the Swiss Red Cross, he was able to get back in
contact with his loved ones in Libya and go visit them. "Seeing your
family again after 43 years – it's like being born again," said Mr Al
Naji, overwhelmed by emotion as he set foot on Libyan soil.
"Many more people will be
able to find out what services are available and how to obtain them.
We may well see an increase in the number of tracing requests," said
Mr Dubois. The new website will provide information on tracing
services available in every part of the world, contact details of
national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and ICRC delegations,
and other useful resources. While the chief purpose of
familylinks.icrc.org will be to serve people searching for loved ones,
the website may also be of interest to humanitarian organizations and
welfare service providers to whom these people have turned for help.
The site will also serve as a platform for exchanges between tracing
Under international law,
people have the right to be informed of the fate of missing relatives.
Where appropriate, everything possible must be done to find out where
they are, restore contact with them and reunite them with their
The ICRC launched its first
website of this kind in 1996 in response to the Bosnia conflict. The
organization has since set up ad hoc sites in response to 23 crises,
most recently in connection with last year's tsunami in Japan. Over
the years, these efforts have helped countless people restore contact
Western Samar steps
up efforts on coastal resource management
November 12, 2012
CEBU CITY – In
order to sustain the province's efforts on the protection and
conservation of its coastal waters, various stakeholders of Western Samar join hands in formulating an integrated plan on coastal resource
management which will include development of the province through
The provincial agriculturist
office teamed up with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP),
Samar State University-College of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, Gugma
Han Maqueda Bay Iguin Ondong han Organisasyon Samarnon (GIOS),
Regional Fisheries Training Center, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic
Resources (BFAR), Provincial Police Office and the municipal Fisheries
and Aquatic Resource Management Councils (FARMCs) for the said
The plan will include
comprehensive and integrated programs anchored on sustainable
development and will include the towns of Motiong, Jiabong, Daram and
Tarangnan and the city of Catbalogan as the pilot areas.
The agreement happened
during a fisheries forum which recently took place at the New Maqueda
Bay Hotel in Catbalogan City, which presented the various CRM plans of
the five local government units for adoption.
"It is high time for Samar
to adopt an integrated plan; we are no longer productive," Catbalogan
City Tourism Officer Raulito Reyes stated.
Fishing remains to be the
main livelihood of Samar but illegal fishing practices, which destroy
coral reefs and other fish breeding areas, continue to deplete marine
"Let's formulate the plan
and let our provincial government endorse this to the Regional
Development Council for adoption," Provincial Agriculturist Anita
Taran added that the
initiative is one of the province's steps in beefing up integrated
approaches to the management of its coastal and marine resources.
"Momentum is on our side.
Kung ano ang gagawin natin ito ngayon, susunod ang lahat (ng areas ng
Samar)," Reyes added.
Aside from the creation of
an integrated CRM plan, the team will also provide support to the
municipal and barangay FARMCs on the implementation of fishery laws
and look for more schemes to get funding support for the
implementation of the plan.
FARMCs are mandated by the
government to oversee coastal resource regeneration as well as look
into the improvement of the fisheries sector in the local level.
"Ang nakanindot, atong
municipalities capacitated na," Samar Chamber of Commerce and Industry
President Dominador Cabanganan said.
The fisheries forum capped
the two-year program on collaborative coastal resource management
(CRM) implemented by PBSP and funded by the European Union.
Called the Linking
Initiatives for Collaborative Coastal Resource Management and
Governance (LINC-CRMG), the project assisted the province in achieving
effective and sustainable coastal resource management and contributing
to poverty reduction through the rehabilitation of the Visayas coastal
zones, enhancement of alternative livelihood to further prevent use of
coastal resources, and enforcement of fishery laws.
One of its major strategies
is building the capacities of local government units, especially the
FARMCs, on the implementation of measures towards the conservation of
LINC-CRMG also provided
support towards the province's food security and livelihood generation
for coastal communities by funding more than P1.2 million on
livelihood projects in Samar to ease up the pressure on the coastal
zones for two years.
These projects include
milkfish and grouper production in sea cages and seaweed and green
mussel farming, among others.
PRO8 nabs 57
By RPCRD, Police Regional
November 9, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Elements from different line units
of the Police Regional Office 8 arrested a total of 57 men the past
two days for using illegal fishing methods in the seawaters of Samar,
Leyte and Biliran provinces.
Eastern Visayas police
director Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria said that
seaborne patrols off the territorial seawaters of the 3 provinces
resulted in the confiscation of 5 fishing boats while engaged in
different illegal fishing practices.
“Sustained implementation of
fishery law is our contribution to the preservation of the
environment”, Soria said.
At about 5:45 AM of November
7, at the territorial seawater of Maripipi, Biliran, joint elements of
Maripipi Police Station led by Police Inspector Edgardo Z De Asis and
Bantay Dagat personnel arrested one Ronnie Baldonando, 35, married and
resident of Brgy Binongto-An, Culaba, Biliran, owner and operator of
the confiscated fishing boat which was used in illegal fishing
activity also known as “mano-mano” in violation of Article IV, Section
15 of municipal ordinance number 2011-01 of said municipality with 4
other crew men.
At about 11:00 AM, joint
elements of Calbayog City Police Station led by SPO4 Jonas Genoguin
Tecbobolan and Fish Wardens of Brgy Banti-An conducted seaborne patrol
within the seawaters of the aforesaid place which resulted to the
confiscation of one fishing boat marked F/B Veralous while being used
in illegal fishing activity locally known as Holbotan by the 10
arrested crew men skippered by one Alex Acuin Y Sodario. Subject
fishing boat with an estimated market value of 1.3 million pesos is
owned by Rolly Soria of Brgy Aguit-Itan, Calbayog City.
At about 7:45 PM, within the
seawaters of Maripipi, Biliran, elements of Maripipi Police Station
led by Police Inspector Edgardo Z De Asis confiscated a fishing boat
marked F/B Kirby while being used in illegal fishing activity known as
Holbotan with 9 crew men skippered by Manuel Balboa, 52, married and
resident of Brgy Tucdao, Kawayan of said province. Subject fishing
boat with an estimated market value of P500,000.00 is owned by one
Earlier on November 6, at
about 8:10AM, along Binangonan Reef, more or less 2 kilometers from
the shoreline of Brgy Cogon, Palo, Leyte, joint elements of Palo
Police Station led by SPO2 Absalon F Barbosa and Palo Fishery Law
Enforcement Team (FLET) led by Mario L Torreros while conducting
seaborne operation arrested one Salvador Regano, 34, married,
fisherman and resident of Sitio San Fernando, Brgy Cogon of same
municipality while engaged in illegal fishing activity with the use of
air compressor which is violation of law.
At about 8:00AM, elements of
Cabucgayan Police Station led by Police Senior Inspector Vicentito
Untoca conducted seaborne operation within the seawater of Cabucgayan,
Biliran which resulted to the apprehension of two (2) fishing boats
marked Victoria 2 and Victoria 7, both owned by Pablo Lotoc, a
resident of Brgy 62, Sagkahan, Tacloban City. Subject fishing boats
were skippered by Nonoy Yano and Diosdado Makabenta respectively with
32 combined crew men and were used in illegal fishing activity with
the use of fine net and active gear. Accordingly, both have an
estimated market value of P500,000.00 and weight of 20 tons.
Recovered from the suspects
were different illegal fishing paraphernalia like fine nets, bamboo
boom, compressor and other gears which are prohibited by law.
Confiscated fishing boats and arrested persons were subsequently
released after paying the corresponding fines ranging from P1,000.00
to P25,000.00 in violation of local ordinances in the municipalities
where they committed the violations.
The recent apprehensions
were in addition to more than a thousand illegal fishers previously
caught by the police in the region, the Regional Director informed.
Soria further said that
illegal fishing have no place in Eastern Visayas since he himself
leads the crusade against it.
Chiz seeks probe on
toxic dumping charges
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 9, 2012
PASAY CITY –
Senator Chiz Escudero is seeking an investigation into the reported
dumping by a contractor of the United States Navy of hazardous wastes
on Subic Bay last month.
“The government should
investigate this alarming report immediately. Such activity, if indeed
it took place, could prove to be an environmental disaster,” Escudero
“If its proven that Glen
Defense Marine Asia had indeed dumped hazardous wastes on Subic Bay,
they should immediately be made to dispose of the wastes properly as
mandated by our environmental laws and international ecological
standards and pay for all damages,” the senator added.
Escudero chairs the Senate
Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Reports said the Subic Bay
Metropolitan Authority is now investigating Glen Defense Marine Asia
after it claimed one of the contractor’s vessels, the M/T Glenn
Guardian, dumped wastes collected from US ships that participated in
the recent joint military exercises in the Philippines.
Test results of water
samples conducted by Subic Water and Sewerage Co. allegedly showed
very high levels of toxicity. SWSC was contracted by SBMA to conduct
the tests following the alleged dumping.
Escudero also wants the
Department of Foreign Affairs to make representations to prevent
similar incidents in the future.
Earlier, Glen Defense Marine
Asia claimed through its lawyers that the SBMA had no jurisdiction to
investigate it, invoking the Visiting Forces Agreement between the US
and the Philippines.
“Our laws are clear on
environmental protection, particularly Republic Act 9275 or The
Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 if indeed hazardous wastes were
dumped on Subic Bay,” the senator said.
“The main point that we need
to determine at this point is whether hazardous wastes were dumped on
Philippine waters and if so, how do we proceed to clean up, hold the
contractor accountable, and make sure that such an incident does not
take place again in the future,” Escudero added.