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PRO8 nabs NPA hitman in Eastern Samar

Freedom for detained poet reaps int’l clamor amidst military threats

RSOG8 nabs 2 most wanted persons

Cayetano launches BILIB I.T. program for detainees

An Waray – a bogus partylist says BAYAN

Legendary feats cited as 19IB turns 39

RSOG8 scores vs. “swertres”

PRO8 steps up arrest of wanted persons

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

Army troops join Peace Workshop for Women in Samar


President Aquino creates special teams to probe human rights violations

Press Release
November 26, 2012

MALACAÑANG  –  President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the creation of special teams to investigate human rights abuses by state and non-state forces and ensure a focused probe and speedy resolution of all unsolved and new cases, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Monday.

Ochoa said the special teams would form part of the inter-agency committee (IAC), which the President established under Administrative Order (AO) No. 35 he signed on November 22, that will exclusively handle cases of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights violations.

“This presidential directive reinforces the Aquino administration’s resolve to uphold and protect the rights of the people,” Ochoa said. “We believe that the creation of this high-level committee will be a more effective mechanism in handling and monitoring cases of human rights violations,” Ochoa explained.

According to Ochoa, AO 35 takes effect immediately and replaces AO No. 211 issued in 2007 that created the Task Force Against Political Violence. The presidential directive directs the task force to turn over all documents, data, reports, supplies, resources and its remaining budget to the IAC.

“The President envisions the administrative order to harmonize and standardize the government’s policies and action plan for resolving human rights abuses. This way we can have a focused investigation and speedy resolution of all the cases,” Ochoa added.

One of the first tasks of the IAC is to organize special teams and a technical working group to carry out the immediate inventory of all alleged human rights violations committed by state and non-state forces; monitor the development of cases which are pending in courts or under investigation, and conduct an investigation into unsolved and new cases, as well as prosecute the perpetrators.

Under AO 35, the secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ) serves as chairperson of the IAC, which members include the head of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), the secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Defense (DND), the presidential advisers of the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Political Affairs (OPAPA), chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National police chief and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director.

The chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Ombudsman sit as observers and resource persons in the IAC.

The IAC is required to submit to the President every six months a progress report, a detailed inventory of pending human rights abuse cases, and accomplishment and recommendations, among others.

The President has asked all other government agencies and local government units to give their full support and cooperation to the IAC to make sure that the AO 35’s objectives and the committee’s mandate are achieved.

The initial budget requirement of the committee will be taken from the current appropriation of the agencies comprising the IAC and subsequent funding will be incorporated in their respective regular budgets.





DPWH to paint steel bridges in orange to conform to international safety standards

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 25, 2012

PALO, Leyte  –  Very soon, all the steel bridges in Eastern Visayas will be painted with orange to conform to International Safety Standards.

This was learned from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Rolando Asis who said that the painting of steel bridges with orange will start before the end of 2012.

DPWH Regional Director Rolando Asis said the region has more than six linear kilometers of steel bridges that will be painted with orange as directed by Secretary Rogelio Singson through Department Order Number 74 issued last month.

“The use of this color will identify bridges constructed by our office, increase bridge visibility and will protect the bridge from the danger of rust from moisture,” Director Asis said.

International orange, commonly referred as safety orange, is also used in engineering particularly in warning signs for road construction sites, the regional director explained.

Painting workmanship on metal surfaces would be in accordance with the DPWH Standard Specifications for Public Works Structures, in consonance with the policy direction of the department to improve the quality of infrastructure projects.

This project will be funded through maintenance budget for bridges allocated for the region’s district engineering offices.

The Regional Office earlier reported that 40 bridges in the region were identified either for replacement or strengthening, to withstand seismic activities, with the central government allotting P453.76 million for the project.

Majority or P353.44 million budget will be allocated for strengthening of existing bridges, P93.31 million for replacement of temporary bridges, and P7 million for completion of ongoing construction.

The region has 863 bridges with a total length 33.845 kilometers, with 33.16 kilometers classified as permanent (829 bridges) and .67 kilometers categorized as temporary (34 bridges).

Director Asis informed most of the bridges are situated along primary roads with few built in secondary roads.

The agency targets to pave main highways by 2014 and secondary roads by 2016, which include rehabilitation of bridges.





Asia Pacific human rights activists to Aquino: Stop the killings!

November 25, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Over forty human rights activists from Australia, New Zealand, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines gathered today in a conference on the human rights situation in the Philippines at the University of the Philippines Hotel in Quezon City, to reiterate their call for Phil. Pres. Benigno Aquino III to stop the killings and to pull out his government’s military troops in rural and urban poor communities.

Victims and kin of victims of human rights violations joined with the Asia Pacific human rights and peace activists in the said conference. Among those who recounted their experiences were Connie Empeno, mother of disappeared UP student Karen; Genasque Enriquez, an anti-mining Lumad leader from Mindanao who is being threatened with trumped up charges of murder and multiple frustrated murder by the military; Bae Adelfa Belayong, widow of slain Datu Mampaagi Belayong who was a staunch anti-mining advocate.

According to Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights in the Philippines, there had been documented cases of 114 victims of extrajudicial killings, 12 victims of enforced disappearances, 70 cases of torture, 447 illegal arrests and 29,613 victims of forced evacuation during the past two years of the Aquino government. Among the recent cases documented by Karapatan is the massacre of anti-mining activist Juvy Capion and her two sons in Tampakan, South Cotabato; the beheading of village councilor and peasant activist Ely Oguis in Guinobatan, Albay; and the labeling and harassment of Karapatan workers Jose Luis Blanco and Judde Baggo.

The conference aims to establish the – Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, a regional network that will campaign for human rights issues in the country from national up to regional and international level.

Pastor Joram Calimutan, coordinator of the Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (APCCHRP), said the formation of the network will consolidate the efforts of Asia Pacific activists to strengthen and amplify the advocacy for human rights issues in the Philippines, particularly the issues of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and detention.

“We have vigorously campaigned against the terror rule of Phil. Pres. Gloria Arroyo, when killings, disappearances and arrests especially against activists and leaders of progressive organizations in the Philippines. It is very disturbing to know that, despite Pres. Aquino’s promise to render justice for the victims and his government’s respect human rights, killings of farmers, indigenous peoples and the urban poor have continued,” Cameron Walker, Auckland Philippine Solidarity.

Peter Brock, Australia Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines, criticized Aquino’s disregard of indigenous people’s rights in favor of foreign mining companies such as the Australian company SMI-Xstrata.

“Not only has Aquino furthered the plunder of ancestral lands and resources through Executive Order 79, but he has likewise secured these exploitative industries’ interests by deploying paramilitaries and additional troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to kill anti-mining IPs and to silence opposition,” Brock said.

The Asia Pacific activists particularly scored Aquino on his “deafening silence” on the massacre of anti-mining Lumad leader Juvy Capion and her two sons in Tampakan, South Cotabato last October 8, 2012.

“His silence bears the imprint of consent for these violations. Not only has he condoned impunity, he has likewise perpetuated it by not delivering justice for any of the 114 victims of extrajudicial killings under his administration,” Yi-Hsiang, Taiwan Committee for Philippine Concerns said.

The APCCHRP called on Aquino to prove his claims before the international community that he has done something on the human rights situation in the country by putting a stop to the killings and by pulling out and disbanding military and paramilitary troops in rural communities.





DPWH inaugurates 3 bridges worth P30M in North Samar

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 25, 2012

ALLEN, Northern Samar  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways recently conducted the simultaneous inauguration of the three concrete bridges in Barangays Lipata and Cabacungan in Allen, Northern Samar.

The three bridges, two in Barangay Lipata and one in Barangay Cabacungan had a project cost of P30 million, or P10 million each, DPWH Northern Samar First District Engineering Office chief, DE Sandy Pua informed.

The inauguration of the three bridges which are located nine kilometers away from the town proper, ended the suffering of the village people who for years have been transporting their farm and marine products through bridges made only out of coco-logs.

The three bridges are a big boost to the town of Allen’s tourism promotions being one tourism potential as attested by the Department of Tourism, DE Pua, further said.

It was learned that the construction work for the three bridges started on February 6 of this year and was completed in eight months.

The inauguration was attended by Congressman Raul Daza of the First District of Northern Samar who said the construction of the bridges was made possible through the concerted efforts of the people concerned.

He disclosed that a new set of medical equipment will soon be received by the Allen District Hospital as part of his health programs in tandem with the leadership of Gov. Paul Daza particularly, for the benefit of the less-fortunate people of the Balicuatro area who could hardly afford further medical attention in Manila and other cities because of exorbitant fees.

He also assured the DPWH personnel that he will not stop finding ways in sourcing-out funds for infrastructure development in his district.

Meanwhile, DE Pua informed that by early next year, another P9.7 million has been bidden out for the construction of the Barangay Kalarayan bridge this town; P29 million for Allen-Barangay Bonifacio road concreting; and an allocation of P67 million for school buildings, health centers, among others, in the first district in this province.






greening the environment
BIR Revenue Region No. 14 regional director Diosdado Mendoza (left) welcome guests, visitors and participants to the “Greening the Environment”, a tree planting activity of the bureau during its opening program at the BIR multi-purpose bldg., Candahug, Palo, Leyte, November 16. Also in photo are PIA 8 regional director Olive Tiu, DENR regional executive director Manolito Ragub and Presidential Assistant for Climate Change secretary Elisea Gozun. (VINO R. CUAYZON)

Green acts, lifestyle change for Climate Change resilience

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 25, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Saying that the country is already experiencing the adverse effects of global warming and climate change, Presidential Assistant for Climate Change, the Honorable Elisea Gozun, enjoined the public to go into mitigation and adaptation activities.

Secretary Gozun made the pronouncement as the speaker in the recently held Climate Change Forum and Greening the Environment activity initiated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Eastern Visayas. The Presidential Assistant for Climate Change who happens to be a former Environment Secretary underscored that humans are contributory to the release of greenhouse gases which is the cause of climate change.

Thus, she called on the public to think of ways on how to realign their day to day activities making sure that they do not become greenhouse producers.

The former DENR Secretary said that there are many ways to mitigate the adverse effects of Climate Change. She enumerated the green acts for the environment, among which are conserving energy and water; improving energy efficiency; shift to alternative, renewable fuel (no fossil fuel); improving/supporting mass transport system; encouraging more walking and biking (non-motorized transit); controlling urban sprawl – more compact, multiple use development; composting, recycling and reusing (Ecological Solid Waste Management); stopping the burning of wastes or garbage.

Secretary Gozun is actually proposing a lifestyle change to address Climate Change. After all, the governance of Climate Change rests not only in the hands of government officials but in the hands of every consumer.

This is the reason why the Presidential Assistant for Climate Change cited Director Diosdao Mendoza and the entire BIR Eastern Visayas family for spearheading the activity.

“There is a need to bring down the discussion of Climate Change down to each and every citizen, the consumers,” Secretary Gozun said. The real people in power are the bands of action oriented people who have the capacity to brainwash their circle of influence to make better lifestyle changes, she added.

Reducing the use of body mists or body sprays, or hair sprays can help mitigate the adverse effects of Climate Change, the Secretary told the college students who were present during the Forum.

She said the mere turning off of the faucet while brushing ones teeth, can conserve the precious water which is also in danger because of Climate Change effects. Guzon called on the public to put water in a glass when toothbrushing to conserve water.

The mere act of taking out plugs of appliances not in use saves 10-20% of energy consumption, she added.

Turning off lights which are not being used. Electric companies charge double for energy consumption during peak times, unknown to many consumers.

Painting the ceiling or roofing in a light color makes it absorb less heat, therefore, keeping the space cooler.

The Secretary pointed out that even the construction of houses and buildings must made with Climate Change in mind. Today, the stilt house and the green house are the in things again.

There is a wealth of ways people can reduce the carbon footprint while cutting down on costs, it’s just that the information is not always as available to a lot of the masses¸ Secretary Gozun said.





Greenpeace urges the Philippines to act on illegal fishing

November 23, 2012

PALAU  –  Greenpeace International is calling for immediate legal action against a Filipino ship that was previously engaging in an illegal transfer of fish on the high seas a week ago.

The Filipino reefer, Sal 19, was found illegally transferring fish to Heng Xing 1, a Cambodian-flagged reefer, along with two Indonesian purse seine vessels KM Starcki 10 and KM Starcki 11 on the high seas. The Sal19 is not authorised to operate in the area and is therefore not allowed to fish or transfer fish at sea according to the rules of the relevant management organization, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Due to a major loophole in legislation for international waters, the four vessels engaged in the large-scale illegal transshipment evaded arrest last week. Today, Greenpeace’s ship MY Esperanza encountered the Sal 19 in Palau’s waters, and discovered its vessel name and call sign had been erased from all visible parts of the ship, making it unidentifiable.

According to WCPFC rules, the Philippines is under legal obligation to take immediate steps to investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against this vessel. According to the Captain of the Sal 19, the vessel is expected to arrive in the Philippines port of General Santos on 28th November, just three days before the upcoming WCPFC meeting in Manila.

“Violations by fishing vessels such as Sal 19 show the difficulty in enforcing rules and justify calls by Pacific Island nations to close Pacific Commons high seas pockets from all fishing. Pirate fishing not only undermines ocean management and conservation efforts, it is an embarrassment and a diplomatic headache for their home countries. The Philippine government must clean up its messy tuna industry and become a responsible player in the fishing industry,” said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace International joined Palau’s marine enforcement official in boarding the vessel for inspection, and collected video and photo evidence showing a series of violations, including the absence of a vessel monitoring system, records and logbook. When asked by Greenpeace, the captain of Sal 19 admitted to participating in the illegal transshipment. However, due to the existing loopholes in international law, Palau’s enforcement authority on board MY Esperanza could not take any further legal steps.

"Illegal activities are rampant in international waters around the world, where laws and enforcement are at their weakest. To stop this, Greenpeace is calling for the closure of the Pacific Commons and a more comprehensive and legally binding global enforcement system for our oceans," said Farah Obaidullah, Oceans Campaigner from Greenpeace International.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans, including in four high seas areas known as the Pacific Commons, and for these to be declared off limits to fishing.

The environmental group is also seeking a ban on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries and a 50% reduction in the catch of bigeye tuna.

These measures are important to keep valuable fish stocks at sustainable levels and will be reviewed at the upcoming meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Manila from 2-7 December.





Aquino perpetuates impunity – Karapatan

November 23, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  Today’s commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity not only highlights the Aquino government’s failure to end impunity but more so, how the government perpetuates impunity.

Since 2009, the backhoe symbolized the Ampatuan massacre where 58 people, including 32 journalists, were felled. Three years after, the backhoe remains a sordid reminder of one of the most palpable illustration of the impunity in the Philippines. Three years after, the backhoe now stands, too, for present-day impunity of the destructive and foreign-owned mining corporations, with Pres. Noynoy Aquino as their gracious host and whose entry into the lands of the indigenous peoples and peasants caused a string of serious human rights violations, and deaths.

As the court hearings for the Ampatuan massacre dawdles, cases of extrajudicial killings and massacres continue, and needless to say, with impunity.

There is the Kananga 3 massacre where botanist Leonard Co and two others were killed; the Mancera massacre in Labo, Camarines Norte that killed Benjamin Mancera, 54, and his two sons, Michael, 10, and Richard, aged seven; and recently, the Capion massacre. Those who were killed in these massacres are among the 114 documented cases of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino presidency.

The killings have even become more gruesome: Genesis Ambason, a Banwaon tribal leader in Agusan del Sur, was shot and tortured to death by CAFGU and elements of the 26th IB. His teeth were all gone and his head shrunk due to heavy beatings; Ely Oguis in Albay was shot and beheaded.

The killings, especially in Mindanao, were a product of the collusion among those in the bureaucracy, the Armed Forces and its paramilitary groups, in the service of big business interests. The victims were indigenous peoples, peasants and environmental activists who are part of the people’s collective action against the plunder of the country’s mineral resources.

The massacre of a Blaan family, the Capions, Juvy Capion and her two sons, by the 27th IB underscores this unholy partnership. But there are more.

As of September 30, 2012, Karapatan documented at least 66 peasant and 15 indigenous people who are victims of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration. Majority, if not all, of the victims campaigned against the incursion of big mining companies and other so-called development projects by the government. The victims, with other members of their communities, stood for their right to their land. To them, these corporations and militarization only mean economic dislocation and their displacement.

The members of the military and its adjunct paramilitary groups involved in these violations remain unpunished, at best, contained in military barracks as in the case of 27th IB who were involved in the Capion massacre. The Butcher Palparan, for one, remains free almost a year after a warrant of arrest was issued against him; Alde Salusad, also with a standing warrant, continues to sow terror in the community of Jimmy Liguyon, eight months after Salusad killed him. Salusad even hostaged a woman and her children to force those who left their community to return.

The case of Palparan and his ilk of generals can be likened to that of the Ampatuan massacre’s chief warlord-suspects – their hands are drenched with the blood of people they killed yet they are given the luxury of prolonged court proceedings, to wear down the prosecution, and invigorated political power through elections. Impunity, Philippine-style, seems to appear also in the forms of Palparan’s partylist Bantay, which was allowed to run in the 2013 elections, and the 74 Ampatuans who will be running in the 2013 elections, at least 10 of them are under Aquino’s Liberal Party.

The statements and actions of the president and commander in chief Noynoy Aquino has only emboldened the perpetrators to commit such acts, with impunity: the signing of EO 79 to further mineral exploitation under the Mining Act of 1995; the continuing implementation of Executive Order 546 and the creation of additional units of paramilitary groups such as the SCAA to protect mining corporations; and dismissing human rights violations as mere propaganda, among others.

Karapatan stands with journalists, indigenous peoples, peasants, workers, the urban poor, women, students, church workers, lawyers, artists and all who aspire for justice, realization of human rights, genuine democracy and freedom in demanding from the Aquino government to stop the killings and to end impunity.





PRO8 files raps vs. 2 drug suspects in Northern Samar

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
November 22, 2012

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  The police in Northern Samar filed anti-drug charges against two persons arrested on Sunday evening who were found in possession of illegal drugs and paraphernalia.

“Cases for illegal drugs and paraphernalia possession were filed by our men against the two men whom they arrested in a hotel room in Catarman,” Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria said.

The cases, docketed under NPS number VIII-11-INQ-12K-00038 for violation of sections 13 and 14, Article II of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, were forwarded against the suspects at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Catarman, Northern Samar on November 20, 2012.

Soria identified the suspects as a certain Andrew Engo y Panzo, 35, married, an overseas Filipino worker and Severino Mongas y Estuaria alias Benny, 34, married, vendor, residents of University Homes, Brgy. UEP-Zone 3 and Purok 5, Brgy.Baybay, all in Catarman, Northern Samar, respectively.

According to reports reaching PRO8, the suspects were collared by police operatives of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) in Northern Samar led by Police Senior Inspector Joseph Imperial inside room 311 of the Riverview Hotel at Brgy. Sampaguita at around 9:50 o’ clock in the evening of November 18.

Recovered by the police from the suspect were one big heat-sealed sachet containing suspected “shabu”, cash amounting to P8,870.00, 3 units NOKIA mobile phones, 3 lighters marked LCC, one match containing cigarette butt, 2 plastic bottles of mineral water, 3 aluminum foils, an improvised totter, aluminum needle, 2 crumpled aluminum foils, small sachet containing suspected “shabu” residue, a plastic trashcan containing 2 empty small cellophane with suspected “shabu” and 10 pieces P100.00 bill used as marked money.

Inventory of the evidences was witnessed by Brgy. Kagawads Judith Mendador and Edmund Ruiz and Mr. Boy Besarino of DYSM - Aksyon Radio. Confiscated items were turned-over to the Northern Samar Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for examination.

“They would be spending the rest of their lives in jail if the court finds them guilty as charged,” the police regional chief added.

Soria informed that according to the law, any person found possessing any dangerous drug during a party, or at a social gathering or meeting, or in the proximate company of at least two persons, shall suffer the maximum penalty of life imprisonment as provided for in Sections 11 and 13, Article II of RA 9165 regardless of the quantity and purity of such dangerous drugs.

“Meanwhile, a penalty of imprisonment ranging from 6 months and one day to 4 years and a fine ranging from P10,000.00 to P50,000.00 shall be imposed upon any person who shall possess or have under his control drug paraphernalia in the proximate company of at least 2 persons,” Soria added, citing provisions in Sections 12 and 14, Article II of the dangerous drugs law.

The suspects availed of the 15-day waiver pursuant to Article 125 of the Revised Penal Court for preliminary investigation of the cases and are presently detained at the local police detention cell for custody



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