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President Aquino creates special teams to probe human rights violations

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


livelihood cash assistance through LSIP
A check amounting to P50,000.00 was received by the defunct BOP of Barangay Santander, Bobon, Northern Samar on 28 November 2012.

Former NPA regulars, Militia and BOP members, receive livelihood cash assistance through LSIP of Northern Samar

By 20th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
December 1, 2012

BRGY. MAGSAYSAY, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar  –  A total of twenty three (23) former NPA regulars, militias and members of Batakang Organisasyon han Partido (BOP), a CPP/NPA mass organization in the barangays, have received livelihood financial cash assistance through the Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) of Northern Samar and the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) in a simple ceremony at the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) at around 9:00 o’clock in the morning of November 28, 2012.

The giving of said financial assistance came after the conduct of a three (3) day social preparation cum livelihood workshop on reintegration and rehabilitation conducted by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Northern Samar.

The said seminar workshop is aimed to prepare the former NPA regulars, Militia and BOP members as they will be reintegrated into the mainstream of our society to start anew, normal and decent lives along with their families. The 3-day workshop was attended/participated by Director Carmen Mejia of Northern Samar PSWDO; Fr. Fred Placa, Pastoral Director, Diocese of Catarman; Ms. Maricel Bantilo, representative from OPAPP; PSSupt Isias Tonog, PD, NSPPO; other top ranking military; and friends from the media.

The said seminar workshop includes subjects on: Financial and Home management; Understanding and overcoming obstacles in starting a business; Getting to Know you; Choosing the Right Livelihood Project; Marketing Strategies; Financial Recording; and Spiritual Enlightenment and Recollection.

A total of three hundred fifty five thousand pesos (P355,000.00) as livelihood and cash assistance were given to the beneficiaries. Six (6) former NPA regulars received P40,000.00 each; One (1) unit militia received an amount of P10,000.00 as cash assistance; four (4) BOP leaders received P5,000.00 each; seven (7) facilitators or those who worked out and negotiated for the surrender of NPA regulars also received P5,000.00 each; and the eighteen (18) members of the defunct BOP received a livelihood cash assistance amounting to P50,000.00.

The former NPA regulars, militia and BOP members came out and voluntarily surfaced after the series of Bayanihan Team activities conducted by the troops of 20IB in the province.

According to LTC Noel Vestuir, 20IB’s Commanding Officer: “These former NPA regulars, militia and BOP members, after knowing the programs of the government that would indeed help them in starting a new life, have realized the futility of their continued resistance and support to the terrorist group. With the continued implementation of all the programs and Bayanihan team activities, with the continued support of all our Internal Peace and Security stakeholders in the province, more of them will come out knowing that there is a big opportunity for them to once again live a normal and peaceful life.”

Vestuir also calls for the other NPA regulars, militia and members of CPP/NPA allied organizations to come out and rejoin their former comrades in our society. “As Christmas season is now fast approaching, we call on our brothers in the underground organization to come out, we are here to help you, like what we did to the others, they are now enjoying peaceful lives, free of fear and worries along with their families.” Vestuir concluded.





Week-long activities set for remembering Human Rights Day in EV

human rights group rally in tacloban

December 1, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas, an umbrella organization of rights defenders in the whole EasternVisayas region has set an array of activities for the week before the commemoration of the 64th anniversary since the signing of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, anchored in raising the awareness of the people regarding human rights, and violations perpetrated by the supposed state ‘protectors’ turned violators.

“The Aquino administration which has offered itself an alternative to the Gloria regime, proves no difference but rather, a so far worse record on violations of human rights. Aquino and his lapdogs in the AFP are attempting to mask themselves as sincere rights protector through hiring pop stars, photo-ops, and the likes, while behind the media mileage they are spreading terror,” said Rev. Irma Balaba, Regional Coordinator of KATUNGOD.

It can be remembered that President Aquino while he was campaigning for Presidency and on the first day of his office, pledged swift delivery of justice to those victims of rights violations and the end of such. Similarly, on the occasion of the 62nd Anniversary rites of the UDHR, President Aquino reiterated his ‘commitment’ on the issue. However, cases of extra-judicial killings, abductions, illegal arrests, and other forms of rights violations are still witnessed based on reports of KATUNGOD and even the New York-based rights group, Human Rights Watch.

In line with the commemoration, KATUNGOD, in partnership with the END IMPUNITY Alliance, a network of rights advocates in Tacloban City is to have the annual cultural camp dubbed “DESODE” at the University of the Philippines Visayas Tacloban College (UPVTC) Oblation grounds.

Peasants, workers, youth and students, faculty members, environmental activists, church people, media, and other sectors are to converge at the UPVTC Multi-Purpose Building (MPB) on December 04, for the opening of the week-long activities which includes a free-for-all nightly film showing of rights-related movies at the MPB, a Photo Exhibit of the glaring cases of extra-judicial killings in the region, also to last for the whole week, and a rummage sale which is aimed in raising funds for the assistance of the families left by those killed extra-judicially.

“As we call for the end of human rights violations, we likewise demand justice for those victims, and put the perpetrators of such violations behind jail. Because right now, the butcher Palparan who terrorized the region in 2005 is still enjoying freedom right under the police’s nose,” said Dean Lacandazo, Lead Convenor of END IMPUNITY Alliance.





Greenpeace to submit evidence of fishing violations by Philippines, Southeast Asian ships to Tuna Commission

December 1, 2012

MANILA  –  Greenpeace today announced it will formally submit a dossier detailing recent violations of fishing rules by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) which meets tomorrow in the Philippine capital. Similar dossier submissions in the past have resulted in large penalties for the ships’ owner companies as well as the ships’ inclusion in a global pirate fishing blacklist.

Among the violations recorded were illegal transhipment, vessels operating in the high seas without permits, failure to report via the mandatory Vessel Monitoring System, operating in the high seas without mandatory observers onboard, and illegal deployment of fish aggregating devices (FADs).

The WCPFC, also known as the Pacific Tuna Commission, is meeting in Manila this week to chart management and conservation measures in the face of fast-declining tuna stocks. Waters around Pacific island countries supply 60% of the world's tuna demand, but tuna species such as yellow fin and albacore are on the brink of collapse due to massive overfishing by ships from Asia, the Americas and Europe.

"While at sea, we saw firsthand that pirate fishing and destructive fishing methods abound in the Pacific. The evidence we gathered clearly demonstrate failure by governments and industries to comply with the most basic rules they themselves have instituted through the Tuna Commission," said Chow Yuen Ping, Greenpeace campaigner onboard the ship Esperanza which docked today in Manila.

Last month, Greenpeace conducted an expedition in the waters of Palau and the Pacific High Seas Pocket 1, the area of international waters between the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea. This is the sixth expedition conducted by Greenpeace in the Western and Central Pacific region to defend dwindling tuna stocks and expose the conservation, management and compliance challenges in this region.

"For several years now, Greenpeace has shown the vulnerability of international waters to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Members of the commission must now agree to close pockets of international waters in the Pacific to halt fishing violations and allow tuna stocks to replenish," said Lagi Toribau, Greenpeace head of delegation to WCPFC.

Greenpeace has been working with Pacific governments to address overfishing and prevent foreign fishing powers from plundering their fishing grounds. The environmental group is calling for marine reserves to be established in four high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons, and for these be declared off- limits to fishing. At the upcoming meeting, it is also seeking a ban on the use of FADs in purse seine fisheries and a 50% reduction in the catch of bigeye tuna.

The Philippines, host of this week’s meeting, is a regular cooperating member of the WCPFC. The country’s tuna industry is heavily dependent on the supply of tuna caught in the Pacific. Last October, the WCPFC granted the country rights for 36 vessels to fish in Pocket 1 which was previously closed to all fishing vessels.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is currently in Manila for the international WCPFC meeting which ends on December 6. The ship will remain in the country for the Philippines’ “Ocean Defender Ship Tour” from December 8 to 15.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry - two necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health. The group is also working with retailers and tuna brands across Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific to increase the market share of sustainably sourced tuna.





Soria supports “Judicial Affidavit Rule”

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
November 29, 2012

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  The region’s top police official welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to adopt the Judicial Affidavit Rule in hearing cases with penalty of not more than six years starting January next year.

Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria
Police 8 director Elmer Soria

“The judicial affidavit rule is expected to advance and further strengthen the criminal justice system, increase judicial efficiency and access to justice,” said Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, Eastern Visayas police director.

Soria added that the new rule is of great help to Police Regional Office 8’s anti-crime drive as the time that policemen normally spend at the witness stand would be used instead in police visibility and in busting criminal elements.

“Every unnecessary hearing or postponement of a hearing involving the testimony of our police witnesses gives more time to criminals to terrorize our streets and less time for policemen to prepare and arrest them,” the Regional Director said during the Closing Ceremony of the Orientation Seminar on Judicial Affidavit Rule held at PRO8’s Matapat Hall this afternoon.

The seminar was spearheaded by the Department of Justice with prosecutors from the Office of the City Prosecution led by Fiscal Ruperto B. Golong, Jr. as Lecturers and was participated in by a total of 469 investigators and Women and Children Protection Desk personnel from police stations and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The “Judicial Affidavit Rule” is contained in Supreme Court Administrative Matter No. 12-8-8-SC and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. It is aimed at speeding up the hearing and adjudication of cases by reducing the period of presenting evidence in courts.

Under the approved rule, lawyers and prosecutors can directly cross-examine witnesses since their affidavits will be submitted in court before the start of the hearing. Witnesses no longer have to repeat what they stated in their written testimony, thus shortening the period of the proceedings.

“This will do away with the lengthy direct testimony of witnesses and trial time may be cut by up to 50%,” the Regional Director informed.

The new rule requires the submission of judicial affidavits and exhibits in lieu of direct testimony not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary conference or prior to scheduled hearings of motions and incidents.

The judicial affidavits, signed by witnesses, must include documentary evidence, the name of witness, the name of the lawyer who took the testimony, a statement that the witness was answering questions conscious that he is under oath and that he may be held criminally liable for false testimony or perjury.

An attestation is to be done by a lawyer who conducted and supervised the examination of a witness and the opposing party has a right to cross-examine the witness who executed judicial affidavit.

The said rule is applicable to criminal cases when the maximum imposable penalty does not exceed six years, when the accused agrees to use of judicial affidavit irrespective of the penalty involved, and with respect to the civil aspect of the actions whatever the penalties involved.

During the ceremony, Soria also lauded the partnership between the Law Enforcement and the Prosecution Pillar of the Criminal Justice System.

“This is an important collaboration and re-invigorates our respective roles in the investigation, prosecution, dispensation and realization of justice. This will give our people a feeling of great sense of justice and security,” Soria disclosed.





Samar town showcases achievements in 121st founding anniversary

By PIA Samar
November 29, 2012

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Sta. Margarita, one of Samar’s 24 municipalities marked its 121st founding anniversary Wednesday, showcasing its achievements in the last few years.

Formerly called Magsohong, Sta. Margarita proudly claimed that it continues to grow with its band of officials led by Mayor Alfredo Serrano.

In his State of the Municipality Report, Serrano cited that his local health unit has been given PhilHealth accreditation due to his dynamic and young Municipal Health Officer.

He also praised the young doc for sustaining the Sentrong Sigla seal through the years, that he was inspired to provide a modern birthing facility and the first maternal and child care clinic complete with ambulance and able health staff.

The RHU has also a Child Protection Unit where abused children can turn to in times of need.

As to education, Serrano claimed that of the 64 secondary schools in the province only four showed excellence where two of which are found in Sta. Margarita.

To help the students get to school on time, it has provided a school bus free of charge ferrying students to and from school, although one teacher whispered, the students are cramped, still the effort to help them is present.

The mayor also talked of social services to Pantawid families, infrastructure strengthened by the intervention of Samar’s first district Representative to Congress Mel Senen Sarmiento.

He also talked of a peaceful town with the help of the army and the PNP, along with force multipliers in the barangay trained under the Barangay Action Patrol System (BPATs).

Judy Batulan of DILG-Samar praised the mayor for complying with the SOMA which exhibited his type of governance.

Batulan added that Serrano is compliant to the full disclosure policy (FDP) of the DILG.

“Your mayor is performing, your town belongs to 15 out of 26 LGUs that are FDP compliant,” he told the crowd of students, teachers, barangay officials and Pantawid families that filled the jam-packed auditorium.

Board Member Charlie Coñejos who read the message of Representative Mel Senen Sarmiento also praised Serrano in his style of governance that made him support the town’s infrastructure projects amounting to P218 Million. This includes roads, buildings, classrooms, communal irrigation systems and others.

He added that another P11.7 M was allotted for the town’s social services.

Earlier, Sta. Margarita folks held a parade, flag raising, unveiling of a tarpaulin that displays their tourist potentials and a thanksgiving mass.

The theme in Waray said: Magsohong, padayon an pag uswag! (Magsohong moving in for more progress.)





Commitment from global fishing powers needed to reverse tuna decline – Greenpeace

November 29, 2012

MANILA, Philippines  –  Greenpeace activists today sought conservation commitments from fishing powers in the upcoming global summit on Pacific tuna fisheries, to be hosted by the Philippines next week.

Tuna mascots with banners saying "Support tuna conservation" and "Help end tuna overfishing" demonstrated at the embassies of Korea, Japan, USA, as well in the representative offices of the European Union and Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.

The high-level conference of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), taking place on Dec. 2 to 6, will be attended by more than 30 countries from the Oceania region, Asia, Americas and Europe. Countries will need to agree to conservation and management measures in order to address the fast-declining supply of Pacific tuna.

"Pacific tuna fishing powers must act now to recover Pacific tuna stocks from the brink of collapse,” said Lagi Toribau, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace International. “They need to agree to a full closure of the Pacific commons-sensitive areas, as well as ban the use of destructive fish aggregating devices (FADs) associated with purse seine fisheries, so that the Pacific can continue feeding future generations with tuna."

More than 60% of the world's tuna comes from the Western and Central Pacific. Scientists, however, have warned that stocks in this area are under threat from massive overfishing. Yellowfin and bigeye tuna, for example, are already immense pressure due to overfishing and the use of wasteful fishing techniques that lay waste to juvenile tuna and other marine life such as sharks and turtles.

The Philippines, host of this week’s meeting, is a regular cooperating member of the WCPFC. The country’s tuna industry is heavily dependent on the supply of tuna caught in the Pacific.

Fishing powers like Korea, Japan, Taiwan, USA, and the EU have opposed strong management and conservation measures in the region at the previous WCPFC meeting last March, leaving fisheries management in a free fall.

“Fishing industries from Korea, Japan, US, the EU, Taipei, as well as the Philippines, are in danger of fishing themselves out of business,” said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “This tuna stock decline can be reversed by a significant reduction in fishing capacity, abandoning destructive techniques and by creating marine reserves in parts of the Pacific so that stocks can recover.”

For years, Greenpeace has been working with Pacific governments to address overfishing and prevent foreign fishing powers from plundering their fishing grounds. The environmental group is calling for marine reserves to be established in four high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons, and for these be declared off-limits to fishing. At the upcoming meeting, it 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.

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans and for a more sustainable fishing industry – two necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health. The group is also working with retailers and tuna brands across Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific to increase the market share of sustainably sourced tuna.





Is Aquino ‘superbody’ worth $13M US and aid from the international community? – Karapatan

November 28, 2012

QUEZON CITY  –  “Would the Aquino government finally pull off the $13M US and other foreign aid, which means money from the international community, with the creation of Aquino’s ‘superbody’ to investigate the killings, disappearances, torture and other rights violations?” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay asked wryly.

Karapatan said that the Aquino government is “hell bent on securing the more than $13 million in US military assistance to the GPH that it does anything to deodorize its human rights record.” Since 2008, the said military aid remains unreleased due to international pressure from various Philippine solidarity groups that campaigned on the issue of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations.

“If and when the government gets the aid, the money will only be used to oil the AFP to continue the cycle of terror and violence against the people,” Palabay added.

In the past months, Secretary of Justice, Leila De lima, representing the President, was in various international forum to “raise awareness” on the Aquino government’s “human rights achievements.”

De Lima attended the Universal Periodic Review process at the United Nations and had, reportedly, met with officials of the State Department, the Department of Defense and with the American legislators led by Rep. Rogers who chairs the US House Committee on Appropriations. Karapatan chided the government for “peddling lies” to get the military aid.

In an earlier statement, Karapatan questioned the creation of the ‘superbody’ specifically because the Defense Secretary, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and director general of the Philippine National Police are included in the inter-agency committee created by Noynoy Aquino’s AO No. 35.

“It is unimaginable how the victims can trust this superbody when, almost always, members of these agencies are the identified perpetrators of human rights violations. Aquino’s promotion of military officers like Gen. Jorge Segovia, who is charged in court for the torture of the members of Morong 43, is enough proof that the government will not punish its own men,” she said.

“Nothing less than an end to Oplan Bayanihan would make us believe the government’s sincerity to stop the killings and other human rights violations,” Palabay concluded.

Related Story: President Aquino creates special teams to probe human rights violations





‘RSOG’ captures 2 wanted felons

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
November 27, 2012

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte  –  The Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG8) of the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) continues to conduct manhunt operations against persons wanted by the law as two men were arrested by the elite group in separate operations in Leyte and Samar provinces recently.

“We activated RSOG purposely to act as PRO8’s primary operations arm to enforce special laws and capture high profile criminals,” Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Director said.

Soria informed that intelligence operations conducted by RSOG operatives in Tarangnan, Samar and Sta. Fe, Leyte paid off as 2 persons wanted for murder and frustrated parricide were collared by the elite group in manhunt operations in said areas.

The region’s top cop identified the suspects David Tamor Subito alias Bobong, wanted for Murder, and Lawrence Gariando Negradas, charged with Frustrated Parricide.

Subito, 29, a farmer, was collared by police authorities led by Police Inspector Constantino Jabonete, Jr. at vicinity of Brgy C in Tarangnan, Samar after weeks of surveillance. Accused was presently residing at Brgy Catan-agan, Tarangnan, Samar and a native of Brgy Bulao, San Jorge, Samar where the incident transpired.

“He is a suspect in the brutal killing of his neighbor Rolando Nuñez, also known as Kanor, on March 24, 2011 and went into hiding after the perpetration of the incident”, Soria informed.

The RSOG was clothed with an arrest warrant for murder docketed under criminal case number 11-0513 issued by Hon Judge Feleciano P. Aguilar of Regional Trial Court, Branch 41 in Gandara, Samar.

Meanwhile, Negradas was also collared by RSOG in Brgy. San Juan, Sta. Fe, Leyte after a brief chase by authorities.

The police team led by SPO4 Ananias Monteroso arrested him by virtue of an Order of Arrest issued last November 9, 2012 by Judge Lauro A.P. Castillo Jr. of RTC Branch 8, Tacloban City for Frustrated Parricide under Criminal Case No. 2012-02-122, with P200,000.00 recommended bail bond.

As this developed, Soria renewed his call to the public to report the presence of wanted persons in their neighborhood.

“It is every citizen’s social responsibility to inform the police on the hideouts of wanted persons. So far, the recent successful manhunt operations conducted by RSOG was accomplished through tips from informants”, the regional director disclosed.



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