“Aside from activities targeting the humane and spiritual side of the
candidates and the electorate like the successful peace covenant
signing in Samar and the unity walk and prayer rally for SAFE 2013 on
Sunday, we will also showcase the result of aggressive police
operations targeting PAG personalities in Samar and loose firearms in
other parts of the region,” said Police Chief Superintendent Elmer
Ragadio Soria, director of the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8).
Soria added that accomplishment only goes to show that PRO8 is serious
in the crackdown against PAGs and in ensuring “secured and fair”
elections in Eastern Visayas.
To recall, a successful peace covenant signing was initiated by PRO8
held last January 13 at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in
Calbayog City with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Secretary Mar Roxas presiding and garnering support from the Diocese
of Calbayog and other stakeholders like the DILG, Commission on
Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines, civil society groups and
signed by local candidates vying for different congressional and local
The PRO8, in collaboration
with the Commission on Elections will also conduct a “Unity Walk and
Prayer Rally for Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013 on Sunday,
January 20, in Tacloban City and provincial capitals regionwide to
drumbeat the significance of the midterm elections.
On the otherhand, PRO8
activated the RSOTG-Samar after the province was included in the list
of 15 “priority areas” for the May 2013 polls. The task group, led by
Police Senior Superintendent Edgardo O. Basbas, Acting Deputy Regional
Director for Administration, is tasked in the crackdown against the
Montealto and Moloboco PAGs operating in Samar and the campaign
against the proliferation of loose firearms.
Recent major RSOTG
accomplishments include the neutralization of PAG leader Julito Aragon
y Cachero alias Nonoy on December 23, 2013 in the hinterlands of Brgy.
Peñaplata, Gandara, Samar. Aragon was listed as the Number One Most
Wanted Person in Samar province and wanted for two counts of murder.
Also, two Montealto PAG
members, Michael Angelo Mendoza and Felipe Casaljay, voluntarily
surrendered to RSOTG last December 20 and 27, 2012 respectively while
Wilfredo Moloboco of Moloboco PAG also turned himself in last December
These accomplishments are
aside from the assorted firearms recovered by RSOTG in police
operations against loose firearms, the regional police chief added.
Soria earlier assured that
he will ensure that the will of the people is truly reflected in the
upcoming elections, even recalling his successful experience as
Commander of Task Force: ABRA during the 2010 national and local
elections that ensured a peaceful conduct of elections in said
province, then considered as “election hotspot” due to the presence of
political warlords and heavily armed PAGs.
Police Director General Alan
La Madrid Purisima, a member of the Philippine Military Academy
“Dimalupig” Class of 1981, took over the reins of the 148,000-strong
Philippine National Police last December 18, 2012 as its 18th chief
since PNP was formed in 1991.
The PNP chief was a former
aide of the late President Corazon Aquino, among other key posts he
held in the police force, including being the former director of the
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
“Alam ko po na mas mabigat
pa ang haharapin nating pagsubok sa mga susunod na araw lalo na sa
paghahanda para sa isang matapat, maayos at mapayapang halalan sa Mayo
2013. Ako po ay nananalig sa ating organisasyon na kaya nating
gampanan ng mahusay ang ating adhikain. “Serbisyong Makatotohanan!”
Iyan ang ating inspirasyon para sa darating na halalan”, Purisima said
in his assumption speech.
Chiz sees human
rights reparation bill OK’d in bicam next week
By Office of Senator Chiz
January 17, 2013
PASAY CITY –
Senator Chiz Escudero said he expects the human rights reparations
bill to be approved by the bicameral conference committee next week.
The Human Rights Victims
Reparation and Recognition Act of 2012, which seeks to indemnify
victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime, states that
any qualified victim shall receive compensation from the state free of
The amount of compensation
shall be in proportion to the gravity of the violation committed.
“If a victim died or has
gone missing, it receives the highest points, from 7 to 10 points. If
the victim was tortured or was sexually abused depending on the
evaluated gravity, I think 3 to 7 points. The amount really depends on
how many claimants there are,” Escudero explained.
Escudero, chairman of the
Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said members of the
bicameral committee are just ironing out issues on claimants in the US
Federal District Court of Honolulu, Hawaii. The Hawaii court ruled in
favor of the claimants.
A P10-billion fund, plus
accrued interest, has been set aside and appropriated to fund the
claims. The amount is part of the funds transferred to the Philippine
Government by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court and is now held in
“It’s a long and emotional
process. It’s emotional because some members of the committee were
also victims themselves. But we are getting there. We just have to
settle the issue whether the Hawaii claimants shall be extended the
conclusive presumption that they are victims of human rights abuses
and therefore are automatically compensated or they be given the
disputable presumption,” the senator said.
Disputable presumption means
a presumption that can only be refuted by specific controverting
evidence. Conclusive presumption, on the other hand, means that any
person who has secured or can secure in one’s favor a judgment or
award of damages from any court in the country arising from human
rights violation shall be considered conclusively as a victim without
need of further proof.
Escudero said the bill
provides for the creation of an independent and quasi-judicial body to
be known as the Human Rights Claim Board which will determine and
“Since this is a public
fund, the board is subject to the auditing rules of the Commission on
Audit and the government’s existing rules on public funds. We
specified a time-frame for the board to finish and wrap up its mandate
in two years. They shall complete their work by then,” Escudero said.
New AFP chief
"great move for govt, greater threat for Filipinos," rights group says
January 17, 2013
QUEZON CITY –
“A great move for the government, a greater threat for the Filipino
Thus said rights group Hustisya as the appointment of Lt. Gen.
Emmanuel Bautista as new AFP chief takes effect today.
According to Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general, it is not
a surprise that the government will appoint the brains behind Oplan
Bayanihan, as the government targets to quash the so-called armed
threats this year.
“We were not wrong when we warned that more human rights violations
will come when Lt. Gen. Bautista was appointed Army chief in 2011. We
closed the year 2012 counting more victims. A hundred more families of
those extrajudicially killed are seeking justice, while more persons
face trumped-up charges and illegal arrests,” Guevarra said.
Karapatan documented 137 victims of extrajudicial killings by the end
“Can our families still hope for justice when the new AFP chief will
only direct his men to implement the same old counter-insurgency
program, only with a different name?” Guevarra asked.
Oplan Bayanihan, according to Hustisya, is a "cut-and-paste" Filipino
version of the US counter insurgency guide released in 2009.
“After two years, Oplan Bayanihan cannot hide behind pro-people and
pro-human rights slogans, not even with music videos that sing of
peace and development. In its two years, Oplan Bayanihan is a
repeating nightmare of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya,
which makes anybody vulnerable to rights violations,” Guevarra
Guevarra also said Bautista’s appointment reminds them of “how the
past administration rewarded its loyal minions in the military for
their bloody campaign against so-called enemies of the state.”
“We witnessed their increased military presence in communities, and
questioned their defense for government projects such as large-scale
mining, logging and plantations. We can only find peace if Oplan
Bayanihan is put to a stop,” Guevarra ended.
Lt. Gen. Bautista’s Oplan Bayanihan resulted to 137 EJK – Karapatan
January 16, 2013
QUEZON CITY –
Peddled as Oplan Bayanihan’s brains, Lt. Gen. Bautista’s appointment
as the new AFP Chief of Staff “signals the escalation of human rights
violations” under the Aquino government, Karapatan said today.
“Oplan Bayanihan, despite
its ‘people-centered’ and ‘respect for human rights’ catch-phrases
already resulted in 137 incidents of extrajudicial killings and 154
cases of frustrated extrajudicial killings (as of Dec.30,2012).
Contrary to claims by the Aquino government and the AFP, Oplan
Bayanihan is no different from Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya,”
said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Palabay added that it was
Bautista’s Oplan Bayanihan that claimed the lives of Italian
missionary Fausto Tentorio, Dutch aid worker Willem Geertman, and
indigenous peoples’ leaders Jimmy Liguyon and Juvy Capion, among
Karapatan maintains that a
counterinsurgency program such as Oplan Bayanihan and genuine respect
for human rights are contradictory. Oplan Bayanihan, in its two years
had caused numerous cases of human rights violations, victimizing
members and leaders of progressive organizations, including innocent
civilians suspected of being members or supporters of the New People’s
“There are still incidents
of bombings and indiscriminate firing, the use of schools, chapels,
medical facility and other public places for military purpose. People
are still forced to leave their homes because of military atrocities
in their communities,” Palabay said.
Karapatan also noted an
increasing number of illegal arrests and detention on the basis of
trumped-up charges. In December alone, Karapatan documented 27 people
arrested, 16 of them are still detained.
“Let us not forget the case
of Rolly Panesa, a security guard who is currently detained because
the AFP insists that he is a high CPP official. That’s how arbitrary
the AFP is under Oplan Bayanihan,” said Palabay.
Palabay added that “it is no
coincidence that Gen. Bautista was appointed at that time when Oplan
Bayanihan is on the last year of its Phase 1.”
“Oplan Bayanihan which is
authored by Gen. Bautista is simply the Filipino version of the US
Counterinsurgency Guide released in 2009.” she added. Karapatan
reiterates its call to junk Oplan Bayanihan.
Greenpeace to DENR:
Implement pollution disclosure to save our rivers
January 16, 2013
Environmental group Greenpeace today welcomed the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) recent moves to address
water pollution in the Philippines but said that the government agency
must do more to save the country’s polluted water bodies. Greenpeace
said that the first step must be pollution disclosure, or mandatory
reporting by factories about the chemical waste produced by their
Management Quality Areas (WMQA) to some of the country’s rivers and
waterways is a good move. But we need to see bigger steps in pollution
prevention if the DENR is serious in fulfilling its mandate to keep
our waterways clean,” said Abi Aguilar, Toxics Campaigner for
Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “We urge DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to
immediately eliminate chemicals already identified as hazardous and
implement pollution disclosure for companies that dump their wastes
and by-products in our bodies of water,” she added.
Water pollution is one of
the biggest problems affecting the Philippines. According to the DENR,
as many as 50 of the 421 rivers in the country are already considered
“biologically dead.” Biologically dead rivers no longer contain any
oxygen and cannot support any but the hardiest kinds of species.
This situation has prompted
the government agency to identify eight rivers as Water Quality
Management Areas, in pursuant to the Clean Water Act of 2004 – an
important step in protecting river systems. Rivers under protection
include the Sinocalan-Dagupan river system in Pangasinan, the
Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system and areas within the Laguna
Lake Development Authority’s jurisdiction in Luzon, the Tigum-Aganan
watershed and the Iloilo-Batiano river system in the Visayas, the
Silway River and the Sarangani Bay in Mindanao, the San Juan River
system in Metro Manila, and most recently, the Taguibo River in Agusan
del Norte. Greenpeace believes that the fact that these rivers were
declared as WQMAs means that its present condition requires serious
protection and management action by its local government and
Greenpeace has long called
for the establishment of a Pollution Release and Transfer Register (PRTR)
policy that would also give communities and other stakeholders the
right to access information about these pollutants. PRTR policies have
been instrumental in preventing pollution in countries like Japan,
Australia and Canada. Currently, the DENR has no complete data on what
chemicals factories are discharging into our rivers and lakes.
Communities living around these bodies of water suffer because they do
not know what chemicals are present in their locality, and how their
water supply is slowly being contaminated.
“Now is the time for
Secretary Paje to identify and investigate the pollution hotspots in
our river systems. If a PRTR is in place, then industries/facilities
would be more careful with their discharges into our waterways. This
is an important first step in the elimination of hazardous chemicals
in manufacturing operations and ensuring public safety,” Aguilar said.
In order to prevent toxic
pollution in our water bodies, Greenpeace is demanding that the DENR:
a. Expand the Priority
Chemicals List (PCL) to include those that have already been
identified to potentially affect human health and the environment;
b. Speed up the elimination
of priority hazardous chemicals with specific timelines;
c. Immediately set up a PRTR
so that the public can access data on pollution.
Greenpeace also calls on the
communities to be vigilant about the operations of the industries in
their localities, to protect their own rivers, and to call on the
government for better policies for cleaner and safer water.
Soldiers, cops get
lectures on election laws
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
January 15, 2013
ORMOC CITY – A
total of 32 key personnel from the 19th Infantry Battalion and nearly
60 policemen in Ormoc get free seminar on Election Laws at Ramona
Banquet Hall, New Pongos Hotel, Ormoc City January 10, 2013.
The whole day activity which
started 8:00 a.m. on Thursday was hosted by the Occidental Leyte Bar
Association (OLBA), COMELEC-Ormoc and the Rotary Club of Ormoc in
their initiative for a secured and fair election come May 13 this
During the seminar, PSSupt.
Elizar P. Egloso, police director of Ormoc City Police Office cited
the importance of the lectures to both police and soldiers who will be
securing the upcoming elections.
“We must accept the fact
that our knowledge about the law is limited”, Egloso stressed.
The seminar includes
lectures and open fora to topics such as the Role of AFP and PNP in
election activities, Election Offenses and Warrantless Search and
To Lt. Col. Jeffrey Cabansay,
the executive officer of 19th IB, secure, fair and honest election
would mean proper implementation of the COMELEC resolutions and
election laws by the COMELEC and its deputized agencies.
Cabansay furthered that the
public should likewise be informed on the election laws.
On the other hand, Lt. Col.
Joel Alejandro Nacnac, commanding officer of 19IB expressed his
gratitude to OLBA and the Rotary Club of Ormoc for orchestrating a
very meaningful and educational opportunity for his troops to be
re-oriented on their critical role during elections.
Election period, as embodied
in COMELEC Resolution No. 9385, will start on Monday, January 13, 2013
and will end on June 12 this year.
Within this period, the AFP
and PNP will be working hand in hand in conducting routine check
points and providing security in polling places during the election
day particularly in identified election hotspots throughout the
Martial Law victims to
bicam: No more delays, enact “pro-victim” bill now!
January 15, 2013
QUEZON CITY –
Martial Law victims held a rally outside Batasang Pambansa on Thursday
while the bicameral conference committee “harmonized” the Lower House
and Senate versions of the bill to indemnify victims of martial law to
craft the final version into a law.
“We are here to press our
senators and congressmen to stand by the bill most acceptable and
reflect the interests of the majority of the victims of Martial Law,”
said Marie Hilao Enriquez, whose group, SELDA, initiated the filing of
the historic class action suit against the Marcoses in the US Federal
Court System in 1986 and won a favorable ruling in 1992.
SELDA stressed that members
of the BiCam must consider the voices and interests of the victims
embodied in the four points the organization asked to be included in
the final version of the law. The first BiCam meeting resulted into
debates which the victims felt were only moves to delay the passage of
the bill, just before the 2013 elections.
“We reiterate that victims
who filed a class action suit against Marcos in Hawaii must be
conclusively presumed as legitimate human rights violation victims and
must be acknowledged as such so that they will not be made to once
more prove their legitimacy as human rights violations victims during
martial law, just like the “new claimants” who will be filing claims
for the first time under Philippine law Instead of instantly casting
doubts on the victims, the law should prioritize that victims need
recognition and reparation or indemnification as components of justice
that victims long deserved,” Enriquez said.
The group has earlier
expressed disappointment on Sen. Joker Arroyo’s insistence of a
provision on disputable presumption of the martial law victims who
filed and won a case vs. Marcos in Hawaii.
Enriquez explained, “it is
not only painful, but far more dangerous, for the victims to undergo
and endure the painful and rigorous process again to prove they were
indeed violated during Martial Law.”
SELDA also said that only
considering as human rights violations victims during martial law
those who “peacefully exercised their rights against the dictatorship”
is clearly excluding those who resisted the violations during the
white terror years and sends a very dangerous signal to the
perpetrators of human rights violations that the perpetrators can do
what they like to people considered as not “peacefully” exercising
their civil and political rights. This provision also opens up a
problem of who will and how will the “peaceful” exercise be
determined. Further, even the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which
the Philippine government subscribes to, does not specify how the
rights will be exercised.
“Why should this be an issue
when the rights to take up arms in a time of tyrannical rule are
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Pushing for
such a provision in a law meant to render a component of justice to
martial law victims will deny such Martial Law heroes and martyrs as
Emman Lacaba, Edgar Jopson, Lorena Barros, and a hundred more who have
been recognized as worthy of emulation by Bantayog ng mga Bayani and
most importantly, in our nation’s history,” she said.
Secretary Mar Roxas delivering his message while Police Chief
Superintendent Elmer R. Soria, Regional Director of Police
Regional Office 8 (right photo) signing as witness during the
election peace covenant signing in Calbayog City last Sunday
Covenant signing could
usher SAFE in Samar – Soria
By RPCRD, Police Regional
January 14, 2013
CAMP RUPERTO K. KANGLEON,
Palo, Leyte – The signing of a peace covenant by local
candidates in Samar is a step in the right direction and could usher a
“secured and fair” conduct of the midterm polls in the province, said
the region’s top police official.
“The positive support we got
from the candidates themselves and the good number of people who
attended the peace covenant signing only showed that Samareños are
supportive to our effort in ensuring the conduct of a peaceful and
orderly elections,” said Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio
Soria, Eastern Visayas police regional director.
The Police Regional Office 8
(PRO8) initiated the conduct of peace covenant signing held Sunday
morning at the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in Calbayog City that
garnered support from the Diocese of Calbayog and other stakeholders
like the Department of Interior and Local Government, Commission on
Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines, civil society groups and
signed by local candidates vying for congressional and different local
Department of Interior and
Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas presided in the activity
with Soria and other leaders from the church, military, Comelec and
other stakeholders as witnesses.
“Kinikilala po ng pamahalaan
ni PNoy na ang halalan ay sentro ng ating demokrasya, vox populi
vox dei, na ang voice of the people is the voice of God, sana po
ay maging maayos at mapayapa ang halalang ito…. Hindi po gagamit ng
puwersa ang gobyerno upang baliin ang kagustuhan ng ating mga
mamamayan,” Roxas said in his message.
Diocese of Calbayog Bishop
Isabelo Abarquez officiated a pontifical mass followed by the signing
proper of the manifesto, blessing of peace covenant and release of
white balloons and doves as a symbol of peace led by the Bishop.
Samar was included in the
DILG list of “priority areas” due to election-related violent
incidents in past electoral exercises, presence of private armed
groups and New People’s Army in the area.
Even with the covenant
signing, Soria assured that PRO8, through the Regional Special
Operations Task Group (RSOTG) will continue to conduct aggressive
police operations against the remaining PAGs operating in the province
and intensify the campaign against loose firearms.
“To ensure a ‘Secured And
Fair Elections (SAFE)' in the entire region, we will implement sustained law
enforcement, security and public safety operations before, during and
after the elections,” Soria informed.
partnership to serve 5,000 EV poor families in need of special
Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 14, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY –
Two civil society organizations recently forged partnership with the
Department of Social Welfare and Development in order to serve about
5,000 poor families in Eastern Visayas with children 0-14 years old,
who are in need of special protection.
DSWD Region 8 Asst. Regional
Director for Operations Nestor Ramos informed that the partnership is
in line with the implementation of the Modified Conditional Cash
Transfer Program for poor households that are not beneficiaries of the
Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program in Eastern Visayas.
ARD Ramos identified the CSO
partners as the Magbinuligon Parents Association, Inc. of Dulag, Leyte
and Hinunangan Family Development Center, Inc. of Hinunangan, Southern
The MPAI will operate in six
municipalities of Leyte, namely, Dulag, Tolosa, Julita, Mayorga,
Tabontabon and Dagami.
MPAI President Marina Duan
informed that the organization is targeting to serve 2,350
beneficiaries in the municipalities of Dulag, Tolosa, Julita and
Mayorga, and 2,250 beneficiaries in the municipalities of Tabontabon
and Dagami, all in the province of Leyte.
On the other hand, Ms. Aida
Tagnipez, the Chairman, said the Hinunangan Family Development Center,
Inc. has targeted 357 beneficiaries in 14 clustered barangays of
Hinunangan, Southern Leyte.
The target beneficiaries are
poor families with children 0-14 years of age and who are in need of
special protection in the following categories: street children and
families in pockets of poverty who are not covered by Pantawid Pamilya
and are not in the list of the National Household Targeting System for
These include families who
are Indigenous Peoples, families with children with disabilities,
families of child laborers and families that are displaced due to
man-made and natural disasters.
The project of the CSOs
which will be funded by DSWD, will augment the limited number of the
local DSWD staff in the implementation of the program.
MPAI was allotted more than
P3 Million for the implementation of the project while HFDCI was
allotted more than P2 Million. The partner CSOs are responsible for
the facilitation of referral services and case management of
Moreover, the CSOs will also
conduct trainings and counseling sessions for the beneficiaries. Like
the Pantawid Pamilya Program, beneficiaries of MCCT will also receive
cash grants provided they comply with the conditions required such as
weekly attendance to FDS for the first two months; once a month
attendance to FDS for the succeeding months and family counseling
sessions; attendance to Alternative mode of learning or formal
schools; visit to health centers; and residing in a permanent home
after six months of social preparation.
During the MOA signing, ARD
Ramos explained the terms of reference for the implementation of the
program, the transfer of funds to partner CSOs, and all other
conditions and information required by the Commission on Audit from
the CSOs pursuant to Item 4.5.3 of COA Circular No. 2007-001 or the
Revised Guidelines in the Granting, Utilization, Accounting and
Auditing of the funds released to Non-Governmental
Organizations/People’s Organization (NGOs/POs).
Since they will be handling
public funds, partner CSOs will be required to maintain a separate
savings account for each project fund they receive from the DSWD, ARD
In choosing partner CSOs,
the Regional Selection Committee composed of DSWD, NEDA and PIA
officials, looked for criteria such as a good track record on projects
for street families and other families in need of special protection,
registration or license to undertake projects and accept contracts, a
specialized staff to handle families with special needs, an
established office in the city or municipality where the project will
be implemented, and documentation procedures (case management) and
on-file case records of families and/or children in need of special
All these will ensure the
proper and successful implementation of the project, ARD Ramos added
even as he encouraged other qualified CSOs to partner with DSWD in the
implementation of the government’s poverty alleviation projects.