Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad
news 468


more news...

PRO8 collars 5 drug pushers, 9 users

DOJ dismisses Ericson Acosta case

PRO8 awards cops during 22nd PNP Foundation Day

PRO8 arrests 4 gun ban violators, confiscates 10 firearms

EV folks unite for SAFE 2013

PNP chief Purisima to visit PRO8 on Jan. 19, RSOTG to showcase accomplishments

PRO8 to set up more checkpoints for Comelec gun ban

Two Leyte festivals to compete in Sinulog 2013

PRO8 notes fewer firecracker-related injuries in 2012

UNA cites violation of the law in Cebu; slams LP defense as recycled statements from the Arroyo regime


Land Use experts blast Senate favor of CREBA lobby contra land use bill

By CLUP Now!
February 8, 2013

QUEZON CITY – “KANIN o SEMENTO ang kakainin niyo?”

This was the cry of land use experts, government officials with farmers, fishers, urban poor in a press conference to the Senators and realtors that derailed the passing of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) last Wednesday, February 6.

Carrying a plate of rice and a plate of cement, the group firmly said that if we want our future generations to be fed, the NLUA must be passed!

Present at the press conference were Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano, Climate Change Commissioner Yeb Sano, land use expert and environmental planner Dr. Elmer Mercado, former Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor Percy Chavez, and sector leaders from the farmers, fisherfolk and urban poor sectors.

The NLUA bill was stalled on second hearing after Senator Bongbong Marcos was nowhere to be found in the Plenary hall to deliver his amendments on the Bill.

His absence led Senate Majority Floor Leader Tito Sotto to suspend the deliberations on the Bill. He said there are 53 amendments from CREBA (Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association, Inc.) coursed through Senator Marcos for the NLUA.

Senators Villar, Enrile and Recto, who also reserved to interpellate did not proceed anymore. Senator Enrile reasoned the day before that he wanted to study the bill further.

Environmental planner Dr. Elmer Mercado said, “It’s actually no question why we need NLUA. It’s a global concern, it addresses disaster and climate change mitigation, food security and safe settlements as well. I don’t believe present land use plans of LGUs do not have national perspective. The national land use act will give an overall framework to the country’s sustainable use of resources.”

Mercado continues that it’s good that it’s certified as priority bill by President Aquino but the politicians in Congress are blocking it. “If CREBA understands the law, it will know that NLUA does not give away local autonomy from the LGUs. It recognizes different situations for every local government but there is a need for an overall framework and guide in land use planning. Parang holen na dapat hindi titirahin na sabog-sabog para iisa lang ang direksyon,“ he added.

USec. Fred Serrano said that there is limited land, and if we do not protect it and save it from conversion, food security is put in peril.

“At the Department of Agriculture, we have always supported the prioritization of the land use bill. The bill pushes to protect prime agricultural lands based on the definition in the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act. Unfortunately, it’s the same senators opposing AFMA who seem to be working against NLUA,” said the USec. Serrano.

In other countries, USec. Serrano said that Thailand and Vietnam is protecting even more lands than the Philippines. Vietnam uses 7 million hectares for rice land alone due to national security.

Percy Chavez who formerly sat in the Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor said that housing sector and the urban poor sector recognizes food security needs and that prime land cemented cannot be reverted to agriculture.

“3.7 million units of housing are needed. With NLUA, there will be selected places for appropriate housing for all sectors. There is opportunity loss in the lands that we can use for the benefit of all,” stressed Chavez.

Members of the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) were highly dismayed by the result of the Senate session. Last Monday, February 4, the Certification as Urgent of the NLUA bill from Malacanang was delivered and read at the Senate floor. This boosted CLUP Now’s hopes for the passage of a law that was first filed in the 9th Congress.

The Marcos and Villar amendments have already reached Senator Gringo Honasan, NLUA’s sponsor, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Senator Honasan was ready to answer all the amendments. But Senator Marcos openly defied the Presidential order to pass the NLUA urgently by not showing up at all. We would have welcomed a debate to refine the bill further. Bong-bong’s absence has put this nation and all our children’s future food security and safety at risk. As a parent, I got very upset,” said Anthony Marzan, CLUP Now! convenor.

The “CREBA” amendments centered on striking out the coverage of prime agricultural lands under the Protection Areas land use category. They also question the conversion and reversion clauses and penalties in the bill, saying it was sounding too much like another CARP Extension Law.

“Makitid po ang analysis na iyan dahil higit na malawak ang sakop ng batas NLUA sa paggamit ng lupa. Di lang Protection land use ang sinisiguro niyan kundi ang mga tamang lugar na panirahan. Kailangan wala ito sa lugar na madaling naapektuhan ng pagbaha at pagguho ng lupa upang maiwasan ang mga aksidente na kumikitil ng napakaraming buhay,” stressed Audie Lavador of the Urban Land Reform Movement.

Marzan adds, “Senator Marcos, if you would have studied the NLUA suince the oo, local autonomy is NOT being compromised. There are processes involved in formulating the National Land Use Plan. Only the framework and guidelines to formulate the plan will be set at the National level. The CLUPs will then be formulated from the ground and consolidated by the National Land use Committee to make the National Land Use Plan.”

“We issue this challenge especially to Senators Marcos, Villar, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to study the proposed NLUA bill as you requested and be ready to interpellate on the floor on June 5, when session resumes. Do not endanger this nation further by delaying the passage of NLUA!” said Marzan.





Chiz in tie for top spot in Pulse Asia survey

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
February 8, 2013

PASAY CITY – Independent candidate Senator Chiz Escudero was in a statistical tie for the number one spot in the latest survey of senatorial candidates by pollster Pulse Asia.

Nationalist People’s Coalition candidate Loren Legarda garnered a rating of 58 percent while Escudero came in with 54.3 percent. With a margin of error of +/- two percentage points, the two reelectionists were in a statistical tie for number one.

The survey was conducted last January 19 to 30.

“I am happy and humbled by the continued confidence by the people, but what is important is that public servants seeking the people’s vote like me continue to work to prove that we are worthy of the positions entrusted to us,” Escudero said.

The latest Pulse Asia poll showed that behind Legarda and Escudero were Team Pinoy’s Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano at third with 48.9 percent, while United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bets Nancy Binay, 43.6 percent, and San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito were tied for fourth and fifth places.

Other candidates who came out in the Magic 12 were Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, 41.1 percent; Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, 40.7 percent; UNA’s Cagayan Representative Juan Ponce Enrile Jr., 40.4 percent; and former Las Piñas Representative Cynthia Villar, 39.1 percent.

Completing the list for the magic 12 are UNA’s Sen. Migz Zubiri, 37.6 percent, Aurora Province Rep. Edgardo Angara of Team Pinoy, 37.1 percent; and Sen. Gringo Honasan, 36.8 percent.

Pulse Asia noted the close difference in the numbers among the candidates ranked from fourth to twelfth places.

Statistically tied for 13th to 16th places are Team Pinoy’s Bam Aquino, Independent Grace Poe and UNA’s Dick Gordon.

Pulse Asia said the survey also showed that with less than four months to go before the May 2013 elections, only about a third of the respondents, or 34 percent, has a complete senatorial slate with most having a definite eight candidates in their list of preferred senators.





Children advocates to push for "child-centered" elections

By Save the Children
February 8, 2013

MANILA – A group of non-government and civil society organizations and child-led groups working for the protection of children's rights will embark on a campaign that will advance children’s issues at the center of electoral discussions this May 2013 national elections.

The nationwide campaign, dubbed as "Bata Muna" will urge candidates to adopt a political platform that will stand up for children and their rights. It will also educate voters to choose candidates that do not only kiss and hug babies during sorties, but candidates who have concrete policies and programs for children.

“This campaign aims to educate voters, candidates and the general public on the urgency of children’s issues and to bring these issues into the heart of public discussion and debate specifically for the coming elections. We hope to raise as many voices as possible, including the voices of children themselves, calling on every voter to vote for candidates who will stand up for children’s rights,” says Anna Lindenfors, Country Director of Save the Children in the Philippines.

“The campaign also aims to convince political candidates to include the issues of children in their electoral platform,” adds Lindenfors.

The Philippines, having ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), has an obligation to do its best, to the full extent of its resources, to make sure that the rights of the child are realized in the country. Currently, 193 countries are signatory to the UN CRC.

Meanwhile, Rodelio Ablir, Executive Director of the Samahan ng Mamamayan - Zone One Tondo Organization (SM-ZOTO) opines, "we have to carefully check and elect government officials that truly care for our children and their rights. During elections, candidates repetitively boast that they care for children only to realize that very few of them, when elected, will responsibly stand up for our kids. It is very disappointing that legislative proposals that are meant to protect our children are not considered important and had to take a back seat, while bills that threaten children’s well-being are persistently being pushed.”

“For example, our senators and congressmen are leaving the proposed positive discipline bill behind while fast tracking the amendments of the juvenile justice law specially lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to 12. It seems that our legislators, now in the bicameral level, are more motivated in sending children beginning the age of 12 into jail while at the same time are very cautious in taking up banning corporal punishment of children, still pending at 1st reading in the Senate as of this time” adds Ablir.

Lindenfors explains that children constitute the biggest proportion of the population that access basic services from the government. Thus, they suffer the most when services are poor or lacking, or when government is weak or inefficient. Just like any other citizen, children deserve quality programs and services. They deserve accountable, responsive and honest government officials who will look after their best interest.
“If we have these kinds of leaders in office, parents will no longer worry if they have a sick child, if they don’t have enough money for their children’s schooling or if their child is outside of their home because they know that their government will protect and provide quality services for their children,” she explains.

It has been observed that, across the world, bad governance has had a devastating effect on children, often contributing to conflict, climate change, poverty and, ultimately, the failure to promote the survival and wellbeing of the most marginalized.

The nationwide campaign will kick off in March with a solidarity launch to be jointly organized by Save the Children, SM-ZOTO, Plan International, ChildFund, Asia ACTs, Children Talk to Children (C2C) about the UN CRC Project and WomanHealth Philippines. The highlight of the campaign is a dialogue between the political candidates and children.





Police raids in ex-brgy chairman, son’s house yields grenades

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 7, 2013

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – A former barangay chairman in Calbayog City and his namesake son who is also the village’s councilman are in hot water after the Regional Special Operation Task Group (RSOTG-Samar) found hand grenades in raids conducted on their respective homes early Wednesday morning.

Eastern Visayas top police official Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) said that simultaneous police raid in the houses of Antonio Casurao Bantad Sr alias Donyong and his son Antonio Ladag Bantad Jr alias Nonoy, both situated at Brgy Danao, Tinambacan Dist in Calbayog City at around 5:30 o’ clock early Wednesday morning yielded two hand grenades and the subsequent arrests of the two suspects.

The elder Bantad is a former barangay chairman of said village, a position now being held by his wife Marina. The younger Bantad, meanwhile, is a barangay kagawad of same barangay.

“These police operations are part of our effort in ensuring secure and fair elections in Samar province which was earlier listed as an election priority area,” the Regional Director said.

Soria added this is the first time that explosives were seized by PRO8 in law enforcement operations since the start of the election period last January 13 which so far have resulted in the arrest of 14 gun ban violators and confiscation of 20 firearms of assorted calibers.

The top police official informed that the police teams are clothed by search warrants issued by Hon. Alphinor C. Serrano, Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 6 in Tacloban City.

The raid in the elder Bantad’s house was led by Police Superintendent Rolando Bade and was witnessed by barangay kagawads Florencio Lucis and Fructouso Bustamante and Chief Tanod Jose Commendador. Aside from a hand grenade, the police team also recovered 4 slugs of undetermined caliber.

Meanwhile, the implementation of the search warrant in the younger Bantad’s house was led by Police Superintendent Hector Enage and was witnessed by barangay kagawad Rolito Monarba and barangay tanod Raul Ariata that resulted in the confiscation of a hand grenade, one bladed weapon locally known as “balisong” and iron fist locally known as jabbing-lesa”.

“Cases for violation of Republic Act 9516 are being prepared for filing in court against the two suspects who are currently detained at Calbayog City Police Station lock-up cell,” Soria added.

Said law, approved on December 22, 2008, amended certain provisions of Presidential Decree 1866 codifying the laws on illegal/unlawful possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition or disposition of firearms, ammunition or explosives or instruments used in the manufacture of firearms, ammunition or explosives, and imposing stiffer penalties for certain violations.





Alleviating rural poverty in Samar thru goat, sheep raising

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 7, 2013

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agriculture has taken another major initiative in its quest to reduce poverty in the three Samar provinces. This time, the agency is banking not just on crops, but more on livestock, particularly the sunrise small ruminant industry.

Regional Executive Director Antonio Gerundio informed that presently, the DA-8 is spearheading the implementation of the Samar Island Small Ruminant Rural Enterprise Development (SA-SR-RED) Project.

This is a multi-agency five-year (2013-2017) project focusing on goat and sheep production, RED Gerundio said. It has two distinct components: the Samar Island Goat Enterprise (SIGE) Development and the Samar Island Sheep (SAIS) Production Rural Enterprise Development (RED).

The project aims to alleviate poverty in the rural areas by transforming goat and sheep raising from a subsistence type of farm activity into a viable goat and sheep-based rural enterprise.

“Goat and sheep raising is now a highly profitable enterprise, thus, a reliable livelihood option especially for the farmers in the countryside,” DA-8 Regional Technical Director and Project Proponent Wilson A. Cerbito said.

As a preparatory activity, DA first conducted the Samar Island Small Ruminant Enterprise Development Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshop and Pre-Implementation Meeting on January 30-31, 2013 at the Press Hall, Leyte Park Resort and Hotel, Tacloban City.

All identified project key players were represented in the said forum comprised of DA-8’s top officials, research and extension experts, coordinating officers and focal persons, provincial, city and municipal agriculturists and veterinarians, agricultural academe officials, goat and sheep raisers, and representatives from the Non-Government Associations and people’s organizations.

The meeting resulted in the development of a strategic action plan for 2013, the identification of focal areas to be developed as the multiplier and production sites at the provincial and municipal levels and the selection of farmer-partners. More importantly, commitment of support was expressed by the project partners.

“A strong cooperation and support from all stakeholders is what we need the most to successfully implement this project,” RTD Cerbito said.

He disclosed that from the total multi-year budget of P10 million, P2 million has been allotted for year 2013 to undertake priority implementation activities. Each project component will have an allocation of P1 million for the year, he added.

Meanwhile, RTD Cerbito enjoined the group to learn from the experiences gained from the Rural Enterprise Development (RED) thru Innovative Goat Production Systems Project which was implemented in 2007 with Villaba and Tabango, Leyte as the pilot municipalities.

“The RED Project gains must be rolled out to a wider application region wide. This time, with the Samar Island development agenda, we’ll do it even better because we will inject new but complementary extension approaches. This only means that we are not starting from scratch. We already have a good foundation in terms of project implementation arrangements plus a much improved inputs therefore, we have greater chance to succeed,” he concluded.

Meantime, Ms Lydia Aquino, a goat raiser from Eastern Samar said, I feel very happy and blessed to have been invited to this forum because aside from the wider spectrum of knowledge that I have gained in the past couple of days, I was able to realize that there is still a lot more in store for me in terms of further improving and expanding my goat production project through the SA-SR-RED.”

Ms Aquino is a farmer graduate of the School-on-the-Air on Goat Production way back in the 1990s, Ms. Jessa Faye Macapañas of DA RAFID said. Ms. Aquino’s interest in goat raising started when she was convinced through the said broadcast course that goat raising has promising economic potentials that would bring significant development to small farm holders like her.





Cebu films gaining ground

February 7, 2013

CEBU CITY – Local filmmakers remain hopeful that the burgeoning of the Cebuano film scene will eventually usher a film industry in Cebu.

“We are really envisioning that we can make a Cebuano film industry. We continue to produce quality films, we don’t lose hope because we know we’ll reach that goal. At present, it’s Cebuano film scene only, we can’t call it industry yet. It’s still a community of filmmakers,” Remton Zuasola, award-winning Cebuano director, shared during the Feb. 2 episode of "Pagtuki", the official radio program of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

Keith Deligero, another award-winning Cebuano filmmaker, added since 2005, when Cebuano filmmaking scene started to bloom, until today, the number of filmmakers is increasing but the number of viewers is not responding well.

But Zuasola also expressed his happiness on the positive, though slow, public response to Cebuano films.

Deligero also pointed out financial constraints in independent filmmaking.

“In Indie, you can avail corporate freedom but the trade off is the limitation in the budget,” Deligero said.

Despite this, he still encourages filmmakers to continue creating films, but they have to be prepared for many challenges.

Karl Damayo, museum collections officer of RAFI Casa Gorordo Museum, related the importance of Cebuano films as a depiction of Cebuano culture.

“Our films are like our old stories, legends, and folktales that are presented visually. They manifest our values, beliefs, and practices as a people,” Damayo said.

He also added that Cebu experienced a "Golden Age of Cebuano Films" in the 1950s. Cebu yielded 10 to 20 films; it was also the time when Cebuano actors Gloria Sevilla and Caridad Sanchez rose to fame.

Pagtuki is aired over DyLA every Saturday at 10-11am. The program, which is one of the Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI, tackles timely and relevant issues on politics, governance, economy, education, and culture and the arts that affect the Cebuano community.





Army man, Brgy. Chairman, latest gun ban violators in EV

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 6, 2013

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – A member of the Philippine Army and a village chair are now among the latest violators of the Commission on Elections’ gun ban, the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) announced.

The army man was arrested during a police patrol operation while the firearm of the barangay chairman was seized by his own brother and turned-over to the police over the weekend.

“PRO8 will remain active in enforcing the gun ban through checkpoints, search warrants and focus police operations to ensure the success of the Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE 2013) program,” Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Regional Director said.

Soria added that since the start of the gun ban last January 13, PRO8 have already arrested 14 violators and confiscated 20 assorted firearms. Three of the violators were arrested in Comelec checkpoints, 3 nabbed during the implementation of search warrants, 6 were arrested as a result of police response and patrol operations and two by citizen’s arrest.

Of the 20 confiscated firearms, 9 were .45 caliber pistols, three .38 caliber revolvers, three shotguns, one .22 caliber revolver, one .22 caliber air rifle, a homemade shotgun (bardog) and two PVC cannons or boga.

Reports reaching PRO8 disclosed that one Cpl. Ernie Buton y Densing, assigned at Brgy. Maduruto patrol base of the 43rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Matuguinao, Samar was arrested on Saturday night while carrying a caliber .45 Colt 1911 pistol with serial number 758204 with 6 ammunitions by elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB8) who were conducting foot patrol operations in the vicinity of Brgy. Mabuligon of said town.

Buton was in civilian attire and reportedly under the influence of liquor when accosted by the police. He failed to show any gun license or any document exempting him from the gun ban.

The army man, with the confiscated firearm, was immediately brought to Matuguinao Municipal Police Station for proper disposition.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, the Leyte Municipal Police Station in Leyte province is preparing appropriate charges to be filed against Barangay Palarao Chairman Julianito Villegas.

Villegas reportedly went to the barn owned by his brother Romulo on Sunday morning and punched the latter but missed. He then drew a caliber .45 pistol and pointed it to Romulo which in turn grappled for the possession of the gun and eventually subdued the village chair.

The firearm, a Colt MK IV model bearing serial number 218634 with 5 live bullets and an empty shell of .45 caliber were turned over by Romulo to responding police personnel.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 9561-A, no person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in public places including any buildings, streets, parks, and private vehicles or public conveyances, even if licensed to possess or to carry the same, except only law enforcers in full uniform and on duty, during the election period from January 13 until June 12, 2013.





600 Philex labor unions, local governments, indigenous peoples, cooperatives held Cañao ritual to urge Aquino, DENR to re-open Philex

February 6, 2013

QUEZON CITY – Some 600 members of the Philex labor unions, local government officials, indigenous peoples and non-government organizations performed a cañao ritual in front of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Natural Environment and Resources (MGB-DENR) yesterday in urging government to lift the suspension order following the mine tailings accident more than six months ago.

“We are shedding the blood of a boar right on the steps of the MGB as a petition for the enlightenment of their minds. This is also to signify how urgent and important our cause is. It’s been more than six months since the mines were ordered closed. We are afraid Philex might shutdown and we might eventually lose our jobs if they do not re-open the mine site,” said Renerio Lardizabal, president of the Philex supervisory employees union.

He claimed that all 5,000 employees of Philex could be laid off and 25,000 other members of the community who could be disenfranchised if the company will not be allowed to resume operations.

“We are asking President Aquino and the DENR to lift the suspension order and allow the operation of the mine so that we can continue to work without anxiety of losing our jobs,” said Alex Bedongen, president of Philex rank and file employees union.

Local government and barangay officials, school teachers, non-government organizations joined the rally and expressed support with the unions.

A discharge of sediments at one of the tailing pond of the mine occurred on August 1 last year. Employees and management teams immediately conducted rehabilitation of the environment and clean up of affected areas in Ballog and Agno rivers which connects to San Roque dam.

Philex will be allowed by the government to operate temporarily only after paying the environmental violation penalty which will be used to compensate affected claimants and rehabilitate affected areas and other penalties.

“Now that these obligations have been satisfied, the TUCP see no other obstacles for President Aquino and for Secretary Paje to prolong the agony and uncertainty of the Philex workers and their families and the thousands in communities whose daily subsistence is dependent on the mine’s daily operations,” said Gerard Seno, general-secretary of TUCP.

The Associated Labor Unions president Michael Mendoza said “Philex unions are affiliated, Philex Mining Supervisory Employees Unions-APSOTEU and the Philex Rank and File Employees Union in commending the Philex management by continuing, until today, the full salaries, wages, benefits and privileges of all Philex workers despite of its voluntary stoppage of operations six months ago.”

He added that if the government continues to ignore workers’ urgent call to re-open the mine site, Philex might be forced to voluntary shut down and eventually destroy the future of its workers and their families. The Philex unions are affiliated with ALU since 2006. ALU is the biggest labor federation in the country today.



◄◄home I next►►