Harry Thomas Jr. addressing guests from the City of Tacloban and
the US Embassy in front of the Leyte Landing Monument on the eve
of the US Embassy’s America in 3D event.
Tacloban City hosts
America in 3D 2013
By DAVID STA. MARIA
March 6, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – The US
Embassy’s AMERICA IN 3D kicked-off in Tacloban City March 2.
Launched by US Ambassador
Harry Thomas Jr. in early 2011, the road show highlights the American
Government’s diplomacy, development and defense efforts. Travelling
from Baguio, Laoag, Iloilo, Cebu, and now Tacloban, the event is a
celebration of Filipino-American friendships, and a showcase of
American culture, US Business and US Embassy services in the
In this weekend event,
Tacloban city got to play a part in exhibiting Filipino-American
relations, while the booming city has been a key player in the
partnership throughout history. Immortalized in the Leyte landing
monument is a testament of Filipino-American partnership surviving
through the most difficult of times. Tacloban is the site of the
historic Leyte landing, where Gen. Douglas McArthur returning in the
tail-end of the second world war.
Tacloban City Mayor Alfred
Romualdez is especially elated about the event for the possibilities
it will open for Taclobanon entrepreneurs and workers. He says that
the locals are ready and gearing for progress. With the vast
improvements the city has been seeing from shifting to a Highly
Urbanized City, to the increase of businesses being registered and
launched locally, the America in 3D coming to Tacloban seems like a
foreshadowing of greater things yet to come.
“It is high time the rest of
the Philippines sees the promise that Tacloban holds; not only as a
tourist spot, but as a serious business and investment location. We
are especially glad that our friends from the US Embassy are showing
us what they can offer the Taclobanons, and we, in return, can offer
as a city,” said Romualdez.
Chief Superintendent Elmer R. Soria, Regional Director of Police
Regional Office 8 (left) with Paranas town officials and other
stakeholders during the ceremonial groundbreaking for Paranas
Municipal Police Station on Wednesday morning.
New police station
to rise in Paranas
By RPCRD, Police Regional
March 6, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – The tranquil peace and order situation in Paranas town in
Samar is expected to be maintained after the Philippine National
Police approved the construction of the P4.7 million two-storey with
roofdeck municipal police station.
“The people of Paranas
deserves to experience excellent police performance from the new breed
of police heroes travelling the right path, the “matuwid na daan”, and
a few months from now, our policemen will be entertaining your
concerns in their new home,” said Police Chief Superintendent Elmer
Ragadio Soria, Regional Director of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8).
Soria and Paranas Mayor
Felix Babalcon, Jr. led the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning
of the Paranas Municipal Police Station located on a 600-square meter
lot donated by the municipal government along the national highway in
Brgy. Zone 4.
He added that the new
structure will serve as a showcase of dedicated police service
reflecting the PNP’s “Serbisyong Makatotohanan” program to better
serve and protect the community.
Paranas is a 2nd class
municipality in the province of Samar situated more or less 30
kilometers south from Catbalogan City, the province’s capital, with a
population of 29,327 people according to the 2010 census.
The building costs P4.7
million of which P3.7 million is provided by the PNP while the local
government unit of Paranas put up a counterpart fund of P1 million. It
is expected to be completed in 175 calendar days as construction, to
be undertaken by JELM Construction, starts.
The new station is a part of
the modernization program of the PNP particularly on upgrading of its
physical facilities. After the Paranas, another police station in
Daram, an island town also in Samar, will be constructed in the next
Soria added that having at
least a decent police station would surely boost the morale of
policemen and earn the respect of the community, aside from being
safer from communists-terrorists attacks.
On May 5, 2007, policemen
assigned in Paranas police station previously situated near the
seaside in Brgy. Zone 3 put up a gallant fight and successfully
defended the station from 100 attacking communist rebels, preventing
them from overrunning the police station and killing 3 rebels in the
RD Soria to new
cops: “Respect human rights”
By RPCRD, Police Regional
March 5, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – The region’s top police official directed the newly-appointed
police recruits to respect human rights at all times as they entered
their first day of service in the Philippine National Police.
“Always keep in mind the
people’s rights while enforcing the law without fear or favor,
reminding you that PRO8 is the home of the citizen-friendly policemen.
Always be a protector of human rights,” Police Chief Superintendent
Elmer Ragadio Soria, Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 8
(PRO8), instructed the 75 rookie policemen who took their oath of
office at the PRO8 Grandstand on Tuesday morning.
“As you enter the early
stage of your police career, develop a good character which will be
your foundation. You have to start with a right indoctrination of the
police service which is critical on how you will perform your job.
Service first before self-interest”, he added.
The PNP has been human
rights-sensitive organization, starting off with the tie-up of the PNP
and the Commission on Human Rights that led to the creation of the PNP
Human Rights Affairs Office and establishment of Human Rights Desks in
all police stations.
The 75 new policemen, 65
males and 10 females, were part of the supplemental quota for the
calendar year 2012 second semester Police Officer I (POI) recruitment
A total of 236 applicants
filed their applications at the start of the recruitment period
wherein 87 passed the meticulous screening and selection processes of
Neuro-Psychiatric/Psychological Examination; Complete Physical,
Medical and Dental Examination; Physical Agility Test; Drug Test;
Complete Background Investigation; and Final Committee Interview. The
remaining 12 qualified applicants were re-aligned to PRO7.
The newly-appointed POIs
will receive a basic monthly salary of P14,834.00 aside from
allowances and other non-cash benefits.
After the ceremony, the new
PNP recruits were turned-over to the Philippine Public Safety
College-Regional Training School 8 (PPSC-RTS8) to undergo the
mandatory Public Safety Field Training Program (PSFTP) to prepare them
for the basic work and function of the police. After this, they will
mandatorily undergo the PNP SCOUT and other trainings intended for
their greater responsibilities as law enforcers and as public
PRO8 arrested 49
gun ban violators in EV
By RPCRD, Police Regional
March 4, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON,
Palo, Leyte – At least 49 people have been arrested by the police for
possession of firearms in Eastern Visayas since the gun ban was
implemented with the start of the election period on January 13, the
Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) said on Monday.
"We have arrested 49 persons
so far in different police operations to implement the gun ban," said
Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Regional
Soria added that they have
confiscated a total 40 firearms, thirteen high-powered and 20
low-powered, and 7 homemade guns.
“Apart from firearms, 4 hand
grenades, an airgun and 3 gun replicas were also confiscated, together
with 13 assorted bladed weapons,” the police official further said,
adding that 44 cases were also filed in different courts regionwide.
Since the start of the
election period, PRO8 have aggressively implemented COMELEC Resolution
Number 9561-A in relation to Section 32 of RA 7166 which states that
during the election period, no person shall bear, carry or transport
firearms or other deadly weapons in public places even if licensed to
possess or carry the same unless authorized in writing by the
Commission on Elections except regular members or officers of the
Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and
other law enforcement agencies of the Government who are duly
deputized in writing by the Comelec.
The arrests were made
through the implementation of checkpoints in strategic places,
implementation of search warrants, police response and
intelligence-driven operations, RD Soria added.
Meanwhile, a store helper
was the latest addition to the list of those arrested by the police
for violating the gun ban.
Jimmy Laboc y Dacles alias
Manok, 23, single, of Purok 3, Brgy. 13, Catbalogan City was arrested
by a police team led by PO3 Louie Legatub on Saturday evening after
receiving information that suspect was carrying firearm at the
vicinity of Imelda Park, Brgy. 7, Catbalogan City.
Confiscated from Laboc was
one caliber .380 pistol with defaced serial number loaded with one
Suspect is currently
detained at Catbalogan City Police Station while cases for illegal
possession of firearm and violation of Comelec Resolution No. 9561-A
were already filed against him at the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor in Catbalogan City docketed under NPS Numbers INQ-13C-0068
and INQ-13C-0069, respectively.
DAR soon to
turn-over P19-M farm implements to improve productivity of East
Visayas ARB groups
By Philippine Information
March 4, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Agrarian Reform in Eastern Visayas is set to turn over
very soon, more than P19 million worth of farm implements to over
about 60 agrarian reform beneficiary-organizations across Eastern Visayas.
“The more than P19 million
worth of farm implements are now at the DAR Regional Office ready for
distribution to intended beneficiaries,” Regional Director Eliasem
The multi-million pesos
worth of modern farm equipments include 37 hand tractors, 30
threshers, 10 cultivators, 8 water pumps, 6 flat-bed driers, 2
reapers, 2 mechanical trans-planters, and 2 combine harvesters.
With these equipment
provided to the ARBOs, Director Eliasem Castillo expects a higher
yield from their awarded lots in the succeeding agricultural years and
eventually an increased income resulting to a better quality life,
thereby contributing to poverty reduction and employment generation in
the rural areas under President Benigno Aquino’s 2011-2016 Philippine
Director Castillo explained
that these are the results of the needs assessment conducted last year
by the three State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) commissioned by
the Department to determine the factors that would turn these ARBOs
into more viable agri-enterprise farmer organizations under the
Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and Economic Support Services
ARCCESS, according to
Director Castillo, is DAR’s new strategy which was conceptualized by
Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes in order to enhance
the delivery of support services to agrarian reform beneficiaries
under the Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) component of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Under this new strategy, DAR
assists the ARBOs become productive and competitive agri-entrepreneurs
by providing the latter with the necessary farm equipment and with the
help of professional service providers.
Director Castillo said that
early in 2012, DAR entered into an agreement with the University of
Eastern Philippines (UEP) in Catarman, Northern Samar; the Visayas
State University (VSU) in Baybay City, Leyte; and the Southern Leyte
State University (SLSU) in Sogod, Southern Leyte to validate the
capabilities of the identified ARBOs in the region to venture such
kind of activity and determine the factors that would help improve
agricultural production and increase income.
Moreover, the SUCs were
required to present plausible and feasible plans which will become the
basis of DAR in the provision of the necessary common service
facilities that would make the ARB organization a more viable agri-enterprise.
Director Castillo informed
that initially, DAR has identified and approved for funding under
ARCESS, one project proposal for every congressional district
involving 60 ARBOs throughout the region.
Said project proposals
include rice, organic vegetable, sugarcane and cassava production and
The turn-over of the farm
equipment to the identified ARBOs will be done after the conditions
and specifications of all the 97 assorted machineries delivered last
week by the contracted suppliers are checked by an inspectorate team
from DAR Central Office, Director Castillo said.
Rights group, kin
disappointed with DOJ resolution on botanist’s killing
March 4, 2013
QUEZON CITY – Rights group Hustisya expressed its disappointment on the DOJ’s resolution to file
charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and
attempted homicide instead of murder, on the soldiers involved in the
killing of botanist Leonard Co and two others.
“We are not happy with the
resolution. We do not agree that the killing of my husband Leonard,
and his companions Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo, is a simple
case of homicide,” said Glenda Co, wife of the slain botanist.
Reiterating that the killing
of Leonard, Cortez and Borromeo is murder, Co expressed disappointment
that the DOJ ignored the results of the independent fact-finding
mission led by the Justice for Leonard Co Movement 10 days after the
“We have waited this long,
only to suffer another injustice. By ignoring the need for justice,
they have also ignored the life of service that Leonard and his
companions had done to their last breath,” Co said.
Results of the fact-finding
team in 2010 belied claims by the AFP that the three were killed in a
crossfire with members of the New People’s Army on November 15, 2010.
The mission team, participated in by scientists and human rights
advocates, led by Dr. Giovanni Tapang revealed that there was no
firefight; and that the continuing bursts of gunfire that felled Co
and company was one-sided, originating only from where the soldiers of
16th Infantry Battalion were positioned.
The Commission on Human
Rights also issued its recommendations last year to file charges
against the accused soldiers.
secretary general Cristina Guevarra said that the DOJ’s stand to
downgrade the charges against elements of 19th IB “manifests a
slipshod attempt to whitewash the incident and free the soldiers of
Their group also condemned
the flimsy alibi that the killing incident was merely an “honest
mistake” as claimed by the AFP.
“Amid their posturing to
subscribe to due process, their attempts to mislead the public and
cover up the dastardly act makes them all the more guilty of murder.
The massacre of Leonard Co and company was not an accident, the
soldiers were there to kill,” Guevarra said.
The group said it shall
prepare for actions in the coming days to call for genuine justice for
Co, Cortez and Borromeo.
retrieval operations in Kananga landslide
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
March 4, 2013
KANANGA, Leyte – The
Army unit who responded to the landslide incident in Brgy. Lim-ao,
Kananga, Leyte on March 1 is optimistic that there are still
survivors, even on the fourth day of retrieval operations in the area.
This was the mind-set of Lt.
Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, Commanding Officer of 19IB after the
recovery of the sixth cadaver around 5:30 p.m. yesterday.
No documents or personnel
belongings were found when the cadaver was discovered. But inquiries
are already initiated by rescuers and local authorities in order to
identify the body.
As of today, 19IB accounted
17 survivors from the incident. Ten of which were immediately brought
to the hospital the same day when the incident occurred. On the other
hand, death toll is now raised to six leaving at least nine more that
were still missing.
“We will continue to secure
the area and aid other rescuers in the retrieval operations. We hope
that there are still left alive from this unfortunate incident”, Lt.
Col. Nacnac said.
Lt. Col. Nacnac revealed it
was his men patrolling the area who first responded the incident
around 9:50 a.m. on Friday, March 1.
“A platoon of soldiers led
by Lt. Amin Macalintangue and his men heard an extremely loud sound
prompting them to quickly scour the area which is at the vicinity of
PAD 403 of the Energy Development Corporation in Upper Mahi-ao, Brgy.
Lim-ao, Kananga, Leyte”, Lt. Col. Nacnac added.
19IB is extending condolence
to the family of the victims of the tragic incident.
DOJ’s absolution of
murder by the 19th IBPA denies justice to K3 victims, reaffirms reign
of impunity – Katungod SB
March 3, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – “The
recommendation of the Department of Justice (DoJ) regarding the case
of the so-called Kananga 3 massacre which killed UP Professor Leonard
Co and two other companions is very contemptible yet comes not as a
surprise to us. In fact, this has been the second time the DoJ
absolved the military elements despite evidences suggesting otherwise
a different circumstance from the DoJ’s official recommendation,” says
Rev. Irma Balaba-Mepico, regional coordinator of Katungod Sinirangan
The DoJ, in a 19-page
report, approved the filing of charges for ‘reckless imprudence
resulting to homicide and attempted homicide’ against nine 19th IBPA
soldiers while ‘obstruction of justice’ against 27 others on the death
of UP Professor Leonard Co and his two other companions in November
“Save for the AFP’s likely
consideration of the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) view of
‘mistaken identity’, it does not suffice to dismiss the criminal act
when the operating military elements denied one of the victims an
immediate medical attention to his gunshots that eventually caused his
death. This particular fact establishes that harm was indeed intended
against the victims,” adds Balaba of Katungod-SB.
Katungod-SB also cites that
survivor’s narrative indicated that they also appealed to the military
to cease firing upon them since they are civilians but the plea
failed. Even forensic analysis presented during the public hearing at
Leyte Park Hotel suggested that Co was shot in a closer position which
could have clarified the victims’ identity as civilians.
“With these circumstances in
mind, we could only get enough reason to get repulsive to such a
downgraded recommendation. It merely portrays even vividly how
government institutions under President Noynoy Aquino orchestrate
continuing human rights violations by projecting a totally different
public image while it condones state-induced violence. The CHR and DoJ
could only be so lenient and considerate to human rights violators
upon offsetting a rather dastardly act of murder to keep it attuned to
the chorus of ‘tuwid na daan’ and ‘upholding human rights’,” Balaba
Upon hearing the outcome,
Katungod-SB projected that the DoJ’s recommendation becomes ‘a
prodding for the military to commit more acts of violence against the
people in the smokescreen of upholding peace and development
especially under Oplan Bayanihan. More human rights violations are
happening in and out of the Philippine countryside to date while the
military keeps on parading its obsolete spiels of renewed commitment
to respect civil liberties and CARHIHL.’
“While we reserve the option
to press for justice at the higher courts, we call on all people to
intensify the public outcry to press for justice for Prof Leonard Co,
his two other companions and all other victims of state-perpetrated
murders and all other forms of human rights violations. We also call
on all people to scrape-off the sweet ‘Peace and Development’
sugarcoat of Oplan Bayanihan to expose its real bloody and murderous
skeletal framework. Justice is not simply granted to those who seek
it, we should earn it by collective efforts,” ends Katungod-SB.
PRO8 collared 2 men
in drug busts
By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
March 1, 2013
CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – Two men were arrested by the police in separate
anti-illegal drugs operations in Leyte and Samar recently.
"We will continue to pursue
local drug peddlers to minimize, if not stop, the proliferation of
illegal drugs in our communities," said Police Chief Superintendent
Elmer Ragadio Soria, Regional Director of Police Regional Office 8
The top police official
informed that the first operation led to the arrest of Abel Abella y
Parilla, 38, married, jobless, in Brgy. Guiwean, Palompon, Leyte past
4 p.m. last Tuesday after selling a pack of suspected shabu to a
Seized from Abella was one
small sachet of suspected shabu and the P500 buy-bust money by a
police team led by Police Chief Inspector Hipolito Delima.
Fifteen minutes later in
Calbayog City, a police team led by Police Senior Inspector Aaron
Raemon Elago raided the house of Patrick Aguilar y Serito, 49,
married, jobless, along Rosales Boulevard, Corner Burgos, Purok 5,
Brgy West Awang.
Armed with a search warrant
number 01-13-31 issued by Judge Reynaldo Clemens of Regional Trial
Court Branch 31 in Calbayog City on February 18, the police were able
to arrest the suspect and confiscated a sachet of suspected shabu,
P2,600 cash believed to be proceeds of his illegal activity and a
Nokia mobile phone.
The raid was witnessed by
Brgy. Chairman Neil Advincula and Kagawad Pablo Diaz of said barangay.
Abella and Aguilar were
detained at the Palompon and Calbayog police stations respectively
while the police is preparing the filing of charges for violations of
the provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous
Drugs Act of 2002 against them.
Soria said his men have been
monitoring the suspects for weeks prior to the arrests.