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Army troops conducts caravan for SAFE 2013

PRO8 leads 100 bikers for SAFE 2013

Chiz to US: pay P58-M reef penalty in cash, not kind

Army backs implementation of livelihood enhancement programs for Calubian, San Isidro farmers groups

NPA camp seized, firearms recovered by government troops in Northern Samar

NDF-EV warns politicians against vote-buying and election violence

Chiz tells COMELEC to set date for source code review

RD Soria recognizes policewomen’s role in governance and peacekeeping

RAFI, Dalaguete LGU address lack of classrooms

No water contamination at Kananga River, EMB says


PRO8 to honor election heroes

police election heroes

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
May 16, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – A police officer who sacrificed his life to ensure the integrity of the elections and another cop who foiled election violence leads the election heroes that will be feted by the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) along with the almost 5,000 cops who secured Monday’s polls.

“POI Agerico Afable’s display of heroism to defend the credibility of the elections and SPO3 Jorge Tiunayan’s act of bravery that prevented escalation of poll violence will not go worthless as their dedication to duty will be properly recognized,” Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 director said.

POI Afable was slain by armed men while keeping watch of the polling center in Calingatngan village, Borongan in Eastern Samar while SPO3 Tiunayan singlehandedly foiled an attempt to sow violence by armed men during last Monday’s elections in Brgy. Mantang, Taft town, also in Eastern Samar.

All policemen who rendered election duties also deserves a pat on the back, according to Soria, after ordering the pull-out of augmentation forces as “the critical period of the 2013 elections have already passed.”

“POI Afable will be posthumously honored while SPO3 Tiunayan will be accorded also with proper recognition for bravery,” the law enforcement official said.

A Medalya ng Kasanayan (PNP Efficiency Medal) is in store for all policemen who rendered election duties.

Soria said that the 913-strong police contingent that returned yesterday to augment territorial police forces would now take their usual desk job while others will return to training schools to continue their mandatory schoolings.

“The security plan we have laid out is more than adequate in ensuring a secure and fair elections and this could not have been done without your support, sacrifices and cooperation,” Soria said in his message to the augmentation troops.

The police official stressed that Monday’s election was generally peaceful, noting the 80 percent high voters turn-out, as the police performed well in securing this year’s midterm elections.

The Regional Election Monitoring and Action Center (REMAC) did not receive any report of election-related incident during and after the election day, he said.

As of Thursday morning, almost 99% of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and other election materials secured by police personnel were retrieved from polling centers.

With election-related duties almost over, PRO8 will now shift its focus on anti-criminality operations and security preparations for the opening of classes next month, Soria disclosed.





Elections in EV generally peaceful – PRO8

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
May 14, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) assessed the synchronized conduct of the national and local midterm elections Monday as generally peaceful even in Samar province that was earlier listed as a “priority area” and placed under tight watch by security forces.

“People were able to cast their votes and exercised their rights of suffrage with a great feeling of security,” Soria said, adding that the high voters turn-out was a testament to the stable condition with no election-related incident reported on Election Day.

Soria attributed the generally peaceful situation to the advance preparations made by PRO8 to ensure secured and fair elections and the convergence of efforts with government agencies and security forces.

Since November last year, PRO8 have launched a massive crackdown against private armed group, most wanted persons, crime gangs, loose firearms and unregistered firearms which may be used to sow terror during the polling period.

Aside from focused police operations, the law enforcement official informed that PRO8 have brokered some 183 peace covenants signed by almost 3,500 political aspirants, in addition to unity walks, prayer rallies, peace caravans, candidates’ forum and massive media information campaign initiated to gain public support for fair and credible polls.

On Monday, police assistance desks were established in polling centers regionwide with close to 5,000 policemen that rendered election duties coupled by police visibility patrols by Reactionary Standby Support Force (PNP-RSSF) from the regional headquarters down to municipal level units.

Soria, however, said the police will not put its guards down even after the voting hours and canvassing is over as all police units under his watch will remain vigilant to ensure that all post-election activities will be safe and secured for all.

The region’s top cop earlier placed PRO8 on full alert status since May 6 until Friday, May 17.

Minor glitches in the operations of the precinct count optical scans (PCOS) machines were also reported by line units while a failure of elections was declared by the Comelec in Brgy. Higasaan, an upland village with 218 registered voters situated in Calbayog City’s “Seven Hills”, due to the absence of communication signal in the area and its distance which is a 12-hour hike through rugged terrains from the city proper.

As of Tuesday morning, a total of 159 persons have been arrested for violation of gun ban, the latest was the arrest of Avner San Andres, who was nabbed infront of a polling center in Brgy. Dawahon, Bato, Leyte for carrying a .45 caliber pistol with ammunitions on Monday morning.

A total of 131 assorted high-powered and low-powered firearms were confiscated in Eastern Visayas since January 13, Soria added.

Police also arrested three persons in Northern Samar and two in Southern Leyte for alleged vote-buying activities while counterfeit money allegedly used for vote-buying were turned-over yesterday by Chairman Antonio Tan of Brgy. Villa in Lavezares town to Northern Samar Police Provincial Office.





Chiz hails teachers, poll workers

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
May 13, 2013

PASAY CITY – Re-electionist Senator Chiz Escudero praised teachers, poll workers, and volunteers for the organized conduct of the 2013 midterm elections.

He also vowed to review the electoral process and push for reforms in the new Congress should there be a need to further improve the process.

Despite reports of glitches in some voting centers, Escudero said the conduct of the polls has been generally peaceful and orderly.

“Isang taus-pusong pasasalamat sa mga guro, sa mga election workers, at sa lahat ng volunteers na nagtrabaho upang magkaroon ng isang maayos at mapayapang halalan (A heartfelt thanks to the teachers, election workers and volunteers who worked hard for a peaceful and organized election),” Escudero said.

He said that while Monday’s polls are far from perfect, the dedication and commitment of poll workers overshadow the problems encountered in some voting centers around the country.

“We must give credit where credit is due. Manning more than 30,000 voting centers in the country to accommodate around 50 million voters and overseeing the voting process is daunting work, but our teachers, poll workers and volunteers have pulled it off once again,” Escudero said.

Even then, the re-electionist senator said there is still room to improve the electoral system, including the administrative and manpower aspects of the system.

“There are areas that I will look into and review to see how we can further improve the electoral system, not only on the technical side such as the voting machines but more importantly, on the administrative side such as the working conditions of the men and women who make the system work,” Escudero said.

Earlier, he pushed for the provision of full insurance coverage on teachers on top of the hazard pay they should be getting on Election Day, particularly those rendering poll services on election hotspots.

“Teachers are the most overworked among public servants, having to cope with the tremendous task of educating the youth while at the same time risking life and limb during the entire process on election day that extends way beyond normal working hours and it is incumbent for the government to provide them with security coverage to repay them for their hard work,” Escudero said.

He said the insurance coverage for teachers and poll workers should be enshrined in a law to make it permanent.

He vowed to file a counterpart Senate bill for a House measure that sought to extend insurance coverage on teachers and other government workers in case of death and injury while on poll duty.





Shooting incidents in Eastern Samar will not affect polls - PRO8

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
May 11, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The shooting incidents that transpired the last two days in Eastern Samar will not affect the conduct of midterm elections in the province as Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) director Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria ordered massive manhunt operations against the four gunmen who attacked a policeman securing a polling center in a remote village in Borongan City, Eastern Samar’s capital, early Saturday morning.

“Our men are risking their lives just to protect the sanctity of the automated election system (AES) machines deposited in polling centers and ensure a credible elections,” said Soria, who enjoined the Estehanons to pray for the family of slain cop POI Agerico Afable who was gunned down by the unidentified assailants at around 4:00 o’ clock in the early morning Saturday while acting as security personnel at Calingatngan Elementary School in Brgy. Calingatngan situated some 15 kilometers from Borongan city proper.

POI Afable and Glicerio Gema, a village watchman, were guarding the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines deposited at said school when four armed men suddenly arrived and shot them.

The policeman died on the spot after being hit in the right shoulder and stomach while Gema was hit in the different parts of his body and was rushed to Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital for medical attention.

Another barangay tanod, whose identity was withheld for security reasons, pretended to be dead and left unharmed by the suspects who fled on foot towards the back portion of the school leading to Calingatnan river bringing with them Afable’s 9mm service firearm.

Responding policemen recovered in the crime scene two deformed slugs of 9mm, five live 9mm ammunitions, 4 spent shells of 9mm, one misfired 9mm ammo and another live 9mm ammunition 100 meters from the back portion of the school.

The PCOS machines deposited in the classrooms were left untouched by the suspects and policemen were deployed in said school to secure them.

Troops from Eastern Samar Provincial Public Safety Company (ESPPSC) are now conducting manhunt operations against the perpetrators.

Pending the result of the investigation and the establishment of its motive, Soria declined to comment if the incident is in any way connected to Monday’s polls.

Despite of the two consecutive shooting incidents, Soria assured that the peace and order situation in Eastern Samar is within manageable level.

On Friday, a shooting incident also occurred in Brgy. Japunan, San Policarpo town wherein one person was killed and two others were wounded.

“These incidents will not affect the conduct of the elections in the area,” the police regional director averred.





DENR declares Sohoton and Calbiga as class II caves

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
May 10, 2013

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has classified as class II caves the Langun-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga, Samar and the Sohoton Caves in Basey, Samar.

calbiga caveDENR Regional Executive Director Manolito Ragub said this is in line with the Agency’s bid to protect, conserve and manage the resources within and outside the caves, as provided for by DENR Memorandum Circular 2012-03 pursuant to Republic Act No. 9072 otherwise known as the National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act.

RED Ragub said that Langun-Gobingob and Sohoton Caves shall be under the administrative jurisdiction of the DENR in coordination with the Department of Tourism, National Museum of the Philippines, National Historical Institute, municipal local government of Calbiga and Basey, Samar, stakeholders from the academe, Non-Government Organizations, and other government agencies.

“However, the DENR may opt to delegate the management of the caves to the LGUs, or other interested parties consistent with the Public Private Partnership policy of the Aquino Administration,” RED Ragub said.

RED Ragub informed that Class II caves have “hazardous conditions and contain sensitive geological, archaeological, cultural, historical and biological values or high quality eco-systems. Such caves are open to experienced spelunkers or caving enthusiasts and guided visits, although some portions may be closed seasonally or permanently for conservation purposes.

Class I caves, on the other hand, are those with delicate and fragile geological formations, threatened species, archaeological and paleontological values and extremely hazardous conditions. Only activities for mapping, photography, educational and scientific purposes are allowed in these caves.

Meanwhile, Class III caves are generally safe for inexperienced visitors, with no known threatened species living in them, nor any archaeological, geological, historical and cultural values. Economic activities such as collection of guano and edible birds’ nests, are allowed in these caves.

Moreover, it was learned that pursuant to RA 9072, a management plan is being prepared for each cave to consider all ecotourism, scientific, educational and economic activities, as well as monitoring and reclassification in the areas.

Classification of caves shall be a continuing process until such time that the caves in the country are all classified, RED Ragub said.





Massive brownout threatens May 13 elections, TUCP sees blackmail

May 9, 2013

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said that the massive brownout in the Meralco franchise area the other day threatens the forthcoming elections and were a precursor of an imminent supply deficiency in the Luzon.

“We have long warned that when government surrender its control of power to the private sector that they will stage-manage and scaremonger consumers to accept the need for higher prices in exchange for 24/7 power,” said Gerard Seno, TUCP general secretary.

“TUCP notes with disbelief that 24 hours after the large scale brownouts, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla still cannot pinpoint whether the responsibilities lies with the National grid Corporation or the six power plants. The entire country and the sanctity of an election process are left to the mercy of socially unaccountable and financially acquisitive power players,” said TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

“Equally alarming, the Energy secretary is waiting for the 6 power producers in the affected grid to submit their logbooks of operations to the National Grid Corporation, for the latter to determine the cause of the brownout. Let me remind the DOE Secretary that the National Grid Corporation is co-owned by the Chinese government’s National Grid of China. The event yesterday is rife with national security concerns. Either we are hostaged to a cartel or a foreign government,” Mendoza stressed.

The TUCP has argued that it is time to amend the EPIRA and bring back the regulatory powers to the government.

“It is time to put back regulatory powers to government to ensure that power producers mandatorily reinvest in additional power capacity to meet projected future demand. The decision to put up additional capacity cannot be left to the independent private sector. What the independent power sector will do is wait until a deficit appears, so that they can immediately suggest the most expensive solutions to plug the gap – 15 pesos per Kwh power barge or even worse the generator sets for Mindanao which generate power at 17 pesos per kWh,” Seno added.

TUCP warned that the current power crisis in Mindanao will now hit Luzon and Visayas because the private sector is stage-managing events. “Yesterday’s brownout is blackmail of the highest order being directed by a cartel to our government,” explained Mendoza.





Responsible voting urged

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
May 9, 2013

CEBU CITY – Between the start of the election campaign and the upcoming May polls on May 13, we have seen a variety of gimmicks – from posters and leaflets to campaign ads and jingles. Amidst all these, many Filipinos are looking forward to cast their votes with the hope of attaining positive change in the next years to come.

“The public is entitled with the right of suffrage. The people’s vote is sacred. It holds the right of every individual to choose the leader that will guide each of one us to development,” Atty. Ian Marigomen, election officer of Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7, said during the April 27 episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

For the second time, Filipinos will run their votes through the Precinct Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that feed into secured three-foot black boxes. The new voting system started in the May 2010 elections.

“The public, especially those May 2010 elections voters, are already familiar with the PCOS machine. In the upcoming elections, the mechanics and features are practically the same. We added relevant features, such as the date and time though,” Atty. Marigomen said.

He reminded voters to conscientiously observe what not to do on the election day, including drinking of alcoholic beverages, accepting of food or anything of value from running candidates, voting more than once, soliciting votes against or in favor of a candidate inside the polling area or in the set 30-meter radius, setting up of booths or stalls selling items of value inside the 30-meter radius, and carrying of deadly weapons, such as firearms.

In the case of establishments like hotels, they should get a certificate of exemption from Comelec if they are serving alcoholic drinks on Election Day.

Marigomen also encouraged the public to list down their chosen candidates on a sheet of paper before going to their designated precincts. He said that this is to avoid over voting, especially in the selection of the 12 senators. If the voter fills in 13 ovals, his vote for the senatorial positions will be forfeited.

“In the holding area beside the polling area, we will conduct voters’ education. The Comelec is vigorous in educating the public to be responsible voters. We are doing our best to guide the public in choosing the leaders of our country,” he stressed.

There will also be separate express lanes for persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, and pregnant women. He said that the public should follow the rules to avoid any complications.

“The usage of PCOS machine is a best way to train the public to be responsible and conscientious voters,” he said.

On the issue of security, he said that the joint security coordinating center composed of the Comelec, Philippine National Police (PNP), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ensures the overall safety of the public on the day of the elections. The operational plan of the group specially highlights security on areas of concern.

In the context of the long-term development framework of Mega Cebu 2050, Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (EADSC) of RAFI, said that the development of Metro Cebu lies in our votes.

“In the next 13,500 days or 37 years, the public will only have twelve days of making decision to choose the leaders that will bring them closer to a smart, equitable, and environmentally-sustainable growth for Mega Cebu and for the country in general,” she pointed out.

Marigomen said that the Comelec guarantees a smooth-sailing election as long as the public does its responsibility as voters.

“We must meet half-way. The Comelec is always available in the most convenient time of the people. Just approach us and we will do our best to address your concerns. Let’s all pray for a peaceful May 2013 elections,” he said.

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





PRO8 assures election security in place

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
May 8, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Security preparations and operations in the May 13 midterm polls are in place and polished five days before the conduct of the automated elections, assured Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) director Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria.

“We have enough troops ready to secure the electoral proceedings, we assure the people of Eastern Visayas that we are working doubly hard so that the ultimate goal of secured and fair elections will not be hindered by any security concern,” Soria said.

He added that all augmentation forces had been deployed ten days before the actual polls to help reinforce local territorial forces while Reactionary Standby Support Forces (RSSF) were activated at the regional headquarters and provincial and city police offices to immediately respond to all forms of emergencies.

The police official said that a total of 4,852 policemen will be deployed to polling centers to perform election duties on election day while the rest of the 6,244-strong PRO8 police force will be performing other election-related duties aside from their routine police functions.

Regular coordination with the Commission on Elections and his counterparts in the Philippine Army are also being done through the Joint Security Control Center (JSCC) while the Election Monitoring and Action Centers (EMACS) closely supervise troop movements and all election-related concerns.

“Security forces were given specific instructions on their responsibility in the security of polling centers and Automated Election System machines including its retrieval to include the safety of the Board of Election Inspectors carrying election results and other paraphernalia from the polling centers,” he added.

In the meantime, Soria also assured the security of the 5,135 Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines now deposited in 3,773 voting centers throughout the region by providing police personnel and tapping force multipliers like the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams (BPATs) to secure the polling centers.

Comelec Resolution No. 9669 promulgated last April 17 defined the responsibility of the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in ensuring that election results manifest the true will of the electorate by providing security assistance through protecting the sanctity of the official ballots, election paraphernalia and the AES machines, consisting of the PCOS and Canvassing and Consolidation System (CCS), the polling centers and the electorate.

“Our men were directed to focus their attention in protecting the votes, the voters and the candidates”, the top police official averred.



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