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DILG, Ormoc sign MOA; Business sector supports RSP-Enhanced BPLS

Region 8 nominee wins national search for Idol ng TESDA self-employed category

PRO8 honors men, units, partners on 112th Police Service Anniversary

CSC conducts orientation on elected officials in EV

PRO8 number 2 man promoted to star-rank

Chiz bats for cedula abolition

Soria orders manhunt vs. 3 pushers in buybust shoot-out

PRO8 anti-illegal gambling drive nets 7 persons

Waiver on secrecy tops Chiz’s filed bills for 16th congress

Army troopers distributed computers, books to elementary schools in Northern Samar


13 former rebels receive livelihood assistance

assistance to former NPA rebels

September 10, 2013

ALBUERA, Leyte – In line with the Peace Month celebration, 13 former NPA rebels in Leyte received livelihood assistance from the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) last Thursday, September 5 at Brgy. San Pedro, municipality of Albuera, Leyte.

Each former rebel received not less than P50,000 to start their own livelihood to support their family.

Gwendalynn Malate, focal person, Leyte Comprehensive Local Integration program (Leyte-CLIP) said that this awarding of livelihood and basic assistance to former rebels was already the 5th since it started during the time of former president Corazon Aquino. The former rebel-recipients came back to the folds of the law before January of 2013 and passed into meticulous verification of their papers, Malate explained. But some of these FRs already received their immediate assistance before, she added.

Rev. Fr. Edwin C. Perito, Civil Society Organization, member of Joint Validation and Authentication Committee (JVAC) reminded the recipients that their change should not only for external but from the heart and since they already accepted the government they should also be close to the church. Fr. Perito also gave an option for their livelihood that coconut water can be sold to the archdiocese.

Col. Rafael C. Valencia, Commander, 802nd Brigade, 8th Infantry Division of Philippine Army said that the activity is a continuous program of OPAPP and the provincial government of Leyte. He appealed to the FRs to encourage their friends and relatives who are active rebels to lay down their arms and continue their aspiration without using arms. Col. Valencia believed that any problem of the country can be resolved in a peaceful manner. The big-hearted brigade chief implored that the activity was a proof to the public that the government is indeed serious in their programs in bringing peace to the community.

Col. Valencia advised the FRs to take care and to flourish the assistance that they got to have a good life for their children.

A female former rebel (name withheld) who represented the FRs affirmed to support the programs of the PA. She said if given a chance to lead and convince their former comrades, she will explain and show them the sincerity of the government. “Magsibaba na kayo dahil hindi maiwasan na marami ang lamok at minsan makakain minsan hindi,” she said.

It was learned that the female former leader held various position in the CPP/NPA in Leyte. She was in the group for 10 years, got married and raised kids in the mountain. She then realized that her primary responsibility as a mother was neglected so she decided to surrender. She is now serving as a barangay secretary in their community.

The former red fighter expressed her gratitude to the Philippine Army who gave another chance to start a new life.

Leyte Vice-Governor Carlo Loreto said that peace is very rare because of indifferences. The vice governor wished that conflicts would be enough in words not to sort in arm struggle. In a separate interview, Vice Gov. Loreto said that peace can be achieved if everybody participates, cooperates and unite.

Lyra Dela Cerna sent the message of gratitude of Mayor Ramon Dela Cerna to OPAPP and the Philippine Army in making such activity to ensure peace in their municipality.

The program concluded with a peace covenant signing with the OPAPP, Provincial Government of Leyte, Municipal Government of Albuera, military, former rebels, Brgy. San Pedro officials and the technical working group from different communities under the area of responsibilities of the 19th IB headed by LTC. Nedy C. Espulgar and 78th IB headed by Col. Adonis R. Bajao.





Chiz says SC TRO or none; Senate withholds PDAF release

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
September 10, 2013

PASAY CITY – As far as the Senate is concerned, the Supreme Court’s (SC) temporary restraining order (TRO) against the release of this year’s remaining priority development assistance funds (PDAF) is moot and academic, Senator Chiz Escudero said.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance said prior to the freshly issued TRO on PDAF, the Senate has been withholding its disbursement following President Benigno S. Aquino III’s announcement that all pork releases will be suspended while an investigation is being conducted into the alleged funds misuse.

The Supreme Court, in an en banc decision today stopped the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from further disbursing PDAF and Malampaya funds for this year.

“Since the announcement of the President and the Senate President as well, we have not been processing nor endorsing any PDAF release request for the second semester. In fact, even the balance left for the first semester won’t be released anymore”.

The senator said that he expects the senate committee on rules to start tackling all the proposed measures related to the abolition of PDAF in the next few weeks.

“This is the third time that the SC has ruled on PDAF disbursement. Even if there is no understanding in Congress to withhold PDAF prior to the TRO, we also have no choice but to do as the court rules”.

Escudero filed the first measure in the Senate asking for the abolition of PDAF through Senate Resolution No. 193. The PDAF, he stated “should now be abolished in general and that Congress should limit itself to the enactment of the national budget and the Executive to its implementation”.





DENR 8 confiscates over P750,000 worth of hot lumber in 2013

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

TACLOBAN CITY – As of August 2013, DENR’s Forest Management Service (DENR-FMS) has conducted a total of twenty-nine (29) apprehensions resulting to the confiscation of 25,058.4 board feet of hot lumber with estimated amount of P751,752.00.

DENR Regional Executive Director Manolito Ragub said that the trend is declining following the issuance of Executive Order No. 23 in February 2011 which provides for the Moratorium on the Cutting and Harvesting of Timber in Natural and Residual Forests and Creating the Anti-illegal Logging Task Force.

Director Ragub said that in 2012, DENR Region 8 conducted one hundred thirty three (133) apprehensions which resulted to the confiscation of 128,336.32 board feet lumber which amounted to over P3 million.

Regional Technical Director Marciano Talavera of DENR-FMS said “the number of apprehensions conducted by the authorities depends on the rampancy of illegal logging activities.”

“We positively believe that the decrease of apprehensions means decrease of illegal logging activities, and this is attributed to an intensified anti-illegal logging campaign and the issuance of E.O. 23” he added.

DENR’s Forest Management Service also revealed that the agency is closely monitoring twenty-four (24) municipalities in Region 8 identified as illegal logging hotspots.

These include San Isidro, Victoria, Palanit, Gamay in Northern Samar; Borongan, Guiuan, Taft, Dolores in Eastern Samar; Basey, Marabut, Paranas, Catbalogan, Calbayog in Samar; Caibiran and Naval in Biliran; Tacloban, Dagami, Capoocan, Albuera, Baybay, Abuyog in Leyte; and Maasin, Silago, Hinunangan in Southern Leyte.

Penalties for illegal logging activities are contained in Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines, Talavera said.





RSOG nabs notorious “pusher” in Leyte town fiesta drug bust

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 9, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Amidst the merriment of the fiesta celebration and while his neighbors were busy entertaining their guests, Gorgonio Señase was also busy plying his trade, albeit an illegal one which is selling methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known to his customers as “shabu”.

But unknown to Señase, he had been under close surveillance for weeks by the elite Regional Special Operations Group 8 (RSOG 8) that was able to secure a search warrant for illegal drugs at his residence and was just waiting for proper time to stamped out his illegal activities.

“Our operatives were also able to lure him into entering a drug deal and that was the ideal opportunity to also set up a buy-bust operation,” said PCsupt Elmer R Soria, Director of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8).

The opportunity came on Sunday as the suspect’s hometown Dulag, a third-class coastal municipality some 36 kilometers south of Tacloban City, was celebrating the town fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Refuge.

A buybust operation at around 8:30 a.m. infront of Señase’s house along Burgos St. in Brgy. Buntay by RSOG led by PSInsp. Dinvir Revita resulted in the arrest of the 37-year old suspect and the confiscation of one small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected “shabu” and the P1000-bill with serial number YV132069 used as buy-bust money, the police official informed.

Subsequent search at the suspect’s residence based on search warrant number 2013-09-68 issued by Hon. Evelyn P. Rińos-Lesigues, Vice-Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 8, resulted in the recovery of two medium-sized and six small-sized plastic sachet containing suspected “shabu” and several drug paraphernalia.

Soria informed that the search was conducted in an orderly manner and witnessed by representatives from Department of Justice, media and elected barangay officials of Brgy. Buntay.

The police official added that suspect and the confiscated items were brought to Dulag police station for documentation and brought to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office for temporary safekeeping.

“Drug charges are now being prepared for filing against the suspect while the suspected drugs were brought to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for qualitative and quantitative examination and determination of the presence of methamphetamine contents,” the Police Regional Director disclosed.

“Señase’s arrest will minimize the proliferation of illegal drugs in the streets of Dulag and neighboring towns,” Soria added as he lauded the PNP personnel involved in the successful operation.





Chiz wants DA to unbundle its P79.1-B 2014 budget proposal

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
September 9, 2013

PASAY CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) must unbundle its P79.1-B budget proposal for 2014 and disaggregate its programs in terms of projects and areas once the agency faces the Senate for the plenary hearing starting November.

Senator Chiz Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance today recommended the DA budget for plenary subject to submission of programs detailing how much and where the agency plans to spend and obligate its funding.

Under its 2014 proposal, the DA budget will increase by 6.3% or P4.9-B more than its 2013 permitted budget.

Escudero specifically asked for the line item allocation of the department’s P17.3-B irrigation project (both local and foreign-assisted), its P12-B farm-market road projects, the P1.7-B PAMANA projects and the P8.4-B bottom-up-budgeting projects (BUB).

“We ask for these since DBM Sec. Abad already said that the budget is already a released document. Being so, when all your programs are already disaggregated, you don’t need a SARO (special allotment release order) to implement the projects immediately. I don’t care if you submit several volumes of budget documents, we will welcome it in the committee and will approve it so long as it shows clarity on how you will obligate your funding,” Escudero told DA Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The senator said through line-item allocation, agencies can already bid out projects beginning of the fiscal year, short of awards. This, he said, gets agencies to meet its targets on time, if not ahead.

At the same time, he also asked DA to submit a detailed plan of its agriculture modernization thrusts in the following breakdown:

- P6.9 billion rice program
- P1.7 billion corn program
- P1.6 billion high-valued commercial crop
- P1.3 billion livestock program
- P3.7 billion fisheries program

“Who will implement these programs? In the DA programs, how many percent still uses NGOs to implement such? Do you still allow NGOs to implement some of your programs? It is not prohibited as of yet?”

“This time dahil sa mga pangyayari po ng kontrobersya I think we have to check with DBM at saka po COA,” Alcala replied. The senator asked for a list of programs that will be implemented by DA itself and NGOs if there are any.

Escudero also took Alcala to instruct all the attached agencies and corporations under the DA to address all findings and recommendations from the Commission on Audit (COA) in its annual audit report of the agency.

“In our next meeting, we won’t anymore allow you or any agency for that matter to just sweep the COA audit under the rug. Instruct all your units to address the COA findings, you can take the issues to court if you don’t agree with their findings but these definitely cannot be left hanging and unanswered. We will make sure to ask each and every recommendation and observation to be settled by the agency as well as your attached corporations. That’s for our next meeting, Mr. Secretary,” Escudero told the DA head.

Recently, COA has released its report on funds culled from the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of legislators which have been channeled through several agencies under the DA like the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR) and the Zamboanga Rubber Estate Corporation (ZREC). The senator scored both agencies during the second hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the PDAF scam probe for ignoring procurements laws in relation to releasing funds to questionable NGOs.





TUCP hits senators and congressmen for foot dragging on giving up pork

September 9, 2013

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the largest group of labor federations in the country, lamented the insensitivity of senators and congressmen for their apparent sluggish action in giving up their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“It looks like inertia is sweeping the entire halls of the Senate and the House of Representatives. There seems to be a consensus of inaction shared by many of our legislators amid the overwhelming clamor to abolish their pork barrel. More than two weeks after the Million People March phenomenon, it seems there are only a handful of souls in both halls who are willing to take the initiative in reforming the budget and closing the door to the possibility of future plunder,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP).

Thus far, only fifteen senators and less than half of the more than 200 congressmen have expressed in public and signed the petition to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza was among the first batch of congressmen who signed the petition at the House along with other House leadership under Belmonte.

The TUCP describes the position of Senate President Franklin Drilon as “evasive and ambivalent.” Drilon suggested the abolition of congress the moment PDAF is abolished. Recently he said they will allow the petition at the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the PDAF to eventually determine the Senate position on a very critical issue.

“He is engaged in legal hair-splitting at a crucial moment of history when the very institution of Congress is being placed in doubt by the moral majority of millions of ordinary Filipinos,” said Seno.

On Drilon’s latest position to await the ruling of the Supreme Court on a petition of some groups to rule on the legality of PDAF, Seno said: “Regardless of the ruling of the high court, the Senate must irrevocably accede to the highest wishes and relent to the strong voice of the Filipino people as expressed more than two weeks ago. Senator Drilon and the entire Senate are not exempted,” Seno said.

Seno explained that the Senate, led by Drilon, must express its imprimatur on the abolition of the PDAF during the 2014 budget deliberations of both houses through the amendment of the General Appropriations Act, otherwise PDAF will be retained for lack of time.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, on the other hand, have conducted a series of consultations rallying congressmen to abolish PDAF and distribute the P25 billion as lump sum amount to four departments for the implementation of social services and infrastructure projects.

TUCP called on congressmen and senators to stop “foot dragging” and immediately sign off on the commitment to scrap PDAF.

The labor group is supporting the complete and unconditional abolition of the PDAF or the pork barrel system in the light of a strong public disdain against abuse in the use of the fund as expressed on August 26.

The TUCP is supporting Senate Bill 1524 introduced by Sen. Teofisto Guingona Jr., otherwise known as Bottom Up Budgeting Act of 2013. The proposal will allocate the P25 billion intended for PDAF in the 2014 P2.68 trillion budget to the different government agencies as the implementing unit. The bill, among others, ensures the involvement of civil society organizations in pre-identifying programs and projects to be funded and where all expenses are listed down to the last centavo.

Pre-identified projects may also be recommended by congressmen and senators or by the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) in congruence with the regional development plans uniquely developed according to the needs of every region.

TUCP and other labor groups should be part of the RDCs to reflect sentiments of major sectors in society.

“We hope all senators and congressmen were able to discern the ramifications of August 26th. It may be difficult for our lawmakers to let go of the old ways but on that day the issues were joined and the Filipino people have spoken. The people and labor groups are expecting an immediate and radical change in the way public funds are being used. No more unlimited discretion should be given to legislators on how to use the national treasure. No amount of diversionary issues or legal cover can temper down or thwart the will of the Filipino people,” Seno stressed.





Greenpeace sounds the alarm on the state of tuna, calls for action to ensure a sustainable tuna industry

September 8, 2013

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Greenpeace today warned major tuna industry players that unless drastic measures are put into place to halt the decline of the world’s tuna stocks there will be no future for their multi-billion peso businesses.

“The government should ensure sustainability in our seas so that tuna fisheries can continue, securing the livelihood of millions of fisherfolk,” said Mark Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Speaking during the 15th Tuna Congress in the country’s tuna capital, Dia said, “instead of pursuing ever-increasing tuna catches and opening up new fishing grounds, the Philippine government needs to direct its support to shift the tuna industry and prop up existing sustainable methods in catching tuna.”

Scientists have long called for further protection of the region’s valuable big eye and yellow fin tuna stocks. Unless measures are taken, such as reducing the catches of juvenile tuna caught by using fish aggregation devices (FAD) the stocks will continue to drop.

Tuna need at least two to three years to grow to maturity, so if most of the catch is juvenile tuna, fish stocks will not be able to replenish themselves. The decline in these fish stocks is already hurting longline and handline fleets. Evidence of this is already clear in the traditional tuna fishing areas south of Mindanao where tuna are getting smaller and harder to catch.

“Without strong action to stop overfishing and overcapacity in the fleets, which means that there are already many boats catching fish, fishing companies as well as coastal communities will suffer huge losses as the stocks decline and fleets will be forced to move elsewhere,” said Sari Tolvanen, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace International.

Tolvanen added, “a precautionary approach must be taken now, before it is too late. The problem is that efforts at fisheries management have fallen short of what is required.”

The Alliance of Tuna Handliners echoed Greenpeace’s concern about current unsustainable fishing practices that jeopardize the future of the industry. “Our livelihoods are already threatened. The hook and line tuna industry is being sacrificed for canned tuna,” said Raul Gonzales, spokesperson for the group.

“Therefore, we ask that the government act now to ensure that juvenile tuna catches in the purse seine fisheries are reduced. Urgent reduction in excess purse seine fishing capacity must also be implemented.”

The problem of big eye tuna overfishing was discussed at the recently concluded Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) workshop held in Japan, of which the Philippines is a member. A proposal to extend the FAD ban in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean from the current 4 months to at least 5 months has been broadly agreed, but the Philippines has said that it wants to be exempted from having to further restrict FAD use.

“Instead of continuously trying to seek exceptions to conservation measures, the Philippines should instead work more closely with the rest of the Pacific region and help put in place strong science based management measures that can help stop overfishing,” stressed Dia.





RAFI wins in 16th CAMMA

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
September 7, 2013

CEBU CITY – The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) won the award for Best Institutional Website in the 16th Cebu Archdiocesan Mass Media Awards (CAMMA) held Sept. 1 at SM Cebu Cinema 2.

16th CAMMA awardsThe website of RAFI ( is regularly updated with news, inspirational stories, publications, images, motivating quotes, forms, videos, audio recordings, and other materials that inform the public on the programs and initiatives of the Foundation and encourage them to engage in community development.

The RAFI website contains special sections for each of its five focus areas, namely, Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, Leadership & Citizenship, and Education. Every section features the different programs and initiatives of the focus area.

While people can do online nomination for the RAFI Triennial Awards, a downloadable nomination form is made available.

With RAFI's growing number of publications, the site has a page listing its annual reports, newsletters, brochures, and books. Visitors can view and download for free the annual report, newsletters, and brochures while they are given a preview of the books, as well as information on their price and where they are being sold.

A corner is also provided for those who would like to support or get involved in RAFI's work by donating, volunteering, or applying for a job.

Visitors to the site can connect to RAFI's account in different popular social networking and file sharing sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, You Tube, and LinkedIn.

RAFI also has sub-sites for its GREENIN Philippines Program, Kool Adventure Camp, and Triennial Awards.

This year’s CAMMA was anchored on the theme “Social Networks Portals of Truth and Faith: New Spaces for Evangelization". Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Commission on Social Communications Chairman Msgr. Trinidad Silva Jr., and representatives from different organizations gave the awards to the winners from the print, radio, television, and advertising companies.

During his speech, Archbishop Palma reminded the public to use social media in a proper and responsible way. He congratulated media practitioners for being instruments of "treasuring what is good and beautiful in our culture and tradition".

The biennial awards recognize individuals and institutions’ best work in broadcast, print, and online media that promote human and Christian values. A brainchild of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Vidal, the prestigious awards was launched in 1992. The judges came from the business, academe, and religious organizations.



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