rebels receive livelihood assistance
By RONNIE C. ROA
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
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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
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
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:
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
TUCP and other labor groups
should be part of the RDCs to reflect sentiments of major sectors in
“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.
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
“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
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
“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
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.
The website of RAFI (www.rafi.org.ph)
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,
RAFI also has sub-sites for
its GREENIN Philippines Program, Kool Adventure Camp, and Triennial
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
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