PNP reaction team
nabs four armed men in Leyte on barangay election eve
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 28, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The police had foiled what could be a potential eruption of violence
in the region’s industrial capital with the arrest of four fully-armed
men who are reportedly out to spoil the peaceful conduct of the
barangay elections, the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) announced
Police Chief Supt. Elmer R.
Soria, PRO8 director, identified the suspects as Larry Lladoc, 56;
Ulysses Ilajas, 36; Edrigar Rojas, 39 and Elizalde Roña, 45, who were
arrested by elements of Isabel police station led by PSInsp. Florando
Relente and augmentation police personnel led by PSupt. Erwin Portillo
in the evening of October 27 in Isabel town in Leyte.
“Timely information relayed
by chairmen of two villages in Isabel led to the apprehension of the
suspects and aborted possible untoward incidents in the area,” Soria
The police official informed
that at around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, a telephone call from Brgy. Chairman
Gerby Frias of Brgy. Tolingon was received by Isabel police station
about the sighting of armed men at the waiting shed of Sitio
The station’s Reactionary
Stand-by Support Force (RSSF) was dispatched to the area, resulting to
the arrest of Lladoc and Ilajas, both employees of Philippine
Phosphate Fertilizer Corp. (PHILPHOS), also in Isabel town.
Confiscated from Lladoc was
one .45 caliber Colt pistol bearing serial number 748631 loaded with
six ammunitions and from Ilajas was one unit .45 caliber with serial
number 1452324 loaded with 14 ammunitions and two magazine assembly
for .45 caliber.
The RSSF scoured the area
and also recovered from the grassy portion one homemade shotgun,
locally known as “sumpak”; one shotgun cartridge and one .22 caliber
Arms Aguila revolver with serial number 22743 with five ammunitions.
An hour later, same reaction
team responded to an indiscriminate firing at the basketball court of
Sitio Can-esko as reported by Brgy. Chairwoman Tabunok Lolita Mabino
perpetrated by armed men on-board a KIA van with plate number TPO 911.
The lawmen arrested Rojas
and Roña and confiscated several firearms that include two 5.56
caliber K2 rifle with serial numbers 097154 and 097182 with two
magazine assemblies and 50 rounds of ammunitions; one 12-gauge shotgun
Buddyguard model with three shotgun cartridges and one .40 caliber
Taurus pistol with serial number SBW 84989 with two magazine
assemblies and 23 rounds of ammunitions.
Isabel, a first class
municipality in Leyte’s fourth district, is composed of 24 barangays
and home to the Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE) where some
big companies are located like PHILPHOS, Philippine Associated
Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR), and Lepanto Mining Corp.
The arrest brought to 56 the
number of gun ban violators in the region that so far had resulted in
the confiscation of 31 firearms of assorted calibers and 33 bladed
relatives and supporters hold caravan to press for humanitarian
release of political prisoners
October 25, 2013
QUEZON CITY – Rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), with
relatives and friends of political prisoners held a caravan today from
the Quezon City Memorial Circle to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City in
an urgent call to free elderly and ailing political prisoners on
“They shouldn’t be in jail
in the first place, but they are jailed on trumped up charges. They
suffered from torture and other violations of their rights as
prisoners. They are denied freedom, and some die of sickness in the
long course of their detention. The ailing and the elderly should be
released soon while they are still alive,” said Jigs Clamor, SELDA
According to SELDA,
political prisoners, like ordinary inmates, suffer from subhuman
prison conditions. “They are cramped in congested cells. They receive
poor and inadequate health services. Their prolonged detention makes
them vulnerable to more serious health conditions,” said Clamor.
Clamor cited the case of
Alison Alcantara, who went into a coma on September 4 at the New
Bilibid Prisons after suffering from complications to diabetes. “But
he was transferred to the Philippine General Hospital only after three
days,” said Clamor, “his life could have been saved if there was
sufficient medical care right from the beginning.” Alcantara died on
As of August 2013, there are
449 political prisoners detained in various detention centers all over
the country, 48 of them are ailing while 28 are elderly (60 years old
“The low quality and
insufficient medical care that the government provides endangers the
lives of political prisoners. The P50 a day food budget is very
little. Their condition is no different from the lives of people
outside prison. Jails and detention centers are barely habitable,
unsafe and hazardous to the health and general well-being of
prisoners,” Clamor explained.
From Quezon City Memorial
Circle, the caravan stopped at the gates of Camp Crame, where four
political prisoners, namely Renante Gamara, Eduardo Serrano, Eduardo
Sarmiento and Ramon Argente are detained.
Gamara, Serrano, and
Sarmiento are peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of
the Philippines who are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and
Immunity guarantees of the GPH and the NDFP. Meanwhile, Ramon Argente,
a peasant organizer from Bicol, was recently transferred at the PNP
Custodial Center in Camp Crame after undergoing triple by-pass
surgery. He was previously detained at the Camarines Norte Provincial
“Even if his surgery is
successful, he will recover better outside prison. Why endanger his
life again after surviving this ordeal? The least the government can
do with his condition is to free him,” Clamor said.
Alongside the caravan,
artists and church workers visited the four political prisoners at
Camp Crame as part of the “KA-KAUSA” solidarity visits to political
prisoners in the Philippines. The group is composed of writers and
visual artists, including cultural worker and former political
prisoner Ericson Acosta. Poetry and songs were shared in a brief
cultural program. The visitors also brought donated art materials for
the political prisoners.
The caravan proceeded to the
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), to
call for the resumption of the peace talks between the NDFP and the
GPH. According to SELDA, the continued detention of NDF peace
consultants and other political prisoners is a hindrance to the
resumption to the talks.
The caravan’s last stop was
at Camp Bagong Diwa (CBD), where the majority of political prisoners
are detained, both at the Metro Manila District Jail-Main, Special
Intensive Care Area-Metro Manila District Jail (SICA-MMDJ) and the
Taguig City Jail- Female Dorm. A brief program was held at the gates
of the CBD where political prisoners released a statement of
solidarity in the call to immediately release the eldery and those who
are sick among them.
Troops tasked to
secure barangay clash with NPAs in Eastern Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
October 25, 2013
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – Troops tasked to secure the conduct of upcoming barangay
election clash with NPA rebels at around 4:25 pm on October 18, 2013
at Brgy Balagon, Can-avid, Eastern Samar.
In his report, LtColonel
Manolito F Montiel, Commanding Officer of 14th Infantry (Avenger)
Battalion, said that his troops chanced upon a group of NPA insurgents
who were campaigning for a political candidate for the upcoming
After a brief firefight, the
insurgents managed to escape. No casualty was reported on both sides.
Meanwhile, troops under 63rd
Infantry Battalion while conducting clearing operation to ensure
peaceful and orderly barangay election, discovered NPA camp at Brgy.
Hibunawan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar at around 4:40 pm the same
The NPA camp is composed of
fifteen (15) makeshift huts, one (1) makeshift hall and two (2)
advanced guard posts which can accommodate 15 to 30 NPAs. Said camp is
believed to have been abandoned for five days.
BGen Jet B. Velarmino AFP,
Commander of 8th Infantry Division lauded his troops for their
untiring efforts to insulate the communities of peace loving people
from NPA threat and violence.
Addressing his troops, he
said: “Your commitment and dedication to service to ensure that the
people in Eastern Visayas are secured and protected from NPA threat
and violence is very commendable. Let us continue safeguarding the
people in this region, especially those living in countryside so that
they can freely vote for the candidates of their choice and not out of
fear, intimidation and pressure from the rebels.”
Close to 4,000 cops
to secure barangay elections in EV
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 24, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
The Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) has stepped-up its security
preparations and operations for the October 28 barangay elections with
the deployment of close to 4,000 policemen in the field to render
PRO8 director PCSupt. Elmer
R. Soria said that his office is maximizing the effective strength of
police personnel for elections duty in line with the intensified
security coverage before, during, and after election day.
“We assure the electorate
that we have enough troops to secure the electoral proceedings and
ensure that the elections will not be hindered by any security
concern,” Soria said.
He added that 3,914
policemen will be deployed to man the Police Assistance Desks (PADs)
in clustered voting centers (CVCs) to perform election duties on
election day while the rest of the 6,150-strong PRO8 police force will
be performing other election-related duties aside from their routine
On Thursday, 981 policemen
were sent to different police provincial and city offices’ to augment
the number of police personnel in the field who will render election
A total of 2,312 CVCs will
be secured by the police while 990 CVCs will be secured by the
military. The region has 3,780 voting centers and 4,390 villages.
The maximum deployment plan
includes the activation Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) at
the regional, provincial and city police offices that can be deployed
anytime if the need arises.
Regular coordination with
the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its 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,
the police official added.
A total of 2,664,952
registered voters will troop to 17,729 established precincts and 9,140
clustered/grouped precincts on Monday’s barangay elections in the
Some 8,900 candidates are
vying for punong barangay position while 63,749 are seeking for the
barangay kagawad posts in the entire region.
signed peace covenant in Calbayog City
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 24, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – The significant number of candidates who signed the peace
covenant in Calbayog City recently for the October 28 barangay
elections is an indication that local leaders in the city, once
considered as a political hotbed, have matured and opted to shy away
from committing violence in advancing their political interests, said
the region’s top police official.
“The positive support we got
from the candidates and their supporters only showed the political
maturity of the people and is of great help in ensuring the peaceful
conduct of the village polls,” said PCSupt Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8
covenant signing held Saturday morning at the Calbayog City Sports
Center have gathered the signatures of some 245 candidates for punong
barangay and 1,609 aspirants for barangay kagawad.
The activity also garnered
support from the Diocese of Calbayog, Department of Interior and Local
Government, Commission on Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines,
civil society groups and local media.
Rev. Msgr. Francisco Cinco
III of Our Lady of Nativity Parish officiated the Holy Mass followed
by the blessing of peace covenant, signing of the manifesto by
candidates and witnesses and release of white balloons and doves.
The city, with 132 of its
157 barangays situated in the rural area, is considered as an election
area of immediate concern in the previous barangay elections with its
history of election-related incidents and monitored presence of
private armed groups and New People’s Army in the area.
Calbayog and the entire
Samar province was placed in the “priority area” list in the recent
midterm elections but focused-police operations initiated by the
Special Operations Task Group-Samar have effectively minimized the
occurrence of violent incidents during the May elections.
PRO8 earlier initiated a
peace covenant signing in the city last January 12 in relation to May
national and local polls.
But even with the covenant
signing, the police official assured that the police will continue to
implement sustained law enforcement, security and public safety
operations to ensure the conduct of peaceful elections in the city and
the entire region.
More benefits for
solo parents – Chiz
By Office of Senator Chiz
October 22, 2013
PASAY CITY – Further
benefits and support on top of what is already provided in Republic
Act 8972 (Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000) should be given to solo
parents to lessen the burden of raising children alone and to ensure
that their children are given the opportunity for a better future,
Senator Chiz Escudero said.
Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance pushed, for the
passage of this proposal through Senate Bill No. (SBN) 121 which seeks
to provide additional support and benefits to solo parents such as
discounts from purchases of baby’s milk, food and food supplements,
clothing and medical supplies.
“There are already benefits provided for by RA 8972 but we take into
account the challenges of economic realities single parents face. But
this proposal does not discount either the effects it may entail to
businesses, employment and other economic activities.”
Escudero said the proposal is worthy of evaluation and deliberation as
all stakeholders “may be able to strike a balance between
profitability and social responsibility.”
Under the bill, the following proposals shall be granted to any solo
parent employee who has rendered service of at least one year:
- parental leave of not more than seven working days WITH PAY (in
addition to leave privileges under existing laws)
- ten percent discount from all purchase of clothing and clothing
materials for the child from conception until 2 years old
- fifteen percent discount from all purchases of medicines and other
medical supplements/supplies for the child from conception until 5
years old, and
- basic personal exemption from individual income tax in the amount of
fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) in addition to the existing
exemption a solo parent may claim.
The bill also proposes that any solo parent as defined by law shall be
entitled to the issuance of a solo parent ID by the municipal or city
social welfare officer.
Any employer who fails to provide the benefits mentioned in this
amended act shall be penalized with a fine of P50,000.00 or a one year
imprisonment or both.
Any subsequent violation carries a P200,000.00 fine or a two year
imprisonment or both.
Any person who abuses the privileges of this proposed act, on the
other hand, shall be punished with imprisonment or a fine of
P50,000.00 or both.
Northern Samar guv
declares 5 towns as manageable conflict-affected and development ready
October 19, 2013
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan,
Samar – Five towns of Northern Samar were declared Manageable
Conflict-Affected and Development Ready Area (MCA-DRA) by the Northern
Samar Governor in a ceremony held last October 17, 2013 at the
Provincial Governor’s official residence in Catarman, Northern Samar.
The towns of Allen, Biri,
Capul, San Antonio and San Vicente were declared by the Governor Jose
L. Ong Jr. as MCA-DRA. Present during the declaration were: Hon Gary
M. Lavin, Vice Governor of Northern Samar; Hon. Rudy S Baguioso,
Municipal Mayor of San Antonio; Hon. Isidro Badal, Municipal Mayor of
Capul; Hon. Antonio Delos Reyes, Municipal Mayor of Biri; Hon. Tito M
LuÅ„eza, Municipal Mayor of San Vicente and Hon. Rod Lauren D. Suan,
Municipal Mayor of Allen.
Also present were
representatives from AFP and PNP led by BGen Jet B Velarmino AFP,
Commander of 8th Infantry Division; BGen Rolando C Malinao AFP,
Commander, 803rd Infantry Brigade; PSSupt Teodoro J Basa, Deputy
Regional Director for Operations, PRO8 and PSSupt Abraham G. Lenaming,
Director of Northern Samar Police Provincial Office.
These towns which recorded
zero NPA activity for the past several years are located in the north
western tip of Northern Samar. Except for the municipality of Allen,
the four other towns are island municipalities of Northern Samar.
The declaration augurs well
for the said municipalities and signals that they are ready for
development. Governor Ong in his message said: “The significance of
this occasion goes beyond the assurance that the constituents of these
municipalities can live happier in these secured areas. The absence of
insurgency is vitally more significant as it will pave the way for the
launching of more development projects.”
In his message to the people
of Nothern Samar, BGen Jet B. Velarmino AFP said: “The people of San
Antonio, Capul, Biri, San Vicente and Allen have now spoken and take
their first positive step in moving forward towards sustainable
development and progress. As we join them in their victory, I also
encourage each and every Nortehanon to sustain what you have started.
Let us nurture what we have just achieved and commit ourselves to
winning the peace. I give my assurance that your Army in Eastern
Visayas, the 8th Infantry Division, will carry out its mandate to
serve and protect the people and secure the region against any
Eleven Nobel Peace
Prize winners write to Russian President Vladimir Putin over
October 17, 2013
AMSTERDAM – Eleven
Nobel Peace Prize laureates including Archbishop Desmond Tutu have
written a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin offering
their support to twenty eight Greenpeace International activists, a
freelance photographer and a freelance filmmaker who are being
detained in a Russian prison whilst they are investigated for
allegations of piracy.
In their letter, the award
winners urge President Putin “to do all you can to ensure that the
excessive charges of piracy against the 28 Greenpeace activists,
freelance photographer and freelance videographer are dropped, and
that any charges brought are consistent with international and Russian
Describing the Arctic as a
“precious treasure of humanity,” the signatories are all supporting
efforts to protect the High North from oil exploration and climate
They write, “Arctic oil
drilling is a dangerous, high-risk enterprise. An oil spill under
these icy waters would have a catastrophic impact on one of the most
pristine, unique and beautiful landscapes on Earth. The impact of a
spill on communities living in the Arctic, and on already vulnerable
animal species, would be devastating and long lasting. The risks of
such an accident are ever present, and the oil industry’s response
plans remain wholly inadequate. Equally important is the contribution
of Arctic oil drilling to climate change. Climate change in the Arctic
and elsewhere threatens all of us, but it is the world’s most
vulnerable who are paying the price for developed countries’ failure
The full list of peace
laureates who signed the letter are:
- South African Bishop
- Northern Irish peace
campaigner Betty Williams
- Former President of Costa
Rica, Oscar Arias Sanchez
- US peace campaigner Jody
- Liberian peace campaigner
- Yemeni peace campaigner
- Guatemalan social
reformist Rigoberta Menchu Tum
- Northern Irish peace
activist Mairead Maguire
- Iranian lawyer and former
judge Shirin Ebadi
- Former President of East
Timor Jose Ramos Horta
- Argentine community
organiser Adolpho Perez Esquivel
The twenty eight Greenpeace
International activists, a freelance photographer and a freelance
videographer, were detained following a peaceful protest against the
Gazprom Arctic drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18th. They
were charged with piracy on October 2nd, which carries a maximum
sentence of 15 years in prison. The thirty are being detained in
Murmansk, the largest city inside the Arctic circle.
President Putin himself has
said of the thirty people in detention, "It is absolutely evident that
they are, of course, not pirates."
The global campaign to free
the Arctic 30 has seen 1.3 million people sign onto a petition, and a
day of solidarity demonstrations in 250 locations in 49 countries
around the world. Separately, the International Federation of
Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists have demanded
the release of the two journalists among those in prison.
Greenpeace wants Congress
to investigate GMO regulation
October 16, 2013
QUEZON CITY – Today on World
Food Day, Greenpeace activists rallied at the House of
Representatives, carrying banners reading “Investigate GMO Regulation”
and “I want GMO-free foods”. They urged Congress to investigate
current government regulation concerning risk assessment, and to adopt
biosafety procedures for genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
“The Philippines has now become the gateway for GMO contamination in
Asia under our very noses: Congress should immediately investigate as
this is crucial for the environment”, explained Daniel Ocampo,
Sustainable Agriculture and Genetic Engineering Campaigner for
Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “The existing regulatory process does not
require the mandatory risk assessments of GMOs apart from what has
been submitted by companies who own and develop them. Filipinos are
unknowingly becoming victims of the government’s flawed regulatory
system that has approved more than 80 varieties of GMOs imported for
food, feed and processing. Not a single GMO application has been
rejected by the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of
Agriculture under the current regulatory process. These GMOs
eventually end up on our table and consumed by us on a daily basis
without our knowledge and consent,” he added.
Greenpeace is questioning why the Department of Agriculture has never
rejected a single GMO application despite strong opposition from
farmers, environmentalists, consumers, organic producers and
breastfeeding advocates; the increasing evidence of negative impacts
on the environment; as well as studies showing adverse effects on
“The public is obviously being misled by claims that the only way to
achieve food security is through conventional chemical-based
agriculture or through GMOs. This claim is a blatant lie, made by
those who stand to gain from the use of these agricultural products
owned and controlled by agrochemical companies,” added Ocampo. “We
need to investigate why the Philippines has become the gateway for GMO
approvals in Asia. This regulation process would benefit from some
public scrutiny,” he stressed.
AKBAYAN Party List Representative Walden Bello supported the call for
a legislative investigation into GMO regulation. Rep. Bello
acknowledged the recent Court of Appeals decision on the Writ of Kalikasan against Bt Talong, which states that GMOs violate the rights
of Filipinos to a healthy and balanced ecology. “This decision should
be upheld by all branches of government,” Rep. Bello said.
“Millions of Filipinos are being turned into guinea pigs as our
country becomes a testing site for GMOs that have been banned by
governments such as Japan, India, and the European Union
members-state. It is high time for us in Congress to intervene. The
health and safety of Filipinos should not be risked in the name of
scientific progress or profit,” Rep. Bello added.
Rep. Bello also pointed out that GMO cultivation runs counter to the
Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 – enacted to direct the government’s
program towards the attainment of the country’s food security through
sustainable agriculture production.
“The risks that come with GMO cultivation – the destruction of
ecological balance, the hazards it poses to the health of the people,
and the threat to the economic viability of agricultural products from
the Philippines – defeats the objectives of sustainable, organic
agriculture. Unconstrained GMO cultivation will reverse all the
progress we have made towards achieving our food security targets,”
Rep. Bello added.
On 20 September 2013, the Court of Appeals upheld its earlier decision
that ordered GMO proponents to permanently cease and desist from
conducting Bt Talong field trials and to protect, preserve,
rehabilitate and restore the environment.
Instead of risky GMOs, Greenpeace has long called for the government
to promote ecological farming, which is universally proven to be more
profitable for farmers. It involves intercropping, use of organic
pests control and natural fertilizers to ensure adequate, healthy and
safe food that are grown in harmony with the environment.
neutralize 2 NPAs, recover 2 firearms
By DPAO, 8ID PA
October 15, 2013
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City, Samar – The relentless and focused combat operations against
NPAs operating in Samar Island resulted to two (2) separate encounters
at Brgy Rizal, Matuguinao, Samar on October 15, 2013.
The government troops
neutralized two (2) NPAs and recovered one (1) M16 Armalite rifle with
one loaded magazine and one (1) 12-gauge homemade shotgun in said
Lt Col Glen Jun C.
Calambuhay, Commanding Officer of 43rd Infantry Battalion based in Sto.
Niño, Gandara, Samar said he received a text message from an informant
in Brgy Rizal that armed NPAs were staying in their barangay. The
informant also said that the NPAs were urging the people to vote for a
certain candidate the rebels are supporting and were extorting food
and money from barangay folks.
Lt Col Calambuhay
immediately dispatched his troops who later engaged between ten to
fifteen NPA insurgents in two (2) separate firefights.
Brigadier General Jet B.
Velarmino AFP, Commander of 8th Infantry Division in his message said,
“It is unfortunate and tragic that the NPAs have taken up arms against
the Filipino nation who believes that lasting peace, sustainable
development and social justice can be attained through peaceful
consultations and not through the use of force or violence. It is
rather alarming that as early as now the NPAs are already campaigning
for their candidates in Brgy Rizal, Matuguinao, Samar for the upcoming
Barangay Election. Nonetheless, I commend the troops of 43rd Infantry
Battalion under the leadership of Lt Col Calambuhay for their
commitment to service and dedication to duty that sustain the peace
and development in this part of Samar Island.”