Tacloban urban poor
communities resist ‘no-build zone’ policy, build back sans govt
January 12, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – ‘We
are not going anywhere’ is the assertion of residents living along the
coastlines affected by the ‘no-build zone’ policy being imposed by the
Aquino government. Despite prodding from the state to abandon these
coastal communities, the survivors resist and have in fact started
rebuilding makeshift shelters from the debris left by typhoon Yolanda,
making do with tattered tin roofs and defective structures.
Urban poor leader Joel Abaño
of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), himself a survivor
and resident of Barangay 37, Sabang, Reclamation Area in Tacloban
City, said that his fellow survivors from the storm surge caused by
typhoon Yolanda have nowhere else to go for shelter, employment and
The Sabang area, locally
known as ‘Barangay Seawall,’ is one of the densely populated villages
in the city. It faces the Tacloban sea port and lies adjacent to the
central city marketplace. Most residents get their meager incomes from
fishing, vending fruits, vegetables or fish at the nearby market or
stevedoring at the port area.
“Life has become more
difficult for the survivors since the government has been very slow in
delivering the immediate needs of the typhoon victims for food,
shelter and livelihood. We know that the presence of Aquino’s minions
– DILG Sec. Mhar Roxas, DND Sec. Voltaire Gazmin and DOE Sec. Jericho
Petilla – in the region was a mere show, done in the guise of helping
the victims rebuild their lives, but actually intended to position
themselves in the 2016 elections,” said Abaño.
Abaño lambasted the Aquino
government for its anti-people rehabilitation program that causes the
typhoon victims sufferings worse than Yolanda’s onslaught. The
‘no-build zone’ policy covering 40 meters from the shoreline prohibits
typhoon victims from returning to their homes and livelihood. “It
means massive displacements of families from their livelihood and
denial of their right to housing,” added Abaño.
Assistance on Yolanda (RAY), a document released by the National
Economic Development Authority (NEDA), seeks to streamline the strict
implementation of the no-build zone policy.
“The Aquino administration’s
so-called concern for the safety of the residents living along the
coastal communities directly runs counter to his economic policy of
allowing large foreign mining corporations to encroach into Philippine
territories, trample on our sovereignty, plunder the nation’s wealth
and cause unprecedented damage to people’s lives and the environment,”
said Abaño. “The most recent landslide in Southern Mindanao over the
weekend that once again claimed lives is testament to the anti-people,
pro-profit policy of the government. Our fellow poor families still
endure the destructive consequences of the mining operations in the
area,” added Abaño.
Kadamay said that at least
ten thousand families in Tacloban City will be displaced by the
off-limits policy. The Aquino government intends to relocate them to
the overpriced and corruption-riddled “bunkhouses” where families will
be cramped into rooms measuring 8.64 square meters each. The space is
too small for a regular Filipino family of five to ten members, lacks
ventilation, and prone to fires. The occupants will definitely endure
conditions way below human standards.
“We need a rehabilitation
program that sincerely addresses the welfare of the ‘Yolanda’ victims.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts of the government should
not be geared towards profits for private entities. The no-build zone
policy is land grabbing in a grand scale. The no-build zone policy is
outright demolition. The no-build zone policy clearly serves big
businesses, not the people,” ended Abaño.
security as classes resumes in Yolanda-hit areas
By PInsp. ROMUEL NACAR
January 3, 2014
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo,
Leyte – The top official of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) has
directed policemen assigned in areas affected by super typhoon
“Yolanda” to intensify their security preparation as students and
school officials troops to various public and private schools for the
resumption of classes on Monday.
Acting police regional
director Police Chief Supt. Henry P. Losañes has directed an
intensified implementation of the Police Integrated Patrol System
(PIPS) near school premises in Tacloban City and other areas in Leyte,
Samar and Eastern Samar that were affected by the storm.
“We assure the safety of
school officials and students in these areas and will ensure police
presence to prevent the occurrence of any crime incident,” he said.
The police official informed
that Police Assistance Desks (PADs) will be established in different
schools and uniformed policemen will conduct mobile and foot patrol
along traffic routes and within the immediate vicinity of school
He also advised the public,
especially parents and students, to remain vigilant and observe
precautionary measures to avoid being victims of petty crimes.
“The public should report
any suspicious looking person or actions noticed in schools and its
immediate premises to the nearest police assistance desk or station
for our immediate action,” Losañes added.
Government not helpless in power rate hike
By Office of the Senate
December 19, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senate Majority
Leader Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano said that the national
government is not helpless in protecting the Filipino public from the
looming power rate hike brought about by the temporary shutdown of the
Malampaya gas project.
“Maraming iba’t ibang
solusyon… But the government has to be willing to give, not only to
take..." Cayetano said.
Cayetano has been asking the
government to look for “creative solutions” to cushion the effects of
the power rate hike, saying that the Filipino public cannot bear the
burden of the rising prices of commodities.
Cayetano earlier proposed
that a “floating” VAT rate be implemented to cushion the effects of
the power rate increase, explaining that the government can reduce the
VAT rate on power to 6% or 9% whenever the power rates are high, and
correspondingly restore it to 12% when rates are low.
“Sa tao, ang mawawala, 12%.
Pero sa gobyerno, hindi 12% ang mawawala kasi sinisingil naman nila
ang input-output ng VAT," he said.
"Sa sinasabi ni Commissioner
Henares, halimbawa, na mawawala ang P5B sa gobyerno kapag binaba natin
ang VAT, but if prices increase by 5%, you lose P5B anyway, so bakit
natin papahirapan pa ang mga tao para lang di maapektuhan ang revenue
ng gobyerno kung yun din ang magiging resulta sa dulo. So wouldn’t we
rather prevent an increase in electricity, petroleum, transportation,
and other basic necessities now so that prices next year would not go
up?” Cayetano said during the hearing.
Aside from implementing a
floating VAT rate, Cayetano also proposed that the government suspends
the collection of the taxes on natural gas for three months.
“The Congress can work on
removing the tax on natural gas, which stands at P1.46/kWh. Kung
tatlong buwan nating hindi sisingilin ang tax para dito, makakatipid
tayo ng halos P4.50/kWh. Mas malaki na iyan sa P4.15/kWh na itinaas ng
kuryente ng Meralco. Ang mangyayari sana, walang itataas ang kuryente,”
Government take in rate hike is P0.70 per kwh
In fact, Cayetano said that
the government is poised to collect some 70 centavos in Value-Added
Tax (VAT) out of the P4.15 per kwh increase in electricity rates that
Meralco has earlier requested.
“We discovered today na
hindi lang ang mataas na tax ang nakakadagdag. Dito lang sa P4.15 [na
increase per kwh], almost P0.70 ay sa gobyerno din pala mapupunta,”
the senator said during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy
on the power rate increase.
“Itong gobyerno, sinasabi,
pasensya na dahil pribadong sektor iyan, anong magagawa nila, may ERC.
Iyun pala ay kumakabig din ito ng P0.70.” he noted.
“In a way, mas gusto din
pala ng gobyerno na mas mataas ang presyo ng petrolyo at gasolina
dahil mas marami ang tax na makukuha nito.”
Meralco announced a
P4.15-increase per kwh rate increase in the next three months, citing
as justification the shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility and other
power plants, which provide 40% of the electricity needs of Luzon.
Battalion recovers anew one M16 rifle from NPA
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 16, 2013
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar
– Troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion (87IB) tasked to conduct
pursuit operations encountered a band of NPA rebels at Brgy Sto Niño,
Motiong, Samar on December 14, 2013 and recovered one (1) Armalite
Based on the report of 87IB,
their troops were tracking the NPAs at Brgy Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar
last December 13, 2013 when they received a report from a concerned
civilian that the NPAs were hiding at Barangay Sto. Niño, six (6)
kilometers away. This is the same NPA group that the army encountered
at Brgy Bay-ang, where one NPA was killed and the army recovered one
(1) caliber 45 pistol.
The troops immediately
proceeded to Brgy Sto Niño and were engaged by the insurgents when
they got near the location. A five (5) minute firefight ensued until
the NPAs withdrew, leaving behind one (1) Armalite rifle and traces of
blood indicating casualties on their side. There was no casualty on
the part of the government soldiers.
On the same day, two NPAs
surrendered with firearms on two separate occasions. At around 2:00AM,
Roberto F. Abunaler aka “Edgar”, NPA member operating in Eastern Samar
surrendered to 14th Infantry Battalion bringing along with him one (1)
Garand Rifle. Likewise, at around 9:00PM, Jeffrey Pajarito Delfin, aka
“Jason/Hapon”, NPA member operating in Samar voluntarily surrendered
to 20th Infantry Battalion bringing along his caliber 357.
Maj Gen Jet B. Velarmino AFP,
Commander of 8th Infantry Division said: “Your Army in Eastern Visayas
is always prepared and ready to conduct focused military operations
against any threat group threatening the security and well-being of
the people. But we also welcome rebels who want to return to the
mainstream of society and lead peaceful lives with their families.”
DENR cites 2013
December 16, 2013
QUEZON CITY – The Department
of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) bared today the grand
winners of the 2013 National Search for Eco-friendly Schools.
A total of nine schools from the elementary, high school and college
categories has recognized during the national awarding ceremony held
at SM City North EDSA as part of the celebration of the National
Environmental Awareness Month this November. Expected to personally
handover the plaques and cash prizes are DENR Undersecretary Analiza
Rebuelta-Teh, Congressman Mariano Piamonte, Jr. of A-Teacher Party
List and private sector partners.
DENR Secretary Paje recognizes the efforts all the schools that joined
this year’s national search.
“We are overwhelmed with the positive response of the schools whenever
we conduct this search. There is so much pride and passion in
implementing their eco-friendly programs. It is really inspiring to
see how the school officials and their students work together to
achieve a cleaner and healthier environment,” Paje said.
For the elementary school category, the winners are Dubinan Elementary
School in Santiago City for first place; Koronadal Central Elementary
School II in South Cotabato for second place; and Kibawe Central
School in Bukidon for third place.
For the high school category, Ateneo de Davao University – High School
in Davao City won first place; Doña Remedios Trinidad High School in
Bulacan won second place; and Diadi National High School in Nueva
Vizcaya won third place.
For the college category, winners are Visayas State University in
Baybay City, Leyte in first place; Miriam College in second place; and
Ateneo de Manila University in third place.
For the national level, prizes include, College, High School and
Elementary: P50,000 – first prize; P40,000 – second prize; P30,000 –
third prize and plaques of recognition. For the regional level, a
certificate of recognition and cash prize of P15,000 will be given to
regional winners for each category.
Aside from the national prizes, there is also a special category
entitled “Nestle Water Leadership Award” aimed at recognizing and
promoting the water management solutions and practices of schools. A
prize of P20,000 will be given to each of the winners at the national
level for college, high school and elementary school categories. A
prize of P10,000 and certificate of recognition will be awarded to
each of the regional winners of all categories.
The national winners for the Nestle Water Leadership Award are the
following: Kasibu Central School in Nueva Vizcaya for elementary
school category; Sumuroy Agro-Industrial School in Northern Samar for
high school category and Ateneo de Manila University for college
Another special category entitled “Meralco Energy Leadership Award”
aimed at recognizing and promoting the water management solutions and
practices of schools. A prize of P20,000 will be given to each of the
winners at the national level for college, high school and elementary
school categories. A prize of P10,000 and certificate of recognition
will be awarded to each of the regional winners of all categories.
The national winners for the Meralco Energy Leadership Award are the
following: Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City for
elementary school category; Matin-ao National High School in Surigao
Del Norte for high school category and Visayas State University for
Launched last 2009, the nationwide contest dubbed, “National Search
for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools,” was organized to highlight
achievement of schools that are committed in implementing various
environmental programs. Open to all elementary, high school and
tertiary school levels, the activity aims to encourage schools and
academic institutions to become more actively involved in
environmental issues at a practical and local level. It also aims to
develop skills and understanding among students, faculty and school
administrators to initiate active responses and increase community
awareness and involvement on environmental concerns.
The National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools is a
joint activity of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), the Department of
Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with the
support of Nestle Philippines, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), One
Meralco Foundation and Petron Foundation.
entrepreneur first to gain permission to use world landmark
Jessica Minh Anh to host
Singapore’s fashion phenomenon in the sky following Grand Canyon
December 16, 2013
PARIS – Never failing to
impress, Jessica Minh Anh just announced Singapore’s latest landmark
and award winning development, Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway, as the
official venue of the highly anticipated J Spring Fashion Show on 5
March 2014. Jessica, one of the world’s youngest fashion
entrepreneurs, is the first and only person to be given permission to
use this exclusive Skyway for a catwalk. Embodying the finest new
technology and the greatest creativity, the up-in-the-sky 128 metre
long catwalk between giant tree-like structures is expected to further
redefine modern fashion standards.
Gardens by the Bay is part
of Singapore government’s vision to create a "City in a Garden” and
position Asia’s superpower city as a leader in environmental
sustainability and landscape architecture. The collaboration of J
Spring Fashion Show’s catwalk, and the illuminating high tech skyway
overlooking Singapore’s famous skyline, is the central attraction. The
picture perfect venue matches Jessica Minh Anh’s concept of combining
Mother Nature’s creation and man kind’s innovation in the digital age.
The outdoor masterpiece will
present an exquisite combination of Haute Couture and Ready-To-Wear
collections from 4 continents. Jessica Minh Anh said “You will see a
perfect balance between clean cut silhouettes and decorative details
with multiple layers, strong colours and transparent pieces”. Jessica
have previously worked with designers such as British fashion leader
Paul Costelloe, Japanese power house Yumi Katsura, Dutch celebrity
designer Addy van den Krommnacker, Lebanese Haute Couture designer
Ziad Nakad, Portuguese bridal house Joana Montez & Patricia de Melo,
and Taiwanese sensation Shiatzy Chen among many others. She added
“There will be some surprises too!” Jessica’s previous productions
have incorporated a cake dress and a dove as part of the show.
This is not the first time
Jessica Minh Anh turned an iconic venue into a phenomenal catwalk. The
young director of J Model Management has continuously reached new
heights at the incredible speed of 3 shows per year in different
continents. Her recent achievements include the world’s highest
fashion show on the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the US last month, the
first ever catwalk on London’s Tower Bridge and PETRONAS Twin Towers’
Skybridge in Kuala Lumpur, the 90 metre floating catwalk on the Seine
River in Paris, and the world’s first sundeck catwalk on Costa
Atlantica in Dubai. And now with her ambitious event in Singapore’s
Gardens by the Bay, there is definitely no sign of her slowing down.
87IB encounters NPA,
recovers one pistol; rebel killed
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 13, 2013
CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar
– Troops under 87th Infantry Battalion encountered 10 NPA rebels
operating in Samar on December 13, 2013 at Brgy Bay-ang, San Jorge,
Samar that led to the death of one (1) rebel and recovery of one (1)
According to the report of
Lt Col Antonio B Dulnuan Jr, Commanding officer of 87IB, his troops
were on routine security patrol when they received a report from folks
living in adjacent barangay of Bay-ang that NPAs were seen at said
barangay. When troops patrolled the areas near Brgy Bay-ang, they were
fired upon by rebels which triggered a 10 minute firefight.
The encounter resulted to
the death of one (1) unidentified rebel and the recovery of one (1)
.45 caliber pistol.
Prior to the encounter, 87IB
had received numerous complaints from the residents of Brgy. Bay-ang
and its adjacent barangays that rebels were extorting food and money
from the civilians and threatening those that do not give in to their
“We have been receiving
complaints from folks living in Brgy Bay-ang and its adjacent
barangays that the NPAs were extorting money and foods intended for
their families’ expenses and consumption,” said Dulnuan.
LTC Dulnuan added, “It is
unfortunate and sad to note that the NPAs have not stopped
intimidating and extorting money and food from the people during these
very trying and challenging times when people in Eastern Visayas are
reeling from the devastating effects of ST Yolanda.”
Eduardo Sarmiento’s conviction a violation of JASIG – Karapatan
December 12, 2013
QUEZON CITY – Peace consultant Eduardo Sarmiento was sentenced to 20
to 40 years imprisonment by Judge Myra Bayot Quiambo of the Muntinlupa
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 203, yesterday, December 11, on the
basis of trumped up criminal charge of illegal possession of firearms
“Sarmiento’s arrest, detention and subsequent conviction demonstrate
the BS Aquino’s outright disregard of the peace negotiations. It shows
how the government resort to criminalization of political acts to
justify attacks on human rights against those it perceives as its
enemy. It highlights the government’s bias against those who uphold
the people’s rights and those who plunder the nation’s coffers like
Napoles and those who perpetrate rights violations like Gloria Arroyo,
and generals Eduardo Ano and Lacson,” said Karapatan secretary general
“Sarmiento should have been released as early as 2011, had the Aquino
government fulfilled its commitment, contained in the February 2011
Oslo GPH-NDFP Joint Statement, to release ‘most, if not all, political
prisoners’. In fact, Sarmiento should have not been arrested at all,”
As a consultant to the peace process, he is covered by the Joint
Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the GPH
and the NDFP, an agreement signed in 1995. Sarmiento has been involved
in the peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP since
1986, representing the Eastern Visayas region.
“Also, Sarmiento’s arrest on February 24, 2009 was faulty because it
was warrantless and it is not unusual for the State forces to plant
“evidence” to justify arrest. It has always been their SOP,
victimizing not just activists,” said Palabay.
Sarmiento’s arresting officers claimed they had with them two warrants
of arrest for arson and for multiple murder and multiple frustrated
murder issued by the Catbalogan Regional Trial Court Branch 29 and of
the Municipal Trial Court of Paranas, Samar, respectively. Sarmiento
was later charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives
for allegedly carrying a brown bag with one fragmentation grenade.
Sarmiento had a P2 million bounty on his head which was supposedly
awarded to an informant. At the time of his arrest, Sarmiento was in
Manila for consultations. He was abducted near a mall in Alabang,
Muntinlupa by joint elements of from the army intelligence and the
PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). He was tortured
and held incommunicado for a week before the AFP announced his arrest.
Sarmiento has been detained for four years at the PNP Custodial Center
at Camp Crame in Quezon City. He may be transferred to the National
Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. His legal counsels are due to appeal his
case before the RTC.
“The Aquino government is showing signs that it can no longer defend
its acts before the people. The refusal to go back to the negotiating
table, the attacks against human rights and human rights defenders,
the criminalization of political acts is an admission of desperation,
‘gawain ito ng mga nasusukol na.’ It’s time the BS Aquino government
face his accountability to the people,” ended Palabay.
Chiz wants court to
stop power hike
By Office of Senator Chiz
December 11, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero said the possibility of seeking a temporary restraining
order (TRO) from the court is one of the options to prevent the Manila
Electric Co. (Meralco) from charging its consumers P4.15 per kilowatt
per hour (kWh) beginning this month, the utility giant’s biggest power
“I think that is being
studied by some groups already and even on our part, we are looking
into it,” Escudero said. “Taking this to court and ask for a TRO is
the closest, legal and soundest option available now.”
According to Escudero, his
office is in the process of obtaining pertinent documents for review
and may challenge in court Meralco’s power rate hikes, which will be
implemented in three installments.
The power company claimed
that the increase would help it cope with the adjustment in generation
charges spawned by the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya facility
and other power plants where it gets energy supply.
The huge hike will cost an
additional P830 to the monthly billing of consumers using an average
of 200 kwh.
Such increase, Escudero
said, is clearly an abuse of the automatic increase provision granted
to Meralco by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC.)
“Meralco cannot justify its
increase with the generation cost rationale. If they are too quick to
impose a price hike, they must also this quick or quicker to refund
the consumers and give us our rebates in the shortest period of time.
It should bequid pro quo,” he said.
Escudero also blasted the
ERC for sleeping on the job and allowing an antiquated system to
prevail, which is inherently biased against consumers.
“The ERC has been using a
cost-based formula in fixing rates when it should use a market-based
formula. In the cost-based system, the only basis they have in pricing
is the cost presented by the distribution facility applying for an
increase. It does not factor in the general market, like that
much-awaited rebate. ERC does not even factor in the multiplier effect
it will have on the market,” Escudero pointed out.
The senator also welcomed an
inquiry by the Senate to scrutinize Meralco’s power rate hike, the ERC
and the Department of Energy and “explain this and other distortive,
biased and dilatory practices against consumers.”
“We still have one week to
conduct sessions and hearing. We just passed the national budget and
that’s already eighty percent off our load for this session. I believe
we still have time. I hope this increase will be short-lived and
hopefully will be stopped via the intervention of courts,” Escudero