war materials recovered after the encounter in Brgy. Patag,
Ormoc City on June 17, 2014.
Army encounters NPA
rebels, seizes claymore mines and other war materials in hinterland
village of Ormoc City
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
June 20, 2014
KANANGA, Leyte –
Troops under Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion encountered New People’s
Army rebels around 2:05 p.m. on June 17, 2014 at So. Nabunturan, Brgy.
Patag, Ormoc City.
Lt. Col. Nedy C Espulgar,
commanding officer of 19IB, said his troops were on to confirm reports
previously tipped by civilians regarding presence of armed group
roaming aforesaid hinterland village, when fired upon by undetermined
number of NPA rebels.
The 30 minute firefight
caused the rebels to withdraw from their position which was discovered
to be an NPA encampment which can accommodate around 15 to 20 persons.
Recovered from the encounter
site were three (3) unexploded claymore mines, magazines with
ammunitions and back packs with personal belongings and subversive
Espulgar furthered, his men
were in advantage position during the firefight and managed to
maneuver despite the difficult terrain. Withdrawing enemies were
unable to inflict casualties against government forces. Rebels neither
suffered casualties, but eye witnesses said that some of the fleeing
rebels were severely wounded.
In an interview with Roberto
Dejon of Leyteño Peryodiko, Espulgar said there will be no let-up in
its support to the development programs it has introduced in the
hinterland barangays of Ormoc, despite the Tuesday incident.
On the other hand, he is
calling on the NPA rebels to surrender, take advantage of the
government programs and return to the mainstream society.
“We will pursue with our
development efforts, especially in our advocacy on Land Bank’s
sustainable integrated natural and organic mini farm program. But our
troops are always ready should similar eventuality arises”, Espulgar
It can be recalled that an
NPA leader was apprehended by 19IB troops in the same village on
January this year. According to Espulgar, 19IB and the Leyte
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) are now
facilitating the necessary assistance entitled for the said former NPA
survivor, rights groups call on UN to probe Aquino govt’s slow,
June 20, 2014
GENEVA, Switzerland –
Through an oral intervention delivered before member states of the
United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last Thursday, typhoon
Haiyan/Yolanda survivor Rev. Irma Balaba of the National Council of
Churches of the Philippines strongly urged the Council to conduct
investigations into the “slow, inefficient and inadequate response of
the Philippine government to the plight of the millions of typhoon
In the said statement
supported by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
of the World Council of Churches (CCIA-WCC), Balaba recounted that
“thousands of desperate and traumatized residents fled the regions
affected by the typhoon, as its impact on the affected communities
exacerbated the poverty incidence and intensified the number of
victims of displacement in the Philippines.”
“Up until now, the
government does not have an alternative plan for the displaced
communities that would ensure their long-term alternative livelihood,
safe relocation areas, free housing and access to social services,“
Balaba also urged the
Council to monitor and investigate how the assistance extended by the
international community for relief and rehabilitation in the
devastated areas, amid the massive pork barrel and corruption scandals
under the Aquino administration.
Balaba is among the members
of the delegation of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights
in the Philippines (EcuVoice).Balaba’s intervention during the General
Debates of the 26th UN HRC sessions was delivered by Sr. Stella
Matutina of the Sisters Association in Mindanao (SAMIN), who is also
part of the Phil. delegation of human rights advocates participating
in the UNHRC sessions.
The rights advocates also
lamented that “instead of focusing on providing the long-overdue
assistance for the typhoon victims, the Aquino administration trains
its guns on aid workers who provide crucial, timely and relevant
support for the victims.”
Five women relief workers of
the Panay Center for Disaster Response (PCDR), a partner NGO of the
international Catholic relief agency Caritas, were cuffed, gagged, and
bound with packaging tape by three unidentified men in their office in
Jaro, Iloilo at around 1 a.m. on June 19, 2014. The masked men seized
two laptops, memory sticks, flash drives, mobile phones, logbooks,
ledgers, cameras, and several pictures documenting the relief
operations of PCDR throughout Panay.
The PDCR provides relief aid
to typhoon Yolanda-struck communities in Northern Iloilo, Capiz,
Antique, and Aklan. PCDR has served about 50,000 families in the
region with relief and rehabilitation assistance – food, non-food,
shelter, among others. Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
have however previously tagged aid workers of the PDCR as members of
the New People’s Army (NPA) in communities in Estancia, Iloilo.
Karapatan secretary general
Cristina Palabay, who headed the EcuVoice delegation at the UNHRC
said, the pattern of the ransacking and robberies in offices of
progressive organizations in Metro Manila in the past two years, when
mostly data storage devices were seized by unidentified men, is very
similar to what happened in the PDRC office.
From March 2012 to February
2013, Karapatan and Bayan documented twelve (12) cases of break-ins of
houses of activists and peace advocates, and offices of progressive
organizations; robberies involving items such as laptops, USB/flash
drives, video cameras, and the like; and surveillance of known
personalities and members of such organizations and institutions.
“It appears that the
intelligence operatives of the State are gathering more data on their
perceived government critics and even aid organisations. These
incidents are clearly systematic attacks against organizations and
institutions, made to appear as cases of common crimes. It is only the
military which would have the motive and means to carry out these
attacks,” Palabay commented.
The other members of the
EcuVoice delegation at the 26th sessions of the UN HRC are Atty. Edre
Olalia, Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL),
Dr. Angie Gonzales, Atty. Mary Kristerie Baleva and Julie Palaganas of
the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines.
Army in Eastern
Visayas launches Project Shoe Box
By DPAO, 8ID PA
June 19, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – The
8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army launches the
Project Shoebox in a simple turn-over ceremony conducted at its
Headquarters in Catbalogan City on June 19, 2014.
Approximately 9,000 shoe
boxes containing school supplies and personal care items were turned
over by Mr. Boyet Singson, representing 2GO Group Incorporated to Dr.
Eduardo G. Pabunan, representing the School Division Superintendent of
Department of Education, Samar and MajGen. Jet B. Velarmino, the
Commander of 8th Infantry Division Philippine Army.
2GO Incorporated shipped the
items from Metro Manila for free.
Project Shoebox was first
launched by the U.P. Sigma Alpha Sorority and the 4th Light Armor
Battalion, Light Armor Division in Camp Nakar, Lucena City in February
2012. The project utilized a shoe box as a package, wherein basic
school supplies and other personal care items were put into it and
were distributed to selected Elementary schools. From then on, the
Philippine Army and its subordinate units spearheaded the same project
that helped tens of thousands of families who have hard time buying
school supplies for their children.
As of 2013, recipient
students were placed at 116,096 from 381 public elementary schools
located in different parts of the Philippines namely: Metro Manila,
Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol region, Compostela Valley, and
In his comment, MajGen.
Velarmino said, “This is a simple way of letting our elementary
students feel that your Army here in Eastern Visayas and other
stakeholders show our simple but genuine concern for their welfare.”
I therefore call on our
nation’s stakeholders, especially those in the business community and
those who have much in life to support this worthy endeavor. As we do
this, we are strengthening the nation’s culture that places importance
on giving something to alleviate others plight. In turn, we expect
that the recipients will emulate the same action in the future.”
War vets rejects
secretary Gazmin’s constitution and by-laws for VFP
June 18, 2014
QUEZON CITY – War
veterans rejected the changes being introduced by Defense Secretary
Voltaire Gazmin to the constitution and by-laws governing the Veterans
Federation of the Philippines (VFP), the federation announced
In the convention report
manual of the first-ever national presidents’ convention of the VFP
held in Taguig City on May 17 and 18, 2014 which was released
yesterday, all 182 delegates rejected the changes made by Gazmin in
the classification of organizations that may join the federation as an
umbrella organization, membership requirements, the composition of the
supreme council, committees and management including the financial
“All regional presidents,
district presidents including presidents of charter and affiliate
organizations of the VFP all over the Philippines have unanimously
spoken and they do not want to tinker with the current VFP
constitution and by-laws at this time. They particularly expressed
disapproval of the changes in the by-laws being introduced by no less
than Defense Secretary Gazmin,” the delegates’ statement after the
two-day workshop said.
Delegates believed all these
by-laws amendments proposed by Gazmin will diminish the core function
of the current set up of officers, downgrade the roles of the
veterans’ widows and children. They also share the fear the amendments
will allow non-veterans to come in and take hold and control of all
the assets of the VFP.
“The highest ruling body of
the VFP has spoken at how thousands of Filipino veterans are best
governed. We hope the voice of the people who fought for our freedom
shall be respected,” the statement added.
The report was released
Wednesday, June 18 coinciding with the 54th anniversary celebration of
VFP held in Manila.
The VFP was created by
Republic Act 2640, an act to create a public corporation to be known
as the Veterans Federation of the Philippines. It was approved into
law by the late Pres. Garcia in May 1960 precisely to uphold and
defend the democratic way of life as envisioned in the Philippine
constitution, represent and to defend the interest of all Filipino
veterans, coordinate the efforts of all different veterans of the
Philippines in behalf of the interests of respective members.
It was also mandated to
promote mutual help among former comrades-in-arms, perpetuate their
common experiences in war, undertake acts of charity and relief work,
preserve peace and order, foster love of country and inculcate
individual civic consciousness.
town’s Freedom Park was filled with hundreds of people who came
to witness the declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as insurgency free
municipality on June 12, 2014.
Army, LGU declares
first “Insurgency-free” town in Leyte
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
June 15, 2014
MATAG-OB, Leyte – The
first town ever in the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran;
Matag-ob was declared “insurgency-free” as Matag-obanons celebrate the
116th Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2014.
The declaration which took
place at the town’s Freedom Park was formalized with a signing of
covenant between the AFP and the municipal government, reaffirming the
respective roles and mandate to preserve, sustain the gains and
prevent the resurgence of Local Terrorist Group (LTG) and to
continually exert efforts, cooperate, support and assist each other,
along with other government agencies in preserving the peace and
During the ceremony, Lt.
Col. Nedy Espulgar, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion
recapped that the town of Matag-ob was one of the municipalities
covered by the operations of then Platoon Guerilla (Plaguer) of the
Northern Leyte Front, New People’s Army on early 2000.
He added that, the New
Peoples Army’s strength was downsized due to tactical offensives
initiated by the government forces which resulted to the captivity and
neutralization of top cadres from years 2005 to 2007.
In an SB Session on March
this year, the 19th Infantry Battalion recommended that Matag-ob,
Leyte be formally declared as insurgency-free, as it has satisfied and
maintained for several years the requirements stipulated in the
National Internal Security Plan (NISP).
The town’s Sangguniang Bayan
chaired by Hon. Michael Torrevillas considered the military’s
recommendation and subsequently enacted on April 7, 2014, Resolution
No. 14-020 which authorized the Hon. Agustin Pedrano, Sr., the
Municipal Mayor to sign the joint declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as an
“insurgency free” municipality.
Hon. Torrevillas said Matag-ob
was already and have been insurgency-free for several years, citing
the Matag-obanon’s love for peace and development though he concede
that some land owners experienced resistance from the “Samahan sa mga
Gagmay’ng Parag-uma” (SAGUPA) years ago.
On the other hand, Col.
Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade, who signed in
behalf of the AFP, said the declaration may attract investors to
establish their businesses which will later on improve the town’s
The ceremonial signing of
the joint declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as “insurgency-free”
municipality was witnessed by Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar and P/Insp.
Christopher Pangue before hundreds of Matag-obanons.
Report from local
resident led to the capture of a rebel firearm
By DPAO, 8ID PA
June 15, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY –
Report from a concerned local residents to an Army Unit in Eastern
Visayas led to the recovery of a high-powered firearm allegedly owned
by an active NPA member.
Lt. Col. William P. Peñafiel
Jr., Commanding Officer of the 52nd Infantry (Cadre) Battalion based
at So. Cantaba, Brgy. Caticugan, Sta Rita, Samar said his troops
received an information from a local resident of Brgy. San Andres,
Villareal, Samar that a NPA rebel personality hid a firearm in a
forested area near a farm in their barangay. A recovery team was sent
to the area and recovered one (1) Caliber .30 Carbine Rifle with one
(1) magazine and eleven live ammunitions.
LtCol. Peñafiel attributed
the successful recovery of the firearm to the peace-loving resident of
Brgy San Andres who heeded the Army’s call to report NPA rebel
activities. “The recovery of the rebel firearm will lessen the
capability of the rebels to sow terror among our people. In this
token, I encourage others to be proactive in peace-building and be not
just onlookers of what is happening in our communities. Break away
from the silent majority and speak out, so that rebels will get the
message that we are tired of their 45 years of violent activities.”
“Emulate the act of the
peace-loving local resident of Brgy. San Andres, report rebel
activities so that we can build a peaceful environment for our
families and communities, he added.”
Philippines to join
America's most iconic catwalk
History making catwalk on
top of America
Jessica Minh Anh to host the first fashion phenomenon at One World
June 15, 2014
MANILA – You are looking at the first
ever fashion shot taken on the 63rd floor of the new One World Trade
Center. The girl in the picture, who produces the most iconic catwalks
on earth, is about to turn America’s tallest building into a fashion
destination on June 25th, 2014. Overlooking New York’s famous skyline
at sunset, Jessica Minh Anh’s multiculural Summer Fashion Show will
celebrate the strength of the new generation.
The model turned
entrepreneur will bring together an exquisite combination of Haute
Couture, high end Ready-to-Wear, and active wear collections from
different continents. Similar to her previous sky high catwalks, there
will be a creative mix of simplicity and sophistication with a burst
of colors, textures and dramatic flair. The current lineup includes
Lebanese celebrity designer Ziad Nakad, Peruvian artist and public
figure Norka Peralta, Spanish sensation Diego Cortizas of Chula,
Indonesian lifestyle brand HAY UNITED, America’s very own accessory
brand Cat Footwear, Russian talent Alina German, Brazilian jeweler
Cristina Sabatini, and the Philippines’ pride Puey Quiñones. Each
designer will premiere a special collection inspired by the symbolic
“One World Trade Center is a
global icon and is the perfect venue for a fashion show that
celebrates designers from across the world.” said Jordan Barowitz,
Director of External Affairs for The Durst Organization.
To complement Jessica Minh
Anh's extraordinary vision, New York based sound and lighting
specialist Bentley Meeker will utilize theatrical fixtures to evenly
light the highly anticipated catwalk. The artistic set up will cast
the models' reflections against the octagonal glass walls as well as
onto the smooth and polished 63rd floor of the Tower.
Besides the flawless fashion
demonstrations and high-tech setups, Jessica’s impressive hairstyle
will be part of the attraction. Taking on the challenge is award
winning Italian stylist Nunzio Saviano, who will complete Jessica’s
signature look. Joining the creative process is American cosmetics
brand Mehron equipped with their innovative line of celebrity favored
The red carpet event will
welcome company directors and CEOs, country ambassadors and
consulates, America’s influencers, international designers, and
national and international press. To ensure a unique experience for
the exclusive guests, Jessica Minh Anh has teamed up with French chef
Sebastien Pourrat, owner of Cocotte SoHo to bring in the most
exquisite cuisine and beverage collections. Sebastien will operate an
open kitchen and create a special ambiance that matches the grandness
of the event.
The official press
conference will be held closer to the show at W New York - Downtown,
where One World Trade Center can be seen at its best. “We are thrilled
to be a part of this historic event” said Patrick Horstmann, General
Manager. “W always offers insider access to what is new/next in
fashion, and Jessica Minh Anh’s Summer Fashion Show definitely
exemplifies that.” The event is also supported by Hollywood Banners
and A76 Productions.
On her decision to select
America’s newest landmark for her next history making showcase,
Jessica Minh Anh said “One World Trade Center represents
determination, innovation, and ambition, which are the qualities I
stand for as a young entrepreneur. Similar to the Tower, I strongly
believe you’ve got to dig deep to rise high.” This principle seems to
be consistently reflected in Jessica Minh Anh’s many international
catwalks as she continues to reach new heights and claim the sky.
Prior to hosting the world’s highest fashion show on the Grand Canyon
Skywalk at 4,000 feet above the Colorado River in 2013, Jessica Minh
Anh has hosted previous fashion phenomena’s on London’s Tower Bridge
PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Skybridge at 44 and 175 meter high meters
respectively. For more information about the show, please visit
www.jmodelmanagement.co.uk and www.facebook.com/jmodelmanagement.
violations continue to be pounded at UN body
Vicious attacks on PH
indigenous peoples defending their lands bared before international
June 14, 2014
GENEVA, Switzerland –
International human rights group Civicus and Philippine-based rights
group Karapatan issued an appeal the other day to the 47 member states
of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to urge the
Philippine government to stop the attacks against indigenous peoples
and environmental activists in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and
elsewhere in the country.
In an oral intervention
delivered by Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay before the
UNHRC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights during
the 26th Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, she cited the
forcible evacuation of indigenous Manobos in Talaingod, Mindanao
caused by military operations and bombings.
Palabay indicated that the
Manobos’ refusal to allow mining companies to encroach on their lands
exposed them to threats and harassment. “They have become victims of
the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan,
and they are tagged as members or supporters of the New People’s
Army,” she stated, in her oral intervention during the interactive
dialogue with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
“Mining companies, including
Indophil Resources, have applications covering the land where the
indigenous Manobos live, for gold, silver, copper, and other minerals.
Their plight is akin to the situation of the indigenous communities
where SMI Glencore/Xstrata has mining projects. Anti-mining activists,
indigenous leaders and children were killed by military and
paramilitary groups, and justice remains elusive for them,” Palabay
The rights groups appealed
to the UN Human Rights Council to urge the Philippine government to
recognize and respect the rights of communities and human rights
defenders, who bear the full adverse impact of business, especially
big mining, activities. They asked the Council to call on the
Philippine government to adhere to international human rights
standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Palabay also spoke on the
issue in a side event on civil society space and protection of human
rights defenders jointly organized by international organisations
Article19, CIVICUS, ICNL, ECNL, the World Movement for Democracy and
the Permanent Mission of Ireland. Mr. Maina Kiai, UN special
rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, and Mr. Frank la
Rue, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, were also in the
documentation and reports of London-based NGO Global Witness, Palabay
said that aside from extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples and
activists, arrests based on false charges of environmental and
anti-mining activists are on the rise. She cited the arrests and
detention of physicist Kim Gargar and Tampakan anti-mining activist
Palabay is among the members
of the Ecumenical Voice for Peace and Human Rights (EcuVoice)
delegation of human rights defenders and church workers at the 26th
sessions of the UN HRC. Joining her are Atty. Edre U. Olalia,
Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL),
Rev. Irma Balaba, assistant programme secretary of the Christian Unity
and Ecumenical Relations programme of the National Council of Churches
in the Philippines; and Dr. Angie Gonzales, Atty. Mary Kristerie
Baleva and Julie Palaganas of the International Coalition for Human
Rights in the Philippines.