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ICRC president stresses need to resolve plight of Zamboanga displaced

Army inaugurates renovated camp in Leyte

PRO8 celebrates 113th police service anniversary

TUCP warns Petilla of “pimps and whisperers” on power crisis

Helping Yolanda-displaced indigenous people

Farms association in Leyte intensify production for bigger market

Militant labor group calls for the ouster of Aquino

Karapatan chairperson assails Human Rights Victims Claims Board







8ID Pledge of Peace
Col. Clifford Cyril Y. Riveral, the Division Inspector General, led the 8ID soldiers in reciting the Pledge of Peace during the Annual Peace and Consciousness Month commemoration at Camp Vicente Lukban, Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan City on September 1, 2014.

8ID joins the nation in the observance of the Peace Month

September 5, 2014

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division joined the whole nation in commemorating the Annual Peace and Consciousness Month during the flag raising ceremony at Camp Vicente Lukban, Brgy Maulong, Catbalogan City on September 1, 2014.

With its annual theme “Nagkakaisang Bayan Para sa Kapayapaan”, the troops prayed in unison through a harmony prayer for peace by Cpt. Randolph E. Lanaja, the Command Chaplain. After which, Col. Clifford Cyril Y. Riveral, the Division Inspector General, led the 8ID soldiers in reciting the Pledge of Peace as a reminder of the Division’s advocacy in “Winning the Peace”.

Maj. General Jet B. Velarmino, 8ID Commander, on the other hand, expressed his high regard in the AFP’s observance of the National Peace. He said that the event makes a soldier realize how important his role is in achieving peace. By recognizing that winning peace is an individual soldier’s mandate, he is doing his share to realize this mission.

“This commemoration of the Annual Observance of the National Peace reflects our sincerity in our efforts in ‘Winning the Peace’. Our pledge is to support peace in every way possible. I am certain that everyone wants peace as much as we do. With the enhanced commitment of our partners in LGUs, NGOs, other stakeholders and above all, the continuous support of the local people, achieving this goal will never be impossible”, he added.





Samar-wide Nutrition Summit due

September 3, 2014

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar – The Provincial Health Office of Eastern Samar in partnership with the Health Organization Mindanao (HOM) with the support of United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Action Contre la Faim (ACF) International will be conducting a Samar-wide Nutrition Summit this coming October at Serenada, Baybay Boulevard this city.

According to Ms. Sallie C. Jabinal, Provincial Nutrition Action Officer, Province of Eastern Samar, the main goal of the said summit is to ensure that strong commitments are made by leaders from the different sectors of our society and take the event as a platform to focus on nutrition as a social justice issue.

Jabinal added that this summit is also anchored on the belief that preventing malnutrition must include various multi-sectoral initiatives, such as poverty reduction, improvements in basic health care, infrastructure, and sanitation, food insecurity reduction, better response during and after emergencies, and many others.

She further said that the campaign on the "Zero Malnutrition Now" is up which sends a strong statement that we need to speak out together for a more just and fair society, highlighting on the power of coming together and making the case public for strong action of leaders.

"If malnutrition will not be addressed within the first two years of life, it affects in long term on the over-all human productivity and economic development", Jabinal said.

The participants of this summit are Provincial Governors of the three provinces, City / Municipal Mayors and policy makers/planners are the primary target of this Summit.

The advocacy should bring them to support the nutrition initiative by creating ordinances and allocating adequate budget for the program to be implemented.

Also invited are Nutrition Champions who will be speaking out about the campaign's aim and the need to tackle malnutrition such as young advocate, an expert or activist on the issue, religious leaders, academe, local celebrity or performers and media.

About 100 participants are expected to attend the said summit.

This summit is also in partnership with Plan International, Bukidnon Resource Management Foundation Incorporated (BRMFI), Save the Children and Teres de Hommes.





NHA awards 200 housing to PNP personnel

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 3, 2014

CAMP RUPERTO K KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 through the leadership of PCSupt. Henry P. Losañes, Regional Director announces that Two Hundred (200) units housing in Brgy. Tagpuro, Tacloban City has been awarded to deserving PNP and NUP and to be occupied the soonest possible time while still waiting for the go signal from the National Housing Authority.

Another Two Hundred Fifty (250) additional units are still waiting for pre-qualification process.

Before the end of the year, PNP and Non-uniformed personnel can occupy the housing units the government built for them which would address the problem of six out of 10 policemen who do not have their own houses and would boost the morale and welfare of the men in uniform.

The Regional Director declared that Police Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCO) who are victims of Typhoon Yolanda with no house and lot anywhere in the region has given top priority.

With a large number of PNP personnel who could not afford to provide themselves and their dependents a decent abode with their meager income, the PNP issued a guideline on the PNP Housing Project based on the declaration of President Benigno S. Aquino III for the release of P4.2 billion for the housing of police and military personnel.

The said housing project is a Flagship project of President Benigno S. Aquino III for the AFP and PNP Personnel under the NHA Socialized Housing Program through the Community Initiative Approach to Housing Development aimed to maximized beneficiaries from the AFP and PNP who are low-income earners.

Total housing projects of 20,000 units will be offered to qualified AFP and PNP personnel nationwide.

The guidelines will set forth all the parameters on who would be given priority and who could avail of the housing project as it is intended for PNP personnel who belong to the “low-income bracket”.






Human trafficking press conference
Human trafficking press conference. From L-R, Atty. Maria Roda Cisnero (IJM), Asst. City Prosecutor Jed Ng (IACAT) and DSWD-8 officer Charis Rosal.

Human trafficking activities more likely to increase in EV

September 2, 2014

TACLOBAN CITY – Anti human trafficking groups in the country feared that human trafficking activities might increase in eastern visayas after super typhoon Yolanda hit the region in November last year.

In a press conference held in this city today attended by anti-trafficking groups International Justice Mission (IJM) and Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the region (DSWD-8), the group stressed that it is a common occurrence for human trafficking activities to increase in a highly devastated area considering that the affected people are in immediate needs for survival.

In a status report of human trafficking in the region by the social department, DSWD officer Charis Rosal said that there was a significant increase of the total cases reported from 38 as of 2013 to 44 as of the 2nd quarter of 2014. "Most of the recent victims are from the Yolanda affected areas because of the need for money. Victims are even aware that they will end up in prostitution, and yet parents are even pushing their children for recruitment", Rosal stressed.

The DSWD in the region is now campaigning hard against human trafficking thru the conduct of forums and awareness programs in every locality up to the barangay level. "The increase in cases reported for trafficking could be the result of our massive campaign. People are now starting to report suspected trafficking", said social worker information officer Vina Aquino.

The Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking Regional Task Force headed by city prosecutor Ruperto Golong reported that the total cases now filed in court is 45 as of August 2014.

The fight against trafficking in the region is still in its early stage. "As of date, there's still no conviction in human trafficking cases filled in our courts in the region. Some cases were even dismissed due to non-appearance of the victim for 3 consecutive court hearings", city prosecutor Golong said. The national figure from the IACAT shows that indeed there was low conviction of human trafficking in the country with only 29 from year 2005-2010 though drastically increased to 93 from year 2010 to April of 2014, totaling 122 convictions.

Human trafficking refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring, or receipt of persons with or without the victim's consent or knowledge, within or across national boarders by means of threat or use of force, or other use of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person.

The anti-trafficking law, Republic Act No. 9208 was enacted into law in 2003.

IACAT national officer Atty. Jed Ng, in the press conference, informed that an inter-agency, with the funding support of the UNICEF, is now in its effort in establishing Help Desks in various sea ports and bus terminals in the region in a move to prevent trafficking activities, especially that Yolanda affected areas are now very much vulnerable.





PRO8 joins national crime prevention week celebration

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 2, 2014

CAMP RUPERTO K. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 through the leadership of PCSupt. Henry P. Losañes, Regional Director joins the celebration of the National Crime Prevention Week. This is the high time of the PNP to raise crime prevention awareness and generate support from the public particularly the students.

The 2014 NCPW is celebrated on September 1-7, 2014 with the theme “Krimen ay Labanan, Karapatan ay Igalang tungo sa Mapayapang Pamayanan”. The focus of the activities for this year is on crime prevention program advocacy for students of secondary and tertiary schools.

The first week of September of every year is designated in observance of NCPW under the auspices of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM). The Presidential Proclamation No. 461 which aims, among others, to increase public awareness on the importance of crime prevention through cooperation among and between the community and the different law enforcement agencies.

PCSupt. Losañes assures the public that all the advocacy campaigns lined-up for the NCPW will be partnered with the strengthened anti-criminality campaign all throughout the region. He strongly believes that everyone has a role in helping the community become safe and peaceful. Thus, he asks the continuous support and partnership from the different members of the LGUs, barangay executives, academe, media practitioners, the government and private agencies, and other sectors of the community, to help the PNP in addressing the root causes of crime in our community.

Furthermore, the public’s cooperation is likewise very vital in preventing crime in the community. Thus, the PNP encourages the public to provide relevant and timely information and other unscrupulous activities through social media (Twitter - @PcrdPro8 or through the following: Dial 117 or text 2920).





Chiz to fund barangay officials’ PhilHealth premium in 2015

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
September 2, 2014

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero will fund the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium of all barangay officials in the country for 2015.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said next year’s budget will have all barangay officials in the country covered by the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) through PhilHealth benefits.

The senator said he will put a special provision in the PhilHealth budget to include an amount intended to cover the premiums of barangay officials who are not yet enrolled in the government health insurance program.

An estimated 600,000 barangay officials from the country’s 42,000 barangays will stand to benefit from this healthcare program. Currently, under a Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum, barangay officials are enrolled in PhilHealth depending on the capacity of the barangay to pay their premiums.

“Given PhilHealth’s increased budget, the inclusion of all barangay officials as its members can be made mandatory. As public servants who are in the frontlines of public services, the members of the Sangguniang Barangay should have access to healthcare assistance, which is a universal basic service,” Escudero said.

“We will not wait anymore for the NHIP to identify barangays and its members for enrollment as this will slow down the delivery of a much-needed basic service which is elusive to most of our barangay officials,” the senator added.

From its P12 billion budget in 2013, PhilHealth’s appropriation amounted to over P37 billion as full national government subsidy for the health insurance premium of over 15 million families for 2015.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), 82 percent of the total population or around 80 million individuals are already covered by PhilHealth. It says the goal is to boost its coverage to more than 90 percent of the total population by the end of 2015.

Escudero explained that the estimated 600,000 to 700,000 additional members from the Sangguniang Barangay, including barangay tanods, to the existing number of individuals that are covered by the health insurance is very well within its absorptive capacity.

Under the Local Government Code, a barangay chairman, along with the other barangay officials, should get paid between P600 and P1,000, and Escudero said the compensation they are receiving is enough proof that the health insurance is a need rather than an incentive.

“Their compensation is not even enough to buy the most basic of medicines, much more pay for hospitalization bills,” said Escudero.

Barangay officials, as listed, will be classified as members earning P8,999 and below, and shall pay P100 as monthly premium.





Chiz asks PNP: What is being done to stop kidnappings?

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
September 2, 2014

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero has expressed alarm over the rise in kidnapping cases in the country, as he put to task the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up its campaign to arrest the perpetrators in order to allay fears of a restive public.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance, said crimes brazenly done in broad daylight is an indication of the criminals’ contempt for law and order and a clear mockery of police authorities.

“Why are criminals so emboldened nowadays to perpetrate their crimes in public? Why do these things happen under the noses of our police authorities?” Escudero asked. “I have received feedback from friends who have witnessed kidnappings or relatives of victims who have been subjected to abduction and have paid ransom for their releases. There’s a segment of the community who is already in panic and there must be a concrete action to abate these crimes and prevent the spread of alarm among the public.”

Recent incidents of kidnap-for-ransom have been reported with the perpetrators even killing their victims. Last week, Chinese-Filipino businessman Benito Chao was snatched in Bulacan and was found dead hours after. The kidnappers were reported to have asked for a P20-million ransom but a series of negotiations by the family has brought it down to P15 million.

Just yesterday, a photo went viral showing a group of heavily-armed men appeared to be forcing passengers of one vehicle at gun point to get out while in the middle of EDSA. When police authorities arrived, the gunmen were gone.

“These are crimes that do not even hide under the cloak of darkness anymore. It is very disturbing. These are the reported ones, but I am sure there are more which have remained unreported by the victims and their families out of fear of retaliation from their aggressors.

“I ask the PNP to intensify its campaign against criminals and beef up security to protect the public. The people need to be assured that they can walk our streets to and from their homes,” Escudero said.





Government forms task force to boost Anti-Hazing Law

Press Release
September 1, 2014

MALACAÑANG – Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has signed a memorandum circular for the creation of an inter-agency task force in order to step up government’s response to fraternity violence and strengthen the implementation of the Anti-Hazing Law.

“President Aquino shares the concern of many parents and educators over the violations of the Anti-Hazing Law,” Ochoa said.

“The task force seeks to address the need to ensure that there is justice for hazing fatalities and their families. At the same time, we have to look at whether the law can be improved so that its objectives are met.”

Under Memorandum Circular No. 68 which Ochoa signed on August 28, the Secretary of Justice will lead the task force and will be given the full executive authority within the law to carry out the functions of the interagency body.

The task force chair may also give direct operational instructions to any member agencies, which include the Departments of National Defense and the Interior and Local Government, the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine National Police, the National Youth Commission and the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs.

One of the key functions of the inter-agency task force is to review the Anti-Hazing Law or Republic Act No. 8049, which was put in place in 1995, in order to prevent fraternity violence similar to the back-to-back incidents involving students from two prominent universities last July.

The inter-agency body is also tasked to formulate policies and develop modes of coordinating and monitoring of the implementation of programs, projects and guidelines to prevent hazing fatalities, according to the memorandum circular which takes effect immediately.

The task force is ordered to submit a periodic report to the Office of the President.





National Crime Prevention Week 2014 highlights respect for rights

August 29, 2014

TACLOBAN CITY – This year’s celebration of the National Crime Prevention Week (NCPW) focuses on the respect for personal and property rights as a way to attain peace in the community. Thus shared Regional Director Pedro A. Noval Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Eastern Visayas about the regional launching of NCPW in Tacloban City on September 1, 2014.

National Crime Prevention WeekDir. Noval said the NCPW theme, “Krimen ay Labanan, Karapatan ay Igalang tungo sa Mapayapang Pamayanan” may be seen in various ways. “Authorities must respect people’s rights in their aim to solve and deter crimes. On the other hand, people must remember to observe the rights of their fellows in exercising their own freedoms”, he said.

To highlight the week-long campaign, a program will be held at the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) at 8:00 AM in Tacloban City in a joint celebration with the 114th Civil Service Anniversary, which has its theme, “Tapat na Serbisyo Alay Ko, Dahil Lingkod Bayani Ako”.

EVSU President Dr. Dominador Aguirre will give the Welcome Message, while Napolcom OIC ARD Atty. Danilo C. Tan will introduce the Keynote Speaker, DILG-8 RD Noval.

In line with the Civil Service Month celebration, a representative from CSC will lead in the Panunumpa sa Watawat and Panunumpa ng Kawani ng Gobyerno.

Police Regional Director C/Supt. Henry Losañes will lead the reading of the NCPW Standard Message and the Simultaneous Whistle Blowing activity. Napolcom OIC Atty. Danilo N. Rosillo will render the Closing Message. Intermission numbers will be provided by the EVSU Dance Group.

Started in 1994 by then-President Fidel V. Ramos, NCPW is meant to highlight the need for the cooperation of society in coming up with effective ways to deter criminality.





With all-time record high of cases in a month since 1984

TUCP reiterates call to declare HIV/AIDS national epidemic

August 29, 2014

QUEZON CITY – Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) reiterated its appeal to the Department of Health (DOH) to declare a national epidemic on the alarming incidence of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) that causes the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) following a recorded all-time high record of 585 cases in July last month since the government begun monitoring the phenomenon in 1984.

"We are putting the DOH leadership directly responsible for the rise of HIV incidence in the country. The department has been complacent if not passive with its approach towards addressing the phenomenal rise of the problem. That is why we are repeating our call to make such declaration so that it can go out of its way and marshal much needed energy, focus and resources to reduce the virus spread," TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

After a dramatic shift from 2 infection rate per hour to one, the TUCP urged the DOH in May this year to declare HIV/AIDS as national epidemic similar to other debilitating diseases so that it can mobilize its political and economic resources in coping with the problem.

Aside from plans of buying and distributing more condoms by next year, the department has no other counteroffensive strategy to combat the development of the incurable virus now attacking young adult workers who are otherwise in their productive years, most particularly in men having sex with men community, he added.

The DOH rather assigned its HIV/AIDS strategy to attached Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC).

Mandated by law as the central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS prevention and control program in the country, the PNAC, however, is going moribund due to its lack of budget and leadership to actualize its HIV/AIDS targeted plans and programs for the country.

"The PNAC has a very good and determined secretariat but it doesn't even have a real budget to perform its primary duty as multi-agency and multi-sectoral approach to the challenge. Currently though the PNAC is relying on the budget from the DOH and has been static due to internal and external problems. But with the declaration, the PNAC can be spurred into action," Tanjusay stressed.

Governed by a council, the PNAC is made up of different government agencies, NGOs and civil society sectors with TUCP representing labor. It is supported by various committees in implementing conceived plans and programs.



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