Northern Samar now
a peace and development ready province
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 4, 2014
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
The Provincial Government of Northern Samar and the 8th Infantry (Stromtroopers)
Division, Philippine Army through the 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker)
Brigade spearheaded the Joint Declaration of Northern Samar as Peace
and Development Ready Province (PDRP) on December 4, 2014 at the
Farmer’s Training Center, University of Eastern Visayas campus,
Catarman, Northern Samar.
The declaration of Northern
Samar as PDRP is the latest milestone in the successful implementation
of the peace and development efforts in the Eastern Visayas region.
The activity was well-attended by key stakeholders for the peace
effort which includes: Hon Jose L. Ong Jr., Governor of Northern Samar;
Most Rev Emmanuel C. Trance, Bishop Archdiocese of Catarman; Lt Gen
Nicanor M. Vivar, Commander of Central Command AFP; Maj Gen Jet B.
Velarmino, Commander 8th Infantry Division PA; Hon Gary M. Lavin, Vice
Governor of Northern Samar; Col Heminigildo C. Aquino, Commander 803
Infantry Brigade; Ms Imelda C. Bonifacio, OPAPP Area Manager, and P/SSupt
Daniel C. Mayoni, the PNP Provincial Director of Northern Samar.
Likewise, the activity was graced by the different chief executives of
Northern Samar municipalities, heads and representatives of the
different local government agencies and sectors of the society.
Hon. Jun L. Ong Jr, Northern
Samar Governor expressed his gratitude to the joint efforts of all
stakeholders in making Northern Samar as Peace and Development Ready
Province. He further added that the successful declaration of Northern
Samar as PDRP is also a manifestation of the Northern Samarnon’s
desire for peace and development.
It can be gleaned that the
high presence of insurgents during the past decades caused general
fear to the populace and disrupted the normal government processes and
activities in Northern Samar. There was also widespread incidence of
extortion due to limited capacity and capability of government
instrumentalities to enforce their mandate, compounded with the
community’s lack of vigilance and/ or fear from reprisals of this
Through several years of
combined efforts of the Armed Forces of Philippines, the Northern
Samar Police Provincial Office and the Provincial Government of
Northern Samar to combat insurgency problems in the province, the
province has gained positive results taking into account the fact that
no immense armed offensives by the enemy of the state occurred for the
past years. The threats posed by the Communist Party of the
Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CNN) in the
past have been successfully addressed, thus, threats to stability,
peace and order have been reduced, paving the way for development
projects to eventually succeed.
Further, the uninterrupted
economic development activities spearheaded by the Provincial
Government of Northern Samar, successfully addressed the
poverty-induced insurgency through multi-sectoral and peace and
development projects. This was coupled by PAMANA interventions in
Northern Samar, which focused on making government felt through
delivery of social services and creation of economic opportunities.
The increased social participation among our stakeholders have greatly
increased, resulting in increased productivity, social cohesiveness
among the different sectors in the community and regained the trust
and confidence of the people in the government.
Maj Gen Velarmino, Commander
of the 8ID during his remarks, “Without peace and order, prosperity
will never be possible. We have been advocating that it is only
through peaceful means and not armed struggle, that we can achieve
sustainable growth development in this province. We as your army here
in the Eastern Visayas Region are very grateful that our efforts were
supported and recognized by the local populace, otherwise this success
would not have been achieved.”
Lubang from OCD explains the roles and responsibilities of the
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (Photos
Courtesy of Mr. Dymark Constantino)
undergo disaster preparedness seminar
By National Maritime
December 2, 2014
TACLOBAN CITY – The
employees of National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), the premier
government maritime training and research center located at Brgy.
Cabalawan, this City, underwent a one-day Disaster Preparedness
Seminar on November 21, 2014 at the Palo Municipal Multi-purpose Hall.
“Disaster is at end of the
spectrum by which we have to prepare for. Risks are found everywhere
and we have to be cautious about them,” Atty. Ruben Y. Maceda, NMP OIC
Deputy Executive Director, said as he welcomed the fifty (50) regular
and Job Order Workers who participated in the said training.
Aimed at increasing the
awareness of NMP employees on how to prepare for disasters and reduce
the risks affiliated with them, the seminar focused on topics about
environmental and human-related disasters and the necessary
precautionary measures to be considered for each with Ms. Cherelyn
Lubang, Civil Defense Assistant from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD),
as the Resource Speaker.
Towards the end of the
seminar, Ms. Lubang facilitated in the preparation of
disaster-preparedness plan that may be applied at home or in the
OCD, the civil defense arm
of the Department of National Defense, is a government agency in
charge of the enforcement and implementation of the regulations set
forth by Republic Act 10121, an Act Strengthening the Philippine
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, Providing for the
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework and
Institutionalizing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Plan, Appropriating Funds Therefor and other Purposes.
The conduct of the
seminar-workshop is one of the commitment activities pursued under the
Agency’s Gender and Development (GAD)and spearheaded by its Focal
Person Elena M. Santos.
Las Navas folks
hail army for peace and development work
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 2, 2014
NORTHERN SAMAR –
Local residents hailed the army’s peace and development initiatives at
Brgy. San Miguel, Las Navas, Northern Samar as part of the 34th
Infantry (Reliable) Battalion’s Bayanihan Team Activities in the said
According to Lt Colonel
Edgar R delos Reyes, the commander of 34th Infantry Battalion, a team
from 34IB was tasked to conduct series of peace and development
activities in the aforementioned barangay. The team was well received
by Hon. Apolinario Levico, the chairman of Brgy. San Miguel, Las Navas,
Northern Samar along with other barangay officials and the community.
“The activity was conducted
in the area to protect the communities from NPA’s extortion, deception
and attacks to innocent civilians and properties,” according to Delos
Reyes. He further added “the collaboration between the local
officials, community and the army team on peace and development
outreach in the said barangay will send a strong message to the NPA
leadership on the futility of their armed struggle.” It can be gleaned
that the Municipality of Las Navas was declared as “Manageable
Conflict-Affected and Development Ready” municipality last September
Highlighting the activities
were the conduct of dialogues, film showing and information awareness
drive in the barangay. Feeding program in partnership with the local
officials of the barangay and members of the community shared their
time in conducting feeding program at the barangay Day Care Center.
8ID Commander MGEN Jet B.
Velarmino expressed his support for the 34IB. He further added, “Your
army here in Eastern Visayas along with other stakeholders in the
peace and development initiatives in the region affirm our roles and
mandate of preserving and sustaining the gains we have achieved
through the years and will continuously work for the attainment of a
lasting peace geared towards development in this part of the region.
Meanwhile, two army soldiers
will face administrative charges for allegedly taking hostage workers
of a videoke bar at Ormoc City on December 1, 2014.
PFC Ruel Oboquin, 22, and
PFC Ronie Mameng, 24, of 19th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry
Division reportedly barged into the Bahada Bar at around 3:45 a.m.
Reports said that the two soldiers were looking for someone. When they
failed to find the person the workers were rounded up and were forced
to reopen the bar.
A thorough investigation on
the incident is now being conducted by 19IB. If proven guilty, the two
soldiers will face administrative sanctions for breach of discipline,
and can either be meted demotion in rank or even dismissal from the
service as a consequence of their action.
juvenile ‘baby’ tuna catch in Philippine tuna industry
December 2, 2014
MANILA – Greenpeace
today released the results of an investigation into juvenile by catch,
showing evidence that ‘baby’ skipjack, yellow fin and big eye tuna are
unloaded regularly at the General Santos fish port. The investigation
was carried out in the lead up to the annual meeting of tuna
stakeholders at the 11th Western and Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC)
meeting, currently being held in Apia, Samoa.
Greenpeace compiled evidence
that confirmed juvenile ‘baby’ yellow fin and big eye tuna are being
traded at substantially less than the average size at maturity of 1
meter in length, and even below the weight limit of 500g, set by
Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 226, which allows the catching
and trading of juvenile tunas as small as 500 grams in weight or just
tens of centimeters long. Big eye and yellow fin tuna are considered
mature and able to reproduce when they are about a meter long.
A few months ago, the WCPFC
Scientific Committee released information that the current population
of the Pacific blue fin tuna is now estimated to be only at 4.2%, and
big eye tuna at 16% of its original spawning biomass.
“The world’s tuna stocks are
in decline and nothing is being done to stop the catching of baby
tunas- which are vital in keeping the fisheries alive. This is a
direct result of the continued expansion of fishing fleets, and
increasing fishing capacity and effort especially through the use of
fish aggregating devices, or FADs, by purse seine vessels,” said Mark
Dia, Regional Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, and an
observer at the WCPFC. “Despite the red alert on big eye tuna, fishing
companies continue to fish them like there’s no tomorrow. It is time
for the WCPFC to tackle unchecked overfishing and demand that member
countries like the Philippines take proactive measures to arrest this
alarming decline in the stocks. Failure to do so only relegates the
WCPFC to an expensive talk shop,” added Dia.
Fish aggregating devices,
locally known as payaos, are fishing devices that continuously attract
fish and other ecologically related species. When used together with
purse seine nets, the catches can be as high as 100% juvenile tuna,
together with endangered turtles and sharks.
Although the WCPFC has
already imposed a four-month FAD ban in the high seas, Greenpeace said
this is not enough. Backed by strong scientific evidence, the
environmental group said any use of FADs by purse seine fleets is
communities are also in favor of banning the use of purse seine on
FADs. Small scale fishers who use selective or low impact fishing gear
argue that they simply cannot compete with commercial fishing fleets
that regularly use FADs which end up depleting fishing grounds, adding
to local fishers’ woes.
“There are no more fish left
for us to catch, even within our municipal waters. These purse seiners
with their FADs rob us of our fish catch and take away everything,
including baby fishes,” said Pablo Rosales, National Chairperson of
Pangisda Pilipinas. “What’s worse is that our own Philippine
government has a promotion policy on FADs. If nothing is done to stop
FAD use with unsustainable fishing gear, then we will be fished out of
“Six years after issuance of
Fisheries Administrative Order 226 to protect tuna, and in the light
of amendments to the Fisheries Code, it is time for the Philippine
government to strengthen the law and ensure it’s fully enforced,” said
Vince Cinches, Greenpeace Philippines Oceans Campaigner. “If we want
the Philippine tuna industry to have a future, we should only allow
fishing capacity that does not deplete fishing grounds, and ensure
fair and sustainable fishing for both small-scale and commercial
fisheries. The government should also provide much needed protection
for tuna spawning grounds within Philippines waters.”
Greenpeace and fisherfolk
are demanding that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)
urgently reduce the number of purse seiners, to align with sustainable
catch levels and allow overfished big eye and other tuna stocks to
recover. To tackle by catch of juvenile big eye and yellow fin tuna,
the BFAR must also ban the use of fish aggregating devices (FADS) by
vessels using unselective fishing gears such as purse seine nets, and
create a fisheries administrative order that prevents the catching,
landing and selling of juvenile tuna. Together, these measures present
an effective strategy to conserve the dwindling tuna stocks.
Chiz: Safeguards in
place to deter abuse of lump-sums in 2015 budget
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 28, 2014
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero said there are enough safeguards in the 2015 spending
package crafted by the Senate to ensure that lump sum items will be
Escudero allayed fears that
the lump sum items in next year’s budget veil pork items for
legislators, saying that the Senate-approved budget is compliant with
the Supreme Court decision on the Priority Development Assistance Fund
(PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and that
measures are in place to deter abuse.
“There are really lump sum
items in the budget but it is different from having pork. These items
are really necessary and give the government the necessary
flexibility,” Escudero explained. “But these lump sums were made
temporary only. Why temporary? Because we require them, just very much
like what we did in 2014, to submit special budget in accordance with
the Revised Administrative Code.”
He said the High Court
itself did not declare lump sum as unconstitutional, only the
post-intervention of legislators which the Senate has addressed.
Escudero said in Sec. 63 of
the GAA lump sum appropriations shall be released upon compliance with
the requirements under special provisions which will be submitted to
Congress. It shall include the complete details of the programs,
activities and projects covering the lump sum appropriations.
In the Senate’s budget
version, total lump sum items amount to P1.862 trillion. The total
programmed appropriation is P1.734 trillion, and total unprogrammed
allocation is P123.056 billion.
Lump sum appropriations
under the Programmed Funds include Contingency Fund or standby fund
for unforeseen events, P2 billion; Rehabilitation and Reconstruction
Program to complement the expenses based on the recommendation of the
Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery,
P20 billion; E-Government Fund for interconnectivity and ICT
requirements of all government agencies, P1 billion; and International
Committees Fund, P10.7 billion.
It also includes P90.4
billion for the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund or MPBF, which
covers the benefits of government workers; P14 billion for National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund; P127.1 billion for
Pension and Gratuity Fund to cover the standby fund for those who will
retire from government service.
Among the items under the
Unprogrammed Funds are the AFP Modernization, Additional Subsidy to
Napocor, the proposed supplemental budget for Rehabilitation Fund
amounting to P20 billion, the P9 billion for MRT3 acquisition, and P3
billion Trade Remedies Fund.
Escudero explained that the
Unprogrammed Funds can be funded only when the state revenues exceed
the target for the fiscal year. “It is a standby authority on the part
of the Executive to spend money only when there is excess in the
“In accordance with the DAP
decision of the High Court, dapat may certification muna yung National
Treasury na sumobra nga at nadoon yung pondo sa Treasury. In
accordance with our provisions on lump sums, bago nila magamit
kailangan ipagbigay-alam muna nila sa amin,” Escudero explained.
Both the Senate and the
House of Representatives will convene for the bicameral conference on
Tuesday next week to reconcile their budget versions.
Chiz: There’s money
for mandatory PhilHealth coverage of senior citizens in 2015
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 24, 2014
PASAY CITY – The
Senate has ensured that the new law granting automatic health
insurance to senior citizens regardless of their socio-economic status
will be funded by next year’s national budget.
According to Senator Chiz
Escudero, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, senior citizens
are among the sectors that will benefit from the mandatory PhilHealth
coverage under a new special provision in the 2015 general
appropriations bill, which he sponsored.
Also to be covered are
indigents and elected and appointed barangay officials, tanods and
barangay health workers (BHW).
“Volunteer tanods put their
lives on the line but receive a token pay. So are BHWs who only get a
measly honorarium. The least we can do is to give them health
insurance so when they are hurt in the line of duty, the treatment
will be shouldered by PhilHealth,” Escudero said.
The senator explained that
funding for the “full premium subsidy” of the covered sectors will
come from a P37.06-billion allocation of the National Health Insurance
Program (NHIP) under the government’s proposed spending package for
Escudero has attached a
special provision to this fund “so that those who need PhilHealth
insurance but can’t afford it will be covered.”
“The continuing role of the
government is to remove barriers and provide wider access to
healthcare assistance which is a universal basic service,” Escudero
In addition to indigent
seniors and barangay officials, the Escudero amendment mandates the
automatic PhilHeath coverage of indigent families identified by the
National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).
In order to ensure that this
sector will continue to get health insurance coverage next year, the
special provision also orders the retention in the 2015 list of the
“poor and low income families who are currently enrolled in the NHIP.”
The P37.06 billion earmarked
for next year’s NHIP will be used to pay for the PhilHealth membership
premiums of 10.2 million “sponsored families.”
Escudero said he specified
“all seniors” in the special provision so that the newly-signed
Republic Act No. 10645 will be fully implemented. “We don’t want it to
end up as an unfunded mandate.”
Escudero was referring to
the Act Providing for the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All Senior
Citizens, Amending for the Purpose RA 7431, as Amended by RA 9994,
otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which
President Aquino signed early this month.
For 2015, the Department of
Health (DoH) has a proposed budget of P89.9 billion, up from P87.1
billion this year.
But the total health sector
budget, including budgetary support for four Quezon City-based
specialty hospitals, the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, and other
non-DoH agencies, is P94.6 billion, according to a Department of
Budget and Management briefer.
Chiz: P2.5 billion
more for DepEd’s feeding program
By Office of Senator Chiz
November 20, 2014
PASAY CITY – The
Senate will increase by almost three-fold to P3.87 billion the budget
for the school-based feeding program of the Department of Education (DepEd)
for 2015 to ensure that no undernourished child will be left behind,
Senator Chiz Escudero announced.
The P2.5 billion increase
would allow public schools to accommodate 1.28 million kids more to
the program that gives healthy hot meals to malnourished kindergarten
and grade school students, Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee
on Finance, said.
The National Expenditure
Program submitted by the Palace only covered 100 percent of the
“severely wasted” or children with severe acute malnutrition, and only
8 percent of the “wasted” in the nutrition scale.
But under the Senate
amendment, Escudero said, both categories will get 100 percent
coverage to increase the total number of beneficiaries to 1.92
million, with the bulk coming from the “wasted” category at 1.38
“As amended by the Senate
Committee on Finance, it will cover 100 percent of the ‘severely
wasted’ and 100 percent of the ‘wasted,’” Escudero explained during
Wednesday’s floor deliberation on DepEd’s spending plan.
The increase, he pointed
out, will guarantee that “no undernourished child will be left behind”
in the government’s school feeding program.
“Pati pondo kasi para sa
pagkain ng mga bata sa paaralan ay kulang din. There is also such a
thing as budget malnutrition. So dinagdagan namin ng pondo,” Escudero
“Sa edukasyon kasi maraming
needs which cry out for attention like schools lacking classrooms or
classes without teachers but one cry that is hard to ignore comes from
children who attend school on an empty stomach,” the senator
explained. “Some backlogs can wait. The hungry students can’t.”
If the DepEd’s amended
school feeding budget of P3.9 billion will be added to the P3.36
billion that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
will get next year for a similar feeding program, “then the total
money available for this activity next year is about P7.3 billion,”
For its feeding program, the
DSWD targets to give one meal for four months to some 2.05 million
pupils under 5 years old who are enrolled in daycare centers or
8ID troops seized
NPA explosives in Samar
By DPAO, 8ID PA
November 19, 2014
CATBALOGAN CITY –
Government troops seized several Improvised Explosive Devices in the
hinterlands of the Municipality of Basey, Samar in the afternoon of
November 19, 2014.
According to the report of
Lt Col Miguel E. Ceballos, Commanding Officer, 20th Infantry
Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, his troops were
conducting security operations in the vicinity of Sitio, Bega,
Barangay Mabini, Basey Samar when some residents tipped-off the
presence of suspicious wires laid along the trail in the outskirt of
the said barangay. According to the residents, they believe that these
wires are part of several IEDs planted intentionally to inflict
casualties to government troops operating in the area. Further, the
civilians' safety is threatened as these will also destroy innocent
lives and properties.
Guided by concerned
residents in the locality, the soldiers went to the said area and were
able to recover twenty (20) sets of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
As of this time, government troops continue to scour the area for
possible presence of more IEDs in the area.
Meanwhile, Maj Gen Velarmino,
Commander of the 8th Infantry Division extended his gratitude and
thanks to the civilians who provided the information to that led to
the successful recovery of said explosives. He further added that the
action of the NPA is a clear manifestation that they violate the
provisions stipulated under the Geneva Convention on the use of land
mines in armed warfare. Velarmino further added that the 8ID under his
leadership will stop at nothing in order to attain Peace and
Development in Region VIII which is the dream of every Samareños in