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63IB celebrates 17th anniversary, gives recognition to outstanding military personnel

NMP continues to offer Deck, Engine, SMS & other upgrading courses

Army and CENRO confiscate illegally cut lumbers anew

Palompon town declared insurgency free

Army installs new commander for 801st Infantry Brigade

MOA signing formalizes declaration of Samar as peace and development ready province

Northern Samar now a peace and development ready province

8ID troops encounters NPA in Samar, aids wounded rebel







Leyte Bantay Bayanihan Forum
The participants of the Leyte Bantay Bayanihan Forum held at the 19th Infantry Battalion camp in Brgy. Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte on April 14, 2015.

Leyte-Bantay Bayanihan holds forum at Army camp in Leyte

By 19th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
April 16, 2015

KANANGA, Leyte – A civil society-led initiative that aims to create an oversight body over the armed forces, including defense and security policies, holds its quarterly meeting here on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

The Leyte-Bantay Bayanihan, which was successfully launched at the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay City, June 23 last year, facilitated its forum inside 19th Infantry Battalion’s camp for the first time.

The forum, dubbed as the “Security Sector-Leyte BB Team Building Activity and Dialogue” was conducted to pursue partnership with the security sector, particularly the AFP and to evaluate its implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan”.

During the forum, Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar and Lt. Col. Allan Jose Taguba, battalion commanders of 19IB and 78IB, respectively, presented the “bayanihan” accomplishment of their units for the first quarter of calendar year 2015.

It was learned that nine out of 37 municipalities in the province of Leyte were already declared insurgency-free. The said towns are Matag-ob, Merida, Palompon, Matalom, Bato, Inopacan, Dulag, Tabon-tabon, and Tabango. Efforts are already being made to declare other towns as well as cities as insurgency-free.

In his message, Col. Dinoh Dolina, commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade stated that the military is now giving more emphasis on resolving the root causes of insurgency. This can be manifested in the military’s various peace and development initiatives, especially in far flung barangays which are barely reached by the services of the local government.

“As catalyzers, we tried to fill the gaps between the communities and the government”, he stressed. Col. Dolina likewise vowed to fully support the Leyte-Bantay Bayanihan and its initiatives.

The forum also includes conflict resolution workshops which Col. Dolina himself and his two battalion commanders has ably participated in.

Other participants of the activity were Ms. Imelda Bonifacio, area manager of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and representatives from Civil Society Organizations and media networks from Ormoc and Tacloban City.

In her presentation, Ms. Gina Ragudo, the LBB convenor discussed that the core objective of Bantay Bayanihan is to reform the security sector institutions so that they are transparent, respectful of the Rule of Law, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and accountable to democratic civilian authority.

She furthered that “Security Sector Reform” is an important component of peace building, democratization and development”.





Campaign for demolition of encroachments along national roads pursued

DPWH demolition of encroachments

By Marianette Y. Gomez and Donna C. Debuton
April 16, 2015

CALBAYOG CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways-Samar First District Engineering Office in Calbayog City strictly enforced its reacquisition of the road-right-of-way (RROW) in compliance with Department Order No. 73, series of 2014 “Prohibited Uses within the Road- Right-of-Way of National Roads”.

According to Engr. Lazana, Chief of the Maintenance Section, 6,867 structures are identified within the ten meters limit from the centerline as a result of the re-inventory undertaken of the encroachments along National Road within the coverage of the district.

The said encroachments include stalls, fences, houses, stores, walls, and boxes constructed within the RROW which obstruct the use of the roads shoulders intended for pedestrians and motorists.

To make sure for the complete removal of these obstructions, Undersecretary Raul C. Asis in memorandum dated 04 March 2015 added two categories as to the complexity of the removal in the report of inventory which is doable- for obstructions that can be removed outright and long term- for those considered as permanent structures.

Timelines in the report will guide the department in the monitoring of these structures from various district offices.





TUCP eyes tripartite committee to monitor influx of foreign workers

April 14, 2015

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) is urging the Philippine government to create tripartite committee to monitor the unabated influx of illegal migrant workers in the country.

The biggest labor group in the country says the proposed committee is to ensure migrant workers go through the legal process by complying with the requirements of the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) at the same time that we wanted them covered by labor standards, safe working conditions, and lawful wages and benefits.

The committee is made up of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Immigration (BI), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), civil society, trade unions, and various industry federations.

“The influx of migrant workers is a growing phenomenon in the country today. It is developing very fast that it immediately needs government oversight to ensure that labor laws and standards are in place and are working to make sure there are no abuses and exploitations taking place,” explained TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.

Last year, Senator Mirriam Defensor-Santiago and TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Santiago filed separate resolutions in the Senate and in the House of Representatives calling for an investigation of reported influx of illegal migrant workers into the country, particularly the alleged three thousand (3,000) unregistered and undocumented Chinese workers who were deployed in Bataan and Batangas working in certain construction companies.

Tanjusay said they are anticipating for the respective committee reports and possible policy recommendations by next month.





Chiz wants line-item budgeting of P70-B BBL funds

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
April 14, 2015

PASAY CITY – The proposed Bangsamoro government stands to receive at least P70 billion during its first fiscal year alone, but Senator Chiz Escudero wants a line-item budgeting of this allocation just like the appropriation of every local government unit in the country.

Escudero, whose Senate Committee on Finance has come out with a breakdown of the total funding under the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) proposal, said the spending package could still go up.

“This is just a ballpark figure. They can impose taxes and fees and charges on their own. They can explore and exploit natural resources and these have not yet been factored in,” Escudero explained.

Based on the computation of the finance committee, P25.2 billion of the P70 billion will come from the Annual Block Grant; P7 billion from the Special Development Fund; P1 billion from the Transition Fund; P12.6 billion from the National Government Subsidy; P19.9 billion from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA); P1.7 billion from the ARMM/Bangsamoro collections; and a one-time P2.6 billion Normalization Fund.

These allocations, Escudero said, do not include revenue-generating measures that the Bangsamoro government is empowered to impose such as taxes and fees.

He said he will push for the line-item budgeting of this amount during the deliberation of the proposal in the Senate.

“I don’t question the amount per se. I have always said that Mindanao should get its fair share from the government. But we want to know how, where, when and who will spend this. Will it be beneficial to all Bangsamoro people? Will it go to where it should go?” Escudero pointed out.

He added: “Let's face it. The government is providing P70 billion in one swoop, and every Filipino contributed his or her hard earned money there. We want to know if this will be spent fairly and judiciously to all Bangsamoro people, whether they belong with the MILF or not.”

Itemizing the budget, he further said, will also show redundancy of funding as already shown in the lump sum proposal.

“The current ARMM-IRA share for 2015 is at P18 billion. In the additional LGU (local government unit) under the BBL proposal, there is an additional P1.80 billion share, which makes the IRA share at P19.8 billion. BBL still wants a continuous IRA share coming from different parts of the Philippines even after the law is passed, but the national government will not have a single centavo share from their IRA,” Escudero explained.

He also debunked the position of the government peace negotiators that the BBL does not have a high price tag in terms of budget. He said the Annual Block Grant alone, which is by far the biggest amount among the breakdown, seems to have been left out in terms of numbers in the proposal.

“The proposal did not specify the exact amount of this fund. But take note that under Article XII, Section 15 of the BBL proposal, the block grant cannot be lower than the last budget received by the ARMM. For 2015, ARMM received P25.22 billion,” he said.

“We are pouring in so much money in the region. What are we, our people, getting out of it? That’s why we have to study it carefully, specify all items carefully, fairly and judiciously,” Escudero said.





TUCP submits agenda for May 1 Labor Day breakfast meeting with PNoy

April 12, 2015

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa has submitted to Malacanang last Friday its proposed discount card and unemployment insurance programs for minimum-waged workers for approval of President Aquino on the traditional Labor day breakfast with labor groups in the palace on May 1.

The group also proposed to Aquino to approved a majority coconut-farmer administered trust fund to ensure the proceeds of the P77 billion coco levy are used to promote jobs in the coconut industry and to set up coco-industrial hubs, ensure the completion of CARP with respect to lands under current Notice of Coverage, assist the peasant farmers through appropriate support measures and financing including trainings, appropriate technology, and easy-term credit; a return of the subsidy for MRT and LRT users to cushion rising costs for ordinary workers; and pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) law.

“We have submitted to President Aquino our agenda on the May 1 breakfast meeting agenda. These are what we believe as amelioration programs aimed at empowering workers to cope with rising cost of living,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president.

The measure, under the proposed Labor Enhancement Assistance Program (LEAP), will assist and empower the basic sectors include an unemployment insurance policy for the 3.4 million minimum wage earners providing three months of minimum wage salary coverage in cases of retrenchment and a minimum discount card that serves as a voucher or CCT-like program for minimum wage employees to give them a monthly discount on tuition fees, purchase of rice, basic food commodities, medicines worth P2,000.

On March 1 to 7 Pulse Asia Survey on urgent national concerns surfaced that 4 of the top 5 concerns relate to the daily survival needs of ordinary Filipinos. It showed 46% are crying out at inflation, 44% have said salaries are too small to cover daily expenses and another 34% said there are no decent jobs.

On March 18, the wage board approved only a measly P15 daily wage increase for the minimum wage in Metro Manila amid the TUCP-Nagkaisa petition of P136. They said the government value of the current minimum wage is only P356.64 or P7,846.08 a monthly salary or P931.92 short of the P8,778 national poverty threshold set by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for 2014.





Karapatan hits BS Aquino gov’t neglect of Veloso, OFWs on death row

April 10, 2015

QUEZON CITY – Philippine human rights group Karapatan denounced the BS Aquino regime’s gross criminal negligence of overseas Filipino workers on death row, especially in the case of Mary Jane Veloso.

Save Mary Jane Veloso“We denounce the gross inability of the Philippine government to protect its citizens who, in the absence of better opportunities in the country, venture to seek employment abroad despite immense difficulties,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

According to Migrante International, Mary Jane Veloso is the eighth OFW put on death row under B. S. Aquino’s watch. Seven have already been executed before her, earning for the Aquino regime the stature of having the most number of OFW executions since the Philippine Labor Export Policy was hatched in 1970. There are at least 125 more OFWs on death row in other countries where capital punishment is also imposed.

Veloso has been in jail since 2010. According to her family and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Christof Heyns, she underwent an unfair trial. She was not given a lawyer and an interpreter when the police first interrogated her in Bahasa Indonesia. During the trial proper, she was given a public lawyer by the police and a student translator not licensed by the Association of Indonesian Translators to translate the proceedings from Bahasa Indonesia to English, both languages Mary Jane is not fluent in. Mary Jane was sentenced to death.

The Philippine government did not give her any legal assistance from investigation to conviction. Even the first visit to jail in Indonesia of the Veloso family was financed through contributions from fellow inmates and jail guards. “It was only lately when the appeals for clemency for Mary Jane have intensified and when the final verdict of execution by firing squad is nearing that the B.S. Aquino government is frantically acting,” said Palabay.

“We appeal for justice and clemency for Veloso. Aside from the injustice she is suffering under the Indonesian legal system, she is a victim of government neglect – the inability to provide jobs in the country, the avarice for dollar remittances to keep the economy afloat amidst bureaucrat-capitalist corruption and foreign-and-elite-interest’s domination. Veloso is another victim of vulnerability and desperation of a life immersed in poverty,” Palabay concluded.





Groups tell PHL government: Be courageous against Canada waste

Press Release
April 8, 2015

MANILA – Environmental and public health groups tell the Philippine government agencies to be more courageous against the dirty tactics of Canada concerning the latter’s illegal waste exports that were intercepted in the Port of Manila in 2013.

On the eve of Araw ng Kagitingan, BAN Toxics, Ang Nars Partylist, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Ecowaste Coalition and Greenpeace Philippines staged a rally in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) following its pronouncement that the illegal Canadian waste shipment will be disposed of in the country.

“In light of Araw ng Kagitingan, we can’t help but feel ashamed of our own government who are backing off to accommodate the Canadian wastes. We can’t allow any country to treat our own as their dumping ground. We must defend our sovereignty the way our heroes did. We must send these wastes back to where they belong,” said Paeng Lopez of GAIA.

“The Filipino people look up to the Philippine government agencies to be the hero that will uphold the nation’s sovereignty against other nation’s attempts,” said Rene Pineda of Ecowaste Coalition. “To stand up to defend our rights and the law of the land particularly for Canada to clean up their stinking mess.”

The Canadian government continues to dodge the issue by saying this is a private matter between the Canadian exporter, Chronic Inc., and its Filipino counterpart, Chronic Plastics. However, various sectors have pointed out that the illegal shipment is a violation of the Basel Convention, to which both Canada and the Philippines are parties.

“There is nothing honorable in letting the Canadian government make the Philippines its dumpsite. Whatever reason they give or however way we look at it, the dumping is illegal, improper and immoral. The Philippine government should have been firm and not allow itself to be bullied by other nations. Doing so would not only set a bad precedent, but also show the world that our government has no backbone to defend its sovereignty. In the end, who else will the Filipinos trust to defend their rights to a safe and healthful ecology?” said Abigail Aguilar of Greenpeace Philippines.

As per the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, a United Nations treaty to which both Canada and the Philippines are parties, the illegal shipment, containing a mixture of household and toxic wastes, should be re-exported to Canada. The Basel Convention is an international treaty that regulates toxic waste and other wastes, similar to what the Canadian shipper sent to the Philippines, and prohibits illegal waste trade. The Convention requires the exporting country, in this case Canada, to take back the illegally seized shipment and to pay the costs for the return.

Apart from the Basel Convention, the importation violates a number of local laws such as the DENR Administrative Order 28 (Interim Guidelines for the Importation of Recyclable Materials Containing Hazardous Substances) and Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The shipment has been festering in the Philippine ports for 700 days and, according to the groups’ calculations, the government is spending at least P144,000 a day for the loss of income for storage space and the additional expenses for demurrage, which, to date, costs around P76 million.

Last year, a petition was signed by international organizations to express their concern over the illegal waste shipment and urged Canada to take back its waste. Representatives from NGOs in several countries, including Australia, China, Germany, India, Russia, and the US, signed the letter.

In an effort to gain public attention on the issue, the coalition filed an online petition on that drew more than 25,000 signers, more than half of which are Canadians. The group is encouraging more people to sign the online petition to appeal and urge the Canadian embassy in the Philippines to facilitate the pick up and return of the garbage back to Canadian soil.





When students choose a business school, rankings aren't top priority

Regional and generational preferences impact top selection criteria

April 7, 2015

RESTON, VA – Conventional wisdom holds that students considering business school give great weight, if not the greatest weight, to published school rankings as a guide to their decision. The truth, however, is that students place other factors above rankings in selecting a school according to the Graduate Management Admission Council's 2015 Prospective Students Survey Report released today.

The survey – of nearly 12,000 registrants to GMAC's website and conducted throughout 2014 – provides both schools and students with valuable insight into the business school decision-making process for MBA and specialized business master's degree candidates (such as a Master in Management, Accounting or Finance). The survey uncovers that students from various parts of the world display distinct differences in ascribing what factors matter most to them and the order of importance in which they consider those factors when making decisions about b-school.

When students listed their top five consideration criteria for actually selecting a program and a study destination, rankings didn't rank. The study destination distinction is important as more than half of prospective students (52 percent) seek to study outside their country of citizenship, up from 40 percent in 2010 (and noticeable among Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern citizens). The top 10 preferred study destinations worldwide are the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, France, India, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Netherlands, and Australia.

The survey does show that published rankings have influence in candidates' school consideration but places rankings overall as the third most consulted information resource for prospective students, finishing behind school websites and friends and family.

"Given the degree to which school rankings dominate the discussion, it is interesting that as their decision making progresses, students themselves say that rankings fall in importance," said Gregg Schoenfeld, GMAC's director of Management Education Research. "While the survey is geared toward helping schools market to prospective students, applicants can use report insights to inform and strengthen their selection process."

In addition to these findings, the 2015 report also explores regional and generational differences regarding prospective students' career goals, program preferences, decision-making time lines, top study destinations, as well as, education financing choices, motivations, online/offline course delivery, the role of social media and preferences about b-school culture. With analysis of survey responses available for world regions and more than 30 specific countries, this is the largest data resource of its kind available to the graduate management education community.

An especially interesting finding focuses on aspiring entrepreneurs, with 28 percent of survey respondents indicating that they plan to start their own businesses compared with 19 percent just five years ago. Respondents in Africa (45 percent), Latin America (44 percent) and Central and South Asia including India (43 percent) led this segment.

Highlights from the survey findings include:

Even as business school portfolios of master's programs continue to diversify, the MBA remains the degree most often considered by prospective students. MBA programs are exclusively considered by half (52 percent) of prospective students, globally. Gauging the interest of prospective students across more than 25 MBA and specialized business master's program options, 26 percent of today's candidates are considering both degree types.

Sixty-five percent of prospective students pursue graduate management education to increase the job opportunities that are available to them.

Segmenting prospective students by career goals reveals three groups: career enhancers (34 percent of respondents), career switchers (38 percent), and aspiring entrepreneurs (28 percent).

The Millennial generation (those born from 1980 to 1998) dominates the distribution of today's prospective business school students and represented 88 percent of all survey respondents. Schools have three-months, on average, to engage Millennials from when they take the GMAT exam and when they submit their first application to business school.

Although the U.S. remains the top preferred study destination for prospective students around the world (66 percent of respondents), destinations such as Hong Kong (up 2.4 percentage points since 2010), Canada and Germany (up one percentage point each) have seen the greatest increase as preferred study destinations in the past five years.

Financial issues remain the most prominent reservation among all prospective students; 48 percent of candidates say attending business school requires more money than they have available and 44 percent are hesitant about taking on a large financial debt. Both of these figures have declined, however, since 2010.





NPAs fired on a former CAFGU, kills a two year-old child instead

April 6, 2015

GANDARA, Samar – A two year old female child was killed by six armed members of the New People’s Army in Barangay Mahanud, Matuguinao, Samar on April 3, 2015 at 8:30 in the morning.

The incident took place when the rebels opened fire at the former CAFGU member long targeted for liquidation by the NPAs. The former CAFGU, who was identified as Mr Jovic Dela Cruz Obiado, 38 years old, a resident of Brgy Mahanud, Matuguinao, Samar was resting inside a waiting shed near the house of a local resident identified as Mr Junie Arandia.

Obiado disclosed that a certain Noynoy Erasga, a known NPA member, together with six other armed men approached him and suddenly fired their rifles towards him. Obiado managed to evade the group and ran to safety as the rebels continued to fire their rifles towards him.

At that point, the owner of the house, Mr Junie Arandia, shouted that his 2 year-old daughter, Disley Arandia who was sleeping inside their house, was fatally hit and was bleeding profusely. Instead of helping Mr Arandia, the NPA perpetrators ran away towards unknown direction.

Obiado reported the incident to the Matuguinao Police Station and the elements of 43rd Infantry Battalion based in the area immediately conducted hot pursuit.

LTC Seigfred C Tubalado, Commanding Officer of 43IB, condemned the barbaric acts done by the NPA. He said that the NPA clearly ignored the CARHRIL in which the CPP/NPA/NDF are signatories thereby killing innocent civilians. Tubalado further said that the barbaric act is a clear violation of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, the parents of the child sought the help of local authorities for justice and vowed to pursue the filing of criminal charges against the perpetrators.



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