chief MGen. Jet Velarmino handed over the 444 new R4 rifles to
LtCol. Hilarion Palma, Commanding Officer of 20IB during the
Entrustment of Firearms at Headquarters 8ID, on February 3,
new assault rifles
By DPAO, 8ID PA
February 5, 2016
CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Maulong
Catbalogan City – In line with the Philippine Army’s goal of becoming
well-equipped and acquiring a respectable image in Southeast Asia by
2016, the 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division entrusts a total of
444 newly procured Remington USA R4 A3 Assault Rifles to the troops of
20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion at 8ID Openiano Field here, 9 a.m.
Wednesday, February 3.
Maj. Gen. Jet B Velarmino,
Commander, 8ID spearheaded the ceremonial entrustment of firearms
together with Lt. Col. Antonio C Astilla, Commanding Officer of 8th
Forward Service Support Unit and Lt. Col. Hilarion G Palma, Commanding
Officer of 20IB.
Col. Cesar M Idio, Assistant
Division Commander; Col. Divino Rey C Pabayo Jr., Division Chief of
Staff; and Col. Clifford Cyril Y Riveral, Division Inspector General
were among others who witnessed and took part in the distribution of
R4 rifles to the troops.
The R4 rifle is a
selective-fire (semi-automatic and automatic), gas-operated weapon
that fires from a closed bolt. It is hammer-fired and uses a trigger
mechanism with a 3-position fire selector and safety switch.
With the procurement of the
5.56mm R4 rifles, the early models of M-16 and M-16A1 rifles will be
replaced, since majority of which are already in poor condition and in
need of replacement.
The ceremonial entrustment
of firearms symbolizes great responsibility and a reminder of every
soldier’s duty to protect every Filipino, Maj. Gen. Velarmino said.
“The issuance of the new 5.56mm R4 rifles will greatly boost the
morale of troops and enhance their war fighting capability”, Velarmino
Chiz pushes for
inclusion of calamity victims in CCT program
By Office of Senator Chiz
February 4, 2016
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) to conduct a regular survey to determine if there
is a need to update the current list of beneficiaries of the
government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, especially after
Doing so will ensure that
that only those deserving of the government assistance will benefit
from the human development project, including victims of calamities
that frequently hit the country, he said.
“Marapat na magkaroon ng
regular survey lalo na pagkatapos ng isang kalamidad, bagyo, El Niño,
o La Niña na nakaapekto sa isang lugar para malaman sino ba ang mga
nasalanta at bagong nangangailangan ng proteksyon at pagkalinga ng
ating CCT program,” Escudero said.
Currently, beneficiaries of
the CCT, or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, are selected
through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction
(NHTS-PR), which identifies and locates poor households in every
There were 4,353,597
families under the CCT program as of August last year, including
570,056 indigenous households.
This year, the number of
enrollees is projected to reach 4.62 million families, or 184,000 more
than last year’s beneficiaries.
The CCT program gives out a
monthly stipend of up to P1,400 to each family beneficiary provided
their children regularly attend school and the mothers, if pregnant,
seek pre- and post-natal care, as part of government’s efforts to
improve the health, nutrition and education of children from the
poorest sector of society.
vice-presidential bet last year also urged the DSWD to strengthen its
screening procedure for recipients of the CCT program following
reports quoting a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which
showed that P19 billion of the P62 billion allocated for the CCT
program in 2014 did not go to the poor.
“We have to regularly do an
assessment of the list of beneficiaries to ensure that we are not
wasting resources to those who are not deserving of the aid intended
only to the most vulnerable sectors of society,” Escudero said.
The veteran lawmaker
reiterated his support for the program, but vowed to push for the
inclusion of a livelihood package for its beneficiaries if he wins the
vice-presidential race in the May elections.
Incorporating a livelihood
component in the CCT, he said, will equip recipients with skills and
training to help them become self-sufficient and help them wean away
from government dole-outs.
Two-thirds of DSWD’s P104.1
billion budget for 2016, or about P62.7 billion, will go to the
Hilarion Palma, commanding officer of the 20th Infantry
Battalion, participates in the closing ceremony and awarding of
Pangkabuhayan Starter Tool Kits to 125 beneficiaries of
TESDA-LNAIS community-based skills and livelihood program on
January 29, 2016 at TESDA-LNAIS, Las Navas, Northern Samar.
benefited from the 20IB led livelihood training
By DPAO, 8ID PA
February 3, 2016
CATUBIG, Northern Samar
– A community-based skills training program initiated by 20th Infantry
(We Lead) Battalion, Technical Education and Skills Training Authority
(TESDA) and Local Government Unit (LGU) of Las Navas, Northern Samar
was culminated on January 29, 2016 in Las Navas Agro-Industrial
128 local beneficiaries from
San Jose, Catubig, Barangay Dapdap, San Isidro and Del Pilar all of
Las Navas, Northern Samar successfully completed the training
requirements on Livestock Poultry Production, Raise Swine, Vegetable
Crops, Sewing Draft and Cut Pattern, Bread and Pastry Making, and
Motorcycle Engine Repair all NC-II TESDA certified.
The beneficiaries received
“Pangkabuhayan Starter Tool Kits” during their graduation as a
jump-start to uplift their livelihood and economic condition. They
extend their heartfelt appreciation for the soldier’s best initiatives
on poverty alleviation.
“We cannot always wait for
what the government can provide us, rather, we can better help others
by teaching them how to fish. In this way, the attainment of success
and resolution of social issues will be resolved”, 20IB chief LtCol.
This, in return, the
Philippine Army will get closer to the hearts of Nortehanons as we
inspire and motivate them in bringing closer to all the government
programs which is anchored on a people centered, comprehensive and
sustainable approach toward the attainment of our core purpose in
serving the people and securing the land.
amend Juvenile Justice Law, rescue children from crime and disorder
February 2, 2016
MAKATI CITY –
Presidential aspirant Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his running
mate Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano today pushed for the
amendment of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, whose loopholes
they said are being exploited by crime and drug syndicates to use
children for illegal activities.
"Sobra na ang gulo kaya
sobra na ang hirap ng tao. In many cases, drug traffickers use minors
as couriers, a modus operandi made rather convenient by the law. Often
times, these guys just go scot-free and grow up with no sense of
accountability," Duterte said.
"It's time to bring back
order and keep our kids off the streets as we wage an all-out war
against organized crime," he added.
The tandem said the minimum
age of criminal liability should be lowered from 15 to 12 years old,
noting that moral autonomy usually develops as early as age 10. For
repeat offenders, they said a new provision should be inserted so that
those above 15 but below 18, who were subjected to a diversion program
and are not first-time violators, shall be treated as adult offenders.
Cayetano clarified, however,
that minors would be placed in separate detention facilities and given
the same rehabilitation, reintegration, and after-care services to
ensure their normal growth. He said tough anti-crime measures must go
hand in hand with restorative justice when it comes to children in
conflict with the law (CCIL).
"Sa kamay na bakal na
pupuksa sa krimen, may kamay na aaruga sa nais magbago at magbalik
loob sa batas. Ito ang tatak Duterte-Cayetano," the senator said.
The duo is also studying the
possibility of aggravating the punishment for adults who try to
exploit minors and use them in carrying out their criminal activities.
“Our goal in pushing for
these amendments is to end the disorder in the streets. Through this,
we reduce the number of crimes committed by minors and protect them
from notorious criminals and syndicates who take advantage of their
vulnerabilities,” Cayetano said.
There are over 11,000 CICL
in the country as of 2009, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council (JJWC)
reported. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
observed that most of these CICL are between 14 and 17 years old, but
some cases involve much younger children.
Martial law victims
indignant over extension of Claims Board
February 1, 2016
QUEZON CITY –
“Extending their term, without any guarantee that they will accomplish
their task, is like prolonging our agony, many of whom might not
receive the reparation and justice they have been fighting all their
lives. On top of it all, members of the Claims Board want to secure
their personal benefits at our expense.”
So grieved the victims of
martial law, speaking through Bonifacio Ilagan, vice-chairperson of
SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), himself
a torture victim of the Marcos dictatorship. SELDA is up in arms
against the term extension of the Claims Board which was created by
Pres. Noynoy Aquino to process applications of martial law victims for
indemnification and non-monetary recognition.
The martial law victims and
their surviving kin held a picket at the House of Representatives on
Monday, in protest against House Bill 6024, providing pensions for
members of the Claims Board and a two-year extension of their term.
Selda has staunchly opposed
the provisions in the amendment providing lump sum retirement benefits
and a monthly pension to members of the Claims Board, which shall be
deducted from the P10 B allotted for the indemnification of martial
law victims. This has been dropped in the proposed amendment. Ilagan
explained that while Selda recognizes the large number of victims who
applied for reparation, the extension merely serves to secure the
tenure of the Aquino-appointed officials and eats up the funds
allocated for the victims of martial law.
House Bill 6024, filed by
the Akbayan Party-list, was approved last week to amend RA 10368, or
the Human Rights Victims Recognition and Reparation Act. The amendment
effectively further delays compensation until 2018.
“Many of the ageing victims
are sick. They are impoverished and in dire need of financial
assistance. They are no different from the multitude of the elderly
SSS pensioners who have been deprived of help by a callous and
anti-people government,” said Ilagan.
Selda maintains that members
of the Claims Board, headed by PNP retired Gen. Lina Sarmiento, have
benefitted more than enough at the expense of the victims of martial
law. From the fund for the victims, each member of the board receives
a monthly P31,000.00 salary, excluding allowances and other benefits.
This, despite the fact they only processed 11,000 applications in 11
months, between November 2014 to December 2015, or an average of about
800 applications a month.
DOH budget victim
of political horse-trading – HEAD
Billions of pesos moved
around to give politicians more control
By Health Alliance for
February 1, 2016
QUEZON CITY – “The
one billion pesos slashed from the item of ‘Family Health and
Responsible Parenting’ of the 2016 budget of the Department of Health
is only the tip of the iceberg,” according to Health Alliance for
Based on comparisons of the
proposed and approved budget, enormous amounts were moved around for
political considerations rather than for health purposes.
“Under the Health Facilities
Enhancement Program (HFEP), more than 7.8 billion pesos were removed
from funds for Barangay Health Stations,” said Dr. Joseph Carabeo,
HEAD secretary-general. “The money would have improved the state of
health stations located at the grassroots level.”
Instead, more than 2.9
billion pesos were added to the budget of Rural Health Units and 3.3
billion pesos were added for Public/Local-Government Unit (LGU)
Hospitals. This puts the money under stronger control of local chief
executives, particularly the mayors and governors.
“In the context of the
coming elections, such spurious movements of money should be
scrutinized, especially when the presidential candidate of the ruling
party was also the former Department of Interior and Local Government
secretary.” Carabeo said.
“We still remember our
experience after Typhoon Yolanda, when the DILG secretary played
favorites in the release of badly needed assistance.”
HEAD also noted that more
than 471 million pesos of HFEP funds were added to the budget of
“other health facilities”, which, upon closer inspection, covers only
the National Capital Region, specifically the DOH Central Office.
“Given the DOH’s problems in
utilizing its budget efficiently, what will prevent the Aquino
government from simply declaring these funds as ‘savings’ and used
elsewhere, as we have seen in the past?” Carabeo asked.
“More and more the 2016 DOH
budget is looking much like an election budget, a war chest for the
Southeast Asia welcomes Naderev ‘Yeb’ Saño as the new executive
February 1, 2016
MANILA – Greenpeace
Southeast Asia today announced the appointment of high-profile climate
activist Naderev ‘Yeb’ Saño as Executive Director.
Yeb has an exemplary track
record participating in and leading the world’s environmental
movement. Greenpeace is confident he will boost the organization’s
work to ensure a greener, cleaner and more peaceful future for all
people in Southeast Asia, including global efforts to tackle
catastrophic climate change.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Regional Board Chair, Suzy Hutomo said: “We are pleased to welcome Yeb
Saño as Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. We are
confident that he will advance work to change attitudes and behaviors
to protect and conserve the environment and promote peace to protect
our fragile earth from destruction. Together we will achieve our goal
of environmental justice."
Born in Manila, the
Philippines, Yeb Saño has dedicated his career to ending climate
change. His history of climate activism spans over 20 years. He headed
up the World Wildlife Fund’s energy and climate program before he was
appointed as the Philippine’s Climate Change Commissioner in 2010.
In his capacity as Lead
Climate Negotiator for the Philippines at the UNFCCC in Warsaw, 2013,
he raised urgency for immediate action on climate change. He urged
countries around the world to deliver strong and binding climate
commitments. At the start of this conference, he embarked on a
two-week fast, joined by thousands of people around the world.
He also made an impassioned
speech as he addressed delegates in Warsaw. Just days before, Typhoon
Haiyan ripped through the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people.
It was the strongest storm of its type ever to be documented. Saño
appealed to officials to take seriously the issue of climate change.
He said: “Many poor
countries will suffer more should we fail to act. Now is the time to
Yeb joins Greenpeace with
the firm belief that the solution to the world’s ecological crisis
does not exist in the corridors of power, but by catalyzing an
interconnected, global movement of people.
“Our planet is facing
threats that we’ve never seen before, and there is no question that we
must find ways of living with our planet within its ecological limits.
That is why I decided to have my next journey with Greenpeace.
“The battle cannot be won
merely within the confines of the institutions we have built and the
boundaries of my own country. All of us need to stand together to make
it happen. I’m thrilled to not only be joining the best-loved global
environmental campaigning organization, but also be joining millions
of people from every corner of the globe who make the work of this
fantastic organization happen.”
modernization should help solve extra-judicial killings, media slays
By Office of Senator Chiz
January 30, 2016
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Francis “Chiz” Escudero expressed hope that the bill seeking to
modernize the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will be enacted
into a law in order to strengthen government efforts in stopping
deadly attacks on media practitioners and activists in the country.
Escudero issued the
statement after the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released
recently its World Report 2016, which included killings of activists
and media workers in the Philippines.
As the author of Senate Bill No. 2950 – or An Act Modernizing the
National Bureau of Investigation, Providing Funds Therefor, And For
Other Purposes – Escudero said he is optimistic that the new mandate
of the NBI will help the agency solve extra-judicial killings faster.
“I am of the belief that the best deterrent to crime is still the
speedy resolution of cases. With a modernized NBI, I am confident that
we will be better equipped in fighting and solving crimes,” said the
leading vice-presidential candidate.
Approved on third and final reading by the Senate on Jan. 25, SBN 2950
defines and categorizes the priority cases that should principally be
referred to the NBI, which include extra-judicial/extra-legal killings
committed by the state’s security forces against media practitioners
and activists in the country.
Also among the priority cases under the measure are human trafficking
cases in airports; killings of justices and judges; violation of the
Cybercrime Prevention Act; cases referred by the Inter-Agency
Anti-Graft Coordinating Council; violation of the Anti-Dummy Law; and
violation of commercial, economic, and financial or white-collar
Escudero, former chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human
Rights, noted how the country has been severely criticized even in the
international community because of numerous unsolved cases of violence
against journalists, activists and judges in the country.
“We should not tolerate this culture of impunity in our country
because it does not only concern the violation of human rights but it
also hurts the country’s image among potential investors abroad,” he
In its 659-page report, the Human Rights Watch said there were at
least 13 tribal leaders and tribal community members allegedly killed
by assailants often linked to the military or paramilitary groups in
the first eight months of 2015.
The international human rights watchdog also labeled 2015 as “another
deadly year for Filipino journalists,” with eight media practitioners
killed in the first 10 months of last year.
The group also noted in its report the lack of resolution to media
killings in the country.
“Task Force Usig, a unit created by the Philippine National Police in
2007 to investigate these murders, has not been able to fully
investigate most of these killings, mainly due to the lack of
witnesses willing to publicly identify themselves and share
information with police,” Human Rights Watch’s said.
“Although the task force has secured the conviction of suspects in
eight of the 51 cases it has documented since 2001 – a conservative
figure since Usig does not classify videographers and producers as
‘journalists’ – no one responsible for planning and executing such
attacks has been arrested or convicted,” it added.
Escudero said his bill aims to strengthen the NBI as an institution to
make it more responsive to the demands of the times.
“With modern equipment, skilled agents and defined responsibilities, I
am confident that the NBI will be in a better position to help our
security forces in combating crimes and resolving incidents of
extrajudicial killings in the country,” Escudero said.
In 2013, the Philippines was named as the third most dangerous country
in the world for journalists by the London-based International News
Safety Institute just behind the strife-torn Syria and Iraq.
As of June 2014, a total of 145 media workers in the country have been
killed in the line of duty since 1986, including at least 33 in the
Ampatuan massacre of November 2009, according to the Center for Media
Freedom and Responsibility.
Soldiers armed with
plows key for a just and lasting peace
By DPAO, 8ID PA
January 27, 2016
STA. RITA, Samar –
The 52nd Infantry (Catch ‘Em) Battalion under the leadership of Lt.
Col. Nedy C. Espulgar has fully operationalized its “organic farming
project” inside Battalion headquarters in Brgy Caticugan, Sta. Rita,
Samar since August last year. This innovative project which showcases
a people-centered integrated organic farming is aimed to help uplift
the social and economic well-being of soldiers, CAFGU Active Auxiliary
(CAA) members, and their dependents.
Lt. Col Espulgar is the
former commander of 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion stationed in
Kananga, Leyte. In his stint as 19IB commander, he promoted a unique
approach to peace and development through sustainable agriculture.
Various farmers’ organizations, youth and women sectors in the
hinterlands of Leyte were clustered to become organic food producers
He also made a significant
role in the integration of former rebels into the mainstream society
through extensive in-house trainings and seminars on farming. Known as
Peace Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment, the project has
provided livelihood opportunities and extra income for the growing
number of ex-rebels.
The centerpiece of the
“organic farming project” is the production of high-value crops
(fruits and ornamental plants) such as eggplant, lettuce, potato,
upland spinach, bitter gourd, bell pepper, herbal plants, and
different varieties of ornamental plants. Sooner, the endeavor will
expand to livestock production of chickens and swine and “Tilapia”
aquaculture farming. The official launching for the project is
tentatively scheduled in the second week of February.
“This is more than just an
ordinary organic farm. We earn the respect, trust and support of our
constituents because we develop their ideals and aspirations and give
them opportunities to live peacefully and become active partners in
peace and development”, Espulgar said.