Francisco Mendoza Jr. and Mayor Susan Ang during the ceremonial
signing of the joint declaration of San Isidro, Leyte as Stable
Internal Peace and Security municipality on March 28, 2016.
Battalion clears San Isidro, Leyte
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
April 3, 2016
KANANGA, Leyte – The
town of San Isidro in the third district of Leyte was officially
declared as Stable Internal Peace and Security municipality.
During the flag raising
ceremony on Monday, March 28, incumbent Mayor Susan Ang, Colonel
Francisco Mendoza Jr of Philippine Army's 802nd Brigade and Police
Superintendent Ramil Amodia of the Leyte Provincial Public Safety
Company signed a joint declaration of Stable Internal Peace and
Security San Isidro, Leyte.
Other signatories were
Vice-Mayor Isidro Balmoria, Lt. Col. Roberto Sarmiento, Commanding
Officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion, and Senior Inspector Jimmy Boy
Balasanos, the Chief of Police.
Mayor Ang signed the
declaration by virtue of SB Resolution No. 049-2015 which was adopted
after 19th Infantry Battalion's periodic assessment on the peace and
security situation in the said town last year.
Lt. Col. Roberto Sarmiento,
commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion said San Isidro is
already the 19th municipality the unit has declared stable internal
peace and security since 2014.
"We have seven (7) towns and
cities left to clear before end of this year. These are the towns of
Villaba, Isabel, Capoocan, Jaro, Tanauan, Tacloban City and Ormoc
City", Lt. Col. Sarmiento said.
The municipality of San
Isidro, Leyte was also an erstwhile lair of the dismantled "Buhawi"
Platoon of the New Peoples Army (NPA) in Leyte on the early year 2000.
In collaboration with the
19th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police, the local
government of San Isidro was able to maintain and peace and security
situation in the municipality.
Cayetano: DOTC and
LTO heads must go
VP bet dares gov't to show
there are no sacred cows in government
By Office of the Senate
March 31, 2016
PASAY CITY – "From
special screws, overcharging of non delivered stickers, late license
plates and no available driver's license, frequent MRT breakdowns,
abandoned license plates at Customs, and now stolen plate sheets?"
This was the reaction of
vice presidential bet and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano
on the reported disappearance of some P4-million worth of license
plate sheets from the facility of the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
during the Holy Week break.
"Wala na ngang mga plaka na
maibigay ang LTO sa mga motorista, pinanakaw pa ang mga materyales sa
paggawa nito. Abot langit na ang kapalpakan at gulo na ito. Hindi ko
alam saan kumukuha ng tibay ng apog ang mga opisyales na ito para
manatili pa sa kanilang mga pwesto," Cayetano said.
The senator called for the
firing and/or resignation of Department of Transportation and
Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya and LTO
Chief Roberto Cabrera. He lamented the silence and lack of action on
the part of the national government on the issue, particularly the
DOTC, which is the mother agency of LTO.
"There should be no sacred
cows! Kawawa naman mga ordinaryong empleyado ng mga ahensiyang ito na
ilang taon nang tumatanggap ng galit at puna mula sa publiko. Pero ang
mga opisyales naman talaga nila ang may problema," Cayetano said. “If
there’s still some delikadeza and command responsibility left in Abaya
and Cabrera, I demand that they immediately vacate their posts and let
more capable individuals do their jobs," he added.
Cayetano said that if he and
his running mate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte, will be
elected, they will cleanse the government's transportation agencies
such as the LTO, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory
Board (LTFRB), and the DOTC, of corruption and ineptitude.
"How can we expect this
government to protect the people if they can't even protect metal
sheets? And yet they want continuity? Mayor Duterte and I will not
allow the ineptitude and corruption to continue. This will all stop,"
"We will provide leadership
and political will. Mayor Duterte and I will end the disorder in the
lives of the people and effect real change," Cayetano concluded.
DPWH- Biliran DEO
gears towards ISO certification
By CHELSEA C. QUIJANO
March 30, 2016
NAVAL, Biliran –
District Engineer David P. Adongay Jr. gave information that the
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Biliran District
Engineering Office (DEO) will be the next in Region VIII to be
assessed among the DEO’s Region wide that is geared towards (ISO)
Adongay said that they are
now slowly undertaking necessary requirements to acquire ISO 9001;
2008Certification as a benchmark for setting Quality Management
Aside from complying ISO
Documentation which includes all written procedures, quality manuals,
work instructions, periodic auditing etc. Adongay disclosed that they
are now also in the move of improving its facilities and resources in
the office as well as their human resources.
According to the District
Engineer, being ISO certified also means to understand the apparent
needs of the customer’s or more importantly exceed customer’s
satisfaction. He emphasized that DEO must also be customer-focused.
“We don’t want the public to
decry us as inefficient, wasteful and comfortable with substandard
because these are the source of irritations and bitter frustrations”
Adongay also said that in
their anticipation for ISO certification, they are focusing on several
niche areas such as mindset and attitudes to achieve excellence,
positive values towards work, skills in human capital development and
“We Engineers want quality
projects and services as people expect of us on this aspect”, he
The ISO Certification is
part of the Department’s program for improving effectiveness and
efficiency in serving the public. It is one of the DPWH Secretary
Rogelio Singson’s aspiration to all the agency’s regional offices to
be ISO Certified before he will step down in position by June after
the May 2016 election.
public hearing requested by coal plant operator
March 30, 2016
CEBU CITY – Hundreds
of members of progressive and environmental groups trooped to the City
Hall of Cebu City to express their opposition to the proposed
construction of a coal-fired power plant in Barangay Sawang Calero in
just as a public hearing by the city council was taking place.
Sanlakas and Philippine
Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) brought with them a coffin to
symbolize the adverse health impacts on the residents if the proposal
The public hearing was
requested by the Ludo Power Corporation together with its consultant
Geosphere Technologies Inc. after the Committee on Environment led by
Councilor Nida Cabrera initially declared that the project was
“The city council maybe
sending a wrong signal to its constituents. By considering the
proposal of putting up another coal plant for the purpose of providing
reliable but dirty energy supply for future investors in the name of
progress is based on convoluted logic and a flawed concept of social
development, said Sanlakas lawyer and nominee Aaron Pedrosa.
Pedrosa argued that, “How
can it be considered progress when only a few industrialists and
investors shall benefit from it while the majority of Cebuanos will be
placed at risk?”
He added that, “the
scientifically established proof that coal plants have detrimental
health effects on the communities surrounding it and its massive
contribution to the climate crisis are enough for the people of Cebu
to reject the project. The city council must once and for all get a
shot of political will in order to swerve a way from a hazardous
development path towards stewardship of natural resources and
The group used the
demonstration to remind the city council of its three-year old
commitment in form of a passed city council resolution supporting the
demand for a moratorium on the establishment of carbon-intensive and
fossil fuel based technologies in favor of transitioning to renewable
sources of electricity.
Meanwhile Inday Olayer of
PMCJ said that they plan to furnish members of the City Council copies
of the recently published Greenpeace study in partnership with the
Harvard University, PMCJ and local health non-government
Olayer cited from the study
that, “air pollutants from currently operating coal-fired power plants
cause an estimated 960 premature deaths each year and may rise up to
2,410, or more than double the current number of people dying from
coal-related pollution in the Philippines. This is very alarming.”
Among the rallyists was
Dadang Majo of Talisay City who has had first-hand experience of the
economic impacts of coal combustion. Majo attested that since the
commencement of the operation of the coal-fired thermal plant of Korea
Electric Power Corporation-SPC Power Corporation’s plant in the City
of Naga, seven miles away from her residence, “fish catch has rapidly
The groups pledged to
untiringly challenge all arguments LPC executives and will mobilize
more people to effectively amplify the voice of the hundreds of
thousands of would be victims of coal combustion.
8ID joins the whole
Christian nation in the observance of Lenten Season in Eastern Visayas
By DPAO, 8ID PA
March 29, 2016
CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN,
Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division
participates in the observance of Lenten season through various
activities here, from March 20-27, 2016.
On the 20th day of March was
Palm Sunday with a Holy Mass purposely to re-enact the triumphant
entry of Jesus into Jerusalem held in front of Headquarters and
Headquarters Service Battalion. A Maundy Thursday mass and Last Supper
were also offered with Major Rey David A Loyola, Division Chaplain and
the 12 apostles followed by a vigil of blessed Sacrament in Sto. Niño
On Good Friday, a station of
the cross was conducted around the camp headed by Maj.Gen. Jet B.
Velarmino, 8ID Commander, to observe the Lord's death and veneration
of the cross, whereas the Black Saturday also known as Holy Saturday
is in commemoration of the time when Jesus laid in the tomb after his
death which was celebrated through Easter Vigil Mass at the Command
Prior to the Easter Sunday
mass on the 27th of March 2016, the re-enactment of the 1st
"Encounter" (Salubong) of Mother Dolorosa and the risen Christ was
conducted at 4:30 a.m. at the Division Grandstand. This was followed
by the ancient tradition of fun and frolics through Easter Egg Hunting
for the children to celebrate Easter Sunday. It is a traditional
symbol of fertility and rebirth in Christianity that symbolizes the
empty tomb of Jesus and resurrection.
Subsequently, a breakfast in
8ID park was offered by Maj. Gen. Jet B Velarmino and Madam Imelda
Velarmino together with the other officers, men and civilian employees
of the Command.
Maj. Gen. Velarmino shared
that it is the duty of every soldiers to be at service to the people
especially in times when everyone is busy attending to their spiritual
needs. "Let us choose the path of righteousness and love of country
and people in Gods Way", Velarmino added.
Cross Country Road (NCCCR) slowly preparing for future road widening
March 23, 2016
NAVAL, Biliran – The
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Biliran District
Engineering Office (BDEO) Acting Chief of Planning and Design Section,
Engr. Rosario B. Rosete revealed that they are slowly preparing a
portion of Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (Calumpang Road Section)
for future road widening project.
Engr. Rosete in an interview
said that the construction of covered drainage along Calumpang Road
section has been strategically located after a one lane space on both
sides from its existing pavement to prepare it for future widening
“Parang widening na rin yan
kasi 1 lane ang prinepare naming as shoulders sa left and right side
ng road”, said Rosete. However, Engr. Rosete clarified that it is
still not a road widening project in as much as the thickness of the
pavement does not conform to the standards of a widened pavement
considering that the main project is construction of drainage only.
She explained that Widening
is the construction of one lane pavement with a width of3.05 m. on
both sides of the existing pavement with a thickness of 0.28 meters.
She further disclosed that
as of now they are still hesitant to widen the road in front of the
Municipal Hall to the Philippine Port Authority because the office
will not be paying anymore for the damages affected by the widening
project. She explained that as per advise by legal authorities of the
DPWH Regional Office VIII, payment for damages is not allowed since
the road is a National Road. It was also informed that BDEO is the
only District Engineering Office that was paying for the damages
affected by the road widening project in Region VIII. There is an
estimated P50M damages of property on the said section if ever road
widening will be implemented.
“Kaya hesitant kami mag-widen
from Municipyo to downtown kasi walang bayad at malalaki ang mada-damage
kaya titigil muna kami, pero possible for widening talaga yan kasi
malaki ang AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) nyan”, said Engr.
Along Naval-Caibiran Cross
Country Road (Calumpang Road Section) lies several government agencies
both local and national agencies such as the Naval Provincial Capitol,
National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Agriculture (DA),
Department of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
with reports from John Colasito
March 21, 2016
ORMOC CITY, Leyte – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has
declared the Fran Farm case that has dragged on for 16 years closed
after the two involved rival farmer groups agreed and signed the final
compromise agreement on March 10 this year.
This milestone achievement in the implementation of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program in Barangay Matica-a in this city started in
December 2015 when the Bugho Farmers Association (BFA) offered the 21
hectares to the Fran Farm Workers Association (FFWA) while keeping the
25 hectares with the former.
In 2015 the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) ruled with finality
awarding the entire 46 hectares to the BFA.
Leyte Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Renato Badilla, who
led DAR officials in facilitating the negotiation, expressed hope that
a better environment will govern the FFWA and the BFA and finally lead
to peace and development in the area, a peace that has been elusive
for a long time.
BFA president Rosenda Apay and FFWA leader Benjie Malinao led their
respective groups in signing the final compromise agreement that
provides: the grant by the BFA of the 21 hectares in favor of FFWA,
with the 25 hectares retained by the former; conduct of subdivision
survey by DAR on the two landholdings; mutual recognition and respect
of each other as qualified farmer beneficiaries; dropping off of
claims, legal suits and charges leveled against each other;
recognition of homelots occupied by FFWA farmers inside the 25
hectares allocation by the BFA; issuance and registration of
individual CLOAs among the FFWA members for the 21 hectares, while BFA
opted for a collective CLOA for the 25 hectares; DAR will facilitate
with the DARAB the approval of the final compromise agreement; and
DARAB to issue the corresponding appropriate order enforcing the final
Aside from DAR officials, the signing of the said document was
witnessed by non-government organization representatives Rina Reyes
from RIGHTS and Rubie Espina from KAISAHAN. Present as well are local
officials and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The controversy started in 1999, when the rival groups questioned the
identification and qualifications of each other as agrarian reform
beneficiaries (ARBs) to a landholding formerly owned by Teofilo Fran
which resulted to a series of legal actions and litigations lasting
for 16 years.
Bad blood worsened when an FFWA member was shot and killed inside the
DAR Ormoc City office premises during a court hearing on the case by
still unidentified perpetrators.
Today, both groups are already peacefully installed and tilling their
Groups deplore lack
of clear plans, positions on environment issues
By Green Thumb Coalition
March 21, 2016
CEBU CITY –
Environmental groups who converged in Cebu yesterday for the second
leg of the PiliPinas Presidential Debates 2016 expressed
disappointment at the candidates’ lack of any clear positions and
plans regarding urgent environmental issues challenging the country.
More than 2,000
environmentalists, farmers, scientists, representatives from the
academe and the church, and members of local and national groups from
all over the Philippines had come to Cebu to press candidates for
clearer positions on environmental issues in their governance
“From what we’ve seen so
far, the Presidential candidates need a more thorough understanding of
environmental issues that have to be quickly addressed, as these
greatly affect other developmental problems such as poverty, health
and food security. They make vulnerable sectors even more vulnerable
the longer they are left unchecked,” said Naderev “Yeb” Saño,
Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“The Presidential aspirants
make sweeping statements about environmental challenges such as
climate change and disaster response, agriculture and farmers’
plights, or energy and development, but either they are merely
pandering to popular demands with no clear plans, or are doing the
opposite of what they supposedly espouse in their campaign speeches,”
added Ruth Ylanan, representative of the Urban Poor Alliance (UP ALL).
The groups point as
examples: Mar Roxas stating that the country needs to shift to clean,
renewable energy but their current administration facilitated the
entry of 25 new coal-fired power plants and himself propagating the
myth that solar energy is expensive; Rodrigo Duterte acknowledging
that the Philippines is at the forefront of climate impacts but going
against any bid for the Philippines to phase out coal; Grace Poe
pushing for benefits for farmers and agriculture but having no clear
position on protecting organic farmers and ensuring safe food; Jejomar
Binay not discussing any position or plans regarding any of the
environmental issues that were supposed to be discussed at all.
Led by the Sugboanong
Nagpakabana sa Kalikupan (Concerned Cebuanos for the Environment),
which includes Greenpeace Philippines, the group is part of the bigger
Green Thumb Coalition "Pwersa ng 10 Million Boto" that aims to
influence candidates' debates and public discussions around key
environmental concerns. The coalition earlier sent letters to the
Presidential candidates asking about their platforms around issues
such as biodiversity, natural resource management, climate justice,
mining, energy transformation, sustainable agriculture and fisheries,
wastes, and other environmental challenges.
Catherine Ruiz, of Kaabag sa
Sugbo and Philippine Miserior Partnership pointed out that “most of
our natural resources are now in the hands of corporations raping the
environment, and we are looking at elections this year to start
correcting this problem. We cannot afford to have a leader that only
looks at the bottomline of raking in more money towards their own
pockets in preparation for the next elections.”
The groups were hoping for
more comprehensive discussions and more substantive reactions to their
concerns during the Cebu leg of the debates.
"Cebu has continually pushed
for and led the national discourse on environment issues. It would
have been great if we finally got to hear concrete plans for our only
home discussed in detail here, and not just motherhood statements.
Let’s hope the third and last leg of the debates yields better
results," said Sister Virgie Ligaray, RVM, of the Association of Women
Religious of Cebu.
workers upset as value of daily salary fell by P97 a day nationwide
due to inflation
March 20, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Amid
the country’s impressive Gross Domestic Product average growth rate of
6 percent last year, a combined 10.3 million workers were affected as
the daily minimum wage levels nationwide fell by an average of P96.95
a day or P2,520 a month starting January this year due to inflation,
the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa)
Quoting data from the
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) data released
February 12, the group said the real value of the P481 nominal daily
minimum wage in the 17 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila, for
example, is worth P364.39 a day beginning January this year. The
nominal value fell by P116 a day or P3,016 a month.
“The lost value of the daily
wage can buy them a kilo of imported, first class, deliciously
fragrant rice and three variant of pagpag food for one good meal the
entire family have not eaten for years. But if we look at the entire
value lost in a month, it can cover for house rent, or water and
electricity, or tuition fees,” said TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay.
Real wage are wage in terms
of the amount of goods and services that can be bought. For example,
the current capacity of daily nominal minimum wage of P250 in
Autonomous Regions of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to buy goods and pay for
services in the region is only P157.43. The nominal value fell by
P92.57 a day or P2,406.82 a month.
The difference between wage
and cost of goods and services is shown in the recent government
survey showing a combined 10.348 million unemployed and underemployed
workers dissatisfied with their salary because of the rising costs of
services and the increasing prices of commodities reaching almost
eight million, he said quoting recent data of the government’s Labor
Force Survey (LFS) released ten days ago.
The LFS according to the
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released on March 11, out of
67.153 million work force, there are 40.047 employed Filipinos and
7.879 million of which are underemployed while 2.469 million are
“The painful implication is
that there are almost 8 million working Filipinos who do not progress
because they cannot even afford the minimum standard daily cost of
living (food & non-food needs) valued at P21.28 for each member of
family of five. This is a typical example of a race to the bottom
where the value of a day’s labor can no longer meet the family needs,”
He said the labor center
projected the poverty threshold amount for the first quarter of 2016
to be at P9,576 per month for a family of five or P319.20 a person per
month, P63.84 a person per day or P21.28 a person per day.
Comparing with the existing
Metro Manila wage level, the real daily wage is equivalent to
P9,474.14 a month. It’s capacity to buy goods and services for a
family is P315.80 every day or P63.16 per person a day or P21.00 a
person per meal per day.
Fixed every three years by
the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of
Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute
(FNRI), the poverty threshold amount is a standard amount needed by a
Filipino family of five in order to live economically and socially
Based on the first semester
of 2014 standard poverty threshold report announced by the PSA on
March 6, 2015, a family of five needs at least P8,778 a month or
P292.60 a day or P58.52 per person a day which is equivalent to P19.50
per member of the family for food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and
The low value of wage, he
added, is what drives thousands of workers every day to work abroad
despite the social cost of family separation. Other reasons are the
lack of employment opportunities, the jobs-skills mismatch and the
government’s passive enforcement of employers’ compliance to minimum
“We urge government to make
growth more inclusive by equitably sharing our country’s wealth by
consistent enforcement of labor laws, stronger enforcement and
regulation on prices of goods (food) and cost of services (water,
electricity and transport fares), give more subsidies and cut taxes.
We ask employers, on one hand, to pay it forward in sharing their
profits by increasing motu propio the salary of their workers,”
In 2012, The government’s
poverty threshold amount was pegged at P7,821 a month.
Tanjusay said the
TUCP-Nagkaisa proposed to President Aquino in May last year a menu of
short-term poverty-mitigating executive measures for minimum-waged
earners cope with the rising inflation. These proposals includes a
P2,000 monthly cash subsidy, income tax cut, unemployment insurance
and return of government subsidy to mass transport trains MRT and LRT.
“However, none of these
offered proposals were yet acted upon by the president. It looks like
this race to the bottom wage problem will be passed on to the next
elected president in July,” he said.
Chiz says stricter
policies to fight smuggling of agri products
By Office of Senator Chiz
March 18, 2016
PASAY CITY – Infusing
more funds to help lift the ailing agriculture sector would be more
meaningful for farmers if stricter policies are put in place to fight
the influx of cheap agricultural products smuggled into the country,
vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero said.
Under “Gobyernong may Puso,”
Escudero and his presidential running mate Sen. Grace Poe are pushing
for additional P300 billion in funds for the agriculture sector, if
they win the election, to boost the industry battered by high cost of
production, extreme weather condition and poor support services from
According to Escudero,
increasing the budget allocation of the sector, which is comprised of
60 percent of the country’s poorest, would be useless if farmers won’t
be able to sell their yield at competitive prices because of
“Dapat tayo ang mag-export
ng ating mga produkto kaya dapat solusyonan ang problema sa smuggling
ng agricultural products galing sa ibang bansa dahil nalulugi ang
ating mga magsasaka,” Escudero said.
A study by the Southeast
Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
indicated that the value of smuggled agricultural items into the
country ballooned to more than $10 billion annually by year 2008 from
$6 billion during the 1980s.
SEARCA also cited data from
the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR)
on domestic agricultural production and consumption from 1986 to 2009,
which pointed to entry of illegally shipped milled rice ($1.196
billion), refined sugar ($448.2 million), beef ($428.8 million), onion
($259.55 million), pork ($117.45 million), chicken ($27.8 million),
ginger ($7.8 million), and carrots and turnips ($6.5 million).
“Hindi lang ang mga
kalamidad at kawalan ng suporta mula sa pamahalaan ang matinding
kalaban ng ating mga magsasaka kung hindi rin ang walang humpay na
smuggling ng mga produktong agrikultura galing sa ibang bansa tulad ng
bawang, sibuyas at asukal,” the veteran lawmaker said.
Escudero, however, assured
that anti-smuggling measures will be a priority of the government led
“Layunin namin ni Sen. Grace
na tapusin na ang paghihirap ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda sa
pamamagitan ng mas malaking badyet mula sa pamahalaan at pagpigil sa
mga nagsasamantala sa kanilang kahinaan,” Escudero said.
As legislators, Poe and
Escudero have separately filed bills aiming to curb smuggling in the
Poe has filed Senate Bill
No. 2348, which seeks to define smuggling as an act that constitutes
Escudero, on the other hand,
filed Senate Bill No. 422 or the Anti-Smuggling Act, which amends the
Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines to stop smuggling, simplify
rules and facilitate trade transaction, among others.