Samar – Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone is optimistic tourism
will boom in this part of the country once the two airports operate a
few years from now.
This, Evardone said in
his message during the oath-taking ceremony of the Provincial Tourism
Council at the Provincial Capitol, Monday.
Evardone was confident
to say that tourism is the biggest industry in the world with hotel,
food, transportation and communication demands that corresponds to the
industry. He was also articulate to recall that the province,
particularly Guiuan, is one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s
focus in her Mega Regions Programs, hence the appropriation for the
rehabilitation of the World Class Airport with P10M initial budget to
fix the apron of the airport terminal.
He also said that the
Borongan Airport will likewise be rehabilitated, even as it has not
yet began in actual operation. The Governor however reported that
according to the Provincial Engineer, Engineer Dindo Picardal, some
P60M may be required to fully rehabilitate the Borongan Airport
terminal before it can be operational, and this has been remedied, the
Since the province is
filled with tourism potentials, the ULAP Spokesman urged the municipal
tourism officers present to cultivate, preserve and promote their
respective tourist attractions and effect some preparations for
upcoming tourism activities. He said that the province is rich with
beaches, falls, rock mountains and festivals which can certainly
attract several tourists to this part of the country. He made special
mention of Calicoan Surfing grounds in Guiuan which has fairly drew-in
some tourists more than Borongan, but he also expressed hope in
general that once the airports are put in place, the province will be
open to tourist spill-over from Cebu and Bohol.
He also mentioned that
as reported in the past, Asian Spirit has signified their intention to
fly Borongan. He said that he has suggested to DOTC Secretary Leandro
Mendoza to enter into negotiations with Asian Spirit, i.e. offering
government subsidy in some seats be subsidized by LGU; with this
offer, Evardone said perhaps the plane owners can accede to it,
thereby changing the economic activity in Eastern Samar with the
expected influx of local and foreign tourists.
With Guiuan and
Borongan airports being workout simultaneously, Evardone said, either
of the airport may operate in the province, where they believe they
can have market.
San Jorge PNP acquires
patrol cars, ambulance and rescue vehicles from Mayor Grey
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
The San Jorge police force has acquired anew additional patrol car
and rescue vehicles to be used in maintaining peace and order in the
In a simple turned
over ceremony held January 29, Mayor Joseph V. Grey, through his
representative, handed over one unit of Mitsubishi L300 patrol car,
one set of police uniform to each of the 15 policemen, two units
Mitsubishi L300 rescue vehicles, and one unit ambulance marked “grey
for life” to the policemen in part of his peace and order program.
These, he said, was in
addition to his monthly rice and gasoline contribution coupled with
encouragement for these vanguards to have their dedication and sincere
service in his town.
Inspector Chito Cano,
the town’s police chief told this paper that the vehicles is an
augmentation of their existing “old” patrol car and motorcycles owned
by some policemen, all used to maintain peace situation and conduct
emergency response to remote villages of this locality.
acknowledged the full support of Mayor Grey through the provision of
these items, which according to him, of “great help” in waging war
against all forms of criminalities in their area of responsibility.
pasasalamat naming lahat kay mayor sa mga tulong at suporta na
ibinibigay niya samin. Nagpapasalamat din po kami sa mga tao sa
kanilang kooperasyon sa amin,” the PNP official said in vernacular.
On the other hand,
Insp. Cano reported that San Jorge these days is “generally peaceful”
and that crime volume in the area is manageable situation.
He said, in 2006 the
total crime volume (TCV) is only nine; eight was index crimes and one
non-index crime. “The crime solution efficiency (CSE) was placed at
87.5% with average monthly crime rate (AMCR) at 4.889% as compared to
2005 TCV’s 18 crimes while CSE is 50% with AMCR 117.34 percent,” Insp.
In fact, for this
year, “we have a zero-crime yet in this locality,” he added.
The PNP official
attributed these accomplishments to the support coming from the LGU
and the community. “We are much luckier since we met the ideal ratio
of one police per one thousand populace (1/1000). The town, based in
the 2000 census has some 15,340 population and the San Jorge police
force has 15 with one police officer.
PDEA agents ordered to
“pin down” key witnesses of murder case?
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Fear and apprehension over the safety of the more than 10 witnesses
of this town’s celebrated Janine Paulin murder case buoyed up, when
two of the witnesses reported that alleged agents of the Philippine
Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted a covert operation last week
to pin them down.
Reports obtained by
this writer from the Justice for Janine Movement (JFJM) showed that
four unidentified PDEA agents were in town allegedly casing-in two of
their witnesses by tagging them as big-time drug dealers.
Apparently, the said
operation when verified with the local police here yielded negative
coordination, but Samar PNP Provincial Director Asdali Idja Abah
confirmed to media that his policemen informed him of the PDEA agent’s
presence last week.
“They normally operate
without our knowledge, but once they’re done, that’s the time that
they would coordinate with us, may nakakita sa kanila pero we don’t
have an idea kung ano ang project nila”, Abah said.
“Pero nalaman ko rin
sa isang pulis ko, na si Dr. Gualdrapa pala ang target, saka isa pang
tao, which incidentally both of them are key witnesses dun sa kaso
nong bata na nakita sa nasunog na grocery”, he added.
The JFJM disclosed to
media, that the alleged four PDEA agents were in town on February 6
until 8 last week due to an alleged order from an unidentified PDEA
Central Office official with a rank of “Major”, to “pin down” Dr.
Felino Gualdrapa and the other witness whose name was withheld for
being big-time drug dealers in this town.
The PDEA agents stayed
in a house allegedly owned by a policewoman somewhere near the Fame
Hotel in Brgy. Muñoz here, and introduce themselves as Seamen in the
But the said mission
was reportedly aborted by the alleged agents themselves when they
realized a commonality in their subjects based on the information fed
to them accordingly by their locally-based intelligence agent.
“The agents have no
idea as to the background of the subjects, but when they realized that
their targets are both prime witnesses to our daughter’s murder case
plus the fact nga nahibaro daw hira nga dire mga drug pusher ito nga
mga tawo nga ira ginta-target, they decided to abort the mission”,
Mary Jean Paulin of the JFJM informed.
Dr. Gualdrapa on the
other hand told that he got the info of the PDEA’s presence from his
neighbors who informed him that for two successive days, suspicious
looking persons were seen watching his residence.
“Di man ak maaram nga
mga PDEA agents adto, I was only informed later that it was the same
group who cased-in another witness hito nga kaso ni Janine, and I
vehemently denounce such move by the PDEA, kay unang-una dire ako drug
pusher or a user, and with this incident, I believe somebody paid
these agents to pin us down. Karuyag ada nira idungan kami ha mga
pamatay nga nahitatabo yana, and drugs could be the best excuse for
them to justify nga kuhaon ako, kay dire man kami NPA supporter, dire
man liwat kami military asset ngan mas lalo nga dire kami pulitiko”,
Dr. Gualdrapa is the
physician who conducted the autopsy of Janine Paulin’s cadaver, that
prominently disagreed with the findings of the NBI medico legal
representative who joined him in the autopsy examination conducted in
November 15 last year.
On the other hand,
assigned at the Samar Provincial PNP here, and incidentally brother of
one of the witnesses of the said murder case informed that the said
PDEA operation was tipped off to him by his co-policemen who know the
truth that his brother is not involved in any form of illegal
“Somebody is resorting
to out-of-court tactics to silence the witnesses of this murder case,
parang gusto nilang palabasin na drug pusher ang kapatid ko para
ma-justify kung sakali mapatay siya”, he told.
“Pero ito lang
masasabi ko, malinis ang kapatid ko, at ako mismo magpapahuli sa kanya
kung totoong may ginagawa siyang kalokohan, nakahanda rin kaming
iparada sa buong Catbalogan, kung may makakapag-turo sa amin bilang
mga drug dealer gaya nang akusasyon ng PDEA”, he added.
The said policeman
further warned that the PDEA agents, though have aborted their
mission, informed that the RSOG allegedly might continue the mission.
Desperate for peace
due to unresolved killings
Samar capital conducts
walk for peace and justice prayer rally
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE (PIA Samar)
February 18, 2007
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Desperate for peace due to unresolved killings in this
Samar capital, a church-led walk for peace and prayer rally was
held in Catbalogan town on
February 16, 2007.
The Religious of the
Virgin Mary (RVM) congregation sisters, priests, students of RVM
school St. Mary’s College (SMC), Samar national school students, kins
of the victims of killings paraded around town praying the Holy
Rosary. The activity ended in a mass at the Pieta Park fronting the
San Bartholomew Catholic Church.
Families of the
victims particularly parents of Janine Paulin Ong (the girl burnt
along with the Lester Lace Grocery), Daram Mayor Benito Astorga’s
widow Dr. Lucia Astorga and sister Severa Astorga-Buquid, along with
other peace advocates could have numbered to thousands.
Organizers said that
the prayer rally was not for any particular victim but for general
peace in the Samar capital.
It can be recalled
that Catbalogan has been plagued by unresolved killings these past few
months; the most recent of which was the ambush of Motiong Vice Mayor
Francisco Langi, Sr. Said official however survived the attack.
With the increasing
incidence of killings and alleged human rights violations, however,
not one accused perpetrator has been brought to court, organizers
On January 16, this
year, ANAD coordinator Agoy Daclitan was killed. Then a Jiabong
Barangay official Vedasto Gabiana was also shot to death January 25.
Barely a few days after, Daram Mayor Benito Astorga was killed in Brgy.
Birawan, Daram as he socialized with his people. Two other victims,
Doming de Luna and another driver of DBP were also liquidated in the
same fashion-motorcycle riding men, spotting the victim, shooting
fatally and fleeing unnoticed.
On February 5, one
Sixto Elizan, an Urban Poor leader was also killed. Though authorities
have collared suspects and suspects land dispute as motive, still the
masses believe Elizan joined the ranks of the other victims.
On the national scene,
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Special rapporteur on
extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary execution, Philip Alston has
reached the Philippines for probe of the killings.
welcomes the UN team in the spirit of truth and justice. President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, since the start, has condemned the killings
and has taken every means possible to get the roots of these dastardly
acts and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Government efforts in
this direction were hampered by the lack of witnesses and the
cooperation of the victims’ families as well as militant groups.
With the UN somewhat
assured of such cooperation, the Administration is confident that the
probe will be objective as well as wide ranging to include the alleged
acts of murder and terror committed by the revolutionary left against
their own kind.
Thousands came to
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– All roads led to St. Bernard, Southern Leyte Saturday morning,
where people from far and near came to Ground Zero, to remember the
Guinsaugon Landslide Tragedy which happened a year ago covering to
oblivion the entire barangay and claiming the lives of thousands of
residents, young and old alike.
Those who came from
all walks of life, government officials, relatives of those who
perished during the tragedy, survivors, volunteers during the rescue
operations, members of the rescue groups, members of the clergy,
religious sisters, and others who have been touched by the tragedy and
wish to be with everybody in remembering, not the pains and turmoil,
but the mystery of bringing together people from all over the world in
order to help in the spirit of brotherhood and unity and the glory of
working together so that the survivors and the relatives will be able
to bounce back with hope after the tragedy.
Bishop Precioso D.
Cantillas during his homily said that the world has learned many
lessons from the Guisaugon Landslide Tragedy. Those who have forgotten
that there is a Creator remembered, those who have more learned to
share, those who have been left with nothing learned to appreciate
even the smallest help that were given them.
He said people must
never forget Guinsaugon and the lessons learned. He said that God
allows such tragedy to happen to remind those who are forgetting, but
in His Mercy, He allows people to bounce back, this time as wiser
Department of Social
Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral said President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sends her good wishes to the survivors and the
relatives of those who perished. The President would have been just as
glad to see that the survivors and their relatives are now smiling,
very far when the President came right after the tragedy.
Secretary Cabral added
that the President is also glad that a new Guinsaugon community has
risen through the able leadership of Governor Rosette Lerias, Mayor
Maria Lim and the other government officials and the generous
benefactors both here and abroad. She said that the beautiful new
community, with the help coming from all over, is now a complete
Cabral smilingly said that the President would be very happy to know
that the survivors, the widows and the widowers found strength and
love from the rubbles of the tragedy and are now forming new families
as they have tied the knots during the Mass Wedding held on Valentines