Rebel killed in Samar town
RDCC-8 Chair commended NFA-8
BY MARY AGNES R.
NFA Regional Information Officer
August 7, 2003
Philippines - Police Chief Superintendent Dionisio Benito
Coloma Jr. in his capacity as Chairperson of the Regional Disaster
Coordinating Council (RDCC) awarded recently a Certificate of Commendation
to the National Food Authority (NFA) in Region 8 under the helm of Acting
Regional Director Edgar S. Bentulan. The citation was given in recognition
of the timely effort and resources extended to the RDCC at the height of
tropical Storm “Egay”.
lauded the agency’s disaster preparedness efforts, particularly the timely
release of good quality rice to the typhoon victims in Allen, Northern Samar. A total of fifty (50) bags of rice from NFA
Calbayog Warehouse were promptly transported to this calamity area through
Director Adriano Fuego of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD).
As a result of
this commendation, RD Bentulan informed that he, in turn issued a Memorandum
to NFA Administrator Arthur C. Yap informing him of the meritorious endeavor
extended by the hardworking NFA personnel namely, Asst. Regional Manager
Benjamin B. Marta and Regional Operations Officer Alfeo Selpa of the NFA-8
Regional Office. Credit is also due to Provl. Manager Ramon W. Astilla, Asuncion L. Tan, Minda G. Roldan, Ricardo M. Serrano, Muhaldin I. Amlih and Ernesto Yu,
all of NFA Provincial Office in Western Samar.
Meanwhile, RD Bentula also related that the agency has launched the “Text NFA” system.
This new technology innovation is envisioned to provide the public with the
facility to send their suggestions, inquiries or complaints regarding rice
supply and prices through text messaging.
The public may
text the NFA by typing the key words SUG for suggestions, QRY for inquiries
or requests for NFA assistance, or CMP for complaints or grievances. The
sender will then key in his name, mailing address and message. After which
the texter or consumer sends the message to 0919-6210927.
system innovation will hopefully limit the response time in acting on
complaints made by our stakeholders”, Bentulan concluded.
Biazon urges passage of Proposed Health Care Act
By ALVIN T. DEVARAS
CITY, Leyte, Philippines -
The Media for Development and Democratization (M4dD), a local media group
facilitated a press conference on the proposed Reproductive Health Care Act
also known as the House Bill (HB) 4110 at Ritz Tower de Leyte, Real St.,
Tacloban City on July 23, 2003.
The activity sponsored by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on
Population and Development Foundation, Inc (PLCPD) was participated by print
and broadcast media practitioners from different media outlets in Eastern
Visayas. The presscon panel was composed by Senator Rodolfo Biazon; PLCPD
Director Roberto Ador; Population Commission (POPCOM) Executive Director
Tomas M. Osias; Christina Onate, Manager Capability Building Division, PLCPD;
and, Atty. Imelda Nartea, representative of Leyte Governor Remedios “Matin”
The activity started with the introduction of the members of the
panel followed with the introduction of media guests. During the said
activity, Onate explained that PLCPD is a Non-Government Organization (NGO)
that is primarily involved in the promotion of issues on family planning,
reproductive health and development. According to her, policy conferences
and other related activities being undertaken by PLCPD are funded by the
Academy for Education and Development. PLCPD is supporting and endorsing HB
4110, thus, it sponsors activities such as press conferences, fora and
seminars/workshops aimed to increase the awareness of the stakeholders on
population, reproductive health and family planning as well as to listen to
their sentiments and solicit their commitments for both local and national
initiatives for the different population and development programs
particularly the Reproductive Health Care Act.
Senator Biazon opined that he is the lone author of the proposed
health care act and that he already had several local and international
appearances for advocacy and promotion of reproductive health care. He
authored said bill to come up with legislated policies addressing the
ballooning population and improve the reproductive health situation of the
country. During the presscon, Senator Biazon made some points and
clarifications on queries related and not related to the issues. He
stressed that said bill is not a pro-abortion bill as what some other people
believed. In fact, it is an anti-abortion bill as it reduces the number of
unwanted pregnancies, which is the primary cause of abortion. He cited
facts that would support his claim that his authored bill is not
pro-abortion. First, there is an existing law that criminalizes abortion;
the proposed bill does not seek the repeal of the existing anti-abortion
law; it is not promoting any method that would intervene conception
(beginning of life) and, basically, it is an anti-abortion bill.
Senator Biazon expressed his determination to seek public
acceptance of the bill even if it would affect his political career. He
also expressed his willingness to seat down and talk with those who oppose
the passage of said bill and would even amend those provisions that the
oppositions think as pro-abortion. He suggested to those who oppose to read
the bill thoroughly and listen to his justification. He stressed that the
bill is aimed to raise the quality of life of every Filipino.
He further disclosed that he wants to change the national
security act that was authored by General Dwight Eisenhower, focus more on
National Security, the Reproductive Health Care Act and review the country’s
membership with the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs-World Trade
On the other hand, Director Osias promised to support any bill
that would promote health, quality of life and manage the alarming
population growth in consonance with the economic and development of the
country. Meanwhile, Director Ador strongly urged the participants to
support the proposed Reproductive Health Care Act, which he believed is a
very important bill. He disclosed that there is an increase in the number
of volunteer co-authors as compared to those who withdrew as a result of the
pressure particularly from the religious sector. Relatedly, Atty. Nartea in
behalf of Governor Petilla expressed support/commitment to Reproductive
Health, Population and Development policy initiatives.
Rookie Cops told to lead in anti-drug war
July 31, 2003
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines -
TAKING A CUE from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive in
cracking down the illegal drugs menace, Police Regional Office 8 Regional
Director POLICE Chief Supt Dionisio Benito Coloma ordered the 150 new police
officers of Eastern Visayas to lead in the war against illegal drugs.
“This is a directive not only from me as your Regional Director, but a
direct order from the President,” Coloma told the rookie cops during the
graduation rites of the PNP Special Counter-Insurgency Operation Unit
Training (PNP SCOUT) of PNP Class Buklod Lahi last month. “I will
be rewarding the first member of this batch who will be able to
caught a drug pusher.”, the PNP Regional director said.
He told the new recruits that the President personally ordered him when the
later visited Calbayog City also June 10. “ Utos yan mismo ni Presidente,
at yan din ang unang utos ko sa inyo bilang inyong Regional Director,”
Eastern Visayas top police recruit Romuel Nacar, the Class Valedictorian of
Buklod Lahi batch said they are accepting the challenge, adding that
the war on illegal drugs were the top agenda of their class when they return
to their respective units.
“Yes, we’re more than ready to accept Gen. Coloma’s challenge and we will
not disappoint him and the President!”, Nacar said, speaking in
behalf of his classmates as the President of his batch.
Nacar was one of the province’s top journalists before he joined the PNP. He
started his journalistic career writing for this paper in the early 90’s
before being known as ace reporter handling different positions in other
publications and as Investigative Reporter of local TV network Decobeam
Cable TV in Catbalogan.
The President recently waged an all-out war against the proliferation of
illegal drugs in the country. In Samar, the PNP said the volume of illegal
drug supply have considerably dwindled following the arrest of several drug
President Arroyo visited
By ALVIN T. DEVARAS
BORONGAN, Eastern Samar, Philippines -
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) visited Eastern Samar province on
July 17-18, 2003. Despite the heavy rain and gusting wind of 65kph brought
about by tropical storm “Gilas,” PGMA braved by passing through fallen
electric post and debris on her way to Eastern Samar. Significantly, PGMA
was going to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
between the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and some
municipal mayors of Eastern Samar for the implementation of the president’s
KALAHI-CIDSS program. Likewise, the president was scheduled to launch the
Strong Republic School (SRS) program, a distance learning system implemented
by the government.
At around 10:15 a.m. of July 17, 2003, PGMA and party together with the
Presidential Security Group (PSG) left Tacloban City bound for Can-avid and
Borongan, Eastern Samar via the south Samar coastal road. Along the way,
she made a surprise visit to the towns of Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinapondan,
Gen Macarthur, Balangkayan, and Taft, all of Eastern Samar. While in
Balangiga, PGMA met with Maria Kharma Devanadero-Salazar, daughter of Juana
Devanadero, a former nanny of the presidential children – “Luli”, “Mikey”,
The presidential convoy arrived in Can-avid at around 4:30 p.m. of the same
day. PGMA proceeded to the Can-avid National Agricultural College (CNAC),
where she was welcomed by Eastern Samar Governor Clotilde Salazar, Rep.
Marcelino Libanan, Can-avid Mayor Norman Gil Germino, Eastern Samar Police
Provincial Director S/Supt Edwin Balongay, 8ID Commanding General Glen
Rabonza, 801Bde Commander B/Gen Rafael Romero, Commader 14IB Col. Felicito
Trinindad and DepEd District Supt. Celistina Balano. PGMA then witnessed
the signing of the MOA between DSWD and the mayors of Can-avid, San
Policarpo, Jipapad and Balangkayan for the implementation of the president’s
KALAHI-CIDSS program. It was followed with the launching of Strong Republic
School program. PGMA left Can-avid at around 7:00 p.m. of same day, bound
for Borongan, the capital town of Eastern Samar.
The president arrived in Borongan at about 8:00 p.m. still of the same day,
where she was welcomed by Eastern Samar Vice-Gov Federico Suyot Sr, Borongan
Mayor Fidel Anacta and P/Insp. Bernardo Corsiga, Chief of Police of said
town. A social function/dinner was ensued in honor of PGMA. During said
affair, PGMA announced the allocation of a P72-million fund for the
three-year implementation of the KALAHI-CIDSS program in 83 barangays of the
five depressed towns in this province. Said amount is part of what the
country obtained when she visited the United States.
opined that out of the P72-million fund, an allotment of P24 million a year
for the KALAHI-CIDSS projects would be for the 28 poor barangays in Can-avid
town; P8.4 million for 17 barangays in San Policarpo; P5.1 million for 13
barangays in Balangiga; P3.9 million for 13 barangays in Jipapad; and, P3.6
million for 12 barangays in Maslog all of Eastern Samar. Under the
KALAHI-CIDSS project, each depressed barangays is allocated P300,000.00 per
year. Among the scope of the KALAHI-CIDSS are economic support, physical
infrastructure, and capability-building activities. She informed that
economic support includes the constructions, communal irrigation, production
and post-harvest facilities; physical infrastructure includes road
rehabilitation and road regraveling; basic service infrastructure includes
water systems, brgy health stations, basic agriculture facilities; and
capacity building includes training for enterprise development and farming
The president also disclosed
that she is giving a favorable consideration for the signing/approval for
establishment of the Samar Island National Park (SINP).
Moreover, the president awarded the promotion and medal of valor to the
three (3) policemen who valiantly defended the Quinapondan municipal hall
and police station during an NPA-raid/attack on June 22, 2003. Said PNP
personnel were Quinapondan PNP chief P/Insp Cayetano Ganaban, PO1 Raul Graza
and PO1 Alexander Villaflor. The dinner/social function ended at around
11:30 p.m. of same day. PGMA rested overnight at Eastern Samar Governor's
At around 10:00 a.m.
the following day, the president visited Brgys San Joaquin, San Vicente and
San Gabriel and some public schools, all of Borangan, Eastern Samar upon
invitation of some local politicians. She then departed Borongan for
Tacloban City on board the presidential chopper Bell 412 at around 1:45 p.m.
Church and LGU's met on Environmental Threats
By ALVIN T. DEVARAS
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines - The Samar League of
Municipalities and the local religious sector have convened to discuss their
plans/activities to oppose any environmental threats and sustain
biodiversity conservation in Samar Island. Said meeting was ensued at
around 9:30 a.m. of July 5, 2003 at San Bartholomew Restaurant, San
Bartholomew St, Catbalogan, Samar. Among those who attended were president
of Samar League of Municipalities Calbiga Mayor Melchor Nacario, Calbayog
City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Atty Noel Sarmense, Pepito C. Abarquez of
Hinabangan, Claro Piczon, Fr. Cesar Aculan, Director, Social Action Center
(SAC), Fr. Noel Labendia, Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP)
representatives Rod Eco and Nick Arjon.
started with video showing on the feature story about Samar Island aired in
the “Magandang Gabi Bayan” anchored by Senator Noli de Castro. After which,
discussions, reactions, suggestions, sharing of experiences and ideas
moderated by Rod Eco followed. During the discussion proper, Fr. Aculan
re-echoed to the participants the minutes of the last meeting of the ASEA on
the proposed island wide environmental caravan of bishop Jose S. Palma and
the plan for all environmentalist to culminate information caravan against
the approved mining exploration in Samar.
Mayor Nacario opined that the series of reactions in the national scene occurred
shortly after problems and threats to environment were aired/published in
national television and broadsheets. He stated that among the environmental
threats is the mining operation of two mining companies in the island of
Samar. Moreover, he disclosed that the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement
(MPSA) was signed by the former Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) Secretary Heherson Alvarez last Dec 5, 2002, which gave
Bauxite Resources Inc. and Alumina Mining Corp. the exploration and mining
rights in Samar. Mayor Nacario believed that Sec. Alvarez violated
government policies when he signed the two (2) MPSA
Mayor Sarmiento urged the participants to unite and fight back for the good of the
next generation and protect their future as mining threatens to destroy the
island of Samar. Mayor Nacario disclosed that a unified ordinance (draft)
for the province of Samar patterned after the Oriental Mindoro case will be
created as basis for declaring the whole Samar Island as a watershed area.
Relatedly, Piczon suggested for the creation of a committee that would
formulate plans and strategies.
Furthermore, Mayor Sarmiento also emphasized that the plans and activities
must in a coordinated effort and direction of the group and must reach high
levels, so that the national leaders would know the plea of Samarnons. He
urged the different sectors to do their share, focusing on the areas of
consideration (multi sectoral attack) coming from the LGUs, NGOs/POs, IBP,
Academe, and Students. Fr Labendia called to finalize the caravan route and
activities that would be closely coordinated between SIBP, LGUs and the
Church. On the other hand, Fr. Aculan exhorted to the participants to act
as a team to drum beat the caravan and further suggested that each stop over
would prepare a program that must be made prior to the arrival of the group
but the bulk of the mobilization will be in Catbalogan.
likewise agreed to conduct a caravan that is scheduled at 2:30-6:00 p.m. on
August12, 2003, Capitol Ground, Catbalogan, Samar. Among those invited to
said activity are President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Sec. Elisea Gozun,
Senators Robert Jaworski, Noli de Castro and Loren Legarda.
The primary purpose of the caravan is to pressure Malacanang and Congress to
sign and approve the declaration of the proposed Samar Island Natural Park (SINP).
The effort to initiate said activity stemmed after the DENR granted Bauxite
Resources Inc. and Alumina Mining Corp. exploration and mining rights in
PNP Director survived ambush
The area where the
ambush took place. DPWH men working on the damaged road.
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines –
More or less 50 suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels
ambushed the patrol vehicle of the Samar Philippine National Police last July
16, 2003 near the vicinity of this town resulting in the wounding of one
policeman and the loss of several government issued firearms.
The ambush was initiated by the suspected rebels along the winding road of
the National Highway between Barangays Socorro and Lagundi, about 4
kilometers south of this capital town.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Samar Provincial Office reported that
around 3:15 pm of July 16, 2003, Supt. Conrado V. Calvario, PNP provincial
director for Samar and 5 other policemen with him, while on board the PNP
patrol vehicle en route to Tacloban City, Leyte, to attend ALFA dinner at Leyte
Park Hotel where President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was to arrived in the
city as part of her “Caravan to the Visayas”, was ambushed by heavily armed
deterrent terrorists.The suspected communist terrorists used three land mines. Two were placed at
about 25 meters apart near the roadside while the other was placed beneath a
culvert box that crosses the highway. As the patrol vehicle passed the
culvert, the land mines were blasted by the rebels using detonating wires
which resulted to the extreme damage of the car and the wounding of some PNP
Some residents of Barangay Lagundi said that the
policemen engaged the rebels in a brief gunfight but the NPA rebels who
where positioned on a hill in one side of the road fled after a few minutes.
Police Sr. Supt. Conrado V. Calvario, and 4 of
his policemen reportedly suffered minor injuries/bruises, but PO2 Ilpedio
“Popoy” Sasil, driver of the said patrol jeep was critically wounded due to
2 gun shoots at the back of his body and his buttock, and was immediately
brought to the Samar Provincial Hospital this town after the ambushed.
The heavily damaged PNP patrol vehicle.
Three teams of PNP personnel from Samar Police
Provincial Office and Catbalogan Municipal Police Station were dispatched to
provide reinforcement to the beleaguered PNP troops, while elements of 8LAC,
8Infantry Division Phil. Army provide support to the reinforcing PNP troops.
Losses on the government side are (1) M16 rifle
issued to PO1 Darwin Guilles, which was placed at the back of the driver’s
seat, (1) 9MM pistol also of PO1 Guilles, (7) magazines of M16, (1) 9MM
pistol of PO2 Ilpedio Sasil, (1) Nokia Cell phone and bag containing GOA
uniform with complete paraphernalia of PSr. Supt. Calvario, while the M203
rifle of PO1 Salvador Advincula was damaged.
The blast left a big hole on the road and the
flow of traffic was momentary held but is passable to light vehicles.
At press time, follow-up pursuit operations is
being conducted by elements of 8ID PA and PNP elements, while DPWH 2nd
Engineering District took action for the early rehabilitation of the damage
5.6 Earthquake hit Samar
By RAY P. GASPAY
9:30a.m., July 2, 2003
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines -
An earthquake of tectonic origin with a magnitude of 5.6 in Richter scale
hit near Catarman, Northern Samar (about 458 kms. south-east of Manila) July
2, 2003 at about 1:00 a.m., Philippine standard time.
Based on the report from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and
Seismology (Phivolcs) in Palo, Leyte the epicenter was established at 12.7ºN
latitude, 124.9ºE longitude or at 42 kms., 50º
North-East of Catarman, Northern, Samar.
The possible source of the quake was due to the movement of the Philippine
Trench which lies east of the archipelago.
The earthquake was felt at Intensity V in Masbate and Catbalogan and
intensity IV in Tacloban City.
As of press time, no reports of damage and casualties were received by the
Office of the Civil Defense, Region 8 in Tacloban City according to Dir.