Romblon governor question regional court ruling against local
local autonomy and right to protect environment
By ALYANSA TIGIL MINA
January 29, 2013
Gov. Eduardo Firmalo and members of Alyansa Tigil Mina will challenge
the Resolution issued on the Special Civil Action Case No. V-1906,
which declared Romblon’s Executive Order No. 001, s.2011,
Issued January 17, the
resolution is found in favor of Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development
Corporation (SNPDC) to proceed to minerals exploration. SNPDC earlier
received a cease-and-desist order from the Mines and Geosciences
Bureau until the conduct of an investigation on the complaint of the
Catholics Bishops Conference of the Philippines and other groups. The
declaratory relief filed by the mining company also argued local
issuances that disallowed metallic mining operations in the province.
Firmalo said: “I will
challenge this resolution and stand by the executive order. It seems
this will be a test case of Mining vs. Local Autonomy, and I believe
we will win in the end because as the caretakers of our province, the
local leaders should agree to protect the environment by measures that
are bound by law. I do not think that the executive order and
municipal resolutions are unconstitutional.”
Mayor Dindo Rios of San
Fernando in Sibuyan added: “We are empowered by the Local Government
Code and the mandate of our constituents to protect our resources and
people from devastating effects of industries like mining. I come from
an ice-age island of Sibuyan, a sensitive ecosystem teeming with
unique biodiversity, the source of our sustainability.”
Local leaders and advocates are aware and supportive of their leaders
“We stand firm with the
moratorium order of the governor towards a healthful and balance
ecology, for the general welfare. We were disappointed with the
court’s decision on councilor Armin Rios Marin’s death and with this
recent decision of the same court – the honorable judge favored the
same mining company involved. We will exhaust all means to protect our
island ecosystems and the rights of our people to determine our own
path to genuine sustainable development,” said Rodne Galicha, leader
of Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE)
and ATM sites of struggles officer.
Ecumenical Forum Against Mining (REFAM), Msgr. Nonato Ernie V.
Fetalino, administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Romblon and
Bishop Ronelio Fabriquer of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente,
jointly said that they “will continue to support the mining moratorium
- the cry of our people is very clear, this is a moral and spiritual
“The mining industry has
been dividing communities, but in our province we have united
ourselves. We shall continue to fight for the integrity of creation
promoting human rights and environmental justice. We remind our people
to think twice this coming elections," the religious leaders added.
Meanwhile, Alyansa Tigil
Mina (ATM) finds that the said ruling is opposed to the right of local
governments to promote the general welfare of their constituency and
implement policies geared towards the protection of their environment
and natural resources.
“When the Local Government
Code was enacted, powers have been delegated to local government units
to promote the general welfare of their constituencies. If the RTC
ruling is to be upheld, I believe more local governments will stand
and assert their local autonomy. In this case, it seems the RTC is
putting more premium to the Mining Act of 1995 and the industry rather
than the Local Government Code,” said Jaybee Garganera, ATM national
At present, the following
LGUs have enacted legislations disallowing mining operations in their
jurisdictions: Albay, Bukidnon, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro,
Ilo-ilo, Samar, Marinduque, La Union, Capiz, Romblon, Antique,
Zamboanga Sibugay, Bohol, Zamboanga del Norte, Negros Oriental and
Alyansa Tigil Mina is an
alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of
NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the
aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.
The alliance is currently
pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of Executive Order
270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995 and passage of the AMMB.
front of the Dik Trom Center, Haarlemmermeer Mayor Theo
Waterings and his councilors receive a warm welcome from the
Bajaus, who gave them a miniature of a boat as a token.
Bajaus get new
VILLEGAS / RAFI intern
January 26, 2013
CEBU CITY – Late
November last year, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), through its
Bajau Integrated Area Development Project (BIAD-P), together with
Vereniging Haarlemermeer Cebu (VHC) officially turned over two quad
houses and one multipurpose building to the Bajau community in Sitio
Puntod, Alaska Mambaling, Cebu City.
“As a tribe, we are really
grateful for the multipurpose center (MPC),” Felicito Asamsa,
chieftain of the Bajaus in Mambaling, said.
The multipurpose building
was named the Dik Trom Center after a historical symbol in
“Among balay kaniadto,
lawanit. Karon ganahan mi kay bugnaw ug lig-on. (Our house before was
made of lawanit. We like it now because it is cool inside and the
house is strong.)”, Alfida Chavez, one of the quad house owners,
Theo Waterings, Mayor of
Haarlemmermeer also gave a token, an image of Dik Trom, to the tribe
and asked the chieftain to place it in their new MPC.
The housing project targets
to build 35 quad houses until 2014 for the 140 Bajau families.
The houses are designed by
the students of the College of Fine Arts and Architecture (CAFA) of
the University of San Carlos (USC) through the research made by the
Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and History of USC, to ensure
that the housing is culturally accepted and further promotes sense of
ownership among Bajaus.
“RAFI through BIAD-P
continues to work with the Bajau Community”, said Dominica Chua, RAFI
chief operating officer.
Aside from Chua, Anthony
Dignadice, executive director of RAFI Education Unit; Jocelyn Gerra,
executive director of RAFI Culture & Heritage; and Cebu City Mayor
Michael Rama graced the turnover ceremony.
The event closed with the
Bajau kids performing a song and giving out roses to representatives
from RAFI and the Foundation's partners from VHC.
BIAD-P is under the
Integrated Development focus area of RAFI, helping communities address
issues of poverty. RAFI’s other focus areas include Micro-finance &
Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, Leadership & Citizenship, and
Detained poet gets
temporary release, reunites with family and friends after first ever
FREE ERICSON ACOSTA
January 18, 2013
QUEZON CITY – “Believe it or
not, it was my first time to ride an airplane!” This was how poet Ericson Acosta greeted his supporters, friends, and family who
welcomed his arrival at the Terminal III of the NAIA.
Acosta, 40, whose siblings
now all live with their own families abroad, is a cultural worker and
activist arrested by the military in San Jorge, Samar while doing
volunteer research work for a local peasant group. Acosta has been
detained at the Calbayog Sub-Provincial Jail for 23 months on
trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives.
supporters were pleasantly surprised to confirm that the Gandara RTC
in Samar granted him temporary release for a medical check-up.
Acosta’s lawyers filed a motion for medical check-up in July 2012
after Acosta displayed symptoms of serious renal problems.
Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta,
Chief the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) flew to the Calbayog
Sub-Provincial Jail with a medico-legal consultant and a paralegal
team from human rights organization, KARAPATAN upon the request of
Acosta’s family and the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC).
It was found that Acosta has
been suffering from nephritis, a condition characterized by blood in
the urine (hematuria), lower back pains, high fever and painful
urination (dysuria). These findings prompted the RTC to immediately
grant Acosta’s motion for check-up, and allowing Atty. Rueda-Acosta to
accompany him right away to the National Kidney Institute (NKTI) this
“Matagal na naming
hinihintay ang mapatingnan si Eric. I am coming to see him without my
husband who also has an appointment with the doctor for his spinal
ailment that has debilitated him for weeks. Gusto nga sana niyang
sumama kay Attorney Persida pero hindi na niya kinaya ang sakit,” said
Ericson’s 80-year old mother, Liwayway.
Dr. Erwin Erfe, medico-legal
consultant of PAO said that Acosta’s ailment necessitates “thorough
diagnostic examinations, possibly including renal biopsy and other
specialized ancillary procedures in a specialist kidney hospital.”
These facilities are not available at the Calbayog Sub-Provincial
jail, and even in Samar provincial hospitals.
Meanwhile, FEAC Convenor
Renato Reyes, Jr. welcomed this development, saying that it is long
overdue yet something that could have been avoided. “Ericson’s
aggravated medical condition is a result of his incarceration and
torture in the hands of a government that criminalizes political
opposition and what it arbitrarily tags as ‘enemies of the state.’”
For her part, Atty. Rueda-Acosta
expressed what FEAC has been asserting all along – “there were no
private complainants; these are all Army people in the list… The
country is starved for justice. We must acknowledge Acosta as a writer
and researcher serving this need for doctors for our society.”
Acosta’s temporary release
comes in the light of the recent spate of politically motivated
arrests of activist organizers all over the country. KARAPATAN
reported the arrest of 28 individuals from December 2012 to the few
days of the new year. Among them are Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano,
government employees and union leaders of COURAGE, Zara Alvarez of
KARAPATAN and 19 farmers from Negros.
Despite these attacks on
human rights and civil liberties, FEAC remains fervent in its bid for
the general and unconditional release of all political prisoners.
On the way to the NKTI,
Acosta told his companions, “In jail, I yearned for sea and sky. My
temporary release is indeed a breath of fresh air. But freedom and
justice are not achieved by mere yearning, only by struggle.”
Belen sa Casa
Gorordo: More than a Christmas symbol
By MIER VILLEGAS,
January 10, 2013
CEBU CITY –
Belen is one most favorite Christmas symbols in the Philippines. In Cebu, residents show their devotion for the belen by setting up
intricately designed miniature depictions of the Holy Family, such as
the ones found in the Casa Gorordo Museum.
The belen at the Casa Gorordo Museum showcases not only the nativity scene but also the
Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, which recounts Christ’s nativity
and boyhood from the Annunciation to the Finding in the Temple.
It also include some
passages from the Old Testament – Methuselah, David and Bathsheba, and
Cain and Abel. The Gorordo Belen was meant both to recount the story
of the coming of the Messiah and to relay moral values to younger
people, especially among children.
The exhibit, which opened
last Dec. 6 and will run until Jan. 15, is composed of two-century old
statues and images made of plaster, paper machete, ivory, and clay.
“Putting up the belen at the
Casa Gorordo Museum is meant to continue the tradition of the Gorordo
family, which is something RAFI pledged to do when it acquired the
house in 1976,” Florencio A. Moreño, Casa Gorordo Museum curator,
As a household tradition,
the Gorordo family would set up the belen together and invite
neighbors to view and learn from it. The belen has been with the
Gorordo family since the 19th century.
Moreño pointed out how
significant the tradition of the family is since it recounts the story
of the coming of the Messiah and reminds the Filipinos of the lessons
and moral values the belen relays to the public, especially children.
"We also want to retain and
maintain the house as a living museum wherein it retains the living
qualities because of its different traditions," Moreno added.
The Belen sa Casa Gorordo is
one of four house traditions of the Casa Gorordo Museum. The other
three are Sinug sa Casa Gorordo in January, Kuwaresma during Lent, and
Pista ni San Juan in June.
Aside from setting up the
belen, the Christmas tradition of the Gorordo family would not be
complete without the traditional serving of food.
Rosalina Patalinghug cooked
and served bam-i the way her late father, Urbano, would cook it for
the Gorordos. Rosalina, now the cook of the fourth generation Gorordo
family, happens to be the daughter of the cook of the Gorordo family
in the past generations.
Best courses were served
during the revealing of the Belen sa Casa Gorordo, which was graced by
Josefa Revilles, a descendant of the Gorordo family and a former
resident of the house. They had torta, which was freshly ordered from
Argao, and bibingka that was also specially baked from Mandaue City.
The Gorordo family is also
known for their icebox cakes, which was always present during
celebrations. Thus, icebox cakes were found on the table during the
opening of the belen to the public last Dec. 6.
Tuba not affected
by Sin Tax Reform Law implementation
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
January 7, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY – Tuba
aficionados need not worry that the price of their favorite coconut
toddy will increase.
The price of tuba or coconut
toddy which is the native wine in Eastern Visayas or in the Visayas
for that matter, will not be affected by the Sin Tax Reform Law of
2012 which took effect on January 1, 2013.
Bureau of Internal Revenue
Tacloban Assistant District Revenue Officer Susan Cabello said the
Implementing Rules and Regulations that paved the way for the
effectively of Republic Act 10351 or An Act Restructuring the Excise
Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco issued on December 21, was very definite on
Section 3 of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10351 reads
“Section 143 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended
by Republic Act No. 9334, is hereby further amended to read as
SEC. 143. Fermented Liquors.
– There shall be levied, assessed and collected an excise tax on beer,
lager beer, ale, porter and other fermented liquors except tuba, basi,
tapuy and similar fermented liquors in accordance with the following
schedule: Effective on January 1, 2013…”
The National Internal
Revenue Code of 1977 did not include tuba because it is not qualified
as a big time industry, it is only a small time business, the BIR
Tacloban District Revenue official added.
Thus, it is clear that tuba
is exempted from the implementation of RA 10351. Also exempted are
basi which is the native wine of the Ilocanos and tapuy which is the
native rice wine of the people in the Mountain Province.
Tuba is made through a
process of extracting the sap of an unopened coconut bud. It has a
stinging sweet and bittersweet taste. The tip of the bud is lopped and
the pale juice allowed to trickle into bamboo containers. A sturdy
tree yields about a gallon of liquid daily.
From coconut water, comes a
syrup concentrate for tuba. Tuba is a sweet, fresh or mildly fermented
sap taken from tapping the young expanded flowers of the coconut. Tuba
is clean because it really has natural contents. It is a natural juice
from the coconut, so it has nutrients and vitamins that are also found
in the coconut tree itself. And the barok (powdered mangrove
bark) which gives the orange-red color to the tuba, is also a natural
There are known health
benefits of tuba, thus, it became more popular among those living in
rural areas because it is where big coconut plantations are found.
Tuba is cheaper than other artificial medicines used to cure the
ailments or other health problems. This kind of vinegar acts as heat
trapper, thus people with fever wipe tuba vinegar all over their body.
Other people use the vinegar as disinfectant for dog bites and wounds.
BIR Revenue Regulation
17-2012 dated Dec. 21, 2012, prescribes higher tax rates on tobacco
and alcohol products.
For distilled spirits, the
excise tax rate, based on the net retail price per proof, is 15
percent from January 1, 2013 until Jan. 1, 2014. The rate will
increase to 20 percent effective January 2015 onwards.
The excise tax on fermented
liquor including beer is P15 per liter for products whose net retail
price per liter of volume capacity is P50.60 or less effective Jan. 1,
2013. This will go up to P17 per liter in 2014; P19 per liter in 2015;
P21 per liter in 2016 and P23.50 per liter in 2017.
For cigarettes packed by
machine and with a net retail price per pack of P11.50 and below, the
excise tax rate is P12 per pack effective Jan. 1, 2013.
The rate will increase to
P17 per pack in 2014, P21 per pack in 2015, P25 per pack in 2016 and
P30 per pack in 2017.
Spot check at several
retails outlets in Tacloban showed an increase of P5 in one bottle of
Beer Grande and Red Horse, from P60/bottle to P65/bottle.
A stick of cigarette now
costs P1 higher while the price of one pack of cigarette is higher by
at least P15.
Top 10 2012 news
highlights featured in Pagtuki
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
January 4, 2013
CEBU CITY – The Dec. 30
episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of Ramon Aboitiz
Foundation Inc. (RAFI), wraps up the top ten news makers of 2012 –
from big political names, current events to weather forecast, among
The suspension of Cebu Gov.
Gwendolyn Garcia tops the list. Garcia asked the Court of Appeals to
stop the suspension order against her that stemmed from an
administrative case in 2010.
Garcia said that police
could only stop her if they will physically drag her out from her
office. The Cebu police, however, said they would not physically
remove Garcia from her office unless ordered.
Garcia still continues to
“hole up” in her office from December until now.
Second is the canonization
of Pedro Calungsod. Filipinos followed the journey to sainthood of
Blessed Pedro Calungsod, who officially became a saint last Oct. 20 in
a ceremony officiated by Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican, Rome. Saint
Pedro Calungsod is a Visayan teenage Catholic missionary who died a
martyr in Guam.
Third, super typhoon Pablo
caused havoc in areas in Mindanao. Based on the records of National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), typhoon Pablo
has destroyed P36.95 billion worth of infrastructure, agricultural
products and private properties. The death toll from the typhoon
stayed at 1,067 while 834 persons are still missing.
Thousands of people remain
homeless after Pablo brought flash floods that wiped out the affected
In Cebu City, classes and
work were suspended on Dec. 4 and 5 in all school levels and
government offices. The mayor also held a meeting with the Disaster
Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Council.
The earthquake and the false
tsunami alert in Cebu last February 2 ranks fourth. People ran to the
streets, cars were abandoned, and traffic was jammed after reports of
rising seawater in the coastal areas of Cebu City.
The panic was due to a
tsunami scare brought about by the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit
Cebu and Negros islands.
The passage of the
Reproductive Health Bill places fifth. The House of Representatives
approved the bill last December, which had been certified as “urgent”
by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino Jr.
The church continues its
futile campaign against the move since it has now been made in a law.
On sixth spot is the death
of then Department of Local and Interior Government Secretary Jesse
Robredo. His lifeless body was recovered at the crash site off the
coast of Masbate City last Aug. 18.
Pilot Captain Jessup
Bahinting and co-pilot, Nepalese flight student Kshitiz Chand, were
also confirmed dead. From August 21 until his interment, all
government buildings and installations around the country lowered the
national flag to half-staff in compliance with the President’s
proclamation declaring the national days of mourning for Robredo.
Seventh on the list is the
implementation of the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012
even after its provisions were questioned before the Supreme Court
last October. But the High Tribunal issued a temporary restraining
order (TRO), which lasts for 120 days, thus oral arguments on the case
will be held on Jan. 15.
On May 29, 2012, Corona was
found guilty of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed
against him pertaining to his failure to disclose to the public his
statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Corona was appointed Chief
Justice on May 12, 2010. He was the most senior Supreme Court justice
among the four nominees from the Judicial and Bar Council.
Second to the last is the
feeding of whale sharks in Oslob. The practice was questioned after
Dr. Lemnuel Aragones, a marine mammal expert, said that feeding whale
sharks is an “irresponsible use of natural resources, which could
easily be mismanaged and abused.”
Oslob officials still
continue to raise awareness and education about marine life among its
Completing the list is the
formation of Mega Cebu. Cebu’s private sector is determined to lead in
pushing for the realization of the Mega Cebu project, a move to create
a 30-year master plan that will put Cebu at par with key metropolitan
destinations in the world.
The Metro Cebu Development
Coordinating Board (MCDCB) is the proponent of the Mega Cebu master
plan led by the Cebu Provincial Government, RAFI, and six large
private sector groups like Cebu Business Club (CBC), Cebu Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (CCI) and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (MCCI), among others.
"Pagtuki” is aired over dyLA
every Saturday at 10-11 a.m. The program, which is one of the
Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI, tackles timely and
relevant issues affecting the Cebuano community.