commemorate 69th Anniversary of the Battle of Sibuyan Sea
October 24, 2013
SIBUYAN ISLAND, Romblon –
For the first time in the history of Sibuyan Island, more than a
thousand people coming from San Fernando and Magdiwang municipalities
flocked to neighboring Cajidiocan town to commemorate the 69th
anniversary of the Battle of Sibuyan Sea.
According to Presidential
Proclamation No. 35 signed issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III
on October 4, 2010, “the Battle of Sibuyan Sea is one of the four (4)
major battles in the historic Battle of Leyte Gulf, which was easily
considered as one of the largest naval battles in history.”
The presidential issuance
proclaims October 24 as the ‘Battle of Sibuyan Sea Day’, thus,
ordering “pertinent government agencies to rectify history herewith in
their respective institutional capacities” and such be “mentioned with
reverence in our schools and should form an integral part of our
country’s rich history.”
For war historian John
Toland, “the battle of the Sibuyan Sea (23-24 October 1944) was the
opening phase of the battle of Leyte Gulf and saw American submarines
and carrier aircraft attack Admiral Kurita's I Striking Force, sinking
the massive battleship Musashi.”
During the commemoration
ceremonies, after the singing of the national anthems of the United
States of America, Japan and the Philippines, eye-witnesses narrated
their first hand experiences when planes bombed what they claimed as
the battleship Musashi.
“I was 14 years old at the
time, I saw the actual bombing of the big ship by numbers of airplanes
which continuously attacked the ship until it sunk,” said Esperanza
Another eye-witness, Sixto
Recto, who was 9 years old at that time, recalled that they went up to
a hill and hid for safety: “When we heard a large sound like a bomb,
we immediately went out from our hiding and saw airplanes bombard a
big ship until it sunk.”
Mayor Nicasio Ramos of the
host municipality of Cajidiocan said that the local government is
willing to coordinate and support the annual commemoration of the
Battle of Sibuyan Sea.
“This is a tribute to the
brave and young men and women who show their heroism for their love of
their country – should be held and celebrated in Cajidiocan since
history can speak for itself that the said event really happened in
the vicinity and territory of Cajidiocan.”
The two mayors of the
neighboring San Fernando and Magdiwang towns, Salem Tansingco and
Ibarra Manzala, expressed their full support for the annual
“This shall be witnessed not
only by Sibuyanons but also by the whole world – history has been
corrected since the truth is that the battle of Sibuyan Sea was never
happened in the western part of Sibuyan near Tablas Island but here in
the eastern side of our island, here in Cajidiocan,” said Tansingco.
Years ago, a historical
marker was erected on a beach park in Alcantara town in Tablas Island.
Manzala stressed the
importance of passing the historical truth of the event to the next
generations to come. He also further explained the significance of the
battle in the history of the World War II.
In his message, Region IV-B
Tourism Officer Dominique Contreras congratulated the municipality of
Cajidiocan for heading the commemoration of the 69th Anniversary of
the Battle of Sibuyan Sea, “the Department of Tourism is grateful to
these tourism related endeavors which can further take us to the
vision of our Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.”
commemoration and to show respect to the fallen soldiers, three floral
wreaths with Philippine, Japanese and American flags were floated off
to sea with prayers offered led by priest Fr. Noel Sixon.
The Sibuyan Island
commemoration was organized by the Truth Team composed of former DILG
Director Rene T. Maglaya, Fr. Guillermo Ramo, Ph.D., Ret. Col./Sr.
Supt. Julito T. Royo, Mr. Ricardo Ramo, Ret. Col. Douglas Tansiongco,
Dr. Arthur Rey Tansiongco and Mr. Ronnie Royo.
(Photo Credit: Office of the Mayor, Municipality of Cajidiocan, Romblon Province)
rally against pork barrel a huge success; group offered potential
September 30, 2013
CEBU CITY – Convenors
of the Cebu Coalition Against the Pork Barrel System congratulate the
estimated 10,000 participants of the September 29, 2013 march-rally
against the pork barrel system.
The official estimate of
10,000 participants was at least 25% higher than the Coalition’s
It was very evident from the
start when the sun shone brightly at the start and everyone breathed a
huge sigh of relief that the weather was going to cooperate. At
exactly 1:30 PM as planned, the parade started down Osmeña Blvd. on
its way to the Plaza Independencia. Police reported no incidents and
CITOM succeeded in implementing their “open/close” system thereby not
disrupting traffic too much in every direction.
Students from the University
of Cebu, Cebu Doctors University, University of San Carlos, University
of the Visayas, University of San Jose Recoletos, Southwestern
University, University of Southern Philippines, University of the
Philippines-Cebu, St. Theresa’s College, and other Catholic schools
joined the multitude of groups from the religious, civil society and
business sectors, three bugle and drum corps, a dance troupe and a
tribal progressive band. The participants abided by the guidelines the
group had written for itself and thereby succeeded in having a
The Convenors based its
assessment of success from the following:
First of all, the anti-pork
message and potential solutions that the people wanted to express was
said and heard by the public and media loud and clear.
Second, the whole event was
flawlessly executed in military-like fashion such that the Mass
started five minutes earlier than planned and the whole rally ended
exactly as planned.
Third, the law abiding group
was successful in expressing its great indignation against corrupt
practices without breaking any local laws and ordinances themselves.
The parades marshals were made up of leftist and rightist groups
working in harmony and efficiency together, fighting a common cause.
Fourth, although each group
of the over 50-organization coalition were allowed to carry their own
organization’s banners and flags, they all worked together in their
united front against the pork barrel system and showed mutual respect
with one another.
Fifth, and probably unheard
of from any other rally, the group cleaned up after themselves leaving
the march route, the Fuente Osmeña circle and Plaza Independencia
cleaner than when the group first arrived!
Finally, the Coalition’s
official estimate of the crowd at 10,000 was at least 25% higher than
its internal objectives. The group’s official estimate was based on
estimates using the August 26th official estimate by the city
authorities. Then, the crowd estimate was 3,200 and the parade
extended from Fuente Osmeña until Sanciangko St., a length of around
800 meters. Yesterday, the parade extended from Plaza Independencia
all the way to the Fuente circle, a length of 2.45 kilometers or 3
times the length of the August 26th rally. Therefore, logically, the
number of people yesterday was estimated to be at least 3 X 3,200 or
close to 10,000. However, the most important number that the group is
counting is the number of signatures already submitted.
The Convenors also wish to
thank all sponsors, donors, and friends who made this rally the
success that it was and to the city authorities who helped direct and
guide the group safely.
Lessons from the
JESSA ZABALA, RAFI intern
September 6, 2013
CEBU CITY – Several years
after the dreadful Guimaras oil spills, another incident of similar
breadth is happening in the Visayas, in Cordova’s coastal area near
Talisay City. The oil slick is reported to have reached Lapu-Lapu
“The oil spill caused by the
collision of the passenger vessel MV St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo
vessel Sulpicio Express Siete in the seas of Cordova is the very first
recorded incident in Central Visayas,” Dr. Edgar Llameda, information
officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
7, said during an episode in "Pagtuki", the official radio program of
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).
Last August 16, 2013, the
two marine vessels collided resulting to the oil spill in Cordova’s
seas. The passenger vessel MV St. Thomas Aquinas carries with it 120
liters of crude oil and 20,000 liters of diesel.
fishermen were affected. Consumers from the neighboring barangays,
after hearing about the incident, became hesitant to buy seafood
products for fear of contamination.
The affected area in Cordova
included 15 kilometers of coastline where 12 barangays are located.
Hectares of mangrove were also affected by the oil spill, not to
mention other marine species.
The most damaged mangrove
plantation is in Barangay Bang-bang where 76 hectares was affected.
“Right now, we are preparing
the demand letter of P6.5 million damage compensation for the affected
newly planted mangroves that are enrolled in our Integrated Coastal
Resource Management (ICRM) Project,” Llameda disclosed.
The ICRM Project, where the
Philippine Government has a counterpart, gained funds through the loan
granted by the Asian Development Bank.
To help in reviving the
damaged area, people’s organizations in Cordova, together with the
DENR 7 conducted a coastal cleanup where oil in the coastlines was
“We from DENR, through the
Environmental Management Bureau, can accredit certain corporations or
individuals to handle these hazardous wastes. Last Sunday (Aug. 25),
one of our treatment storage disposal holders provided us with empty
drums to gather the collected oil,” Llameda further explained.
According to him, it would
be better for those who would like to join the cleanup to have
protective gears like hand gloves, face masks, and boots.
“Our fishermen started
catching fish again but no one would buy because many have died during
the accident. So as an example, last August 30, we from the municipal
hall ate fish for lunch,” Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy shared.
Because the damage done to
the coastal area was huge, its restoration process would also take
long. The local government made plans on giving training for
alternative livelihood to those who would like to quit fishing and for
the wives of fishermen.
“We just have to make
efforts. This is a challenge to the whole Cordova on how we could
survive,” Sitoy said as a message to his constituents.
For the cleanup of the
coastal areas, indigenous materials such as coconut husks are
encouraged as oil dispersants because they can decompose faster.
Cement plants could use the collected oil as fuel.
“As precautionary measures,
we could focus on our rescue and retrieval operations. Second is
organizing and convening our treatment, storage and disposal (TSD)
holders because they are the ones capable of handling, storing,
disposing, and collecting the wastes produced by an oil spill,”
The current situation is
something unforeseen by most people. The collision of the marine
vessels is something that doesn’t happen normally.
“The situation pertaining to
us is we see that the perception is based on fear. One way to address
that is to educate ourselves on what really happened so it is really
important that we listen to the radio or watch television for advisory
from the DENR, DOH and other local government units,” Evelyn Navario-Castro,
executive director of RAFI's Eduardo J. Aboitiz Development Studies
The government already has
plans of establishing emergency response units specialized in handling
certain situations such as oil spills. This way, they will be able to
give a quick response that could help lessen the perceived damages of
“In the event that another
thing like this happens, we already have a team on standby,” Llameda
Quezon City, Manila & Makati City are
HIV/AIDS hot spots
Rising incidence of
men having sex with men alarming – TUCP
August 27, 2013
QUEZON CITY – The Trade
Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) urged city and municipal
mayors including local councils to give more priorities and resources
in addressing the alarming growth of HIV-AIDS incidence nationwide
particularly the growing trend of men having sex with men.
“The city and municipal
mayors’ cooperation and the synergy of local council members are
important in controlling the spread of AIDS-HIV among our people
especially the Filipino youth nationwide. We, in the workers’ sector,
are calling on our chief executives to act quickly by providing funds,
crafting city ordinances, and providing facilities that caters
essential care and support to infected constituents,” said Gerard
Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions-TUCP.
In a rapid assessment study
and analysis results designed for local chief executives released
recently by the Philippine National Aids Council (PNAC), the
Department of Health (DOH) latest monitoring of the disease showed 1
Filipino is infected by AIDS every 2 hours or 8 new cases every ten
days with more men having sex with men. Most of the victims engaged in
men to men sex are 15 to 34 years old.
“Access to condoms is a
quick and knee jerk, temporary solution. But what we need now is a
permanent, lasting and strategic solution,” Seno stressed.
If this behavior continues,
the number of cases this year may surpass the total figure of 3,338
cases reported last year, the highest since 1984.
The TUCP is a member of the
PNAC and co-chair of its committee on planning, partnership and
networking. The other members of the PNAC are the DOH, Department of
Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and
Development and other non-government organizations.
The rapid assessment also
emphasize the need for local chief executives and local city and
municipal council nationwide to make policy interventions by
correcting misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, promote self-risk
assessment, provide access to available STI HIV services. The study
also urged local governments to give premiums to the establishments of
more permanent local aids council, facilities for victims and health
“The study points to the need for mayors and city councils to
institutionalize their shared responsibility in minimizing the number
of HIV/AIDS victims. By institutionalizing the HIV/AIDS policy
intervention in cities and municipalities, the problem is insulated
from partisan politics and transforms the approach become more
decisive. This is how we think the chronic and growing problem of
HIV/AIDS should be addressed,” Seno added.
In June 2013 alone, there
were 431 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals confirmed by the
STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory and reported to the HIV and
AIDS registry. This is 46% higher compared to the same period last
year in June 2012 with 295 reported cases.
Since 1984 to present, there
were 14,025 cases reported. More than half or 51% (6,549) came from
Metro Manila. While 13% (1,643) came from Region 4A, 9% from Region 7,
8% (1,077) from Region 3, 6% in Region 11 and 13% are from the rest of
The assessment identified
Quezon City (1,539), Manila (1,363) and Makati (712) are the top three
cities in 17 cities and municipality in Metro Manila with high
incidence of AIDS. They were followed by Mandaluyong (399), Pasig
(388), Caloocan (354), Pasay (326), Paranaque (280), Taguig (240), Las
Pinas (228), Marikina (207), Muntinlupa and Valenzuela (145), San Juan
(65), Malabon (92), Navotas (38), Pateros (16).
Sexual contact remains the
prominent mode of transmission (93%), 4% through needle sharing and 1%
each through mother to child transmission, blood transfusion and
needle prick injury. Of the 13,036 who transmitted the disease through
sexual contact, 44% (5,722) of which were done through men to men.
Forty five percent of those
surveyed in Metro Manila said condoms were not available. Others said
they don’t like to use or their partner objected to using condoms.
The journey of the Lico
Agrarian Reform cooperative
coop ventures from farming to commercial banking
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
July 18, 2013
NAVAL, Biliran – After years
of engaging in farming, members of a farmers’ cooperative here has
ventured into another world this time as bankers.
“Very inspiring is the story
of the Lico Agrarian Reform Cooperative or LARCoop,” Department of
Agrarian Reform Region 8 Director Eliasem Castillo said.
From a struggling farmers
organization, slowly but surely, LARCoop is now among the more stable
organizations in the province of Biliran, Director Castillo said.
The Lico Agrarian Reform
Cooperative (LARCoop) added not so long ago quasi-banking into their
list of income generating projects.
With some members who are
college graduates, the coop bravely gave this practically new field a
As preparation, its
management team together with other cooperatives attended in 2012 the
Microfinance, Governance and Administration (MIGOA) seminar-workshop
held here in Naval.
Chairperson Rebecca Payos
afterwards together with seven other coop members, as a follow through
activity, underwent a seminar on Microfinance Basic Capacity Building
(MBCB) in Cebu City and a 5-day on-the-job training in Siaton, Negros
The Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR) recommended LARCoop to National Confederation of
Cooperatives (NATCCO) to avail of the latter’s credit facilities and
failed to get NATCCO’s nod in its first try. Determined, however,
LARCoop in its second attempt finally became the 56th cooperative and
the first from Region-8 to be able to avail of NATCCO’s microfinance
assistance which included a P1-million loan payable in five years at
13 percent interest per annum.
From this loan, the LARCoop
opened a quasi-bank on December 18, 2012 at the downtown area of
Naval, the provincial capital of Biliran with DAR officials,
representatives from the NATCCO and local government units in
attendance to witness the event, which was a monumental manifestation
of the growth of the said cooperative.
The quasi bank according to
Bibian Sereño, microfinance operations manager, offers savings
deposit, time deposit, kiddiie deposit as well as loan assistance
(providential, productive and microfinance), though limited to members
only. Its primary goal is to address the financial needs of its
members at very low interest rates.
On its launching day alone,
35 member-depositors opened accounts. As of this writing, Sereño
reported that the quasi bank has already 524 depositors.
LARCoop was organized by DAR
in 2003 and registered as Lico Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi
Purpose Cooperative (LARBMPC) and registered with the Cooperative
Development Authority (CDA) on February 21 of the same year with only
23 members composed of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and other
farmers from the Naval-2 Agrarian Reform Community (ARC).
The cooperative initially
engaged in micro-lending activities and food processing business with
the joint effort of the DAR and the Department of Trade and Industry
(DTI) which painstakingly assisted them in their struggling years.
But the meager income of the
cooperative then was not enough to provide the growing needs of its
members, particularly the rice farmers who needed bigger amount during
planting season that would serve them as capital for their farm
Though apprehensive, the
cooperative took the risk of availing of production loan assistance
from DAR’s Credit Assistance Program for Program Beneficiaries
Development (CAP-PBD) thru the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The cooperative was able to
maintain a good standing with the bank. From the coop’s income they
were able to acquire a 120 sq. m. lot in their village where they
built their office.
In 2012, they changed their
name to Lico Agrarian Reform Cooperative or LARCoop.
From 23 members, the
cooperative has ballooned to 120 by December 18, 2012. Eighty of them
Since the opening of the
quasi bank, 636 members more were added, bringing the total members of
the organization to 705.
From P4,600 initial paid-up
capital, LARCoop now posts a total asset of more than P5.6-million.
These include the 120 sq.m.
lot and an office in Barangay Lico, and the recently inaugurated quasi
As the coop expanded their
operations, LARCoop opened their membership to residents of other
barangays and adjacent towns.
During the inauguration of
the cooperative’s quasi bank, DAR Regional Director Eliasem Castillo
advised the officers and members to never give up when faced with
challenges. He added that DAR will always be there to guide and assist
Further, Castillo disclosed
the many assistances extended by DAR to its beneficiaries which
include credit facilities.
Recently, according to
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Ismael Aya-ay, the coop was
chosen by his office to be the lead agrarian reform beneficiary
organization (ARBO) who will take charge of the farm machineries
distributed under the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and
Economic Support Services (ARCCESS), which will be used in realizing
their agribusiness activities, such as their “Rice Productivity
These machines, he added,
may give them additional income in the form of rentals.
Dream unfolds as
road construction in Capoocan’s remotest village starts
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
June 27, 2013
CAPOOCAN, Leyte – To the
delight of the barangay folks of Balugo, their long- time dream is
starting to come true as the construction of an all-weather road
leading to the town of Capoocan’s remotest barangay has started after
ground-breaking rites held on June 25.
Regional Director Eliasem
Castillo of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) disclosed that the
5.3-kilometer road project will connect Barangay Balugo, the town’s
innermost village, to Barangay Visares.
The project with a total
funding cost of P12.1-million is funded by the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) thru the second phase of the Agrarian Reform Community Project
(ARCP-2) implemented under the Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD)
of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Director Castillo
Contracted to the Victoria
Development and Construction Supply Corp., the farm-to-market road
project is expected to be finished by December, the Regional Director
Once completed, transporting
of goods to and from Barangay Balugo will be a lot easier, Barangay
Kagawad Emma Mercolita said. Lesser expense will also be incurred by
the farmers and residents, she added.
Kagawad Mercolita said that
at present, with the absence of road, the residents have to walk four
kilometers to the adjacent Barangay Visares where they wait for a ride
going to the town proper to transact business.
School children who attend
classes in Barangays Visares and Lemon are oftentimes absent, Kagawad
This accessibility problem
has resulted to barangay residents transferring to other barangays,
the Barangay Kagawad added.
Once this road project is
completed, Mercolita further disclosed, these residents promised to
return because their livelihood is in their barangay.
Barangay Balugo is one the
town’s largest farming village where 64 agrarian reform beneficiaries
(ARBs) together with the 216 from Visares will be directly benefited
especially in the marketing of their products.
Presently, farmers pay P75
per sack for hauling of farm products to Visares.
Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Leovigildo Monge shared how he and his
team got lost on their way back after surveying the area during the
preparatory stage of the project, DAR 8 Information Office Jose
Alsmith Soria intimated trying to demonstrate how remote the barangay
Capoocan Mayor Federico
Carolino Sr. expressed his gratitude to the Office of the President
for shouldering part of the 60 percent share of the local government
unit (LGU) on the total project cost thru the National Government
Assistance to LGUs (NGALGU) making the equity affordable for his
municipality for the benefit of his constituents.
Meanwhile, Leyte Second
District Representative Sergio Apostol, who was also present during
the groundbreaking ceremony, said he was glad that another barangay
without a road under his jurisdiction was provided with such though