Religious groups seek ouster of General Palparan, other army officials
|By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
June 11, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar – The Visayas Interfaith Solidarity Mission (IFSM) has strongly campaigning for
the immediate pull-out of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division Commanding
General Jovito S. Palparan and other high ranking military officials in
Samar as they were being blamed as perpetrators of the reported human rights
violations and atrocities in Samar provinces.
In a press conference held
on Thursday, June 9, at the Graduate Studies Function Room of the Samar
State University in this capital town, the IFSM panelists once again echoed
this campaign (to oust General Palparan) to the islandwide based tri-media
practitioners when the latter asked their purpose of their 4-day stay in
The group likewise informed
the media about their relief operations, medical mission and full
documentation conducted in the hinterland villages of Calbiga, Motiong,
Paranas, Catbalogan and other municipalities in
Western Samar from June 6-9, this year.
cause-oriented priests, lawyers, medical practitioners, human rights
advocates and young activists, all belong to different religious
organizations such as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calbayog, Iglesia
Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP),
Franciscan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office-Philippines (OFM-JPIC),
Inter-Faith Movement for Justice and Peace and Kalinaw – Sentral Bisayas,
composed the Fact Finding Team dubbed as the Inter-Faith Solidarity Mission.
Pastor Danilo De los Santos,
spokesperson of the Visayas Interfaith Solidarity Mission who read mission
statement of the IFSM, said that the series of alleged military atrocities
and human rights violations has prompted several church groups and religious
institutions to bind themselves together into a mission.
“This was our immediate
respond to the needs and wails of the least of our brethren in Eastern
Visayas,” De los Santos stressed.
He further narrated accounts
of reported human rights violations from February to June, or since (Major
General Jovito) Palparan assumed as commanding general of the 8ID, had even
surpassed the number of human rights violations reported in the entire year
“(But this year), from
February 10 to May 31, 2005, we have recorded a total of 276 cases of
violations of constitutional rights and civil liberties, not to mention
(their) violations of International Humanitarian covenants like the Geneva
Conventions,” De los Santos said.
“Of this figure, it is
estimated that there were 76 cases of human rights violations per month,
more than 17 cases per week and more than two cases per day (occurred in
Samar in the last three months),” De los Santos said adding that the figure
does not include the, still, unverified human rights victims in other towns.
A law student Katrina
Castillo, the team leader of the IFSM Documentation Team said those figure
was based only from the accounts of the alleged victims from the villages of
Concepcion, Calapi, Brgy. Poblacion, Tapul, Pagsang-an, Nawi, Cantigis,
Anagasi and Lawaan, all of Paranas, and, some villages of Motiong and
Catbalogan, all in the province of Samar.
These towns, however, are
being tagged earlier by the military as having the most number of villages
allegedly supporting the underground movement by giving a slice of their
Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), therefore being controlled and infiltrated
by the new People’s Army.
The mission, according to
Castillo, includes the distribution of relief goods to at least 461 families
from seven (7) barangays in Paranas town and four (4) families in Catbalogan,
free medical services to 218 patients from Paranas and 57 patients from the
town of Motiong with cases ranging from skin diseases, eye problems, ulcers,
and cardio problems, among others.
Meantime, to further
strengthen their campaign, Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV, legal counsel of IFSM
said that they are now in the process of gathering strong evidences that
could be useful to support their claims and to “prosecute the culprits,
whoever they are.”
Atty. Cinco also hinted that
they were also considering the conduct of a signature campaign and to
convince and urged the governors, mayors and other government officials to
act according their conscience, “because if this inaction and utter
disregard by public officials continue, the fear will grip and will also
continues to terrify the Samareños especially the poor peasants.”
The young lawyer Cinco also
hinted that their moves to gather more strong evidences on the alleged the
military atrocities was, in one way, supports the on-going congressional
hearing at the House of the Representatives regarding the mounting
complaints on human rights violations now hounding the offices of the two
Samar solon – Rep. Catalino Figueroa (second district) and Rep. Reynaldo Uy
of the Samar first district.
Further, the IFSM appealed
to the military to respect and uphold the supremacy of civilian authority,
stop arbitrary restrictions on basic rights, stop the Marcos-style
vigilante-type killings, abductions, and other forms of terrorist measures
against legitimate people’s organizations and civilians, among others.
To recall, Bishop Jose Palma
of the Diocese of Calbayog did not minced words by telling the public
through his pastoral letter read in at least 27 parishes in whole Samar
province that the military under the command of Major Gen. Palparan is
responsible on the numerous reports on human rights violations in the
different parts of Samar provinces.
Bishop Palma has also aired
the same appeal to the controversial general to give a halt on these alleged
human rights violations “in the course of their operations… they should
(instead) carry this within the limits of the law.”
But General Palparan, as he
continue quashing the NPA in the region repeatedly denied any involvement by
the military in any of these incidents as he even challenged his accusers to
file a case.
“If they have strong
evidence linking my men working at the field, I, myself will not tolerate
this kind of acts and will subsequently submit them to court martial,” Gen.
Palparan earlier said.
“I believed that the rebels
are not only those person hiding in the mountains and involved in an armed
struggle against the state but also those individuals in the urban area
supporting the ideology of the rebels,” Gen. Palparan said during the
previous interviews conducted by the local media inside the 8th Infantry
Division in Catbalogan, Samar.
He further claimed that the
allegations hurdled against him and his subordinates were just “baseless,
fabricated and a mere black propaganda” concocted by the enemy.
The controversial general
has earlier admitted to have committed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
to get rid of the insurgency problem in the region, especially in Samar
provinces, identified by the AFP as the hotbeds of NPA rebels, from six
months to a year.
officials silent on Samar militarization – IFSM
|By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
June 10, 2005
the climate of fear gripping the entire province over the recent spate of
atrocities against unarmed civilians, allegedly perpetrated by the military
under the command of M/Gen. Jovito Palparan, local government officials here
seems to be unabated by the situation and have opted to stay silent over the
This was the predicament
raised by the Inter-Faith Solidarity Mission for Justice and Peace during a
press conference on June 9, 2005 at SSU campus here, that culminated the
group’s 4 day documentation cum relief and medical mission conducted on
areas where reported military atrocities were perpetrated.
The group assailed the
inability of the local government officials from the Provincial Government
of Samar down to the Barangay level to act on the rising mayhem allegedly
instigated by the military since the assumption of M/Gen. Palparan a few
“We are alarmed by these
reports, and doesn’t want to be unmindful of what is really happening to
Samar, more so unto relying on hearsays, thus, we convene this mission for
us to determine the veracity of these reported military anarchy and to come
up with hardcopies of these military abuses”, thus said Rev. Friar J. Calvin
Bugho, the mission’s convener, adding that during their 4 day mission, their
group themselves were threatened and harassed by elements of 34th Infantry
Batallion (Kamurayaw Company) led by a certain Lt. Cresencio Tangayan at
Concepcion, Paranas, Samar.
“They took some of the
medicines we were distributing to the residents who took part of the medical
mission, and even shouted bad words and harassed the peasant folks who
wanted to be medically diagnosed by our team” Rev. Bugho further said.
Tension immediately filled
up the site of the press conference when the white OB van of the 8th ID
Civil Affairs Unit (8th CAU) parked-up along with the vehicles being used by
the IFSM with a couple of 8th CAU staff and its Commanding Officer Capt.
Cromwell Danganan on board.
Capt. Danganan and his men
were met by Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV, Legal Counsel of the group, but were
asked to just leave the area to ease the rising tension among the delegates
of the mission, at whom he explained, have personally experienced military
harassment during their medical mission in Paranas,
Samar with the trauma still lingering on.
According to Capt. Danganan,
who has no invitation for the press activity organized by the IFSM, that
they went to the area with no intention to disrupt any on-going activities,
but because of a report that a CIVAC was taking place, “and we just want to
document it, and find out who is behind the activity”, he explained but
likewise left the area heeding on the request of the organizers.
Charitable Investigative or
The wave of distressing
human right abuses and disrespect on civilian authority committed allegedly
by the elements of the military, accordingly since the assumption of M/Gen.
Jovito Palparan at the 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban
here, has prompted several church groups and religious institutions in
Eastern Visayas to act in response to the wails of the innocent civilians.
Statistics gathered by the
IFSM showed that within three months, from February 10 to May 30, 2005,
reported cases of human rights violation in Eastern Visayas already reached
a record high of 276 cases, surpassing the entire number of recorded cases
for the whole year of 2004.
“It only means that from the
said figure, 76 cases of human rights violations are committed per month,
more than 17 cases per week, and more than 2 cases per day”, Rev. Bugho
explained when he read the group’s mission statement to the media.
As this developed, Rev.
Bugho informed that they were compelled to respond to the needs of the “poor
of Yahweh”, thus the IFSM was convened as represented by the Roman Catholic
Church – Diocese of Calbayog, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United
Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Franciscan Justice, Peace and
Integrity of Creation Office – Philippines (OFM-JPIC), Inter-faith Movement
for Justice and Peace and Kalinaw - Sentral Visayas.
Initially, the IFSM was
simultaneously held in Catbalogan, Paranas and Motiong towns, rendering
medical services and distributing relief goods and medicines, apart from the
legal and documentation services extended to the victims of alleged military
Adopt a Victim
The four-day legal and
documentation mission conducted by the IFSM netted for the group a number of
signed affidavits in preparation to an impending legal battle against
several military personnel; and at least three names were mentioned on the
group’s issued statement including M/Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Cresencio
Tanganay, and a certain Lt. Basquiñas.
ISFM however has admitted
that no legal case will prosper in any court without the victim’s themselves
coming out to the open - for fear of summary executions-; thus, plans are
now being worked out to protect the would be complainants.
As this developed, the ISFM
issued their appeal to other sectors and groups who have a mandate to
realize peace in the province of Samar to help adopt and accommodate human
rights victims by protecting them from danger and any further threat.
The group likewise informed
that the documents they gathered thru the solidarity mission will be
integrated to the data and facts being presented to the congressional
committee in-charge of investigating M/Gen. Jovito Palparan which has been
on-going for two weeks now.
“But we are still appealing
to our local officials, to take actions now – it is their responsibility and
mandate to protect the interest of their constituents, the very reason why
they were elected to their respective posts, is because these people has
given them their trust, which we hope would not turn to naught”, Rev Bugho
Waiting for FORMALITY?
In an earlier interview with
CCATMAN, Vice-Govenror Jess Redaja however retorted to the speculations
that the provincial government is not responding to the clamor of the
Samareños for peace and order, saying that the Governor’s Office nor the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) have not received any complaint, reports or
investigation request either from the concerned victims or the Mayors who
has full authority and overview of what is really happening in their
“We are willing to help to
the best we can because that is our mandate, but how can we? When nobody
from these alleged victims would come out and testify before the peace and
order council”, Vice-Governor Redaja asserted, “If we take action based on
undocumented reports, what good would it do? When we all know that we are
all bounded by legal technicalities, kun waray reklamo waray kaso – waray
imbestigasyon, kay kun pasipad-an ini namon nga base la hiton mga
yakan-yakan, ha iyo kasabot deri kita maging katawa-tawa?, kay kun
pakia-anhan ako kun hino ito nga biktima ngan kun ano talaga iton nahitabo
ha iya, ano man it amon depensa nga baton?, he added.
The ISFM likewise admitted
that due to fear of their lives, most of the victims of these alleged
military abuses would refuse to come out to state their ordeal in public.
“But we are working on it now, we need to safeguard their lives first to be
able to come up with a credible testimony in court”, Rev. Bugho informed.
Expectedly, the group will
submit the result of their documentation to the Provincial Government for
the latter to initiate possible actions relative to the effects and
consequences of unwarranted militarization in
Philippine senator Aquilino Pimentel issues a
call for a new Bretton Woods
6, 2005) - Sen. Pimentel, the head of the opposition in the
Philippines Senate, issued the call based on the Resolution of the Italian
Senate, giving his full endorsement for the call and for emergency measures
to save the Philippine economy based on a new just world economic system.
Speaking to the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association at the Hotel
Intercontinental Makati on May 26, Sen. Pimentel said that the domestic
crisis must be situated within the international financial crisis, and
reports on the April 6, 2005 NBW Resolution of the Italian Chamber of
Deputies. "I share the view of the Italian lawmakers," said Sen. Pimentel,
adding: "Allow me to venture a suggestion now that a gold standard or some
such measure of a currency's worth that is not dependent on the say-so of
one country may be a good basis to reexamine and rewrite the Bretton Woods
agreement that was adopted towards the end of the 2nd World War in 1944."
He then reviewed in detail
the Italian Resolution, with his own supporting comments: the Parmalat,
Enron, LTCM, Argentine and other crises of the system; the role of the
rating agencies and their "arbitrary credit grading systeming taken for a
ride by the credit raters, who we pay for, to downgrade us whenever it suits
them and their international lending clienteles."); the "systemic" nature of
the crisis, a "crisis of the entire financial system, in which hedge funds,
that are beyond any sort of rules or control, are taking on an ever-larger
role..., widening the gap between the real economy and the purely financial
economy that is manifested in the true explosion of the financial
derivatives bubble and other forms of debt," naming JP Morgan Chase and
others; and read the two conclusions of the Italian resolution, calling for
a new financial architecture and the convocation of an international
conference of Heads of State to "create a new and more just global monetary
and financial system."
Sen. Pimentel concluded: "As
a lawmaker, I share the views of the Italian parliamentarians to protect the
welfare of our respective constituencies. I, therefore, suggest that our
Congress can do no less but support the call for the establishment of a new
Bretton Woods monetary system to protect and ensure the security of the
financial dealings and other economic activities of peoples worldwide. I
find the proposal of the Italian lawmakers reasonable in that "given the
internationalization of financial markets, one nation by itself, or even
Europe alone, is not able to guarantee the control and application of
stronger rules in a decisive manner."
Sen. Pimentel, who was
interviewed in EIR last year, has not yet introduced the resolution on the
floor of the Philippine Senate.
Philippine president orders
probe on activists' killings
Hong Kong - Philippine
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the police and other law
enforcement agencies to investigate the unrestrained killings and violence
against human rights and political activists in the country.
In a May 24 letter to Basil
Fernando, executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
received today, Rene Sarmiento, deputy presidential adviser on peace
process, quoted Arroyo as saying "there will be no white wash in the
"We live under the rule of
law and these killings will not go unpunished," Arroyo was also quoted as
It was the first official
presidential statement on the killings of which the AHRC is aware.
Sarmiento wrote in response
to the AHRC's letter to the regional office of the Commission on Human
Rights in Tarlac, following its concern over the reported attempt on the
life of Romeo Capulong, legal counsel for the farm workers on strike in the
Hacienda Luisita on March 7.
Sarmiento said the
Philippine government is taking appropriate action regarding Capulong's case
as well as other reported cases of alleged killings, harassment and violence
against members and supporters of progressive groups.
Since January, there have
been numerous killings of activists in the Philippines. Six of them have
been reported by the AHRC.
"Rest assured that
appropriate action will be undertaken by the Government to seriously address
these incidents with the help and cooperation of all concerned in order to
bring justice," Sarmiento said.
Arroyo has also reaffirmed
her government's commitment for the promotion, respect and protection of
human rights enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, he added.
The AHRC asked the
Philippine government to initiate a policy for the immediate investigation
of the killings, and arrest and prosecution of the alleged perpetrators. It
also asked that the families of the dead be indemnified and witnesses
*** About AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional
non-governmental organization monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong
Kong-based group was founded in 1984.
EVESTCCO collaborates with EVSU on software
testing in the Philippines
By RONALDO VILLAVER
June 2, 2005
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
- EVESTCCO, an egroup of
Eastern Visayans worldwide in collaboration with Eastern Visayas State
University (EVSU) organizes the conduct of “Lecture-Forum on Software
Testing” on 04 July 2005 at EVSU Campus, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.
Software Testing and QA
Consultant Felipe Vilches, a
USA-based Eastern Visayan is the resource person who will talk about his
expertise on “Software Testing”. Currently, Mr. Vilches is the Senior
Engineering Manager-System Test of WMS Gaming Inc. at Chicago, Illinois,
USA. From 1995 to 2000, he worked as Director of Product Development and
Quality Assurance at Syracuse Language, Syracuse, New York. He is a
professional member of IEEE Computer Society and Association for Computing
Mr. Vilches completed two
postgraduate degrees. The Master in Engineering Education at the University
of the Philippines
and the Master of Science in Computer Engineering at
New York, USA in 1991.
is an e-discussion group that promotes collaboration, cooperation and
complementation among Eastern Visayans and its associates across the
continents. The conduct of lecture-forum in collaboration with its network
of institutions and tapping e-group members as resource person/s implements
“EVESTCCO’s Volunteer Project” in Eastern Visayas, Philippines.
Interested participants of
the lecture-forum are requested to coordinate with EVESTCCO’s contact person
at EVSU, Philippines: Dr.
Segunda Lacaba (T: (053) 3254451; M: 09173062444; E:
firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Danilo Pulma (T: (053) 3252049; M:
email@example.com). This lecture-forum is one of the activities during
the 2005 National Science and Technology Month celebration in the region.