Thousands join Peace Rally in Samar’s
By ELI C. DALUMPINES, PIA –Samar
Samar - Thousands of people composed
of barangay officials, and former members and supporters of the communist
New People’s Army (NPA) converged at the Catbalogan Municipal Plaza at
around 2 p.m. Sunday to decry the evils of the movement.
The rallyists, feed up with
the insurgents’ deceptive tactics and false promises, waved and mouthed
slogans like “Ibagsak ang CPP-NPA, Ibagsak ang Bayan Muna” and “NPA, Salut
sa Lipunan”. They strongly condemned the NPA terrorists as the main cause of
poverty saying they are just preying on the masses.
Augusto Daclitan, former
Chairperson of Samahan ng mga Mangingisda ng Samar Laban sa Kahirapan (SAMASAKA),
a fishermen’s group, recounted how he was recruited into the organization.
As a fisherman, he wanted to be a part in putting an end to the illegal
fishing activities in Samar’s richest fishing ground, the Maqueda Bay. Later
did he realize though the real color of the group.
In one occasion, he
revealed, he was told to call his group for a gathering in an undisclosed
place. “Diri ako maaram kun ngain kami makadto. Nahibaru-an na la namon
nga an truck nga amon ginsakyan tipakadto na ha amon ngadto ha Calbayog”.
(I had no idea where we were going until the truck where we were told to
embark brought us to Calbayog City). There we were lectured how we can
overthrow the government, Daclitan said in the vernacular.
Narciso Pacayra, a barangay
official in one of Calbiga town’s interior barangays voiced his sentiments
against the NPAs, whom he said, caused a lot of troubles for his family. It
all started when he was accused of being a reactionary when he failed to
give money to the insurgents. According to Pacayra, his children had to quit
school because he was ordered to leave Brgy. Larisyo as a consequence.
The barangay official
disclosed the extortion activities of the insurgents including the
collection of revolutionary taxes from the Internal Revenue Allotment of the
barangays controlled by the insurgents. From these funds came the money with
which anti-government rallies were financed.
He urged the people to stop
giving support to the rebels whom he said have done nothing to help people
other than sowing intrigues and killing innocent civilians who openly
support the government.
Meanwhile, Old Mahayag Brgy.
Captain and former NPA leader Juanito Basal disclosed how he was deceived by
the communist rebels to join the armed struggle. He said for the number of
years he spent as NPA leader, he was not able to see poverty, corruption and
injustice, the main battlecry of dissident elements, being addressed.
Instead, insurgency bred more of them.
(referring to the NPAs) masulbar an aton kakuri-an kun mag urusa kita
pagkatin hin armas. Pero nagtikakuri man lugod kita” (They told me that
all social problems would be solved if we joined the movement and took up
arms against the government. It only aggravated our poverty.), Basal said.
The former NPA leader called
those who are still in the mountains waging war against the government to
lay down their arms and help in building our nation.
Col. Joel Cabides, Deputy
Commander of the Army’s 801st Brigade aired his observation that, lately,
the peace and order situation in the capital town has deteriorated due to
the drug problem and other illegal activities perpetrated by certain groups.
This picture has changed though with the assignment of Maj. General Jovito
S. Palparan to the region.
The military officer said the recent moves to
relieve General Palparan from the region was the result of the general’s
crackdown against the underground activities of the communist rebels and
their front organizations which exposed their evils before the public.
Lawaan LGU hosted local guides training
By SIBP PR
July 30, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar - The Samar Island Biodiversity Project in coordination with the Local Government
Unit of Lawaan, Eastern Samar through the Municipal Mayor, Manuel G. Inciso,
conducted the Local Guides Training in Barangay Binakalan last July
15-17, 2005 to develop and train community based Ecotour Guides who can give
adequate, relevant and focused commentaries on their ecotourism skills.
Lawaan Ecotour Guides
The training was
participated by 20 members (local guides) from Bulosao Upland Farmers
Association (BUFA), Guinob-an Upland Farmers Association (GUFA), with the
representatives from two (2) CBRM, two (2) Technical Assistants from DENR-R8
and two (2) LGU representatives of Lawaan, E. Samar. It included a tour to
Amandaraga Falls and participated by fifteen (15) tourists cum evaluators
for the simulation of tour package.
Various topics discussed for
the first two days were: Introduction to Ecotourism by Ms. Cora Makabenta of
DENR-R8 PAWCZMS; Basic Outdoor Guideship by Mr. Toto Cinco, Secretary,
Provincial Ecotourism Committee and PIO of the Regional Ecotourism Council;
Basic First Aid by Avelino Fabillar; Ecotourism in Local Context/Ecotourism
in Lawaan and DENR & LGU MOA on Environmental Management by Mr. Leopoldo
Ecaldre; Orientation on SIBP/SINP by Mr. Elpidio Cabahit, Jr., Chief,
Ecotourism of SIBP; Environmental Laws relevant to Protected Area by Mr.
Cabahit, Ms. Malou de la Calzada, Trainer of SIBP and Ms. Amira Orabe,
Trainer of SIBP; and Review on the Preparation for the simulation of Tour
Guiding Plan by Ms. Malou de la Calzada.
The third day was the
simulation tour and practicum of the local guides to Level 1 of Amandaraga
Falls which was participated by selected staff of SIBP with German
nationals, Mr. Udo Wolter, his family and Ms. Alexandra Schiffelleolz to act
as tourists and evaluators for the said activity. The tour started with a
visit to the remnants of the American Camp and concrete dike built by the
Americans in Sunduan, Brgy. Guinob-an during the World War II, then to a
hanging bridge made of bamboo, a hike along the river banks to the
Amandaraga Falls. The tour ended after lunch and bound back to Lawaan and
went directly to their Model Farm for a quick tour before continuing with
After the evaluation of tour
simulation, the closing activity was graced by Project Manager Manolito D.
Ragub who gave his closing message to the participants and acknowledged the
full support of the Municipal Mayor, Manuel G. Inciso, for his active
The said activity was
initiated through the Municipal Mayor and requested support of SIBP for the
training of local guides due to influx of visitors and tourists visiting the
twin waterfalls of Lawaan, the Amandaraga and Amanhuray Falls. The area is
also suitable for mountain climbing, camping, researches or for mere
appreciation of nature. It is also one of the thrust of the LGU in the
promotion of the ecotourism in the municipality of Lawaan.
“Marol han Catbalogan” candidates meet the press
Marol han Catbalogan candidates in a pictorial session at the Buri Beach
Resort in Catbalogan.
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
July 23, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar – After a
series of rigid selection and meticulous scrutiny from a number of aspirants
who lined up for this year’s Search for Ms. Catbalogan, the organizers of
the event finally completed the list of ten beautiful candidates that will
vie for the beauty title “An Marol han Catbalogan”.
This year’s candidates were
presented in a press conference on July 23 together with their handlers and
managers at the famous Buri Beach Resort preceding a video session depicting
this town’s famed white beach front.
According to Mr. Kenneth Lim
speaking on behalf of the personalities behind the LGU Tourism Council who
were absent during the gathering, that this year’s beauty search is part of
the 30 days grand celebration of the town’s annual fiesta on August 24, 2005
being spearheaded by Mayor Coefredo Uy here.
The pre-pageant night that
will showcase the respective talents of the candidates, will be held at the
Municipal Plaza on the evening of August 2, this year, at which all of the
ten beautiful ladies will be judge on their drama, dancing and singing
“But unlike before, were we
traditionally hold the pageant’s final night as a culminating activity of
the town fiesta, this year’s event will be held earlier – that will be on
August 4 this year, - since we need to decide early on Catbalogan’s
representative to vie for the “Mutya han Samar” competition to be held on
August 8, 2005 in connection with the Samar Day celebration, Mr. Lim
“We, in the LGU are hopeful
that whoever will be capped as this year’s An Marol han Catbalogan from
among these 10 beautiful ladies, will likewise triumph as Mutya Han Samar
2005, which is an inter-municipality beauty search being organized by the
Provincial Government of Samar”, Mr. Lim added.
The 10 candidates are –
Candidate No. 1 Jackelyn Wilby, 16 years old of Brgy. Mercedes; Candidate
No. 2 Carina Rosita O. Angel, 16 years old of Brgy. Muñoz; Candidate No. 3
Joemelina A. Delantar of Brgy. Canlapwas and a high school student of Samar
National School (SNS); Candidate No. 4 Joyce June L. Viojan of Brgy.
Guindapunan; Candidate No. 5 Roseann Cabadsan of Brgy. 10, an education
student of Samar College here.
The other candidates are
candidate No. 6 Camille Anne Y. Davantes of Brgy. 4 also a high school
student of SNS here; candidate no. 7 Mylene D.
of Brgy. Socorro and enrolled presently at the Samar State University (SSU);
candidate no. 8 Margie S. Teves of Brgy. 13, a high school student also of
SNS; candidate no. 9 Sheravie F. Quebec, 16 years old of Brgy. Ubanon but
presently studying at the Leyte Intitute of Technology (LIT) in Tacloban
City; and the last but not the least candidate no. 10 Merlit T. Rapiz coming
from Brgy. Rama of the Sierra Island here, 16 years old and a student of the
Saint Mary’s College of
– Samar joins national call of GMA resign!
By BAYAN Samar PR
July 22, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar - The Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan –Samar chapter joins the national outcry for GMA to resign from
the presidency. This developed as the militant organization in consultation
with its affiliate people’s organizations deemed it high time to break the
silence of the people of Samar on the issue.
In a press statement, acting
Secretary-General Emman Abejo reiterated BAYAN’s call for the people of
Samar to take stand on the issue. “The GMA regime is reeked with scandal and
corruption. GMA has lost her moral ascendancy to lead the Filipino people,”
“The people of Samar have more reasons to
call for GMA to step down. Hers is not only a bogus presidency, a corrupt
regime, but also a coddler of military terrorists and human rights violators
personified by the likes of Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr. and his hitmen. GMA’s
inaction of Palparan’s crimes against the people of Mindoro and Central
Luzon, and now the people of the Eastern Visayan region reveals her true
fascist nature,” the Bayan statement continued.
KATUNGOD-Sinirangan Bisayas has documented a
total of 119 human rights violations in the region. Of these, 29 were cases
of extra-judicial killings or summary executions. Cases of arbitrary
arrests, tortures, tactical interrogations and harassments were also
documented. The number continues to increase as more cases of violations
occur while the military intensify its terroristic campaigns. These cases
were documented within the first semester of 2005, simultaneous with the
deployment of Col. Palparan Jr. as Commander of the 8th ID of the Philippine
Army in the Eastern Visayas region. Earlier, Palparan was quoted before the
media to have vowed to eradicate the communist insurgency in the region and
to get rid of all anti-government protests within a six month period.
“The GMA Regime has on its hands the blood of
many innocent civilians killed by its most notorious butcher, “ the
statement went on. Masive militarization in different municipalities and
rural barangays in the province has displaced a number of families and
communities reminiscent of the 80’s at the height of the Total War Campaign
of the then Aquino administration. Special Operations Team of the military
were also deployed in the town centers of Catbalogan, and the city of
Calbayog to spread fear among the populace. BAYAN is one of the
organizations hit by the military black propaganda campaign in the region.
Its leaders along with BAYAN MUNA, ANAK-PAWIS and other militant party-list
groups were also targets of political assasination.
BAYAN called for a province-wide Protest
March or LAKBAYAN on July 22- 25 as a way of showing its condemnation to the
fascist GMA regime.
“We urge the Samarnons to took to the streets
once again and show that democracy is still alive. This is our way of
showing our vehement opposition to the continued degradation and betrayal
of people’s trust in government and the electoral process. This is our way
of condemning the threats imposed by militarization on the civil liberties
of the people of Samar, “ the statement concluded.
AHRC urges appeal for investigation on
assault to Filipino protesters in Jeddah
July 21, 2005
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges concerned Filipinos worldwide to
request for an immediate investigation by the Philippine government on the
reported attacked to four Filipinos by Consulate Guards while peacefully
demonstrating at the Philippines Consulate in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia on July 16, 2005.
In a circulated email dated
July 20, 2005 the Hong Kong
based human rights group (AHRC)
pointed out that since the peaceful demonstration took place within the
premises of the Philippines Consulate, it is understood that it is legal.
They added that the Consulate is obliged to observe due respect on freedom
of peaceful assembly and speech of its citizens abroad.
The victims, namely, Leo
Legaspi of Migrante, Jackiline Pakpakin, Jessica Hapos and Irene Mahinay
were among the several protesters who suffered injuries following a scuffle
reportedly with four Saudi guards at the Consulate. The alleged perpetrators
were identified as Yusof, Anwar Andang, Atong and Ali Aguam.
Leo Legaspi, a member of
Migrante, a migrant workers organization, and several women presently
sheltered at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Center in
Jeddah voiced their request for Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's
resignation in front of the media sources at the consulate. Some of the
protesters currently have pending applications for repatriation assistance.
A day before the incident, they wrote to Consul General Mr. Pendosina N.
Lomondot requesting to meet him.
It was reported that while
the protesters were at the reception area heading to ConGen Lomondot's
office, one of the guards, Anwar Amdang, allegedly attacked Legaspi while he
was giving instructions to his female companions to form a line and display
the placards they were carrying.
According to Legaspi, his
female companions and the leaders of Migrante, came to his rescue while he
was assaulted and fell to the ground. As a result of this, a number of the
women sustained injuries. Pakpakin suffered damage to her feet, and Jessica
Hapos and Irene Mahinay were punched.
Despite the incident, all
the Philippine diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia did was to recommend for a
review in the security arrangement within the Consulate. The victims have
been demanding for the dismissal from the government service of those
perpetrators allegedly involved. They are likewise asking for compensation,
and that demands for stranded workers for repatriation be acted on and
The AHRC can be reached at
this email address
Mel: "I'm against HB 2266”
By BRYAN M. AZURA
CALBAYOG CITY, Samar
Mel "Senen" Sarmiento expressed his opposition on House Bill 2266 proposing
the creation of Samar Island Socio-Economic Planning Development Authority
authored by Congressman Catalino Figueroa of the 2nd District of Samar.
Mayor Mel Sarmiento
In an exclusive interview
with this writer, Sarmiento stressed that this bill is totally against
Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code. "This is against
decentralization process being promoted by 7160," Sarmiento said.
Decentralization process in the Philippines is so far the best in South East
Asia as claimed by some observers.
The mayor of the only
city in the island of Samar was surprised to see the copy of the bill, which
was dated March 2, 2005. He explained that while this is going to be against
all existing laws of the country, this would also be another layer in the
“This is going to be
another layer on bureaucracy," he said. “Right now, we are very conscious
with local autonomy," he added. The government had been trying to cut down
on employment expenditures and Sarmiento sees that this is going to be an
additional expense on the part of the government. There are even moves in
the national level that some of the offices that are being duplicated in the
LGUs should be removed just to minimize the expenses.
To recall, a month ago,
Binalyu-ay Ha Udto, a noontime radio program over 92.1 HOT FM in Catbalogan
received a copy of the House Bill 2266. In his explanatory note, Cong.
Figueroa explained that "despite the fact that many government agencies are
undertaking socio-economic development programs and projects, it seems that
the economic development for Samar Island have been neglected and remains
very slow pace as compared to the other neighboring provinces." The note
also cited that the slow economic progress could be traced to many a factor
among which is the lack of economic direction and coordination among the
various government agencies in the island.
The bill seeks to
initiate programs and activities using all available local and national
resources of the government; make representation with other planning bodies
of the government and the private sectors for the purpose of realigning
these programs; and serve as the catalytical agent of the national
government in pursuing the socio‑economic programs of Samar Island.
In his words, Figueroa
hopes that his measure will truly achieve economic progress.
The Samar Island Council
for Sustainable Development (SICSD) was quick to make a position paper on
the bill noting that there are flaws on the provisions of the bill. One of
those that this council scrutinized is the composition of the Board of
Directors provided in the measure. The BOD is supposed to be chaired by the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The council argues
that if it's a socio‑economic body, someone from the National Economic
Development Authority (NEDA) should chair the BOD.
SICSD had been very
strong on their belief that with the approval of the bill, the island of
Samar will be exposed to environmental abuses.
While the council is only
asking to revise some of the provisions in the bill, Sarmiento made it clear
that he is totally against the bill. He said that there really is no need to
come up with an authority on socio-economic development. "This should be up
to the LGUs to come up with development plan. It's just a matter of
consolidating these plans," he continued.
The mayor also informed that the Congressman while drafting the bill did not consult
him. "I just learned about this now," Sarmiento said.
viewed Figueroa's intentions as good. "Cong. Figueroa is trying his best to
improve Samar," he stated, "but maybe we can look for other options.”
Figueroa on the other
hand, could not be reached as of press time for comments.
Meantime, Senen is keen
on coordinating with the three governors of the Samar Island and the
President of League of Municipalities (LMP) in the Samar province and
discuss the bill with them.
AHRC voices concern over ongoing delays in
trial in the Philippines
July 10, 2005
HONG KONG - The Asian Human
Rights Commission (AHRC) voiced its concern on Friday over the continuing
delays in the trial of three people in General Santos City in the
Philippines that appear to reflect negligent behaviour by the local court
More than three years has
elapsed since the case against Jejhon Macalinsal, Aron Salah and Abubakar
Amilhasan was filed, the Hong Kong-based regional human rights group said
the local court has still not begun the trial because of continual
postponements and cancellation of the hearings.
"An inquiry should be
conducted into whether the judge, the prosecutor and other court personnel
have neglected their duties and whether this has directly resulted in the
cancellation, repeated postponement and delay of the case," said Kim Soo A,
AHRC urgent appeals programme coordinator.
The three men are facing
charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms at the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) and the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC)
respectively. They were arrested on April 24, 2002, allegedly in connection
to a bombing at a mall. No case connected to the bombing has been filed,
In June 2005, the local
court was scheduled to hear the case on four separate occasions. However,
the case did not make any progress on any of these dates. When it was heard
on June 16, the judge postponed the hearing until January 5, 2006, because
the prosecutor's witnesses could not appear in court that day.
The previous postponement
and cancellation of the case was blamed on a variety of reasons: the absence
and/or replacement of the judge, the judge was out of town for a conference,
public holidays and the absence of a court stenographer. This pattern seemly
occurs every time the trial is scheduled.
"The case should be
transferred to another court branch if the judge is not capable of resolving
the case immediately," Kim noted.
Despite a notice to the
judge to take appropriate action for the speedy resolution of the case from
Christopher Lock, Supreme Court deputy court administrator, in his May 26
letter received by the AHRC, the judge has not acted on it yet. Instead, he
postponed the trial until next year.
Earlier, the three male
relatives had requested the intervention of the Supreme Court to transfer
their case to another branch. The country's highest court, however, did not
honour their request. It explained that this request should be filed in the
local court handling the case.
"This notice has left them
with no other option but to submit to the local court's procedures. They
remain unhopeful, however," Kim said. She requested that the local court
begin the trial at the earliest date possible.