CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Samareños will soon become witness of a seeming power-show in the coming
weeks as Samar’s renowned Congressman Catalino Figueroa and the 8th Infantry
Division Philippine Army’s (8th ID-PA) “fist of steel”, MGen. Jovito
Palparan, will once again blow their respective arguments regarding the
escalating alleged military perpetrated human right violations occurring in
the Province of Samar.
In a hosted dinner yesterday
by Cong. Figueroa at his residence to at least 18 foreign delegates and a
number of national and local human right advocates who attended the
International Solidarity Mission (ISM) here, the solon firmly stand on his
statement that he will exert all possible efforts to get MGen. Palparan out
of Eastern Visayas.
Cong. Figueroa’s unyielding
stand against the 8th ID-PA general was manifested when he openly informed
the local and foreign media groups present at the gathering that he already
informed President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in a meeting last week in
Malacañang, that he is bargaining his most precious vote for the impending
impeachment trial against the president in Congress.
“If he will not heed to our
request to get Palaparan out of Samar, then I will certainly vote for her
impeachment, and I am announcing that in public”, Cong. Figueroa informed
the media and other ISM delegates here, stressing that the kind of
anti-insurgency approach being adopted by the military in Samar does not
compensate the real democratic vision of the Arroyo administration.
“Yes, I run under the Lakas
banner, and I must support PGMA being a party-mate and the Lakas national
bearer, but it is already the people of Samar who needs my support, and I am
not a Congressman of the president, so I have to give my priority to my
constituents”, Cong. Figueroa stressed out.
Aside from the impeachment
vote, the Samar solon likewise informed of his another ace in the seeming
power game, that he will exert all of his congressional influence to give
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) budget a hard-blow in Congress
“I assure the AFP that they
will get a good fight with us, in either blocking or reducing their budget
allocation this coming month as the congress will start hearing the
government’s budget for next year”, Cong. Figueroa asserted, but the solon
informed that Malacañang people already gave him the assurance that MGen.
Palparan will soon be relieved from his post, cluing-up that he was asked to
wait for the installation of the new AFP Chief of Staff in the person of
General Generoso Senga.
Gov. Tan asked to release P155,500 for
topographic surveys of creeks
CHITO DELA TORRE
August 14, 2005
Samar - Multi-sectoral groups have resolved on July 29, 2005 to
appeal to Samar Governor Milagrosa T. Tan to immediately release the amount
of P155,500 for use in the conduct and completion of the topographic surveys
by the Department of Public Works and Highways of the Ngoso and Nacube
creeks in Gandara and of Sapinit Creek in San Jorge, including their
In a resolution, members of
the Samar Provincial Technical Working Group on the Gandara Watershed’s
Project Team, barangay officials and other key government personnel and
members of other groups say that the DPWH submitted to Gov. Tan last July
12, 2005 the cost estimates for the conduct of the topographic surveys that
will serve as basis for the formulation and development of plans and
projects intended to address the flooding problem in the towns of Tarangnan,
Gandara, San Jorge and Pagsanghan (TAGASAPA), all in the First District of
“Considering the immediacy
and urgency of the topographic surveys, the DPWH survey team proceeded with
the surveys, using the personal money of the key officials of DPWH in Samar
Districts I and II,” the resolution says.
It further tells the
governor that the media launched a fund drive to support the financial needs
of the survey teams except that “there was no appreciable response from the
Adoption of the resolution
was moved by Ma. Clarina Sabulao, landowners sector representative in the
Samar provincial land reform coordinating committee (PLRCCOM-Samar), and
seconded by those present during the “Orientation-Consultation on the
Information Campaign on the TAGASAPA Flooding Problem” held at the session
hall of the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jorge in the morning of July 29, and at
the SB session hall in Gandara in the afternoon of the same day.
The resolution was signed by
Samar Vice-Governor Jesus B. Redaja, Sabulao, Engr. Augusto A. Aguilar who
heads the Samar II survey team at Sapinit Creek, Engr. Maximo C. Daquilanea
of National Irrigation Administration, San Jorge vice-mayor Marcelina D. Yu,
vice-chairperson Albina A. Valles of the Samar People’s Economic Council
Foundation Inc. (SPECFI), this writer;
Professor Eliodoro D.
Original and Manuel V. Baylon, respectively extension services director and
board secretary of the Samar State College of Agriculture and Forestry (SSCAF);
Gandara municipal planning and development coordinator Manuel Felix Yangzon;
San Jorge Sangguniang Bayan member Demetrio Bariquit;
Engr. Ray P. Gaspay, Emy C.
Bonifacio, Bryan M. Azura, and Max Daquilanea Jr., all of the Catbalogan
Cable Television Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN); information officer
Elias Dalumpines of Philippine Information Agency, San Jorge tourism and
media officer Ricky J. Bautista;
Gandara punong barangay
Susana G. Aliman, Catalina C. Tagra, Paciencia Paglinawan and Epifanio A.
Bacurio, barangay treasurer Rollie A. Espino, secretary Francisco A. Reyes;
Sahadu G. Tarce, Iluminada B. De Guia, Maximo A. Amos and Arnold Amistoso.
The meeting in San Jorge was
coordinated and sponsored by vice-mayor Yu with the assistance of SB member
Bariquit, while that in Gandara was sponsored by mayor Antonieto T. Cabueños
with the help of municipal administrator Salvador Tan.
LGU Equity First
Valles of SPECFI pointed out
during the meeting that the national government will provide huge assistance
funds for undertakings such as the gargantuan task of solving the TAGASAPA
flooding problem, if local government units will first put up an equity.
The P155,500 request to
Governor Mila Tan is just part of the LGU equity required, the meeting
Other matters taken up in
that meeting were the updates on the topographic surveys which were reported
on by Engr. Aguilar and agro-forestry as a flood control strategy, which was
presented by provincial environment and natural resources officer George F.
Engr. Aguilar revealed that
after 5 days of survey, the survey teams suspended their job on account of
absence of operational funds. They have exhausted the small amounts of money
that they had raised personally, he said.
Sec. Claudio’s Commitment
Vice-Gov. Redaja told the
groups that during the visit to Catbalogan, Samar of Secretary Gabriel B.
Claudio, Cabinet Officer for Regional Development (CORD), he requested the
latter for assistance to put an end to the flooding problem in the TAGASAPA
zone to thereby restore the lost “rice granary of Samar” or save at least
P240 million per cropping season from more than 6,000 hectares of ricelands,
mostly agrarian reform areas.
Redaja said that subsequent
to the assurance of help from Sec. Claudio, the technical working group
decided to first conduct a survey of three major creeks and their
tributaries - Ngoso Creek, Nacube Creek in Gandara and Sapinit Creek in San
Jorge which overflow with floodwaters during heavy or ordinary rains and
serve as courses for the overflowing, rising and running floodwaters that
ruin agricultural crops and victimizes more than 3,000 farmers.
From the final survey
results, Redaja said, a program of work would be formulated, along with
specific flood control interventions. These will require the active
participation and mobilization of barangay officials and their constituents,
Policeman rots alumni homecoming, murders
By ERNIE C. GONO
August 13, 2005
BALANGKAYAN, Eastern Samar -
A policeman, believed to be under the influence of alcohol, intentionally
shot to death a government employee and at the same time an alumnus of
Balangkayan National High School weeks ago during the Alumni Homecoming of
the said school, this town.
PO1 Jacinto Bobbet Marasigan,
a newly assigned police officer in the municipality of Balangkayan, fired
his M16 armalite rifle at Terry Gesite of the Eastern Samar Provincial Legal
Office, instantly killing the latter early morning of July 13 while the
homecoming was about to end.
Investigators of the
Philippine National Police found in the crime scene 27 armalite empty shells
believed to come from Marasigan's weapon, 3 cal.45 empty shells and 3 slugs
from unidentified firearms. The police station's blotter revealed that at
about 12:45 am, about 3 hours before the incident occurred, the victim went
to the police station and complained that Marasigan withdrew his sidearm at
him and threatened him inside the municipal plaza while the event was going
on. The blotter also disclosed that the suspect, who was under the influence
of liquor, was allegedly hit on the thigh after the incident. Accounts of
the witnesses claim that the police on duty disarmed the suspect after the
According to one witness, he
saw Marasigan, going inside his residence, which was only about 5 meters
from the plaza, and took his rifle. "Sumulod hi Bobbet ha ira balay,
paggawas gintututok na niya an pusil
kan Mano Terry," said a witness who asked his name be
In an interview with, Vevina
Gesite, the wife of the fatality, who was with her husband during the
incident, told that they were in a hurry to get out of plaza apparently
avoiding the suspect. "Paggawas nam ha plaza, kumita nala ak kan Terry nga
nagdadagmit paglakat," she said. "Tigda la, kumita nala ak kan Bobbet
nagbubukod ha iya ngan nagpusil," she further told.
Contrary to the news report
that came out of a local paper three days after the incident, eyewitnesses
claim that Marasigan did not approach Gesite to apprehend the latter but to
intentionally kill him. "There were already rumors around the town that
weeks before the incident, the suspect had been asking the Mayor, Vegerano
Gesite, to dispose of the casualty," said a kin of the victim.
The mayor is a first-degree
cousin of the victim and is also a close relative of the suspect. Meanwhile,
appropriate charges had been filed against the killer. Balangkayan police
claim it has custody of the suspect and is still recuperating at an
undisclosed hospital. PNP as of press time, nonetheless, could not inform
the court about the whereabouts of the suspect despite the issuance of
Commitment Order from the Regional Trial Court.
Consumer group urges government to conduct
consultations on Transmission Development Plan
By NASECORE PR
August 12, 2005
PARAÑAQUE CITY, Philippines
- A consumer advocacy group on Wednesday called on the national government
to conduct public consultations on the revised Transmission Development Plan
The National Association of
Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) made this appeal to the
government after the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) informed
the consumer group that its Transmission Development Plan (TDP) had been
submitted to the Department of Energy (DOE) for integration with the
Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) and it is DOE who will hold the consultation
for the said TDP.
Pete Ilagan, president of
Nasecore, pointed out that Section 9(f) of the Electric Power Industry
Reform Act (EPIRA) expressly mandates that TDP consultations must first be
made by Transco with utilities and electricity end-users before the TDP is
submitted to the Department of Energy (DOE) for integration with the PDP and
Philippine Energy Plan (PEP).
“It is quite strange that an
agency of the government violated the very law that it is supposed to
implement. With this kind of attitude how can you expect a transparent and
honest-to-goodness implementation of an important piece of legislation?”
“Why deny the consumers of
the opportunity of sharing their ideas, inputs and comments on the TDP.
Even if the EPIRA does not require consultations, under the time-honored
concept of transparency and accountability of public officials, the
government has the obligation of consulting the public on any important
government programs like the TDP. More so with a program where it is the
consuming public who will pay for its costs,” Ilagan added.
The first TDP was formulated
by Transco in 2004 and laid down the projects that will reinforce the
transmission backbone for the major islands and the expansion of substations
to accommodate higher demand. It also seeks the upgrading of existing links
between main island grids and the interconnection of small islands in order
to ensure economic pooling of generators.
Transco is presently
revising the TDP in order to give an accurate assessment of the required
transmission projects prior to selling the transmission assets to
prospective local and foreign bidders.
The consumer group is hoping
that the DOE Secretary will immediately correct Transco’s violation in order
to ensure that it will fully comply with the clear provision of the law on
the preparation of the Transmission Development Plan.
NTC shuts Radyo Natin
Catbalogan, holds MBC liable for operating hundreds of SRS
By ERNIE C. GONO
August 11, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar - A Show
Cause Order containing a cease and desist directive from the commissioner of
National Telecommunications Commission was issued to Radyo Natin FM-Catbalogan
on July 20, this year, forcing a closure of the said radio station from its
In the order against Manila
Broadcasting Company, NTC Commissioner Ronald Olivar Solis said that the
company is "operating a low power FM station in Muñoz, Catbalogan as a
commercial broadcasting station without the necessary authority from this
Bryan Azura, owner of the
Bryzmicbiz Promo & Ads that serves as the partner of MBC in operating the
said station, in an interview, said that he was surprised to know that the
station, whom he personally manages, has no NTC permit. "MBC told us when we
franchised the station, that this has all the necessary permit," Azura said.
"Months after we started the operation back in 2001, MBC sent me a photocopy
of the Permit to Posses Radio Transmitter with permit number BSD-0001-2002
PO," he further said. Azura was not around in the station when NTC closed
In the said document dated
January 7, 2001, the NTC, under then Commissioner Elisio M. Rio, Jr.,
certified that MBC is granted permit to posses 81 units of low power
transmitters including the Catbalogan station.
"We were not thoroughly
oriented as to when and how frequent we need to renew the permit so I
thought it was just overdue for renewal," Azura narrated. Azura, who also
serves as the Editor-in-chief of Western Courier weekly news publication,
went to NTC regional office in
City to personally verify the order at the director's office.
It turned out, however, that
not only the Catbalogan station that was given the closure order but also
all the other Small Radio Stations (SRS) of MBC in the Region 8. "I was
suppose to ask Regional Director Samuel Young as to how I can resume
operation but he said not to mind anymore," Azura said quoting Young. "He
said ayaw na la kamo hito pagbinayad," he cited Young telling him.
"From the very start,
Director Young said, MBC operated the low power stations illegally," he
added. "These transmitters are not suppose to be used for commercial
broadcast," said Young in his conversation with Azura. The director could
not determine, meanwhile, as to how MBC managed to operate the stations. NTC
regional office disclosed that all similar stations in the entire country
would be served the same cease and desist order.
To recall with, about more
than three years ago, MBC, made it to public that it is offering franchise
of its more than a thousand units of SRS to anyone who is willing to operate
for a determined amount. The said radio stations were additions to its more
than a hundred 500-watt RN stations in the country. In the orientations made
by MBC, its personnel made it clear to the "partners," those who availed the
stations, that SRS is designed as community commercial stations. The company
provided the partners the equipment such as transmitter, satellite receiver
and the antenna. The partner was supposed to acquired additional equipment
needed for broadcast. Initially, MBC should have provided the necessary NTC
permits to all operational SRS. In the Memorandum of Agreement between MBC
and the partners, it made it clear that the latter should be responsible in
renewing the same.
NTC personnel however
revealed that the commercial operation of SRS is illegal. Lilibeth Dion,
announcer of Catbalogan station cited Engr. Wilfredo Zabala, NTC inspector,
that the station is not meant for business. "Ang mga ganitong station daw,
is only for public announcements and panawagan," said Dion quoting Zabala
when the latter implemented the order last July 20.
"Dir. Young was even puzzled
how MBC was able to get such permit from their former Commissioner," said
Azura recalling their conversation with the NTC director. "The director said
that MBC made a good money out of it," Young continued talking to Azura.
Meanwhile, the station
manager believes that there must be fraud committed on the part of MBC. "If
that's the case, then it is clear that MBC just tricked its hundreds of
partners," Azura told. "I'm not a lawyer but I think the company should be
hold liable for the loss of our livelihoods," he added.
Mission Bound for Samar
By ALEX LAGUNZAD
August 9, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar - In
defense of human rights and civil liberties in the face of mounting human
rights violations, an international mission is to arrive here in Samar. With
delegates coming from different parts of the globe, the International
Solidarity Mission aims to bring to the attention of the international
community the gravity of the HR violations and the extent of state terrorism
occurring in the Philippines, particularly in Samar, under the GMA
administration. The mission also aims to muster international pressure on
the GMA government to stop violating human rights and people’s rights with
impunity, gather international support for the victims and to contextualize
the worsening human rights situation in the region and country within the
US’s war on terror.
Set this August 13-18, 2005,
foreign delegates will visit
Samar, the island of
Mindoro, Hacienda Luisita in Ilocos,
Compostella Valley and other
Moro Areas in Mindanao. Findings and documented cases will be discussed in
the People’s Tribunal set after the mission.
It has been noted that the
present Arroyo administration leads a government and its institutions,
particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National
Police that is smeared by blood. In less than four years, the Arroyo regime
has committed 3,560 cases of human rights violations victimizing 198,308
individuals, 18,977 families, 123 communities and 1,016 households. There
are 236 political detainees all over the country as of January 31, 2005.