Cata’s call for Palparan’s ouster faces snowballing opposition
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
CATBALOGAN, Samar – A
swelling support for the retention of MGen. Jovito Palparan as Commanding
General of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army here was
manifested by a multi-sectoral rally on August 23, participated in by
Municipal and Barangay officials from different towns both from Northern and
Various resolutions of
support for the general’s retention were apparently brought in by
representatives of various groups, optimistic that President Gloria Arroyo,
will not interfere with the anti-insurgency operations being conducted by
the Philippine Army in the region under MGen. Palparan, more particularly
the political pressure being exerted by Samar Congressman Catalino Figueroa.
Unconfirmed reports likewise
reached this publication that Gov. Milagrosa Tan of Samar and Gov. Rosette
Lerias of Southern Leyte, both executed a petition addressed to the
President to retain MGen. Palparan as Commander of the 8th ID.
A signature campaign
supporting the general was seen circulating at Gov. Tan’s residence, but
this publication wasn’t able to get the exact statement of the Samar
Governor just yet.
Barely a week earlier, Cong.
Figueroa announced to the media that he is trading his impeachment vote in
Congress for the ouster of MGen. Palparan, and even affirmed that he will
use all his congressional influence to block the AFP budget if the general
will not be relieve from Samar.
Vice-Mayor of Motiong Town
Francisco Langi speaking in behalf of his constituents and supporters,
relatively emphasized the gradual yet positive impact of the anti-insurgency
campaign of the military in their town and expressed his apprehension that
if the general will be taken out from his post without finishing off his
mission to clear Samar from insurgents, “these NPA rebels might come back at
no time at all”, he explained.
ABC President of Jiabong
town Rafael Recoletos likewise came in full force with a number of his
Barangay Chairmen armed with their resolution stipulating their unbounded
support to the general, saying that they are no longer afraid of the NPA
rebels this time, but insisted that MGen. Palparan’s mission in the province
must come into full completion.
Hon. Recoletos further
assailed Cong. Figueroa’s action in trading his impeachment vote for
Palparan’s ouster, explaining that the solon is simply a representative of
their votes in Congress and should be shouting what his constituents really
want. “Kun igpapadayon ini niya, mapipiritan kami pag-kondena ha iya
kutob 2007 nga eleksyon”, he added.
Barangay leaders from the
towns of San Jorge, Gandara, Hinabangan, Calbiga and Pinabacdao were
likewise present during the rally, while Catbalogan were represented by
different barangay chairmen led by renowned rebel returnee now barangay
captain of Old Mahayag Juanito Basal, who revealed to the rallyists the
different extortion activities being conducted by the CPP-NPA to ordinary
civilians particularly the farmers, “Deri liwat ako nahadlok pag-sumat
nga kadam-an hit aton mga local leaders dinhe ha Samar in nasuporta ha mga
NPA pinaagi hin pinansyal nga aspeto”, Chairman Basal added.
Known student groups such as
the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and the Alliance of
Concerned Students Against Communism (ACSAT) led by Irene Abainza and Marvin
Calutan respectively similarly expressed their arguments on why MGen.
Palparan should be retained.
Aside from the towns of
Western Samar, municipalities from Northern Samar such as Catubig, Las Navas
and Catarman likewise joined the rally led by a certain Marcos Anquilo,
former member Efren Martinez Command and a brother of Octavio Anquilo (Kumander
Dodong) of the RGU Command.
Anquilo in his statement
disclosed to the media, that he is a witness how Cong. Figueroa allegedly
handed out six digit amount to his brother Octavio and a certain Arturo
Tabara - accordingly the spokeperson of the RGU Visayas Command – as his
support to their group, sometime between 1993 – 1994 in a farm somewhere in
MGen. Palparan however
refused to validate the disclosure of Anquilo, but told the media instead
that Cong. Figueroa admitted just in front of other Municipal Mayors of
Samar that he indeed paid Php 100,000.00 to the NPA rebels as “permit to
campaign fee” during the elections.
The rallyists proceeded to
downtown Catbalogan in truck loads numbering to more or less 1000 people to
show their support to the Catbaloganons, who were celebrating their vesper
day for the annual fiesta celebration in honor of St. Bartholomew.
“I mishandled Congressman Figueroa” – Gen.
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
August 24, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar – Waiting
for the directive of his relief as 8th Infantry Division Commanding General, MGen. Jovito Palparan laid down his readiness to comply with any order from
the AFP higher Headquarters, but expressed his lament over mishandling his
arch nemesis Cong. Catalino Figueroa of Samar’s 2nd District.
Speaking before a group of
local media in the occasion of the 8th ID 17th Year Anniversary on August
22, 2005, MGen. Palparan disclosed that his only mistake was that he
miscalculated the time when he should have talked and discussed the
Province’ insurgency matter with Cong. Figueroa.
“Although we have the chance
before, unfortunately I didn’t feel it was the right time for me because of
some inevitable circumstances, I thought he would understand the results of
our effort to cleanse this province of the ill effects of insurgency but I
believe he would, but we run out of time to show it to him – pina-aalis na
ako e”, MGen. Palparan explained.
It was gathered that the
general was invited during the birthday of Congressman Figueroa at his
residence in Brgy. Mercedes here, on May 15, 2005, but MGen. Palparan did
not show up, explaining that he is not ready to face the solon just yet
because he just pulled out the soldiers detailed as security escorts to the
congressman at that time.
“It was a conflict of
interest, because we almost got into a firefight with our own men assigned
as his security escorts because they are in company of suspected NPAs whom
we had been following from Tacloban City”, the general asserted, explaining
further that to somehow thresh out things first, he decided to wait for the
right moment to discuss the insurgency matter with the solon later.
however, clarified to the media that he is not hindering any military
offensives against the NPA rebels, particularly the anti-insurgency campaign
of MGen. Jovito Palparan as Commanding General of the 8th ID, but asserted
that the campaign must be within the appropriate democratic principles and
must be specifically pointed on to the armed groups.
The solon was referring to
the escalating number of complaints on human rights violations being
received by his office, particularly the cases of civilian victims within
the 2nd district of this province.
As this developed, newly
promoted MajGen. Bonifacio Ramos, former Deputy Commander of the 8th ID
during the time of MGen Glen Rabonza, was the one being eyed to take-over
the post; while MGen. Palparan is expectedly will be assigned to Central
“Personally, it is an
advantage on my part considering that I will be serving a Division nearer to
my family – though I don’t have an idea yet as to the plans of the higher
headquarters why Central Luzon, but I believe this has still something to do
with the insurgency but in a much broader scope”, MGen. Palparan concluded.
Commanders and the rest of the officers and enlisted men and women of the
8th ID-PA here are confident that the new Commanding General will continue
all what MGen. Palparan have started, expressing optimism that the current
80 percent completion the 8th ID has established on their anti-insurgency
mission in the province of Samar will hit their 100 percent target.
Gen. Palparan admits relief order “saddening”
By ELI C. DALUMPINES, PIA Catbalogan
August 23, 2005
CATBALOGAN, Samar - The
commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban
here in Samar’s capital, MGen. Jovito S. Palparan, Jr., yesterday admitted
that the order of the leadership of the Armed Forces to relieve him from his
present assignment is saddening.
According to Palparan, the
army is gaining considerable grounds in the campaign against insurgency in
the region and that he is keeping on schedule with his commitment to reduce
it to an “insignificant level” but this momentum might be arrested because
of the said relief order. The army, he informed, has already achieved 80
percent of its target since he initiated “clearing operations” against
insurgents in April.
The general clarified though
that he is not going to question the decision of his superiors to relinquish
the command. “I’ll follow orders as befits a professional soldier”, the 8ID
Gen. Palparan, who assumed
the 8ID top post last February, said he understands why the president gave
in to the demands of some political leaders in the region to relieve him
citing the present political crisis the country is facing.
But he expressed regrets for
Congressman Catalino Figueroa’s act in bargaining his support to the
president in exchange for his relief saying the congressman’s
professionalism as a politician has been greatly affected. “That is more
saddening”, he stressed.
On the other hand, the
outgoing 8ID chief said he is happy with his next assignment for he will
again be near his family. Initial reports said he would be talking over as
commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija. The
command covers the whole of Central Luzon.
In his message to the
soldiers in the wake of the Division’s 17th founding anniversary, the
general said the celebration was quite untimely because of the impending
news of his relief and the installation of a new division commander.
But he reiterated that this
will have no considerable effect in the army’s determination to address
insurgency. He expressed hopes that the incoming commanding general will
continue the unfinished task.
He likewise disclosed that
he has already purchased equipment to be used in pursuing development
efforts, particularly in providing basic infrastructures like roads, to
areas that have been cleared of insurgents. The new commander can make use
of the equipment, he told his troops.
The general concluded his
speech by urging his soldiers to “renew their loyalty to the constitution,
to the flag and to the people and to protect them against those who seek to
introduce changes by extra-constitutional means”.
8ID marks 17th year anniversary
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
August 23, 2005
MajGen. Jovito S. Palparan delivering his speech during the 8ID 17th
Founding Anniversary celebration in Camp Lukban.
The Army’s 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division based in Brgy.
Maulong, this town, observed yesterday, August 22, 2005, its 17th
Founding Anniversary with a simple Parade and Review to celebrate its
founding since its activation on August 1, 1988.
Historically, the 8ID was
originally the 8th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army. But
on August 1, 1988, and pursuant to General Orders 471, GHQ, AFP dated August
2, 1988, the 8IB was elevated into a regular division of the Philippine
Since then, the 8ID
prominently figured in the counter-insurgency efforts in Eastern Visayas and
became the Best Army Unit of the Philippine Army in a national-wide search,
also in 1988.
“Both the smooth and rugged
roads we have trudged set forth the foundation of what is 8th
Infantry Division today. It is therefore indeed, appropriate to express our
gratitude to all the previous 8ID Commanders who have significantly steered
the Command in our peace, security and support to development efforts,”
Major Gen. Jovito S. Palparan, Commanading General of the 8ID said.
This year’s celebration with
a theme “8ID: Kaagapay sa Kapayapaan tungo sa Kaunlaran” showcases how the
Division has accomplished the anti-insurgency campaign in Eastern Visayas
through the years.
Other highlights of the
weeklong activities are the Field Mass, Wreath Laying, Flag
Raising/Awarding, Health Fair, Static Display, Boodle Fight, Fellowship,
Combo Exhibition, and Sayawang Bayan at the 8ID Grandstand of the Camp.
In his message, the Army
General said he couldn’t help but look back and vividly recall where he got
started and how far did his campaign gone through. “Knowing our colorful and
glorious past, we can wrap-up that the 8ID is the totality of all its
internal security operation gains in Eastern Visayas region through the
years,” he said.
To recall, no less than the
Commander-In-Chief President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed Gen. Palparan
to get rid of the insurgency problem in the region, particularly in Samar
Island. In his response, the general vowed to solve the insurgency here in
six months to one year operations, but he was cut short.
One of the major highlights
of the anniversary this morning was the awarding of the most outstanding
military personnel and civilians for the valuable support extended to the
Division in all its operations especially the anti-insurgency campaign.
Medals and Plaque of
Appreciations were personally handed-over to the following military
personnel, namely: Capt. Sinon Novo (Bronze Cross Medal), 1Lt Lazaro Quigao,
MSgt. Conrado Cezar, 2Lt. Cresencio Tangayan, 2Lt. Maniago Macalintangui,
Sgt. Eliseo Espinar, Pfc. Oliver Tenedero, 2Lt. Jose Laurel Sibullas, Sgt.
Julio Delmo, and SSgt. Romeo Sayson.
The civilian awardees were:
Engr. Jay Vincent Yulo, Alvin Cesar Laohoo, Engr. Lorenzo Yu, Suiden Pua
Tan, all outstanding businessmen. The Southern Leyte Governor Rosette Lerias,
Burauen Leyte Mayor Juanito Renomeron, Oras Eastern Samar Mayor Neil Alvarez
and the Samar Chamber of Commerce were also given a Plaque award.
“Without the support of
these people, these accomplishments could have been far from realization,”
Palparan said referring to the civilian awardees sitting on his left side
and requested the audience for a round of applause.
Aside from the living
awardees, the Division likewise pays tribute to fallen soldiers who,
accordingly to Palparan, have meaningfully sacrificed their lives in the
quest of protecting the democratic government and the integrity of the
The Army general is,
obviously, referring to the heroic acts of the following military personnel
of the Division killed in action while in the performance of their duties.
Thus, the tribute was offered to: Cpl. Ronnie B. Bote, Pfc. Leonardo Porten,
Sgt. Tereso Batan, Sgt. Elmer Tualla, Pvt. Maximo Rivera, Cpl. Benjie Creer,
SSgt. Elmer Rayandayan, 2Lt. Williamson Tan, SSgt. Felix Cortina, Sgt.
Danilo Entroliza, Cpl. JesusGarrigo, Pvt. Felix Anub Jr., Pvt. Artemio
Acanto Jr., Cpl. Mario Cabarles, Cpl. Harry Cabonce, and Pfc. Freddie Dupaya.
In closing his anniversary
message, Palparan encouraged the public to continue to be relevant to the
nation’s developmental needs by continuously providing assistance to our
local government units and line agencies in the delivery of the basic social
services intended for our constituents.
“Let this anniversary make
us continue to bear in mind the Army’s purpose. Despite the political
turmoil that the country has experienced in the past weeks, let us continue
to uphold our constitution and follow the Chain-of-Command. Let us prove our
predecessors and our fallen comrades that, the spirit of service,
strengthened by its customs & sacrifices, shall not be dishonored by
mediocrity,” he disclosed.
Reported case of
Meningococcemia in Samar kills 1
By RAY P.
August 19, 2005
Municipal health workers giving anti-bacterial medicines to every
resident in the affected community to avoid spread of the disease
CATBALOGAN, Samar - Local health
authorities here are now in full alert after a reported case of
the dreaded disease meningococcemia hit this town on Wednesday August 17 causing death to a
4-year old boy.
The victim was identified as Chrisjhon Pascobillo of Sitio
Casantolan, Barangay Mercedes, Catbalogan, Samar and was immediately brought
to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City in
the morning of August 17 for medical treatment but was pronounced dead by
On August 16, Pascobillo was
reportedly suffering from sore eyes and nose bleeding and was brought to the
Samar Provincial Hospital for medical check-up. On the following day, the
victim was again brought to the hospital because of severe abdominal pains.
Fear for a possible case of meningococcemia after showing some symptoms, the
victim was immediately referred to the EVRMC for confinement but died by
11:30 pm on the same day. The body was brought back to Catbalogan in the
early morning of August 18 and was immediately buried.
EVRMC medical consultant Dra.
Maria Remegia Manalo of the Pediatric Department, who was one in the medical
team who attended the patient, said that the case was considered a
clinically full-blown meningococcemia considering the rapid development of
“Based on the signs and symptoms
from the victim it appears that he has suffered high probability of
meningococcemia. We have taken blood samples from the victim for blood
culture laboratory test for any sign of bacterial growth and confirmation of
the disease but we are still
waiting for the result,” Dra. Manalo said. She however gave enlightenment
that such disease should not be a cause for alarm since it is controllable
if handled properly.
Catbalogan municipal health
officer Dra. Senecia Q. Yong upon learning the incident immediately
dispatched a health team in the afternoon of August 18 to conduct
investigation on the case and disinfect the area where the victim was
residing. The team gave anti-bacterial medicines to the parents, relatives
and its neighborhood to avoid possible spread of the disease. Sterilization
drive in the whole community continued today giving anti-bacterial medicines
to every resident in the area.
Mayor Grey distribute relief
goods to evacuees
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
August 18, 2005
Mayor Jojo Grey
SAN JORGE, Samar – The
municipal government of San Jorge, under the leadership of Mayor Joseph V.
Grey has distributed today relief goods to hundred of its constituents who
earlier deserted their villages due to alleged military abuses.
The distribution of relief
goods started around
9:30 a.m. today, August 18, at the Barangay Hall of Barangay
Blanca Aurora, recently occupied by the people descended from the remote
villages of Barangay Mobo-ob and Calundan.
According to the mayor, some
150 plastic bags containing rice, sardines, noodles and medicine were
distributed to the evacuees. “They left their clothes, houses, animals,
farmlands and other livelihood in these places, kaya kailangan natin silang
tulungan,” Mayor Grey said.
In fact, Mayor Grey notes,
some of the victims really needs medical attention due to their fractures
and bruises they suffered when they were reportedly manhandled and tortured
by the military.
“As Chief Executive of this
town, ang immediate reaction ko is dalhin yung may mga sugat sa Gandara
District Hospital for their medical treatment at ang iba naman ay binigyan
naming ng basic first aid at pagkain, kasi kawawa naman, they really need
food and shelter today,” Mayor Grey stressed.
It was learned that part two
of the relief distribution is set on Friday for another group of evacuees
coming from Barangay Bay-ang, the most interior village of this town.
As of today, there were a
total 43 families from Bay-ang seek temporary shelter in the neighboring
villages of Cantoto-og and Tomogbong.
Mayor Grey, who personally
accompanied the municipal employees in distributing the goods, met the
hundred of victims, interviewed one by one, and documented the ‘horrible’
experiences of each villager in the arms of their oppressor.
The evacuees accused the
military of harassing them, forcing them to pose as guides to the combat
operations and suspecting some of them as NPA supporters. The military, on
the other hand, cannot be reached for comment as of press time.
Meanwhile, aside from Mayor
Grey and his office staffs, Vice-Mayor Marcelina Yu, SB Members Demetrio
Bariquit, Jay Bisnar, Rodolfo Mabansag, Romeo Tan and ABC President Wilfredo
Sale, the PNP led by Inspector Rolando Baula, DSWD personnel were also
present to show sympathy to the evacuees.
More bags of cement needed
for concreting road to Villareal
August 18, 2005
Samar - Work having stopped on the 9-kilometer feeder road, this town’s only
access to the national highway, due to lack of funds and concreting
materials, mayor Reynato R. Latorre has joined vice-mayor Tito V. Cabueños
and the Sangguniang Bayan members in seeking for donations of bags of
Mayor Latorre approved SB
resolution no. 26, requesting Sangguniang Panlalawigan majority floor leader
Antonio D. Bolastig III “to donate/provide bags of cement for the
construction of a concrete pavement” over this road.
Vice-mayor Cabueños and the
SB members said pointed out that this feeder road has been “left unattended
for ages despite several efforts of past administrations and earnest appeals
from different sectors including private and religious orders.”
“The worsening condition of
this feeder road is so detrimental to the people of Villareal, especially to
those whose livelihood solely depends on this nine-kilometer rough road,”
In their resolution, they
told Bolastig that during rainy season, this road is “virtually impassable,
thereby causing a total stoppage to the trade and industry, depriving
farmers and small traders of their already meager income and eventually
crippling the economy of the municipality.”
They believe that if no
appropriate attention is given to this perennial problem, “it would be
inimical to the economic, social and political aspects of the community
which is contrary to the declared policies of our National Government.”
Months ago, Villahanons in
Metro Manila and abroad donated thousands of bags of cement while the local
government of this town contributed gravel, sand and equipment. When
concreting actually unreeled, the townspeople, even those coming from the
island barrios, volunteered free labor via bayanihan. Cement donations
however had been exhausted, thus the town officials have continued
requesting for this assistance not only from well-to-do Villahanons but
other government officials and sectors as well.
The feeder road had remained
a “panaaran” by past provincial and congressional politicians in the past
until mayor Latorre campaign among Villahanons in Metro Manila last year.
This road also leads to
the town’s agrarian reform community which was established by the Department
of Land Reform as a convergence zone for support services.