“We strongly denounce
this kind of accusation. The people, specially the poor peasants have
known us in our quest for genuine land reform, minimizing usury,
bargaining for higher prices of farm produce, documenting of cases of
human rights violations, among others", said Ms. Diana Ragub, Campaign
and Advocacy Officer of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan
Samahan han Gudti nga
Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas is a duly registered organization
under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For sixteen
unwavering years, SAGUPA-SB is the broadest alliance of poor peasants
in Eastern Visayas
bearing its vision of having a society where there is genuine justice,
democracy and freedom from feudal bondage and foreign intervention.
Its mission is to promote and struggle for a genuine land reform based
on the principle of “land to the tillers”, to establish a genuine
pro-peasant development program towards a free and flourishing
society, promotes sustainable agriculture and upholds the democratic
rights of the peasants. Peasants through SAGUPA-SB continue to strive
to resolve and confront issues that adversely affect them like
landlessness, usury, human rights violations, environmental
degradation and plunder of the natural resources, violence against
women, and many others. Its organizing work is geared towards the
empowerment of the poor peasants in the region.
“Can we say that
catering to the needs of these poor peasants is a form of deception?
Is it deception to speak of the truth that the farmers are poor and
must gear up towards their emancipation from feudal bondage?” Ragub
Ragub stressed that
these moves are a trademark of military and paramilitary groups.
“They are the only
people who have the motive to pin such accusation against us. We
believe this is part of the conditioning scheme they are now plotting
to instill into the minds of the people that our group is connected to
the CPP-NPA-NDF and that ours deceives the people. Since they have
failed to completely crush our organization despite their intensified
drive to kill our leaders and members, they opt to discredit us by
labeling us such,” said Ragub.
“This is still part of
their Oplan Gold Rust which envisions to demolish the credibility of
people’s organizations by instilling baseless accusations and
production of propaganda materials meant for such purpose. How much
have been taken away from the people’s coffers when they risographed
these posters?” said Ragub.
She stressed that they
will not be cowed by such attempts to destroy SAGUPA’s credibility.
She said they will strengthen their organizing and delivery of
services, especially now that economic hardships are putting much
pressure upon farmers.
She also stressed that
their credibility and integrity has never been questioned by the very
farmers they serve and by their partners.
“Our partners, some of
which are the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Asian
Development Bank (ADB), have never given us such remark. Even church
groups, which have worked in solidarity with us have never claimed
that we have deceived them. We will not stop our services. In fact,
our latest endeavor is for the victims of the killer mudslide in Brgy.
Guinsaugon, St. Bernard, Southern Leyte. We are working hand-in-hand
with the Asian Development Bank and the InfRES Project for the
rehabilitation of the devastated areas,” Ragub ended.
Tanauan wood-pusher top Regional Chess
By ROGER N. TILANA, KIMRO
March 31, 2006
Leyte – As part of the
activities of the 100-day Fiesta Countdown to this year Tacloban City
Fiesta, the 1st Mayor Bejo Eastern Visayas National Chess Championship
2006 was held in Kanhuraw Information and Media Relation Office Hall
from March 28-30, 2006. This first ever region-wide qualifying or
elimination phase chess tournament was initiated by the City
Government through the City Physical Fitness and Sports Development
Office. The 3-day tourney was open to all chess enthusiasts in Eastern
The grand champion
received the cash prize of Seven Thousand pesos (P7,000), Five
Thousand pesos (P5,000) for the second prized and Two Thousand five
hundred pesos (P2,500) for the third prize winner. From the fourth to
the tenth placer, each received a one thousand pesos (P1,000)
consolation prize. The top ten players will be given a chance to play
for the national round, which may also lead them to have an
opportunity to play in this year’s chess Olympiad in Italy this coming
City Mayor Alfredo
”Bejo” Romualdez was truly glad and grateful that the City hosted this
classic board game designed to promote development of a variety of
intellectual abilities, thresh out the wizards in the field of chess,
and eventually bring prestige and honor to the Eastern Visayas Region.
In his message the mayor said “hopefully this worthy endeavor will
encourage our people to be actively involved in such tournaments not
only to test their logic and concentration but more on character
building and personality enhancement.”
Here is the final
result of the 1st Mayor Bejo Eastern Visayas Chess Championship 2006,
Antonio Caya (Tanauan, Leyte)
Norman Jasper Montejo (Catbalogan,
Felix Corate (Tacloban
Dr. Leo Lofranco (Catbalogan,
Lyndon Dacuyan (Tacloban City)
Merelos (Tacloban City)
Rolando Basas (Tacloban City)
Felomino Go (Palo, Leyte)
Estardo (Tacloban City)
Paminiano (Burauen, Leyte)
Garces (Maasin, Southern Leyte)
Michaelangelo Alcober (Tacloban City)
Armando Hidalgo (Tacloban City)
Aseo (Tanauan, Leyte)
NPA group caught in
surprise by 43IB operating troops
By Maj. MANGINTONONG A. TOCALO, (INF) PA
March 30, 2006
Catbalogan, Samar – More or less fifteen (15) members of the NPA
terrorist were surprised by the attack of the 43rd Infantry Battalion
operating troops led by 2Lt. Joyner Z. Gascon at Sitio Kaslaan,
Barangay Hindangan, Sogod, Southern Leyte at about 4:30 in the
afternoon of March 23, 2006.
Terrorists (CT’s) were in hiding having their rest and at the same
time preparing for their dinner when the attack took place which
resulted to a firefight that lasted for about seven (7) minutes. The
CT’s scampered to different directions and fled away leaving behind
eight (8) M16 rifles, magazine with live ammunitions and voluminous
subversive documents of high intelligence value.
There was no casualty
in the government side, while there were undetermined number on the
CT’s as bloodstains were observed on the route of their withdrawal.
The troops are
currently conducting hot pursuit operations to track down
aforementioned CT’s. Likewise, checkpoints in different areas had been
established and hospital establishments in the area were being
monitored for the possible treatment of CT’s casualties.
Bonifacio Ramos, the commander of 8th Infantry Division commended the
troops for their gallantry in action, stealth movement and skillful
maneuver that led to the recovery of the aforementioned high powered
This action is a
manifestation that the 8th infantry division in this part of the
region is indeed worthy of emulation. Our soldiers once demonstrated
their noble act risking their lives during the Guinsaugon, Saint
Bernard rescue operations hoping to save ones life. But more so, the
just successful combat operation of our soldiers speaks of their
skills in combat as protector of our people.
Solon calls for
alternative to “5-6” lending business
Of Volunteer Educators (AVE)
March 30, 2006
MANILA – A
party-list representative on Wednesday said there is a need for the
money-lending sector to come up with a one-stop shop for small-medium
entrepreneurs to avert the further proliferation of the
so-called “5-6” lending business.
AVE Rep. Eulogio
“Amang” Magsaysay said the rising number of people engaged in
money-lending in the country is a positive indicator that the
so-called “underground economy” is thriving.
“We need to protect
the interests of these small-scale entrepreneurs if we want to attain
a robust economy,” Magsaysay said.
Magsaysay was reacting
to a special report by a major newspaper on foreign moneylenders
preying on the vulnerability of these Filipino vendors out to secure
loans from banks and other financial lending institutions to finance
money-lenders charge exorbitant interest rates, don’t pay taxes to the
government and violate trade rules. These money-lenders exist because
there is a strong demand for them,” Magsaysay said.
Magsaysay said most
small-scale businesses in the country have been and are still being
financed by these “5-6” money-lenders.
“Pumunta ka sa
talipapa, ang puhunan ng mga nagtitinda ng baboy, manok, karne, bigas,
gulay, ay inutang sa mga nagpapa 5-6. Bumili ka sa mga sari-sari
store, ang puhunan dito ay galing din sa mga foreign money lenders na
ito,” Magsaysay said.
“Marami ang umuutang
sa kanila dahil madali lang ang pag-utang. Notebook at ballpen lang
ang kailangan,” Magsaysay said.
But what these
borrowers don’t realize, Magsaysay said, is that in the end, they are
the ones who go bankrupt while it is these modern-day “shylocks” who
become financial giants.
Magsaysay said the
number of foreign “shylocks” in the country has multiplied over the
past years and their trade has become a million-peso industry.
“Ibig sabihin, malaki
ang pera sa ganitong sistema. Our banks and lending institution could
perhaps take a look at this and perhaps come up with viable loan
requirements that will be easy for small-scale businessmen to comply
with, requirements that can match the notebook and ballpen
requirements of these illegal money-lenders” Magsaysay said.
34th Infantry Battalion
captures NPA camp
By OSCAR A. LABRO
March 29, 2006
CATBALOGAN, Samar – The
joint operations of the 34th Infantry (Reliable) Battalion and the Scout
Rangers resulted in the capture of a CPP/NPA camp situated at the vicinity
of Barangay Hagbay of San Jose de Buan and Barangay Bay-ang of San Jorge,
Samar last March 16, 2006. The said CPP/NPA camp, according to the military
officials, was being used as a mini-hospital where sick and wounded
communist terrorists were being treated. The recovered camp is composed of
twelve (12) makeshift huts, which included a kitchen used as a mess hall and
a session hall that can accommodate more or less than thirty (30) communist
An interview conducted with
Col. Glorivine Dida, Battalion Commander of the 34th IB based in San Jorge,
Samar, revealed that his men composed of two squads from the Charlie Company
under Sgt. Cabudsan and Cpl. Red, together with two sections of scout ranger
students under 1Lt. Celestino and 2Lt. Panes, encountered five (5) communist
terrorists under an unknown leader in the same vicinity and engaged in a
firefight that lasted for more that fifteen minutes. There were
undetermined wounded CT’s as evidenced by bloodstains along their route of
withdrawal towards the north-east direction. Reports said that the
terrorists were using full high-powered firearms. Recovered in the camp site
were one (1) unit electric generator, voluminous subversive documents of
high intelligence value, personal belongings, medical kits and assorted
As of this date, Col. Dida
said that his troops are undergoing massive pursuit operations to locate and
intercept the withdrawing terrorists. The battalion, under Col. Dida’s
command, will further intensify all their actions in order to protect the
people and eventually defeat the rebel groups.
The capture of the said camp
is a result of the recently held peace and development forum conducted in
San Jose de Buan, which was a joint effort of the local government
officials, other coordinating agencies and the military. The barangay folks
have favorably responded to the calls of the military to report harassment,
extortion and other related illegal activities of the CPP/NPA in the area.
It must be recalled that most barangay chairmen in this municipality have
confirmed the reports that a minimum of three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) per
quarter were taken from their Internal Revenue Allotments to support the NPA.
Just recently, these people have signified their withdrawal of support to
these illegal activities that resulted in the evacuation of some families
from their barangays to the town proper. Barangay Resolutions were reported
to have flocked the military authorities requesting security assistance. The
Peace and Development Forum was seen to be an effective campaign against NPA
activities and the realization of the people’s rights for the protection of
their civil rights and maintenance of peaceful lives in their communities.
Something is wrong at
Transco, consumer group says
March 29, 2006
PARAÑAQUE CITY – “Will
the consumers be the ones to pay for the costs of capital projects that the
National Transmission Corporation (Transco) implemented without the prior
approval of the regulator?”
This was the reaction of the
National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms (Nasecore) on the
recent Order of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) penalizing Transco
PhP9.4 million for implementing capital projects without first seeking the
regulator’s approval as required by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
“It is ironic that a
government owned-and-controlled corporation indispensable to the
restructuring of the electricity industry has flagrantly violated the EPIRA.
This is flagrant as it involves not one project only but 21 upgrading
projects worth PhP16.991 billion. Something is definitely wrong with
Transco,” Pete Ilagan, president of Nasecore, said.
Ilagan added: “Majority of
the Filipino consumers do not know that the cost of these Transco capital
projects will be recovered through the transmission rates charged to the
consumers. And this includes those that were implemented without prior
approval of the ERC. The question is will the ERC, as an independent
regulator, allow it?”
The consumer advocacy group
hopes the ERC will also institute criminal action against the officers of
Transco or any utilities that will violate ERC rules pursuant to Section 46
Under the said section, the
penalty of prision correctional or a fine ranging from Five thousand
pesos (P5,000.00) to Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00), or both, at the
discretion of the court, shall be imposed on any person, including but not
limited to the president, member of the Board, chief executive officer or
chief operating officer of any utility found guilty of violating or refusing
to comply with any provision of the EPIRA or its IRR. If the offender is a
government official he shall also be dismissed from the government service
with prejudice to reinstatement and with perpetual or temporary
disqualification from holding any elective or appointive office.