visits victims of Hilongos, Leyte blast
By DPAO, 8ID PA
December 30, 2016
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – It was December 28, 2016 at 9 o’clock in the evening, while
the residents were enjoying a boxing match in connection with the town
fiesta celebration, when two improvised explosive devices from 81mm
mortar ammunition exploded at the municipal plaza, Central Poblacion,
Hilongos, Leyte that eventually injured 32 residents of the said town.
On December 30, 2016, two
days after the Hilongos, Leyte Bombing, Pres. Duterte arrived at Ormoc
City Airport at around 9:40am and was warmly received by Maj. Gen.
Oscar T Lactao AFP, CENTCOM Commander; Brig. Gen. Raul M Farnacio AFP,
8ID Commander; PSSupt Roberto T Badian, PRO8 Deputy Regional Director
for Admin; Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for Eastern
Visayas; Hon. Lucy Torres-Gomes, 4th District Representative of Leyte;
Hon. Richard Gomes, Ormoc City Mayor, and other members of Sanguniang
Panlungsod of Ormoc City.
immediately flew to Hilongos, Leyte via presidential helicopter and
arrived in the area at around 10:21am at Hilongos district hospital to
visit the victims of the bombing. He gave financial assistance worth
P10,000.00 pesos and cellphone to every victim, and promised a
scholarship for every graduating student who became a victim of the
He likewise ensured that
PhilHealth will assist the victims in paying their hospital bills. Any
excess hospital bills that cannot be shouldered by PhilHealth will be
shouldered by DSWD while the crutches and wheelchairs will be provided
by DOH, the President said.
During his message before
the people of Hilongos, the President said, that the bombing incident
in that town is part of the plan of the enemy of the state to
destabilize the government. Hence, he reminded the local PNP & AFP
units to be more vigilant of terrorist’s plan in the days ahead
especially bombings of the Maute group.
In this regard all local AFP
unit commanders are advised to proactively coordinate with their PNP
counterparts to increase joint patrols and check points in urban
centers, ports, churches and other critical infrastructures. The visit
of President Duterte in the municipality of Hilongos, Leyte culminated
at about 12 o’clock noon and he immediately returned to Ormoc City
airport and boarded the presidential private plane going to Davao
Duterte's 6-month contract failed to bring change
corruption and killings still rampant despite Digong's statements
By Sanlakas Youth
December 29, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Student
activists from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao castigated President
Rodrigo Duterte given the absence of genuine change six months under
"While the contracts of
contractual workers who started their jobs with the President last
July have already ended, contractualization still persists under the
President's administration," said Rara Ada of Sanlakas Youth -
Mindanao. "It is quite a shame that already, Sec. Bello of the
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is boasting that 'endo' has
already been abolished, when in fact, regular employment and benefits
are still far from the reach of workers of companies who circumvent
rules and laws through the use of agencies," she said.
Ending contractualization is
one of the promises showcased by the Duterte administration. DOLE has
since come up with a so-called 'win-win' solution, where employees
will be considered 'regular,' but under the agencies which employ
them. "Under this scheme, the hiring company would still be able to
relieve a worker from employment after a given period without giving
them the benefits they are due," said Ada. "It is obvious who lost in
the win-win solution posed by the Department of Labor and Employment:
the workers," she added.
Ada also blasted Duterte for
his 'two-faced' stance regarding corruption. "During his campaign, the
President has also promised ending corruption in the government. And
yet, in under six months, we have seen the release of former President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a hero's burial for the late dictator
Ferdinand Marcos, two of the most notorious plunderers in our
country's history," she stated.
Youth groups also condemned
the upsurge of drug-related killings under the administration.
"Already, more than 6,200 Filipinos have died under the reign of
terror brought about by the administration's war on drugs," said Zaira
Baniaga of KAISA-UP Diliman. "Instead of an atmosphere of security,
the lawless killings of suspected criminals and innocent citizens has
left Filipinos in greater fear for their own lives and the security of
their families," Baniaga added.
Baniaga said that the
continuation of unlawful killings is a statement that the drug war is
failing, not succeeding.
"On top of this, the
President's allies in the Congress are scrambling to pass death
penalty and lowering the age for criminal liability, blind to the
failure of the law to secure innocents, especially children, from the
discriminatory flaws of the justice system and the sociological roots
of crime," she said.
developments in the realm of education have been criticized by the
youth sector as well.
"Until this administration
ceases to insitutionalize automatic appropriation for education,
accessible and quality education for Filipinos will remain as an
illusion," said Aivan Lloyd Calonia of Sanlakas Youth - Visayas.
"Problems and faults exist in all levels of education, from the poor
implementation of the K to 12 program, the lack of quality facilities
in public schools, the poor wages of teachers, as well as the
curricula designed to make cheap overseas workers or contractual
workers domestically," Calonia continued. "While increasing the budget
for education alone will not solve all its problems, raising the
standard for spending on the sector to the international standard of
6% Gross National Product will be a step in the right direction," he
Calonia also criticized the
proposed embankment project in Tacloban as part of the rehabilitation
and development program in Yolanda-affected areas.
"The proposed project will
only bar small fishing communities from reaching their source of
livelihood, not far from the massive displacement experienced by
poverty-stricken communities under the rehab efforts of the previous
administration," he said.
Calonia urged the President
to distinguish himself from predecessors by refraining from the
neoliberal path of development. "In the six months that have passed,
we are only seeing more of the same policies: privatizing public
services, catering to business interests and keeping wages low," he
Calonia also warned the
public of questionable shortcuts which may be undertaken by the
President and his administration in solving perceived problems.
"We cannot afford a repeat
of the wasted trust and optimism from the part of previous
administration," he stressed. "Especially with voices inside and
surrounding the administration who threaten to steer its popularity
for their own interest," he stressed.
"While a large number of
Filipinos remain optimistic about this administration, being vigilant
and critical of the obvious shortcomings from the administration is
essential for the People to truly lead the changes they want to see in
our society," he concluded.
99 N. Samar farmers
receive CLOAs from DAR
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
December 22, 2016
MONDRAGON, Northern Samar
– Ninety-nine farmers from remote villages in this town braved the
heavy rains on Friday afternoon to receive their certificates of
landownership award (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform
DAR Assistant Regional
Director Ma. Fe Malinao assisted by Mayor Mario Madera handed to the
beneficiaries the 118 CLOAs covering a combined area of 123.8 hectares
of farmlands situated in Barangays Talolora and La Trinidad in this
The distribution was held at
the covered court of the municipal hall amid heavy rains.
Malinao, Madera and DAR
Northern Samar Legal Chief Atty. Edsel Ballicud repeatedly stressed to
the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) not to sell or mortgage their
awarded lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)
as stated in the CLOA.
Moreover, Ballicud explained
to the ARBs their roles, obligations and responsibilities as
recipients of the land transfer program.
Malinao added that DAR also
provides support services to ARBs to improve farm production that
would eventually lead to increased income.
prisoner finally released, but on bail, wishes freedom for the rest of
December 19, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Ramon Argente, now 57, was all smiles when he met human rights workers upon
his release on December 15, 2016. Upon arrival in Manila, he went
straight to the Philippine Heart Center for a check-up. This is where
he underwent a heart bypass surgery in 2013. Argente was happy, but
has one wish: that the rest of the political prisoners be released
“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay
hindi pa rin ako ganap na nakaka-recover sa karamdaman. Sa tagal nang
maysakit ay kahapon lang nakalaya, sa bisa pa ng pagpiyansa. (Until
now, I have not yet fully recovered from my illness. I have been sick
for a long time, but I was only released yesterday, but through
bail),” said Argente, who was granted bail by the RTC Branch 64 in
Labo, Camarines Norte.
One of the 130 ailing
political prisoners, Argente was detained for more than three years on
the basis of trumped-up charges of multiple counts of murder, theft
and frustrated murder. Hehad a triple heart bypass operation in 2013.
After the surgery, he was brought back to detention at the PNP
Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“Nananawagan (ako) sa
administrasyong Duterte na tuparin ang kanyang pangako bago pa siya
makapanumpa. Nagpahayag na siyang handang palayain ang mga bilanggong
pulitikal ganoon din ang pagpapalaya sa mga maysakit katulad ko, at
iyong mga bilanggong matatanda...mga bilanggong pulitikal na matagal
nang nakakulong maging iyong mga kababaihan. (I call on President
Duterte to fulfill his promises before he swore into office. He said
he is ready to release political prisoners including those who are ill
like me, and the elderly prisoners...and political prisoners who have
spent a long time in prison, even the women),” said Argente.
Now 57, Argente is a peasant
organizer from San Pablo, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. He has coronary
artery disease and was undergoing medication when he was arrested in
February 18, 2013 in Brgy. Muson, Bauan, Batangas.
He remained in a fragile
condition while in jail, experiencing difficulty in breathing and
chest pains. Argente was undergoing medication when he was arrested.
His health worsened while detained at the Camarines Norte Provincial
Jail. It took six months before his motion for hospitalization was
At least 400 political
prisoners remain in detention, the recent political prisoners released
after the courts ordered them released, or granted bail. None has been
released by the Duterte administration through general amnesty, after
the courts granted temporary release on bail to 19 NDFP consultants.
“Sana po suportahan din
natin ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng
gobyerno ng Pilipinas at National Democratic Front. (I hope we also
support the continuation of the peace talks between the government of
the Philippines and the National Democratic Front),” Argente added.
Armed clashes in
Basilan displace nearly 7,000 people
December 13, 2016
MANILA – Nearly 7,000
people have been displaced for more than a month following armed
clashes between government security forces and armed groups in Basilan
province, southern Philippines.
“These families left their
homes and sources of livelihood after the hostilities started in
November. The residents of six villages in the conflict-affected
municipalities of Al-Barka and Tuburan chose to stay with relatives or
in evacuation centers for fear of being caught in the crossfire. The
ICRC’s distribution is in response to their basic needs for food,”
said Nezar Tamine, deputy head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Mindanao.
To support their needs, the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided food rations
and hygiene items on December 7 and 9 for the affected families in Al-Barka
and Tuburan, with the support of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
Each family received 25
kilograms of rice, 2 litres of oil, 1 kilogram of sugar, ½ kilogram of
salt, 12 tins of sardines, 1 liter of soy sauce, and a hygiene kit
containing shampoo, bath and laundry soaps, toothbrushes and
toothpaste. In July, the ICRC through the PRC provided essential
household items and hygiene kits to 17,000 displaced people in
Tipo-Tipo, Al-Barka and Ungkaya Pukan municipalities.
Also recently, the ICRC
arranged for 12 emergency health kits to be delivered to hospitals and
rural health units in Sulu and Basilan provinces to support the
medical needs of the affected civilians. These kits also contain
dressing materials to treat the weapon-wounded.
Together with the PRC
Zamboanga City chapter, 113 health workers from six rural health units
of Basilan were trained on first aid and basic life support from
August to October to boost the capacity and readiness of health
workers and the community to help save lives during armed fighting and
As part of its mandate to
raise awareness of and respect for international humanitarian law, the
ICRC continues to remind all parties to the conflict about the need to
protect civilians and those who are not or no longer participating in
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial, and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is
to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other
situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the
Philippines for more than 70 years and a permanent presence in
Mindanao since 1982.
Labor group sees
increase in employment in 2017 but expresses concern on rising
By Associated Labor Unions
December 13, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Labor
group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) attributes the high employment
rate to the optimism created by President Duterte’s repeated promise
to seriously address the worsening problems on peace and order
situation, graft and corruption in government bureaucracy, drastic
cutting on red tape specifically the setting up of business operations
and on his promise to build unprecedented number of strategic
In a Labor Force Survey
released by Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed unemployment
reached its lowest level 4.7% in 11 years.
“We are also seeing Mr.
Duterte’s aggressive pro-China diplomacy initiatives, peace talking
with the communist movement actors, separatist entities and
personalities in Mindanao and his leadership sincerity helped magnify
the optimism for local and foreign investors to put up jobs-creating
investments,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesperson.
Feeling secured and assured
of their investments, he said these investors set up shops early to
anticipate the fruits of reduced graft and corruption, capitalize on
the ease of doing business, and increased mobility due to improve
peace and order situation.
“Plus, they also anticipate
and directly and indirectly participate to take part as Mr. Duterte is
hell-bent to spend big money on building mega infrastructures. All
these combined to create jobs which what we have now in anticipation
of the bigger things to come,” Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay said if Mr.
Duterte’s leadership momentum is not interrupted, construction allied
services would emerge and help create jobs.
However, the underemployment
scenario should be a cause of concern for government and employers, he
“It could mean that though
there are jobs available but their wages and benefits are inadequate
for them to cope with rising cost of living particularly the
increasing prices of basic goods and costs of services,” he said.
Government and employers,
therefore, should act simultaneously in addressing this
underemployment rate. Employers should raise their wages and improve
direct and indirect benefits to workers to help mitigate the rising
rate of underemployment. Government should improve social protection
benefits and insurance, enforce labor laws and safeguard predatory
increase of prices of basic commodities.
“With all of these, we see
an unprecedented increase in domestic employment in the year ahead.
But if employers and government ignore underemployment solutions,
economic growth will continue to be non-inclusive and inequitable with
the very few upper class people racing to the top while the working
people are racing to the bottom,” Tanjusay said.
questions CHED’s drug test proposal
By Samahan ng Progresibong
December 13, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Youth
activists criticized the proposal of CHED's executive director Julito
Vitriolo to make drug testing, (1) a requirement for admission of all
incoming Higher Education Institutions’ (HEIs) students and, (2) the
retention of those currently enrolled.
The Samahan ng Progresibong
Kabataan (SPARK) strongly denounced the proposed policy as promoting a
discriminatory, stigmatizing and skewed approach to solving the drug
problem, in line with the current administration’s bloody War on
They observed how the
current administration has been carrying the massive anti-drug
campaign while condoning the culture of impunity, the wholesale
violation of human rights, and classifying the stockpiling corpses in
drug-infested and poverty-stricken areas as collateral damage.
Armed with the scalding
pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte against all drug users,
Vitriolo assumed a prerogative to declare the crafting of a policy of
sweeping mandatory drug testing to be administered as a requirement in
The youth group however
SPARK concurs that the youth are vulnerable to drug dependence, but it
maintains that bringing the War on Drugs in the campuses will not
solve anything, for evidently the drug war is unwinnable. Whereas
SPARK finds drug testing founded on randomness ingenuous because it
does not incriminate students tested with positive results, the group
says that the new policy proposed by Vitriolo is “outright unjust and
The group interjects that
while random drug testing is crucial to prevent further drug
dependence, a non-random mandatory one administered before a student's
admission to the school could be used as the sole benchmark on whether
or not a student should be retained in school. This prevents the very
victims of attaining a chance and exercising their primary right to
“Even with the
rehabilitation, the stigma it would pose for the students who tested
positive is also not reflective of the student’s actual drug problem,”
says Clarissa Villegas of SPARK.
This is, according to SPARK,
characteristic of the prevailing attitude of Filipinos towards the
horrid War on Drugs.
SPARK believes that drug
addiction should be treated as a solvable public health issue and
cites that “addiction – or compulsive drug use despite harmful
consequences – is characterized by an inability to stop using a drug;
failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and, sometimes
(depending on the drug), tolerance and withdrawal. These students who
are just applying for school admission may not really be exhibiting
these excessive symptoms.”
Villegas suggests that if
the current administration really wants to tackle the youth’s drug
problem, they should also start focusing on out-of-school youths by
waging a war on poverty instead.
“The right to education and
the overarching need to eliminate poverty and other forms of
exploitation should not be trumped by what it falsely seen as the
worst problem in the status quo – the drug crisis,” she asserted.
Though schools have the
right to impose distinctive requirements on students for admission,
Villegas maintains that it must be just and non-discriminatory.
In relation to such a
measure, SPARK fears that with Vitriolo’s proposal and the pending
bill before Congress seeking to lower the age limit of criminal
liability from 15 to 12 would be the “perfect combo to destroy the
youth’s chances of being a productive member of society”.
The group says that the
claim that this mandatory drug testing for college admissions will
safeguard the HEIs incumbent students from drug use is far from
established. “In addition, student applicants may not have extensively
waived their rights to privacy as to be subjected to such punitive
measures of the HEIs. This over-inclusive and non-random mandatory
drug testing program proposed by CHED is not an effective means of
dealing with the drug menace. The manifestation of reasonableness of
this testing is questionable. It should not be a measure for
disciplinary action as in the case when it is used as a standard for a
college student’s retention, for it to be fair,” she concluded.