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Money Laundering in a Changed World



Mixing Politics and Reproductive Health

January 15, 2004

…an alarming quantity of male prostitutes in highly urbanized cities grown up and unlike GRO’s, they do not carry green cards which is to determine that he is safe and clean.”

ON MONDAY morning, January 12, 2004, the second working Monday of the year, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) Samar Chapter in close cooperation with the Lucille and David Packard Foundation sponsored the first ever ‘Kapihan ha Logans’ about the most debated electoral issues for May 2004 synchronized local and national elections and Reproductive Health (RH) matters.

Of course, they invited some of the concerned guests speakers, resource persons and panelists to talk about their perspective, point of views, plans, and ideas on the selected topics.

Christine AC Caidic, information officer of the provincial government and chapter treasurer and Rey Carmelo Remonde, Senior Advocacy Officer of the FPOP National Office served as hosts.

Every year, the Packard Foundation and or the Philippine Non-Government Organization Council (PNGOC), the DOH, POPCOM funded by USAID and United Nations Family Planning Action (UNFPA) regularly sponsored this event to raise awareness to the public, most especially to those uneducated, on gender, proper and safe sex, geopolitics, race, religious, among others.

However, this time, this was mixed with politicians as resource persons, asking them what program to do in the present and future government. Does an issue on politics related to family planning? Well, some of the panelist including three-termer Catbalogan Mayor Redaja aspiring for the Vice-Gubernatorial post says, yes. He did not elaborate.

Most often than not, the present administration always, and almost, play a safe role playing on their stand about the birth control and using of contraceptive methods.

In Catbalogan alone, the local government unit does not have any clear ordinance against prostitution here. I did not hear any crucial move from the LGU to check all suspected prostitution dens in the locality despite the series of exposes made by the Underfire in the past columns published in the Samar Reporter newspaper. Sex trade was becoming a boom in this capital town using the videoke entertainment houses and massage parlors as front house.

In addition, many young women rescued in Manila prostitution dens were from Samar towns. Again, the causes of these are poverty and ignorance of sex education.

And mind you, even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was then quoted by the national media as supporting the Catholic bishop’s campaign against birth control methodology. The Bishops preach sanctity of life but their ban on condoms contributes to millions of people around the world dying.

Most Catholics, including me, beg to disagree with this policy. Yet, the Catholic hierarchy lobbies governments around the world and at the United Nations to restrict access to condoms that could help prevent the spread of AIDS.

The Bishop’s opposition to condoms in the developing world hurts the poorest of the poor. Aren’t these the very people the church calls on the world to help?

Oh my gosh, this is again mixed with political decisions, I bet. When I heard about the International news shortly after US President George W. Bush acceded to the demands of ultra-conservative anti-family planning advocates in and around his administration and refused to give the United Nation Family Planning Action (UNFPA) its allocated funding of $34 million in 2002, I was disappointed with him.

By the way, UNFPA is an agency that provides access to contraceptive services and education, pre- and post-natal healthcare, sexually transmitted disease education, referral to other care services, and cancer screening. It also prevents abortion by empowering women to plan and space their pregnancies, reducing the need for abortion.

Widespread voices of condemnation around the world ignored. One set of voices that outraged, but too often ignored, was that of religious leaders political.

Too few people hear the many, many religious leaders and government officials around the world (that are supposed to be) who actively support family planning programs. These leaders recognize that the work of the UNFPA is vital to the reproductive health needs of women, men and their families. They understand the importance of the life-saving services it provides, including family planning programs and HIV/AIDS prevention, counseling and services to people living in developing countries around the world.

Male prostitutes and unwanted mothers on the rise

You know dear readers we have a very big and serious problem here. What I find frightening to know is the revelation of Philippine FPOP National Senior Advocacy Officer Rey Carmelo Remonde using the latest survey as his basis, an alarming quantity of male prostitutes in highly urbanized cities grown up. Unlike GRO’s, they do not carry green cards which is to determine that he is safe and clean. Another is the quantity of Filipinos that have limited knowledge about sexual and reproductive issues.

For instance, women thinking that condoms are 100% effective against pregnancy and infection and homosexual men mistakenly believing that once in a monogamous relationship they cannot develop HIV/AIDS -- despite the histories of multiple partners and unprotected intercourse. Every year, more than 500, 000 women worldwide die from pregnancy related causes, including 78, 000 from unsafe, often clandestine abortions. For many, the cause is too many pregnancies, starting at too young an age.

In the Philippines, rates of unwanted mothers and unwanted pregnancies are on the rise because of the widespread belief on pre-marital sex (PMS), incidences of sexually transmitted infections are climbing, and HIV/AIDS remains at epidemic proportions.

While we may be surprised that so much ignorance exists in a society that mandates access to educational programs and health facilities, the situation in developing and economically depressed countries might horrify us. The UNFPA exists to extend a hand of mercy to countries that do not have adequate medical care and education about sexual and reproductive issues.

Back to the forum, the panelist talked about the newly revived campaign in controlling the alarming increase of population. Unwanted pregnancies should be stop at once.

Dr. Teotimo Orbeso, Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Samar is eyeing to include sex education in the curriculum, well that is good. Actually, that was already discussed under the college subject Sociology 101, which includes Philippine Constitution, Family Planning and History. It falls on the second.

Though this a suntok sa buwan move, it is very important to discuss this inside the classroom not solely at home. My book says, sex education viewed as a formal instructional program to provide children and young adults with an objective understanding of sex as a biological, psychological, and social life force. A comprehensive curriculum, developed for sequential age levels, would include discussion of the maturation and reproductive processes and extend to such related considerations as obligations to the self and others; protection from sexually related disease, exploitation, and injury; and awareness of the maturity required for full expression of sex in love relationships.

Supporters of formal sex education consider that sex in modern society is too complex a phenomenon for instruction to be left to the varying influences of parental attitudes and haphazard environmental exposure. They maintain that sex education is a preventive measure against venereal diseases or pregnancy, as well as a cultural force for the development of mature psychosexual relationships in adult life. Opponents hold that sex education is the exclusive right of parents and that encroachment upon this right will erode the traditional family and religious restraints on sexual activity.

The national movement for sex education started in 1940s but remained sporadic and limited to local constitutes until the late 1960s, when government and educational organizers developed sex-education programs. A few states have adopted mandatory courses.

In short, sex education is only not for us to understand our biological needs; for parents to understand their children’s sexual behavior; for the society to accept moral sexual practices; and, for the Church to understand the importance of birth control. In a larger aspect, this could be an effective tool in addressing the alarming population growth.

After all, it is a global concern!

(Any comments and reactions can be e-mailed to You can also send it to Underfire c/o THE SAMAR REPORTER, 172 Abesamis Building, Allen Avenue, Catbalogan,Samar.)





New Year, New Hopes, New Questions

January 9, 2004

New year. Yes, it’s a brand-new year. When we come to times like this, there are so many speculations with whatsoever things that will happen this year. Of course, to many of us, New Year means new hope, new assurances, new beginning and name all comforting adjectives you can, that’s how we think New Year is.

But, on the other hand, especially with the present general situation of our country, we are faced as well with so many questions such as is there really a chance for our country and Eastern Visayas in particular to overcome all the present problems that we have like poverty, calamities, immorality and all the problems you can think of? Now that its election time, will the new winners of these races be able to come up with solutions to these problems. Well, every one of them promises great things, in fact, extraordinary things to us during campaign time but will they be true on what they will be saying?

Definitely all elected officials after the May elections will profit with their new positions. But will us ordinary people benefit from them and their programs? Well we understand that the words of famous American President John F. Kennedy “Ask what the government can do for you but what you can do for the government” is very significant in the progress of the nation but is the government doing its duty to the people?

Few Years after the Marcos was ousted from the highest seat of the land, many of our leaders blamed the decline of our economy to Apo Macoy. Marcos led the nation for 20 years.  But now, barely a month to go before the 18th anniversary of People Power 1, our economy declined to almost six or seven times than that almost 18 years ago. What happened to our previous 3 Presidents and now our present one who is seeking another term? Give us a break Your Excellencies.

Well and good for communities with dedicated and true leaders. We don’t discount them. I salute all leaders who made overwhelming accomplishments accordingly. Region 8 people should be proud of them that after all, there are still leaders like them. Example of this is the third-termer Chief Executive of Pinabacdao, Samar, Mayor Arcadio L. Quijano, who made difference in the said town. If Pinabacdao was dubbed as the “Town of Promise” now it’s already a “Town of Accomplishments.” Infrastructure and agriculture had been the agenda of Quijano in his nine-year stint. Not only Quijano made a difference but also many mayors in different municipalities in Region 8 I believe so. This humble Mayor by the way is not contented in just serving the Pinabacdao people but now he wants to expand his service to the 2nd District of Samar by including himself in the race for Board Member come May elections.

So basically 2004 offers us mixed expectations. To us constituents, what shall we do then? Well, my answer to that is simple... prepare for whatever the outcome this year may be.

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I was suppose to spend either Christmas or New Year in Butuan, Agusan Del Norte but since we had to pass by the calamity-stricken Lilo-an and other parts of Southern Leyte, we decided to just cancel it. Instead we spent our holidays in Eastern Samar.

Just while we were suppose to celebrate completely our New Year’s Eve, the electricity went out. From 6pm of December 31, 2003 to 2am of January 1, 2004, the power was out in our place. I wonder what message was Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (ESAMELCO) conveyed that time. For one, that could mean that the entire 2004, Eastern Samar will be battered again with countless, weeklong brownouts. My goodness. By the way there are talks among bystanders that ESAMELCO incurred millions of pesos in debt to National Power Corporation the reason why the latter is giving limited power supply to this province. Can you give light to this, Manager Aberia, sir?






Catbalogan City Hood Bid, San-o Pa?

December 16, 2003

On December 1, 2003 as per advice from Congresswoman Carmen Cari of the 5th district of Leyte, Catbalogan Mayor Jesus Redaja has appealed to several concern senators to support House Joint Resolution No. 69 requesting the exemption of Catbalogan, among other seven municipalities in the new law (RA 9009) which states that before a town may be granted to become a city, it should have an annual income of P100 million instead of only P20 million.

To this date, no reply yet from these senators had been received by the office of Mayor Redaja. According to the mayor in his letter to the Senate, the 88,000 inhabitants in Catbalogan have long desired that this town be converted into a city.

Thirty-six years ago, a bill was filed for this purpose. Only the positive action of Congress then was needed for a municipality to become a city. No requirements on income, population and land area to speak of. This aspiration for city hood became a whisper and finally could no longer be heard because of the conflagration of magnitude proportion that hit two thirds of the town proper on that eventful year 1967.

In the recent past, the elective town officials in coordination with Congressman Antonio Nachura agreed to revive the city hood move. The Municipality passed all the requirements for city hood based on the local government code of 1991. A House Bill No. 9403 was filed in the 11th Congress. The process was not completed due to the impeachment proceedings that took place against then President Joseph ‘Erap” Estrada.

With the passage of RA 9009, the aspirations of the people of Catbalogan would no longer be realized because the town cannot have that One Hundred million pesos yearly income.

Catbalogan then and now is the capital town of the province of Samar and was the capital town of the Island Province before it was subdivided into three provinces. It is the seat of the provincial government, home of all line agencies of the national government and branches in town and operational. It is the home of educational institutions, which offers Doctorate, Masteral and Collegiate courses not to mention the secondary and elementary schools. The combined teaching forces of all these schools number about 1,300. Communications network like Bayantel, Smart, Globe, PLDT & Government telecom system are also operational in this town.

Just lately, Rep. Nachura when pressed by the media regarding the status of the bid blamed the town officials for its snail pace development. He said the local officials have been so uncooperative in the submission of the required documents.

But Mayor Redaja countered that if there is one to be blamed it is no other than Rep. Nachura because he is the one who filed the bill (for the city hood) in Congress. Nachura should be the one who knew what is really lacking in the bill because he is the Congressman. According to him, Nachura and even the Congress never informed the locality about the development.

The municipality apparently did not receive a single letter from Nachura about the city hood bid.

If the accounts of Mayor Redaja are true, Nachura is not interested for the city hood bid of Catbalogan.

But why? What is really the reason behind this mess? Ano it panuyuanan nimo Congressman?

Furthermore, Mayor Redaja hinted that maybe Nachura is afraid that he (Redaja) may run against him come May 2004 elections which is just five months ahead.

Redaja countered all statements released by Nachura to the media and to the listening public. Redaja and some of his town officials go on air last week and castigated Nachura for his reported politicking. That Congressman Nachura is not even a co-sponsor of the House Bill 69 re-filed before the Lower House.   (see related news)

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A beach resort partly owned by Rep. Nachura and Board Member Dy has no Business Permit.

When the Catbalogan Cable TV Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN) visit the sleepy town of Marabut, Samar for the town-to-town evaluation of the group’s annual search of the Most Outstanding Elected Public Official in Samar, we had the chance to interview the mayor in his house at about 9 p.m. of December 5, 2003.

If we believe Mayor Clarito Bocar in his revelation, no single help from the provincial government of Samar, and from Nachura has been extended to his town except for the school building from the solon.

What shocked us most is the allegation that the Jasmin Beach Resort managed and owned by three persons including Nachura and Provincial Board Member Jimmy Dy has no business permit, yet.

“Of all the beach resorts in Marabut, ito la nga kanda Nachura ngan Board Member Dy it waray permit, di man ako makaperit ha ira kay Congressman ko man hiya, pero operational na ito. In fact, asya ngani it pinakamasurong nga resort didi ha amon nasasakupan. (Of all the beach resorts in Marabut, only the resort that belongs to Nachura and Board Member Dy has no permit. Though, I can’t force them to secure despite of its being operational because he is my Congressman)” Mayor Bocar said.

All this confession of Mayor Bocar was recorded to the video camera of the CCATMAN. The revelation of Mayor Bocar convinced us that something is fishy here.

Ano it karuyag signgon hine nga sitwasyon? Tungod ba kay Congressman O kun Provincial Board Member ka pwede kana magtindog hin “tax-free” business establishments? Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

Whew! Iba gud liwat Kita dinhi ha Samar.

Attention: Congressman Eddie Nachura and Provincial Board Member Jimmy Dy, Sirs!  Maupay kunta kun mapanginano liwat ine naton ano, kay bangin manla liwat, nahihingalimtan la ine pag process nga business permit. Deri gad maupay nga waray ine permit kay asya ngani ine an nahihimo nga source of income, deri pa nahihingada ha kaban han gobyerno. Ay gad kam pagsugad hito!!

We, the Samarnons wish that the accusations against you were not true. The rumors and allegations labeled against you should be corrected before it’s too late.  We will appreciate if you or anyone from your extension office can furnish us your side on the issue.

(Any comments and reactions can be e-mailed to You can also send it to Underfire c/o THE SAMAR REPORTER, 172 Abesamis Building, Allen Avenue, Catbalogan,Samar.)





The Old Song of the Cityhood of Catbalogan

December 16, 2003

During the 1st Anniversary celebration of Catbalogan Cable TV Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN), a media group in Catbalogan, Mayor Jesus B. Redaja of Catbalogan, shared some sentiments regarding the application of his town transforming it into a city.

He was quiet remorseful regarding the fate of the town that despite its being the oldest center of commerce in the region and being the first seat of capitol in the entire island of Samar, yet until now, it remains an old, rugged town. In his three-term stint as the Chief Executive of the town, as what he repeatedly said, everything was done in his capacity so that a law will be enacted creating the City of Catbalogan.

For once, in the 11th Congress, House Bill 9403, the bill creating the Municipality of Catbalogan, Samar to a city and will be called City of Catbalogan, was submitted by Congressman Eduardo “Eddie” Nachura in February 2, 2000. With this, Redaja had been hopeful that finally the longing of every Catbaloganon would now come to reality.

In his disclosure, he said he secured all the necessary documents just to comply with the requirements. The bill could have been brought to the plenary in Congress if not only because of the impeachment issue on former president Joseph Estrada.

Three years have gone by and exactly several days before the filing of candidacy for the 2004 elections, here comes Cong. Nachura with an article in his ATON INI publication telling the constituents of this town that it’s actually the municipal Local Government Unit that made a shortcoming the reason why HB 9403 did not prosper simply because “they missed to submit four basic documents to the Committee on Local Government.”

But Mayor Redaja strongly rebuts this arguing that as far as the requirements during that time is concerned, they were able to produce them. “But the reality is,” he said, “it’s Nachura who basically opposes the city hood of Catbalogan.” “There was even one time when he (Nachura) told me not to pursue it because it would be of no benefit to me,” Redaja explains.

So what is this all about, Congressman? This writer could not see any connection why the local LGU or maybe the Mayor be blamed of a wrong, if there was even one, now three years ago. A lot of observers even have come to wonder that the Congressman is just threatened about a possible contest between him and the Mayor so he’s doing all these “exposes.”

But what’s the big thing in this issue anyway. Nobody cares, maybe. But the writer thinks the other way. Why? Because first, if indeed Mayor is saying right that Nachura even approached him not to pursue the city hood of Catbalogan, then the latter should have not even touched the issue. Secondly, the document constituting the Joint House Resolution No. 29 exempting eight (8) municipalities (including Catbalogan) from the required P100 M income of a municipality to become a city based on RA 9009, does not contain the signature of the solon. In other words, he did not even co-sponsor it. Thirdly, while it is necessary that the bill be re-filed in the 12th Congress, Nachura did not make an initiative to do so.

Well, this may be a legitimate issue but definitely not between the two officials should raise this up except the constituents of this place. There could be no rightful party to open this up to the public except the public itself.    (see related news)

*****  *****  *****

This writer and some other newsmen went to Marabut, Samar the past week for the Search for Most Outstanding Elective Public Officials, an initiative of Catbalogan Cable TV Media Advocates Nucleus (CCATMAN). We made an interview with Mayor Clarito Bocar, Sr. You will not believe in what he admitted.

Among all the beach resorts in his locality, only Jasmin Beach Resort doesn’t pay its local taxes. It was not granted business permit by Marabut because of lack of requirements such as DTI registration.  Two of the stakeholders of Jasmin Beach Resort are Cong. Eddie Nachura and Board Member Jimmy Dy.

The problem here is that this resort continue to operate despite the absence of business permit. Is this not illegal, honorable lawmakers?  Just asking.

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