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NPA killed in Eastern Samar encounter

Mila Tan declares P1.09M in campaign expenditures

Culion Foundation covers 9 Samar towns

NDF-EV scores Red-baiting paid ads

An Samar Naman movement formed

Nachura says ConCon election probable in 2005

Shooting Incidents in Gandara town Blamed on Partisan Politics

Another Brutal Murder by NPA Hitmen

Fire Razes 15 Houses in Catbalogan

Save Samar Caravan - No to MIning! held



8ID chief assures probe on alleged military ‘abduction’ of farmers

July 8, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar    –  After almost two weeks of tension in three remote villages of this province for the alleged abduction of innocent civilians including farmers and children perpetrated by the military, the Commanding General of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based here has confirmed that investigation into the matter is now underway.

The office of the 8th Civil Affairs Unit (CAU-8) yesterday issued a press statement of MGen. Glenn Rabonza, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) based in Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong Catbalogan, Samar saying that the division will probe the veracity of the complaints of the victims’ relatives through the human rights groups.

The general, who is now in Manila attending a conference with AFP’s top brass, assured the general public in Eastern Visayas that the division will not tolerate this acts if his men proven guilty.

“There will be a proper forum on this, all involved personnel will be subjected to administrative probe,” the general said, as quoted by Capt. Cromwell Danganan of the CAU-8.

On Tuesday (July 6), Ms. Anne S. Eder, staff member of the Alyansa ha Pagpanalipod han Tawhanon nga Katungod han Katawhan (Katungod-Samar), alleged that soldiers belong to the Alpha Company of the 34th Infantry Battalion stationed in San Jose de Buan, Samar, masterminded the abduction and illegal detention of a farmer “pinpointed by a man wearing bonnet” around 8 a.m. of June 27, 2004.

The victim was identified as certain Liberato “Embo” Racab, a 20-year old farmer, single, and resident of Sitio Tar-as, Brgy. San Miguel, Jiabong town. As of today, he was declared missing by his relatives for about 13 days now.

According to the victim’s mother Rosita, his son Embo asked permission from her that he would go to the farm of his Tata Feliciano Paclita to borrow carabao but never came back. When human rights groups interviewed Paclita, the latter said, “I saw a group of soldiers passed by in his house along with Embo and the man wearing bonnet.”

Paclita added he saw Embo wearing a yellow shirt and long pants around 9 o’clock in the morning of June 27. It was further narrated by the witness that some of the soldiers retained in his farm and asked him “may umagi ba nga mga tawo dinhi nga amon guinbubukod?” When he answered none, he said, he forced to go with them going to the forested area in the vicinity of Brgy. Dogongan, and while walking in the area, there was a sudden outburst of fire, he was left by the escaping soldiers but Embo was failed to escape from their hands.

Back to his place, in Sitio Tar-as, Paclita told the probe team from Katungod-Samar that around 50 armed men abducted the victim and “has no patch.” Two days later, it was confirmed by the human rights group that it was real soldiers who abducted the victim when a CAFGU member in Brgy. Camarubuan, Jiabong, Samar (name withheld) secretly told the victim’s father Mano Sosing Racab, that the Alpha Company of the 34IB were conducting patrol operations that time in the area of incidents.

On July 1, four days after this incident, the parents of the victim – Mano Sosing and Mana Rosing – and some kins Paclita, Boy, Sosing Junior, Lilia, and a councilor of Jiabong town proceeded to 34th IB and talked to a certain Lt. Mario Jose Chico but disclaimed the abduction of Embo.

In another incident, six innocent civilians including three minor kids were also allegedly abducted by the military, seven days after the incident in Jiabong town.

A fact sheet distributed by the Catbalogan-based Katungod to the media yesterday described that some eight persons – five of them village officials and three kids – were declared missing and believed to be in the hands of the military belong to the 34th Infantry Battalion.

The alleged abduction stemmed when a certain Bonjen Tizon, 28, married farmer of Brgy. Sto. Niño informed Village Chief Nonoy Gabane that some soldiers brought his brother in-law Artemio Lazarra, the village chief tanod and his three kids Jocelyn, 14-year old; Josephine, 11; and Jonathan, 9.

Upon learning this incident, Gabane and two other village councilors namely Tony Mabilog, Eddie Boy Mabanan and Nonoy Salingsing notified their constituents that they will proceed to Brgy. Blanca Aurora to retrieve the abducted chief tanod and his three kids but until now, the abducted persons and the retrieval team village officials never came back home.

The remaining officials of the village Rolando Gabane, 39; Francisco Jabolin, 40, and Bonjen Tizon, proceeded to look for their comrades but found negative. Blanca Aurora residents, however, told them that soldiers just departed the village going to Sto. Niño forest, and maybe they’re (victims) with them.

As of now, the human rights groups in Eastern Visayas is set to probe the alleged militarization committed by the 8th Infantry Division, particularly the elements belonging to the Alpha Company of the 34th Infantry Battalion based in San Jorge, Samar. They also dared the Philippine Army to investigate the matter which was also gracefully accepted. The 8ID now is also conducting their own investigation regarding the complaints of military abduction in three Samar municipalities.





Governor Tan dares SPH employees who went on “silent protest” to resign

July 7, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar    –  The second termed governor of the province of Samar Milagrosa "Mila" Tan was visibly got irked over the “poor” performance, successive resignations and mass leave of absence filed by the medical staff, including doctors and nurses of the Samar Provincial Hospital (SPH) leaving the government-owned hospital paralyzed few weeks ago and even until now.

Challenging the remaining hospital workforce to also resign from their posts, her disappointment was publicly voiced out during her 15-minute inaugural speech on June 30, few minutes after she took her oath before Judge Odelon Mabutin of the Catbalogan Municipal Trial Court.

"Mag resign na lang mo tanan diha kung di na ninyo gusto ang inyong trabaho dyan (sa hospital), resign na lang!," Gov. Tan said in her emotional but strong words.

The lady governor cried foul over the "silent protest" staged by the hospital employees against the problems besetting provincial hospital medical staff among which are apparently delayed salaries and non-giving of bonuses and other benefits, "biased" and "politically" motivated promotions of other self-appointed personnel.

In her strong words delivered over the skeptic crowds, majority of them municipal mayors and department heads of local and national offices in Samar attending and witnessing the inauguration ceremonies of the Samar provincial government officials and congressional representatives, the governor says," what they did damaged my reputation and affected my credibility as well as the image of the province."

"Pero biskan kun nagsugad kamo (hospital employess), di man ngani tanan dida (ha hospital), guintagan ko lang gihap an aton hospital dugang nga pondo para yana nga tuig," the governor said in her mixed cebuano-waray dialect.

The governor announced that some P3 million in her overall budget this year is allotted to the SPH and some P1.5 million will also be allotted to the Calbayog City District Hospital in addition to the regular annual budgets of these hospitals.

Meantime, the governor dared to resign those employees who filed their leave of absence and finally broke their silence over the alleged "insensitivity" of the provincial government administration to the acute and urgent needs and mounting problems confronting them and the only hospital in this capital town of Samar.

Accordingly, the medical staff and personnel silently denounced the reported mismanagement and neglect of the hospital by the provincial administration.

For several occasions in the past, the employees had been complaining of inadequate medical supplies and non-availability of the necessary medical equipments but, according to them, these had not been attended to.

"Waray ngani tagi ito hin panahon ni gobernor kay an iya manla guin aasikaso an iya iba nga mga karuyagon,” a hospital employee who declined to be named said.

But in brief interview after her oath taking, Gov. Tan belied the allegations saying,” permi man ako nabisita ha SPH para maghatag hin mga medisina ngan pondo tikang hadto, ngan ngada pa man ngani yana,” she said.

A source told that 50 percent of the hospital original workforce already resigned, 30 percent went on leave, while the remaining 20 percent were thinly distributed to the three wards and emergency rooms of the hospital.

To date, so as not to totally paralyze the hospital and to enable this institution operational, nurses were stationed in shifts basis. The first shift goes on duty from 7a.m. to 3p.m., the second from 3p.m. to 11p.m., the third from 11p.m. to 7a.m., while a doctor reports on a 24-hour basis.

All the staffs of the medical department, however, were reportedly gone on leave. Their leave of absence was approved by hospital Chief Dr. Carcenas.

They reasoned out, “We would rather go on leave than to continue with the inefficient or poor medical services which the SPH extends to the patients,” they said.

Last year, the SPH has earned the moniker brand as “Mona Lisa hospital” due to the old adage that the patients admitted there for treatment reportedly “they just lie there, and they die there.”

Due to lack of medical supplies, equipments, apparatus and lack of highly-qualified medical staffs, the hospital was proclaimed as a primary category hospital, which is basically should belong to the tertiary category.

This year, the hospital, which lies just between the Himyangan or the official residence of the governor and the Capitol building where the governor and other provincial government officials hold office, was elevated into the secondary category.





Mayor Uy up to re-establish shipping industry

July 6, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar    –  “I am appealing to the new set of officials of this town’s legislative council, to help and support my plan to bring our seaports back into business”, the persuasive plea of newly installed chief executive of this capital town, during his inaugural message before the Catbaloganons June 30, this year.

Mayor Uy informed that he had made initial talks with Mr. Florencio Palacio, owner of the Palacio Shipping Lines based in Cebu City recently, requesting for the latter to come up with passenger and cargo routes between Cebu and Catbalogan.

Once realized, Mayor Uy is confident that his vision of re-instating a trade-link between Cebu and Catbalogan will answer a revenue backlog that weighs down the municipality’s momentum for advancement. “Beside, we will be needing additional funding if we want an all out development to occur in our municipality”, Mayor Uy stressed.

“If the Cebu-Catbalogan connection materializes, exportation and importation of commodities would be much less costly compared to transporting our goods either via Calbayog or Tacloban City. This will perhaps lessen the cost of commodities being traded here in Catbalogan”. Mayor Uy further explained, adding that this will somehow ease the economic burden upsetting all Catbaloganons. As this developed, Mr. Palacio assured Mayor Uy that once all the needed requirement be settled, they will ply the Cebu-Catbalogan route by September this year.

Bus and Jeepney Terminal

Meanwhile, the local government here, is expected to come-up with a proposal which is subject for negotiation with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) here, the plan is to make use of a vacant lot owned by the PPA situated at the port area, to be converted into a Bus and Jeepney Terminal.

According to Mayor Uy, he will consult with the PPA Officials here, and eventually negotiate possible terms and conditions that may apply on the proposed project, which will be one of his maiden ventures as the new chief executive of the municipality.

“This will answer the burgeoning traffic problem being faced by the municipality”, he pointed-out, “ and these terminals operating at the downtown area causes more than obstruction, but we can’t do anything to subvert it, since we don’t have alternative sites for this purpose at this point of time”, Mayor Uy further told.

Traffic Re-routing Scheme

Mayor Uy likewise assailed, in public, the last minute Traffic Re-routing Scheme implemented by then Mayor Jess Redaja, which took effect 5 days before ascending to the Capitol, as the new Vice-Governor of the province.

Accordingly, the implementation was not well executed, and the negative cling-ons of the project might be blamed on him. “Hi Tekwa na liwat it babasulon hiton, kaluluoy na liwat ni Tekwa”, Mayor Uy commented, using his nickname where he is popularly known.

Off-putting comments battered the recent traffic ventured here by former Mayor Redaja, with the public, sighting the low quality of the materials used, particularly the paints used in marking the road signs. “Kitaa na gad la ito nga pintar nga gin-gamit, usa la ka oras waray na kitaa” says one motorist in a random community interview.

“Though the intention is good, pero kay maaram man kamo hit mga huna-huna hit tawo, once a good project is not implemented well – labi na gud kun hilaw an pag-implementar, the outcome is bad”, Mayor Uy said.

Water District & Gang wars

Before concluding his speech, Mayor Uy stressed that the he will work for the turnover of the Catbalogan Water District (CWD) here to the municipality.

The Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) is managing the operation of the CWD here since 1992, when the former management of the water district composed of Catbaloganons failed to pay the CWD loans.

Initial plans to turnover the district to the LGU here was laid-out during the term of ex-Mayor Redaja, but the former administration refused to accept the proposal unless the recent 32 million water system project be completed.

The new chief executive here likewise vowed to give a halt on the rising crime rate besetting this capital town, saying that he will pursue for a crime-free locality – which is part of his 3-point political agenda outlined for the municipality of Catbalogan.

“I will work for the prevention of gang-wars"





Samar schools get personal computers from Japan

July 6, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   -   The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) implemented the PCs for Public Schools Project (PCPS) funded from a P600M grant assistance from the Government of Japan. This project benefited 996 public high schools all over the country. With the successful implementation of the PCPS, the Government of Japan approved a second phase of the project to be implemented again by the DTI.

In Samar Province, three (3) public high schools became beneficiares of the said project. These are the Samar National High School in Catbalogan, Samar; Jiabong National High School in Jiabong; and the Osmeña National High School in Marabut. Each of these schools received ten (10) Hewlett-Packard computers and peripherals. In addition to the computer package, a training program sponsored by Intel Philippines will also be made available for teachers.





Gov. Evardone appeals for a common environmental advocacy

July 5, 2004

BORONGAN, E. Samar    – “We cannot afford for diverse approaches on programs concerning the environment because of  the varied perception of the people pertaining the issue, kay iba-iba man it huna-huna hit mga tawo”, this was the message conveyed by the newly elected governor of Eastern Samar to at least 34 media personalities from the three provinces of Samar Island, that converged in a two days meeting here, in answer to beckonings of environmental advocates to the media to come-up with a common approach in environmental advocacy.

The newly formed Sinirangan Press Club (SPC) here, a composite media organization based in this town, hosted the event in cooperation with the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) based in Catbalogan, Samar, by which situational reports and other related discussions were laid out for the consumption of the media practitioners present.

During the event, Eastern Samar Governor-elect Ben Evardone, aired his full support for the protection of the Samar’s island deteriorating biodiversity. He disclosed that even before his getting elected as the chief executive of his province, he is already aware of the environmental conditions of the island, and have included it to his 15-point political agenda, which he prominently presented to his constituents in Eastern Samar during the campaign period.

He sighted the cases of the Manicani and Homonhon Islands, which will be one of his major concerns as soon as he steps in the provincial capitol.

“That mining firm operating in Manicani claimed a total land area of 1,600 square kilometer for mining excavation, which is the actual land area of the island itself, where will the residents go after the mining operation ends?” Gov. Evardone stressed, apprehensive of what will be left for the people of the island once the mining venture finish off.

In line with this issue, Gov. Evardone sought for a more vibrant media advocacy on the protection of the environment, explaining to the members of the media who participated in the affair, their vital role of the in educating the people, and eventually influencing the mind-sets and decisions of the Samareños relative to the cause of environmentalism.

He pointed out that the issue on environment cannot be resolved by a single entity alone, “it should be a collaborative effort from all sectors of the society”, he explained, suggesting however that the advocacy be realized with a common thrust.

“I will conduct consultations to all sectors involve in the protection of the island’s biodiversity to obtain a common thrust, we cannot afford for diverse approaches on programs concerning the environment kay iba-iba man it huna-huna hit mga tawo” Gov. Evardone emphasized.

Present on the gathering were media practitioners from as far as Catarman of the North, Calbayog and Catbalogan of the West, and from this capital town of Eastern Samar.

Before he ended his talk, Gov. Evardone informed the media that he will be up to convince his counterparts in the North and the West of Samar Island, to come-up with a common environmental agenda that they could synergic ally pursue.





Philmedia incites Samar Press to employ alternative journalism

July 4, 200

CATBALOGAN, Samar    –  A Cebu-based Non-Government Organization egg on media practitioners in the island of Samar to make use of alternative journalism in the course of their news reporting – particularly on environmental advocacy – to be able to maximize media influence on the issue being raised.

The Philippine Media Center for Advocacy, popularly known as Philmedia, graced the 2nd Samar Island-wide Media Advocacy on Biodiversity and Environmental Protection in Borongan, Eastern Samar, represented by former Sunstar Daliy Newspaper top reporter Ana Fionah Bojos.

Apprehensive over the present threat towards the environment in the island of Samar, Ms. Bojos narrated to the media participants in the gathering the nil existence of forest in the island of Cebu, putting in the picture that there is not a single patch of forest can be found in the whole island, which is the anti-theses to Samar’s present condition, though threatened to be stripped of its rich biodiversity.

“Cebu by now has no adequate supply of drinking water, due to the excessive destruction of its natural environment, we are importing water from our nearby province Bohol”, Ms. Bojos disclosed. “Cebuanos, during the previous years, wasn’t concerned of what will happen in the future, thus they’re suffering now the consequences of not protecting their natural environment”, she further revealed.

During a plenary workshop, Ms. Bojos explained that traditional reporting of events – particularly pertaining to the environment – is becoming passive and doesn’t influence the target audience by some level anymore. She stressed that for a certain advocacy to be realized such as “environmentalism”, the media should carry out a more decisive form of journalistic approach to the issue, in such a way that the context of the story or article being aired or published would be felt by its target and eventually help revert a mind-set that is detrimental to the advocacy being pursued.

Ms. Bojos, pointed out that advocacy reporting should go beyond the traditional approach of data presentation in a story – which is basically narrative in nature-, “the intent of the writer should be perceived eminently by the reader even by cursory reading or listening, and eventually should influence him positively – from the point of view of the advocacy being presented”, she explained.

As this developed, participants in the said workshop raised their predicaments concerning media commercialism besetting the Samar island, revealing the influence of certain political and commercial entities with vested interest to gag media outfits by means of advertising contracts – which is obviously the life support system of the provincial media, - which the Samar press claims is the ultimate reason why they can’t adhere much to a multi-faceted kind of reporting, or even personally advocating on certain issues.

Underscoring the prejudicing fact, Ms. Bojos stressed that the media should be able to develop a community-based support so as not to become dependent on political advertising that poses a tendency of bias reporting. “If you are a media made by the people, you would be able to serve the people accordingly”, Ms. Bojos insisted.

The Philmedia likewise assured all media practitioners in the island of Samar that they will assist in affording access to various publications employing alternative journalism, but reiterated their insistence to develop one, in support to the advocacy the Samar Media had initiated.


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