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Gov. Tan dares SPH employees who went on 'silent protest' to resign

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



SIBP forged partnership with Government instrumentalities

July 22, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –  In an effort to improve the lives of upland communities, SIBP forged partnerships among government instrumentalities to educate and impart skills that would prepare communities for a sustainable livelihood while at the same time focusing on health, population management through family planning and biodiversity conservation.

In line with their advocacy campaign to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Samar island through the establishment of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) recently entered into partnerships with government instrumentalities by forging Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among selected partners.

SIBP and the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP-Samar) agreed to jointly develop and implement a family management program for SINP. The MOA formalizes the partnership of the two (2) organizations to assist SINP communities surface and address family management needs such as those concerning health, food and nutrition, literacy and access to education, environmental sanitation and care for the sick and elderly. The program will be initially implemented in Brgy. Cansolabao, Hinabangan, Samar in partnership with the barangay local government unit.

Relatedly, the provincial office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA-Samar) mutually worked with SIBP for a joint planning and agreed contribution to manpower skills development in the province with TESDA partners. Partners will work hand-in-hand to ensure commitment and efforts to provide quality training and technical assistance in the field of technical and community-based competencies particularly its interventions to capacitate non-government organizations (NGO’s) partners on approaches to community resource management and livelihood trainings for upland farmers.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Office 8 concurred with the proposal to integrate biodiversity in school curriculum and extend assistance to upland communities on basic literacy. Initially, DepEd-8 and SIBP have led to consensus on two (2) major points of collaboration:

Ø       DepEd-8, through its Assistant Regional Director Jesusita Arteche, has agreed in principle to work with SIBP for the integration of the teaching of biodiversity conservation and the SINP in the school curriculum of public schools and proposed for a curriculum development workshop; and,

Ø       DepEd-8 responded positively to the request of SIBP to provide assistance to upland communities on adult literacy education.  Non-formal education (NFE) chief Linda Cinco has committed to prioritize SINP barangays with high incidences of illiteracy as beneficiaries of DepEd Literacy Services Contracting Program. Participation in the program will allow communities to receive assistance from DepEd in the training of community facilitator and for the conduct of literacy classes in the barangays.

A memorandum of agreement is currently being drafted by these two (2) agencies to formalize the partnership. The integration of biodiversity in school curriculum is being strongly advocated by the SIBP partners particularly the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) committee headed by Dr. Elfleda Bautista.





APO-AUSTRALIA says “Help A Child To Plant A Tree”!

July 20, 2004

AUSTRALIA  –   Alpha Phi Omega Australia (APO Australia) is calling on parents, grandparents and teachers to get kids planting native trees on this year’s ‘National Tree Day’.

‘Tree Day’ is organised nationally by Planet Ark in association with Toyota and AMP Foundation.

The aim of the event is to get people planting trees and shrubs that are native to their local area.

This year’s ‘Tree Day’ is being celebrated at Rydalmere on July 25, 2004. APO-Australia Tree Day Coordinator Ronaldo Villaver says that volunteers are welcome to join in and help out on the day.

“‘Tree Day’ shows kids how easy it is to help the environment,” says Ronaldo. “It’s a lot of fun for them and as the child grows, so does the tree that they plant,” he said. Local planting begins at 9:00AM and the site is located at  Upjohn Park, Kirby Street, Rydalmere NSW 2116.

 For last year’s ‘Tree Day’, 247,000 volunteers planted 2.25 million native trees at 3,340 sites across Australia.

APO-Australia under the leadership of  President Edgar Sanchez collaborates with  Parramatta City Council in its participation in this year’s ‘National Tree Day’ that put into action one of APO Australia’s development plans (





Mining operations start in 4 Samar towns; Residents opposed

July 19, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   – Majority of the residents and village officials has sought the intervention of the civil society to bear with them as they strongly expressed their opposition to the mining operations, which is now apparently underway in the municipalities of Matuguinao, San Jorge, Gandara and San Jose de Buan, all in the province of Samar.

In the morning of July 8, 2004, the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) central office based in this town said they received unconfirmed information and feedbacks that mining activities were already underway in San Jose de Buan, Samar.

On July 9 until the 14th day of this month, another residents coming from the towns of San Jorge and San Jose de Buan, Samar reported that the Bauxite Resources, Inc. (BRI) has “started to implement mining exploration and collection of limestone, soil samples in Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) sites” particularly in Sitio Kadaragan, Barangay Can-aponte towards Barangay San Nicolas in San San Jose de Buan town, which is actually located inside the newly-proclaimed SINP.

As this developed, the SINP Protected Area Superintendent Herminigildo Jocson concurrently the project manager of the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) has immediately ordered an investigation into the matter.

Randy Gacoscosin, team leader of the Park Rangers Fact-Finding Team (FFT) who were dispatched to confirm the information said the tip was indeed true. “The villagers disclosed to us that there were massive hiring and transporting of residents for the supposed mining” in San Jose de Buan town.

Gacoscosin said “There was no signal or attempt by the BRI to inform the SINP Protected Area Superintendent Office of their impending and on-going mining activities within the protected area, (in which) covered around 96% of the SINP core zone and 70% are old-growth forests protected by law, covering the four towns in Samar.”

To recall, the said four towns was among the areas included by the MPSA No. 180-2002 awarded by former DENR secretary Heherson Alvarez to the Bauxite Resources Inc. through its President, Benjamin T. Guingona, last December 5, 2002 covering an area of 5,519.01 hectares.

The hectares to be mined per municipalities runs as follows: San Jose de Buan (3,553.8298), Gandara (1,318.1070), Matuguinao (389.0764) and San Jorge with 257.9969 hectares.

Accordingly, the report of the Fact-Finding Team stated, the MPSA was granted under Republic Act No. 7942 or The Philippine Mining Act of 1995, Presidential Proclamation No. 1615 dated February 4, 1977 declaring the Samar Bauxite Mineral Reservation, and Office of the President Memorandum dated January 3, 2003 declaring a policy shift from “tolerance to promotion” of mining operations.

The MPSA grants a 2-year Temporary Exploration Permit to BRI that “shall commence… not later than 3 months after the effective date.” The amount to be spent by the BRI in conducting exploration in these towns is specified as follows: In the first contract year under their Exploration Work Program, P4,300,000; while in the second contract year is at P3,200,000. In their second phase, called the Environmental Work Program, they will spend, at least, P750,000.

It was learned that, per agreement between the BRI and Mines Geosciences Bureau in Eastern Visayas (MGB-8), the BRI will pay the “necessary occupation fee for the target 5,519.01 hectares, which is equivalent to P551,901.00,” at P100 per hectare.

A document obtained by this writer revealed that BRI already paid the amount of P25,799.70 under DBP Check No. 0014599 last May 27, 2003 as “occupation fee.”

It was also learned that BRI also paid the amount of P355,383.00 as occupation fee for the 3,553.8298 hectares in San Jose de Buan town as confirmed by the mayor itself to the investigating team. However, there is no receipt was made available to this writer as of press time. This writer also made several attempts to contact BRI for reaction and comments but to no avail.

It was also learned that the provincial government, who earlier imposed a 50-year mining moratorium in the province of Samar, was also set to file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the BRI.

“Today, we, through the Provincial Attorney’s Office will file necessary legal actions against the mining operations,” says SP member Susano Salurio, chairman of the Committee on Environment Protection.





Samelco II imposed new power rate and billing scheme

July 19, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –   Despite relentless effort made by the Samar Electric Cooperative II (Samelco II) here for the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to reconsider the new guidelines established for power cooperatives by the EPIRA Law, the new component in power consumer bills, known as the “lifeline subsidy” will still take effect starting this month.

During a forum organized by the Samelco II here, power consumers assailed the additional P0.0788/kWh in electric cost, calling the new component as unwarranted, and are an added burden to the majority of the power consumers. However, nothing can be done by now, since the law is already approved.

The new component called “lifeline rate” will be accumulated from the power cooperative members for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electric consumption, and will be used to pay-off the discounts which are given to marginalized power users, whose consumption does not exceed 20 kWh per month.

Under section 73 of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, it provides that residential customers consuming 20 kwh and below in a given month will enjoy a “Lifeline Discount” to be applied to the total component of the electric bill in varying percentage.

The new EPIRA law further stated, that power customers utilizing 15 kWh and below will get 50% discount on electric charges; 16 kWh will get 40%; 17kWh will get 30%; 18 kWh will get 20%; 19 kWh will get 10%; and those consuming 20 kWh will be get a 5% off from their total electric bills.

“With this new power-rate scheme, electric consumers utilizing more than what is set as ceiling in the “lifeline subsidy”, are likely to pay more”, says Hon. Joseph Escober of this province Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Higher Residential Power Rates

The ERC approved unbundled rate of the SAMELCO II here, likewise posted a much higher power rates for the residential electric consumers than those who registered their line as commercial.

Based on the new rate scheme, residential consumers will be charged P5.9521/kWh, as compared to commercial line rates pegging to only P5.9006/kWh, while street lights, which are normally paid for by the government are charged at P4.5276/kWh.

During the forum, some cooperative members assailed to charged the “lifeline subsidy rate” to a very low rate pegged on the government paid “street lights”, citing a very unfair price scheming.

“Ig-charge na la lugod ito nga P0.0788/kWh ha mga street lights, kay total gobyerno man ngani it nabayad hito, para makahalibway man liwat it mga tawo hin ura-ura na nga gastuson” pointed Brgy. Bunuanan chairman Dacaynos of this town.

However, Hon. Escober here disputed the suggestions of some members of the Samar Electric Cooperative II, to charge the new “lifeline rate” to the government, explaining that “street lights are charged a fix customer rate of P80.49 per month as compared to a measly P5.00/month for residential customers”.

Another apprehensions looms

Further during the forum, SAMELCO II Gen. Manager Ponciano Rosales stressed that once the consumers of the Luzon grid stop subsidizing the Visayas and Minadanao Grid, another component of the new ERC unbundled rates known as the “Inter-class cross subsidy charges” is likely to be implemented after 3 years.

This apprehension was presented to the cooperative members by the Samelco II management here to let them prepare for possible power rate hike eventualities, and to come-up with viable lobbying to repeal or amend the EPIRA Law in congress, thru the newly elected congressman Hon. Catalino Figueroa.

Aside from this looming electric cost after 3 years, which is already a law, Rosales likewise informed the coop members that the National Power Corporation, just recently applied for another power rate increase at the ERC for the generation and transmission charges.

“This makes the figures on our power bill - for the generation and transmission charges -that we pay to the NPC variable in the amount of P3.5614/kWh” Mr. Rosales explained, “and for the total of P5.9521/kWh that appears on the power bills, only P2.3907/kWh actually goes to the cooperative” he further said.





Southeast Asian Canadian youth tired of being invisible – Organizes independent multimedia forum for change

July 15, 2004

TORONTO, Canada    –  Over two hundred East and Southeast Asian-Canadian youth will be joining together to make their voices heard by policy makers at a one-day multimedia action forum on July 24th, 2004, at the University Settlement House and Recreation Centre. Entitled "Identification Asian: Asian Canadian Youth Unite!" – Five East and Southeast Asian Canadian youth serving organizations: Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), Hong Fook Mental Health Association, SEAS Centre, Silayan Filipino Community Centre, and Vietnamese Youth Services, will be hosting an important forum for youth to engage in discussions under the theme of identity and alienation as well as developing various multimedia strategies.

According to Lead Organizer and Youth Coordinator of CCNCTO Barnett Chow: "Despite being one of the largest ethno groups in Toronto, Chinese Canadian youth are still feeling enormous inequities in the media, employment and the criminal justice system... Its time that we come together to address this using multi-media as a tool for effective social and political change"

"Many of our youth clients of Vietnamese descent are telling us that our systems are not as inclusive as it claims to be, issues such as racism, cultural stereotypes and the lack of access to culturally competent health services continue to add mental stress and feelings of isolation" said Sue Leba of Hong Fook Mental Health Association.

Oliver Li, Youth Worker of SEAS Centre: "More and more East and Southeast Asian immigrant youth face problems in our society due to poverty and homelessness, non-recognition of credentials, as well as having to juggle issues of multiple identity and language - Our decision makers need to listen and provide meaningful support to them"

Participants of the event will be actively engaged in a panel discussion and receive multi-media training on civic participation and community activism, compounded alienation and immigration, media misrepresentation and under-representation, as well as racism and anti-oppression.

The panel will feature well-known Activist Mitchie Esguerra of the Filipino Youth Action Network; Playwright Marjorie Chan, of "China Doll;" " Activist and former Toronto 1 Reporter Min Sook Lee, and Author Terry Woo, of Banana Boys". Workshops will be facilitated by award wining Documentary Maker and Activists Kwoi Gin, renowned Artist and Activist Aries Cheung, and Activist Ariel.

For more information on this event, please contact: Gene Lara, Center Coordinator, Silayan Community Center, 416.926.9505,





Abduction in Motiong to be investigated

July 11, 2004

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar   –  MGen. Glenn J. Rabonza, 8ID Commanding General issued a directive to investigate the accusations made by concerned citizens of Brgy. Sto. Nino, Motiong, Samar regarding the abduction case allegedly perpetrated by government soldiers last July 4. The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, being the mandated protector of the people and the state, will not tolerate any misdeed or crime committed against the civilian populace.

It should not be discounted, however, that the allegations could be merely propaganda efforts by the enemies of the State to discredit the military organization and the government.

Another case being investigated by the 8th Infantry Division are abduction cases coming from three barangays of Matuguinao, Samar committed by the Communist Terrorists (CTs) or New People's Army (NPA) two weeks ago and confirmed by several sources. These actions by the CTs are intended to sow fear among the civilian populace who are not sympathetic to their cause.

At present, the 8th Infantry Division is coordinating with the Philippine National Police to find out the real perpetrators of the abduction incident in Motiong.





AVE launches Scholarship Program

By Alliance of Volunteer Educators
July 10, 2004

MANILA, Philippines    –  Just seven days in its seat in the 13th Congress, the Alliance of Volunteer Educators(AVE) has already launched its AVE Scholarship Program last July 7 in the “2004 Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) Mid-Year Conference” held at Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center, Iloilo City.

Participated by more than 600 administrators and educators from 110 State Universities and Colleges and their respective satellite campuses nationwide, this year’s three-day conference carried the theme, “SUCs Responding to the Challenges and Concerns of the Higher Education Development Plan.”

The signing of the scholarship’s Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between AVE Representative Amang R. Magsaysay and PASUC President Dr. Eldigario D. Gonzales was the highlight of the said event.

The AVE scholarship program aims to provide financial assistance to poor but deserving college students nationwide by covering full tuition and all other expenses.

According to Magsaysay, the scholarship program is particularly drafted for students enrolled in Science and Technology-related course offerings of different State Universities and Colleges in the country.

“This scholarship program will definitely lessen the burden of those young students who dream to finish tertiary education despite financial difficulties,” Magsaysay said.

Also, Magsaysay asked for the support of his fellow educators, particularly those of the PASUC officers and members.

“We ask you, my dear educators, to join hands and fully cooperate with the full implementation of AVE’s scholarship program for the sake of these students who will definitely benefit from this,” Magsaysay stressed.

AVE is a newly-elected party-list in the 13th Congress whose main advocacy is to ameliorate and uplift the quality of education in the country by supporting the demand for adequate government subsidy to all learning institutions to make education affordable.



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