Your latest news happening from here at home and abroad

news 16



Mining operations start  in 4 Samar towns

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



VF, PPA ink MOA to construct ‘Bahay Silungan sa Daungan’ nationwide to curb human trafficking

August 2, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar    – The Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. (VF) and the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) has recently inked a 5-year Memorandum of Agreement setting up strategic ‘Bahay Silungan sa Daungan (Halfway Houses) in various seaports across the archipelago to curb local trafficking.

Jerome A. Alcantara of the VF central office who was in this town yesterday said these port halfway houses provide center-based package of protective services. Through this strategy, “we documented cases of trafficking within the country and cases bound for abroad and help the victims, as well,” Alcantara said.

As of now, the PPA and VF has set up some Halfway Houses in the ports in Sta. Ana, North Harbor, Manila; Batangas, Iloilo City, Davao and port of Matnog in Sorsogon. “The plan to construct Halfway House in Eastern Visayas ports is now underway,” Alcantara said.

Meanwhile, the Visayan Forum is a non-profit, non-stock and tax-exempt non-government organization in the Philippines established in 1991. It works for the welfare of marginalized migrants, especially those working in the invisible and informal sectors, like domestic workers and trafficked women and children.

It is licensed and accredited by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide “residential care and community based programs and services for women and children in especially difficult circumstances.”

It is most known for its pioneering and documented work on domestic workers in the Philippines, especially in pushing for the Domestic Workers Bill or the Batas Kasambahay. It is also in the forefront of providing services to trafficking victims through its Halfway Houses in major Philippine ports.

Alcantara said thousands of women and young girls end up in prostitution and exploitative labor, including abusive household labor, both locally and overseas every year.

By year 2004, VF has rescued more than 3, 000 victims as traffickers attempted to slip them through major seaports and bus routes. More than half of these victims were promised jobs as entertainers in Japan but still had to train in undisclosed locations in Manila for at least six months while their recruiters obtain the victims’ passports, visas and working permits. Others were promised a chance work in local households and factories but usually end up in many of Manila’s bars and brothels, the VF said.

As of today, to bring the issue of trafficking beyond the ports, VF established the Multi-Sectoral Network Against Trafficking in Persons (MSNAT)), a national civil society-led initiative that aims to provide direct action, build capacities of partners, advocate for policy reforms and network with local and international agencies.





WBF president gets praises for gesture on Magahin

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
July 31, 2004

MANILA, Philippines  –  Praises and accolades rained on World Boxing Foundation president Mick Croucher after it was reported that he would help disgraced former WBF welterweight champion William Magahin when he visits Manila in August.

"Mr. Croucher has a golden heart. Just when everyone in the Philippines was condemning William (Magahin) for robbing a taxi, the WBF president offered to help," said Martin Alojado, 48, a civil engineer and boxing fan.

Alojado said his attitude toward the case of Magahin "changed when I read in the newspaper that no less than the president of the WBF has offered to donate from his personal funds."

Alojado said he was one of those who denounced the black mestizo former boxer when he learned that he robbed an FX taxi in Quezon City last July 13.

"I was ashamed because I used to idolize him (Magahin). When Mr. Croucher's offer to help was reported on radio stations and newspapers, I changed my opinion. The boxer indeed needs compassion, not hatred," said Alojado, a former gym owner in Ajuy, Iloilo.

Efren Gemeo, 38, a real estate broker, said "Mr. Croucher's gesture to help Magahin is a slap on the face of those who condemned Magahin; it's a slap on our culture of hate."

Gemeo said he agreed that Magahin, who now languishes in jail, should be put in a rehabilitation center being a drug user. "The government should give Magahin a chance to reform. It can not be denied that he had given glory to our country. Now that he is down, we will just step on him?"

Allan Vidal, a boxing matchmaker, said he wanted to thank Mr. Croucher personally for his "big heart." Vidal said "Mr. Croucher has taught many Filipinos how to be a good Christian."

"Kennedy was right: Victory has many fathers, defeat is an orphan," Vidal said, quoting the late US President John F. Kennedy.

Vidal observed that when Magahin was still world champion, "everyone, including politicians, was in mad scramble to have photo opportunity with Magahin; they even used Magahin for their publicity gimmicks. And now that he is down, they treat him like an AIDS infected patient."

Alfredo Amistoso, Sr., Magahin's former trainer during his early years as amateur boxer, said he would still welcome Magahin if his former ward would be rehabilitated.

"Sa akon opinion, indi man guid na sia malain nga tawo. May mga circumstansia lang sa kabuhi nia nga indi nia macontrol (In my opinion, Magahin is not really a bad person. There are circumstances in his life that is beyond his control)," said Amistoso, 71, who teaches taebo, boxing and kickboxing in Arevalo gym. Amistoso called Mr. Croucher "hulog sang langit para kay William (a blessing from heaven)."





8ID Army marks 16th Founding Anniversary

July 31, 2004

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar    –  The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army will mark is 16th Founding Anniversary with a series of activities from July 31 to August 1, 2004 to be held at its headquarters in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan, Samar.

Highlight of the first day of celebration will be the conduct of military stakes competition dubbed as 8ID’s Army Challenge. Participating teams from the Division’s major units will hone their military skills and compete on Communications, Weapons, Endurance Firing and Squad/Team Run.

On August 1, 2004, a Field Mass will be held followed by a Flag Raising and a Wreath Laying in honor of the fallen heroes of the Division. Highlight of the celebration will be the unveiling of the bust of Gen. Vicente R. Lukban, whom the camp is named after. No less than Gen. Antonio B. Lukban (Ret), a member of the Lukban clan will be the guest of honor. This will be followed with the inauguration and blessing of the 8th Division Training Unit (DTU) Mess Hall.

The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army from the time of its inception as the 8th Infantry Brigade (Separate), Philippine Army way back in 1986, has gone a long way. It has taken part in many campaigns of the Army in confronting the insurgency problem in Eastern Visayas. Noteworthy to mention was the UP-UP Samar (Unity for Peace, Unity for Progress), a counterinsurgency measure that relied on good faith and maximum people’s support to defeat the rebels and other lawless elements. With the success of the campaign, it had brought economic relief to some parts of the region. With its focus then in combat operations and the success in almost every campaign, several Infantry Battalions of the Division were adjudged as best maneuver battalions of the then Visayas Command.

Today, under the leadership of MGen. Glenn J. Rabonza, the 8th Infantry Division does not only address the problem of insurgency besetting the region but has become an active participant in convergence efforts of the government to fast-track the delivery of socio-economic services such as the KALAHI in Conflict Areas, the Army Literacy Patrol System (ALPS), environmental protection and preservation, and other peace and order programs.

In keeping with higher headquarters’ directives, this year’s anniversary celebration will be simple but memorable. The celebration will be capped with the recognition and awarding of medals so deserving personnel of the Division and the traditional “boodle fight”.





WBF President to visit Manila

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
July 27, 2004

MANILA, Philippines  –  The president of the World Boxing Foundation (WBF), who expressed “sadness” over the case of jailed former WBF welterweight champion William Magahin, will visit Manila tentatively in August.

Mick Croucher of Australia said in an email that although he did not know Magahin personally, “I will be making a contribution out of my own bank account and not that of the WBF.”

Croucher’s reaction came after he learned that Magahin, 34, was languishing in Quezon City jail after robbing an FX taxi last July 13. The black mestizo lefty was charged with robbery-holdup and could be released only temporarily on a P100,000 bail.

Friends, relatives and former associates ignored him “because he gave us shame,” said his former trainer Marlon Lumacad, who discouraged people from giving any assistance to the boxer.

Croucher’s offer to contribute also came when nobody from the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Games and Amusement Board (GAB) came forward to help Magahin, who reportedly needed rehabilitation for drugs, before his arrest.

Croucher and Magahin never met personally because the letter F in the WBF was still known then as “Federation” when Magahin, then 25, snatched the title on a 12-round unanimous decision from Australian Jeff Malcolm.

It was another Australian, Jack Rennie, who supervised the Magahin-Malcolm WBF setto on March 25, 1995 in Iloilo City, Philippines under the presidency of Tennessee-based Ron Scalf.


Croucher said he would contribute “for a great former WBF boxing champion that deserves the respect that he once got as a great Filipino boxing champion” saying “I am saddened to hear of his situation.”

Some public officials and individuals whom Magahin had approached for help after he quit boxing in 1996 have started avoiding him after he turned to drugs. This was when he could not find a decent job for a living owing to his lack of qualification as a high school drop out.

When he parted ways with his foster father Roland, who was also his manager, the former boxer tried his luck in Manila as a car park attendant. Luck however was not on his side as he was arrested last July 13.

Croucher will also collaborate with his Philippine contacts—Gabriel “Bebot” Elorde, Jr., Alex Vidal, Salven Lagumbay and Chinese promoter Cao Kun—on the possible holding of more world title promotions in the Philippines and China under the aegis of the revitalized WBF.





NPA, RHB bandit group clash in Samar

July 26, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –  A unit of the NPA’s Arnulfo Ortiz Command claimed to have recovered some high-powered firearms from their recent chance encounter with the counterrevolutionary bandit group Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB) in Sitio Lim-ao, Brgy. Macalpe, Hinabangan, Samar.

In a press statement sent yesterday, Jose Somoroy, spokesperson of the Efren Martirez Command New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas (EMC-NPA-EV) said the incident occurred around 4:00 in the afternoon of July 20 in a forested area of Hinabangan, Samar.

The Red fighters claimed they were able to seize the initiative and to send the RHB gangsters fleeing in all directions with no single fighter from their side was killed or injured, contrary to the claims to the media by the RHB bandit leader known by the alias “Anson” that eight Red fighters died in the incident.

Instead, Somoroy said, the red fighters confiscated from the bandits one M2 carbine, one M79 grenade launcher, two grenades, one rifle grenade, and three bagfuls of documents.

According to the statement, the RHB is a counterrevolutionary, anti-people, criminal and a tool of the fascist AFP. It was set up in 1997 in Central Luzon by the “Marxista-Leninistang Partido ng Pilipinas” (MLPP). The MLPP is composed of renegade leaders and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Central Luzon, who were expelled from the CPP for factionalism, sabotaging the revolutionary movement and refusal to rectify their errors.

“The RHB and the MLPP have since degenerated into counterrevolutionary and criminal activities. Because of the NPA’s active pursuit and exposure of the RHB’s real nature, only a handul of the bandit group remains in Bataan and Zambales. But they have been monitored as trying to worm their way into areas outside Central Luzon, like the Southern Tagalog region and now Eastern Visayas,” Somoroy said.

He added the revolutionary movement in Central Luzon has documented the following counterrevolutionary and criminal offenses of the RHB: collaboration with the AFP-PNP’s counterrevolutionary campaign; serving as the private army of local politicians and gambling lords like the notorious Bong Pineda; extorting from the masses and small businessmen; abduction and disappearance of a Central Luzon CPP cadre; multiple murder; multiple rape; kidnap-for-ransom with murder; and harassment of several leaders and members of militant organizations.

Here in Eastern Visayas, the RHB was first monitored in February 2002, estimated to be squad-sized and armed with assorted long and short firearms. They are also known to be roving in some barangays between Hinabangan and Paranas. The leader of these bandits is believed to be one “Anson”, a former NPA member who resurfaced with the RHB after leaving the movement to work in Manila.

Somoroy claimed RHB soon earned the dislike of the peasant masses for vilifying the NPA and the revolutionary movement. While pretending to serve the people, the RHB members bared their true selves when they began stealing chickens and other properties of the peasant masses, as well as extorting from small businesses in the barrios. A member of the RHB named Erning Bachicha also murdered a peasant. “Like their Central Luzon cohorts, the RHB here is considered as conniving with the military,” he said.

In fact, Somoroy further alleged, the RHB hideouts are located near the 52nd Infantry Battalion as well as the police, yet the bandits thrive with their nefarious activities without fear of retaliation.

Somoroy reiterated, “It is the policy of the revolutionary movement to break up and smash the RHB and all counterrevolutionary and criminal groups in the Red territories. The Efren Martires Command calls on the peasant masses to be vigilant, monitor the movement of the RHB, and report their activities to the responsible NPA unit. The RHB should be denied any form of support, and denounced and expelled from all communities for destroying the peace and harmony in the revolutionary base areas.”

Meanwhile, many believed these two archrival-armed groups – the NPA and the RHB -- are now competing for territorial control in some Samar areas where they can further expand their operational activities.





Jailed ex-world boxing champ gets no sympathy

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
July 25, 2004

MANILA, Philippines    –  The former trainer of jailed former world boxing champion William Magahin has nixed any attempt to bail the boxer out saying he would prefer the boxer to stay “permanently” inside the jail.

“Let him stay inside the jail. Efforts to bail him out or help him in his case must be discouraged,” said Marlon Lumacad, who trained Magahin when the boxer won the Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) welterweight crown and subsequently the World Boxing Federation (WBF) welterweight title on March 25, 1995.

Lumacad said Magahin is a “confirmed” drug user. Putting him in jail for a long period would mean rehabilitating him, Lumacad said, “because he could no longer use drugs and it would be for his own good.”

Lumacad said he has no sympathy for his former ward because he himself was also “victimized” by the Amerasian former boxer when they met in Adriatico, Manila several months back.

“When I saw him in Adriatico, I invited him to have lunch with me but he asked that he be given cash instead. When I was about to give him P100, he grabbed the P500 bill in my wallet so I got mad and asked him to get lost,” Lumacad narrated.

Magahin, 34, was arrested together with a certain Alex Aquino by police in Baler, Quezon City last July 13 minutes after robbing an FX taxi. Taken from him was a fan knife, cellphone worth P35,000 and ATM cards owned by a passenger who is a student.

P100,000 BAIL

As of this writing, nobody has come forward to offer him raise the P100,000 bail for his temporary liberty. He was charged with robbery and possession of deadly weapon before the Quezon City prosecutors office.

His foster father, Roland, a fruits vendor at the Iloilo Terminal Market, said the boxer must face the consequences of his crime. “I raised him like a true son and now look what he did,” he said.

Magahin had complained to this writer that he had been maltreated inside the jail. “They whacked me with the butt of an armalite riffle and there is pain all over my body,” Magahin told this writer.

A certain P01 Harold Aaron Melgar of the Baler police station admitted they inflicted harm on Magahin “because he was resisting physically and we were wary because he is a former boxer.”

Lawyer Gerlie Uy who earlier offered to help Magahin said the police could face charges for violation of human rights if they continue to inflict harm on the inmate.


Magahin was a former national champion as an amateur boxer and at the age of 14, he represented the country in the 1984 World Cup youth boxing championship in Havana, Cuba in the bantamweight division and reached the quarterfinals.

He became a regular member of the RP Team that saw action in King’s Cup in Bangkok and Jakarta before turning professional in 1990 by wrecking Eric Togana in the second round.

Magahin won the RP lightweight belt months later by demolishing veteran Jessie Solis in Iloilo City. After losing the title in a disputed verdict to Igorot fighter Bernabe Aliping in Baguio City in 1991, he went to Surabaya, Indonesia and outpointed local idol Harry Haryanto.

After disposing off in the fifth round former World Boxing Council (WBC) super featherweight ruler Rolando Navarette June 24, 1993 at the Araneta Colesium in a 10-round non-title fight, Magahin traveled to Tokyo and was annihilated by the future WBC lightweight champion Miguel Angel Gonzalez in five rounds.

In 1995, Magahin grabbed the World Boxing Federation (WBF) welterweight bauble from Jeff Malcolm of Australia and lost it to Suwito Lagola in Sumatra, Indonesia months later but earned US$30,000.

The WBF stripped Lagola of his title for refusing a rematch with the Olongapo-born but Iloilo-raised buzzsaw and tapped Mexican dynamo Jaime Lerma and Magahin to dispute the crown in January 1996.

Before a shocked crowd that included then Pres. Fidel V. Ramos at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila, Lerma pummeled Magahin from pillar to post and sent him to dreamland in the 10th of the scheduled 12-round title fight.

Absorbing his sixth setback as a professional beakbuster in a career that romped off in “Bombo Boksing” at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in 1982, Magahin called it quits at 26.

He would never fight again.





Congress may probe why Magahin turned into a robber

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
July 25, 2004

ILOILO CITY   –  Iloilo City lone district Rep. Raul Gonzalez, Jr. has agreed to take up the case of jailed former world boxing champion William Magahin in the House of Representatives to determine whether the government has neglected a retired athlete who had given glory to the country.

The solon however wants that a detailed story about Magahin’s background as well as the plight of other retired athletes in the country be published first in major national dailies “so as to prick the interest of other congressmen”.

“Although he has given glory to the country, it can not be denied that he also gave shame to the country because of what he did,” the young congressman said in an exclusive interview.

Gonzalez said although he and his fellow congressmen have other pressing concerns to attend to, he would push for a House inquiry on Magahin’s case “if it will be established in a series of newspaper articles that his crime was a result of poverty. And that he was neglected by the agencies concerned after he has retired from sports.”

Magahin is now languishing at Baler police station jail in Quezon City since his arrest last July 13. He is facing robbery-holdup cases for robbing an FX taxi and its passengers.

He was hard-pressed to produce the P100,000 bail for his temporary liberty after his relatives, friends and former supporters have deserted him.


Magahin grabbed newspaper headlines once more after a four-year ring hiatus in 2000 when, as a parking space attendant at Harrison Plaza in Manila, he blocked the way of a fleeing cellphone snatcher and knocked him out with an uppercut.

The snatcher was brought to the police station while the victim recovered his cellphone.

His heroism reached the attention of then World Boxing Federation (WBF) supervisor Jack Rennie in Australia who was shocked to learn that the former WBF welterweight champion had become a parking space attendant.

“Where are those people who benefited a lot when Magahin was still world champion?” Rennie asked this writer in an email.

Rennie said the government should have provided Magahin with a livelihood or pension being a former sports icon especially after it has been reported that he had become a car parking attendant.



◄◄home I next►►