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GMA signs law establishing the 1st University in Samar

NPA, RHB bandit group clash in Samar

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


8ID wins Outstanding Literacy Award

September 10, 2004

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar   – The 8ID Army Literacy Patrol System (ALPS) won second place in the Outstanding Literacy Program Award for 2004. This is the 3rd year that the 8th Infantry Division has won the same award. MGen. Glenn J. Rabonza, Commanding General, 8ID received the award from the Chair of the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC), Usec. Ramon Bacani during the National Literacy Conference and Awards held at Rembrandt Hotel, Quezon City on September 8, 2004. On hand to witness the ceremony were DepEd officials from Region 8 led by Director Sol Matugas, Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, members of the LCC and other DepEd officials.

From Learning to Earning a Living

Education provides a clear path to victory against the war on poverty, ignorance and consequently against the insurgency. The ALPS is an important component of the AFP’s counter-insurgency program. Soldier-teacher of the 8ID conduct literacy-cum-livelihood classes to held eradicate illiteracy, to enable out-of-school youth and adults gain employed skills and prepare them to be responsible and productive citizens.

The 8ID during the year has conducted 19 ALPS classes and graduated 571 learners throughout Samar and Leyte. Ten more classes with 287 learners are on-gain. Three of these of ALPS classes have been registered as producers’ cooperatives. These cooperatives are now venturing into marketing their products made from the abundant supply of abaca, rattan and coconut from Region 8.

“Hall of Fame” Literacy Program

The LCC has recognized and awarded the 8ID for its effective conduct of the ALPS since 2002. The award citation states “For undertaking non-traditional service of teaching literacy to poor, deprived and marginalized constituencies in places of unrest by making the learners more constructive and productive members of the communities. For using organized, disciplined and mobile human resources to propagate and manage the program in areas where government services are at the minimum in collaboration with DepEd-BNFE, LGUs and other Government Agencies. . .” .For its consistent performance, the 8ID has gained the added distinction of being registered at the LCC Hall of Fame.

MGen. Rabonza in remarks made before 8ID personnel and DepEd Region 8 Officials stated “Winning second place for three consecutive years is good enough. Just like in the previous years, an NGO bagged number one. They do this work full time with funding from generous donors, while the ALPS is just one of the 101 other tasks we are mandated to accomplish. We shall continue being the best implementers of the ALPS because the insurgency cannot be won with guns and bullets alone. Moreover, the ALPS will certainly contribute to the realization of the President GMA’s 10 points Agenda.”




New RP Consul General in San Francisco dialogues with Bay area-based Filipinos

September 9, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, California   - The newly-designated Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco, Ms. Maria Rowena Mendoza Sanchez, who formally reported to the Consulate on August 6, 2004, conducted a dialogue with some Filipinos in the San Francisco Bay Area on September 4, 2004, at Carmen’s-by-the-Bay, located at the picturesque Pier 40 on Townsend and Embarcadero streets in San Francisco.

The dialogue touched on the following: (1) the role of the San Francisco Consulate and the entire Philippine Foreign Service in pushing through a “Tabang Pilipinas” initiative starting with the ongoing drive to mobilize Filipino support to assist the victims of the massive flooding in Central Luzon and Metro Manila; (2) the need and advisability for a formal, dignified, relevant welcome by the Filipino-American community for her designation as San Francisco Consul General; and (3) the possibility of instituting an international forum in San Francisco to be attended by experts on various issues impacting the Philippines in this age of terrorism and economic hardships for the Filipino people with resource persons coming from the Philippines and other parts of the world.

In her introductory remarks, the Consul General informed the group that it would be her policy to undertake periodic consultations with the various sectors of the Filipino community in her jurisdiction to feel their pulse.

When requested by UP Alumni Association of Berkeley President Jose Aliling IV for her priorities, the Consul General replied that the Consulate is mandated to protect, maintain, and enhance Philippine diplomatic, political, and economic interests in California and provide all other traditional services inherent in the office.

But the Consul General has some innovations.  These are projects that are in the pipeline, such as the following: (1) a planned three-day workshop on how to improve the process of sending disaster relief assistance and donated funds to various organizations in the Philippines and how to make the government a more effective facilitator and the recipient organizations more accountable; (2) a concerted campaign in California to include the study of Philippine-American history in the curricula of the school system to develop greater awareness of the Filipino-Americans in their history; (3) renovating the Consular Office so that there is more space for art exhibitions and gatherings, and; (4) increasing the presence of Philippine art in the San Francisco Asian Museum.

In addition, the group suggested instituting a 1-800 number, which will make information easily accessible to Filipinos and other clients of the Consulate.  Jose Caedo of the Filipino-American Democratic Empowerment Council of San Francisco suggested the holding of a townhall meeting that should bring information and services to the people as an outreach function of the Consulate Staff, especially to the Filipino seniors who find it difficult to visit the Consulate. A San Francisco Consulate website, similar to the one the Consul General did in Chicago but with a Message Board, was discussed. The issue of undocumented Filipinos was brought up. It was suggested that Identification Cards be issued similar to those given to undocumented Mexicans so they can have access to the State and the City’s health and medical services. The Consul General assured the group that this matter is already in the pipeline.  Towards this end, Mr. Caedo offered assistance in sponsoring a possible legislation that might be presented to the City of San Francisco or to the Legislature of California. He opined that the agreement between the US and Mexico could become a guide in this regard.

The Consul General also assured the group that the Consulate would take the lead in celebrating Rizal Day, to honor the Philippines’ foremost martyr.

Accompanied by Consul J. Eduardo Malaya, the group that met with the Consul General included two icons in the Filipino American Community in Northern California: 85-year old Brigida Abuyen, President of the International Alliance, and Jose G. Caedo III, President of the Filipino-American Democratic Empowerment Council of San Francisco and a popular Filipino staff member in the City and County of San Francisco.

Others who attended the dialogue were: Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez III, Program Director of Professional Studies of Golden Gate University and the University of San Francisco and a former San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commissioner; former UP College of Business Administration Professor Jose Aliling IV who is concurrently President of the UP Alumni Association of Berkeley; Morgan Benedicto, former Vice-President of the Filipino-American Council of San Francisco; Nerissa M. Fernandez, former editor-in-chief of The Manila Bulletin USA and now a managing partner at International Media Exchange (IMEX) in Burlingame; newspaper and radio executives Addie and Hanthur Angeles of The Fil-Am Press; budding artists and social historians, Lian Ladia and Pio Candelaria, who are documenting the life and culture of Filipinos in Northern California in addition to coming out with a documentary on the descendants of the “Manila Men” in Louisiana, and this writer.

Doctor Gonzalez offered the facilities of the Golden Gate University in downtown San Francisco, as well as the University of San Francisco to the Consul General and the group if the planned international forum on the state of Philippine society or the formal welcome for the Consul General would be held.

A core group studying the details of a formal welcome to Consul General Sanchez has been organized with Mrs. Brigida Abuyen as Chair and Ms. Lian Ladia as Vice-Chair. The two represent the senior and junior generations in San Francisco.  Assisting them are veteran Filipino organizers in the Bay Area. Mrs. Abuyen and Ms. Ladia will be contacting their counterparts in the Consulate concerning this event.

The dialogue was initiated by former UP Political Science Professor Cesar Torres, the Acting Chair of Pamana ng Lahing Pilipino Foundation-United Way.




Search for Unsung Heroes in the Visayas and Mindanao On Going

September 4, 2004

CEBU CITY, Philippines    - The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) is now accepting nominees to the 3rd Triennial Awards for Exemplary Individual and Outstanding Institution in the Visayas and Mindanao.  Nominations from government agencies, non-government agencies, people’s organizations, civil society organizations, as well as those from the academe and the business sector will be accepted. The foundation also accepts re-nominations from the last two awards.

The awards will be given in two categories namely the Ramon Aboitiz Award for Exemplary Individual and the Eduardo Aboitiz Award for Outstanding Institution. The Ramon Aboitiz Award is open to every Filipino, natural born or naturalized citizen, at least 30 years of age and of good moral character whose dedication to his/her profession has made significant contributions to the advancement of the well - being of his/her fellow Filipinos. On the other hand, the Eduardo Aboitiz Award is open to all institutions/organizations who have been established for at least three years with functional program/s and services and has dedicated partnerships with other groups in bringing about comprehensive and responsible development.

Individuals and institutions nominated for these awards will undergo extensive screening process.  A Search Committee composed of representatives from the academe, business groups and NGO/PO has been formed to conduct evaluation/validation of the nominees in the Visayas and Mindanao and come up with a short list which is then submitted to the RAFI Board of Trustees for final deliberation.

Each award category winner will be given a trophy, cash prize of P250,000 and an opportunity to travel in the Visayas and Mindanao to share his/her expertise to various groups. Deadline for submission of nomination is November 30, 2004. The awardees will be announced March of 2006. Online nominations as well as more information on the Awards can also be accessed through RAFI's website -, or contact The Secretariat at (032)2555626-27 and look for Anton Dignadice ( or Gema Escobido (

The RAFI Triennial Awards program is the foundation’s way of portraying an expectant tomorrow --- a future full of hope and possibilities --- by highlighting the contribution and character of men and women who make a difference; institutions and individuals who commit themselves to building a more humane, equitable, and caring society.





AVE calls government to implement students ‘transpo discount’

By Alliance of Volunteer Educators
September 1, 2004

MANILA, Philippines   - Let us keep our students off from the government’s unimplemented laws and ineffective system.

Rep. Amang R. Magsaysay of the Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE) appealed today to the Arroyo administration and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to take immediate actions towards the unimplemented public transportation discount of the students.

“It has been several months since the transportation fare increased again. But it seems that the drivers and operators of our jeepneys and buses are yet to be informed about the fare matrixes they are posting inside their respective vehicles,” Magsaysay said.

Under the DOTC memorandum circular 2000-033, the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board reiterated and modified its policy on the grant of fare discounts to the elderly, disabled persons and the students.

Recognizing the students’ “special and particular stake on how we shape the future,” the said memorandum requires all public utility vehicles (except for trucks for-hire and school transport service) to give a fare discount in the amount equivalent to 20% of the authorized fare (or the regular/normal fare being collected in the case of air-conditioned buses).

The fare discount covers all students, 21 years old and below, enrolled in elementary, secondary, and collegiate schools including academic, vocational, and technical schools duly recognized by the government, except those of short-term courses of seminar type. To avail the said discount, the student has to present his/her valid school ID or registration papers proving his/her enrolment.

However, despite the memorandum’s good intentions, Magsaysay raised the alarm bells regarding its non-implementation of some if not most of public utility vehicles’ drivers and operators.

“AVE party-list has received several letters and calls from students nationwide complaining about jeepney drivers and bus conductors refusing to grant them the fare discount.”

Magsaysay explained that most of the students who initially asked or demanded for their fare discounts but rejected, were later on uncomfortable in asking for it the next time they ride on public utility vehicles.

“Our students should not suffer from this unconscientious and unlawful act of our drivers and operators. Like them (the drivers and operators), the parents of these students are enduring deprivation and financial weakness. Let us be of help to one another,” Magsaysay appealed.





Ex-Palaro silver medalist earns crack at WBF title

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS
August 22, 2004

MANILA, Philippines   - After clinching a silver medal in the 1997 Palarong Pambansa in Naga City, pint-sized Sukarno Banjao told Ronald Cuambot, his teammate in the Western Visayas boxing team, that he would quit boxing.

He broke that promise.

Banjao, 26, of Bacolod City, turned professional a year after losing the gold in the 51 kg to Cebu City's Jovan Presbiterio in the Palaro. After racking up 15 professional fights, Banjao challenged anew Presbiterio for the RP flyweight throne only to be repulsed on points.

On September 25, the Negros speedster will trade mitts versus Indonesia's Yongki Afrizal for the vacant World Boxing Foundation (WBF) flyweight diadem scheduled for 12 rounds at the Elorde Sports Complex in Paranaque City.

"I will be there to cheer for him and tell him that he made the right decision in braking his promise (of turning professional)," said Cuambot, 25, of Iloilo City, who bagged the bronze in the Naga Palaro in the 48 kg.

The card, which is going to be one memorable birth anniversary for the "Grand Old Man of Philippine Boxing" Lope "Papa" Sarreal, will be promoted by Gabriel "Bebot" Elorde Jr, grandson of the late boxing great, who announced that four WBF titles will be put on the line in one evening, the first time in Philippine boxing history.

Sarreal, father of Flash Elorde's wife Laura, passed away nine years ago. He had produced a total of 22 world champions of different nationalities. Sarreal was also a special icon of international boxing before and after the World War II.

A matchmaker extraordinaire Sarreal was instrumental in producing world titlists led by his son-in-law Flash Elorde, Saensak Muangsurin, unbeaten Masao Ohba, and Ricardo Arredondo of Mexico.

"Three more world title fights will also be up for the card," Elorde announced.

The WBF event is an offshoot to the recent Philippine visit of WBF president Mick Croucher, who met with some Filipino promoters and managers in order to establish the organization's presence in the country.





Samar execs extend financial aid to human rights victims

August 20, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   - Samar Governor Milagrosa "Mila" Tan is set to give financial assistance to the families and victims of alleged abduction, illegal arrest and detention reportedly perpetrated by the members of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division based in this provincial capital.

On July 26 this year, or during the 4th regular session of the 11th Sangguniang Panlalawigan of this province, Vice-Governor Jesus "Jess" Redaja signed and approved resolution number 11-11 requesting financial assistance from the office of the honorable Governor Milagrosa T. Tan to be given to relatives and the victims of alleged abduction, illegal arrest and detention and the rehabilitation of farms that were allegedly destroyed during the series of military operations in the interior barangays of Jiabong, San Jorge, San Jose De Buan, and Motiong, all of this province.

During the committee hearing conducted by the provincial board last July 22 at the session hall, capitol building in Catbalogan, some twenty-two farmers, three of them children victims of the militarizations in the said towns had sought the legal and financial assistance of the provincial government.

The complainants, all from the interior villages of San Miguel, Sto. Nińo and Barayong of Jiabong and San Jorge, identified the elements belong to the 34th Infantry Battalion stationed in San Jorge, 52nd Infantry Battalion and the 8ID's 7th Scout Rangers Company as responsible to the destroyed farm lands, missing of some innocent farmers and other human rights violations last June 27 until July 5, of this year.

"The victims has suffered so much and indemnification of days work lost in their farms and rehabilitation of destroyed crops in their respective farms," SP member Concepcion De Luna said.

De Luna said that after the "committee finds the farmers claim to be true and indeed needs assistance," their request for financial aid was immediately granted.

De Luna, however, failed to mentioned how much of the province's coffer will be extended to the human rights victims.

As this developed, the provincial board members reminded the involved military to observe the Protocol II of the Comprehensive Agreement of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL).

As contained in Resolution No. 11-12 series of 2004, it is said in part, "that the SP has received several complaints of alleged human rights violation such as abduction, illegal arrest and detention by the military in their counter insurgency in the said towns."

The complainants and victims of alleged abduction, illegal arrest and detention – to include three children who were present during the committee hearing testified that they were allegedly forced to serve as guides to said military operations and were only released after few days in captivity.

"Some of our friends were still missing," a 13-year old kid narrated to this writer right after the hearing concluded recently.

All of these allegations and accusations against the members of the Philippine Army were contained in the sworn affidavits submitted to the provincial board.

"Based on their signed affidavits, there was (indeed) a clear violation of the Protocol II of the CAHRIHL (in the part of the involved men in uniform)," Vice-Governor Redaja said.

It was learned that copies of the resolution requesting all military personnel to observe the Protocol II of CAHRIHL was furnished to the said involved military detachments and to the Office of the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for their information and record.

Earlier, the military has released a press statement to the members of the media in Catbalogan, and to the city of Tacloban and Calbayog denying the said militarization and human rights violations.





Catbalogan mayor going after street crimes, gang wars

August 19, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   – Taking his war against crime a step further, the chief executive of this town ordered yesterday an all-out campaign against the five warring gangs and other crime elements operating in this provincial capital and neighboring municipalities.

The Filipino-Chinese businessman turned politician Mayor Coefredo “Tekwa” T. Uy gave the order after law enforcement agencies, led by the Philippine National Police has identified several street gangs victimizing innocent civilians, especially at nights.

It is said that the police are now having difficulties in cracking down these groups as they are using improvised guns and Indian panas. A source said each of the warring gangs has a minimum of 20 or more membership outnumbering the police.

As this developed, the Catbalogan Peace and Order Council (CPOC) has been reactivated again and subsequently mapped out strategies to solve the problem in a conference concluded at the session hall of Catbalogan on Monday, August 16.

Mayor Uy said the warring gangs would be “targeted and neutralized” in the same way that the police have pursued illegal drug peddlers in the society.

To carry out the campaign, the mayor started to strengthened the coordination between the police, village officials and other non-government organizations such as the PNP’s Allied Community Enforcers Corporations (PNP-ACEC), Council of the Community Elders (CCE), and the two radio groups – the Kabalikat Civicom and the REACT Philippines.

“I told them to go after them (gangs), neutralized them and I am optimistic that they will immediately hit the ground running for them,” Mayor Uy said.

In fact, he said, to avoid stabbing and snatching incidents in the dark portion of this town, “I ordered the police to conduct a 24-hour visibility in strategic locations wherein some of these groups have their ‘frat wars,’ the mayor said.

“Each of the ‘priority’ 57-barangays of this town will soon have 2-3 handheld radio in order to be effective in case of emergencies. A 24-hour Emergency Crisis Center will soon be operational within the lobby of this municipal hall that will addressed all kinds of disaster, crimes, among others to the benefit of the general public,” Mayor Uy said.

Earlier, the police intelligence community has identified these notorious gangs as Kapitulo 13, Trese Hudas, Dose Banal, WAPS (Walang Awang Papatay Syo), among others operating and victimizing innocent youths, residents and even visitors of this locality.

Also previously, the Youth for Christ, a Catholic organization based in this town has also apparently transformed some of these gangs into a “renowned Christian” but month later, street crimes involving these youths hounded again to the police complaint desk.

To date, the police are now intensifying its campaign and vowed to minimize if not to neutralize the street crimes and gang wars in this town.



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