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Artists, journalists, academe call for release of detained cultural worker

DOT-8 conducts workshop on tourism plan preparation

Chiz condemns culture of impunity in the military

Kasugbong Samar initiates regional MSQRT assembly

Attend to duty or face disciplinary actions, Robredo warns local government officials

125 brand new candidate soldiers took oath to serve the country

Peace and Order Council discusses criminality, internal security situation of EV

Proponents to Malacańang: disregard CBCP let’s push through with RH

AFP-PNP signs MOA, activates Joint Peace Security Coordinating Councils (JPSCC) in cities and provinces

Why both Mayweather and Mosley can’t beat Pacquiao




Samar I DPWH initiates media conference for transparency efforts

April 25, 2011

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The DPWH-Samar First Engineering District Office has joined the national government’s call is pursuing its transparency and accountability efforts by calling on the local media to a half-day conference held on April 19, 2011 at its new office at Brgy. San Policarpo, Calbayog City.

The DPWH panel was led by District Engineer, Engr. Virgilio C. Eduarte; Engr. Dennis C. Cagomoc, Chief, Maintenance Section; Engr. Mansueto U. Ponferrada, Chief, Construction Section; Engr. Raulito F. Yangzon, Assistant District Engineer; Raquel Y. Sumayo, Chief, Planning Section and Carlo C. Rivera, Accountant II.

The media forum, which was learned to be the first that was conducted by the DPWH, was arranged by Marionette Y. Gomez, Administrative Officer of the same agency.

On the press kits which were distributed to the local media, a report on the status of CY 2010 Carry-Over Projects and Regular Infrastructure Projects as of April 19, 2011 was contained.

It was learned that DPWH-Samar First Engineering District Office has already implemented the 20 Million Infrastructure Development Projects under the congressional allocation which were identified by the district office with the concurrence of Hon. Mel Senen Sarmiento, First District Representative of Samar.

The identified projects for 2010 consist of rehabilitation of roads, construction of concrete pavement and Multi-Purpose buildings in various municipalities of Samar.

These include the ongoing construction of a hanging bridge at Brgy. Buenavista-Brgy. Matalud, San Jorge Samar; construction of a multi-purpose concrete pavement at Brgy. Malobago, Almagro, Samar; rehabilitation of Gandara-Matuguinao Road Section; rehabilitation of Brgy. San Agustin-Pagsanghan Road, Gandara Samar; contruction of five (5) multi-purpose buildings in Calbayog and Sta. Margarita and the construction of the Rueda Extension Road in Calbayog which is a priority project of Cong. Sarmiento.

DE Eduarte disclosed that these 2010 projects are bid out late due to the delayed receipt of SARO.

According to DE Eduarte, they have accepted the challenge of taking the lead in building and expanding the network of roads and bridges based on a program thrust of the department for one (1) city and nine (9) municipalities within their area of responsibility.

He appreciated Sarmiento’s holistic approach in infrastructure development which coincides with the department’s plan to interconnect Gandara and Matuguinao to other municipalities in Northern Samar.

This road network is also being seen as a solution to the insurgency problem in Samar. Hopefully, with the roads in place, mobility in these areas will lead to development and progress of the areas concerned.

Meanwhile, included in the funded projects for 2011 are eighteen (18) projects amounting to 292,020 million pesos. While other projects have not yet been started, the following has been reported to be complete: construction of Samar First District Engineering Office including quarters and motor pool at Brgy. San Policarpo, Calbayog City; opening/construction of 205.5 million pesos missing links of the Calbayog Diversion Road; continuation and completion of Barruz Bridge along Gandara-Matuguinao Road; Nijaga Bridge along the Diversion Road; completion of Gandara Bridge along Gandara Diversion Road; rehabilitation of a damaged pavement (old national road, Calbayog City); VILP projects; Lower House projects and DepEd SB Projects.

Eduarte informed that the program thrust of their office is to provide quality physical infrastructure facilities and services that will help achieve the vision of poverty reduction, improvement of peace and order, tourism development and decongestion of roads with high traffic volumes.

In line with this, DPWH welcomed the ‘Bantay Lansangan Team”, a public-private engagement that would help in the monitoring of the physical implementation of the above-mentioned projects. Eduarte expressed support over the presence of civil society organizations who will conduct an independent monitoring as to the quality and physical conditions of the roads.

Moreover, it was learned that Eduarte has also acted on the orders of DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singzon to organize the Maintenance Point Persons or “road patrols” that will regularly monitor the road conditions within its area of jurisdiction.

“With various sectors helping in the monitoring of infrastructure projects, we can be assured of improved roads. We would like to live up with our mandate of maintaining ‘better roads for better lives’ which is our agency slogan”, adds the District Engineer.

DE Eduarte was appreciative of the media’s presence and committed to pursue continuous information dissemination campaigns regarding their thrusts and activities. They commit to continually answer queries and welcome feedbacks from all sectors in line with the transparency efforts that they uphold.

A Bantay Lansangan volunteer commended the sincerity of the DPWH effort to engage the various sectors. She likewise took notice of the lines on its backdrop which says, “The right Project at the Right Price with the Right Quality for the Right People” and hopes that the DPWH will always be reminded of their vital role in improving the lives of every Samarnon.





Robredo to LCEs: Submit local roads inventory

By DILG Office of Public Affairs
April 25, 2011

Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo urged all local executives – governors, city and municipal mayors – in the country to submit local roads inventory in their respective localities to enable the government to help improve and repair their local road networks.

The DILG chief said the inventory shall be included in the Local Road Database Project being maintained by the DILG’s Office of Project Development Services and will be used as one of the criteria in determining their eligibility to the Special Local Road Fund (SLRF).

The SLRF is intended to assist local government units in the rehabilitation and maintenance of provincial and city roads nationwide.

“The local roads database will be very useful to government policy and program planners as this will help them develop the necessary interventions and seek funds such as the SLRF to improve our local roads,” he said.

In a directive to local chief executives, Robredo enjoined them to facilitate the submission of the inventory of provincial and city roads annually and municipal and barangay roads every three years pursuant to the Local Government Code.

“Municipalities that have yet to comply should submit their road inventories not later than October 31, 2011,” he said.

Section 524 of the Code specifically states that “each local government unit shall conduct a periodic inventory of infrastructure and other community facilities and undertake the maintenance, repair, improvement or reconstruction of these facilities through a closer cooperation among the various agencies of the national government operating within the province, city or municipality concerned.”

Records from the OPDS showed that while all provinces and cities have already turned in their road inventories, only 425 or 28.1% of the 1,512 municipalities and 5,541 or 13.18% of the 42,021 barangays nationwide have turned in their local road inventory.

“We want to complete and update this road database so that it can be an effective tool in monitoring local road network conditions and developing assistance to LGUs,” said Robredo.

The DILG Secretary said the database, which contains the inventory of provincial, city, municipal and barangay roads all over the country to encompass the entire local roads network, is open for use by other government agencies, the private sector and researchers.

The Philippine road network covers 220,000 kilometers. Of this total, 86 percent or 183,263 kms. are local roads under the jurisdiction of 79 provinces, 122 cities, 1512 municipalities and 42,021 barangays.





After ‘Azkals’, we now have the ‘Razcals’; shall we have the ‘Butakals’ next?

April 25, 2011

If they did not swallow whole Vietnam, 2-0, in a startling upset and salvaging draws against Myanmar and Palestine in the AFF Suzuki Cup last year and changing their moniker from mere RP XI to “Azkals”, their conquests would have remained buried deep in the inside pages of the tabloids’ sports section.

A perennial whipping boy in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Philippine booters have instantly captured the national imagination because, aside from their tall and good-looking British and Spanish mestizo members and foreign coaches, they are now known as “Azkals” which means “wild dogs” if translated in local dialect.

And they won the recent AFC Challenge Cup by blanking Bangladesh, 3-0, in the group stages.

While all eyes and ears are on the Azkals, the Philippine boys’ baseball team now nicknamed the “Little Razcals” won the recent Asia Pacific Zone Pony Mustang Baseball Championship in Vietnam which was a qualifier to the World Series.

Their come-from behind win over Singapore, 14-6, earned them a slot to represent the Asia Pacific region to the Pony Mustang Baseball World Series in Burleson, Texas on August 3-6, 2011.

The Little Razcals started their campaign with a 13-3 rout of Singapore, waylaid host Vietnam, 26-3, and outclassed Indonesia, 21-16, to sweep the eliminations and go into the finale spotless.

Young baseball players also easily grabbed the spotlight because aside from marching to the higher league where they will be pitted against heavier and more experienced rivals from all over the world including the US and Caribbean countries, they are now known as “Little Razcals” which is equivalent to infamy when the letter z is changed to s in the spelling.

The Little Razcals is composed of Javier Jesus Sale, Marty Alonso Ranada, Vincent Joshua Noprado, John Fritz Natanauan, Lorenzo Montemayor, Efril Ian Mercado, Robert Emmanuel Manaig, Jose Marie Javier Limpo, Daniel Isaac Fabella, Zian Javiel Eleria, Lloyd Christian Cinco, Charles Joshua Castillo, Carl Christopher Castaneda, Nathan Joseph Carpio, and Ezequiel Cyros Agojo.

According to team manager Rodolfo Tingzon, Jr., the Razscals will participate in a series of local tournaments to build up for the World Series.

“It is our first time to join in the 10 years old and under category at nag champion pa tayo sa Asia Pacific. From the start, I never expected the team to win because the opponents were a lot bigger than our players. That’s why we thought we had nothing to lose,” team coach Eric Gesmundo, former member of the RP team told campus writer Jaser Marasigan in a recent interview.

“But I saw how our boys really wanted to make it to the World Series. I told them, minsan lang ito kaya huwag niyong sayangin. Kaya mas lalo silang motivated ngayon.”

Because of the fad nowadays to glamorize the moniker of our national teams possibly to whip up their fighting mood, we won’t be surprised if our rowing teams in outdoor event will soon be named as “Butakals” which has more horrendous and repulsive English translation.





Bob Arum sounds alarm over JuanMa’s debacle

April 21, 2011

If a disaster could happen to the most feared fighter in the world next to Manny Pacquiao, it could also happen to anyone in fight business – even to Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Mosley.

Puerto Rico’s former WBO 125-lb king Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KOs) was brutally mangled by a challenger with a “ridiculous” record because of distractions in his life, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum justified.

Arum pointed to the “distractions in both his public life and personal life” which affected Lopez’s performance.

Mexico’s Orlando Salido, who reported in the championship title bout last April 16 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico with 11 losses, finished off Lopez with 1:39 left in the 8th stanza of the 12-round title clash.

Salido, who first decked Lopez with a right to the jaw in the fifth round, added the once highly touted Lopez to his 34 previous victims and listed the fast Puerto Rican as his 23rd stoppage casualty.


The big win was Salido’s best since losing on Sept. 18, 2004 by unanimous decision to Lopez’s namesake Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBA/IBF featherweight titles in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Distraction was the word once coined by Freddie Roach when he noticed politicians and hangers-on milling around Pacquiao in the boxer’s training camps in the Philippines and the United States.

Even Arum had once expressed concern for the big crowd in the Filipino fighter’s training environment and has made it a necessity to make ocular visits to check the progress of his ward’s condition.

To stay away from distractions, Team Pacquiao relocated to Baguio City, venue of his recent two-month training in preparation for his May 7 rumble against Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The training camp in the high altitude Philippine summer capital was inaugurated two years ago when Pacquiao was revving up for his WBO welterweight encounter with Miguel Angel Cotto, Lopez’s compatriot.

Outside P.R.

“The distractions did the job,” Arum told The Sport Press’ Rey Colon. “Look at Miguel Cotto, who has never been better since he left to train outside of Puerto Rico. And he doesn’t get out of shape between fights. That’s what happened to this guy….he was overweight. He was like 180 or 190 pounds when he was in the Philippines (for Manny Pacquiao's birthday party in December).

“And I know that personal problems affected this boy. Boxing is a serious business and you have to be in great physical condition between fights, you have to have the best life between fights, and when you have training camp for a fight, like Cotto, you should leave the island.”





Another two top ranking NPA leaders in Eastern Samar surrendered

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
April 21, 2011

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan Samar  –  Two top ranking leaders were presented by Governor Conrado Nicart of Eastern Samar to Major General Mario F Chan, Commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas, Monday morning.

Spouses Gelita and Marvin Capones (seating left) who claimed to be NPAs with MGen. Chan and Gov. Nicart. (PIA E Samar with 8th ID)

Gov. Conrado Nicart of Eastern Samar presents the two surrenderees identified as Marvin Deo Capones alias Saga/Red, Vice Commander, Provincial Operational Command, Eastern Samar Provincial Party Committee (ESPPC) of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) and his party wife, Gelita Capones alias Daisy/Onan, Medical Officer of the ESPPC, EVRPC to Major General Mario F. Chan, Commander, 8ID, PA.

The surrenderees were also presented to the media during the short press conference held at the conference room of the Eastern Samar Provincial Capitol.  Marvin, a native of McArthur, Eastern Samar and his wife Gelita, who is from Oras of the same province decided to abandon their armed struggle for the sake of their eight month old child. “Being in the revolutionary movement, life is a very difficult and the future of our family especially our child is uncertain, hence we decided to come out in order to once again live a normal life”, the couple said.

Their surrender was initiated by Governor Condrado Nicart of Eastern Samar in support to the government’s IPSP-Bayanihan. Also present during the press briefing were Colonel Virgilio M Espineli, Assistant Division Commander of 8ID, Colonel Romeo Labador, Commander of 801st Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Hermilo Demafiles, CO, 14IB and PSupt. Cubillo, the Provincial Director of Eastern Samar, PNP.

The surrender of the two top NPA leaders in Eastern Samar is a big blow to the revolutionary movement. It has showed that even the top ranking leaders had realized the futility of their continued struggle. The current efforts of 8ID in the conduct of sustained combat operations in its entire area of responsibility have kept the communist terrorists on the run, thereby preventing them to launch major tactical offensives. With the full support of the PNP, the local leaders and other stakeholders, has also reduced the capability of the NPAs to recover their mass base support that would sustain their armed components.

Major General Chan expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude to the honorable governor in his efforts in working out for the return of the couple to the folds of the law. According to him, he is very much happy with the progress in the implementation of the current governments Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” where the local leaders showed their commitment and support for the efforts in winning the peace.

General Chan also reiterated his call for the NPA to abandon their armed struggle. “Peace could be attained if our brothers (NPAs) would just heed to our call of giving up their revolutionary struggle. There is no happiness and satisfaction derived from killing NPA rebels, only desperation. The real sense of fulfillment comes in embracing former rebels back to the folds of law and help him become productive citizens of the country.

The two former rebels are now in the custody of Governor Nicart who has pledged his full support to the rebel returnees by providing them financial and livelihood means as they start their new life as responsible citizens of the community.





DILG conducts LGU validation for “Good Housekeeping” program

April 20, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In an effort to elevate the level of fundamentals of local governance, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted onsite validation in 11 towns and one (1) city in Eastern Visayas on the results of the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) survey.

seal of good housekeeping
The One Million Peso seal

The validation was made from April 12 to 19, revealed DILG Regional Director Francisco C. Jose, who added that the recommendations will be forwarded to the DILG Central Office within the month.

However Dir. Jose emphasized that NONE of these local government units (LGUs) validated in the region are yet assured of being among 200 towns and cities in the country who will receive 1 million pesos in counterpart fund from DILG under its Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) program. This is because the regional level results will still be evaluated and compared with those from other regions.

Among the LGUs visited by the DILG Regional team are: Caibiran and Almeria in Biliran province; Silago and Maasin City in Southern Leyte; Babatngon, Inopacan and Merida in Leyte; Lope de Vega and Allen in Northern Samar; as well as Balangiga, Lawaan and San Julian in Eastern Samar.

The Seal of Good Housekeeping is a set of criteria aimed at recognizing LGUs with good performance in internal housekeeping particularly on the areas of Sound Fiscal Management, Transparency and Accountability, and Valuing Performance Management. Information on the last part is taken from the agency’s own Local Governance Performance Management System.  Among the key components in the SGH criteria are compliance to the DILG’s Full Disclosure Policy, and acceptable levels of findings from the Commission on Audit.

For 2011, 28 component cities and 706 municipalities nationwide belonging to the 4th to 6th classes are to be covered by the Seal of Good Housekeeping criteria, which is an eligibility requirement to access the PCF. The PCF on the other hand is an incentive fund to LGUs in the form of counterpart for projects to be financed from the 20% component of the LGU’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

Dir. Jose said that eligible LGUs may use the PCF for projects meant to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); boost economic development; or those to help communities adapt to climate change and prepare LGUs for disaster.

Since the project was started last October 2010, only the municipality of Kawayan, Biliran has received the “Seal of Good Housekeeping” in Region 8, and earned the 1 Million-peso PCF grant from DILG.





DENR inks MOA with CBFM POs for development of upland areas in EV

April 20, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 8  has recently  firmed up  agreements with the Presidents of the 14 Community Based Forest Management Projects (CBFMPs) which availed of funding assistance from the comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP) of the government.  The CBFM POs are required to undertake development of their respective farm lots into sustainably productive and income generating farm areas.

Earlier the government through the DENR released some 9.5 million pesos of agrarian reform funds for use of the 15 CBFM POs for development of a total of 379 hectares of farm lots into abaca plantation, agro forestry, forest trees seedling production, rattan plantation coconut plantation, and forest tree plantation.

In a simple signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement between the POs last April 8, 2011, DENR Regional Executive Director Primitivo C. Galinato, Jr. encouraged the people’s organizations to maximize the opportunities given by the government.  He said, the government not only gives the CBFM beneficiaries lands to cultivate.  It also gives financial and technical assistance through the DENR and Agrarian Reform Program to ensure that the CBFM POs will make their lands productive and say goodbye to poverty.

Under the MOA, the DENR shall allocate and obligate agrarian reform funds for the development activities indicated in the work and financial plan of each project.  It shall provide the necessary technical assistance to all POs on project development; link with LGUs, OGAs and other CARP implementing agencies for support services like capacity building, product development and marketing assistance among other responsibilities.

The CBFM POs under the supervision of the DENR shall implement the development activities stated in their work and financial plan by providing the labor counterpart.  The POs shall also participate in the planning and decision making for the implementation of the planned activities.  The POs through resolutions shall formulate policies for the promotion of sustainable development and accountability measures.

The CBFM is a national strategy adopted by the government through Executive Order No. 263 to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s forestland resources.  The implementation of CBFM supports the management direction of the DENR, Region 8 which is, “from the ridges to the reefs” – where the upland areas specifically the forests is given full protection, it being the mother of all ecosystems.

The forest should be given primary protection because whatever happens at the forest being located at the upland areas would certainly affect the other ecosystems found in the lowlands such as the croplands, settlements in the urban and rural areas, as well as the coastal and marine ecosystems.

Currently, there are a total of 144 CBFM projects implemented in Region 8. This includes the 107 projects being implemented under the regular budget of the DENR and devolved to the local government units.  The other 37 projects are being implemented under the CARP.  RED Galinato disclosed that as much as possible the DENR sees to it that DENR services reaches all these projects being important components of development in the uplands.  “We also need the help of the respective local government units to give priority attention for the development of the devolved projects.





Ochoa asks DENR to conduct an inventory of the country's natural resources

Press Release
April 19, 2011

MALACAŃANG  –  Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. has asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct an inventory of the country’s available natural resources in order to help the government strike a balance between mining and protecting the environment.

In an interview in Palawan over the weekend, Ochoa said he met recently with DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to discuss the matter in order to determine the value and potential of the natural resources, as well as aid the government is setting out priorities in terms of preserving and rehabilitating these.

“In mining we have to look at the big picture... It is important for the public to be aware of and understand the economic value of the country’s natural resources and their potential so they can also help us to balance mining and environmental protection,” Ochoa explained.

It is in these two areas that the Aquino Administration is striving in order to achieve a balance in the utilization of mineral deposits and preserving the natural resources.

“Mining is a very good industry, but we should also be very careful in order to protect our environment. We need to implement a balance here,” he said.

Ochoa also made a pitch to the public to become allies of the government in seeing the strict and full enforcement of environmental laws in their communities against small-mining activities, which are beyond the jurisdiction of the DENR.

“We should handle the issue of small-scale mining with regard to enforcement of environmental standards and protection,” Ochoa said.

“The public should be more vigilant. It is a matter of law enforcement and all we need to do is enforce strictly and fully the requirements before anyone can go into mining,” he added.


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