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Petition for the return of Balangiga Bells launched

Villagers in Samar accused military for abuses

Zero mining in Samar island

MGen Palparan assumes 8ID Command

8ID troops encounter NPA in Leyte

Top NPA leader captured

Oust Samar Governor movement formed

8ID weeds out misfit in own ranks

8ID wins Outstanding Literacy Award

GMA signs law establishing the 1st University in Samar




Religious groups seek ouster of General Palparan, other army officials

June 11, 2005

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –  The Visayas Interfaith Solidarity Mission (IFSM) has strongly campaigning for the immediate pull-out of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division Commanding General Jovito S. Palparan and other high ranking military officials in Samar as they were being blamed as perpetrators of the reported human rights violations and atrocities in Samar provinces.

In a press conference held on Thursday, June 9, at the Graduate Studies Function Room of the Samar State University in this capital town, the IFSM panelists once again echoed this campaign (to oust General Palparan) to the islandwide based tri-media practitioners when the latter asked their purpose of their 4-day stay in Samar.

The group likewise informed the media about their relief operations, medical mission and full documentation conducted in the hinterland villages of Calbiga, Motiong, Paranas, Catbalogan and other municipalities in Western Samar from June 6-9, this year.

Accordingly, several cause-oriented priests, lawyers, medical practitioners, human rights advocates and young activists, all belong to different religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calbayog, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Franciscan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office-Philippines (OFM-JPIC), Inter-Faith Movement for Justice and Peace and Kalinaw – Sentral Bisayas, composed the Fact Finding Team dubbed as the Inter-Faith Solidarity Mission.

Pastor Danilo De los Santos, spokesperson of the Visayas Interfaith Solidarity Mission who read mission statement of the IFSM, said that the series of alleged military atrocities and human rights violations has prompted several church groups and religious institutions to bind themselves together into a mission.

“This was our immediate respond to the needs and wails of the least of our brethren in Eastern Visayas,” De los Santos stressed.

He further narrated accounts of reported human rights violations from February to June, or since (Major General Jovito) Palparan assumed as commanding general of the 8ID, had even surpassed the number of human rights violations reported in the entire year of 2004.

“(But this year), from February 10 to May 31, 2005, we have recorded a total of 276 cases of violations of constitutional rights and civil liberties, not to mention (their) violations of International Humanitarian covenants like the Geneva Conventions,” De los Santos said.

“Of this figure, it is estimated that there were 76 cases of human rights violations per month, more than 17 cases per week and more than two cases per day (occurred in Samar in the last three months),” De los Santos said adding that the figure does not include the, still, unverified human rights victims in other towns.

A law student Katrina Castillo, the team leader of the IFSM Documentation Team said those figure was based only from the accounts of the alleged victims from the villages of Concepcion, Calapi, Brgy. Poblacion, Tapul, Pagsang-an, Nawi, Cantigis, Anagasi and Lawaan, all of Paranas, and, some villages of Motiong and Catbalogan, all in the province of Samar.

These towns, however, are being tagged earlier by the military as having the most number of villages allegedly supporting the underground movement by giving a slice of their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), therefore being controlled and infiltrated by the new People’s Army.

The mission, according to Castillo, includes the distribution of relief goods to at least 461 families from seven (7) barangays in Paranas town and four (4) families in Catbalogan, free medical services to 218 patients from Paranas and 57 patients from the town of Motiong with cases ranging from skin diseases, eye problems, ulcers, and cardio problems, among others.

Meantime, to further strengthen their campaign, Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV, legal counsel of IFSM said that they are now in the process of gathering strong evidences that could be useful to support their claims and to “prosecute the culprits, whoever they are.”

Atty. Cinco also hinted that they were also considering the conduct of a signature campaign and to convince and urged the governors, mayors and other government officials to act according their conscience, “because if this inaction and utter disregard by public officials continue, the fear will grip and will also continues to terrify the Samareños especially the poor peasants.”

The young lawyer Cinco also hinted that their moves to gather more strong evidences on the alleged the military atrocities was, in one way, supports the on-going congressional hearing at the House of the Representatives regarding the mounting complaints on human rights violations now hounding the offices of the two Samar solon – Rep. Catalino Figueroa (second district) and Rep. Reynaldo Uy of the Samar first district.

Further, the IFSM appealed to the military to respect and uphold the supremacy of civilian authority, stop arbitrary restrictions on basic rights, stop the Marcos-style vigilante-type killings, abductions, and other forms of terrorist measures against legitimate people’s organizations and civilians, among others.

To recall, Bishop Jose Palma of the Diocese of Calbayog did not minced words by telling the public through his pastoral letter read in at least 27 parishes in whole Samar province that the military under the command of Major Gen. Palparan is responsible on the numerous reports on human rights violations in the different parts of Samar provinces.

Bishop Palma has also aired the same appeal to the controversial general to give a halt on these alleged human rights violations “in the course of their operations… they should (instead) carry this within the limits of the law.”

But General Palparan, as he continue quashing the NPA in the region repeatedly denied any involvement by the military in any of these incidents as he even challenged his accusers to file a case.

“If they have strong evidence linking my men working at the field, I, myself will not tolerate this kind of acts and will subsequently submit them to court martial,” Gen. Palparan earlier said.

“I believed that the rebels are not only those person hiding in the mountains and involved in an armed struggle against the state but also those individuals in the urban area supporting the ideology of the rebels,” Gen. Palparan said during the previous interviews conducted by the local media inside the 8th Infantry Division in Catbalogan, Samar.

He further claimed that the allegations hurdled against him and his subordinates were just “baseless, fabricated and a mere black propaganda” concocted by the enemy.

The controversial general has earlier admitted to have committed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to get rid of the insurgency problem in the region, especially in Samar provinces, identified by the AFP as the hotbeds of NPA rebels, from six months to a year.





LGU officials silent on Samar militarization – IFSM

June 10, 2005

CATBALOGAN, Samar   –  Despite the climate of fear gripping the entire province over the recent spate of atrocities against unarmed civilians, allegedly perpetrated by the military under the command of M/Gen. Jovito Palparan, local government officials here seems to be unabated by the situation and have opted to stay silent over the issue.

This was the predicament raised by the Inter-Faith Solidarity Mission for Justice and Peace during a press conference on June 9, 2005 at SSU campus here, that culminated the group’s 4 day documentation cum relief and medical mission conducted on areas where reported military atrocities were perpetrated.

The group assailed the inability of the local government officials from the Provincial Government of Samar down to the Barangay level to act on the rising mayhem allegedly instigated by the military since the assumption of M/Gen. Palparan a few months past.

“We are alarmed by these reports, and doesn’t want to be unmindful of what is really happening to Samar, more so unto relying on hearsays, thus, we convene this mission for us to determine the veracity of these reported military anarchy and to come up with hardcopies of these military abuses”, thus said Rev. Friar J. Calvin Bugho, the mission’s convener, adding that during their 4 day mission, their group themselves were threatened and harassed by elements of 34th Infantry Batallion (Kamurayaw Company) led by a certain Lt. Cresencio Tangayan at Concepcion, Paranas, Samar.

“They took some of the medicines we were distributing to the residents who took part of the medical mission, and even shouted bad words and harassed the peasant folks who wanted to be medically diagnosed by our team” Rev. Bugho further said.

Minor Commotion

Tension immediately filled up the site of the press conference when the white OB van of the 8th ID Civil Affairs Unit (8th CAU) parked-up along with the vehicles being used by the IFSM with a couple of 8th CAU staff and its Commanding Officer Capt. Cromwell Danganan on board.

Capt. Danganan and his men were met by Atty. Alfonso Cinco IV, Legal Counsel of the group, but were asked to just leave the area to ease the rising tension among the delegates of the mission, at whom he explained, have personally experienced military harassment during their medical mission in Paranas, Samar with the trauma still lingering on.

According to Capt. Danganan, who has no invitation for the press activity organized by the IFSM, that they went to the area with no intention to disrupt any on-going activities, but because of a report that a CIVAC was taking place, “and we just want to document it, and find out who is behind the activity”, he explained but likewise left the area heeding on the request of the organizers.

Charitable Investigative or Medical Mission?

The wave of distressing human right abuses and disrespect on civilian authority committed allegedly by the elements of the military, accordingly since the assumption of M/Gen. Jovito Palparan at the 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban here, has prompted several church groups and religious institutions in Eastern Visayas to act in response to the wails of the innocent civilians.

Statistics gathered by the IFSM showed that within three months, from February 10 to May 30, 2005, reported cases of human rights violation in Eastern Visayas already reached a record high of 276 cases, surpassing the entire number of recorded cases for the whole year of 2004.

“It only means that from the said figure, 76 cases of human rights violations are committed per month, more than 17 cases per week, and more than 2 cases per day”, Rev. Bugho explained when he read the group’s mission statement to the media.

As this developed, Rev. Bugho informed that they were compelled to respond to the needs of the “poor of Yahweh”, thus the IFSM was convened as represented by the Roman Catholic Church – Diocese of Calbayog, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), Franciscan Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office – Philippines (OFM-JPIC), Inter-faith Movement for Justice and Peace and Kalinaw - Sentral Visayas.

Initially, the IFSM was simultaneously held in Catbalogan, Paranas and Motiong towns, rendering medical services and distributing relief goods and medicines, apart from the legal and documentation services extended to the victims of alleged military abuses.

Adopt a Victim

The four-day legal and documentation mission conducted by the IFSM netted for the group a number of signed affidavits in preparation to an impending legal battle against several military personnel; and at least three names were mentioned on the group’s issued statement including M/Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Cresencio Tanganay, and a certain Lt. Basquiñas.

ISFM however has admitted that no legal case will prosper in any court without the victim’s themselves coming out to the open - for fear of summary executions-; thus, plans are now being worked out to protect the would be complainants.

As this developed, the ISFM issued their appeal to other sectors and groups who have a mandate to realize peace in the province of Samar to help adopt and accommodate human rights victims by protecting them from danger and any further threat.

The group likewise informed that the documents they gathered thru the solidarity mission will be integrated to the data and facts being presented to the congressional committee in-charge of investigating M/Gen. Jovito Palparan which has been on-going for two weeks now.

“But we are still appealing to our local officials, to take actions now – it is their responsibility and mandate to protect the interest of their constituents, the very reason why they were elected to their respective posts, is because these people has given them their trust, which we hope would not turn to naught”, Rev Bugho asserted.

Waiting for FORMALITY?

In an earlier interview with CCATMAN,  Vice-Govenror Jess Redaja however retorted to the speculations that the provincial government is not responding to the clamor of the Samareños for peace and order, saying that the Governor’s Office nor the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) have not received any complaint, reports or investigation request either from the concerned victims or the Mayors who has full authority and overview of what is really happening in their respective localities.

“We are willing to help to the best we can because that is our mandate, but how can we? When nobody from these alleged victims would come out and testify before the peace and order council”, Vice-Governor Redaja asserted, “If we take action based on undocumented reports, what good would it do? When we all know that we are all bounded by legal technicalities, kun waray reklamo waray kaso – waray imbestigasyon, kay kun pasipad-an ini namon nga base la hiton mga yakan-yakan, ha iyo kasabot deri kita maging katawa-tawa?, kay kun pakia-anhan ako kun hino ito nga biktima ngan kun ano talaga iton nahitabo ha iya, ano man it amon depensa nga baton?, he added.

The ISFM likewise admitted that due to fear of their lives, most of the victims of these alleged military abuses would refuse to come out to state their ordeal in public. “But we are working on it now, we need to safeguard their lives first to be able to come up with a credible testimony in court”, Rev. Bugho informed.

Expectedly, the group will submit the result of their documentation to the Provincial Government for the latter to initiate possible actions relative to the effects and consequences of unwarranted militarization in Samar.





Philippine senator Aquilino Pimentel issues a call for a new Bretton Woods

(June 6, 2005)  -  Sen. Pimentel, the head of the opposition in the Philippines Senate, issued the call based on the Resolution of the Italian Senate, giving his full endorsement for the call and for emergency measures to save the Philippine economy based on a new just world economic system. Speaking to the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association at the Hotel Intercontinental Makati on May 26, Sen. Pimentel said that the domestic crisis must be situated within the international financial crisis, and reports on the April 6, 2005 NBW Resolution of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. "I share the view of the Italian lawmakers," said Sen. Pimentel, adding: "Allow me to venture a suggestion now that a gold standard or some such measure of a currency's worth that is not dependent on the say-so of one country may be a good basis to reexamine and rewrite the Bretton Woods agreement that was adopted towards the end of the 2nd World War in 1944."

Senator Pimentel

He then reviewed in detail the Italian Resolution, with his own supporting comments: the Parmalat, Enron, LTCM, Argentine and other crises of the system; the role of the rating agencies and their "arbitrary credit grading systeming taken for a ride by the credit raters, who we pay for, to downgrade us whenever it suits them and their international lending clienteles."); the "systemic" nature of the crisis, a "crisis of the entire financial system, in which hedge funds, that are beyond any sort of rules or control, are taking on an ever-larger role..., widening the gap between the real economy and the purely financial economy that is manifested in the true explosion of the financial derivatives bubble and other forms of debt," naming JP Morgan Chase and others; and read the two conclusions of the Italian resolution, calling for a new financial architecture and the convocation of an international conference of Heads of State to "create a new and more just global monetary and financial system."

Sen. Pimentel concluded: "As a lawmaker, I share the views of the Italian parliamentarians to protect the welfare of our respective constituencies. I, therefore, suggest that our Congress can do no less but support the call for the establishment of a new Bretton Woods monetary system to protect and ensure the security of the financial dealings and other economic activities of peoples worldwide. I find the proposal of the Italian lawmakers reasonable in that "given the internationalization of financial markets, one nation by itself, or even Europe alone, is not able to guarantee the control and application of stronger rules in a decisive manner."

Sen. Pimentel, who was interviewed in EIR last year, has not yet introduced the resolution on the floor of the Philippine Senate. 





Philippine president orders probe on activists' killings

June 2, 2005

Hong Kong  - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the unrestrained killings and violence against human rights and political activists in the country.

President Arroyo

In a May 24 letter to Basil Fernando, executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) received today, Rene Sarmiento, deputy presidential adviser on peace process, quoted Arroyo as saying "there will be no white wash in the investigation".

"We live under the rule of law and these killings will not go unpunished," Arroyo was also quoted as saying.

It was the first official presidential statement on the killings of which the AHRC is aware.

Sarmiento wrote in response to the AHRC's letter to the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights in Tarlac, following its concern over the reported attempt on the life of Romeo Capulong, legal counsel for the farm workers on strike in the Hacienda Luisita on March 7.

Sarmiento said the Philippine government is taking appropriate action regarding Capulong's case as well as other reported cases of alleged killings, harassment and violence against members and supporters of progressive groups.

Since January, there have been numerous killings of activists in the Philippines. Six of them have been reported by the AHRC.

"Rest assured that appropriate action will be undertaken by the Government to seriously address these incidents with the help and cooperation of all concerned in order to bring justice," Sarmiento said.

Arroyo has also reaffirmed her government's commitment for the promotion, respect and protection of human rights enshrined in the Philippine Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he added.

The AHRC asked the Philippine government to initiate a policy for the immediate investigation of the killings, and arrest and prosecution of the alleged perpetrators. It also asked that the families of the dead be indemnified and witnesses protected.

*** About AHRC The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organization monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.





EVESTCCO collaborates with EVSU on software testing in the Philippines

June 2, 2005

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  - EVESTCCO, an egroup of Eastern Visayans worldwide in collaboration with Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) organizes the conduct of “Lecture-Forum on Software Testing” on 04 July 2005 at EVSU Campus, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines.

Software Testing and QA Consultant Felipe Vilches, a Chicago, Illinois, USA-based Eastern Visayan is the resource person who will talk about his expertise on “Software Testing”. Currently, Mr. Vilches is the Senior Engineering Manager-System Test of WMS Gaming Inc. at Chicago, Illinois, USA. From 1995 to 2000, he worked as Director of Product Development and Quality Assurance at Syracuse Language, Syracuse, New York.  He is a professional member of IEEE Computer Society and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Mr. Vilches completed two postgraduate degrees. The Master in Engineering Education at the University of the Philippines and the Master of Science in Computer Engineering at Syracuse University, New York, USA in 1991.

EVESTCCO ( is an e-discussion group that promotes collaboration, cooperation and complementation among Eastern Visayans and its associates across the continents. The conduct of lecture-forum in collaboration with its network of institutions and tapping e-group members as resource person/s implements “EVESTCCO’s Volunteer Project” in Eastern Visayas, Philippines.

Interested participants of the lecture-forum are requested to coordinate with EVESTCCO’s contact person at EVSU, Philippines: Dr. Segunda Lacaba (T: (053) 3254451; M: 09173062444; E: and Dr. Danilo Pulma (T: (053) 3252049; M: 09178822070; E: This lecture-forum is one of the activities during the 2005 National Science and Technology Month celebration in the region.



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