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SP endorses small-scale mining operations in Samar island-town

AHRC urges for an impartial investigation on the killing of 8 farmers in Leyte

Paranas residents rally against communism

Samareños to oppose Enrile-owned logging firm operations in Samar

Gov. Tan mum on solving perennial flooding in Samar

Peace rallyists brave the rain to oppose communism

NPA attacked SAMELCO personnel

Reported case of Meningococcemia in Samar kills 1

Foreign human rights community looks into Samar’s military atrocities

Thousands join Peace Rally in Samar’s capital


DAR Biliran overshoots CLOA distribution this year

By Rodrigo S. Victoria, PIA Biliran
December 22, 2005

NAVAL, Biliran  –  Not only that DAR Biliran is good in the implementation of agrarian reform infrastructure projects like the turnover on Tuesday of a post harvest facility and water system in Biliran Agrarian Reform Communities (BARCs) composed of five barangays but also in the implementation of one major areas of concern of the agency which is the distribution of Certificate of Land Ownership Agreement (CLOA) to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in the province of Biliran.

According to Julita B. Lacandazo, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) of Naval in DAR Biliran in an interview, she said that the office has distributed 400.7026 hectares of land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) over a target of 400 hectares of land for this year.

Also in the province of Biliran, some farmer-beneficiaries from identified municipalities in the province were awarded CLOA from DAR provincial office in simple ceremonies held in Brgy. Burabod, Biliran, Biliran. The occasion was attended by Biliran Governor Rogelio J. Espina, DAR Regional Director Tiburcio Morales, Jr., DAR ARDO Reynaldo Villas, representatives of DAR partner agencies.

Earlier of the day, newly acquired post-harvest facility and water system located in Brgy. Busali and Brgy. Burabod respectively in the municipality of Biliran were inaugurated. The inauguration ceremony immediately followed the awarding of CLOAs.

Per record reflected in the summary of CLOA for distribution in the province of Biliran as of December 21, 2005, the agency has already distributed a total land area of 350.8803 out of the five municipalities included in the report.

The total land area distributed forms part of the total land area already achieved by the agency for calendar year 2005.

The report includes the new lands with a total land area of 181.7993 acquired by the agency under CARP and the individual CLOA with a total land area of 169.081 distributed to actual tillers of the land with a total number of 182 ARBs.

Although the distribution of CLOAs is basically a tough job for the employees implementing CARP specifically in the distribution of lands, Lacandazo accepts it as a challenge especially that the underprivileged sector in society is benefitted.

On the other hand, Violeta O. Abad, MARO and at the same time the head of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit (PEMU) of DAR Biliran in interview explains that there are lots of factors that hinder in the successful implementation of CARP specifically in the distribution of CLOA.

However, Abad said that their office has just find the necessary administrative and legal remedies in order that CLOAs will be distributed to land beneficiaries,

Lacandazo and Abad are in one position that their agency is doing the right thing for the good of their clientle especially to people or farmers who are tilling the land for so long a time yet they have not owned the land they tilled.

For Lacandazo, Abad and to all the employees of DAR Biliran who help much in the realization of the dreams of underprivileged sector in society to have the land they tilled to be considered legally of their own, helping them realized their dreams is one big feat and accomplishment of the office.





Region 8 remembers Doña Paz tragedy

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 20, 2005

TACLOBAN CITY  – The people of Region 8 remembers today the sinking of the ill-fated Doña Paz eighteen years ago.

Full of passengers coming from the different parts of Eastern Visayas who were on their way to Manila where they were to spend the holiday season, to buy more wares to sell or just to buy gifts for their families out of their Christmas bonus, the Dona Paz vessel sank near the Tablas Island near Romblon.

Thousands of passengers, professionals and uneducated, rich and poor, men and women, children and adults, lost their lives, many of whom remain unaccounted for up to now.

Indeed, it was a tragic event which left Region 8 spend a really blue Christmas that year. Thousands of families lost a member of their family, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins.

The tragedy called the attention of the proper authorities on the plight of the shipping industry which was considered as “floating coffins.” It also unified the people of Region 8 to help and console one another.

The non-government organizations with the leadership of Atty Roque Tiu and media practitioner Cesar Ribo formed the Confederation of Non-government organizations, the purpose of which was to raise funds for the poor bereaved families of the passengers.

As the dead passengers wrapped in cellophane bags arrived, all the government and non-government authorities concerned helped identify the cadavers and brought them to their respective places. Even the porters at the Tacloban Port Area were not bothered by the odor or the thought of not being paid. What was important was that the families will be able to give their dead the proper burial.

For weeks, the city residents were warned on the danger of disease brought about by the thousands of decaying cadavers.

Today, eighteen years after the tragedy, Dona Paz remains a symbol of death, a symbol of negligence on the part of the agency concerned.

More so, Dona Paz will always be a tangible proof that nothing is impossible and too heavy a burden if everyone will do his or her share.





PNP 8 fields Santa Cops this Christmas season

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 20, 2005

TACLOBAN CITY  – The Region 8 Philippine National Police headed by General Eliseo dela Paz will dispatch Santa Cops to help the shoppers and the public from people who will take advantage of the busy holiday season to do unscrupulous activities.

In an interview at the PIA 8 Panindugan TV talk show, Major Guillermo Melo representing Gen. dela Paz, informed the public that there are two types of Santa Cops who will be fielded in the various malls and places where there are many people. The first type is the cop who is wearing the upper part of Santa gear, without firearm and the other one is the cop who will wear the usual PNP uniform, with the usual firearm but will wear Santa’s cap.

Santa Cops will be there to help and protect the shopping public, Major Melo revealed. Anyone who is in need of police assistance may approach the Santa cop, he added.

Major Melo disclosed that the Philippine National Police Region 8 has already sent a circular to all the provincial and municipal PNP Stations to enforce the law on firecrackers. He said that there are only certain firecrackers which are allowed to be sold to the public.

He clarified, however, that only dealers who have been granted permits from the PNP Central office in Camp Crame will be allowed to sell firecrackers to the public. In the region, Major Melo, he knows only three in Tacloban and one in Catarman who applied for and have been granted permit to sell firecrackers.

More policemen will be dispatched to monitor the firecrackers being sold in the region, Major Melo said. Those who are selling without permit will have their wares confiscated during the first offense and succeeding offenses will have a bigger penalty of P20,000.00 to P30,000.00 or even imprisonment, Major Melo added.

Major Melo assured PIA 8 and the public that the PNP in the region is policing its own ranks especially in the firing of guns during the New Year. He said that no policeman is allowed to fire their guns during the New Year except when really needed. He however said that the firing incidents which victimized civilians were not really done by the police but by some civilians. Civilians who have been granted license to carry arms have already been notified that they are not suppose to fire their arms during the New Year, Major Melo added.

The Philippine National Police in the region is also coordinating with the Department of Health in the campaign for safe celebration of the coming New Year, Major Melo concluded.





Incessant rains flood Leyte towns

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 19, 2005

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Nonstop heavy downpours flooded numerous barangays in several Leyte towns causing people and their working animals to evacuate to higher grounds or to their relatives in the neighboring barangays.

Early reports stated that barangays in the municipalities of Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa and the city of Tacloban, were flooded. As early as 3:00 o’clock in the early morning of Saturday, December 17, barangays folks were awakened when they found out that flood waters have already entered their homes.

The PIA 8 monitoring team observed that the pedestrian lanes of the national highway stretching from Palo to Tanauan towns were lined up with furnitures and other belongings including animals. At mealtimes, people unfolded their tables and ate their meals right there at the sidewalks.

The PIA 8 together with some members of the media publicly lauded the mayors of Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa for being hands-on in taking care of their constituents during the flood.

Small bancas were observed to be plying the interior streets instead of the usual pedicabs and tricycles. Cows, carabaos and pigs were parked at the sidestreets together with the motor vehicles and pedicabs.

In the municipality of Tanauan where majority of the fifty barangays were flooded, Mayor Roque Tiu said that at 4:00 o’clock in the morning of Saturday, he had to dispatch a patrol boat to the town’s barangays Sta. Elena and the neighboring barangays to rescue people and animals.

The mayor dispatched teams of the Philippine National Police to go around the town to monitor all the barangays as early as four o’clock in the morning. In barangays Picas, the flood water rose to five feet and so about 38 families had to be evacuated in the two-storey barangays hall.

In order to ensure that the people in the flooded barangays will have safe drinking water, the mayor requested the Leyte Metropolitan Water District thru its manager Engr. Nestor Villasin who immediately dispatch an tanker of LMWD to deliver safe drinking water to the barangays.

One of the problems, Mayor Tiu said, was that the people refused to leave their homes afraid of what will happen to their belongings. Many of them put up tents in the sidewalks and spent the night there. It was a good thing that only some areas had flood waters traversing the streets, Mayor Tiu added.

Damage to crops which include rice and vegetables about to be harvested and the newly planted rice and vegetables could not be determined as of press time.





Don't waste peoples money on Garci probe – DoJ

By Philippine News Service
December 15, 2005

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez on Monday said lawmakers who believe former elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano is lying should take him to court for perjury instead of wasting time and money on more hearings.

“It’s like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money,” Gonzalez said, referring to the ongoing probe in the House of Representatives.

Gonzalez also refuted a statement by Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos on Monday that a justice department report said Garcillano had flown out of the country in a Subic Air plane “owned by Ricky Razon.”

“That’s not true. There was never any statement about that in the draft (report),” Gonzalez said. “I don’t even know who is the owner of Subic Air.”

“Subic Air is mentioned in the report... but I know that that is not owned by Razon,” he added.

The Palace, meanwhile, dismissed the allegation that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had ordered the military to wiretap Garcillano.

“That’s a wild claim. They are entitled to their erroneous opinion,” said Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye.

Earlier, opposition Senator Panfilo Lacson charged that President Arroyo had ordered the wiretap, which explained the military’s “wishy-washy” attitude about investigating the case.

Also on Monday, Armed Forces chief Gen. Generoso Senga said the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) has no technical capability to wiretap mobile phones.

Senga made this assertion after meeting with Senate President Franklin Drilon about the general’s confirmation hearings, which have been reset to January 2006.

Senga’s statement contradicted the claim of Marietta Santos that her former live-in partner, T/Sgt. Vidal Doble and other ISAFP agents had tapped the cellular phone conversation between Mrs. Arroyo and Garcillano.

Senga also questioned Santos’ testimony before the Senate about seeing Doble with the wiretapping machines, saying she didn’t have the expertise to identify such equipment.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, however, described Senga’s statement as “laughable,” saying that she would move that the Commission on Appointments conduct an inspection of ISAFP “war room.”

In his remarks on Monday, Gonzalez also said Marcos “stretched” his statements out of context and used the draft justice department report that was overtaken by events when Garcillano emerged from hiding.

Gonzalez said lawmakers who want to find out once and for all if Garcillano is telling the truth should just file a criminal complaint against him for perjury.

“The ones who are interested should just file charges,” he said.





Media awards officially launched in EV

December 13, 2005

Vantage, Inc. Chair Evelyn Acebedo is assisted by Triad Media Ventures Operations In-charge Mark Morallos as she declares the 2006 EVMMA awards season open on December 10 at the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City.

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – The 2006 Eastern Visayas Mass Media Awards (EVMMA), the first and only awards program of its kind in the region has been formally launched on December 10, 2005 at the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City.

Media organizations from all over the region converged on that significant day to witness the formal opening of the call for submission of entries for the 25 categories to be vied in June 2006.

A motorcade around Tacloban City’s main thoroughfares sparked off initial interests from different print and broadcast outlets who signified support and desire to be recognized for their effort in bringing about responsible journalism in the Eastern Visayas region.

The motorcade was followed by a press conference at the Leyte Park Hotel where the organizers, Vantage Inc. and Triad Media Ventures presented formally the different categories to be vied including the general procedures and the criteria for the awards.

The EVMMA specifically seeks to recognize outstanding achievements or body of works of mass media practitioners in the Eastern Visayas region.

It is also aimed to uplift the professional and personal conditions of mass media practitioners in the region and to provide an impetus for the continuing professional growth of the region’s mass media practitioners through focused capability building to develop required competencies in their work.

Vantage, Inc. chairperson Evelyn Acebedo who opened the call for submission of entries said the EVMMA steering committee will receive bodies of work accomplished from July 2005 to February 2006 as official entries with a slated deadline of submission on February 28, 2006.

The awards is divided into two categories recognizing print journalism and the broadcast media with the following awards: (FOR PRINT) Best Editorial, Best Feature Writer, Best News Writer/Reporter, Best Business Reporter, Investigative Reporter of the Year, Best Business/Enterprise Reporter/Writer, Best Sports Reporter/Writer, Best Entertainment Writer, Best Science and Technology Writer, Best Editorial Cartoonist, Columnist of the Year, Best in Layout, Iluminado Lucente Print Journalist of the Year Award and Best Publication of the Year; (FOR BROADCAST, both radio and television) Best Editorial/News Analysis, Best Field Reporter, Best Entertainment Program, Best Commentary Program, Best Documentary, Best Investigative Reporter, Best News Program, Best Newscaster, Ramon Noblejas Commentator of the Year Award, Francisco Aurillo, Sr. Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award and Station of the Year.

A Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to a journalist who has rendered meritorious in uplifting the local media industry.





Pag-IBIG to grant calamity loan to affected members in Mindoro

Press Release by
December 13, 2005

MANILA, Philippines  –  Processing centers and express lane would soon be put up at the Calapan City Hall by Pag-IBIG to assist members who were victimized by the collapse of two dikes brought about by torrential rains.  Affected Pag-IBIG members may avail of a calamity/multi purpose loan of up to 80% of their total contributions.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo comforts one of the families affected by the flood. Some 475 families were evacuated after the protective dike collapse in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, no casualties were reported, the President inspected the city and extended help to the victims. (Jerry Carual /PCPO /PNS)

This was announced by Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro, also concurrent chairman of Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), when he visited the disaster-stricken areas in Oriental Mindoro recently as a follow through to the visit of President Arroyo to assess the prevailing situation in the province.

“Ang calamity/multipurpose loan na ito ay ang kagyat na tulong ng Pag-IBIG sa ating mga nasalantang kababayan sa Oriental Mindoro bilang tugon sa agaran nilang pangangailangan matapos na masalanta ng mga pagbahang dulot ng mga bumigay na dike.”

In his visit to his home province, Vice President De Castro saw for himself the extent of destruction brought about by the damaged dikes reportedly due to the swelling of the Bucayao and Mag-asawang tubig rivers in Calapan City.

In a briefing by Oriental Mindoro Governor Arnan Panaligan, Vice Governor Estela Aseron, Col. Villanueva of the 204th Brigade Command, Calapan City Mayor Carlos Brucal, Engr. Serafin Santos of the
Department of Public Works and Highways the Vice President learned that damage to infrastructure and properties to the province is estimated at P138Million. 

An aerial inspection conducted with Governor Panaligan, Col. Villanueva and Mayor Brucal prompted Vice President De Castro to conclude that priority action should be undertaken to repair the damaged dikes to prevent another flooding in the event of another monsoon-induced raining. Governor Panaligan committed to start rehabilitation as soon as the weather gets better and flooding subsides.

“Kailangan agad magsagawa ng nararapat na pagkukumpuni sa lalong madaling panahon upang maiwasang muling mangyari ang lubhang pagbaha.  Kahit hindi bagyo ang dumaan nitong makaraang mga araw, nanganganib pa rin ang ating mga kapwa Mindoreño sakaling muling magtagal ang pag-ulan.” 

Meanwhile, residents have begun to trek back to their homes after floodwaters subside. Support and assistance, however, continue to pour in from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of Civil Defense, Department of Health and the Philippine National Red Cross among others.



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