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Samar peace and development caravan draws more than five hundred rural folks

Silago barangay is once again among best lupons in the country

LTO to enforce law on early warning devices starting March 1

Land Use experts blast Senate favor of CREBA lobby contra land use bill

PRO8 collars 5 drug pushers, 9 users

DOJ dismisses Ericson Acosta case

PRO8 awards cops during 22nd PNP Foundation Day

PRO8 arrests 4 gun ban violators, confiscates 10 firearms

EV folks unite for SAFE 2013

PNP chief Purisima to visit PRO8 on Jan. 19, RSOTG to showcase accomplishments


Fruit vendor arrested in buy-bust

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 22, 2013

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – At first glance, Danilo “Jack” Casaljay is just an ordinary fruit vendor, selling grapes, apples, mangoes and other foodstuff and is usually seen either at the bus terminal, public market or downtown Calbayog City.

But Jack has other business sidelines, while illegal, albeit a lucrative one. He is selling a different kind of fruit, one that does not come from a tree. It was purely white and in crystalline form, but instead of nourishing the body, it destroys not only the body and mind, but one’s whole being.

Days after receiving intelligence information on Jack’s nefarious activities and placing him under casing, surveillance and test-buys, the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group of Calbayog City Police Station arrested him in a buy-bust operation on Monday afternoon, thereby putting an end to his illegal deeds.

Eastern Visayas top cop Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria disclosed that Casaljay was nabbed by police operatives at Purok 2, Brgy. Obrero of said city after selling “shabu” worth P500.00 to a poseur-buyer.

The suspect, 35, residing at Purok 3, Brgy Capoocan also of Calbayog City tried but failed to elude arrest and was collared by the police team led by Police Senior Inspector Aaron Raymond Elago. Aside from the illegal drugs, also seized from the suspect is the P500.00 bill buy-bust money with serial number CG512226.

“Casaljay is now detained at Calbayog City Police Station lock-up cell while a case for Violation of Section 5 or selling illegal drugs of RA 9165 is being prepared for filing in court against him,” Soria further informed.

The arrest of Casaljay came on the heels of the arrest of college student Alchie Chiquillo who was nabbed in a buy-bust operation in Palo, Leyte over the weekend.

The PRO8 chief lauded the AID-SOTG personnel responsible for the two successful operations.

“Our men have responded well to our challenge to further heighten the drive against illegal drugs. The recent arrests of drug suspects have minimized the proliferations of illegal drugs in the streets,” Soria added.





PRO8 scores against wanted men, loose weapons in Samar

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 21, 2013

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Special Operations Task Group - Samar (SOTG-Samar) Tracker Team of the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) arrested four persons and confiscated assorted weapons in an almost weeklong police operations in the hinterlands of the first district of Samar recently.

“The SOTG-Samar was activated to initiate focused police operations targeting wanted persons, accounting of loose firearms and dismantling ‘private armed groups’ in Samar,” said Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, Eastern Visayas police regional director.

He added that the arrested wanted persons could be tapped by unscrupulous politicians to advance their political interest in the coming polls while confiscated weapons could be used in terroristic and other criminal activities.

Soria disclosed that from February 16 to 20, combined elements of RSOTG-Samar Tracker Team led by Police Senior Inspector Jovie Espenido, 2nd Regional Public Safety Management Company of the 8th Regional Public Safety Battalion (8th RPSB) led by Police Senior Inspector Shyrile Tan and Samar Provincial Public Safety Company (Samar PPSC) conducted manhunt operations at the hinterlands of Calbayog City and Sta. Margarita, all of Samar province, which resulted to the arrest of 4 persons, three of them charged for heinous crimes, and confiscation of high-powered and low-powered firearms.

At around 4:00 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at the hinterlands of Brgy. San Antonio in Calbayog City, 5 personalities identified as Bonifacio Caber, Ricardo Vicentino, Jay-ar Yregon, Johnny Vicentino and Loreto Casaljay voluntarily surrendered to the police team eight homemade shotguns, now under the custody of SOTG-Samar based in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City.

An hour later, manhunt operations at the vicinity of Brgy. Camperito, Sta. Margarita, Samar, resulted in the arrest of one Floro Diaz y Ajon with pending cases for 3 counts of Murder and 3 counts for Frustrated Murder.

The SOTG was also able to confiscate from Diaz one Elisco M16 rifle with defaced serial number, one Colt .45 caliber bearing serial number 188765, five short and one long magazines for M16 rifle with a total of 129 rounds of live ammunitions for M16, one black eight-pocket bandoleer, 2 magazine assembly for .45 caliber pistol, 7 rounds live ammunitions for .45 caliber and two fragmentation hand grenades.

In early Thursday morning, manhunt operations conducted by the same team at the vicinity of Brgy. San Jose in Calbayog City resulted in the arrest of Marcial Jalayajay and Zaldy Cagomoc by virtue of Warrant of Arrest docketed under Criminal Case No. 6487 for Complex Crime of Murder with Frustrated Murder.

Meanwhile, one Junlex Cagomoc was also arrested by the police team for obstruction of justice during the service of arrest warrant against Jalayajay and Cagomoc.

Apprehended and surrendered persons together with the confiscated items were brought to SOTG-Samar office for documentation, further investigation and proper disposition.

Soria is confident that the recent accomplishments would help ensure the conduct of secure and fair elections in Samar province which was earlier included in the list of “priority areas” by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).





Palace approval of ECC betrays public trust

Tampakan mining threatens life and environment

February 21, 2013

QUEZON CITY – Environmental, research and scientist groups rebuked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Aquino administration for giving Xstrata-Sagitarrius Mines, Inc. (X-strata-SMI) an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the Tampakan gold-copper mines, a project that will “destroy watersheds, pollute the environment and threaten life” in southern Mindanao.

“DENR should not have granted Xstrata-SMI an ECC, because that implies the fulfillment of all requirements, including the mitigation of environmental impacts. That is simply not the case. In fact, the proposed mining operation is a veritable threat to the people and the environment,” stated Defend Patrimony, a national alliance against large-scale mining.

Green groups, together with indigenous people’s organizations and multi-sectoral alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan called for the cancellation of the ECC in a protest action held in front of the DENR office today.

Environmental disaster

“Mining in Tampakan will hit critical watersheds that supply water for domestic use and irrigation in southern Mindanao. Allowing SMI to mine in Tampakan means abandoning government responsibility to ensure clean and safe water for the people,” said Ma. Finesa Cosico, environmental expert from AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People.

The 9,460-hectare mining tenement is bordered by two mountain ecosystems. The first, Mt. Matutum, is a protected landscape that supplies 25 percent of the water needs of municipalities in South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City. Meanwhile, the second, Mt. Bololomot, has been declared an environmentally critical area and serves as head water of one of the region’s sub-basins, the Dalul River, and flows into Mal River that irrigates three South Cotabato municipalities.

Mining would impact the ground water with the likely occurrence of erosion and sedimentation, formation of acid mine drainage, heavy metal contamination, chemical pollution and leaching, according to the findings of a 2010 environmental investigative mission conducted by the concerned groups.

“SMI will employ open-pit mining and this will definitely result to massive deforestation and pollution. An environmentally critically project in an environmentally critical area spells disaster and must be averted by the government by cancelling SMI’s ECC,” said Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines Executive Director Frances Quimpo.

Election funding?

Meanwhile, Defend Patrimony believes that the approval of the Tampakan mining project coincides “suspiciously” with the Aquino administration’s active participation in the coming senatorial elections.

“Big foreign mining companies are infamous as sources of election fund. It was the people in Malacañang who requested the approval of SMI-Xstrata’s ECC. This is a multibillion dollar project, and it is not unlikely that the proponents, which include PNoy’s uncle Danding Conjuangco, pledged to give financial support for the administration senatorial bets and local candidates,” said Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment National Coordinator Clemente Bautista, Jr.

Amounting to $5.9 billion, the Xstrata-SMI project in Tampakan is the largest mining investment in the country to date.






llegal lumbers seized by police in Paranas, Samar
The Isuzu Elf truck and the illegal lumbers seized by the Regional Special Operations Group of Police Regional Office 8 during the anti-illegal logging operations in Paranas, Samar in the early morning of February 19, 2013.

PRO8 scores vs. illegal loggers in Samar

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
February 20, 2013

CAMP SEC. KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8) arrested a big-time illegal logger and confiscated a sizeable volume of illegally-sawn lumbers in an anti-illegal logging operation in Paranas town in Samar early Tuesday morning.

“We are giving a strong message that PRO8 will not tolerate any form of violation against the environment and destruction of our natural resources,” warned Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria, PRO8 Regional Director.

The top police official identified the arrested suspect as Purita Dabuet y Ada of Brgy Cantato, Paranas, Samar, while the police are conducting manhunt operation against the driver of the vehicle used in transporting the illegal lumbers, identified as William Igdalino and his helpers.

Soria disclosed that at around 1:00 o’ clock in the early morning on Tuesday, joint elements of the PRO8 Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG8) led by Police Inspector Constantino Jabonete, Jr and Paranas Municipal Police Station led by Police Chief Inspector Doughlas Antonio Eloja, together with Forester Eddie Monsanto of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) conducted anti-illegal logging operations in the area of Brgy. Lipata, Paranas, Samar resulting in the confiscation one blue Isuzu Elf truck marked St. Frances bearing plate number CSC 544 registered in the name of one Wilson Orsino, with postal address at Nagmisaan, Panique, Tarlac.

The police caught the helpers of said truck unloading more or less 174 pieces illegally-sawn lumbers of various sizes estimated at 963 board-feet, with a market value of P40,446.00, owned by Dabuet.

Driver Igdalino and helpers managed to evade arrest by running towards the residence of spouses Banjo and Lydia Abegonia, also of said place, and escaped through the back of said house, while owner Dabuet was arrested by the police team.

The lawmen, while chasing the running suspects, saw in plain view at the vicinity of the house of the Abegonias several illegally sawn lumbers of Lawaan specie in various sizes.

The lumbers, estimated to have a total of 1,246 board-feet and market value of P52,332.00, and one unit Resaw, a powertool used for cutting timber with motor dynamo, with serial number 748278 were confiscated by the police team.

The team also confiscated one unit red Honda XRM motorcycle without plate number used by Dabuet in clearing the route area.

Suspect Dabuet is temporarily detained at Paranas Municipal Police Station Lock-up Cell awaiting trial of her case by virtue of waiver of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code while the police team brought the confiscated vehicles and the lumbers to Paranas Municipal Police Station for custody and the Resaw was turned-over to DENR personnel for safekeeping.

Soria further informed that a case for violation of Sec 77 of Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines as amended by Executive Order No. 277 and further amended by Republic Act 7161 was filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Catbalogan City docketed under NPS Number VIII-09-INQ-000102 dated February 19, 2013.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our campaign against illegal logging activities not only in Samar but in the entire Eastern Visayas region,” Soria assured as he called on the citizen’s active support by providing the police with vital and real time information from the ground.





Cayetano on bribing: It's the economy

By Office of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano
February 20, 2013

PASAY CITY – "Filipinos would not resort to bribing if they did not have to," Sen. Alan Cayetano said today in reaction to the survey results of the National Statistical Office (NSO) that 41.3% of those surveyed personally saw a government employee for a favor and around 9% gave “pampadulas” in the form of money or gift to facilitate the transaction.

"The people I’ve talked to – market vendors, jeepney drivers, fisherfolk – who may have, at some point, slipped in a bribe are not culprits, but victims of this shameful practice," Cayetano argued. "They don’t do it out of custom. They do it because they’re desperate and are willing to do anything to support their family and build their business. They don't engage in bribery because they are unprincipled, but because they are forced to," Cayetano argued.

Since the start of the campaign, Cayetano has conferred with vendors of Pritil Market in Tondo, Manila; Dangwa flower market also in Manila; Murphy Market in Quezon City; the fisherfolk of Taguig, and furniture workers in Cebu to personally hear the concerns of the masses on the economy, specifically inflation, employment, and wages.

Malacañang, through deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte, encouraged the public “not to give in to these demands and to report these cases to the head of agency or to the Office of the Ombudsman so that these erring officials will be dealt with accordingly." But Cayetano said that this encouragement would fall on deaf ears, so long as the poor do not feel the benefits of a surging economy.

"If you look at the survey closely, you will find that 32% of the poor families surveyed gave the gift, favor, or money involuntarily. This means that they were forced to give the bribe, most likely to the government employee who needed the extra cash to support his own family, because his monthly salary is not enough to make ends meet with the rising cost of goods," Cayetano said.

Bribery to Be Eradicated by the End of Aquino Term

Cayetano said that he is, nevertheless, hopeful that the practice of bribery may be eradicated or significantly lessened by the end of the present administration's term. "Concerns like this are still present, because it takes time to feel the trickle down effect of economic growth," Cayetano said. "But once GDP growth is matched by a similar increase in the quality of life index, I believe these statistics on bribery will also change."

"There is also the terrible impression that bribes are part of the cost of doing business in the Philippines," Cayetano added. "But once our government employees feel the effects of economic growth – with increased wages and more affordable prices – this unprincipled practice will end and the impression of investors will change."





KALAHI-CIDSS brings potable water to communities in Motiong, Samar

February 20, 2013

CATBALOGAN CITY – Close to 500 rural folks of Motiong will have a better access to potable water system upon completion of the water system projects in July 2013.

The projects are funded by the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) in Motiong, Samar.

Some eight hinterland barangays of Motiong chose the construction of a water system or improvement of existing ones.

KALAHI-CIDSS area coordinator Ma. Christina Manicani presented the accomplishments and status of sub-projects during the first Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting in Motiong recently.

The 429 households in Barangays Malonoy, Angyap, Capaysagan, Pusongan, Hinica-an, Caranas, Caulayanan, and Calantawan are eagerly awaiting for the completion of the sub projects .

Dr. Perlie Langi, Municipal Health Officer said that the residents use only dug wells for their water needs, some would trek hills and mountains for their water needs.

“KALAHI-CIDSS will make their lives easier and healthier,” the doctor said.

According to Mayor Francisco Langi, KALAHI-CIDSS gave P13.5 million funds for 18 beneficiary barangays in Motiong, while 30% or P4.5 million come from the counterpart of the LGU.

Aside from the water system, there is a Daycare Center at Barangay Inalad, and concrete pavement or path walk at Barangay Candumacol.

Langi said that this KALAHI-CIDS sub-project is a big help to their people and in their community.





The people's government confronts Tan political dynasty in Western Samar for serious crimes

By NDF-Eastern Visayas
February 20, 2013

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today that the People's Democratic Government is confronting the Tan political dynasty in Western Samar for serious crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.

“The Tan political clan headed by Rep. Mila Tan in Western Samar is preparing to continue its hold on on the top elective positions in the province in the coming May elections,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “But the Tan family today is being held accountable by the people's government for gross corruption, abetting human rights violations, and collaborating with the military's ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign. These serious crimes are grounds to deny entry to political candidates from the Tan family in areas under the jurisdiction of revolutionary authorities.”

Fr. Salas noted that Rep. Milagrosa Tan and her children, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan, have long been advancing their political and economic interests by going along with the fascist campaigns of the 8th Infantry Division.

Aside from the three incumbent officials who are running for reelection, Rep. Tan's two other children are seeking the mayoralties in Calbayog and Catbalogan cities, while her brother-in-law is running for congressman in the first district. “Human rights violations have raged in the province since 2005 under then 8th ID chief, the butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan, but the Tans never condemned but in fact helped cover up the military's rights violations. They also slammed the door on rights violation victims seeking assistance, as well refused as to aid areas suffering from intense militarization.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also said the Tan political dynasty not only collaborated but even colluded in corruption with the military. “Through their control of the provincial government, the Tans ensured financial and material support for the Social Integration Program, the 8th ID's surrender campaign against the New People's Army. The Tans also lent support to the 8th ID's brutal Special Operations Team campaigns of psywar and intimidation against the people. They also allowed the military to be the contractor in projects used for ‘counterinsurgency’, as well as supported relief and medical missions meant to deodorize the military's human rights violations.”

Aside from conniving with the military, Fr. Salas also accused the Tans of maintaining its own private army composed not only of goons but mercenary soldiers and policemen as well. “The Tans are known to have soldiers from the 34th IB and the 87th IB in their payroll. They are also connected to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through Sgt. Emil Soza. The Tans meanwhile effectively control the police provincial mobile group through their man, Insp. Jovy Espinido. The other armed henchmen of the Tans are the Casaljay group based in Sta. Margarita and Calbayog City; the so-called Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan in Paranas and Hinabangan towns; and goons from Masbate who hide out in the islands of Tagapul-an, Almagro and Daram.”

Fr. Salas said the Tan political dynasty is notoriously corrupt and has used its political power to entrench and further its economic interests at the expense of the people. “The Tans represent the ugliness of bureaucrat capitalism where government is run to serve not the people but local and foreign big business interests. The Tans have various business interests that are flourishing while they are in political office: moneylending, commercial stores, real estate and shipping. The Tan political dynasty, especially its matriarch Rep. Milagrosa Tan, also has a long history of plundering state coffers for ghost projects. Because of their intertwined political and business interests, the Tans have also outraged the people with their nepotism and political patronage, exemplified by Rep. Tan and her four children running for key local positions as if just business as usual. While the Tans benefit from their political and economic power, the government employees and common people suffer grinding poverty, militarization, and deprival of basic social services. If the Tans will have their way, they will certainly further their oppression and exploitation of the people.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson said the People's Democratic Government is confronting the Tan political dynasty in Western Samar to safeguard the rights and interests of the people in the coming reactionary elections, and to ensure these will be peaceful, orderly and beneficial.

“The Tans are enemies of the people in Western Samar. They face restriction of electoral access in the territories under the People's Democratic Government. The Arnulfo Ortiz Command of the NPA-Western Samar also have orders to enforce the prohibition of armed goons and military, police and paramilitary escorts during the election period, and to watch out for the Tans who are notorious for these. The Tan political dynasty is also warned that using violence against its rivals, as well as vote-buying and bribery, will not be tolerated in the revolutionary territories. It is furthermore the responsibility of the NPA and the revolutionary forces to discuss and unite with the people regarding the accountabilities of the Tan political dynasty, so as to expose the farce of reactionary elections and to clarify that only the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system will pave the way for a genuine democratic government.”





P300-M Leyte convention center soon to be operational

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 19, 2013

PAWING, Palo, Leyte – The first phase of the state-of-the-art P300 million plus Leyte Convention Center complex will soon be open operational as the Provincial Government of Leyte expects its completion in the first quarter of 2013.

“The P115 million Main Hall of the Leyte Convention Center will hopefully be completed in the first week of March, 2013,” Provincial Engineer Robert Lugnasin told the Philippine Information Agency.

Actually, the contractor is already working on the ceiling and some finishing touches, he said. The facilities like comfort rooms are already in place, he said. He added that the Main Hall will be operational by the third week of March.

The total budget for the Leyte Convention Center complex is P300 million, Engr. Lugnasin disclosed. He explained that the construction of the Leyte Convention Center complex is divided into three phases.

The first phase is the Main Hall with comfort rooms. The second phase will include the construction of Exhibit Hall and a parking area in front of the Main Hall. The third phase will entail the construction of offices and a parking space at the back.

The Main Hall is a single storey building with a capacity of 1,500 seated guests and can accommodate about 5,500 people, the Provincial Engineer said. The Hall may be divided into two, each with 500 person capacity.

The Provincial Government of Leyte through the initiative of former Governor, now Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, programmed the construction of the Leyte Convention Center Complex at Barangay Pawing in Palo, Leyte in answer to the over-arching need to meet the growth of the so-called MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry.

Then Governor Petilla said that the construction of the convention center complex is in tandem with the operation of the Oriental Hotel Leyte which will serve as the accommodation for participants in national conventions that will be hosted by the provincial government and even by other agencies and private entities.

The new convention center is part of the economic development blueprint of the provincial government that was prioritized by then Governor Petilla.

The area where the convention center is located is adjacent to the Leyte Academic Center (LAC) within the Philippine Economic Zone Authority-declared information and communications technology park.

Several small and medium sized ICT companies have been occupying LAC while two separate buildings are occupied by a multinational customer service company.

The Leyte Convention Center is expected to boost the tourism industry not only in Leyte but in other parts of Eastern Visayas. It will increase the demand for hotels and restaurants and create new tourism revenues. It would also generate jobs and create new economic activities in the area.



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