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Gov. Tan argues she don’t deserve suspension on her plunder case

Armed men raid Albuera police station

Borongan LGU steps up solid waste management

Region 8 remembers Doña Paz tragedy

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 ambush military personnel on CIVAC

January 19, 2006

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  – The convoy of Col. Joel Joseph Cabides, Commanding Officer of 801st Brigade were ambushed at vicinity Brgy. Caranas, Motiong, Samar on January 15, 2006 at around 10:10 a.m. Four personnel were killed and seven wounded in the incident. One M35 truck was also damaged in the ambush. No firearm was lost due to troop alertness and presence of mind and instead recovered one firearm (cal .38 rev) and two enemy killed (body count).

The fatalities are 2Lt. Ruby Dellano, Sgt. Jesus Relao, Pfc. Roy Sulpico and Pfc. Antonio Tejo Jr. Lt. Dellano was with the Special Operations Company, 8ID, PA for more than a year as Platoon Leader and at the time of her death is the OIC of SOT in Jiabong, Samar. Under her leadership, hundreds of residents (regular armed members and sympathizers) surrendered and denounced their support to the CPP/NPA/NDF since she was able to win the hearts and minds of the said municipality. She is scheduled to tie the knot to her long time sweetheart this year.

The troops just conducted Medical and Dental CIVAC in San Jose de Buan, Samar as part of its program to help the government deliver basic services when they were ambushed by the Communist Terrorists (CTs). The wounded were immediately brought to Camp Lukban Station Hospital and are now recuperating while the fatalities are presently at the NCO Club House of this command. Wounded are SSg. Narciso Adao, SSg. Anatalio Maraon, Sgt. Baltazar Abalos, Cpl. Laguinario Luzon, Cpl. Bryan General, Pfc. Alberto Datuin and Pfc. Mark Luis Conde.

The suspects are believed to be numbering more or less thirty (30) heavily armed CTs with M60 machinegun led by unknown commander operating in the western portion of Samar Island.

This violent incident perpetrated by the CTs was done to slow down the military in its relentless drive to expose the deceptive and evil ways of the NPA and free the civilian populace from their stranglehold. The decisiveness of the command to eradicate/solve insurgency in the soonest possible time frantically made the CTs murder soldiers who were just doing their mandated duty of protecting democracy.

The ambush violates the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIL) signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the CPP/NPA/NDF. (Note that the militants had been repeatedly accusing the command of ignoring the CARHRIL) Among the violations committed by the CTs during the ambush were the killing and wounding of medical personnel. The terrorists have a full view of the passengers of the M35 truck who are mostly in civilian attire but still fired at the defenseless people on the said vehicle.

In his statement MGen. Bonifacio B. Ramos, Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army said, “The incident confirms that the CPP/NPA is anti-people, do not respect human rights and employed minors in combat as determined from enemy dead recovered. The cold-blooded murder and excessive use of force to sow fear in the hearts of the people of Samar is a trademark of a terrorist organization. Indeed, the Communist Terrorists can resort to terroristic acts with total disregard of human rights and lives. As Commanding General of the 8ID, I condemn this murder of four soldiers in the strongest possible terms. I call upon our citizens, people’s organizations and the so-called human rights groups to condemn the Communist Terrorist as well. I challenge the Bayan Muna and the militants to condemn the NPA and the Communist Party” He added “I would like to further assure the people of Region 8 that the 8th Infantry Division in close coordination with the Philippine National Police will relentlessly pursue these lawless elements who are terrorizing our people.”

At present, the bereaved family of the casualties and the 8th Infantry Division is preparing to file criminal and human rights charges against the perpetrators of the cruel incident.





DAR launches Dulag Agrarian Reform Community; distributes CLOA to farmers

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 19, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Mayor Themistocles Saño, Jr. of Dulag warmly welcomed the Department of Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Kashmir Leyretana, DAR 8 Regional Director Tiburcio Morales Jr., PARO Enrique Granados III, PIA Dir. Olive Tiu and the representatives of the line agencies like CDA, NIA, DPWH, DA, Land Bank and PCA, and the farmer beneficiaries, during the launching of the Dulag Agrarian Reform Community (ARC) in Barangay Magsaysay, Dulag, Leyte on Tuesday (January 17).

Mayor Saño thanked DAR ASec Leyretana and Director Morales for making the town’s dream of declaring some of its barangays as agrarian reform communities, a reality. He said that this program of President Arroyo to alleviate poverty among the farmers as a very noteworthy undertaking because it empowers the farmer beneficiaries to make their own plans for the betterment of the whole community and at the same time this has a unifying effect not only among the beneficiaries but among the various cooperating line agencies.

He said that 70 percent of Dulag’s total land area is devoted to agriculture producing rice, corn and coconut. The seven barangays comprising the Dulag ARC has a total of 6,101 total population covering 2,758 hectares of agricultural land.

During the launching, the ARC Map, Profile and Requirements were unveiled and explained to the guests. The various projects targeted for the development of the Agrarian Reform Community were discussed starting from capability building and value-formation trainings for the farmer beneficiaries, the enterprise development aspect and coop development and the various infrastructure projects needed like farm to market roads, bridge, pre and post harvest facilities, irrigation, the agri-productivity and farm income improvement and the agri-based rural industry establishment.

Not to be left out is the delivery of basic services like potable water and health services and the gender and development aspect of the program which will include the organization of women association, the conduct of skills training, popdev seminar and tree planting activities.

The various line agencies represented expressed their respective agency’s support to the Dulag ARC and signed a covenant to that effect. A meeting of the cooperating agencies with Mayor Saño, Dir. Morales and the chairmen of the seven barangays was conducted right after the signing.

In the same occasion, sixty four CLOAs were distributed by DAR ASec Kashmir B. Leyretana and DAR 8 Director Tiburcio a. Morales Jr.  This benefits a total number of 860 farmer beneficiaries.

ASec Leyretana said that DAR Region 8 is so far the number one in the implementation of the program which is President Arroyo’s strategy to alleviate poverty among the farmers in the countryside. In 2004, DAR 8 surpassed its target posting an accomplishment of 119 percent. Targeting 14,034 hectares, DAR 8’s actual accomplishment is 16,763 hectares.

In his message, Director Morales urged those present especially the farmer beneficiaries to help President Arroyo in her fight against poverty saying “Tulungan natin and ating mahal na Pangulo sa kanyang laban – ang Paglaban sa Kahirapan.”

According to Director Morales, the farmer beneficiaries are from the clusters of Burauen, Dagami and La Paz, Leyte. The nineteen CLOAs from Burauen cover an area of 18.2644 hectares. That of Dagami covers 1.4158 hectares and will benefit three farmer beneficiaries and three CLOAs. La Paz was issued 24 CLOAs covering 1,349.6396 hectares of agricultural land that will benefit 796 farmer beneficiaries.

The Barangay Chairmen beneficiaries from La Paz, Burauen and Dagami accepted the CLOAs in behalf of the farmer beneficiaries.





Crusade to protect Samar Island forest strengthened; 3 Bishops continue calling out loud for support through a partnership for peace and development

January 18, 2006

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  “It’s not just saying NO to logging, but what is our response”, Bishop Jose Palma of the diocese of Calbayog challenged acclaimed environmentalists, NGOs, local chief executives, DENR people and even the clergy and those present during its 3rd Unification meeting January 10, 2006, hosted by Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Borongan.

A couple of years ago, the three bishops of the Samar Island (Bishops Medroso of Borongan, Palma of Calbayog and Hobayan of Catarman who retired and replaced by Trance now actively involved in the cause) together with representatives from various sectors, initiated the establishment of the Samar Island Development Council, which later became a Unification group and recently proposed to become a solid Partnership for Peace and Development.

This group precipitated from an invitation of Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) which originally was trying to solicit support for the passage of the SINP (Samar Island Natural Park) Bill in both congress and senate.

Issues and concerns about the environment were raised and stirred the interest of the bishops, the preservation of the remaining biodiversities and specially the move to minimize if not to stop further destructions of forest and irresponsible extraction of the natural deposits by no less than the big wigs in economy whose interests are protected by strong connections with authorities.

“We are not banking on legalities because it can easily be manipulated, we are on the issue of morality”, Bishop Medroso reiterated referring to the lifting of logging moratorium and continued threats to environmental destructions with the existing approved MPSA (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement).

Where are we now with our crusade? Much has been said and done yet it seemed not enough. So, what’s next? After hearing Defensor saying “NO LOGGING ACTIVITY IN SAMAR ISLAND AS LONG AS I AM THE SECRETARY”. What if he is replaced? Does it mean back to SQUARE ONE? Shall we continue the campaign for the passage of SINP? Does it make sense? These were the most pressing questions asked by the participants during the meeting at the 4th floor of the Bishop’s house in Borongan.

First issue resolved: What is the extent of “NO TO LOGGING” when we need wood for our basic needs, this was raised by the mayors seconded by the Governor Evardone of Eastern Samar. The issue that followed: Carabao? Or Commercial logging?

Carabao logging is small scale harvesting of mature tress answering the need of the local users, as defined by NGO representatives engaged in the reforestation program of DENR. Commercial is practically the likes of San Jose Timber Corporation’s logging concession.

The meeting of the minds between the church leaders and local chief executives of Eastern Samar bottom-lined at recognizing the need for logs at the local level for the consumption of the constituents. As to the official stand of elected officials (especially governors and congressmen) in other provinces of Samar, remains unclear. Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance of the Diocese of Catarman noticed this.

The primary consideration of the “NO TO LOGGING” issue is the protection of the old growth forest and its biodiversity, the watershed areas and the big rivers connecting the 3 provinces of Samar.

Governor Ben Evardone further qualified as to who are allowed to cut and where? He was referring to alternative logging for “house use”. “This has to be very clear, we cannot actually say totally “NO” to logging because our people, we, also need logs for house use”, Evardone stressed.

Bishop Palma proposed to invite DENR to disclose programs offering alternative logging and bare out rules on cutting or harvesting tress in identified areas. Supported by Governor Evardone suggesting the conduct of an extensive research and inform Local Government Units of its role.

Evardone committed one hour radio slots sponsored by the provincial government of Eastern Samar to be utilized in educating and informing people on environmental concerns. He also urged members of the partnership to sit down with the LGUs during a Provincial Development Council conference to ventilate problems besetting development as viewed by their group.

Meanwhile, the Samar Island Partnership on Peace and Development identified some targets they seek to achieve in the next quarter before the 4th Meeting to be hosted by Bishop Jose Palma of the diocese of Calbayog.

Among the targets the Partnership seeks to achieve; 1).Urge local legislators of the three provinces (Eastern, Western and Northern Samar) to approve a resolution strongly endorsing the passage of the SINP Bill, 2) Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso to write follow a up letter to DENR re: Defensor’s commitment not to allow logging in Samar Island and a 2-point letter for the cancellation of 2 existing MPSAs and appropriation for SINP Bill, 3) Raise an appeal to President GMA to carefully choose a new DENR secretary who will have the heart for a genuine environmental protection.





Eastern Samar places fifth in Sinulog Fest

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 18, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – Once again, Region 8 showed that it is a region to reckon with when it comes to dancing and festival performances.

This was proven when the Sinulog contingent from Eastern Samar, which participated in the Sinulog for the first time this year, won the fifth place in the free interpretation category. As such, the contingent bagged P100,000.00 as cash prize. Most happy and proud is the choreographer of the group, Ms. Jenalyn Arica Avila.

The Eastern Samar contingent, composed of one hundred sixty high school and college students from the Eastern Samar State University, was headed by no less than Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, other provincial officials, the provincial administrator Allan Limbauan and Mr. Toto Cinco, tourism consultant of the Province.

This is not the first time that Eastern Visayas won an award at the Sinulog Festival and in national festival competitions. Years back, the Pintados contingent headed by Mr. Jess de Paz also won a place in the Sinulog Festival. The Pintados Festival choreographed by Mr. Jess de Paz also won third in the Aliwan Festival two years ago.

The Sarakiki Festival of Calbayog City also won an award at the Aliwan Festival four years ago. And three years ago, the much-appaluded primary school children representing the Tanauan, Leyte Pasaka Festival won second place at the Paskuhan Aliwan Festival.

Just as the Philippines may be named a country of many festivals, Region 8 may also be dubbed as the Festival Region considering the numerous municipal and provincial festivals which abounds in the Region.

The Pintados Festival which came after the Sinulog Festival, is the oldest festival in the Region. In fact, it was a member of the Sinulog Foundation which encouraged the Taclobanons to organize the Pintados Foundation after the EDSA revolution.





4 soldiers, 2 young ‘rebels’ die in Samar ambush

January 16, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  It was supposed to be a happy fiesta celebration of the patron saint Sto. Niño in San Jose de Buan town but it turned out into a bloody broad day light ambuscade the other day, January 15.

The government troops, along with some medical staff of the 8th Infantry Division en route to Catbalogan was ambushed by a band of heavily armed groups believed to be members of the dreaded New People’s Army around 10: 30 in the morning of Sunday (Jan. 15).

The rebels, according to an initial report, were led by Kumander Batoy, Commander of Serafin Pasinos of Arnulfo Ortiz Command, Central Front Samar 1, Samar Provincial Party Committee of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (CFS1-SPPC-EVRPC).

The ambush which occurred between the vicinity of Brgy. Babaclayon, San Jose de Buan and Brgy. Caranas, Motiong town resulted to the instantaneous death of an army official, three military men, two suspected young rebels and the wounding of seven soldiers.

The soldiers, led by Col. Joel Cabides, Brigade Commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade were on board two military vehicles when they were suddenly peppered with bullets coming from a “high ground” slope of the area.

Col. Cabides, along with this correspondent, which were on board the leading Hammer type jeep were unhurt but with few bruises on hands and mud in their clothes when they quickly jumped-off the vehicle and secured a “safer location.”

The other vehicle, a six-by-six truck, full of military men and medics, however, positioned few meters behind the led jeep suffered four casualties and nine wounded when the rebels “showered” them bullets hiding in a “high ground” overlooking the government troops.

Col. Cabides identified the casualties as 2Lt. Ruby B. Dellano, Sgt. Jesus Relao, Corporal Roy Sulpico and Private Antonio Tejo. Soldiers who were wounded in action were Sgt. Mario Rosales, Pfc. Mario Abayare, Pfc. Bryan General, Pfc. Albano Datwin, Cpl. Alexander Luzon, Sgt. Narciso Adao, Sgt. Anastacio Maran, Sgt. Baltazar Abalos and Pvt. Anjannette Donato. They were immediately rushed by the reinforcing two choppers to the military hospital inside the Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong here. The fatalities suffered “fatal wounds” in their heads while those injured were hit in their arms, ears and other parts of their body.

All the troops ambushed belong to the 34th IB and 62nd IB of the 8th Infantry Division.

Another two dead bodies, believed to be “fighters” of the rebels were located where the rebels were hiding. Local residents, however, denied they were rebels. “They were my husband and my 12-yr-old son in Brgy. Caranas,” the victim’s wife said in anguish.

Col. Cabides said the rebels, numbering to about 30, were armed with high-powered firearm such as M16, M14, M60 and Carbine rifles. The firefight started around 10:30 a.m. and ended at around 11:35 a.m.

The military troops were on their way home from the Peace and Development Forum and Medical Mission initiated by the 8th ID which was the highlight of the fiesta celebration of the San Jose de Buan town when the ambush took place.

The forum, it was learned, was participated in by hundred of residents, in which some of them testified in public the evils of the New People’s Army in that area.

The Target

During yesterday’s conference with the different military officials, it was later learned that the possible target of the rebels was Yelen Acebedo alias ‘Ka Lyka’, a rebel returnee who always accompany the military in previous forums in other municipalities in the region.

“Si Lyka talaga ang target nila, kasi they mistaken our Ruby (Dellano) who was the first to be hit. Ruby wore the same color (orange) of t-shirt Lyka was wearing the evening she exposed the underground activities of the rebels,” Col. Glorivine Dida, the commanding officer of the 34th IB said. Lyka was on board the Hammer type jeep when the incident happened.

The army official told this writer that in the evening during the forum, Ka Lyka was approached by two suspicious looking men asking her details on her next day itinerary, but never gave any information to those strangers.

“I never gave them details as I know they were representative of the enemy,” Ka Lyka said as quoted by the military.

Meanwhile, minutes prior to the ambush, four other civilian passengers of the Hammer type jeep insisted to drop themselves between the vicinity of Hilumot and Babaclayon, the villages located just before reaching the “ambush site.”

The four, identified as certain Joni Bonifacio of Trexplore Adventure, Max Daquelanea, Nimfa Cruz Patawaran and Dante Perano accordingly were on their way for a caving exploration near the area. The three except Bonifacio were members of a local media.

Army authorities said the four were immediately interrogated and questioned for their “suspicious” acts and by insisting to disembark before the ambush occurred.





Breaking News:

“Sakay-Sakay” revelry turns deadly

Posted 3:30pm, January 15, 2006

SAN RICARDO, Southern Leyte  --  Fourteen children and four adults for a total of 16 persons were reported killed from drowning here this morning January 15 when the full-packed boat they were riding capsized at the height of a traditional religious festivity in honor of the Child Jesus or Sto. Nino, locally known as “sakay-sakay” (a sea-borne celebration).

In a sketchy report received by PIA about an hour ago, it was learned that the boat, identified as ML Sanjay, was returning to the port area at barangay Inolinan, this town, and in fact was in its last curve closer to shore when suddenly it got off balanced and literally turned upside down.

The unexpected incident happened around 9:30 to 10:00 this morning.

As this report was written, a rescue operation by the Philippine Air Force Scuba Diving Team was ongoing and the Southern Leyte Emergency Rescue Team (SOLERT) and the Red Cross were seen rushing to the site.

A Philippine Air Force helicopter was also seen hovering over Southern Leyte skies just about noon, apparently going to the area.  Reports said Gov. Lerias herself rode with the helicopter, having been in Manila when the incident happened, but this could not be immediately confirmed.

ML Sanjay, the ill-fated boat carrying the “sakay-sakay” revelers, has a capacity of 100 passengers, but many believed the actual passengers were over a hundred, causing it to capsize so suddenly when it tilted on the side.

The said boat was also a utility passenger vehicle plying the San Ricardo-Surigao route, and it has been used for this kind of celebration over the past years already.



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