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Blessing, dedication rites for Guinsaugon housing units held

Canadians face military harassment while on fact-finding mission in Philippines

Another fire hits Catbalogan, incurs P5M damage

Uy seeks DILG inquiry vs. Grey’s murder raps and alleged drug involvement

Abduction victim of NPA found dead in Catarman

Health authorities campaigns for Filariasis eradication in Eastern Visayas

Heightened red alert is still hoisted over Basey Police Station

Daza chairs Northern Samar AIDS Council

Solon seeks automation of polls

Victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines commemorated by Korean musicians in Hong Kong


LWUA to construct P66-M water system in Calico-an Island Resort

November 23, 2006

GUIUAN, Eastern Samar  –  After accomplishing the first-ever modern waterworks system here, the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) is now waiting for the release of some P66 million for the construction of a potable water supply in Calico-an Island Resort here.

LWUA acting deputy administrator and Guiuan Water District (GWD) interim board chairman Daniel I. Landingin said the release of said multi-million peso grant, as promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her visit to the resort last year, is expected to be granted any moment now.

According to Landingin, a group of private investors headed by certain Atty. Manuel Go of the Aboitiz Group of Companies is also now reportedly preparing to erect some tourism infrastructures including the proposed construction of a golf course, luxurious hotel accommodation with 400 rooms, in time for the creation of a water source in the area.

Last May 2006, Mrs. Arroyo promised the local residents and the tourists that she will allocate some funds for the said project and likewise directed the LWUA to finalize and submit the program of work to her office immediately.

Last October 11, 2006, the proposed project of work for the P66-M waterworks project was received by Mrs. Arroyo through former Presidential Management Staff Secretary Arthur Yap with endorsement coming from Department of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and Guiuan Mayor Annaliza-Gonzales-Kwan.

In his letter, LWUA Administrator Lorenzo H. Jamora reported to the president that after their successful completion of P20 million worth of water system facility in Guiuan town, that is now “providing safe water to the hundred of residents in said town,” they are now ready to start this new project, after the release of said grant.

Meanwhile, the island of Calico-an resort which is located in the southernmost of Guiuan, Eastern, Samar is now being develop by the government as next Boracay – considered by many as the World’s greatest beach resort.

“Calico-an island is truly a must see to all nature lovers, adventurous travelers, deep sea fishermen and the paradise for intrepid surfers worldwide,” Administrator Jamora disclosed. 





"O, Catbalogan!" coffee table book launched

November 22, 2006

O, Catbalogan! book launching photo
Catbaloganons took a peek to a tarpaulin book cover picture of O, Catbalogan! displayed outside Tia Anita’s along San Roque St., downtown Catbalogan during its Book Launching Nov. 18.

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  "O, Catbalogan!" a coffee table book was launched this weekend at Tia Anita’s residence in San Roque corner Mabini Avenue, Catbalogan, Samar with no less than Solicitor-General Eddie Nachura in attendance.

Nachura, of real Catbalogan blood endorses the book in its foreword. He also delivered a brief speech to extol the artistry and history imbedded in the book.

Nachura who is also the President of the Katbalaoganon Association in Metro Manila said that it is his hope that his kind would find in the book a mirror of their own identity and rekindle in them a genuine interest in the place of their birth.

The book written by Charo Cabardo and Rene Nachura is a dream come true for Catbaloganons who have waited all these years for a book that will encompass all that there is of Catbalogan.

The book tells of the beginnings of Catbalogan, wars and heroes, the town of Catbalogan, then and now. It also includes Catbalogan’s religion, culture, education, cuisine and the Catbaloganons in other parts of the country and all over the world.

The book touches history of the early Katbalaugan (evolving to Catbalogan), and settlers said to have migrated from Buad (now Zumarraga). The book mentioned about these fishermen to be just resting on the shore line with balaug (a shrub that thrived in its seashore). The settlers then thought of just settling in Catbalogan.

One Professor Cesar Torres, who is now based in San Francisco, USA summed up the book’s content in a sentence saying, "It is a food for the soul, food and intellect, a tribute to all Samarnons, past, present and future."

The 145-page hard bound book is easily a popular among those who attended the launch specifically, the middle aged populace, like Eddie, Charo, David, Sonny, Ren, Deng, Chi, mentioned by Torres whom he believes, have much to relate with in the pages of the treasured book. Capping the 145-page book is a poem by Estrella Maqueda which laments the environmental destruction of Samar.

Catbalogan VIPs who graced the book launching included Mayor Tekwa Uy. Former Bishop Max Cruz and a host of young media practitioners who also have joined Cabardo and Nachura in making the book as real as Catbalogan!





AFP Dared: Open Fort Magsaysay and other camps to families of desaparecidos, independent body

Press Release
November 23, 2006

QUEZON CITY, Philippines  –  Families of victims of enforced disappearance and their lawyer today dared the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prove they are not holding people incomunicado by opening military camps to searching families. “Let an independent, investigative body, with representatives of all victims, and members of international human rights bodies be convened and impanelled.  Along with Oscar Leuterio, let them be allowed to go to Fort Magsaysay and all other military camps,” said Lawyer Rex Fernandez, counsel for the families of Desaparecidos. “We demand that these camps be searched with a fine-tooth comb.”

Meanwhile, Ghay Portajada, spokesperson of the Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (DESAPARECIDOS) cited that two missing youths in Pampanga were seen at the headquarters of the 69th Infantry Battalion in San Jose Matulid village, in Mexico, Pampanga.

Nothern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief Lt. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos said in a newspaper interview that the testimony of former security guard Oscar Leuterio was a lie.  Leuterio is the latest witness in the petition for habeas corpus for missing UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, whom he saw at a safehouse inside Fort Magsaysay.

In his sworn statement he said he was robbed April 17 in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan by soldiers and CAFGU, abducted and held incomunicado for five months at the 7th Infantry Division based in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

In his written statement, Leuterio identified then still active MajGen. Jovito Palparan as the one called “Lolo” (Grandfather) by soldiers, who told him we would live if he cooperated with them. Leuterio was released by the military on September 14 after he promised to work with them.

Leuterio said that he knew he was brought to Fort Magsaysay because that was where he came out when he was released on September.  Leuterio said he was told that it was MajGen. Juanito Gomez, chief of the 7th ID who drove the vehicle from Fort Magsaysay to Bulacan where he was dropped off.

Leuterio filed charges against Palparan, Gomez who replaced Palparan as commanding officer of the 7th Infantry Division, Lt. Noel Clement of the 703rd Infantry Brigade, 2Lt Ferdinand Basas, and several others identified as Alvin Pastrana, Boy Muslim, Bitoy, and Aladin who were among those who abducted and tortured him.

The criminal charges against the military men were filed at the Ombudsman while civil charges were filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.  The charges included warrantless arrest, arbitrary detention, torture, physical injuries, and involuntary servitude.

Fernandez said that at the Court of Appeals hearing on November 16, Leuterio was placed under cross examination.  “But his testimony was never impuned, his credibility stood. He was never broken.”  He said Leuterio’s testimony was strong, unlike that of Palparan who testified earlier but “always took cover in the guise of classified information.”  Palparan had denied having the two UP students in custody.

Portajada said that Leuterio’s account proves that the military men are lying under oath as they claimed that Cadapan and Empeño were not in their custody.  She said this also proves that the state security forces are the perpetrators of abductions of the more than 180 victims of enforced disappearances.

“Not only Fort Magsaysay, Camp Tecson and other military camps, but also safehouses and torture houses should be opened so that the disappeared will be surfaced,” Portajada said.

Portajada said the families of missing youths Romulos Robiños, 24 and Ryan Supan, 20 were the latest to file petitions for writ of habeas corpus at the Supreme Court.  The two were abducted by armed men believed to be soldiers past midnight on November 17 from their respective homes in Angeles City and San Fernando City.

Portajada said that armed men believed to be soldiers had earlier been looking for Robiños’ sister, Leni, a volunteer staff of the peasant group Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Campampangan.

Robiños’s wife Jesusa, 25, said she saw one of her husband’s abductors at the 69th Infantry Battalion in San Jose Matulid, Mexico where they went to look for Romulos.  An official at the headquarters had told them that the two were not in their custody.

The Robiños and Supan families will today file a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights and the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Portajada said that they will also assist the two families to seek the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).





Leyte governor receives recognition from Phil Hospital Association

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 21, 2006

Leyte governor Icot Petilla photo
Leyte governor Icot Petilla

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla will receive an award during the 57th Convention of the Philippine Hospital Association at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 6:00 o’clock in the evening.

Governor Petilla who is on his first term as the governor of the province of Leyte has done so much in terms of innovative health programs and services.

Foremost among his innovations is turning the district hospital in Baybay, Leyte into a self-sustaining district hospital which is a far cry for it has always been subsidized by the provincial government in the past.

Today’s realities make it doubly difficult for hospitals to survive especially with the increasing cost of inputs and resources required to maintain quality services. Nonetheless, by collaborating with the relevant private sector group, Governor Petilla has been able to mobilize people, improve the facilities and services through networking activities.

Governor Petilla used participatory governance in this endeavor by enlisting the help of Sister Eloisa David, the administrator of the Divine Word Hospital in order to help look into the problems of the district hospitals so that their services will be improved.

Instead of returning the district hospital to the Department of Health as other weaker governors do, Governor Petilla turned a non performing asset of government into a money-making venture. He did this not only by improving the facilities but also by patiently looking into the value formation of the hospital staff.

After Baybay District Hospital, Governor Petilla also improved the services of the Leyte Provincial Hospital, the Abuyog District Hospital and the Ormoc City Hospital.

Satisfied with his handiwork, Governor Petilla turned his eyes on the mentally deranged who are loitering in the City for the absence of any facility which will accommodate them.

Governor Petilla, in partnership with the private sector again, turned the Babatngon District Hospital into the Asilo de San Benito where the mentally deranged are housed and treated until they are able to return to the normal society.

Governor Petilla personally joins the taskforce which goes around the City looking for the mentally ill. Priority is given to the female mentally deranged because “they are more exposed to danger.”

Governor Petilla does not allow the lack of needed funds to deter him from doing what he feels is urgent like that of the Asilo de San Benito. In order to source for fund, Governor Petilla himself sang in a fund-raising concert together with musically gifted priests. Luckily, Governor Petilla is indeed a consummate singer.

In fact, another fund-raising concert is in the offing at the LAC Center on November 30,  with no less than Sarah Geronimo, who sang the National Anthem in the just concluded Pacquiao-Morales bout in Las Vegas and Mark Bautista who together with Ms. Geronimo had a successful concert in the United States.

As the primary organization that confers recognition and continuous support to public and private hospitals in the country, the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA), led by its president, Dr. Tiburcio Macias, has played an important role in ensuring access to tertiary health care among the public. The PHA has collaborated closely with the concerned public sector agencies, from the Department of Health to the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System, and Philhealth, so that ordinary Filipinos are not deprived of their right to inexpensive and quality health care.





Police sees extortion behind the Smart relay station raid

November 21, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Police authorities here saw extortion as the possible reason behind the raid of the Smart Telecommunication’s relay station in a mountainous portion of Brgy. San Andres, Catbalogan town Sunday afternoon.

Catbalogan Municipal Police Station Chief Insp. Carlos G. Vencio, in an interview, said cases like bombing or raid of infrastructure conducted by the New People’s Army (NPA) usually boil down to non-payment of revolutionary taxes.

The police officer did not roll out other possibilities though since the police are still conducting a thorough investigation to determine what the reasons behind the Smart infrastructure raid really are.

Smart’s security personnel Silverio Mabini, 43 years old and a resident of Sitio Sto. Niño, Brgy. San Andres, reported before the police that a group of about 15 armed men led by Ador Pajares came to the relay station, situated some three kilometers northeast from the town proper, at around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and immediately sprayed them with bullets.

No casualty has been reported from the attack, however, except for Mabini’s son, Rodel, 27 years old and also security personnel of the said firm, who suffered minor injuries after an NPA bullet hit his arm. Mabini said he and his son escaped towards Brgy. Mangihay when they were fired upon by the armed group.

Mabini, who was the security guard-on-duty when the incident happened, claimed they did not received warnings from the group before the raid.

To recall, it was the same structure that the NPA burned down almost five years ago reportedly for the telecommunication firm’s failure to pay revolutionary tax.

Pajares was identified as the leader of the Team 1 SK Bago of the CPP-NPA’s Central Front-Samar 1 operating in the areas of Catbalogan and San Jorge towns.

The police have yet to determine the extent of damage to the Smart infrastructure resulting from the attack. “Agaw armas” was also considered as one of the possible reasons behind the raid.



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