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Taiwanese donor sends another P1.8M for Guinsaugon scholars

Calbayog makes it as one of 15 Dream Cities of RP

RDC 8 requests PGMA to appoint permanent Co-chair, submits nominees

St. Mary’s Catbalogan champions General Info Quiz for Catbalogan Fiesta

Tacloban New Transport Terminal now operational

Ancient town in Samar gears up for its 415th Grand Fiesta

2 towns in Eastern Samar complete Water Development Project

Power forum resolves to work for power rates reduction in Region 8

Police solves highway robberies in Samar

End the killings, petitioners cry worldwide


Town dad seeks relief of top army officers in their locality

September 1, 2006

SAN JORGE, Samar – Citing at least 3 grounds of alleged misconduct being perpetrated by elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army led by LtCol. Glorivine Dida, whose military camp is hosted by this town, Mayor Joseph Grey here finally broke his temper by seeking the immediate relief of the battalion’s high ranking officers.

Mayor Joseph Grey

In a letter addressed to the newly installed 8th Infantry Division Commander MGen. Rodrigo Maclang, which was likewise sent to the AFP higher headquarters and to the Secretary of National Defense in Manila, the town mayor requested to effect an immediate relief of LtCol. Dida and some of his officers for alleged political partisanship, military harassment, and for using the army funds and resources in advancing the alleged political plots of the town’s vice-mayor Marcelina Yu.

Based on the said letter, this writer gathered that LtCol. Dida has been carrying out projects in partnership with some NGOs in different barangays of this town by allegedly employing the direct involvement of the vice-mayor’s office here but subsequently by-passing the office of the local chief executive.

“Concededly, the military has wide latitude of discretion to implement civic programs and projects in the community to win back the trust and confidence of the public. This is in recognition that military solution is not the decisive way of winning the battle for a lasting peace. Said discretion however, is not ad infinitum, as it has to yield to the constitutionally recognized rule that the military must insulate itself from partisan politics. The sitting vice-mayor in our locality, cannot and should not, be allowed to exploit the military for her personal and partisan ends and benefits, and the military must always observe that insulation from partisan politics as a ‘tough rule’ to follow”, the mayor said in his letter.

The same letter pointed out the participation of the 34th IB commanding officer as allegedly being exploited by Vice-mayor Yu in propagating shoddy and malicious propaganda against the first family of San Jorge.

The letter particularly pointed out the alleged pronouncement of LtCol. Dida that he currently hold a copy of a standing warrant of arrest against one of the Mayor’s son which is accordingly charged with murder in Manila, and though the mayor did not comment nor elaborate on the issue stressed that: “And the fact that the army are consolidating various materials to demolish me in my locality when in fact it is not their duty to arrest wanted persons, and granting that a son of mine by that name is indeed here in my ward, will it free them of their misdemeanors as soldiers who cuddles erring politicians in my town?”, the mayor stressed.

Mayor Grey likewise branded as a form of harassment the spurious announcements allegedly made by one of the officers of the 34th IB in an unnamed municipality that their town is the most problematic place in Samar’s first district because of his and his family’s alleged notorious activities.

Further in his petition for the relief of the 34th IB officers, Mayor Grey stressed that the present situation confronting the people of this town relative to the alleged military partisanship in politics had been causing serious demoralization from the civilian populace, and moreover told “that the present leadership in the 34th IB appeared to have deviated from the basic and fundamental role of the army in the society, and it seems that under this condition, the military is once again exposed to a serious public scrutiny and judgment”, the mayor concluded.

“Action speaks louder than words” – San Jorgehanons say

Meanwhile, Mayor Joseph Grey reacted to the recent statement issued by LtCol. Glorivine Dida, commanding officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion here, regarding the mayor’s unavailability whenever the army is set to coordinate their programs in the locality, disclosing that the first medical mission Operation Blessing conducted by the 34th IB in partnership with a religious NGO in Brgy. Blanca Aurora of this town last Nov. 15, 2005 has been successfully implemented, “with us fully backing the army’s needs, including food and manpower support, because it was well coordinated with the LGU”, the mayor exclaimed.

“And granting that I am out for official business, why can’t they send in their communication to my office as they used to do before? If I am out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that my office has no competent personnel that will handle their concerns, ang babaw naman ng dahilan nila, e kahit nga sa 8ID kapag ba wala si Gen. Maclang, ang ibig bang sabihin ni koronel e hindi na magagampanan ni Gen. Maclang ang gawain niya as the chief of the division?”, he explained.

“Bakit, kung may kapal-pakan ba na mangyari sa mga pinag-gagawa nila, hindi ba ako ang sisihin ng mga tao, I am the mayor of this town, and I am responsible of my constituents welfare, dapat alam nila yon, alam ko that they have their own judgment that pertains to essence and nature of their work, pero dapat respetuhin din naman nila ang opisina ko”, Mayor Grey added.

The chief executive here cited at least 3 complaints of some barangays here particularly those that were awarded a water system project via the Operation Blessings being implemented by the 34th IB here but was not coordinated with the LGU, “but well coordinated with the office of the vice-mayor”, says Mayor Grey.

The mayor presented to the media one of the 3 barangay captains but requested not to be named for security reason, who subsequently informed that their barangay was asked to contribute P10,000.00 pesos as counterpart in the said project which according to them is only a simple “jetmatic pump” , “an problema kay kadadako na han ak gastos pagpinaka-un han mga sundalo nga nagtrabaho han jetmatic pump kay por lo menos 120 hira tanan nga nakadto upod na an iba nga ak kabarangay, kay baga lugi gad an barangay han panhitabo, kay baga rehab nala ngani adto kay may-ada naman da-an didto nga luho ngan tubo”, the barangay captain informed.

The said barangay captain likewise revealed that they were herded inside the 34th IB camp with a certain army Major informing them that the army doesn’t want politics to interfere in the said water-system project that is why they did not invited local government leaders, but all were surprised when they allegedly saw Vice-Mayor Yu during that meeting.

“Bisan ngani dida han medical mission nira ha amon, nakadto gihap ito nga Major ngan ginpanid-ngan kami, upod an am mga BHWs nga dire na kinahanglan i-inpormar iton mayor ngan an iba nga opisyal han bungto han nasabi nga medical mission, labot la daw kan vice-mayor Yu, pero kay gin-inpormar  gad la gihap nam hi mayor”, the barangay captain revealed.

On the other hand teachers and barangay officials here confirmed to the media that there is no truth to the pronouncement of the 34th IB that they are not extending personal security details to the vice-mayor.

On condition of anonymity, the teachers revealed that there are even times that the vice-mayor would attend their school gathering even if she is not invited, and allegedly along with her is a platoon of military escorts, “May-ada ngani hadto usa ka beses nga pati an tanke dara nira, imposible nga i-deny ito nira kay nakita man kami, amo ngani nga pirmi nagkukulang iton amon guti nga baga andam nga pagkaun tungod han kadamo han mga sundalo nga upod ni vice”, alleged one of the teachers.





Sinirangan Press Club files petition to rescind DENR order

By PIA Borongan
September 1, 2006

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  – A petition has recently been filed seeking to rescind the order of then DENR Secretary Michael Defensor lifting the logging moratorium of San Jose Timber Corporation.

The petitioner, Sinirangan Press Club of Eastern Samar in solidarity with the Catholic Church, other religious groups and civil society were moved to file the petition citing the enormous destruction it will cause to the environment.

Its more than 95 thousand hectares timber concession, the petition states, is at the center of an old growth forest and critical watershed of the proclaimed Samar Island Forest Reserve (SIFR) in 1996 and Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) in 2003. Thus, resumption of logging operation in the area will cause some 80% destruction to critical watershed and old growth forest which provides habitation to some 2,400 species of flowering plants, 197 bird species, 25 species of reptiles and 12 amphibians, 39 species of mammals accounting for approximately 23% of the total count of land mammals in the country.

The logging operation of the San Jose Timber Corporation prior to the logging moratorium in 1989 was the primary cause of the rapid forest destruction and denudation and massive flooding of seven towns in Eastern Samar. Due to the logging moratorium, Eastern Samar has been spared from typhoon because of the presence of the 120,000 hectares old growth and critical watershed if preserve will infinitely supply the drinking water requirement of the Samareños as well as the agricultural and industrial needs of the island. This, if qualified will show a match bigger value than the taxes that the government collects from the logging companies, the petitioners claim.

The petition further states that the province of Eastern Samar has 19 municipalities inside the SIFR and SINP, a big portion of its area is inside the logging concession of San Jose Timber Corporation. If logging activities will be allowed, flashfloods is inevitable as what happened in 1989. Moreover, the 14,725 hectares of the virgin forest and critical watershed of the municipality of Borongan is inside the concession of the PAVA Logging Company which will also avail of the lifting of the logging moratorium extended to the San Jose Timber Corporation.





Apo Island 'ray of hope' for oceans, Greenpeace says

Press Release
Southeast Asia
August 31, 2006

APO ISLAND, Philippines  –  Apo Island Marine Reserve in central Philippines is a 'ray of hope' for oceans around the world, Greenpeace said Wednesday during the visit of the ship MY Esperanza to the famous reserve. The Esperanza was welcomed in pristine Apo Island by the local community who displayed a 20 meter long banner by the shore, with the words 'Marine reserves: hope for the oceans.'

The Esperanza's visit to Apo Island highlights how the establishment of such protected areas in the oceans is a key solution to the crises that seas worldwide face. The visit is part of the Philippine leg of the Esperanza's global Defending our Oceans tour and follows two weeks of campaigning against marine pollution in different parts of the country.

"Apo Island has always been the model of hope for coastal communities in the Philippines. It demonstrates how reserves can effectively restore the productivity and biodiversity that once characterized the seas, and shows how more reserves around the globe will mean a better chance for the oceans to recover," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Daniel Ocampo.

Recent studies show that the impact of human activity on marine ecosystems have reached a critical tipping point. Greenpeace is calling for 40% of the world's oceans to be protected as marine reserves in order to reverse the current decline in the health of our oceans.

Greenpeace considers the visit to Apo Island significant. Scientists recognize the Philippine archipelago as the world's centre of marine biodiversity but the country's rich marine ecosystem is among the most highly threatened in the world. The island, however, clearly presents the solution. Apo Island's reefs, now known for their astounding variety of marine life, was, only three decades ago, substantially degraded by destructive fishing practices. The establishment of the reserve was a crucial factor to the impressive recovery.

Many governments and institutions accept the importance of establishing marine reserves, but effective global action to increase areas of protection in our oceans has yet to take place. It is therefore also important for governments to realize that protecting the oceans' general welfare should be a priority.

In the Philippines, for example, despite strong local programs for the establishment of reserves such as in Apo Island, the country's rich biodiversity still continues to be undermined by poor national governance. The government's delayed and insufficient responses to oceans disasters such as the recent oil slick involving Petron, as well as toxic spills involving Lafayette mining in Rapu Rapu Island indicate a clear bias toward corporate interests rather than environmental conservation.

"Saving the oceans means stopping the threats to marine ecosystems at the same time as we set aside areas for its protection and rehabilitation. In this way, Apo Island and other marine protected areas throughout the globe can effectively ensure the future of our oceans," said Dr. Janet Cotter of Greenpeace's Science Unit.





San Jorge mayor decries military meddling over political row

August 31, 2006

Mayor Joseph Grey

SAN JORGE, Samar  – The snowballing political rift between San Jorge Mayor Joseph Grey and the town’s Vice-Mayor Marcelina Yu has started to make sense with the alleged intrusion of the military over the town’s political issue via some so-called officious activities being perpetrated by members of the 34th Infantry Battalion against the local chief executive.

In an interview last week, Mayor Grey disclosed that despite his relentless effort into assisting the army in their locality with supplies and other forms of assistance, “it seems that the present leadership of the 34th IB has no intention to simply go about their task as soldiers and go after the enemies of the state and would continue prying with our political activities”, Mayor Grey informed.

He expressed his alarm over last week’s report that a military man identified in the police logbook here as PFC Gilberto Alap-an, was seen jotting down the plate number of the new vehicle he is using.

“I am full of death threats at present, because of my intensive drive against criminality in our town, then here comes a military man and without reason is executing thought provoking actions, why are they doing that? They also want to kill me?”, the mayor stressed.

Immediately after being informed about the incident, he wrote LtCol. Glorivine Dida of the 34th Infantry Battalion here requesting for an explanation of the said soldier’s actuations, but as of this writing the mayor did not get any reply yet.

The Mayor revealed that the incident was not the first that they have observed in the recent months, and pointed out that an obvious alliance between the military and his vice-mayor is allegedly in place.

According to Mayor Grey, two of his supporters were murdered by still unidentified killers, but their camp is suspecting that the military allegedly has a hand on both killings based on the circumstances that they have observed, “and that even links to our vice-mayor here”, the mayor alleged. It was learned that a certain Danilo Adona aka “wangbu”, an identified supporter of Mayor Grey was recently found dead in a rice field near the boundary of Sta. Margarita and Gandara towns.

“The body bore marks of torture, and his hands were tied with tie-wires”, Mayor Grey told, and added that Adona is mentally ill but can be pacified by him and his son whenever he is in the mood for making trouble.

Mayor Grey likewise bared the untoward incident that happened to one of his former security guard, identified as Crisanto Bocaboc aka “bunso”, which was found dead in Brgy. Adela Heights of Gandara town.

“Both of them are identified supporters of mine, and both of them get complained by our vice-mayor for allegedly threatening to kill her, and both of them died after their names landed in our police blotter books, and why we should not suspect the army? In the case of Adona for example, why is it that a soldier from the 34th IB would be interested with a mentally ill person by taking his pictures when I placed him in police custody?” the mayor stressed.

He pointed out that such actions of the army, who has extended personal security details to Vice-Mayor Marcelina Yu, are glaring circumstance that the army allegedly has a hand in the numerous killings occurring in the said area.

“And worst is that, they are pointing each of the killings towards me including other accusations, gaya nong paratang na Drug Lord daw ako, I know that my vice-mayor and the present 34th IB leadership is apt on something against me, pero ito lang ang masasabi ko sa kanila, they cannot put a good man down”, Mayor Grey concluded.





SC Alumni Association Batch ’83 holds Likay Sakit Program

August 31, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  – About 1,669 people from different barangays of Catbalogan received free medicines courtesy of the Samar College Alumni Association –Batch ’83 in cooperation with the United Laboratories Inc. The medicine drive took place last August 22 and 26, at the Samar College campus.

According to Henry Mabingnay, Batch ’83’s Officer-in-Charge, the activity dubbed as “Programa para Likay Sakit nga Ubo ngan Sipon” is just part of several activities planned by their batch. It was also meant to make their presence felt as incoming hosts of their Alma Mater’s 2007 Alumni Homecoming.

“Part la actually ine hit amon activities kay kami man an host yana nga 2007, ngan plano namon nga hit next year, magkamay-ada medical mission with doctors nga mag che-checkup hit mga pasyente,” Mabingnay said in an interview over DYMS radio.

91 boxes of medicines (Allerin and Alerta) were donated by the United Laboratories Inc. through the efforts of the SCAA host president and another one of their batchmates. “Ine in ha panalingkamot pinaagui hin duha namon nga miyembro nga an hingyap in makabulig ha aton mga kabugtuan nga waray kapas pakapalit hin bulong nga mamahalon. Ngan ine in waray halo nga pamulitika,” Mabingnay added.

In a brief interview, one of the donors (who requested anonymity) said they also dispersed 5 boxes of medicines for Tarangnan, 3 boxes for Brgy. Pasigay in Calbiga, 2 boxes for Brgy. Lagundi, and 3 boxes for Brgys. 1 & 2 Salug, both of this town.





Environmentalists step up campaign to protect Samar forests

August 30, 2006

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  – In its bid to fully implement the forest conservation program of the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) the Samar Island Biodiversity Foundation (SIBF) is now conducting a more intensive information campaign in the entire Eastern Samar province to protect and conserve the so called remaining biodiversity resources in this part of the country.

Headed by Mr. Agustin Docena, the team has gone to the upstream barangays and municipalities of the province, that is, Maslog and Jipapad. They also visited the students of the nearby schools of the targeted municipalities, particularly the school campuses of Eastern Samar State University in Guiuan, Salcedo and Maydolong.

In the sitio barangays of San Pablo and Can-aga of Borongan, San Raphael, Malinao, Mabuhay, San Pablo and Del Remedio of Taft, reports were common of small scale " Kaingin", but Docena with his group quickly dismissed the idea. He stressed that "kaingin" is detrimental to the lives of the future generation. Instead, he suggested that package proposal for alternative livelihood with forest conservation component be submitted to them so that it can be considered first study and funding rather than inflicting pain and damage to the forest resources. Initially, seedlings of "Kalamansi" were distributed for the farmers to nurture and raise because the kalamansi fruit has a good market, the team advised.

On the whole, Docena reported that majority of the members of their audiences were receptive to their cause and they vehemently reject any form of logging and mining operation in their area. He said that most of the humble residents did not have the idea of how lush and verdant are the trees at their distant backyard until Docena’s team came to their place to inform them so. They were thankful, we came to give them the very important information, Docena concluded.

A foreigner was spotted by Docena and his team in an upstream barangay of Jipapad. Unexpectedly the European approaches them later and likewise listened to the information delivery. Convinced, the visitors agreed to the assertions of the SIBF Team that forests resources must be protected by all means and at all cost. According to Docena, the foreigner even jokingly suggested to burn down mining and logging equipment should there be some attempts to "trample down upon the beloved soils" of the upstream barangays and sitios.

Jipapad and Maslog are only two of the many municipalities of Eastern Samar those are within the protected area of the SINP.  (with reports from Sammy Candido)



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