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Town dad seeks relief of top army officers in their locality

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


802nd IB commander determined to destroy the remnants of NPA in Leyte island

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 5, 2006

Col. Allan Ragpala being interviewed after the encounter last weekend with communist terrorists in Brgy. Cabungahan, Villaba, Leyte where 5 NPA rebels were killed, 1 soldier died and 5 others were wounded.  (Photo courtesy, PIA-8)

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – Col. Allan Ragpala of the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army is determined to destroy the remnants of the CPP-NPA operating in the Leyte Island.

In an interview with PIA, Col. Ragpala expressed optimism that the unearthing of the mass gravesite in Sitio Sapang Daco in Barangay Caulisihan at Inopacan, Leyte, will be an eye opener to the public on the true color of the CPP-NPA who can kill their own members on mere suspicion. This should make the public think twice before they believe the many promises they make in order to entice them.

Described by his men as a brilliant and very good commander, Col. Ragpala said that with the capture of the Southern Leyte Front secretary Licerio Rolona alias JR in June of 2006, the Southern Leyte command  and the Evelyn Dublin Command where he is also the commander, has been dismantled.

He said that that he is resolute to destroy the remnant of the armed elements which he said have been already reduced to about 16 armed men in the Southern Leyte Front. There is no such thing as forbidden place for him, he said, and that is why he led the massive internal security operations at the Forbidden land at Sapang Daco in Barangay Caulisihan in Inopacan. Leyte.

He revealed that he is now in Northern Leyte to insure that reinforcements will not be able to enter. He said that this irritant is a great hindrance to the development of the island as no investor will not put in capital unless he is sure about the security and peace and order condition of the place. He said that the military is now working on this, especially in places which are not reached by the services of the government. He gave the assurance the he and his men are working hard to attain peace in the island. One thing certain is that the enemies of the government in the island of Leyte are not able to stay in one place because the military is always after them.

He revealed that he always inculcate to his men the importance of giving assurance to the people that they can sleep well because the military will always be there to protect them. It is important that the military gets the trust and confidence of the people, Col. Ragpala said.

In the same manner, he said that the support of the residents and the local government officials is very important to the success of the work of the military. With the good coordination among the military, the local government units and the local residents, there is no doubt that the armed elements of the CPP-NPA will be destroyed in the island of Leyte and true peace will be attained.

He said that with peace and the investors coming in, the province will be able to fully develop and this will redound to the betterment of the people in terms of more jobs generated.





Remains of purging victims in Leyte now at Hibod-Hibod Chapel for appropriate final rites

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 4, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – A glaring portrait of stark and bitter reality, exposing the dastardly and inhuman acts of the CCP-NPA, the remains of 67 purging victims which were exhumed from the mass grave at Sapang Daco, Caulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte now lies in state at the Sr. San Isidro Labrador Catholic Chapel of Hibod-Hibod, Sogod, Southern Leyte, in order to be given the appropriate last rites.

PIA news team who went to the site Saturday, found out that the Catholic Chapel is only a few meters away from the Philippine Army 43rd Infantry Battalion Company Headquarters in Barangay Hibod-Hibod, Sogod Southern Leyte.

The remains as PIA saw them are still in sacks pending the completion of the improvised caskets which are still being made by the Philippine Army and the local government units. Members of the 43rd Infantry Battalion are taking turns in guarding the remains while the Barangay residents and the Barangay Tanods are keeping vigil and praying for the souls of the victims.

Lt. Col. Mario Lacurom who is the commander of the 43rd Infantry Battalion informed PIA that he and some soldiers brought with them the remains when they came back from the grave site so that they will be given the appropriate final rites before they are buried in the respective barangays where they allegedly came from. The remains have undergone forensic examinations conducted by SOCO under Dr. Angel Cordero.

Lt. Col. Mario Lacurom, who is nursing two fractured fingers as a result of the two-hours steep mountain hike from Mount Sapang Daco the night before, informed that there is no road going to Barangay Caulisihann. One can reach it through trails and by hiking along riversides. From Barangay Caulisihan to the mass gravesite at Mount Sapang Daco, is a steep mountain hike passing through Barangay Monterico of Baybay, Leyte.

He also revealed that of the 67 skeletal remains exhumed from the Garden (gravesite), only one was identified. That is the remains of Gregorio Eras whose remains was identified because of the clothes he was wearing when he was abducted by the NPA, by his brother Domingo who is presently a barangay Kagawad of Barangay Monterico, Baybay, Leyte.

Apparently, the victims of the “cleansing” conducted by the CPP-NPA in the 1980’s up to the 1990’s are not only from Barangay Culisihan, Inopacan, Leyte, but from the nearby villages of Monterico, in Baybay, Leyte; Barangay Cabungaan, Baybay, Leyte; Barangay Maypatag, Baybay, Leyte; Barangay Amguhan, Baybay, Leyte; Barangay Ampihanon, Baybay, Leyte;  Barangay Pansangan, Baybay, Leyte; and Barangay Camansi, Inopacan, Leyte.

Lt. Col. Lacurom said that about three of those exhumed were the remains of women as proven by the brassiere and the strap of the clothes they were wearing. That the victims were tortured is seen by the fractured skulls and the broken ribs of the some of the victims, he added.

Because the killings were done many years ago, the other relatives who went to the site in order to help in the digging, can no longer recognize their relatives who were abducted from their homes in the 1980’s by the members of the NPA and who never returned home since then.

Witnesses accounts revealed that they know the names of those who took their relatives. Some of those purged were members of the NPA and some were civilians who were under suspicion and were tried in the Kangaroo Court and were sentenced to “ihaw” (butchered) in the native dialect. They said that that is the difference between the legal courts and the kangaroo court of the NPA. In the Kangaroo Court, by mere suspicion, without listening to the side of the suspect, he is sentenced to be tortured to death.

Lt. Co. Lacurom said that the remains of the victims of the cleansing will be given a decent burial. However, he could not yet specify the date pending consultations with the relatives and the local government executives. 





Digging continues at the mass gravesite at Mt. Sapang Dacu

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 4, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – Digging for the remains of the victims of the alleged “cleansing” conducted upon orders of the leadership of the CPP-NPA in the 1980’s, continues at the Garden, mass grave site at Mount Sapang Dacu at Barangay Caulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte.

This was revealed by Lt. Col. Mario Lacurom, commander of the Philippine Army 43rd Infantry Battalion based at Barangay Hibod-Hibod, Sogod, Southern Leyte, in an interview with PIA. Col. Lacurom said that his battalion has received reports from the residents of the nearby barangays that there are others who are being missed by their relatives. He said that these relatives must be given the chance to dig for the remains of their relatives who were abducted by the NPAs in the 80’s. Some of them are now at the gravesite digging for the remains of their relatives, Lt. Col. Lacurom said.

He said that it is but just to allow these relatives to continue excavation so that they will obtain peace of mind which were deprived of them for so many years because they did not know where to find the dead body of their missing love ones. He noted that when the names of the victims were being read at the site, some of the residents, even one child asked why the name of his father is not included in the list. That is why the list of victims became more than 100.

The young commander said that one company of the 43rd Infantry Battalion is still in the area of Sitio Sapang Daco in order to secure the area. He declared that the military will remain in the area for as long as it is needed, to assist the people who want to find for the remains of their missing relatives. He said it is not easy to exhume the remains because the place is thickly vegetated and the roots of the vegetation have already intertwined.

Lt. Col. Lacurom described the Garden or the gravesite where the CPP-NPA buried the members who are suspected to be government informers or deep penetration agents, as thickly vegetated forest. In the main grave site, there are many holes. Some contained three or four or six who are either lying side by side or one after the other. In the grave site, exhumed were skulls, some fractured, some have blindfolds, others, still tied up.

This confirms the accounts of several witnesses who said that in the 1980’s, they would see some 14 or more people whose hands were tied at the back and who were being herded to Mt. Sapang Daco which has long been known as a Forbidden Place as it was a guerilla site, the center of the Southern Leyte Front of the CPP-NPA.





Victims of red’s Oplan: Anti-VD during the 80’s found in a mass grave

September 3, 2006

Remains of the victims found in a mass grave in the hinterlands of Inopacan, Leyte.

INOPACAN, Leyte – In a mass grave site called “Garden,” the Communist Terrorists’ purging activities dubbed as “Operation Anti-VD” in the mid 80’s was unearthed by the elements of the 43rd Infantry Battalion under the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army on August 30, 2006.

The mass grave which was located in Sitio Sapang Dako, Brgy. Kaulisihan of this town, contained more or less 100 people who were massacred on suspicion by the mainstream Maoist movement that they are deep-penetration agents and government informers.

Based on the information obtained from the 8th Infantry Division command based in Samar, the CPP-NPA-NDF alleged cleansing has been done within its ranks during the mid-80’s, and subsequently the Sountern Leyte Front implemented its anti-infiltration campaign in the second half of the 1980’s, which resulted in the maltreatment, torture and summary execution of more than a hundred innocent CPP-NPA members suspected of relaying information to the government.

According to Major Felix Mangyao of the 8th ID Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO), the discovery of the mass grave was a result of the intensified internal security operations being conducted by the 802nd Brigade led by Col. Allan A. Ragpala against the remaining members of the Evelyn Dublin Terrorist Core Group of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.

“Former top communist terrorist leaders and members who surrendered earlier, and families of missing persons and residents of nearby barangays in the area have extended their time and effort to excavate the skeletal remains of the purge victims with the assistance of the elements of the 43rd Infantry Battalion”, Major Mangyao informed.

Major Mangyao likewise added that the former CT leaders and members had signified their willingness to stand as witnesses in court to testify that the purging was ordered by no less than the founding Chair of the CPP/NPA/NDF, Jose Maria Sison, as well as Luis Jalandoni and Satur Ocampo who were members of the Central Committee at that time.

Meanwhile, newly installed 8th ID-PA commanding general MGen. Rodrigo F. Maclang commended the soldiers of the 43rd IB a component battalion of the 802nd Brigade for the discovery of the said mass grave. “This accomplishment gained for them the people’s support necessary in diminishing the menace of insurgency in Eastern Visayas.”, the general stressed.

Likewise, MGen. Maclang added that the people of Region 8 strongly condemns the CPP/NPA/NDF’s purging activities in the strongest terms and are calling on the Commission on Human Rights and other International Human Rights Advocates to investigate these terroristic activities to give justice to the victims and their families.





‘Blessing’ showers over San Jorge hinterlands

September 3, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  – For years access to potable water has been a problem in most of the interior barangays of this town. But, as "Operation blessing" extends help to these villages, this problem will likely to become a thing of the past.

Volunteer workers of CBN’s (Christian Broadcasting Network) "Operation Blessing," Bernard Marcelo and Chito Zafra, in an interview Monday, informed that they have been working in the interior barangays of this town for almost a year now in providing potable water to the people.

According to them, the project has already constructed 18 deep wells to 17 barangays which placed potable water as their top priority, not to mention the five units of public toilets which they were able to construct in five other barangays.

Marcelo and Zafra though felt bad over newspaper reports identifying them with a local politician but said they will not bother entertain the issue as their main concern is to meet the needs of the villagers.

To recall, San Jorge Mayor Joseph Grey tagged the project as pro-Inday since the implementers are closely working with Vice Mayor Marcelina Yu.

Zafra, however, clarified that they will not allow themselves to be used by politicians saying that CBN is a Christian organization that is concern only in giving humanitarian aid and in preaching the Gospel.

He explained that they really tried to establish links with Mayor Grey but said that he is not always around whenever they visit his office; hence, they coordinated with the Vice Mayor instead. He vowed though that they will try to seek audience with the mayor to explain their side.

He stressed that, as a humanitarian organization, "Operation Blessing" extends various assistance to needy communities ranging from livelihood programs to water and sanitation, depending on the needs of particular recipient communities.





Calbayog City Ma’am is one of this year’s Ten Outstanding Teachers

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 2, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento of Calbayog City has several reasons to smile these days. He is ably stirring Calbayog towards development and excellence that makes Calbayog in the limelight not only in the Region but nationwide as well.

There is no stopping Calbayog into achieving the Dream City status with Mayor Sarmiento at the helm. Encouraging participatory governance, the City’s Farmers Association was accorded the Gawad Saka Award which is a shining proof of the importance of partnership between the government and the private sector to achieve the desired goal of the city.

The latest reason for Mayor Sarmiento to beam with pride and satisfaction is the inclusion of  Ms. Isabel S. Eman of the San Policarpo National High School in Calbayog City, as one of the ten Outstanding Teachers of 2006.

Ms. Eman is the first awardee from San Policarpo National High School where she has been teaching English for almost thirty years.

Amidst the current state of the Philippine’s educational system, it is refreshing to know that there is in the Region, particularly in Calbayog City, one teacher who stands as a shining legacy of the most noble profession ever.

Ms. Eman is one of the three awardees in the secondary level, the other two being Olivia E. Caling, 3rd awardee from Ramon Magsaysay High School in Espana, Manila who specializes in General Science and is teaching first year students; and Gelly E. Alkuimo, 1st awardee from Irineo L. Santiago National High School of Metro Dadiangas in General Santos City. She has been teaching Araling Panlipunan for almost 18 years in 2nd year level.

President Arroyo honored the 10 Outstanding Teachers of 2006 by personally conferring on them the symbolic gold medallions for serving as models of excellence in the teaching profession.

The ten awardees each received P250,000.00 and a trophy while their respective schools were given a plaque of recognition and financial assistance for faculty development.

The Search for Outstanding Teachers is an annual nationwide program for exemplary role being undertaken by the Metrobank Foundation in coordination with the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education.

This year’s search, chaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, chose the awardees for their personal integrity, character, instructional competence and professional and community involvement that made them stand out from hundreds of equally qualified nominees.

The awardees for the elementary level are Ruth A. Lebes-Gelvezon of West Visayas State University in Iloilo City who has been teaching science for 17 years; Evelyn M. Kimpo, 1st awardee from Banga Elementary School in Banga, Aklan where she teaches English for Grade VI pupils and has been teaching for almost 38 years; Editha R. Banguilan, 1st awardee from Cabagan Science Elementary School in Cabagan. Isabela where she is teaching Mathematics for the Grade 1 pupils; and, Ofelia L. Lonoza, 1st awardee from Lucena North I Elementary School in Lucena City who has been teaching Filipino for almost 40 years.

The awardees for the higher education level are Ambeth R. Ocampo, 9th awardee from the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City where he served for 21 years teaching Philippine History; Raquel B. del Rosario-Fortun, 6th awardee from the University of the Philippines in Padre Faura, Manila, with 17 years of teaching service focusing on forensic pathology; and Soledad M. Roguel, 3rd awardee from Central Luzon State University in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with almost 36 years of teaching service in educational psychology.





Bohol to assume TTMIST presidency

September 2, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  – Dr. Socorro Orbeta-Bohol will be sworn in a solemn investiture as the 4th President of Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST) in Calbayog City on September 6, 2006.

The invitation that reached PIA, also revealed that a thanksgiving mass will be officiated by the Most Reverend Jose Palma, DD, STD, Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte. The mass will be concelebrated by some 12 priests.

The 56-year-old Bohol was previously assigned as President to the Samar State College of Agriculture and Forestry (SSCAF), San Jorge, Samar.

Her impressive resume include completion of her baccalaureate degree from the Divine Word University (DWU) in Tacloban City, Cum Laude in 1970. From then on, she continuously pursued further studies until completing her Doctor of Philosophy, major in Educational Administration in 1991.

Dr. Bohol has extensive trainings in educational administration, research and statistics, curriculum planning and other school-related concerns.

She actively participated in the International Conference of Educational Challenges in the World Community of the 21st Century, SEAMEO INNOTECH and a Seminar-Workshop on Ethics in Public Governance: EROPA, CSC and UP College of Public Administration, Bali, Indonesia. She was a fellowship grantee of the Colombo Plan fro International program certificate on Training Method and Skills, NISIET, Hyderabad, India. She also attended a seminar on Customized Education at Yeungjin College, Korea in 2004. She too, is a trained senior national AACCUP accreditor.

She is happily married to Mr. Fernando Bohol, Jr. the city Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Faculty, students and staff of TTMIST are hopeful that the leadership of the woman-president will make TTMIST soar to greater heights.



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