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LCDE brings relief aid to fire victims

Biggest fire to hit Tacloban City razes five urban poor communities

Samar’s No. 1 Most Wanted fell

Army officer says San Jorge mayor is misinformed

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

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


Alleged NPA liquidation list sows fear among those included

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 24, 2006

TACLOBAN City, Leyte  – Regional Development Council Chairperson, Governor Rosette Lerias requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Region  to look into the alleged NPA Liquidation List which is sowing fear among those included in the list.

Governor Lerias said, empty or not, the Regional Development Council recognizes the threat that it poses and so she asked that it be verified. She said that the Council cannot allow groups to undermine people who are working hand in hand with government for the development of the Region.

She however, emphasized that the alleged Liquidation List be verified because anybody can come up with a list. This may just have come from unscrupulous people who want to sow fear, the chairperson added.

The chairperson’s reaction came after Eastern Samar Coalition of NGOs and POs and Private Sector Representative to the RDC Agustin Docena brought the Liquidation List issue to the attention of the RDC Chair and the entire RDC membership.

PSR Docena of Eastern Samar ranks second in the list of 31 liquidation targets allegedly by the Committee Central ng Pilipinas Hukbong Tagahatol ng Bayan, Leysam Anti-Communist Movement.

Docena was listed as Bayan Chairman which he vehemently denied during the Thursday Special Meeting of RDC 8. He clarified that he is only connected with the Eastern Samar Coalition of NGOs and POs and also with the Samar Island Biodiversity Group.

Docena claimed that he got the computerized list from another person who is listed as the fourth in the order of liquidation.

The alleged Liquidation List which is signed by a certain Ka Henry, is composed of local government officials, university professors, a columnist of a local paper, professionals listed as members of leftist groups, NPA supporters/contacts who has done sins against the people (nahimo nga mga sala kontra ha hatawhan), all from Eastern Samar.

Col. Allan Ragpala, commander of the 802nd Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, who was present during the same meeting, stood out to say that he will refer the matter to the military based in Eastern Samar for immediate verification and investigation of the matter.





Philippine NGO Delegation to the HRC second session slams Philippine government's response on political killings in the country

Press Release
September 24, 2006

GENEVA, Switzerland  – Filipino representatives of NGO's attending the Second Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council slammed the Philippine government's statements in its right of reply to a statement made by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Forum Asia calling the attention of the Council to the rising cases of extrajudicial executions in the Philippines.

By insinuating that the extrajudicial executions going on in the country are cases involving "actions made by state agents in the course of their duties, common crimes or those committed for personal ends," the Philippine government is trying to hide its culpability in these violations.  This is very apparent when it finally says that, "It should be only after proper court trial that certain offenses are classified conclusively as human rights violations."

This statement shows a very dangerous tack of washing off its hands of responsibility in these cases of extrajudicial executions.  If we will go by the Philippine government's meaning of human rights violations as only those cases that have undergone "proper court trial" before they are "classified conclusively as human rights violations," then this would deny the plain reality of extra judicial executions happening in the country. 

The government only knows too well the inordinately slow grind of court cases in the Philippines; the inability of poor people to afford the costly litigation expenses and the real dangers of filing such cases against powerful, armed state security forces and their agents.  No wonder that notorious human rights violators, who are emboldened to continuously commit such crimes against humanity because they are praised in public by their commander-in-chief, boastfully challenge victims of human rights violations and human rights advocates to file charges in court against them.

This attitude of the government shows how it taunts the various and separate fact-finding missions and investigations conducted by independent and respectable international organizations such as  Amnesty International, the World Council of Churches, the Lawyers for Lawyers Foundation, the Asian Human Rights Commission, the International Solidarity Mission, the International Labor Solidarity Mission and International Peasant Solidarity Mission.

The statements by the Philippine government further support the view that it has no moral right to sit as a member of the Human Rights Council.  Sweeping under the rug its responsibility in the horrible number of extrajudicial executions makes the Philippine government a very poor example of a state occupying such a position in the international body tasked to uphold the respect for and protection of human rights.  Its twisted understanding of or negation of such of human rights violations will lead to more impunity and more killings.  It has disgraced the Council and even undermines the role of UN mechanisms to address human rights violations.

The 5-person delegation of Philippine NGOs who is attending the second session of the Council to bring to the attention of the world body the deteriorating state of human rights violations in the Philippines, speak to special rapporteurs, working groups and international NGOs, follow up and file more complaints before these bodies, is composed of Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, secretary general of Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples' Rights), Atty.Edre Olalia, human rights lawyer from the Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL), Mr. .Danilo Ramos, secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (National Peasant Movement),  Ms. Rhoda Dalang of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and Ms. Tess Vistro, secretary general of Amihan (Women Peasant Union).





Samar to get share of RDCs Medium -Term Investment Program

September 22, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar   – The province of Samar gets to share projects and programs amounting to more or less P9 billion as the Regional Development Council (RDC) in its special meeting yesterday with Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo presented its Medium-Term Investment Program.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA 8) Chief Buenaventura Go-Soco presented the program to more than a hundred RDC participants and observers at the Kanhuraw Convention Center in Tacloban City.

For one, Samar Island Tourism Road project will cost some P528 million. Another P450 million though shared with Eastern Samar major road networks may pave the way to the repair of badly damaged Buray-Taft Road and on to Borongan and Guiuan.

The long-awaited rehabilitation of Allen-Calbiga road section also amounted to a whooping P3.4 billion with another P1.3 billion earmarked for various Samar Local Road Projects.

As for Biodiversity Conservation/Coastal Marine Resources Management, some P3 million was also allocated. This includes development of oysters and mussels (Samar’s Provincial One-Town-One-Product OTOP) and the development of Sea-weed ecozones with P172 million.

As for water supply, which is also a top priority project of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; some P288 million is also set aside for the Provincial Water Supply, Sewerage and Sanitation System.

An irrigation project in Sta.Rita-Basey-Calbiga is also reported to cost some P2 billion while a communal irrigation project will also cost some P388 million.

As for the Hydropower project in Bugtong Calbayog City; P 194 million is set aside for this, while the Power Transmission project from Wright to Calbayog (138 KV) transmission lines is said to also cost P865 million.

To support the transmission lines in the Wright-Taft direction, a Sta. Rita-Basey-Marabut-Gen. MacArthur 69 KV transmission line will be developed amounting to some P74 million.

Meanwhile, Secretary Saludo in another presentation of the Super Regions Plan in the same forum said that big projects attract big-time investors who are looking for something big. This ‘big’ projects, he added can enhance economic strength, harness big economy and interest big donors who are in turn big spenders.





8th ID chief vows to address insurgency before GMA’s term ends

September 22, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar   – Though he recognized that much have yet to be done to end the problem, the new Commanding General of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based here vowed to address the problem of insurgency in Eastern Visayas before the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ends in 2010.

MajGen. Rodrigo Maclang

Maj. Gen. Rodrigo S. Maclang, in an interview Thursday, informed that his unit is coming up with new concepts that will lead to the neutralization of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the next few months.

He, however, disclosed that he opted to adopt a two-pronged approach in solving insurgency in Eastern Visayas considering the economic condition of the provinces in the region.

He clarified that while the military is continuing its campaign against the insurgents, it will, at the same time, assists the local government units in ensuring that development will reach to the communities, especially those that are poverty-stricken.

Gen. Maclang aired his observation that some provinces in the region had been so neglected in the past years that they became fertile grounds for breeding insurgents.

Samar, for instance, is suffering from the lack of road networks that its economy stagnated, he said. This, he added, made the Samareño vulnerable to the rebels’ propaganda.

He cited the importance of road in insurgency campaign saying it allows greater mobility on the part of the military in running after the rebels, not to mention the fact that it gives the farmers easy access to the market and the government to deliver basic services to the interior villages.

Maclang likewise stressed that the military will exert efforts to protect the developed areas and ensure that the NPA’s extortion activities will be totally stopped.

The new 8ID Chief, who hails from Cagayan de Oro City, regarded his assignment in the region as somewhat challenging since the problem here is different compared to other parts of the country.





RDC8 endorses DPWH bridges project for financing by Spanish government

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 21, 20060

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – The  Regional Development Council of Region 8, in its August meeting endorsed to the Department of Public Works and  Highways, the list of candidate bridges for Region 8 under the Proposed DPWH Bridge Construction or Replacement Project for financing under the Spanish Government mixed credit facility.

DPWH 8 ARD Jose P. Aguilar said that the DPWH has already submitted the proposal to NEDA for review and evaluation and presentation to the Investment Coordination Committee-Technical Board for approval and endorsement to ICC Cabinet Committee.

When approved and completed, the project will be able to provide permanent bridges along national roads to improve the economic, social, industrial and agricultural activities of the recipient communities and to provide safe and faster transport by effectively utilizing the existing road system.

The project, ARD Aguilar said involves the construction or replacement of new and temporary or weakened bridges using modular steel bridging technology covering all regions of the country except NCR and ARMM.

The initial list of bridges considered under the project for Region 8 include the Kagkawayan Bridge in Pambujan, Northern Samar; Natuhusan Bridge at San Isidro, Leyte; Ingan III Bridge Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte; Concepcion Bridge at Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Ingan III Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte; Mainit Bridge at Biliran, Biliran; Anas Bridge at Kawayan, Biliran; Timba Bridge at Malitbog, Southern Leyte; Mainit Bridge at Jaro, Leyte; Hinakot Bridge at San Juan, Southern Leyte; Riverside Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte and Ladji Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte.

The bridges were reviewed and validated as to their physical status or condition and urgency along the road influence area. Thus, some were found to be part of an on-going road projects and other bridge construction or replacement programs.

After the review and validation of the initial list, the DPWH Regional Office 8 are finally recommending the following bridges: Kagkawayan Bridge at Pambujan, Northern Samar; Tugas Bridge at Tabango, Leyte; Bagacay Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte; Belen Bridge at Leyte, Leyte; Pinut-an  Bridge at San Ricardo, Southern Leyte; Lawaan Bridge at Silago, Southern Leyte; Benit Bridge at San Ricardo, Southern Leyte; Bil-atan Bridge at San Ricardo, Southern Leyte; Mainit Bridge at Caibiran, Biliran and Tucdao Bridge at Kawayan, Biliran.





Effects of impending El Niño on fisheries minimal, fishery expert assures

September 21, 2006

CATBALOGAN, Samar  – “If the El Niño predicted by PAGASA will have some effects on fisheries, it would not be so significant,” Mr. Renato Diocton, Professor of the College of Marine Sciences of the Samar State University (SSU) assured.

According to Diocton, the draught predicted by PAGASA was just a mild one that it will not even be felt by the fisher folks in terms of a decrease of fish catch.

Prof. Diocton said it is usually the large fishing grounds, like those in South America that can feel the drastic effects of the draught. However, this will have no great impact on small fishing grounds like the Maqueda Bay, he clarified.

During El Niño, fish in shallow waters normally retreat into deep seas to escape from the warm temperature, thus diminishing fish catch, he informed. He added that this will lead to massive fish kills but these are extreme cases.

Diocton, instead, warned that this warming of the water temperature may trigger the blooming of red tide cells and increase cases of red tide poisoning to those who eat marine products such as fish and sea shells.

The marine fishery expert claimed the blooming of red tide cells is climactically conditioned and it cannot be prevented.

Red tide poisoning can be avoided though by heeding the fishery authorities’ warning to withdraw from eating marine products during occurrence of red tide.

Diocton, however, said that if this draught will have to be adverse impact, it would have to be in agriculture since PAGASA’s report on the monthly rainfall is always below normal in the previous months.

Earlier, the Weather Bureau released an advisory that an El Niño is likely to occur either in the last quarter of this year or in the 1st quarter of 2007 resulting from the warming of the sea surface temperature in the Equatorial Pacific.



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