military harassment while on fact-finding mission in Philippines
November 19, 2006
– Three human rights activists from
were detained for several hours on Thursday in the
as part of a fact-finding mission team investigating reports of human
According to reports,
the team was detained and questioned by elements of the 74th Infantry
Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army in San Narciso, Quezon Province,
south of Manila.
The Canadian human
rights advocates are lawyer Luningning Alcuitas-Imperial, trade
unionist Jennifer Efting, and nurse Cecilia Diocson. They are a part
of a 32-member delegation of human rights workers, including doctors
and dentists, who traveled to the area to investigate claims of human
The Canadians are a
part of a Canadian Fact-Finding mission on human rights violations in
the Philippines running until November 23.
"The military refused
to allow our entry into the area," said Luningning Alcuitas-Imperial
(a lawyer from Vancouver with Lawyer's Rights Watch and the Western
Canadian Coordinator for the Philippines-Canada Task Force on Human
Rights) by cell phone from the area. "They were trying to intimidate
us by cordoning off our jeepney and asking us for our passports and
tourist visas. They even tried arresting our driver."
San Narciso is home to
3000 local residents with 24 Barangays or villages. Karapatan, a human
rights organization in the
received reports that many of the local farmers have been forced to
flee their homes due to heavy counter-insurgency military operations.
"We were warned by the
74th IB commanding officer that he could not guarantee our physical
safety and that we would be charged for obstruction of justice if we
entered the area," explained Imperial. The Philippine military
detained the human rights workers for several hours before the arrival
of some local barangay officials, at which time they were released.
According to Imperial,
she was able to contact the Canadian Embassy in Manila for assistance.
Embassy officials said they would extend protection to the Canadians,
but also told them that they did not have the right to be with human
rights workers from the Philippines and that "we should have gotten
'permission' from the military before entering the area."
"We assert however,
that it is our right as advocates of international human rights,
democracy and freedom, to investigate claims of human rights
violations and to speak and be with the victims and their families,"
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, her cabinet, and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines have openly claimed that the increase of militarization in
the provincial areas is a part of Oplan Bantay Laya or Operation
Protect Freedom, a high scale military operation which seeks to
"crush" the Communist-led New People's Army by 2010.
According to the human
rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People's
Rights), since 2001, over 760 civilian activists, workers, church
people, peasants and others have fallen victim to extra-judicial
killings allegedly carried out by elements of the Philippine military.
The spate of killings and other human rights violations have brought
international criticism of the Philippine government from human rights
organizations like Amnesty International and business groups like the
Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Manila and executives
representing major US clothing retailers like Gap and Wal-Mart.
government has not officially condemned the killings or other human
rights violations in the Philippines. Members of the Canadian mission
will be bringing their findings to a meeting with Canadian Ambassador
Peter Sutherland in
The group is also
urging Prime Minister Harper to raise the issue during his bilateral
meeting with President Arroyo at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) summit in Vietnam scheduled this weekend.
campaign forces 52-year old rebel to surrender
By ELI C. DALUMPINES (PIA
PNP Samar Director SSupt. Asdali Idja Abah presented to the media NPA surrenderee
Silvio Dacles y Obinguar
during a presscon Wednesday at the Samar Police Provincial Office.
CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Feeling the heat of the intensified anti-insurgency campaign conducted
by the military in the areas of Matuguinao, San Jose de Buan, San
Jorge and Catbalogan, a 52-year old member of the communist New
People’s Army (NPA) came down to surrender to the authorities
One identified by his
comrades as Ka Gilbet, a resident of Brgy. San Nicholas, San Jose de
Buan, an interior town in Samar, and a member of the Barangay
Organizing Party (BOP) of the CPP-NPA’s Central Front-Samar 1
operating in the said town, surrendered before the Samar Police
Provincial Office (SPPO) led by Supt. Asdali Idja Abah.
According to Ka Gilbet,
the NPA rebels are now experiencing hardships in areas where the
military conducted an intensified campaign to wipe out insurgents,
particularly the towns covered by the 34th Infantry Battalion.
Ka Gilbet said that
the rebels are now suffering from shortage of food supplies since
collection of revolutionary taxes are affected due to the presence of
the military in these areas.
rebel likewise informed that his former comrades are now on the run
for fear of the military who are sweeping the hinterlands of
He recalled how he was
persuaded to join the Revolutionary Movement way back in 1996 by a
certain Serafin Pacimos (known by his comrades as Ka Yamby and from
where the Serafin Pacimos Command was derived), promising good future
for him and his family once the armed revolution succeeds.
But since then he was
not able to witness what the revolutionary leader promised except the
life of constant fear experienced by his family.
"Sumurendir ako kay
gusto ko matagan hin mahimyang nga kinabuhi ngan maupay nga
kabubuwason an akon pamilya (I surrendered because I want my family to
have a peaceful life and a good future)," he said.
Ka Gilbet narrated he
traversed the mountains of San Jose de Buan to Las Navas down to
Catubig and Catarman last Saturday just to surrender to the police
authorities at Samar’s capital.
He brought with him
two fragmentation grenades and a .38 caliber revolver with 5 live
ammunitions which was issued to him by the leaders of the Dalugdog
Platoon, a unit under the Arnulfo Ortiz Command.
DTI Eastern Samar
warns local retailers from creating abnormal fuel supply
By ALICE E. NICART (PIA Borongan) with reports from SOC ABERIA
November 18, 2006
Samar – Some sari-sari storeowners here cause the abnormal supply of
diesel and gasoline as perceived by several motorists, tricycle
operators and drivers.
The early afternoon
yesterday found them standing in a long line of diesel hungry
vehicles, tricycles and single motorbikes. This opted the Borongan LGU
to meet urgently the local chamber of commerce here with DTI and PNP
in order to find out the main reason of the near shortage of petroleum
products. What was more surprising was the common observation that
nearby towns of Borongan, Taft, Dolores and Guiuan and in far Tacloban
did not have the same problem.
the committee moved to the barangays to validate the rumored sellers
of gasoline, and... bingo! Right before their very eyes, were indeed
sari-sari stores selling bottled diesel and gasoline. About ten
illegal retailers were discovered in so short a time of inspection
selling diesel at P41.00 per liter while buying the product directly
from the gas station at P31.00.
Mrs. Eleanor Alido,
DTI Chief who was with inspecting team outrightly cautioned the
storeowners to forego of the illegal trade, citing RA 8180, which is
the "Oil Production and Deregulation Law". The law among others,
prohibits and penalizes the unlicensed retail of petroleum products.
Of course they might collect better profit from selling the product,
but they must heed at the bigger loss this kind of trade poses on
their lives and property should they continue to be unmindful and
carefree because the substance is definitely flammable and that
certain precautions have to be adapted, Alido said in the interview.
On the other hand,
suspecting public likewise think that the petroleum products are kept
in cartels in preparation for future profits. This is of course a
violation of RA 8182, should there be true findings as such, Alido
remarked. Motorists likewise observe and lament that some gasoline
stations in Borongan render unfair treatment to their customers
claiming that oftentimes, a longer few of five-gallon water containers
are preferred to by the gasoline boy than them who are poised in a
That is why, the DTI
lady hopes that the provincial and municipal LGUs organize and
mobilize in the near future, the local councils which will oversee the
delivery, supply and retail of all petroleum products not only in
Borongan, but in the entire province. She said that is also mandated
by law that such a council or task force be made functional for the
protection of the general public.
It was learned as of
press time that another round of inspection is set to be conducted by
the same team of price and retail watchers to prevent irresponsible
attracts 8000 young Eastern Visayans
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– More than 6,000 young third year and high school students of
Eastern Visayans attended the much awaited TESDA Career Caravan which
was graced by no less than TESDA Director General Augusto “Boboy”
enthusiastically started the queue to the
early morning of Thursday showing their interest in the message which
will be delivered to them about the ladderized education, PGMA’s gift
to young Filipinos.
At about the same
time, more than 2,000 young students of Ormoc and environs started
going to the Ormoc Astrodome to get ready to listen to the message of
Secretary Syjuco and interact with him via teleconference.
Interacting with both
the students who were at the
City Convention Center
and the students at the Ormoc city Astrodome, Secretary Syjuco
expressed amazement at the enthusiasm of the students and the warm
welcome he received in Tacloban which he said is the warmest so far in
the seven Career Caravans he has already attended.
Paving the way for a
more improved quality of life for the local populace through the
implementation of the Ladderized Education Program is the main focus
of the Career Caravan, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s gift to the
young people of the country.
brought the message of hope which the Ladderized education program
really is. He said that under the ladderized program, a poor student
whose parents can no longer afford to send him to school after a year
or so in college, has already earned competency which he could use in
order to land a job.
This he said is very
far from the traditional system of education which he said is like
going inside a “tubo” and coming out without a skill he can use to
find a job. The traditional system, he said is like climbing up and
down a mountain only to face another mountain again.
Aside from the
convocation with Secretary Syjuco, the Career Caravan also highlighted
the conduct of job fair which Director Juan M. Sabulao said was
availed by more than 600 applicants, the free assessment for call
center applicants, and the Trade Fair.
After announcing his congressional bid in 2007 election
Black propaganda rocks
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
Mayor Joseph V. Grey
SAN JORGE, Samar – By
declaring his interest to run for the congressional seat in next
year’s elections, the Chief Executive of this battled municipality is
now experiencing an avalanche of “black propaganda” instigated by his
political nemesis in Samar’s first district.
But Mayor Joseph
“Jojo” V. Grey (Liberal Party) disclosed he is unabated by the present
propaganda war and death threats being cooked by his detractors saying
“I am transparent in my governance and ready to face any investigation
by the public and or in courts that may arise anytime.”
Grey came out and
broke his silence when he no longer bears the serious and scandalous
accusations against him and members of his family. In a press
conference held recently, he showed evidences hinting among others
that all charges filed against him was all “baseless and merely
fabricated” by his opponents.
For one, Grey said,
his political foes are herding the relatives of the killing victims in
the first district and convinced them to file murder charges against
him, “as if ako ang nagpapatay sa mga taong ito, without them knowing
it that they are being fooled and used by my political nemesis to
advance their personal ploy against me”, he said.
At present, two murder
cases were filed before the courts in Calbayog City against Mayor Grey
last month, and reportedly, an upcoming raps are still being cooked
awaiting the nod of the families of the killing victims in the first
district of Samar.
The first murder rap
was the killing of Rolando Diocton an employee of the Department of
Agriculture in this town, who was shot in front of his house by two
unidentified assailant last October 3, 2005.
In the affidavit of
Leah Diocton, the victim’s wife, it was Grey, his son Francis and two
others were named as respondents of the murder rap, but Grey said,
“Leah Diocton was picked-up by uniformed men at her residence and
executed an affidavit of complaint last October 3, 2006. The said
affidavit was received by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on
October 4, 2006 and a subpoena against me and my co-respondents was
issued October 5, 2006.”
“You see, how the
papers move so fast? … I am very sure that this has something to do
with politics. I just feel pity to those victims, they are victims of
double jeopardy, and they did not know it,” Grey stressed.
The second murder raps
filed against him was the killing of Danilo Adona alyas “wangbu”, a
mentally ill supporter of Mayor Grey which was found dead in a bridge
between Gandara and Sta, Margarita towns.
“This is too much,
pati ba naman pagpatay sa sarili kong mga supporters sakin
ibenebentang. But they should be ready, once I will cleared for these
accusations, I will retaliate by also filing a case against them for
destroying my integrity,” Grey said.
Prior to this, a
4-page computerized letter with heading “Pagmata ngan Gius San
Jorgehanons” (Wake up and Move San Jorgehanons) circulated in the
different villages in the first district accusing Grey and his camp as
responsible to the series of alleged killings, drug dealings, among
others in the municipality of San Jorge.
The “open letter,”
which also accused Grey of supporting the New People’s Army by giving
money, medicines, rifles and ammunitions was said to be coming from
the San Jorge concerned citizens represented by a certain Arnel B.
Dela Cruz of Brgy. La Paz, of this town.
Last month, a
malicious tape containing some serious allegations against the mayor
and the town’s first family was publicly aired by men in uniform
during one of the regular barangay assemblies in the town villages.
In a document obtained
by this writer, the airing of that “propaganda tape” was confirmed by
the barangay officials and residents present during that said military
Meanwhile, to dispel
speculations concerning his alleged involvement in the illegal drugs
and killings, Mayor Grey showed a certification coming from the
Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) clearing him of any
involvement in any matter concerning drugs, a “no criminal record”
clearance released by the NBI central office hinting his innocence and
the barangay certification of the non-existence of certain Arnel Dela
Cruz in La Paz, in support to his claim that he is telling the truth
before the public.
When asked who are
behind this propaganda, the mayor said: “The black propaganda is a
delusive effort by the officers of men in uniform based in San Jorge
who are in cahoots with strong politicians in Samar, who seemed
unhappy and afraid of my abjuration to the traditional politics of
patronage, corruption and terrorism which sank our province to an
abject poverty,” Mayor Grey disclosed.