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Gunmen killed noted anti-communist leader in Catbalogan

Murder raps filed versus the Lofrancos over Janine’s death

Gov. Daza distributes relief goods to Northern Samar flood victims

Northern Samar flood waters subsided, evacuees back home, need food – Gov. Daza

LNU student qualifies for Global Xchange Program

UNICEF equips PNP with investigation skills on crimes involving women and children

Public warned on fake PNP checks

Two died, one injured 274 families homeless as Typhoon Seniang hit Biliran province

Southern Leyte sends Search and Rescue Team to Albay

8ID closes NCO Course, opens Platoon Leader’s Course

Squabbling Basey officials delay infrastructure projects

January 23, 2007

BASEY, Samar  –  The usual bickering of some public officials in this municipality hampered the implementation of the Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector (INFRES) project in 15 barangays here.

Mayor Vicente Labuac said some of the opposition councilors in Basey are delaying the discussion on his request that an SB resolution be approve in order not to hamper the implementation of the INFRES project which is intended to enhance agricultural development in the most economically depressed areas in Basey.

Labuac said that due to the delayed SB resolution needed, the Philippine National Bank (PNB) no longer accommodated to finance the project, since it didn’t catch up the January 15 deadline of the bank. “So, we came to a decision that an alternative financing institution like the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) could instead finance the project,” Labuac stressed.

The chief executive said this INFRES project, which was jointly identified and selected as a flag-ship program of this present administration under the approved Executive and Legislative Agenda (ELA) 2005-2007, will be beneficial to at least 15 out of 51 villages of this town.

In last Wednesday’s session (January 17), some SB officials showed strong opposition to the proposal of the mayor to borrow some P12 million to the DBP saying it could only be used in the election campaign of the administration.

Councilors Virgilio Lugnasin, Paul Charles Adona and Atty. Igmedio Ponferrada are among those who showed disinterest in the proposed loan with the DBP bank. However, Councilors Anita Ogrimen and Atty. Diomedes Tabao, both supported Labuac and reasoned out the developmental improvement the project may bring to the town.

To recall, the officials here prompted to sourced out some other financial institutions after Congressman Catalino Figueroa withdrew his commitment to provide the amount of P15 million as LGU equity to the INFRES Project in Basey.

In view of this withdrawal, Mr. Michael J. Allman, Team Leader and Project Management Specialist wrote Labuac to “identify other sources to fully provide the required LGU equity of P32.634 million.”

“We know that the amount of P12 million has been appropriated in the LGU 2006 and 2007 budgets at P6 million per year, so the balance of some P20 million has to be sourced elsewhere,” Allman said.

When reached for comment, Cong. Figueroa did confirm his withdrawal of commitment but did not elaborate the reason of his sudden move.





Philippine army strikes anew in Samar and Leyte

January 22, 2007

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan Samar  –  Philippine Army troopers backed up by helicopter gunships of the Philippine Air Force pounded an uninhabited hill in Albuera, Leyte last Wednesday January 17, 2007.

Acting on information provided by farmers, troops of 802nd Infantry Brigade under BGen. Allan Ragpala and 19th Infantry Battalion under LtCol. Lope Dagoy launched military operations at the hinterlands of Albuera, Leyte. Around 30 NPA terrorists were believed to have been pinned down by military attack from the air and land.

On another development, troopers from 63rd Infantry Battalion headed by LtCol. Felimon Santos, raided and overran an NPA terrorist encampment in Northern Samar.

Operating troops under 2Lt Ariel Rosuello who have received valuable information from the civilian residents, scoured the vicinity of Brgy Sinonogan, Pambujan, Northern Samar and encountered around 30 NPA terrorists under terrorist leader alias Opal.

Army troopers captured the said NPA encampment after 15 minutes of firefight. It has 15 bunkers and a mess hall facility. The NPA terrorists suffered heavy casualties on both encounters while no casualty was inflicted on the government troopers. Recovered from the encounter sites are live ammunitions, jungle packs containing subversive documents and anti-democracy propaganda materials, SIM packs for celphones and assorted foodstuffs.

As of this time, Army troopers in Samar and Leyte are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing rebels who scampered away in different directions.

Maj. Gen. Rodrigo F. Maclang AFP, the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in Catbalogan, Samar, commended the operating troops for the successful conduct of Internal Security Operations (ISO). He reiterated the Army’s firm resolve to once and for all put a stop to the menace of the Philippine Society, the CPP-NPA-NDF which is represented in the region by the erstwhile priest, Fr. Santiago Salas.





Samar coop members bond to serve masses

January 22, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Samar Shepherd Consumer Cooperative (SSCC) members coming mostly from the Catholic Organization Couples’ for Christ (CFC) have bonded together to serve the poorest of the poor in Samar’s Capital town.

Lindy Tan, pharmacist who is also a member of CFC affiliate Singles for Christ told PIA that their medicine prices are affordable yet quality medicines.

DYMS Manager Johnny Filamor attests to the affordability of the medicine saying that the price is really within the reach of a poor man.

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Specialist Asela Cabañas also said that it is the only cooperative in Samar that ventured into a pharmacy business. Said coop has been registered in July 11, 2006 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yet only started operating on January 18, 2006.

On the opening day, SSCC also offered free consultation and free medicines to the first 200 patrons. Doctor Marina Mugas, an internist from Oras, Eastern Samar grappled with the patients who flocked at the entrance of the pharmacy.

Ariel Donceras, another member said that they talked about how the CFC could extend their out reach projects. With the exorbitant prices of medicines prevailing in Samar’s capital, the members thought of opening a pharmacy.

"Our aim," said Donceras, "is how to help our poor brothers who are bothered when any member of the family is hospitalized and the graver their problems become when the medicines prescribed are highly priced.

The first customers of the pharmacy said Tan were buyers of medicines for cough and colds. The pharmacist said that they offer antibiotics which are 25% cheaper than the more commercial pharmacies in town.

Presently, the Samar Shepherd Consumer Cooperative members are content with earning a little just so they can serve the poor Samareños.





Rights group condemns the brutal assassination of former human rights worker in Samar

Press Release
January 20, 2007

QUEZON CITY, Philippines  –  "We condemn in the strongest possible terms the assassination of Prof. Jose Ma. B. Cui of the University of Eastern Philippines, former secretary-general of the human rights group KATUNGOD-Northern Samar and the chairperson of UEP Employees Association (UEPEA)-Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) last January 19, 2007," said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor.

Prof. Jose Ma. B. Cui

Based on the report that we have received from KATUNGOD-Sinirangan Bisayas (human rights alliance in Eastern Visayas), on January 19, 2007, at about 3:45 pm, Prof. Jose Ma. B. Cui was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men while he was supervising the examinations of his class at the Engineering building of the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman, Northern Samar. He sustained two (2) gunshot wounds – one in the head and another in the chest. The assassins immediately ran off and drove to the direction where a military camp is located about two kilometers from the university campus in Brgy. San Agustin, Mondragon.

Prof. Cui is a well-known peace and human rights advocate in the province of Northern Samar.  He served as Secretary-General of KATUNGOD-Northern Samar from 1998-2004. However, he was one of those subjected in the smear campaign of the military, maliciously dragging his name as a high-ranking member of the New People's Army (NPA) during the deployment of former MajGen. Jovito Palparan. On November 2004, his name was one of those maligned in the posters and flyers that the military men distributed in their area. His name listed second in the military's order of battle.

"Prof. Cui is the second activist killed since the AFP's (Armed Forces of the Philippines) announcement of Oplan Bantay Laya II (military operation plan "Freedom Watch" II) under the Arroyo regime's new ISO plan (Internal Security Operations Plan) for 2007-2010 that aims to put an end to the revolutionary forces by 2010.  The OBL II has just continued to victimize unarmed and innocent civilians. This incident of killing of Prof. Cui shows the Arroyo regime's intent to intensify its violent persecution not only against persons and organizations that have been explicitly critical of the government but also against those advocating human rights, peace and justice." Clamor concluded.





AHRC welcomes call for Japanese government to take up killings in Philippines

Press Release
By Asian Human Rights Commission
January 20, 2007

HONG KONG  –  The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Monday welcomed the submitting of a letter requesting the Japanese government to take up extrajudicial killings in the Philippines more forcefully with the government there.

A coalition of fourteen Japanese civil society groups submitted the letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on January 9.

They recalled that the prime minister had spoken to the president of the Philippines about the killings in December of last year, but noted that there had not been any sincere action to stop the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines since then.

Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano, who visited the Philippines from January 10 to 12, also was a recipient of the letter.

"The AHRC strongly supports the campaigning and lobbying activities on extrajudicial killings in the Philippines initiated by the Japanese groups," Basil Fernando, executive director of the Hong Kong-based regional human rights body, said.

"We share their appreciation of the Japanese government's concern about the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines and look forward to more leadership from Japan to promote and protect rights there and throughout Asia," Fernando said.

The fourteen groups were Amnesty International Japan, the CFFC, the Civil Society Network for the Elimination of Political Killings in the Philippines, the Commission of Civil Society and NGOs Questioning the Past 50 years of the relationship between Japan and the Philippines (unofficial translation from Japanese), FoE Japan, Human Rights Now, Jubilee Kansai network, KAFTI, National Christian Council Japan, ODA-NET, KAFIN Yokohama, People to People Aid (P2), Philippines Information Center Nagoya and WAYAWAYA.

Japan invests heavily in the Philippines and also offers the country extensive aid.

"As a leading economic and political power in the region, Japan needs to stress its concerns about human rights and social justice in neighbouring countries," Fernando said.

"Its government should be aware that its regional presence is significant and that it could do much more towards improved human rights conditions among its neighbours," he said.

"Japan is rightly seeking an important position in the international community, but with this comes added responsibilities," Fernando continued.

"We are pleased that the Japanese government has actively lobbied for the new International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and note its commitment to end gross human rights violations throughout the world as a member of the UN Human Rights Council," he added.

"However, it could do much more to promote human rights and establish the rule of law among its neighbours than it is at present," Fernando stressed.

"With strong diplomatic and economic ties to most countries in the region, it could contribute much more to implementing human rights standards and building societies based on the rule of law, and contribute its accumulated resources for the development of human rights protection mechanisms in the Philippines and other Asian countries," he concluded.





Eastern Samar provincial hospital undergoes upgrading

January 19, 2007

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  In line with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s priority programs in elevating the country’s secondary hospitals, the Eastern Samar’s Provincial Hospital will soon be converted into a Tertiary Care Hospital.

In an interview with the Chief of Hospitals, Dr. Salvador Evardone, it was learned that two of the region’s hospitals will soon benefit from the President’s program after a team of doctors coming from DOH Central Office went around the region to asses and indeed found out several deficiencies, specifically in the Eastern and Northern Samar’s provincial hospital. Thus, with this discovery, it was recommended that funds be released soon for the upgrading of subject hospitals.

Evardone further revealed that some P13.5M will be allotted to Northern Samar’s Provincial Hospital while P22.3M goes to Eastern Samar. He disclosed that these funds will be utilized in infrastructure projects such as: the expansion of laboratories, Pharmacy, X-ray and Ultra Sound Sections.  Likewise, improvement of Operating and Delivery rooms will be effected as well as the construction of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the construction of conference room and library to address the research needs of affiliated nursing students.

Since Eastern Samar now takes pride in having two nursing schools (Eastern Samar State University and Our Lady of Mercy College) the urgent plan of the main hospital in the province is just fitting, Evardone wittingly remarked. He also said that some P4.1M will however be reserved for the purchase of medicines and surgical laboratory equipment, housekeeping’s linen and mattresses, while P1.1M is prepared to buy Ventilator and Cardiac Monitor equipment. Indeed, the previous problem in the province’s hospital in just very simple needs for cotton and medical plasters, is now a history which have long been stored in the hospital’s archives.

At present, Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital has become departmentalized. Pediatrics, Surgical, Medicines, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Ultra-Sounds, Pathology, Radiology and Anesthesiology. Evardone reported that four to seven doctors take turns in managing each of the department, add to this the consultants, diplomats and trusted doctors in the locality who augment the hospital operation whenever necessary.

The young doctor is truly hopeful that the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital can soon address to the medical needs of the people and unlike today, when some referrals are still made to Tacloban’s hospitals because of some inadequacies, he expects that with this new development, the health services of the Estehanons can be provided right in their very own hospital.



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