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“Loopholes in party-list law” Babae Ka blames Akbayan’s inaction

Tanauan riders rule national Skimboarding competition

NCAE should not be mandatory

P200 million-worth donations in Red Cross for displaced Saint Bernard folks - Sen. Gordon

PGMA K4K Program potable water system reaches Samar villages

Leyte hosts 51st BSP Annual National Meet

DILG turns-over new bridge to Southern Leyte government

Eastern Samar eyes on more tourism projects

Catbalogan officials receive hero’s welcome following approval of town’s cityhood bid

UN Rapporteur on arbitrary executions visits the Philippines

Marcos rights victims lauds UNHRC scoring of government delay of justice and compensation

Press Release
April 21, 2007

MANILA, Philippines  –  The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya or SELDA, an organization of Human Rights Violations Victims during Martial Law lauds the United Nations Human Rights Committee in its April 3 statement calling on the Philippine government to pay compensation to the 9,539 victims of martial law.

"We are delighted by the UNHRC statement." said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General of Selda, "It is hightime that the Philippine government act seriously on this and show that they genuinely adhere to the international human rights instruments to which they are a signatory of."

The statement was based on the 1995 decision of the US District Court of Hawaii against the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

SELDA laments the fact that Martial Law human rights violations victims have not been indemnified nor given justice for more than 20 years now and that some of them might no longer be around to see that day. Just this month, two former martial law activists and human rights victims of that dark era (one of whom was Ben Galario), died due to old age and illness.

"We hope that with this UNHRC order, the Philippine Government will stop impeding efforts to have the claimants indemnified." Enriquez stated, at the same time criticizing the continued claims of the Arroyo Government over the US$35 million Arelma Account that has been ordered by the US Court distributed to the martial law victims.

SELDA, likewise assailed the fact that Congress failed to enact into law the bill awarding victims of martial law in the past nine years now.

Moreover, in the midst of the rising number of victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearance, the human rights group stated that the long wait and suffering the Filipinos experienced before they could be indemnified and given justice should not be repeated by the current government to the present families of victims of political repression.





Police seize firearms from vice-mayoralty candidate in Samar

April 20, 2007

Samar PNP director PSSupt. Asdali Idja Abah (seated center) presented to the media the 16 arrested men on board motorboat Charina who were found possessing several high powered firearms during a press conference held April 20, 2007 at the Samar Provincial Police Office. Tagapul-an town vice-mayoralty candidate Charlie Picorro (extreme left) was identified as the owner of the motorboat. Also in photo, is Samar COMELEC provincial election supervisor Salvador Cruz (seated left).

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The elements of the Tagapul-an municipal police station in Samar seized 6 high powered firearms and 2 short firearms Thursday evening, April 19, in a chance encounter with a passenger motorboat marked “Charina” plying the Tagapul-an to Calbayog City route in Brgy Manlangit, Tagapul-an, Samar.

Police report said that while the police team was responding to a shooting incident in the said barangay led by SPO4 Diogenes Balais, acting chief of police of Tagapul-an municipal police station, and while the said responding police team were about to left the area on board a pumpboat in order to escort the wounded victims from the shooting incident, somebody shouted to invite the attention of the responding team that the suspect was fleeing towards the arriving passenger motorboat “Charina” and boarded said motorboat.

The report added that the police team saw some of the crew on board armed with firearms and while introducing themselves as policemen, immediately the lights of the said motorboat were turned off. The policemen immediately boarded with flashlights and were able to see Adriano Picorro, re-electionist Sangguniang Bayan member of Tagapul-an town under the LP/Lakas-CMD party carrying a KG99 cal. 9mm machine pistol, thus, the team ordered them to drop their firearms and then followed by search which yielded other firearm from the possession of Charlie Picorro, ABC president of Tagapul-an and vice-mayoralty candidate under the LP/Lakas-CMD party, a cal .45 pistol with serial no. 359758 loaded with magazine and seven (7) live ammunitions.

The search likewise resulted to the confiscation from the motorboat of one (1) M16 armalite rifle with serial no. 445501, two (2) US carbines cal. 30 M1 with defaced serial number, one (1) cal .357 magnum with defaced serial number, one (1) Ingram cal. 9mm machine pistol bearing serial no. 678952, one (1) cal. M1 Garrand rifle with defaced serial number, all loaded with magazine and ammunitions.

The other arrested persons on board the motorboat Charina were identified as Noel Sulibaga, Noel Picorro, Henry Basas, Filmor Basas, Arnel Rojas, Charlot Picorro, Michael Maloloy-on, Romulo Sanchez, Arturo Francisco, Michael Lucero, Carlito Lucero, Rodel Villa, Orlando Sarco and Jurry Mahinay. Subject persons, confiscated firearms and said motorboat are presently under the custody of the Samar Provincial Police Office for proper disposition and appropriate charges are now being prepared for filing in court.

The arrest and confiscation in the said incident was in line with the government’s campaign against Partisan Armed Groups (PAGs) and Loose Firearms in relation to Comelec resolution no. 7764 (Gun Ban) for the forthcoming May 14 national and local elections.





SAMELCO II’s rural electrification hits 92%

April 20, 2007

GM Rosales (left) answers queries from the local media during a press conference held Thursday at the SAMELCO II compound in Paranas, Samar. At right is Board vice-president Alfonso Quilapio.

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Almost all the villages in Samar ’s 2nd district, including those in the interior, are now enjoying the blessings modern technology brings after the government extended to them the power services through its rural electrification program.

Samar II Electric Cooperative (SAMELCO II) General Manager Ponciano Rosales, in a media forum Thursday, reported that his office has already hit 92% of its rural electrification target as of March 6, this year.

According to Rosales, SAMELCO II has already energized 481 barangays out of the 524 barangays under its service area which covers all the 16 towns in the 2nd district, including the island towns of Daram and Zumarraga.

GM Rosales said only 43 barangays under SAMELCO II’s service area remain un-energized as of press time but he informed that work programs for the electrification of these barangays are already lined up.

He further informed that SAMELCO II has set to complete the electrification of the remaining un-energized barangays by 2008.

The summary report of the Cooperative showed that among the 16 towns it covered, Calbiga has the highest number of still un-energized barangays. Fourteen out of the 41 barangays of Calbiga have yet to be energized, the report said.

Meanwhile, SAMELCO II has already made preparations for the upcoming elections this May.

GM Rosales said a task force was already formed to address possible power interruptions in the day of the elections.





23rd Yen highways cementing project a landmark in PGMA’s infra program

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
April 20, 2007

Ribbon Cutting by Italian Counselor Chailert Limsomboom, DPWH Sec Manuel M. Bono-an, Pintuyan Mayor Celsa Estrella, Thailand Ambassador Asha Dvitiyananda and Congressman Roger Mercado.

SAN FRANCISCO, Southern Leyte  –  The newly-completed road concreting project traversing the main Panaon island highway here from Liloan to San Ricardo towns, including the two other similar packages in the pacific area up to Abuyog, Leyte, was a “landmark in the infra-structure development program of the President,” according to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan.

“This is the infra-structure development program that we need to pursue relentlessly in order to sustain the economic gains of our country today,” Secretary Bonoan stressed before a huge crowd at the municipal gym here Wednesday, April 18, during the inauguration program for the finished road.

The DPWH Boss said he had come to the province five years ago, while he was in the process of seeking financing program from the Japanese government then.

“Kaya nakita ko po ang kalagayan ng ating kalsada five years ago.  Ngayon, ako po ay natutuwa at mai-i-report ko na sa mahal na Pangulo na ‘yun pong kalsada na sira-sira at halos hindi mada-anan noong araw, sa tulong ng ating mahal na Pangulo, sa ating pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya, naisagawa na at napakaganda na ang kalsada ngayon,” Sec. Bonoan said.

Earlier in his talk, Bonoan said he was instructed by the President to come and represent her in the activity as she could not personally attend due to the health condition of the First Gentleman who was still recuperating from a heart surgery last week.

He said he was already aware about this inauguration during the Holy Week and shortly before the First Gentleman’s sudden hospital confinement, as President Arroyo kept on reminding him at their meeting that he go with her in San Francisco for the opening of the concreted roads.

The DPWH Secretary was accompanied by Rep. Roger Mercado and several other guests, including Thailand Ambassador Asha Dvitiyananda and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Representative Floro Adviento, among other visitors when they arrived here 10:30 in the morning.

They were met by local officials led by San Francisco Mayor Lorraine Asares, San Ricardo Mayor Virginia Mejia, and DPWH officials headed by District Engineer Carlos Veloso.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and a marker unveiled by the visiting guests assisted by local officials a few minutes after their arrival, then they proceeded to the municipal gymnasium for the inauguration program.

The Liloan to San Ricardo road concreting project stretches 40.65 kilometers.  It was labeled Contract Package III in the 23rd yen loan arterial road project costing P1,010,701,422.95.

The project’s Contractor was Italian-Thai Development Public Company, Ltd for the duration of 1,087 calendar days, from May 17, 2004 up to May 8, 2007.





Mass evacuation in Giporlos communist-instigated, army spokesman says

April 19, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  There seems to have been a pattern in the alleged “forced evacuation” involving residents of interior barangays in Samar provinces lately. In all those, the hands of the communists are visible.

Capt. Jose Mario Chico, spokesperson of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban here, in an interview Tuesday, said the reported mass evacuation in Giporlos, Eastern Samar somewhat follows a pattern similar to those that took place in Calbiga and Basey towns in Samar.

Capt. Chico cited reports that Brgy. Chairman Napoleon “Poli” Lacdao of Brgy. Huknan of Giporlos town in Eastern Samar, where the reported mass evacuation took place early last week, went down to the poblacion prior to the incident and spread rumors that there was a series of encounters between the government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) in his barangay.

He then urged some of the residents to come down with him to the poblacion to avoid being victimized by the military when they retaliate for alleged the heavy casualties they sustained in those encounters with the NPA.

But the military in the area belied reports of having sustained heavy casualties since, in the first place, there was not even a single encounter between the army and the NPA in the said barangay or in the neighboring barangays.

Lt. Col. Glorivine Dida, Commanding Officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion operating in the southern part of Eastern Samar, reported though that his troops were conducting Special Operations Team (SOT) in the interior barangays of Giporlos to clear the area of insurgents.

According to Chico, Lacdao instigated the incident to place the military in the limelight by charging them with military abuses.

He further claimed the report of the Leyte Center for Development (LCDE) of some 83 families who evacuated to the poblacion was an exaggeration since there were only 20 based on the records of the Municipal Social Welfare Office (MSWDO).

The LCDE report was even disputed by Giporlos Mayor Mateo Biong who confirmed the MSDWO records, the army spokesperson said.

Capt. Chico said Chairman Lacdao has alleged links with the communist rebels and was even reported to have participated in their violent activities but they have yet to confirm the reports.





6 architectural heritage sites in Leyte identified

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 18, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  There are six Architectural Heritage sites in Leyte which will be showcased in the Architectural Heritage Tour on May 1, 2007 in  connection with the commemoration of the National Heritage Month in the month of May.

The first heritage destination identified is Tanauan where the Our Lady of Assumption Parish Church is one of the oldest churches and where the Rectory was restored to its natural design.

Then there is Dulag, where the ruins of the 1595-built Jesuit Seminary at the Our Lady of Refuge Parish Church still remain.

In Carigara could be found the Old Settlement Ruins at the Cassidy Elementary School, the Balay nga Gawas It Harigi and the Carigara Community Museum. Carigara is the place where Christianity was first introduced in Leyte.

In Baybay Leyte, there is what is called as the Heritage Street, the Mabini Street where heritage houses of different vintages are still being occupied by people.

The Fian Ancestral House in Albuera, Leyte is representative of the rich architectural heritage in Leyte.

Finally, in Hilongos, Leyte there remains the Fort and Old Church Ruins which are rich in architectural heritage.

The Architectural Heritage Tour on May 1 will be participated in not only by the architecture students but also by the media and the members of the United Architects of the Philippines Leyte Chapter.

This is a good way of learning what cannot be learned in school, the actual experience of seeing for oneself the actual rich architectural heritage of the province of Leyte.

Indeed, the choice of Leyte as the venue of the Grand Opening of the National Heritage Month not only showcases the rich heritage of the province of Leyte but it is an eye-opener for the Leyteños, to be proud of their province.





City government reiterates ban on interment at old cemetery

By KIMRO (City Media Office)
April 18, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The City Government of Tacloban through the City Health Office has again reiterated its order prohibiting the use of the old city cemetery located at El Reposo Street this city, for interment purposes.

Reports have it that despite the closure notice issued to this effect in 2002 by the city government, still some residents prefer to bury their dead kin at this old cemetery site, albeit the new burial location now operational at Basper Heights, a few kilometers north of this city.

Pointing to the said interment ban, City Health Officer Dr, Jaime Opinion explained, that it has been the local government’s plan to gradually phase-out the said interment site, as it now had become an eye sore and a risk likewise to the health of nearby residents, it being located almost in the center of the metropolis.

On this he clarified that “it is very risky to have a cemetery in the midst of inhabitants, for we know already that places like these could be a source of infectious disease outbreak, which may come from the corpses who died from high risk ailments”, Opinion said.

“We don’t want to put the lives of our constituents at risk more importantly now that we have heard of those dreaded diseases such as the SARS, Avian Flu, Meningo-coccemia and others”, he said.

Estimated to be five years now since that closure notice was issued in 2002, Dr. Opinion has deemed it proper this time to enjoin residents who have relatives buried at this old cemetery to transfer the skeletal remains of their loved ones, should they think it had already been decomposed , he added.

Hinting on the phase-out Opinion said, this old cemetery location might soon be developed by the city government for some other purpose.

Meanwhile, Opinion also disclosed that of this moment the city is collecting only the minimal amount of ten pesos burial fee, for every interment at Basper Cemetery and this is because the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tacloban has not yet passed a legislation determining the appropriate charge for the same.


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