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18th November 2016
7 years after Ampatuan Massacre:Case delays blight any hope for justice
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 18, 2016, 11:57 am

November 23, 2016 marks the seventh year since 58 people were mercilessly killed atop the hills of Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Of the 58 victims, 32 were journalists who covered the filing of candidacy for provincial governor of then Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, pitting him against the wishes of local strongman Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. that his son and namesake, then Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Jr., be left unchallenged for the post.

On Wednesday, some 2,557 days will have passed since the grisly incident, and government has failed to secure acourt conviction for a single perpetrator of the crime. Against the backdrop of a protracted legal battle, families of themassacre victims wait with increasingly dashed hopes that they will see a satisfactory closure of the case within their lifetimes.

Such a sorry state of the cause for justice fuels the situation of impunity in the country whereby the state is seemingly helpless at staving off the continuing phenomenon of journalists being harassed and killed.


16th November 2016
SSS eyeing infra investments as funding source for higher pensions and benefits
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on November 16, 2016, 9:59 pm

(By the SSS Media Affairs Department | Wednesday 16 Nov 2016; 9:59 PM)

The Social Security System (SSS) is looking at investing in infrastructure as a source of additional revenue that will enable the fund to grant higher pensions and benefits for its growing membership and beneficiaries, citing that this is the start of an “economic revolution.”

Social Security Commission Chairman Amado D. Valdez said that “This an opportunity for SSS members, who comprise the working class, to take part in the investment economy and experience owning a road development project which would generate lifetime earnings.”

Valdez added that individually, SSS members have financial limitations that prevent them from participating in investment activities. “But through the pooled contributions of SSS members, we harness a powerful tool to empower them to become vital players in investing for road development projects which has been largely dominated by large companies,” he said.


9th November 2016
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Statement
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 9, 2016, 11:35 am

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines denounces the assassination attempt on Virgilio Maganes, columnist of Northern Watch newspaper and commentator of radio station dwPR in Dagupan City, Pangasinan early Tuesday morning.
We are particularly alarmed that the assassins attempted to disguise the crime as another of the summary executions that have claimed thousands of lives since the Duterte administration launched its bloody war on drugs, leaving a cardboard sign saying, “Pusher Ako Huwag Tularan,” in an obvious attempt to mislead investigators or, as has been the case in most such killings, lose interest in the death of one more “subhuman,” as they have been described by our leader.
Our Pangasinan chapter reports that Maganes slumped down and played dead inside the tricycle he was riding to work after he was wounded on the right shoulder by the motorcycle-riding gunmen. As soon as the assassins fled, he alit to seek help and saw a bystander pick up the cardboard sign and place it inside the tricycle.

28th October 2016
One national daily, four community papers vie for Sustainable Construction Reporting awards
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 28, 2016, 8:23 am

For their outstanding reportage on sustainable construction, focusing on little-explored topics—from using inclusive strategies to rebuild from the rubble to giving voice to indigenous peoples’ aspirations for a school they could call their own—one national and four community newspapers have emerged as finalists in this year’s Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction Reporting (JASCOR).


Finalists include three stories from the Philippine Daily Inquirer for the national newspaper category, and five from community papers, namely, Baguio Chronicle, Mindanao Observer, Sun.Star Cebu, and The Freeman. 

JASCOR aims to recognize excellent stories from the print media that help the public better understand, appreciate and support sustainable construction. It is jointly organized by construction solutions company Holcim Philippines and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), the country’s biggest association of newspapers.

As defined by the LafargeHolcim Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cement and aggregates, sustainable construction is “building in a way that is socially, economically, environmentally, functionally, and aesthetically balanced to meet today’s needs and to conserve resources for future generations.”


24th October 2016
Alleged drug pusher killed
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 24, 2016, 6:32 pm

MAASIN CITY – An alleged drug pusher was killed when he attempted to shoot it out with the policemen during a buy-bust operation at Mantahan village on late Monday afternoon.

Police identified the victim as Mark Lorzano, who resides at said barangay. His companion, Andro Milloren was arrested.

Southern Leyte PNP provincial director, PSSupt. Warren de Leon, who was at the crime scene, said Lorzano drew a 45 caliber when police operatives tried to arrest him prompting the arresting officers to shoot him during a buy-bust operation.

The victim and his companion tried to drive off their motorcycle after sensing that the poseur buyer was a policeman but was block by the service vehicle used by the apprehending policemen.

"Nanglaban kaya patay. Tingnan mo kasama nya buhay kasi hindi lumalaban," said De Leon.

According to the police director, the victim was the sixth killed in a legitimate police operation in the province and 42 others were arrested since the start of “operation tokhang”.

20th October 2016
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines Statement
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 20, 2016, 4:40 am

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines deplores the glaring impunity with which the state’s security forces increasingly violate people’s basic rights.

We will mince no words here. What happened at the US embassy on Wednesday, when a weaponized police van was used against protesters, was a clear case of violence by the state against its own people.
Members of media were not spared.

Wences Balinguit of Southern Tagalog Exposure was arrested by the Manila Police District despite having identified himself as a journalist. And Jaja Necosia of Kilab Multimedia was shooting video of a policeman assaulting one of the passengers in a jeepney that was already leaving the area when he was punched by the officer. Pictures of this incident indicate the officer was the same PO3 Franklin Kho who ran over protesters with the police van.


2nd August 2016
Its a go for Weesam Express
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on August 2, 2016, 11:28 am


August 2, 2016

MAASIN CITY – Weesam Express top official has confirmed on Tuesday (August 1) that one of their fast craft will have its maiden voyage on August 10, in time of the city’s Charter Day celebration.

 Daisy Sypiecco, Weesam Marketing manager, told the The Reporter online in mobile phone interview that “it’s a go. We will have our maiden voyage on August 10.”

She added, “in fact we are on our way to Maasin city with our vice president and 10 board members of the company to finalize our entry.”

Sypiecco said the fare would be affordable in our three class accommodation with the economy at P500, for tourist class P600 and business class P700.

According to Pascal Canning, an official of Tourism Association of Southern Leyte, their group (TASL) the Tourism office made the initiative to make Weesam’s entry into the city.

During a press conference last week with Sypiecco, TASL and some members of Southern Leyte chamber of commerce, Philippine Ports Authority manager Rody Morano expressed his excitement saying “We are very excited ma’am our ports are very much ready and besides we are long deprived of a comfortable ride to Cebu please make it happen.”

27th July 2016
Weesam Express to ply Maasin-Cebu route
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on July 27, 2016, 3:11 am


July 27, 2016

MAASIN CITY – Businessmen in the city were upbeat over the possibility of a fast craft plying the Maasin-Cebu-Maasin route daily after a visit of Weesam Express executive.

In a press conference on Wednesday held at Kinamot restaurant, Daisy Syppieco, Weesam marketing manager assured the members of Tourism Association of Southern Leyte (TASL) and the members Southern Leyte Chamber of Southern Leyte headed by baker Effipania Sy, that her boss is just waiting for my return to Cebu.

According to TASL official, Pascal Caning, the TASL initiated the talks with Weesam with Capitol tourism head Nedgar Garvez.

“After ocular inspection of the port facilities here and their new port in Guadalupe and of course around the city, I called my boss of the great possibility of favorable entry of our company,” Sypiecco told the businessmen.

She added that “with your overwhelming support I could say that we may have our maiden voyage by first or second week of August,” to the applause of her audience.

“We are very excited ma’am,” said Rody Morano, Philippine Ports Authority manager in the city. “Our ports are very much ready and besides we are long deprived of a comfortable ride to Cebu please make it happen.

He added that our port is being monopolized by one shipping company and it leaves Maasin midnight and very early dawn.

Morano also said there is no worry about south monsoon (habagat) because we have a very safe port in Guadalupe village which is new. Sypiecco confirmed having visited the port.

For his part, Pascal Canning, owner of posh Caimito hotel, pitched that Maasin is very much improved, the people are wealthy compared to nine or so years ago.

The Weesam marketing manager who claim she has a voice in her company’s decision making said, “I don’t want to make sip-sip with you guys but I also have a say in our company’s decision so I might as well make it happen.

She said the fare may come around P500-600 in their business class and lower on their economy class.

The possible entry of Weesam Express was made by the Tourism office, headed by Nedgar Garvez during a travel mart held in Cebu city last year.

Maasin had its last taste of a fast craft vessel long before Maasin became a city. The city will have its 10the anniversary on August 10.

22nd July 2016
DA to pour P100M for abaca rehab
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on July 22, 2016, 9:46 am


July 21, 2016

MAASIN CITY – The Department of Agriculture will download P100 million in abaca industry rehabilitation fund to Sogod LGU contrary to what DA secretary Manny Pinol has said during a gathering of farmers organization in Sogod, Southern Leyte last week.

The Agriculture secretary was in Sogod July 14 upon the invitation of former vice governor Sheffered Tan and Emmy Tan, reelected mayor of Sogod. Sheffered ran and lost to come backing Gov. Damian Mercado. Pinol claimed that Sheffered is a close friend of his younger brother.

In a press conference at the mayor’s office after addressing the farmers, Pinol committed that P100 million of the P2Billion left unspent by the DA will be used to rehabilitate Abaca industry in region 8, composed of six provinces in Samar and Leyte islands.

He said that all the money will be disposed before December “or else it go back to the national treasury.”

“It’s up to Sogod how fast they can produce the “inusa” variety,” said Pinol when asked if the amount will all be for Sogod.

He pointed out that P50M is allotted for the immediate procurement of planting materials. “This is however, a plant now pay later program”

He informed that President Rody Duterte knew about his coming to the province. Duterte was born in Maasin City. A decade ago, the abaca industry in the province was wiped out by bunchy top.

In a separate audience with Gov. Mercado, Vice Gov. Christofer Yap and all the mayors aside from Tan, the DA secretary said the same about the allocation intended for Eastern Visayas.

However, in article published in the DA website, the secretary said initial funding of P100 million (M) will be downloaded to LGU of Sogod through its Mayor Imelda U. Tan.

It was also reported in two other media outlets.

The reported downloading of the amount to Sogod LGU, doesn’t sit well with other provincials officials. They were asking why when the Secretary had said it will for Eastern Visayas.

When sought for his comment on Wednesday, Pinol in mobile interview told the Inquirer “what’s wrong with that?”

He added, “I can assure you that the P100M will not go into somebody’s pocket other than what it is intended for. And besides, they were the ones (Tans) who organized the abaca farmers.”

“Please don’t put political colors into our program. It will not be good for the LGUs.”

At the press conference in Sogod he had said in the presence of Mayor Tan, “local political divisiveness has taken its toll on me although I understand being a former local politician. After here I will be with another audience telling the same thing when I should be telling this at one time.”



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