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25th June 2016
Arroyo asks SC to dismiss plunder case and set her free
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on June 25, 2016, 8:29 pm

(By Jeffrey A. Damicog & Rey G. Panaligan, 25 June 2016)

 Former President and re-elected Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to resolve her petitions on her P366-million plunder case involving funds of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) pending with the Sandiganbayan.

Arroyo elevated to the SC three issues -- the denial to post bail, determination of probable cause, and demurer to evidence.

A check with the SC showed that these issues may be tackled in next week’s full court session.

In a motion filed last Thursday, Arroyo pleaded the SC to resolve immediately her petition to dismiss her plunder case through a demurer to evidence after the Office of the Ombudsman has started investigation on a new complaint for plunder and malversation of public funds also in connection with the PCSO funds from 2004 to 2007.


22nd June 2016
PPI annual confab focuses on maritime disputes
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 22, 2016, 6:50 pm

A forum on the West Philippine Sea disputes will be among the highlights of this year’s 20th Annual Press Forum and Membership Meeting of the Philippine Press Institute, the country’s foremost association of newspapers.

Publishers and editors of PPI member-newspapers nationwide will convene in Manila for their two-day yearly gathering beginning on Wednesday, June 23, at the Century Park Hotel.

The forum, with the theme “Understanding the Disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” also marks PPI’s celebration of its 52nd anniversary.


17th June 2016
Nene bucks Duterte plan to bury Marcos in Libingan
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on June 17, 2016, 11:41 pm

(By Jovic Yee, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 17 June 2016 11:41 PM)

PARTIDO Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) chair emeritus and former senate president Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel said on Friday the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos should stay in his northern hometown of Batac amid the raging debate over suggestions to transfer him to the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

"I have been suggesting for a long time that Marcos should be buried in a place where he is honored by the people. And that’s in his hometown (Batac)," Pimentel told reporters when sought for comment on incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to transfer Marcos at the Libingan, which has been the dictator’s family’s request over the past two decades.

He noted that at least in Ilocos Norte, Marcos would be able to “get all the honors that he wants.”


16th June 2016
Stakeholders craft management plan for two So. Leyte caves
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on June 16, 2016, 9:11 pm

(By Marcelino M. Pedalino, 16 June 2016)

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, June 16 (PIA)  --  For two consecutive weeks, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional and provincial offices took the lead in gathering various sectors to draft plans designed to manage two caves in the province.

The management function focuses on sustainability, to see to it that the caves remain protected and preserved, ensure visitors’ safety, even as uses for tourism purposes and other development projects are considered.

This week, a three-day workshop is underway , June 15-17, to do just that for the Guinsohotan cave located in barangay Cagnituan, this city, while next week, June 22-24, a similar activity is scheduled for the Cambaro cave in barangay Cambaro, Macrohon.


14th June 2016
Rebuilding Lumads Dismantled Rights
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 14, 2016, 7:42 am

For decades, indigenous peoples (IP), or lumad, in the country have endured systemic neglect and discrimination. Some of the physical structures that are meant to serve their collective needs such as education are a testament to this sad reality.

Imagine a school that looks more like a shed, with only a roof over it and an unpaved ground that easily turns murky when rain pours.

Despite these constraints — emblematic of what is widely perceived as state neglect, compounded by societal apathy — the school is used simultaneously by primary and secondary students belonging to seven tribes. Only a makeshift wall divides them while learning lessons that are in keeping with their culture, alongside government-mandated subjects.

The Bukidnon-based Mindanao Tribal School, Inc. (MTSI), a private school measuring only 8 by 20 meters and located on a four-hectare piece of property, reflects both the aspirations and struggles of the IP communities in the country to preserve their collective identity while fighting various forms of discrimination.

Right beside this facility is the administration office that also functions as a library, made from recycled wood and nipa shingles. 
MTSI seeks to impart to its students the lumad traditions, belief system, and other forms of traditional knowledge and wisdom handed down through many generations.

The school, in its current form, is borne of “the social neglect (suffered by the Manobo and other indigenous groups whose children go to the school),” said Amelia Bojo, president of the MTSI and one of the volunteer teachers in the school.

Yet the communities involved, notably the Manobo, have learned to “harness our own initiative and ingenuity to acquire building materials,’’ which included salvaged tin sheets and other construction materials, she said.

“You can’t talk about inclusive infrastructure when the social structures are exclusive (or discriminatory), said Easterluna Luz Canoy, executive director of Kitanglad Integrated NGOS, which seeks to promote the rights and well-being of IPs.

The social exclusion of indigenous communities in the country has resulted in inadequate access to basic services like housing, health, and education, said Canoy, who has at least three decades of working among IPs tucked under the belt.

Bojo, who also teaches at the Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon, admitted that the school, as it stands today, is “not reflective of who they (the lumad) are but who they have become” in the face of historical neglect.

Still, the IPs hope to see a school building rise that truly conforms to their own design, with a tree plantation, garden, dormitory and other facilities that should comprise what is called a School Living Traditions, which transmits indigenous skills and techniques to the young.

Participants to the seminar-workshop on sustainable construction reporting organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) recently, in partnership with Holcim Philippines, in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, witnessed the situation confronting the lumad and gained insights into their dedication to building structures that truly reflect their identity and aspirations as a people.

A visit to the MTSI in Panadtalan, Maramag town — about an hour and a half drive away from the provincial capital — afforded the journalists such an opportunity. They soon found that the school had little to show by way of modern amenities. Yet, here, said Bojo, students “find their identity, a sense of belonging.” She added that it is “a source of pride, so the students endure the difficulties.”

The Japan International Cooperation Agency once offered to build a school for the indigenous peoples on this side of Mindanao, but required the use of its own design, prompting the lumad to turn down the offer, said Bojo.

The seminar-workshop brought into focus infrastructure reporting through the lens of sustainable and inclusive development. Stories, for instance, that bring to the fore the aspirations of the lumad even as they build their own facilities should impress on the readers that physical structures are more than just facilities but are expressions of who they are as indigenous communities.

The visit to MITSI was one of the highlights of the Mindanao leg of the seminar-workshop, themed “Taking the High Road to Constructing Reporting” organized by PPI and Holcim, a major cement and aggregates company.

Some 20 participants from different provinces within the island region got a deeper glimpse into the plight of some of the indigenous tribes, including the the Manobo, in Mindanao. They learned how the latter’s culture intersects even with the designs of their facilities including those for their communal use.

The media seminar was previously held in Bulacan, where the Luzon-based participants looked into issues surrounding resettlement facilities being provided by the government for informal settler families. The final leg of the training was conducted in Tagbilaran, Bohol, where the Visayas participants looked into the situation of the disaster-affected parts of the province almost three years since it was hit by an earthquake.

The seminar stressed that media coverage of the construction industry has largely focused on the physical and technical aspects, often citing details such as the magnitude of a project, its target cost, date of completion, and the technology used, among others.

It was hoped that journalists would explore more interesting stories, such as those that highlight how a planned infrastructure project could impact a community, for good or ill. Such an approach forms the essence of civic journalism, PPI’s flagship program.

“In civic journalism, we give voice to the people. We owe it to the public to present stories that resonate with them — stories that would be useful for them even if their subjects, such as construction, may not be deemed ‘sexy’,” said PPI training director Tess Bacalla.

The seminar therefore sought to challenge the media to explore unreported or underreported issues revolving around the construction industry through the prism of inclusive growth.



13th June 2016
Philhealth-Eastern Visayas aims P 4B release this year -- Bacariza
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 13, 2016, 4:40 pm

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, June 7 (PIA)  --  The Philippine Health Insurance (Philhealth) Vice President for Operations in Region 8 is hoping to release as much as P 4 Billion this year in payments to hospitals and individuals for health services rendered.

“We are the only health insurance in the world that is happy when we pay more,” Walter Bacariza, regional Philhealth head, announced Thursday, June 2.Bacariza was in the city to grace the inauguration of a well-improved provincial Philhealth office in the city, which was actually in the same location at barangay Mantahan, on the road leading to the old hospital, but this time Philhealth occupied the entire two-storey building.

Their main office used to be at the second floor, now it is on the ground floor, accessible to the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs), said Henry Madula, provincial Philhealth manager.In a short talk during the program, Bacariza recalled that in 2009 some P 200 Million in Philhealth claims were released in Eastern Visayas and, six years later in 2015, this ballooned to P 3.3 Billion.“I hope to do P 4 Billion release this year,”

Bacariza declared.He said the new, expanded office underscored the agency’s commitment to serve the public, to be the beacon on matters of health and wellness, as well as the accompanying financing.

The office of the Congressman was represented by its staff, Jason Calva, while the provincial government was represented by Administrator Jessie Quilanting in the ceremonies.

Calva cited Philhealth for always coordinating with his office, while Quilantang mentioned the creation of a hospital enterprise board in which Philhealth provided insights and suggestions.

In the impromptu interaction with the local media, Bacariza enlisted their help in getting across the message that everybody can avail of Philhealth benefits.“Even non-Philhealth members,” he added.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte) 


10th June 2016
PPI to discuss West PHL Sea in conference, bares awards finalists
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 10, 2016, 6:30 pm

As it celebrates its 52nd year, the Philippine Press Institute, also known as the national association of newspapers, reaffirms its strong commitment to doing its share in enhancing media’s role as a catalyst for discourse—rich, enlightened, meaningful and sustained—via its Annual National Press Forum and Membership Meeting whose highlight is the Civic Journalism Community Press Awards.

As the Philippines heads into a new political dispensation, much of the country is watching with bated breath how the newly minted President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will sooner or later deal with the issue of China’s aggressive intrusion into the West Philippine Sea (or areas of the South China Sea lying within the country’s exclusive economic zone prescribed by international law).

Publishers and editors of PPI member-newspapers nationwide will convene in Manila at the Century Park Hotel for the 20th National Press Forum, whose theme “Understanding the Disputes in the West Philippine Sea” will focus on media’s role in fostering public understanding of important issues -- not least of which are the dark clouds hovering over the West Philippine Sea -- cannot be underscored enough. No less than Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio will be the guest of honor and speaker.


3rd June 2016
Former PDI corres defends Duterte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 3, 2016, 5:33 pm

(By Chito Duterte, Former PDI corres)

President-elect Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte was not elected overwhelmingly because he was saintly, scholarly, well-mannered and soft-spoken.  All throughout the campaign, he showed his worst - in fact far worse than he really is.  He was so successful in portraying himself in such a negative light that many of his critics nearly laughed themselves to death thinking that the man was in such a pitiful state of self-destruction that he was the best campaigner against himself.

Subsequent events proved Duterte right - and his critics and haters wrong. They realized too late that far too many Filipinos were more concerned about the nation losing the war to crime, drugs and corruption than about good manners and fine conduct. The biggest proof of this is that he won overwhelmingly over the fair-haired boy and the poster girl of the establishment with plenty to spare.

He garnered a total of 16,601,997 votes, surpassing the 15,208,678 total given to outgoing President Benigno Aquino III who - in more ways than one - is the epitome of what Duterte's critics want from a president - soft-spoken, pious, conventional and predictable.


10th May 2016
Mercados dominate again, Duterte wins by 20k over Roxas
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 10, 2016, 1:32 pm

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte – The Mercado dynasty continued their dominance in the Southern Leyte province and in the city with an addition to a son-in-law winning as Board Member.

Gov. Roger Mercado, who switched place with younger brother Rep. Damian as lone Representative of the province winning with a big margin (111,340 ) against lawyer and former St. Bernard mayor Rico Rentuza(56,882).

Rep. Damian Mercado who slide down to run as governor won by a landslide (108,190) against Vice Governor Sheffered Tan(68,800).


9th May 2016
Update on VCM malfunction
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on May 9, 2016, 2:31 pm


May 9, 2016

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte – Voting continued in two clustered precincts even without using of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs)as voters consented that they will proceed with voting.

Though VCM replacement arrived hours later in the clustered precinct located at Tomas Oppus Pilot school in Mantahan village this city, however, the one in Guadalupe has no replacement yet as of 2:00 p.m., Richy Blasabas, Smartmatic technician assigned at the city poll office told the Inquirer.

He said the VCM that malfunctioned in Guadalupe will be replaced as soon as the go signal from the National Technical Service Office arrives. “The voting will continue and the ballots will be kept by the BEI. All these have the consent of the Comelec.”

Your Link to the regional weather outlook for Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
Rebuilding Lumads Dismantled Rights, June 14, 2016, 7:42 am

Rebuilding Lumads Dismantled Rights, June 14, 2016, 7:42 am

Former PDI corres defends Duterte, June 3, 2016, 5:33 pm

Update on VCM malfunction, May 9, 2016, 2:31 pm

Update on VCM malfunction, May 9, 2016, 2:31 pm

Voting stops in two cluster precincts, May 9, 2016, 10:10 am

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