TACLOBAN CITY – The landslide death toll in Baybay City and Abuyog in Leyte has climbed to 113 as of early Thursday as responders pull out more cadavers from the debris.The Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office said of the 113 cadavers, 81 were retrieved in landslide-hit villages of… Read More
The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) is pushing for the establishment of a regional office in Tacloban City of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) to supervise its housing projects in the region.
The RDC also wants the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to set up a regional office in the city, among cities ravaged by Super-typhoon Yolanda.
The RDC is pushing for the setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
Lawyer Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling is president of the SHFC, the lead agency implementing the government’s socialized housing program.
Lloyd Christopher Lao is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the HLURB, the primary agency mandated to provide technical assistance in the preparation, review, and approval of Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of local government units.
Eastern Visayas’ highest policy-making body sent the resolutions approved on June 21, 2019, to the Office of the President and to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
But the RDC is still waiting for the central government’s response on the resolutions requesting for the establishment of regional offices of the two government agencies.
National Economic and Development Authority regional director Meylene Rosales, the RDC’s vice-chairperson, however said that they are upbeat on the positive response of the President Rodrigo Duterte and HUDCC chairman Eduardo del Rosario.
The RDC pushed for setting up of these two offices to eliminate corruption in the implementation of community-based housing projects and fast-track the issuance of clearances and licenses for housing activities.
“There was an issue raised on the alleged irregular collection of fees from the beneficiaries of the government’s permanent housing project implemented through SHFC. The major factor behind this was the absence of their field office here in the region to monitor projects,” Rosales said in a report in the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Early this year, hundreds of housing beneficiaries have filed cases against a community housing organizer and her accomplices for overpricing of land acquisition, non-remittance of payments, and illegal collection of fees from recipients housing projects funded by SHFC.
Meanwhile, the absence of HLURB regional office has slowed down the pace of housing projects due to the lack of personnel and absence of authority to monitor and resolve issues and approve plans and applications for clearances and licenses.
“RDC members agreed that the presence of a fully staffed HLURB and SHFC offices in the region is important to regulate and monitor the implementation of remaining Yolanda resettlement projects and other ongoing and future housing projects,” Rosales said.
The HLURB regional office in this city has stopped its operation in 2010 after the merger of two field offices in Cebu and Tacloban due to the implementation of the Government Rationalization Program.
The agency has been maintaining a desk at the Government Service Insurance System office in this city to answer public queries. All transactions from the region have to go through the regional office in Cebu City.
All development and constructions on land of towns and cities without the CLUP will have to get the approval of the HLURB office in Cebu.
As of 2018, only 85 percent of the region’s 143 towns and cities have approved CLUPs.
A Manila court has ordered the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder, Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, and 37 other individuals for their alleged involvement in the so-called Inopacan Massacre in Leyte on September 2, 1985.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has expressed its elation over the decision. The massacre reported was the handiwork Sison and the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP.
“We are elated as the victims’ families are for the issue of arrest warrant by the court against Mr. Jose Ma. Sison, his wife, and 36 others for the mass murder by the NPA of people who were suspected of being government spies that claimed the lives of about 300 residents in Leyte province in a purging activity infamously dubbed by the NPA as ‘Oplan Venereal Disease’,” said AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.
While it is still early yet to claim victory, the military official said the AFP is happy as the wheels of justice have started to turn.
Arevalo also called the incident a “crime against humanity”.
“We are, as ever, firm in our resolve to hunt down these terrorists who perpetrated this dastardly, cowardly, and devilish acts to serve the warrant and arrest them,” he added.
Arevalo said the AFP is as devoted as other agencies of government to bringing Sison and his companions to the courts so that they can answer for the crime.
“As for those who are, like Mr. Sison, outside the country, we may not be able to serve the warrant right away as they are outside our jurisdiction. But we are not without recourse,” the AFP spokesperson added.
In line with this, Arevalo said the military coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice, the International Police and other relevant agencies for the service of the warrant of arrest or other legal recourse available.
“We are sure that the long arm of the law will soon catch up on Mr. Sison and his cohorts,” he added. Presiding Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Manila, issued the Warrant of Arrest dated August 28, 2019, against Sison with aliases Joma, Armando Guerrero, Armando Liwanag, and his wife Juliet, former National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiator, among others.
Malacañang on Friday , Sept. 6, urged Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison to come home and “face the music” after a Manila court ordered his arrest and 37 others for their involvement in the so-called Inopacan Massacre in the 1980s.In a… Read More
The arrest warrant came following an order issued by Medina on August 22, 2019, after finding probable cause that the “accused committed the offense as charged in the amended information”. No bail was recommended for the 38 accused.
Based on estimates of former rebels and the victims’ relatives, the Inopacan massacre or mass purging, dubbed by the NPA as “Oplan Venereal Disease”, claimed the lives of about 300 residents in Leyte province.
The families of purging victims, during the 12th commemoration of the massacre on September 2, continue to cry for justice for their loved ones who were summarily executed by communist rebels on the suspicion of their ties with the military.
Charges were filed in 2006 after the skeletal remains of 67 victims were exhumed from shallow graves in Subang Daku village, Inopacan town, Leyte on August 28, 2006.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told Leytenos he is going to run for President but on one condition that brings morbid images of summary executions of criminals by the deadly Davao Death Squad (DDS) in Davao City.
The DDS gunmen, alleged by human rights groups as backed by Duterte and police, is blamed for the summary execution of hundreds of suspected criminals in Davao City.
Cornered in Ormoc City by young student leaders who publicly told him that he was their only hope for a corruption and crime-free Philippines, Duterte said he would be willing to run for President if the whole of Leyte will support him.
The statement was met with a thunderous applause by a huge crowd at the Western Leyte College Auditorium which included political and civic leaders and student leaders from five big schools in Ormoc City.
But there was a dire warning that followed.
“But you better watch out. If I will lose in Leyte, I will come back to get all of you,” Duterte told the crowd in jest, sparking loud laughter.
The ‘I-will-shoot-you!’ warning is the second dished out, albeit jokingly, by Duterte against those pushing him to run for President.
Last year in Davao City, Duterte warned he would shoot those behind the movement urging him to run, saying he is not interested in the highest post of the land.
The Duterte Pilipinas 2016 Movement, however, was unfazed by the threat and has since gathered more than 10 signatures in a nationwide campaign aiming to convince Duterte to run in 2016.
The declaration of willingness to run for President, on certain conditions, was the second such statement made by Duterte, the colorful Mayor of Davao City who is being pushed by many sectors to vie for the country’s highest political position because of his reputation of being a no-nonsense local leader who turned his city into the 4th Safest City in the World to Live In.
He is also known as one of the few government officials who has stayed clear of issues of corruption in his over 22 years as Mayor of Davao City.
On Feb. 18 in Dagupan City, Duterte also made an indirect statement that he was willing to run for President “if only to save the country from being fractured.”
What made Duterte’s Ormoc visit remarkable aside from the huge turn-out at the Western Visayas College Federalism Forum was the unity shown by opposing political groups in Ormoc City.
Duterte was welcomed by Ormoc City Mayor Edward Codilla and the Codilla political clan.
Later, he was also received by Vice Mayor Toto Larrazabal Locsin, an ally of Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez, whose husband, movie actor Richard Gomez, lost to Mayor Codilla in 2013.
In his speech on Federalism, Duterte emphasized the need to implement institutional changes in the country to address problems of corruption, drugs, criminality and the Bangsamoro issue.
During the open forum where he responded to questions fielded mostly by outspoken student leaders, Duterte explained that Federalism will be the best back up to the Bangsamoro Basic Law which is facing rough railing in Congress and the Senate and is expected to be rejected by the Supreme Court because of some un-Constitutional provisions, like the creation of an independent regional police force for the Bangsamoro and a separate armed forces.
Duterte said he also does not approve of an autonomous police force or a separate armed forces for the Bangsamoro area because this could create a big security problem in the future.
It was towards the end of the question and answer portion when young student leaders confronted Duterte and asked him what he was willing to sacrifice for the sake of the country and the youth.
“If the whole of Leyte will support me, I will run for President but if I lose here, you better watch out because I will come back to get all of you,” he said earning a loud applause from the crowd.
Duterte was born in Maasin, Southern Leyte but was later brought to Davao City by his parents, Vicente Duterte and Soledad Roa, where Vicente served as Governor of the empire province of Davao and Soledad as public school teacher.
When flash floods hit Ormoc City in 1991 killing almost 8,000 residents, Duterte led a relief and rescue contingent from Davao City to help.
In November 2013, when Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Leyte, Samar and other Visayan provinces, Duterte was also the first among the local officials to arrive with relief and rescue teams.
“Some of you may not know it but I was with you in your moments of despair and grief,” Duterte said during the press conference held before the Federalism Forum.