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PNP, AFP to probe misencounter in Samar between soldiers, police

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 26 June 2018 04:55 PM

Soldiers recover remains of policemen killed in the misencounter. (Photo courtesy of HPG REGION 8)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperson PSSupt. Benigno Durana Jr. said Tuesday (June 26) that they have formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the bloody misencounter between the police and military in Samar, in response to the immediate order from PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

Also, a Board of Inquiry (BOI) was formed to serve as a support group that will coordinate closely with its counterparts in the military. It will be led by Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) Eastern Visayas Director Rolando Felix.

“The Board of Inquiry will not only look into the incident itself but look into the operational strategic ramification of that incident so that this kind of unfortunate incident will not happen in the future,” said Durana.

The incident, which happened in Sitio Lunoy Barangay San Roque in Sta. Rita, Samar early Monday (June 25), accidentally killed six policemen and injured nine others when members of the 87th Infantry Battalion mistaken as rebel troops of the 805th Mobile Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 conducting minor combat operations in the area.

Among the issues that the investigating body will determine is MGen. Raul Farnacio’s claim that the cops were using outdated radio units that did not match their Harris communication equipment and so caused failure in coordination.

The investigation will also look into the matter on whether or not an official was accompanying the troops during the operation.

Durana said the PNP Chief already instructed SITG head PCSupt. Mariel Magaway to facilitate the processing and speedy release of all benefits due to the families of the victims.

Magaway, for his part, assured that the incident will not affect the working relationship between the Armed Forces of the Philippine and the PNP; emphasizing that no one on both sides expected for it to happen as it was an accident.

“It will not affect in any way. Aksidente ito (It was an accident). This is an unfortunate incident so wala naming may gusto nito (nobody wanted it). This is an accident, wala ng iba (nothing more),” Magaway firmly said in a press briefing in Samar.

Malacañang through Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, meanwhile, appealed to the public to give the investigation a chance to uncover what really transpired in the shooting ground. – Lea Ylagan / Marje Pelayo

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Armed groups urged to give way for relief operations in Samar

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, 3 January 2019 01:18 PM



Department of Social Welfare and Development’s relief operations in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar

SAMAR, Philippines — The Office of the Civil Defense Region 8 calls on armed groups in typhoon-hit areas in Samar to give way for humanitarian activities and for relief goods to reach the affected residents.

According to the data from the OCD-8, a total of 16 municipalities in Northern Samar; four in Samar and four in Eastern Samar were hugely affected.

“Isa iyon sa challenges natin. May mga instances noong una nga noong nag-distribute tayo. Sa ating mga kaibigan na andun sa Lope de Vega nakikiusap po kami na sana tulungan nyo po para sa relief operation ng DSWD makapasok po sila para sa ating mga kababayan po doon,” appealed information officer, Rayden Cabrigas of OCD-Region 8.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) already delivered 4,800 food packs to two hard-hit areas.

Meanwhile, the agency decided not to disclose the next date of delivery and the target destination in consideration for the safety of the relief workers.

Meanwhile, Major General Raul Farnacio of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army command encourages the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Samar to go down and coordinate with the military in case they wanted to help in the humanitarian efforts in the affected areas.

“Hopefully may humanitarian consideration pa itong mga armadong NPA kasi nga naman more on disaster response tayo wag naman sanang maging abala itong grupo nato at maraming nasalanta tayong mga kababayan sa northern samar if ever kung gusto nilang bumaba at tumulong gusto nilang tumulong sa masa ay sumama silang magdistribute ng relief goods,” Farnacio said.

The military has mobilized two battalions for the government’s humanitarian efforts while another is placed on standby to serve as augmentation force when necessary. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Archyl Egano)

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‘Samuel’ expected to make landfall in Dinagat-Samar-Leyte area

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 09:53 AM

Satellite imagery as of November 20 (9:10 a.m PHT) | PAGASA

MANILA, Philippines — Tropical Depression Samuel has maintained its strength as it moves closer toward the Dinagat-Samar-Leyte area.

At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday (November 20), PAGASA has spotted the weather system at 350 kilometers east of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.

It packs maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 65 kilometers per hour (kph).

Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1 has been raised in the following areas:

Masbate including Ticao Island, Romblon, southern Oriental Mindoro, southern Occidental Mindoro, at Northern Palawan including Cuyo Island at Calamian Group of Islands

Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, at Antique

Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Misamis Oriental, at Camiguin

The said areas will experience moderate to heavy rains and gusty winds.

PAGASA said Samuel is expected to make a landfall in Dinagat-Samar-Leyte Area on Tuesday night.

Bicol Region, Marinduque, and Romblon may experience widespread rain showers and thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country may expect isolated rain showers and thunderstorms. — UNTV News & Rescue

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US Gov’t to return Balangiga bells to the Philippines

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, 15 November 2018 02:02 PM

(L-R) Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez with United States Defense Secretary James Mattis. Courtesy: Philippine Embassy in Washington DC


During his speech at the Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, United States Defense Secretary James Mattis formally announced the turnover of the historic Balangiga Bells to the Philippines.

“The Secretary just simply said in not so many words, ‘Ambassador, these bells are now officially going to return to the Philippines,’ ” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez who was present at the event.

US Defense Secretary Mattis showed Romualdez the well-preserved state of the bells and the engravings on it.

The memorial marker states that the Balangiga bells are church bells taken as war trophies by the US Army from the town of Balangiga in Eastern Samar, Philippines. The ringing of the bells signaled the attack of the bolo tribesmen which led to the massacre of Company C of the 9th US Infantry Group.

After 117 years, the US government will finally return the historic bells to its original home in Samar.

President Rodrigo Duterte first made mention of the bells to Mattis last year during the Defense Ministers Meeting at Clark Air Base.

“They needed to change the 2017 National Defense Appropriation Act which will allow the return of the bells. That took some time. Shortly after, there was a 90-day period before Congress could actually change that. But that one went very quickly,” said Ambassador Romualdez.

Romualdez thanked the Legislative and Executive branches of the US government; several officials from the United Nations and a number of Filipinos and Americans who contributed in the effort to return the Balangiga bells to the Philippines.  — JL Asayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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