87th IBPA forced to pull out troops in Calbiga, evacuees return home

After five days of evacuation, beleaguered residents from fifteen barangays of Calbiga, Samar have already returned to their homes after a successful dialogue with the local government unit, Social Welfare Regional Director Restituto Macuto and representatives from the 87th Infantry Battalion (IB) headed by their Commanding Officer Lt. Col Arnel Floresca last April 9, Sunday. Two dialogues took place on the said date, one set by Calbiga Mayor Luzviminda Nacario and the other initiated by local peasant group Kapunungan han mga Parag-uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA) and People Surge.


Disregarding militarization

In the first dialogue held at the municipal hall of Calbiga, evacuees, represented by People Surge – Calbiga Chapter Secretary General Lina Tabuyan supported by Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA – SB) Secretary General Nestor Lebico and People Surge Secretary General Marissa Cabaljao, received a negative response from the panel stating that evacuees should just return to their homes and “set aside” their issue on militarization.

Lebico pressed that the evacuees, mostly farmers, are demanding for a total pull out of the military troops in the affected barrios, an end to all forms of human rights violations such as harassment, coercion and torture being committed against several farmers in Calbiga, as well as payment for the damage to farmers’ properties and livelihood caused by the government armed troops.


Municipal Social Welfare Development Officer (MSWDO) Eva Ranas and a representative from the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) even denounced Cabaljao, Lebico and Tabuyan for what they call deplorable situation of the evacuees in the basketball court of Calbiga but failed to address the root cause of the evacuation.

“It is ironic and uncritical for the members of the panel to feel sympathy for the evacuees and tell us to see the bigger picture, but fail to see the actual circumstances that led to this massive evacuation”, Lebico said.

After almost three hours of raising their claims, the members of the panel headed by Mayor Nacario agreed to proceed to the basketball court and persuade the evacuees to return to their homes, brushing aside their representatives manifestations for “not being able to speak enough”, according to Cabaljao.

On red-tagging

Representatives of the evacuees to the closed-door dialogue were harassed by 87th IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col Arnel Floresca by openly linking them to the rebel armed group. Floresca told Cabaljao that she cannot deny the connection of the alliance and SEC-registered organization People Surge to the New People’s Army.

“It is but disgraceful for a military officer in his combat uniform to openly wage a psywar against us”, said Cabaljao.

Floresca even urged the panel to dissuade from listening to Cabaljao, Lebico and Tabuyan as the military official allege that the evacuation was simply orchestrated by the “organizers” themselves. He also said that they are even grateful every time a mobilization is held because “they can read the minds of the NPA leaders.”

Floresca had put the blame to the three representatives and “begged” them to convince the evacuees to just return to their homes since he alleged that these leaders “organized the evacuation.” An MPOC member even told Cabaljao to talk to the NPA leaders and ask them to “leave the communities of Calbiga to finally bring peace to their town.” This is contrary to the manifesto of the evacuees saying that it is the Philippine Army who are waging war in their barrios.

“The AFP always resort to red-tagging when people expose their fascist tendencies. It is just disappointing that the people who should take the side of the oppressed are the same people who give legitimacy to the military’s atrocities”, Cabaljao stressed.

“We don’t want them in our communities”

Discontented with the result of the first dialogue, Cabaljao initiated an open dialogue with the panel at the basketball court of Calbiga, right in front the 2,357 evacuees. Victims of human rights violations gave their loudest “no” when Cabaljao asked their affirmation if they will return to their communities even with the presence of the military troops.

Residents of Barangays Daligan, Sinalangtan, Minata, Caamlongan, Guimbanga, Bulao, San Mauricio, Buluan, Binanggaran, Cambagtic, Hindang, Antol, Biri, Lubang and Literon were forced to evacuate because of fear caused by prolonged military presence in village centers – amidst the civilian populace – and for several human rights abuses perpetrated by the Philippine Army, according to local peasant organizations KAPACSA and KAPAWA. The military encampment alone inside their barrios is already a violation to the International Humanitarian Law according to Mannylin Navalez, Spokesperson of Katungod – Western Samar. “They are putting the lives of the people in danger”, said Navales.

Local peasant group KAPACSA cited that (1) barangay tanods are made to guard the military troops in their communities every night, (2) young children are made to fetch water and gather firewoods for them, (3) operating military troops hide their nameplates and identities and even refuse to give them the name of their Commanding Officer, (4) for any untoward incident that may happen to the military, they will retaliate against the barrio folks and (5) children are being co-opted to become members of the CAFGU. These are just a few of the documented violations of the Philippine Army.

Screenshot from 2017-04-13 12:07:14

“Diri kami mabalik ha amon kun diri kamo malugsong! (We will not return to our homes unless you pull out your troops!)”, an evacuee interrupted Floresca while giving a message. Members of the crowd howled as an affirmation to the said statement.

Caught off guard, Floresca asked the barangay captain of Brgy. Cambagtic, the barrio with the most number of military officials in Calbiga, to decide whether or not he agrees to the demand of the evacuees. The barangay captain then gave his affirmation. Floresca, urged by the audience, then said he will command his troops to pull out from their communities immediately that day.

“We have once again witnessed the strength of a people united. Today, we just defeated the most fascist of the fascists. But unlike them, we didn’t use guns and bullets. We had our unity to win and prevail”, said Lebico.

Peace talks’ agreements remain unimplemented

Despite a previous unilateral ceasefire declaration by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte last August 2016, the Philippine Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IB) under the 8th Infantry Division (ID) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) did not leave the hinterlands of Calbiga and Pinabacdao.


KAPACSA reported that even after the GRP’s ceasefire declaration in light of the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), more troops were forward deployed to upland barrios. The operating troops started occupying the villages’ dancing halls and activity centers.

Even if the two negotiating parties agreed to strictly comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), the Philippine Army continues to violate the guidelines of the agreement. According to SAGUPA – SB, the number of recorded military encampments in Eastern Visayas communities did not decrease even with the ongoing peace negotiations.

“We urge the Duterte administration, being the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to command his troops to respect people’s rights, and to comply with the signed agreements of the GRP and NDFP”, Lebico concluded.

Meanwhile, SAGUPA – SB and Katungod – Sinirangan Bisayas pledged to monitor if Floresca will really comply with his words. The two organizations are still receiving negative reports from the residents in Calbiga.

(Photos from Eastern Vista)


TACLOBAN CITY – small coconut farmers in Eastern Visayas demand cash distribution thru social benefits of coconut levy fund worth P56.5 billion which remitted to the National Treasury last September 12, 2012.


“We are opposing the roadmap design by NAPC (National Anti-Poverty Commission) wherein P11 billion of coco levy fund plan to utilize for 4 programs which indentified – CARPER, 4Ps, LTI (land tenure improvement) because this programs has regular government allocations,” says Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB).


In pursuing utilizing the coco levy fund, small coco farmers in Eastern Visayas is supporting three (3) House Bills filed in Congress by Anakpawis Partylist related to coco levy fund and coco levy industry. These are House Bill Nos. 3443, 0469 and 5070. A bill is also pending at the Senate. All these house bills seek the establishment of a body that will be dominated by small coco farmer representatives specifically the Coconut Levy Funds Administration and Management Act.


“We call for financing of coconut industry development projects from initiatives of small coco farmers and their organizations/cooperatives, programs that would provide loan facilities, industry research and development programs, construction and development of post-harvest facilities, inventions and innovations of machineries and equipment for the development of high-quality coconut and improvement of coconut production, livelihood program meant to provide additional incomes, institution-building programs and skills training,” added Lebico.


“Coco Levy fund Ibalik sa Amin,” ends Lebico.###



Tacloban City – Duro na an paglaprak han presyo han kopras yana nga katapusan nga kwarto han tuig. Damo nga mga parag-uma ha lubi an naaraba tungod naabot nala ha tag P8.00 ngadto P5.00 an kada kilo.

Maabot na unta an kapaskuhan pero masulub-on an mga pamilya han mga parag-uma ha lubi tungod kay ura-ura na kahamubo han presyo han kopras. Haros di na magbaligya an mga parag-uma tungod waray o kulang naman an namamalit han kopras,”pahayag ni Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas o SAGUPA-SB.

An hinungdan han tigda nga paghamubo han presyo han kopras tungod han pan-ekonomiya nga krisis ha Europa nga kon diin nag-iikaduha nga importer hin coco oil an mga nasud hini. Haros katunga an gin-ubus han kanan rehiyon gin-export nga lana nga umabot nala hin 57,000 metriko tonelada han naglabay nga bulan.

Angay mayda proteksyon an gobyerno ha mga parag-uma ha lubi kon in kaso man nga nahamubo an presyo han lubi. An kahimtang han mga parag-uma yana nagpapakita la nga kon magsisinarig la ha langyaw nga nasud an aton hilaw nga produkto, waray makusog nga pundasyon an ekonomiya han aton nasud,” dugang nga pahayag ni Lebico.

Kinahanglan tagan hin dagmit nga aksyon han gobyerno an kahimtang yana han industriya han lubi. Dako nga makakabulig an pondo han coco levy fund nga ipanhatag na ini ngadto han mga parag-uma ha lubi para makabulig-bulig han presente nga kakurian yana.###

Farmers held consultation at Tacloban to reclaim coco levy funds

November 3, 2012

Small coconut farmers representatives led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Paghugpong sa Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) and Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB) gathered yesterday to discuss their plan on their plight and demand for the “immediate cash distribution of the P56.5 billion coco levy funds to small coconut farmers.”

“The multi-billion coco levy funds came from the tedious process of making copra, from the small coconut farmers’ sweat and blood,” says KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella adding “it was forcibly exacted from small coconut farmers during the martial law regime.”

Marbella added that “now, that the coco levy funds are at the hands of the Aquino government, our money is now very vulnerable to become a seed fund of senatorial bets and party-list groups allied with Malacanang.”

Last October 5, San Miguel Corporation “redeemed” the Series “1” Preferred Shares which represents the original 27 percent of the coco levy funds, now diluted to 24 percent, of SMC common shares ordered converted into preferred shares by the Supreme Court in 2009. The order also stipulated that SMC will have the exclusive option to redeem and purchase on the third year (2012) the 27 percent comprising 753.85 million shares at a fixed price of P75 per share instead of at the prevailing market price.

The Presidential Task Force on the Coco Levy Funds headed by the National Anti-Poverty Commission is pushing for the P11.17 billion five-year “Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry” that includes the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), and so-called agro-enterprise development.

Last April, former Akbayan chief and NAPC secretary Joel Rocamora said the NAPC had drawn up a P10-billion, five-year “road map” to revitalize the coconut industry and that the first year of the program could be funded with loans. “The plan is to borrow off the coco levy,” Rocamora said.

“We will never allow Aquino and Rocamora to use our money for the scandalous 4P’s and the anti-peasant CARP itself,” Marbella said adding “small coconut farmers from Eastern Visayas, Panay and other coconut-producing regions are now intensifying the struggle to reclaim the coconut levy funds.”

We demand the immediate distribution of the coconut levy funds to small coconut farmers,” says Nestor Lebico, Secretary General of SAGUPA-SB adding: “In Eastern Visayas alone, 1.7million coconut farmer-families dependent over 649,030 hectares of coco lands will benefit from the immediate distribution of the coco levy funds.”

“We are about to heighten our fight for the immediate cash distribution and reclaim the coco levy funds from the President and his coco levy fund mafia,” says Chris Chavez, Secretary General of PAMANGGAS and a coconut farmer from Iloilo who still holds stock certificates of coco levy funded oil mills.

 “The coconut levy fund was plundered by the Marcos-Cojuangco political and economic partnership during martial law. It belongs to small coconut farmers. Its recovery and return to genuine small farmers is long overdue,” says Marbella.

The groups called on the House of Representatives to immediately enact into law House Bill 3443 or the proposed Small Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Act filed by Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano to pave the way for the return of the coconut levy funds. They also call for the Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin!. #


Reference: Willy Marbella


Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Spokesperson KOPRAHAN

Cellphone #: 09292396847


Nestor Lebico



Cellphone #: 09493088239


TACLOBAN CITY – Kinahanglan igdiskwalipikar na an An Waray Partylist tungod kay ha siyam hini ka tuig nga pagserbe komo partylist, waray hini kabaton an mga signipikante nga problema ilabi na ha sektor han mga parag-uma sugad ha problema ha tuna, hiluagan nga militarisasyon ngan grabe nga kakablasan ngan kagutom.

“Bisan an nalingkod komo mga representante han An Waray Partylist (AWP) nga hi Congressman Benedict Montejo diri maikokonsidera nga tikang ha marginalized sector tungod kay usa an ira pamilya nga riko ha Leyte sugad nala an pananag-iya nira han Hotel Alejandro ngan hi Congressman Bem Noel, an iya asawa in usa liwat nga Kongresista ha National Capital Region ngan yana liwat kumandidato hi Noel komo Mayor ha syudad han Tacloban,” paghayag ni Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas o SAGUPA-SB.

Imbes nga suportahan an tinuod nga ungara han mga parag-uma sugad han pagsasabalaud han GARB o Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, yana nga adlaw igpaparayaw na liwat hini an kinada tuig nga Oktuba Feast para kuno pag-undong han produkto tikang ha lubi pero ha esensya pan-ekoturismo la diri pa pagbulig para magkaada hin hataas nga presyo han lubi o magin istable an presyo hini.

“Puros la pan photo-ops an ginhihimo kuno nga bulig han An Waray. Ha luyo hini nga ira mga panpa-pogi, puros la pantapal nga solusyon an ira mga programa. Sanglit, kaangayan na nga igdiskwalipikar An Waray Partylist hiunong kay an iya mga representante diri tikang ha marginalized sectors ngan inutil ini ha pagbatunon an ungara han iya tinuod nga Boss kunta,” pagtatapos ni Lebico.###


TACLOBAN CITY – Gintapo pinaagi hin usa nga lightning-rali an Adlaw han Pagkaon kakulop banda ala-sinko han kulop ha Mercury Drug Store Rizal Avenue. Gintambungan ini hin mga lider-parag-uma tikang ha iba-iba nga probinsya ha Sinirangan Bisayas.

“Kadungan han pagselebrar han Bulan han Parag-uma, ginpasamwak namon ha katawhan nga grabe yana an inaabat nga kagutom han amon ranggo. Haros waray na kaunon an amon mga pamilya tungod han hamubo nga presyo han produkto ha uma, pangagaw han tuna nga ginkukultibar ngan hiluagan nga panalapas han tawhanon nga katungod,” pahayag ni Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas o SAGUPA-SB.

Nagin sentral nga panawagan han nasabi nga aktibidad an pagbabasura han CARPER ngan pagsabalaud han GARB o Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (House Bill 374). Kadungan liwat nga gindemanda han mga parag-uma an tuna ngan hustisya para han mga parag-uma ha Brgy. Suhe, Tacloban City. Ugsa han nasabi nga aktibidad, bumisita ha iba-iba nga ahensya han gobyerno sugad han Department of Agriculture (DA 8) ngan Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA 8) an mga lider-parag-uma para makipagsaru-saruay han mga programa han gobyerno para ha pagpauswag han pag-uma.

“Angay nga seryoso tagdon han gobyerno ni Noynoy Aquino nga diri la pantapal nga solusyon sugad han 4Ps an amon ginkikinahanglan kundi an magtatalwas ha amon tikang ha kakurian ngan kagutom. An pagkaada hin tuna ha kada parag-uma an maiha na nga amon hingyap nga iginlilikaw ha amon tikang pa han iya nanay nga hi dati Corazon Aquino. Tinuod nga reporma ha tuna, igpatuman na!” pagtatapos ni Lebico.###


Tacloban City – An maiha na nga panawagan han gudti nga mga parag-uma ha lubi dida pa han tuig 2009 nga ipanhatag na an Coco Levy Fund yana mayda kalamragan na han ighatag han San Miguel Corporation (SMC) an balor P56.5 bilyon nga pondo han lubi tikang hini nga kompanya nga pananag-iya ni Danding Cojuangco.

“Kadaugan ini yana han sektor han mga parag-uma an paghatag han SMC han coco levy fund pero nababaraka kami nga imbes ikadto ha mga parag-uma ha lubi an pag-administrar hini nga pondo ginkadto lugod ha Aquino nga gobyerno nga dako an posibilidad nga ma-korap ngan makawat an nasabi nga kwarta,” pahayag ni Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General han Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas o SAGUPA-SB.

Ha orihinal, 27% an gindedemanda nga share han mga parag-uma ha lubi pero iginkada la ini ha 24% basar han desisyon han Korte Suprema. Kaupod hini nga demanda nga dapat an naeksiher nga presyo ha merkado han share amo an sundon nga kon diin dida han Nobyembre 30, 2010 an presyo hini nakada ha P120.00 diri an yana nga ginbasaran nga tag P75.00 la. Ha Sinirangan Bisayas mayda nakarehistro nga 1.3 milyon nga mga parag-uma ha lubi nga makaka-benipisyo hini nga pondo.

“Panawagan yana nga direkta nga ipanhatag an pondo han coco levy ha mga gudti nga mga parag-uma ha lubi.Yana an tama nga panahon para maka-benipisyo naman kami han kwarta nga pirit ginkuha ha amon pagbabaligya han kopra,” pagtatapos ni Lebico.###