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APR 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS


HOME » TACLOBAN NEWS
BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION


 
>>> APR 2008 <<<


Local news for
Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
continually updated.

Definitive Source of News and Information about the Tacloban region.

 




Apr 30, 2008

Tacloban seeks new status as highly urbanized city

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The National Statistics Office in Eastern Visayas backed Tacloban City's move for reclassification into a highly urbanized city on the strength of its population and income.

NSO Leyte director Wilma Perante said the results of the August 2007 population census showed that Tacloban City has 217,199 inhabitants, more than the 200,000 minimum required by law for classification as a highly urbanized city.

The Local Government Code of 1991 also requires that a city should have an income of P50 million before it could be classified as highly urbanized. Tacloban City has an income of more than P300 million on top of its P200 million internal revenue allotment (IRA).

At present, the country has 32 highly urbanized cities.

Once declared as a highly urbanized city, Tacloban would have its own congressional district, aside from receiving a higher IRA.

The Tacloban city council has approved a resolution seeking the city's reclassification, which would be submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Meanwhile, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said residents could expect better delivery of basic services as well as more programs and projects if it becomes a highly urbanized city.

Romualdez also gave an assurance that the city's reclassification into a highly urbanized city would not mean increased taxes.






Apr 29, 2008

Tanauan 'beachurero' commemorates Earth Day, gov's day

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- As part of the province of Leyte's Earth Day Celebration, a successful coastal clean up was conducted early today, at Barangays San Roque and Sto. Nino, in the municipality of Tanauan.

The Beachurero activity which has for its purpose the cleaning of garbage along the shorelines for cleaner water was spearheaded by the province's Environment and Natural Resources Office under the leadership of Mr. Joey Balano.

In welcoming the participants composed of provincial, municipal and barangay officials, volunteer workers and students who are doing summer job with the local government unit, Mayor Roque Tiu expressed his appreciation to the Leyte Provincial Government headed by Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla for choosing to conduct the activity in Tanauan.

Mayor Tiu said the Local Government of Tanauan is doubly grateful because a very meaning activity is being done in the locality on a significant day, the birthday of Governor Petilla, who unfortunately couldn't attend because of an emergency that he himself had to personally attend to.

He added that the activity will be made more meaningful if the participants and the people will make each day a beachurero day. He said that in the past months and weeks, the people of Tanauan have proven that they know how to take care of the natural resources and the marine resources by bringing back to the sea, green sea turtles which fishermen find in their fishnets every now and then.

In his message read for him by Mr. Joey Balano, Governor Petilla said that the province of Leyte conducted the said activity as a part of its commitment towards the preservation and protection of the environment. It also aimed to drumbeat the need to enjoin and encourage everyone to be a part of the move towards proper and responsible management of the bodies and water and other natural resources.

Governor Petilla informed that the activity is in a manifestation of the Provincial Government to the celebration of Earth Day which is being commemorated by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1276 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on April 20, 2007.






Apr 29, 2008

NSO 8 bares results of 2007 census of population

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The National Statistics Office (NSO) Regional Office 8 finally bared to the media on April 29, the results of the 2007 Census of Population.

The total population of Eastern Visayas increased from 3,610,355 in 2000 census to 3,912,936 in the 2007 census. It would be recalled that before the 2007 Census of Population, the last census was conducted in the year 2000.

Already available are the data on population per province and per municipality in all the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.

The province of Leyte has the biggest number of people with a total population of 1,722,036 comprising 44% of the Eastern Visayas' total population. The province of Samar comes in next with a total population of 695,149 comprising 18% of the Region's population.

The province of Northern Samar contributes 14% of the Region's population with a population of 549,759 while both the province of Southern Leyte and Eastern Samar contribute 10% each to the Region's population. Biliran with a population of 150,031 contributes the least at 4%.

Among the cities, the City of Tacloban has a population of 217,199 which makes it the city with the largest population in the Region. The City of Ormoc, also in the province of Leyte has the second biggest population of 177,524, while the City of Calbayog in the province of Samar has the third biggest population of 163,657.

In Government, the statistics derived from the Population Census are used in the formulation of policies, preparation of plans and programs concerning population. It is also used in the redistricting and apportionment of congressional districts; in the allocation of resources and revenues; and creation of political and administrative units.

For business and industry sector, the population census is useful in determining sites for establishing business; in determining consumer demands for various goods and services and in determining the supply of labor for the production of goods and services.






Apr 28, 2008

Tacloban's 138 barangays conduct clean-up activities on Earth Day

By Neil Glova

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In observance of International Earth Day, the barangay officials and constituents in about 138 barangays of the City of Tacloban participated in the simultaneous clean-up last Saturday, April 19.

Liga ng mga Barangay President Eden Chua Pineda and Sangguniang Panglungsod Member Cristina G. Romualdez, spearheaded the clean-up activity that was participated also by numerous residents from the different barangays of the City.

City ENRO Officer Jonathan Ejada said that the activity was the contribution of the City Government of Tacloban to the campaign by some environmentalist group aimed to preserve the environment and to combat the negative effect of the climate change that has been threatening the world.

Hon. Pineda for her part explained that her group is one in supporting this activity which is one of the priority programs of the City Government.

"Almost all officials joined-hands to ensure the success of this simultaneous clean-up all over the city", Pineda said.

The different groups backed up by many dump-trucks and personnel of the City Government collected about 75 tons of garbage from the different part of the city during the simultaneous clean up.






SANGYAW FESTIVAL 2008
COUNTDOWN


PINTADOS KASADYAAN FESTIVAL 2007 SLIDESHOW

Mark your calendars! Visit Tacloban City this coming June 27th and 29th. The yearly Pintados Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals (of the Leyte Provincial Govt) is set for June 27th and the new Tacloban City Govt-initiated Sangyaw Festival is scheduled for June 29th

This year it's going to be even more bigger and more colorful than last year. And you'll get two Festivals instead of one!

You can find some nice impressions from last years 2007 edition in a beautiful slideshow with pictures from Tacloban's famous photographer Gay Samson right
HERE!





Apr 24, 2008

Imelda Marcos' fiesta to be revived in Tacloban City

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A cultural festival that was created by former first lady Imelda Marcos is set to be revived by his nephew, Mayor Alfred Romualdez, and make it one of the highlights of this year's city fiesta.

City tourism officer Jake Ligan revealed that the "Sangyaw Festival" would be revived in June and would hopefully bring tourists into the city.

Ms Marcos, a native of Leyte, organized the "Sangyaw Festival," (which means to herald a news) during the rule of her late husband, former president Ferdinand Marcos. It is being held every 29th of June or a day before the city fiesta of Tacloban.

Contingents coming from the different provinces and cities in the country joined in the festivities.

But when the Marcoses were booted out of Malacañang in 1986, the festival was stopped. Instead, a non-government organization organized the Pintados Festival, which is now recognized by the Department of Tourism.

Organizers earlier announced that with the decision of Mayor Romualdez to revive the festival organized by his aunt, the Pintados Festival would be canceled.

But they will continue to stage the Miss Pintados, a beauty search that is one of the fund-raising activities of the Pintados Foundation Inc.

Ligan acknowledged that the Pintados Festival helped in making the city known to tourists, especially from those coming from other regions.

Bernardita Valenzuela, staff of the city mayor, said that Romualdez decided to revive the Sangyaw Festival due to "historical reasons" which she did not elaborate.

"But generally, the mayor wants to get involved with the fiesta celebration unlike previous city mayors. The (Pintados) Festival was not organized by the city government but by an NGO," she said.

"The fiesta is supposed to be the birthday of Tacloban so it is just right for the city government to get involved," said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela also helped organized the first Sinulog Festival of Cebu in 1980 while she was in the staff of then Cebu City Mayor Florencio Solon.

Valenzuela also added that the former first lady has already signified her intentions to attend the city fiesta, which honors Señor Santo Niño.

Ligan said the city government would spend "millions of pesos" for the festival. The mayor already formed a group that would compose the "tribe" and would compete with contingents from other cities invited by Romualdez.

Among those that have been invited by the city government are delegations from the cities of Cebu, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu in Cebu; Bacolod and San Carlos in Negros Occidental; and Isabela in Basilan.






Apr 24, 2008

Tanauan skimmers reign in Surigao 3rd nat'l skimboarding fete

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Tanauan, Leyte which is known as the skimboarding capital of the Philippines, once again showed that it is number 1 when it comes to skimboarding.

This, as the three riders of Tanauan garnered three of the first four skimriders during the recently concluded 3rd National Skimboarding Competition in the province of Surigao.

The three skimmers from Tanauan, Obet Yanuario, Leo Espada, and Nikko Cobacha led the competitors composed of riders from the various provinces of Mindanao and the Visayas which was represented by the Tanauan, Leyte riders.

After the three-day competition, Obet Yanuario who is the current champion of the 4th National Open Skimboarding Competition held in December to coincide with the Kaadlawan Festival, was proclaimed as the champion of the 3rd National Skimboarding Competition in Surigao.

Another Tanauan rider, Leo Cobacha who ruled the 1st Penang Malaysia International Skimboarding Competition, garnered the second place in the Surigao event.

The third delegate of Tanauan, Nikko Cobacha who was the Champion in the Eastern Sunday Mayor's Cup Skimboarding Competition in Tanauan, was proclaimed as the fourth placer.

The third placers was a rider from Iligan City, a reliable sources informed. The same source said that the tournament was not attended by the officers of the Philippine Skimboarding Association.

Meanwhile, Mayor Roque Tiu of Tanauan said that the Local Government of Tanauan will continue to advocate and promote the development of skimboarding as a major water sport in the country.

Mayor Tiu added that the LGU will not get tired of encouraging the youth of Tanauan to indulge in the water sports during their free time. Mayor Tiu said that it has been the practice of Tanauan, not to accept participants to the skimboarding who are not enrolled. This will discourage the student from neglecting their studies once they become interested in skimboarding.






Apr 24, 2008

Tacloban lobbies for higher city status

By Lemuel L. Pagliawan

GMA news.tv

TACLOBAN CITY -- Local officials are lobbying for the city's reclassification into a highly urbanized area with latest National Statistics Office (NSO) data that showed the population level has exceeded the minimum requirement for an upgrade.

Based on the census of population as of August 2007, Tacloban has a population of 217,199, which is above the 200,000 minimum requirement for a highly urbanized city.

Margarito Redoña, executive assistant to Mayor Alfred Romualdez, said congressional action and referendum are needed to reclassify Tacloban.

In terms of income, he said the city is qualified since it has been generating around P300 million annually from real property tax, business tax, economic enterprise, fees and charges.

Tacloban has the biggest population among the seven cities in the Eastern Visayas region. It is followed by Ormoc City, 177,524; Calbayog City, 163,657; and Maasin City in Southern Leyte, 79,737.

Among the three new cities in the region, Baybay (Leyte) has the biggest population with 102,526 followed by Catbalogan (Samar) with 92,454 and Borongan (Eastern Samar) with 59,354.

Regionwide, the population increased 8% to 3.9 million from 3.6 million in 2000. The Eastern Visayas region is comprised of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar and Biliran provinces.

Mae Almonte, regional statistician of NSO-8, said this new population count placed Region 8 as the 10th largest populated region nationwide. - Lemuel L. Pagliawan, BusinessWorld






Apr 20, 2008

Kring-Kring Gonzalez leads clean-up drive in Tacloban

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A massive clean up drive was conducted in this city over the weekend with barangay (village) and city officials leading the activity.

The synchronized cleanliness campaign began at 6 a.m. and took place in all the 138 villages in the city.

"This synchronized barangay [village] clean-up day is actually a sort of a reminder to all of us to clean our surroundings. We have been doing this campaign to make the city clean," said Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, a former movie actress who is now the wife of Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

All the major creeks and rivers in the city were also cleaned during the activity.

Romualdez said that she hoped the campaign of making Tacloban a clean city would become a natural habit among the city's more than 200,000 residents.

She said that making the city clean and beautiful was not only the obligation of the local officials but also of all the people of the city.

Since he assumed office last year, cleaning up the city's main streets and highways has been one of Mayor Romualdez administration's priorities as more than 70 street sweepers are seen doing their job on a round-the-clock basis.

The activity coincided with the celebration of the Earth Month. Another synchronized clean-up campaign is to be done by the officials and members of the city's Sangguniang Kabataan on April 22, falling on the Earth Day celebration.

Jonathan Hijada, city environment officer, said that all the garbage collected during the synchronized clean up campaign were placed in areas accessible for easy collection by the garbage trucks of the city government.

He said that for the one-day clean up drive, about 75 tons of garbage were collected. The 70 tons of garbage represent the estimated garbage daily collection of the city.






Apr 16, 2008

NFA Leyte has 127,115 bags of rice, enough for 69 days consumption

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Mr. Agerico Blancaflor, Senior Grains Operations Officer of the National Food Authority (NFA) Leyte, informed the mayors of the Province of Leyte that as of April 1, the rice situation in the province is that there is a total supply of 682,190 bags of rice which is enough to meet the daily requirement for 54 days.

However, the number of rice bags available in the NFA has increased from the 88,070 on April 1 to 127,115 bags on April 10 with the arrival of 2 shipments at the Ormoc and Tacloban Ports.

Mr. Blancaflor said that this means that the supply of available rice from NFA, households and commercial sources as of April 10 is good for 69 days. The shipments are from Cebu, and part of the country's procurement from Vietnam.

With the impending world rice crisis, the NFA 8 is expecting that the NFA participation in the market will increase from the usual 12% market participation. Mr. Blancaflor said that NFA participation in the market has been very minimal so that it will not compete with the private rice retailers.

In response to the need to cushion the impact of the impending rice crisis in the world, the National Food Authority is now starting to source out locally.

It is in this aspect that NFA called on the mayors to help in the procurement operations by encouraging the farmers to sell their good palay to NFA.

Mr. Blancaflor said that the current buying price of NFA is P17.00, an increase of P6 from the usual buying price of P11.00 per kilo. He explained that the buying price is actually P11.00 plus P6.00 incentive to the farmer.

The selling price of NFA rice remains at P18.25 per kilo, Mr. Blancaflor said.

Another response of the NFA to the looming rice crisis is increasing the number of Tindahan Natin, Bigasan sa Palengke, Bigasan sa Parokya and Barangay Bagsakan (Barangay Food Terminals), which now numbers to 488.






Apr 16, 2008

Pintados gives way to new Tacloban City Festival

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In a board meeting Tuesday night of the officers and members of the Board of the Pintados Foundation Incorporated, the consensus is for the Pintados Festival to give way to the new festival, the Pasangyaw Festival as announced by the Tacloban City government. This means that the public will not see the Pintados Festival this coming fiesta of Tacloban.

The Pintados Board pointed out that the Pintados Festival was created in 1986, among others, to enliven the Feast of Senor Sto, Nino with or without hermano mayor, after a lull was experienced in the City Fiesta socio civic activities because of the non appearance of the then Hermano Mayor who had to scape the country because of the EDSA Revolution.

For twenty-one years, irregardless of who the Hermano Mayor is, the Pintados Foundation continued to stage the Pintados Festival which has already become a byword locally and internationally when the City of Tacloban is mentioned.

Now that the City of Tacloban under the leadership of Mayor Alfred Romualdez has decided to come up with a new festival, the Pintados Foundation deem it proper to give way to the new Pasangyaw Festival which will be participated in reportedly by various festivals coming from the various cities of the country who were personally invited by the Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his wife, City Councilor Cristina Romualdez.

The Board Officers, however, is willing to continue managing the annual Ms. Pintados Beauty Search, if there is sufficient fund.

The Pintados Foundation will also continue its community project which is the Street Children Program. It was learned that a handful of children are now enrolled in elementary and High School after the Foundation provided the street kids with the payment of school fees, supplies, uniforms and other needs including the regular feeding program. In fact, one child who was a beneficiary of the program of the Foundation started in the elementary level and is now enrolled in college.

Aside from the Festival, the Search for Miss Pintados and the Street Children project, the Foundation has also been sponsoring and intends to continue to sponsor the School Band Competition, Cheer Dance, Rayhak Banda and many others.

The meeting was presided over by the Chairman of the Board Agustin Uykim, and attended by President Eugene Tan, founding President Roque Tiu, Past Chairman Butch Veloso, Past President Wilson Uy, treasurer Junie Andrade, past treasurer Henry Gosyco, and board secretary Evelina Acevedo.

According to the Foundation Officers, the Pintados Festival survived all the obstacles in its 21 years of continued and sustained staging of the Annual event during the vespers of the Fiesta of Tacloban. It has received acceptance and recognition in fact the City Government of Tacloban through its Legislative Body which passed and approved a Resolution declaring Pintados Festival as the Tacloban City Festival every June 29.




Apr 13, 2008

Job fairs up in Tacloban

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A series of job fairs are to be conducted by the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment in Eastern Visayas to counter an expected increase in the region's unemployment rate following the entry into the labor force of new graduates.

The regional unemployment rate now stands at 3.2 percent but this is expected to increase with more than 17,000 new graduates looking for jobs, DOLE regional director Forter Puguon said.

This month, the job fairs are to be held at the University of the Philippines-Tacloban campus on April 22 and at the DOLE-8 compound the following day.

A two-day job fair will be held on April 24 and 25 at the Eastern Visayas State University.

The job fairs are intended for first-time job seekers.

This means that in all these job fairs, participating business establishments will not be looking for an applicant's work experience, Puguon pointed out.

"Holding these jobs fairs is part of our role in employment facilitation," Puguon said.

The regional labor director admitted, however, that finding jobs for new graduates in the region is difficult considering the lack of employment opportunities in Eastern Visayas, leading many to look for jobs abroad.

"While it is not a government policy for our people to work overseas, we keep it as an option. For those who cannot be absorbed locally, the alternative is for them to look for overseas employment," Puguon said.






Apr 09, 2008

Tacloban City offers reward for information on rice hoarders

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government has vowed to run after rice hoarders, offering rewards to those who would provide information that would lead to their apprehension, its mayor said.

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez said on Wednesday that he asked the city police to monitor the rice situation here and look at the possible hoarding by rice retailers and traders.

"We are warning them not to take [advantage of the] situation as the full force of the law will be meted against them. I have already asked our PNP [Philippine National Police] members to help monitor the situation. And so far, we have yet to hear any [cases of] hoarding in the city," Romualdez said.

Romualdez said he would revoke the business permit of a rice trader or seller found to be hoarding rice.

He added the rice hoarder would also face criminal charges.

Romualdez also asked the people to report to his office or the city police any cases of hoarding.

To help the campaign against rice hoarding, he said the city government would offer a reward to anybody who would report cases of hoarding.

However, Romualdez said the city had yet to set the amount of the cash reward.

The mayor issued the warning against rice hoarders as prices of rice in the markets here have gone up steadily for several weeks.

The National Food Authority (NFA) rice was still sold at P18.25 a kilo but the prices of commercial rice ranges from P30 to as high as P39 per kilo. People lining up in the different NFA outlets in the different public markets had become a normal site in the city.

Commercial rice used to be sold from P20 to P28 a kilo before the reported supply shortage arose.

However, Romualdez said on Wednesday that there was no rice shortage in Tacloban City despite the increases in the prices of rice.

He also said he would convene the city's price monitoring council within the week so that it could help watch over the prices of rice here.

The members of the council come from the city agriculture office, the city local operations office, the city police and the Department of Trade and Industry.

The city agriculture office (CAO) revealed that it monitored increases in other agricultural and fishery products such as vegetables.

The city also gets its food supply from other parts of the region and outside Central Visayas, which could have been the reason for the rising prices, according to CAO.






Apr 09, 2008

Feature: Residential building construction costs P5,022/sqm, NSO Leyte says

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- National Statistics Office (NSO) Leyte Provincial Statistics Officer Wilma Perante informed that during the first quarter of 2007, the average cost per square meter for residential building construction was P5,022.

Ms. Perante disclosed that the statistics was based on the aggregate value for residential building construction during the first quarter which reached P101.5 million for a total floor area of 20.2 thousand square meters.

Meanwhile, in the case of non-residential building construction, Ms. Perante through Ms. Bernadette Montana, said that the total value was estimated at P64.6 million for a total floor area of 13.8 thousand square meters.

This boils down to P4,693 as the average cost per square meter in constructing a non-residential building with a floor area of 13.8 thousand square meters, Ms. Perante added.

In the first quarter of 2007, the construction of commercial buildings topped all the other types of non-residential buildings with 24 applications reported, Ms. Perante disclosed.

The aggregate value of for commercial buildings construction was P36.8 million or an average cost per square meter placed at P5,799, Ms. Perante said.

These statistics will serve as a guide to planners and engineers and people who are thinking of constructing residential buildings or non residential buildings.

For more information, those interested may call the Leyte Provincial Statistics Office at telephone numbers 323-2110 or 523-1370. Interested parties may also visit the office at Yuhoo Ventures, Building C, Marasbaras, Tacloban City.






Apr 09, 2008

Japanese consul visits Tanauan riding a tricycle; Japanese volunteer doctor arrives in a PUJ

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Tanauan, Leyte Mayor Roque Tiu and the employees of the Local Government Unit had the surprise of their life when First Secretary and Consul Shigekazu Sakunaga of the Consular Office of Japan in Cebu visited the town.

He arrived from Tacloban City riding a tricyle, Mayor Tiu exclaimed. This is the first time a diplomat and foreign officer arrived in this town riding in a public transport, a tricycle at that.

Mr. Sakunaga explained that he had Japanese friends in Tacloban, but he did not want to disturb them. Since he could not find a taxi, he took the tricycle instead.

Mayor Tiu said that Mr. Sakunaga was in town in order to monitor the Japanese volunteer, a nurse by the name of Sugami Azumi who has been doing volunteer service for eight months already, in Tanauan, Leyte.

Mayor Tiu admired the humility of the Japanese Consul, adapting so fast to the culture of the citizens of the locality, taking the tricycle, the means of transportation of the ordinary Leyteno.

Another surprise awaited Mayor Tiu because early this week, Ayako Shibata, a Japanese volunteer medical student who will do community emersion in Tanauan arrived from Manila taking the bus and from Tacloban, she arrived in Tanauan riding in a public utility jeep. Mayor Tiu said he could only smile in amazement.

It appears that the Japanese Consul was contented with what he has seen in the municipality, he decided to send another volunteer to help the health sector in Tanauan in taking take of the health needs of the people in the municipality.

The instruction is for the volunteer, who is a graduating medical student in Japan, to do some emersion work in the barangays. Thus, Mayor Tiu, decided to assign her to Barangay Calsadahay where the University of the Philippines Health Sciences students are also doing community work right now. These Health Sciences students are taking the ladderized system of education, Mayor Tiu said. They start as Barangay Health Working, Midwife and then rise up to graduating in Nursing and finally in Medicine.

The Local Government Unit of Tanauan welcomes the coming of volunteers from all over the world. In the past, the LGU had Peace Corps Volunteers and several batches of volunteers under the Volunteers for the Visayas coming from USA, England, Australia and Canada.






Apr 06, 2008

Tourist arrivals continue to grow in Eastern Visayas -- DoTs

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas reported that tourist arrivals in the region continue to increase, contributing to the regional economy in the process.

The DoT reported that 244,786 tourists visited the region in 2007, which resulted in tourist receipts of more than $5.22 million. Of the number, 47,400 were foreigners with North Americans and East Asians leading the visitors.

"We hope to surpass last year's record by at least 10 percent this year," said Karina Rosa Tiopes, regional tourism chief.

The 2007 tourist arrivals were a marked increase compared to the 203,569 tourists, who visited the region in 2006 that brought in $4.23 million in tourist receipts.

Eastern Visayas is composed of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar (Western Samar), and Southern Leyte.

Tiopes said the increasing trend of tourist arrivals in the region could be attributed to their aggressive campaign to promote Eastern Visayas as an adventure destination.

Tourists, she said, can enjoy the region's white beaches, wonderful caves, and waterfalls for their "adventure activities."

Among the tourist attractions the DoT is pushing in the region are the Sohoton National Park located in Basey, Samar, which is rich in geological features such as caves, underground rivers, and limestone boulders; and the Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, which is being promoted as a surfing area.

Tiopes also credited the cooperation extended by the local government units in the region which have been doing their own share in promoting their respective tourist destinations.

The tourism regional chief, however, said some municipalities in the region have yet to give priority to promoting their areas as tourism destinations or have no ordinances that could help their localities attract tourists.

To boost tourism promotion by local government units, DoT-8 will spearhead on April 25 a regional forum to be attended by members of the city, municipal, and provincial legislative councils.

Tiopes said the one-day forum would aim to help local legislators come up with ordinances, resolutions, or codes that would set the guidelines in the promotion of the tourism industry in their respective areas.

Expected to attend the forum are Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano and Senator Loren Legarda, vice chairperson of the Senate's committee on tourism, according to Tiopes.






Apr 05, 2008

Tacloban execs see no reason to monitor rice prices

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government here does not see a need to activate its price monitoring council for now although officials are concerned about the rising prices of the commodity.

City administrator Jimmy Yaokasin said that, contrary to reports, the city had an adequate supply of rice.

"We don't have any rice shortage. What we are experiencing right now is price increase, especially the commercial rice," Yaokasin said.

Yaokasin said there was no basis yet to activate the local price monitoring council, which is chaired by Mayor Alfred Romualdez, as they have not received any instruction or request from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Earlier, both the regional offices of the Department of Agriculture, which chairs the regional price monitoring council, and the National Food Authority called on all local government units in the region to activate price coordinating councils amid spiraling rice prices.

Yaokasin said that even if the city's price monitoring council were activated, there was nothing much it could do to stop the rise in prices in light of the perceived impending scarcity.

He said that the long lines of people at National Food Authority outlets should not be used as a basis for saying there was a shortage.

"These people are looking for a bargain, that is why they prefer to buy NFA rice," he said.

A kilo of NFA rice is sold at P18.25 while rice at commercial outlets sells for up to P28 to P35 a kilo.

A rice trader in the city, who requested not to be identified by name, said his sales have gone down since NFA flooded the market with rice. After the price spiral began, the provincial office of the NFA has been delivering 10 to 15 bags of the staple grain to accredited rice retailers in the city.

The city's supply of commercial rice come from other places such as Iloilo, Yaokasin said.




    
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