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FEB (01-28) 2010 TACLOBAN NEWS
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Feb 23, 2010

Vice mayor's daughter defends father

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

PALO, Leyte -- A daughter of City Vice Mayor Arvin Antoni claimed that her father was simply "too good" to be accused as a gun-toting person who even his own wife could be his possible victim.

And as she defended her father, Kaye Dominique, 18, point to politics as the reason why even on what she called a "family problem" has become a media subject.

"Please spare our father, our family. And no matter what, I will always be with my (father)," the Nursing student in an emotional outburst said in a press conference Sunday afternoon.

The daughter of Antoni claimed that she herself called for a press conference to defend her father who was accused no less than by his wife to have poked a gun at her during a heated argument and carrying an affair with other women.

Antoni, who is seeking for a reelection in this year's elections, "fetched" his daughter as the press conference was about end. He will soon call a press conference to air his side, the vice mayor said, adding that his lawyer advised him not to issue any statement on the issue at hand for now.

Antoni is being accused by his wife of poking a gun at her in one of their heated arguments, hurt her physically and psychologically for several times and carrying illicit affairs with other women during their marriage.

She sought for the temporary protection order as provided for under Republic Act 9662 which gives protection to women and children against commission of violence before the courts which could prohibit her husband go near with her and stop any further harassment against her.

The wife is also seeking for the custody of their two young children.

But the couple's eldest sibling, said that she was surprised that the "family problem" has been played by the media as she vigorously defender her father.

"Papa is a good father to us all his children. He is always there for us. I will never leave him," Kaye Dominique said.

"It pains me so much that we are facing this kind of problem. This is just a family problem; no family is perfect," she added.

She admitted that her parents were no longer in good terms and in fact been separated since 2004.

The young Antoni, who is studying in a Nursing school in Cebu City, also admitted that she is not in speaking terms with her mother and her two siblings. And whenever she returns to Tacloban, she stays with her father.

Asked how she will describe her mother, the young Antoni did not comment.

She accuses the political rivals of her father why their problem has been exposed to media and why her mother filed a petition before the courts.

Last Friday night, the Leyte Samar Daily Express chanced upon Antoni's wife at a concert venue for possible statements from her but she politely turned the request down.

But based on her nine page- petition she filed last Feb.16, she accused her husband of poking a gun at her, and for physical and emotional violence on her.

The vice mayor is also being accused of "intentionally" of not paying the amortization before the Pag-Ibig which resulted for the foreclosure of the house.






Feb 21, 2010

DOT investing in Eastern Visayas as next tourist draw

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano said the Department of Tourism has been providing the necessary support to make Eastern Visayas one of the major tourism destinations in the country.

Durano mentioned the Sohoton Cave in Basey, Samar and the Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, as among the region's natural assets that could draw tourists in.

Eastern Visayas could be promoted as an eco-tourism destination, Durano said Friday as he briefed members of the media from the Visayas and other parts of Luzon on the super regions program of the national government.

The activity was held in Malacañang, which was also attended by Press Secretary Crispulo Icban and officials of the Presidential Management Staff.

Durano said he saw Eastern Visayas as the next success story just like Bicol region which has been enjoying a tourism boom.

He said Eastern Visayas was just like Bicol four years ago, when it was struggling to make itself a tourism haven.

Bicol, particularly Camarines Sur, had the biggest number of tourist arrivals in 2009, next to Cebu with more than 1.56 million, Durano revealed. Its main attraction is the various sites it has developed for water sports.

Durano also downplayed the peace and order situation in Eastern Visayas being a hindrance to its promotion as a tourist destination. The region is still struggling to end the armed conflict between the government troops and the members of the New People's Army but Durano thought the problem would not necessarily stop tourism commerce and development in the region.

Durano said the tourism department has been trying to improve the facilities to make Sohoton Cave more accessible to tourists. Trails and lights are being put up inside the cave to welcome visitors, according to Durano. A port has been planned for construction and P7 million has been allotted for the improvement, Durano said.

Calicoan Island could be promoted not only as a site for water sports like surfing but also as an eco-tourism destination because of its still lush vegetation, the tourism secretary said.

He said that to make the island draw in more tourists, the DOT could help the developer of the island by agreeing to subsidize air flights there.

Durano, however, said that Calicoan Island should be promoted on its own merit and not as a copycat of other tourist islands like the popular Boracay in Aklan.

"It should not be promoted as the next Boracay or what. It should be promoted as it is. It will not help any if it will be promoted as such as tourists will always prefer the original," Durano said.






Feb 10, 2010

Leyte project to expand
amid high demand

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The first residential subdivision project of Camella Homes here is almost sold out.

Camella Homes, the first Manila-based property developer to venture in Leyte, said about 80% of the planned 200 house-and-lot units have been sold. The project will be turned over to buyers within the year.

With the positive turnout, Camella Homes general manager for Leyte Geraldine S. Gascon said the project would be expanded by at least three hectares. The company is eyeing lots adjacent to the nine-hectare property acquired by parent Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. for the project. Vista Land is the holding company of four business units -- Brittany, Crown Asia, Camella Homes and Communities Philippines.

"Many people here want bigger homes with unique amenities because they want to step up in life. They are excited to live there. This is one of our fastest-growing projects in the country," Ms. Gascon told BusinessWorld.

Camella Homes launched its Leyte project a year ago. The project is located in Brgy. Campetic, Palo, Leyte.

"About 15 units have been completed and 60 units are now under construction. Many families want to transfer there but we have to make sure they will have value for their money," Ms. Gascon said.

Sizes of the houses range from 44 to 96 square meters (sq. m.) while lots range from 70 to 110 sq. m. Prices are from P1.2 million to P3.5 million.






Feb 09, 2010

LMWD to complete P25-M boosting project within first quarter of 2010

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) assured that the P25 million in-line boosting project will be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2010 in the bid to enhance water pressure in this city.

In an interview, LMWD General Manager Nestor P. Villasin said that he told contractors to fast track the project seen to address the old-aged problem of low water pressure in the region's capital city.

"This is a big project. That was designed to increase pressure to Tacloban. With this technology, we will push water to arrive to the city earlier," said Villasin, adding that the current flow relies mainly on gravity from the source in Brgy. Tingib, Pastrana, Leyte.

The project was started last December 2009 with a budget coming from the income of the water district. The LMWD launched the project after it was duly endorsed by the Local Water Utilities Authority.

The project is located at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte, a property owned by the provincial government.

Villasin told Leyte Samar Daily Express that there will be no water rate increase since they don't have to pay loans to finance the project.

"There will be an increase in the cost of power with this project but we have planned measures so it won't result to rate adjustments," he added.

The water pressure boosting will adopt the "second best technology" from Germany with made-to-order pumps from the said country, the official claimed.

"We are confident that this will improve our service. We won't operate this at a full capacity considering the limitation of pipes but we are prepared in anticipation of possible leaks," he added.

The low water pressure to the city, according to the general manager, is attributed to withdrawals in other towns of Leyte covered by the water district. Tacloban is the last area that receives water supply from the source.

"Sometimes the water level off with the ground that's why the pressure is low," he stressed.

Another factor is that the number of concessionaires served is more than the 12,000 household capacities that LMWD provides.

This year, it has listed over 19,000 connections in Tacloban City and 28,000 concessionaires in the towns of Dagami, Tolosa, Tabontabon, Sta. Fe, Pastrana, Tanauan, and Palo, all in Leyte . Based on last year's computation, Tacloban, which accounts 70% of the water delivery, has been experiencing 25% deficiency.

Approximately 30,000 cubic meter of potable water is delivered to the LMWD service area every day with the main bulk of supply coming from the Rapid Filtration Plant in Pastrana, Leyte .

Another source is the water sedimentation plant coming from Hiabangan and Hitugnob rivers in Dagami town.






Feb 09, 2010

8 grand finalists to vie for ultimate singing sensation

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte's increasing pool of singing talents is set to grow again as eight grand finalists have been chosen Sunday at the RTR Plaza who would be vying for the title as the ultimate singing sensation in the Season 5 Search for Leyte IDOL with the Grand Finals set this March.

This year's Grand Finalists, three are from Tanauan, Leyte, three from Ormoc City, one from Baybay City and another from Tacloban City.

The newest batch of Grand Finalists include 22-year-old law student Julius Modesto; senior high school student Janine Creer of Assumption Academy in Tanauan; 15-year -old high school student Maryrose Modesto of Tanauan National High School; Ormoc lass Jessa Mae Tagolino; 18-year-old belter May Obando; 16-year-old Kristine Ricarte also of Ormoc; Tacloban songster Melanie Tejano and Reginald Detabali of Baybay City.

During Sunday's Leyte IDOL edition, Detabali emerged at the top among the eight finalists.

The eight finalists were the result of months of searching where the champion would have the chance to take home P200,000.00 worth of prizes and the chance to be Leyte's singing sensation for 2010.

Already, the eight finalists have underwent drama and theater workshop to prepare themselves for the local limelight and entertainment. As has been in the previous search, whether the finalists get the top three winning spots in the contest or not, they get to be included in Leyte IDOL's talent pool and are given regular exposures in various shows in and out of the province.

Meanwhile, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho "Icot" Petilla is inviting all to witness the Grand Finals set initially on March 21. The governor vows to continue to discover singing talents and help them develop and explore their potentials for personal development and later for professional practice and believes that talents should have no borders.

IDOL stands for Icot's Dream of Leyte, an initiative of Leyte Gov. Jerichol "Icot" Petilla, even as the title itself was a spin off from the popular US show "American Idol."

In last year's Season 4 of the Leyte IDOL Search, the competition was opened for the first time to potential contestant-artists outside Leyte province that included other places of Region 8, Leyte and Samar islands.






Feb 05, 2010

City gov't to implement 9
infra projects worth P23M

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government here will undertake this month the implementation of nine infrastructure projects worth more than P 23 million in different areas of the city.

These soon-to-be implemented projects include five barangay infrastructure projects costing P9.5 million that are targeted to be completed by April of this year, according to Executive Assistant Eduardo Manadong.

These projects for the barangays, Manadong said, are the construction of 200-meter covered walk (phase 1) in Brgy. 50-A (Youngfield) with an allocation of P1 million; rehabilitation/construction of main drainage system in Brgy. 84-RJD Subdivision with a budget of P4 million; P2 million cleaning and reconditioning of existing waterways (Tigawon 1-V&G Creek) in V&G; and road reblocking in Brgy. 109 (V& G Subd.) with a budget of P2 million.

The city official disclosed that the said projects, which are priorities of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, have already been bidded out and that the winning contractors and the City Engineer's Office (CEO) are just waiting for the Notice to Proceed.

"Once the notice will be given, their implementation will start immediately," Manadong said.

The remaining four projects, according to Manadong, involve the improvement of City Hall structure and grounds and the completion of a major infrastructure pushed by City Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez.

These projects are the improvement of Mayor's Office and Visitor's Lounge with a funding allocation of P3.6 million; improvement of 1st and 2nd Floor Lobby Area and BAC Office with a budget of P2 million; P 3.7 million site development (asphalting and grass matting) of Balyuan Park; and the completion of the first-ever Women's Shelter in the city with a budget of P5 million.

"Same with the barangay projects, contracts to build the aforementioned citywide projects have already been awarded to the winning bidders, and their implementation is scheduled to begin anytime this February," Manadong ended.






Feb 05, 2010

Camella Leyte sold out 80% of its 200 envisioned units before it will be opened

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte's first national home developer has already sold out 80% of its envisioned 200 housing units eight months before it will be opened to occupants.

Camella Leyte General Manager Geraldine S. Gascon said with the positive turnout, they are looking at expanding to at least three hectares in adjacent lots beyond the nine-hectare property acquired by Vista Land.

"Many people here want bigger homes with unique amenities because they want to step up in life. They are excited to live there. This is one of our fastest growing project in the country," Gascon told Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Camella Communities launched its Leyte project a year ago located in Brgy. Campetic, Palo, Leyte. The expansion was driven with timely and advance payment from homeowners, she added.

"We're surprised with the very good turnout here in Leyte. It's an indication that we are a trusted brand. We are really working out for expansion," the official said.

Occupants are expected to live in their new homes on the third quarter of 2010 as the property developer is still working to build more units and provide needed facilities and amenities.

Among the amenities are community club house, swimming pool, basketball court, children's playground, an environment for quality family time, landscaped parks and gardens and modern and functional home designs that make good investments sense.

Camella has initially envisioned to build over 200 units along the national highway in Brgy. Campetic, Palo, next town from this city. Last October 2009, the company opened its five model houses for public viewing.

"About 15 units are already completed and 60 units are now under construction. Many families want to transfer there but we have to make sure they will have the value for money," Gascon added.

The company said that the good opportunity in Leyte was attributed with the increasing demand coming from overseas Filipino workers and even retirees.

Home sizes ranges from 44 to 96 square meters (sqm) with lot sizes from 70 to 110 sqm. The houses are well-designed and well-built, but affordable in prices so that many Filipinos can afford to buy and own their homes. Prices are pegged between P1.2 million to P3.5 million.

About five years ago, Vista Land launched the La Pradera in Brgy. Tambulilid, Ormoc City with over 100 units.

Vista Land , the country's largest homebuilder, is the holding company of four business units - Brittany Crown, Crown Asia, Camella Homes and Communities Philippines.

As one of the four subsidiaries of Vista Land , Camella Communities builds residential communities outside of Mega Manila with its current developments in cities and municipalities from northern Luzon to southern Mindanao . The company claimed having the widest geographic coverage among all local home developers.

The subdivision has been present in Pangasinan, Isabela, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Leyte, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos.

Being the largest housing developer in the country, Camella is present in 14 provinces and 21 municipalities and cities nationwide.






Feb 04, 2010

Alfred warns against joining group named after Imelda

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez strongly issues a warning to the public not to be deceived and fall prey to a group which claimed to give a bounty if they will enlist themselves to their group named after his aunt, former first lady Imelda Marcos.

The scheme is nothing but a big hoax designed to deceive the people at the expense of the family, Romualdez said Tuesday night.

"There is no such group. There was never such a group," Romualdez said when reached on his mobile phone, denying the existence of such group.

The group, identified as Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos 21K, is said to be recruiting people in exchange of P1 million purportedly taken from the Marcos fund.

The nephew of the flamboyant former first lady said that the issue may be a handiwork of some unscrupulous individuals who wanted to dupe the innocent people.

The city mayor said that the mere fact that the group is said to give a huge sum of money is already a reason to doubt the motive and existence of such a group.

"Why, are they in any way doing some (money giving) like a sweepstakes," Romualdez said, laughing.

"There is no group in the world which will give away such a huge amount by just becoming their members," he added.

His wife, Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, also echoed her observations, saying that the money being offered by the group is big enough for one to easily believe their intention.

She added that during the recent visit here in the region of Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, he never mentioned of such group.

"I myself I don't have any idea of such a group," the councilor said.

A check of various sites at the Internet revealed on the existence of a group called Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos and not Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos 21K.The members of the former were composed of Marcos loyalists and former members of so-called "Blue Ladies," women associated with the former first lady.

But while Mayor Romualdez dismissed the existence of the group, he still urged the public not to believe them and fall victims to them.

Romualdez also said that he also heard of the same thing almost 10 years ago.

"There was also a group which claimed that they will give huge amount of money by just joining their group," he said. Romualdez did not name the said group though.

The city mayor also suspected that the "lie" may be circulated around to "destroy'" the name of the Marcoses.

The former first lady is seeking for a congressional seat representing the second district of Ilocos Norte in this year's elections. She was once a congressional representative of Leyte, her birthplace.

Her son, Bongbong, is gunning for a Senate seat while daughter Imee is seeking for the gubernatorial post of Ilocos Norte province.

The mayor himself is seeking for a second term with his father, Bejo, as his running mate.






Feb 03, 2010

Public warned vs Imelda
group offering cash

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A nephew of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos on Thursday warned people against a group that has been luring new members with an offer of up to P1 million in cash bonanzas.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the Romualdezes don't have anything to do with the group Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos (FIRM) 24k, which has been recruiting members in Camarines Sur, offering P700,000 to P1 million in cash to members who would be admitted before the May 10 elections.

"The scheme is nothing but a big hoax designed to deceive the people at the expense of the (Romualdez) family," said the mayor. "There is no such a group. There was never such a group."

He urged people to shun the group, saying unscrupulous individuals may be behind it.

He said people should be wary of the group's offer to give away up to P1 million in cash.

Leaders of FIRM 24k are recruiting members in Camarines Sur and lobbying for accreditation from local authorities.

"It may quack like a duck but is it really a duck?" said Naga City Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado.

The group is claiming to have 20,000 members in Camarines Sur alone.

Emily Gutierrez, who introduced herself as assistant regional coordinator of FIRM 24k, said each group member would be entitled to P700,000 to P1 million in shares from the Marcos wealth after the May 10 elections.




    
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