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Jun 30, 2010

Leyte governor eyes regional post to boost tourism

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla has announced he was interested in becoming the next chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) for Eastern Visayas, to be in position to improve the tourism industry of the region.

“I am eyeing the RDC [chairmanship] and I have already told [the incoming] President,” the Leyte governor said on Monday.

Based on Executive Order 325, the President will appoint the RDC chairman and co-chairman from the nominees submitted by the council that include at least two local chief executives and two private sector representatives.

The RDC is composed of regional directors of various government departments, private sector, mayors of capital towns, city mayors and governors.

Petilla said that his desire to chair the mainly collegiate regional body stemmed from his vision of further promoting the tourism industry not only of Leyte but of the entire region.

“We cannot achieve our goal of promoting the tourism industry of Leyte without promoting the rest of Eastern Visayas,” Petilla said.

Petilla is about to start his third and last term as Leyte governor.

Aside from promoting the tourism sector of the province, Petilla said he would like to draw in more investments to Leyte, especially the business process outsourcing types or call centers, to be able to generate jobs.

He, however, said agriculture would not be forgotten, noting that most parts of the province remained agricultural.

Petilla, who is affiliated with Lakas-Kampi, supported the presidential bid of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, instead of the party’s standard-bearer, Gilbert Teodoro. However, he has not officially joined the Liberal Party.

So far only Petilla, who is now on his third and last term as governor, has signified interest in chairing the RDC. The current RDC chairman is outgoing Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, who was elected congressman of Samar’s first district.

The RDC still has to schedule its elections for chairmanship and other officials.

The RDC-8, which counts 96 members, serves, among others, as a policy and recommending body related to programs and projects in the region that needs support, mostly funding, from the national government.





June 28, 201
0

Feature:
A long way for Pintados-Kasdyaan festival

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival has gone a long way, all the nine participants this year are qualified to join the Aliwan Festival in December, Ms. Ellen Fullido of Manila Broadcasting Company and Aliwan Festival exclaimed after watching the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival in honor of Santo Nino, on June 27 at the Leyte Sports Development Center.

Hearing the remarks of Ms. Fullido, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla was quick to say that only the first two winners will join the Aliwan this year. Knowing how much is spent in bringing festival contingents to Metro Manila, it is no wonder that the Governor, who runs the Provincial Government of Leyte, the way he runs his lucrative family business, had a ready reply.

Ms. Fullido is a familiar face in the Pintados-Kasadyaan annual festival because she comes every year, a ready letter in hand to invite the winners of the Festival.

This year's festival championship trophy went once again to Abuyog, Leyte's Buyugan Festival, one time Aliwan Festival Champion and Sinulog Festival Champion.

Coming in as the first runner up is Dulag, Leyte's Karatong Festival which won fourth place in the Aliwan Festival 2009. The second runner up trophy was awarded to the Viajedores Festival of La Paz, Leyte.

The third runner up in this year's festival is the Pasaka Festival of Tanauan, Leyte while the Pinilipig Festival of Sta. Fe, Leyte was awarded the fourth runner-up trophy.

Nine festivals participated in this year's spectacular Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival which never fails to make Leytenos proud of their rich culture.

Among the seven Pintados tribes, the championship award was presented to the Tribu SPAS Tanauan which is a community youth group in Tanauan, Leyte. The second place went to Tribu Buskada while the third place was bagged by the Kasiruman.

Per the permit granted by the City of Tacloban, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival street dancing parade started right after the 7:30 in the morning mass at the Leyte Sports Development Center.

For the first time in the Pintados Festival's 24 years of existence and in the Kasadyaan Festival's 15 years of existence, the city of Tacloban only allowed them to take the route only until Burgos Street for reasons that the three other main streets will be used by the City's Sikad-sikad race.

Despite such predicament, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival parade was just as if not more spectacular as in the past years. Only allowed to use one lane of the narrow Burgos Street, the organizers led by Mayor elect Remedios Petilla who is the chairman of the festivities this year and the youthful Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, lauded the spectators who provided enough space to the participants to do their street dancing.

The spectators did not complain despite the heat of the sun and the inconvenience caused by the narrow streets and spaces in the routes.

 






June 21, 2010

Another investor may be needed to develop Leyte hotel, guv says

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said that the Provincial Government of Leyte may scout for another investor to develop the province-owned MacArthur Park Beach Resort. Governor Petilla made the comment during a Harampang Ha PIA media interview at the Gerry's Grill in Tacloban.

The Governor expressed apprehension over the capability of the developer to beat the deadline which has been set for October this year, for the rehabilitation work on the province-owned MacArthur Park Beach Resort.

The P300-million rehabilitation of the MacArthur Park Beach Resort Hotel has been momentarily stalled, Governor Petilla disclosed.

The Singaporean-backed conglomerate LKY Property Holdings is saddled with other projects such as the rehabilitation of the Mayon Imperial Hotel in Legazpi City, Albay and another project in Camarines Sur, the governor added.

Governor Petilla said that if the work schedule has been followed, by this time there should already have been villas erected even as construction of the hotel's main building is started next month to end by September this year.

As it is, the governor expressed doubt that the developer has followed the construction schedule and that it could finish the project as stated in the agreement.

Failure by the developer to finish the job as agreed could be considered as breach of contract, he added.

Governor Petilla said the two parties, the Provincial Government of Leyte and the developer, may have to discuss again the terms of the 25-year contract to rehabilitate and turn the property into a world-class hotel.

Governor Petilla pointed out that the Province of Leyte was losing about P400 to P700 thousand per month subsidizing the operations of the MacArthur Park Beach Resort before. This same amount is what the Provincial government is saving in contracting the service of a private company to develop and manage the same, Governor Petilla added.






June 20, 2010

Leyte guv takes oath before Supreme Court administrator

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla disclosed that he will take his oath of office on June 28 before Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

At the Harampang Ha PIA held recently at Gerry's Grill, Governor Petilla bared that the oath taking will be conducted at 9:00 o'clock in the morning at the Provincial Capitol Terrace.

The other provincial officials to include Vice Governor Mimyet Bagulaya and the Provincial Board Members from the five Districts of Leyte, will also take their oath before the Supreme Court Administrator.

Governor Petilla intimated that several mayors and several Tacloban City councilors will also take their oath of office on the same day before the Supreme Court Administrator.

Governor Petilla who is in his third and last term as Governor of Leyte, ran unopposed in the just concluded elections.






June 11, 2010

Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival Park continues tradition,
opens June 12

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival Park opens on June 12, 2010 at 6:00 o'clock in the evening, Hon. Remedios L. Petilla, the chairperson of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals 2010, disclosed.

In a meeting conducted at the SMED Center at the Capitol Grounds, Hon. Petilla said that nightly shows will start on June 12, 2010, sponsored by various groups and sectors.

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival Park has become a tradition in this part of the country. Families come to the RTR Plaza for good food, good view, good entertainment and good family bonding.

The Grand Opening will start with the Ribbon Cutting will be done by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla and Hon. Remedios Petilla. They will be assisted by the Leyte Provincial Officials, Most Reverend Jose S. Palma, the Archbishop of Palo; the Agaton family who are the Hermanos Mayores, Congressman Bembem Noe, Congressman Neil Montejo, PA Cynthia Nierras, DOT Director Karen Tiopes, Dr. Evelyn Cruzada, Pintados President Eugene Tan and Hon. Roque Tiu who is the founding president of the Pintados Foundation, Inc. The program proper will include the welcome remarks of Hon. Petilla, the message of Governor Petilla and the closing remarks by Mrs. Aurora Villarente, the president of the Leyte Provincial Tourism, Culture and Arts Council.

The program proper will start with the singing of the Pambansang Awit. Honorable Remedios Petilla will give the welcome remarks. Honorable Roque Tiu and Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla will deliver their respective short messages.

After the program proper, cocktails will be served; after which, the crowd is invited to watch the breathtaking fireworks display.

The Leyte Section Band will provide the music for the festive evening. The audience will be entertained by the hilarious Leyte Provincial Capitol trio, Loloy, Trisha and Tsokolate.






Jun 10, 2010

Romualdezes spent
least in Leyte polls

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippine -- The Romualdezes who ran for various posts in Tacloban did not spend too much money for their campaign in the past elections, based on the statements of election expenditures and contributions they submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in this city.

Reelected Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez reported that he incurred expenses amounting to P46,350 during the May 10 elections while his wife, reelected Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, spent more than P119,000.

Romualdez’s father, Alfredo “Bejo,” said that he spent P87,877 during his failed bid to become the vice mayor of Tacloban.

In contrast, the other candidates spent more than the Romualdezes.

Mayoral candidate, Ranulfo Abellanosa, spent P210,490.73 for his campaign, much higher than the reported expenses of Mayor Romualdez while his running mate, reelected Vice Mayor Arvin Antoni, a lawyer by profession, reported campaign expenses of P303,003.
Meanwhile, reelected Councilor Jerry Yaokasin, who landed as number one among the Tacloban City council aspirants, reported election expenses of P251,860.

Councilor Romualdez, who topped the race during the 2007 elections, ranked second next only to Yaokasin in the recent elections.

Based on the Omnibus Elections Code, a candidate is allowed to spend P3 per voter. Tacloban has more than 101,000 registered voters, which meant a candidate could spend about P300,000.

The Comelec has extended the deadline for the submission of campaign expenditure reports from June 9 to June 24 to give more time to candidates who have yet to file the post-election requirement, Tacloban City Elections Office Rosemarie Ann Polistico said on Thursday.

 

 






Jun 09, 2010

Ombudsman orders suspension without pay of 9 DPWH officials

By Jun Ramirez

Manila Bulletin

The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has suspended for six months without pay nine officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for allegedly paying a construction firm in 2005 even before funds were officially released.

In an 11-page decision signed by Ombudsman Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez, the respondents were identified as former regional director and now undersecretary Jaime Pacanan and former Director III Celso Lumaniog.

The two officials were originally penalized only with reprimand but Gutierrez modified the ruling of her subordinates and imposed the six-month suspension.

"The respondents are guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and meted out the penalty of six months suspension from the service without pay," Gutierrez ruled.

Also suspended for six months were engineers Baltazar Ausa, Francisco Venigas Jr., Cristina Buena and Eduardo Pellas, administrative officer Erda Gabriana, senior bookkeeper Maria Regina Verzosa, and special agent Tomas Fabillo Jr. from the DPWH office in Tacloban City.

"Given their defenses and arguments, respondents failed to rebut the allegations in the complaint that a contract was awarded and funds were credited in payment thereof even before the release of fund allocation," the ruling stated.

Substantial evidence was found by the graft investigators and was concurred by Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez.






Jun 09, 2010

Developers sets turnover
of units in Tacloban

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The first Camella Homes subdivision here is almost complete, with the first batch of house-and-lot units to be turned over to owners in the third quarter.

About 80% of the initial 400 units have been sold out, said Camella Leyte marketing staff Mae Joy P. Serevilla. About three-fourths of the buyers are overseas Filipino workers or their relatives.

The buyers came from Leyte as well as from other parts of Eastern Visayas, she said.

"People from all parts of the region are buying Camella because of our strategic location, well-planned houses and themed community," Ms. Serevilla said.

Camella Leyte general manager Geraldine S. Gascon said they were surprised at the turnout for the project.

"It's an indication that we are a trusted brand," she said.

Amenities in the subdivision include a clubhouse, a swimming pool, basketball court, children's playground, and landscaped parks and gardens.

This is the first subdivision built by a Manila-based developer near Tacloban, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas.

 





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Jun 08, 2010

Making dreams come true

By Ron Delos Reyes

Malaya Business Insight

It seems only yesterday when Isuzu and TESDA announced the setting up of a school in Tacloban City in early 2008. In November that same year, I was among those who attended TESDA's inauguration of its sprawling campus just outside the city.

Funded by a P300 million grant from Isuzu Japan, the school has buildings for classrooms, mechanical shops, recreation and plenty of open space.

I was also impressed by the school's boys and girls dormitories good for about 100 as they were spacious and cozy and looked better than the dorm I stayed in during college.

Former TESDA deputy director-general and now Deputy Spokesman Rogelio Peyuan told me in an interview then that the school was comparable to the best technical training schools in Asia.

Isuzu chairman Yoshinori Ida who led the inauguration at that time came for another visit recently to welcome the fourth batch of scholars bringing the total Isuzu-TESDA scholars to 93.

New IPC president Ryoji Yamazaki who accompanied Ida in Tacloban said "This is our way of giving back to the society which has been very good to us."

Isuzu and the other car companies are definitely helping make dreams come true for the less privileged youth in the country. I'm excited to see the first batch of students graduate in October this year. Soon they will be breadwinners of their families.

According to IPC senior vice president Art Balmadrid, once the students graduate, they are free to apply not only in Isuzu plant and dealerships but also in other car companies and even get jobs abroad.






Jun 07, 2010

Call for Subiran Regatta
2010 participants

Philippine Information Agency



Tacloban City -- The Subiran Regatta Committee headed by Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu, is calling for individuals who would be interested to participate in the Subiran Regatta, in line with the forthcoming Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival 2010 for the feast of Santo Nino de Leyte.

Mayor Tiu said that once more, the Subiran Regatta will be conducted on June 28 at the Family Park along Magsaysay Boulevard in Tacloban City, as a special feature in this year's Leyte Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.

The Leyte Subiran Regatta is the first of its kind in the whole province of Leyte. First incepted in 1975, it revived the sailboat regatta as a sporting event.

A regatta, as defined by Webster's New World Dictionary, as a meeting for boat races. Subiran, in the Waray dialect means attractive and colorful native boats, slim outriggers with single sails, painted and decorated with buntings of many hues, commonly used by Visayan fishermen for fishing and traveling short distances along the coast.

This display of the art of sailing crafts is a much-awaited moment by Leyteños and Samareños.

Leyteños will flocked once more to the shore of Cancabato Bay along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard to witness this unique race of boats, which is considered to be environment-friendly because the fishermen use sails in running the boat.

Every year no less than 30 participants from Carigara and Tacloban (Leyte), Basey and Marabut (Western Samar), Biliran and even Eastern Samar join the competition.

Over a stretch of 8 nautical miles (approximately 15 kilometers), the racers, mostly fishermen themselves, outsmart each other to win big prizes at stake.

To ensure fairness, Mayor Tiu always assign the Region 8 coast guards at every point to record a certain area being reached.

In the words of Mayor Tiu, "Despite the rains and big waves, the participants bravely sail on. The boats run without the use of gasoline and engine. They are environment-friendly."

The aim of this competition was to enhance the skills of boatmen in the use of sails and more importantly, to promote tourism in the province of Leyte and Samar.

Interested participants for this year's Regatta are encouraged to register early. They may see Gilbert Eco at the Icot Caravan Office or call him up at 321- 4053 or 325-3080.






Jun 03, 2010

Legal battle on Balyuan property referred for mediation

Samar News.com - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- With the city and provincial governments' legal battle over the Balyu-an property now referred for mediation, Leyte Governor said that he is leaving the matter to his legal team to resolve the issue.

It was learned from the Regional Mediation Center of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan Region 8 that a mediation was originally set last May 29, 2010 between the city and the province over both cases filed by the two LGUs but has been reset to June 19, 2010.

However, the governor said he is hoping the case can be decided with soon finally so the property's ownership can be resolved.

"I just hope the case can be decided on soon. But I left this (case) with the provincial legal team to pursue the issue," Gov. Petilla disclosed.

In a recent talk with the media, Gov. Petilla said the province's stand remain that the property is owned by the province of Leyte and that the city government should honor an earlier agreement it entered into with the province.

The governor was referring to the August 26, 2004 memorandum of agreement signed by then city mayor, Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, the father of the incumbent mayor, for the city to use the property.

The said agreement expired in August 2009 or five years after it was signed, prompting the province to give notice to the city to vacate the property.

On the other hand, the city government has then contended that it may have no documents to prove its ownership but it has been in possession of the property for the longest time already.

The said property, largely known as Balyu-an, sits on a 6,941 square meter lot. The area houses a building where the offices of health, social welfare and assessor, among others, are located. The multi-million Balyu-an amphitheater is also located in the same contested area together with a convention area-cum-training center.

Gov. Petilla otherwise said that the memorandum entered into by the city with the province, signed by the then city mayor and concurred by the city council can hold its own over the province's claim on the said property.

Whether the court would decide for or against the province, the governor said in closing that he hopes the decision can be given by the court soon.






Jun 02, 2010

Works at historic MacArthur Hotel may not meet deadline, province to look for other investors

Samar News.com - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- As rehabilitation work at the MacArthur Park Beach Resort Hotel is stalled, the provincial government of Leyte is giving the Singaporean-backed conglomerate LKY Property Holdings to finish the rehabilitation by October this year.

However, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said during the recent Harampang ha PIA, he doubts works will be finished and meet up with the expected deadline.

More likely, he said, the two parties, the province and the developer, may have to go back to discussing again the terms of the 25-year contract to rehabilitate and turn the property into a world-class hotel under a more or less P300 million investment.

With the developer's failure to finish up the job as agreed, the governor added, can be constituted as ‘breach of contract'.

"That's what we have to further discuss. We are giving them the deadline till October," the governor said.

He likewise disclosed partly the reason why rehabilitation works were stalled was that the same conglomerate is rehabilitating the Mayon Imperial Hotel in Legazpi City, Albay, another in Camarines Sur and has already invested in millions with the said projects.

If the schedule was followed, Gov. Petilla said, by this time there should already have been villas erected while construction of the hotel's main building was being expected to commence between July to September this year.

"As it is now, I don't think the schedule was followed and I doubt they could finish up on the date stated in our agreement," Gov. Petilla said.

With this situation, the province is already scouting for other interested and willing investors who can turn the property into a world-class hotel to entice more tourism activity into the province.

To recall, the provincial government initiated the turn over of the hotel some years back before the Philippine Tourism Authority could declare it not to be earning enough revenue to continue operation.

The hotel has not seen that much improvements under the PTA then because, as with other PTA-run hotels in the country, requests for materials for the hotel was centralized and takes time before the request is fully catered to.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo then directed the provincial government to take over the management and operations in January 2009, built by then First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos in the town of Palo, Leyte, and sequestered by the government after the Edsa Revolution in 1986.

The governor however remains optimistic that Leyte still remains as an alternative tourism destination, being a safe destination where people can relax.

Considered a landmark in the province, Gov. Petilla said, the historic Mac Arthur Park Hotel can offer it all if it has all the needed facility to better its services and lure more tourists with better options.






Jun 02, 2010

Leyte governor backs sex education to prevent teen pregnancies

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla has expressed support for the integration of sex education in the basic curriculum as a way of addressing teenage pregnancy and the prevalence of pre-marital sex among the young.

The Department of Education's plan to integrate sex education in this school year's curriculum has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church over worries that the lectures might be mishandled and might not be age-appropriate.

But Petilla said on Wednesday that sex education as a way to enlighten students on the disadvantages has been badly needed in Leyte, which has posted one of the highest rates of pre-marital sex among teenagers.

Based on the 2004 data from the regional office of the Commission on Population, four out of 10 young adults in Leyte have been engaging in pre-marital sex. The data on teenage pregnancy, though, was not available.

But Petilla said he had encountered many cases of young, unwed mothers in his various visits to the municipalities of Leyte.

In one instance, he learned that out of the 35 young pregnant mothers who visited a birthing place he inaugurated recently, only five of them had partners.

"All the rest, the (fathers) were unknown," Petilla said.

Petilla said schools and communities must address the education of young women so they could save themselves from lives of wasted potential.

But Father Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Palo, said the Catholic Church was standing by its statement that sex education must be taught by the parents to their young.

"We are opposing it on the grounds that such education is the primary concern of the parents and not of the government," Alvero said on Wednesday.

Alvero described sex as "sensitive" topic that only parents should handle.

Alvero's concern was also shared by Conchita Nardo, whose granddaughter is a fifth grader at the Rizal Central School in Tacloban City.

In a separate interview Tuesday, Nardo said the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum could encourage children to experiment.




    
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