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MAY (23-31) 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS


HOME » TACLOBAN NEWS
BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION


 
>>> MAY (23-31) 2008 <<<


Local news for
Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
continually updated.

Definitive Source of News and Information about the Tacloban region.

 




May 31, 2008

Model EV student holds to education as way out of poverty

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Dilapidated classrooms, old books, lack of teachers - these are the problems that continuously hound public schools in Metro Manila and in most parts of the country.

But these do not hinder students in Eastern Visayas to excel. The region has consistently topped the National Achievement Test for the past five years.

Aside from the classroom problems, most students here however are impoverished.

Just like Jennifer Abella.

She has been a consistent honor student in a rural high school in Tacloban City.

She takes a 30-minute walk almost everyday just to be able to attend school..

"Pag may pera ang magulang ko, binibigyan kami tapos sumasakay kami. Pag hindi, pag walang pera, naglalakad lang, naglalakad ng malayo, said Abella.

It is still more than a week before the opening of classes but Jennifer has started reading her books. And this, while attending to her younger siblings and doing household chores.

"Pag wala na akong tinatrabaho, nagbabasa. Mayron naman kaming mga aklat diyan na galing sa mga kapatid ng tatay ko. Iniingatan namin," said Abella.

Her family tends to some pigs at the basement of their shanty. The meager amount they earn from it, however, would not be enough to send her to college.

"Wala kaming pera, 'yong baboy namin hindi pa nabebenta malapit na ang pasukan. Nasasabi niya tuloy posibleng hindi ka makapag-aral ngayon. Mahirap kasi ngayon. Pag makapagtapos ako sa high school maybe pagtunton sa college wala na," said Abella.

Jennifer also does some laundry for extra income. "Pag naglalaba ako iniipon ko ang kita ko para sa pasukan," she said.

Jennifer said that for many students like her in Eastern Visayas, education is the only way out of poverty.





May 31, 2008

Art and law meet in this office

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Visitors who enter lawyer Eric de Veyra's office in Tacloban City may think they have stepped into an art gallery. They may be partly right since the room also displays the works of his artist-friend Mario Ortiz.

It all started in 2006 when Ortiz, a classmate in college, came to De Veyra's office, bringing three works in pen and ink. "He was in financial need...Out of pity and being a friend, I bought [them]," the 50-year-old lawyer said. He brought one of the drawings home, and left the rest in his workplace.

After a few months, Ortiz returned to De Veyra, bringing more works for him to buy. Again, De Veyra came to the rescue of his friend, who was then sending a daughter to a nursing school.

But the lawyer said he could not have spare money all the time. "So I thought of something which will help him financially and, at the same time, allow him to practice his talent to paint," he said.

He used his office as an art gallery to help Ortiz, "which is just good since we don't have one in the city." Since then, people have come to look at the paintings and buy those they like.

"All of his paintings are reasonably priced ranging from P3,500 to P7,000, depending on the size and degree of difficulty of the subject being painted by Mario," De Veyra said.

Although he gets a commission for the paintings he sells, De Veyra said the scheme was not all about money. Having the paintings on display was his contribution to promoting arts in the city.

"Somehow, we help our people appreciate paintings done by a local talent like Mario," he said.

De Veyra asked Ortiz to change his medium from pen and ink to the more challenging acrylic and oil, saying such paintings were what the public wants. The artist was also persuaded to do not only abstract paintings but other forms that prospective clients could easily appreciate and understand. "He now does portraits, figurative landscapes and rural genre," De Veyra said.

Ortiz can finish two to three art works in a month, he said. "But the quality of his work is not being sacrificed based on the very encouraging words and appreciation that we receive from those who see and even buy his art works."

"I am doing all my works meticulously and with full concentration. When I am doing my work, I don't like to be disturbed. I am that focused," Ortiz said.

The artist paints at his house in Basey town in Samar, 40 kilometers from Tacloban.

Some of his works are displayed in public offices, like the SOS Children Village, St. Paul's Business School in Palo town, and at the municipal hall of Basey.

"Foreigners who drop by at my office to look at some of the paintings end up buying some," De Veyra said.

Ortiz admitted that he had no formal painting lessons; neither did he attend any art workshop. "I guess, I really have the talent to draw, to sketch," he said.

Ortiz said he had been painting since he was in college but was not able to pursue fully his passion since he was preoccupied with other things. "I also ended up working, which did not require me to paint or sketch," he said.

When his married life turned sour, Ortiz went back to his first love - painting.

"My wife and I separated for some reasons. Expectedly, I was at my lowest level emotionally. And as a sort of relief, I engaged myself with painting, which I really love doing," Ortiz said.

He realized that his works did not bring in money as he had expected, so he sought out and found a partner in De Veyra, enabling him to indulge in his talent and earn a decent income.





May 29, 2008

Backyard hatcheries pushed in E. Visayas

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

GMA news.tv

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) targets more backyard hatcheries in the region this year.

Juan Albaladejo, BFAR regional director, said backyard fish production should help solve an expected fish shortage. Backyard fishponds and the 14 mariculture zones contribute 40% of the region's fisheries output, he said.

"We have to adopt new strategies to ensure sufficient food supply and avert the negative impact of climate change," he said.

BFAR is initially investing P1 million to establish 10 milkfish egg hatcheries in Samar Island that will be privately run. Around 3.6 million fries of milk fish would be available for raisers through this initiative.

Gerardo Malinao, president of fishermen's group Gugma han Maqueda Bay Igin-undong Organisasyon Samarnon, said fishermen in the region have reported lower fish catch this year. "With the abnormal weather condition, fishermen have to sail to deeper waters to catch fish," he said.





May 30, 2008

E. Visayas mariculture zones to expand - fisheries bureau

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

GMA news.tv

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) plans to establish more mariculture zones in Eastern Visayas, especially in Carigara Bay.

The existing 14 mariculture zones in the region last year increased its fisheries yield by 22% to 6,592 metric tons (MT) worth P593.28 million, about a fifth of the region's total fishery output in 2007.

"Mariculture zones are now our assets. We are upbeat in promoting the project to attract more investors to the region," said Juan Albaladejo, BFAR regional director.

The mariculture zones have consistently increased production since the first park was established in 2003. The zones yielded 5,400 tons in 2006, almost double the 2005 output of 3,084 tons.

BFAR assistant regional director Justerie Granali said the region had 5,550 hectares of mariculture parks with 484 fish cages as of last year. The establishment of these cages cost around P200 million.

"There are still more areas within the mariculture parks that need to be developed. Fish cages can still be installed in these areas," Ms. Granali said.

The zones are located in Calbayog City, Basey, and Sta. Rita in Samar; Tacloban City, Ormoc City, Leyte, Babatngon, and Merida in Leyte; Biliran and Naval in Biliran; San Jose and Laoang in Northern Samar; as well as in Liloan in Southern Leyte and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar.

The BFAR regional office also plans to establish mariculture zones within the 347-hectare Carigara Bay through the local government units of Carigara, Barugo and Capoocan, all in Leyte.

The mariculture areas are designed to produce fish like bangus, siganids, groupers and red snappers. The zones can also accommodate seaweeds farming, aquasilviculture, mussel culture, oyster culture, searanching of lobsters and seahorses in coral reefs and sea grass areas.

Each mariculture zone or park consists of a contiguous area of 100 hectares to 400 hectares of coastal waters. These are operated by local governments, in partnership with BFAR. These provide option for fisheries investments and an alternative source of income for marginalized fishing communities.

"Mariculture zones are chosen for their diverse and productive environments suitable for commercial mariculture development, access to existing infrastructure support, ice plant, BFAR facilities and accessibility to input supply and markets," Ms. Granali said.

Mr. Albaladejo said the thrust this year is to plant mangroves in mariculture parks. The mangroves could be tapped for the production of fingerlings, he added. "There are high value fishes that could be caught in mangrove areas. We can raise shrimps and crabs within the mariculture zones as well," Mr. Albaladejo said.

Mangroves also shelter marine life and provide food to fish, shrimp, crabs, lobster, bivalve and gastropod mollusks and other invertebrates.





May 29, 2008

Estate developer to build shopping mall in Ilocos

GMA news.tv

MANILA, Philippines - Robinsons Land Corp. will build its first shopping mall in Ilocos Norte, one of the 15 such establishments it seeks to set up in the next five years.

The listed firm said it had signed a joint venture deal with Venvi Development Corp., a property developer in the northern province.

Under the agreement, Robinsons Land will develop a two-level shopping mall along the National Highway, in the village of San Francisco in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

The shopping mall will be part of a 20-hectare mixed-use development that will include residential and office buildings, hotels and call centers that will rise adjacent to the mall.

Robinsons Ilocos Norte is expected to be completed by 2009. It will be its fourth mall in Northern Luzon aside from Robinsons Starmills and Robinsons Place Angeles in Pampanga, and Luisita Mall in Tarlac.

The mall developer is expected to complete Robinsons Tacloban, Cybergate Davao and Robinsons Dumaguete soon.

Robinsons Land is a major real estate player with a growing portfolio of shopping centers, high-rise residential condominiums and town houses, mid- and low-cost subdivisions, office buildings and hotels.

It has 23 shopping malls, 26 residential condominiums, six office buildings, 31 residential subdivisions and four hotels.





May 28, 2008

EVRMC in Tacloban appeals for blood donations

By Ranulfo Docdocan

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Tacloban City -- Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), the biggest hospital in Region VIII, is currently facing a problem regarding its blood supply for its region-wide clientele.

Based on records of EVRMC-Blood Bank, since 2005 up to this year the demand of blood from patients has been increasing.

Dr. Ernesto Miralles, EVRMC- Blood Bank chief, said that despite their massive campaign to the public for voluntary blood donations, the people in the region have not responded.

"EVRMC,is serving the whole region, we have a lot of patients who are in need for blood but we have less donors," said Miralles.

The blood bank has been conducting a series of blood-letting activities just to cope up with the needs of the hospital.

"But the blood bank is always hoping that people in the region will understand the situation of the hospital. We are also calling on our local chief executives to respond or take some necessary activities that would encourage their constituents to undertake voluntary blood donations," the hospital executive appealed.

"We need to take some action as early as possible," Miralles added.





May 28, 2008

3 fugitives captured in Biliran

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Three of the four inmates who escaped from a municipal jail in Biliran province Friday last week have been captured by police authorities.

Senior Police Officer 3 Teofil Butlig, deputy chief of police of Kawayan town, identified the prisoners as Raymund Lipalam, 19, his 17-year-old brother Rexon, and Junjie de la Cruz, 23. All three have been accused of robbery.

They were nabbed while walking in the village of Bulalacao, some two kilometers away from the Kawayan municipal jail, hours after their escape, Butlig said.

Another prisoner who escaped with them, Vivencio Reyes, 54, remains at large.

The police found the four missing from their cell at 11 p.m. Friday during a regular check of the inmates.

The police said the four escaped after they destroyed their cell's iron bars using intertwined guitar strings and exited through the back door of the jail.

The police immediately conducted a manhunt operation that led to the recapture of the three.

Butlig said on Wednesday police were still tracking down Reyes, who has been facing charges of murder and physical injuries. Reyes had been in jail for the last three months while three others were detained at the municipal jail just last May 21.





May 28, 2008

DOH wants 'hilots' regulated

By Vicente Labro

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Health regional office here is pushing for the enactment of local ordinances that would regulate the practice of traditional birth attendants or "hilots," in a bid to lower maternal deaths in Eastern Visayas.

Maternal deaths have been high in the region for many years now, because mothers in the rural areas have been turning to unskilled "hilots" and delivering at their homes, DoH regional director Dr. Teogenes Baluma said.

The DoH reported that hilots in Eastern Visayas delivered more babies (accounting for 54.5 percent of all deliveries in region), than health professionals (42.9 percent).

Only 29.9 percent of births in the region occurred in health facilities while 70.1 percent were home deliveries, the DoH reported.

Baluma said mothers preferred to deliver their babies at home, where they felt comfortable. She said they found hospitals alienating because midwives, nurses and doctors lacked interpersonal skills.

Dr. Corazon Sabulao, DoH-8 mother and child health coordinator, said that based on their 2006 report, the region had more than 3,200 trained birth attendants or "hilots" in the region.

Sabulao disclosed that the call for regulating the practice of hilots was not new as some local government units had already passed such laws. The province of Biliran imposes a fine on "hilots" who practice home deliveries while a town in Southern Leyte penalizes violators of regulation by requiring them to plant trees, according to Sabulao.

She said DoH was not seeking the phaseout of hilots but only wanted their services regulated.

The DoH has proposed that the Regional Development Council (RDC-8) endorse a resolution urging local government officials to pass ordinances that would regulate the practice of "hilots."

The RDC's social development committee is studying the DoH's proposal for regulation.

Under a DoH proposal, "hilots" would be limited to being members of the Women's Health Team, the tracking of every pregnancy in the community, assisting in accomplishing the birth plan, and providing quality supportive maternal care such as assisting the midwife in labor watch and in the delivery, among others.





May 27, 2008

Leyte power coop targets zero brownout in Tacloban

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Tacloban City -- Leyte Electric Cooperative or LEYECO II has started training its linemen to conduct necessary repairs even without resorting to power interruptions.

The electric cooperative's training aims to minimize power interruptions in Tacloban and eventually having zero brownouts in the city.

"Tacloban will soon become a highly urbanized city so we are doing our best to reach this goal of zero brownouts," said LEYECO II General Manager Gerry Gwen Conde.

LEYECO II will also put up hotline numbers in order to reach more of its member-consumers.

Tacloban's power supplier also emphasized that they will not be implementing any increase in power rates in the region.

"We still have the lowest power rate of five pesos (per kilowatt hour), and the board doesn't have any plans of increasing it," said Conde.





May 27, 2008

127 newly-trained cops ready to fight NPA in Eastern Visayas

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Some 127 newly-trained members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Eastern Visayas will be deployed for the region's anti-insurgency campaign.

Senior Superintendent Leo Napeña, chief directorial staff of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force in Camp Crame, said the 127 underwent special combat training that could be used against the New People's Army.

Napeña was in Camp Ruperto Kangleon, Palo town, about 17 kilometers away from Tacloban City, for the sending off of the police officers, 27 of whom are women.

Senior Superintendent Arcadio Lelis, deputy chief for operations of the PNP-8, said the group would be deployed first at the regional headquarters of the RMG in Capoocan town, Leyte.

The police officers completed police training for 45 days.

"The training of these police officers is in support of the Philippine Army's campaign on insurgency. And we are doing everything we can so we can comply with the timetable set by our government," Napeña said.

Insurgency in Eastern Visayas, composed of Leyte, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, remains active.

Army officials in the region, led by Major General Armando Cunanan, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, based in the City of Catbalogan, Samar, vowed to crush the rebels by 2010.





May 27, 2008

Typhoid fever kills one in Leyte

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed one death in a possible typhoid fever outbreak in Matag-ob town in Leyte province.

Health units in the province had also recorded the cases of 40 people who had been experiencing on and off fever for the past several days.

The DOH has confirmed that contaminated water in the town was the reason for the cases of fever. The department has sent chlorine to treat the contaminated water.

Health authorities said the typhoid outbreak in the town has been controlled.

However, in Bato town, health authorities noted an increase in number of cases of cholera. From 81, it was increased by 19 more cases.

"An outbreak might happen if health authorities will not intensify the campaign against this disease. What we need here is to inform everyone about food sanitation and hygiene," said DOH regional sentinel nurse Boyd Cerro.

Meanwhile, four families has been reported affected with typhoid in Nula-Tula, Tacloban City.

The city health office, however, has yet to confirm the cases. Medicines and chlorine for water treatment have been brought to the affected barangay.

"They are still isolated cases but still we are sending aid to the patients," said Dr. Jaime Opinion, city health officer.





May 27, 2008

Tanauan shores fast becoming haven of "Ocean Ambassadors"

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The shores of Tanauan, Leyte is fast becoming known as a haven of ocean ambassadors, the sea turtles.

On May 21, another Olive Ridley sea turtle was guided towards the sea where it rightfully belongs and where other endangered sea turtles await, by Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu, members of the Bantay Dagat, the fisherman who caught it, several members of the media and the staff of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

It would be recalled that two Olive Ridley sea turtles were successively found by a local fisherman of Tanauan, in the first week of October 2007. Two weeks after, another sea turtle was found and returned to the sea after the DENR staff put a tag on the creatures.

Just recently, a big green sea turtle was found by a local fisherman and then less than one month later, the Olive Ridley sea turtle measuring 18 inches in width and 20 inches long was found and guided by towards its natural abode after being tagged by Mr. Tito Simbulan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Asked to comment on the Tanauan shores as becoming to be known as a Haven for ocean ambassadors, Mayor Tiu said it is an honor to host the endangered species of sea turtles even as he gave the assurance that the officials and the people of the municipality will see to it that these creatures will be always be safe in their own rightful abode.

Mr. Simbulan said that scientists refer to sea turtles as the only living remnants of the dinosaur age, but maybe not for long. Unless sincere efforts are undertaken, sea turtles might follow dinosaurs into extinction.

There are more than 220 species of sea turtles, popularly known in the Philippines as pawikan, in the world, but only seven are considered marine (saltwater).

Five of these seven species are present in the Philippines. These are the Green (Chelonia mydas). Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).

The most common species in the Philippines is the Green Sea Turtle, which is also found in all tropical and sub-tropical seas. Its most distinct feature is a more blunt and wider head than that of the Hawksbill Turtle. It grows up to 1.5 meters long and weighs up to 185 kilograms.

The largest species is the Leatherback Turtle, which grows more than two meters in length. The Hawksbill Turtle, as its name suggests, can be identified with its pointed beak and attractively marked shell of overlapping plates. On the other hand, the Loggerhead Turtle is known for its disproportionately bulky head. Of the five Philippine species, only the Olive Ridley Turtle is considered as carnivorous.

The olive ridley sea turtles, named for the olive color of its heart-shaped shell, are considered as the smallest marine turtles measuring only 2 to 2 ½ feet and weighing 35 to 40 kilos.

Mayor Tiu said that municipal government and the fishermen of Tanauan are aware that the Philippine government has launched the Pawikan Conservation Project which is aimed at securing the protection of all the Philippine Sea Turtles. The LGU is bent on doing its best to support and make this program a success, Mayor Tiu added.





May 27, 2008

PIA 8 conducts media advocady on "paggalang sa Watawat" campaign

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The launching of "Paggalang sa Watawat" campaign on May 26, the National Flag Day on May 28 and the 110th Philippine Independence Day, were the issues discussed during Harampang Ha PIA conducted on May 26, 2008 at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Present to help enlighten the media and the televiewers about the issues in focus, were Dr. Alejandrito L. Yman, Regional Information Officer of the Department of Education Regional Office 8, DILG Leyte Provincial Director Jose P. Yee, Jr., and Mr. Myles Joseph Colasito, DILG Regional Information Officer.

PIA 8 Director Olive Tiu said that the Harampang Ha PIA edition on that day , had two aims: to get the support of the members of the tri media in the Region to help in the Paggalang sa Watawat Campaign and to promote public awareness of good citizenship values such as love of country, respect for the flag and the elderly and nationalism.

The Department of Education, Dr. Yman said has already received a Memorandum pertinent to the conduct of the Paggalang sa Watawat campaign, the National Flag Day and the Philippine Independence Day celebrations, in order to ensure the participation of all the schools in Region 8.

Director Yee disclosed that DILG has already issued two memo circulars to all the Local Government Units in Region 8, one is on the National Flag Day and the other one is on the celebration of the 110th Anniversary of Philippine Independence.

The members of the media present were informed on the prohibitions regarding the use of the flag and the National Anthem. Dr. Alejandrito Yman said that the students are taught to stand up straight and stop whenever the flag is being raised and while the Philippine National Anthem is being sang. They are also taught to tip off their hats.

Director Yee added that government employees both in the local government units and in the national agencies are also doing the same.

Unfortunately, there is a need to remind the public to do the same and to make them realize that the flag is the symbol of the country's independence and freedom from foreign invasion.

That is one way of showing respect and reverence to the flag. The flag must not be faded or tattered. No one is allowed to trample the flag. The flag must not be used as drapery, costume, handkerchief or hats.

Director Yee said that the tattered or torn flags must not be thrown or buried. They are discreetly burned.

A member of the media observed that during several rallies of militant groups, the red part of the flag is up and not the blue one. He asked who should reprimand these people. Director Yee said that it is only when the country is at war that the red portion is up and the blue down. The Philippine National police is the agency responsible for the reprimand of such act, he said.

Director Tiu informed the group about Republic Act 8491 which is known as an Act Prescribing the Code of the National Flag, Anthem, Motto, Coat of Arms and other Heraldic Items and Devices of the Philippines. She said that this law provides the guides on how to show respect and reverence for the flag, among others.





May 26, 2008

Caves in Samar to be shown on UK TV show

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Producers of a popular television show in London first took interest in the spectacular Calbiga caves in Samar province when they saw it over the Internet. But soon enough, they found themselves coordinating with the Department of Tourism (DOT) here so that they could shoot the climax of their travel series in the caves.

The show, "Rough Guide to Ultimate Escapes", by Lion TV will have its two-day shooting in Calbiga caves from May 31 to June 1 with a crew consisting of the director/cameraman, an assistant producer and a host.

They will be doing adventurous activities in the caves like rappelling, climbing and abseiling.

Aside from the adventure in the caves, they will also feature Curacha dance, a unique symbol of the Waray culture.

"We are so overwhelmed that they choose Calbiga caves. This is a big chance for us to promote our place. Just imagine the millions of viewers who could see Calbiga in London and even in other parts of the world," said DOT Regional Director Karen Tiopes.

The show is currently the only travel series in UK under Lion TV, an independent television company which has slate of programmes in the US that includes productions for various channels like Discovery Channel, National Geographic and HBO to name a few.





May 26, 2008

Leyte NPA leader travels back into the folds of law

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Twelve years after joining the New Peoples Army in 1996, NPA leader Crispulo Agunos Y Mulay alias Alex, M-uy, Langkoy, a resident of Sitio Kawayan, Barangay Rizal, Kananga, Leyte, returned to the fold of law on May 21, 2008.

Agunos' journeying back into the folds of law was not an easy one. A platoon leader of Platoon NEPAL, North Leyte Front, Agunos went into hiding in Metro Manila for two years, since 2006, bewildered and disillusioned because the CPP-NPA's promise that it will alleviate him and his family from dire poverty remained unfulfilled.

It was in 2006, ten years after he was recruited at the very young age of 20 to join the guerilla forces, when he suddenly realized that all that the CPP-NPA gave him were empty promises.

While in hiding, he learned from other rebel returnees that they were being treated well by the Government after they returned into the folds of the law. This gave him hope that he will after all not spend the rest of his life hiding.

Thus, on that faithful morning of May 21, 2008, NPA leader Crispolo Agunos, 32 years old and married, voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Col. Henry M. Bumiltac, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion, and to Kananga Mayor Elmer M. Codilla, at the Kananga Mayor's Office.

Second Lt. Glenn Mangohon, acting information officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion based at Barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte disclosed that Mayor Codilla gave the surrenderee Fifteen Thousand Pesos in order that he and his family will be able to start a livelihood activity that will enable them to lead a decent and productive lives.

Mayor Codilla said that it has and it will always be his thrust to welcome into the folds of law, lost brethren and to help them make find their way into the mainsteam of society by giving them livelihood assistance.

For Lt. Col. Bumiltac, the surrender of Agunos, is another victory against the communist terrorists, a tangible proof of the efficacy of the people's support in the fight against insurgency. The military has gained momentum and it will continue to make the Communist Terrorists' world smaller everyday till they find no other way out but surrender and return into the folds of the law, Lt. Col. Bumiltac stressed.

This is consistent to the collective objective of the unit totally disable the North Leyte Front and of the government to totally eradicate insurgency which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said, is the hindrance to the development and economic growth of the countryside.

Meanwhile, Colonel Raoul Reyes, the Brigade Commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, based in Carmen, Bohol, reiterated the Government's call for the communist terrorist leaders and members to lay down their arms and return to the folds of law.

He also thanked the people for their support and he enjoined them to continue supporting the Army in its mission to pave the way for an insurgent-free community.

At last, Agunos, the NPA rebel, has found his way back into the folds of the law. Not all who were persuaded by the Communists Terrorist to join them, are as lucky as Agunos. Many of them offered their lives for a lost cause.

May the story of Agunos, be repeated in the lives of other lost sheep and be the light that will guide them towards the folds of the law.





May 26, 2008

Region 8 joins launching of "Paggalang sa Watawat"

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Region 8 joins the launching of the "Paggalang sa Watawat" Campaign which is set to be conducted today at 8:00 o'clock in the morning, in the various local government units, government agencies and government owned and controlled corporations.

The activities will include the simultaneous Flag Raising ceremony and a short talk on how to pay respect and reverence to the Flag, in accordance with the theme "Igalang ang Watawat, Sa Isip, Sa Salita at Sa Gawa."

To give substance to the launching, the Regional KALAHI Convergence Group headed by Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Secretary Victor Domingo, will meet in the morning to tackle the updates of the various poverty alleviation initiatives in the Region.

In the afternoon, Harampang Ha PIA, a weekly media interaction will tackle the Paggalang Sa Watawat Campaign as a kickoff activity for the celebration of the National Flag Day on May 28 and the 10th Philippine Indepence Day on June 12.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla has issued an Executive Order, directing all the Leyte Provincial Government employees to attend the Flag Ceremony and the other activities which the committee led by General Services head Mr. Tony Chan, has lined up today

Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado has made similar arrangements, the Philippine Information Agency Provincial Information Center informed.

Such activities will be mirrored in the rest of the provinces in Eastern Visayas, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

Meanwhile, the various Regional offices of the national line agencies and the government owned and controlled corporations, will conduct their own Flag Ceremonies with appropriate talks on respecting the Flag.

In the National level, the Philippine Information Agency under Secretary Conrado A. Limcaoco, as one of this year's lead agencies, the other being the National Historical Institute, for the implementation of National Flag Awareness and Advocacy Campaign, will play host to today's launching of the "Paggalang sa Watawat" Campaign at the PIA Grounds at Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, 8:00 o'clock in the morning.

Secretary Limcaoco said that the theme is aimed to promote public awareness on good citizenship and to inculcate such values as love of country, respect and reverence for the Flag and the National Anthem, using tri-media, online media and other special events.





May 25, 2008

Air Force says:
Chopper pullout won't affect anti-insurgency ops

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The transfer of helicopters used by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Eastern Visayas to their central command headquarters in Cebu would not affect their anti-insurgency campaign in the region.

Lt. Col. Arturo Jose Orticio, group commander of the tactical operations of the PAF-8, said they could ask their central command for the return of the helicopters if needed.

"These choppers were deployed to our central command headquarters as part of our deployment of forces," Orticio said on Saturday.

It would take 45 minutes to an hour for a helicopter from Cebu to reach Tacloban City.

The helicopters from the PAF-8 had joined in the operations of the military against rebels operating in the different parts of Eastern Visayas.

The helicopters also provided much needed transportation during disasters that hit the region.

Orticio said the Huey-type helicopters from the region would be used for the insurgency campaign of the military in other Visayas provinces, like Negros.

The two military helicopters, formerly based at the PAF-8 station in San Jose district, Tacloban City, were transferred to their central command headquarters last week, which also coincided with the visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Bohol.

Bohol province is part of the military jurisdiction of 43rd Infantry Battalion, which is under the leadership of Lt. Col. Mario Lacurom.

This battalion is part of the 8th Infantry Division, which is based in the City of Catbalogan, Samar.

Orticio said military has been focused on ending the country's insurgency problem by 2010, the deadline set by President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Eastern Visayas, particularly Leyte and the three Samar provinces, remains beset with insurgency, which is why its economy has lagged behind other provinces.

The region's military officials, under the command of Maj. Gen. Armando Cunanan, repeatedly vowed to end its insurgency problem in two years' time.

The military claimed that eight of the 10 fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army operating in the entire region remained active.

But they insisted that they had reduced significantly the number of NPA fighters either through intensive military operations or the voluntary surrender program.





May 24, 2008

E. Visayas health execs seek support vs dengue

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Alarmed with the high number of cases of dengue fever in Eastern Visayas, the region's health officials asked support from other government and private agencies to combat the viral disease.

Teogenes Baluma, regional director of the Department of Health in Eastern Visayas (DOH , said they were alarmed that, barely five months into the year, seven persons have already died of dengue fever complications.

The recorded cases from January to May this year was considered low at 107 but the mortality rate, he said, was very high since there were only eight fatalities in 2007 out of 1,221 cases recorded that year.

Addressing the spread of the disease, he said, should be the concern of everybody, and not only of the DOH.

Dengue fever is caused by an Aedes mosquito bite. Among the symptoms of dengue fever are high fever, vomiting, severe headache and bleeding, which could lead to death.

Dr. Adelfo Labnao, DOH 8 regional coordinator on dengue fever, said this year's fatalities were from Baybay City and Dagami, both in Leyte; Sta. Rita town and the cities of Catbalogan and Calbayog, all in Samar; and Catarman in Northern Samar.

Catarman had two fatalities while the rest of the areas had only one case each. The fatalities' age ranged from 2 years old to 17 years old.

The two regional health officials said the assistance of other government and private agencies on this campaign against dengue fever would make it easy to launch an effective information dissemination campaign.

Baluma said it would be better to start their information campaign while classes have yet to start to reach both parents and children.

Labnao said children of school age are the most common victims of the disease due to their low resistance.

He said DOH anchors its dengue information campaign on four S - Search and destroy the breeding places; Self-protection; Seek early consultation; and Say yes to fogging.

Typhoid fever

In a related development, an 8-year-old boy died on Friday while 52 others were downed by typhoid fever in a Leyte town, the DOH regional office bared on Tuesday.

Regional sentinel nurse Boyd Cero said the lone fatality, who came from Barangay Dolho, Bato town, died on May 16 after he was confined in a private hospital.

Cero said the DOH-8 had yet to determine the cause of the typhoid fever that hit most of the 32 barangays in Bato town. The first typhoid fever case was first noted on May 12 with the last one reported on Sunday, Cero said.

Bato, 154 km from Tacloban City, is a fourth class town with over 32,000 population.

Cero believed the typhoid fever cases were "person-to-person transmissions with dirty food as the possible cause."

He said the rise of typhoid fever cases coincided with the celebration of fiestas in several of the town's barangays. Typhoid fever is an infectious disease with severe symptoms in the digestive system and could cause death if the patient did not receive immediate treatment, Cero explained.

He maintained that the DOH-8 has yet to consider the occurrence of typhoid fever in Bato as an outbreak.

Cero said some of the town's villages reported one or two typhoid fever cases while there were barangays that have more than five cases. The lone fatality was from the village of Dolho.

The victims experienced severe dehydration, loose bowel movement and vomiting. The youngest among those afflicted with typhoid was a 3-year-old boy while the oldest was a 63-year-old man.





May 24, 2008

Tacloban reclassification pushed

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

GMA news.tv

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez will ask the city council here to pass a resolution asking the Office of the President to declare this city as highly urbanized before the year ends.

Mr. Romualdez said he was also waiting for a certification from the Department of Finance (DoF) to support the application for reclassification.

"I already have the official documents from the (NSO) and I'm waiting now for the one from the Department of Finance certifying that our income is enough to qualify reclassification. I am very confident that we will be reclassified within this year," Mr. Romualdez said in a press conference.

The reclassification would mean an increase in the city's IRA shares and more opportunities to attract investments, Mr. Romualdez said.

Having more financial resources would translate to better delivery of basic services and the implementation of more projects and programs, he added.

"When we are already a highly urbanized city, it is only a few steps to become a lone district. We will get more share of funds for development, or an additional budget of at least P100 million a year," the city mayor said.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) released the August 2007 population census result that showed Tacloban City has 217,199 dwellers, more than the 200,000 minimum population required by law for classification as a highly urbanized city.





May 23, 2008

DOH-8 pushes for search and destroy operation to combat dengue

By Gay B. Gaspay

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City, Leyte -- The Department of Health, Regional Office 8 strongly pushes for the use of search & destroy techniques in combating dengue fever amidst the increasing requests of fogging regionwide as a method in killing dengue infected mosquitoes.

Alarmed by the high mortality rate of death this early month of 2008 with 5 deaths as of May compared to year 2007 with 8 mortality, DOH-8 through Leonido Olabia, Entomologist III and Asst. Dengue Coordinator, emphasized during the Orientation on Dengue for Community Leaders & Non-Health Workers open forum, the use of search & destroy method in lessening the spread of dengue virus.

The Orientation on Dengue for Community Leaders & Non-Health Workers was held recently at Leyte Park Hotel participated in by Local government units together with other government agencies and the local media who vowed and committed to help eradicate the spread of Dengue Fever.

Search and Destroy simply asks each one of us and the community to work together in starting the searching and destroying of breeding places in our homes, our surroundings, and our offices. This can be done in removing stagnant waters from gutters, tires, bottles, bottle caps or tanzans, flower vase, pails, dish drainers and the like. Stagnant clean and clear water is good breeding place of aedes aegypti, a female mosquito responsible in carrying the dengue virus.

A small tanzan can be a breeding place for at least eight eggs or kiti-kiti of aedes aegypti mosquitoes and once not destroyed it can victimize many persons. The community should be warned specially in overcoming their solid waste disposals. Leaking water pipelines should be attended to and there should be a concerted efforts amonth the residents in the community if they want a free Dengue virus environment.

The Search and Destroy is one of the four S being advocated by DOH ever since the Dengue campaign started the other 3 (three) S includes Seek Early Consultation, Say No to Indiscriminate fogging and Self Protection Measures.

Dengue is a local problem and can be eradicated if we will all help in destroying it, Dr. Tonette Bautista, one of the speakers said.

Removing the waters from bromeliad and fortune family plants can also help. Clean schools with dengue cases pupils can be traced to the flower vases and plants the teachers uses in beautifying their classrooms.

People are likewise advised to wear long sleeves and long pants especially two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset which is said to be the biting time of aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Less breeding places will have less people infected with dengue virus.

To reduce morbidity and mortality from dengue infection by preventing the transmission of the virus from mosquitoes vector to human is the priority goal of the organizers of the dengue campaign 2008 and to have an effective Dengue Control Program.





May 23, 2008

"Paggalang sa Watawat" campaign aims to re-awaken Filipinos' love of country

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The "Paggalang sa Watawat" campaign which will be launched on May 26 aims to awaken or rather reawaken the good citizen in every Filipino, possessing values such as love of country, respect for the Flag and elders, patriotism, nationalism.

The launching which centers on the theme "Igalang ang Watawat, Sa Isip, Sa Salita, at sa Gawa," is a prelude to the National Flag Day celebration on May 28 and the 106th Independence Day celebration on June 12.

More so, this is a good opportunity to remind each and every Filipino that the Philippine flag is the symbol of sovereignty and unity among the Filipino people, reverence and respect for the Flag and the National Anthem is therefore, called for.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus recently issued guidelines on the proper use of and allegiance to the Philippine Flag, with several prohibitions.

Canned music, for one, is banned during flag ceremonies or programs. The use of tattered or badly faced flags in all schools and offices, is also prohibited.

Filipinos are admonished never to mutilate, deface, or trample the flag. Also prohibited are such acts as using the flag as a drapery, table cloth, covering for wall, among others.

The flag must not also be worn as a costume or uniform; neither must the flag be printed or attached on handkerchiefs, napkins or as display of any advertisment or info commercial.

Perhaps it is also good to be reminded that at the moment the first note of the anthem is heard during a flag ceremony, everyone in the premises shall come to attention; moving vehicles must stop.

All persons present shall place their right palms over their chests, those with hats shall uncover; while those in military, scouting security guard and citizens military training uniforms shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations.

The period from May 28 to June 12 of each year is declared as Flag Days, during which period all offices, agencies and instrumentalities of government, business establishments, institutions of learning and private home are enjoined to display the flag.

It would be good to re-read Republic Act No. 8491 known as the "Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines," which provides that reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem, and other national symbols which embody the national ideals and traditions and which express the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity.

Everything one needs to know on according reverence and respect to the Flag is contained there.

Methinks the most important thing to remember is that the Philippine Flag is the symbol of freedom and each and every Filipino must ensure that it continues to fly up there, free to move and dance as it is kissed by the blowing wind.




    
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