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Nov 17, 2009

New Tacloban police chief told to strive more in maintaining peace and order

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez has directed the newly assumed city police director to "strive further" in maintaining the peace and order situation in the city, which he described as in a stage of "transition."

The city mayor witnessed yesterday the assumption into office of Senior Superintendent Sergio Dimandal as new Tacloban police director, replacing Senior Supt.Brigido Unay who held the post for five months.

"Maintain the city's peace and order situation is a standard (policy) of his work as a city police director. But I ask him to strive further," Romualdez said during an interview after the turnover rites.

In his speech, Romualdez said that the task as a police city director is a "difficult job" considering that he assumed the post when Tacloban is still in the process of "transition," from being a dependent charter city into a highly urbanized city.

"The public sees the police (organization) as their guardians. My message to the incoming police director is...not just enforcing the law, serve and protect the people but by walking the talk...," he said.

Dimandal, 49, became the third top police officer of Tacloban since Mayor Romualdez assumed the post in 2007. His first chief of police was Supt. Cleve Taboso, who also became the first city police director when Tacloban became a highly urbanized city.

Taboso was later replaced by Unay.

With his removal as city police director, Unay will return to the regional headquarters to head its personnel division.

Dimandal, while admitting that the city mayor may have given him a tall order, assured Romualdez that he would do every possible means to meet his expectations.

"I will do what I can. I am just new here," Dimandal said.

Mayor Romualdez said that he expects the new police director not only to prioritize the city's peace and order situation but also help improve the image and credibility of the organization among the city's more than 200,000 residents.

"I pledge my continued commitment to the city police organization. But we must show our people laws and not tolerance," the city chief executive said.

The city mayor said that as Tacloban is still in the process of transition, the police organization play a pivotal role.

Romualdez said that Tacloban's economic development could no longer be denied, citing the increasing number of flights schedule coming in and out of Tacloban and the operations of a mall, reason that its peace and order situation should always be secure not only for the benefit of the public but especially to investors.

Romualdez said that he was satisfied with the performance of former police director Unay.






Nov 17, 2009

Tacloban has new police chief

By Sylvia Alvero Abadingo

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The new City Police Director, Sr. Supt. Sergio Dimandal assured that he would focus on the security of schools and the students in Tacloban and maintain the peace and order in the city.

"The PNP group should meet the standards under my leadership; the police officers should pay attention to their colleagues, must wear proper uniform and must have good attitude. In short they must be professional," Dimandal said.

Dimandal said that first thing he would do is to meet all local leaders to ask their help in stopping bad elements in the city.

"I will talk to my people so that I can familiarize as what the outgoing leader did and as of now, we're not yet focusing on the election. Hindi pa naman po ako sinabihan," Dimandal said.

Dimandal clarified also to the public that he was not forced and that there was no politics involved in his appointment as Police City Director of Tacloban.






Nov 16, 2009

Experts to check preparation of Tacloban fish port project

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- An 11-member team from the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) will visit the city this week to assess the preparation in the construction of a P300 million fish port in this city.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Director Juan Albaladejo said that the group is composed of experts that will see various aspects of the projects and come up with a feasibility study.

As this developed, the official has called on the city government to formally identify the site where the fish port will rise.

"The contentious issue here is where will the city government put the fishery port because right now we have no idea," Albaladejo said.

The fisheries bureau earlier identified the city's Old Bus Terminal and Barangay 37 as the ideal site of the proposed fish port. Some area will be reclaimed for the construction of platform to serve big fishing boats.

Initially, the port will require two to three hectares. More lots will be used in building plants for its full development," Albaladejo added.

The team will meet with the local government unit on Monday (November 16) and the BFAR official expects that the local government can already name the specific site.

"It's 100% that the project is for Tacloban. It is now up for the city government where they will locate the project. We can start the planning without that. First is we have to identify the site, make a plan and proceed with the construction," he said.

The Department of Agriculture through PFDA is pushing to kick-off the P300 million project before the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term mid 2010.

The proposed facility will be patterned after the fishing port in General Santos - it has piers, refrigeration facilities, ice plants and processing plants-to enable fishers to unload their catch, process them and export their products to whatever markets because of their nearness to airports.

If the project will be pushed through, it will attract canning operations, fish mill plants and many investors in the tuna industry and will create more jobs. He said that it will also boom the existing mariculture (marine agriculture) zones in the region because of the steady market.

He said that the project will give clear direction to the flourishing tuna industry in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar seas which recently has drawn catchers feeding the requirement of General Santos City tuna processing plant.

"The building of fish port is timely because of the dwindling tuna population in General Santos, which is known to be the country's tuna capital. Some of the GenSan commercial fishers have been going to Eastern Samar and they ship it out to their place," Albaladejo explained.

The official said that the city is the ideal place to build the new fish port not only that Tacloban is the capital of Eastern Visayas but also the geographic location facing the Pacific Ocean and their proximity to existing airport.

The region has been identified as part of the country's super highway for tuna being located in the Eastern seaboard hosting the untapped exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Pacific Ocean .

The Pacific Sea is home to migratory species like bluefin, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna, which usually go there during the colder months of the year's second semester.






Nov 14, 2009

APAC asks space for
expansion plans

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- APAC Customer Services Inc., the call center locator at the Leyte ICT Park, has recently asked the provincial government of Leyte for another 2,500 square meter office space for its expansion plans.

This was revealed by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla during the recent Provincial Development Council Meeting which he chairs held at the Governor's Hall with majority of local chief executives in attendance together with municipal and local planners.

The governor said plans are currently being laid on the table as the provincial government is set to provide more space for APAC's expansion to ensure that the company would continue to generate jobs for residents of Leyte and the region as a whole.

"APAC approached me two weeks ago for more office space for their expansion and if not they would expand in another province," Gov. Petilla said.

The governor disclosed that the province immediately has to go straight to the drawing board for the ICT Park's growth to ensure that the job market as a result of APAC's expansion would benefit jobseekers from Leyte and Eastern Visayas provinces.

APAC presently occupies the former Leyte Academic Center (LAC) Gymnasium that sits on a 3,000-square meter site and was turned into a high-end call center facility when APAC located and finally opened early this year.

APAC officials have earlier revealed that their Leyte site would only be the start of the company's five-year expansion in the country where 80% of its growth will be in the provinces.

With the 2,500 square meters additional office space, APAC is asking if it could house at least 600 more call center agents, Gov. Petilla revealed.

The governor added his talks with some top officials of the business process outsourcing in the country reveals that BPO and ICT business would still be brisk this year despite the global economic slowdown.

"We see the need to capitalize on the bigger growth of the ICT industry in the province," Gov. Petilla told local chief executives.

Leyte, he said, has become an alternative hub for provincial expansion of BPO and ICT players because of its existing fiber optic connections, a good education system with 5,000 to 8,000 graduates every year, and incentives from the local government.

The BPO and ICT Industry is known as the "Sunrise Industry" of the country due to the fact that this industry has brought in millions of dollars in investment from foreign companies, while creating several thousand jobs in the process.

The governor likewise said that with ICT coming in, expansion of both upstream and downstream industries like telecommunications, food, real estate, construction, electronics, transportation, entertainment and lifestyle businesses, is seen.






Nov 14, 2009

Romualdezes, other clans to dominate E. Visayas elections

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The political clans will still dominate politics in Eastern Visayas with some former elected officials running again for office and others who are on their last terms eyeing other elective positions.

In Tacloban City, former mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez announced on Thursday his desire to run in next year's elections. He was the latest among members of prominent political clans in the region to signify an intention to seek public office.

Romualdez, in his mid-70s, said he will run as vice mayor under the slate of his son, incumbent Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who earlier made known his intention to seek reelection in 2010.

The elder Romualdez cited his desire to make the city council of Tacloban "one of the best in the country" as among his reasons for making a political comeback. The former city mayor also cited completition of unfinished projects.

It was during the last year of Romualdez nine-year term that the astrodome and modern bus terminal were built and the city's first traffic lights were installed.

He admitted though that their family was consolidating their political force to help the candidacy of Ilocos Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Romualdez Marcos, who is seeking a seat in the Senate. Bongbong is a son of his elder sister, former first lady Imelda R. Marcos.






Nov 13, 2009

Bejo: Being running mate of Alfred would not mean another "political dynasty"

By Miriam Garcia Desecada

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- "My decision to run for vice mayor of Tacloban in tandem with Mayor Alfred would not mean another set of" political dynasty" of the Romualdez clan in Leyte."

Thus said former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez shortly after announcing his plan to stage a political comeback in a press conference held at the City Mayor's Office, yesterday.

Bejo told Leyte Samar Daily Express that his decision to run as vice-mayor has the blessing of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez- Marcos and was decided by the entire family.

"Political dynasty is not an issue considering that me and my son Alfred are both qualified to run. For me it is political dynasty kon pati an akon mga apo tatagan hin posisyon ha city governmenet hiton Tacloban bisan kon waray sarabutan o diri maaram han iya trabaho," he explained.

Bejo said that his daughter-in-law, City Councilor Cristina Gonzales- Romualdez, will seek reelection. At the same time he confirmed that no Romualdez will run for any elective post in the provincial level.

"No Romualdez will run for governor, yet we are more than willing to help the people of the Province of Leyte," he said.

The elder Romualdez refused to clarify his purpose of going back to politics, what he only mentioned in the media interview is that he wanted to help the young Romualdezes, referring to Mayor Alfred and Congressman Martin Romualdez, in the field of politics, especially on their unfinished development plans for the entire city of Tacloban.

"Well, first I told Mrs. Marcos that I still have unfinished projects for Tacloban, and that I could be of help to Martin and Alfred once I am back in public service" the former mayor said.

"I will run and I expect to win. The people know that when a Romualdez runs for public office, development is not far behind," Bejo stressed..

The elder Romualdez once served as mayor of this city for three consecutive terms.






Nov 13, 2009

Son, father tandem seen in 2010 elections

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- It will be a son and father tandem in this city next year as former Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez formally declared yesterday that he will run for city vice mayor.

The 74-year-old Romualdez said that his main agenda is to "professionalize" the Sangguniang Panlungsod and make it as the "best city council in the country."

"The first thing that we need to do is to expand the legislative building to accommodate more people especially during public hearings. We will also replicate the best practices of other cities," he said during a press briefing at the city mayor's office yesterday.

The younger brother of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos pointed out that with the city "growing very fast" and being the capital of Eastern Visayas, there's a need to implement high impact projects that will be endorsed by the city legislators.

Bejo ruled as the city's chief executive from 1998 to 2007. He was succeeded by his son former Leyte Congressman Alfred S. Romualdez. The latter earlier announced that he will seek reelection next year.

The young Romualdez is a member of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, of which he is designated as city district chairman by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

His father, however, said in a media briefing that the Romualdez family running in the local post might join different parties to get a better chance to solicit support from the national leadership.

"We want to align with everybody because we need all their help to improve Tacloban. Some of the family members might join different parties," he added.

Other members of the Romualdez clan holding current political positions are Leyte 1st district Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, son of former Leyte Governor Benjamin Romualdez; former actress now city Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, Alfred's wife.

Bejo told the media that his old age won't hinder his participation in the local governance considering that he will be more involved in planning activities.

"It is not only the executive that do the planning. The legislative should actively take part on it. It is not only being dictated by the Mayor but the Sanggunian as well," he stressed.

He will also talk with incumbent Vice Mayor Arvin V. Antoni how they can work together for the improvement of the city. Antoni, a known critic of the incumbent mayor, is reportedly seeking reelection next year.

"I will respect him if he wants to be in the opposition as long as he is for the development of Tacloban," the elder Romualdez said.

Other projects he is planning to push are computerization in the city's legislative building, provide social housing for the poor, improve the city's transportation system, build alternative road, and set up "New Tacloban" in the 300-hectare lot in the northern barangay.

During his 3 terms as the city mayor, Romualdez was widely credited for several projects in the city such as the astrodome and new bus terminal.






Nov 12, 2009

Alfred eyes Bejo or Kringkring as his possible running mate in 2010 polls

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez or Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez may just end up as his running mate on his reelection bid in next year's general elections.

This was revealed by Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who said that both his father and his wife have good track records, reason why he is considering either of them as a possible running mate.

"But it is up to them (if they will decide to run as my running mate)," the city mayor said yesterday.

Romualdez said that he would seek for his possible second term under the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD of which he is the city district chairman as designated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to the city mayor, his father and his wife have good track records as public servants reason why he would not think twice of naming either of them as his vice mayoralty candidate.

"There are several options. It's either the former mayor, Bejo Romualdez, or Councilor Romualdez who could be my running mate. Both have good track records. Otherwise, I will not run with either of them even if they are my relatives if they don't have a good track record," Romualdez said, dismissing possible issue on political dynasty that could be used against them.

"I am proud of them," the mayor said, referring to the achievements of his father and his wife.

He, however, said that he could also pick other candidates as his running mate other than his father or wife.

Bejo Romualdez was Tacloban's chief executive for nine years and is widely credited for several major infrastructure projects in the city like the astrodome and new bus terminal. He was the one who originally pushed for Tacloban to become a highly urbanized city.

Councilor Romualdez, meantime, made a successful political ran of her own during the 2007 elections wherein she topped the race for council seats. The councilor, a former movie actress, is active on issues affecting women and children.

The incumbent vice mayor, Arvin Antoni, is considered to be one of the mayor's fiercest critics. He was the running mate of the failed mayoralty bid of businessman Dan Palami, who is rumored to be running again for mayor in next year's elections.

The chief executive said that he would be putting up a complete line up in next year's elections, adding that he and his teammates will file their certificates of candidacy at the end of the month.

The filing of certificates of candidacy is to start on November 20.

Mayor Romualdez said that he is proud of the achievements of his administration as he initiated several projects and programs that benefited the city's more than 200,000 people.

But what he is most proud of, he said, was that he was able to do away somehow with political patronage which is also known as "palakasan system" under his administration.






Nov 11, 2009

Romualdezez back Gibo, Bongbong in 2010

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez expressed support for the presidential bid of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi, as well as the senatorial bid of his cousin, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., who has been allied with the Nacionalista Party.

"I will toe the (party) line. I belong to the administration party," Romualdez said on Wednesday, unmindful of the defections by some of the party members who included Biliran Governor Rogelio Espina.

Romualdez was named chairman of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD in Tacloban City two months ago.

He said he did not see anything wrong in supporting Teodoro, the presumptive presidential candidate of the administration, and of his cousin Bongbong.

"Everybody is doing that. Even some members of the Cabinet might support other presidential candidates (coming from the opposition)," Romualdez said.

During Sen. Manuel Villar's visit to Tacloban City in June, Romualdez had presented the senator to the barangay officials of the city.

He also said that the Romualdezes and Marcoses have been identified with the Nacionalista Party since his uncle, former President Ferdinand Marcos was once with the party.

Romualdez would be seeking a second term as Tacloban City mayor with his father Alfredo and wife Cristina as among his choices for running mate.

The elder Romualdez was the mayor of Tacloban for nine years and was succeeded by his son in 2007.






Nov 11, 2009

City administrator reacts on Balyuan property issue

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The demand letter issued by the provincial government against the city government over the Balyu-an property was loaded with "official protocol violations" and "legal flaws."

Thus said City Administrator Robert Muñoz in reaction to an earlier communication issued by his counterpart, Provincial Administrator Vincent Emnas, asking the city government to "immediately vacate" the 6,941 square meters property located along Magsaysay Boulevard, this city.

The area houses a building where the offices of health, social welfare and assessor, among others, are located. Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, wife of Mayor Alfred Romualdez, also holds office in the same building.

The multi-million Balyu-an amphitheater is also located in the same contested area together with a convention area-cum-training center.

Muñoz, in his letter, said that instead of addressing his letter to the city mayor, Emnas should have addressed his October 19 letter to his office, being his counterpart.

"As to the official protocol violations, you are not of the same level as the honorable city mayor of Tacloban, a highly urbanized city. Your letter therefore is not only uncalled for, it also constitutes official disrespect and discourtesy," the city administrator, on his two-page letter, said.

And as to legal flaws, the contested property remains under court litigation which made Emnas' move as "highly contumacious" which could be ground for indirect contempt.

"It contains allegations that tend to degrade, impede or obstruct the administration of justice or pre-empt (the court) of whatever decision it will make on the said case..." Muñoz said in his letter.

The city and provincial governments are in legal battle over the said property, largely known as Balyu-an property, over ownership of the 6,941 square meter property. The case, lodged before Judge Salvador Apurillo of Regional Trial Court Branch 8, was also referred for a possible mediation.

Emnas, in his one-page October 19-dated letter addressed to City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, asked the city government "to immediately vacate the said lots and to pay a reasonable value of rental for the use or occupation thereof...."

City Legal Officer Sergio Sumayod, meantime, maintains that the province has no right to claim the property considering that it has no documents to prove that it owns the property other than a tax declaration.

"While the city government has no documents to prove its ownership just like the province, we have been in possession of the property for the longest time already," Sumayod said.

It is the national government, he said, that owns the property.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said that he is leaving the matter to his legal team to resolve the issue. "I don't like to be preoccupied with that issue. The provincial legal office will handle that," he said in a separate interview.

He, however, maintains that the province owns the property and that the city government should honor an earlier agreement it entered 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.

"We were deceived by the province that it owns the property. That is why the former mayor, acting on good faith, entered an agreement," Sumayod said.

Last July 10 of this year, the city government filed a case before the court seeking for the annulment of the agreement that expired last August 26 or five years after it was signed.






Nov 09, 2009

New infra projects underway at Gov't Center in Palo, Leyte

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- New infrastructure development are now underway at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte as the provincial government grooms the area to be the next central business district for the province of Leyte.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho disclosed projects currently being undertaken at the Government Center include a mini-terminal and a convention center, both facilities seen to augment the economic growth and business opportunities rising along the area.

The mini-terminal, he said, will be constructed at the vacant lot in between the regional office of the National Food Authority (NFA-8) and the fastfood franchise Andoks, which lot is still part of the Government Center of the provincial government.

"The mini-terminal would basically function as a parking space for passenger vehicles plying along the Palo route going to the south and west of Leyte ," the governor said.

Members of the Palo Police, as well as gasoline station owners along the junction and highway of the government center have long complained that the lanes along these areas are being used as parking space for passenger vehicles.

Meanwhile, Gov. Petilla likewise disclosed the planned convention center would be located at the back of the former Leyte Academic Center Gymnasium which, to recall, has been leased out to a call center company which opened full operation early this year and the first call center locator inside the Leyte ICT Park.

The convention center is seen to replace the former LAC Gymnasium that could become a venue for big gatherings and even national conventions.

The governor disclosed the ongoing rehabilitation of the MacArthur Park Resort Hotel being undertaken by a private conglomerate would complement the tourist promotion efforts of the province together.

Works at the MacArthur Park Resort Hotel, also located at the Government Center , is paced to meet its soft opening deadline on April 30 next year and become fully operational before the next Leyte Gulf Landing Commemoration in the month of October.

To recall, the said hotel had an original target date of opening last October 20, however, rehabilitation works have been delayed.

The province has also recently opened a Police Assistance Center at the Government Center, located just beside the Leyte ICT Park, that provide peace, order, security and other police assistance to the area.

The Police Assistance Center would be manned by police officers from the Leyte Norte Police Provincial Office.

Gov. Petilla likewise mentioned these developments have been part of his long term goals when he first assumed in office in 2004.

"They never believed me then that these are possible and we can make these new developments in the area but look at what we have now. We have increased activity here and little by little, people start noticing all there," Gov. Petilla said.






Nov 09, 2009

Grocery chain planning to open branch at Government Center

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Not another mall but a big national grocery chain is eyeing to open a new branch at the Government Center area.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla disclosed this amid talks of a possible new mall player to come in after the successful opening of the first ever mall in the city of Tacloban.

"I don't think another mall would be viable at the moment. The first mall has just opened this year. We have to give them a chance to grow first on its own," Gov. Petilla said.

A period of three to five years, the governor added, would be sufficient time for the current mall owner to grow and develop before a new player in this business could come in and flourish in the same way.

Petilla, however, disclosed that not a mall, rather a "big grocery chain" is eyeing a site at the Government Center as expansion of its branch. He did not disclose yet the name of the possible locator.

The number of employees working at the various government offices located at the Government Center, workers inside the Leyte ICT Park and schools located nearby are seen to provide a big market for a grocery chain to open in the area, the governor said.

He likewise added that drawing these kind of companies and businesses to the Government Center is part of the long-term plan of the province charted when he first assumed office in 2004.

The long-term development project for the Government Center is seen to draw together the principal elements of shopping, business and recreation within a single spot with the rehabilitation of a five-star hotel, an accessible IT facility, government offices, commercial areas and a public transport terminal which is already underway.

Petilla said that if the unutilized portion of the vast land at the Government Center will be turned into an intensive commercial and tourism hub, thousands of jobs will be created for the Leyteños. Creation of even a grocery chain would mean jobs for the unemployed in the area and nearby towns, he said.

"This will also stir the economy not only of the province of Leyte but of the entire Eastern Visayas," the governor told local media in an interview.

As the infrastructure and other facilities are being put into place by the provincial government, the governor said, the next big step in the coming years would be for "more investors to come in to invest and expand their business operations here in the province."






Nov 09, 2009

Anti photo, video voyeurism ordinance implemented in Tacloban City

By Fila Villa N. Cañas

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY - With the third and final reading of the Anti Photo and Video Voyeurism Ordinance by the City Council in their last regular session, it has already passed for implementation.

With this ordinance, it would be officially illegal to capture a photo and/or video of any person with the private parts exposed; illegal even with their consent as long as the subject is a minor; illegal when broadcasted or uploaded for public viewing and illegal without written consent of the subject.

Violation of said ordinance carries the penalty of P500,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

City Councilor Jerry ‘Sambo' Yaokasin, author of the ordinance, said there are already cases of this in the city and most of the victims are students and women. It is very accessible with the technology nowadays that even cell phones have cameras.

Yaokasin said it so happened that there was a reported case last month of a woman taking a bath and was secretly shot in a video. The man taking the video was brought to the police, but since there was no ordinance corresponding to the complaint, there was nothing the man could be charged of. Other cases also are videos of lovers during their moment of passion used for blackmail during break-ups.

Yaokasin hopes that with this ordinance, people would stop from doing acts which is so immoral at the same time devastating especially for women, "...I hope this would be able to put a stop to perpetrators who take advantage of women, he said."






Nov 07, 2009

Matin Petilla "most likely"
to run as mayor of Palo

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

PALO, Leyte -- Former representative and governor Remedios "Matin" Petilla is "most likely" to run for mayor of this town in next year's elections.

This was confirmed yesterday by Petilla herself as she described Palo as a "family's hometown."

But still, the mother of Governor Carlos Jericho "Icot" Petilla hastens to add that another run for Leyte's first congressional district remains to be an option in relation to the 2010 elections.

"But most likely, I will run for mayor of Palo. I have been going around, consulting with the local officials and getting the pulse of the people. And the reactions were amazing and heart-warming," Petilla said.

"They were all very, very excited," she added, referring to the reactions of the local officials on her plan to run for mayor of Palo.

Petilla, who is now the vice president for social concerns of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, said that she would declare her purported plan for mayor in due time.

But this early, her reported plan to run for mayor of this bustling town has the support of her son.

"Whatever will be her political plans (for 2010), I will support her 100 percent. Whatever support a son could give to his mother, I will gladly do so," Gov. Petilla said in a separate interview.

Both the governor and his mother were present during yesterday's inauguration of a police assistance center at Barangay Candahug, Palo. The modern police assistance center is located within the Leyte Academic Center where the region's first call center company is operating along with a computer school and a fast food chain.

Asked why she is seriously considering of running as mayor of Palo, Petilla said that the town, with its proximity to Tacloban City, has the potentials to become the next business hub of the province.

"It's already the center of culture and even religion. Palo has the potentials to become a business hub. It's a very good area (for further development)," she said.

Petilla lamented that despite of its potentials, Palo remains to be economically underdeveloped.

"Given the chance, I can handle the challenge. It is our hometown and it is where we intend to retire," she said.

The incumbent mayor of Palo is Teodoro Sevilla, who is serving his second term as mayor, about 17 kilometers away from the regional capital of Tacloban City, a highly urbanized city whose voters are now ineligible to vote for any provincial posts.

Petilla thus said that with its vast potential, her running for mayor of Palo would not be a political demotion on her part.

"What is important is that I can provide service to the people," she said.

Petilla served as governor of Leyte for nine years before she stepped down in 2004 to give way for her son, Jericho. She also served as Leyte's congressional representative for a single term which ended in 2007.






Nov 07, 2009

BFAR admits families will be displaced due to proposed City Fishport Complex

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) disclosed that some families dwelling in the city's reclamation area will be displaced with the plan to set up a P300 million Tacloban City Fish Port Complex..

Juan Albaladejo, BFAR regional director, said that the need to clean up the surrounding will prompt the city government and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) to relocate some families in the reclamation area.

"The fish port needs bigger space. Initially, it will require two to three hectares. More lots will be used in building plants for its full development," Albaladejo said in a phone interview.

The city government initially planned to establish the port in the Old Bus Terminal and in Barangay 37 Reclamation Area. The squatter area has around 500 houses. Authorities are still on the process of identifying specific affected households.

The proposed facility will be patterned after the fishing port in General Santos City - it has piers, refrigeration facilities, ice plants and processing plants-to enable fishers to unload their catch, process them and export their products to whatever markets because of their nearness to airports.

The relocation of families will also help maintain sanitation within the fish port complex. With this plan, the BFAR official has called on families that will be affected to cooperate since this will spur economic growth and provide more livelihood opportunities in the city in a long term.

"I pray that all concerned groups will work together so that we won't lose the chance to obtain the project. The funding is ready but the release will mainly depend on preparations of the city government," Albadejo said.

The Department of Agriculture through PFDA is pushing to kick-off the P300 million project before the end of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term mid 2010.

The city council earlier approved a resolution allowing City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez to sign a memorandum of agreement with PFDA. Before the signing, Albaladejo said that the local government has to provide a location map for the site.

"I wish the MOA signing will take place this year. Local officials should get together," Albaldejo said.

He said that the project will give clear direction to the flourishing tuna industry in Eastern Samar and Northern Samar seas which recently drew catchers feeding the requirements of General Santos City tuna processing plant.

"The building of fish port is timely because of the dwindling tuna population in General Santos, which is known to be the country's tuna capital. Some of the GenSan commercial fishers have been going to Eastern Samar and they ship it out to their place," Albaladejo explained.

The official said that the city is the ideal place to build the new fish port not only that Tacloban is the capital of Eastern Visayas but also the geographic location facing the Pacific Ocean and their proximity to existing airport.

The region has been identified as part of the country's super highway for tuna being located in the Eastern seaboard hosting the untapped exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Pacific Ocean .

The Pacific Ocean is home to migratory species like bluefin, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna, which usually go there during the colder months of the year's second semester.

"Since we don't have fish port in the region, the tuna catch in Eastern Samar is being monopolized by ice plant operators. Fishermen were forced to sell it to them at a lower price," he added..

If the project will be pushed through, it will attract canning operations, fish mill plants and many investors in the tuna industry and will create more jobs. He said that it will also boom the existing mariculture (marine agriculture) zones in the region because of the steady market.

BFAR is looking at towns of Guiuan or San Julian in Eastern Samar as alternative project site if in case the plan will not succeed in Tacloban.

The agriculture department embarked on a medium-term plan to boost fish catch and sustain the high growth Philippine fisheries by investing in ports in the country's Eastern seaboard.






Nov 04, 2009

Sto. Niño Church prepares for 2nd visit of healing priest, Fr. Suarez

By Robertzon F. Ramirez

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- For the preparation of the 2nd visit of Father Suarez, the Sto. Niño Church has invited volunteers in order to have solemnity during the healing ceremony on November 5, 2009 at 9:00 in the morning, shortly after the mass.

According to Father Amadeo Alvero, media officer of the Archdiocese of Palo, the second visit of the healing priest, Father Suarez, is well prepared and organized. They have invited police officers through PNP-8 Regional Director Mario Sandiego, some traffic volunteers and Eugene Tan of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Foundation.

After the mass at the Sto. Niño Church, the healing proper will start. Patients must form two lines in order to have an organized flow; they are to enter at the main door of Sto. Niño Church and will exit on the both sides of the church.

There are more than 24 patients who will be entertained, Fr. Alvero said, adding that this was a first-come first-serve basis.

Those only who have availed of the yellow tickets are those who will be entertained. Tickets are available at the parishes under the Archdiocese of Palo.

Father Alvero is asking the public that if possible, only those who are seriously ill will be catered to, particularly those suffering from cancer, heart disease and some other serious diseases. He stressed that not all of the patients will be accommodated because Father Suarez has to leave before 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon.

People who are attending the event shall confess before the healing session. Sto. Niño Church has a schedule for the confession on November 4, 2009 at 8:00 p.m.






Nov 03, 2009

City Tourism Office to hold Xmas tree decoration competition

By Marjorie Karen T. Onyot

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City tourism in cooperation with the city government will be holding a competition on Christmas tree decoration. Registration, which is free, had just started last October 27, 2009 and will continue until the last week of November.

"This competition is open to all Taclobanons, but we only have limited slots. We can only accommodate 16 contestants because the judging and awarding will be held at the city hall grounds by second week of December," Jake Ligan, city tourism officer said.

The City Hall grounds would be divided into four, in every quadrant four Christmas trees will be placed.

The Christmas trees should have a maximum size of 12 feet tall and all should be made of indigenous materials which is not expensive.

All contestants will be gathered and briefed before they make the Christmas trees because they will be given a subsidy. "What is good about this competition is that contestants will receive almost P1, 250 each as a subsidy in making the Christmas trees," Ligan added.

Judging of entries is based on the following criteria: originality is 40%, vibrancy of colors, 30%; and creativity is 30%. The prizes will be given by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez. Third prize will be P5,000, the second prize is P7,000 and first prize will get P10,000.






Nov 03, 2009

Camella is now the "in-thing"

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Camella is fast becoming the "in thing" among those who are scouting for a new place where they could build their new home.

Proof of this is about 50 houses are sure to be constructed in the next few months within the sprawling nine-hectare subdivision, Geraldine Gascon, general manager of Camella Leyte, said.

"We were surprised with the overwhelming response. Our (clients) are not only from Leyte but even those coming from other provinces (in the region)," she said, adding that this early, they are thinking of a possible expansion to accommodate the expected increase of their clients.

Gascon said that since they have started their operations in Leyte about eight months ago, they were already swamped with inquiries from prospective homeowners.

Last Sunday, the Camella management marked the blessing of their model houses, known as Lara, Marvela, Carmela, Drina and Elaisa. Reverend Father Eduardo Rivera led in the blessings of these model houses as witnessed by Camella's officials led by lawyer Pamela Gako, business and development group head.

Gascon said that practically all the five model houses of the Camella have caught the fancy of their prospective buyers, to include the so-called most "pricey" among the units.

The kind of houses of the Camella varies from floor sizes and features.

Lara, for one, is identified to be good for a new family as it is the smallest type among the model houses with only 70 square meter in lot area and 44 square meter in floor area. Its features include two bedrooms, toilet, bathroom, living, dining and kitchen areas. It has also a provision for a carport and laundry area.

The Marvela model has also the same lot area with that of the Lara type although it has a 52 floor area covering two bed rooms, living, dining, kitchen and provision for carport and laundry area.

Meantime, the Carmela type ha a floor area of 64 square meter with a minimum 88 square meter and can accommodate three-bed rooms and a living, dining, kitchen, provision for carport and a balcony to boot.

The Drina type has a floor area of 81 square meter and with a minimum lot area of 99 square meter. Aside from its three-bed rooms feature, it has also its own living, dining, kitchen, provision for carport and a balcony as well.

The last type, Elaisa, is considered to be the biggest one as it has a floor area of 96 square meter with a minimum lot area of 110 square meter. It has also a four bedrooms, toilet and a bath, a living, dining, kitchen, a family room and a provision for a carport and balcony.

While Gascon admitted that the units offered by the Camella may indeed be "pricey," prospective owners could be assured not only of amenities like a club house, swimming pool, basketball court and a park, security is assured. Steady power and water connections are also guaranteed.

The location of the village also makes it very accessible to the airport, school, down area and at Robinsons.

The Camella Leyte is part of the Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. owned by Senator Manuel "Manny" Villar.




    
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