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Apr 30, 2009

Mattress, screened doors spell difference in Palarong Pambansa '09

By Alice Nicart

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Department of Education Regional Director 08, Sol Matugas, proudly pronounced that a better sleeping condition for 2009 Palarong Pambasa athletes makes a difference.

She said this during the Press Conference with the local media shortly before the games began.

As if to express gratitude for the full support given to DepEd by the Provincial Government of Leyte, through Governor Jerico Petilla, Matugas emphasized that even the windows of the different quarters of each regional delegation were screened aside from the mattresses each athlete was provided of.

"We are very thankful for this kind of support we are getting and the athletes are bringing home these foams", Dir. Matugas said.

In an interview with ARMM Delegation at the SPED Center, Pearl Shiela Mae Luis, a 12-year old Lawn Tennis player from Cotabato showed this writer the foam she was sleeping on. True enough, joy showed in her face at the good news that she will bring home the mattress because it will serve her as a reminder of her experience in Tacloban City, Region 8.

"This is my first time to travel to play. Even if I have not won a medal, the experience is incomparable," Luis said, "and now that I will have a mattress to bring home, the more that I will have another reason to be happy,' the young athlete proclaimed.

District Supervisor Carmelita Dacut and Mrs. Cecilia Libres were spotted by this writer roamed the entire ARMM quarters. Asked why they have to do it, the two educators said that they are checking for some needs of the members of the delegation.

"The other day, they complained about water shortage," Mrs. Dacut said and after they reported the problem to the Local Government Unit of the Province, several tanks of water were delivered to them; everyday, water is delivered and now the most important thing for man to live has become sufficient for all the athletes and officials," she added.

Palarong Pambansa 2009 in Leyte will soon wind up. The last Palaro held in the Region was in 1983.

Apr 30, 2009

Palarong Pambansa 2009 showcases Leyte, Tacloban City

By Flor Jackson

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The 2009 Palarong Pambansa is an opportune time to showcase what is best in Leyte, Tacloban City and in Eastern Visayas as a whole.

In big events like the Palarong Pambansa where guests, visitors, officials and the athletes from all over the country are gathered in the host province - this is the best time to promote even more the tourist attractions, products made through the creativity of the Taclobanons, Leytenos and other attractions the city and the province have.

According to Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Teodorico Sangil, Jr. during a press conference with Secretary Jeslie Lapuz yesterday (April 28) at the Leyte Park Hotel and the members of the media covering the big event, he hopes the Palarong Pambansa will pave the way for guests and visitors to discover what is in Leyte and in Tacloban City.

There are 17 delegations from the different regional athletic associations all over the country who will vie in the different athletic games in this year's Palarong Pambansa.

Arts and crafts, delicacies and other specialties from Leyte are on display and for sale at the vicinity of the new Tacloban City Sports Development Center.

Likewise, woodcrafts, marble crafts, fashion accessories made of indigenous materials and other products from other regions of the country are made available for sale to all who have a passion for these things.

Scheduled tours for the athletic delegations have been arranged by the Department of Tourism Regional Office No. 8 through Director Karina Rosa S. Tiopes in coordination with some travel agencies in Leyte for the visitors to experience the beauty and wonders of the tourist attractions here in the province, which are done on schedule.

Foremost that Leyte can offer to the visitors as the host province of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa is the warm hospitality of the Leytenos.

"I like the hospitality of the people of Leyte, they are very friendly", Secretary Lapuz said during the press conference.

The hospitality of the people will bring more benefits to the province - though not immediate, but for sure the benefit will come," he added.

The 17 billeting areas for the 2009 Palarong Pambansa delegations involve three Leyte towns namely Dulag, Tanauan and Palo and the city of Tacloban with one of its barangays which is San Jose.

Secretary Lapuz expressed hope that the media coverage of the Palarong Pambansa 2009 will highlight the province of Leyte and the city of Tacloban in the national scene.

Palarong Pambansa serves as a national Olympics for students with victors from competitions at the school, provincial and regional levels emerging to participate.

Apr 30, 2009

Leyte stages Subiran Regatta for Palaro 2009 visitors, guests

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In connection with the ongoing Palarong Pambansa 2009, the provincial government of Leyte staged a colorful Subiran Regatta competition on April 29, 2009, at the Family Park along Magsaysay Boulevard.

Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu who is the chairman of the Water Sports Committee of the Palarong Pambansa 2009 said that Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla agreed to the holding of the Subiran Regatta in order to give the Palaro athletes and guests, the opportunity to have a glimpse of Leyte's rich cultural heritage.

Mayor Tiu also cited former Governor and congresswoman, now PAGCOR Vice President Remedios L. Petilla for always initiating activities that would bolster the tourism industry and enhance the culture of the Leytenos.

For her part, Hon. Petilla who is the chairman of the socio-economic-cultural committee of the Palaro, thanked the boatmen without whose support, the Subiran Regatta will not become an institution. She also cited the help of the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard.

About 34 boatmen from Carigara, Leyte; San Jose, Tacloban; and Basey, Samar showed their prowess in sailing without any engine or oars, only the sails and the wind.

An added feature to the just concluded Subiran Regatta is the sail painting contest where municipalities in Leyte sponsored the painting of the sails depicting that which is unique to the respective areas.

Adjudged as first prize winner for the sail-painting contest was Domingo Flandez, who was the artist for the Baybay City sail. Coming in as second is Johnray Mabalog who painted the Abuyog sail while Romulo Ramirez was the third placer painting the Santa Fe sail. The fourth prize was awarded to Donaldo Abrasaldo who painted the Javier sail.

The judges for the sail-painting competition were Mr. Crispin Asensi and Mr. Ernie Ybanez, two of the leading artists in Leyte.

Meanwhile, after sailing for more than two hours, the fastest boatman Mr. Rodrigo Ariarte, arrived at the Finish Line. Following closely was Mateo Arcoseba, the second placer; and Crispo Sumalinog, third place. All the first three winners are from Carigara, Leyte.

Cash awards of P15 thousand; P10 thousand; and P5 thousand and trophies were awarded to the first three winners by Hon. Remedios Petilla and Mayor Roque Tiu.

The next seven placers received P1 thousand each while the rest were given P500. each.

As in the past Subiran Regattas, the judges were Col. Eustaquio Nicolas, Mr. Fritz Munoz, and Mr. Isagani Granali.

Apr 29, 2009

Tacloban DZR airport modernization project to be completed in three years

By Miriam Garcia Desacada

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- No less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday morning led in the groundbreaking of the long-delayed modernization of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, popularly known as Tacloban Airport, which was worth P2.1 billion in the past but would now cost P4.130 billion.

Mrs. Arroyo, along with top government officials of the region and the Cabinet members, during the press briefing said the airport rehabilitation will be completed within three years but the on-going overlaying of the airport runway will be completed this coming August.

"With this project, Tacloban City as the gateway of the region this will help boost the economy specially in the tourism industry," President Arroyo said.

The project was under the Selected Airports Development Project of the Department of Transpor-tation and Communications (DOTC) financed by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation.

The modernization of this airport has been delayed for already more than two years, due to lack of funds of the local government counterpart.

It will be noted that the amount is part of the P11.713-billion yen loan agreement, which was signed by the Philippine government and JBIC in May 2001 in Tokyo, Japan.

Government funds for the airport worth P600 million were among those realigned to purchase search-and-rescue vessels for the DOTC.

A total of P165.5 million has been realigned from the airport's projects to the DOTC follow-on search and rescue vessels acquisition project.

The said project will still be included in the government's 2004-10 Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, but its target date has been moved from September 2007 to 2009.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez expressed opti-mism that this project will soon be realized with the effort President Arroyo and the support of the local leaders concerned in the project implemen-tation.

On the part of the Romualdez family, the young local chief executive of this city also said that they already donated a relocation site for the families who were displaced by the project.

The upgrading of the airport will convert its aviation standards and cope with the increasing air traffic demand of Tacloban and the whole of Eastern Visayas. It is considered the growth center of Eastern Visayas and one of the conduit airports in the country.

The project involves the construction of a new two-level passenger terminal building complete with all the amenities needed by the traveling public. The terminal building will be provided with escalators, elevators and two boarding bridges.

Besides the passenger terminal building, a separate new and larger cargo terminal building will also be constructed to cope with the demand.

To accommodate wide body jet aircraft like Airbus 330 and the like, the existing runway will be strengthened by 127 centimeters asphalt overlay, and a new aircraft parking will also be constructed that could accommodate jet aircraft at any given time.

As a protection from the normal shore erosion, a reclamation work of approximately four hectares will be undertaken and an appropriate seawall will be constructed.

Also, installation of intermediate landing system, precision approach lighting and other necessary new air navigational facilities and equipment will be undertaken to further enhance the safety of aircrafts during night operations and during inclement weather condition.

For the convenience of the departing and arriving passengers as well as their well-wishers, a 246-slot car-parking area will be provided.

Apr 29, 2009

PGMA: Teamwork key to survival from global crisis

By Garry A Vacunawa

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made use of the grand opening of the Palarong Pambansa 2009 here to tell the Filipino people that "teamwork" is the only way to survive in the midst of present global financial crisis that we are facing.

The President formally opened the national games yesterday morning, which was attended by more than 10 thousand athletes, coaches, officiating officials, local and national government officials and spectators who also came from different parts of the country.

In a brief message, the President said that if everybody would work together as one team, she was confident the Filipinos would not only survive but prosper in this time of global crisis.

"Naway itong Palarong Pambansa 2009 ay ipaiiral ang teamwork ng ating mga estudyante para na rin ipairal and ating pagsama-sama bilang isang taumbayan," the President said.

The President also said that government's spending in infrastructure projects, human resource development, health, education and others geared towards development and progress, which the ultimate beneficiary is the Filipino youth.

Meanwhile, the President personally witnessed the spectacular presentation of the Abuyog Festival of Abuyog, Leyte, the 2009 Sinulog Festival and 2009 Aliwan Festival grand champion. The Buyogan Festival is the interpretation of the life and movements of bees.

The Grand Opening also featured Leyte's other folk dances and festivals. Dubbed as "Pagkasurumpay," which means connections, this part of the program featured the festivals of the municipalities of Tanauan, Bato, Alang-alang and Baybay City.

It was followed by "Leyte Expressions in Movement," which presented local dances like Lawiswis Kawayan, Kuratsa, and Tinikling.

Another highlight of the said event was the "Pakulo" competition among the 17 regions.

The opening program ended with a parade along the city streets.

Apr 28, 2009

Tacloban airport expansion project gets P500 million

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY - The national government has allocated P500 million this year for the expansion of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport and relocation of around 200 families displaced by the project, Merla Negradas, Civil Aviation Authority area manager for Eastern Visayas, told reporters here.

The airport, which occupies 123.7 hectares, will be expanded by over 100 hectares, to include a shore protection wall, and asphalt overlay of the runway. Some P155 million has also been released for a new passenger terminal.

Apr 28, 2009

PGMA congratulates Leyte as host of Palarong Pambansa 2009

By Rodgigo S. Victoria

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is all praise for Leyte province for hosting this year's Palarong Pambansa in her less than five-minute speech during the opening ceremony here.

PGMA stressed that the holding of this year's annual national sports event in Leyte is the biggest in 25 years.

The President clad in her powder blue pantsuit greeted the crowd in the jampacked Leyte Sports and Development Center (LSDC) in Waray vernacular by saying "maupay nga aga ha iyo nga tanan" to the delight of the people who watched the opening ceremony.

She likewise congratulated the officials of the Department of Education (DepEd), officials in Leyte province, students, coaches, national government officials for the holding of the Palarong Pambansa 2009 in Leyte.

Meanwhile, PGMA emphasized the value of teamwork and how valuable sports is in our country which not only develop the health and physical well-being of people but likewise give self-confidence and help boost character to oneself.

The President also underscored the importance of working together as a people and as a nation and she is confident that the country will survive in this time of global financial crisis.

In the later part of her short speech, the President formally opened the annual national sports event participated in by 17 participating delegations all over the country.

Apr 28, 2009

PGMA leads groundbreaking for new Tacloban Airport terminal building

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the groundbreaking ceremony today for the new Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport Terminal building here and lowered the time capsule of the proposed P155-million airport terminal on a 4,899.96 square meter portion of the airport complex.

The President proudly announced that already underway is the asphalt overlaying of runway and construction of shore protection in the amount of P 625.5 Million which is due to be completed by August, this year.

The Tacloban Airport Development Project will serve as the gateway for Region 8 to all over the world and become one of the country's secondary international airports. The total funding requirement for the project is P 4.13 Billion, the President said.

President Arroyo looks forward to the establishment of an international airport in the region as a strong tool for the promotion of the local tourist destinations which would eventually make Biliran and Limasawa Islands as Boracay for Eastern Visayas, she added.

The existing alternate international airports in the country are in Laoag City, airport in Ilocos Norte, General Santos City, Zamboanga City and Davao City.

In the Eastern Visayas, the Tacloban Airport is considered a "trunkline" airport while secondary airports in the region are in Catarman, Calbayog and Ormoc. On the other hand, "feeder" airports are operating in Biliran, Borongan, caltbalogan. Guiuan, Hilongos and Maasin.

The other components of the project to be implemented include the installation of air navigational facilities costing P 230 million and the acquisition of lots for the expansion of the total land area of the airport terminal complex. A total of P 130 million has been earmarked for land acquisition.

After the groundbreaking and lowering of the time capsule, the President had a regional one-on-one media interview where she announced the release of the royalty shares to local government units of the geothermal power generation still at the groundbreaking site, Tacloban City Airport.

Apr 28, 2009

Palarong Pambansa:
Annual games open in full colors, searing heat, sudden rains

By Bong Pedalino

Philippine Information Agency

Leyte Sports Development Center (LSDC), Tacloban City -- No doubt, the various athletic delegations did their homework, presenting a kaleidoscope of colorful costumes, uniforms, innovative yells, songs and dances, and rendering this year's sports competition truly a fiesta atmosphere.

Nature cooperated as well, with the noonday sun shining in this sprawling oval at about 32 degrees Celsius hot, only to be watered later in an unexpected heavy rain in the closing minutes of the opening ceremonies, where three remaining regions -- Cordillera, National Capital, and Eastern Visayas, the host -- performed in a wet look all over, literally speaking, thanks or no thanks to the passing rain.

But elsewhere around the city -- surprise! Surprise! -- it was dry land.

Bring in the medicine cabinet, you guys, for the kids will certainly have to bear with the swift temperature change that lasted more than ten minutes.

But if nothing happens, thank the Heavens and the individual's strong immune system, as athletes are expected to be armed, by way of improving one's personal stamina record.

For even if a Palaro player losses, he or she is still a winner if the colds and cough viruses failed to catch-up and ride with the climate change - pardon the term for lack of a better word - inside the arena.

On a higher plane, that was the message imparted by Department of Education (Deped) Secretary Jesli Lapus.

In the brief program shortly before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared the games open, and later before the rain-inducing clouds formed, Secretary Lapus encouraged the athletes to do their best.

"Kahit hindi kayo nanalo, ang importante ma-improve ang inyong personal record," Sec. Lapus emphasized, although he was referring more to the physical sports competition, and not battling with hot and cold conditions in the playing grounds.

The conduct of the annual Palaro games itself, Sec. Lapus said, has been taken as a way to improve the country's overall performance in whatever sports events enroute to an elusive Olympic gold.

But first, all potential gold haulers must survive the hot and cold doses of the opening rites.

For that alone, the Palarong Pambansa 2009 is already a resounding success.

Apr 28, 2009

Palarong Pambansa
a priority of gov't

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- President Glorial Macapagal-Arroyo has clearly emphasized the importance of sports development among students, during her speech at the Leyte Sports Development Center, in time for the formal opening of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa.

In her speech, the President stressed the importance of the Palarong Pambansa, and considered it as among the priority programs of the government. She believes this is the right venue not only for health development, but also for the formation and advancement of essential values such as teamwork, character, discipline and self confidence.

According to her, these are the qualities the government is developing among students who are into sports, and these are also the qualities needed as a nation, that would help face the challenges emerging from the global economic crisis.

"Working together will not only result to the country's survival, but also to its prosperity, amid the economic crisis it is currently facing," she said.

Also emphasizing the importance of the event, the lady leader also lauded Vice President Noli de Castro for joining her grace the activities, which she considers unusual for them to be in one occasion.

The President was likewise grateful to the provincial government of Leyte, the Education Department, the national government officials, as well as the students together with their coaches and parents, who still came from the different places of the country.

Apr 28, 2009

Arroyo formally opens
2009 Palaro in Leyte


MANILA, Philippines -- President Arroyo will formally open the 2009 Palarong Pambansa, the country's most prestigious grassroots multi-sports event, on Tuesday in Tacloban City.

Mrs. Arroyo will declare Games open in a festive ceremony set at 7:30 am at the newly-refurbished Leyte Sports Development Center.

"Mrs. Arroyo is expected to call on the more than 10,000 athletes and officials from the country's 17 regions to use sports as an effective tool to achieve national unity, peace and progress in keeping with the Palaro's theme this year: 'Bridging Unity, Peace and Progress through Sports,'" a Malacañang statement said.

The Palarong Pambansa aims to discover future talents among elementary and high school athletes in the grassroots level.

Also expected to attend the opening rites are Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn, 8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, Leyte police chief Senior Superintendent Doroteo Palconit and DepEd Regional Director Sol Matugas.

The Tacloban City Palaro will formally commence with a Tribute to the Games at 7:30 a.m., followed by a festive revelry by hundreds of dancers and cultural performers coming from the various towns in Leyte.

Gretchen Espina, the champion of Pinoy Idol 2008, will sing the Philippine national anthem to start a short program where Mrs. Arroyo will deliver her speech.

This will be the second time for Leyte to host the annual Palaro, the first being 1983.

For this staging, the Leyte province has spent P70 million to refurbish the Leyte Sports Development Center, the same venue where former Southeast Asian Games long jump queen Elma Muros upset sprint queen Lydia de Vega in the century dash in the 1983 Palaro.

Aside from athletics, other sports disciplines calendared this year are archery, arnis (secondary only), badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing (secondary only), chess, football, gymnastics, sepak-takraw, softball (secondary only), swimming, table tennis, lawn tennis, taekwondo and volleyball.

Apr 28, 2009

All systems go for DZR (Tacloban) Airport Redevelopment project

Leyte Samar Daily Express

After almost a decade, the long-awaited redevelopment of the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport in Tacloban City in the province of Leyte will finally commence, with the groundbreaking rites for the project scheduled today, April 28, to be led by no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"This is indeed a welcome development for us, not only in Leyte but also in nearby provinces as it would boost development efforts in the whole Eastern Visayas region. For this, we would like to thank President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has always been supportive of this project," declared Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (1st district, Leyte), who will be joining the President as well as other national and local officials in the groundbreaking.

Eastern Visayas, otherwise known as Region 8, is one of only two regions in the country which do not have a land border with another region, and is comprised of the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

The estimated total cost for the modernization of the said airport, officially dubbed as the DZR (Tacloban) Airport Redevelopment Project, is projected by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to amount to P4.1 billion, which will be funded on a year-by-year basis by the national government under the General Appropriations Act.

Originally, the redevelopment of the said airport was supposed to be coupled with the construction of the Bacolod-Silay Airport under the Selected Airports Development Project of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). While the construction of the Bacolod-Silay Airport was completed, the DZR Airport was left behind.

To date, a total of P1.410 billion has been alloted for the project, to cover some of the components such as the Airside Infrastructure of the Civil Works component, the construction of a new passenger terminal and the installation of air navigation equipment.

As of 2007, The DZR Airport was ranked as the seventh busiest airport in the country in terms of passenger volume, next to Mactan-Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and Caticlan. Its total passenger volume in 2006 was 400,000, which increased to 521,000 in 2007 and spiked to 627,000 last year.

"If the increase in the passenger volume is an indicator, then it means that the DZR Airport has a lot of potential and would be worth the expenditure. Its modernization would boost tourism and other industries not only in Leyte but in the whole region because we would now be more accessible," Romualdez declared.

Apr 27, 2009

More livelihood courses added to Cristina's Learn & Earn p'gram

By Fred Padernos

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- As a strategy in alleviating the poverty among non-working mothers and out of school youths, the Cristina's Learn and Earn program (CLEP) continue to offer more livelihood skills courses.

According to city councilor Cristina G. Romualdez who is spare heading the project, she started the livelihood program in February 2007 with intention to provide skills training which the recipient could later on use in their entrepreneurship activities.

At the start, only two courses were offered- the Cosmetology and Food Processing with a maximum of three months training which produced 165 individuals completers or graduates. In 2008, dressing making course was added, which yielded 454 completers.

By the 1st quarter of the current year, CLEP had a total of six courses, namely Cosmetology, Food Processing, Men's/ Women's Haircut, Baking, Tailoring and Reflexology that have produced 250 completers in all.

For the 2nd quarter, according to Councilor Cristina Romualdez, she added T-Shirt Printing, Fashion Jewelry Making, Buffet Table Skirting, etc.-and before the year ends, she said, an estimated 900-950 completers will benefit under the CLEP skills training.

Courses offered under this program are all free, and this is being implemented in partnership with the city government of Tacloban under the leadership of Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of DepEd, and the Barangays.

As a product of all these trainings, several "Parlor sa Barangay" and "Carenderia sa Barangay" had been opened for business recently, and these are operated by the completers themselves who formed themselves into a group or Cooperative. As a matter of fact, these were re-visited by the lady councilor this week.

Some of their cooked foods and other product services, were showcased in the Trade Fair exhibit and did a very good sale, during the three day (April 21-23) "First Visayas Cooperative Team Shop" held at the Tacloban City Convention Center in Sagkahan here.

Apr 27, 2009

PGMA ground-breaks P4.130-B Tacloban airport development project

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In line with President Arroyo's Super Region development strategy where the Visayas is envisioned to be the Center of Tourism industry, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is scheduled to ground break the 4.1Billion Tacloban Airport Development Project on Tuesday, April 27, 2009.

The development of a more modern and bigger Airport complex will pave way to the coming in of any type of aircrafts and will encourage additional flights to the Region.

As of now, there are three airline companies flying the Tacloban-Manila and vice versa, and the Tacloban-Cebu and vice versa routes. There are at least four flights to Cebu and Tacloban, and at least 9 flights from Manila to Tacloban and 9 flights from Tacloban to Manila.

The Airport Development Project which has several components is being implemented by the Department of Transportation and Communication under Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

President Arroyo is set to ground break the construction of the New Terminal Building which has a floor area of 4,899.96 square meters and project cost of P155 Million.

Now ongoing are two components of the development project namely, Asphalt Overlay of Runway and Construction of Shore Protection; and Acquisition of lots for New Terminal Complex Area.

The ongoing Asphalt Overlay of Runway and Construction of Shore Protection component has a project cost of P625.50 Million.

On the other hand, the ongoing acquisition of lots has a total cost of P130 Million, Engineer Dante Lulu informed.

Scheduled for bidding is the last component which is the air navigational facilities which amounts to P230 Million.

Another airport development project, that of Guiuan Airport, will soon be completed and will require inauguration by the President.

Apr 26, 2009

Leyte spends P80M for Palarong Pambansa hosting


MANILA, Philippines -- The Province of Leyte is spending over P80-million for hosting this year's Palarong Pambansa, an amount that officials considered as a "worthy investment."

According to Governor Jericho Petilla, the bulk of the expenses was used for the rehabilitation of sports venues that include the Leyte Sports Development Center in Tacloban City.

"We may have spent a big amount but at the end of the day, it will be our youth who will benefit from it because we will be able to provide them the needed venues to improve on their craft," said Petilla.

The local government has shelled out P70 million while Partylist An Waray chipped in P10 million for the meet that will be participated in by more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who will be the guest of honor in Wednesday's opening ceremonies, is also expected to make her contribution to this year's Games.

"People will come and go but the venues and the infrastructure we made will stay. We believe Leyte will be a force to reckon with in future local major tournaments because now we have the facilities for our athletes to train in," added explained Petilla.

The LSDC, which was used previously when Leyte hosted the 1983 Palaro edition, now boasts of a rubberized track oval and an Olympic size swimming pool, plus an football field with newly-installed lightings that allow night games.

Petilla said he envisioned his provincemates to excel in athletics and swimming and fight hard in the other fields.

The province is also dangling cash rewards of P15,000 to each athlete and coach who can deliver the gold medals for Leyte in the weeklong tournament.

Apr 25, 2009

Palarong Pambansa water supply assured

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) has assured that there will be an adequate and stable supply of water during the 2009 Palarong Pambansa next week.

LMWD General Manager Nestor Villasin said in a news conference yesterday that each of the 13 billeting areas set up in the city will consume around 36,000 liters of water. It is estimated that each delegate will consume 80 liters of water a day.

The water district made an agreement with the Department of Education to put up steel tanks in the schools that will house over 13,000 athletes and coaches from 17 regions of the country for the games.

The tanks will be filled up to six times daily by fire trucks from different municipalities of Leyte. The water, however is not safe for drinking. DepEd will provide purified water in dispensers for each classroom.

Apr 23, 2009

Gov. Petilla expresses optimism on success of Palarong Pambansa

By Lemuel L. Pagliawan

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho "Icot" Petilla is optimistic that the holding of the Palarong Pambansa here in the province of Leyte would be successful as expected.

This despite some odds that are being encountered by the province of Leyte together with the Department of Education (DepEd) in the region relative to the hosting of this national sporting event held annually.

Particularly, some of these problems have to do with the conflict between the local leaderships of the city government of Tacloban and the province of Leyte.

It can be noted that some people from the city government of Tacloban have been lambasting the governor for choosing to host the Palaro than to focus on the programs for the poor, especially nowadays when the global financial crisis is already at hand.

Lately, some Palaro-related streamers also bearing the names and faces of the governor and the regional director of DepEd and the department's Secretary that have been placed in strategic and conspicuous areas in the city have been allegedly detached by people from the city government accordingly due to lack of necessary permits.

However, in spite all these the governor of the province of Leyte have remained calm and assured that all things will go well and that the conduct of the Palarong Pambansa would run smoothly as planned.

"I can assure you that the Palaro will be successful," Petilla stressed in a recent interview with the media.

Petilla said that it would be the entire region that will be benefited with the holding of this Palarong Pambansa here.

According to him, it is not only about the improvement of sports facilities but it is also about introducing the region to the whole country.

"That's why I urge other local officials in the region to cooperate and support the holding of the Palaro because it would be for our own good and not for Leyte province only," Petilla said.

"We will try to make this one successful because we want to let the other parts of the country know that we exist," Petilla added.

Petilla also emphasized that this event is giving hope to the local constituents at least in the field of sports which he said is priceless.

The governor also hinted that the minor problems being encountered such as water, billeting areas and others would be addressed accordingly as planned.

Apr 23, 2009

Rep. Romualdez' office reports releases of P1.7B worth of projects

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The congressional office of Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez reported that since he assumed office in 2007, he was able to put up various projects and programs worth more than P1.7 billion.

Romualdez was able to do that mainly because of his "closeness" to President Macapagal-Arroyo, says his congressional chief of staff lawyer, Anjuli Larla Tan-Eneran, during a telephone interview on Thursday.

The neophyte solon, who is a nephew of former first lady Imelda Marcos, is among congressmen who is endorsing the move to amend the 1987 Constitution which has the support of Malacañang.

Tan-Eneran said that the P1.7 billion funds released by Romualdez' congressional office comprises various projects and programs which range from construction of barangay roads to declogging of drainage canals to improvement/rehabilitation of roads and highways located within his district and livelihood and scholarship programs.

"And he made personal lobby to concerned government agencies so that these projects would be funded," she said.

But Tan-Eneran admitted that Romualdez' closeness to the President also helped in the releases of these funds.

"The congressman, I would say, is relatively close to the President that is why he is often invited by her during her travels abroad. There is always an invitation from Malacañang and even from the House (leadership) for him to join the presidential entourage..." she explained.

During Ms. Arroyo's recent visit to Dubai, Rep. Romualdez was among the congressmen who joined the President. The solon is the regional chairman of the President's political party, the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) in Eastern Visayas.

Asked if the huge amount so far received by Romualdez since he assumed office in 2007 was the reason why he is supportive on Charter change, Tan-Eneran dismissed this.

"That is unfair. He's been lobbying for the release of funds to various government agencies even before that issue came out," she said. The congressman, she added, has to ask various government agencies for additional funding as his congressional fund of P70 million would not be enough.

The more than P1.7 billion worth or projects and programs of Romualdez is said to be the biggest among the region's 12 congressmen, Tan-Eneran said.

Tan-Eneran, however, declined to discuss regarding the stand of Romualdez on Cha-cha, saying it would be better if he himself would talk about the matter.

She also defended the Leyte congressman's absence in the district saying that as a congressman, his presence is more needed in Manila as it is also easy for him to personally visit various government agencies to ask for funding of his various projects and programs.

"The real work of the congressman is here in Manila," she said.

Leyte's first congressional district is composed of this city and the towns of Palo, Tanauan, Babatngon, San Miguel, Alangalang, Tolosa and Santa Fe.

Apr 23, 2009

30 youngsters complete theater arts course

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Thirty young individuals from this city marched onstage at the Balyuan Convention Center, this city, Tuesday, to receive their certificates for having successfully completed a month-long training on Theater Arts.

The graduates, 20 of whom are females, will compose the Tacloban Theater Arts Guild, it was learned. The Theater Arts Guild was formed just recently with the primary goal of discovering and promoting local talents.

Renowned artistic director Frank Rivera, who was guest speaker during the graduation ceremonies, extolled the new graduates to put to good use all the skills they have learned.

In the course of the training, which was held on weekends from February-March of this year, the trainees were taught the basics of acting, singing and dancing.

"Napakalaki ng promise. Ang promise ay hindi lang dapat manatili na promise. Dapat ito mag-bloom," Rivera stressed.

The graduates then put on a show entitled "Metamorphosis in the middle of the program," which visibly impressed Rivera and the audience.

In an interview, City Councilor Cristina Gonzales- Romualdez, who has spearheaded the training program, said that the youngsters will participate and perform in the upcoming Sangyaw Festival.

She added that because of its success they are looking into continuing the program.

"We have seen how promising it is. We are looking into training 60-100 more youngsters in the coming months," she said.

Apr 22, 2009

Leyte to invest P100 M for ICT extension project

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Leyte provincial government will embark in a P100 million facility in the bid to lure more investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said.

The project, which is part of the Leyte ICT Park expansion, calls for the construction of a convention center that can be easily transformed into an ICT hub to serve the interest of potential investors.

"We have a plan to add new building at the ICT Park this year because it's difficult to sell if we have lack of facilities. We're looking at around P100 million worth of building," Petilla said.

The governor unveiled the plan a few months after the opening of APAC Customer Services, Inc. at the 6.8-hectare Leyte ICT Park in Palo, Leyte. The BPO company invested P200 million in transforming the 3,000 square meter gymnasium into a brand new call center production site.

During it's opening last March 2, APAC officials disclosed that they expect to hire up to 1,000 workers towards the end of 2009 or early next year.

"The proposed structure will be constructed at the back of the existing building. The design is going to be a convention center. While waiting for interested investors, we will use it in gatherings," he said without elaborating details of the plan.

During the recent presidential visit to Southern Leyte and Biliran, Petilla personally invited President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to make a brief tour to the ICT Park to boost investments.

"Even just a few minutes visit and photo ops with her at the Park will really help a lot in our marketing," Petilla added.

The provincial government fixed a rate of P150 per square meter for locators who rented the old building of the park.

The facility is just 10 kilometers away from Tacloban City, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas. The provincial government claimed that that the area is ideal for ICT-related businesses with the presence of major telephone companies.

BayanTel and Globelines operate with fully digital fiber optic network and provide domestic and international leased line circuits for voice and data transmission. Telephone lines also offer frame relay services, internet access, and other managed data services like Centrex call features, broadband services through Digital Subscriber Line and wireless fidelity hotspot.

The property was originally built for rental of tertiary schools and it was converted June 2005 into an ICT Park with the approval of Philippine Economic Zone Authority . The Park has 60 to 80 slots parking space, commercial stalls, 1,104 sq.m. common space and 1,386 sq. m. quadrangle.

Among the existing park locators are the AMA Computer College , St. Augustine School, Core Data, ICOT-P Data Center, LIDER Review Center , Zurcsoft, and Technology Business Incubator locators.

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