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Aug 18, 2008

The little school that could

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A public elementary school in a small community in this city has topped the recently held National Achievement Test (NAT), a feat that will merit a visit from the education secretary later this month.

The Marasbaras Community Elementary School topped the 2008 NAT in cluster 4 (schools with 55-99 examinees) with a Mean Performance System (MPS) rating of 93.17 percent, an achievement attributed by school principal Arnaldo Quintero to the "dedication" of the teachers and students.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus is reportedly coming for a visit on Aug. 20 to personally convey his congratulation. Lapus will be the first education secretary to visit the school, said Quintero.

When NAT was first held in 2005, the school, which has a current student population of 659, posted a rating of 86.73 percent. In 2006, it had a rating of 87.23 percent and in 2007, it's rating increased by .06 percent.

For this year, its school card reads as follows: Mathematics, 99.3 percent; Filipino, 87.00 percent; English, 97 percent and Science, 87 percent.

One of its students, John Earl Yu, ranked second nationwide. He is now studying in a public high school in Naval, Biliran, the principal said.

Quintero said they were hoping that their rating for this year's NAT would be higher than what they had achieved in the past three years but they did not expect to land on top of all the elementary schools in the country.

Alma Kintana, one of the sixth grade teachers said she was happy that all their efforts "paid off handsomely."

The teaching practice that she gained while working in a private school in Cebu helped her in guiding the students for the NAT, she said.

"Our secret, which is not really a secret, was review, review and more review," said the mathematics teacher, who is a native of Cebu City.

Quintero said the reviews were held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

"This early, we are preparing for our review so that we can maintain our standing. But we are not pushing it too much," the proud principal said.

Tops in Tacloban

The Marasbaras Community Elementary School is only 15 years old and operates with 14 teachers. It has nine school buildings, including a social hall, on a 3,724 square meter-lot.

For the past two years, it has been topping the NAT over 38 other elementary schools within the Tacloban City Schools Division.

"I am really proud of my teachers and students. Actually, our achievement was a result of the cooperation among all of us. Even first grade teachers, for example, had extended help during the reviews that we conducted for the NAT," Quintero said.

The school received financial rewards from the city government totaling P95,000-P50,000 for the school's 14 teachers; P30,000 for instructional materials procurement; and P15,000 for Quintero.

Aug 18, 2008

Fisheries bureau sets up more mariculture farms


MANILA, Philippines -- Three new mariculture parks will start operating in Regions VIII (Eastern Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao) and XI (Davao Region) next month, a fisheries official said Sunday.

The mariculture zones were setup "to convince fisherfolk to convert from being hunters to becoming farmers," Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr. said in a press release.

Mariculture parks are caged areas used to breed high-value fish like milkfish, siganids, groupers and red snappers.

The parks, located in San Juanico Strait in Tacloban City, Balingasag in Cagayan de Oro City and Panabo City in Davao del Norte, will occupy 200 hectares. Small fisherfolk will occupy 60 ha., while the rest is available for investors, Mr. Sarmiento said.

The fish cages will "be rented out to the fisherfolk, payable upon harvest," Mr. Sarmiento said.

Fisherfolk will be charged P10,000 in rent for every three months.

BFAR will donate 15,000 milkfish fingerlings for each family, enough for a four-ton yield after three months.

Talks are underway with Tateh, a leading player in aqua feeds manufacturing owned by Santeh Feeds Corp., to loan one harvest season worth of feeds. Mr. Sarmiento said that Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (Quedancor) will serve as the guarantor. BFAR will buy the feeds if Tateh does not approve Quedancor as the guarantor, he added.

Production cost of milkfish is at P70-80 per kilo while market price is at P90/kg.

BFAR has put up five mariculture parks since January, mostly in Mindanao. The agency is eyeing to build five more until the end of the year.

Aug 15, 2008

CEB offers direct Cebu-Tacloban service with PHP699 seat sale

Peanuts! Low Cost Airline News

Cebu Pacific (CEB) offers a P699 all-inclusive fare for its direct Cebu-Tacloban (Leyte) service. This new route will start on 02-Sept-08.

The seat sale for this new service will run from 15-Aug - 21-Aug, 2008 and is good for travel from 02-Sept - 17-Dec 2008. The seat sale is non-refundable.

Candice Iyog, CEB spokesperson said, "We continue to expand our domestic operations and look for new routes to serve, especially routes that have not been exposed to our lowest ‘all-inclusive' fares. Our fares are so low and are even comparable with other modes of transport such as ferries and buses."

The three-times weekly Cebu-Tacloban service will operate every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday with CEB's 150-seater A319 aircraft.

She added, "We hope that by offering our trademark low fares to these markets and by linking Cebu with Tacloban, both provinces will see an increase in tourism and trade activity."

CEB also starts operating its direct Cebu-General Santos route on 15-Aug-08 and has announced a P999 all-in seat sale for this service. The seat sale will run from August 15-21, 2008 and is good for travel from 15-Aug - 17-Dec 2008.

CEB also flies direct from Cebu to Bacolod, Boracay (Caticlan), Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, Manila, Puerto Princesa and Zamboanga. International services from Cebu include direct flights to Hong Kong, Singapore, Incheon and Pusan in Korea.

Now in its 13th year, CEB has the youngest aircraft fleet in the Philippines. It has a fleet of ten A319s, eight A320s, and two ATR72-500 aircraft.

Aug 14, 2008

Pasaka Festival showcases town's culture and heritage

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Pasaka Festival 2008 which started August 1 and will culminate today in a grand street dancing and colorful presentations, is seen as another opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Tanauan, Leyte, where Tinikling, the national dance of the Philippines, is known to have originated.

The Pasaka Festival which will start at 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon will start with the ritual presentations at the Tanauan Amphitheater followed by a festive mardi gras around the town's main thoroughfares, and will end at the amphitheater where the winners of the various categories will be announced.

Before the announcement of the winners, the Religious Procession in honor of the town Patroness will also end at the Amphitheater where the Salve will be sung. After the Salve there will be a grand fireworks from Manila, sponsored by Pepsi Cola Regional Plant located in Tanauan.

This year, Mayor Roque Tiu enthused, the Pasaka Festival hopes to get more national exposure because besides the local media, the NBN Channel's Lakbayin ang Magandang Pilipinas television program crew has arrived to document the festivities.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada is expected to grace the Pasaka Festival which has also caught the interest of many balikbayans, foreign tourists including the Legal Officer of Queen Elizabeth who is gracing the Festival for the second consecutive year today, other cultural enthusiasts and visitors.

Mayor Tiu said that it is during the nightly activities which started August 1 when the various sectors of the municipality are able to show their unity in paying homage and thanksgiving to the town's Patroness, Our Lady of the Assumption.

"What a better way of saying Thank You for all the blessings that the town and its people has received the whole year round and all through these years, than contributing one's best talent," Mayor Tiu stressed.

Showcasing the best talents and the culture and tradition of the municipality, will also ensure that the younger generations are given the chance to know the culture and tradition of their forefathers.

"It is only by knowing, that the younger generation will learn to love and to be proud of their roots and their cultural heritage," Mayor Tiu added.

Nightly cultural presentations from August 1 to 14 will feature the talents in the various schools, the local government unit and the non-government organizations in Tanauan.

In the afternoon of August 14, the Pasaka Festival, a colorful presentation of dance drama and street-dancing which depicts a community paying homage to the Blessed Virgin as she is assumed into heaven, will be staged for the 16th year.

The Pasaka Festival competition is grouped into two categories, the Pasaka Tribes category participated in by high school students and elementary pupils; and the Merry Makers from the various sectors of the community.

August 15 which has been proclaimed as Tanauan Day and at the same time the feast of the town's patroness, is focused on the religious rites, thus, the cultural presentations are scheduled only up to August 14, Mayor Tiu informed.

Aug 13, 2008

Fund drive set to bring slain Texas Pinay's remains home

By Maria Aleta O. Nieva

ABS CBN News - Philippines

A funeral fund collection drive has been set up by members of Filipino American communities to help send the remains of a slain Filipina from Texas back to her hometown in Tacloban City.

Edison Diloy of San Antonio, Texas told that an e-mail is now circulating among Fil-Am communities in the San Antonio, Austin, Houston and Dallas areas to ask for financial assistance for the repatriation of Juiceline "Joy" Tomerlin's remains.

Those who want to contribute to the "Help Bring Joy Home" fund can course their donations through the Wells Fargo Bank account number 6784331578 c/o Eulynde Pendleton, Diloy said. Contributors were also asked to contact Pendleton at 830-643-0995, or mail donations to 1010 Hollyhock Lane, New Braunfels, TX 78130.

Diloy, who has never met Tomerlin, said he believes that the 29-year-old woman's story should "serve as an eye-opener for all that domestic violence may lead to a tragic end like hers."

Tomerlin's family had been informed of her death and is now waiting for the arrival of the remains.

Diloy had been informed that Tomerlin had worked two jobs to help her family of eight and a sick parent back home in the Philippines.

Husband died, too

A report by Georgia Fisher of The Herald-Zeitung's online edition on August 2 had named the Filipina as the woman whose body was discovered beside her husband Earl Lynn Tomerlin, 55 in an "apparent homicide-suicide" case.

Authorities found the couple dead on July 30 inside their home located at 100 Block of Marble Drive, Comal Farms neighborhood, off Interstate 35 in New Braunfels.

New Braunfels Police said in the report that both victims suffered gunshot wounds. The report did not indicate which part of the bodies the victims were shot.

Police are still conducting investigation to determine if it was a homicide-suicide case.

Pendleton, Tomerlin's bestfriend who is also a Filipina, was earlier interviewed by The Herald-Zeitung. She said that she spoke with Tomerlin on a daily basis. She described her friend as someone who loved to sing and talk to people and make friends.

The news about Tomerlin's death shook the Filipino American communities around Texas.

"This is really a heartbreaking news and it really needs the attention of our friends in the community," said Dallas resident Lita Cruz in response to an e-mail about Tomerlin's death sent to members of the Filipino American communities in Texas.

Fil-Am folk offer sympathies

Cruz mentioned an incident a few years back when Filipinos in Dallas needed to raise funds for a friend who died of an unknown disease. Through the efforts of the community, they were able to raise more than enough money to bring back the body to the Philippines and donate a little to the family.

Effy Whalen, who never even met Tomerlin, also expressed sadness over what happened to the woman and her husband.

"I am so sad of what happened. Me and my friends are helping to raise money to bring Joy back home," said Whalen.

Whalen also met with Tomerlin's aunt and was informed that no exact date has been given on when the remains would be transported back to the Philippines because of "financial and the paperworks are not done yet."

"They just got the death certificate today. The family of Joy is still waiting. In fact, she will be transported alone because no enough fund for her Aunt to go with her," Whalen said.

Meanwhile, Schertz, Texas resident Sampaguita Fuller said that a memorial service for Tomerlin is scheduled on August 13 at 10 a.m. at the Cypress Bend Park in New Braunfels.

Aug 12, 2008

Alfred in all-out info drive on Tacloban's HUC bid

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said he is doing an all-out information campaign about his drive to reclassify Tacloban into a highly urbanized city (HUC).

The campaign has already brought the city mayor to various fora and schools of the city for the past weeks now.

"It's not really a campaign but I am explaining to our people why I am pushing to make Tacloban as a highly-urbanized city," Romualdez said yesterday.

And the reactions he got from his audience, the city mayor said, was positive. "They like to see Tacloban become a highly urbanized city," he said. At present, the classification of Tacloban, the regional capital, is that of a component city.

According to Romualdez, he is pushing to make Tacloban a highly urbanized city as it would mean more benefits to its people.

He said that more investors would be coming in once the city becomes a HUC that would result to the decline of poverty incidence and unemployment rate in the city.

"And there would be no tax increase contrary to speculations. In fact, there would be a moratorium on any tax increase for five years," the city mayor added.

He also clarified that there would be no merger of barangays if Tacloban's bid for city reclassification materialized. The city mayor was apparently alluding to the fear expressed by some barangay officials that the highly urbanization of Tacloban would mean collapse of some of its 138 barangays.

Mayor Romualdez said that his campaign to make Tacloban a highly urbanized city is not for his personal glory.

"I am not doing this for personal benefits. It is for our people. Tacloban has been on the track to becoming an HUC as it meets the financial and population requirements," he said.

Under the 1991 Local Government Code, a city can be reclassified as highly urbanized if its population is 200,000 based on the latest population census and it has an income of P50 million as certified by the Department of Finance.

The city, at present, has a population of 217,199 and with an annual income of over P500 million.

The income of the city is projected to reach P1 billion in the next three years as its population is also expected to reach over 250,000 by 2010, Romualdez said.

He added that Tacloban, aside from meeting the population and financial requirements set by law, possesses all the needed facilities found in highly urbanized cities like hotels; a modern bus terminal; a convention center, traffic lights and shopping malls. Two big malls are slated to open for operations in the city before the year ends.

"And for the past several days, I have been traveling to Manila to make a personal follow-up regarding the rehabilitation of our DZR Airport," he said.

It was learned from the city mayor that Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn had volunteered to help him in his campaign to make Tacloban the 38th HUC in the country. Puerto Princesa was named as HUC last year.

Earlier, the League of Cities of the Philippines and the Regional Development Council in Eastern Visayas had expressed their support on this bid of Tacloban.

Aug 10, 2008

Gov't honors heroic act of 27 DAR-8 employees

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- It was past 8:00 o'clock in the morning of July 16, 2008 when a fire suddenly broke out in a decongested residential area just across the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region 8 Office.

Without any prompting, 27 employees of DAR8 rushed to the burning area and without thinking of the risk they are putting themselves in, extended their help in salvaging the personal belonging of the victims several of who were their co-employees.

Amidst the raging inferno, amidst the cries for help and the chaos, the 27 employees toiled helping the victims until there was nothing left to be saved.

A total of 95 households were razed by fire. Many of the victims temporarily took shelter at the DAR Regionao Office. Seven of the victims were DAR employees, Jose Alsmith Soria, DAR Regional Information Officer disclosed.

The heroic act of the 27 DAR employees was not left unnoticed. Just recently, the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Interior and Local Government through the Bureau of Fire Protection tendered a rite honoring the said employees.

DAR 8 Regional Director Homer Tobias proudly announced the names of his staff who were heroes in their own right - Engr. Roque Hanopol, Juanito Velasco Jr., Girlie Serrano, Reynaldo Gerilla, Ronnie Antor, Joel Iyana, Jhoel Villaflor, Jeamber Hijada.

Also included wereBienvenido Olkiver, Eduardo Espina, Elenita Padual, Ricky Galvez, Edwin Pingol, Ferolyn Abegan, Bonifacio Misa, Jerrylou Hijada, Romeo Salatumbas, Severo Mendoza, Joal Inciso, Sherwin Perez, Marlon Cabanas, Arnulfo Ladan, Elmer Barbosa, Julio Nierras, Dominador Rocalbo, Reden Barona and Ariel Valeza.

The certificates handed separately by the two agencies captured and recognized the employees' selfless act in helping the victims of the July 16 fire incident at Barangay 6-A, Tacloban City.

Aug 09, 2008

Road to Samar very much improved

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Gone are the days when going to Catbalogan City is a "punishment." When before it would take more than three hours of bumpy trip before one reaches the capital of the Province of Samar, nowadays it could be reached in two hours from Tacloban City.

Thanks to the directive from no less than the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo herself, work in the Maharlika Highway linking Leyte to Samar and Northern Samar has been very fast and efficient. What many people used to call turtle-slow pace of work is now a thing of the past as even today which is a Saturday, workers are still there doing full time job.

Think of this, at 12:30 noon, Congresswoman Tan sent her driver to pick this writer in Tacloban. At exactly 2:30 in the afternoon, the driver arrived in Tacloban. Leaving Tacloban at 3:00 in the afternoon, this writer is in Catbalogan City at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Isn't that great!

It is not only the travelers who are happy by the turn of events because now they can sleep like a log while travelling, but the motorists coming from Tacloban going to Catbalogan City, Calbayog City, Northern Samar and as far as Manila who are now enjoying the smoother flow of traffic and increase in profit as now they can reach their destinations faster.

There is more profit for the public utility transport drivers and transport operators because of faster traveling time and lower maintenance cost.

The farmers and producers will also enjoy better economic returns because now they can bring their produce to the business centers faster.

What more, with the improved road condition, more travelers and tourists and excursionists will now be encouraged to go to Catbalogan City and other places of Samar, and voila! more investors and business opportunities will now surely confidently come to Samar.

This is a good turn of events as the province of Samar celebrates Samar Day this week and as the Provincial Government led by Lady Governor Mila Tan and Congresswoman Sharee Ann Tan are working hard to facelift the province of Samar.

The beautiful work done to facelift the Provincial Capitol is a manifestation that the leadership is highly inspired and motivated to work harder for the province of Samar and the Samarnons.

Aug 08, 2008

Changing Times: Update on New Malls in Tacloban City

By Arlene C. Schmidt

As "Mall fever" hits Tacloban City the Robinsons and Gaisano Malls have begun construction earlier this year and are planing to open within this year 2008.

The New Robinsons Mall in Tacloban City:

The Gokongwei group started construction of its Robinson's shopping mall project here in Tacloban City earlier this year.

                      The New Robinson Mall at Marasbaras, Tacloban City
                        soon to open it's gates this coming December 2008.

                      The New Robinson Mall at Marasbaras, Tacloban City

                                                as of JULY 2008.

                       The New Robinson Mall at Marasbaras, Tacloban City

                                                     as of JULY 2008.

Aside from the shopping mall project, the company also plans to build a hotel on a four-hectare lot at the Marasbaras district, four kilometers from the city proper:

The investment for the shopping mall and hotel will reach around P2 billion.That is the single biggest investment yet for the city.

Tacloban's only shopping complex at present is the Gaisano mall located downtown.

The presence of the new mall will serve as a magnet for other investors and manufactures.

The investment will also mean jobs for the people of the city and nearby areas.

The site of the future Robinson's Mall is about a kilometer away from the city's Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport where the Gokongwei-owned Cebu Pacific has three daily flights.

The New Gaisano Capital Mall in Tacloban City:

The management of the Gaisano Superstores, presently being the biggest shopping center in the city, started to construct its own building as part of its expansion earlier this year.

         The New Gaisano Capital Mall at the place of the former Republic Theater
                                    soon to open within this year 2008.


       The New Gaisano Capital Mall at the place of the former Republic Theater
as of JULY 2008.


      The New Gaisano Capital Mall at the place of the former Republic Theater
                                                      as of JULY 2008.

The new location of the shopping center is along Real Street at the place of the former Republic Theater. The construction of the new Gaisano could bring in around P500 million for the city.

Aug 07, 2008

New call-center firm at
Leyte Park to hire at least
500 workers

By Jack C. Gadaingan

Manila Bulletin - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- At least 500 people will be initially employed when a call center, which is planning to locate at the Leyte ICT Park, opens this month.

The Leyte Trade and Investment Promotion Center (LTIPC) confirmed that APAC Customer Services Inc. will start soon its operation at the 6.8-hectare Leyte Province's economic zone.

APAC, which is a leading provider of customer interaction solutions for market leaders in financial services, insurance, telecommunication, health care and logistics, is reportedly eyeing to provide 500 to 800 call center seats with plans for expansion.

LTIPC unit head Nelieta Baguna said APAC Customer Services Inc. is a voice and non-voice business process outsourcing with main headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, US and with Philippine branches in Alabang, Muntinlupa and at Cyber Park in Cubao, Quezon City.

Baguna said APAC would be occupying a 2,435-square-meter area at Leyte Academic Center as its production site, while the second floor of the two-storey Leyte Information and Communication Technology Park, right above the AMA Computer School, will be occupied by the company's human resource and management offices.

Leyte Gov. Carlos "Jericho" Petilla, during a recent gathering, announced that the coming of the call center to Leyte would advance the province's development as an alternative IT hub in the Visayas.

"We have continuously encouraged and looked for locators with the purpose of creating more opportunities for local employment and spur more economic activities, Governor Petilla said.

It was learned that APAC will be conducting a job fair in Tacloban City on Aug. 21-23 interviews for hiring of middle-management personnel for the Leyte ICT branch.

The jobs are for the human resource office, public relations, administrative and management offices.

Recruitment of customer service agents would follow after the August job fair.

Governor Petilla said that the provincial government has continuously partnered with the colleges and universities in the region to ensure adequate supply of qualified manpower for call-center firms, assuring that the new ICT Park locator will not be wanting in qualified manpower to fill up its initial workforce.

The ICT Park is 10 kilometers from the city proper, which is the regional capital of Eastern Visayas. It also houses the AMA Computer College, St. Augustine School, Core Data, LIDER Review Center, Zurcsoft, and Technology Business Incubato.

Aug 06, 2008

Leyte gov given authority to get loan for infra projects

By Ranulfo Docdocan

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY - The Provincial Board of Leyte has authorized the governor to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Philippine National Bank for a half a million peso loan.

The fund is intended for the construction of elementary and secondary school buildings and concreting of various provincial roads in Leyte.

Board member Carlo Loreto said the members of the board decided to grant the authorization so that projects that would benefit the people in the province could be undertaken.

"Roads in the barrios must be prioritized so that the farmers could deliver their farm products to the market easily, thereby contributing to cheaper price of their products. Same with the construction of school buildings, the teachers and the students will have a venue for education in which they are comfortable for learning," the board's senior member said.

Aug 05, 2008

E. Visayas' 7th most wanted criminal caught - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Eastern Visayas arrested on Friday night one of the region's most wanted persons in a remote village in Surigao del Sur.

CIDG-8 regional chief Superintendent Leo Quevedo said the CIDG arrested Nehemias Maceda, 56, in Barangay (village) Pocto, a village of Hinatuan town, Surigao del Sur, while he was preaching to around 70 person inside a house past 7 p.m.

"He (Maceda) was a lay minister of the Seventh Day Adventist and had been in a fugitive for the past 13 years," Quevedo said on Monday.

He said Maceda was the prime suspect in a rape case involving a six-year-old child that took place in 1992 in Barangay Bongbong, San Francisco town in Southern Leyte.

Maceda was no. 7 among the region's most notorious criminals with a P140,000 reward money offered for his arrest.

Quevedo said the suspect allegedly turned his victim into his sex slave, an act discovered three years after the first incident.

He said the victim's mother had brought her daughter to a doctor, thinking that she might have an ailment.

The alleged rape was discovered during the medical examination of the child, who was nine years old at the time of the examination and had admitted her ordeal to the doctor, Quevedo said.

Aug 03, 2008

Traffic lights finally flash
in Tacloban City

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- For a few seconds, pedestrians stood still and motorists stopped along the intersection of Justice Romualdez and M.H. del Pilar streets of this city on Friday morning, waiting for the signal for them to cross or drive off to the next street.

The Friday morning scene that took place at one of the busiest intersections in this city of more than 200,000 people was something new. For the first time, traffic flow was supervised through the traffic lights system, making Tacloban the first city in Eastern Visayas to have such a facility.

"Now, I feel like I am living in a city," said 22-year old Joan Arceo, who could not hide her amusement and pride at crossing the street as the red light flashed and vehicles stopped, allowing her and other pedestrians to cross the street.

But the first day of operation of the traffic lights system in the city confused a lot of motorists and pedestrians, said Supt. Romulo Cleve Taboso, city police chief.

"There was really confusion," he said laughing, adding it was understandable since it was the first traffic light system for the city.

Some pedestrians would take a bemused look at the traffic light and would cross the road anyway regardless of whatever light was flashing, provided there was no vehicle coming from the other corner. It was also the same with drivers who would momentarily stop but would drive on even if the red light were still flashing.

Some habits were simply hard to correct, the police chief said.

But Taboso said he expected that in the succeeding days, people would get used to the traffic light system.

The traffic lights system in the city became operational 9 a.m. last Friday.

City general services officer Rudolph Mate said the city government expected the traffic lights to instill discipline in motorists and pedestrians.

Aside from the Justice Romualdez- M. H. del Pilar intersection, traffic lights could also be seen along the intersections of Justice Romualdez-Salazar streets; Real-Veteranos Streets; and Real-Independencia streets.

These areas were identified by the city traffic management to be among the city's busiest. Heavy traffic has been noted in these areas starting 7 a.m., Toboso said.

Some of the city's 73 traffic enforcers assigned in the intersections with traffic lights will be around to assist pedestrians and motorists and ensure their compliance to traffic rules.

The project to put up a traffic lights system in the city was initiated in 2003 during the administration of former Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez. The city government's contract with the Manila-based Rocha Construction was signed when then Vice Mayor Edwin Chua took over as acting mayor after Romualdez went on leave to undergo and recuperate from a heart bypass operation.

The project, which cost P22 million, was however stalled when Romualdez and state auditors discovered that it was overpriced.

Romualdez revoked the contract when he reassumed his post after six months of absence.

When Romualdez's son, Alfred, became the mayor in 2007, the latter revived the project after a court-approved compromise agreement was entered between the city government and the contractor in October last year.

The contractor resumed its work last February with the cost of the project now placed at only P12.8 million.

Aug 03, 2008

Lapus to visit topnotch
school in Tacloban

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Department of Education (DepEd) officials have set their preparations for the forthcoming visit of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus this August.

Lapus who is expected to arrive August 20 would be visiting Marasbaras Elementary School in Tacloban which topped the 2007 National Achievement Test (NAT).

Lapus is also expected to grace the awarding ceremony to the school head, teachers and pupils on the same day.

Tacloban City education officials revealed that they will be giving a P100,000 cash award to the school as promised.

The money from the Special Education Fund of the City School Board would be used for the purchase of instructional materials or repair of school buildings if needed (P30, 000). P50,000 will go to the teachers especially those who facilitated the review classes, P15,000 is the cash award for the principal and P5,000 for the topnotch pupil in the city division.

"This is also to boost better performance (in the NAT)," said City DepEd Superintendent Ronelo Firmo.

Marasbaras Elementary School topped cluster 4 of NAT in 2007 garnering a score of 93.13.

Aug 02, 2008

Leyte governor defends P500M: Not for 2010

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- LEYTE GOV. Jericho Petilla defended the P500-million loan the province is securing from the Philippine National Bank, saying it would finance infrastructure projects and not meant for the 2010 elections.

"The money will be used to cement our provincial roads and for our schoolrooms," Petilla said Saturday to dispel speculations he was raising money to shore up his reelection bid in 2010.

On July 6, the Leyte governor wrote a letter to the provincial board to get an authority to sign a memorandum of agreement with PNB-Tacloban branch for a P500-million credit facility "for the construction of elementary and secondary school buildings and concreting of various roads in the province."

The provincial board, presided over by Vice Gov. Mimiette Bagulaya, unanimously approved the governor's letter-request on July 15.

All the 14 members of the board are allies of Petilla, who was once drafted for the administration's senatorial ticket but withdrew to run for governor.

His critics said the loan application was meant for the 2010 elections.

Petilla said the P500 million is just a "credit line."

Aug 02, 2008

Tanauan town inaugurates new "people friendly" municipal hall

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The local government of Tanauan, Leyte is all set for the inauguration and blessing of its new municipal hall on August 8, 2008, Mayor Roque Tiu informed.

The P17 Million two-story edifice has been planned and built with the comfort and the welfare of the townspeople and the employees in mind, Mayor Tiu revealed saying that the municipal hall is indeed, people-friendly.

Mayor Tiu explained that the offices were arranged in such a way that the departments which are most often visited and needed by the people were placed in the ground floor. Thus, the Office of the Mayor could still be found in the first floor, Mayor Tiu said. Hopefully, this Hall will be a tangible manifestation of a government that is responsive to the needs of its people and one that allows participatory governance, Mayor Tiu added.

Living its distinction of being a business-friendly municipality, Mayor Tiu saw to it that the related departments are near its other so that people making business can just sit down in the comfortable chairs strategically arranged in the middle of the building.

While waiting for their transactions to be finished and while waiting for their turn to be attended to, a mini stage cum screen is located in the middle of the wall facing the main door, so they can watch a video about the local government and learn what is going on in the municipality. Also, pipe-in music has been installed at strategic areas of the building.

Since all the offices have been built along the sides of the building, the middle portion of the building serves as a big sala for the visitors, Mayor Tiu said. This is one way of making the people feel at home. The municipal hall after all was built to be of better service to them, the Mayor added. Comfort facilities have been built in various strategic places of the Hall for the visitors to use, Mayor Tiu said.

In order to make the Municipal Hall more conducive to working and giving service to the people, Mayor Tiu saw to it that the whole building is provided with air-conditioning units. In preparation, the employees have already designed their uniforms with blazers to make them not only appear more professional but more comfortable.

Mayor Tiu informed that the new Municipal Hall was built with the support of Leyte Provincial Government thru Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, the National Government thru the funds of then Congresswoman of the First District of Leyte, Hon. Remedios L. Petilla and the taxpayers of the municipality because a big portion of the funding came from the savings of the local government unit.

Mayor Tiu disclosed that aside from Governor Icot Petilla and PAGCOR Vice President Remedios L. Petilla, the local government officials and employees, the Regional Directors and media friends, the people from the various barangays have also been invited to the inauguration of the Municipal Hall because the Hall is really dedicated and intended for them.

The Municipal Officials will come and go, Mayor Tiu said, but the people will always be there, needing the services of the Municipal Government every now and then.

Aug 01, 2008

DSWD launches "Job Network Services" program

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is scheduled to launch a new program dubbed as "Jobs Network Services" on August 7, 2008, 9:30 in the morning, at Ritz Tower de Leyte, Real St., Tacloban City.

The Department of Social Welfare and Technology through the Social Technology Bureau had conceptualized the new Program which is intended for perennial clients of the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit, seeking financial assistance for food consumption and for those who are in need of employment.

DSWD Region 8 Director Leticia Corillo said that the Project aims to empower and enhance the financial capability and skills of the unemployed individuals so that they will become self-reliant, productive and contributing members of the society.

The Jobs Network Services is a service that provides job opportunities to unemployed clients of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Services include job matching, occupational guidance and counseling, and granting of cash assistance to be used by the clients while job hunting to support himself and his family.

The Jobs Network Services is one of the eight program concepts that were developed by DSWD for the development of society safety nets for those who are at risk and disadvantaged.

The other program concepts are the Pedagogical Farming as a Tool in the Rehabilitation of Children in Conflict with the Law and Youth at Risk; Reintegration Support Services for Returning Undocumented Overseas Filipino Workers and their Families; Survival Kit Project for DSWD's Clientele Living in Disaster Prone Areas; and Reintegration Program for Deportees.

Also among the other program concepts are Recovery and Reintegration Services for Victims of Trafficking; the Youth Productivity Service; and the Survival Kit Project for DSWD's Clientele Living in Disaster Prone Areas.

Aug 01, 2008

DA provides incentives for farmers who sell produce to NFA

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In compliance with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's directive, the Department of Agriculture has come up with a production incentives for farmers who sell their produce to the National Food Authority, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.

Under the said incentive program, farmers who can supply 50 sacks or up to 500,000 metric tons of rice to the National Food Authority will be given P1,800 per 50 sacks as rebate which the farmers can use to purchase fertilizers and other farm needs.

President Arroyo has ordered that the Department of Agriculture provide P1,800 production support per 50 sacks, for the dry crops in order the concerns of the farmers on the price of fertilizers which have gone up considerably, Secretary Yap said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved the allocation of P1.68-billion as subsidy to the farming sector for the acquisition and distribution of certified palay seeds nationwide.

This was learned as the President launched the National Seed Program on July 31 at the province of Apayao.

The amount will be used to buy some 1.4 million sacks of certified seeds to be planted in 1.4 million hectares of irrigated and rain-fed ricelands all over the country during the 2008-2009 cropping season.

In addition, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will provide P7 billion in micro-finance loans which farmer-beneficiaries could use to improve rice and crop production.

Each sack of certified palay seeds under the subsidy program can generate up to 120 sacks of palay or 60 sacks of milled rice.

According to Secretary Yap, the funding will be sourced from revenue collections particularly the Expanded Value Added Tax.

The subsidies are part of the DA's mission of helping the country attain rice self-sufficiency by 2013, he added.

Aug 01, 2008


Military shows new facet as it conducts Operation Linis in 2 Ormoc schools

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Troopers of the 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion showed another facet of the military as they conducted "Operation Linis" in two Ormoc City schools on July 30, 2008.

Two teams of Commando troopers under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Henry M. Bumiltac were sent to conduct Operation Linis, as part of its civil-military relations, Second Lt. Gabriel Aranez, Public Information Officer of 19th Infantry Battalion informed.

The team led by Second Lt Gabriel Aranez cleaned the surroundings and drainage of the Ormoc City Central School while the team led by 2nd Lt Christopher Badong and the CAT students led by the Commandant, Mr. Efren Palima and Mrs. Gloria Coquilla who is incharge in cleanliness, cut tall grasses, removed the garbage in the surroundings and placed in proper disposal area at the New Ormoc City National High School.

The activity which started as early as 5:30 in the morning and ended before classes started at 7:00 o'clock in the morning, was aimed at providing community assistance in the maintenance of cleanliness and sanitation in order to keep the schools dengue free.

It is a tangible manifestation of the Philippine Army as a public servant and protector of the land, ready to do public service, to risk lives in time of disaster and to give his own life when need calls for it.

The Operation Linis was an eye opener that made people in the locality realize that the Army nowadays is no longer the traditional military man who could be seen carrying big backpacks, who never smile or who lacks sense of humor.

The soldier nowadays have been transformed to become professional, one whom the nation could be depended upon in the performance of civic duties and responsibilities.

The man in uniform of today smiles, laughs, reaches on to people not only carrying rifles but coconut brooms, shovels, trash cans and rakes.

Indeed, there are a lot of untold stories about the little known acts of selflessness and courage, of dedication to duty and sacrifice, of honor and integrity, and of idealism and heroism of men and women in uniform.

There are multitudes of unheralded men and women in the Philippine military organization who have kept inviolate the uniform they wear, remained loyal to the flag and firmly stood in defense of the Constitution.

<<< AUGUST (19-30) 2008 NEWS



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