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Dec 25, 2009

Skimboarding competition starts in Leyte

Manila Bulletin

TACLOBAN CITY -- The 2009 Tanauan Skimboarding Open Competition which is scheduled for December 27 to 30, 2009 at the Bantay Dagat Area, is set to be participated in by riders from all over the country and from other parts of the world.

Mayor Roque A. Tiu informed that the local government of Tanauan, Leyte has been hosting the national event for five consecutive years already.

This year's competition is expected to be more exciting with the participation of riders from all over the country and from Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and the United States.

The riders will start arriving on December 26 and will stay during the whole duration of the Skimboarding competition, Tiu said.

It can be recalled that Skimboarding competitions has been usually conducted on Easter Sunday, Tiu said, when there are many beachcombers visiting the shores of Tanauan.

However, since 2007, the National Skimboarding Competition has been held in December, after Christmas and right before New Year.

He clarified that the holding of the competition in December was though of, because it is believed that there are better waves in December and so the skimriders will enjoy the competition better.

Tiu said that the Tanauan Skimboarding Open Competition will formally kick-off on December 27 but the nightly activities at the site started on December 20 as the local government decided to hold the annual Kaadlawan Festival there.

The opening program will be held on December 27, at 1:00 p.m., Tiu added.

Dec 24, 2009

Kadlawan fest by the beach evokes spirit of Christmas

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Kaadlawan Festival by the beach of Tanauan, Leyte once again drew a big crowd as people from all walks of life and of different ages came to the Skimboarding Area at Barangay Santo Niño to witness the different presentations evoking the true spirit of Christmas.

Held on December 20, the Kaadlawan Festival is an array of performances presented by the town's young talents in colorful Christmas costumes, from the selected kindergarten and elementary pupils, high school and college students, faculty and professional singing groups.

Mayor Roque Tiu said that in 2006, the municipal government decided to transfer the venue of the Kaadlawan Festival nightly activities, from the Tanauan Ampitheater to the Skimboarding Site in preparation for the December 27 Opening of the National Skimboarding Competition which is held in the area.

The entire two-hectare area which has been decorated with Christmas lanters, with kiosks scattered all over the area, huge tents to provide shelter for the spectators and the stage with the sea as its backdrop, provided a conducive atmosphere to this year's Kaadlawan Festival.

As usual, the presentations were well-applauded. The presenters, from the young toddlers to the professional groups, performed well and their enthusiasm in contributing their own respective talents to make the Festival an outstanding success is inspiring and worth emulating, Mayor Tiu said.

Conceived and initiated by Mayor Roque Tiu in 1994, the Kaadlawan Festival is a fitting tribute to the Lord Jesus Christ in anticipation and in commemoration of His Birthday. This is a much-awaited event where the best talents from the different sectors and from the different schools of the municipality perform Christmas plays, songs and dances. It is an offering of the best talents to Him from whom all these good things came from.

Dec 23, 2009

MacArthur Park Beach Resort expected to open late next year

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The developer of the MacArthur Park Beach Resort Hotel is scheduled to open the newly-built facility on the third quarter of 2010 after completely turning the property into a world-class hotel, a provincial government official said.

Nelieta C. Baguna, head of the Leyte Tourism and Investment Promotion Center, said that officials of a Singaporean conglomerate are planning to open villas while it will continue to construct the hotel's main building between July to September next year.

"The latest plan is to open single detached villas to cater needs of visitors who want to experience the comfort of home," Baguna told Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Early this year, the provincial government signed a contract with LKY Property Holdings Incorporated, which gives the latter a right to officially proceed with their renovation of the temporarily province-run MacArthur Park Beach Resort Hotel.

The contract earned the developer a 25-year contract to take-over the state owned tourism facility. The Singapore-based chain of hotels is the same investor that bought the ownership rights to the Mayon Imperial Hotel in Legazpi City, Albay.

According to the provincial government, the company will invest at least P300 million for the full renovation of the 43-room hotel that would include knocking the present structure and building a new five-star hotel structure.

"LKY Holdings is currently flattening the ground after they tore down the old building. Full blast development will proceed after the Christmas holidays," Baguna said.

The provincial government has been aggressive in luring hotel investments since it's one of the weak points of the province in terms of tourism. There were big groups that were discouraged to hold activities in the province because of constraints in accommodations.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said that they have intended to invite the private sector to develop the property. "It has been tried and tested that if it is the government that runs a facility, more often, it loses."

The provincial government has been subsidizing P400,000 a month expense since its formal take-over from January 2009 until the third quarter when LKY started the construction.

The property is situated along the historic Red Beach , site of one of the greatest naval battles in history. The hotel is just few meters away from the MacArthur Landing Memorial in Palo, Leyte .

Old hotel rooms are all decorated with native materials and MacArthur pictures. It has picnic grounds, swimming pools, picnic tents and tables, beach kiosks, volleyball ground, and indoor games facilities.

The MacArthur Beach Resort and Hotel was built by then First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos in the town of Palo, Leyte and sequestered by the government after the Edsa Revolution in 1986.

Dec 18, 2009

Alfred to critics: Forget past opposition and move forward

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez issued an appeal to his critics to join him on his endeavors to make Tacloban not only a city for its local residents but also for those coming from other areas of the country.

The city mayor made this appeal as he led yesterday's occasion marking the first year of Tacloban as a highly urbanized city as he promised not only to become a more "dedicated leader" but steer the city to an era of progress.

The reclassification of Tacloban into a highly urbanized city last year was met with strong opposition as critics have argued that it is not yet ready to meet the challenges of being an HUC.

But the city mayor said that after a year, this fear of those who have opposed the reclassification of Tacloban into a highly urbanized city was proven wrong.

"After a year, we were able to prove to them that we can stand on our own. We are not only standing but were able to move forward and for the first time on its history, we're now zero-deficit with our budget," Romualdez said.

His financial managers had earlier reported that the collection target for this fiscal year in the amount of P634 million is guaranteed to be met with the possibility of exceeding it.

For next year, Tacloban will be operating under total appropriations of P713.4 million, the biggest yet in the history of the city.

The financial managers of the city had also revealed that with the opening of several business establishments in the city, employment problem was also addressed.

The city mayor, mindful of still continuing opposition to his bold decision to convert Tacloban into an HUC, asked his critics to forget the past and move forward as he promised that he would do what he could to improve further the city.

"Let us celebrate for the yes or no. Let us move forward. Let us all unite. I want Tacloban not only a city for the Taclobanons or to the region but to the (rest of the) Philippines," he said, referring to his ambition to make Tacloban at par with other progressive cities in the country.

Mayor Romualdez said that aside from achieving financial liquidity on the city's coffers, the first year of Tacloban as an HUC also paved the way for more active participation of the people from the barangay and from the private sector.

"We're able to engage our community (people) by taking strong partnership with the (city) government and even the private sector," he said.

Taking off on the slogan on yesterday's celebration "I Love Tacloban," Mayor Romualdez urged the Taclobanons to love Tacloban, adding that "it is really us who will make or break it."

While Romualdez admitted that there were several things accomplished during the first year of his administration together with the new classification of Tacloban, there are still so many to accomplish.

He, however, vowed to address these problems which include the perennial problem on drainage and even the worsening traffic situation in the city.

Dec 18, 2009

City remains financially stable despite bad economy - officials

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Top fiscal managers of the city government reported that Tacloban remains financially liquid despite of the bad economy experienced by the country as they revealed that the target collection set for the current fiscal year is sure to be accomplished.

As of November 30 of this year, their actual collection has already reached more than 95 percent from their target collection of P634 million, city treasurer Susan Cordaño said.

And the high collection of the city government happened even without the city government under Mayor Alfred Romualdez resorting to some drastic measures like raising taxes, Cordaño said.

"What we are doing is intensify our tax collection efforts," she said. "And this is the first time to happen that our tax collection reached 96 percent with only one month to go," Cordaño added.

Based on their records, the city government has now collected more than P605 million, over P244 million came from local sources.

The big bulk of the city's income came from its internal revenue allotment share of P361 million.

And of the P244 million income locally sourced by the city government, P167.8 million was generated from business taxes, P42.79 million from various economic enterprises like the operations of the bus terminal and P34.13 million from real property tax collection.

City Budget Officer Vicente Dy III said that the good performance on tax collection mirrors on the policy of Mayor Alfred Romualdez adding that all the income generated by the city government redounds to the benefit of the people of the city.

"These benefits came in the form of infrastructure projects and the delivery of basic services to our people. Every income that the city government earns goes to the people...up to the last peso," Dy said.

Both Cordaño and Dy said the sound fiscal management of the city mayor is also a big factor why the City Hall remains financially stable.

Cordaño said she was happy to report on their accomplishments considering that they are sure to achieve their target collection without resorting to any acts that could ensure income of the city government.

"What makes our achievement more remarkable is we have made it even without introducing tax increase. We have freezed any tax increase. All we did was identify our weaknesses in our collection effort," she said.

Aside from intensifying their tax effort campaign, delinquent real property owners were also notified of their liabilities which resulted to some of these assets auctioned by the city government for the failure of the owners to honor their obligations.

Their office has also conducted examination of business accounts which also resulted for them to collect more income, Cordaño said.

Dec 18, 2009

City gov't to celebrate 1st anniversary of Tacloban City's HUChood

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City Government of Tacloban will commemorate today, December 18, the first anniversary of Tacloban City's HUChood with a celebration entitled "I Love Tacloban Day."

This was according to Daydee Cairo, a member of the organizing secretariat, who disclosed that several "big" activities would be held today at different venues in the city to mark the occasion

Cairo said the celebration would start with a Taebo Jam at the Astrodome (5: 30 a.m.), to be followed by the opening of the Agri-Trade Fair at Balyuan and motorcade around the city. (8:00 a.m.).

The trade fair opening and motorcade will be followed by a mass concelebrated by Msgr. Ben Bacierra and 12 other parish priests from this city to be held at the Balyuan Amphitheater (9: 00 a.m.).

The program proper at the Amphitheater follows at around 10 in the morning.

During the program, City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, other members of the City Council, and department heads will deliver their messages.

After that, the mayor, joined by officials coming from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will unveil the Citizens Charter.

During the program, the mayor, assisted by City Treasurer Susan Cordaño, will also award Plaques of Recognition to the top 40 taxpayers from this city.

The awarding of Certificates of Recognition to the winners of the Barangay Mahusay contest and the giving of movie passes to senior citizens will conclude the morning celebration.

During the afternoon from 1: 30- 2: 30 p.m., Mayor Romualdez, joined by other city officials and representatives of various civic clubs and private companies, will distribute gifts to 500-1000 indigents from this city at the Amphitheater.

The gift-giving will be followed by the Mayor's Hour with the Barangays, and a Street Jam starting 8: 00 p.m. at Magsaysay Boulevard will conclude the daylong celebration.

"The celebration was conceptualized by us to be day of giving and sharing, and also a day when we extends our thanks for all the blessings and graces for being in Tacloban," Cairo stressed.

"We are expecting a festive and memorable event," said Cairo, adding that they are expecting more than a thousand Taclobanons from all walks of life to join the celebration

Tacloban City officially became the 37th highly urbanized city (HUC) in the country last December 18, 2008 after a presidential proclamation declaring the city as an HUC was overwhelmingly ratified by the city's registered voters.

Dec 18, 2009

Romualdezes split on presidential candidates

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- While they are all allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo, the Romualdezes are free to support presidential candidates of their choice-even from the opposition.

Former Tacloban City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez Sr., who supports the presidential bid of former President Joseph Estrada, revealed this on Friday.

Bejo's daughter-in-law, former actress and Tacloban City Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, who chairs the local chapter of the United Opposition, also supports Estrada.

On the other hand, Bejo's son Alfred, the incumbent Tacloban City mayor, and nephew, Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, are both backing Lakas-Kampi-CMD standard bearer Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro.

The older Romualdez said that he did not see anything wrong with the family endorsing different presidential candidates in next year's elections despite of their closeness to President Arroyo.

Asked why the family was supporting different presidential candidates, Romualdez said it was for the "best interest" of the people of Tacloban.

"I have asked Ma'am (Former First Lady Imelda Marcos) who among our candidates for President the family should support and she told us to support those who will support our people," Bejo said.

The former first lady, who is seeking a congressional seat in the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte, is endorsing Sen. Manuel Villar, standard-bearer of the opposition Nacionalista Party.

Her son, Bongbong and daughter Imee, have also joined the camp of Villar. Bongbong is running for senator while sister Imee is a candidate for governor of Ilocos Norte.

Bejo, who served as the mayor of Tacloban for straight nine years that ended in 2007, is running for vice mayor with son Alfred, who is seeking reelection as mayor.

He explained that he decided to seek an elective position again because he wanted to continue serving the Taclobanons.

He added that he still has many plans for the city. "This is not an overnight decision. In fact, it took me one year and a half to convince my son on my decision to run again," Bejo said.

He also disputed claims that his return to politics would complete his family's dominance of local politics.

"We cannot be accused of (building a) political dynasty. We are all qualified. We can only be accused of it if we will field our relatives who are not qualified to hold public positions," Bejo added.

Bejo will face the incumbent vice mayor, Arvin Antoni, in his quest to return to politics. Antoni is running under the Liberal Party.

Dec 16, 2009

Butterflies abound in a
nature park in Babatngon

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

BABATNGON, Leyte - Nature lovers have a new hideaway at a sprawling Paru-Parong Bukid Nature Conservation Center located this town.

The Paru-Parong Bukid Nature Conservation Center, which had its soft opening last December 13, promises to be a very ideal place for those who only want the best our Mother Nature could offer.

In the words of owner Helly Asoy, the conservation center was designed for the people to renew their contact with Mother Nature. "My main goal here is for us to go back to basics and appreciate nature as it is," Asoy, who is a registered nurse by profession and married to neuro-surgeon Gil.

The 2.8 hectares conservation center, which is located in Barangay Lukay, this town, offers a lush garden dotted with beautiful and colorful plants and flowers, mangrove and of course, the piece de resistance, so to speak, is the huge butterfly enclosure.

The concrete enclosure is where you can find around 350 butterflies of different varieties. Needless to say, these butterflies, busy hopping from one flower to another in sucking up the nectar, were a sight to behold.

It was learned from Asoy that the butterflies are breed right at the conservation center. And in few years from now, people who will visit the nature conservation center will see thousands of butterflies not only inside the enclosure but within the conversation center, flying freely.

Asoy said that since she was a kid she has been fascinated with butterflies, reason why she decided to come up with a "nature-theme park" with butterflies as the main attraction.

The Romblon-native Asoy said that where there are butterflies, a lush environment lays.

"Butterflies are indication of a healthy environment," she avers.

Asoy's dream is to make the Paru-Parong Bukid Nature Conservation Center a venue where young people, particularly students, could learn about nature and how to appreciate them.

"I want them to be aware on our environment," she said.

And on the side, a visit to the Paru-Parong Bukid Nature Conservation Center, one can do some fishing and kayaking. And meditate, of course, away from the maddening crowd.

Dec 15, 2009

Tacloban SP okays city's P713.4-M budget for 2010

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tacloban approved last Wednesday the more than P713.4 million budget of the city for 2010 as proposed by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

The newly- passed P 713, 450, 012 budget for next year was the biggest yet in the history of the city and the first to reach the 700th million mark.

Also, next year's budget is P79 million higher than the P 634 million allocation this year.

"With a bigger budget, we can provide financial assistance to the barangays for the construction of various infrastructure projects, expand employment opportunities to the urban poor residents, rehabilitate the existing hospital and build a new one, and strengthen our peace and order vigilance by providing additional patrol cars and the construction of new PNP city headquarters," said Mayor Romualdez in his budget message.

"Also, we can spend more for basic services for our people such as better education, better health facilities, more anti-poverty programs, and better garbage collection and solid waste management, " he added.

Under the 2010 budget, maintenance and other operating expenses got the highest allocation at more than P 254. 2 million or 36 percent of the total LGU budget.

Around 34 percent of the budget for next year was allotted to personnel services inclusive of the provision for Salary Standardization in the amount of P 240. 4 million.

The budget for capital outlay was P 174 million or 24 percent of the budget. The amount includes provisions for development projects in the amount of P80 million.

Appropriation for "special purposes" was given an allocation of P 195 .7 million, while the amounts of P P35. 6 million and P 8. 2 million were set aside for calamity and aid to the barangays, respectively.

Among the departments and offices of the city government, the City Mayor's Office got the highest allocation at P 107. 6 million, followed by City General Services Office (P 69. 5 million), City Engineer's Office ( P 45. 5 million), City Health Office ( P 28. 6 million), Sangguniang Panlungsod (P 27. 5 million), City Treasurer's Office ( P 26. 2 million), City Social Welfare and Development Office (P 23. 6 million), City Environment and Natural Resources Office ( P 23. 4 million), City Division Office ( P 13. 1 million), and City Veterinary Office ( P 10. 2 million).

Total budget for non-office expenditures amounted to P 21. 9 million.

Among the notable non-office expenses under this item are P 5 million for the renewal of Philhealth coverage of 2, 964 indigents and the enrollment of 3, 000 more next year, and several million pesos intended for increase in honorarium of Barangay Service Point Officers (BSPO), Barangay Health Workers (BHW), and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) in the city.

Under the newly-approved city budget, the bigger part is to be sourced from the city's share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) in the amount of P 395. 2 million.

It was learned that during last Wednesday's session of the City Council, the approval of the 2010 budget, which was prepared by the City Budget Office headed by OIC- City Budget Officer Vicente Dy III, went smoothly.

Dec 12, 2009

Mayor Romualdez leads lighting of giant Christmas tree

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez led on Wednesday, Dec. 9, the lighting of the Giant Christmas tree at the Balyuan Park, this City.

After a countdown, Mayor Romualdez joined by other city officials and dignitaries pushed a switch that lighted up the 50-foot structure.

Also present during the ceremonial lighting were former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, Councilor Cristina Gonzales- Romualdez, City Administrator Roberto Muñoz, City Information Office (CIO) head Evelyn Cordero, City Assessor Carlos Cordero, City Personnel Officer Pinky Brosas, City Planning Officer Roland Hidalgo, and City Nutrition Officer Malou Tabao.

The lighting was also witnessed by city government employees and scores of other Taclobanons from all walks of life.

Mayor Romualdez stressed in his message that he was very happy with the occasion and said that the Christmas tree will serve as an added attraction in the city.

"Families can go here to enjoy the evening and watch this beautiful Christmas tree, said Romualdez, adding that the lighting also means the start of the long Christmas celebration in the City of Tacloban.

Made out of rubber materials, the intricate design of the Christmas tree was done by David Cerezo, a rubber artist from Marikina City who was contracted by the city government here to do the over-all set-up of the Christmas decorations in the city.

The lighting of the Christmas tree, which has become an annual tradition here, was originally scheduled to be held Tuesday evening but was moved to the next day due to bad weather conditions.

Dec 09, 2009

15 more Tacloban villages receive financial assistance

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Fifteen more barangays in this city received P 50, 000 each as financial assistance from the City Government of Tacloban through City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

The barangays that received the financial aid were Barangays 88 (Cataisan), 89 (Baybay), 90 (Baybay Seaside), 86 (Sogod), 85, 87 (Manlurip), 83-B (Cogon), 83 (Paraiso), 83-C (Taguictic), 83-A (Burayan), 78, 79, 80, 81, and 82.

Earlier, 27 barangays, mostly those in the northern part of the city, received the same financial assistance from the city government.

Mayor Romualdez, who went along with several council bets to every one of the barangays yesterday to personally turnover the amount, said the financial aid is meant to help the barangays with some of their needs and expenses.

Also present during the financial aid distribution were council bets Jeric Dane "Tata" Granados, Robert Yap, Santiago Lee, and Marco Nardo.

"Barangay officials no longer need to go to the City Hall to request for some of their minor needs, said Romualdez, adding that the 96 other barangays in the city will receive their share in the coming days.

He said that the recipient-barangays can add the amount to their General Funds as capital outlay and use the money to purchase items like chairs, medicines, batteries, flashlights, sound system, electric fan, and other minor needs of the barangay.

The mayor added that all 138 barangays in this city would each receive another P 50,000 financial assistance next year.

"Another round of financial aid distribution covering all barangays of Tacloban will be conducted in January next year," revealed Romualdez, adding that the city government had already set aside P8.5 million for such purpose.

Barangay officials, on their part, thanked the city government for the help extended to their barangays.

"Dako it amon pagpasalamat kan Mayor Alfred tungod hini nga bulig ha amon. Yana, Magkakaada na kami kadugangan nga pondo para hit amon mga talagudti nga kagarastusan dinhi," said Chairman Cosme Dotillos of Paraiso, who could not hide his elation at receiving the assistance in behalf of his barangay.

Dec 05, 2009

Construction of Tacloban City MRF to start this month

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The construction of the first-ever Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for the City of Tacloban is set to begin this month.

City Environment Officer Jonathan Hijada in an interview Thursday disclosed that the project implementation is set to begin as the city government has already awarded the project to a winning bidder.

"The contractor is only waiting for the Notice to Proceed. The construction could begin by the middle of this month at the earliest, " said Hijada, adding that the target date for completion of the project is February 2010.

Hijada said that based on the Project Plan, the MRF will be built in Barangay 105 (San Isidro).

"It is the most ideal place where an MRF could be located," he stressed.

Hijada said that the city and its residents stand to benefit once the MRF will be in place.

"It could mean that the volume of garbage at the city-run dumpsite in Brgy. 106 (Sto. Niño) will be greatly lessened," he emphasized.

The city environment officer noted that in the absence of an MRF, all kinds of waste materials- biodegradable, non-biodegradable and recyclable - are dumped together without being sorted at the said dumpsite. That situation often leads to the accumulation of "mountains" of garbage at the site, which pose a threat to the environment and the health of people living nearby.

"Once the MRF will be operational, only garbage material of the lowest value will be disposed at the dumpsite. Biodegradable waste materials will be turned into fertilizer material known as organic soil enhancer, while garbage materials made of plastic will be recycled utilizing the MRF," Hijada pointed out.

A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is a specialized plant that receives, separates and prepares recyclable materials for marketing to end-user manufacturers. Generally, there are two types - clean and dirty MRFs.

A clean MRF accepts recyclable commingled materials that have already been separated at the source from municipal solid waste generated by either residential or commercial sources.

A dirty MRF accepts a mixed solid waste stream and then proceeds to separate out designated recyclable materials through a combination of manual and mechanical sorting.

It was learned that the city government through City Mayor Alfred Romualdez has set aside P3. 7 million for the project.

Dec 04, 2009

Leyte governor runs unopposed

By Jack Gadaingan

Manila Bulletin

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho "Icot" L. Petilla virtually prevailed in his reelection bid on the 2010 national and local elections after the Provincial Commission on Election (Comelec) Office here closed midnight of December 1, 2009 without any other aspirant for the gubernatorial post of Leyte filing a certificate of candidacy (CoC).

Petilla, who is seeking a third mandate, led the Lakas-Kampi-CMD provincial bets in filing their CoCs at noontime of November 30 at the Provincial Comelec Registrar, were the electoral hopefuls gathered for a morning mass prior to filing CoCs.

"Icot" as the governor is fondly known was accompanied by his wife Frances Ann, his mother former Leyte Gov. and 1st District Rep. Remedios "Matin" L. Petilla - who is now running for municipal mayor of Palo, and a throng of supporters.

Also in the entourage was Petilla's running mate, Vice Gov. Mimyette Bagulaya, who like the governor is seeking a third term, and likewise virtually a winner already in the vice gubernatorial race, as she is also running unopposed.

Running for Sangguniang Panlalawigan members under Petilla's ticket are Malou Gosoco and Roque Tiu, 1st District; Nico Villasin and Anlie Apostol, 2nd District; Rolando Piamonte and Benjo Remandaban, 3rd District; Deborah Bertulfo and Antonio Jabilles, 4th District; Carlo Loreto and Florante Cayunda Jr., 5th District.

The Petillas who are the political archrivals of the Romualdezes in Leyte didn't field any candidate to contest the bid of Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who is seeking another term and, likewise Highly Urbanized City of Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez who is also into a 2nd term.

Romualdez' running mate is his father former Tacloban Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez who has filed his CoC as vice mayor together with his son and daughter-in-law Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez who is in for reelection as councilor.

Also filed his candidacy aligned with the ticket of Petilla is Eufrocino "Winnie" Codilla Jr., who is running for representative for the 4th District of Leyte against movie actor and TV host Richard Gomez, who filed his CoC hours later after Codilla.

Gomes was accompanied by wife Lucy Torres-Gomez, supporters and admirers.

Former Malacañang chief legal adviser Sergio Apostol is running for representative of the 2nd district in lieu of his third-term representative wife Trinidad "Ebbie" Apostol who is now running for town mayor of Carigara. The 2nd District is now being contested by seven aspirants among them Tabon-tabon Mayor Rusty Balderian, a well known philanthropist.

Dec 03, 2009

City gov't GTZ ink MOA on reforestation project

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government here and GTZ, a German technical assistance group, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) ironing out their points of cooperation in the upcoming implementation of a major reforestation project in the northern part of the city.

A joint project of the city government and GTZ, the Tacloban City Upland (Watershed) Development Project is set to be implemented later this month.

"Before any fund would be released or project could start, a MOA should be signed between the parties involved in the project, hence, we have this MOA signing, said Jonathan Hijada of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), the lead agency tasked by the city government with the implementation of the said project.

The MOA signing was held at the City Mayor's Office on Friday.

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez was the one who signed for the city government, while Dr. Walter Salzer, country program director, signed in behalf of GTZ.

Under the agreement, GTZ will finance the project implementation to the tune of P6.3 million.

The Tacloban LGU, on its part, is responsible for overall planning, project implementation, programming, evaluation and monitoring of program/project activities.

A priority of Mayor Romualdez, the proposed project is aimed at rehabilitating 340 hectares of deforested area encompassing four barangays in the northern part of the city. These barangays are Palanog, San Roque, Bagacay, and Camansihay.

According to Hijada, the project, which is slated to be finished in two years, was conceptualized to boost the city's forest preservation efforts and provide employment opportunities to upland farmers.

Also, it is meant to curb air pollution and erosion problems, and enhance the sustainable use of natural resources in the area.

Dec 03, 2009

Matin files candidacy for mayor of Palo, Leyte

By Miriam Garcia Desacada

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Pagcor Vice-chair Remedios "Matin" Petilla formally filed her certificate of candidacy last Tuesday night to contest incumbent Palo, Leyte Mayor Teodoro Sevilla in the mayoralty post.

Mrs. Petilla, who once served as governor in Leyte for three consecutive terms and Congresswoman of the first congressional district of Leyte, was accompanied by hundreds of supporters in Palo and other towns in Leyte when she filed her COC at the municipal Comelec office. The group of supporters included his son, Governor Jericho Petilla.

Petilla expressed confidence she will get an overwhelming victory in the coming May 10 synchronized national and local elections, and said she will first focus her first 100 days as municipal mayor in cleaning -up the town, strengthen the tourism industry , livelihood and infrastructure programs and uplift the economic condition of the town, especially because it is where she resides.

"The first thing I have to do if the people will trust me again to hold another elective post is the cleaning-up of Palo at the same time pahusayon ine, so that we can attract more tourist and investors, while Governor Petilla will take care of the economic and the business aspect in the province, of course, that will include Palo," Mrs. Petilla said.

She said that since last night when she filed her candidacy it stopped speculations that she intends to run in the first congressional district of Leyte against incumbent Representative Martin Romualdez.

Governor Petilla is now running unopposed while Rep. Romualdez will be contesting a lawyer, Feliciano Clemencio, who lost in the 2007 congressional bid and got only 16,000 against Romualdez's 120,000 votes.

Mrs. Petilla is running under the Liberal Party while Gov. Petilla is running under the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

Dec 03, 2009

Romualdezes expected to continue their political grip
in Tacloban City

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

Tacloban City -- The Romualdezes are expected to continue their political grip, at least in the first district of the province and in Tacloban City, which is no longer under the administrative control of the provincial government since it was declared a highly urbanized city December last year.

Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) of the first district is seeking a second term against the Liberal Party candidate, Feliciano Clemencio.

Romualdez's cousin Alfred is seeking a second term as Tacloban mayor with his father Bejo as running mate. Bejo served as city mayor for three terms until 2007.

Alfred's wife, former actress Cristina Gonzalez, who topped the 2007 elections in the 10-member city council, is expected to have an easy victory next year.

Dec 03, 2009

Romualdezes file COCs

Philippine Star

Tacloban City -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who is running for re-election, filed around 5 p.m. Monday his COC, together with his line-up under the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, at the Comelec office here.

That same day, Councilor Ranulfo "Bob" Abellanosa also filed his COC for mayor of Tacloban under the Liberal Party. Like Romualdez, Abellanosa was also accompanied by his line-up in filing their candidacies.

Romualdez, who is gunning for a second term, filed his COC before city election officer, lawyer Rosemarie Polistico, together with his complete line-up headed by his running mate, former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez.

Also with the group were re-electionist Councilors Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, Bianco Mate, Jerry "Sambo" Yaokasin, Robert Hernandez, and lawyer Antonio Lopez Jr.

The others in the lineup were former vice mayor Edwin Chua, former Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) federation president Edward Frederick Chua, former city councilor Rebecca Pacanan, and newcomers Gerardo Mondragon, Santiago Lee, Marco Nardo, Jeric Dane "Tata" Granados, Robert Yap and Atty. Sergio Sumayod, the erstwhile city legal officer.

Dec 02, 2009

It's Alfred versus Bob in Tacloban mayoralty race

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who is running for reelection, filed around 5 p.m. yesterday his Certificate of Candidacy (COC), together with his line-up under the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office.

Yesterday morning, councilor Ranulfo "Bob" Abellanosa also filed his COC for mayor of Tacloban under the Liberal Party. Like Mayor Romualdez, Abellanosa was also accompanied by his line-up in filing their candidacies.

Mayor Romualdez, who is gunning for a second term, filed his COC before City Election Officer Atty. Rosemarie Polistico together with his complete line-up headed by his running mate, former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez.

Also with the group were reelectionist Councilors Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, Bianco Mate, Jerry "Sambo" Yaokasin, Robert Hernandez, and Atty. Antonio Lopez Jr.,

The others in the lineup were former Vice Mayor Edwin Chua, former Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation President Edward Frederick Chua, former City Councilor Rebecca Pacanan, and newcomers Gerardo Mondragon, Santiago Lee, Marco Nardo, Jeric Dane "Tata" Granados, Robert Yap and Atty. Sergio Sumayod, the erstwhile city legal officer.

Mayor Romualdez, in an interview shortly before he filed his COC, said he will stand on his own performance in just more than two years in seeking his second term of office.

"You can see that that my administration has done a lot for Tacloban and the Taclobanons," he said, specifically citing the successful conversion of Tacloban City into the first-ever Highly-Urbanized City (HUC) in the Eastern Visayas Region and the many projects and programs that were implemented under his watch.

Mayor Romualdez is running for reelection under the banner of Lakas-Kampi-CMD

In the same interview, Mayor Romualdez expressed confidence that his lineup will score a decisive victory in the May 2010 elections "We have a strong lineup composed of individuals of diverse backgrounds with proven track records," the mayor stressed.

Running against the administration bets, the Liberal Party (LP) candidates headed by Abellanosa and vice-mayoralty bet Arvin Antoni, who is seeking reelection, also arrived in full force at the city Comelec office.

Running as council bets in the LP lineup were former City Councilor Peter Panis, Sarah Mate-Lopez, Noel Lagonoy, Robert "Bobby" Andrade, Patrick Aguilos, Atty. Jerry Uy, Mark Morallos, Ludovico Ortega, Luisito Morante, and Jose Mario "Joemar" Bagulaya, son of incumbent Leyte Vice Governor Mimiette Bagulaya.

Dec 02, 2009

Leyte Gov seeks
third term unopposed

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Yes, Virginia, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla is seeking his third and last term unopposed.

As disclosed by Provincial Election Supervisor Felicisimo Embalsado, the deadline for the filing of Certificates of Candidacy, came and went by, with no one filing for the position of provincial governor of Leyte, except Governor Icot, who is known to be at his strongest ever in the history of his political career.

Governor Icot's leadership is acknowledged not only by the political leaders in the province of Leyte but also in the entire Region 8. His sincerity and dedication to his job as the Governor of the premier province in Eastern Visayas, won him the respect of his fellow leaders.

His running mate, Vice Governor Mimyet Bagulaya is also unopposed and so are his two board members for the fifth district of Leyte, re-electionists Carlo Petilla Loretto and Florante Cayunda, Jr.

The candidate for congressman in the fifth district of Leyte, former Baybay Mayor Jose Carlos Loretto Cari, is also running unopposed. He succeeds his mother, incumbent Carmen Cari who is on her third term and is now running as Mayor of Baybay.

In the first district of Leyte, Incumbent Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who is seeking his second term, has a lone opponent in the person of Feliciano Clemencio, who was also his opponent during the last election.

There are seven contenders for the congressional seat in the second district of Leyte. These are come-backing Congressman Sergio Apostol of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, whose wife, the incumbent congresswoman Trinidad Apostol, has completed her three terms and is running as Mayor of her hometown, Carigara; Ashley Alvero, PMP; TabonTabon mayor Rustico Balderian, PDSP; Alberto Hidalgo, LP; Bartolome Lawsin, Independent; Von Caisen Zoro, Independent; and Pastor Trimor Jr. of Bangon Pilipinas Party.

There are 4 candidates for the congressional seat in the third district of Leyte. They are Paquito Pelipel, PMP; Edwin Pflieder, LP; incumbent congressman Andres Salvacion Jr.; and come-backing congressman Eduardo K. Veloso, NP.

For the fourth district, the contenders for the congressional seat are Eufrocino Codilla, Jr., Lakas-Kampi-CMD, son of incumbent congressman Eufrocino Codilla Sr. who is on his third term; actor Richard Gomez of LP; and Siverio Tagolino, Independent.

Partial reports showed that the Lakas-Kampi-CMD and the Liberal Party are the two political parties which have the most number of fielded candidates in the province of Leyte.

Dec 01, 2009

Martin Romualdez
seeks reelection

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez filed his certificate of candidacy yesterday afternoon for a possible second term, saying that he was "urged by the local leaders to continue their projects and programs" in the first district.

Romualdez filed his certificate of candidacy around 4:42 p.m. at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections with a throng of supporters who were on board in a convoy of vehicles.

"I filed my certificate of candidacy as I was urged by our local leaders here to continue on what we have done in the past two and a half years and we endeavor to continue the works that we have set forth and more," Romualdez said.

The incumbent congressman is running under the ruling party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, of which he is the district chairman and national vice president for finance.

According to the solon, he is seeking for another mandate from the people of the first congressional district banking on what he has accomplished in the past years.

"And I have made a commitment to make Leyte first. That is my goal to make Leyte number one," Romualdez said.

Romualdez has run in 2007 elections under the campaign slogan of "Leyte First."

He said that he was happy that the people of the first district gave him their total support in realizing the projects and programs that he initiated in the district.

As of yesterday, no one has filed his certificate of candidacy to challenge Romualdez whose father served as governor of the province more than 20 years ago. His aunt and cousin, former First Lady Imelda Marcos and Alfred Romualdez, respectively also served as congressional representative for Leyte's first district.

Romualdez vowed that once he get a fresh mandate from the people in next year's elections, he will continue all his programs and projects and "to do more" for their benefit.

"There is still lot to be done in the district. And we're very, very happy that our local leaders are with us as partners for progress," he said.

Among those who joined Romualdez yesterday were incumbent mayors of Palo, Santa Fe, and Tolosa.

Former Tanauan Mayor Mark Jimenez was also around. He revealed that he is seeking for the mayoralty post to be vacated by outgoing Mayor Roque Tiu.

Tiu is running for a seat at the provincial board under the line-up of Governor Carlos Jericho "Icot" Petilla.

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