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Jul 31, 2010

Dengue cases in E. Visayas continue to rise

by Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Health in the region reiterated anew its call to the people to observe cleanliness in their surroundings as the number of dengue fever cases across the region has already reached over 5,000 with 65 deaths.

Boyd Cerro, regional sentinel nurse, said that local government units should really exert more efforts in ensuring that all their surroundings are clean and dry to avoid breeding grounds of dengue fever-causing mosquitoes.

"The (cleanliness) campaign should be done every week to ensure that even the kiti-kiti (larvae) would die and not just the mosquitoes," Cerro, in a telephone call, said.

He said that the DOH is willing to help the local government units in any way they can to help stop further spread of the disease.

"If a local government unit wants to declare an outbreak, we will assist them," he said. He said that an outbreak of cases would only be declared if a barangay is hit by several cases of dengue fever or what the DOH term as "clustering of cases."

So far, not a single local government unit in the region has declared an outbreak, to include Tacloban which accounts one-fourth of the regional dengue fever cases. The city has 1,279 cases with 19 deaths.

Based on the monitoring of the DOH-8, practically all towns and cities in the region are afflicted with dengue fever cases.

Since the start of the year and until this week, dengue fever cases in the region have now reached 5,090, and 65 of them eventually died.
Cerro said that at least 90 percent of the victims were children.

Cerro said that there is now really an urgent need for the local government units, including their respective barangays, to take a very serious drive on cleanliness.
This way, the number of dengue fever cases would at least decrease.

"With the onset of the rainy season, we expect that more dengue fever cases will be reported," the regional sentinel nurse said.

He said that they project that if the trend would continue the possibility that the number of dengue fever in the region would reach as high as 8,000 is not remote.
The present number of dengue fever cases is said to be the highest ever since the DOH started its monitoring in 1998.

Last year, the region had only over a thousand cases with 12 deaths.

Cerro also narrated that practically all the hospitals, both public and private, are attending patients suffering from dengue fever.

"In fact, the management of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center have already sought assistance for an additional 50 beds exclusively for dengue fever patients," he said.


Join the Fight against the Dengue Fever!
DOH launches National Anti-Dengue Campaign

Jul 31, 2010

Marta says:
NFA-8 has adequate rice supply

by Mary Agnes Militante

Leyte Samar Daily Express

PAWING, Palo, Leyte -- National Food Authority Regional Director Benjamin B. Marta disclosed yesterday that the agency has maintained an ideal and comfortable level of rice stock inventory regionwide.

He issued this statement in the wake of reports stemming from the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III that the agency had an over importation of rice resulting to undetermined quality of rice with declining quality.

"I cannot comment on the macro-level regarding the alleged over importation," quipped Marta, when pressed to comment on the President's statement.

"As far as NFA-Eastern Visayas is concerned our present total regional rice stock inventory is 759,599 bags at 50 kilograms per bag which will last for 20 days based on the average daily consumption requirement of 38,120 bags. This means further that the region need not worry of over supply or under-supply of our basic staple," Marta continued.

He underscored that the agency is mandated to provide food security especially at this time of the year as pronounced by Pagasa which is the onset of the rainy season.

"Typhoon and floods are likely to occur anytime, that is why, we have adequately and rationally positioned our stocks in the 19 warehouses regionwide in case of any eventuality."

Queried whether there are still incoming rice stocks for the region, Marta said that the NFA is expecting rice shipment from Cebu totaling 1.4 million bags which is part of the region's allocation until end of this year. "Any carry-over stocks at year-end will supplement the needs of the region for the first quarter of next year."
On the other hand, Marta informed that the agency would still go aggressive in its domestic palay procurement operations. He reported that for the first semester of this year, the agency was able to buy a total of 9,280 bags versus procurement target of 35,500 bags for 2010 or a 26 percent accomplishment.

One of the policy directions of our new Administrator, Angelito Banayo, is to lower the country's dependence on rice importation through domestic procurement to encourage farmers to produce more and to make this country rice self-sufficient," Marta said.


"Is this not a crime, letting rice rot, despite
the fact that there are 4 million Filipinos who
do not eat three times a day?"
English Translation of  Pres. Aquino's
State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Jul 31, 2010

NFA quality assurance personnel tasked to ensure quality of rice stocks

by Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- To assure that stocks of rice are of good quality and free from harmful pests at the warehouses of National Food Authority (NFA), the NFA regional office revealed that they have quality assurance personnel who will oversee theccondition of the rice in their warehouses.

Lydia Cabangangan, Supervisor, Grains Operation Office of NFA-8, clarified that stocks of rice in warehouses in the region is of good quality unlike the reported situation recently revealed and founded out based on the State Of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino delivered last July 26, in which he cited that there were thousands of sacks stocks of rice in the NFA national office that are already rotten.

According to Cabangangan, NFA-8 has hired some personnel that mainly looks in maintaining the good quality of the stocks of rice at their warehouses. This are the quality assurance personnel.

The official said that all of the wartehouses all throughout the region except for the municipailty of Catarman has a quality assurance personnel.

She also said that aside from the quality assurance personnel, they also have a grand laboratory analyst and laboratory technical staff so that they would be able to assure that stocks are good to be consumed.

Meanwhile, the supervisor said that the stocks of rice on the warehouses were also given pest control measures.

"We make sure that the rice that we have on our warehouses are being sprayed as part of our pest control measure," Cabangangan said.

But the spraying that was done by the quality assurance personnel are being questioned by their consumers because, according to them, it might affect the taste of rice and it may result to health problems.

"Some of our consumers mis-understood the spraying on the stocks of rice that we have on our warehouses because they think that this would affect the taste of the rice that they will buy and this might lead to any health related problem if they intake it," she said.

Moreover, the grain operation supervisor stresses that spraying on NFA stocks on the warehouses is one of their ways to prevent the presence of pests.

"The primary reason why we spray on the stocks of rice at our warehouses is to imfumigate or to hinder the occurence of pests and to prevent pests to lay it's eggs on the rice," she explained.

In her view, rice having a smell is just normal and natural especially if it has been stocked for a period of time.

Lastly, Cabangangan have mentioned that rice can be stocked for at least 6 months or even up to one year if being cared properly.

"Ideally, rice can be stocked, even six months after it was purchased it is still of good quality, even those that are already one year for as long as the pest control safety measure and warehouse situation is properly observd," Cabangangan said.


Jul 30, 2010

Dengue causes 18 deaths
in Tacloban City

by Gay B. Gaspay

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Dengue fever has caused 18 deaths in Tacloban City alone. This was revealed by Tacloban City Health Officer Dr. Jaime Opinion during the barangay workers convergence meeting on Dengue held recently at the Balyuan Convention Center.

The recent data alarmed the city government particularly Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez since two weeks ago a total of 13 deaths were noted, five morbidity were added totaling to 18 deaths in a week's time period. Dr. Opinion said. Dengue cases likewise increased by 802 more afflicted of the disease , from 1,194 to 1,996.

Alarmed by the report, Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez immediately called on all barangay workers to a convergence meeting to discuss an immediate action to combat the dengue phenomenon.

The Barangay Health Workers (BHW) of the City Health Office (CHO), Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) of the City Nutrition Office and the Barangay Service Point Officers (BSPO) of the City POPCOM who have direct contact to the barangay people, converged to discuss and educate Taclobanons the evil effects and the best ways to combat said dengue occurrence.

Tasked to check, investigate, report, act at once and monitor, around 200 barangay workers pledged to handle five to 10 families in their respective barangay.
Armed with the basic know-how on how dengue is acquired, its causes , preventive aspect and where to go for the immediate action , the barangay workers dispersed to their respective barangays to re echo what they learned from the convergent meeting.

Aside from the anti-dengue clean up drive operation initiated by City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez in four hotspot areas in Tacloban City, namely San Jose, V&G Subdivision, Sagkahan and the two Kassel subdivisions (Kassel City and Kassel Homes) at Abucay, Mayor Romualdez personally visited the City Hospital and saw its needs. He immediately sent 50 additional beds to accommodate more patient and increased its dextrose supply.

Romualdez in an interview reiterated his concern to all Taclobanons to help in cleaning their environment, practice the 4 o'clock habit to clean, search, kill and destroy the breeding places of dengue.

Mayor Romualdez likewise recapped that dengue came from dengue biting mosquito (AEDES AEGYPTI) who happened to be infected of the dengue virus which proliferate thru breeding, in stagnant clean waters usually in old tires, tin cans, tanzans, plants and vases. By destroying its breeding sites will totally eliminate dengue fever.

Teach your children, the most vulnerable human specie, which is the prime target of this infected mosquito, to be afraid of any biting mosquito but the best way is to clean your environment, he said.

A thorough massive campaign, information dissemination and a concerted effort of all Taclobanons can er`adicate dengue in our city, the mayor said.

Jul 29, 2010

Tacloban rethinks dev't tack


BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- In a bid to attract more investments, Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez said his government is reviewing the thrust of developing only a portion of the city.

"The growth center should not be placed only in a specific area of the city. I believe that a growth center needs an airport, seaport, good road networks, electricity and ample supply of water. There's no business that would run without those things," Mr. Romualdez said.

He said the city government's 250-hectare property that was declared as an economic zone 12 years ago had failed to attract investments. Not a single infrastructure nor factory has been put up in the Eastern Visayas Agri-Industrial Growth Center, he noted.

A portion of the property, which is located in the northern part of the city, is now even being used as a dump site.

"Improvement of infrastructure and creating an investor-friendly environment should be focused on the entire city, even if it is located far away from the city's center," he said.

Jul 29, 2010

Eastern Visayas gives
PNoy satisfactory rating

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The people of Eastern Visayas gave President Benigno Aquino III a satisfactory rating for his first State of the Nation Address on July 26, 2010.

About 99 percent of the respondents in the post SONA survey conducted by the Philippine Agency in Eastern Visayas, gave the President satisfactory rating. Only one percent of the respondents answered either very satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory rating.

The most common reason why the respondents like President Aquino?s SONA was because of his determination to stop corruption in government which was clearly underscored when he said:

"Sa Administrasyon po natin, walang kota-kota, walang tongpats; ang pera ng taumbayan ay gagastusin para sa taumbayan lamang."

Reverend Father Erwin Balagapo, Parochial Vicar of Santo Nino Parish, and Leyte Board Member Roque Tiu both believed that the President was very sincere when delivering his SONA and his sincerity gives a ray of hope to the Filipino people.

Ms. Francisca Custodio, the President of the KBP in the Region and the station manager of DYVL Aksyon Radyo of the Manila Broadcasting Company echoed the same insight saying "he sounded so sincere especially in the area of stumping out corruption."

Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza said "he was very candid about the real situation of the nation."

Most of the respondents who are government employees lamented that the President made no mention about the anomalies at GSIS which have affected many government retirees and employees.

Many of the Eastern Visayas respondents expressed their belief that the President should have given more time discussing where and how he wants to lead the country in six years rather that giving more time lambasting the past administration. If there were anomalies, then leave the job to the Department of Justice and the Truth Commission, respondents said.

This thought among the respondents is a sign that the Filipino people wants to start anew, move forward towards a better Philippines. The Filipinos are more vigilant and more observant, determined that under the leadership of President Aquino, they will give their full support so that the reasons why he was elected to the post will be achieved.


English Translation of  Pres. Aquino's
State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Jul 29, 2010

Mayor Romualdez plans to reduce number of JOs at Tacloban City Hall

by Lemuel Pagliawan

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The number of job order (JO) employees at the Tacloban City Hall might just come waning in the coming days, according to the local chief executive himself.

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said he is bent on rationalizing the functions of city hall workers and the positions they hold which would inevitably require some of them to leave office or stop working earlier than expected.

"I am thinking of reducing the number of job order employees working for the city hall especially the double-ups or those working for jobs that are already being taken cared of by others," Romualdez said.

Leyte Samar Daily Express learned that about more than a thousand job order workers are now employed by the city hall.

But the mayor himself is not sold out to the idea of hiring so many JOs when the functions supposedly to be assigned to them can, in fact, be performed by regular and casual employees of the city hall.

Romualdez said he noticed that because of the big number of JOs, some regular employees are becoming dependent to JOs and reluctant to do their respective functions anymore.

It was learned that Mrs. Bernardita Valenzuela has been designated lately to monitor this hitch and identify those regular employees who are passing their responsibilities on to JOs without permission from the local chief executive.

"It can be observed that we already employed what we termed as "time sharing policy" where job order workers were given only 11 days each just to accommodate the lots of applicants waiting for the same opportunity," Romualdez said.

The mayor dislikes the idea that Taclobanons would just flock to city hall to get employment as job order workers because there are other better opportunities outside if they will just strive for it.

"Reducing the number of JOs is not an easy decision as it saddens me also because these people have families to feed, but we cannot do otherwise but be fair to our taxpayers and teach also our people how to look for better opportunities and other source of income because the city hall cannot give it all," Romualdez said.

According to him, the city government has launched programs that would provide its residents alternative source of livelihood aside from employment in offices and LGUs.

Meantime, the mayor defended the reported 16 executive assistants at the city hall, saying the city government has lots of enterprise to handle and this is part of the preparations being tackled for a fast growing city like Tacloban.

Jul 29, 2010

TCPO to coordinate with PNRC in blood-letting activity

by Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Tacloban City Police Office (TCPO) will coordinate with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Leyte Chapter in conducting a blood-letting activity on July 30, 2010 at the Robinsons Place Area from 8 am to 12 noon.

Ma. Bella P. Rentuaya, Public and Community Relations (PCR) Chief of TCPO, in a recent interview said that they have set the said activity in order to help the PNRC in sustaining the availability of blood in their blood bank, especially that dengue cases in Tacloban are alarming and increasing in number.

It has been noticed that Tacloban City has recorded the highest number of dengue patients in the whole Region 8 and Region 8 also has the highest number of such cases in all over the Philippines.

According to Rentuaya, this blood-letting activity is not the first time of the TCPO to conduct it. They are always open to everyone who come to their office and seek for blood donors.

"All year round, there are lots of people who come to our office to look for blood donors, and we are always ready for it," Rentuaya said.

The PCR Chief revealed that there would be 20 policemen who will volunteer on the conduct of blood-letting activity on the July 30.

Meanwhile, Rentuaya pointed out that policemen have basic support life training, which they do starting from the Police Officer 1 position.

Lastly, Rentuaya have said that all policemen have their blood donors card holder, so that they would be able to seek help to those individual who are in need of blood donors.

Jul 28, 2010

No need for privatization,
says LMWD

by Nancy Mae M. Almasco

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Leyte Metropolitan Water District said that in providing a better supply of water, there is no need for privatization of water district since expansion project is still on progress.

The said expansion project of the water district is being conducted through a feasibility study under the Local Water Utility Administration, the head agency of water district, and is expected to be done within this year.

Ma. Teresa Pascua, public relations officer, said in an interview that the expansion project is the main solution for water problem, since there will be additional treatment plant and laying of pipelines from the new treatment plant to different covered areas.

Pascua said that this is the reason why privatization is not considered by LMWD and besides there are projects and programs being conducted to lessen the water problem.

Moreover, Tacloban source of water is from Pastrana and Dagami. Areas being supplied by Pastrana are Pastrana itself, Sta. Fe, Palo and Tacloban, while places being supplied by Dagami are Tabontabon, Tanauan, Palo and lastly Tacloban. Pascua said that Tacloban is the last area to receive water supply from Pastrana and Dagami that is why water consumption is really problematic.

Pascua added that the source of water is not the only reason why water problem occurred in Tacloban City, but also the conveyance pipelines since it is very limited and considering that it has been placed during 1990's.

Conveyance pipelines have a capacity of 12,000 connections but based on the records of LMWD, it has 29,000 connections at present.

Meanwhile, the LMWD, with the joint venture construction of Houston Hydrotech Products and Systems Inc. and E.C Caforteza Construction, has designed and built a fully-automated in-line booster pump facility at the Leyte Academic Center, Pawing, Palo Leyte.

Pascuasaid that the purpose of the in-line booster pump is to boost and increase pressure for water supply. However, Pascua said that based on initial operation, the said pump cannot exactly lessen water problem.

However, through the in-line booster pump, 538 leaks were identified and improved in Palo and Tacloban City from June 7 to July 2, 2010. And upon implementation of the project, several adjustments had been done like hydraulic testing and simulation.

Pascua added that the contractors were the ones who conducted the project and once design of pressure pump is obtained and project design is very satisfactory, that would be the time the project will be turned over to LMWD. And definitely it would take time, Pascua said.

The said in-line booster pump project costs P25,579,123.83.


Jul 27, 2010

Mayor Romualdez is serous in his anti-dengue campaign

by Gay B. Gaspay

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Bent on totally eradicating dengue in Tacloban City, City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez is serious on his Anti-Dengue clean-up drive campaign.

Personally supervising the anti-dengue clean-up drive campaign trail and face to face advocacy effort, Mayor Alfred guided the Anti-Dengue Task Force to clear the creek fronting the Sagkahan Elementary school with obstructing structures as the Task force went to clean the 3rd dengue hotspot CHO identified place in Tacloban.

Mayor Romualdez in an interview stated that we should all be serious in cleaning our surroundings otherwise the initial move made by the City GovernmentTask Force will be useless.

The Tacloban City Anti-Dengue Task Force headed by Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez went into a massive information and clean up drive in answer to the increase in dengue afflicted Taclobanons.

In Sagkahan alone the Mayor learned that three died of dengue aside from the hundreds who were sick but survived. Two of the victims came from Sagkahan Elem. School and one from the adjacent barangay.

Mayor Alfred enjoined all residents of Sagkahan to please help in cleaning up their surroundings paying particular attention to do away stagnant clean waters from old tires, empty bottles and tanzans, flower vases, from bromeliad and banana plants, gutters and to cover containers with stock water.

Usually DENGUE female biting mosquito, the AEDES AEGYPTI loves to breed in STAGNANT CLEAN WATERS. Seven days after they bit an infected person they will look for breeding places otherwise they die. A mere tanzan or bottle cap, no matter how small it is, can hold on hundreds of AEDES AEGYPTI eggs, and when it hatch it produces hundreds of new infected dengue mosquitoes.

AEDES AEGYPTI mosquito is a day time biting mosquito. They are active during the day starting 7am. to 4pm. Most active during the day are children who loves to play outside the house.

Parents should be aware that ones the child exhibit signs & symptoms of an on and off fever, painful stomach, nose bleeding or pitecchial rashes, to immediately see their doctor or go to the nearest hospital or health care centers for management of the disease.

The disease per se has no cure but management only to replace its decreasing platelet count and this can be gotten only thru blood transfussion. DENGUE FEVER kills a person and mostly affected are the vulnerable ones, the children Mayor Alfred further said.

Children usually are advised to wear long pants and long sleeves blouses, don't go near dark corners of the house or classroom, to put mosquito repellant on exposed area of the body and most importantly to do the 4o'clock habit of cleaning the environment.

Mayor Romualdez and the Dengue task force composed of non-government organization, private sector, volunteer group, city officials and employees and from the barangay itself went on a massive Anti Dengue clean-up drive to do search and destroy operation to combat Dengue. Other areas covered by the campaign were Tacloban's San Jose and the V&G Subdivision.


Join the Fight against the Dengue Fever!
DOH launches National Anti-Dengue Campaign

Jul 27, 2010

CHO asks city residents to seek early consultation when hit by prolonged fever

By Roel Amazona

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city health officer of Tacloban reiterated his call to the residents of the city to seek early consultation once they got fever for more than two days to know if it was caused by the dengue virus.

The call of Dr Jaime Opinion was made after he received reports that some residents in the city opt to disregard their situation when they are sick and regarded their fever as an ordinary fever and not a symptom of the deadly dengue virus.

"Dengue has no treatment yet, the vaccine or medicine for dengue victims is not yet discovered," Dr Opinion said.

"If we are sick and we take this for granted, then the problem will now arise, because we don't know if it is dengue or not," he added.

Opinion stressed that once a person suspects that he got dengue fever they should immediately consult a doctor or bring their family member to the nearest hospital or health center for the doctors to immediately assess the situation.

"Maybe we regard it as an ordinary fever and when we brought the patient to the hospital and was found out to be dengue, it is already too late for the patient," he said.

"The most important for us to do is to bring our family member who got sick to the hospital to check the patient's condition or to seek for early consultation para makita natun an kabutangan han pasyente," he added.

"Once a patient is found out to be a dengue victim, he or she will be admitted to the hospital for the doctors to monitor their progress especially in their blood," he added.

"The condition of the patient's blood is one of the most important thing that we monitor once there are dengue patients that are admitted, to make sure that their platelets are in good condition, and if necessary we will conduct blood transfusion for the dengue victims if they are in critical stage," he added.

"That is why, aside from monitoring the dengue patients we also advise their family members to secure or look for possible blood donors within their family just to prepare for a possibility of blood transfusion," he added.

Jul 27, 2010

Matin wants to develop Palo first before eying cityhood

By Roel Amazona

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Palo, Leyte Municipal Mayor Remedios Petilla said that although she is in favor for the municipality of Palo to become a city and the next capital of the province of Leyte, she stressed that a great work should be done first to the municipality before it will be given that status.

"Before we do it, I think we should make Palo ready for it first," Mayor Petilla said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.
She said that in her first term of office as the municipal mayor of Palo she will be implementing various projects that she considers as her priorities to make Palo ready and deserving for the cityhood and provincial capital status.

Among her priority projects in the municipality of Palo are the improvement of the marketplace, slaughterhouse and the municipal hall, and the installation of streets lights around the municipality.

"Gin tagan ko yana hin priority an market and I have seen the condition of the slaughterhouse, makalulu-uy hin duro an ira condition, so I think it should be given the priority," Mayor Petilla said.

"We get and buy the foods that we eat from these places, that is why we decided that we need to improve their conditions," Petilla added.
"It would be a great health hazard for us, if these two establishments that are source of foods are dirty," she added.

"Pero first things nga akun bubuhaton and the governor is helping me out is an pagbutang hin mahayag nga street lights around the municipality," Petilla revealed
"This is for the travelers and motorist to have a better, safe and efficient travel while they are passing and using the roads of the town in the evening," Mayor Petilla added.

Meanwhile, the city mayor of Tacloban City, Mayor Alfred Romauldez, in a recent social gathering of businessmen in Tacloban, where Mayor Petilla was also present, said that he is supportive to the bid of Palo to become a new city in the province.

Mayor Romualdez stressed that the changing of status of Palo to become a city from a municipality would mean a development for the town and thus bring progress which is not only beneficial for Palo and the province but also to the city of Tacloban.

"I have always said it before that, when it comes to development, I am always supportive to it, that is why I am supportive if Palo will become a city," Mayor Romauldez said.

Mayor Petilla when asked to comment regarding the said statement of Mayor Romauldez, she said that she is happy with the statement of Mayor Romualdez but added that he should show it in work and not only by words.

"Well ok lang, pero usahay man gud iba an yakan, iba an gin bubuhat, maybe he really needs to show that he really meant what he says," Mayor Petilla said.
"But this is a really good signs for him, because he seems like he's trying to reach out," she added.

Jul 27, 2010

Robinsons spending
P1B on renovations

By Neil Jerome C. Morales

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

GOKONGWEI-LED property developer Robinsons Land Corp. has allotted about P1 billion to redevelop five malls this year, an executive said on Tuesday.

Expansion projects, some of which have already begun, will be completed next year.

"The five [redevelopment] projects, which includes the expansion in Tacloban, [will cost] about P1 billion," Robinsons Land President Frederick D. Go told reporters at the sidelines of a real estate conference in Makati.

Mr. Go said the property developer would add more levels at Robinsons Tacloban and put up the budget Go Hotels. The five-level Robinsons Metro East in Pasig City is also up for redevelopment.

Earlier, Robinsons Land announced the redevelopment and expansion of Robinsons Place in Bacolod, Robinsons Place Manila, and the two-decade-old Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas Center.

The property developer has allotted P9 billion for capital spending this year, of which 40% will be for the construction of new malls.

Robinsons Land will start this year the construction of its first shopping mall in the Northern Luzon province of Pangasinan and the 30th Robinsons mall nationwide. It will also open a mall in Palawan next year, and Cebu and Quezon City in 2012.

Jul 26, 2010

Mayor Alfred -
A natural-born leader

By Dee A. Cairo

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Mayor Alfred being the father of this city, has the interests of Tacloban at heart. He has all the affairs of the city in his hands, looks into the interests of all Taclobanons as a whole and entertains all matters at the macro level.

        Tacloban City Mayor Alfred
             and his wife Cristina

If in some details of the management system, he directs some people in his office to respond to the needs of the people, it does not mean that he lacks interest and concern. He is only being true to the ideals of leadership - a leader must know how to delegate.

Mayor Alfred is definitely not an authoritarian, he likes delegating work to his staff and assistants. This way, he has more time to look into other internal and external matters affecting the city.

The ability to delegate is a test of an effective leader. Many leaders cannot assign and delegate for fear that others might usurp their authority. Others are too insecure to trust anyone.

Such have never been a problem with our mayor. He is a modern day manager-leader who has the capability and inherent gifts of leadership. Many are made; few are born with it.

Mayor Alfred is one of the natural-born leaders thrust into enormous responsibilities at an early age testing his mettle as a visionary mind with a steady, firm, determination to push progress in this city.

He is intent on continuing the legacy of his forbears and no one can deny that in him. His commitment and sincerity to make Tacloban become a premiere city could not be equaled.

He was the instrument in making the City of Tacloban the first HUC in Eastern Visayas and the 34th in the country. The dream was his father's, but what could not be realized in his father's time, he materialized in his own amidst the refusal and rejection of his rivals in politics.

What Tacloban has now become could be attributed to his leadership and courage, his ability to take risks. Up to now, his nemeses are trying their best to put him down but NO ONE CAN PUT A GOOD MAN DOWN.

All his best efforts to make Tacloban competitive has borne good fruits as Tacloban got listed as the fifth most competitive city. The total facelift that the city got came from his belief that what has been started well must be maintained more effectively.

Now Taclobanons need not be embarrassed with their visitors and tourists coming over to the city as they observe the tremendous change in the cleanliness if the city.

Everywhere, the commuting public has waiting sheds while waiting for their transport. They are now secure at the sight of traffic enforcers and policemen visible in all areas in the city managing and enforcing the traffic and ordinances to make everything orderly, safe and peaceful for everyone; young and old alike.

Tacloban is being made into a safe and orderly city, thanks to the leadership of a man who has adopted Tacloban as his and his family's home.

There are many politicians who are now eyeing the lone congressional seat of Tacloban and its mayoralty where before they spent lots of money in trying to block or hinder Tacloban from achieving its HUC status.

Others have openly trooped to both radio and TV stations lambasting the Mayor and the city sowing all kinds of lies and intrigues so that people will get confused. Others believed them but most Taclobanons spoke up and in an unprecedented consultative exercise, the dream became a reality.

Jul 26, 2010

E. Visayas now becoming
an investment hub

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The mechanisms put into place simplifying the process on investing in the region may just hold the key in making Eastern Visayas an investment hub.

Thus said Cynthia Nierras, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry, who said that the doing away of circuitous and unnecessary steps in securing business permits have, in fact, made Tacloban as one of the most-business friendly cities all over the country.

Nierras said that by shortening the process of getting a business permit, their thrusts as per instruction by no less than President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino would be accomplished.

The DTI has been given a marching order to help generate jobs aside from inviting more investors, the DTI regional director said.

"The DTI will focus on the improvement of the business environment; encourage small and medium enterprises and (help) expand the existence ones," Nierras said during the weekly media forum "Express it at the Park" held at the Leyte Park Resort.

Nierras said that as part of their goal is the strengthening of the National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (NERBAC) in each province or cities in the region.

With an active NERBAC, it would be easy for the potential investors what business they could put their investments and for them to have an easy processing of their papers or documents along the way.

According to Nierras, with this scheme, the long-complained problem among investors, red tape, and eventually, corruption, is being addressed.

Nierras cited the example of the city government of Tacloban which has been named as one of the most business-friendly cities in the country.

She said that no less than Mayor Alfred Romualdez made this disclosure during the members of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry wherein he reported that Tacloban was ranked as number five among the country's most business-friendly cities.

"So we have to congratulate the city government and Mayor Alfred Romualdez," Nierras said.

The DTI regional director said that here in the region, their focus would cover the tourism, agri-business and information and communications technology.

Jul 24, 2010

Dengue and LMWD

Philippine Information Agency

Dengue cases are on the rise in Tacloban and have affected 1,120 people and 13 lives from January to the latest count on July 10.

Such alarming situations that affect children and vulnerable groups have been the focus of an all-out drive of the City Health Office and the City Mayor's Office.

While the authorities are doing their utmost in preventing loss of more lives, the National government should look into the problem of water supply in the city as it is one of the topmost reasons for the proliferation of the Dengue mosquitoes.

No amount of preventive measures like fogging, clean-up drives and destruction/removal of possible breeding places could prevent the problem from occurring. Breeding places of the mosquitoes are right inside the houses and yards of average households.

Families who cannot afford water pumps end up storing water in large water receptacles like jugs, cans, drums and plastic jars. These stored water become stockpile of most families for several days becoming good breeding places of mosquitoes.

It is noticeable that dengue cases are more rampant in areas where most homes have this kind of "water problem coping mechanism". They cannot get rid of such storage as water is as basic as food, medicines, and shelter.

Tacloban City has been beset with the problem on water which has tremendously escalated when it became an HUC in late 2008.

Areas which used to have good water flow are now dry and nothing is being done about the problem. People in subdivisions which used to have good water pressure are experiencing intense shortage and dryness.

In most of these areas, water flow as small as a little boy's pee start as late as 11:00 or 12:00 midnight in some days and end after 4 to 5 hours later just enough for the family to stash it on some drums that will last for the next two days.

The LMWD must look into the situation responsibly. It must openly address the problem with the City Government of Tacloban as its service affects mostly Tacloban's constituents where 80% of the total revenues of its service areas are from the city.

It cannot hide its inefficiency through indifference, silence or insistence on measures such as Booster Pumps which are as useless as its management.

The least it can do is accept its inability to solve the problem and to submit recommendation to LWUA to privatize it or let another LGU handle its administration with members of the Board equitably distributed among the service areas.

The provincial government must stop pretending, it has lost its credibility and integrity to handle the water problem and the challenge of the water concessionaires of LMWD; it must unleash its hold on the water facility before the situation gets hopelessly worst.


Join the Fight against the Dengue Fever!
DOH launches National Anti-Dengue Campaign

Jul 23, 2010

BFAR 8 empowers
fisherfolks through
"Rent-a-Cage" program

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In order to encourage small fisher folk to venture in mariculture parks, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region 8 (BFAR) helps fishermen organize themselves into cooperatives and enroll in its "Rent-a-Cage" Program.

Under this scheme, the fishermen could start raising fish and pay the cage rent, including the cost of production after selling their produce, according to BFAR Region 8 Director John Albaladejo.

Already, a number of fisherfolks group in the municipality of Basey, Samar have already availed of the BFAR's Cages-for-Rent program, the good Director said.

BFAR encourages the fisherman to organize themselves into cooperatives and enroll in its "Rent-a-Cage Program" to enable them to start raising fish and pay the cage rent, including the cost of production, after selling their produce. Within two years or an average of four harvests, the group shall have been able to fully pay the cage and acquire additional cages for their business venture.

A bamboo fish cage costs P470,000 and a GI pipe cage, P576,000. This amount covers the cost of the cage, fingerlings, feeds and labor,among others during the grow-out period, BFAR said. Within a period of two years or an average of four harvests, fishermen cooperative could be able to pay in full the cost of the cage and acquire additional cages for their business venture.

Besides empowering small fisher folk, the establishment of mariculture parks also helps mitigate the ill effects of climate change on the fisheries sector. Coral bleaching, changes in the migratory patterns of fishes, occurrence of dreadful diseases and even mutation are among the adverse effects of climate change on the marine environment.

Mariculture parks provide a respite for marine life to flourish and increase in population without any adverse effects on the environment.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has established 40 mariculture parks nationwide. The latest of which are the 2 mariculture parks in Sorsogon.

The other mariculture parks in Luzon are found in Sto. Tomas, La Union; Casiguran Aurora; Padre Burgos and Tagkawayan in Quezon; Looc, Romblon; San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro; Sta. Cruz, Marinduque; Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro; and Ragay and Sangay in Camarines Sur.

In the Visayas, these mariculture parks are in Talibon, Bohol; Brgy. Malahog, Calbayog City; Basey, and Quinapondan in Eastern Samar; San Jose, Sta. Rita and Laoang in Northern Samar; Liloan, Southern Leyte; Batbatngon, Merida, Tacloban City and Ormoc City in Leyte; and Navalin Biliran.

Those in Mindanao are located in Tungawan, Sibugay, Margosatubig, all in Zamboanga del Sur; Zamboanga City, Murcielagos, Rizal in Zamboanga del Norte; Balingasag, Misamis Oriental; Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte; Island Garden City of Samal; Panabo City, Davao del Norte; Mati, Davao Oriental; Surigao City and Dapa, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte; Barugo, Surigao del Sur; and Sibutu-Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi.

These types of industrial parks in sea that were first conceptualized five years ago by the BFAR include basic infrastructure facilities like mooring systems that are set up in areas identified by marine technologists as ideal for fish farming.

Mariculture parks operate much like industrial estates on land, with investors setting up or renting fish cages to grow high-value marine species such as bangus, lapu¬lapu, siganids, seaweeds and other high-value aquatic organisms.

Along with the local government unit (LGU) and other stakeholders, a management council is organized by the BFAR and a development plan is crafted to ensure the health of the environment and the sustainability of every mariculture venture.

Jul 23, 2010

3rd Mayor Alfred's Cup 2010 reels off in Tacloban

By Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The 3rd Mayor Alfred's Cup 2010 which is an Inter-Barangay Basketball Tournament started yesterday at the City Engineer's Office (CEO) Gymnasium.

According to Joel Bugho, city sports coordinator, the activity started with a parade at 7:30 a.m. following the route that will start at the CEO Gym to Justice Romualdez then Avenida Rizal to Avenida Veteranos to Real Street and back to the CEO gym.

Expected to give the inspirational message is the very supportive Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez.

Bugho said that they expect all the 138 barangays of the city to have their own team that will represent their barangay. The 138 barangays will be sub-divided into 10 areas where every area will have their own cycle of game.

The City Sports Officer happily said that this Inter-barangay basketball tournament is different with the previous conduct of basketball because there will be no age limit required and no registration fee to be collected.

Meanwhile, Bugho is optimistic that this tourney would be able to able to help generate and increase the income of those small businesses and vehicular operators because there would be many people who will be viewing on the day of the games.

Furthermore, he stresses that this cup would also help basketball players in the city to have self-discipline and be physically fit.

"This tournament will help our basketball players to have discipline because they will not drink and smoke if they have game so that they will be in condition on their game proper. Also, this will help them in maintaining their body to be physically fit," Bugho said.

"In addition, this will also help our small businesses located near the playing area because there will be many people who will be witnessing it," he added.

Lastly, the City Sports Officer pointed out that they will not only be giving prizes to the winner but they would also be able to form a group which will be called as Tacloban City Senior Basketball Team which will be representing Tacloban for any game at the national level.

Jul 22, 2010

Mayor Alfred Romualdez says:
Taclobanons are discontended, irritated of poor water services

By Lemuel Pagliawan

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez has posed a firm challenge to the management of the Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) to divulge its long-term plan on water supply services improvement or else privatize the agency.

In an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express, Romualdez said the people of Tacloban are already discontented and irritated about the poor and costly water services of LMWD.

"The management of LMWD now should better reveal their plans of improving the current status of water delivery service especially to the city of Tacloban. We cannot afford this expensive yet annoying water supply to our faucets," Romualdez said.

He said Tacloban could be the new and next destination of local and foreign investors alike having been proclaimed as a highly urbanized city more than a year ago, but with this lingering water problem this dream might not just be realized easily.

The city mayor said that if LMWD can't do it, they better turn it over to certain private entities that could perform the job well enough.

"They're not showing us concrete plans and concrete answers to the current water supply problem that the Taclobanons are facing. So, I think it would be better to privatize the agency," Romualdez said.

The second-termer Romualdez said he is even willing to "accept the responsibility" if nobody else aside from LMWD would show interest in improving the water services of this local water utility.

According to him, the booster pump that the LMWD has recently announced to be the key in improving the water supply going to Tacloban is not working and may not be functional anymore.

"The present water system they are using was established way back during the time of Gov. Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez still. And it's so sad to note that up to this time no significant improvements have been made despite the evident increase in water volume demand and the number of water concessionaires within LMWD's coverage area," Romualdez said.

Romualdez said he already requested the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to conduct "an honest-to-goodness" audit of the coverage of the services of LMWD.

"I am in the belief that about 80 percent of the total water being delivered by LMWD is for Tacloban City consumers, which accounts the biggest in Leyte. That's why I hope that the LUWA would conduct the audit on volume basis and not on per meter unit basis," Romualdez said.

He further asked the management of LMWD not to mix politics with the running of the water utility as this is adversely affecting their services and greatly depriving the people or consumers of their right to abundant supply of potable water.

Jul 22, 2010

Alfred happy of Tacloban being one of competitive cities in RP

By Reyan L. Arinto

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Besting other cities in the country in terms of competitiveness translates the efforts of the city government and the people of Tacloban to improve and prods for more endeavors to improve economically.

This was the initial reaction of Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez upon learning that Tacloban City bested other cities in the country in a competitiveness listing drawn up by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center (AIM-PC), a research and intellectual resource center in Manila.

"I'm both surprised and happy because this is really our goal to be competitive in terms of attracting investors. I think it's paying off that we were included in the top 10 of the most competitive cities. It's really a big recognition for Tacloban," Mayor Romualdez said yesterday in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Tacloban City, along with Ormoc City, rounded up in the top 10 list, with Cebu City topping the other 28 cities outside the National Capital Region (NCR) as the most competitive.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the private and business sectors, the non-government organizations and even the government officials who have helped one another in attaining such recognition," Romualdez said.

"It's a challenge to me and all the city residents because it has to be maintained or even surpassed. It's just only a year ago that we attained the highly urbanized city (HUC) status and we already received such recognition," Romualdez said, referring to the city's rank in terms of local economy's dynamism, responsiveness to business needs, infrastructure, quality of life, cost of doing business and human resources.

With this development, Romualdez said he is bent on putting up an investment center in the city to serve as reference for businessmen and investors in the city and in the region in terms of accurate data that they want to get related to their investments.

"Right now, we are just about to finish computerization of our business center and once it is done, I think of putting up an investment center. This center will aid our investors in planning what type and kind of investment they want to put up in the city or in any part of the region," Romualdez said.

"Tacloban is the gateway to Eastern Visayas and I would like the different provinces in the region to take advantage of this and use Tacloban for exposure and eventually help develop their respective economies," the mayor added.

"I'm hoping that the new President (Aquino) will continue to put up more projects here in Tacloban and in the region because whatever happens in other parts of the region it always points back to Tacloban being the reference area for Eastern Visayas," he said.

The mayor meanwhile disclosed that in the next years of his term, he is keen on giving solution to the water problem in the city.

"We cannot lure investors to come if we are facing water that's one of my priorities. I am also planning to declare the entire city as regional growth center," he added.

He said that for businesses to thrive and for the city to fully develop, the growth center should be at the center where there are ready and available infrastructures, human resources and other services needed.

Jul 22, 2010

Revenue generating program
of the city gov't increases
P14.2M this year

By Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government of Tacloban recorded an increase of P14.2 million generated revenue this year compared to the first six months of the previous year.

According to the data given by the City Treasurer's Office through City Treasurer Zosima A. Cordaño , this year's revenue amounted to the P176.4 million compared to the P162.2 million raised in the same month of 2009.

Cordano in an interview stated that out of P176.4 million revenue gathered this year, around P124 million came from the business taxes and P30.1 million from the real property tax.

Meanwhile, "the 2009 records showed that P107.2 million came from the business taxes while P28.5 million came from the real property tax," Cordaño said.

Cordaño further revealed that there were a 65,000 total declarations on the real property tax and 6,771 business operators.

Cordaño stressed that the increase of the revenue generating program of the city is a product of being tax conscious of Taclobanons.

On the other hand, the city treasurer clarified that there were some Taclobanons who cannot pay there taxes on time because they were facing economic problem and they sometimes forget to pay because of having hectic schedules.

Lastly, the City Treasurer's Office would like to extend their thanks to the taxpayers for the given support on the revenue generating program that the City Government has.

Jul 22, 2010

Mayor Romualdez continues anti-dengue clean-up drive
at V&G

By Gay B. Gaspay

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez continues to lead the Anti-Dengue Task Force to clean-up the second identified dengue hotspot place in Tacloban, the V&G Subdivision which was held yesterday (July 21).

Just like the dengue search & destroy clean-up drive the other day (July 19) at San Jose, together with Mayor Romualdez and other socio civic organizations, city departments head and employees, barangay officials joined hand in hand worked to get rid of this preventable dengue disease.

Aiming to undergo search and destroy operation on mosquito breeding sites at the two V&G barangays' respective surroundings , Mayor Romualdez's dengue task force would knock every household and advise residents to throw away any empty bottles with stagnant clean water, bottle caps, used tires, flower vases, uncovered water containers and paying particular attention to bromeliad and banana plants.

In his talk with teachers and students at V&G school, Mayor Alfred personally asked the help of each and everyone to join and advocate to throw away stagnant clean waters in containers, old tires, bottles & cover containers with water stocks and likewise spread said know how to their respective homes.

"Kaya natin sugpuin ito, kung tayo ay magtulungan" (we can end dengue if we will help one another) Mayor Alfred said. We have to protect our children who are mostly affected by this. This dengue thing kills people specially children.

Dengue carrying mosquito "Aedes Aegypti" after biting a human victim will look for breeding places with clean stagnant waters, within 7 days if they can't look for breeding space they die, so the best way to kill them is to destroy its potential breeding places, the mayor further said.

We have an alarming situation here, Mayor Romualdez said, since January-July 2010 statistical data showed 9 fatalities and only a week ago it increases to 13 cases. This dengue is deadly, deadlier than the A-H1N1 Virus, Mayor Romualdez added.

The two big barangays of V&G Subdivision barangays 109 and 109-A were recipients to this kind of clean-up drive. V&G is said to be one of the biggest residential communities in Tacloban City and was one among the identified dengue hotspot places in Tacloban.

The Anti-Dengue Task Force will likewise visit Sagkahan on July 23 and Kassel Abucay on July 25. Taclobanons were advised to help and clean ones surroundings to eliminate dengue breeding places.

Jul 21, 2010

A queer way of
discipining students

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A school teacher at the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez (RTR) Elementary School, this city, was accused by a parent of her rather odd way of disciplining her students who fail to answer during their "graded recitation."

The parent, who requested not to be named for fear of reprisal on her son, claimed that teacher Florinda Lobingco would ask her students to strip down their pants or skirts if they could not answer her questions.

"My son refuses to go to school, particularly in her class, because he was afraid that he might be asked to strip down his pants if he could not answer during their recitation," the parent said.

The parent added that her son kept on crying last Sunday night, reason for her to ask why. "It turned out that he was scheduled to be called for their recitation on Monday," she said.

Lobingco teaches Math subject at the RTR Elementary School, one of the biggest elementary schools in the city with 1,052 students.

The parent claimed that Lobingco had been doing that queer way of disciplining her students for quite a period of time now.

Sought for her reactions, Lobingco vehemently denied that she has ever asked anyone of her students to strip.

"None of my students have ever stripped down. But I have to admit that I kept on telling them that they would strip down if they could not answer during our class recitation," Lobingco said.

She said that she resorted to this kind of method to "discipline" her students and not to actually humiliate them.

She, however, admitted that it was wrong, adding that it could leave bad experience, if not traumatize, her students.

School principal Arnaldo Quintero asked Lobingco to stop threatening her students of being stripped.

"You should redirect your way of disciplining your students," Quintero, who summoned the teacher at his office, said.
Quintero said that he was not aware of Lobingco's "way of disciplining" her students.

Lobingco, who's been a teacher for 10 years now, promised to heed her school principal's advice.

Jul 21, 2010

Wanted: Robinsons Supermodels!

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Pose. Strut. Walk. The ramp is waiting for you. Be the first winners of the much-awaited model search in the region - the Robinsons Supermodel Search 2010. This aims to discover the newest models to redefine the Taclobanon beauty.

Models who embody the latest beauty standards, possess that certain x-factor and aura to storm the catwalk.

If you're between 15 to 23 years of age with a minimum height requirement of 5'5″ for female and 5'7″ for male, launch a career in modeling.

Application forms and guidelines are now available at the Marketing Communications Department, Robinsons Administration Office, Level 2 beside Robinsons Appliances.

Deadline of submission is on August 6, 2010. 1st Elimination Round will be on August 28, 2010.

Jul 20, 2010

Matin proposes Palo
as next Leyte capital

By Reyan L. Arinto

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Remedios L. Petilla of Palo, Leyte welcomed the idea of transferring the seat of the province from Tacloban City to another Leyte town.

Mayor Petilla though admitted that the plan would entail a "long process" but said it is a good idea to transfer the provincial capital to boost the development of Leyte.

With the conversion of Tacloban City into a highly urbanized city in 2008, the region's premiere city is now separated from the administrative control of the province of Leyte.

"I think it is high time for the province to choose a new seat of power. Tacloban is already a highly urbanized city and is already administratively independent from the province," Petilla said in a radio interview.

Petilla added that there are many growing and emerging municipalities in Leyte that could possibly be made as provincial capital.

The lady mayor however cited the Government Center located in Barangay Candahug, Palo to be a potential site for a new Capitol building.
"The Government Center has a wide area and it is owned by the provincial government," Petilla said.

She meanwhile said that the decision is still in the hands of the provincial officials particularly the governor and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

"I would be glad if Palo will be chosen as the new provincial capital. Actually, Palo used to be the capital of Leyte before Tacloban," she said.
Historically, the capital site of Leyte changed several times before Tacloban City became the permanent capital in 1830. The first capital was Carigara, then successively, Palo and Tanauan.

The decision to make Tacloban as the capital was because of its ideal location of port and well-sheltered and adequate facilities.

But with Tacloban's joining in the elite roster of highly urbanized cities two years ago, Leyte lost its adminsitrative control over the former component city.

Meanwhile, aside from Palo, observers are also looking at the possibility of transferring the provincial seat to Baybay City, located some 130 kilometers south of Tacloban City.

Jul 20, 2010

Mayor Romualdez leads
Search & Destroy Operation
to combat dengue

By Gay B. Gaspay

Leyte Samar Daily Express

      City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez along with city officials,
barangay officials and various civic groups at San Jose district
   which has the highest reported dengue cases in the city.

                                 (Rachson M. Carsido)

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez led Taclobanons in the Search & Destroy Operation to combat dengue which was held yesterday (July 19) at San Jose Central School as it kicks to clean Tacloban.

Together with the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Education (DepEd), non-government organizations, socio-civic organizations such as the Rotary Club and Lions Club, health workers, city government heads and employees joined forces in the clean-up drive.

Aiming to get rid of mosquito breeding places, Mayor Romualdez saw to it that the work force did the cleaning of the classrooms and surroundings of the school, paying particular attention to throwing away empty cans, bottles, plastic containers, water from flower vases and burning papers and leaves.

Students were likewise taught the search and destroy technique so as to duplicate it in their respective houses and surroundings. A public address system of the city did the round of informing the residents of how to do the clean up drive.

In an interview, Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez asked the media to help in informing all Taclobanons and other people in the region in cleaning up their surroundings and to get rid of mosquito breeding places such as old tires, bottles, "tansans" or bottle caps, flower pots and vases, gutters, uncovered water containers with stagnant clean water.

It is the concern of each and everyone of us to do our share in eradicating dengue breeding places, Mayor Romualdez added. "Remember, the dengue carrying mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) thrives and stays in clean waters and does not live in dirty waters, so we have to throw away these containers."

Let's help one another, we should all clean our surroundings, Mayor Afred said, adding that "kasi ang na bibiktima nitong lamok ay ang mga walang kamuang-muang na mga bata" (since those victimized by this dengue carrying mosquitoes are mostly children who are vulnerable, usually 2 years old to 14 years old).

"Linisin, patayin at sugpuin natin ang mga pwede pangitlogan ng mga lamok (clean, kill and destroy breeding places of mosquito), he further said. "A massive clean-up drive will do. "

The city has identified four hot spots with cases of dengue: San Jose, Sagkahan, V&G and Abucay. A clean-up drive is set as follows: after San Jose yesterday, V&G Subdivision will follow on Wednesday (July 21), Sagkahan on Thursday ( July 23) and Kassel Abucay on July 25.

In a separate interview, City Health Officer Dr. Jaime Opinion said that prevention is better, with DOH campaign the search & destroy phase is mostly advocated to. Signs & symptoms of dengue fever are high grade fever, rashes, stomach ache and nose bleeding.

Taclobanons are advised to immediately visit the hospital, their doctors and health facilities for health intervening factors.

It was noted that Tacloban had 13 deaths caused by dengue from January to July 2010 statistics, with 4,000 cases regionwide, Dr. Opinion added.

The whole day clean-up drive activity had also covered the different barangays of San Jose.

Jul 18, 2010

More hotels needed in Leyte to host tourists, conventions

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Regional officials of national government agencies have called on the business community to invest in the construction of hotels and accommodation facilities here.

Department of Tourism (DoT) regional director Karina Rosa S. Tiopes said in an interview that the absence of big accommodation facilities here has deprived the tourism industry in the region of the opportunity to host major events and conventions.

"Our region has been on the list of proposed venues of national events because people want to see our tourist spots," Ms. Tiopes said.

The only existing big convention center in the city is owned by the city government and can seat over 3,000.

Cynthia R. Nierras, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry and current regional tourism coordinating committee chairperson, said in their future investment promotion activities, they will present this gap that could be addressed by investors.

"Various groups have planned to hold gatherings in Tacloban City and Leyte but they changed their plans after learning that there was no accommodation facility that could house hundreds of their participants under one roof," Ms. Nierras said.

Records obtained from the Tourism department showed that there were 28 accommodation facilities with a total of 870 rooms in Tacloban as of June.

The city government has announced that it will incorporate DoT's accreditation standard to raise the bar for local accommodation facilities.

Jul 18, 2010

Tacloban, Palo,
water-less till July 20?

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- After the rotating brownouts, comes three water-less days.

Tacloban folks woke up Sunday morning to find out that air not water come out of the faucets. Good for those who woke up before 6:00 o'clock in the morning, at least they were able to take a bath and cook their breakfast.

Telephone brigades had one message. Was this water-less day announced? The answers were the same - NO.

Verifications made from the Leyte Metropolitan Waterworks District chairman of the board showed that two water pipes were busted, one at Purisima Bridge and another one at the Diversion Road near Camella Homes and Pawing, both in Palo, Leyte.

"It might take at about three days before repairs are completed," LMWD Board Chairman Ted de Veyra said in a phone conversation with a Leyte Board Member. This is the information he received, according to him.

This means that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or July 18, 19, 20, the affected areas, Palo and Tacloban City, will be water-less. Who would last three days without taking a bath, without washing the dishes, without water in the water closets, without washing clothes.

No problem for those who have overhead water tanks. What about the middle-income and poor families? They will incur additional expenses buying water from those who have in the nearby municipalities.

For those who do not have water jugs just like the writer, there is also the problem of buying water jugs which was found out to be expensive. Water jugs with faucets cost about P250. Empty jugs of soy sauce or lubricants cost about P60 but they have to be washed well, otherwise, one will smell like soy sauce or lubricant after taking a bath.

If one will buy one water jug with faucet at P250, he or she will spend more buying water.

Verifications made with the purified water suppliers showed that one jug with faucet of purified water costs P235. This is even cheaper than buying just the water jug alone.

So, ten water jugs would cost P2, 350 which is equivalent to about six months water bills if paid at LMWD. But water is so important. One whole day of brown out could be bearable but one whole day without water is unthinkable. So, never mind the additional expenses.

Water bought; there was time to patiently call other LMWD officials. At about 11:10, Manager Gang Villasin was contacted by the same Leyte Board Member.

Manager Gang confirmed that indeed, two pipes were busted. The LMWD people immediately were mobilized and started repair works as soon as the problem was reported to the Manager.

With the kind of work the LMWD people are doing, water will be restored within the day, Manager Gang informed.

What a relief! Never mind that the writer has already spent more than two thousand pesos. What is important is that the water consumers specially the disadvantaged families will not spend this Sunday without the most important necessity - WATER.

Jul 16, 2010

Tacloban gears up for search and destroy operations in dengue hotspots

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The City of Tacloban has intensified its fight versus dengue amid increasing incidence of dengue cases in the city and in the entire Region 8.

Dr. Jaime Opinion informed that massive Search and Destroy Operations is set to be conducted in the DOH identified dengue hotspots in the City which he identified as San Jose area, V&G Subdivision, Sagkahan and Kassel City and Kassel Homes Subdivision.

The City Health Officer made the pronouncement at the Harampang Ha PIA media interaction at Gerry's Grill Tacloban on July 15.

Dr. Opinion said the Operations Search and Destroy aims to destroy all the breeding sites of dengue mosquitoes in the four identified dengue hotspots in the City with the help of all sectors of the City, in order to highlight the fact that dengue prevention is not the job of the City Government or the City Health Office alone, but it is the responsibility of each member of the community.

This he said includes the City Government, the other government agencies like the PNP and the AFP, Non-Government Organizations like the Rotary Clubs, the barangay officials and most importantly, the people in the respective communities.

Dr. Opinion disclosed that the Operations Search and Destroy will formally start on Monday, from 8:00 o'clock in the morning to 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon on July 19, 2010, at the San Jose Area.

The residents of San Jose are encouraged to gather all the breeding places of mosquitoes like old tires, tin cans, bottles, among others, and put them along the highway on that day so that the garbage track can pick them up readily.

On July 21, the Operations Search and Rescue will be at V&G District; July 23 at Sagkahan District and July 25 at Kassel Homes and Kassel City area.

Dengue may only be prevented by seeing to it that the surroundings are clean and that there are no breeding places for mosquitoes, Dr. Opinion said. He added that other diseases may be prevented through cleanliness and sanitation.

As of July 14, the total number of dengue cases in Tacloban City is 1,121 with 13 deaths. This is about 28% of the Region's total dengue cases which is placed at 4,210 with 54 deaths as of July 14.


Join the Fight against the Dengue Fever!
DOH launches National Anti-Dengue Campaign

ul 14, 2010

Leyte gov latest Arroyo supporter to turn 'yellow'

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla, an erstwhile ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, formally joined the Liberal Party, taking his oath as LP member in the presence of President Aquino in Malacañang on Tuesday.

Petilla was sworn in as new party member by defeated vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas, the LP president.

The Leyte governor said he was happy to join the party of Mr. Aquino because it could give him access to government aid.

"The advantage of being a member of the administration party is that it will be easy for me to ask for assistance for our province," Petilla said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Petilla supported the presidential bid of Mr. Aquino despite being still a member of the Lakas then.

Petilla belongs to one of the leading political families in Leyte. He is now serving his third and last term as governor.

Petilla said he was also designated as the provincial head of LP and vice chair of the party for Eastern Visayas. The regional chair is Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza.

Petilla said he with his formal entry to LP, he expects mayors in the province to follow suit.

"In fact, even before the elections, several mayors in Leyte who belong to other parties have signified their intention to join the Liberal Party," Petilla said.

Jul 07, 2010

Icot to focus on IT, tourism, agriculture on his third term

Samar - Philippines

ACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla pledged in his inaugural speech Monday to focus more on information technology, tourism and agriculture that will provide employment for majority of Leyteños.

Gov. Petilla said he will work as centrist and promised to be "least political" that will bring all Leyteños together to achieve social progress and economic development.

Petilla was sworn in for his third term as provincial governor by Supreme Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez in front of invited government officials and private guests from all over the province.

"Having been elected as provincial governor, I am grateful to my constituents in giving me another chance to push for our beloved province's social progress and economic development," Petilla said.

"I ran without any opponents but it is not by accident... it is because I had the support from each one of you...and without you I will not be in this position. So, I would like to thank all of you," Petilla added.

Petilla's political career started in 2004 when he ran and won as governor. He was reelected in 2007 and in the last May 10 elections.

"I have another three years and all of you know in the past six years that I did not sleep on my work. I work very hard for each one of you... Like the plans of the incoming President (Aquino), his focus is on the budget deficit and more importantly on employment. That is also our thrust and we will try to achieve this in so short a time, three years," the governor said.

The governor added that although Leyte is not an IT destination, he promised to propagate more IT companies in the province and other parts of the region.

"We are also focusing on tourism which is one of the cheaper ways of employing and generating employment. Of course, the most difficult part, while we can focus on ICT and tourism among many other things, the bottom line is, in the province of Leyte majority of our people are still hinged towards agriculture... and that is the biggest challenge that we will have to generate livelihood on the agriculture sector," the governor said.

He said that with his new mandate, he hopes to forge another fruitful years by working with the people of Leyte.

Aside from Petilla, Vice-Governor Ma. Mimiette S. Bagulaya and the 10 members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan also took their oath of office before Court Administrator Marquez.

Meanwhile, city and municipal mayors, vice-mayors and councilors also formally took their oath Monday in sets before Gov. Petilla, Vice-Gov. Bagulaya, An Waray Partylist Representatives Florencio Gabriel M. Noel and Neil Benedict A. Montejo, and outgoing Leyte fifth district Rep. Carmen L. Cari.

Congressman Jose Carlos L. Cari of Leyte's fifth district was the only congressman present in the inauguration ceremony.

Tacloban City Vice-Mayor Arvin V. Antoni and Councilors Robert T. Andrade and Neil A. Glova also joined in the inaugural ceremony of the province.

Vice-Mayor Antoni said their joining is "practical" and "inexpensive" way of celebrating their success in the last elections.

Jul 07, 2010

P-Noy calls for review of
'holiday economics"

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- President Benigno Aquino III is not keen on moving legal holidays falling on a weekend as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had done, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda informed that President Aquino will observe national holidays on their exact date.

The Presidential Spokesman said that President Aquino is not happy that the Independence Day holiday was moved to another day.

He added that President Aquino's advisers will discuss with him the possibility of requesting Congress to amend the law allowing the moving of legal holidays.

It would be recalled that in 2007, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9492 amending the Administrative Code of 1987 to allow the moving of most holidays to the nearest Monday except those with religious significance.

Under the law, four holidays would continue to be celebrated on a fixed date: New Year's Day; All Saints Day; Christmas Day; and the last day of the year December 31.

Three holidays, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Eid'l Fitr have always been movable.

The holidays affected by the law are Araw ng Kagitingan. Labor Day; Independence Day, Ninoy Aquino Day; National Heroes Day; Bonifacio Day and Rizal Day.

The law also provides that Eid'ul Adha shall be celebrated as a regional holiday in the Autonomous Regions in Muslim Mindanao.

The law was conceptualized by Senator Joker Arroyo in response to the practice of the previous administration of sudden announcements of special non-working holidays.


Join the Fight against the Dengue Fever!
DOH launches National Anti-Dengue Campaign

ul 06, 2010

Dengue deaths, cases in
east Visayas double

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Alarmed over the rising cases of dengue fever in Eastern Visayas, the Department of Health (DOH) has called on the local government units and the community to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

The DOH-8 records showed that the region registered 3,367 dengue fever cases with 31 deaths since January until this week.

The figures were already way above the 1,279 dengue fever cases with 14 fatalities recorded in 2009.

Dr. Nicolas Bautista, chief of the DOH-8 regional surveillance service unit, on Tuesday said the number of deaths caused by dengue fever and persons afflicted with the disease would increase if the LGUs and the residents did nothing to help in their drive against the disease.

"These are preventable deaths. Our call is for our people and local government units to help us in our campaign which is to clean our surroundings," Bautista said.

He explained that the best way to combat the disease would be through environmental sanitation and the destruction or cleaning of mosquito breeding areas.

The DOH records also showed that of the six provinces in Eastern Visayas, Leyte had the highest number of dengue fever cases (1,949) and deaths (15), followed by Samar (669 cases and 10 deaths), Eastern Samar (373 cases with two deaths), Northern Samar (133 cases with one death), Biliran (196 cases with one death) and Southern Leyte (47 cases with two deaths).

As part of their awareness campaign, the department's anti-dengue mascot, dubbed as "Aedes," named after the mosquito species that causes the disease, has visited various provinces and cities in the region, Bautista said.

He urged local government units through their respective local health officials to monitor villages where there were individuals suffering from dengue fever.

Bautista also said that they have established fast lanes intended for dengue fever patients in both private and government-run hospitals.

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