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JUN (01-09) 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS


>>> JUN (01-09) 2008 <<<

Local news for
Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
continually updated.

Definitive Source of News and Information about the Tacloban region.


Jun 09, 2008

The scholar who almost backed out becomes
Region 8 outstanding OWWA scholar

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Mr. Hazef Sabrey R. Festejo of Barangay San Miguel, Palompon, Leyte, an incoming Fifth Year Civil Engineering student at Cebu Institute of Technology, is an Outstanding OWWA Scholar in Region 8.

Presented to the media during the Media Forum to honor Migrant Workers, Hazef informed the local media that his becoming an OWWA scholar, was a dramatic one.

After passing the OWWA Scholarship Examination, he went to the OWWA Office, together with his parents only to be told that Civil Engineering was not included in the OWWA Scholarship offerings.

He and his parents were disheartened because Hazef really wanted to become a Civil Engineer. With a heavy heart, Hazef backed out and went home teary-eyed, disappointed about losing the scholarship.

After several lonely days, the young Hazef's spirit was lifted when OWWA Director Evangelina Filamor called him up to tell him that Civil Engineering was included in the list of courses for the OWWA Scholars.

The rest is history. He worked hard so that he will pass all his subjects and retain the scholarship. More than that his achievements qualified him to become the Outstanding OWWA Scholar in Region 8.

Hazef's father is a returning OFW having worked in Saudi, Riyad and Kuwait for several years. This qualified him to become an OWWA scholar under the Congressional Migrant Workers Scholarship Program. This scholarship is open to beneficiaries of returning Migrant workers.

As a scholar of OWWA, Hazef receives a financial assistance in the amount of P30,000.00 per semester for his tuition fees, books, clothing allowances, transportation expenses and a monthly stipend of P3,500.00

Hazef said this is a big help to him and to his family and he does not mind having to work in the country for five years after graduation from college. He said this is a small payment and act of gratitude to the government for financing his education.

He said he is working hard so as not to lose the scholarship and to live up to the trust of OWWA on him. At the same time, he is enjoying his life as a student and as a young Filipino citizen.

Hazef, an eloquent and well-mannered young man, is a good role model not only to the other 11 OWWA scholars in the region, but to all the students in Region 8.

Jun 09, 2008

Taking heed of PGMA's call for energy conservation

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Amidst the soaring fuel crisis being experience by the entire world, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called on all government agencies and local government units to adopt electricity and fuel saving measures as soon as possible.

The Memo Circular signed by President Arroyo on May 31, 2008 stated that in order to encourage officials and employees to conserve electricity and fuel, all savings on these items in their respective Maintenance, Operating and Overhead Expenses can be used as additional rice and allocation subsidy to their employees.

The urgency of the President's call is manifested by the fact that on June 2, 2008, she signed Administrative Order No. 228, Addressing the Rising Cost of Energy.

In that Order, President Arroyo directed all agencies to reduce transport fuel consumption in liters by ten percent starting the month of June.

In the same Order, President Arroyo directed all government buildings to turn off airconditioners at 4:30 p.m. except those with 24 hours work; and for the agencies to implement starting July, plans to replace all incandescent bulbs.

The Agencies are also directed to convert 20 percent of their vehicles in major cities to liquid petroleum by September 2008 and to install and adopt other energy-saving technology with the help of the Department of Energy and the Department of Science and Technology.

In a period of 33 months since September 2005, the Government's energy savings was recorded at P945 million.

The government agencies including the local governments must adhere to to the President's directive, in order to set an example not only in energy conservation but also in fiscal discipline.

But while the Arroyo administration has been pushing energy saving measures to cope with higher oil prices, every Filipino people should also do their share.

Indeed, conserving energy is the best that every government agency or for that matter every Filipino, can do in the face of the soaring prices of world fuel.

Jun 09, 2008

Ambush on solon's father disturbs peaceful Naval town

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Gunshots broke the peaceful atmosphere pervading at the capital town of Naval, Biliran on the early evening of Saturday, June 7, 2008.

Reports coming from the Biliran stated that at least two bodyguards were killed while one was seriously wounded in an ambush on Charlie Ong, the father of Biliran Representative Glenn Chong, just in front of the Chong's house.

The elder Chong was unhurt because the bodyguards covered him and shoved him inside their house.

The car of the Chongs were taken by the gunmen who left their vehicle in the middle of the road. Another vehicle allegedly used also by the gunmen immediately left the area.

Initial police reports indicated that at least four men, one of them said to be a policeman, fired at the elder Chong and his body guards.

The three wounded bodyguards were brought to the hospital but two of them died; Alberto Parilla, a former village chairman of Rosario Village who was shot in the stomach and Antonio Barcelo who was shot at the back.

Interviewed immediately after the ambush was reported, Region 8 Police Chief Abner Cabalquinto informed that he has immediately ordered the setting up of check points at all the four exit sites.

He added that all the police stations were alerted and that the Biliran Police are already investigating the case and going after the suspects.

Interviewed over the local radio station, Congressman Chong who was in Manila when the ambush took place expressed dismay over the said incidents especially because the bodyguards have been with the family since he was a child.

Early reports also indicated that the bodyguards managed to identify one of the suspects as "Saul" who is allegedly assigned at the Biliran Provincial Police Headquarters. He has been taken under police custody since Sturday night.

Jun 09, 2008

Tacloban seeks ban on cutting mangrove trees


TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Three villages in this city have been asked to impose a ban on the cutting of mangrove trees.

The Tacloban city government has asked the officials of northern barangays Tagpuro, Old Kawayan and San Isidro to pass ordinances banning the cutting of mangroves in view of reports of reduced fish catch in the area.

Tagpuro officials have imposed the ban since last week and recommended the imprisonment of violators.

Jonathan Hijada, chief of the city environment and natural resources office, said they expected Old Kawayan and San Isidro to come up with similar laws.

"Some residents have spotted some groups of people recently in a boat loaded with mangrove trees. They did the cutting at night," said Lorna Tiangao, Tagpuro barangay chairman.

The three villages were identified as priority areas for the implementation of the city government's P3-million mangrove rehabilitation project in the next two years.

With the ban, Mr. Hijada said village authorities will deploy guards on existing and newly planted mangroves.

"We will also solicit the help of our residents in our rehabilitation effort to ensure sustainability," he added. Mr. Hijada said mangrove areas in this city have been reduced to 43.1 hectares in 2002 from 122 hectares in 1957. "In less than 50 years, three-fourths of our mangrove forests have vanished," he told BusinessWorld.

Mangrove trees are ideal for charcoal making, firewood, and timber. They also provide food and shelter to marine life. The cutting of mangroves destroys the ecosystem.

Isidoro Ripalda, 69, a Tagpuro resident, said he stopped fishing in 2004 because of declining catch. He said he used to catch three to four kilograms in a few hours. "In 2004, I was lucky to catch half a kilo of fish after fishing for almost the entire day," he said in an interview.

Jun 08, 2008

Tacloban seeks to join ranks of highly urbanized cities

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Members of the city council here have passed a resolution seeking Malacañang's support for the bid of Tacloban to be classified as a highly urbanized city.

Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, the council's majority floor leader, said the passage of the resolution was just the beginning of the process for a declaration that would entitle the city to privileges that would include a bigger share in national tax collections or Internal Revenue Allotment.

She said the basis cited by the council members in passing the resolution, approved during their special session Friday, was the result of a census conducted by the National Statistics Office in August 2007. That survey shows that Tacloban has 217,199 inhabitants, surpassing the required population of 200,000 for it qualify as a highly urbanized city.

On top of the population requirement, a city seeking to become a highly urbanized unit must have an income of P50 million, based on the 1991 Local Government Code.

The city has more than P500 million, generated from collection of taxes and business fees as well as its share in the internal revenue allotment (IRA), said the councilor, the wife of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

Of the 136 cities in the country, only 36 are classified as highly urbanized, among them Manila, Quezon, Baguio, Cebu, Iloilo and Puerto Princesa, the last city to join in the list.

Tacloban is at present classified as a component city of Leyte province. It if becomes highly urbanized, Tacloban will become independent from the province.

Romualdez said that with the resolution unanimously approved by the city council, she was optimistic that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would support and endorse the city's bid.

A plebiscite would be scheduled within 30 days after the President approves the resolution.

In terms of benefits, the councilor said Tacloban was expecting a significant increase in its IRA.

The city currently receives P25 million as its annual IRA share.

Jun 08, 2008

This OWWA scholar will soon be a registered nurse

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Jobelle Rosales was about to enrol in a state university when she read from the newspaper about the OWWA Scholarship for the beneficiaries of active OFWs.

She told about this to her Mom and together they went to the Region 8 OWWA office. She took the exams and she luckily passed the exams. As a scholar of OWWA under the Education for Development Program, Jobelle received P30,000 per semester, enough to tied her up through all her school expenses.

Jobelle said that OWWA release only P20,000; the other P10,000 is released at the end of the semester when the scholar shows her grades. She must pass all the subjects otherwise, the P10,000 will no longer be given to her and her scholarship will no longer be continued.

Last March, Jobelle graduated Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the RTR Medical Foundation in Tacloban City. She will soon take the nursing board examinations in order for her to become a Registered Nurse.

Jobelle's father Ricardo, has been working as a fireman in Saudi Arabia for many years already and she has seen him and has been with him for only one Christmas and one New Year but she understands that it is not easy for him to come home.

There was a time when the only way to communicate with him was through letters, but with the current technology, she and her younger sister are already able to see him and communicate with him through the internet.

Although her father is an OFW, Jobelle knows that her father is working so hard for the family and she does not want to be an additional burden because he is not earning that much, so she decided to take her chance at the OWWA scholarship.

She never thought of spending unwisely, the money that her father is sending the family because she realized that it was hardly earned and she could see how her mother is sacrificing, acting both as father and mother, in the absence of her father.

Asked if she would want to go abroad too, Jobelle said that as an OWWA or as a government scholar, she has to stay and serve the country for four years since her scholarship is for four years. Maybe after that, she will already have the necessary expertise in Nursing that will qualify her to a better job abroad, if she so decides.

Jobelle is one of the nine OWWA scholars in Region 8. Every year, 100 slots are available all over the country.

This coming school year, four students in Eastern Visayas qualified and are among the 100 scholars for this year.

This makes 12 the total number of OWWA scholars in Region 8 because 1, Jobelle, graduated.

Jobelle, is a good role model not only to the children of OFWs, but to all the students in the Region.

Jun 08, 2008

Copra price hits alltime high of P40/kilo in Region 8

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Since the first week of June, 2008, the price of copra which is processed for various uses especially that of oil, has reached an all time high of P40 to P41 per kilo, the Philippine Coconut Authority manager in the region disclosed.

This is good news for the Region's more than 1.9 million people who are directly dependent on the coconut industry.

This is especially because the upsurge in the price of copra came at a time when the farmers need more money for the enrollment of their school children, PCA 8 Regional Manager Nierva said.

The upsurge in the price of copra has been attributed to the increasing demands for it, both in the local and international markets. The demand for coconut is not only for copra which is used in the production of fuel, cooking oil, soaps and lotions. Coconut is also used in the production of Virgin Coconut Oil which is now in demand because of its medicinal values.

There are about 360,000 coconut farmers in the Region who annually produce about 1.9 billion nuts which are shipped either for international or local markets, Manager Nierva said.

In the Region alone, Manager Nierva said that a dramatic increase in the demand for copra has been observe with the operations of several new oil mills and decorticating plants. These utilities alone have a combined annual demand for more than 519,000 metric tons.

The current situation of the coconut industry in the Region is a far cry from the situation in 2001 when the coconut industry was considered a sunset industry. That time, a kilo of copra was only a very low P6 which is believed to have contributed to a very high poverty incidence in the Region.

With the upswing in the price of copra since the first months of 2008, the agency is strengthening its program on planting and replanting, making available to coconut farmers coconut seedlings for only P30 per nut.

Under the program, PCA Region 8 projected an increase of two million nuts from the more than 7,800 hectares that have been envisioned to be planted with coconut.

Jun 07, 2008

PhilHealth provides health insurance to OFWs

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Unknown to many, Philhealth assumed the administration of the Medicare Program of Overseas Filipino Workers since March 1, 2005. Since then, Philhealth has become an important partner of OWWA in taking care of the welfare of the OFWs.

Philhealth has the Overseas Workers Program or OWP where OFW may become regular members, Ms. Milagros Baltazar and Ms. Norma Mataro, Social Insurance Officers of Philhealth Tacloban, informed during the Press Conference to honor the Migrant Workers of Region 8, held at Leyte Park Hotel on June 6.

The Overseas Workers Program covers all land-based overseas Filipino workers whose jobs are covered by appropriate job contracts with overseas-based employers.

Under PhilHealth, the coverage assures the OFW and his family, of expanded and more responsive health care benefits. The OFW is also assured of lifetime coverage as soon as he reaches the age of retirement and have paid at least 10 month's worth of premiums to PhilHealth.

The OFW has the privilege of paying only P900.00 annual premium, lesser than the usual P1200 annual premium of regular members. Another added perk for the OFW who avails of Philhealth coverage is that he and his dependents can already avail of the benefits the day after he paid his premium.

For the regular Philhealth member to be able avail of the benefits, he must have been a member for at least a quarter.

Aside from the OFW member, each of his qualified dependent will also enjoy Philhealth coverage without additional premiums. The qualified dependents include the legal spouse, legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged and illegitimate, adopted, below 21 years old or above but suffering from congenial disability, either physical or mental, or any disability acquired that renders them totally dependent on the member for support.

Parent who are 60 years old including step parents and adoptive parents may also become beneficiary of the OFW. All the qualified dependents shall be entitled to a 45 days per calendar year. However, their 45 days allowance will be shared among them.

OFWs who are qualified to become Philhealth members are active landbased OFWs who underwent normal process of registration as an OFW at POEA offices; OFW who are currently abroad but not yet registered with Philhealth.

Sea-based OFWs such as seafarers are considered locally employed members and not Overseas Worker members.

The Registration Procedure includes submission of duly accomplished M1b Form or OFW Information Sheet together with the applicable documents for each of the qualified dependent declared.

The active OFW must also submit proof of being active OFW such as Valid Overseas Employment Certificate or E-receipt; valid overseas employment contract or certificate of employment; valid re-entry visa and valid job contract.

The OFW must pay one year premium of P900.00, but for the convenience of the OFW, premium payment covering the entire contract is highly encouraged.

Jun 07, 2008

June 7 is Day of Thanksgiving to new heroes

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- All throughout the country, simultaneouos activities are being conducted today to honor the Overseas Filipino Workers who are hailed as the new heroes of the Republic, remitting billions of dollars annually, thus helping prop up the national economy.

Just recently, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported to Malacanang that the global deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is on track to reach and surpass the one million mark in 2008.

This comes hand in hand with the report that as current trends sustain, global OFW remittances would likely approach, if not surpass, the $15 billion level this year.

The latest report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that OFW remittances have already reached US$4.0 billion (more than P173-b at current rates) in the first quarter of 2008, with the highest month-on-month remittances reaching $1.4 billion in March, on top of $1.3 billion in February, and another $1.3 billion last January. In 2007, OFW remittances reached $14.449 billion, the highest in history so far.

As early as 7:00 o'clock in the morning of June 7, a Migrant Workers Parade, participated by about 1,200 Overseas Workers and their families, will be conducted in Tacloban City, spearheaded by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Region 8 under the leadership of Director Evangeline Filamor.

The parade will be participated by past and present OFWs, OFW community leaders, agency partners and other stakeholders.

After the parade, a whole day Jobs Fair will be conducted at the Leyte Sports and Civic Center with five local recruitment agencies participating. The whole day activity will be a day of fun with games and big raffle prizes for the OFWs and their families, a way of saying thank you to their contributions and achievements.

This is in keeping with this year's Migrant Workers Day theme, "Pasasalamat sa mga Bagong Bayani."

Jun 07, 2008

Region 8 LGUs receive P775,027,668 IRA differential, DBM says

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Pursuant to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's directive, the Department of Budget and Management Region 8 said that local governments in Region 8 are set to receive the share of P775,027,683.00 IRA differential.

DBM Region 8 Director Imelda C. Laceras through PIO designate Juvy Lobedica informed that it has already distributed the Notice of Payments to the provinces, cities and municipalities through the concerned Provincial Budget Officers.

Director Laceras however, said that considering the fact that barangays constitute a significant number, their Notice of Payment are still on process and are scheduled to be distributed on the first week of June, 2008.

Director Laceras assured the local chief executives that the Department of Budget and Management will provide the necessary measures and assistance to ensure efficient implementation of the directive.

As embodied in Executive Order No. 723 dated May 12, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the release of the amount of P12. 576 Billion for the Internal Revenue Allotment differential due to the enactment of the General Appropriations Acts in the Fiscal years 2001 and 2004. During these years, the IRA was not yet treated as Automatic Appropriation, Director Laceras said.

Out of the total amount, Region 8 got the share of P775.027.668 as determined by the Department of Budget and Management.

Under the Order, the Departments of Finance, Budget and Management and the Interior and Local Government have been mandated to take the necessary steps to ensure that the LGUs get their respective shares from the said unreleased IRA differential either on installment basis for a period of 7 years starting Fiscal Year 2009 to 2015, or avail of their respective shares through a monetization program.

The IRA Monetization Program will give the LGUs the option to collect in advance from the trustee banks, their respective shares at a discounted value, and with interest and other charges.

As mandated by the same EO, DBM has already determined the share of each LGU from the unreleased IRA differential on the basis of the formula prescribed in Republic Act 7160 and has issued the corresponding Notice of Payment Schedule to inform the local government units of their share and the schedule of payment.

Jun 04, 2008

DepEd Region 8 implements order on "no school uniform" policy for public elementary, secondary schools

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In answer to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's directive and in compliance with DepEd Order No. 45 series of 2008, the Department of Education (DepEd) Region 8 will not require students in public elementary and secondary schools to wear school uniforms.

During the inter-agency meeting for the forthcoming opening of classes held at the DepEd Regional Office on June 3, Director Matugas informed that she has already given all Schools Division Superintendents in Region 8, copies of the Dep Ed Order.

Director Matugas called for strict implementation of the no uniform policy for public elementary and secondary students.

In his Order, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus stated that in order to increase school participation of all school-aged children, it is important to remove any and all obstacles, particularly financial, to their enrolment in public schools.

Accordingly, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered that the wearing of school uniforms shall not be required in public schools. The President also directed that identification cards shall be provided to students at no cost to them. The school administration shall fund these from their MOOE.

Director Matugas said that students with existing uniforms may continue using these uniforms, if they so desire, in order to avoid incurring additional costs for new attires.

All the Schools Division Superintendents were present during the inter-agency meeting and they all declared that they already have a copy of the Order which they will strictly implement in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

It would be recalled that President Arroyo instructed the Department on June 2 not to require school children to wear uniforms when attending classes to ensure that more children, particularly those belonging to the six-year old age bracket, go to school.

This way, the President said, some of the financial burden of having to buy uniforms aside from sending children to school will be lifted off the shoulders of the parents.

President Arroyo has made education development a central pillar in her physical and human infrastructure spending to strengthen "the ability of our nation to break the historic cycle of despair and to prepare to meet the challenges of the future."

Jun 03, 2008

Bus firm opens Cebu-Leyte routes

By Jhunnex Napallacan - Philippines

CEBU CITY, Philippines -- The Ceres Bus Co. is extending operations from Cebu to at least two areas of Leyte starting June 15.

The bus company will be fielding two units to ply the Tacloban, Leyte-Cebu route while another unit will cover the Cebu-San Isidro route.

The three buses will be carried by a barge owned by Seattle Ferry at the ro-ro port in Pulangbato, Bogo City going to Palompon, Leyte.

"We will be competing with some shipping companies there, but it's very practical for the passengers to just board our buses," said Romulo Reyes, operations manager of the Ceres Bus Co.-Cebu branch.

Reyes cited cheaper fare and shorter travel time to the destinations in Leyte as reasons passengers prefer to ride buses.

He said fare for the Ceres bus from Cebu City to Tacloban is only P450, while shipping vessels collect P500.

For the Cebu-San Isidro, Leyte route, Ceres collects P300 while shipping vessels fare is P330.

Travel time is also shorter if a passenger takes the bus to the Leyte destinations. He said that Ceres Bus travels 7 hours and 30 minutes from Cebu to Tacloban, while travel time for ships is at 8 hours and 15 minutes.

For San Isidro, the travel time is 6 hours and 30 minutes compared to 7 hours for shipping vessels.

Reyes said the buses for Tacloban leave at 6 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., while the San Isidro bus leaves at 5:45 a.m. everyday.

The three buses will catch the 9 a.m. barge from Pulangbato going to Palompon, Leyte.

Passengers from Tacloban to Cebu City will have to board at 9:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. schedules and 11 a.m. from San Isidro, so they could catch the barge at 1 p.m. from Palompon.

Reyes said the new units supplement a fleet of 179 units already operating in Cebu.

Reyes said they have an approved franchise from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Asked why they opened new routes, Reyes said the company realized that most of their passengers going to the north are actually bound for Tacloban and San Isidro, Leyte.

"If the feedback will be positive, we will be deploying more units in these routes," he said.

Reyes said most passengers are businessmen and students.

Jun 03, 2008

Brigada Eskuwela launching in Region 8 draws crowds

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- No less than DepEd Region 8 Director Sol F. Matugas and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez led the hundreds of volunteers and stakeholders who converged at the San Fernando Central School for the Kick off Program for the Brigada Eskuwela programs of the Department of Education.

Even while a Kick Off Program was being conducted in the San Fernando Social Hall, parents, pupils and other volunteers were already starting to clean the school surroundings, while the Barangayan of the city of Tacloban conducted medical and dental mission right there at San Fernando Central School.

Director Matugas in her speech thanked the stakeholders led by the city Mayor, the parents and leaders and members of Non-government organizations including the Rotaract which is the youth arm of the Rotary International.

Director Matugas said that it is because of these volunteers and stakeholders that DepEd Region 8 has been awarded last year.

For the whole week this week, volunteers will continue to conduct clean up and repair activities in the various public schools in the Region and in the whole country in order to prepare the schools for the opening of classes come June 10.

Needless to say, the parents and the pupils and students should do their part so that the students will have clean classrooms conducive to learning and favorable for healthy living.

Director Matugas said that after the launching at the San Fernando Central School, the group proceeded to the Palo I Central School for another launching.

The scenario at the San Fernando Central School and Palo I Central School was replicated in all the schools all over the Region. Several parents said that since their children are not paying, the only contribution they could share is to help prepare the school for their children's sake.

Last year, the Department of Education Region 8 was cited for the 100 percent participation of all the schools in the Region in the Brigada Eskuwela. Director Matugas is hoping that this year, all the schools will again participate.

Jun 02, 2008

An Waray partylist solon turns over P1.3M fertilizers to Tanauan

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- An Waray Partylist Representative Florencio Gabriel Noel, recently turned-over to the local government of Tanauan, Leyte, organic fertilizers amounting to P1.3 Million, in support to the enhanced food productivity program of the municipality.

The turnover ceremony which was conducted on May 31, 2008, 9:00 o'clock in the morning at the Tanauan Civic Center, was attended by the local government officials, barangay chairmen of the 54 barangays in the municipality, and the farmer beneficiaries.

Congressman Noel turned over the fertilizers to the local government of Tanauan headed by Mayor Roque Tiu and were distributed to the 54 barangay chairmen of the municipality, in his desire to enhance the productivity of the local farmers especially those who were victims of the latest flooding that hit the Region early this year.

When Congressman Noel was re-elected, he promised that his priority will be agriculture, both the coconut and rice farmers. His priority is proving to be the right choice especially in the light of the looming world food crisis which will automatically affect the country and the region, in particular.

In accepting the donation of Congressman Noel, Mayor Roque Tiu express the gratitude of the people of Tanauan particularly the farmers who will be benefitted by the generous gesture. More than the fertilizers, Mayor Tiu said that the concern of Congressman Noel to the plight of the local farmers, is what is most touching.

Mayor Tiu said that the fertilizers will be given to the local rice farmers who availed of the certified seeds provided by the Department of Agriculture Region 8 under the leadership of Director Leo Caneda and the certified seeds which was made available by the local government.

The local government prioritizes agriculture in line with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's call for enhanced rice production in order to ensure the availability of rice and other food products to the Filipino people.

Mayor Tiu expressed hope, that with the support from the Regional and provincial offices of the Department of Agriculture, from Congressman Noel and other benevolent people, the farmers of Tanauan will increase their production not only for Tanauan, for Leyte but for the entire Eastern Visayas region.

Jun 01, 2008

Tanauan plays host to graduation of 700 ICOT-P students

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The local government of Tanauan, Leyte played host to the graduation of the 700 students from various National High Schools of the First District of Leyte, who are recipients of the Income Creating Opportunities through Technology Project (ICOT-P) of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla.

No less than Governor Petilla keynoted the graduation which was held on May 30, 2008 at the Tanauan Civic Center and which was attended by Mayors Roque Tiu of Tanauan and Mayor Loretto Yu of Alangalang, provincial government officials and other local government officials.

In his keynote address, Governor Petilla expressed elation on the graduation of the 700 recipients of the ICOT-P which he said inspired him to make available other income creating skills in the near future.

Governor Petilla pledged that he will continue supporting the project and will even see to it that other income generating skills such as driving, waitering, bartending and other skills in the food service industry, will be part of the ICOT P.

The ICOT-P is a pro-poor project initiated by Governor Petilla and is being implemented by the Provincial Government of Leyte. It focuses on graduating secondary level students who cannot pursue college education, by providing technology and skills transfer on modern agriculture and entrepreneurship, thereby creating opportunities for gainful income with the use of technology even without college education.

Governor Petilla took notice of the fact that very few student who graduate in High School are able to pursue college education. Rather than making these graduates unproductive members of society, Governor Petilla thought of providing them an alternative means to become productive citizens of their respective communities.

Starting on offering modern methods of agriculture that will make the students not just farmers but entrepreneurs, ICOT-P is now also offering Information Technology Skills in the pilot schools in Tanauan and Alangalang.

Governor Petilla congratulated the graduates for completing the course, a manifestation of their desire to become productive members of society despite not being able to pursue their college education.

Governor Petilla also expressed appreciation to the local government officials and the school administrators who fully supported the project.

ICOT-P is just one of Governor Petilla's various projects which are intended for the upliftment of the youth of Leyte.

Jun 01, 2008

19th IB wins the heart of Taglawigan folks

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- There is really no better way of winning the hearts of the people than by helping those who are in dire need.

Believing in this principle, the members of the 19th Infantry Battalion under the leadership of First Lieutenant Malinche Y. Tomarong have always endeavored to help government agencies to bring and deliver support in the far flung areas in their area of operation.

Just recently, 1Lt. Tomarong and 2Lt. Gabriel Aranez, the Civil Military Operations Officer, coordinated with Ms. Daleen Malate of the Leyte Provincial Social Welfare and Development, who is in charge of the Rebel Returnees, for the provision and distribution of foodstuff to the people of Barangay Taglawigan, San Isidro, Leyte, especially the members of SAMACA who were previously under communist control.

Armed with the foodstuff consisting of rice, sardines and noodles from the office of Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, the 19th IB group proceeded to Taglawigan on May 17 not only to distribute the goodies but also to mediate the second dialogue between the APL Ranch Corporation and the members of SAMACA.

The activity was part of the 19th Infantry Battalion's thrust of bringing together the military and other agencies to hasten the delivery of basic services and assistance to the people.

Moreover, the activity was envisioned a an eye-opener to make the people realize that their area is already a "free environment" conducive to socio-economic development.

The activity which was participated and witnessed by Atty. Octavius Labtic Vice Mayor of San Isidro, and MSWD staff Ms Anita R. Piamonte and Ma Carine R. Villarino, was considered as a great success.

The elements of the 19th IB with the support of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, has won for the government, the respect and the trust of the people of Taglawigan who were mostly members of SAMACA, an organization formerly controlled and influenced of the CPP-NPA Northern Leyte Front.

Instead of leading the SAMACA members towards economic upliftment, the CPP-NPA-NLF sowed fear and hatred among them.

Thus, the SAMACA members, seeing the sincerity of the government, returned to the folds of the law.

Jun 01, 2008

Another NPA leader surrenders in Leyte

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- One more lost sheep returned to the flock and the entire 19th Infantry "Commando" Battalion rejoiced.

The government's anti insurgency campaign scored anew when at about 12:00 o'clock noon of May 24, 2008, another NPA leader voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Colonel Henry Bumiltac, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, at the 19th IB Headquarters at Barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte.

Second Lieutenant Gabriel Aranez, information officers of the 19th IB identified the surrenderee as Junnymel delos Santos y Almaden aka Cesar, David, Sars, 27 years old, single and a resident of Sitio Maranlog, Barangay Butazon II, Tabango, Leyte, who was the team leader of Intel MAC, North Leyte Front, when he lied low and hid in Ormoc City in September 2006, after eight years of continues guerilla work.

The story of Junnymel is one which should serve as a lesson to every young Filipino.

Junnymel who is now at the Battalion Headquarters for documentation and proper disposition, was a 17 years old student when he entered the CPP-NPA organization in 1998. He said that his entrance came about when he attended a secret meeting of a student body in his school.

Jun was disillusioned because the CPP-NPA-NDF broke their promises to help him and his family resolve their financial problems. Moreso, he realized that joining the insurgents created not only more financial problems and bigger trouble in his life.

His decision to surrender and return to the folds of law became easier as he learned from other rebel returnees that they were accommodated and treated well by the government troops from the 19th IB.

Lt. Colonel Henry Bumiltac stressed that this latest victory against the communist terrorists is a proof of the efficacy of the people's support in the campaign against the insurgents.

The 19th IB, Bumiltac said, has gained momentum in "keeping the insurgents' world smaller every day until they will find no other way out but to surrender." This, he said is consistent with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's thrust of eradicating insurgency because it is the hindrance to the development of the area.

Lt. Colonel Bumiltac reiterated his call to the communist terrorist leaders and members, for them to lay down their arms and return to the fold of law. At the same time, he urged the people to continue supporting the government troopers in their mission to make the province of Leyte an insurgent-free community.

Jun 01, 2008

DepEd-8 launches Brigada Eskuwela at San Fernando Central School in Tacloban

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Department of Education Region (DepEd) 8 is scheduled to launch this year's Brigada Eskuwela on June 2, 2008 with the San Fernando Central School as the venue, Dr. Rebecca Ragrag informed.

The kickoff activity will start with a Brigada Eskuwela Caravan which will be participated by the officials, employees and teachers of the DepEd here in the region and the City of Tacloban.

The Caravan, Dr. Ragrag said, will start at the Airport then will proceed to the DepEd Regional Office through Manlurip road. From there, it will go towards Marasbaras, Coca Cola Road, Apitong, San Juanico Bridge then return to the City proper thru Anibong, Rizal Avenue, Justice Romualdez, Real Street then to the San Fernando Central School for the Kick-off program.

Dr. Ragrag informed that the program will start at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. During the activity, the City Mayor's office will hold its barangayan to face the constituents of San Fernando and assess the problem that exists in the said barangay, with the end-in-view of extending aid if necessary. Medical mission will also be conducted not only for the pupils of the school but also for their parents and other barangay constituents.

Dr. Ragrag said that the San Fernando Central School was chosen because of its strategic location to all the stakeholders.

The Department of Education enjoined all its Regional offices to conduct a caravan or motorcade on June 2, 2008 to mark the start the first day of the National Schools Maintenance Week.

DepEd Memorandum No. 230 series of 2008 dated April 25, 2008 specified that the Brigada Eskuwela Caravan should be composed of at least 20 vehicles and must go around the major thoroughfares of the city or municipality where the Regional Office is located, and to nearby divisions.

Local communities, parents, alumni, civic groups, local business sector, non-government organizations, private individuals, teachers, students, DepEd personnel and school administrators are encouraged to get involved and participate in this activity.

The Dep-Ed wide simultaneous activity will start at 6:00 o'clock in the morning from the regional offices. The final stop of the Caravan will be at a school particularly the first implementor of the Brigada Eskuwela, where an official kick off ceremony will be done. Participants of the Caravan are also expected to perform activities to prepare the school for the opening of classes.

Advocacy materials such as posters and tarpaulins and Brigada Eskuwela MTV CDs to be used during the caravan were distributed by the Adopt a School Program Secretariat before the end of May.

The DepEd Memorandum also instructed that the Regional offices will purchase and distribute T-Shirts to the various divisions.

The Memo also reiterated that the schools which have not been previously participating or implementing the Brigada Eskuwela program should be the focus of all monitoring efforts and given technical assistance during the said week.

Meanwhile, one hundred percent of the 382 public secondary schools and the 3,585 public elementary schools in Eastern Visayas are expected to participate in the annual Oplan Brigada Eskuwela which will kick off on June 2 and will run until June 7, 2008.

It would be recalled that in 2007, Region 8 was given an award for the 100 percent participation of all the schools in the Brigada Eskuwela program. Region 8 also bagged another award for the most number of volunteers.

Jun 01, 2008

After 359 years, local hero gets his due

By Vicente Labro - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- EXACTLY 359 years after he started a rebellion in Samar that spread like wildfire to other parts of the country, local hero Agustin Sumoroy is finally getting well deserved recognition.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) led by its chair, Ambeth Ocampo, is to unveil this morning a marker at the foot of Sumoroy's life-size statue in the town plaza of Palapag in the province of Northern Samar.

While Sumoroy's name may be known in many places and has appeared in a number of books, this is the first time that the hero will be officially recognized for his role in Philippine history, Palapag Mayor Ricardo Daiz said.

A native of Palapag, Sumoroy was one of the early Filipinos who rose in rebellion against the Spanish colonizers.

Historians consider the Sumoroy uprising (or the Bisayan Revolt of 1649-1650) "the first major rebellion to burst wide open during the first 84 years" of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.

On June 1, 1649, Sumoroy plunged a spear into Fr. Miguel Ponce Barberan, the rector of Palapag, killing him and signaling the start of the rebellion in the town.

Historians say the forced drafting of men for labor in the shipyards in Cavite was the main cause of the uprising.

The rebellion in Palapag immediately caught fire in other towns of Ibabao, the ancient name of the northern and eastern parts of Samar, the country's third largest island.

Historians say the rebellion gained momentum and quickly spread to other places such as Catubig, Pambujan, Bobon and Catarman towns in Northern Samar, then to the towns of Taft, Dolores and Can-avid in Eastern Samar, and Paranas and other towns in the west coast of Samar.

A revolt subsequently broke out in Leyte, followed by insurrections in Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines (in Bicol), in Cebu province (in the Visayas), and then in Caraga, Iligan, Camiguin, Zamboanga and some parts of Butuan, Basilan and Davao (all in Mindanao).

Spanish officers, together with hundreds of men from Zamboanga and Pampanga, moved to quell the rebellion in April 1650. But it took several months before they finally defeated Sumoroy and his troops, who had taken refuge in a fortified place called "Mesa de Palapag."

The rebellion lasted for a year and three months. It ended tragically when one of Sumoroy's men, who sided with the enemy, killed and beheaded him in August 1650.

10-foot pedestral

It was the national government that recognized Sumoroy, and the local government coordinated with the NHI only when it conducted studies on the hero, Mayor Daiz told Inquirer Visayas by phone on Friday.

He said the statue of Sumoroy-which stands on a 10-foot pedestal and depicts the hero with a spear in the right hand and a sundang (a long bladed weapon) tucked in the waistband-was put up in the town plaza years ago.

"I just had the statue painted," he said.

According to Daiz, a similar statue of the hero stands in the capital town of Catarman, about 60 kilometers from Palapag, and the main camp of the Army in the province, also located in Catarman, is named after Sumoroy.

The ruins of the ancient church of Palapag, where the Sumoroy rebellion began, can still be seen in the coastal town.

Northern Samar Gov. Raul Daza and the NHI's Ocampo are to lead today's unveiling ceremony that will be witnessed by Palapag officials and residents.

"We have been preparing for this big event, and the guests have already confirmed their attendance," Daiz said.

He said barangay officials, public school teachers, war veterans and soldier-engineers based in Palapag had been invited to the affair.

"We expect a crowd of 500 people," he said.

2nd in the province

The Sumoroy statue is the second in Northern Samar to be recognized by the NHI, Daiz said.

The first is in Catubig town, where the NHI earlier installed a historical marker in recognition of local guerrillas who valiantly fought American troops on April 15, 1900.

The US War Department described the Catubig battle as the "heaviest bloody encounter yet for American troops" in the Philippine-American War.

Some 20 American soldiers died in that battle that lasted for four days.

<<< JUNE (12-22) 2008 NEWS



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