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MAY (15-23) 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS


>>> MAY (15-23) 2008 <<<

Local news for
Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
continually updated.

Definitive Source of News and Information about the Tacloban region.


May 23, 2008

LGUs in EV urged to implement initiatives to address poverty

By Ranulfo Docdocan

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Tacloban City -- To address the looming rates of poverty in Region VIII, the national government reminded local government units in Eastern Visayas to highly consider putting more funds for activities geared to minimize poverty.

Statistics shows that there are 1.95 million poor individuals in Eastern Visayas. The figure has placed the region as fifth poorest area in the country today.

Buenaventura Goso-co, National Economic and Development Authority in Region VIII director, expressed concern that the number of impoverished families has increased even with government initiatives for the poor.

"In order to solve poverty, the budget of the different Local Government Units must have specific indicators and has to be more on poverty bias in budget process," he said in an interview.

The socio-economic planning agency official said he believes that the real problem is not the lack of funds but a question of where funds go.

"Everybody must be concerned. We need to double our efforts in targeting beneficiaries as of government assistance", he said.

"Local government must not focus on infrastructure development. We have a lot of agri-lands in which our region is very rich. Why don't we focus on this?" Goso-co added.

May 22, 2008

Leyte fully supports "Paggalang sa Watawat" campaign

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The province of Leyte will undertake appropriate activities in support of the May 26 Launching of Paggalang Sa Watawat on May 26, the National Flag Day on May 28, and Independence Day on June 12, 2008.

As a sign of his full subscription to the campaign, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla has issued Executive Order No. 08-007, designating Mr. Antonio T. Chan, Provincial General Services as Chairman and Dr. Marilou C. Dycoco, Community Affairs Officer !V, as Vice Chairman in the observance of the aforementioned activities.

Gov. Petilla said that pursuant to the provisions provided for in the Civil Service Commission Announcement No. 9, series of 2008 dated April 1, 2008, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency, the Provincial Government of Leyte will effect the observance of the launching of the Paggalang sa Watawat Campaign on May 26, 2008, to kick off the celebration of the National Flag Day and Independence Day on May 28 and June 12 respectively.

Governor Petilla said he believes in the importance of the campaign which aims to promote public awareness of good citizenship, values such as love of country, respect for the Flag and the elderly, patriotism and nationalism, with the theme "Igalang ang Ating Watawat, Sa Isip, sa Salita at sa Gawa."

Governor Petilla advised Mr. Chan to spearhead said activities and to enjoin the full participation of officials and employees of the Provincial Government of Leyte during the flag-raising ceremony at the Provincial Capitol Terrace on May 26, 2008.

Furthermore, Governor Petilla called for the displaying of streamers to announce the 2008 Independence Day celebration, and highlight said events in newletters, online websites and the mass media.

Mr. Chan has already coordinated with the Philippine Information Agency on the conduct of activities for the said events.

On Monday, May 26, 2008, the province of Leyte will conduct a flag raising ceremony where all the officials and employees of the Provincial Government will sing the Philippine National Anthem with the accompaniment of a live band. The Ceremony will be highlighted with an Advocacy Talk.

Initial plans had it that the Province of Leyte celebration of the May 28 National Flag Day will include a parade and a flag-raising ceremony, which will be participated in by the Provincial Officials and employees, the representatives of the National Government Agencies and Government owned and controlled corporations and the municipal Mayors of the province.

Initially, the organizing committee is planning to conduct an ICOT Caravan that would provide various social services to the people of Leyte, at the Leyte Civic and Sports Center on June 12.

May 21, 2008

Tacloban invites Cagayanons to join Sangyaw Festival

Philippine Information Agency

Cagayan de Oro City -- THE city of Tacloban is inviting all cultural contingents from Cagayan de Oro City to participate in the Sangyaw Festival, a cultural parade and show on June 29, this year.

In his letter to City Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez extended his invitation to the Cagayan de Oro Cultural Group to participate in the cultural competition in Tacloban.

The Sangyaw Festival is held in line with the 199th Fiesta celebration of the Santo Niño de Tacloban on June 30.

The criteria for the Sangyaw Festival open category are performance-25%; choreography-25%; costume-25%; props-10%; musicality-10%; and theme, concept/ritual-5%.

The dance entry must depict Filipino culture and tradition and its presentation at the Balyuan Park Stage shall be limited to five minutes only.

There shall also be a compulsory presentation of the five minutes dance drama at three designated points of the parade.

Prizes at stake are P500,000 plus trophy for the first prize; P300,000 plus trophy for the second prize and P200,000 plus trophy for the third prize.

Minor award for Best in Choreography are P30,000 for the first prize; P20,000 for the second prize and P10,000 for the third prize. Mayor Romualdez told Mayor Jaraula that the city government of Tacloban will shoulder the accommodations and transportation around the city for contingents who will participate in the Sangyaw Festival.

Cultural groups who are interested to participate in the Sangyaw Festival may inquire from the City Tourism Office at the Basement of the City Tourism Hall for more details.

May 20, 2008

Region 8 wage board grants P10 COLA increase to wage workers

By Vino Cuayzon

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board of Eastern Visayas announced the granting of a simplified increase of P10.00 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to all workers in the Region, whether in the agricultural or non-agricultural sector, who are receiving the minimum wage.

The announcement of the Wage Order No. 15 was done at a press conference at the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 8, by DOLE 8 Director Forter Puguon, who is also the Chairman of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board.

Director Puguon said that the Board reached the unanimous decision after extensive deliberations and after considering the views of both the employers sector and the workers sector.

On May 20, the RTWPB conducted a public hearing which lasted until early evening. The public hearing was attended by the employers and workers sectors, the academe, the media and all interested sectors. The public hearing was conducted after the required 15 days notice through publication.

After the public hearing, the Regional Wage Board conducted a marathon session and deliberated and weighed all the issues regarding the wage adjustment issue in the Region.

Director Puguon said that the increase was made in the COLA and not on the basic wage because if the increase is in the basic wage, there will be a ripple effect on the other monetary benefits like the overtime pay, 13th month pay, the social protection deductions like SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig.

Mr. Florencio Aguilos Jr., the Wage Board Secretary, informed that the wage order will immediately be sent today to the National Wages and Productivity Commission for confirmation.

If the Wage Commission finds it to be in order, the confirmation will be communicated to the Regional Tripartite and Productivity Board. When the Regional Wage Board receives the confirmation, the Wage Order will then be published.

The Wage Order will take effect 15 days after the publication, Mr. Aguilos said.

Further, the Regional Wage Board, last night, also formulated the implementing rules for the Wage Order. The same will be sent to the National Wages and Productivity Commission for the approval of Labor Secretary Marianito Roque.

Director Puguoon said that the National Wages and Productivity Commission will give priority attention to the Wage Order and will act on it immediately. Hopefully, the Wage Order will take effect in June.

May 20, 2008

Seven airports in EV 'non-functional' due to absence of flights

By Ranulfo Docdocan

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Tacloban City--The Eastern Visayas office of Air Transportation Office has confirmed that there are seven airports in the region that are tagged "non-functional" due to the absence of flights.

Earlier, Calbayog City Mayor Senen Sarmiento, Regional Development Council Chairman, said that the government used multi-million peso funds for the construction of these seven airports.

"Just imagine how much money the government has been spending for the maintenance. We're hoping that we will be more objective in our planning for the development," Sarmiento pointed out in an interview.

Air Transportation Office (ATO) records showed that the airports in Ormoc City in Leyte; Hilongos Leyte and Maasin City in Southern Leyte; Naval in Biliran, Catbalogan City in Samar, Dolores and Borongan City in Eastern Samar have been identified as "non-functional".

Tacloban airport (DZR Airport) in Tacloban, Catarman airport in Northern Samar and Calbayog City Airport in Samar are considered as functional.

Merla Negradas, Air Transportation Office area manager for Eastern Visayas, said that in order for the government to gain income from airports there must be a confirmation from airline companies before building such facilities.

"Even if some airports are "non -functional" we still have to maintain it or else people will build houses within the vicinity or use the runway as drying area,'' said Negradas.

With the absence of commercial flights, some airports in the region have been used by military transports, private aircrafts and as landing areas for relief operations," Negradas added.

May 20, 2008

Tacloban highlights Leyte heritage festivals

By Gemma Tabao

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- With the ultimate goal of preserving the culture and heritage of the province, the Leyte Heritage Festival Society in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Provincial Government of Leyte, Department of Tourism, University of the Philippines, Leyte Normal University and the Eastern Visayas State University are all up for the Leyte Heritage Festivals which has started Saturday, May 17 until July 7 of 2008.

The activities are in time for the observance of Heritage month, which is celebrated every May, not only in Leyte, but all over the country as well.

A part of the celebration was a painting exhibit dubbed "Pinta-Lara" which is now going on at the Leyte Park Hotel. As the word connotes, these are the innovative artworks of local artists in the region using mixed media, the painting and mat weaving.

The affair was jointly graced by UP Professor Merlie Alunan, together with the proficient columnist on the Philippine culture, Dr. Eduardo Alegre.

Also among the activities relative to the festivals was the conduct of architectural tour to some places of the province, where some historic and traditional structures, artifacts and ruins were visited and studied.

Another event featured was a Tatoo Symposium well stressed by the city's known artist, Prof. Dulce Cuna-Anacion. This was held at the CAP building in the city on May 18, and was immediately followed by a tattoo competition.

The merriment was likewise highlighted by a grand performance night also staged last Sunday, May 18, articulating some traditional songs, drama and dances by various artists of the province.

With these significant events, it would then be instilled in the minds of the people particularly the youth, that the Leyte culture and tradition is the greatest legacy that needs to be cherished and preserved for a lifetime.

May 20, 2008

Boy dies of typhoid fever, 52 others ill in Leyte town

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- An eight-year-old boy has died of typhoid fever in a string of cases that have so far affected 52 others in a Leyte town, the Department of Health (DoH) regional office reported.

Regional sentinel nurse Boyd Cero said on Tuesday the lone fatality, who came from the village of Dolho, Bato town, died last May 16 after he was confined in a private hospital.

Cero said the DoH-8 had yet to determine the cause of the typhoid fever that hit most of the 32 villages in Bato town. The first typhoid fever case was first reported on May 12, with the last one reported on Sunday, Cerro said.

Bato, 154 kilometers from Tacloban City, is a fourth class town with over 32,000 population.

"We have yet to determine the exact cause of the typhoid fever cases that hit several villages of Bato. But initially, we see this as a person-to-person transmission with dirty food as the possible cause," Cerro said.

He said the rise of typhoid fever cases coincided with the celebration of fiestas in several of the town's villages. Typhoid fever is an infectious disease with severe symptoms in the digestive system. A patient could die if not given immediate treatment, Cerro explained.

Cero said on Tuesday the DoH-8 was not yet declaring a typhoid fever outbreak in Bato.

Cerro said that some of the town's villages reported one or two typhoid fever cases while there were villages that had more than five cases. The eight-year-old boy is the lone fatality so far.

The victims experienced severe dehydration, loose bowel movement and vomiting. The youngest among those afflicted with typhoid is a three-year-old boy while the oldest is a 63-year-old man.

Of the 53 persons that were hit by the typhoid fever, 34 were admitted to the privately run Baptist Child Hospital while 19 persons were confined in a district hospital, Cerro said. Both hospitals are located in Hilongos town, seven kilometers away from Bato.

Damiana Ye, district nurse supervisor of the Hilongos district hospital, said that as of Tuesday morning, they still had 18 patients afflicted with typhoid fever but they were all in stable condition already.

Ye said, in a separate interview, that several patients were confined at the hospital for three days.

She said they earlier took stool samples from the patients for laboratory tests and the results would be out within the week.

May 20, 2008

Gov't engineering battalion troops spurn NPA ambush

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- A construction team from the 543rd Engineering Construction Battalion led by Pfc Randy Y Pepito and three (3) other enlisted personnel, was ambushed and landmined while hauling gravel at Barangay Roxas, Lapinig, Northern, Samar on May 17, 2008 at about 8:50 in the morning.

A report coming from Lt. Col. Ernesto M. Simon, Brigade Public Information Officer of the 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division based at Camp Sumoroy, Catarman, Northern Samar stated that the ambush was done by more or less six (6) Communist Terrorists armed with high powered fire arms.

The fire fight allegedly lasted for about ten minutes after which, sensing the arrival of military reinforcement in the encounter site, the enemy withdrew.

No casualty was reported on the part of the government side while an undetermined number of casualty on the NPA side was speculated because of the presence of blood traces on the enemy position.

Recovered from the site of encounter were one caliber 5.56mm M16 rifle, one short magazine, 94 rounds of live ammunitions, back pack with personal belongings, blasting caps, subversive documents and some medicines.

Col. Eduardo del Rosario, commanding officer of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, condemned the NPA ambush as anti-people and anti-development.

He stressed that the 543rd Engineering Construction Battalion has been tasked to undertake the opening of the Lapinig-Jipapad road in order to connect Northern Samar to Eastern Samar.

The farm to market road will surely boost development in the area and facilitate trade among neighboring barangays and municipalities.

"Yet, true to being tagged as terrorists, the NPA ambushed our soldier-engineers. Nevertheless, I salute our soldiers for their bravery against the evil deeds of the NPA rebels", del Rosario added.


May 20, 2008

PAL spends $150M for sub-brand

Sun.Star, Philippines

PHILIPPINE Airlines has invested about $150 million to enhance its existing operations with the launch of the Philippine Airlines Express (PAL Express) main hub in Cebu.

"The market is growing, and there are more flights needed," said Jaime Bautista, PAL president, yesterday.

The multimillion-peso investment was spent on the acquisition of new turbo-propeller aircraft, facility upgrade for PAL Express, and training for pilots and crews.

PAL Express is the first sub-brand introduced by PAL in its 67-year history, a press statement said. It will serve domestic points and offer promotional fares year round as part of its program.

Bautista said that for its PAL Express fleet, the company will get Bombardier Q300 and Q400 turbo-propeller planes. He considered them "the fastest turbo-propeller aircraft to chart the region."

Bautista added that the speed of the Q300 and the Q400 is close to the speed of an Airbus 320, as it flies 370 knots per hour.

"The (Q300 and Q400) also have more fuel-efficient engines," he said, adding that since the planes are cheaper to operate, the company can then extend cheaper rates to the passengers.

"Q also stands for quiet," Bautista said. The planes, according to an article prepared by the company, have a patented noise suppression system that reduces cabin noise and vibration levels.


Initially, PAL Express will have a fleet of nine turbo-propeller aircraft-three Q300 and six Q400-all manufactured by Bombardier Aerospace of Canada.

This year, PAL Express is expecting the delivery of six more 76-seater Q400 planes and three 50-seater Q300 planes.

Flights from the Cebu hub started yesterday. Q400 planes will be flying out from Cebu to routes which can serve bigger planes, like General Santos, Tacloban and Bacolod cities.

Services from Cebu to Caticlan will utilize the Q300 since the airport in that area cannot handle the larger aircraft.

Other daily flights from Cebu are to Butuan, Davao, Iloilo and Puerto Princesa. By July, four new routes from Cebu will be opened-Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Ozamis and Dipolog.

From its secondary hub in Manila, PAL Express flies daily to Boracay and Busuanga and will soon open new points in Calbayog, Legaspi, San Fernando, San Jose, Surigao and Virac.

Timely development

Tourism Undersecretary Phineas Alburo, who was present during the program yesterday, considered PAL Express' launch as a "timely development" since one of the Department of Tourism's (DOT) projects is the upgrading of 15 airports in central Philippines.

The project includes the Bohol-Panglao Airport, which will be inaugurated today.

By October, Alburo said, Cebu will also host an international tourism forum. And since the activity will have pre- and post-event tours, the participating tourists can now be easily brought out from Cebu to other destinations.

The DOT also commended PAL for the launch of its low-fare brand.

May 19, 2008

Nutrition council highlights anti-hunger initiatives

By Gemma Tabao

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Eastern Visayas Regional Anti-Hunger Task Force composed of different government line agencies had already gone a long way as regards to the anti-hunger mitigation programs of the Arroyo administration.

This was learned from Director Carina Santiago of the National Nutrition Council, the oversight agency of the program components, during the taskforce meeting held recently in the city.

According to Santiago, since 2007 up to the first quarter of 2008, several interventions were significantly made to address the hunger problem alarming the country today.

Among the achievements highlighted by the task force are the efforts to increase food production, which include the giving of seeds and garden tools to some 32,600 beneficiaries in Samar and Biliran islands, as well as the distribution of fishing gears and tilapia fingerlings to 5,670 fishermen. Likewise, there were 2,997 families who were subsidized with rice seeds where it planted a total of 6,242 hectares.

Other remarkable efforts of the program are the sustainability of the food-for-school and the supplemental feeding programs for day care and school children, and the establishment of 7 Barangay Food Terminals or Bagsakan Centers located in Capoocan, San Isidro and Ormoc City in Leyte; Calbiga and Pinabacdao in Samar; Dolores, Eastern Samar and Kawayan, Biliran. Some Tindahan Natin outlets were also accredited and operational all over the region.

On the other hand, infrastructure concerns were also attended. This included the rehabilitation and construction of some ports, farm-to-market roads and school buildings. Irrigation projects, jobs generation, population management and scholarship programs were likewise enhanced and emphasized.

With the given contributions of the region, it is therefore foreseen that the country's development goal on poverty eradication and hunger reduction will be clearly addressed, thereby reducing the number of food-poor families in the country especially those coming from the region.

May 18, 2008

PGMA SONA commitment for Guiuan Airport dev't being implemented in full blast - Philippines

Tacloban City (May 18) -- The Guiuan Airport Development Project, a SONA commitment of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is now being implemented in full blast.

The airport is seen as the key to the coming of more tourists to the island paradise which is being promoted by no less than President Arroyo as a major destination in the Visayas.

Already, an airline company has agreed to make flights at the Guiuan Airport once it is completed.

The Regional Development Council Project Monitoring team reported that the estimated project cost is P142 Million and so far, the amount of P10.0 Million and P15 Million was allocated in 2006 and 2007. For 2008, the amount of P70 Million has been programmed.

The 2006 and 2007 allocation was used for the construction and concreting of Apron and Taxiway and for the rehabilitation of the Passenger Terminal Building.

The construction of Apron and Taxiway was completed in September of 2007 while the concreting of the Apron and Taxiway was completed in January of 2008. The rehabilitation of the Passenger Terminal Building is 80 percent completed.

Meanwhile, the P70 Million programmed for 2008 is for the construction of the perimeter fence, site acquisition and construction of access road, completion of apron and taxiway and asphalt overlay runway.

The RDC Monitoring Team reported that the construction of the perimeter fence is on-going already.

The Guiuan Airport Development Project is a priority project of President Arroyo in line with her super region concept of development where Region 8 is part of the Central Philippines Super Region envisioned to be the tourism center of the country.

In Region 8, the Calicoan Islands in Guiuan is being developed as an important tourist destination. A sanctuary of privacy and indulgence highlighted by tropical landscape and surrounded by the relaxing sound of the ocean - this is how Calicoan, will win the hearts of local and international tourists.

Calicoan Island boasts of miles of white sand beaches. With powerful swells rolling in from the Pacific over the 10,000 meters Philippine Deep, Calicoan is a surfer's paradise.

The rich diversity of the area is evident when one sees the exotic species being sold. The surrounding waters support several marine based industries such as fish, seaweed, and pearl farming.

In the middle of the island are six lagoons ringed by forest, the largest being 30 hectares in size. At the cliffside margin of Calicoan's forests are dozens of caves. On the northern tip of Calicoan are wetlands like the Everglades, teeming with fish, shrimp, and crabs.

May 17, 2008

Tacloban City surpasses nat'l, reg'l population growth rate

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The 2.73 population growth rate of Tacloban City surpassed the national and regional population growth rates, the National Statistics Office (NSO) informed.

Ms. Wilma Perante, Provincial Statistics Officers said that the national population growth rate is 2.04 percent while the regional growth rate for Eastern Visayas is 1.12 percent.

These were indicated in the 2007 Census of Population conducted in August of 2007, Ms. Perante said.

Tacloban City has qualified to become a highly urbanized City because its population in the 2007 POPCEN rose to 217,199, the largest population in Leyte or in the entire Region.

Ms. Perante also disclosed that there are municipalities in the province of Leyte which also surpassed the national and regional growth rates. These are the municipalities of Palo, Tolosa, Babatngon, Albuera, Tabontabon, Pastrana, Mayorga and San Miguel; and the city of Ormoc.

The municipality of Palo recorded a population growth rate of 2.35 percent while the municipality of Tolosa has a population growth rate of 2.04 percent.

The city of Ormoc has a population growth rate of 1.95 percent while the municipality of Babatngon has a population growth rate of 1.93 percent.

The population growth rate of Albuera is 1.84 percent while Tabontabon comes in next with a population growth rate of 1.78 percent.

On the other hand, the population growth rate of Pastrana is 1.52 percent; Pastrana, 1.52 per cent while that of San Miguel is 1.20 percent.

Ms. Perante informed that the final counts per barangay are already available at the NSO website -

Interested parties may also call NSO Leyte at telephone numbers 523-1370 or 323-2110, for more information.

May 17, 2008

Basey town, DENR agree to co-manage 15,000 hectares of parks, watershed areas

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In answer to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's vision of Region 8 as part of the Central Philippines Tourism Super Region and her call for environmental protection and conservation; and in order to effectively manage the parks and forests within its boundaries, the Local Government of Basey in the province of Samar entered into a co-management agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region 8.

Ms. Bonavie M. Robinio, information assistant of Basey LGU, bared that the launching of the concerted effort was conducted at Sitio Rawis, Barangay Guirang, by the municipal Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos and other municipal officials, and PENRO George Guillermo and CENRO Eli Aya-ay, with the members of the people's organizations of Sitio Rawis and Barangay Mabini in attendance.

Part of the co-management agreement is the administration of the Forest Land Use Plan, wherein the 15,000 hectares of Basey Forests which includes parks and watershed areas, will be co-managed by the DENR and LGU.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer George Guillermo disclosed that scheduled to be turned over for management, to the Local Government Unit of Basey, is the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park, the town's most frequently visited destination.

PENRO Guillermo expressed willingness to support the LGU's thrust of environmental protection and conservation.

Mayor Estorninos disclosed that a development plan for the famous tourist destination, the Rawis Caves Municipal Eco Park including the Balantak Falls, will be formulated based on rural eco-tourism development.

Mayor Estorninos also bared that the Basey-Sohoton Road leading to the Sohoton Cave, will be given top priority to make it more accessible to both local and foreign tourists. In fact, this calendar year, 2008, the Department of Public Works and Highways allocated P25 Million for the concreting and rehabilitation of said road, Mayor Estoninos added.

For the co-management agreement, a Technical Working Group was created through an executive order issued by Mayor Estorninos.

The Technical Working Group is composed of personnel from the two entities including the barangay chairmen of Barangays Guirang and Mabini.

May 17, 2008

LNU leads Leyte Heritage Festival grand performing night

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Grand Performing Night of the Leyte Heritage Festival will be staged on Sunday, May 18, 2008, at the RTR Plaza.

This was learned from Dr. Evelyn Cruzada, President of the Leyte Normal University, the overall chairperson of the activity.

Dr. Cruzada said the Grand Performing night which will start at 7:00 o'clock in the evening, will showcase the best of Leyte in terms of performing arts. This will be participated in by 8 performing groups and 6 artists, all well known in their respective rights.

Dr. Cruzada called on the enthusiasts, the students and parents of young children to witness the Grand Performing Night of the Leyte Heritage Festival, as it is a very good opportunity to inculcate to the young Leytenos, love for their cultural heritage.

It would be recalled that the province of Leyte is set to showcase its rich cultural heritage in a month-long celebration dubbed as Leyte Heritage Festival, in the month of May which is also commemorated as the National Heritage Month.

Through the Leyte Provincial Tourism, Culture and Arts Council under the leadership of Governor Jericho Petilla, various cultural activities and tours in the province's six architectural heritage sites, aimed at evoking the people's consciousness in the love and respect for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, will highlight the month-long festivities.

Aside from the Grand Performing Night, the Leyte Heritage Festival which is in consonance with the National Heritage Month celebration, will also feature cultural heritage tour, visual arts exhibit, and other exhibits.

President Arroyo mandated the creation of Filipino Heritage Month under Proclamation 439 on August 11, 2003, declaring the month of May of every year as National Heritage Month. The event recognizes the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history.

May 17, 2008

Leyte records lowest population rate since 1960s, NSO says

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The province of Leyte's increase in population from the year 2000 to the year 2007 showed an average annual population rate of 1.09 percent, the lowest average population rate ever recorded in the province since the 1960's.

The 2007 Census of Population conducted by the National Statistics Office revealed that as of August 1, 2007, the province of Leyte has a total population of 1,722,036.

Ms. Wilma Perante, the Provincial Statistics Officer informed that the 2007 POPCEN count in the province of Leyte is lower by 11,000 to the 1.83 million projected propulation for the year 2007, under the medium series.

The total population of Leyte increased only by 127,700 from the 2000 Population Census count of 1,592,336.

Ms. Perante said that in 1960, the intercensal average annual growth rate in Leyte was 1.36. In the year 1970, the average annual growth rate of the province increased to 1.50. In 1975, the average annual growth rate slightly increased to 1.52 and dramatically increased to 1.61 in the 1980 census of population.

In the 1990 Population Census, the province of Leyte's population growth rate decreased to 1.39 and soared to 1.89 in the 1995 Population Census.The 2000 Population Census showed that Leyte had an annual population growth rate of 1.13 and then in the 2007 Population Census, Leyte's annual growth rate was only 1.09.

In demographics and ecology, population growth rate is the fractional rate at which the number of individuals in a population increases. Specifically, population growth rate refers to the change in population over a specific time period expressed as a percentage of the number of individuals in the population at the beginning of that period.

Compared with its Southeast Asian peers, the Philippines' population growth rate was much higher compared to Malaysia, which had a 2.1 increase from 2001 to 2006 and Vietnam with 1.4 percent hike during the same period. The population of Indonesia and Thailand posted a growth rate of 1.3 and 0.8 percent respectively. However, the 2.04 percent population growth is a slowdown from the 2.34 percent average in 1990-2000. It was also lower than the 88.71 million projection earlier made by the government. This population growth rate was the lowest annual population growth rate recorded for the Philippines since the 1960s, the NSO said in its report.

The population growth rate is expected to ease further in the coming years with average annual population growth for the period 2005-2010 projected at 1.95 percent, based on the 2000 Census of Population and Housing.

The official population count was released by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through Proclamation No. 1489. Globally, the rate of the human population has slowed down a little since its peak in the 1980s. The actual annual growth in the number of human's fell from its peak of 87 million per annum in the late 1980's, to a low of 75 million in 2002, at which it stabilized. In 2007, it slowly rose to 77 million per annum which, of course is still lower than the 87 million in the late 1980s.

May 17, 2008

Tattoo lovers join tattooing events in Tacloban City

By Gay B. Gaspay

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City, Leyte -- Tattoo lovers in region 8 and other parts of the country will be joining two separate tattooing events on May 18, 2008 at CAP Bldg. (Price Mansion) and RTR Plaza, Tacloban City.

The tattoo symposium which will be held morning of May 18 at CAP Bldg will speculate on the "Pintado" tattoo motifs of yesteryears basing on the diffusion it had from its South East Asian and Pacific neighbors such as Borneo, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti and etc., which has a great influence on the pintado tattoo people which the Spaniards used to call.

This was disclosed by Leyte Heritage Society Visual Arts coordinator Dulce Cuna in an interview.

According to Ms. Cuna, the artists who will be attending the symposium from the academe and government sector will know more on the speculative treatise on how close Borneo, Tongan, Samoan tattoo motifs may be to the vanished "Pintado" tattoo. It will likewise teach our people in the region our history if they listen to during the symposium she added.

Ms. Cuna is also inviting bisdaks, tattoo afficionado, tattoo artists around the Visayas to attend and compete in the contest of Henna Tattooing which will be held the same day on May 18 in the afternoon at the RTR Plaza.

Artists joining the Henna Tattoo competition are advised to bring along with them henna applicator and model. The artists will be tattooing their models arms and legs.

The contest will evolve on the most artistic tattoo with Filipino or regional ethnic design, with relevance of the tattoo use to history heritage, its social impact of the motif use and the neatness of the henna application will give more weight to its contest would be winners.

Cash prices awaits the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner of the contest with medals and certificates Ms. Cuna further said.

The tattoo events was one of the affairs adornment fun and cultural pride of Eastern Visayas under the auspices of the Filipino Heritage Commission, Leyte Heritage Society and co-organize by Kulahig.

The tattoo symposium & henna tattoo competition is in line with its Filipino Heritage month celebration wherein Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declares the month of May every year as the National Heritage Month through Proclamation No. 439 signed August 11, 2003.

May 16, 2008

TUCP files P150 across-the-board wage hike for EV workers

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Tacloban City - Another labor group has filed a petition for a wage increase for workers in Eastern Visayas before the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had filed Tuesday their petition seeking for a P150 across-the-board salary increase for workers in the region.

The petition received support from the labor sector but gained disapproval from the employers group who are set to file an opposition to the petition and another petition filed April 31 by Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Florencio Aguilos, RTWPB secretary, said that employers are worried where to source funds to cover for the additional salary should the wage hike be approved.

"What they (the employers) are supporting are bills in Congress that provides for raising tax exemption for wage earners, lifting of E-VAT, and increase in government spending to pump prime the economy especially in the Samar provinces," explained Aguilos.

Workers in Samar provinces took the opportunity, in a consultation meeting held last May 9 in Calbayog City, to express their clamor for wage adjustments but did not exactly tell as to how much wage increase they think would be best for them. Employers on the other hand expressed their openness for another wage adjustment should the board deem it necessary.

However, if any wage adjustment should be implemented, the workers of Samar provinces requested to be granted a lower salary increase than what would be given to Leyte workers citing the slower economic activities in Samar provinces as the reason.

In Ormoc City, some labor groups said they believe it is best to have a wage increase that would be based on inflation statistics in the region while workers in the sugar industry aired their sentiment that they did not benefit from the P8 COLA provided in a wage order released December 16 last year.

Learning about the case, the board promised they would immediately make proper actions on the matter.

May 16, 2008

May is cervical cancer consciousness month

By Marivic Alcober

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- As part of the observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this May, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), Region 8 Chapter, regularly conducts smear collection in the different provinces here in Eastern Visayas. This activity is part of their outreach program to different localities. Likewise, they also provide free consultations and referrals to indigent patients needing medical attention.

It was learned from the Department of Health - Eastern Visayas headed by Regional Director Teogenes F. Baluma, through its information officer Marissa Nicolasora, that POGS is scheduled to conduct free consultations in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

According to DOH-EV, in order to avoid or lower risk of cancer, one should practice proper health habits, plus a diet rich in vitamins and minerals obtained from green leafy vegetables and yellow fruits.

Recent studies show that an infectious agent particularly human papiloma virus that is transmitted through sexual intercourse causes cancer of the cervix. Other possible risks of cervical cancer is by having multiple sexual partners; through sexual partners who themselves had several sex partners; having had sexual partner who is infected with human papiloma virus; and having had sexual intercourse at a very early age such as 15 or 16.

Relative to this, women are advised to have regular pap smear and for them to have a medical check-up if there is any abnormal bleeding, have reached their menopause, and are overweight.

Meanwhile, it was reported that for calendar year 2007 there were seven cases of cervical cancer at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical in Tacloban and two were reported dead.

May 15, 2008

NBI nabs village exec for 'swertres'

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Eastern Visayas arrested on Tuesday a president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) for his involvement in an illegal numbers game.

Antonio Pagatpat, NBI regional director, identified the suspect as Santiago Abuyog Jr., president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen of Hinundayan, Southern Leyte. Abuyog was apprehended in his house in Purok Tres, Hinundayan town proper.

Pagatpat said the NBI also arrested Warlito Japson, 38, and Necito Gamoten, 45, said to be coordinators of Abuyog in running his "swertres" operations.

The three were caught preparing the tally sheets collected from bettors, he said. The NBI team also confiscated from Abuyog P26,000 and other paraphernalia.

The 48-year-old Abuyog, an ex-officio member of the town council as president of the ABC, did not resist arrest. The arrest was made by virtue of a warrant issued by Judge Hermes Montero, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court-Branch 26 based in San Juan town, Southern Leyte.

"He's been operating for the past three years now," Pagatpat said.

He said Abuyog also operates in other towns.

May 15, 2008

Increased productivity, key to food security

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Provincial Governors' singular act of committing 50% of their respective Internal Revenue Allotment differentials amounting to P12.57 Billion, for food production is not only commendable, but also reassuring and very relevant at this point in time, when the whole world and the country is being threatened with food scarcity.

It is a pledge to increased food productivity, the key to food security. The commitment must not mean just a commitment to ensuring availability of food but more so, making sure that every one has an access to that food.

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization stated that food security exists when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

Food security for a household means access by all members at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways which means, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies.

The move of the League of Provinces, is a manifestation of its full support to the efforts of the Arroyo administration to head off rice shortage, and for the country to eventually attain self-sufficiency in rice.

Banking on the on-going massive government program to drastically increase rice production, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said that the country is well on the way to attaining self-sufficiency in the staple crop in three years.

The other local government executives, the Honorable Congressmen and Senators, should take the cue and allocate a portion their IRA or Countywide Development Funds for food security and human security.

It goes without saying that in order to ensure an increased productivity, the farmers must not only have access to certified seeds, post harvest facilities and farm implements, the number one need is to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the farmers on modern farming and their important role of ensuring that the whole nation does not get hungry and malnourished.

<<< MAY (23-31) 2008 NEWS




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