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Oct 23, 2010

What if .. ??

Leyte Samar Daily Express

At the side entrance of the Sto. Niño Church under the searing heat of the noonday sun, a mother with her children was squatting with just a piece of cardboard on their heads.

The scene momentarily shook us as we passed by the scene. The sight was a moving one especially for mothers and would-be ones.

It is not easy for a mother to see her young vulnerable kids exposed to the elements, gripped with hunger pangs on their stomachs, while she also wallows in extreme uncertainty of what is to come; her soul and consciousness used to the customary pitiful cries of the small beings, its hopelessness tagging at her calloused heart.

I kept wondering where the father could be. This thought lingered for some time until the face of the child lying on the pavement met my attention. It was scantily clad in bedraggled and sullied clothes which probably have not seen water for days.

His eyes were turned to the passersby as if assessing each one who will have the heart to give him and his family the food they need that day or the respite to the poverty they have been exposed to, since birth.

It is hard to fathom what was in that child's eyes. His eyes were wrapped with innocence and sadness; questioning with pain and mirroring his physical discomfort on being laid down on the hard concrete.

His soft young body in contrast with the hard makeshift bed makes him all the more uncomfortable under the sweltering heat, the reality of his discomfort keeps him undaunted with the noise and bustle around him.

Most of the passersby never even took a second look at the scene ..

22, 201

BFAR still hopin fish port project would push through

by Roel Amazona

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Regional Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is still hoping that their fish port project in the City will still push through despite some intervention of other national government offices in the region.

       Proposed Tacloban City fish port (TV Patrol Tacloban).
 The implementation of this project has been in discussion for
                                    about 2 years now ..

Juan Albaladejo, regional director, said in an interview that the plan on the construction of fish port in Tacloban was already in the final stage, but it was temporarily shelves after the management of the Philippine Ports Authority in the City forwarded a letter interposing against the project for the reason that they were not consulted in the said matter.

The establishment of a fish port in Tacloban was part of the State of the Nation Address of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the establishment of tuna highway in the country.

Aside from the construction of fish port in the City, another fish port is also being constructed in the province of Aurora which is already in the final stage of their construction Albaladejo revealed.

With this problem that the fish port construction is experiencing, some sectors are suggesting that in order for the said project to push through, BFAR should look for another site in the region where they can start the fish port construction.

But Albaladejo defended the construction of the fish port in the City for the funds for the said project was made possible through the intervention and help of Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

"Actually the original area considered for the construction of the fish port was in Guiuan, Eastern Samar but because it was Cong Romualdez who was able to help us in providing the fund, we cannot just consider transferring the project to other district or province in the region," Albaladejo explained.

"We also had problem before in the establishment of area for the fish port construction because the local government of Tacloban was not able to immediately locate a land where we can construct the fish port but late last year they were able to point-out the area which is in the side of the wet market including the area of the old bus terminal of the City," Albaladejo added.

The area, according to Albaladejo, is suitable for the construction of fish port because it had deep surface as compared to the area that was proposed before along the Cancabato Bay which is shallow.

He added the said area is also strategic for it can easily attract big boats from other regions like those coming from General Santos to drop their tuna catch in the City instead of shipping it to their place.

Although the construction of the said port is now in the shelves, Albaladejo said they are privilege enough because the funds for the construction was already transferred to a private corporation which means it can not be reverted back to the national coffers once the expiration of two years passed.

22, 201

24-hours MASA operation
to start this Nov

by Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that the Mayor Alfred's Social Action (MASA) center will be having a 24-hour operation starting month of November, this was disclosed by the mayor himself during the distribution of farm equipment and variety of seeds to the different farmers association last Oct. 20.

The mayor said this would encourage people of Tacloban, especially those who are from the northern part, to raise their concerns and problems in order for the City government to respond to their problems.

"People who have questions and like to ask assistance from the City Health Office, Registrar's Office (like those who are having problem on their live birth), City Veterinary Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office would be entertained there," Mayor Romualdez said.

Aside from those services, Romualdez also said that he will be putting up Public Employment Service Office (PESO) there so that those who are looking for a job would be given assistance.

"Putting up of PESO in MASA would be of great help, especially to those who are having problem on looking for a job. What we are going to do is ask their personal data so that when there are big companies who have job vacancies we would be able to recommend them," the chief executive explained.

The establishment of PESO on the MASA Office would also limit the occurrence of Taclobanons to be engaged in illegal recruitment activities in view of the alarming number of Taclobanons who are being victimized by illegal recruiters and companies just like the recently rescued workers from Zamboanga City.

Mayor Romualdez himself assured that the people from Tacloban would be given the chance to talk personally to him to clarify some concerns and issues that they are not sure of.

"It is also just an allegation that we would be vacating the stall holders that are presently operating in the City Public Market, for there is some who are broadcasting it," he added.

Mayor Romualdez said that the reason why he runs as a public servant is to help the community by assisting them on the problems that they have and not to let them suffer from the act that he as a public servant is doing.

"We need to change the state of living that we have by working, not just only by uttering promises. . .," he stressed.

Oct 21, 2010

E. Visayas achieves
rice planting target

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) said it has met its rice planting target for this cropping season in Eastern Visayas region.

DA regional executive director Leo P. Caneda said this was made possible because the region had enough rainfall since September. But he said production growth this year is still expected to be flat.

"The good news is that we are rebounding. It is still a flat rate but positive already. We reached 100% in terms of planting accomplishment because of the rains in the second week of September until now," he told BusinessWorld.

He previously warned that the region would miss its planting target for the May to October cropping period because of delayed rains.

"The last time we checked the data in early September, our planting accomplishment was only 78%. That's because rains came late but we were able to meet our target according to the latest report," Mr. Caneda said.

The region has a total of 160,000 hectares of rice fields. Only 57,000 hectares are supported with irrigation systems. The rest rely on rains for irrigation.

Oct 21, 2010

World War II veterans enliven 66th Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration

by Flor Jackson

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The attendance of some 100 World War II veterans in Eastern Visayas highlighted the 66th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary commemorative program held on October 20, 2010 at the MacArthur Park in Palo, Leyte.

Unloading of Cargo in Leyte: By the end of the first day of
invasion, the Allies had established a beachhead of 15 miles
wide and four miles deep. They landed 68,000 troops with
equipment and supplies that equaled an incredible seven
tons per man.

The veterans who were accompanied by their sons, daughters and relatives just to attend the memorable occasion were seated as a group on the side of the stage. In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency, the World War II veterans expressed elations and varied reactions of how they felt about their attendance to the occasion.

Mauricio Padero, 98 years old from Alang-alang, Leyte, one of the oldest living veterans in Eastern Visayas said he felt so happy about his attendance to the great occasion.

A staff sergeant of the US Army during the World War II, he said he can still recall his sacrifices and pain together with the rest of the veterans during the war.

He added that since he became a US citizen and a resident of the United States of America, he has attended the Leyte Gulf Landings commemorative program twice already, in 2009 and this year, 2010.

Furthermore, he said he purposely came home this year because his attendance to the Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary celebration might be his last because of his old age.

Staff Sergeant Padero is happily married to the beauteous Marilyn, 48 years old, his second wife, also from Alang-alang, Leyte.

For his part, Marcelo Gatela, 84 years old from Tacloban City and a father of seven children who was a member of the Occupation Troop of the US army during the war said he is happy he reached his age now, adding that his attendance to the 66th anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings gave him an opportunity to see his comrades in Eastern Visayas particularly those residing in other parts of Leyte who are still living.

"In my troop of 60 members, 20 of us were Filipinos and I have no more trace of the whereabouts of my colleagues at present," he said.

"At least I am happy today to witness the occasion," he added.

He was teary-eyed as he recalled his ordeal during the war just to be a part of the his troop's quest to regain peace.

Sgt. Gatela who is married to Jesusa Ronda, 80 years old, also from Tacloban City hopes to attend the occasion with his wife next year and in future celebrations of the Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary.

On the other hand, Benjamin P. Canonigo, 86 years old from Tolosa, Leyte who functions as a Corporal of the Philippine Scout said the celebration was much of an improvement of the past celebrations of the Leyte Landing anniversary.

As the rites of the celebration progressed, he said he can still recount how he eluded his enemies during the war. " It was difficult, a lot of sacrifice," he said.

Mrs. Filomena Dajes of the Philippine Vaterans Legion who is the Eastern Visayas Regional Commander, said the celebration this year was excellent.

"I can see the togetherness of the people of Leyte through the provincial government led by Governor Jericho Petilla and the helping hands they have shown in respect of our great grandparents who were World War II veterans," he said.

The veterans present during the commemorative program of the 66th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary were one in saying that the celebration this year was a great success.

"The program was very organized and was finished just on time not to hold us long in the venue which was getting warmer. We felt honored by the hospitality and concern accorded us by the organizers of the event," the veterans said.

The 66th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary celebration this year was anchored on the theme "Passing on the Torch of Heroism to the Youth of Today".

20, 201

EV marks today 66th Leyte
Gulf Landings anniversary

by Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Dignitaries from Allied nations are to lead in today's commemoration of the 66th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary at the national shrine named after the legendary American general Douglas MacArthur.

Leading the dignitaries who are to witness the historic program are Leslie Basset, deputy chief of mission of the United States Embassy and Ambassador Makoto Katsura of the Japanese Embassy.

Also in attendance are New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Graeme Matheson, Andrew Byrne, minister and deputy of the head of mission of the Australian Embassy and James Trottier, counselor for the political and economic section of the Canadian Embassy.

This year's commemorative address is to be delivered by Undersecretary Samuel Bagasin, undersecretary for civil, veterans and reserve affairs of the Department of National Defense.

It was learned that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino was invited as part of the protocol for this year's commemorative program but has to beg off due to other pressing matters.

Leyte Governor Jericho "Icot" Petilla said that this year's commemorative program would be "simple yet meaningful" as he urged the present generation to always be reminded of the heroism and gallantry of our veterans who sacrificed their lives in liberating the country from the Japanese Imperial Army 66 years ago.

And just like in the past, today's historical commemoration will be started with a sunrise ceremony to be attended by the World War veterans at around 4 in the morning.

This will be followed by a "walk for peace" which will start at the municipal hall of Palo and to end at the General Douglas MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park at Candahug, the main site of the commemorative program.

At 7 am, a Concelebrated Field Mass will be held with the grand march of the veterans to follow immediately.

By 8:45, dignitaries are expected to arrive and will be accorded with arrival honors with the commemorative program to begin immediately.

Antonio Cinco, who chair the technical working group of the commemorative program, said that security preparations for the guests and the public who are to witness the commemorative program have already been laid out.

"Members of our Philippine National Police together with our auxiliary force are ready for any eventualities," Cinco said.

Cinco also said that while this year's commemorative program lack the presence of some national officials and high-ranking dignitaries just like in previous programs, it will not make the program less important.

"The fact that they have accepted the invitations by sending their representatives is more than enough," Cinco said.

Cinco also issued an appeal to the young generation to attend and witness the commemorative program for them to rekindle the historic deeds made by our forefathers 66 years ago.

"This is an occasion not to take advantage of the holiday due to the Leyte Landings Anniversary but for us, especially the younger generation, to know what our veterans did for us," Cinco said.

20, 201

No work for Taclobanons today

by Gay B. Gaspay

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Taclobanons have all the reason to rejoice today it's a NO WORK day. All employees of the private and public agencies to include local institutions and business sectors, October 20, 2010 is declared a Special Non-Working Holiday in the City of Tacloban to commemorate the 66th Leyte Gulf Anniversary.

Based on Resolution 2009-10-858 of October 2, 2009, October 20 is declared and every year thereafter a special Non-Working Holiday in Tacloban.

Patterned after Repubic Act No. 1475 otherwise known as an act declaring October 20 of every year a special holiday in theProvince of Leyte, amending for the purpose section thirty of the revised administrative code.

Tacloban being a Highly Urbanized City is now independent from the province to commemorate said celebration and is no longer part pursuant to Article 12 of the rules and regulations implementing the Local Government Code of 1991.

Historical accounts confirm that the Allied forces also actually landed on White Beach Tacloban and had its headquarters in Tacloban City, Taclobanons being witness of said historic event which restored democracy to our country also joins in the Leyte Landing celebration.

Tacloban City declared October 20, 2010 as a Special Non-Working Holiday and every year thereafter.

18, 201

Implementation of Tacloban Fish Port left hanging

by Jocelyn D. Paano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office 8 has voiced out that it is dismayed on the hanging implementation of the fish port project in Tacloban City that was funded by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"We're back to zero," said BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express when asked about the progress of the said project.

"It is still in discussion in about two years," Albaladejo said. "The implementation of this project is going too slow because the identified place where to construct the fishport which is in Tacloban old terminal is not yet finalized. Though the depth of the water passed in the analysis done months ago by Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA), the area of the old terminal is too small for the project," he added.

According to Albaladejo, the construction of the fish port needs to have two to three hectares, in which Brgy. 37 would be affected. It is said that one of the options is relocation for the said residents to be able to use the space for the construction of the fish port.

Albaladejo further said that "we are losing the opportunity of attracting tuna fishers." He also mentioned that this will be a great improvement on the economy of the city and will make job opportunities for the people.

However, Councilor Neil Glova, the chairman of the committee on urban poor, said that the project is good but the agencies behind this should make sure that this will not affect the living condition of the affected families if ever this would pushed through.

"We cannot just close our eyes and ears. I am hoping that this matter will be transparent to the people," Glova stressed.

Moreover, the BFAR is looking forward to implementing this project since the allotted P50 million budget is already fixed on hand and ready for use anytime the implementation begins.

18, 201

Tacloban New Bus Terminal now becoming more organized

by Jocelyn D. Paano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Tacloban New Bus Terminal is now becoming more organized and utilized through the implementations of all plans,Norberto Obase, new bus terminal manager, said.

"We have organized, changed and transferred certain PUJ's, buses, mini buses and all passenger vehicles from their old location for better parking areas," Obase said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

The management divided the terminal considered as Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.Terminal 1 for all southbound passenger vehicles and terminal 2 for all northbound passenger vehicles.

Obase further said that though the parking areas are now settled, there is still a possibility for change. He said that there was a proposed plan by the city government to construct another terminal in Campetic area exclusive for southbound passenger vehicles.

"Probably by next year the terminal can't accommodate all vehicles because every after three or six months owners of buses decide to have two or more additional passenger buses, that's why we need another terminal," Obase stressed.

Obase also said that he prohibited dispatchers from their work. This is a way of making the terminal less chaotic between passengers, operators and the management.

Moreover, Obase also said that other than making the terminal clean they also do not forget to look up to God. "We already started having mass in 1st Wednesday of the month just this October here in the terminal at 10:00 am and this would happen every month hopefully, for the passengers and the management to be more blessed." he disclosed.

Oct 16, 2010

An Waray stages 3rd Oktubafest on October 23

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- As part of its continuing efforts to promote the coconut industry in Eastern Visayas, the An Waray Party List is set to hold the 3rd Oktubafest on October 23 at the Leyte Park Convention Center along Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City.

Mitchelle Basal, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Oktubafest, informed that the Oktubafest is a food, drink and music festival showcasing the local tuba wine.

The annual event aims to promote the Region's cultural heritage as well as highlight the local tuba industry.

The Oktubafest will kick-off with the Opening Program at 8:30 in the morning.

The Tuba Techno Marketing Seminar, a seminar on different technologies and marketing skills under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Coconut Authority will start at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. The target participants are tuba producers from various municipalities in the Region.

The opening of the Tuba Trade Exhibit Booths of the Tuba producers and representatives of different Local Government Units, will open at 9:00 o'clock in the morning.

One of the highlights of the 3rd Oktubafest is the Tuba Photo Essay Contest, an exhibit of different photo essays that feature tuba and the cultural milieu of Eastern Visayas. This is open to all interested participants.

Another highlight is the On the Spot "Kawit" Art Contest, a painting contest highlighting the lakug or kawit, which is an indispensable tool for tuba gathering. This is also open to all interested participants.

What is Oktubafest without the Wine Tasting Contest? This year, the guests of the festival will help in choosing the best Bahal and Bahalina through a wine tasting festival. The guests will be given the chance to sample the different varieties of tuba from the different municipalities.

A cooking contest wherein the Best Tuba-Infused Dish and Kotil will be chosen will be opened to LGU contestants with ages 16 to 25 years old.

A Kuracha Dance Contest will be conducted at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon while at 7:00 o'clock in the evening, a Winaray musical variety show and a Waray Group Singing Contest will be conducted. The Winaray Group Singing Contest features a choreographed group singing highlighting the best Waray folk music.

Oct 14, 2010

Allied Forces, Japan diplomats confirm attendance in 66th Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla confirmed the attendance of dignitaries coming from the Allied Forces and from Japan to the 66th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings on October 20.

Among those who confirmed their attendance to the commemorative program were the representatives of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan, Governor Petilla, who underscored that this year's commemoration have been kept simple but significant, informed.

The good governor added that the attendance of Honorable Samuel B. Bagasin has also been confirmed. Honorable Bagasin is the Undersecretary for Civil, Military, Veterans and Reserve Affairs of the Department of National Defense.

The visitors from Australia will be led by Mr. Andrew Byrne, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Australia.

Canada will be represented by Mr. James Trottier, Counselor for Political and Economic Section, Embassy of Canada.

No less than His Excellency Andrew Graeme Matheson, Ambassador, Embassy of New Zealand, will arrive in Leyte to grace the 66th Leyte Gulf Landings commemorative program.

In order to extend Japan's message of solidarity, His Excellency Makoto Katsura, Ambassador, Embassy of Japan will once again grace the Commemorative Program.

His Excellency will be accompanied by Colonel Yuki Matsuzaki, Defense Attache, Embassy of Japan and Mr. Yoshino Hirosato, Secretary of the Ambassador.

The representatives of the United States of America will be Ms. Leslie Basset, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy and Mr. John Skelly, Director, Manila Regional Office, US Department of Veterans and Affairs, Embassy of the United States.

The Leyte Gulf Landing Anniversary commemorates the successful liberation by Allied Forces, of the Philippines from Japanese occupation during WWII.

The celebration remembers the return of General Douglas MacArthur and his men who landed on the shores of Palo, Leyte. General MacArhtur had been forced to retreat from the islands two years earlier by advancing Japanese forces at which point he valiantly vowed: "I shall return".

The landing preceded the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 22-27, 1944 that involved more than 739 ships in what is considered as history's largest sea battle.

13, 201

Only a few houses available
at Camella-Palo, Leyte

by Ven Labro

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Only a few remaining housing units are available for sale at the Carmella-Palo Leyte community.

This was disclosed recently by Geraldine S. Gascon, general manager of Camella-Leyte, who said that 85 percent of their nearly 400 housing units in Barangay Campetic, Palo, Leyte were already sold out. "Only a few houses are not yet sold there," she says.

Because of the big demand for housing units in Leyte, Gascon reveals that they would soon open a similar project with about 300 housing units in Barangay Tambulilid, Ormoc City.

What we will have there is affordable housing, costing from P1 million to a maximum of about P2 million per unit," she says, referring to the Ormoc project.

Meanwhile, Mae Joy Serevilla Evano, a marketing staff of Camilla-Palo Leyte, discloses that more than three-fourths of those who bought a unit in Camella-Palo, Leyte were overseas Filipino workers or their relatives.

The buyers were from different parts of Eastern Visayas but most were from Leyte , she says.

People from all parts of the region are buying Camella Homes because of our strategic location, well-planned houses and themed community," she explains.

Also, the Camella-Palo, Leyte community is providing homeowners with a modern and quality residential community. It is a fenced community with an entrance gate and a 24-hour security ensuring peace and order for residents at all times.

Camella-Leyte offers six different home styles, such as Lara twin home, Marvela, Carmela, Drina , Elaisa and Marga.

According to Evano, their best sellers for married couples were the Drina and Elaisa, which are both two-storey buildings, spacious and with a provision for carport.

Drina has a floor area of 81 sq. m., a lot area of 99 sq. m., a spacious living room, three bedrooms, a maid's room, three toilets and bathrooms, dining and kitchen, and a provision for balcony and carport.

Elaisa, on the other hand, has a floor area of 96 sq. m., a lot area of 110 sq.m., a spacious living room, four bedrooms, a storage room, a maid's room with toilet, dining and kitchen, two toilets and bathrooms, and a provision for balcony, carport and laundry area.

Evano says that the costs of housing units at Camella-Palo, Leyte range from P1.3 million to P2.7 million. But she quickly adds that Camella-Palo, Leyte is offering bank financing that could make the housing units more affordable to buyers.

Among the amenities offered in the community are a club house, a basketball court, and a children's playground, in an environment for quality family time.

11, 201

Romualdez to critics: No need for charter amendments

by Eden Benusa-Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- "There's no need to amend our city charter."

These were the words of Mayor Alfred Romualdez in answer to the call of some Taclobanons to speedily amend the city's charter equal to its present classification as highly urbanized city (HUC).

However, a high-ranking departmental head in the city hall who requested anonymity had maintained that charter amendment is important to truly make Tacloban an HUC.

"If charter amendments will not take place, our HUC will remain a half-baked one and our people will not benefit much from it," she said.

Another inside source at the city hall added that charter amendment should be done in order to create new positions for city government, entitle the employees for higher salaries, and create two additional seats in the city council.

In response, Mayor Romualdez strongly stressed that since Taclobanons had already signified their approval to HUC thru a plebiscite and former President Gloria Arroyo had also confirmed it, charter amendments are no longer necessary.

Romualdez also answered that employees in the city government are now receiving higher salaries than before.

He added that conversion had allowed the city to get more revenues to finance its many social services for its increasing population.

11, 201

To be deprived of access road?

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Some 500 families in Sitio Costa Brava, Barangay 88, San Jose district in this City have voiced apprehensions that they would be deprived of their access to the main road when the construction of a factory that would manufacture foams would be completed in their barangay.

Alex Pingol, the spokesman of the group, voiced his concern since the factory to be established in their place had already placed a perimeter fence. As a result, their access to and from their place to the main road will be blocked, and if a way will not be provided their route will only be through the sea, which they said is dangerous.

According to Pingol, they have already forwarded their complaint to City Architect Danilo Fuentebella and some members of the City council namely, Councilors Emmanuel Domingo and Niel Glova to do something about their compliant but the city officials concerned have yet to act on this.

True, we are inviting investors to the city and the construction of a foam factory has a big impact not only in terms of employment opportunities but also needed revenue by the city.

But if this will affect such a large number of families there must be a way, so that another problem will not be created in exchange of employment and other economic benefits.

The city government has the moral obligation to look and find ways not to allow inconveniences to such a large group of people residing in the area.

On the other hand, the factory, once it will be established, has also the social responsibility to provide an access road that will not prejudice the people living there.

11, 201

Tacloban now a cleaner, greener city, says Mayor Romualdez

by Eden Benusa-Reyes with reports from Ronald O. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Amid mounting criticisms, Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that Taclobanons are now slowly enjoying the benefits brought about by the highly-urbanized city (HUC) status.

The local chief executive confidently announced that Tacloban is the leading LGU in the whole region in terms of its investment capabilities and clean and green program.

To complement this, Romualdez said that the city already complied with the environmental requirements as it already has its own covered dumpsite.

The mayor also mentioned that the city is now bringing more basic services to the various barangays (villages) like never been before thru their "Barangayan program".

In a separate interview, Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, also the wife of the mayor, assured Taclobanons that they are doubling their efforts to maintain the clean and green program of the administration.

"Safe and comfortable environment is important for an HUC status. This is the reason why I am personally monitoring all the clean and green activities in the city such as cleaning the market, declogging the canals, and collecting the garbage," she said.

She also recalled that Tacloban City bagged the 2nd place in National Literacy Award because of its various programs that are geared on improving the socio-awareness and welfare of the constituents.

These programs include the Cristina Learn & Earn Program, a curriculum on health-care and beauty-care which provide income to the beneficiaries; Responsible Parenting Movement (RPM); Sharing Computer Access Locally & Abroad (SCALA), a computer literacy program for the Out-of-school youths (OSYs); Parents Effectiveness Service (PES), a family-centered education and training; literacy and livelihood trainings for city prisoners; and TOMECO, a community and school based education for children and parents on traffic and safety rules in the City.

Also, Asian Institute of Management -Policy Center (AIM-PC), a prestigious policy-making body in the country had recognized Tacloban City as one of the most competitive cities in the country outside the National Capital Region.

However, critics of the administration maintained that city officials have not done much in terms of providing employment to the less fortunate constituents, solving the squatter problem, lessening crime rates, improving infrastructure support, and leveling the field in commerce for small businessmen in the city.

"A big mall in our midst does not mean we have improved the condition of the people. If they would only look around, Tacloban City is now getting 'ruralized' instead of being 'urbanized'," one critic said.

09, 201

Pfleider strongly maintains innocence in Granados slay

by Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Pleading his innocence, former police general Edwin Pfleider, who is being accused of killing a relative, said he is willing to face the murder case filed against him before the Department of Justice.

Pfleider, who was interviewed simultaneously in three local radio stations here in the city yesterday morning, said that he was shock that he was named to be the mastermind behind the killing of businessman Manuel Granados.

Granados was killed last Sept. 15 while he was about to board his vehicle parked outside their house at People's Homesite and Housing Corp. (PHHC) Village, this city.

His son, Jeric Dane "Tata" Granados, is a member of the city council elected last May 10 general elections.

"Of all (persons), why blame me for the murder?" he said in an interview before DyDW yesterday morning. Radio stations DyVL and Bombo Radyo also aired similar interviews with Pfleider on that same time.

"My conscience is clear. I don't have any idea why I was implicated as the alleged mastermind," the former police general said.
Pfleider said that he is now retired and enjoying his private life as a businessman that was why he was shocked when he was involved in this murder case.

In a voluminous charge sheet filed against him before the DoJ, Pfleider was named as the mastermind in the killing of Manuel Granados, whose operations of public transport business rivals that of the suspect.

Based on the complaint filed against him, Pfleider allegedly hired one Ryan Bautista for a considerable amount of money to kill the businessman.

Bautista is now locked up at the Tacloban City Jail and is facing murder charge filed last Sept.17 before the sala of Judge Salvador Apurillo, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court- Branch 8.

Pfleider, who served as the deputy police regional director, said that he could not do what he was accused of considering that the victim was a relative of his.

The Pfleiders and Granados families are engaged in the same transport business, seen as the possible reason why Manuel Granados was gunned down.

Pfleider said that their business rivalry was a shallow reason for him to kill Granados as he was charged now before the DoJ.

"I hope they should have practice prudence before they have blamed me for the murder of (Granados). Perhaps, the real culprit could now be laughing," he said.

Still, Pfleider said he would face the charge filed against him at the DoJ. He has no plan to leave the country to evade the charge against him, Pfleider said.

"I have already consulted my lawyer regarding that matter," he said.

He asked the public not to believe the accusation against him as he reiterated his innocence on the allegation that he was behind the killing of Granados.

08, 201

Ex-PNP general faces
murder case for killing
of businessman

by Joey A. Gabieta, Reyan Arinto & Lito A. Bagunas

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A retired police general is being implicated in the murder of businessman Manuel Granados as a murder charge was filed against him before the Department of Justice last Wednesday.

Named as accused is Edwin Pfleider who allegedly ordered the triggerman, Ryan Bautista, to kill the father of Councilor Jeric Dane Granados last September 15.

In a press conference yesterday held at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) office,Councilor Granados, assisted by his lawyers Tarcelo Sabarre and Leonidas Escoro, said that he had filed a murder charge against the former police general last Wednesday at the Department of Justice addressed to Justice Secretary Laila de Lima.

Pfleider allegedly "induced" Bautista for a considerable amount of money to kill Granados, who was engaged in transport business just like him.

Pfleider could not be reached for his comment as of press time. His son, Rodolfo, however, said that they would call a press conference anytime.

Asked how they came up naming Pfleider as the mastermind, Sabarre said that it was based "on the evidences gathered from their witnesses."

It was the city police and the CIDG which conducted the joint investigation on the Granados murder.

According to Sabarre, they have three vital witnesses who could pinpoint on the role played by the former police general who once served as deputy police director at the regional Philippine National Police.

Pfleider, described by Councilor Granados as an" influential businessman" also served Tacloban as its police chief.

To recall, the elder Granados was killed in the morning of Sept. 15 while he was about to board his vehicle at their residence at the PHHC Village, this city.

Bautista, the gunman, however, was shot and is now detained at the Tacloban City Jail. He was also facing murder charge now pending at the Regional Trial Court-Branch 8.

Asked why they filed the case at the DOJ-Manila and not here, Sabarre said that they want an "independent entity" to decide the case.

He, however, stressed that their decision in filing the case at the DOJ should not be misconstrued that they do not trust the City Prosecutors' Office which would first appraise the case on its merit.

Councilor Granados, meantime, said that he felt "relieved" that the case against the alleged mastermind on the killing of his father was now unmasked and now charged.

"But I did not expect that he was the one, whom I call as Tito. But sadly, he was the one identified by (our witnesses)," Granados said.

"I hope that justice will be served to us," the neophyte city councilor added.

Sabarre also said that while the case has been filed against Pfleider, the former police general remain "innocent" until the court say otherwise.

08, 201

Hundreds of families in
San Jose complain
construction of factory
would block their road access

by Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Hundreds of families have aired their complaints against the construction of a factory within their village in San Jose, this City, saying it would deprive them a road access.

If the factory will be allowed to go on its construction, it will lead to the violation of their rights, Alex Pingol, speaking on behalf of the affected families, said.

It was learned that the factory, which manufactures foams, is to rise in sitio Costa Brava, Barangay 88, San Jose district.

Pingol said that the construction of the factory would deprive them an access road leading to the main road.

It was learned from Pingol that a perimenter fence has already been constructed within the area, affecting close to 500 families.

Pingol said that they have already wrote letters addressed to City Architect Danilo Fuentebella and some members of the city council, notably Councilors Victor Emmanuel Domingo and Neil Glova.
However, no concrete actions were taken by these city officials regarding their complaints.

"They say it would provide employment, but what about us? It will deny us access," he said.
Instead of blocking their way, they demand for the "institutionalization" of the existing barangay road which they have been using as their main way in coming in and going out from their area.

But if their demand would not be granted, their main way in and out could be through the sea, a route which Pingol claim to be dangerous.

08, 201

City officials designate
spices, vegetables vendors
to proper area

By Rey Gerilla Grado

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City government with the assistance of the market staff extended assistance to the spices and vegetables vendors located in front of the Mayor Alfred Social's Action (MASA) office to vacate the area on Oct 6.

The evacuation of the vendors is in line with the plan of Mayor Romualdez to make the public market as one of the tourist attractions and a convenient place to visit by Taclobanons and communities of nearby municipalities.

Cesar Salipot, market superintendent, said in a recent interview that different market organizations of Tacloban is very supportive to the plans of the City mayor to develop Tacloban into a better place.

Salipot said they find it easy to let the spices and vegetables vendors transfer to their designated place, for they were given prior consultation and was informed that they would be transferred. In fact, the vendors had voluntarily helped the people from the City market who led the conduct of the said transfer.

"The reason why vendors need to vacate the said area is due to the plan of Mayor Romualdez to expand the market area of Tacloban by adding more facilities to the vendors and the welfare of the customers, as an answer to the fact that the City is growing especially that now we are categorized as a Highly Urbanized City and that Tacloban is considered as the trade center of Eastern Visayas," Salipot said.

"Temporarily, these small time vendors including the spices and vegetables vendors are permitted by Mayor Romualdez to stay along Quezon Boulevard beside the old bus terminal wall up to the time that the place where they should be situated would be finalized," he added.

Salipot also have mentioned that the mayor has a plan of putting up Bay Walk on the evacuated area that would either expand the reclaimed area or put up a parking area that would be utilized by people, especially those who came from nearby places because even up to now the city has no parking area yet.

As of the moment, the City Architect, together with the City Planning, is still on the process of deliberation in coming up with the best design to be followed for the public market area of the City that would be suited to the location, culture, and the style of business of the community that would also be approved by the city mayor.

"The expansion of the public market aims to give better customer service and have a convenient place to go, especially that many of the Taclobanons nowadays are transferring to the northern part of the City, which leads to the establishing of the public market at the New Bus Terminal intended mostly to the Northern communities as well as to those people from other nearby municipalities who pass by the terminal," Salipot explained.

Salipot, on the other hand, assures those boatmen who are using the port nearby the evacuated area that they will not be affected because it is the only place in the City that serves as the docking area of other neighboring municipalities from Samar. Also it serves as the only port area used to transfer goods going in and out of Tacloban.

08, 201

What's on @ Robinsons!!

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Your fun Mall never fails to bring excitement to its dear shoppers as Robinsons Place Tacloban brings a weekend of high-power entertainment!

We'll fill your cold Friday night with sizzling-hot rock and roll music from the JUAN DELA CRUZ Band featuring Mike Hanopol, Pepe Smith, and Wally Gonzales as they perform for FREE on October 8, 2010, 6pm at Robinsons Place Tacloban carpark area.

This free concert is made possible in partnership with J&P Asia, Inc. and SHELL. Special thanks to San Miguel Corporation and Picture City.

Music and dancing continues on Saturday Oct. 9, 2010, 3pm at Robinsons Place Tacloban Activity Area as we bring you THE BATTLE Dance Showdown II Grand Finals.

Eleven of the best dance groups in the city shall set foot on-stage and battle for the big prizes Robinsons Place Tacloban and ALDRTZ Maxi Fresh Germicidal Soap has prepared for the victors!

Special Thanks to ALDRTZ Corporation, Picture City, Waffle Time and Bubbatealicious.

Fun never stops at Robinsons Place Tacloban!

Oct 08, 2010

Ex-police general
faces murder rap in slay
of trader-cousin

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- A murder charge was filed against a retired police general for allegedly masterminding the killing of a businessman, who is his cousin, in Tacloban City in September.

Retired police general Edwin Pfleider allegedly ordered the killing of Manuel Granados, a prominent businessman whose son, Jeric Dane Granados, is member of the Tacloban City Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council).

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Councilor Granados said he filed the murder case against Pfleider with the Department of Justice in Manila on Wednesday based on the evidence they had obtained from witnesses.

However, the younger Granados refused to provide details on how they were able to determine the participation of Pfleider, his father's cousin.

Granados said Pfleider allegedly "induced" Ryan Bautista to kill his father for a considerable amount of money.

Both Pfleider and Granados, distant cousins, were engaged in the transport business.

Bautista, using a .45-cal. pistol, gunned down the 57-year-old victim outside their house in People's Homesite and Housing Corp. (PHHC) Village in Tacloban City last Sept. 15.

Bautista, however, was shot in the abdomen by a security escort of the older Granados. The gunman is detained at the Tacloban City Jail and facing a murder charge filed last Sept. 17 with the Regional Trial Court-Branch 8 in Tacloban.

In a radio interview, Pfleider professed his innocence, saying he could not in conscience kill a relative.

"We may be business rivals, but to kill him is something that I cannot do. I am innocent as I have nothing to do with his killing," Pfleider said when interviewed by local station dyDw Friday.

Pfleider served as police deputy director in the region in 2006. He was later transferred to Western Visayas where he retired from police service.

Pfleider ,58, ran for congressman of Leyte's third congressional district during the May 10 elections, but lost.

Asked why they filed the case at the DOJ-Manila and not in Tacloban City, Councilor Granados said that they wanted an "independent entity" to decide the case, considering that the suspect was an "influential businessman."

He added he felt "relieved" now that a case had been filed against the alleged mastermind in the killing of his father.

"But I did not expect that he was the one, whom I call Tito. But sadly, he was the one identified by (our witnesses)," Granados said.

"I hope that justice will be served," he added.

Oct 07, 2010

Retired police general
tagged in trader's murder

By Ranulfo Docdocan

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN City, Philippines - A retired police general has been tagged as the mastermind in the murder of a prominent businessman in Tacloban City, Leyte province last September 15.

The family of the victim, Manuel Granados, said they have filed a complaint of murder against retired police general Edwin Pfleider at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Granados family said they filed the complaint directly to the DOJ instead of the Tacloban City prosecutor's office to make sure that an independent identity will handle the case against Pfleider.

Granados, who is engaged in the local transportation business and father of City Councilor Jeric Dane Granados, was shot dead in front of his home last September 15.

Police has arrested the suspected gunman identified as Ryan Bautista, who has allegedly told police during an interrogation that Pfleider ordered him to shoot Granados.

Reports said Pfleider is also engaged in the transportation business.

Pfleider had served as chief of the Taclocan City Police Office and deputy regional director for administration of the Eastern Visayas Regional Police Office.

He was also appointed as deputy regional director for administration of the Western Visayas regional police.

Oct 07, 2010

PNP8 chief commends lady cop who nabbed snatcher victimizing jeep passenger

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Police Region 8 Director Arnold Rayala Revilla commended a lady cop assigned at the PNP Regional Office who came to the rescue of a snatching victim and nabbed a young snatcher in the process.

Director Revilla said that PO2 Jennylene S. Patagnan exemplified the role of the Philippine National Police as partners of the community in maintaining peace and order. He said that "we can fight such problems if we are all united," underscoring the importance of police and community partnership in crime prevention.

"No obstacles or hurdles can impede our dignified undertakings, kayang-kaya 'pag sama-sama," Director Revilla said.

A report from the Police Community Relations Office Region 8 stated that in the afternoon of September 26, 2010 at Marasbaras, Tacloban City, a complainant Melanie Garcia, 35 yrs old, single, employed as Non-uniformed Personnel of PRO8 was on board in a public utility jeep bound for Tacloban City.

Ms. Garcia was sitting beside the suspect identified as Armie Terado, 22 yrs old, single, jobless and a resident of Brgy. Guindapunan, Palo, Leyte.

While travelling, the suspect surreptitiously opened the shoulder bag without the knowledge and consent of the complainant/victim, then took the wallet containing cash money amounting to PHP 1,100.00.

Upon reaching Marasbaras, Tacloban City, infront of Robinson?s Place, complainant noticed that her bag was already opened and her wallet was already in the possession of the suspect.

Complainant confronted the suspect then grabbed the wallet which resulted in a commotion and caught the attention of a policewoman PO2 Jennylene S Patagnan, assigned at OROPD, PRO8 who was riding in another PUJ.

PO2 Patagnan immediately disembarked and assisted the complainant and arrested the suspect.

The youth offender was placed under custodial investigation at Police Station 1, Marasbaras, Tacloban City for proper dispositon.

07, 201

Port manager recommends Tacloban port redevelopment

by Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The port manager of the Philippine Ports Authority here in the region reported that he is recommending for the redevelopment of the Tacloban port and make it as one of the premier ports in the country in the next 10 years.

PPA Port Manager Winfred Elizalde said that if his plan would be approved by their central office, the redevelopment of the Tacloban port could easily reached P 1 billion.

"With such a huge cost, perhaps we can do it on a phase by phase (construction)," Elizalde said.

According to him, there is a need to redevelop the Tacloban port for it to accommodate more commercial vessels.

Elizalde, however, could not say yet as what would involved on the proposed redevelopment of the Tacloban port, considered to be the region's premier seaport.

Based on the PPA records, of the 531 ship calls last year, 519 were of domestic origin while 12 foreign ships made a stop at the Tacloban port.

The same PPA records also revealed that the Tacloban port generated revenue of more than P75.73 million which was relatively higher compare to the 2008 records of P66.18 million.

The revenue was generated by the PPA through port dues, berthing and anchorage fees, among others.

For this year, the target revenue is around P74 million.

Elizalde said that with a bigger area, the Tacloban port can accommodate more and bigger cargo vessels.

For several years now, the Tacloban port is only servicing cargo vessel. Passenger vessels have ceased to operate at the said port.

The PPA port manager believed that with an improved port, Tacloban would further develop which could affect its nearby areas.

"I believe an (improved) port can boost the further development of Tacloban especially now there is seems to be an upbeat mood among our people now that Tacloban has become a highly urbanized city," he said.

06, 201

An Waray Oktubafest 2010

by Jenno A. Rañin

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- As a celebration of the Waray Culture on Tuba, the An Waray is holding the Oktuba- fest as their soul project.

The Oktubafest is now on its third year as a leading contest that aims to uplift the Tuba culture in Region 8.

In participation, the DOST and PCA vowed to give their support to this project as part of being a connecting agency of An Waray.

Municipalities from all over Region 8 were sent invitations by An Waray to send their representatives to compete on October 23.

Chosen venue for the competition would be at the Leyte Park Convention Center, Tacloban City wherein it will be a whole day event starting at 7:00 a.m. till 12 in the midnight.

Representatives from each municipality will be competing for the contest in Choir singing, Kuracha dance, Best Bahalina, Best Tuba-infused dish, Best tuba concoction and (Kawit) Painting.

In the morning, a techno-marketing seminar will first be held at Leyte Park which will teach the participants on how to make their packaging and marketing of tuba more presentable, so as to make their products more attractive for consumers.

At noon time, a video presentation will also take place, to showcase what happened in the tuba industry of the past winners of Oktuba fest in 2009.

The winners for the 2009 competition by category was municipality of Tunga for Best in Bahalina, Calbiga Western Samar for the Best Tuba-infused dish, and Mayorga for the Best in Tuba Concoction.

Meanwhile, the An Waray have not yet decided who their specific speakers would be, but it is assured to be a person from DOST, PCA and An Waray.

Oct 06, 2010

E. Visayas eyes its
own geothermal plant

By R. L. Arinto

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Governors in Eastern Visayas are finalizing a plan for a baseload geothermal power plant that will exclusively serve the requirements of the region, Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said in a phone interview yesterday.

Mr. Petilla said the plan will be pursued if the generating plants at the Tongonan geothermal fields, the largest in the country with capacity of over 500 megawatts (MW), will not be able to assure the region of reliable power supply. A check with the Web site of the National Grid Power Corporation of the Philippines showed that the entire Visayas lacked 327 MW yesterday.

"The generating plants and ancillary services have posed electricity shortage problems and an increase in power rates in Eastern Visayas. It is ironic to note that we are the power source and yet we are experiencing power interruptions," Mr. Petilla said, noting there are five electric cooperatives serving his province alone which require over 100 MW.

"We are still finalizing the blueprint for this plan, but the suggestion is to have a geothermal plant that would supply the baseload supply for the region," he added.

While he confirmed the plan, Northern Samar Governor Paul R. Daza said in a separate phone interview that they should first wait to see if the power supply situation in the entire Visayas will normalize before the region pursues the plan to build its own power-generating plant. This, as two new baseload plants are expected to boost the generation capacity of the Visayas by the first quarter next year. "It is an option should we continue to experience power shortage. In Northern Samar, we usually experience longer brownouts, mainly caused by transmission maintenance work," Mr. Daza said.

The plan has also reportedly gained support from Samar Gov. Sharee Ann T. De los Santos and Eastern Samar Gov. Conrado M. Nicart, but they were not immediately available for confirmation.

04, 201

Illegal settlers, one of
the problems of CEO

by Marichi M. Mullon

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City Engineers Office shared during an interview with the Leyte Samar Daily Express that one of their problems is the illegal settlers or the persons in the squatter's area.

According to Bobby Gabriana, Road Right of Way Agent of City Engineer's Office, because of these illegal settlers there are projects that they cannot easily start. Just like road widening, clearing of water wastes or drainage system and construction of buildings because these illegal settlers are occupying the site for these projects which is usually owned by the government.

These illegal settlers were given relocation sites where they can transfer and also monetary assistance but what is happening is after they have received the assistance they will sell the division of land given to them and will return to the squatter's area.

This scenario is happening repeatedly and really hinders the fast development of the projects of the CEO, because it is not easy to let these illegal settlers leave the place. It will have to pass a due process; we have to give them three notices first then after that if they will not leave we will file a case to the regional court then we will have a demolition upon approval of the court, he said.

Those things which have to pass a due process will take a lot of time and effort and another burden to us, Gabriana said.

Oct 03, 2010

Public works chief vows
zero tolerance for graft

By Joey A. Gabieta - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson reiterated his zero tolerance for graft and corruption in his agency and warned district engineers in Eastern Visayas to clean up their acts.

                  DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson

Singson called on the engineers to change the image of the Department of Public Works and Highways as one of the most corrupt-ridden government agencies.

"Pasensiyahan tayo pag kayo ay mahuli (Anybody caught will just have to accept their fate)," Singson said in his talk Saturday with the 13 district engineers of the department in Eastern Visayas (Region8).

He met the district engineers, together with other regional officials led by director Angelito Twano, at the DPWH-8 office in Palo town, Leyte.

Twano said the district engineers in the region should better heed the warning of Singson.

"You have heard our secretary so you better listen to him," he said to the district engineers, who all sat quietly as both Singson and Twano spoke about the DPWH leadership's anti-graft campaign within the department.

Singson, however, stressed that due process would be strictly followed in meting sanctions on erring officials or personnel.

The DPWH secretary, who was on his first visit to Eastern Visayas, was primarily in the region to attend Saturday's launching of the $214.4-million road rehabilitation project covering 223 kilometers of roads in Eastern Samar and Samar provinces to be funded by the Millennium Challenge Corp. of the United States government.

Singson said that it would no longer be "business as usual" at the DPWH.

"We will run after those who engage in corrupt practices. I will not allow corrupt practices to continue in our department," he said.

DPWH, in various surveys, has been rated high among the most corrupt government agencies, with a number of its officials being accused of taking bribes from contractors that resulted in the poor quality of infrastructure projects.

Singson has also instructed all district engineers in the region to make all public bidding transparent to avoid suspicions of rigging.

Oct 02, 2010

Leyte Solon's
billboards removed

By Nestor L. Abrematea

Manila Bulletin

TACLOBAN CITY - The Tacloban City Sub-District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here said billboards of Leyte First District Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez have all been dismantled by the agency in compliance with a directive from DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singzon banning the installation of billboards of politicians in government infrastructure projects.

         A new DPWH order bans all names and pictures
                 of politicians from government projects.

Engr. Arnaldo R. Bonifacio, District Engineer of the TCSDEO-DPWH, said they dismantled 74 billboards with the picture and name of Romualdez installed in all of his insfrastructure projects in the city.

Singson is scheduled to arrive in Tacloban City on his way to Eastern Samar soon. Bonifacio said he did not receive any complaints from either Romualdez or anyone from the latter's camp after the billboards were turned over to the solon's Tacoloban City's office.

01, 201

Gov. Petilla:
EV needs a hotel that
will serve as a destination

by Reyan L. Arinto

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Eastern Visayas needs a hotel that will also serve as a destination, according to Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla.

      A sketch of the proposed MacArthur Beach Resort

"There are different ideas of what a tourist destination is. For many people, the hotel itself is a tourist destination. They look for a hotel where all amenities are, accommodation, swimming pool, mini-golf course, among others," Gov. Petilla said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

"In Leyte, we don't have that kind of hotel. We only have the basic amenities and we need to have better places to accommodate tourists," Petilla added.

"But the government cannot provide all these amenities hence we are encouraging the private sector to venture into the hotel business. So we are giving it to the private sector," Petilla said.

But Petilla said the private hotel group, Lee King Yek Resorts and Hotels (LKY), which is supposed to manage MacArthur Beach Resort and Spa, could not determine the exact schedule of their full operation since there had been delays in the construction and rehabilitation of the hotel.

The resort hotel was expected to operate within the third quarter of this year but until now construction has not yet been fully made.
"The private developer is apprehensive of the current situation especially the latest incident at the Quirino grandstand where Hong Kong nationals were hostaged and some of them were killed. Also, it might be for some economic reasons that they could not start their operations," Petilla said.

Based on initial plans, Singaporean conglomerate will open villas while it will continue to construct the hotel's main building between July to September this year.

"Well, it's their (LKY) loss because they are paying the provincial government P250,000 every month for leasing the property," Petilla said.

Last August, the provincial government disclosed that LKY did not drop its plan to rehabilitate the government-owned resort but it will be redesigned from a five-star hotel into a four-star facility.

LKY has pledged to invest P300 million for the rehabilitation of the resort.

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" ... 1.2 million Tibetans, one-fifth of the
country's population, died as a result of China's policies;
many more languished in prisons and labor camps ... "

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