This page features some special news reports and documentaries

special report 18

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DYOG Calbayog celebrates its Silver Jubilee


Peasant women brave palengke challenge

Leyte NGO brings life back to disaster-stricken communities through empowerment

The voice as sweet as honey

Region 8’s Wonder Boy is only 7 years old

Sneak a Peak at the Ultimate Party Grounds – Balyuan Park

Guinsaugon mudslide survivors asks for help

A Tribute for our Heroes

Post-mining advantages cited



Agrarian reform beneficiaries in Eastern Samar receive 10 coco twining machines

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 5, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The productivity of the members of the Carmen Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multipurpose Cooperative in Hernani, Eastern Samar, is expected to be enhanced after they received ten coco twining machines, Jo Fabile of DAR Eastern Samar and DAR 8 Information Officer John Alsmith Soria informed.

Coco twine production in Eastern Samar
A member of the Carmen Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative with her children working together in producing coco twines at home.  (PIA 8/alsmith)

The Department of Agrarian Reform officials who witnessed the distribution of the ten twining machines must have been smiling to themselves, proud of having empowered these agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Hernani Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer Susana Monteclaro said that the Department of Agrarian Reform thru the first phase of the Agrarian Reform Community Project funded by the Asian Development Bank, gave the said cooperative P20,000 last year, as financial assistance for its livelihood activities.

The members and officers of the Carmen Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative used the fund in assembling ten coco twining machines which were distributed mid January 2008, to ten of their members for them to produce coco twines.

MARO Monteclaro informed that finished products are being bought by the Hernani Coconut Processing Plant, at one peso for every meter of coco twine the members produce. Most of the members are able to earn P300.00 per day, depending on how industrious they are and how much coco twines they produce.

By giving the members coco twine machines, DAR and the Cooperative are empowering these agrarian reform beneficiaries, an alternative livelihood, instead of just farming which is the main occupation.

An additional daily income of P300.00 is indeed a very good inspiration to these agrarian reform beneficiaries because all their products will be bought by the Hernani Coconut Processing Plant which was funded by the national government.

The coco twines are used into coco textile which is very much in demand in China and other countries because these are used to prevent soil erosion among others.

Coco products offer range of comprehensive and technologically advanced natural erosion control system to stabilize soil and promote vegetation. Coco Geotextiles constructed out of coir, biodegradable fiber made from coconut husks degrade naturally at a rate allowing for the recolonization of the ground by plants. These products protect the site from erosion, retain moisture and nutrients and allow roots to develop naturally. Coco geotextile are both ecologically and economically beneficial. Ecologically beneficial because the six million coconut husks that constitute the biggest bulk of the country's farm waste which harm the environment when burned can be converted into geotextiles instead that can be used to protect river banks from soil erosion.





Representative ‘Kalsada’

January 15, 2008

NAVAL, Biliran  –  Barely more than six months in office as Representative of the Lone  District of Biliran, Atty. Glenn A. Chong has already earned the monicker as Representative ‘Kalsada’ (a local term for road).

The young legislator never hesitated to admit in a regular Kapihan sa PIA at Radyo Natin-Naval the newfound name because this is what he is fondly called now by heads of government offices at the central offices in Manila whenever he goes to these agencies asking for funds for the completion of the remaining 53 kilometers of unpaved circumferential road in the province of Biliran.

The completion of the province’s unpaved road was his major campaign promise and he cannot afford to fail the 36,097 Biliranons who gave their trust and confidence to him during the May 14, 2007 elections. Much more that he offered himself to be stoned whenever he fails to deliver his major campaign promise within his three-year term that ends on June 30, 2010.

That major campaign promise of the neophyte solon is now most likely the major driving factor and the adrenalin for him to work with vigor and enthusiasm as a legislator and for him to show to the Biliranons his sincerity and truthfulness in bringing the aspirations and dreams of every Biliranons for a better Biliran under his watch.

For Representative Chong, the completion of the remaining unpaved circumferential road of the district is the key and catalyst to the full and stable development of the province.

He opined that one of the big contributing factors in the progress of any place or in Biliran province in particular is its good road network where farmers can easily transport their goods to the market without too much hassle and at a lesser transportation cost.

“Having a good road network is essential in the province of Biliran considering that the province’s economy is more dependent on agriculture,” Rep. Chong said.

One thing for sure, he said, tourism industry in the province will get a big boost since local and foreign tourists will no longer find it hard to travel to the different attractive tourist destinations mostly located in the eastern part of the province where a big chunk of the unpaved road is found specifically the road network linking the municipalities of Biliran, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba and Kawayan.

“A good road network is a major compliment to boost the tourism industry in a province labeled by many as an “island paradise” because of its still untouched natural beauties like the cascading waterfalls, pristine white beaches and other beauties of nature only found in Biliran province,” he added. 

The young legislator foresees tourism industry in the province to be one of the main sources of livelihood for the Biliranons in the near future once its circumferential road will be completed.

He added that a good road network also invites investment opportunities to pour in a place like Biliran province where so many investment opportunities are just lurking in the corner waiting to be tapped and developed.

Atty. Chong proudly said that Biliran province is gifted by God not only with natural beauties but also with bountiful natural resources where one can utilize for some business venture like the world’s renowned sweetest water in the world found in Barangay Tomalistis in Caibiran recorded in the Guiness Book of World’s Records.

“This is not only an added tourist attraction but again a avenue for business especially to those who are engage in the business of producing bottled mineral water,” he proudly said.

Aside from this universal gift of nature, Biliran at present is being considered by the Department of Energy (DOE) as a potential site of geothermal energy with an estimated 20-40 megawatts production capacity.

With all these promising industries in Biliran province just waiting in the corner for a good road network for its development, Rep. Chong candidly said that he is never ashamed to ask funds for the remaining unpaved circumferential road of the province that cost him even that famous monicker Representative ‘Kalsada’ because he believes this is the only way to keep his promise to the Biliranons.

He disregard being called that way because according to him, this is one way of alleviating the lives of the Biliranons from the clutches of poverty where he greatly lamented with the fact that the district he represented is the sole province in Eastern Visayas that belongs to the 10 poorest of the poor provinces in the country at present.

His constant knocking on the doorsteps in the different possible sources of funds does not stop only in the concerned government agencies but rather he brings his cause to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by appealing and requesting to her the release of some P700 million which is enough to complete the pavement of the province’s circumferential road.

Lately, Representative Chong has realigned a P50 million worth of road surfacing project intended for Biliran province to road concreting plus he allocated the remaining funds of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) commonly called as “pork barrel” for the period July 1 to December 31, 2007 for the concreting of a considerable length of road linking the Culaba-Kawayan, Caibiran-Culaba, Biliran-Cabucgayan and the Cross Country road sections.

For the 34 years old legislator, he firmly believes in a statement coming from an officer of World Bank, the country’s major foreign creditor for the different infrastructure projects including road projects in a conference he attended called for by the world financial institution which goes that “give a place a good road network and development will surely follows.”

With still plenty of time left at his disposal within his term and who was considered by many as the budding embodiment of a brand new politics, the realization of his major dream – the completion of the concreting of the province circumferential road is always at the forefront in all of his undertakings geared towards uplifting the lives of his fellow Biliranons.

His youthful countenance may have been likened to that of a road by government officials whom he always asked with an honest plea like “give us better roads” really shows the sincerity and thoughtfulness deep inside him in his big dream for Biliran.

No wonder Atty. Glenn A. Chong is called Representative ‘Kalsada’.





Mabuhay magazine features Sogod Bay as a “New, Unpolished Jewel for Diving”

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
January 1, 2008

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  An in-house publication of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), in its December, 2007 issue, has featured Sogod Bay, this province, calling the place a “frontier destination in the Philippines” and a “new, unpolished jewel for diving in the Pacific.”

“A new site in the Philippines has started to create a buzz in the diving community:  Sogod Bay in the province of Southern Leyte has been continuously proving itself to be a new, unpolished jewel for diving in the Pacific,” the three-paragraph article under the heading “Diving in Sogod Bay” began, spreading the cheer to diving enthusiasts.

“Until a few years ago, tourism was virtually unheard of here, save for some dive camps established in the town of Padre Burgos whose clients were having a great time enjoying the rich waters to themselves,” the story, written by Carlos M. Libosada, Jr. said.

PIA got a copy of the glossy magazine through Cong. Roger Mercado, who was obviously elated the place has attracted the attention and appreciation it rightly deserves, coming as it did from a reputable magazine.

In his live radio program last Saturday, Cong. Mercado shared the good news on the publication of the article, saying that, indeed, foreigners can enjoy the natural beauties of the province all year round.

Tourism has been one of Cong. Mercado’s three main programs, the two others being Environment and Agriculture, or the acronym TEA.

Interestingly, the diving potentials in Sogod Bay, has been listed in the latest Mabuhay Magazine, page 154, along with other established beach resorts in the country, like Boracay, Bolinao, Pangasinan, Pamalican island, Calicoan, Eastern Samar, and Anawangin, Zambales, for a special segment on “Christmas at the Beach.”

The full-color, shiny-page piece on Sogod Bay carried three underwater photos, the biggest one of which pictured a contented diver, and the two others a sample of the rich, under-the-sea marine life.

“A few ‘leaked’ stories and photos to the outside world have finally revealed the real natural treasures of Sogod Bay. Now, more resorts and even live-aboard dive boats bring people wanting to explore this relatively frontier destination in the Philippines. And the rewards are astounding: migrating whale sharks (localoly known as iho-tiki), Manta rays, dolphins, wide expanses of hard and soft rocks, pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, and other highly interesting and colorful marine life protected by vigilant communities,” the article said.

It added: “Sogod is perfect not only for scuba divers but for anybody searching for new places to swim, snorkel and encounter whale sharks as well. One of the best ways to explore the area is to get on a rented vehicle, bring a set of snorkel and fins, and go to the fish sanctuaries and protected reefs established in most of the municipalities surrounding the bay.”





Media organization made a difference this Christmas

December 26, 2007

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  A Christmas celebration beyond the traditional Christmas party was celebrated by the community journalists in the province of Samar on Saturday (December 22) with the sisters of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Providence.

CCATMAN gift giving xmas partyMore than 20 orphaned children and Franciscan sisters joined the CCATMAN, a media organization based in Catbalogan City for their Christmas party at Cocina De Cabral. The kids and sisters were treated to a night of fun and surprises by the members of media.

“This is indeed new for us media persons, to be celebrating our Christmas party with our less fortunate children, this is so meaningful and touching”, according to Myra Tambor the emcee of the occasion.  Tambor is working as a broadcast journalist for over a decade at the local MBC radio station DYMS.

Highlight of the affair was the gift-giving and the sing and dance presentation of the kids. The media organization raised funds for the purchase of the gifts, meals and other expenses for the Christmas party.

Meanwhile, the Franciscan sisters expressed gratitude to the President of CCATMAN Ray Gaspay and the Vice-President Emy Bonifacio as well as all the members of the media organization for the occasion. Sister Bing in her thank you message said that there are 12 orphans under their care housed at the Home for the Aged building in Catbalogan. There are also four elders under their care.  She further said that this is the 1st time that the children was treated to a party since they started the orphanage two years ago.

It was learned that the children under their care ages 7 to 15 and a 31 year old rape victim were abandoned by their parents, some was turned to their care by the City Social Welfare Office.  It was also learned that the daily subsistence of the orphanage comes from donations of private individuals.

Moreover, the media organization members hoped that more activities with these children will be conducted thus this will be included in the media advocacies.





The 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Nacionalista Party

December 11, 2007

MANILA, Philippines  –  Senate President and NP President Manuel B. Villar, Jr. treated leaders and members of the Nacionalista Party coming from far away places in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, to a grandiose celebration to mark the Nacionalista Party 100th anniversary at the PICC reception hall, CCP Complex, in Pasay City, on November 28, 2007.

Senate President and NP President Manuel B. Villar, Jr. with the author

Nacionalista Party or Partido Nacionalista, the country’s oldest political party, was founded on April 29, 1907 under the leadership of Sergio S. Osmeña, Sr., Manuel L. Quezon, Rafael Palma and other “young turks” when our country was under the United States colony.

With an honor roll of producing six Philippine Presidents - Manuel L. Quezon, Jose P. Laurel, Sergio S. Osmeña, Ramon F. Magsaysay, Carlos P. Garcia, and Ferdinand E. Marcos, the Nacionalista Party has the distinction of being the most enduring political party not only in the Philippines but also in Asia.

Donned in filipiniana or americana old and young Nacionalistas were welcomed by world class talents of P.U.P. Banda Kawayan and Las Piñas Boys Choir from the moment they entered the convention center.

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, NP Secretary General, in his welcome address remarked that “NP will be the party that will give us the first President for the next 100 years.”

Senator Manuel Villa extolled the virtues of the NP leaders, stressing that they should be emulated by those engaged in public service.  He also encouraged future leaders to follow the lead of the NP leaders, keeping in mind their responsibility as public servants and practitioners of change.

“As public servants, we should keep in mind our motto – “Ang Bayan Higit Sa Lahat” (The Nation Above All Else) as we go along with our responsibility to provide a better future for our people, “ Villar said.

The highlights of the NP centennial were the unveiling of the book, “Building the Nation: First 100 Years, Nacionalista Party 1907-2007,” which explores the early days of the organization to the present and details how the Party flourished and struggled through the days of glory and trials of the Filipino people in building the nation in the last century; the launching of “Pondo sa Sipag-Puhunan sa Tiyaga,” a nationwide project spearheaded by Senate President Villar aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and providing Filipinos livelihood opportunities that would help them better their lives; and the turnover of ceremonial check worth P1 Million to the NP Youth Network in its continued support and belief for the Filipino youth and their potential.

A spectacle during the affair emceed by former Cavite 2nd District Rep. Gilbert C. Remulla was the audio-visual presentation in recognition of the past presidents of NP showing vintage pictures of President Sergio Osmeña, Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, Hon. Jose Yulo, Senate President Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez, Senate President Gil J. Puyat, Speaker Jose B. Laurel, Jr., and Vice-President Salvador “Doy” H. Laurel.

The Laurels - family of singers, led by actor Cocoy Laurel provided musical numbers to the delight of the power-packed crowd and comedian Nanette Inventor brought the house down with her antics.

Taking turns rendering beautiful music during the sit-down dinner reception were the Cercado Sisters, the Siblings, the Vitan Family, Abegail Dorado, and Dex de Rosa, while an excellently prepared sumptuous food by Via Mare was being served consisting of chicken binakol with chicken quenelle on lemon grass, and roast pacific sea bass with tomato salsa – served with heart of palm egg roll.

Mother-and-daughter tandem, Senate’s President better half Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia A. Villar, and only daughter, Cynthia A. Villar, Nacionalista youth representative, busied themselves hopping from one table to another.

NP stalwarts in attendance during the centennial were incumbent Taguig 1st District Rep. Ma. Laarni L. Cayetano, Cavite 3rd District Rep. Jesus Crispin C. Remulla, Bukidon 2nd District Rep. Teofisto Guingona III, Ambassador Jose Macario Laurel IV, former Quezon Governor Wilfredo Enverga, Manila 5th District Rep. Joey D. Hizon, and Samar 1st District Rep. Rodolfo T. Tuazon.

Other distinguished guests were former Senator Helena C. Benitez, Senator Ernesto Maceda, Quezon City Mayor Adelina Rodriguez, Ambassador Raul Goco, Solicitor General Frank Chavez, Ilocos Rep. Gualberto Lumauig, Bacolod Rep. Wilson Gamboa, Marinduque Rep. Edmundo O. Reyes, III, DENR Undersecretary Mario S. Roño, DENR Assistant Secretary Democrito Mendoza, Jr., Calbayog City Vice Mayor Virgilio Rosales, Calbayog City Councilors Ariel Rosales and Djuvan Tan.

Veritable list of the country’s who is who in government. present were San Juan Rep. Ronaldo B. Zamora, Parañaque 1st District Rep. Eduardo C. Zialcita, Pangasinan 6th District Rep. Conrado M. Estrella, III, Laguna Rep. Dan S. Fernandez, CIBAC party-list Rep. Joel J. Villanueva, Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, Batangas Vice-Governor Jose Antonio S. Leviste, II, Pasay City Mayor Pablo Trinidad, Valenzuela City Mayor Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri, and UNO spokesman Adel Tamano, to name a few.

Former 2nd District Calbayog City Councilor Ariel M. Rosales, Senator and NP Secretary General Alan Peter S. Cayetano, and former 1st District Samar Rep. and NP Leader Rodolfo T. Tuazon.


FM Cabinet Secretary Conrado Estrella, Senate President and NP President Manuel B. Villar, Jr., House Speaker Jose C. de Venecia, Jr., former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, and Quezon City 1st District Rep. and NP Leader Vincent P. Crisologo.





Multi-awarded cooperative begins with less than a thousand pesos

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
December 5, 2007

HINUNANGAN, Southern Leyte  –  The Saints Peter and Paul Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SPPMC) in this municipality has come a long, long way.

From a humble initial pooled capital in 1968 of only P856 – the revenue earned from drying copra, a collective effort of the 36 original members who contributed 25 pieces of coconuts each member – the Cooperative now boasts of assorted assets worth, at the last count, P105 Million.

Over the past 40 years, the Coop members from all walks of life have grown dramatically to more than 2,000 individuals, and the services provided have expanded by leaps and bounds as well, other than the usual manner of extending credit or loans.

The Coop now has its own two-storey hotel business, a rice-milling operation, quasi-banking, and a physical fitness gym in the second floor of its main office, among others.

Next year, just in time for its 40th anniversary celebration in March, plans are now in the pipeline to open an internet service provider and a food stall, among other priorities.

Despite all the crowning success, Honorato Vacal, Chairman of the Board of Directors, acknowledged the founder of SPPMPC in the person of Rev. Fr. Frederick Wakeheim, a Scarboro Missionary, who organized the Cooperative along with his fellow missionaries in mid-1960s.

Fr. Wakeheim was the driving force behind the dogged contribution of coconuts from the pioneering 36 members, 15 of them listed as incorporators, until such time they processed those stuff into copra and sold, the money received serving as the initial capital as the Cooperative went on the normal organizational procedures, Vacal narrated.

Chairman Vacal shared the pieces of information mentioned above during a mock news conference last week as part of the two-day newswriting seminar-workshop.

The workshop was participated by members of the Board of Directors and was intended to equip them on basic writing skills preparatory for the production of an in-house SPPMPC Newsletter which will come out quarterly starting in January next year, an added attraction to the Cooperative’s Ruby celebration.

This writer, together with Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent Jani Arnaiz, served as the facilitators of the two-day activity, November 27 and 28.

In the last forty years of the Cooperative’s life, Vacal admitted it was not always a rosy ride; he reminisced about four or five times the Cooperative went down but was able to recover.

For those down trodden days, ownership meetings were the common occurrence to thresh out the problem and try to find solutions, like no honorarium for the officers, and close-in, house-to-house collections which resulted to a marked reduction of delinquent loans.

Over time the Cooperative bounced back to healthy status and this got the attention of Landbank, wherein the bank conferred its prestigious, coveted award for outstanding cooperatives nationwide to SPPMC – not only once but more than a couple of times already in a row.

The latest was held last August 8, 2007, at Malacanang, the Ginintuang Pilak Award which carries not just a citation for the honor but also P1 Million.

The award money will be used to buy a new service vehicle to replace the 8-year old one they have been using, Vacal said.

Not bad for a Cooperative that began with a faithful walk of impounding coconuts but with a great sense of hard work and determination.





8ID winning the war against communist terrorists

October 13, 2007

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City  –  The 8th Infantry (Storm Troopers) Division of the Philippine Army is winning the war against the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorist group as shown by the recent accomplishments of its field units during the 3rd Quarter 2007 ISO Assessment and Command Conference held on October 9, 2007 at Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City with its theme “Assessing our Performance as We Move Forward”.

Headquarter of the 8th Infantry Division in CatbaloganDuring the period from January 1 to September 30, 2007, the field units of the 8ID gained operational superiority against the communist terrorists in the Eastern Visayas region as manifested by their numerous combat, intelligence, and CMO accomplishments.

In the 48 combat engagements recorded for the period, 41 of which was initiated by the 8ID troopers while 7 was initiated by the CPP-NPA-NDF. These combat successes have paved the way for the recovery of 41 HPFA and 301 low-power firearms (LPFA) from the communist terrorist while the government troops lost 7 HPFAs. On the fatality ratio, 12 communist terrorists were killed against 8 in the government side. Worthy to note on this aspects of Internal Security Operations (ISO) is that for the 3rd quarter of this year, there were 15 combat engagements registered all of which was initiated by the government troops gaining 25 high-power firearms (HPFA) from the communist terrorists. Likewise, 6 terrorists were killed in battle while no casualty on the government side.

These major combat accomplishments were basically the result of the downpour of public support to Army operations as manifested by their active participation by giving vital information on the whereabouts of the communist terrorists. This positive development can be attributed mainly due to the numerous community development programs of the Army units that have made wonders to the lives of our underprivileged communities in the region. Foremost of which is the “Baktas Kabubwason” project of 62IB and 801st Infantry Brigade in Basey, Samar; wherein they have initiated a Jatropha ‘Bio-Fuel’ plantation in cooperation with the LGU Officals and the stakeholders themselves.

Major General Armando L. Cunanan AFP, the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army commended his field commanders for their strong commitment and dedication to finally put an end to the insurgency problem that have been besetting our economic growth. He exhorted them, “to further improve the working relationship between the Army and the local government units in the area in order to improve the delivery of the basic services to the communities”. He stressed the point that, “in this war against insurgency, he who wins the heart and minds of the populace, wins the war!”





20th IB trooper saves baby’s life

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 7, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – The life of a nine-month old baby boy was saved because of the timely intervention of Corporal Jose F. Cabujoc, a member of the 20th Infantry Battalion of the 8th ID based in San Isidro, Northern Samar.

The baby was initially given up for dead by his parents when they could no longer hear any heartbeat or any sign of breathing.

Hearing the predicament of the couple, Corporal Cabujoc immediately came to the rescue and applied the life-saving skills he learned from his schooling and effectively used the Combat Life Saver Kit that was issued by the Philippine Army.

Combat life saver kit
Medical Kit used during the treatment of the baby

The baby’s parents could only utter “Thanks God” in amazement when they heard the pronouncement of Corporal Cabujoc that the baby was alive.

This miraculous incident transpired during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) that was jointly organized in cooperation with the Local Government of Calbayog City on September 23, 2007, First Lieutenant Dranreb Canto of the 20th IB reported.

The lucky baby was later identified as Baby Boy Cajusay of Barangay Pinamorotan, Calbayog City, who suffered from acute malnutrition. In fact, losing hope that the baby will survive, the family already made a coffin for the baby.

Compounding the family’s woes is the fact that their barangay is located about 50-kilometers away from Calbayog City proper. The availability of doctors and medical practitioners is so much wanting due to its sheer distance where no transportation vehicle could ever reach. It can only be reached by foot for more than a day’s walk.

This story certainly bespeaks of the motives of the Philippine Army as exemplified by the 20th Infantry Battalion under the able leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Lenard T Agustin. Saving a baby’s life is worth all the sacrifices and hardship in a soldier’s life.


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