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Samar solon sponsors surgical mission with UST Medicine Class of 1964

8th ID releases P147,600 for Balik-Baril Program

Mass surrender of NPA supporters in Eastern Samar

LMP holds Visayas island cluster conference

Mayaw-Mayaw takes center stage at Kamurayaw Festival in Pinabacdao, Samar

Calbiga town undergoes ‘economic’ workshop

Tanauan skimmers rein in Surigao 3rd National Skimboarding fete

30,500 bags of NFA rice delivered to Samar

Army soldiers reach out to uphill barangays through medical-dental mission

Tarangnan police collars murder suspect who eluded arrest for 19 years


Pacific Friendship 2008 visits Gandara

June 12, 2008

GANDARA, Samar  –  At least two thousand residents, having various kinds of health problems, coming from the different barangays of the neighboring municipalities of Gandara, Samar were serviced by the Medical-Dental Civil Affairs Project (MEDCAP) of the United States Navy (USN).

The MEDCAP was done at the Gandara Central School, this municipality, for two successive days last June 4 and 5, 2008.  This was the second municipality which was visited by around 25 US Navy personnel headed by Lt. John McCombs, as part of the series of MEDCAP to be conducted in Samar. The humanitarian medical-dental and engineering mission, known as “Pacific Friendship 2008”, started last May. It has also offered free services to more than a thousand residents of Northern Samar when it visited San Isidro last June 1, this same year.

Among the services conducted were minor surgeries, optometric services, pediatric screening, obstetrics, pharmacy and basic laboratory tests, dental treatments and consultations and veterinary services like anti-rabies vaccination. Priority was given to infants and old patients.

It was learned that the well coordinated activity was made possible thru the efforts of the Calbayog City Mayor, Mel Senen Sarmiento. Sarmiento was seen to have spearheaded the overall supervision of the local medical augmentation personnel coming from the different health offices of the province and the military. Security assistance was provided by the Philippine National Police, the 46IB, 8ID, Philippine Army based in San Jorge, Samar and the civilian volunteers.

Aside from the medical services, the team has also conducted engineering works such as the repair of the water system of the Gandara District Hospital. It was learned that the same water system has been unserviceable for the past six years. According to Petty Officers, 2nd Class Matthew Barr and Richard Rikard, plumber and electrician respectively, they belong to the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) based in Okinawa, Japan and they were trained to do the job.  They have worked for almost six days at the said hospital to install a new pump, rehabilitate its water tank and pipes and make the water system functional again.

As of this writing, the same team will be visiting the areas of Sta. Margarita, Samar and Calbayog City until June 13, 2008.  They will be undertaking the repairs of the Main Health Center of Barangay Capoocan and the construction of septic tanks in Greenland Subdivision in Rawis, all of Calbayog City, the Municipal Health Office and Botika ng Barangay of Sta. Margarita.

Mayor Sarmiento is hopeful that a yearly visit to the Samar Islands, from this US Government Humanitarian Mission servicing the people in the Pacific Region, will soon be finalized after making the necessary arrangements.





Good practices, strong points make Maasin City & Southern Leyte top in nutrition program

June 12, 2008

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  During a nutritional status presentation made by the Regional Nutrition Coordinator Carina Santiago held Friday at the Governor’s Office here, good practices and strong points were identified by the regional team, how and why Maasin City and the province of Southern Leyte as well top the nutrition program in the region, if not throughout the country.

“Good implementation started at the municipal level,” Santiago quoted.  In addition to the strong points observed during the regional team’s monitoring throughout the province, almost all of the municipalities in the province have Municipal Nutrition Action Officer, though not all are trained in nutrition program, Santiago disclosed.

The team also noticed that Southern Leyte and Maasin City had a good networking with non-government organizations like the Plan International, Federation of Omega Beneficiaries (FOBI), Southern Leyte Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative (SLEMCOOP) among others, Santiago said. And almost all of the municipalities submitted Municipal Nutrition Action Plan (MNAP), she added.

Good practices observed by the team were also mentioned as follows: Good enforcement of proper nutrition; presence of nutrition Information-Education-Communication (IEC) materials; communal gardens; livelihood projects for families with malnourished children; presence of new and accurate weighing scales, were among the few presented by Sanriago.

Though there were also areas mentioned to be improved by the council, that were pointed out by the evaluating  team composed of Emily Grande, Regional Nutritionist, Julieta Mutya from DILG-RO, Rene Salar from DepEd-RO and one from the media in the person of  Sarwell Meniano.

Southern Leyte was a second-time Green Banner Awardee, for being an Outstanding Province in the Region, while Maasin City already received a Consistent Regional Outstanding Winner in Nutrition (CROWN) second time, having won consecutively at the regional level.





Visayas mayors tackle food security and local empowerment

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 11, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Visayas Mayors showed the lead role the local chief executives play in addressing the country’s pressing problems, as they tackled the issue of food security and local empowerment during the recently concluded League of Municipalities of the Philippines Visayas Island Cluster Conference held at Bohol Tropics, Tagbilaran, Bohol.

The first in the three plenary sessions, the session on Food Security and Local Empowerment: Hunger Mitigation, Poverty Reduction and Population Management had Tanauan, Leyte Mayor Roque A. Tiu, the LMP General Legal Counsel, as the Mayor Sharer, with National Anti Poverty Commission Secretary Domingo F. Panganiban as the reactor.

To come up with a clear road map for food security in the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture held the Food Summit at Clark, Pampanga on March 4 to increase food production in the country.

The mayors, however, believed that food security is more than food production. As the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined it, “food security exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active healthy life.”

Food security is therefore inextricably interlinked with the issue of population, hunger and poverty. The first session candidly addressed the interlocking relationships of these issues in order to generate a sound national policy that is informed by real concerns generated at the ground towards the empowerment of local communities.

After the presentation which Secretary Panganiban called well-covered and exhaustive, the body passed several recommendations to the national government in addressing the country’s food security program.

The first recommendation is the revitalization of the Local Poverty Reduction Action Plans by incorporating hunger mitigation and population management programs and projects.

Another recommendation is to converge all appropriate government programs and projects at LGU levels, and for LGUs to take the lead in program implementation.

Among the recommendations is to recognize mayors as local food czars of their respective towns as envisioned in the convergence policy on local developments and to devolve the corresponding budgetary outlay in the field programs identified by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2008 Food Summit at Clark to address the food crisis.

The Visayas Mayors also recommended to enable municipal governments to prepare and consolidate holistic development programs by replicating the consultative process suggested to the Department of Agriculture; and to provide technical assistance and funds support to enhance the capacity of the devolved agricultural offices in enhancing food security and address issues and concerns of the agricultural officers.

Finally, the Visayas Mayors recommended to establish partnership between concerned national agencies and local government units to intensify social marketing and advocacy on food security, poverty reduction and population management.





AFP CentCom chief visits troops in Eastern Samar

June 10, 2008

ORAS, Eastern Samar  –  Lt. Gen. Pedro Ike Insierto, the newly installed Commanding General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, had his first tour of duty to the different military camps in Eastern Visayas.  Included in his itinerary for June 01, 2008 were the brief visits made at the the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan, Samar and the 14th Infantry Battalion (Avenger) of the Philippine Army camped here in Brgy. Dao, Oras, Eastern Samar.

AFP CentCom chief LtGen. Insierto
Lt. Gen. Insierto

Gen. Insierto was welcomed by the six (6) mayors of the municipalities of Maslog, Arteche, Can-avid, Jipapad, Oras and Dolores, all of Eastern Samar. Immediately after his arrival, he was ushered to a mini conference room where the details of the unit’s operations were delivered in a power point presentation by the Commanding Officer of the 14IB, Lt. Col. Jose P. Matias. It was also during the said venue that the mayors and other representatives of the local government units were given the chance to ask their questions in an open forum to thresh out issues on alleged abuses of past military personnel assigned in the area and other related matters.

According to the report, the upper portion part of the Municipality of Jipapad, Eastern Samar has been identified as the production place for the insurgents or the communist terrorists. Insierto ordered the immediate dispatch of at least one mobile company giving them just a month to completely clear the area from insurgents. He encouraged his men to closely coordinate with the intelligence units and make use of the PNP’s police powers to arrest identified members of the said armed groups.

Likewise, the Central Commander solicited the support of the municipal mayors in providing livelihood support to their respective constituents as one of the strategies to encourage more people to go back to the folds of the government.  He encouraged his men to be more respectful of people’s rights and observe professionalism, uphold integrity and instill discipline in himself at all times in order to gain the same respect. “Whoever wins the people, wins the war. Let’s avoid the confrontational approach. Huwag sana tayo ang maging dahilan para ang mga tao ay matakot”, was Gen. Insierto’s final message to the “Avengers”.

In the same occasion, two hundred fifty (250) residents coming from the hinter barangays of Oras, Eastern Samar, who were previously supporting the communist terrorists operating in their respective areas have publicly denounced NPA atrocities and pledged their alliance to fully support the government programs and thrusts. This was facilitated by Hon. Neil Alvarez, the Municipal Mayor of Oras, Samar and the officers and men of the 14IB led by Lt. Col. Matias.





PNOC-EDC assists in solving classroom shortfall in Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 10, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Mindful of its social responsibility and community participation, the PNOC-EDC through its Community Partnerships Program assisted in helping solve the persistent shortage of classrooms in the province of Leyte.

A proof to this strong commitment to enhance the delivery of basic education services and help achieve Education For All thrust, eight classrooms and two school stage were built by EDC in partnership with the Provincial Government of Leyte under the leadership of Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla.

Mr. Dave Davilles, information officer of PNOC-EDC disclosed that among the beneficiary schools are Pastor Salazar High School in Brgy. Tabing, Tabango; San Isidro National High School in San Isidro; Badiangay Elementary School in Brgy. Badiangay, Sta. Fe; Naga-asan Primary School in Brgy. Naga-asan, Babatngon; Alang-alang National High School in Alang-alang; Libertad Elementary School in Brgy. Libertad, Abuyog; and Campin Elementary School in Brgy. Campin, Mahaplag, Leyte.

Aside from these schools, Mr. Davilles said that PNOC-EDC also supports two Schools for Excellence (SFE) in Tongonan, Ormoc City and Tongonan, Kananga in Leyte. SFE which is acknowledged by DepEd as a pioneering project in primary education, aims to produce elementary graduates who are at par with those of Manila’s top schools.

Recently, the PNOC-EDC school project marker was unveiled at the new school building in Badiangay Elementary School at Sta. Fe, Leyte.  LGPF Civil works manager Rudy Pol and DepEd District Supervisor Dr. Eugene Cadano were joined by Leyte Provincial Board Member Evangeline Esperas, Sta. Fe Mayor Melchor Quemado and Badiangay Barangay Captain Eduardo Cebuano, in the unveiling.

Through community projects such as these, the PNOC-EDC is giving a tangible example on how a corporation can work well with the government in order to solve a concern in a certain community.





Copra price in Eastern Visayas reaches an all time high of P40 a kilo

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 8, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 8, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Out of the total amount, Region 8 got the share of P775.027 as determined by the Department of Budget and Management.

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

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

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





Avenger's 35th founding anniversary celebrated

June 7, 2008

BRGY. DAO, Oras, Eastern Samar  –  The 14th Infantry Battalion, "Avenger's", of the Philippine Army based here in Brgy. Dao, Oras, Eatern Samar vowed to make things happen as they celebrated their 35th founding anniversary last May 28, 2008.

Ge. Ragpala's visit to 14th Infantry Battalion (Avenger).
BGen. Allan G. Ragpala (center), 8ID General Officer-in-Charge while being welcomed by the 14IB Commander, Lt Col Jose P. Matias (left) and his men, during the 35th Founding Anniversary of the "Avenger's Battalion" last May 28, 2008 at Brgy. Dao, Oras, Eatern Samar.

The activity was highlighted by a mass wedding of ten couples whose grooms were enlisted personnels of the same battalion. The simple wedding ceremony was held at the Daguro's Hall. It was officiated by the young military chaplain, Capt. Rey Victor V. Vigo, while being witnessed by their respective families, friends, comrades and high ranking officials.

Fr. Vigo very well appreciated the effort of Lt. Col. Jose P. Matias, Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion and his men for boosting the morals of his troops.  "It was just nice that the occasion was started by a mass, a venue for extending thanks for all the blessings and commemorating the sacrifices made by the men of the 14IB who have died in the service of protecting the people" says Capt. Vigo.

On the other hand, BGen. Allan Ragpala, the General Officer-in-Charge of the 8th Infantry Division, during his congratulatory speech acknowledged the important role that the Avengers played in maintaining the territorial integrity and dignity of our country by having a strong AFP. He specifically mentioned the conflict in Jolo, where the "Avengers", under the command of Col. Mison, spearheaded the liberation of the said island.

The 14IB, one of the oldest battalions in the AFP, was commended by Gen. Ragpala for its good combat records. "It scores less but it hits hard", was Gen. Ragpala's line to describe the combat style of the men behind the said battalion. It was even reported that the 14IB has no record of human right violations, except for a certain case in Nuve Ecija where after a thorough investigation, they were exonerated from the allegations.

Lt. Col Jose P. Matias stressed that his focus is on the total development of the "men behind the guns".  This was his explanation for the good performance that the battalion is putting on record.

The successful commemoration of the 35th year of existence of the 14th Infantry Battalion in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was attended by the local chief executives of the neighboring municipalities of Eastern Samar with its constituents, the media and the families and friends of the enlisted personnel of the said battalion. The sportsfest, parlor games, raffle draws and the evening socials were part of the funfare that made the occasion more memorable.





Ormoc City is venue of region 8 Independence Day 2008 Sentro K3

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 7, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Ormoc City under the leadership of Mayor Eric C. Codilla is the Regional Independence Day Sentro K3 (Kaisahan, Kagalingan at Kalayaan ng Bayan) in Eastern Visayas.

For the 110th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence which has for its theme “Republic Service, Tungo sa Ganap na Kalayaan at Kaunlaran,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the replication of the Independence Day Sentro K3 in all regions of the country.

For Region 8, to be highlighted is the Role of Mass-Based Movements, the Dios-Dios and the Pulajanes in Leyte and Samar, their spirit of patriotism that led to the attainment of freedom for the country.

The City of Ormoc has lined up activities with Secretary Sergio Apostol, the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, as the guest of honor and Keynote Speaker.

Ormoc Councilor, Dr. Rafael Omega, Jr., who was appointed by Mayor Codilla as the Chairman of the Independence Day Activities informed the Philippine Information Agency that first in the activities is the Holy Mass which will be held at 6:15 in the morning at the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church.

After the Mass, the Flag Raising Ceremony with the accompaniment of the Ormoc City Band, Volley of Fire, Ringing of Church Bells, Blowing of Horn and the Wreath Laying Ceremony will be conducted at the Veteran’s Park.

A short Independence Day Program will follow at the Ormoc Plaza, with Honorable Rafael C. Omega, Jr., delivering the Welcome Remarks. An Inspirational Message will be delivered by Honorable Mayor Eric Codilla while the Congressman of the 4th District of Leyte, Honorable Eufrocino M. Codilla Sr., will deliver a message.

Vice Mayor Nepomuceno P. Aparis I will introduce the Guest of Honor, Secretary Sergio Antonio F. Apostol, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

Part III of the Independence Day activities is the Republic Service Fair which will be participated by the local government of the City of Ormoc and the Regional Government Agencies.





Samar starts coconut fertilization program

June 7, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  To address low coconut productivity in 2008 and beyond, Samar province through the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has embarked on a massive coconut fertilization program.

Under the National Coconut Productivity Program, the Salt Fertilization Project is now being implemented.

According to PCA Samar, 126 bags of common salt or sodium chloride (not the table salt for food) were delivered to Calbayog City, reportedly one of the biggest coconut producers in Samar.

Provincial Coconut Development Manager (PCDM) Emi Acasio said that this is the cheapest and best source of chlorine which will not only boost the productivity of coconut but also enhance resistance to long dry spell.

The cost of fertilization is pegged at P14 per tree or P1,400 per hectare, Acasio added.

The PCA office in Samar has now become the stockpile yard of several bags of the fertilizer and now awaits delivery.

Aside from the Salt Fertilization Program, PCA has also started paying coconut farmers who joined the Participatory Coconut Planting Project where farmers were given incentives to plant open pollinated varieties. A minimum monetary incentive of P30 will be awarded to a farmer who has sown and grown one coconut seedling or a minimum of P3,000 per hectare.

Samar farmers have reported a collectible amount of more than one million for enrolling in this project.

The third project under the National coconut Productivity Program is the Plowable Intercropping Project (PIP). This will give priority to the growing of intercrops between spaces under the coconut trees such as yellow or white corn, mungbean, peanut and banana that necessitates the cultivation of coconut land. It does not only increase coconut production but contributes to PGMA;s effort on food security, hunger mitigation and job generation.



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