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Samar’s mussel industry threatened

Pacific Friendship 2008 visits Gandara

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


Frank leaves province P5M damages, Eastern Samar in state of calamity

June 25, 2008

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  The province hasn’t even fully recovered yet from a major disaster few months back due to incessant rains which caused heavy floods in many villages, for another instance, it will start another rehabilitation this time from a calamity caused by typhoon “Frank.”

Typhoon Frank hitting Samar island
The path of typhoon FRANK (in black) shows passing the Southern portion of Samar island directly hitting the provinces of Samar, Eastern Samar and Biliran.

The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) reported that 341 barangays had been affected by the fury of Frank. There were 998 houses were totally damaged while 20,973 more were partially damaged.

Typhoon Frank, internationally named Fenshen, also left the province with one casualty while 6 more are still missing as of press time. Mayor Anton Cardona of Llorente said that a person died at the height of typhoon in Brgy. San Miguel. He did not mention how the man died but pressed it was caused by the storm.

Meanwhile, 6 fishermen from various towns of Eastern Samar, could not yet be found as of this writing. 3 persons from Taft are missing, 2 from Hernani and 1 from Llorente. All missing were at sea when caught by the ravaging winds of Frank. Their boats were believed to have capsized due to big waves caused by the typhoon.

Initially, damage of agricultural crops is pegged at P5 million. Some municipalities have not submitted complete reports yet.

Gov. Ben P. Evardone, PDCC Chairman, urged the Sanguniang Panlalawigan to declare the province in state of calamity. “It is downhearting that our province hasn’t even fully recovered from a previous disaster, we are faced again with a new challenge,” Evardone lamented.

The provincial chief meanwhile called on the local chiefs to collaborate with the province in the rehabilitation of their towns. “I am asking the members of Sanguniang Panlalawigan to expedite the passage declaring Eastern Samar in state of calamity,” Evardone said.

Meanwhile, the SP is set to hold a special session this Thursday as a response to the call of the governor. Once declared, the province can use the 5% calamity fund for the immediate restoration and relief operations in affected areas.

Gov. Evardone said that the agricultural areas need urgent attention as most of the damages were on crops. “Agricultural developments are already underway but are hampered because of this unexpected nature disturbance,” he added.

The governor also called all concerned agencies to dispatch teams for search and rescue operations of the missing fisher folks. “My office, together with the Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the LGUs are making steps to attend to the families of the missing people,” he said.





173,751 persons affected by typhoon Frank in region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 25, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  About 173,751 persons in Region 8 have been affected by the onslaught of typhoon Frank, the latest update of the Department of Social Welfare and Development thru the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 8 showed.

The same update revealed that 15,157 families in the region were affected; about 5,366 houses were totally damaged and 22,753 houses were partially damaged.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 8 Director Letecia Corillo informed that family packs are already being distributed to the affected families in the affected areas in the Region.

The family pack includes rice, noodles, milk, coffee, rice and 3 canned goods, Director Corillo added.

Of the total number of affected persons, the province of Leyte accounted for 75,292; the province of Samar, 56,070; the province of Eastern Samar had 41,325; Southern Leyte accounted for 5 persons while Biliran accounted for 1,059. There was no report received from Northern Samar yet.

In the province of Leyte, the municipality of Carigara accounted for the biggest number of affected person, 42,480. Tacloban City accounted for 16,090 persons affected; Ormoc City, 495; Baybay City, 8242; Palompon, 7925; Tanauan, 50 and Kananga and Inopacan have 5 each.

The municipality of Basey in Samar province chronicled the biggest number of affected persons with 36,272; the municipality of Pinabacdao accounted for 15,158 persons; Hinabangan, 4555 and Sta. Margarita, 85. Only 5 out of the more than 20 municipalities in Samar have sent in their report as of this writing.

In the province of Eastern Samar, the municipality of Guiuan chronicled a total of 32,935 persons affected. The two other towns with reports are Balangiga with 8,250 and Maydolong, 140.

Only the capital town of Naval in the province of Biliran has submitted its report, with 1059 affected persons while in the province of Southern Leyte, the 5 affected persons reported are from the municipality of Tomas Oppus.

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council under the leadership of Police Region 8 Director Abner Cabalquinto continues to coordinate and receive reports from the various local disaster coordinating councils all over the Region in order to be able to any situation that necessitates immediate action.





In Light of ‘No Collection’ Policy

Greater help sought from local school boards

June 25, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) enjoined Governors, Vice Governors, Mayors, Vice Mayors and others concerned to help fund activities of public schools that are commonly supported by Parents-Teachers-Community (PTCA) funds.

DILG Memorandum Circular Number 2008-95, issued by then-Acting Secretary Austere A. Panadero, said that due to the country’s efforts in achieving universal education for elementary schoolchildren, a No Collection policy was adopted by the Department of Education (DepEd) during the enrollment period.

To avoid disruption in school operations, Local School Boards should provide funding for activities commonly supported by the PTCA such as pre-school classes, utilities, security, and janitorial services at least in the first two months of classes when PTCA collections are still not available, according to Undersecretary Panadero.

“This memorandum is in full support of our government’s thrust to improve the state of our education by 2015, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, added DILG-08 Regional Director William C. Paler.

Local School Boards were likewise urged to consider school requirements in reviewing and revising if needed, its approved budget and other priorities in school improvement plans.

Undersecretary Panadero further encouraged LGUs to support DepEd and community efforts to ensure that children of school age are actually enrolled.

The No Collection policy aims to remove any financial obstacle to enrollment of school-aged children, as it barred collections during enrollment and throughout the school year for Preschool up to Grade IV pupils.

The DepEd policy states that collections among Grades V and VI pupils as well as high school students for authorized but voluntary contributions, such as Boy/Girl Scouts, Red Cross, Anti-TB Fund, and PTCA can only be done starting the second month of the school year.

The Local School Boards in various levels (province, city, municipality) is composed of the Local Chief Executive (LCE) and division superintendent as co-chairmen, with the chairman of the education committee of the Sanggunian, local treasurer, SK Federation President, GPTCA federation president, representatives of teacher’s organizations, and non−academic personnel of public schools as members. LSBs allocate the Special Education Fund (SEF) to supplement the needs of local public schools. The SEF is an additional 1% levy collected together with real property taxes paid to the local government.





“Frank” leaves 5 dead, 12 missing, 1 injured, 44,514 persons affected in region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 23, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Partial report coming from the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Eastern Visayas showed that typhoon Frank left 5 persons dead, 12 missing, 1 injured and affected 44,514 persons in Region 8.

Typhoon Frank hitting Samar island
The path of typhoon FRANK (in black) shows passing the Southern portion of Samar island directly hitting the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar.

Typhoon Frank also caused the sinking of a passenger vessel plying the Bato-Cebu and vice-versa, at Bato, Leyte seaport. Fortunately, no person was reported injured due to the sinking of the vessel.

Three fishing boats in Albuera, Leyte were totally destroyed by big waves with the damages estimated at P2 Million.

The dead were identified as Jhon Kenneth Gomez, 5 years old who died of drowning at Barangay Libertad, Kananga Leyte; Rolando Alugbati, 49 years old and Lucena Abenoja, 12 years old, who both died of drowning due to flooding at Barangay Kambongan, Baybay City; and two still unidentified persons who drowned due to flooding at Merida town and Matag-ob town in the province of Leyte.

The missing persons were identified as Christian Gomez, 1 year old of Barangay Libertad, Kananga, Leyte; Celedonio Cordero of Barangay Cabuynan, Tanauan, Leyte; Oliver Abenoja, 7 years old of Barangay Kambongan, Baybay City; 2 unidentified missing persons in Matag-ob, Leyte and 2 missing persons in Abuyog, Leyte.

From the province of Southern Leyte, the missing persons were identified as Rustico Alico of Barangay Canlupao, Tomas Oppus town; Junnel Albino, 25 years old and Mariel Albino, 15 years old, both of Barangay Ginpuylan, Liloan town; and Herminia Sequira, 54 years old and Sammy Sequira, both of Barangay San Jose, Malitbog town.

Meanwhile, the Operation Center of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council informed that about 2,043 houses have been totally damaged in the Region, 1414 in Basey, Samar and 629 in Baybay City.

About 4,322 houses have been partially damaged in Basey, Samar while 79 houses were partially damaged in Baybay City.

RDCC Opcen said that it is still awaiting the reports of the various Provincial Coordinating Councils in the Region, which are unable to submit reports pending submission of reports from the various barangay and municipal coordinating councils.





Leyte estimates “Frank”s partial cost of damages to agri and infra at P888.550M

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 23, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Partial reports coming from five municipalities of the province of Leyte showed an estimated damages to agriculture and infrastructure at P888.550 Million.

This was gathered from the Operations Center of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Region 8

The damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Capoocan town was placed at P5.4 Million.

The municipality of Kananga reported that the damaged to infrastructure was estimated at P211.245 Million while that of the agriculture was placed at P30.705 Million.

Meanwhile, the municipality of Isabel reported a P250 Million damage to infrastructure and P380 Million damage to agriculture.

About P1 Million damage to infrastructure was reported by the municipality of Jaro while the municipality of Bato reported an estimated P10.2 Million damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

More reports are being expected to be received on Monday, June 23, as the office work resumes in the various local government units.

The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council of the Province of Leyte headed by no less than Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla have been working hard to reach out to the affected areas in the Province and to monitor the situations in the various municipalities of Leyte.

Meanwhile, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 8 reported that the province of Eastern Samar is still conducting clearing operations.

Teams 1 and 2 of the Rapid Assessment Group conducted an aerial survey of Eastern Samar as part of its continuous monitoring activities to determine the damages caused byt typhoon Frank. This, even as Governor Evardone laments the slow submission of reports from the various municipalities of Eastern Samar which he attributes to poor access due to bad road conditions.

Governor Evardone is set to call for a meeting of the Eastern Samar Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council on Tuesday.

Furthermore, search and rescue operations are still on-going in the municipality of Liloan, Southern Leyte, RDCC 8 reported. The Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council of Malitbog, also in Southern Leyte, were also reported to have conducted search and rescue operations.





“Peacemakers” joins Motiong’s 60th Founding Anniversary

June 21, 2008

MOTIONG, Samar  –  A two-day free medical and dental mission was conducted at the municipal grounds of Motiong, Samar last June 15 and 16, 2008.  The mission is a joint project of the 46th Infantry Battalion (Peacemakers), Philippine Army based in San Jorge, Samar and the Office of the Governor, this province. It was also in time for the 60th Founding Anniversary of the same municipality.

army doctors on operation tuli in samarThe doctors and nurses tapped to compose the medical and dental team were all coming from the provincial health offices. Likewise, a private dentist practitioner, three haircutters and body massage therapists were hired for the occasion.

Lt. Col. Bonifacio B. Cebrian Jr, the 46th Infantry Battalion Commander, was overwhelmed by the large number of people who responded to the said activity, by availing to the services being offered. According to Cebrian, it only signifies that an existing and sustained rapport between the military and the constituents of Motiong has already been established. More than 80 “Operation Tuli” were performed, 160 dental patients were treated, 140 haircuts were done to men and women alike and a lot of medicines were prescribed and disposed.

During an interview with several benificiaries, people expressed their thanks for the free services extended.  In fact, one mother lamented that his 12 year old son is already too old to be circumcised. “A circumcision costs more than 500 pesos which is unaffordable for most of us. Instead of preparing money to pay for his circumcision, we reserve our money for his education and food. I am glad that the armies are here”, says a mother.

“This is just part of a series of medical missions that the ‘Peacemakers’ will undertake in our area, composed of thirteen municipalities in Samar. We hope to deliver and address the medical and dental needs of most people by extending these free outreach services. We see these activities as means of bringing back people’s trust in the government. I hope these people will see our sincere efforts to reach out for them.” was Col. Cebrian’s rationale for the mission.

Moreover, four hundred ten (410) residents coming from the thirty (30) barangays of the municipality were invited to attend a CVO Security and Development Awareness Seminar at the municipality’s covered court on the same dates. The same seminar has already been conducted to volunteers in San Jorge and Tarangnan. The basic informations necessary, in order to attain security and development in their respective barangays, were likewise disseminated. The activity was very well supported by the Municipal Mayor of Motiong, Hon. Francisco S. Langi, Sr. Mayor Langi assisted Col. Cebrian in the distribution of the CVO’s IDs, Certificates and Plaques of Appreciation to volunteers and personalities who were instrumental in the success of the said noble activity.





PGMA approves designation of Eastern Samar gov as RPOC chair

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 21, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved the designation of Eastern Samar Governor as the Chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council of Eastern Visayas, a report from the DILG stated.

Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone
Governor Ben Evardone

The name of Governor Ben Evardone who is on his third term as Governor of Eastern Samar, is included in the partial list of Peace and Order Council heads which was recently released by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

The Regional Peace and Order Councils under the law are empowered to execute national plans and programs related to peace and security concerns at the local level.

Created through Executive Order 309, the Peace and Order Councils are under the guidance of the National Police Commission.

Regional Peace and Order Councils play a crucial role in crime prevention by being on the frontline of the government’s continuing efforts to enhance the level of cooperation between the police and the private sector.

Among the objectives of a Peace and Order Council, is to empower the local community towards greater participation and involvement in the formulation and implementation of peace and order programs.

Regional Peace and Order Councils are also mandated under the law to monitor and implement peace and order programs and projects on the Regional level and the operation of Civilian Volunteer Self Defense Organizations and counter-insurgency programs and activities in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

They are also required to make periodic assessments of the prevailing peace and order situation in their respective areas of responsibility and receive complaints, if any, against government personnel, whether civilian or military.

The complaints are endorsed to the government agency concerned which in turn, is compelled to submit reports of action taken on grievances to the Regional Peace and Order Council.





High cost of production in the aquaculture sector raised in Catbalogan Forum

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 19, 2008

Fuel and food security forum with Gabriel Claudio in CatbaloganTACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The exorbitant increase in the production cost in the aquaculture sector, was one of the major concerns raised by the participants in the recently concluded Forum on Fuel and Rice Security conducted in Catbalogan City on June 17, 2008, conducted by Secretary Claudio and his party with the City officials led by Mayor Coefredo Uy, the Provincial Board Members of Samar and Congresswoman of the second district Sharee Ann Tan and the representatives of the academe, national line agencies, and other stakeholders in attendance.

Board Member Jimmy Dy of the Province of Samar disclosed that many of the fishponds in Samar are already closing because of the big increase in production cost due to increase in the price of fertilizer.

He said that he used to supply the milkfish requirement of Catbalogan and the nearby municipalities but now, most of the milkfish found in the market of Catbalogan is no longer from Samar but from Laguna de Bay.

Even fish cages are very difficult to maintain because of the high price of inputs especially feeds, Board Member Dy said. This is the very reason why those who venture into fish caging also retired, he added.

Another reason why many fishpond owners have closed shop is because of global warming where the seawater level has suddenly gone high.

Board Member Dy said that fertilizer subsidy is being given to farmers, then the same should be given to the aquaculture sector so that they will be able to continue with their business.

He said that no matter how great the desire of the businessmen to help in securing food supply, they cannot afford to be at the losing end all the time because their capital is also very limited.

It would be recalled that Region 8 or Samar province for that matter, is known for its lucrative aquaculture industry.

Secretary Claudio promised that the concern will be transmitted to the agency concerned.





Transport group in Calbayog requests for fuel discounts being enjoyed in other places

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 19, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The P1 fuel discount for Public Utility Jeeps is not yet being enjoyed by the transport sector in Calbayog City.

DOE gas discount laneThis is one of the issues raised during the Forum on Fuel and Rice Situation which was conducted in Calbayog on June 16, 2008, with Secretary Gabriel Claudio of the Office of the Political Adviser, PMS Asec Fernando Cui Jr and Asec Ian Norman Dato in attendance.

Mayor Sarmiento confirmed that there are no DOE Lanes yet in Calbayog City, so the concern of the Transport sector representative is very valid.

The transport representative also requested that the same discount be made available to the public utility motorcycles especially because the fare rates has not yet been increased.

Infact, the representative said that the Tricycle operators and drivers are already contemplating on requesting the Sangguniang Panglungsod for a fare hike because the total increase in fuel this year already amounts to about P18 per liter and so if the daily consumption is 10 liters that is already P180  deduction to the earnings of the tricycle drivers.

Secretary Claudio acknowledged the validity of the concern and he promised that the matter will be transmitted to the Department of Energy for appropriate action.

Secretary Claudio said that the reason why President Arroyo directed the Cabinet members to go to the Regions is for her to know the concerns of the people in the various Regions of the country.

The Forum in Calbayog is the first to be held in the Region. After Calbayog, Secretary Claudio and his party proceeded to Catbalogan on the 17th and to Tacloban on the 19th to attend the Expanded RDC meeting.





New law converts taxes into take home pay

Chiz says future minimum wages are automatically tax-exempt

Press Release
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero

June 19, 2008

PASAY CITY, Philippines  –  Even if the present minimum wage will be increased, there will be no need to pass a new law increasing personal income tax exemptions as the newly-signed tax relief bill automatically confers a no-tax status on future minimum wages whatever their amounts are.

Arroyo signing tax relief bill into law
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signs the Bill on Tax Relief for Minimum Wage Earners into law at Malacañang's Reception Hall.

Sen. Chiz Escudero explained that the bill signed into law by President Arroyo on Tuesday has "indexed" personal income tax exemption on the minimum wage.

The amount of income exempt from tax automatically follows the movement of the legal minimum wage, Escudero said.

This "coupling," he stressed, will spare the country of the need to go through "revolving-door legislation" wherein Congress will have to "recalibrate tax rates to reflect the increase in the minimum wage."

"What we have put in the law is the provision that assigns a no-tax status on the minimum wage of private workers and those in government service whose pay is equivalent to the daily private sector minimum wage," Escudero said.

In addition to scrapping the income tax on the minimum wage, the law also increases tax exemptions for other employees.

Under the law, an individual, regardless of civil status, can claim personal exemption of P50,000, and additional exemption of P25,000 each for a maximum of four dependents.

So a working couple with four kids can claim a combined exemption of P200,000, which is about double of current rates, Escudero said.

The law, he added, also waives the need for minimum wage earners and individuals who are exempt from income tax from filing the tax returns.

It is also under the spirit of simplifying tax compliance – out of the belief that complex tax laws have been a deterrent to tax obedience – that we are adopting simpler hurdles for professionals to meet their tax dues," Escudero said.

For non-fixed salary income earners, the law grants them the option of claiming a "no-questions-asked" standard deduction representing 40 percent of his gross sales or receipts.

Escudero said that by increasing tax exemptions "the new law retains disposable income in the pocket of workingman, money that will help him during these hard times."

A simulation by the Escudero committee showed that under the newly-signed law a "single" minimum wage earner will save P10,733 in  tax payments annually while a "head of  family" will be spared of paying P9,733 in taxes.

The tax break is equivalent to one month bonus, or more. We have converted taxes into take home pay," he said.

And this is done without revenue loss on the part of the government, he said.



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