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10 Samar towns figured in the top twenty nutritionally depressed municipalities in Region 08

PMS ASec Cui: PGMA visit to Catbalogan, Samar not cancelled, just postponed

Region’s bet is one of ten RP’s outstanding cops

Leyte victorious in its bid to host 2009 Palarong Pambansa

Samar lady solon awards deserving servicemen, hails them for heroism

Planet Hollywood hotel to host Pacquiao vs. Valero title fight

Gov. Petilla speeds through typhoon-hit coastal barangays to distribute relief goods, calamity financial aid

Power in region 8 now fully restored, TransCo says

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

Samar’s mussel industry threatened


CenCom chief awards medals to soldiers of 34th IB as PGMA gives cash assistance to wounded soldiers in Mindanao

August 31, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  AFP Central Command chief LtGen. Pedro Ike Inserto awarded deserving military officers from the 81st Division Reconnaissance Company (81 DRC) led by 1Lt. Reynante P. Morales and 2Lt. Richard Tibayan from the 14th Infantry Battalion, in simple rites on August 29, 2008.

LtGen. Pedro Ike Inserto pinning a medal to a 14IB soldierThe awarding took place at the 34th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Calbiga Samar.

There were supposedly some 35 other members of the meritorious troops but only a handful were present.  Morales said his troops were still pursuing the ‘enemies’.

Commanding Officer of the 34th IB, LtCol. Larry Mojica assisted Inserto in the giving of awards. Morales also received P25,000 cash for his gallantry.

Morales and his men scored in an encounter with some NPA elements in Barangay Casapa, Jiabong Samar on August 24, 2008. The encounter resulted to the death of one unidentified NPA rebel and the recovery of one M16 rifle.

Tibayan meanwhile said that although no body count was attributed to his troops, they recovered one M16 and one M14 rifle from the ‘enemy’ in a remote barangay in Oras, Eastern Samar.

Inserto said that Tibayan deserves some fifty thousand pesos for the recovered firearms.

Mojica said that the award serves to inspire the army elements who risk their lives to attain peace in Samar.

Inserto also gave out reminders to the soldiers present to forever uphold human rights, conduct themselves properly and to push for teamwork to successfully vanquish the ‘enemy’.

Meanwhile, five wounded personnel of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, received cash assistance offered by Her Excellency President Macapagal-Arroyo through Presidential Management Staff (PMS) represented by Ian Lucero in a simple ceremony held at Camp Siongco Station Hospital (CSSH) at Barangay Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan on August 27, 2008.

The recipients were Sgt. Valerio Calasang, Cpl Joan Caro, Pfcs. Ronald Agonton, Nur Abdurahim and Loius Limayog.  They received P50,000 each. They were wounded in action during the height of military operations against Amelil Umbra Kato, the commander of the MILF’s 105th Base Command who is subjected for manhunt operations for his various criminal offenses committed in North Cotabato Province.

MajGen. Raymundo B. Ferrer, 6ID chief, who assisted in handing over the checks to the wounded soldiers said “These valiant soldiers risked their lives to restore peace and order in areas where Kato sow terror and violated the rights of the innocent resident “

The 6ID started the military operations on August 15 when Kato denied the ultimatum of the government for him and his group to vacate the 15 barangays in North Cotabato.  It resulted to the massive evacuation of the residents.

The 6ID troopers are raking through the areas to arrest Kato for various criminal offense charged against him ranging from murder, robbery-in band, arson and others.

These brave elements of the military maybe poles apart but their vision to provide security to the Filipino populace is hoped to usher in peace and economic development in Mindanao and in Samar.





Leyte gives basic, livelihood assistance to NPA surrenderees

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC Leyte)
August 30, 2008

INOPACAN, Leyte  –  Twenty seven former members of the New People’s Army who surrendered to military authorities were given basic and livelihood assistance by the provincial government of Leyte.

Out of these 27, eight of them surrendered their firearms and availed of the government’s Balik Baril Program which offers financial assistance to all rebels who wish to return to the fold of the law while a corresponding amount would be paid to those who surrender their firearms, and use the assistance to start anew.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, who was also the guest of honor during the 2nd Commemoration of the Leyte Mass Grave held in Inopacan Leyte, stressed that “never again such a purging should happen.”

“We have already achieved peace, let us hold on to it and never allow the atrocities to happen again. The government is always at hand to help empower our people and give assistance to uplift their lives,” Gov. Petilla said.

The former communist insurgents who yielded their firearms during their surrender to military authorities in the province were given P25,000 for each of the firearms they have surrendered.

Jessie Payod of Kananga, Leyte, who is married and has children, together with his wife surrendered a total of five firearms which earned them P125, 000 in livelihood assistance from the provincial government.

Cris Daclitan, another surrenderee from Carigara, Leyte received P75,000 for the three firearms he turned over to the army while six others each received P25, 000.

Nineteen other former NPA rebels who surrendered one at a time to elements of the 19th Infantry Battalion each received P5,000 basic assistance from the governor.

The NPA surrenderees are from Carigara, Inopacan, Leyte town, Mac Arthur, Mahaplag, Tabango, Villaba and a number of others from Kananga, Leyte.

They disclosed that they have been on the run with the relentless combat operations against them for many years and the promise of a better life has not been realized ever since.





Eastern Visayas rolls out its National Crime Prevention Week Celebration program

August 29, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The schedule of activities for the National Crime Prevention Week Celebration (NCPW) has been finalized after a series of meetings with government agencies, and non-government organizations involved in its Technical Working Committee.

DILG 8 Regional Director William C. Paler said the Kick-off Regional Program, which will coincide with the launching of the Civil Service Month, will be held on September 1, at 8:00 at the Tacloban City Convention Center (TCCC) in Sagkahan Tacloban City.

The program will be preceded by a "Kalakat para ha Kamurayawan" starting from two points: Coca-cola junction and Lukban Street and ending at the TCCC grounds. The walk is expected to be participated by about five thousand (5,000) students, government officials and employees, representatives of private groups, NGOs, and socio-civic organizations.

Highlights of the opening program shall include simultaneous flag-raising at all government offices; messages by Mayor Alfred Romualdez, CSC Regional Director David Cabanag, Rotary Club President Walter Diu, PNP Director Abner Cabalquinto; awarding of the slogan contest; and a simultaneous whistle-blowing (a youth activity to signal the fight against crime).

The theme of this year's celebration is "Kapit-Bisig Kabataan Tungo sa Kapayapaan, Now Na!" and sports the slogan, "Lakad Kabataan Laban sa Kriminalidad".

Drug abuse prevention fora, seminars, dialogs, radio-TV guesting and other information campaign shall be held throughout the celebration. The culmainating activity shall be at the Kanhuraw Convention Center on September 8 (Monday).

The celebration focuses on the role of the youth, who constitute a large part of the part of the population, and are often vulnerable to crime incidents.

The NCPW, which runs from September 1, 2007 to September 7, 2008 was instituted by President Fidel V. Ramos on August 31, 1994 through Presidential Proclamation No. 461. It aims to promote crime prevention among all sectors of society as a way of improving the peace and order situation in all communities. DILG Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno has issued a memorandum circular to all local government units and ohers concerned enjoining the conduct of programs, information drive and similar activities throughout the country in support of Presidential Proclamation 461.





Leyte marks 2nd year commemoration of Inopacan mass grave exhumation

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 27, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Leyte Governor and Provincial Peace and Order Council Chairman Hon. Carlos Jericho “Icot” L. Petilla will be the main speaker during the commemorative program for the 2nd anniversary of Inopacan Mass Grave Exhumation which will be held at the Municipal Covered Court of Inopacan, Leyte on August 28.

Remains of the mass grave in Inopacan, LeyteAside from delivering his message, Governor Petilla will also award the cash reward to five former NPA officers and members who surrendered and returned into the folds of the law. The cash rewards from the Provincial Government of Leyte will hopefully help the surrenderees in their re-integration to the civil society.

The commemoration will start with a Holy Mass at Baybay City Gymnasium at 6:30 in the morning. This will be followed by a mass rally and wreath laying at the tombstone at Baybay City Cemetery; after which, a Caravan will be conducted from Baybay Cemetery to the Inopacan Covered Court.

The Commemorative Program will start an Invocation to be led by CPT Rey Victor Vigo, the command chaplain of the 8th Infantry Division. Congresswoman Carmen Cari of the 5th District of Leyte will give the opening message.

Police Regional Office 8 Director P/C Supt Abner Cabalquinto and Lt. General Pedro Ike Insierto, commander of the AFP Central Command will both deliver their respective commemorative message.

One of the highlights of the commemoration is the Re-enactment of the Inopacan Massacre which will be followed with a testimonial speech of a representative from the relatives of the victims.

It would be recalled that the whole country was shocked when on August 28, 2006, troopers from the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, after two days of digging, found 67 skeletons in a mass gravesite in the killing field known to the residents in the nearby barangays as “the garden” located some 370 meters above sea level at a ridge on Mt. Sapang Dako, in the hinterland of Inopacan, Leyte.

The troopers were led to the Garden by some nearby residents and former members of the NPA who claimed that they themselves witnessed the purging. One even demonstrated how the victims who were suspected of being military assets, were tortured to death.





Biliran geothermal surface exploration starts

August 26, 2008

NAVAL, Biliran  – The much awaited development of the geothermal power reserve in the province of Biliran will finally be realized as its surface exploration will finally start next month.

Tongonan geothermal plant in LeyteThis was revealed by Gudmundur F. Sigurjonsson, Managing Director of Reykjavic Energy Investment (REI) in the Asia Pacific during a press conference held on Saturday at the Biliran Garden Resort in Barangay Lomboy, Naval, Biliran.

Director Sigurjonsson was joined in by Sigrun Elsa Smaradottir, City Councilor of Reykjavik, Iceland who is also a member of the Board of Reykjavik Energy Invest, Engr. Raffy Salazar of the PNOC-EDC, Nilo Apuada who is currently the Head of the Geothermal Development of Envent Holdings Philippines, Incorporated, and George Tiopes of Tacloban City.

Apuada informed that they are now awaiting clearance from the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in region 8 particularly from the Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) for the project to start.

Director Sigurjonsson informed that this is the first geothermal development project undertaken by Reykjavik Energy Invest (REI) here in the Philippines.

REI whose main office is based in Iceland is a global leader in the development of renewable energy with specific focus on geothermal energy.

“This is an ambitious project we have to undertake in the Philippines since our firm is committed to the Department of Energy through Secretary Angelo T. Reyes and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide part of the 1,200 megawatts of electricity needed by the country by 2013 during the signing of the contract agreement between their firm and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines on July 10, 2008”, Sigurjonsson added.

He added that if the surface exploration that costs $1M can start by next month, it is expected to  be finished in May next year.

Furthermore, he said, some $16M to $19M will be needed for the drilling operations of the three geothermal wells found in Sitio Pulangyuta in Barangay Cabibihan in Caibiran town, Barangay Villavicenta also in Caibiran and the other one which is located in Barangay Libtong in the muncipality of Naval, the capital town of Biliran province.

According to Sigurjonsson, an investment of $125M is expected to be financed by their firm for a 50-megawatt source of geothermal energy that will be taken from the project.

It is expected that the geothermal project in Biliran province can produce up to 100 megawatts.

After the surface exploration of the Biliran geothermal is completed in May 2009, it takes about four years before the project becomes fully operational and by then, geothermal energy is ready for commercial purposes.

“I’ll be here in the province of Biliran as often as possible to oversee the project” he assured.

As to environmental concerns, he assured the project will not pose any environmental risk and danger to the people in the province of Biliran since they have already conducted an extensive environmental assessment and study before they will implement the geothermal project like what they have done to similar projects in other parts of the world and even in his own country, Iceland.

Sigurjonsson gladly informed Vice-Governor Lucila Curso and the rest of the provincial board members present during the press conference that the project will surely give a lot of benefits to the province of Biliran since the surface exploration alone is a labor intensive endeavor and it needs more manpower resources which they will get from the province of Biliran.

For his part, Caibiran Vice-Mayor Eulalio Maderazo who was also present during the press forum with the Tacloban and Biliran media to include PIA said, he will lead an information campaign to orient the residents particularly those living in the vicinity about the project so that they will know what it is all about.





SEA-Air gears up for 1st September Manila-Borongan flight

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
August 24, 2008

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  It’s all system go for SEA-Airlines as it sets to fly on 1st September its proving flight to Borongan City.

This was learned from Dr. Joel Mendoza, Senior Staff of SEA-Air in an interview.

Mendoza expressed hopes that their 32-Seater airline will propel a more active economy in this part of Region 8.

“Not to brag, we opened Boracay and Palawan to the world,” the young executive claimed.  It has been our forte to open future tourist destinations,” he added which implies his expectation that Borongan City or the entire Eastern Samar might follow suit.

Mendoza’s team was in the City recently to further inspect the Punta Maria Airport, its apron and terminal which were the final requirement for landing.  He said in the interview however, that both are now okay and are ready to receive passengers.

Asked how much would it cost to fly to Manila and vice-versa via SEA-Air, the Officer did not reply promptly, instead, he enumerated several considerations and comparisons, vis-à-vis, travel time, cost, even stress level and energy when one takes the land trip.

He said that after some careful study, they found it reasonable to cost each passenger: P3,500 for promotional, majority price-P4,300 and regular-P5,300. SEA-Air leaves Manila at 10:50am and an hour and eight minutes later, it is expected to touch down Borongan; and an hour after again, it flies back to Manila.

Initially, Mendoza said they will schedule regular flights on Mondays and Fridays.  Their booking office is at Avon-Amistoso bldg., Tabok, Borongan City.





Tacloban City is in the shortlist of finalists in the National Literacy Awards

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 24, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The City of Tacloban is among the five component cities which are included in the shortlist of finalists in the 2008 National Literacy Awards.

Members of the Literacy Coordinating Council, Dr. Minda Sutaria, Dr. Norma Salcedo and PIA Staff Director Emelyn Libunao, were in Tacloban City on August 14 in order to conduct on-site visit to the Literacy Programs of the City Government of Tacloban City.

The team made a courtesy call to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and was personally guided by Hon. Cristina Romualdez to the various literacy projects of the City Government.

Director Libunao said that the Literacy Coordinating Council is searching for Literacy Programs which will inspire all sectors to help reduce the incidence of illiteracy in the Philippines.

The 2008 National Literacy Awards is a project of the Literacy Coordinating Council and the Department of Education, in support of the National Government's commitment to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing adult illiteracy by half in 2015, and consequently improve the quality of life of the Filipino.

Through the 2008 National Literacy Awards, the National Literacy Council hopes to mobilize all sectors of society, government agencies, non-government organizations, local government units and the entire society to promote and disseminate the importance of literacy to national progress and consequently inspire them to develop, implement and sustain literacy programs and projects throughout the country.

The National Literacy Award aims to encourage the development and replication of innovative, creative and indigenous literacy programs and projects.

The National Literacy Awards has two categories: the Outstanding Literacy Program Award and the Outstanding Local Government Unit Award.

The Outstanding Literacy Program Award shall be given to a literacy program being implemented by a non-government or civic organization, academic institution, which has evident positive impact on the learners and the community. The program should have contributed to the transformation of learners into productive and more responsible community members.

The Local Government Unit Award shall be given to a local government unit, city or municipal government, which has developed policies, programs and projects conducive to literacy development and which have efficaciously made a positive impact on the barangays and the quality of life of the people.

The Local Government Unit Award will be given to one highly urbanized city, component city, municipal level Class A and Class B. Class A includes the first class up to third class municipalities while Class B includes the 4th class to 6th class municipalities.

For Region 8, the Regional Selection Committee nominated to the National Literacy Awards, the ALPS program of the 803rd Infantry Brigade as the  Region’s Outstanding Literacy Program nominee; Tacloban City for the city LGU award; Tanaun, Leyte for the LGU first to third class municipality award; and Bontoc, Southern Leyte for the 4th to 6th class municipality award.

The Regional Selection Committee is composed of the Department of Education Director as chairman, the Department of Interior and Local Government Director as co- chairman, and the Philippine Information Agency Regional Director, National Economic and Development Authority Regional Director and the President of an Academe, as members. The Coordinator is the Department of Education Regional Chief and the Secretary is the chief of the Alternative Learning System Division.

The Literacy Coordinating Council is an inter-agency body that is tasked to provide overall policy and program direction to the country's literacy development efforts committed to create and maintain an environment for the development and promotion of literacy skills geared towards the attainment of a literate Philippines. It is premised on RA 7165, An Act Creating the Literacy Coordinating Council, defining its powers and functions, appropriating therefore and for other purposes.




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