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An Waray partylist donates P1M for training center in Basey

Road rehab in Samar’s capital city to usher in agricultural productivity

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

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


PGMA rides through storm Pablo in region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 1, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Not even tropical storm Pablo was able to dampen President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s drive to inspire the people and to promote the development of Region 8.

PGMA's arrival in Calbayog City airport
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is afforded arrival honors by the 8th ID elements at the Calbayog City Airport as she commences her two-day trip to visit the three Samar provinces and see personally major infrastructure projects. With her is 8th ID Division Commander BGen. Arthur Tabaquero.  (PIA Samar)

Unable to take the chopper that would take her to Arteche barangays, President Arroyo took a motor banca ride and then motored amid heavy rains brought about by tropical storm Pablo which placed Eastern Visayas under signal number two.

For two and a half hours, the President traveled from the municipality of Sulat through rough roads in order to fulfill her engagement at the 107th commemoration of Balangiga Encounter at Balangiga town, also in Eastern Samar.

Despite the typhoon, a big crowd awaited the President at Balangiga where the President reiterated her commitment to developing Eastern Visayas and make it a destination worth visiting and worth promoting to the tourists.

Although the she was unable to go to Arteche and Guiuan, of which she was very apologetic, the President was not easily put down. She immediately called for an emergency meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Tacloban City.

And so from Balangiga, Eastern Samar, the President traveled to the coastal road of Marabut, Samar, passed through the San Juanico Bridge that links Leyte and Samar, to reach the province of Leyte.

Reaching the Park Hotel in Tacloban City, President Arroyo graciously greeted and shook the hands of the people waiting for her. She won the admiration of the hotel staff when she went near the reception desk and shook the hands of the receptionists too.

Several people commented how she could remember the first names of people in Tacloban whom she does not meet often and with the so many people all over the country she comes in contact with everyday.

Another one commented, “No wonder she always travels to the provinces. She loves people and the people love her too.”

At 5:30 in the afternoon, President Arroyo met with the members of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council. It was there when everybody learned that storm Pablo had a land fall already between Borongan, Eastern Samar and Catbalogan City in Samar at 5:00 o’clock that afternoon.

The President had traveled through the storm in Eastern Visayas.





Medical Mission for Children back in Leyte for another round of surgical mission

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC Leyte)
October 1, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  For the third year in a row, the Medical Mission for Children (MMFC) of Salem, Massachusetts, USA is here again in Leyte conducting a surgical mission for children with cleft lip palette and cleft palette at the Leyte Provincial Hospital.

Together with the provincial government of Leyte through Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla, the medical mission runs from September 29 to October 3 and is targeting to operate on at least 50 to 60 patients from all over Leyte province.

Beneficiaries of this mission are children three months and above.

According to Leyte Provincial Heath Director Dr. Erlinda Astorga, the Provincial Health Office is very much thankful to the MMFC for yearly choosing the province to conduct this mission.

“The first time they were here was in 2006 and they came again in 2007. So we are just very thankful that considering there are still many other countries around the world that need their help, they still come back to Leyte,” Dr. Astorga said.

This year, MMFC brought with it 15 surgeons and nurses who are presently operating on cleft lip palette and cleft palette surgery patients who were already pre-screened by the Leyte Provincial Hospital and the different district hospitals and municipal health centers in the province.

Dr. Astorga said the patients’ pre-screening was conducted all for free though the provincial government after provincial health office informed the municipalities of this free surgical mission through the respective local government units.

MMFC is dedicated to providing quality surgical and dental services to poor and under-privileged children and young adults in various countries throughout the world as well as facilitating the transfer of education, knowledge and recent innovations to the local medical communities.

Medical Missions for Children, Inc. is a non-profit organization providing free surgical, medical, and dental care to underprivileged children and young adults all over the world. Based in Massachusetts, MMFC is comprised of a dedicated group of volunteer surgeons, medical specialists, dentists, nurses, biomedical engineers, administrative and materials personnel.

MMFC currently has 13-15 missions per year to Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ukraine, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mali, India and the Philippines. In addition, new sites in Thailand, Kenya, Ethiopia and Cameroon are planned for 2009 and 2010.

After the Leyte Mission, MMFC is scheduled to conduct a similar outreach activity in Gitwe, Rwanda, East Africa in November.





Silvinohanons accord PGMA warmest welcome as 1st RP president to visit the hinterland town

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 30, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Led by Mayor Eduard Gillamac, the people of the fifth class municipality of Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar accorded a most warm welcome to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as they honored her as the first Philippine President to ever visit the hinterland town.

President Arroyo led the ceremonial groundbreaking of a one-storey two-classroom school building for Silvino Lobos Central School with a funding of about P1.3 million with a land area of 18x7 square meters. The school project will benefit about 120 -200 school children of the Silvino Lobos Central School.

The President also launched National Supplemental Feeding Program with the serving of “lugaw’. The President led in the feeding of 282 Grade I pupils of Silvino Lobos Central School. Simultaneous feeding was also conducted in five other schools in Silvino Lobos and in five schools at Lope de Vega.

To the delight of the municipal officials and the people, President Arroyo promised the completion of the Cagpanitan-Silvino Lobos Road project that would connect the town of Silvino Lobos to the mainland of Northern Samar.

Mayor Gillamac said that Silvino Lobos which is on a plateau and is 400 meters above sea level, will achieve economic development once the Road Project is completed.

From Silvino Lobos, the President went back to the Calbayog Airport to take her lunch and then motored to Lope de Vega with about 40 cars in convoy.





People of Guiuan eagerly awaits PGMA’s visit on Tuesday

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 29, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  All is set for the visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said Mayor Analiza Kwan of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. It is not the President’s first visit but all the same, the people are raring to be able to take a glance, much more to talk to their beloved “Pangulong Gloria.”

Guiuan mapGuiuan is humbled to be the venue of a Cabinet Meeting, Mayor Kwan said, saying that such an activity will have big impact on her municipality. Already, guests are starting to come, Mayor Kwan said when she called the Philippine Information Agency, and she is ready to graciously welcome them.

In order to promote surfing and beach tourism in Calicoan Island which is about three hours away from Tacloban and 20 minutes away from the town proper by motorized banca, the President will preside over the NEDA Cabinet meeting at the Surf Camp in Calicoan Island of Guiuan town on September 30, Tuesday afternoon.

The Cabinet Meeting is schedule to tackle the eco-tourism development master plan for the Samar Island to highlight the island’s potential as a tourist destination and map out strategies to lift Samar Island from the bondage of poverty.

Already, the President has caused the ongoing rehabilitation of the Guiuan Airport so that tourists will be able to fly directly to the island.

Calicoan Island is located in southern-most part of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the 3rd largest island in the Philippines. Guiuan which is being promoted as the key destination in Eastern Visayas, is hugged by the Pacific Ocean on the east and the Leyte Gulf on the west making it doubly blessed with natural beauty.

Its eastern coastline is characterized by miles and miles of interspersed with rugged cliffs and crashing breakers. In contrast the western shore has surf-ringed white sand beaches, long stretches of white sand beach and verdant forest abutting the calm waters of the Leyte Gulf.

Calicoan Island is known as a Surfer’s Paradise, with its rugged landscape, tropical forest, wonderful lagoons, breathtaking white beaches, crystal-clear water and magnificent sunlight.

Aside from its rich bounties of nature, Guiuan which is a 3rd class municipality, is a significant part of Philippine history. In the 16th century, when Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, it is believed that he first landed on the island of Homonhon. It is probably because of this fact that the majority of the population of the town are devout Catholics and the town's church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the oldest in the country.





PGMA’s visit highlights potentials of Samar island

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

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-ArroyoTACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  As she visits the island next week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not only fulfilling her SONA commitment, she is also putting into focus the potentials of Samar Island to the entire country and the whole world, and by doing so, the President is helping promote the tourism potentials of the beautiful island.

President Arroyo envisions the Central Philippines to which Eastern Visayas is a part. In order to maximize its tourism potentials, the necessary infrastructure support must be in place. To make the island more accessible, President Arroyo is pushing for the fast tracking of the construction and rehabilitation of the Maharlika Roads from Northern Samar to Samar.

Thus, on Monday, President Arroyo will arrive at the Calbayog City Airport where she will be met, among others, by Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Congressman Paul Daza, Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento and other local government officials.

From there, the President will undertake a windshield inspection of the scenic Calbayog-Lope de Vega-Catarman Road Project which spans 47.33 kilometers and costs P643.72 million and which decreased the travel time from Calbayog to Catarman by more than one hour.

At Lope de Vega, President Arroyo and party will be welcomed by Mayor Erlinda Cinco and DPWH Region 8 Director Angelito Twano, who will brief the President ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects particularly the proposed rehabilitation of the 44.25 kilometer Lope De Vega-San Isidro Road which will cost P1.243 billion and which promises to make the beautiful caves on the way more accessible to the tourists.

The President will also lead in the groundbreaking of farm to market roads under the Department of Agriculture’s INFRES project in the Municipality of Arteche, Eastern Samar. These projects will benefit not only the commuters but most especially the farmers who then be able to market their farm products easier.

The President is also scheduled to inspect the Arteche-Lapinig Road Projects which will connect the province of Eastern Samar to the second district of Northern Samar.

Moreover, President Arroyo is bringing in visitors as she is scheduled to meet with her Cabinet at the Surf Camp at Calicoan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, who will surely be a very good addition to the number of tourist arrivals in the major tourist destination in Eastern Visayas.





PGMA makes history as 1st president to visit Silvino Lobos north Samar town

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

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  All of a sudden, the sleepy 5th class municipality of Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar, has become alive with the excitement that comes with prospect of having the privilege of being visited by the President of Land for the first time.

Silivino Lobos, Northern SamarPresident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, fresh from her successful trip in New York to talk about the country’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, is scheduled to visit on September 29, the beautiful upstream town of Silvino Lobos which is considered as the summer capital or Little Baguio of Northern Samar because of its location, lush greenery and rainforest that reigns supreme in the area.

Mayor Edmund Guillamac exclaimed that the people of Silvino Lobos, is looking forward to the scheduled visit of the President because this is the first time that the town will be visited by the number one official of the country.

Indeed, because the town is not that easily accessible. It could be reached by motorboat or banca through the Pambujan River in Pambujan town which is the third town from the capital town of Catarman. The other towns before Pambujan are Mondragon and San Roque.

After the boat ride, the duration of which is determined by the tide, one has to climb a hill. But the trip is worth it as one reaches the beautiful town of Silvino Lobos which has a year-round cool climate and verdant rain forest and natural wonders like the Alitutungawan Falls and the Giguemitan Lake.

There were even wishful suggestions to capture the President’s footsteps on a cement mixture to perpetuate the first visit of the Highest Official of the Philippines in Silvino Lobos, reliable sources said.

But even without that, President Arroyo will be making history in Silvino Lobos and that will be imprinted in the hearts of the people, another source said.

During her visit, the President will preside in the groundbreaking of two-classroom school building at the Silvino Lobos Elementary School.

It will be an early Christmas for the 1,500 pupils of Silvino Lobos Elementary School as the President leads the feeding program and distribute family packs, school supplies and medicines.

Silvino Lobos is one of the ten depressed municipalities of Northern Samar which have been identified as the pilot municipalities for the President’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P’s) for the extremely poor families.





Over 400 families from landslide-prone Southern Leyte barangays acquire new homes

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

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  After two years of waiting, over 400 families who once lived near the ill-fated Barangay Guinsaugon, finally received the title of ownership of their new houses which are now located in safer lands at Barangay Magbagacay, about three kilometers away from the town proper of Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte, Miss Vina Aquino, DSWD 8 Regional Information Officer said.

In a simple ceremony on September 20 which was gracesd by no less than Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Minister Jiro Okuyama of the Japanese Embassy and Mr. Alberto Jugo, president and chief executive officer of the Habitat for Humanity-Philippines, the recipients from Barangays Ayahag, Nueva Esperanza and Sug-angon received the proof of ownership of the duplex-type houses which were built in cooperation with the Japanese Government and the Habitat for Humanity.

During the turn-over rites, 85 families from Barangay Sug-angon were provided with 1.4 hectares of land while 2 hectares were given to the 105 families of Nueva Esperanza. For the 226 family-beneficiaries of Barangay Ayahag, over one hectare of land was provided.

It would be recalled that the government through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has identified the said villages as similar to Barangay Guinsaugon, high risks areas for landslide occurrences.

Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado and Saint Bernard Mayor Rico Rentuza, who were present during the activity expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the construction of houses which brought new hopes to the family-beneficiaries.

Secretary Cabral hoped that the beneficiaries will take good care of their new houses and expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for donating P27 million and to the Habitat for Humanity for donating another P8 million for the construction of the duplex houses with a floor area of 20 square meters.

On February 17, 2006, the attention of the whole world were focused at Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte when more than 1000 residents of Barangay Guisaugon, including 200 school children were buried alive when mudslide, boulders and other debris from Mount Can-abag, covered the entire barangay.





New PNP building for Catbalogan City blessed

September 26, 2008

Blessing of the new Catbalogan City PNP building with secretary Gabby ClaudioCATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Finally, after some months of being housed in a market stall at the Catbalogan Public Market as temporary office, PNP Catbalogan City had its new building inaugurated and blessed by Msgr. Jun Cinco, Parish priest of Catbalogan City, Thursday.

Despite the rains, Cabinet Secretary Gabriel Claudio, BGen. William Campos of army’s 8th Infantry Division (8th ID), P/Chief Supt. Rey L Lañada, P/Senior Supt Asdali Idjah Abah and Mayor Coefredo ‘Tekwa’ Uy and a host of government officials witnessed the blessing of the P4.5 M building.

The 3-storey building was financed by PNP Central Office through the assistance of Sec Gabby Claudio.

In addition, the pieces of furniture, some fixtures and the panaflex sign were provided by the city government of Catbalogan through Mayor Uy.

Lañada reminded his PNP troops under P/Supt Ramil Ramirez to be inspired with the new building and be as snappy and neat as the gleaming, newly painted PNP building.

Meanwhile, Claudio after giving a PC unit, praised the ‘modest and decent’ new building that will serve the needs of the new city of Catbalogan.

He praised the PNP not only as being the protector of lives and properties but as protectors of the morals, integrity and good name of the residents of Catbalogan City.

He said that truly the people of Catbalogan do not only need the support of the national government but also deserve it.

Claudio also talked of the incoming visit of PGMA to the region the last week of September.

Ramirez was honored with the VIPs present who graced the occasion and treated them to a sumptuous lunch of lechon and other native fare.





On Daram’s 59th Founding Anniversary

Mayor urges constituents to support Mari culture projects

September 26, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  As Daram celebrated its 59th founding anniversary on September 22, 2008, Mayor Lucia Astorga urged her constituents to support in her bid to protect and enhance marine life and the coral reefs of this municipality.

In her anniversary message, the mayor outlined the different priority projects for this island town purportedly rich in marine resources.

However, because of over fishing, some illegally, Astorga reported that the town’s coral reef expanding to some 150 hectares, only some 17.61% remains intact. This situation, she said is dangerous and that it won’t be long before the remaining resources will be depleted and the people of Daram may not be able to provide for their daily needs.

To remedy the situation, and placing fisheries and agriculture development as her banner program, the council passed the Revised Municipal Ordinance on Fisheries. She urged her people to understand why fishing should be regulated and the illegal ones penalized to regain the rich marine resources long been abused.

She took pride in being able to establish the Daram Sea Garden in Southeast Daram for its potential eco-tourism site because of the presence of live corals, aquarium fish species, clams and cultured abalone.

With all this fishery initiatives, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Director John Albaladejo and provincial counterpart Rolando Ay-ay promised a patrol boat to secure protection of the remaining marine resources.

As to agriculture development, she is happy that through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) two Agrararian reform Communities (ARCs) have been launched in Daram on the same occasion. With this, the lady mayor said that her people won’t hesitate to produce agricultural products from their owned lands.

Added to this are major infrastructure projects as in Farm to Market Road that some personalities assisted to construct. She mentioned Samar Governor Milagrosa Tan, Second District Representative Sharee Ann Tan and An Waray Party-list Rep. Bembem Noel. The FMRs will help bring down the transportation cost of farm produce.

As to peace and order, she hailed the PNP and army for providing security and maintaining peace and order in this town. She also thanked Non-government organizations based in Daram, like Plan Philippines for its child-centered development projects, GIOS Samar led by Gerry Malinao who have helped her town immensely.

The founding anniversary that featured Handog Titulo and ARC launch was well attended by DENR Regional Technical Director (RDT) for Land Management Services Ramon Unay, DAR’s Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Jun Fiel, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) George Guillermo, Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO), Register of Deeds, Radyo ng Bayan, PIA and a host of other well wishers.

Despite the onslaught of heavy rains and rough seas, boats steadily docked into Daram’s municipal wharf to be part of the 59th funding anniversary celebration.





Stop misleading the public on RH bill, Couples for Christ told

Press Release
By Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.
September 25, 2008

QUEZON CITY, Philippines  –  NGO leaders vehemently condemn the continuous misinformation of the public by the Couples for Christ (CfC) on House Bill 5043, or the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008.

For Couples for Christ (CfC) to plea to kill RH bill is to condone more than 3500 of Filipino women dying every year due to childbirth and pregnancy complications.  Killing the RH bill means ignoring the children left orphans by the mothers who died of maternal deaths.  For CfC to campaign to kill HB 5043 amounts to taking part in the death of these poor mothers.

“We call on the opponents of the bill to stop propagating misinformation on the bill. Their effort to impose their moralities on others makes them blind of the realities around us. This is unfair for the 90% of Filipinos clamoring for the realization of this policy” Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), said.

San Pascual added that the CfC’s plea to “kill the RH bill” means an appeal for the government and our leaders to deny the Filipino people, most especially women, of their reproductive rights and their freedom to make informed choices.

Likewise, Ben De Leon, President of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, also criticized the CfC. "Ironically, the behavior of these anti-RH groups who are mostly from the Catholic hierarchy is very un-Catholic. They are in the forefront of a campaign to spread misinformation and lies to the Filipino public,” De Leon said.

Meanwhile, the Reproductive Health bill continues to grab more authors in the House of Representatives.

“The consistent threats and misinformation being peddled by the anti-reproductive health (RH) bill groups are actually helping the campaign for its passage,” San Pascual exclaimed. “In their effort to bully our policymakers, the anti-RH groups are actually insulting the intelligence and capacity of policymakers to decide based on facts and their conscience.”

San Pascual pointed out that since the inception of the anti RH groups’ vigorous misinformation campaign and public threats issued by certain Catholic Bishops to lawmakers, the RH bill’s authorship rose from 63 to 105.

“Their scare tactics such as the election backlash seems to turn-off some legislators,” San Pascual observed. “We call on the opponents to stop resorting to mudslinging and dirty tactics.  It does not do anybody any good. It would be better to instead spend their time in working with us to improve the bill.”

House Bill 5043 is now being deliberated in the House of Representatives.



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