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PGMA rides through storm Pablo in region 8

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


Trio of young leaders embarks on a crusade for good, ethical governance

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

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Echoing Barack Obama’s “change we believe in,” a trio of young leaders of the Philippines bonded together to embark on a new crusade, the movement for good and ethical governance.

Leyte board member Carlo Loreto
Leyte BM Carlo Loreto

Thus, expect to see and hear Senator Kiko Pangilinan, National Movement of Young Legislators Secretary General Carlo Loreto and former National Youth Commission Commissioner Paulo Benigno Aquino IV in the various universities and colleges in the Visayas in November, not only to discuss their campaign against graft and corruption but also to encourage young leaders to run for office come 2010.

“The three of us will work together to promote good governance and to encourage young people to be vigilant about public affairs and even run for elections and join government,” Atty. Loreto said.

Atty. Loreto who is currently a senior member of the board of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Leyte, informed that the movement aims to promote real change in government by advocating and promoting transparency, accountability, people empowerment and electoral reforms.

The idea came out of a series of meetings among the trio, who are noted young leaders in the Philippines today.

“In the course of our discussions, it came upon us that we should organize various fora that could make a difference for the better as far as government and politics are concerned. It was how the concept was born,” said Atty. Loreto.

Senator Pangilinan is a young political leader who belongs to a breed of new legislators who possess dedication to work and passion for the voiceless segments of Philippine society. A visionary and dedicated public servant, he is acknowledged as one of the most hardworking and most productive senators in the country today.

NMYL Secretary General Loreto is among the most productive and outstanding legislators and political leaders in Region 8. A lawyer and active public official, he has authored or co-authored numerous landmark ordinances in the Leyte SP, among them: The Gender and Development Code of the Province of Leyte; Anti- Illegal Drugs and Substance Abuse Ordinance; Ordinance Creating a Provincial Council for the Protection and Welfare of Leyte Overseas Filipino Workers; Anti-Illegal Logging and Timber Poaching and Environmental Code of the Province of Leyte.

Aquino, who is a nephew of National Hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, is currently the president of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards Foundation. A host of the ABS-CBN Start-Up program and promising young leader, Aquino has been recognized recently as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

To jumpstart their advocacy, the three young leaders will first go on Campus Tours around Eastern Visayas next month to promote principles of good governance.

BM Loreto said that as part of the “Campus Tours,” they will organize and conduct fora on ethical and good governance wherein they hope to invite student leaders and young professionals who may be interested to join the advocacy.

Among the schools in the region the three crusaders are planning to get involved with in their advocacy are the University of the Philippines (UP), Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU), Leyte Normal University (LNU), and the Visayas State University (VSU).





P249-M worth of concrete pavement project to be implemented next year

October 10, 2008

NAVAL, Biliran  –  Representative Glenn Chong of the Lone District of Biliran revealed in an interview with PIA that a P249-M worth of concrete pavement project will be implemented in 2009 as a continuation of the various on-going concrete pavement projects in the remaining unpaved portion of the Biliran circumferential road network.

He informed that aside from the amount, he also got an additional fund of P50M which will likewise be used for the concrete pavement project.

He said that Biliranons can see big accomplishments by next year in terms of the concrete pavement project with the considerable amount intended for the project

“I will try my best and show to the Biliranons that I am sincere in my promise although it is hard to get funds for the road concreting project” said Rep. Chong in a voice full of confidence.

It was learned that Rep. Chong wrote a letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo requesting the amount of P880-M for the completion of the remaining unpaved portion of the Biliran Circumferential Road Network.

Few weeks ago, a group of high ranking officials from the central office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) visited the office of the DPWH-Biliran Engineering District and one of the purposes of the visit was to inspect the unpaved portion of the Biliran Circumferential Road Network.

Meanwhile, based on the lists of on-going projects and projects for implementation furnished by Engr. Virginia C. Sarabusing, District Engineer of DPWH-Biliran Engineering District to PIA, the following are the different infrastructure projects related to road concreting under the CY 2008 Infrastructure Projects, namely: Concreting of Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (Mohon-Pulang Yuta Section) – P20M; Concreting of Masagongsong Bridge Approaches – P2M; Concreting of Critical Portion Along Kawayan-Culaba National Circumferential Road (Bulalacao-Bilwang Section) – P15M; Concreting of Caibiran-Cabucgayan Road (Uson-Gamay Section) – P4M; Concreting of Culaba-Caibiran Road (Culaba-Looc Section) – P4M; Concreting of Cabucgayan-Biliran Road (Balaquid-Lawaan Section) – P5M and the Rehabilitation of Biliran Bridge Along Leyte-Biliran Section – P25M.

Part two in the lists is the Realigned Projects from Reblocking under the CY 2007 Regular Infrastructure Program where the projects are the following: Concrete Paving of Critical Portion of National Circumferential Road, Kawayan-Culaba Road (Masagaosao-Bulalacao-Bilwang Section) – P6M; Concrete Paving of Critical Portion of National Circumferential Road, Culaba-Caibiran Road (Maurang-Manalabang Section) – P5M; Concrete Paving of Critical Portion of National Circumferential Road, Caibiran-Cabucgayan Road (Rawis Section) – P4M.

In item number three which is the Realigned Projects from Asphalt Overlay under the Motor Vehicle Users Charge of the General Appropriations Act of CY 2007, the projects are the following; Reblocking/Concrete Paving of Critical Portion of Naval-Caibiran Cross Country Road (Km. 1033+482-Km. 1033+933) – P4.73M and Reblocking/Concrete Paving of Critical Portion of Biliran National Circumferential Road (Km.1114+000-Km. 1114+451.60) – P8.53M.

Other sources of fund for the road concreting project came from the Roro Port Fund in the amount of P8M for the Concreting of Access Road-Naval Roro Port National Highways; Memorandum of Agreement Projects under the CY 2007 Regular Infrastracture Projects namely: Concreting of Bool Central-Bool East Section – P3M, Culaba, Biliran; Concreting of Pawikan-Baso Road Section – P3M, Cabucgayan, Biliran and Concreting of Looc-Balaquid Road Section, Cabucgayan, Biliran – P2M.

An amount of P40M under the item Eastern Nautical Highway is allocated for the Rehabilitation/Concreting of Cabucgayan-Biliran-Naval Road that was bid-out at the DPWH Regional Office and will be implemented by the Biliran District Engineering Office.

Aside from the various road concreting projects, Representative Chong was able to implement 119 projects in the amount of P20M under the Various Infrastructure Including Local Projects (VILP) in the 2nd and 3rd tranches of CY 2007 to include concreting of barangay roads and pathways, flood controls, water systems, drainage systems, multi-purpose buildings, seawalls, health centers, school buildings, footbridges and stairways.

Another 98 VILPs were implemented in the 1st tranche of CY 2008 in the amount of P20M.

These various VILPs were implemented in the 132 barangays and in the eight municipalities throughout the province of Biliran.

Engr. Sarabusing disclosed in a recent interview that all of these infrastructure projects were made possible through the efforts of Rep. Chong.





Lawyerless court procedure OK'd, Chiz lauds SC

Press Release
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
October 8, 2008

PASAY CITY, Philippines  –  Now anybody can go to court and handle his case from start to finish without the need for a lawyer.

The Supreme Court has already approved A.M. No. 08-8-7-SC or the "Rule of Procedure for Small Claim Cases" which provides a simpler and more inexpensive and expeditious means of settling disputes involving purely money claims than the regular civil process.

Small claims cases are civil claims which are exclusively for the payment or reimbursement of a sum of money not exceeding P100,000.

The new rule which became effective last October 1 makes court procedures inexpensive, informal and simple. An individual is allowed to handle his own case. One has to only fill out the ready-made available forms and procedural rules, including the rules of evidence, are not anymore required, thus there is no need for a lawyer.

Senator Chiz Escudero, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights said this new rule augurs well for both the plaintiff and the defendant as it encourages summary procedures which are notably rare in most of the country's judicial courts.

This rule, he said will unclog our courts which will enable them to direct their focus more on other higher cases and act on these.

"Small claims courts will allow faster action without the complexity of the usual court procedures and the usual lawyer-client transaction. Most often, lawyers just complicate simple matters. This time, they are not allowed to appear in court unless they are either the plaintiff or the defendant."

The procedure only entails one day hearing in which a judicial dispute resolution (JDR) judge will preside. "This is where an amicable settlement can already be achieved without going through court procedures anymore. It's faster and economical for both parties in terms of expenses when you go to a regular court".

Small claims courts will be heard in first level courts like the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.

The court may dismiss the case outright when any grounds for the dismissal of a civil case is apparent or obvious from the statement of claim and supporting documents.





Out-of-school youth get a second chance thru DepEd’s equivalency tests

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

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Out of school youth will have a chance to acquire a high school diploma this month of October as the Department of Education administers a series of Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) tests in 189 school divisions all over the country, on all the Sundays of the month.

The A&E Test is a multiple-choice, paper-and-pencil test that is designed to measure the competencies of those who have not finished formal elementary or secondary education.

The Department of Education offer this annually to all out-of-school youth so that they can become productive members of society even without having to attend formal school.

Targets of the A&E Test include elementary and high school drop outs who are at least 11 years old, and 15 years old, respectively, on or before October 5, 2008. Industry-based workers, housewives, drivers, and maids are also welcome to take the test.

Those who pass the test are given a diploma certified by the DepEd Secretary himself. This certifies that their competencies, as revealed in their exam results, are at par with high school graduates from the formal school system.

This test gives a chance to both in- and out-of school youth to pursue college. Passers, like those schooled in the formal system, are even eligible for government positions.

The test was administered on October 5, 2008 in Regions 9-13 and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

On the other hand, the examinees from Regions 5, 6, 7 and 8 are scheduled to take it on October 12, 2008.

Further more, tests for Regions 1 to 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) are scheduled on October 19, 2008.

Lastly, tests for Regions 4A, 4B, and the National Capital Region (NCR) are slated for October 26, 2008.

Interested examinees may contact the Alternative Learning System coordinator or any school authorities in their areas. Late examinees may register on the day of the test from 8:00 o’clock in the morning up to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. They are advised to bring any identification card, and two size 1x1 photos.





Former Congressman donates P100 thousand to Church-led Northern Samar Peace and Order Task Force

By NENE A. MANZANARES (PIA Northern Samar)
October 7, 2008

CATARMAN, Northern Samar  –  The group’s vision, mission and objectives were clear. Members of the core group were generous with their time and expertise. The workprogram was done, and all the group needed was a little push to sustain the formative activities of the Northern Samar Peace and Order Task Force.  And this did not take long. In a flicker of an eye, the special push came from one concerned Nortehanon – a former Congressman of the second district of the province (also a former regional director of PIA) and now one of the board of directors of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund.

Director Wilmar P. Lucero did not need any convincing in parting with his hard earned money which now serve as a seed fund of the task force.  A committed public servant who believes that peace and development go together, he gave the task force support fund without hesitation.

Colonel Eduardo D. del Rosario, brigade commander of the 803rd Infantry Brigade who was requested by the task force to give the soliciation letter,  told the group that when he was about to give the letter,  Director Lucero at the same time handed him the donation.

“Hindi ko pa nga naiibigay ang sulat, ibinibigay na sa akin ang pera!”, (I still had to give the letter, but he was already handing in the money), the brigade commander said, describing their meeting. This news was received with knowing grins from some members of the task force who have already known Director Lucero’s generosity from way back.

Meanwhile, the seed fund was turned-over in a simple ceremony by Col. Del Rosario to Sr. Lydia Collado, RSCJ who is head of the Secretariat, during a regular meeting of the task force Friday, October 3 last week.  Witnessing the turn-over was Rev. Father Cecil Lucero, chair of the task force including the members of the said group.

The Northern Samar Peace and Order Task Force is one of the three task forces under the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum formed by the Diocese of Catarman which is headed by Bishop Emmanuel C. Trance, DD. The task force aims to reduce insurgency and criminality in the province by fifty percent in 2010.  The other two task forces are the Task Force on Good Governance and the Task Force on Environment.

The Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum is the local counterpart of the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) comprising the Diocese of Catarman, Calbayog and Borongan. The organization prides itself of having the Church, Government and Civil Society as its partners.





Report unofficial use of government cars to PACE or thru sms, PGMA says

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 6, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo enjoins the public to report any unofficial use of government vehicles to the Presidential Action Center (PACE), Arlegui Street, San Miguel Manila or thru cellphone numbers 09198984621, 09198984622, 09198984623, 09178398462, 09178398462, 09178982462, 09178985462.

The report should contain among others, the type of vehicle, plate number, and the place and time where the government vehicle is found, preferably with pictures.

The call came as President Arroyo directed all government agencies and offices to limit the use of government vehicles for purposes other than official business.

Such directive is enshrined in Administrative Order 239 dated September 15, 2008, signed by President Arroyo. Through AO 239, the President has ordered government institutions to ensure a continuous, adequate, reliable and economic supply of energy through the judicious conservation, renewal and efficient utilization of energy to keep pace with the country's growth and economic developments.

The Arroyo administration adheres to the principle that public office is a public trust and inherent in this principle is the judicious and responsible stewardship in the utilization of government resources, AO 239 stipulates.

Vehicles used by intelligence and investigative agencies of the government shall not be covered by the foregoing proviso.

The use of government vehicles on Sundays, legal holidays or out of the regular office hours or outside the route of the officials or employees authorized to use them, or by any person other than such officials or employees shall unless properly authorized, be prima facie evidence of violation of Administrative Order 239 in the administrative proceeding against officials or employees responsible of such violation.

All government agencies and offices shall limit the use of government vehicles to essential activities and shall review their travel program and schedules to minimize unnecessary trips.

The use of government vehicles for private social functions such as receptions, balls, theaters and for other personal purposes is absolutely prohibited. Likewise, use thereof by the spouses, children, relatives, friends and the like of the officials entitled thereto, even if they are in the company of said officials is strictly prohibited.

Government vehicles shall be used strictly for official business, bear government plates only, and after office hours or during weekends and holidays kept in a garage designated/provided therefore by the bureau or office to avoid their unauthorized use.

President Arroyo ordered the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to closely coordinate and render assistance for the prompt and efficacious implementation of this order particularly in the identification of the reported government vehicles.





PGMA announces appointment of DTI 8 director as new Presidential Asst for Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 2, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo announced the appointment of Department of Trade and Industry Region 8 Director Cynthia Nierras as the new Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas.

The announcement was made during the September 30 emergency meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council 8 held at the President’s Hall of the Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City.

Director Nierras will take the place of PA Victor A. Domingo who was recently appointed as the new Secretary for New Government Centers.

Director Nierras said she would assume her new post immediately after the President signs her appointment papers. She said she accepted the post because she cannot say no to the President’s call to serve knowing that the President’s sincerity in serving the Filipino people.

As Presidential Assistant for Region 8, Director Nierras will continue the good job started by Secretary Vic Domingo in fulfilling the President’s development strategy that will ultimately benefit the Filipino people.

Working with and for the President is not new to Director Nierras because she had the chance to work with the President when the President was the Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Knowing the way she works, the Regional Directors present agreed that Director Nierras was the right choice as Presidential Assistant for Region 8.

The local chief executives interviewed gave their vote of confidence to Director Nierras saying that she is a good link of Region 8 to the President.

Present during the RDCC Meeting were RDCC Chairman PRO 8 Director Abner Cabalquinto and the members of RDCC 8.

Also present were Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Presidential Assistant Victor Domingo, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Leyte Vice Governor Mimyet Bagulaya, Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado, Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, First District of Leyte Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Eastern Samar Congressman Teodulo Coquilla.





The Office of the Ombudsman yesterday dismissed fifteen Public Works officials for various offenses

Press Release
October 2, 2008

MANILA, Philippines  –  In separate orders, Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro ordered the dismissal from the service of Wilfredo B. Agustino, Regional Director; Rudy G. Canastillo, Assistant Regional Director; Edward G. Canastillo, Acting District Office Head; and Cecil C. Caligan, Acting District Office Assistant Head, all of the Department of Public Works (DPWH)-Iloilo; Rolindo M. Perez, OIC-District Engineer; Vicente E. Vargas, OIC-Asst. District Engineer; Dennis P. Geduspan, Engineer III; Mayo R. Pelagio, Engineer III; Bernardo P. Yparosa, Accountant III; Jose M. Javier, Jr., Property Custodian; and Pio M. Gareza, Jr., Supply Officer, all of the DPWH-Negros Occidental; Miviluz R. Aviles, Chief of the Systems and Procedures Division; and Leticia V. Osorio, Chief of the Medical-Dental Division of DPWH-Manila; Geronima E. Muncada, Cashier; and Azucena O. Viojan, Supply Officer, both of the DPWH-Samar; and Abdulmunib Muksan, Depot-in-Charge of the DPWH-8 in Leyte.

Agustino, Caligan, and the Canastillos were dismissed for Grave Misconduct for conspiring to give “unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference” to one Rogelio Yap, the contractor for the construction of the Bancal-Leon-Camandag Road in Leon, Iloilo.

Investigation revealed that the said officials connived to make it appear that P6,7333,329.23 was used for the excavation phase of the project, when what was actually spent was only P38,610.

In the case of Agustino who had already retired, ODO Casimiro imposed upon him the accessory penalties inherent to dismissal, including Cancellation of Eligibility, Forfeiture of Retirement Benefits, Disqualification for Reinstatement or Reemployment and Bar from Taking any Civil Service Examination.

In a separate case, Perez, Vargas, Pelagio, Geduspan, Yparosa, Javier, and Gareza – all of the 4th Sub-Engineering Office of the DPWH office in Bago, Negros Occidental – were dismissed for Grave Misconduct in connection with irregularities in the two projects for the improvement of the Camingawan-Pandan Road in Pontevedra.

A special audit of the said projects revealed a discrepancy of P8,128,768.37, representing cost of materials and labor paid but not delivered or accomplished.  In addition, a discrepancy of P2,968,268.33 occurred representing cost of materials and labor which were utilized or applied in the project, but which were not included among the paid items.

On the other hand, Aviles and Osorio were dismissed for Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct after Aviles incurred a three-month absence from work without filing the necessary leave of absence or authority to travel abroad.

In order to cover up for the said irregularity, Osorio issued to Aviles a medical certificate to make it appear that she was sick and rightfully on sick leave, although records show that Aviles was actually in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Muncada was ordered dismissed for Dishonesty after incurring a shortage of P4,586,839.35 in her accounts, consisting of unliquidated cash advances and checks issued without disbursement vouchers and supporting documents.  Investigation revealed that Muncada would alter the name of the real payees and replace it with her own for presentment to the banks, and would alter them again for the purpose of reporting the checks as disbursements.

Viojan, on the other hand, was dismissed for Gross Neglect of Duty and Simple Misconduct after she signed twenty of the said checks amounting to P1,371,852.75 even if these were not duly supported by necessary documents.  Moreover, she was found to have received payment for a check worth P94,967.50, although the same was not issued in her name.

Muksan, an employee of the DPWH-Central Office but was assigned as Depot-in-Charge of the President’s Bridge Program Depot in Palo, Leyte, was dismissed for Dishonesty in connection with the alleged stealing of 176 government-owned steel bars worth P440,000.

Investigation revealed that Muksan hired two laborers to haul and deliver the said steel bars to the junkyard of one Bienvenido Sta. Iglesia in Ormoc City, to be sold as scrap materials, without authority of the DPWH.

ODO Casimiro ordered the DPWH Secretary to immediately implement the said dismissal orders and to submit a compliance report therewith.





PGMA grateful storm Pablo did not cause damage in Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 2, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heaved a sigh of relief and gratitude to the Lord upon learning that tropical storm Pablo did not cause damage to Samar Island where it had a land fall at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday.

Path of tropical storm pablo
Graphic showing the path of Tropical Storm Pablo and its position (in red) at 2:00 pm of September 30.

President Arroyo presided over the emergency meeting of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 8 on September 30 at the Leyte Park Hotel, to craft emergency measures for storm Pablo which placed Eastern Visayas under signal number two.

When the President learned during the meeting, that the storm had a land fall between Borongan City, Eastern Samar and Catbalogan City, Samar, the President’s immediate reaction was to ask what damage if any, the storm caused to these places.

Through phone patch, the President talked to Borongan City Mayor Fidel Anacta Jr. who assured to her that the weather has improved and that the storm did not sow any damage in the municipality.

The President also talked via phone patch to Samar Governor Mila Tan who informed her that the storm was weak and did not cause any damage to the province.

Learning that more than 400 passengers were stranded at Allen Ferry Terminal, President Arroyo called up Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza who assured her that there are no stranded passengers anymore.

Governor Daza also informed the President about the existing agreement between the local government and the bus companies to the effect that whenever a storm signal is raised, the bus companies will no longer allow their buses to travel so as not to put the lives of the passengers into danger.

The President called on the members of the disaster councils to coordinate and act decisively and to make people take all necessary precautions whenever a storm or typhoon enters their areas of responsibility.



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