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Daramnons thank PGMA for her gifts

It’s All Systems Go for the Palarong Pambansa 2009 hosted by Leyte

All is set for 5th National Skimboarding Competition in Tanauan, Leyte

Gov. Evardone, 3 bishops urge DPWH to act on road rehab in E. Samar

ASIA: 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Catbalogan city council member to sponsor ordinance to establish city AIDS council

Mac Arthur Park Beach Resort would need P700 million in investment for rehab

Samar governor Mila Tan suspended, Redaja assumed into office

Sandiganbayan denies motion of accused Samar governor, 2 others

Eastern Samar Governor is LGU Adviser for Public Affairs, PGMA says



Rescued Suluan fishermen happily return home to Guiuan

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 23, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The ten fishermen from Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar who drifted for five days when their boat capsized because of turbulent weather until they were rescued by fishermen at Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, are finally back at Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Rescued Suluan fishermen
The 10 Suluan fishermen who were rescued by fishermen of Tandag, Surigao del Norte were given debriefing by the DOH 8 doctors led by ARD Molon, With them in the photo are PA Cynthia Nierras and RDCC members.  (photo by PIA 8)

Mayor Analiza Kwan sent a message that the fishermen arrived at Guiuan at about 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. From Guiuan, the fishermen, at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, took a three hours boat ride to their homes at Suluan Island.

It will indeed be a happy event when the fishermen Reynaldo Ramos, Julito Cuyos, Anacleto Estanio, Marcelo Loyola, Boy Latina, Philip Latina, Jovi Macawile, Jessie Macawile, Gerard Marquito and Nesty Bencion, reach the safety of their own homes and back to their respective families.

The fishermen arrived at Tacloban City at about 9:00 o’clock in the evening of January 21. They were escorted to the Department of Health Regional Office 8 Dormitory where they spent the night.

At 7:00 o’clock, the fishermen had breakfast with PA Cynthia Nierras and several members of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council 8 and several members of the tri-media.

The fishermen were all okay except for some abrasions and one who suffered a cut on his brow. They underwent medical check up and debriefing by the doctors of the Department of Health Region 8 before they went home to Guiuan.

They narrated their harrowing experience at high seas, resorting to eating wet uncooked rice just to appease their complaining stomach. For water, they sip the rainwater on their wet shirts so that they will not be dehydrated.

On January 19, they were rescued 50 miles away from Tandag City, by kind fishermen who took them in their boat. They were brought to the barangay and to the Philippine Coast Guard at the PPA in Tandag. They said that they had to be given clothings because what they were wearing were all wet.

Mayor Kwan and the fishermen thanked profusely, Governor Alexander Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, who they said even gave the group P3,300 pocket money for their trip home, Tandag City Mayor Ike Pimentel, Vice Mayor Charie Dumagan, City Administrator Johnny Pimentel, City Councilor Fredo Cantalejo, TMO Tandag Terminal Division manager Antonio Ruiz.

The fishermen also thanked Lipata Terminal Manager Wilfredo Cinco, Surigao Port Manager Dodong Loyola; TMO Liloan Terminal Division Manager Rudy Morano and PO2 Mario D. Panganiban of the Tandag Coast Guard.





Four police stations in Biliran receive new service vehicles

January 23, 2009

NAVAL, Biliran  –  Four of the eight towns in the province of Biliran who have no service vehicles for a long time finally received their respective Philippine National Police (PNP) service cars.

In a simple turn-over ceremony held at the Biliran Police Provincial Office (BPPO) Grounds on Wednesday, the municipal police stations of Almeria, Cabucgayan, Caibiran and Culaba were each given a Toyota Hilux PNP service vehicle.

The mock key symbolizing the formal turn-over of the vehicles to the recipient municipal police stations was handed by Police Senior Superintendent Leonardo M. Cesneros, the newly-installed Provincial Director of BPPO to Mayor Arnelito S. Garing of Cabucgayan, Mayor Enrico B. Uyvico of Culaba, Police Inspector Ma. Bella Rentuaya, Chief of Almeria Police Station representing Mayor Rolando E. Ty and Engr. Teofilo Gervacio, the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator in Caibiran who represented Mayor Floresca S. Delante.

PSSupt. Cesneros in his message after the turn-over ceremony informed that the police cars are part of the facilities and communication development component of the Integrated Transformation Program of the PNP.

“The service vehicles will provide police stations capability, effectiveness and efficiency in doing their respective mandate, functions and duties and there is no reason why they could not dispense their duties”, PSSupt. Cesneros frankly said.

The Chief of BPPO who turned 45 years old on January 16, 2009 also asked the support of the local chief executives and their representatives to help in the maintenance of the service vehicles and in the provision of diesel fuels.

For his part, Mayor Garing said that to have a PNP service vehicle in his town before his  term ends in 2010 is a dream come true. He thanked the PNP and promised to support the program of the agency under his administration.

On the other hand, Mayor Uyvico stressed that the vehicle will uplift in maintaining peace and order and will help much in going after illegal activities in his town.

Likewise, Engr. Gervacio who represented Mayor Delante of Caibiran emphasized that the vehicle will greatly help in reducing crime rate in Caibiran town while P/Insp. Rentuaya who received the police car in behalf of Mayor Ty of Almeria stressed that the vehicle will be a big help in implementing the PNP programs in the town where she serves as chief of police.

Provincial Administrator Avelino Hernandez, who stood in behalf of Governor Rogelio J. Espina during the turn-over ceremony assured the BPPO chief, the two local chief executives present and the representatives of Mayor Delante and Mayor Ty that the provincial government will support the PNP through the provision of diesel fuels to the four new service vehicles and even told the upcoming rice allowance that will be given to the BPPO.





Sec. Bacani graces kickoff ceremony for Leyte-hosted Palarong Pambansa 2009

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 23, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  No less than Department of Education Undersecretary Ramon Bacani will grace the kickoff ceremony for the Palarong Pambansa 2009 on January 27.

DepEd Region 8 Director Sol F. Matugas informed that the kickoff activity will start with a short parade which will start at the Provincial Capitol Grounds at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon and will end at the RTR Plaza.

The Kick-Off Ceremony will start at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, Director Matugas said.

In this activity which will mark the start of the countdown for the Palarong Pambansa 2009 which is hosted by the province of Leyte, Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla is set to unveil its own official mascot that would carry the figure for the 2009 national summer games.

Having mascots in the Palarong Pambansa has already become a tradition, Director Matugas said. Last year, the Palaro was held in Palawan and the host city of Puerto Princesa used the peacock as their official mascot.

Aside from Secretary Bacani and Governor Petilla, expected to attend the Kick Off Ceremony are Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras, Leyte government officials, the regional directors of the various government agencies, other local government officials and the DepEd Regional and Provincial officials.

After the Kick-Off Ceremony, a press conference will be conducted at the RTR Gazebo with USec Bacani, Governor Petilla, and Director Matugas as the resource persons.

The province of Leyte and the Department of Education are preparing a grand opening ceremony for the Palarong Pambansa 2009 which will be held from April 26 to May 2, 2009.

Director Matugas expressed optimism that the Palarong Pambansa hosted by Leyte will be a very successful one with the support and cooperation of all the sectors of society.





10 Suluan fishermen found drifting at Tandag seas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 22, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Ten fishermen from Suluan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar are now at the custody of the Tandag, Surigao del Sur Philippine Coast Guard after they were rescued in the morning of January 19 by fishermen at Barangay Bungtod, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

Guiuan Mayor Analiza Kwan said that she was contacted by the Philippine Coast Guard Tuesday morning to inform her about the rescue.

The ten fishermen were identified as Reynaldo Ramos, Julito Cuyos, Anacleto Estanio, Marcelo Loyola, Boy Latina, Philip Latina, Jovi Macawile, Jessie Macawile, Gerard Marquito and Nesty Bencion.

The ten fishermen were reported to be the crew of fishing boat Xyril John who left Suluan on January 8 to fish. Mayor Kwan said that the owner of the fishing boat thought all the time that all is well with the crew and so he was shocked when he learned about the rescue.

The rescued Guiuan fishermen informed that on January 15, at about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the fishing boat was capsized because of turbulent waves. The ten fishermen tied themselves together and rode on top of the boat which has turned down. The fishermen drifted for four days until they were found by the Tandag fishermen yesterday.

When rescued, the fishermen were still tied together and were atop the capsized boat.

PO2 Mario D. Panganiban of the Philippine Coast Guard Detachment at the Philippine Ports Authority in Tandag, the ten fishermen were brought to them on Monday at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, by Barangay Chairman Merlita Alba.

PO2 Panganiban said that the fishermen were brought to the Adela Sera Pe Memorial Hospital on Tuesday for check up. He said that the fishermen have some scratches and one had a small wound in his eyebrows, otherwise, they are all well.

The barangay and the City Government under the leadership of Mayor Alexander Pimentel are taking care of the subsistence of the ten fishermen, PO2 Panganiban said.

On Tuesday morning, Barangay Chairman Alba again accompanied the ten fishermen to the hospital, he added.

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center of Eastern Visayas through Mr. Rey Gozon, is already coordinating with the RDCC of Caraga for possible assistance in bringing back the ten rescued fishermen to Suluan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.





Region 8 Festivals lord Sinulog Festival 2009

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 22, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The festival contingents from Region 8 reigned over the 28 participants in the free interpretation category of the recently concluded Sinulog Festival 2009, Department of Tourism Region 8 Regional Director Karen Tiopes informed the Philippine Information Agency.

The Buyugan Festival of Abuyog, Leyte with its environmental theme, won the first place stealing the award from the current champion the Lumad Basakon of Basak San Nicolas, Cebu which settled for the second place in this year’s Sinulog Festival.

The Buyugan Festival dancers wowed the thousands of spectators at the Cebu Sports Complex and the thousands of people who lined up the Cebu City main thoroughfares, with the mastery and fluidity of their steps and execution, the clear storyline and the spectacular props which provided drama to the total wonderful presentation.

The Buyugan Festival was also adjudged as third placer in the street dancing category which was won by the Sinundalay Cultural Group from Tangub City.

Another contingent from Leyte, the Karatong Festival of Dulag, won the fifth place, showing the entire country and the whole world that Leyte is a province to watch when it comes to festivals and cultural presentations. The Karatong Festival muse also won as the first runner up in the Miss Sinulog 2009.

The festival contingents from Leyte was headed by PAGCOR Vice President Honorable Remedios ‘Matin’ Loreto Petilla who is the chairperson of the Leyte Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, the municipal mayors and other officials of the competing festivals.

The 200-man Tribu Kabatuk of Tacloban City headed by Mayor Alfred Romualdez and City Councilor Cristina Romualdez, also participated in the Sinulog 2009 and performed well.  Its muse won as the best in production number in the Search for Miss Sinulog 2009, it was learned.

Another competing festival from Region 8, is the Karakas performing arts guild from Eastern Samar State University, which by the standards of the Sinulog Festival also gave a very good presentation.

As Director Tiopes said, all the participating festival contingents from Region 8 performed well and have done great to improve the lot of Eastern Visayas in the tourism map.

The other winners in the free interpretation category are one of the most applauded Sinulog Tribe from Carmen, Cebu, third place; and the festival of Lanao del Norte, fourth place, which was headed by no less than the provincial governor.

For the Sinulog-based category, the winners are the Sinandaloy Cultural Group from Tangub City, first place; Don Sergio Sr. Memorial National High School, second place; Silaw Culture and Arts representing Carcar City, while Siloy Festival of Alcoy and Pakol Festival of Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The first prize winners for the Sinulog-based and Free Interpretation will receive P500,000. Second placers will get P300,000 each and third placers will go home with P200,000. Fourth and fifth placer will receive P150,000 and P100,000 respectively.

Winners in the Street Dancing will receive the same prizes as those of the two major categories.





Guiuan Mayor lauds govt’s quick response to hunger-stricken families at isolated island brgys

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 21, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Guiuan Mayor Analiza Kwan commended the concerned government agencies for the quick response to the call for help for the hunger stricken families in nine barangays at the isolated islands of Homonhon and Suluan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

It is heartwarming to note that one call to a government agency is enough to make the ball rolling, Mayor Kwan said, recalling how she called for help on Saturday and the next thing she knew, the national government offices already know about the predicament of her constituents at islands which were isolated by the continuous heavy rains.

In the evening of January 17, family gift packs and 50 sacks of rice arrived at Guiuan. Another 50 sacks of rice were withdrawn from the National Food Authority office in Guiuan.

On January 18, motorized bancas were able to bring relief goods to the isolated barangays when the weather improved. However, not all the barangays were reached because it took two hours to reach Homonhon while Suluan could be reached in three hours.

On January 19, all the barangay in the isolated Homonhon Island, Suluan Island and Manicani Island were reached, with the improved weather and with the help of the Philippine Air Force Technical Operations Group chopper which transported the relief goods to the barangays which were not reached by the motorboats on January 18.

Mayor Kwan, who led the distribution sorties, expressed satisfaction and gratitude that all the isolated barangays in the islands of Suluan and Homonhon and Manicani, have been finally served.

Mayor Kwan was specially worried over the fact that the babies no longer have milk to drink, the reason why she included milk in the relief goods for the isolated barangays.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development Regional Office 8 thru Director Letecia Corillo prepared 1,500 family food packs while the local government of Guiuan prepared 1,000 family food packs which were distributed to the starving people at barangays Bitaugan, Cagusu-an, Casugoran, Canawayon, Culasi, Habag, Inapulangan, and Pagbabangnan at Homonhon Island, the island barangay of Suluan and the island barangay of Manicani.

The work is not yet over, Mayor Kwan said. She will continue to coordinate with government agencies for the rehabilitation and alternative livelihood for the families in the islands. There is really a need for every barangay, especially those in the hinterlands, to be food productive and food sufficient, the mayor added.





Leyte’s contingents big winners in Sinulog ‘09

By Provincial Media Relations Center
January 20, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte’s two festival contingents to the recently concluded Sinulog Festival in Cebu City came out as big winners, grabbing the grand prize spot and fifth place in the Free Interpretation (FI) category in the mardi gras dubbed as the Mother of all Festivals in the country.

Tribu Buyuganon of Abuyog, Leyte, with its interpretation of the “bees” and how they were converted to the faith of the Holy Child, got them the grand prize, frustrating defending champion Lumad Basakanon, of Brgy. Basak, San Nicolas, Cebu which took second place.

Buyuganon also captured the third prize in the streetdancing category. The Abuyog tribe’s bounty in the Sinulog 2009 amounts to at least P600,000 by winning in the presentation and streetdancing.

Dulag's Karatong Festival, a newbie in the Sinulog Fest placed fifth over-all in the Free Interpretation Category and whose presentation was participated buy no less than the town local chief executive Mayor Manuel Sia Que.

They were awarded a cash prize of P100, 000.

Karatong’s lead dancer also won as first runner up in the search for Sinulog Festival Queen including other awards in the same search.

Reportedly, Sinulog’s Board of Judges for this year were looking for something more than the usual from the contingents.

Cultural Center of the Philippines President Nestor Jardin, who was chairman of the board of judges in the free interpretation category was quoted to say they found Buyoganon’s presentation “exciting and engaging” through its scene interpretation and choreography.

Buyoganon’s presentation started with dancers as “bees” in a beehive that two boys hit with a slingshot. The bees went after the boys, one of whom got stung several times and was lying unconscious and twitching on the ground before he was healed through the intercession of the Holy Child. The contingent used a thick forest and the blazing yellow and red colors of a sunset as backdrop, five-petal flowers that showed the face of the Sto. Niño when flipped, and twirling violet flowers that wowed the applauding crowd.

Meanwhile, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla extended his congratulations to the Leyte contingent saying this is truly a victory in the province’s quest to promote Leyte and its towns for its various economic and tourism potentials.

He told the two mayors from Abuyog and Dulag towns in a meeting before they left for Cebu last week that he has high hopes the contingents would place significantly following their good showing in last year’s Leyte Pintados Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals.

Aside from Leyte’s contingents, the Eastern Visayas region were also represented by the Karakas Festival of Borongan, Eastern Samar and the Tribu Kabatuk of Tacloban City which won the Best in Projection/Production Design.

Leyte’s contingents to the Sinulog Festival held Sunday January 18 were supported with their respective local officials including Abuyog Mayor Octavio Traya, Dulag Mayor Manuel Sia Que, DOT-8 Dir. Tiopes, PAGCOR Vice-chairman Remedios Petilla who also sits as chairman of the executive committee of the Leyte Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals.





Continuous rains in East Visayas leave 11 dead, 2 injured, 8 missing, 75000 affected

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 20, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The continuous pouring of heavy rains in Eastern Visayas since December has left 11 persons dead, 2 injured, 8 still missing and about 75,000 people affected, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center, informed.

Most affected is the province of Northern Samar where a landslide at Lavezares town killed an entire young family of six, and injured two others.

Flooding in at least 7 towns of Northern Samar caused the death of four people and affected about 74,847 people or about 15,869 families, caused the total destruction of 6 houses and partial destruction to one.

The continuous rains caused rough seas in Eastern Samar causing at least six motor boats from Guiuan town, with about 20 passengers to be missing. One of the missing persons was killed, seven are still missing while the remaining 12 were found and alive at Homonhon Island, also in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

On January 10, 2009, thirteen fishermen from Guiuan went fishing in five different small fishing boats. When the sea condition became rough, the fishermen were unable to go back to their respective homes and were declared missing.

On January 13, the Barangay Captains of Barangays Cagusuan and Bitaugon, both of Guiuan town, reported that eleven fishermen were drifted to their barangays. The fishermen of boat 3 were separated from the group, one was found dead and the other one has returned home alive.

Meanwhile, on the same fateful day of January 10, one passenger motorized boat, M/B Rogin, with seven passengers, left Guiuan proper, at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, bound for Suluan Island in Guiuan, but until January 18, they have not returned home.

Search and rescue operations were conducted amid inclement weather, but the missing passengers and the boat were not found.

Moreover, in the province of Leyte, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center informed that after three days at sea, the two reported missing fishermen from Barangay San Roque of Tolosa town, were rescued by a passing F/B Abando at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon of January 12, at the sea vicinity of Abuyog, Leyte.

The fishermen were brought to the municipal hall of Tolosa and were immediately given food assistance by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and then sent home to their respective families.





Government allocates P40 M to fund PGMA promised infra projects in Silvino Lobos

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 20, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In fulfillment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s promise when she visited Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar at the end of September 2008, about P40 Million has been allocated for the construction of three bailey bridges and road projects in the said hinterland municipality.

The Department of Public Works and Highways Region 8 Assistant Regional Director Danilo E. Dequito informed the Philippine Information Agency and PA Cynthia Nierras that Director Twaño has already made instructions to the construction division headed by Engr. Pacita Gavan, to prepare the program of work and other pre-construction activities for the said projects.

ARD Dequito informed that about P30 Million has been allotted for the three bailey bridges and another P10 Million for the road project at Silvino Lobos, for the year 2009.

ARD Dequito said that P30,000,000, however, is not enough to finish the three bailey bridges as the total funding requirement is P170 Million.

What the DPWH will do is to allot the first trance of funding to construct one bailey bridge and when the additional funding comes, the other two will be constructed also.

Pending the receipt of the SARO for the projects, Director Twaño has already made instructions to prepare the needed paper works.

Meanwhile, ARD Dequito informed that the Laoang portion of the Arteche-Lapinig-Laoang road project, is ongoing. The weather condition makes it difficult to continue construction works so perhaps in March which is already summer time in the Philippines, the construction of the project will be fasttracked.

The San Policarpo to Arteche rehabilitation and road widening with exemption, is also ongoing, ARD Dequito said. This project which is Taft-Oras-San Policarp-Arteche project has a funding of about P111 Million.

Furthermore, the Maydolong-Basey road project which will connect Eastern Samar to Samar, has also been allotted P140 Million in 2009. The program of work is now being prepared and bidding short of awards will also be conducted soon.





Guiuan’s 5 isolated island barangays receive needed relief

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 19, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Five of the nine island barangays of Guiuan, Eastern Samar which were isolated because of rough seas brought about by inclement weather were given Family Food Packs from the national government thru the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the local government of Guiuan.

Mayor Analiza Kwan of Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Mayor Analiza Kwan

Mayor Analiza Kwan informed the Philippine Information Agency that early in the morning of Sunday, when the weather was better, she immediately deployed motor bancas with relief goods to the islands of Homonhon and Suluan.

Mayor Kwan said that four of the eight barangays at Homonhon Island were given relief goods that would last the families for several days. This will assure the people in the isolated barangays that the government is not turning its back on them, Mayor Kwan said remembering here helplessness the day before.

Mayor Kwan also deployed motor bancas to Suluan Island which could be reached in three hours by boat, farther than Homonhon from Guiuan, which could be reached in about two hours.

The helicopter from the Philippine Air Force arrived in Guiuan but the weather condition prevented it from pursuing its relief operations to the two islands, Mayor Kwan informed. The pilot decided to come back on Monday when the weather is better.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development through the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, brought 50 sacks of rice and 700 family packs to Guiuan on January 17, after Mayor Kwan reported that the people in the nine barangays of Homonhon and Suluan Islands, have no more food after being isolated from the mainland for more than one week.

Mayor Kwan expressed gratitude to the government agencies which promptly answered her call for help, the Regional Offices as well as the National Offices of the Department of Social Work and Development, the Office of Civil Defense, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Information Agency and the Office of the Presidential Assistant.

Mayor Kwan also thanked sincerely the staff of the local government of Guiuan for working even on Saturdays and Sundays, just so the needs of the constituents will be met.

The relief operations will continue, Mayor Kwan said, as well as the Search and Rescue Operations for the still missing seven passengers of M/B Rogen 4.





Search and rescue operations in Guiuan fail to locate missing M/B Rogen and 7 passengers

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 19, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Search and rescue operation conducted in the morning of January 17 failed to locate M/B Rogin with its seven passengers which have been missing since January 10, Mayor Analiza Kwan of Guiuan, Eastern Samar informed.

Mayor Kwan said that the municipal Bantay Dagat together with another motorboat went on a search and rescue operation Saturday morning when the rains stopped but the team was unable to locate any sign or debris of the motorized passenger banca.

Reports coming from the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center showed that per information provided by the Tacloban Coast Guard, the Guiuan Coast Guard and the Guiuan Bantay Dagat conducted a Search and Rescue Operations on Saturday based on the coordinates provided by the Aerial Search team on January 16.

Because of unfavorable sea condition, the request of the Naval Station in Tacloban to the Naval Forces Central, in Cebu City for the use of sea vessel was not allowed.

On January 16, the Office of Civil Defense 8, the operating arm of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, the Tactical Operations Group 8 of the Philippine Air Force Central Command and ABS-CBN Tacloban, conducted an aerial search operation using a Nomad Plane.

As the search plane flew through the pattern designed by the pilot, a floating boat that possesses some of the descriptions of the missing motor banca, full of water but still floating, was seen near the vicinity of Manicane Island.

It was not verified whether it was the M/B Rogen 4 due to very poor visibility with low lying dark clouds, even if the altitude of the plane was only at 1000 feet above sea level.

During the second attempt to verify whether it was really M/B Rogen 4, there were two motorized banca sighted with coordinates of N 11 degrees, 04.519' E 12 degrees 20.749' and N 11 degrees 02.3' E 125 degrees 20.97'.

Due to worsening weather condition, the team was not able to take a close look and a clear picture. The team then decided to go back to station.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kwan said that the Bantay Dagat was not able to proceed to Homonhon to get the survivors and to bring food to the island because the Guiuan Philippine Coast Guard did not allow it to venture into sea because of rough seas and very poor weather condition.





Continuous rains render several North Samar roads hardly passable

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 18, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The continuous rains being experienced in Eastern Visayas since December 2008 rendered several sections of the Palapag-Mapanas-Gamay-Lapinig Road hardly passable.

Reports received by the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center from the Northern Samar Provincial Disaster Management Unit showed that the Palapag-Mapanas section at Barangays Nipa, Maragano and Ginpandayan, is hardly passable to traffic due to washed out surfacing materials.

The Barangay Magtaon to Barangay Mamhot section is also hardly passable due to settlement of roadway.

Furthermore, along Mapanas-Gamay Road, the Barangays Lipatan, San Antonio, Libertad and Poblacion section in Gamay town, is also hardly passable to traffic due to settlement of roadway.

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Operations Center is continuously monitoring the landslide incident and also the effects of the continuous heavy rains in the province of Northern Samar, RDCC 8 Executive Officer and OCD 8 Regional Director Angel D. Gaviola said.

On January 10, 2009, heavy rains caused a landslide at Lavezares, Northern Samar killing an entire young family of six, from the father and mother to the four children ages 1 year and four months to five years of age.

The continuous heavy rains also left four persons dead, 2 persons injured, 1 person missing.

It also caused flooding in at least seven towns of Northern Samar namely, Bobon, Catarman, Lavezares, Lope de Vega, Mondragon, Palapag and San Roque, affecting at least 15,869 families or 74,847 persons.

At least 82 barangays were affected, 6 houses were totally damaged while another one was partially destroyed.

The National Disaster Coordinating Council has released 1000 sacks of rice as assistance to Northern Samar, on December 6 and January 6, 2009; and 850 sacks of rice to Eastern Samar on two dates, December 12 and December 18, as augmentation to the conduct of relief operations in the affected provinces, Director Gaviola said.





Guiuan Mayor cries for help, no more food in island barangays

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 17, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Mayor Analiza Kwan of Guiuan, Eastern Samar expressed fear that because of heavy rains, the people at Homonhon Island which is composed of eight barangays and at one at Suluan Island are running out of food commodities.

Homonhon Island mapMayor Kwan called up the Philippine Information Agency early morning today saying that people from the two islands of Guiuan have been texting her that stores have no more food commodities and rice to sell because they rely on the mainland to supply them with food.

"Good noon kuya, ginpapahibaro ko la an aton mayor nga nag-aaro kami hit bulig didi ha Barangay Canawayon Homonhon na waray na kami pinangangaon didi kay waray man makakakadto ha Guiuan kay dagko man it balod. Pinangugutom na it amon mga anak. Salamat," one text message goes. (Good noon, Kuya, we just want to inform our mayor that we at Barangay Canawayon Homonhon are asking for help. We have no more food to eat here because we are unable to go to Guiuan due to giant waves. Our children are already hungry," one text message goes.

What is making me very worried is that babies have no more milk to drink, Mayor Kwan lamented.

Because of the continuous heavy rains and rough seas, the people in these islands are unable to go to Guiuan to buy goods and the suppliers of food in Guiuan are unable to send food stock to the islands.

Even the National Food Authority informed that there are rice for the islands but these are still in Guiuan because inaccessibility due to rough seas and inclement weather conditions.

The Philippine Information Agency relayed the message to the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council Chairman in the person of PRO 8 Director Abner Cabalquinto, to Mr. Rey Gozon of the RDCC Operations Center at the Office of Civil Defense, to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Cynthia Nierras and to PIA Secretary Conrado Limcaoco who immediately caused the message to be relayed to the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Mayor Kwan was requesting for a chopper that would transport the food stock which are available in Guiuan. However, the chopper which was facilitated by 8ID Commanding Officer, MGen. Art Tabaquero will be available on Sunday morning yet.

In the meantime, PA Nierras coordinated with Director Letecia Corillo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development for additional food for the people in the two islands in Guiuan.

Director Corillo is causing 700 Family Food Packs and five sacks of rice for the people of the island barangays. RDCC Chairman Abner Cabalquinto is lending a truck that would transport the relief goods to Guiuan.

There are more than 2,000 people at Suluan Island while the population of Homonhon Island is more than 5,000 people.





Province pours in all-out support to two Leyte festival contingents to Sinulog ‘09

By Provincial Media Relations Center
January 17, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The provincial government of Leyte through Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla is throwing its full support to Leyte’s two festival contingents to the Sinulog 2009 Festival this January 18.

Gov. Petilla met early this week with the local chief executives of the towns of Abuyog and Dulag to discuss their participation in one of the country’s premiere cultural event.

The governor said this is one grand opportunity for the two towns from Leyte and for the province itself to promote its cultural richness, tourism potentials and economic prospects.

Leyte’s Buyogan Festival of Abuyog and Karatong Festival of Dulag would represent the province in the Sinulog Festival grand mardi gras which is considered as the country’s biggest pageantry of sights, sounds and colors as it honors and pays homage to the patron saint of Cebu, the Senior Sto. Niño.

The two Leyte contingents were the first and second winners in last year’s Leyte Pintados Kasadyaan Festival held during the Tacloban City fiesta, and have earned themselves the spot to represent the province to compete with at least 40 other contingents from other parts of the country.

For Leyte having three contingents is one good exposure for the province itself, the governor said, considering that the provincial government’s thrust is to further tourism and economic activities in the province.

“It is really an opportunity for the town to make themselves known. You see before, nobody recognizes the town of Hilongos. Ever since its Alikaraw Festival started winning in national festival competitions, they suddenly recognized here is a town in the province of Leyte called Hilongos,” the governor explained.

Alikaraw Festival of Hilongos is one of the province’s multi-awarded festival which participated national festival competition and earned awards for the past years.

Then several other opportunities follow, the governor added.

There are already 45 contingents from various cities and provinces which confirmed they will be participating in this Sinulog Grand Parade.

The Sinulog website reports aside from Leyte’s contigents, other participants include Tacloban City’s Sangyaw Festival. Four contingents also from Negros (Pintaflores of San Carlos City, Jimalalud de Sinulog, Sta Catalina, Negros Oriental and Bais City), three contingents from Mindanao (Cabadbaran City, Tangub City and Lanao Del Norte) are set to showcase their prowess in Sinulog dancing.

For the first time, a contingent from Placer, Masbate in Bicol Region is also expected to perform in Sunday’s Sinulog Grand Parade.

Sinulog comes from the Cebuano word “sulog” which is “like current movement and proficient describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog Dance. The festival competition has now been classified into Sinulog-Base, Free Interpretation and recently a Latin category.

This cultural event has evolved into a cultural attraction held every third Sunday of January.



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