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Rescued Suluan fishermen happily return home to Guiuan

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



Biliran buy bust operation nabs suspected lady drug pusher

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 30, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s intensified campaign versus illegal drugs, a suspected lady drug pusher was nabbed in a buy-bust operation conducted at 2:00 o’clock in the morning of January 27 in Naval, Biliran.

Nabbed shabu dealer in Biliran
The suspected shabu dealer from Cebu who was nabbed at the buy bust operation in Naval Biliran. (PIA-8)

Biliran Provincial PNP Director Leonardo Cesneros informed that the buy-bust operation was conducted by a 7-man team of the Provincial Anti Illegal Drug Special Task Force led by Police Inspector Marianito Malibago.

Provincial Director Cesneros who was installed to his new post in Biliran only on January 9, informed that the buy-bust operation came after days of surveillance on two suspects.

At about 2:00 o’clock in the morning, at corner Redaja and Caneja St., in Naval, a policeman who posed as a shabu buyer approached a certain Alje Rey Bontis alyas Tata, to buy a big amount of shabu. Alyas Tata then said that the dealer herself was around.

The lady suspect from Cebu, Lorna Cabanes Cajes, who was with her 4-year old child, brought out one big sachet and one small sachet of shabu which the police bought for P20,000.

The members of the Team then nabbed the two. However while being brought to the Naval Police Station, the male suspect was able to escape and locked himself in his house.

Without the police knowing, the suspect was able to escape through a secret door in the fence of his house.

The lady suspect will be brought right away to the PDEA Regional Office in Tacloban, Director Cesneros said.

Director Cesneros said that the situation of illegal drugs in the province of Biliran is not alarming, but if nothing is done about it, there will come a time that it will reach the alarming stage.

He said that he will not stop from running after people who are victimizing the youth by selling them illegal drugs.

When reached, PDEA Director Gil Pabilona said he is waiting for the suspect who will undergo drug testing at the PDEA clinic. Then the same will be brought back to Naval for prosecution and detention.





Palarong Pambansa host calls for cooperation, support of all sectors

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 30, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla called for cooperation and support of all sectors of society in Leyte and in Region 8, in order to ensure the success of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa scheduled to be held in Leyte on April 26 to May 2.

Governor Petilla made the call during the Kick-Off Ceremony for the 2009 Palarong Pambansa held at the RTR Plaza in Tacloban City on January 27, with DepEd Undersecretary Franklin Sunga and the sports coordinators of the 17 Regions of the country in attendance.

Governor Petilla said that it took 25 years before Eastern Visayas was able to host a Palarong Pambansa once more, thus it is but fitting that a collective and united effort is exerted to make it memorable and worth remembering.

While the Governor does not expect a 100 percent cooperation, still he wants everyone to have that sense of being a part of the endeavor of hosting a successful national event.

Governor Petilla’s call, it appears, has got positive results. No less than the Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras and Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas chair Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, were present to express their support. The League of Municipalities of the Philippines Leyte Chapter President Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu also spoke in behalf of the Leyte mayors, saying that they are willing to “act as tour guides, drivers to the visitors and could give financial support” when requested, just to make sure that the Palaro hosted by the Province of Leyte will be a success.

“For, example, there maybe some teachers who will not allow their students to practice for the Palarong Pambansa events or activities,” Governor Petilla said. That is their prerogative, he said. But what the organizers and the hosts of the Palaro believes is giving everybody the chance of being a part of the Palaro hosting.

This is an opportunity to promote not only Leyte but the entire Eastern Visayas, Governor Petilla said. The main actor here, is not Leyte, but the Department of Education. Leyte, is there to give a support role, the Governor added.

In fact, the Department of Education in Region 8 under the leadership of Director Sol F. Matugas, is really the one doing the necessary works, Leyte is there to pay the expenses incurred, Governor Petilla said.

Governor Petilla, this early, expressed his gratitude to the many people in the technical groups and sub committees who are really working hard to make the Palarong Pambansa in Region 8, the best one could ever wish it to be.

As one sports coordinator from another Region said, this is the first time that a Kick-Off ceremony has been conducted for the Palaro. It is also the first time that a turn-over ceremony was conducted.





Bato’s Batobalani Festival attracts participation of LGUs from Leyte and Southern Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 29, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The 2nd Batobalani Festival of Bato, Leyte which was conducted on January 25, was deemed successful with the participation in by about seven festivals from the nearby municipalities of the provinces of Leyte and Southern Leyte.

Batobalani Festival is being conducted as a tribute to Senor Sto. Niño who is the Patron of Bato, Leyte. It is held on the fiesta day of Bato on January 25.

Bato Mayor Luis Kuizon said the Batobalani Festival was made more significant with the presence of the representative of the fifth district of Leyte in the person of Congresswoman Carmen Cari and three Leyte Mayors, Hindang Mayor Cabal, Dulag Mayor Manuel Sia Que and Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu.

This year’s participants to the Batobalani Free Interpretation Dance Competition, include the Tribu Indang from Hindang, Leyte; Karatong of Dulag, Leyte; Tribu ni Nanay of Ormoc City; Baybayanon of Baybay City; Tribu Malitboganon of Malitbog, Leyte; Karatong sa Kabukiran of Bontoc, Southern Leyte and Pasaka of Tanauan, Leyte.

The Karatong of Dulag, Leyte won the first prize of P70,000. The Pasaka of Tanauan got the second place with a cash prize of P50,000. The Tribu Malitboganon won the third place and the cash prize of P30,000.00.

Mrs. Renilda T. Kuizon, the Chairwoman of the Batobalani Free Interpretation Dance Competition expressed gratitude to the participating festivals.

She also thanked the generous sponsors which include Leyte Governor Carlos Jerico L. Petilla and Congresswoman Cari, who made possible the holding of the competition.

Mayor Kuizon expressed hope of developing the Batobalani Festival into a better and bigger festival in the years to come.





Basey mayor underscores food security, nutrition in SOMA

January 28, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Basey (Samar) Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos in his State of the Municipality Address (SOMA) underscored his programs on food security and nutrition.

Basey mayor Wilfredo Estorninos on his SOMA 2009In his SOMA delivered before a jampacked municipal gym of some 2,000 Basaynons said that his administration will support the program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the fight against poverty through his food security program.

As a proof, his administration, he said implemented Gulayan ng Bayan, Gulayan sa Barangay and Gulayan sa Paaralan.

He then explained why he invited the teachers and their supervisors to draw support for this.

His Municipal agriculturist, he said periodically distributes vegetable seeds.

Estorninos also sought the assistance of the Department of Agriculture which gave his people some 2,495 bags of certified seeds for farmers in his municipality. Aside from the rice, he also had them use fertilizers at a subsidized price.

Some 52 techno-demo farms were also established to show the farmers the difference in scientific method of farming. His purchase of a heavy duty tractor is also a proof of how much he values agriculture and food sufficiency, he said.

He also supported livestock by making sure they are healthy through deworming 334 heads of large animals and 437 of swine.

As to fisheries, he has dispersed some 50,600 tilapia fingerlings to communal waters and 22,300 tilapia fingerlings to backyard fishpond cooperators.

Though generous with fingerlings dispersal, the mayor also launched a strengthened apprehension of violators of RA 8550 aka Fishery Ordinance.

The mayor also listed Food Sufficiency and Nutrition as top priority in his future plans for Basey.

Topping this is the rehabilitation of the Basey Irrigation to service thousands of hectares which is reportedly to cost some P580 M.

The mayor also talked about other projects which included Health and environmental sanitation, education and people empowerment, livelihood assistance, peace and order, infrastructure program, reforestation, social services and tourism.

He also stressed that he will support PGMAs Accelerated Hunger Mitigation Program in its fight against poverty and hunger.

Mayor Estorninos also talked about his Executive Order 02 dated September 3, 2007 also known as Barangay Integrated Development Zones where they divided the number of barangays into zones to undergo development through the leadership of his employees led by at least one Sangguniang Bayan member.

The local chief executive promised that a year after, he will again report to his constituents how he is running Basey and its 43,161 people into a peaceful and developed municipality.





4 municipal police stations, provincial PNP command, get new patrol cars

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
January 28, 2009

PROVINCIAL CAPITOL, Maasin City  –  The onset of the Chinese’ Year of the Ox has coincidentally brought luck to the four municipal police stations of Southern Leyte province, like Silago, Hinunangan, San Juan and Macrohon towns, and the local command of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

On Monday, right after the flag-raising ceremony in front of the capitol building here, Gov. Damian Mercado led the simple but solemn turn-over rites for the four Hi-lux service vehicles to the Mayors and Chiefs of Police of the concerned local government units.

PSSupt. Nilo Donayre, Provincial Police Director, who was present during the ceremony, also received his share of the patrol cars, an Innova brand, from Gov. Mercado.

All the five units service mobility for policemen, to be used for their official duties and functions on to law enforcement and related operations, are all brand new, it was learned.

In a radio interview, PSSupt. Donayre acknowledged that the one given to the provincial PNP Command was made through the effort of Gov. Mercado, who had requested the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the said transportation facility.

A source from the Governor’s office said the four units given to the towns came from the regular supply of the central PNP office.

The source quoted Donayre as saying during the ceremony that with the new arrivals, only two municipalities – Libagon and San Francisco – are left without a mobile patrol car, but by July this year another batch of vehicles are forthcoming, to include the two towns, so this shall have completed all the 18 towns and one city of the province.

Gov. Mercado exhorted all the Mayors and Chiefs of Police to take care and have regular maintenance of the government-issued vehicles, and to use them properly, the source added.

The Mayors present included Mayor Manuel Labrador of Silago, Romeo Gomez of Hinunangan, and Fe Edillo of Macrohon.  Vice-Mayor Federico Flores of San Juan represented Mayor Virgilio Mortera for the turn-over rites.





Fact Finding Mission set out this week in Samar

January 27, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Human Rights Alliance, Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, together with UGOP Waraynon, is set out to conduct a National Solidarity Mission (a Fact Finding Mission, Relief Operations and Medical Mission) in Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar this coming January 29 to February 1, 2009. Besides the said barrio, the group also expects farmers from nearby barrios to participate in the said mission.

According to Lawyer Kathrina Castillo, Secretary General of Katungod-SB, their group together with other sectors wants to extend relief and medical support to the farmers in Samar who are affected by massive militarization by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We chose the particular area for the mission to answer the plight of the farmers in those interior barrios because of massive militarization and gross human rights violations. Brgy. Bay-ang and its neighboring barrios have evacuated more than once since 2005 which caused economic disruption and trauma to the residents. In addition, many incidents of human rights violations have not yet been documented by any group, even the authorities, which we want to investigate,” Castillo said.

“We are strong in our statements of condemnation against the brutalities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to “taint their name and reputation”, as they always allege, but to be the voice of those who have been victims of their atrocities who are afraid to speak. We have been in the forefront of human rights advocacy in the region and we are firm in our contention that the AFP is the number one human rights violators of the people, contrary to what is expected of them as the ‘supposed to be’ protectors of the people and the integrity of the Philippine territory,” Castillo stressed.

She further added, “We want to gather data to confirm and prove that the counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya II that the Arroyo regime and the AFP is pursuing is not really aimed at crushing the so-called insurgents but really targets ordinary civilians, especially farmers in fur-flung areas.”

The group enjoins all human rights advocates and civil libertarians to join the mission and/or give any kind of support: material, morale, and spiritual support for the said activity.





Leyte SP commends Tribu Buyuganon for its historic Sinulog Fest win

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 27, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte on January 20 passed a resolution commending Tribu Buyuganon of Abuyog, Leyte for its historic win in this year’s Sinulog Festival in Cebu City.

In his privilege speech, Senior Board Member Carlo Loreto said that Tribu Buyuganon, through its historic win at the Sinulog Festival, brought honors not only to the people of Abuyog but the entire province of Leyte.

Because of this, “Leyte will not just be remembered as the home of the Waray-waray gang,” Board Member Loreto remarked. Henceforth, because of Abuyog, Leyte will be known the world over as a place of culture, heritage and beauty.

Board member congratulated and thanked Mayor Bebot Traya and the people of Abuyog.

The resolution which was unanimously passed by the August body during its regular session on Tuesday, was co-authored by Board Members Simeon Ongbit, Jr. and Vangie Esperas.

The Buyugan Festival of Abuyog bested 27 other contingents from around the country in the “free interpretation category” to emerge victorious in this year’s Sinulog Festival in Cebu City

The Buyugan Festival, with its environmental theme, won the top prize and dislodged the defending champion Lumad Basakan of Cebu City to second place.

Tribu Buyuganon headed by Abuyog Mayor Octavio “Bebot” Traya also copped the third place in the street dancing category, which was won by the Sinundalay cultural contingent from Tangub City. Other winners in said category were the Lumad Basakanon (second), Municipality of Carmen (fourth), and Siloy festival of Alcoy (fifth).

Another contingent from Leyte, the Karatong festival of Dulag, bagged the fifth place. Miss Arianne May Briones, the Karatong Festival muse was also adjudged first runner-up in the Miss Sinulog 2009.

Both Leyte Festivals were supported by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and the Provincial Government of Leyte. In fact, as chairperson of the Leyte Provincial Tourism Council and the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, PAGCOR Vice Chairman Remedios Loreto Petilla was present to give moral support to the contingents during the Sinulog Festival in Cebu.





DENR 8 chief calls for establishment of firewood plantations in Region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 27, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Regional Executive Director Regidor M. De Leon of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8, is for the identification of areas that would be utilized as firewood plantations.

In an interaction with the local media held recently at the PIA Region 8 office, RED De Leon said that the firewood plantations will take care of the needs of the people for firewood, without resorting to illegal logging.

RED De Leon said that he will direct Director Nasayao of the Research Division to conduct a study on the sites feasible for firewood plantation and on species of firewood trees which will become the source for the charcoal and firewood needs of the people of Region 8.

Environmental benefits from firewood plantations include increased biodiversity, salinity control and carbon sequestration, as well as reducing firewood collection and subsequent habitat removal from roadsides and remnant native forests. Most importantly these plantations can contribute to the protection of forests, RED De Leon said.

Firewood sourced from sustainably managed plantations, where trees are coppiced or replanted after harvest, is a renewable source of energy, unlike fossil fuels such as natural gas.

If firewood from renewable sources is used instead of fossil fuel-based heating, it could be regarded as reducing net greenhouse gas emissions.

Eastern Visayas is composed of 2.1 million hectares of land, 1.1 million hectares is forest land and 1 million hectares is alienable and dispensable.

Of the 1.1 million hectares forest land, only 500,000 hectares are covered, 50 percent of the total forest of the Region needs to be rehabilitated, RED De Leon said.

There is no existing logging concessions in Region 8, the newly-installed regional executive director said as he underscored the need to expand the forest cover in the region to prevent further degradation and dislodging of flora and fauna and to maintain sufficient water supply for the people.

The DENR 8 chief said that his office will tap various sectors in the bid to rehabilitate the forest cover of Region 8.

“The Secretary’s instruction is for us to stop all illegal acts on the environment and natural resources,” RED De Leon said. Thus, he is determined to implement this instruction to the letter for the sake of the public and for the sake of the future generation.





Search for 7 missing persons in Guiuan yields negative results

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 25, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Search and rescue operations held at 7:00 o’clock in the morning of January 25, for the seven missing persons in Guiuan, Eastern Samar yielded negative results, Regional Disaster Coordinating Council for Region 8 Executive Director Angel D. Gaviola said.

Director Gaviola said that the Search was led by the Tactical Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force and the Office of Civil Defense in coordination with the local government unit of Guiuan and the relatives of the missing persons.

The missing persons from Suluan Island of Guiuan were identified as Aileen Escoto, Alfonso Badar, Jose Talavero, Francis Mae Talavero, Tereso Garcao, Aida Mercado and Peroncio Mercado.

Guiuan Mayor Analiza Kwan called up the Philippine Information Agency called up to inform about the Search, saying that the authorities continue to conduct search and rescue operations, for the sake of the families and relatives of the missing persons, who continue to wait in turmoil, for their missing relatives.

At about 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of January 11, the RDCC Operations Center received a report regarding a missing motorized banca "Rogen 4" with the seven (7) persons aboard from Suluan Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The said motorized banca left Guiuan at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon of January 10, heading home to Suluan Island. It is expected to reach Suluan after three hours but until January 11, the boat have not reached Suluan.

The last communications from the passengers was received at around 6:30 easly evening of January 10, informing their relatives in Suluan of the sudden change in sea condition, producing big waves.

Volunteer motorized bancas from Suluan Island conducted search and rescue operations for the missing persons in the morning of January 11 but failed to locate the same.

Since then, many search and rescue operations have been made to locate the seven missing persons, but no sign of the banca nor its wreckage has been found.





PGMA’s P38 M water system project at Calicoan Island nears completion

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 25, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s P38 Million water system project for Calicoan Island at Guiuan, Eastern Samar, is about to be completed, Mayor Analiza G. Kwan informed the Philippine Information Agency.

The project is being implemented by the Local Water Utilities Administration which is a government owned and controlled corporation mandated by law to promote and oversee the development of water supply system in the provincial cities and municipalities outside of Metro Manila.

The water system is in support of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Super Region Program.

Mayor Kwan said that Calicoan Island in Guiuan is included as one of the tourism destinations which will be developed and promoted in the Super Region Program of President Arroyo. Region 8 belongs to the Central Philippines which is envisioned by the President as the Tourism Center of the Philippines.

Calicoan is the main tourist destination of the municipality, Mayor Kwan said. Thus, it is important that a water system is put in place.

The water system has tapped the water source at Barangay Gahoy in mainland Guiuan since there is no available water source in the island, Mayor Kwan said.

The P38 Million project when completed will benefit seven barangays, four barangays at Calicoan Island and three other barangays from the source towards Calicoan.

From the source at Barangay Gahoy, the water system project which is 19 kilometers in length will pass through Barangay Sapao and Barangay Taytay towards the four barangays in Calicoan namely, Pagnamitan, Baras, Ngolos and Sulangan.

This is a fulfillment of President Arroyo’s thrust to have a faucet in every home, a glass of clean and safe drinking water in every dining table and a population untouched by water-borne diseases.

LWUA has been intensifying its water supply program to cover small, developing hinterland communities in support of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's socio-economic development and peace initiatives. Support for rebel or insurgency movements waned in communities that have been given access to potable water and better education, a recent Human Development Indicator study showed.





Tanauan town forges sisterhood with Makati City

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 25, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Tanauan, Leyte and Makati City will formalize their Sisterhood Agreement on February 9, 2009 at the New Makati City Hall, Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu informed.

Mayor Tiu said that the establishment of Sisterhood relationship between the two LGUs which has been in the oping for quite some time, is deemed fitting considering that Makati City is known as the “Business and Financial Capital” and the “Corporate Center of the Philippines” while Tanauan has been adjudged as the “Most Business Friendly Municipality in the Philippines.”

Mayor Tiu and the municipal officials of Tanauan are scheduled to visit as official guests of Makati City on February 9-11. The Tanauan will be billeted at the Friendship Suites which is owned by the City of Makati, Mayor Tiu said.

On February 9, the delegation will have a tour of the Makati City Hall. Best practices presentation will be conducted, after which Acting Makati City Administrator Marjorie A. De Veyra will present Local Governance: The Makati City Experience.

The Tanauan-Makati Sisterhood Pact Signing Ceremony will be held at the Session Hall at the 22nd Floor of the City Hall, at 10:00 o’clock in the morning. This will start with the Opening Remarks by Makati City Councilor Maria Theresa de Lara and followed by the introduction of the Makati City Officials and the Tanauan Officials.

Mayor Roque A. Tiu and Mayor Jejomar Binay will deliver their respective messages before they officially sign the Sisterhood Pact. This will be followed by a toast to be led by Makati City Councilor Ernesto Aspillaga and the presentation of gifts.

In the afternoon, the Tanauan delegation will have a tour at the Pitogo Barangay Hall, University of Makati, Barangay Comembo Material Recovery Facilities and then Malling at the Market Market.

Mayor Tiu said that sister-city or town-twinning is the highest form of inter-LGU partnership, in-country or abroad, which enables partner communities or local authorities to implement mutually-beneficial activities, such as exchange visits, organized tours, club affiliations and exchange of professional and technical expertise and cooperation.

Local government units nationwide are encouraged to explore more opportunities for twinning partnerships with their LGU counterparts here and abroad as a means to promote goodwill and understanding, as well as other socio-cultural and economic aspects of development, Mayor Tiu said.



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