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Army challenge KARAPATAN-EV to work with CHR8

Redaja reports of his 90 days to Samarnons

Biliran buy bust operation nabs suspected lady drug pusher

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



SIPPAD urges investigation of Samar’s road construction

February 24, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  The participants in the 10th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) is filing a resolution to investigate the alleged irregularities in the construction of the national highway and the provincial highway in Samar.

SIPPAD is a convergence of the three bishopd of Samar and Archbishop Jose Palma of the Archdiocese of Palo. It also includes Army commanders, LGUs and NGOs and even people's organization. The partnership aims to address poverty in Samar by linking concerned agencies for the development of the three provinces.

Fr. Cesar Aculan, Social Action Director of the Diocese of Calbayog in his presentation said that the materials used in the Calbiga to Gatanguit road project is of sub-standard quality, the aggregates used are limestones which are found unsuitable materials if mixed with cement and are found to have weak bonding.

He added that the procedure is also substandard as procedure for cementing and paving are short cut.

Work concreting is slow and asphalting not continuous, there are many gaps not cemented, it further noted.

Another observation the prelate offered is that the supervision is done by DPWH Central office and not the regional office.

Because of the foregoing observations, the Samarnons fear that the road will only last five years. Even now that the road is not yet completed, some sections of the asphalted roads are already pockmarked with potholes.

The DPWH Second Engineering District does not want to comment on the issues as theirs is only monitoring and that according to Engr. Agusto Aguilar, they have not received any complaint about it.

The acting Provincial Governor then, Jesus Redaja shared the observations of Fr. Cesar and even sought the comments of the mayor in a Provincial Development Council Meeting.

However, with the re assumption of Governor Milagrosa Tan, it is not known what her action would be and even the Sangguniang Panglalawigan because as of this time, SP sessions have not pushed through for lack of quorum.





PNP dismantles robbery-holdup gang, Evardone lauds PNP operatives

February 24, 2009

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  The provincial government, through Governor Ben P. Evardone, led the awarding ceremonies of 6 Philippine National Police personnel who were instrumental in the arrest of a member of Ugale robbery-holdup group in Hernani town last December 25, the past year.

The awardees were Eastern Samar PNP Provincial Director Prudencio dela Cruz, Senior Inspector Aladin Esplago Dingal, Senior Inspector Jaime Cid Chicano, PO3 Rex Isip, PO3 Carlito Delos Santos, PO3 Necias Bebita, Jr., and PO3 Jonathan Esto Rivas.

The police operative nabbed Arcadio Calites, a prominent member of Ugale gang, on Christmas day last year. “We sacrificed our time for our families just to ensure the arrest of Calites,” said Dingal, the team leader of the arresting group.

“We have been following the movements of this group for quiet sometime already, and our efforts finally paid up,” Chicano said.

Governor Evardone, in a statement, praised the police officers who placed their lives at stake to make sure that peace and order remains in the province. “I am calling all Eastern Samareños to support the police, understand and protect them and give them any help they need so they will be able to serve us well in return,” Evardone said.

Following the arrest of Calites, the rest of the Ugale were also seized in Bicol last January. “With that, the Ugale robbery group is now already considered dismantled,” Evardone announced citing the report of PNP.

Meanwhile, the governor called on the PNP personnel to step up on its campaign to neutralize and eventual arrest of robbery operators in Borongan. “I will give P50,000 to any civilian who will be instrumental in the arrest of the robbers and P100,000 to PNP elements or members of army who will be able to apprehend any member of the hold-up group here,” Evardone stressed.

Evardone also hailed Inspector Michael John Villanueva of Arteche Police Station for neutralizing a hold-upper in the said town. The suspect, a resident of Lapinig, Northern Samar, was killed during the operation.

“Rest assured that our police, professional as they are, will continue to serve our province,” Evardone addressed the people.





Nothing fancy, no fees, no political speeches in forthcoming graduation, DepEd says

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
February 24, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  There should be nothing fancy, no fees and no political speeches in the forthcoming graduation ceremonies of elementary and high schools.

This perennial reminder, which is contained in a DepEd Order issued on February 18, becomes particularly relevant amidst the worldwide economic crisis that is threatening to affect the Filipino people and that has led to a flurry of belt-tightening measures.

In the department order, Secretary Jesli Lapus directed school officials that graduation rites should not be extravagant and should as much as possible, not require parents and students to shell out money.

Secretary Lapus said that graduation ceremonies should be conducted in an appropriate solemn rites and shall not in any way be used as a venue for a political forum.

The schools may invite politicians to deliver inspirational speeches, but administrators should see to it that the event remains solemn and is not used for politicking, the order stated.

The order stated that public schools are not allowed to collect any graduation fee or any kind of contribution for the graduation rites. Parent-teacher groups may solicit voluntary contributions for ceremonies and celebrations, but the teachers and principals themselves should play no part in collecting money.

School officials are strongly encouraged to hold the ceremony on the school grounds, instead of scouting for "extraordinary" places.

Also, the students should not be required to come in fancy attire that may entail extra expenses on their part. Togas may be used, the Order said, subject to the approval of the students and the parent-teacher associations. Only the actual cost of renting the toga should be shouldered by the students.

The order specifically stated that graduation ceremonies should be held between March 28 and April 3 and should center on the theme “My Education: My Contribution to the Future.”





Funding complements, supplements Gandara-Matuguinao road project

February 23, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  With the steady pour of funding sources for the Gandara-Matuginao road project, it wont be very long before Matuginao town is re-connected to the growth center in Gandara town.

Gandara-Matuguinao road rehabilitation projectIn an interview with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Engr. Virgilo Eduarte bared that one funding came after another to steadily support the on-going road project to Matuguinao.

On July15, 2009, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led the inauguration of the Sto Niño Bridge in Gandara town. Considered as the biggest hurdle in the obstacle course called Gandara-Matuginao road project, the bridge brought hope to the once abandoned dream of pursuing the rocky road.

But with the attention of national leaders being focused, Eduarte said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) allocated some millions from the Farm to Market Road Project.

Still another funding worth P25M will stretch the rocky road more, nearing its final destination called Matuguinao.

As some more smaller bridges need more funds, Representative Reynaldo Uy of the First District also vowed to set aside funds if only to complete the road network.

DPWH also supplied the information that some P20M has been set aside for the completion of Barruz Bridge.

A health worker who hails from Gandara informed PIA that construction is going on in the road stretch.

In a phone interview with Vice-Mayor Aran Boller of Matuguinao town, he said that once completed it could really spell a big deduction in the freight of their farm produce. It will not just be cheaper but faster because for thirty minutes, the trip is over compared to the boat ride for four hours. Boller also disclosed that Governor Milagrosa Tan is interested to fund the road for another P22M.

Earlier on, Matuguinao Mayor Carlos dela Cruz articulated his wish for the rehabilitation of the deteriorating road to finally reach this heart of Samar.

Some residents still recall when Matuguinao town was still linked to Gandara through the road network constructed by Rolito Go, but big floods destroyed the road and cut Matuguinao town from the road network. Matuguinao folks resorted to the Gandara River for transportation.

But the mayor himself admitted the more expensive freight is charged by boats.

With this new development and the steady flow of funding from the national government through various means, the 20 kilometer road will be completed soon enough to usher economic activities in the area.





DPWH calls on jobseekers to register at simultaneous DPWH Jobs Fairs on Feb 23

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Angelito Twaño called on the jobseekers, particularly those in the construction field, to visit the DPWH Regional Office 8 Jobs Fair on Monday, February 23, 2009.

As its modest contribution to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s thrust to create jobs for the Filipinos in order to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, the Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Office 8 will join the simultaneous Jobs Fairs of DPWH on February 23, 2008, Director Twaño said.

The Jobs Fair will start at 8:30 in the morning and will end at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The DPWH 8 will receive all the applications of the jobseekers and these will be segregated according to locations. These will then be sent to the contractors implementing the various government infrastructure projects in the Region.

The implementation this year of 126 infrastructure projects in Region 8, will generate about 50,000 jobs for the Eastern Visayans, Director Twaño informed.

This is the modest contribution of DPWH to Region 8, Director Angelito Twaño said in a phone patch interview with the Philippine Information Agency.

DPWH Region 8 will implement about 126 infrastructure projects in 2009, Director Twaño said. Of the total number of infra projects, 25 projects have already been awarded. These 25 projects will generate more or less 2,500 jobs to the constituents of the local government where the projects will be implemented, Director Twaño added.

Per House General Appropriations Bill, the locally funded projects which will be implemented this year by the DPWH Region 8, will amount to more than P4.416 Billion while the foreign assisted projects has a funding of more than P1.636 Billion.

This gives a total of P6,052,652,000 as the total infrastructure fund for the 126 projects which will be implemented in Region 8 for the year 2009,  Engr. Pacita Gavan of the DPWH Region 8 bared.

Director Twaño said that with the many government infrastructure projects that are being implemented all over Region 8, private constructors are in need of construction foremen, skilled workers, masons, heavy equipment operators, dump truck drivers, steelman, civil engineers, and other construction related jobs.

The workers who will be employed will construct, maintain, repair and rehabilitate national roads. They will build and fix existing bridges, school buildings, farm-to-market roads and flood control projects, Director Twaño added.





Comelec Offices open on Saturdays, holidays starting Feb 28

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Starting February 28, Comelec field offices all over the country will open on Saturdays and holidays on the of the regular working days, per directive of the Commission on Elections Central Office.

This is in order to accommodate all applicants for registration as voters in the May 10, 2010 elections, particularly the youth, students and busy workers who have no time to register during weekdays.

Comelec has ordered its field offices that just like on regular weekdays, working hours on Saturdays and legal holidays starts from 8:00 o’clock in the morning and ends at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, in order to encourage wider voter participation and in recognition of the role of the youth in nation-building.

The youth sector, the Comelec said, is projected to comprise the majority of first-time registrants for the May 10, 2010 presidential, congressional, local and party-list elections.

Additional registration days have to be provided because of the need to adjust the periods and dates for the deadline of filing of applications for registration, the hearing to be conducted by the Election Registration Board (ERB) and the submission of project of precincts from the field offices to the Election and Barangay Affairs Department (EBAD), the Comelec said.

The required data on the number of precincts and registered voters will become available in time for the setting of configuration of the automated machines to be used in the May 10, 2010 elections.

"It is imperative to require the submission of project of precincts on July 20, 2009 for a more updated data as bases in the printing and procurement of official ballots, supplies and other election paraphernalia," Comelec officials said.

On top of the regular working days from Monday to Friday, the registration on Saturdays and holidays starts on Feb. 28, 2009 until Oct. 31, 2009. No registration will be conducted on Sundays, the Comelec said.





P1.134 B infra project to stir development in Samar’s first district

February 23, 2009

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Samar First Engineering District Office, Calbayog City is all set to implement various infrastructure projects pegged at P1.134 billion consisting of roads and bridges construction and rehabilitation.

This was bared by District engineer Virgilio Eduarte in an interview by the Catbalogan media on Thursday.

Eduarte added that the district has advertised five projects totaling to P178 M for public bidding this February which are considered as pump priming projects.

An allocation of P20M is intended for Carayman-Naga section with one kilometer-length. Another project the Naga-Burabud section with also one kilometer stretch also costs P20M. Still another P20M is intended for the Cagsalaosao-Gadgaran section.

The diversion road is said to ease the worsening traffic condition along the National Highway within the city proper and is also expected to promote the speedy development of trade in the province.

Rehabilitation of the damaged national road along Calbayog-Catarman runs 5.44 kilometers that amounted to P98M. Said project will help the residents and motorists speed up their mobility.

Another project, the construction of Baruz Bridge worth P20M will link Matuguinao to Gandara, a fulfillment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s promise of connecting Matuguinao to the growth center and at the same time ensure the immediate delivery of farm produce to the market.

DPWH aims for the total development of the First District of Samar.  (with reports from M. Gomez)





DENR 8 bares retrieval plan for abandoned logs in Samar

February 21, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The retrieval plan for the recovery of abandoned logs cut by a logging firm operating in Samar twenty years ago was presented to concerned stakeholders in Samar Island.  Said logs will be converted into lumber to be used for the repair of various bridges and some infrastructure projects in the 3rd District of Leyte.

Retrieved logs for disposition in Samar
Retrieved logs for disposition (DENR photo)

The presentation of the plan through a dialogue is consistent with the clearance issued by Environment Secretary Jose L. Atienza to execute a deed of donation granted by the logging firm to a former congressman in Leyte province. During the said dialogue, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Regidor de Leon disclosed that the plan would ensure that the retrieval operations and other related activities must not adversely affect the surrounding environment and other natural resources within the vicinities, and promote transparency during the entire operation for all concerned groups and individuals to witness as they see fit.

Subject of the retrieval plan are 120 cubic meters or 30,000 board feet of dipterocarp logs cut by the San Jose Timber Corporation (SJTC) within its area of operation and stocked in Barangay Casandig,  Paranas, Samar.  Said logs were cut before the logging firm ceased operations as a result of the logging moratorium in Samar Island on February 1989.  In a report of Regional Technical Director Felipe S. Calub of the DENR 8 Forest Management Service, said logs are already on the state of decomposition.

These were donated by the San Jose Timber Corporation represented by its Chairman Antonio J. Lim to former Congressman of the 3rd District of Leyte Eduardo K. Veloso during his incumbency in 2006.

“Even if there was a deed of donation entered into by and between the San Jose Timber Corporation and the donee/recipient former Congressman Veloso, the disposition of said logs is still governed by the existing laws and policies of the DENR,” says RED De Leon.

Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr. who is always very cautious in granting this kind of wood utilization permit has acted on this long standing request by approving the said request and to issue a permit to retrieve and dispose the said logs under this donation in favor of former Congressman  Veloso.

In granting the clearance, however, Secretary Atienza defined some terms and conditions which shall serve as guidelines for the regional office in issuing the permit to retrieve and dispose of the donated logs.

RED De Leon revealed that foremost among the guidelines is the formulation of a retrieval plan as agreed upon by all parties who are involved in the inventory and validation of the logs and must be approved by the Samar Island National Park-Protected Area Management Board (SINP-PAMB).

RED De Leon bares that Secretary Atienza has given instructions that such plan should not only specifically ensure that there will be no adverse effects of the retrieval operations to the biodiversity resources in the vicinity of the retrieval area, and must also include among others, the details of its transport, where it shall be stocked, corresponding dimensions and volume required. Secretary Atienza likewise expressly gave the directive that conversion of the retrievable logs into lumber shall be done outside the SINP and shall be closely supervised by DENR, RED De Leon added.

In that memorandum from Secretary Atienza, only the 30,000 board feet or an equivalent of 120 cubic meters shall be subject of the retrieval and disposition activities as per Deed of Donation.

The retrieval plan, for transparency, also provides that these shall be confined only within kilometers 6 and 12 of the old logging road of SJTC. This shall be closely supervised and monitored by a multi-sectoral team from DENR, SINP-PAMB, LGUs and different civil society groups in the area. Also included in the retrieval plan is the provision that trimmings and other by-products of the sawn logs shall be donated to the people’s organization, KAPPAS, and other interested barangays.

All required fees, dues and forest charges shall be paid prior to the transport of the wood products, and shall be covered by proper documents as required under Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 94-7 and DAO No. 2007-31.

This authority is given a duration of sixty (60) days from receipt of the permit.

RED De Leon led the presentation of the plan through a dialogue with some 30 participants coming from the non-government organization Samar Island Biodiversity Foundation, Mayors of the municipalities of Hinabangan and Daram, representatives from the LGUs of Paranas and Catbalaogan, and representatives from the media, academe, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and the church. This was held in Catbalogan Samar on February 17, 2009.





DENR approves disposition of 30 thousand board feet in favor of former Congressman Eduardo Veloso

February 20, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  As Samarnons protested the ruling of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Jose Atienza, Jr. approving the request of Ex-Congressman Eduardo Veloso to execute the deed of donation granted by San Jose Timber Corporation, they could not do anything but concede, albeit grudgingly.

In a Dialogue with a multi-sectoral group at the Fortune Hotel in Catbalogan City on Tuesday, the Samarnons were visibly disgruntled with DENR awarding the 30 thousand board feet of logs to Veloso.

In a Memorandum from the DENR Secretary, Jose Ateinza, it said that the logs cut before the moratorium is intended for the infrastructure projects of former Congressman Veloso within the District of Leyte.

It added that the clearance sought has been granted and that it had to issue a permit to retrieve and dispose the said logs.

However, some terms and conditions have to be met like no other logs should be involved than those explicitly cited on kilometers 6 and 12 as inventoried by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.

In one part of the dialogue, Ms. Charo Cabardo asked why give it to Veloso when it should be utilized by Samarnons as it was felled from their area.

The Regional Executive Director of DENR answered that it was only Veloso who applied for the lumber.

Other NGO members called the process a ‘unilateral give-away’. Information that sprouted from the dialogue suggested that some more timber is left to rot because nobody knew they existed.

RED explained that DENR will be thankful if the same will be disposed as it could pose hazard to the health of the people. Still others are concerned that the 30 thousand board feet will just be used as a front to dispose of ‘good’ lumber these days.

Presently, Samar is placed under a logging moratorium.

Samarnons, including Eastern and Northern Samar have dramatically displayed their opposition to “logging and mining” in a caravan held some years ago, this has gained support from the top officials of the Catholic Church.

Allan Amistoso, a former town councilor turned media pacified the disgruntled group by saying that the same group will unite and like Veloso seek the approval of DENR Secretary in retrieving some timber felled before and have not really been properly inventoried by the DENR or any authority.

From the discussion more lumber and logs are said to be located somewhere in Kilometer 17 of the former San Jose Timber logging roads in the heart of Samar.

Meanwhile, Atty Benjamin Teoco, representative of Veloso said his party will still rehabilitate the impassable roads to effect the retrieval and may build four bridges for the trucks to pass in the recovery of the logs. He will also talk to Veloso to retain some good logs for the Samarnons.

The women group accepted that the peripheral part or the trimmings which are of no economic value will be the ones left for Samarnons while the donee Veloso will cart away the economically good lumber for his bridge and other projects.

Another concern came from an army who said the insurgents could be resurrected once more with the flow of lumber – a good source of ‘nourishment’ for those underground.

With all these concerns, DENR sounded the alarm to be watchful and vigilant on the proper retrieval and disposition of the 30 thousand board feet of lumber coming from Samar, but by stroke of luck will be utilized in Leyte.





Basey Farmers receive P467,510 livelihood assistance from DOLE

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In line with the directive of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the national agencies to focus on more livelihood and job generating programs to cushion the impact of the current global economic crisis on the poor Filipinos, the Regional Office of the Department of Labor and Employment recently released P467,510 livelihood assistance to the Local Government of Basey in Samar for its identified beneficiary, the Barangay Sirum Farmers Association.

Director Forter Puguon personally awarded the check to Basey Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos in a simple program held at the Audio Visual Room of the Municipality, with the members of the Sangguniang Bayan headed by Vice Mayor Paul Charles Adona, the department heads, and the officers and members of the Sirum Farmers Association.

The livelihood fund was released through the LGU of Basey since it is the DOLE Accredited Co-Partner in the implementation of its programs and services in the area, Labor Information Officer Virgilio Doroja, Jr., said.

Director Puguon said that the amount is intended for the purchase of farm implement such as rice mill, turtle tiller and thresher, all with complete accessories. Part of the fund will be used for the conduct of seminar on social preparation and entrepreneurship development course for the beneficiaries, Director Puguon added.

The livelihood program of DOLE was strengthened by DOLE Secretary Marianito D. Roque pursuant to President Arroyo’s focus on more livelihood program and services for the informal sector.

Director Puguon, in his inspirational talk, gave an overview of the DOLE’s programs and services in the two main types of employment, the wage employment where workers work for employers, and self employment through livelihood.

He said these programs and services could be brought to the workers of Basey depending on the priorities of the municipal government. He also expressed his fervent hope for the LGU Basey to become a model municipality in the province of Samar for DOLE’s advocacy on DOLE-LGU closer partnership in the delivery of programs and services to the workers of the municipality.

Mayor Estorninos, for his part, thanked DOLE for the assistance which he said will be of great help to the farmers of Barangay Sirum and to his administration considering that livelihood program is one of his priority programs.





TESDA Samar readies Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Program worth P10M for retrench workers and other jobless youth and adults

February 18, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  As President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) tells TESDA to prepare retrenched workers for the electronics sector, TESDA Samar is also stirring with activities for Pangulong Gloria Scholarship (PGS).

In an action plan for 2009 provided to PIA Samar, TESDA has listed the availability of some 1,170 scholarship slots that will be funded with P10,823,550.

Aside from specific Training (scholarship) Cost ranging from P4,550 which is the cheapest for Pastry, Cakes and Yeast Based Products good for one month to Building Wiring Installation which is the most expensive worth P13,560 good for three months, trainees are still afforded some P60/day training support fund by the program.

These are short courses but are easily employable according to demand for workers.

Courses like plumbing, carpentry, housekeeping, bartending, masonry, computer programming and others are available for grabs.

According to Mr. Ben Mar a TESDA specialist, this program is available also for those whose jobs have been affected by the global economic crunch. Should applicants be interested to avail they may go to the nearest school in their area identified to verify for details or visit TESDA-Samar at the Samar Capitol Site, Catbalogan City.

Schools and Training Centers tapped to offer PGS are Basey Manpower Training Center, Eastern Visayas College, Samar College in Catbalogan City and Pinabacdao One Stop Training Center in the second district.

In the first district, they can visit Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST), Systems Technology Institute (STI) and Christ the King College (CKC) in Calbayog City and Samar State College of Agriculture and Forestry (SSCAF) in San Jorge.

TESDA added that before a trainee qualifies for PGS, he is made to execute an affidavit that specifies his active involvement in the program and to refund the Tek Bok Provider (TBP) in full and the Training Support Fund granted in case of non-compliance with the 80% attendance and participation to qualify for the completion of the training program.

The same candidate will also undergo a pre-qualification process like the National Career Assessment Exam (NCAE) or Youth Profiling for Starring Careers (YP4SC).

TESDA encourages all youths who may qualify to avail of the opportunity.

Based on records, of the 12 trainees for call center agents at the Systems Technology Institute or STI, Calbayog City last year, eight workers have already been hired in call centers in Cebu City.



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