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Pinabacdao project impresses WB representative

2009 National Caving Congress puts Region 8 on focus

SIPPAD urges investigation of Samar’s road construction

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 graces 488th Magellan Landing Commemoration

March 20, 2009

HOMONHON ISLAND, Guiuan  –  For yet another time, Eastern Samar Governor Ben P. Evardone braved the waves to attend the annual celebration of Magellan Landing at Barangay Pagbabangnan, Homonhon Island, this town last March 16, this year.

Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone in Homonhon Island
Gov. Ben P. Evardone writes a pledge on the billboard of the P3 million worth dream project which was launched during the 488th Magellan Landing Commemoration last March 16, 2009 at Barangay Pagbabangnan, Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

The event, which was also attended by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members Enerio Sabulao and Generoso Yu, was highlighted with the unveiling of a marker launching a dream project worth P3 million.

The said project, a galleon-like structure which will host a museum and guest rooms, will give emphasis on the national significance of Ferdinand Magellan’s landing on this island. Magellan led a Spanish fleet that landed in Sitio Cantilado, Barangay Pagbabangnan, of this island in March 16, 1521.

Governor Evardone pledged P200,000 as contribution to the realization of the project. “I did not intend to write a significant or insignificant amount in the marker,” Evardone disclosed during his speech.

“The figure I wrote on the marker came out of my heart spontaneously in a hope to send a signal to all of us to reaffirm our commitment to this historic event in Homonhon,” he continued.

Provincial board members, municipal officials and barangay officials also offered amounts in pledges totaling to P970,000.

“We need to be united and we need to work together,” Evardone said referring to the development of the site.

Among the activities held for the said event was the distribution of cash amounts to the 8 barangays of Homonhon including Barangay Suluan. The provincial chief also distributed rice to residents of all barangays in the island.

Gov. Evardone decided to translate the P500,000 budget to delivery of basic services to the barangays for this year’s occasion instead of the usual fanfares held in previous years. “We are facing economic problems and it is just but appropriate that we do away with flourish activities but rather provide our people with their basic needs,” Evardone said in vernacular.

Also in attendance to the said celebration were Mayor Annaliz Kwan, Punong Barangays Dolores Codotco of Casuguran, Allan Naputo of Culasi, Andres Padulaga of Canawayon, Carmelito Amoroto of Bitaugan, Castro Guimbaolibot of Cagusuan, Arlene Yakit of Inapulangan, Eduardo Adquin of Habag and Winefredo Gapate Jr. of Pagbabangnan. Present also in the occasion was OIC Elsa Yaranun representing Eddie Reola of Suluan Island.

Gapate, in a statement, said that he is thankful to the provincial government specifically Gov. Evardone for giving much importance to the celebration especially that he hosts the place. “Governor’s initiative today will bring our barangay and the rest of the island to more opportunities,” Gapate said.

Earlier the provincial governor recognized the 9 barangays of Homonhon and Suluan for their participation in the coastal clean-up. Barangay Pagbabangnan emerged as the cleanest barangay in the said activity.





Provincial gov't opposes city's designation of RTR Plaza as Freedom Park

By Provincial Media Relations Center
March 20, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  With the latest move by the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Tacloban designating the province-owned RTR Plaza as a Freedom Park through a recently-passed ordinance, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said the province is composing a strong opposition should the city government fully implement the said decree while it is gearing to regain control over other of its properties presently under the city government.

Icot Petilla
Leyte Governor Icot Petilla

In the first place, the governor said, the city “does not have authority to pass resolutions and ordinances over properties which are not of their ownership.” This, the governor was referring to the RTR Plaza being designated as a Freedom Park.

“The province is opposing on this because we see that the city is going beyond its authority. It’s just as simple as the fact that if it is not your property, you can exercise authority over it,” Gov. Petilla strongly declared over the province’s weekly radio program Hingyap han Leyteńo.

He said the province would not tolerate actions that already merit dictatorship.

“Diri ito puede i-tolerate. Kon mayda puede pangihaan, pangihaan ta. As it is, if they can do that to the province, they can do that to anybody else. But until they fully implement the said ordinance, that’s the time we would do action. There are still remedies to that,” Gov. Petilla said.

As this developed, the governor disclosed that the province is poised to take over other provincial properties that are presently under the management and supervision of the city government through a memorandum of agreement.

The latter, the governor was referring to the Balyuan Park which the city government has been managing and developing and on which have erected some infrastructures over the years.

It was learned the said property is under a memorandum of agreement and is set to expire August of this year. Reportedly, under the said MOA, the governor disclosed, the city government can manage the Balyuan Tower in a period of five years, after which any improvements made would have to revert back to the original owner.

However, Gov. Petilla stressed the provincial government has decided not to renew the agreement following the city government’s designation of another provincial property as a freedom park.

“We have all the documents regarding this and we are set not to renew the same after it expire in August,” Gov. Petilla said.

There are also some parts of the Kanhuraw Hill that are properties of the provincial government, he added, though did not particularly mention if it includes the present location of the City Hall.

“We just want a peaceful co-existence with any LGU within the continental Leyte. Waray ngani samok, it makakabenepisyo it katawhan. Pero bay-ugon liwat ngani magkakababantad ini ngatanan. We didn’t do it first. We would only respond back in what we think is legal and right,” the governor said.





DOLE’S ISLA project in Region 8 benefits 431 fishermen with P4.684M

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  About 431 fishermen from nine municipalities of Eastern Visayas have already been recipients of a total P4,684,021.00 funding through the Integrated Services for Livelihood Advancement of the Fisher Folks (ISLA) of the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 8.

DOLE 8 Director Forter Puguon informed that the ISLA Project is one of the two DOLE Programs enrolled by DOLE Secretary Marianito D. Roque in the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to provide assistance to the marginalized fisher folks in coastal municipalities at this time when the whole world is experiencing an economic meltdown.

Of the 9 municipalities, three are from Leyte province, one from Biliran, one from Samar, two from Eastern Samar and two from Northern Samar.

In the province of Leyte, about P500,000 was released to 30 fishermen of Palo; another P500,000 was released to 41 fishermen of Capoocan and P599,999 was released for the advancement of 54 fishermen from Bato.

About 24 fishermen of Culaba in Biliran received P324,000 while 50 fishermen from San Sebastian in Samar received P794,000.

In Eastern Samar, 21 Borongan fishermen received P105,000 while 80 fishermen from Barangays Dapdap, Barangay 2 Poblacion, Barangay Malobago and Barangay 12 Poblacion in Dolores Samar.

In Northern Samar, about 108 fishermen of Lapinig were given a total funding of P545,845 while 23 fishermen from Catarman were given P923,177.

The project will assist the fisher folks in making their existing livelihood undertaking grow into viable and sustainable businesses, thereby improving their income to a level at par with that of the minimum wage earners.

Under ISLA, the fisher folks, through their organizations, will be assisted in the various activities of their endeavor, like the setting up of a common facility, acquisition of fishing materials and equipment, establishment of alternative livelihood projects, strengthening of fisher folk's organizations and consolidating these into a federation through trainings, consultancy and advisory services, and trainings on entrepreneurship and business management for the members of the fisher folks organizations.

ISLA is being implemented by DOLE in partnership with the Local Government Units, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Department of Foreign Affairs.





DPWH District 2 implements road rehab project in Basey

March 20, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the second district of Samar is implementing road repair and rehabilitation in Basey.

In an interview with District Engineer Jose Balite, he said that two projects are now being implemented in Basey. One of these is the concreting of San Juanico-Basey-Sohoton Road with P20M appropriation and a distance of 1.25 kilometers.

It has though yet an accomplishment of 38% as of presstime.

The other is also concreting of Dolongan-Basey Road with P10 M fund for some 0.625 kilometers with yet 30% accomplishment.

The contractor here is R D Mandanas Construction Company.

Still another, said Engr. Romeo Lanzerrote, is concreting of some 0.900 meters of road from Sitio Rawis to Barangay Guirang which has also a fund of P15 M.

This third project though is yet in the preparation stage of gathering aggregates for base preparations, said Lanzerrote.

This road network will help spur development of the tourism industry in Basey, particularly in Sohoton, said Mayor Wilfredo Estorninos in an interview.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Visayas region, the DPWH is undertaking the improvement of some 230.53 kilometer portion of the Maharlika Highway in Samar.

Two ongoing sections, the 52.7-km Calbayog-Gatanguit-Caibiga section, are close to completion at the cost of P1.458 billion through a loan agreement between the Philippines and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

“Samar is one of the poorest provinces in the country that’s why, most of our youth venture to other provinces and cities to look for jobs than stay to tend farmlands planted with coconut, rice or camote. Transportation used to be difficult that’s why, there are few businesses here,” said balikbayan Marie France Sombero.

The infrastructure spending is part of the government's infra surge aimed to develop critical public works and infrastructure across the country.





Troops of 20th Infantry Battalion overrun CPP/NPA main camp

March 19, 2009

8ID, Camp Lukban, Catbalogan, Samar  –  The 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion, 8th Infantry, Division, Philippine Army under the leadership of LtCol. Francis B. Cabugon overrun the main camp of the Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU) codenamed “Polaris Command” of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) at the tri-boundary of Lope de Vega, Silvino Lobos, both of Northern Samar and Calbayog City on March 14, 2009. The Polaris Command’s main camp has more than fifty (50) communist terrorists when the troops overrun and eventually captured the said camp.

Recovered fire arms from the NPA
Some of the recovered items from the seized NPA main camp in Silvino Lobos.

The report on the presence of Communist Terrorist main camp in barangay Imelda, Silvino Lobos was tipped and revealed by the civilians who are victims of New Peoples Army abuses and likewise deprived of the development that would uplift the economic condition of the populace. Accordingly, the NPAs were receiving big portion of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) as their extortion money from most of the barangays in the tri-boundary of the three (3) provinces of Samar Island.

With this development, LtCol. Cabugon sent two (2) Platoons of soldiers led by 2Lt. Andrew Linao and 2Lt. Ceasar Manabat on March 11, 2009 to act on the report. The troops took three (3) days cross country walked before reaching the area and caught by surprised the armed NPAs.

After more than one (1) hour of exchanging firefight, the troops successfully overrun and eventually captured the NPA main camp. The NPAs were disorganized and escaped for their own life leaving two (2) bodies of their dead comrades, four (4) M16 rifles, one (1) ICOM, one (1) claymore mine, six (6) jungle packs with subversive documents and personal belongings.

“The courage and determination displayed by the 20IB troops is attributed to the proper motivation of the 8ID Commander MGen. Arthur Tabaquero down to the different levels of command to work harder to liberate our people from abuses and extortion of the NPA terrorist, our soldiers action is always dedicated to serve God, Country and the People”, the military officer added.

The decisive engagement that resulted to the capture of the CPP/NPA main camp could be the biggest setback to the NPA terrorists in Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee following also the downfall of their leadership.





PGMA’s NARS Project mobilizes 575 nurses to 115 municipalities in East Visayas

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  About 575 nurses will be employed and deployed, five each to 115 municipalities in the six provinces of Eastern Visayas, under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Nurses Assigned in Rural Services (NARS) Project.

Region 8 health director Dr. Edgardo Gonzaga
DOH-8 director Edgar Gonzaga

Department of Health Region 8 Director Edgardo Gonzaga informed that out of the 136 municipalities in Eastern Visayas, 115 will receive five nurses each in two batches, first, from April to September, and the second batch is October 2009 to March 2010.

The NARS trainees shall be warriors of wellness in their hometowns to do three (3) I’s: Initiate primary health, school nutrition, maternal health programs and first line diagnosis; Inform the public on community water sanitation practices and perform health surveillance; and Immunize children and mothers.

NARS Project is in line with the pump priming strategies under the Economic Resiliency Plan of the Arroyo Administration to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis, to save and create as many jobs as possible and expand social protection.

This was launched by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 9 February 2009 during the Multi-Sectoral Summit on “Joining Hands Against the Global Crisis” in Malacanang Palace, Manila.

NARS is a Training cum Employment Project, jointly implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Professional Regulation Commission, Board of Nursing (PRC-BON), designed to mobilize unemployed registered nurses to the 1,000 poorest municipalities of the country to improve the delivery of health care services.

The program aims to address the glut in inexperienced nurses, the proliferation of "volunteer nurses" working in hospitals without being paid, promote health of the people, and bring government services closer to the grassroots.

Nurses will be deployed at an average of five per town in the 1,000 poorest municipalities, for a six-months tour of duty. Completion of the training program under NARS program will be considered as a substitute for the work experience requirement of hospitals and other health facilities.

The nurse-trainees will be jointly issued the Certificate of Completion by the DOLE, DOH and PRC, adding that while on training, the nurses will be given a stipend/allowance of P8,000 per month.

Unemployed registered nurses who are physically and mentally fit and willing to serve in their hometowns and who meet the requirements may qualify for the training cum employment under NARS if they are with valid nurse license issued by the PRC; not over 35 years old; resident of the identified municipalities; and have  no nursing-related practice for 1-3 years.

Interested nurses may file their application at the nearest DOLE regional office, or online at where application forms can be downloaded. Deadline for submission of application is March 22.





PA Nierras challenges the leaders of Zumarraga

March 18, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras challenged the youthful leaders of Zumarraga to revive its glorious days when the quaint island town supplied the regional capital city with fish.

Dr. Edgar Gonzaga chats with PA Cynthia Nierras
DOH8 regional director Edgar Gonzaga and PA Cynthia Nierras at the 146th Founding Anniversary of Zumarraga, Samar.

Nierras in her speech on the occasion of Zumarraga’s 146th founding anniversary recalled the days when fish in Tacloban City where aplenty which she attributed to have come from Zumarraga.

“May-ada kamo angay himuon basi mahibalik ini,” (You should do something to bring back the old days of good production), Nierras urged.

She also mentioned that by April 2009, Tacloban City will be hosting Palarong Pambansa and will need the food provision support of nearby provinces to feed the hundreds of athletes and local tourists that will fill Tacloban City.

“Not only fish but your livestock, as well,” Nierras noted.

The lady also alluded to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one stating that by 2015 we shall have reduced if not eliminate poverty by 50%.

Although Zumarraga has been listed in the 40 Poorest Municipalities in 2003 based on Small Area Estimate (SAE) Survey to be ranked number 13 yet, Nierras said that Zumarraga does not appear on the list of the top 20 nutritionally depressed municipalities.

She added that in the survey on the prevalence of underweight children or pre-schoolers out of 139 municipalities in region 8, Zumarraga she said appears in the upper 50%.

The announcement received a round of applause from the townsfolk.

Nierras also promised to return on another auspicious time to organize an Executive Briefing with the leaders to strengthen the provision of basic services to include livelihood provisions for the town dwellers.

She cited that as the DTI Regional Director, she missed to visit the island which she described as an emerald paradise by the sea.

Nierras was joined by the Department of Health (DOH) Regional Director Dr. Edgardo Gonzaga who brought two boxes of medicines to two-soon- to-be-opened Botika ng Barangay in Barangay Magaan and Tubigan.

Gonzaga also announced recruitment of 130 fresh graduate nurses that five of which will be assigned in Zumarraga, to help in the health programs of the municipality.

Guests were entertained with grand production numbers of festivals like Saguingan, Sapyawan, Buwaran and three others.

Zumarraga celebrated its 146th founding anniversary, being founded on March 13, 1863 by a Spanish friar who was born in Zumarraga, Spain. History tells that Zumarraga was named Kawayan during the pre-Spanish time, then it was changed to Buwaran from the diggings of native boar that roamed in the island and finally Zumarraga, from the Spanish friar.





Zumarraga marks 146th founding anniversary

March 17, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  This quaint island town of Zumarraga celebrated its 146th founding anniversary on Friday through grandiose activities.

Samar vice-governor Jesus Redaja delivers his message to the people of Zumarraga
In his speech, Samar Vice-governor Jesus Redaja assures his full support to the programs and projects of Zumarraga town.

Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras with the Department of Health (DOH) Regional 08 Director Edgardo Gonzaga, Assistant Division Commander of the 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) Col. Eduardo Del Rosario, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Ms Zeny Delantar were some of the guests present.

Also present were Vice Governor Jesus B Redaja who sat at the Presidential Table hosted by Mayor Neil Edwin Figueroa with his parents former Mayor Neliptha Figueroa and former Congressman Catalino Figueroa.

According to the program distributed to the media that covered the festivities, the week-end affair ushered an agro-trade fair on March 2; inter-agency sports tournament on Marrch 4; Karatada han Samar symposium on Teen age Reproductive Health and Search for Mutya ng Zumarraga.

A medical-dental Outreach Program also took place on March 9; Environment Day on March 10, 2009 that featured solid waste recycled products: Senior Citizens Day on March 11 and marathon and boxing on March 12, 2009.

If the week was loaded with several activities, this culminated in a more grandeur festivities which heralded the festivitals of the municipality.

Despite the unholy hours, guests forego their lunch until two in the afternoon in favor of the dancers who gyrated and swayed to the raucous beatings of improvised bamboo instruments and drums. The dancers wore colorful costumes and paraphernalia symbolic of their celebration. The crowd that witnessed the event spilled the gymnasium.

A bit of the town’s history

Based on accounts, the town on March 13, 1863 became an independent parish by a virtue of a decree from the King of Spain.

Originally, the town before the Spaniards came was called Kawayan, as bamboos teemed the island then. In 1848, a Spanish friar set foot on the place. This Spaniard discovered that the locals have organized a local governing body and obeyed the rules in the village. The place was then called BUAD, derived from the local dialect, Binuwaran, a term used to mean the diggings made by wild pigs. A group of dancers depicted the Binuwaran festival where dancers don pighead costumes and danced like pigs do.

Zumarraga, got its name from the birthplace of the Spanish priest assigned in the town, Rev Fr. Martin Yepes, who was born in Zumarraga, Spain.

Past forward to the present

Presently, Mayor Neil Edwin Figueroa, a young blood is trying to propel Zumarraga into new heights by welcoming programs and projects that could help its citizenry like the Department of Health (DOH) which provided four boxes of medicines for the operation of two Botika ng Barangay in Magaan and Tubigan barangays. DOH also cited Figueroa for his support to the program.

In her speech, PA Nierras urged the townsfolk to do something to revive the glorious days when Zumarraga supplied Tacloban City with its fish consumption. Zumarraga as an island prides itself with its rich aquamarine resources.

It’s One-Town-One-Product as assisted by DTI, NEDA, DOLE, SSU and other agencies is rock oyster fermentation (locally known as sisi). This has given Zumarraganhons livelihood. Culture of rock oyster is also propagated in the island.

And a toast to the future

With the promise of close partnership of PA Cynthia Nierras and Zumarraga’s youthful leaders Mayor Figueroa and Vice Mayor Emeliano Hernando, Jr., additional programs to address and strengthen the educational, health, nutrition and other basic services in this beautiful kingdom by the bay could just be the order of the day!





Zumarraga town founding anniversary highlights environmental concern

March 17, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Taking heed the far more serious call of environmental conservation and sustainable development, the island town of Zumarraga in Samar province, held an Environment Day as part of its major highlight during the second celebration of its founding anniversary this month of March.

Mayor Neil Edwin Figueroa said in his letter to the Environmental Management Bureau regional office, the Environment Day would feature activities such as an open exhibit of the town’s solid waste products and recyclable materials.

The Environment Day celebration followed the theme: “Malinis at Maayos na Kapaligiran, Malusog at Maunlad na Sambayanan.”

Local officials, municipal employees and the community itself saw the need to contribute themselves and set in motion their commitment to join the global community in putting into focus the oneness of all people in taking responsibility for the environmental destruction that man has done to its surroundings and to urgently implement measures to rescue and heal the environment.

EMB-8 Regional Director Letecia Maceda lauded the LGU initiative to further the call for proper solid waste management while she stressed once more the need to seriously look into the environment and help mitigate the effects of climate change that has become a global concern.

Also, Dir. Maceda informed the Zumarraga LGU in her speech of the national government’s P2.8 Billion allocation for cost-sharing with local government units to facilitate the shift from open and controlled dumpsites, and to finance other efficient solid waste management disposal facility.

This budget assistance is expected to facilitate the compliance of the local government units in the DENR's continuing directive for the eventual phaseout of all open and controlled dumpsites to shift to categorized disposal facility (CDF).

The local government units, she said, have most often cited the lack of funding as barrier to compliance to the Solid Waste Management Act particularly the establishment of a CDF.

At present, financing of solid waste management activities are provided in-house by the LGUs derived from internal revenue allotment, additional income sources from taxes, licenses and fines and loans from financing institutions.

The government continues to call for the establishment and sound management of landfill sites in the country in order to address the threats of waste to the environment and to human health.





Chiz asks Merci: where is the fertilizer scam report?

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
March 16, 2009

PASAY CITY  –  Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Monday asked Ombudsman Merciditas Gutierrez to release her office’s findings on the 728-million peso fertilizer fund scam as it promised to do so last month.

“The Office of the Ombudsman promised to have the report on the fertilizer scam ready by first week of March, or at the latest by March 15. It’s March 16. What will she say next?” he asked.

Her deputy, Assistant Ombudsman Jose de Jesus, was quoted as saying that Gutierrez was reviewing with a “fine tooth-comb” the 125-page report of the special panel.

“Baka nagkabali-bali na ang suklay sa tagal ng pag-review,” said the opposition senator, who has asked the Ombudsman to step down in October when she completes the seven-year term of her predecessor, Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo.

He also said that continued inaction on the part of Gutierrez will only bolster the perception that she is out to protect big-time grafters in government.

Escudero also reiterated anew his call for the Ombudsman to release a list of cases still pending in her office so the people will know their status and why they have not been filed with the Sandiganbayan.

The Senate has already recommended the filing of plunder charges against former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc Joc” Bolante and eight other individuals for their alleged involvement in the diversion of P728-million in fertilizer funds to the 2004 campaign kitty of local officials allied with President Arroyo.

The Ombudsman has also been slammed for its failure to act on a number of controversial cases such as the alleged rigged bidding for World Bank-funded road projects and the ZTE-NBN national broadband deal.

In the impeachment complaint filed against her, among the cases cited by the petitioners were the Mega-Pacific agreement contract entered into by former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, Sr., the extortion case against former Justice Department Secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez, and the case against the “Euro” generals.

“How can we expect the public to trust government when many high-ranking officials involved in such allegedly anomalous practices and transactions, are not taken to task for their actions? If we allow this to continue, we will witness the collapse of institutions and, subsequently, democracy itself,” Escudero said.





200 kg century old giant green sea turtle found in Tanauan, biggest ever, DENR says

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 15, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  A huge green sea turtle weighing more than 200 kilograms and is believed to be more than 100 years old, was literally assisted and helped back to its natural habitat, on March 13, 2009, at Bantay Dagat Area in Tanauan, Leyte.

Going back to its natural abode was a difficult task for the green sea turtle tagged as PH1000B, because it was too big and too heavy, its front limbs could hardly support the bulk of its weight in the sand.

Mayor Roque Tiu said that the shores of Tanauan Leyte, has indeed become a sanctuary of sea turtles. Every now and then, a sea turtle or two would get entangled in the fishing nets of local fishermen, he said.

However, the huge sea turtle came as a surprise to everyone, Mayor Tiu said. The green sea turtle got entangled in the fishing net of Marcial Gabradilla, a 59 year old fisherman from Barangay Bislig of Tanauan, in the early morning of March 12.

The Bantay Dagat team had to ask for additional assistance because the sea turtle or pawikan in the local dialect was too heavy and could not be transferred to the patrol boat of the Bantay Dagat.

Mr. Tito Simbulan, the chief of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Coastal Zone Management Service of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that the sea turtle which he described to be a green sea turtle is the biggest he has ever seen.

Mr. Simbulan said that the green sea turtle is the quintessential sea turtle, possessing a dorsoventrally-flattened body covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace and a pair of large, paddle-like flippers.

When measured, the Tanauan green sea turtle’s carapace is 105 centimeters long and 94 centimeters wide.

Despite the turtle's common name, it is lightly-colored all around while its carapace's hues range from olive-brown to black , just like any other Eastern Pacific green sea turtles. The turtle is actually named for the greenish coloration of its fat and flesh.

The green sea turtle is the latest addition to the already long list of sea turtles found and returned to their natural habitat by Tanauan fishermen who are already aware that pawikan or sea turtles belong to the endangered species and must be returned to the sea after being tagged by the DENR, Mayor Tiu said.

Aware of the local government's policy on the conservation of natural resources, the fisherman turned over the green sea turtle to the town's Bantay Dagat members, who informed Mayor Tiu and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources about it.

Mayor Tiu lauded the fishermen in Tanauan for their awareness in protecting the endangered species, the sea turtles. He said that sea turtles are referred to as the only living remnants of the dinosaur age, but maybe not for long. Unless sincere efforts are undertaken, sea turtles might follow the dinosaur to extinction.

Sea turtles, popularly known in the Philippines as pawikan, belong to the sub-order Cryptodira, and to the families Dermochelyidae and Cheloniidae. There are more than 220 species of turtles in the world, but only seven are considered marine (saltwater). Five of these species are present in the Philippines. These are the Green (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and the Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).

So far, two of the five species have been found in Tanauan, the green sea turtle which is the most common species in the Philippines and is found in all tropical and sub tropical seas; and the olive ridley which of the five species is considered carnivorous.

Sadly, despite the government's Pawikan Conservation Project, pawikan hunting will remain unabated elsewhere unless people in the area cooperate, Mayor Tiu added.





PGMA, other nat’l officials confirm attendance to 2009 Palaro in Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 15, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, together with several other national officials, has confirmed her attendance to the 2009 Palarong Pambansa hosted by the provincial government of Leyte.

This was bared by Department of Education Region 8 Director Sol F. Matugas and PAGCOR Vice President Remedios L. Petilla, during the meeting of the Region Eight Administrators League, held recently at the Department of Education Teachers Training Center.

Hon. Petilla is chairperson and Dir. Matugas is co-chairperson for the Socio-economic and Cultural committee for the 2009 Palarong Pambansa which will be held on April 27 to May 3, 2009 in Leyte.

The Palarong Pambansa games will start on the 27th of April but the formal opening will be on April 28, Tuesday, and this will be graced by no less than the highest official of the land, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, PAGCOR Vice President Petilla said.

Meanwhile, during the emergency meeting of the Region 8 Administrators League, on March 12, Dr. Maria Getalado, co-chair of the Committee on Invitations, informed that several national government officials have already confirmed their attendance to the 2009 Palarong Pambansa in Leyte.

Dr. Getalado said that the committee has received the confirmation of Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Edgardo Angara and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Dr. Getalado added that among the Cabinet Secretaries who already confirmed their attendance are DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro III.  Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando also confirmed his attendance, Dr. Getalado said.

Dr. Getalado expressed optimism that more confirmations from those invited are expected to be received by the Committee this month of March.

The Committe on Invitation for the VIP guests which is chaired by Vice Governor Mimyet Bagulaya and co-Chaired by Dr. Getalado, has sent more than 300 invitations to the National Government Officials, it was learned.

DepEd Secretary Jesli A. Lapus, through DepEd Memo 390 series of 2008, informed that “the 2009 Palarong Pambansa will be hosted by the Province of Leyte” with the Leyte Sports Development Center as the main venue. The DepEd Regional Office 8 and DepEd Leyte Division and the DepEd Tacloban City Division shall be the co-hosts, the same Memo dated August 19, 2008, stated.





Region 8 Administrators fully support Leyte in hosting 2009 Palarong Pambansa

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 15, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The officers and members of the Region Eight Administrators League (REAL) headed by Pag-IBIG Region 8 Manager Flordelis Menzon, expressed their full support to Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla in ensuring the success of the Provincial Government of Leyte’s hosting of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa.

“REAL will give full support to the 2009 Palarong Pambansa as this is the opportunity everybody has been waiting for, to promote Region 8,” REAL President Menzon said during the REAL meeting held on March 11 at the DepED Regional Teachers Training Center, with no less than 40 members in attendance. It has been 25 years since the Region was host to a Palaro, Manager Menzon added.

Manager Menzon said that politics and personal differences should be set aside in order to ensure the success of the 2009 Palaro. She also called on all sectors to give their utmost support to this national sports event.

The meeting was attended by PAGCOR Vice President Remedios L. Petilla who has been appointed by Leyte Governor Petilla to be the chairperson of the Socio-economic and Cultural Committee of the 2009 Palaro, Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras, and Dr. Jaime Opinion III of the City of Tacloban.

Hon. Petilla and DepEd Director Sol Matugas, updated the members of REAL on the preparations for the 2009 Palarong Pambansa and from there, the members of REAL who have not yet been tapped by the Palaro Executive Committee, identified the areas where their agencies could be of help.

Hon. Petilla identified areas where the specific members of REAL could provide their agency services. For one, she requested the Department of Public Works and Highways to produce and install Palaro signages in the different points of entry to Leyte and to put markers on the different venues of events and accommodation sites for the Palaro.

REAL, through the National Telecommunications Commission will also facilitate the installation of Emergency number for the Palaro, which will be managed by the Office of Civil Defense and the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council.

REAL, through the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police Region, agreed to chair the Peace and Order, and Security Committee.

REAL will also be helping in the areas of publicity and documentation thru the Philippine Information Agency; special searches thru the Department of Tourism, health and sanitation thru the Department of Health; Agri, Aqua, Trade Fair thru the Department of Agriculture, Deparment of Trade and Department of Science and Technology; and  transportation thru the Land Transportation Office, among others.

REAL is the chairman for the general support services committees.



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