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Leyte tapped to host PRISAA 2010

NCR retains Palarong Pambansa crown for the fourth consecutive year

PGMA bats for teamwork as unifying factor for the country during opening of Palarong Pambansa 2009

Tanauan riders rule the 2nd Nasugbo Nat’l Skimboarding Competition

2 NPA camps, war material cache discovered

NPA leaders and 5 others surrender with high powered firearms

Gov. Evardone graces 488th Magellan Landing Commemoration

Pinabacdao project impresses WB representative

2009 National Caving Congress puts Region 8 on focus

SIPPAD urges investigation of Samar’s road construction



PIA 8 director tutors Army info officers on news writing

May 21, 2009

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Director Olive Tiu of the Philippine Information Agency Region 8, conducted on May 18, a Writeshop on newswriting for the information officers of the different brigades and battalions under the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army (8th ID, PA).

Philippine Information Agency region 8 director Olive Tiu
PIA director Olive Tiu

This is to enhance the writing skills of the information officers and enlisted personnel of the 8th ID, so that they will be able to communicate effectively the programs and missions of the military.

Aside from newswriting, Director Tiu also lectured on photojournalism, writing good press releases to build good relations with the media and the flow of communication.

Aside from training the soldiers to be good writers, Director Tiu was also the Guest of Honor and speaker during the Monday flag raising ceremony of the 8th ID, coupled with the awarding rites of some five outstanding soldiers of the division.

The inspirational message of Director Tiu, where she extolled the military for their sacrifices and service to the country and the people in the hinterlands, highlighted the activity.

Director Tiu stressed the importance of communications planning saying that the military is one of the most misunderstood sectors in government service.

The guest of honor, then met some 30 information officers and enlisted personnel of 8th ID as they explored the nuances of News writing and Information Dissemination.

The activity which aimed to enhance the writing skills of the information officers and enlisted personnel of 8th ID, was a very informative and productive one, with the output of the Writeshop is a compilation of 30 articles written by the Writeshop participants themselves.

At the end of the seminar, all attendees produced their own news stories where PIA gave comments for improvement.

Following the suggestions, the participants produced the improved copies and hoped that their final output reaches the pages of leading local and regional papers.





Balangiga farmers get 5 water pumps from PGMA project

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
May 21, 2009

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  Palay harvest in several barangays of Balangiga, Eastern Samar can be expected to improve after the Provincial Government through Governor Ben Evardone implemented here the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thrust on food security.

In a simple ceremony on Tuesday at barangay Cagulango, Gov. Evardone endorsed five water pumps to the town’s chief executive, Mayor Viscocho De Lira and to the rest of the Sangguniang Bayan and barangay Officials.

“Each pump is estimated to gather water and irrigate five hectares of rice lands,” Evardone said in his talk. With five of these pumps, we can expect better palay production next or in the coming years,” he added.

“However, this turn-over ceremony of this vital farm facility is just a tip of the ice berg in as far as sustainability of the irrigation is concerned,” the governor warned the farmers in the audience.  He said that monitoring in the proper use and maintenance of the system must be the major concern of the farmers.

He also noticed the impassable road leading to the barangay where they were seated, so the Governor likewise promised to bring in assistance, giving priority first to the construction of two steel bridges from President Arroyo under her “Tulay ng Pangulo” program.  Evardone vowed to provide better road network up to the farthest hinterland which is barangay Ginmaayohan.

“It is inspiring to help you folks because your initiatives as the smallest LGU is incomparable. You, having been recognized for your Outstanding Performance in the Makamasang Tugon is a manifestation that you are united for the common good,” Evardone enthused.

He mentioned that, Cagulango unlike many barangays, has recently achieved a perfect score in toilet constructions for each of their households. Thus, the barangay will receive aP20,000 provincial aid which they can spend for the construction of their Day Care Center which is still absent in the said community.





Fishery training director urges Reg 8 solons to support creation of fishery department

May 20, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 8 Training Director Ronnie Berida urged Region 8 congressmen to support the creation of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR).

During a meeting of government agencies at the Maqueda Bay Hotel here on May 19, Berida showed PIA a local paper bearing the news that Rep Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has sponsored the bill upgrading BFAR to DFAR.

The news article penned by Tess Lardizabal cited that “the creation of a DFAR is significant step to ensure the preservation and proper development of the nation’s archipelagic waters and marine resources.”

The news also stated that Reps Diosdado Macapagal-Arroyo, Luis Villafuerte and Marcelo Teodoro have also urged the creation of a department in separate bills.

Berida stressed that his agency is very crucial in the food security.

He also added that the fishery sector has been a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) where it came second to agricultural products like rice and corn.

Meanwhile, Speaker Nograles in a press statement said that since the Philippines is an archipelagic nation whose waters and seas are triple the area of its land mass, national development could be hastened and sustained by securing the country's fishery and aquatic resources.





Army brigades join Brigada Eskwela 2009

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

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The various army brigades of the 8th Infantry Division continue to help the various sectors of society where they are needed, not only in keeping peace and order, but also in rendering community work just like the Brigada Eskwela, MajGen. Arthur Tabaquero, the commanding general of the 8th ID, informed.

The 803rd Infantry Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army joined other stakeholders in the conduct of Brigada Eskwela.

Col. Arnulfo Atendido deployed the troops based in Catarman, Northern Samar for this noble endeavour, designed to benefit the school children of Northern Samar.

The said activity was done at Brgy. Mayro Elementary School, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar on May 18, a few days before the school opening.

Parents-Teachers Association, Local Government Unit personnel and barangay officials joined forces in the various preparations like cleaning, painting of chairs and black boards and classrooms.

The Oplan Balik Eskwela forms part of the preparation for the opening classes school year 2009-2010.

Meanwhile, another brigade, the 802nd of the 8th ID, also joined Brigada Eskwela 2009 in Carmen, Bohol.

A team from 802nd infantry {PEERLESS} Brigade based at Camp Rajah Sikatuna, Brgy Katipunan in this town replaced the old and rotten school signboard.

The same team also cleaned-up the school garden of the Katipunan National High School the whole morning.

It was part of the Brigade's participation in DepEds yearly “Brigada Eskwela” program.

SSgt. Eduardo Dulfo led other soldiers and CAFGUs to join other stakeholders in helping school teachers, parents and students in improving and maintaining school facilities in preparation for the June 2009 school opening.

Ms. Lourdes Flores, school principal thanked the army volunteers under Col. Alana Luga, Brigade Commander, for their vision of helping the public schools become more conducive to learning by making it clean, presentable and refreshed for the opening of classes.

Brigada Eskwela is an annual DepEd program that ensures regular classes will be held immediately as students and teachers enter their schools truly prepared for the opening. (with reports from Major Eduardo Maligon and Sgt. Lydio Latoja)





Chiz asks DOJ chief to stop lawyering for Americans

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
May 19, 2009

PASAY CITY  –  Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero on Saturday asked the Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales to stop looking after the interests of the United States after the DOJ chief challenged the alleged rape victim of an American soldier to file a complaint and prove her claim.

“The DOJ is again lawyering for the Americans. Let me remind the DOJ that they are Filipinos and their salaries are paid for by the Filipino people. They should protect our interests,” Escudero said in a statement.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez had earlier dared “Vanessa,” who claims to have been raped by an off-duty US serviceman last April 19 in a Manila hotel, to go to court. The 22-year old university student has so far declined to pursue charges against her alleged rapist.

The DOJ secretary questioned “Vanessa’s” motive in going public, hinting that she is being used by militant groups to push for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) which came under fire after the controversial rape case involving “Nicole” and US Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith.

“When Secretary Gonzalez encouraged Vanessa to file rape charges against her supposed aggressor, he should have stopped right there. But as he has shown time and again, he badgers the victim instead of seeking ways to find out what exactly happened,” Escudero said.

“We have been subjected again to an annoying display of insensitivity on the part of a Cabinet official who is supposed to look after the interest of the victim, not the alleged perpetrator,” he said.

Escudero said regardless of Vanessa’s decision on the filing of rape charges, the Senate should now act on the resolution calling for a review of the VFA which governs the presence of US troops participating in military exercises with the Philippine military.

“Who knows how many Vanessa's are out there? If we change the rules on criminal jurisdiction in our favor, we might just know the answer,” he said.





South Leyte solon gives away computers, thrash cans, shredders

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
May 19, 2009

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Congressman Roger Mercado on Friday, May 15, handed out a number of computer units, including thrash cans and garden waste shredders, to local government units, mostly barangays, offices, and organizations.

The distribution ceremony was held at the lobby of the provincial capitol here, with Vice-Governor Miguel Maamo assisting in behalf of Gov. Damian Mercado.

Also present was Tomas Oppus Mayor Felicula Escano, Padre Burgos Mayor Ricardo Borces, and San Francisco Vice-Mayor Samson Gamutan, Jr.

In his welcome remarks, Vice-Gov. Maamo cited Cong. Mercado’s “advocacy of modern technology foremost in his mind,” adding that the lone Southern Leyte lawmaker “tried his best to saturate all barangays in the province with computers.”

Among the recipients of the computers, with matching printers, were 15 barangays from Maasin, including Rural Health Unit I, five barangays from Macrohon, six from Malitbog, two each from Bontoc and Padre Burgos, and one each from Tomas Oppus, San Juan, and San Francisco.

The Liga ng mga Barangay offices of Liloan and Anahawan also received one unit each, for a total of 35 computer units.

Three shredder machines with a ten-HP engine were received by Tomas Oppus through Mayor Escano, another for Bogo Women’s Association, and one for barangay Cambooc, Maasin.

Of the seven big thrash can bins, two barangays from Maasin, Isagani and Hanginan, were the recipients, three from Macrohon, one for LGU-Tomas Oppus, and one for the Department of Education (DepEd) provincial schools division.

In his message, Cong. Mercado said the distribution was in line with his TEA program, for Tourism, Environment, and Agriculture.

“The shredders will be used for the production of organic fertilizers,” he emphasized.

He said in an interview after the activity that the computer units cost about P40,000 each, the thrash cans at P5,000, and the shredder at P90,000 each.

The funds used for purchasing the various items were taken from his congressional allocation, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Cong. Mercado also said.





Region 11 Officials: Fight NPA atrocities with development

Press Release
By 10th Infantry Division, PA
May 18, 2009

CAMP PANACAN, Davao City  –  Civilian as well as military leaders in Davao region believe that the current insurgency problem in Davao Region could be addressed through development.

Key officials led by Governor Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) for Region XI, agreed in a meeting last May 15 to pursue development programs not only to bring essential services and opportunities to the marginalized sectors but to the majority of the population.

“Our motto of Justice, Peace and Development is very appropriate because we know that working towards that direction is the way to solve the insurgency problem in our region,” Cagas said.

City Administrator Wendel Avisado of Davao City made a rejoinder that “the government should match the atrocities of the NPA through development initiatives.”

Records show that the NPA recently has intensified its efforts to attack “soft targets” in order to project an image of strength.

“They are on a rampage to kill civilians, retired soldiers, former NPA members, and even families of soldiers in order to maximize their political and military victories,” Major General Reynaldo Mapagu of 10ID said.

The pronouncement of the Communist Party of the Philippines to hit civilians was made during the 40th Anniversary last December 26, 2008.

Recent civilian victims include Ex-Army Dante Villa who was murdered last week in Matanao, Davao del Sur and Ruben Bitang, a relative of a soldier, who was assassinated last April in Panabo City.

“In all parts of the region, the people have realized that only the programs of the government reflect their deepest aspirations as individuals and communities to live in peace and prosperity. The people are now tired of the statements and broken promises of the NPA,” Mapagu added.





Sta. Margarita, Samar covets “Most Child-Friendly” municipality in Region 8

May 17, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Besting 148 municipalities in Eastern Visayas, Sta. Margarita, home of fresh crabs has been adjudged the “Most Child-Friendly” municipality in Region 8.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Director Ms. Leticia Corillo personally awarded a plaque and a check worth P50,000 on May 13, 2009.

Mayor Alfred Serrano told PIA that the award came from the Office of the President.

A child friendly municipality has to meet certain standards to be awarded as such.

One of them is that there is a Local Development Plan for Children (LDPC), which contains programs promoting the basic needs and rights of children from 0 to 17 years of age. This assures a long-term commitment to children's programs.

There must also be the Local Investment Plan for Children (LIPC), which is the provision of local resources and providing due priority to doable programs, projects and activities (PPAs) responding to specific needs of children in the locality.

Thirdly, is the formulation of the municipality's Local Code for Children (LCC) that contains laws and ordinances, translating national laws into operational provision and financial allocations and human resources geared towards the protection of children's rights.

Final requirement is the Local State of Children Report (LSCR) which according to DSWD comprises the annual reporting of activities outputs and accounting of gains and challenges in the town's child rights programs and projects. This is an analysis of baseline data for increased awareness on the situation of children to identify priority activities and respond to problems met on the process.

With all these complied, the municipality can become nominated.

And so did Sta. Margarita, and with the compliance, given the prestigious award.

Serrano said the cooperation of the other officials in drafting plans for children could be their winning edge. He said it is his policy to solicit bright ideas from his people about implementation of special projects.

Mayor Serrano, who is in his first term believes that a local chief executive should leave a significant legacy to his constituents.

And aside from the various citations Sta. Margarita received in his incumbency, the mayor would also want to be remembered as one who stood by the children, pushed to provide their needs and protected their rights!  (with report from Roger Soria)





Leyte, Singaporean conglomerate forge management contract for hotel

By PMRC Leyte
May 17, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The contract that formally gives right to a Singaporean conglomerate to officially proceed with their renovation of the temporarily province-run Mac Arthur Park Beach Resort Hotel was recently forged between Leyte Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla and LKY Property Holdings Inc. President Wilbert Lee.

The contract that earned the developer a 25-year contract to develop and take-over the state owned hotel was signed at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel early this week.

Gov. Petilla said the signing has been waiting in the offing following the busy schedule the province had during its hosting of the Palarong Pambansa last month.

“The signing just happened now because we had to settle the accommodation of the guests who have already been booked until April of this year,” Gov. Petilla said after the contract signing Monday.

Bookings in the hotel, it was learned, ran until the second week of May.

The Singaporean conglomerate is reportedly going to invest at least P300 million for the full renovation of the hotel that would include demolition of the present structure and building a new five-star hotel structure.

LKY Property Holdings Wilbert Lee said they are expecting to start full operations towards the end of the second quarter of next year.

“We would need that much time. Ang ibibigay namin ay isang hotel na maihahalintulad sa international standard. We are building a five-star hotel sa area na di ikakahiya at maikukumpara sa iba pang international standard hotels dito sa bansa,” Mr. Lee said in an interview aired over the weekly radio program of Leyte province Hingyap han Leyteño.

He otherwise disclosed the province, through Gov. Petilla, has been aggressive in inviting investors to come in and develop the hotel and make it more competitive in the hotel services area.

“Napakanda ng hotel at napakaagresibo naman ng inyong gobernador. In fact, hindi kami mapupunta diyan kung hindi dahil sa kanya. Sobra-sobra niyang pino-promote ang inyong probinsiya that we are convinced to come and invest,” Mr. Lee added.

Gov. Petilla has long disclosed despite the turn over of the management of the hotel to the province last January, the province really intends the private sector to come in and develop it.

“It has been tried and tested that if it is the government that runs a facility, more often, it loses,” Gov. Petilla said.

The provincial government has been subsidizing the hotel to the tune of P400,000 a month since its formal take-over last January.

It can be recalled that the provincial government initiated the turnover of the hotel some years back before the PTA could declare it not to be earning enough revenue to continue operation.

The improvement of the Mac Arthur Park Beach Resort Hotel is seen to pave the way for the development of the remaining vacant areas of the Government Center. A long-term plan is to turn the province-owned lot into an economic and leisure hub complete with a five-star hotel, a leisure park, an IT facility which is the Leyte ICT Park that is already in place and operational, government offices, commercial areas and public transport terminal.





LMP Caravan 2009 converges in Tacloban on June 18

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
May 16, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The LMP Caravan 2009 dubbed as “Interconnectivity Caravan: Strengthening and Empowering LMP Provincial Chapters” is scheduled to be in Tacloban City on June 18, 2009.

The LMP Caravan 2009 will be conducted by the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and the Mayors’ Development Center, as agreed upon and adopted during the National Directorate Meeting on February 26, 2009.

Mayor Ramon N. Guico, LMP president said that the June 18 LMP Caravan 2009 which will be held at Hotel Alejandro, is expected to be participated in by the municipal mayors of the Provinces of Biliran, Southern Leyte and Leyte.

The LMP Caravan 2009 is aimed at empowering the LMP Provincial Chapters by enhancing their capacities to be a provincial anchorage for mentoring, coordination and feedback mechanisms.

It endeavors to bring to the local government units the existing solutions to the common problems confronting municipalities and to discuss among others the local solutions to the issues on peace and security, food security, climate change and local economic development.

One of the highlights of the Caravan is the “Strengthening of Local Actions through Health FOURmula 1- the Zero Basura Caravan” in cooperation with the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

In the same manner, the Caravan will serve as vehicle for the National Agencies like DOH and DENR to cascade their programs directly to the Local Government Units.

Joining the Caravan are DENR Secretary Lito Atienza, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and PMS Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

There is no registration fee that will be charged to the participants. Overnight accommodations and meals during the activity shall be shouldered by the organizers. The transportation fee to and from their respective areas will be the counterpart of the participants.

Mayor Guico said that the caravan will be conducted through visits to clusters of provincial chapters employing plenary sessions, dialogues and survey questionnaires. All the provincial chapters have been geographically divided into 14 clusters.

Upon completion of the caravan, and Island Cluster Conference shall be conducted month after the other, to give feedback to the participants and to validate the data gathered, the contents of which have been analyzed by the LMP Secretariat.





Gov. Mercado creates anti-drug abuse council

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
May 16, 2009

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Governor Damian Mercado signed this week an executive order which aimed to form a council that would focus to address the ills brought about by drug abuse.

Local Government Unit (LGU) Executive Order No. 4, series of 2009, entitled “An Order creating the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council of the province of Southern Leyte,” was signed by Gov. Mercado on Monday, May 11.

It stated that LGUs “shall pursue undertakings to improve public morals and maintain peace and order among other equally significant concerns.”

“The incidence in the illegal use of drug and substances has to be addressed much more effectively to help ensure community peace and harmony,” the Order said.

Gov. Mercado sits as the Chairman of the Council, with the provincial Police Director as Vice-Chairman.

The members included the following: a Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member, in particular the Chairman of the SP Peace and Order Committee; President, Panlalawigang Pederasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan; Provincial Local Government Operations Officer; Schools Division Superintendent; Provincial Legal Officer; Provincial Prosecutor; Provincial Health Officer; Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer; Provincial Director, Philippine Information Agency; Representative, Philippine National Red Cross; and Representative, Social Action Center.

The Order specifically cited the functions of the Council, among which would be for organizations and individuals to “work together cooperatively in the planning, implementation and evaluation of programs on drug abuse prevention.”

It also stipulated to “provide for an effective mechanism for the coordination of existing services and programs and those which might be developed in the immediate future.”





New technology for smoked fish invades Calbayog City

May 15, 2009

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the City Government of Calbayog through the City Cooperatives Office conducted a techno-demo on the Portable Micro Fish Smoking Machine.

This was held on Friday, May 8, 2009 at the I's Plant activity area.

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento was on hand to welcome the participants which included Engr. Alfredo Apolinar and Dr. Dominica Sajonas, resource persons both of the Pangasinan State University (PSU) and personnel from the DOST.

The tinapa processors from Barangay Matobato namely Maritess Tapahan, Estring's Tapahan, Yayang's Tinapang Tagalog and Babe's Tapahan; 6 Calbayog Food Processors Associations; the Rural Improvement Center; TTMIST; and Barangay Saljag witnessed the demonstration.

The activity was done in line with the One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) program of the LGU.

OTOP is a priority program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs. OTOP Philippines supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to manufacture, offer and market distinctive products or services through the use of indigenous raw materials and local skills and talents.

Calbayog City’s OTOP is hailed as smoked fish. The techno-demo was held to introduce and demonstrate the operation and utilization of a new design of smoking machine which is easy to operate, more hygienic, has smoke and temperature control. It is also suitable for small-scale producers.

Said machine which can be an alternative to the traditional smoking oven was developed by PSU with funding from the DOST and the Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD).

The new technology is expected to boost the smoked fish industry in this bubbling city of Calbayog. (with report from Ronald Ricafort)





International NGO to launch anti-trafficking project in Samar

May 15, 2009

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  The International Justice Mission (IJM), an international NGO is set to launch Samar Anti-Trafficking Project on May 21, 2009 in Calbayog City.

In an interview with Project Coordinator Janette Bragais-Borac, she said that the US State Department has awarded them a grant to create a satellite office in Samar (Calbayog City) to combat child sex trafficking.

Borac added that she feels honoured to be of service to Samarnons.

The grand event will start with a motorcade at 8:00 am.

Expected visitors will come from the US Embassy and IJM’s partners, including officials of the local government unit of Calbayog City, Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, local barangay officials and members of the local protestant and Catholic churches.

Based in an account, on March 29, 2009, IJM proved its readiness to respond to an emergency when the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) of Gandara and the local police intercepted three minors and two adults bound for Manila.

IJM staff immediately tended to the aftercare of the victims and transported them to a government shelter.

The two adults who brought the minors were charged with trafficking.

Samar’s field office aims to support IJM’s field offices in Cebu and Manila by providing aftercare to trafficked children, reintegrate them with their families in the province.

IJM also aims to prevent the recruitment of children in Samar for prostitution in Manila.

In the international scene, IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppressions.

IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victims rescue and aftercare and to prosecute perpetrators and promote a functioning justice system.

The Arroyo administration has meanwhile opened in 2008, Bahay Silungan sa Paliparan (Shelter at the Airport) located along Ninoy Aquino Avenue and Chapel Road in Parañaque City.

The shelter with Visayan Forum is aimed to show the government's commitment to curb human trafficking which continues to prey on unsuspecting and trusting Filipinos, especially women and children.





Comment, explain, Ombudsman writes gov’t offices with vehicles spotted by Oplan Red Plate Task Force

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

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas is in the process of writing the government agencies and local government units whose vehicles were spotted during the Saturday operations of the Oplan Red Plate Task Force.

PIA learned that of the 85 government vehicles which were spotted during the May 9 operations, the Office of the Ombudsman removed those spotted but with trip tickets, thereby leaving 81 the number of spotted vehicles docketed and the agencies of which are now being written by the Deputy Ombudsman.

In the letter, the government agencies are being asked to comment on the report of the Oplan Red Plate Task Force. They will be given a specific number of days within which they must make their comments and send the same to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas.

If the respondents will fail to comment and if the comments given are deemed unacceptable, then the Ombudsman for the Visayas will file a case against these agencies and government officials and employees, who were spotted using government vehicles on a Saturday.

The members of the Oplan Red Plate Task Force will also execute affidavits as to the veracity of their report, with pictures or video clippings as the evidences.

The Ombudsman for the Visayas however, gave the assurance that the concerned government officials or employees will be given due process.

The Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas which spearheaded the organization of this Oplan Red Plate in Region 8, underscored that this is not being conducted to embarrass any one but to help inculcate the habit of using government vehicles expeditiously.

The Oplan Red Plate in Eastern Visayas was launched on May 6 and the dry run for the monitoring operations was conducted on May 9, a Saturday. The Task Force was composed of members from the Philippine National Police, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Information Agency and the Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas personnel who lead the two teams.

Related Article:  Region 8 Oplan Red Plate takes off, 85 spotted





CA confirms Remonde

Press Release
By Office of Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas
May 14, 2009

QUEZON CITY  –  The bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA), in a plenary action Wednesday, gave its consent to the appointment of Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.

Press secretary Cerge Remonde
Secretary Cerge Remonde

This leaves only four Cabinet men – Environment Secretary Jose Atienza Jr., Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, and Labor Secretary Marianito Roque – whose appointments still do not have the CA's consent, according to Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, head of the House contingent to the commission.

Besides the four Cabinet men, Gullas said 62 other executives at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of National Defense, and two constitutional offices are still pending CA confirmation.

"Our target now is for the CA committees to hopefully screen as many executives over the next two weeks. This way, those endorsed by the committees may be confirmed through plenary action two or three days before Congress adjourns sine die on June 5," Gullas said.

The appointees or nominees that still do not have the CA's consent include Civil Service Commission chairman Ricardo Saludo and Commission on Elections (Comelec) members Leonardo Leonida and Elias Yusoph.

Likewise pending confirmation are a batch of 33 diplomats led by Ambassadors Alexander Yano (to Brunei); Ma. Corazon Yap-Bahjin (to the Kingdom of Bahrain); and Alejandro Del Rosario (to Poland).

Also pending consent are 26 senior military officers led by Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, chief of the Armed Forces' Eastern Mindanao Command based in Davao City; seven majors general, including former Presidential Security Group commander Romeo Prestoza; 11 brigadiers general; two rears admiral; two commodores; and three colonels.

The Constitution vests the CA with the power to approve or discommend presidential appointments. This is part of the checks and balances established by the Constitution to ensure that all government departments function in a manner most beneficial to the public welfare.

Among those subject to CA confirmation are the heads of executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, military officers from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and the heads and members of constitutional commissions and offices.





Leyte promises bigger, more exciting Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival this June

By PMRC-Leyte
May 13, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The provincial government of Leyte promises a bigger and more exciting Pintados Kasadyaan Festival celebration this year.

This as Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla declared the province would continue to stage the yearly Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival despite earlier pronouncement by the city government that it may not permit the province-led cultural festivities to conduct street dancing along the city streets.

The governor confirms, the province through its Kasadyaan Festival committee has already sent invitation to various local government units for this year’s festival participation.

“I hope they cooperate. What am I looking for here is not about pride, not about mileage and not about whether akon ini, iya ini. It’s about the fact that this is for Leyteños and Taclobanons,” Gov. Petilla said.

He likewise said that the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is a showcase of what the Leyteños can do as artistic and innovative people not only in the culture and the arts but in other endeavors. The greatest asset a province or a country can have is its talented and productive human resource, Governor Petilla added, thus, the province would continue this yearly activity.

To recall, the conduct last year of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival led by the provincial government of Leyte and the Pintados Foundation created anew a gap between the two local governments as the city staged its own Sangyaw Festival while saying that the Tacloban City fiesta is not an affair of the province but of the city’s.

The festivals are being conducted in the month of June, the month Tacloban is celebrating its fiesta in honor of Sr. Sto. Niño.

Meanwhile, PAGCOR Vice-Chairperson for Social Fund Remedios Petilla, who also heads the Kasadyaan Festival Executive Committee, confirmed invitations have already been sent early this year – even prior to the frenzied activities of the Palarong Pambansa.

“We are expecting more participants this year. We have opened the competitions initially to Leyte municipalities just like last year,” Mrs. Petilla said.

She said this is one activity that the province would continue to hold since its champions are already making a mark in the national scene. The former lady solon was referring to Abuyog’s Buyogan Festival and Dulag’s Karatong Festivals which earned the grand champion and fifth place respectively both in the Sinulog Festival of Cebu and the Aliwan Fiesta in Manila this year.

She added the Pintados Foundation is still joining in the Kasadyaan this year but is planning to field a contingent from the city itself.

“What they are planning is to conduct a school-based Pintados and have the grand winner there compete in the Kasadyaan,” Mrs. Petilla disclosed.

Contingents from other region may gave their nod to join but most probably just as guest contingents.

Initially, the Leyte Kasadyaan organizers are setting June 28 as the date for the grand parade and competition. Last year, it was moved several times and finally settled on June 27.

Cash prize of half a million pesos is at stake for the grand winner as well as lower cash prizes for the runners-up. The top two winners of the festival would also earn the chance to represent their town and the province in other national festival competitions.

Last year’s grand champion, the Buyogan Festival would be contending for a third straight win this year and itself a candidate for the Grandslam win.



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