arriving from Manila early Tuesday morning, the President went on
board on the presidential chopper which was waiting for her at the
Catarman Airport. Before the site of engagement, the President
changed her mode of transport and went on board a shuttle bus.
She was accompanied by
Northern Samar Governor Raul A. Daza, his son Congressman Paul Daza of
the First District, Congressman Emil Ong of the Second District, DPWH
Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapuz, DOTC
Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, DENR
Secretary Angelo Reyes, GSIS General Manager and other officials of
Eastern Visayas. While in route to the area of engagement, the
President was “escorted” by the five choppers which hovered the
Northern Samar skies until the shuttle finally arrived at the site.
After the brief
inaugural rites, the President went back to the shuttle bus and
proceeded with the traditional drive through the 121.35 lineal meter
long, 7.32 meter wide bridge span along with the department
secretaries and a group of guests who accompanied her on the
presidential transport. She then alighted from the mini bus,
went down from the bridge and immediately proceeded to a beautifully
decorated gazebo or an open-type “bahay kubo” where the Regional Media
Interview (RMI) was conducted with newscaster Tito Tepace of Aksyon Radyo
Balita, Radio Station DYSM in Catarman, Northern Samar. The
gazebo was set-up near the river bank.
Vice-Governor Antonio Lucero said that the construction of the Las
Navas bridge would be of great help to the people of Las Navas and the
whole of Catubig Valley. With the bridge connecting Las Navas to
Catubig, progress in this area would be definitely be within reach,
the Vice-Governor said.
The Vice-Governor then
recalled that during his younger days, he used to take water transport
in going to Las Navas or Catubig. This kind of transport becomes
more difficult during stormy days where one has to contend not only
with the weather but the strong current of the river.
The construction of
the Las Navas bridge has now provided an alternative not only to the
commuting public but to some businessmen as well who have to transport
goods using the river bank.
The Las Navas bridge
is considered an integral part of the government’s socio-economic
development for Samar Island. It is one of the component
projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under
the umbrella of the Help for Catubig Advancement Project (HCAAP) and
funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
SOLECO bats for power rate hike to
attain efficient electric service
By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern
June 17, 2009
MAASIN CITY –
Electricity consumers in this city and the whole
Southern Leyte province are in for a bitter pill to swallow.
Southern Leyte Electric Cooperative (SOLECO) is eyeing to raise its
power rates to finance a number of capital infrastructure projects
this year at the earliest, all designed to deliver efficient
electricity, said Rosello Gerong, General Manager.
initiatives now under consideration are its normal projects consisting
of upgrading on distribution lines, transformers, electric posts and
other related materials and accessories which cost P13 Million, Gerong
said during the public consultation held Thursday at the Casa Ampil
Another set of
development thrusts, called major projects, covered
rehabilitation/revamp of distribution lines, costing P26 Million; the
rehabilitation of the mini-hydro in Saint Bernard, P20 Million; and
the upgrading of the sub-station at Saint Bernard from 5 MVA to 10 MVA,
P27 million, for a total of P73 Million.
And on top of it all,
Gerong disclosed that SOLECO has a mega project, which is the purchase
of the Transco-owned transmission line from barangay Tam-is up to its
door, at a cost of P120 Million, to be amortized in twenty years.
consultation, dubbed rules for setting the electric cooperatives’
wheeling rates (RSEC-WR), was held in coordination with the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC), with ERC Commissioner Jose Reyes
Reyes explained that
the suggested rates as presented at length by two personnel of the ERC
was meant to make life easier for the 119 cooperatives all over the
county as their benchmark in the process of asking rate increase in
the distribution, supply, and metering (DSM) component of the power
With SOLECO classified
as belonging to the “B” class of the country’s electric cooperatives,
Reyes said the increase for this group as to their DSM was .4004 to be
implemented in staggered basis for three years starting September this
When it was SOLECO’s
turn to present its desired rate, Gerong said the ERC-suggested hike
was way too low compared with its actual need for capital expenditure
funding as outlined earlier.
Gerong stressed that
SOLECO has been paying P2.9 million per month to Transco on
transmission charges, also known as monthly rental, for the power
delivered in its KV line, or P34.8 million per annum.
If the KV line can be
bought for an amortization of P6 million a year for twenty years, with
additional maintenance cost of P5 million per year, the cost of
maintaining the KV line once SOLECO would own it would only be P11
million per year, Gerong added.
Two City Councilors
present during the hearing had other views. Councilor Nestor Sy
suggested that SOLECO approach local government units for help in
defraying the monthly cost of paying the transmission charges, adding
that there’s no guarantee of better, investor-friendly service even if
the power utility purchases the KV line.
City Councilor Rene
Hatayna, for his part, also opposed having any increase for now,
saying the people have been hit hard and reeling from the global and
local financial crisis.
countered that efficient power service does not necessarily mean cheap
rates, saying that for Southern Leyte province and the city the trend
has been in the services industry sector and eco-tourism, areas that
require stable electricity and efficient service.
The rest of the
audience, composed mostly of barangay officials and representatives of
offices and the private sector, raised their hands to agree with
SOLECO’s impending rate increase.
In a brief talk with
PIA after the public consultation/hearing, Gerong said the current
basic rate is P7.55 per kilowatt hour (KWH), and with the improvements
proposed, the rate would be in the territory of around P 9.00 per kwh.
9,666 unregistered children in region
8, says Plan
By JONNIE H. BUENAVENTURA (PIA 8)
June 17, 2009
– The right to name and nationality are among the basic human rights
a person should have in order to determine his existence.
Statistics Office (NSO) thru its Regional Director Raul F. Dones is
targeting a 100% registration in region 8 with the help of other
national agencies, media, church, academe and local government units
to a full blown awareness campaign that will lead to the increased
participation rate of all parents who give birth to register their
child after delivery or within 30 calendar days.
Director Dones is
optimistic that the re-activation of the Regional Council on Civil
Registration (RCCR) will help achieve the “Target Zero Program
Rehistro” which their office launched in 2006 to complement a 100%
registration for the period 2005-2010 in accordance with the National
Plan of Action for Children and Child 21.
In 2008, a survey was
conducted by Plan
in covered Plan areas in region 8 and found out that 9,666 children,
ages 0-5 years old are unregistered.
According to Rodel
Bontuyan, Plan Philippines Area Manager-Eastern Visayas, the
unregistered children, which was figured out was just within the Plan
areas covered under their support program.
He said that in region
8 there are 143 municipalities and they surveyed only 19
municipalities where they got their sample and population.
The 9,666 unregistered
figures, which was gathered, represents only to children 0-5 years
old, how much more for those children or persons above the age bracket
who were not registered, he said.
The Area Manager of
Plan Philippines in Eastern Visayas challenged the newly re-activated
RCCR to look into the matter on how to address the increasing number
of unregistered children and ask the NSO to extend assistance by
entering into the roster of registered children in the NSO database to
give them the right to a name and enjoy the benefits accorded to
While it is true that
Security Paper (SecPa) coming from
NSO is a duly recognized document governing government and
commercial transactions, the
NSO had informed that Security Documents (SecDoc) issued
by the civil registrar is also acceptable, however it needs to be
authenticated by the
NSO for conformity
with the data provided in the security paper.
The PhilHealth had
assured that they will accept those claimants of insurance who have
security documents provided it is authenticated by the
Two North Samar towns await first RP
president’s visit to their area
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 15, 2009
Samar – The people of the hinterland towns of Catubig and Las
Navas both in Northern Samar province, are already excited to
welcome President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo into their midst.
and when her visit to Northern Samar on Tuesday, June 16, pushes
through, President Gloria will become the first President to visit
Catubig and Las Navas, Las Navas Mayor Arlito Tan said.
The people of Las
Navas have many things to thank the President for. The Catubig-Las
Navas Bridge which the President will inaugurate on Tuesday links the
of Las Navas to Catubig town by land transport.
Ever since, the
municipality of Las Navas has only been accessible through navigation
along the Catubig river with the use of pump boats and bancas. The
pump boats ply from Las Navas to Catubig daily at P40 per person.
These small boats dock at small docking facilities called "Look" in
both Catubig and Las Navas. It only takes 30 minutes to get to Las
Navas from Catubig, and boats traverse the river daily, leaving Las
Navas at 5:00 AM and arrives at around 5:30 AM in Catubig and vice
The municipality of
Las Navas is located at the heart of the island of Samar. It is
bounded on the north by Catubig, Northern Samar, on the east by
Jipapad, Eastern Samar, on the west by Silvino Lubos, Northern Samar
and on the south by the municipality of San Jose de Buan, Western
Motorboats and bancas
are also used in going to the different barangays, although hiking is
still practiced by many barangay folks in going to and from the
“Now that there is
land transport because of the bridge, it will no longer be too
difficult to reach my school at the Las Navas Agri-Industrial School,”
Ms. Viviene who is six months pregnant, said referring to the school
just below the bridge.
Although there is a
complete elementary school district offering all level, the other 39
barangay primary schools offer limited levels. It has a complete
secondary school which offers Agro-Industrial Technology and basic
People in the area get
tertiary courses from an affiliate of the University of Eastern
Philippines (UEP) located in the town of
although well-off families prefer to send their children to various
colleges and universities in Metro Manila, the country's capital.
There is a good reason
to the great excitement and expectation of the people of the two
towns. The HCAAP project when fully completed, will impact a great
change in the economic situation of the people in the area.
Farmers could now
bring their products more easily to Catarman and will also insure that
fresh farm produce from these areas are able to enter the market
without being spoiled and with lesser danger of accidents which the
perils of sea transport brings.
On the other hand,
Catubig, also an inland town, lies on the banks of the Catubig River,
a waterway that empties near Rauis and the traditional passage to the
town. Also called Cagninipa after an aquatic palm, it is located south
The Catubig Valley,
known as the rice-producing valley in Northern Samar, is where one can
find the municipality
of Catubig, identified as the potential site for developing an
intensive rice producing area in Northern Samar.
Said undertaking is
known as the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP),
a priority water sector (irrigation) project which is part of
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Medium Term Development and
Investment Plan under the Super Region scheme.
The project aims to
alleviate poverty by raising income level of farmers, generate
employment opportunities and improve the social infrastructure and
services of the target areas in Catubig and Las Navas, Northern Samar.
The project components are civil works, schistosomiasis control,
agricultural support services, institutional development and
procurement of equipment.
agencies are the National Irrigation Administration as lead agency,
the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Health,
Department of Agriculture, the Province of Northern Samar and the
municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas.
The bridge which the
President will inaugurate is a part of the HCAAP implemented by the
Department of Public Works and Highways.
PGMA distributes scholarship vouchers
to 100 young people of Las Navas
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 15, 2009
Samar – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will distribute
Pangulong Gloria Scholarship vouchers to 100 young people of Las Navas,
during her visit on June 16, TESDA Regional Director Juan Sabulao
Director Sabulao said
that the students will be enrolled at the Las Navas Agro-Industrial
School which is under the management and supervision of TESDA.
As of May 2009, Region
VIII has a total of 8,408 Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Beneficiaries
who are enrolled in different Tech-Voc Schools in the region, Director
For the Province of
Northern Samar, there are 2,012 scholarship beneficiaries so far,
Director Sabulao informed.
In line with the
Economic Resiliency Program of Her Excellency President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, the Pangulong Gloria Scholarships provide free
training, training support fund and free competency assessment to
support job creation and job preservation.
program hopes to produce a pool of qualified and globally competent
workers who are Job Ready.
The program also aims
to develop skills and competencies of the unemployed and underemployed
through training programs for pre-employment, skills upgrading and
Program of President Arroyo also hopes to empower public and private
TEK BOK Providers in expanding their absorptive capacities to enable
them to offer programs for various qualifications, including higher
levels of technology where jobs are available in the labor market.
Aside from the
Pangulong Gloria Scholarship vouchers, President Arroyo will also
award assistance to beneficiaries of the CLEEP which are being
implemented by the various government agencies.
Leyte Gov part of 111th Independence
Day “Rigodon de Honor” at the Palace
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 14, 2009
– Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla was part of the 111th
Independence Day “Rigodon de Honor” rites at the Ceremonial Hall of
the Malacanang Palace.
Governor Icot as he is
fondly called by his constituents was dashing in his barong tagalong.
His partner is the beautiful Congresswoman Nikki Prieto-Teodoro, the
wife of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.
Now it could be told
that Governor Petilla is not only an excellent singer, he could also
dance well without being nervous in the presence of the political and
economic elite of the country.
It was said that
Governor Petilla was so surprised when he was called about his being
part of the Rigodon de Honor at Malacanang. He tried to beg off
suggesting if it was okay that he sang instead of dancing.
The answer was, “You
dance first, before you sing.” Indeed, he did dance and well at that.
The rest is history.
President Arroyo led
twenty pairs in this year’s “Rigodon de Honor” to cap the country’s
celebration of the 111th Independence Day.
hosted the traditional Independence Day reception with a dance and
cocktails for members of her Cabinet and Congress, the diplomatic
corps, the top brass of the police and military, prominent business
leaders, former beauty queens, and other noted personalities in
The social gathering
began 6 o’clock in the evening at the Palace Ceremonial Hall on the
second floor of the presidential residence.
The ladies wore
Filipiniana terno while the men wore barong Tagalog. They were paired
according to their height.
The Rigodon dancers
included one of the President’s daughters-in-law, Ma. Victoria “Kakai”
Arroyo, wife of Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Arroyo.
Another participant is
Dina Arroyo-Tantoco, daughter of presidential brother-in-law Negros
Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo and wife of one of the scions of
the Rustan’s chain of department stores.
Bonoan-David was also in the Rigodon. Other female participants of the
Rigodon include the President’s personal stylist Joanne Andrade-Zapanta;
former beauty queens Miriam Quiambao and Precious Lara Quigaman;
Sunshine Cruz-Montano, wife of actor Cezar Montano; Lizzie Zobel de
Ayala, wife of industrialist Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala; and
Vivienne Tan, daughter of taipan Lucio Tan.
Also among the female
participants were Julie Defensor, wife of Philippine National Railways
chief Michael Defensor; Belinda Adora; Dinagat Gov. Jade
Ecleo-Villaroman; Mimi Aquino; dancing instructor Becky Garcia; Anette
Gozon-Abrogar, socialite-entrepreneur Frannie Jacinto; Carol Quimson,
Chiqui Roa-Puno; and Liana Romulo, daughter of former Foreign Affairs
Secretary Roberto Romulo.
Heading the list of
male participants were ambassadors Luis Arias of Spain and Roderick
Smith of Australia; retired Armed Forces chiefs of staff, Genarals
Narciso Abaya and Alexander Yano who is now Philippine ambassador to
Brunei Darussalam; special envoy on renewable energy Vicente Perez;
Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.; Economic Planning Secretary Ralph
Recto; Presidential adviser on political affairs Gabriel Claudio;
Congressmen Dong Gonzalez, Roman Romulo, and Anton Lagdameo; Governors
Dax Cua (Quirino Province), and Michael Keon (Ilocos Norte).
The rest are Kenneth
Yang, son of Philippine McDonald’s franchise owner George Yang; Ali
Atienza, son of Environment Secretary Lito Atienza; Buddy Cunanan;
Atom Henares; Raul Manzano, and STAR columnist Babe Romualdez.
The Rigodon was
choreographed by and painstakingly rehearsed under the direction of
Pia Dala, Bujing Danao and Renato Delgado.
APAC needs 820 call
By JONNIE H. BUENAVENTURA (PIA 8)
June 12, 2009
– The APAC Customer Services is planning to conduct its jobs
fair this coming month of June in two different locations to fill-up
the lacking sets and to met the demands of their customers.
According to Ma.
Soledad Uy, Human Resource-Recruitment Assistant of the APAC customer
service that they will conduct a jobs fair on June 12-14 upon
invitation of Director Desiderio Belas of the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI) at the Tacloban Convention Center to coincide with the
111th Philippine Independence Day Celebration where overseas and local
employment opportunities are available including government agencies
under Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) to
help ease the burden due to financial slowdown that hit across the
Ms. Uy said that prior
to the invitation, they had already scheduled a jobs fair on June
19-20 at Baybay, Leyte Function Hall to spread their massive
recruitment strategy and to get a well qualified call center agents to
man the type of services they employed.
The series of jobs
fair we are conducting is to generate 120 call center agents for the
month of July and to hire 600 additional call canter agents for the
month of November to filled-up the required setting capacity of there
office, she said.
Ms. Uy said that the
present setting capacity of the
APAC office located at
Leyte Academic Center,
Palo, Leyte is 1,000, but our present roster of employees is 243.
Our office is in dire
need of additional manpower to complement the growing demands of our
customers, she said.
The APAC Customer
Service Inc. main headquarters is located in
with operations located throughout the
and the Philippines.
Ms. Uy further
informed that outsourcers offer a multitude of benefits to their
client base, including eliminating capital expenses, flexibility,
access to qualified labor, reduced costs, advanced management
techniques, and the opportunity to gain access to state of the art
technology without massive financial outlays.
Ms. Uy is urging all
persons to take this opportunity to be part of
APAC which only means that you too can become an expert and
in joining us to help serve our clients' customers better.
APAC is the fourth
largest domestic provider of outbound and inbound customer
relationship management services that offers the programs in either
customer care or customer acquisition serving prominent industries
such as communications, financial services, insurance, healthcare,
logistics, and travel and hospitality.
Job applicant’s is
advised to bring with them all necessary documents in order to
appraised if they possess all the qualifications.
Ms. Uy said that it
is not necessary that an applicant is a degree holder but of course it
is a plus factor but in order to please the APAC Human Resource
expert, he must be a fluent in oral and written communication and
possess a technical know-how to perform basic computer operations.
Chiz to do a Lee Kuan Yew in fight vs.
By Office of Sen. Chiz Escudero
June 11, 2009
PASAY CITY –
Opposition Sen. Chiz Escudero on Wednesday said, like Singapore’s Lee
Kuan Yew, he will have no qualms sending top officials to jail and
eliminate government discretion in fighting corruption.
(Lee) recruited the best and the brightest and gave them the salaries
they deserved. When he caught them stealing, he put them in jail,” the
39-year old lawmaker told a forum of business leaders in Cebu City
organized by the Cebu Business Club and the Makati Business Club.
Lee, who founded and
built Singapore into what it is today, led the city-state for 35 years
as prime minister. He was known for his no-nonsense campaign against
Escudero, who has
consistently ranked high in recent surveys, also said he would
eliminate discretion especially in law-enforcement and
revenue-generating agencies as part of the campaign against
According to World
Bank, half of every peso that can be collected by the Bureau of
Internal Revenue is lost to corruption. The Department of Finance
estimates that 240 billion is lost to corruption annually.
The UN Development
Program, on the other hand, estimates that $1.8 billion a year, or
about 13 percent of the government's annual budget, is lost to
Under the Arroyo
administration, the Philippines’ ranking in Transparency
International’s Corruption Perception Index has spiraled downward. In
2004, it was 102. In 2005, it was 117. In 2006, we were 121st. In
2007, we were ranked 131st. In 2008, we were down to 141st. The
listing runs from the cleanest down to the most corrupt.
Escudero has filed a
bill to require public officials and employees to submit a written
permission or waiver in favor of the Ombudsman to look into all
deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions.
He has also called on
officials to voluntarily disclose their SALs (Statement of Assets and
Asked to enumerate
three things how he would like to be remembered, Escudero said: One,
as one who did not steal a single centavo. Two, one who made education
as the government’s top priority, and three, as the public official
who built the most roads.