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“Rescued” child soldier: Army’s fabricated story

Eastern Samar holds Bikathon against global warming

The mud-dening of Sitio Sto Niño, Catbalogan

PGMA inaugurates P143 M Las Navas bridge in Northern Samar

Army rescue child NPA courier in Samar

8th ID army chief condemns ruthless acts of NPAs in North Samar

PIA 8 director tutors Army info officers on news writing

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



CBCP elects Archbishop of Palo as vice president

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 14, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  His Excellency, Archbishop of Palo Jose S. Palma has been elected as the vice president of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

This was learned by the Philippine Information Agency from a report dated July 11, at the CBCP website.

Palo archbishop Jose Palma
Archbishop Jose Palma

The 59 year old prelate who is known in Region 8 to be a very “humane”, “compassionate” and charismatic pastor of the Church who tackles issues so well in such a subtle way that goes directly to the heart but at the same time “saves the dignity of the one concerned.”

Archbishop Palma is a native of Dingle, Iloilo. He was ordained a priest on August 21, 1976 and has his Episcopal ordination on January 13, 1998. It was at the Diocese of Calbayog that Archbishop Palma served as its spiritual leader from 1999 until his installation as the Archbishop of Palo on May 2, 2006.

Before his installation as the new Archbishop of Palo, Archbishop Palma, in a phone patch interview with PIA said he will always strive to emphasize God’s love for the people which will redound to true peace and solidarity among the people of the Region and of the country and the whole world.

He intimated that he accepted the appointment humbly although he revealed that he is most surprised about the appointment as there are bishops who are "more experienced and more charismatic."

He said that he is sure that God has a message here especially because the Holy Father has just written an encyclical about love, the Church Compendium of Social Doctrines.

When PIA sent him a text message to congratulate him on his election, the Archbishop’s answer was a simple and humble TY (thank you).

Taking a cue from the answer, PIA has been reassured that his message remains the same – to make the people feel God’s love and that he humbly accepts his election because he is sure God is giving him a message and that he will say yes to that mission.

Just as he requested PIA before his installation as Archbishop of Palo, PIA is once again calling on all the faithful, the people to pray for him so that he will be able to become a good pastor to his flock, ever discerning the needs of the clergy and the people in the Archdiocese, ever mindful of his new task as vice president of the CBCP.

Earlier reports about the CBCP election mentioned the name of the Archbishop of Palo as one of those being groomed to become president. However, the same report noted that the current Vice President is always elected as the next President.

The new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar who will succeed outgoing CBCP chief Archbishop Angel Lagdameo.

Bishop Odchimar, a canon lawyer, is currently serving his first term as vice president of the bishops’ collegial body. Bishop Odchimar was elected during the 99th Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila on July 11.

As president of the CBCP, the 68-year-old prelate will also chair the organization’s Permanent Council.

Other members of the Permanent Council elected Saturday were Msgr. Juanito Figura as secretary general and Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco as treasurer.

From Luzon, the elected regional representatives were Infanta, Quezon Bishop Rolando Tirona; Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya Bishop Ramon Villena; San Fernando, Pampanga Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David, Taytay Bishop Edgardo Juanich; and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes.

Elected regional representatives for the Visayas were Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso and Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza.

Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo Valles and Pagadian Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar were elected for Mindanao.

Bishop Odchimar, Archbishop Palma and other members of the permanent council will start serving their terms in December 2009.

The president and the vice-president are elected for a two-year term and can serve for a minimum of two terms.





Military adds 2 more to long list of NPA surrenderees in Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 13, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Two more names have been added to the long list of NPA members who have returned to the mainstream of society by surrendering to the 19th Infantry Brigade of the 8th ID based at Kananga, Leyte.

The intensified conduct of information and dissemination drive being conducted by the 19th IB with the strong support of the local government units and with the participation of the various government agencies, moved two NPA fighters to seek out the military and surrender themselves.

The military identified the two surrenderees to be members of the South Leyte Front of Evelyn Dublin Command which was downgraded into Section Committee operating mostly in the areas of South Leyte and part of the 5th District of Leyte.

The first surrenderee is former team leader Melvin Agudo y Sescon alias Eper, Yads or Pusoy, 31 years old, a native of Barangay Lum-an, Sogod, Southern Leyte.

The other surrenderee is Gevelyn Alova y Gasatin alias Abeth, Alice or Arian, now 29 years of age from Sitio Bunuti, Barangay Rizal, Kananga, Leyte, who was only 16 years old when recruited by the NPA.

The two surrenderees sought refuge at the military camp wishing to live a normal life in the community.

The surrender was arranged in coordination with the LGU of Sogod, Southern Leyte headed by Municipal Mayor Honorable Shefferd L Tan and through the municipal Police Station headed by Police Chief Inspector Feliciano Romero, who contacted Lt. Colonel Roberto S. Capulong, the commanding officer of the 19th IB.

The two surrenderees revealed the difficulties they have experienced in sustaining the recovery effort of the movement.

Agudo who spent seven (7) years in the underground movement, expressed his gratitude towards the government for giving him the chance to live a normal life.

He confessed that he was recruited on May 5, 2001 and used by the revolutionary movement with the promise to uplift his status of living but nothing happened. Instead, his life worsened and had no direction.

Like Agudo, Alova also entered the movement at a younger age of 16 with the hope of helping her family but no help came from the revolutionary movement as promised.

The two bared that they are the remaining personalities composing a team with seven members headed by a certain aka Louie, tasked to conduct recruitment activities in the municipalities of Southern Leyte.

However, due to lack of logistical and financial support, in June 2007, the team gradually diminished until only three members were left which forced them to disintegrate and to go on lie-low status.

Agudo and Alova are now at the headquarters of the 19th IB for proper documentation. This is in preparation for their inclusion in all government programs that will enable them to receive incentives and benefits as experienced by the earlier surrenderees.

Lt. Colonel Roberto S. Capulong, commanding officer of the 19th IB, said that the military will continue to strengthen its ties with the different peace advocates in order to sustain the gains in the fight against insurgency.

“We must continue to open our arms to help the remaining NPAs who want to return to the fold of the law and to live peaceful and normal life. Let us help them make a good start by endorsing them to the concerned agencies until they receive financial and livelihood assistance,” Lt. Colonel Capulong said.

The good commanding officers added that the military will not waver in its intensified effort to totally crash out the remnants of NPAs in Leyte.

“We are determined to remain focused in our goals and open to those who will submit themselves to the folds of the law,” he added.





Bangko Sentral conducts seminar on anti-money laundering, pawnshop rules

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 13, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is scheduled to conduct a Briefing on the Revised Pawnshop Rules and Regulations as well as the Seminar on Anti-Money Laundering Rules and Regulations on July 23- 24, 2009 at the LNU House in Tacloban City.

Invited to participate are existing pawnshop operators, foreign exchange dealers or money changers, remittance agents and all those who are interested or are planning to establish these kinds of business, Atty. Leonides B. Sumbi, acting deputy director, informed.

The briefing will start at 8:30 in the morning, up to 4:30 in the afternoon. Among the topics for the Briefing on Pawnshop Rules and Regulations are the Organization, Management and Administration by Mr. Antonio Torres.

Mr. Joseph Joanino will discuss the topics Scope of Authority; Capitalization; and Proprietor, Partners, Directors, Officers. He will also discuss other topics like branch offices, business days and hours, and records and reports.

In the afternoon, Atty. Lemuel G. Palac will talk on borrowing operations; pawnshop loans; loans; loan collaterals and security and visitorial power of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

On the second day, the overview of Anti Money Laundering Act of 2002 will be presented by Emmet Rodion O. Manantan, Bank Attorney II, Legal Evaluation Group.

The reporting procedures will discussed by Mr. Christopher P. de Castro, Assistant Manager of IMAG and Mr. Joey Janolo, Data Encoder of IMAG.

Interested parties may contact Ms. Tess Labrador at (053) 325-9121 or 321-6743. They could also reach her through e-mail address





Court stops Samar province bidding worth P103.8 M with TRO

Leyte Samar Daily Express
July 12, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  A regional trial court judge in Samar province issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the planned bidding in various supplies worth P103.8 million by the provincial government.

temporary restraining orderRegional Trial Court 8 in Calbayog City Executive Judge Reynaldo Clemens issued his order on July 7, in the scheduled July 8 supposed bidding of drugs, medical supplies, construction materials and supplies which have a combined amount of P103.8 million.

The order was based on the petition filed thru their counsel on July 6, 2009 by Samar Vice-Governor Jesus Redaja together with seven board members Rosenaida Rosales, Pamela Fortaleza, Charito Conejos, Renato Uy, Rogelio Casurao, Criselda Lim and Eunice Babalcon suing in their official capacity and as ordinary taxpayers.

According to the petitioners, the bidding of these materials and supplies, if allowed, would be illegal considering that the provincial government of Samar is operating under a re-enacted budget of 2008.

The TRO issued by the court lapses in 72 hours after its issuance. However, the petitioners also filed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.

Named respondents were Governor Milagrosa Tan; provincial treasurer Bienvenido Sabenicio; accountant Francisco Detosil; and budget officer Maximo Sison, Prudencio Quimbo, Rolando Montejo and Ariel Yboa, all members of the provincial Bid and Awards Committee.

All were prohibited by the court from “proceeding with the bidding, awarding, entering into contracts, implementation of any project there under and effecting any form of payment in favor of any party in connection with the public bidding.”

Last year, Governor Tan was slapped by the Sandiganbayan of a 90-day suspension order for procurement of “emergency supplies” worth P16.1 million. The suspension was served to her on November 11, 2008 by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Based on the court records, Tan authorized for the conduct of a public bidding on July 8 for the procurement of office, medical and construction materials worth P103.8 million.

However, the petitioners claimed that since the provincial government is operating under the 2008 budget (re-enacted budget) for the current year, any disbursements of funds for this purpose would be illegal and is prohibited under the 1991 Local Government Code.

For some reasons, the proposed 2009 provincial budget of P822.709 million has yet to be approved by the provincial board.

Several calls to Tan, through her staff, and Redaja, for some clarifications on this matter were not answered.

But in a brief telephone interview, Board Member Casurao, one of the petitioners, stressed that the petition for the issuance of the TRO has no political bearing, describing their move as a “class suit.”

Last year, Gov. Tan was slapped with a 90-day suspension order by Secretary Ronaldo Puno of the Department of Interior and Local Government on the directive of the Sandiganbayan.

The suspension of Tan, who is serving out her last term, stemmed from procurement of “emergency funds” worth P16.1 million without conducting any public bidding in 2001.

Tan recently made known her intention to run for Congress representing Samar’s second congressional district.

Download: Samar July 8 bidding TRO (in PDF format)





Military in Region 8 continuous to win fight vs. insurgency

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 12, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The military in Region 8 under the command of Major General Arthur Tabaquero continues in its unwavering resolve to eradicate insurgency in the Region as envisioned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

At about 9:45 in the morning of July 10, at least one communist terrorist was killed in about 10 minutes firefight between the troopers of the 63rd Infantry Battalion and more or less nine suspected members of the New People’s Army.

Report coming from the 8th Infantry Division’s spokesman Lt. Colonel Armand Rico stated that the encounter took place in Las Navas town of Northern Samar.

The military troop led by First Lieutenant Noriel T. Tabayan, was conducting security operations at the vicinity of Barangay San Francisco in Las Navas when it encountered the group of nine NPA members.

Earlier, the military troop received reports from civilians, of the presence of nine members of the NPA who were collecting foodstuff and conducting extortion activities like forcing the people to shell out money, in the area.

After the brief encounter which caused the NPA terrorists to withdraw in different directions, the military reported the death of one suspected NPA.

Recovered at the encounter site were one caliber .45 Pistol SN7955 Colt, one sack assorted personal belongings and subversive documents of high intelligence value.

No casualty was reported on the side of the military, LtCol. Rico said. The military troopers are now on continuous clearing operations in the area.

Lt. Colonel Rico said that the civilians should continue to report the presence of the members of NPA in their respective areas in order to end once and for all, their terroristic and extortion activities.





DTI Samar awards outstanding SMEs, Best OTOP implementer

July 11, 2009

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-Samar) in celebration of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development (SMED) Week awarded three outstanding entities for their distinguished participation in pushing for SMEs and one town one product (OTOP) program.

SMED advocacy seminar in CatbaloganOn Thursday, at the Flaming Hat Restaurant, Catbalogan, Danilo Gabin owner of Super JJED (mussel crackers) of Jiabong, Samar received his Outstanding OTOP/SME award.

Calbiga LGU (whose LCE is Mayor Melchor Nacario) was adjudged Best OTOP Implementer.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) whose officer in charge is Engr. Rosella Gopo was named Most Supportive Partner Organization.

Gabin said he has been producing mussel crackers since 2003 and that he has grown with DTI’s guidance and support.

He said his award will inspire him to sustain the quality of his products and find other means to diversify to give his neighbors some sort of livelihood.

Calbiga boosts of sweet pastries, including binagol, moron, sesame candies, pili based pastries and other ‘fiesta’ favourites which consumers call Samar’s delicacies.

Ms. Meilo Macabare, DTI’s Officer in Charge said the awards given annually is an inspiration to the SME and OTOP advocates to excel and be recognized.

Meanwhile, Pres Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also conferred on Thursday the first-ever Presidential Awards for Outstanding Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to nine successful enterprises for their contribution as engines of economic growth.

Named outstanding enterprises from Luzon were the Roger and Beth Pilinut Candy (micro), J. Emmanuel Pastries (small), and the Lighthouse Cooperative (medium).

In the Visayas, the recipients were the Doods Enterprises (micro), Filbake Food Corporation (small), and the Vicmik Enterprises (medium).

Conferred for Mindanao were the Lao Integrated Farm (micro), Manolette Bakeshop (small), and the AMS Employees Fresh Fruits Producer Cooperative (medium).

The awarding took place at the Megatrade Hall 3 of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

In support of the President’s program for MSMEs, Globe Telecommunications provided P30,000 cash and cellphone kits for each of the winners.

The President also awarded 26 Presidential Citations for best practices in MSME promotion and development to various best practices nationwide, majority of them local government units (LGUs) which have streamlined their respective business licensing units.

The awarding is part of the week-long activities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Week celebrated every second week of July in pursuance of Republic Act No. 9501, the Magna Carta for MSMEs which the President signed in May last year.

The President also struck a gong signalling the launching of the 4th One Town, One Product (OTOP) Luzon Island Fair.

She then toured the exhibits of various products from the different regions of Luzon, including the booths of partner government agencies and other institutions providing assistance to MSMEs.

As MSMEs comprise 99.6 percent of all registered firms in the country, the President said focusing on their development is a major part of her overall national development plan.





Pia on GMA 'secret' meeting with pharma execs: “Are Philippine laws now subject to negotiation?”

By Office of Sen. Pia Cayetano
July 11, 2009

PASAY CITY  –  “Is the enforcement of Philippine laws now subject to bargaining and negotiations with the powers-that-be?”

This was the question raised by Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she expressed concern over reports that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had struck a deal with big pharmaceutical companies in exchange for putting off the signing of an executive order that would set the maximum retail prices (MRP) of 22 essential drugs in accordance with the Cheaper Medicines Law (Republic Act 9502).

“It is Malacanang’s legal and moral duty to reveal to the people the details of that reported meeting between President Arroyo and executives of big pharmaceutical companies. What exactly was given up in exchange for holding off her signing of the executive order?” she asked.

Cayetano, a principal co-author of RA 9502 with Sen. Manuel Roxas II, stressed that on their own, President Arroyo, Trade Secretary Peter Favila and Health Secretary Francisco Duque have no delegated authority to alter or revise what Congress had set forth in the cheaper medicines law.

“The provision on the setting up of the MRP is mandated under the law. The MRP on essential drugs should be set in black and white to ensure strict compliance and to protect the interest of ordinary Filipinos whose very lives depend on the shelf price of these essential drugs. There’s nothing in the law that allows the Executive to suspend its enforcement in exchange for drug companies’ commitment for ‘voluntary compliance.’”

Cayetano also questioned the conflict of interest of Roberto Romulo, the Palace official who reportedly brokered the meeting last Wednesday. Romulo is presidential adviser on international competitiveness while also sitting as executive director of the International Board of Advisers and chairman of the Zuellig Family Foundation.

“Mr. Romulo insists we will send the wrong signal to the international business community once the EO is signed by the President. But on the contrary, by not signing the EO, we will actually send the wrong message to foreign investors that in the Philippines, our laws may be enforced selectively depending on who your connections are in Malacanang.”

“May we remind Mr. Romulo and Mrs. Arroyo that it’s the foreign investors and businessmen who rate the Philippines as one of the most corrupt in the region, precisely because of the perception that we can’t enforce our laws and instead use it for blackmail and corrupt practices.”

“Mrs. Arroyo is gravely mistaken in assuming that the enforcement of laws passed by Congress and signed by her are all subject to negotiation. It’s time the government shows that our law may be harsh, but it’s the law that applies to all. I wonder if the foreign investors that Mr. Romulo refers to have governments that can be talked into negotiating whether the law should be enforced or not.”





OPLAN Kandado stirs business community in Samar

July 9, 2009

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The recent program of the government re OPLAN KANDADO has created a stir in the business community in Samar especially in Samar’s capital town.

Oplan KandadoThis was disclosed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue District Officer (RDO) 87 Mr. Eduardo Gayas in a phone interview with PIA on Wednesday.

He said that despite the financial crisis, after the temporary closure of Vida Mart, more businesses have declared improved sales and thus pay more taxes.

The revenue officer said that Vida Mart, a store in downtown Catbalogan, has been closed by virtue of violation as regards payment of taxes.

Shoppers then in May wondered why their favorite shopping center was closed. They were enlightened with a poster pasted on its entry and exit points, OPLAN KANDADO.

The sampling of Vida Mart, said Gayas has resulted to an improved collection in businesses. Presently though, Vida Mart is back in business as it started settling a partial payment of P2M for its P11M tax due to the office.

Meanwhile, Gayas narrated that with him at the helm of RDO since 2004, tax collection has improved from P178 M when he first came to P324 M in 2008.

He has also effected, he said more efficient employees in BIR which spelled a better collection rate.

Gayas cleared though that it is not BIR that caused the closure of Plaza Thrift, another grocery store that closed suddenly like Vida Mart. However, he said that the store has been under surveillance due to undeclared gross sales. At one point, he said that BIR confiscated its cash register because it was not licensed.

The BIR officer stressed that tax evasion, includes non-issuance of receipts and accountants who help firms submit bogus accounts. He also added that paying taxes is a civic duty, and that each one should have the responsibility of paying our taxes and making sure that others, particularly businesses (issuance of receipts), do too.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said that taxes lost, is estimated at P92 B for VAT and P109 B for individual income tax (according to PIDS study by Rosario Maonasan). This, said Gayas, is also a kind of corruption as the business establishment is trying to shortchange the government.

Only, it is not necessarily spelled out like that, but if you compute, that you only pay some amount when the government should get more from a business you rake profits for – that is a form of corruption, said BIR.

As the chief has requested transfer, he appeals to the business sector in Catbalogan and other towns in Samar to declare correct gross sales and to the BIR RDO 87, to maintain the efficient tax collection if not surpass the records he set  then.

PIA learned that Gayas will be trading places with Rolando Espina, RDO of Borongan.





Presentation of 20 rebel returnees highlights Grand Pulong Pulong in Leyte

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA Samar)
July 9, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Twenty former rebels who voluntarily surrendered themselves to the 19th Infantry Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, were presented on July 4, 2009 at Barangay Mahagnao, Burauen, Leyte.

First Lieutenant Noli D. Lago, Public Information Officer, informed that the presentation of the rebel returnees was the highlight of the Grand Pulong Pulong which was organized by the 19th Infantry Battalion under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Roberto S. Capulong and the local government of Burauen, Leyte headed by Mayor Fe S. Renomeron.

The successful Grand Pulong Pulong also featured the mass oathtaking of Bantay Bayan, Women, Youth, Habal-Habal drivers and the newly surrendered communist terrorists and a mass base supporters of Barangay Cagbana, Burauen, Leyte.

The 20 rebel returnees were given foodstuff by the local government unit of Burauen, Leyte.

Mayor Renomeron reminded her constituents and challenged the rebel returnees to be true to their fight against the rebels and to once and for all turn their back from insurgency. “What services and good things the NPA has given you which the Philippine Government didn’t,” the lady mayor asked the former rebels.

One former NPA supporter revealed that he and his companions are already fed up with the hardships and difficulties brought to themselves and to their livelihood, by the NPAs. He said he is most specially fed up with the NPA’s sowing of fear in the barangays.

Lt. Colonel Roberto S. Capulong told the people that the Philippine Army is the real army and so the people and the former rebels should not hesitate to ask for help. He said that the cooperation of the community is very important in attaining the government’s goal of making Leyte insurgency-free.

Said activity is a partnership among the 19th IB, Province of Leyte and Local Government Unit of Burauen to help the local populace feel their importance in the attainment of genuine peace and order and towards development.





GSIS officials dialogue with member-agencies in Region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 9, 2009

TACLOBAN CITY  –  A dialogue for the GSIS member agencies have been scheduled to be held on July 10, 2009 at the DPWH Convention Hall, Regional Manager Vilma Fuentes-Mooney informed.

Manager Mooney said that the Dialogue which is scheduled at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon will be attended by some GSIS officials from the GSIS Central Office.

“This will be a good opportunity to share with the heads of regional government offices, the System’s objectives for the reforms it has and still implementing,” Manager Mooney said.

As member-agencies, the regional heads have the right to know the historical events that happened during the shift to the new computerized environment which is called an open system.

The GSIS officers will also take advantage of the dialogue to inform the member-agencies of its short and long-term objectives and plans for the GSIS.

Manager Mooney called on the heads of the various government agencies to attend the said dialogue so that they will get first hand knowledge and information about the status of GSIS with regards to the current and future programs.

The GSIS is mandated to provide and administer the following social security benefits for all employees of the Philippine government: compulsory life insurance, optional life insurance, retirement benefits, disability benefits for work-related contingencies and death benefits. It was created by Commonwealth Act No. 186 that was passed on November 14, 1936.

In addition, the GSIS is entrusted with the administration of the General Insurance Fund by virtue of R.A. 656 of the Property Insurance Law. It provides insurance coverage to assets and properties that have government insurable interests.

The GSIS covers all government workers irrespective of their employment status, except members of the Judiciary and Constitutional Commissions who are covered by separated retirement laws; contractual employees who have no employee-employer relationship with their agencies and uniformed members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, including the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The principal benefit package of the GSIS consists of compulsory and optional life insurance, retirement, separation and employee's compensation benefits.

Active GSIS members are entitled to the following loan privileges: salary, policy, emergency and housing loans, subject to the cross-default policy of the System (CLIP).





Samar ranks 7th in the top ten endemic provinces for schistosomiasis in 2006

July 9, 2009

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Samar ranked 7th in the top ten endemic provinces for prevalence of schistosomiasis (also known as Oriental Blood Fluke) in 2006.

This was the situation bared by DOH officials in Samar during the stakeholder’s conference held at Fame Hotel in Catbalogan on Tuesday.

A DOH official added that some 12 million Filipinos were exposed to schistosomiasis in 2006. The top one province was Lanao del Norte at 13%, followed by Zamboanga del Sur at 6.8%. Eastern, Western and Northern Samar ranked 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.

Farmers, fresh water fishermen, irrigation workers and women doing domestic work are at a high risk of infection.

In Samar, it is in Calbayog City with the most number of endemic barangays numbering to 44, Gandara follows with 34 and San Jorge with 26.

Other Samar towns considered endemic are Basey, Sta. Rita, Pinabacdao, Catbalogan, Tarangnan, Pagsanghan and Sta. Margarita.

Schistosomiasis is an often chronic illness that results from infection of the blood with parasitic flatworm schistosome. It can cause debilitation and can cause liver and intestinal damage. It is most common in Asia, Africa and South America, especially in areas where water is contaminated by freshwater snails that carry the parasite.

In Samar, health authorities will conduct mass treatment for endemic towns once a year; conduct sentinel surveillance among school children through stool examination among grade 3 pupils in selected areas.

They will also try to increase household access to toilet and safe water facilities and integrate schistosomiasis mass treatment activities in municipal health services and school health program.



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