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Human rights group lambasts death threat to group’s lawyer

Ombudsman Visayas dismisses complaints vs. Leyte guv

New Army Battalion formed, installs Madroñal as Commander

Court summons Gov. Tan for Mandamus

DENR 8 intensifies forest protection efforts

US Embassy supports safe coverage of journalists for the Philippines’ 1st Automated Elections

PGMA visits San Jose De Buan, Samar inaugurates KBP projects

Figueroa, Redaja still lead in poll survey in Samar

Calbayog Prosecutor’s Office conducts marathon inquest proceedings against gun ban violators

KARAPATAN shows true color, calls for the release of 43 self confessed NPA





Comelec 8 receives initial shipment of Official Ballots for Region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 28, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Comelec Region 8 office has received in the morning of Monday, April 26, the initial shipment of official ballots which will be used by the 2.4 million registered voters of Eastern Visayas for the May 10 elections.

Atty. Nick Mendros - Comelec 8
Dir. Nick Mendros

Atty. Nick Mendros, officer in charge of Comelec 8 informed that the initial shipment received contains the official ballots which are intended for the provinces of Northern Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte with the exception of Tacloban City, and seven (7) towns of Samar.

Said official ballots will be deposited at the various local treasurers’ offices and will only be dispatched to the polling precincts on the day of the elections, Director Mendros explained.

The official ballots intended for the provinces of Biliran, Southern Leyte and for Tacloban are expected to arrive in the region within this week, Director Mendros added.

In a phone patch interview, Director Mendros informed the Philippine Information Agency that the official ballots cannot be interchanged because each ballot is intended for a specific voting center or polling precinct.

Director Mendros said that the Comelec is in close coordination with the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Pastoral Parish Council for Responsible Voting and the Board of Election Inspectors in safeguarding the official ballots and the PCOS machines before, during and after the actual polls.

The Comelec 8 has already conducted trainings for the teachers who will be serving during the May 10 elections.

It has also conducted region wide information and education campaigns on how to vote and how to use the PCOS machines.





Over 500 college students in Southern Leyte get employed in DOLE’s summer job program

April 27, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  A total of 571 tertiary-level students have been gainfully employed this summer vacation under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

SPES has been a regular, yearly undertaking of the agency in coordination with local government units (LGUs) who are willing to shoulder and share in the salary of the workers, also known as “summer jobbers.”

For this year’s SPES employment season in the province, nine LGUs including the provincial government, plus the Southern Leyte State University - San Juan Campus (SLSU-San Juan), readily accommodated and responded to the DOLE’s call for a partner to accept the young entrants to this summer’s workforce.

Data obtained from the DOLE provincial office here revealed the following entities as DOLE’s SPES co-sponsors, and their corresponding number of student placements: Provincial Government - 100; Maasin City - 163; Macrohon - 22; Limasawa - 15; Malitbog - 111; Sogod - 98; Saint Bernard - 30; Anahawan - 7; Hinundayan - 20; and SLSU-San Juan Campus - 5.

Work for this year’s summer jobbers began last week for a twenty-day employment period, with DOLE sharing 60% of the wages, while the concerned LGU counterpart is 40%.

Among the requirements to qualify in the SPES program is that the student must not be less than 15 years of age at start of work, and not more than 25, a certified college student who is poor but deserving, no failing mark on any subject, and must have an average grade of 80%, it was learned.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





8th ID commander plays host to SIPPAD, gave out special ‘peace’ t-shirts

April 27, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Major General Arthur Tabaquero with his 8th ID Storm Troopers officials showed his deep advocacy for peace through a special medium – ‘peace’ t-shirts which he distributed to some 200 participants to the 15th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) forum, held recently at Camp Lukban, Catbalogan, Samar.

Aside from playing host to the 200 participants that filled the 8th ID social hall, Tabaquero showed another act of generosity by giving away the ‘peace’ t-shirts.

The words inscribed in the t shirt said: Who would say ‘NO’ to peace?

The inscriptions, said army officer Glenn dela Rosa, “poses a great challenge to everyone on how we could achieve our common aspiration of lasting peace”.

“The 8th ID conceptualized this t-shirt with a symbol of Dove and shaking hands to push a strong issue, that achieving peace and security is everybody’s responsibility.”

“Like the black t-shirt, the unstructured journey might be dark and bleak; however, everybody must join hands in braving the dark path towards peace“.

The shirt, said Dela Rosa must be worn by every individual who has the passion and strong will to become the vehicles and ‘instruments of peace’ in Eastern Visayas.

The army and PNP has joined forces to run towards an honest, orderly and peaceful elections in the province of Samar.  (PIA-Samar)





Zenarosa Commission enriches Samar island forum

April 26, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Some 200 participants jampacked the 8th Infantry Division Social hall in Catbalogan City on Friday as the Zenarosa Commission officials graced the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) assembly.

Commissioner Dante Jimenez of the Zenarosa Commission delivering his Opening Remarks during the 15th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPAD) Assembly.

The Zenarosa Commission was created by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under Administrative Order No. 275, whose mandate is to address the existence of private armed groups in the country with a view to dismantling them permanently.

The Commission chaired by retired Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa attended SIPPAD to consult with the locals the presence of private armies in Samar.

In her message, chairperson Zenarosa urged cooperation of the locals as regards reportage of private armies and loose firearms.

“We can’t move the world, but we can move you,” she added.

She also mentioned that peace is an elusive commodity but her commission’s dream is peaceful elections.

The President initially created seven-man Zenarosa Commission on December 8, 2009 following the November 23 Maguindanao massacre where 57 people where killed, mostly journalists.

The other members of the Commission are: Bishop Juan de Dios M. Pueblos, Mahmod L. Adilao of the Ulama League of the Philippines, Dante L. Jimenez of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption, Ret. Police Director General Virtus V. Gil, and Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas president Herman Basbaño.

Dante Jimenez, in his message said that private armies do exist, lay low and are activated during election time.

When the forum solicited questions, Representative Reynaldo Uy of Samar’s first district accused political opponent Rodolfo Tuazon in sowing lawlessness in Calbayog City. The congressman was advised to submit his accusations under oath. However, he immediately left, right after submitting his sworn statement to the Commission.

Right after his accusations, Mrs. Maripas Tuazon, the wife of Tuazon retaliated by accusing Uy of harboring private armies; followed by one Dr. Rumohr who also accused Uy’s men of victimizing them.

With the seemingly endless trade of barbs between the two parties, Bishop Varquez of Borongan restrained the parties and asked them to obey the ground rules.

Justice Zenarosa sternly reprimanded some participants who applauded while Mrs. Tuazon reversed the accusations.

Jimenez then urged those who have knowledge of the existence of private armies to come forward and share their stories under oath.

Vice Mayor Oliva of Gandara also came forward and accused the PNP of doing criminal acts in Gandara, to this, PNP Provincial Director Pancho Hubilla vowed to look into the matter.

For his part, Ret. Police Director General Virtus V. Gil asked Hubilla to investigate the matter and even to consider transferring his provincial headquarters to Calbayog City.

The unsavory exchange of accusations was doused off when the lawyers of the Commission reminded them to do so under oath.

The morning folded up after the candidates present took their Oath of Unity or Panata ng Pagkakaisa.

The oath binds the candidate-signatories to adhere to the election laws to ensure the conduct of honest, orderly, and peaceful elections in May 10 in their respective provinces.

The adherence to their oath though still remains to be seen.  (PIA-Samar)





Candidates’ forum draws large crowd in Catbalogan

April 26, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Despite the heavy downpour of torrential rains that cut in half, the Gubernatorial and Vice-Gubernatorial Candidates Forum in Samar, a big crowd witnessed how the leading candidates plan to manage one of the poorest provinces in the country - Samar.

Candidates Forum for HOPE by SIPPADCandidates for Governor in Samar gamely answered questions ranging from their platforms to managing Samar’s vast natural resources to fighting poverty, peace and security and ensuring food sufficiency.

Out of five candidates for Governor, those who attended included Pilar Bolok (Independent); Atty Peter Labid (BPP), Jesus Redaja (NPC), and Casilda ‘Ida’ Lim (PDSP); another candidate congresswoman Sharee Ann Tan (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), daughter of reigning Governor Milagrosa Tan was conspicuously absent.

Only two out of the three Vice-Gubernatorial candidates attended the forum: Joseph Grey (NPC) and Rosenaida Rosales (Independent); again Governor Tan’s son Stephen Tan was the only one absent.

The candidates forum was a brainchild of the Samar Partnership for Peace and Development (SPPADE) a multi-sectoral forum convened by the clergy to urged its leaders to propel Samar into a peaceful and developed province through constant dialogues and consultation.

Lest the SPPADE be accused of partiality and bias, SPPADE requested Ms Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu, the regional director of Philippine Information Agency (PIA-8) to act as moderator, Ms. Tiu hails from Tacloban City.

Questions were read by a chosen team of panellists while written questions from the audience were read by Director Tiu.

Most questions dealt with how the governor will deal with its past leaders whom the public consider negligent in their mandate, as gleaned from the question’s premise.

The following day, SPPADE sponsored another candidates forum for the Congressional Seat and Board Members of the Second District in Catbalogan City while another forum was set for Congressional Seat and Board Members of the First District conducted in Calbayog City.

Candidates like Bolok and Labid thanked SPPADE for providing them with the needed avenue to inform the public of their aspirations. Labid claimed that unlike other candidates with vast resources, they could not emulate them in going around campaign sorties and printing campaign paraphernalia.

Ms. Lina Sales, a Catbalogan resident extended her positive feedback congratulating SPPADE for such a relevant deed.  (PIA-Samar)





BIR closes one of the major enterprises in Southern Leyte after tax filing deadline

April 26, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The Bureau of Internal Revenue Regional Office led by Regional Director Alert B. Alocilja closed down one of the largest corporations in Southern Leyte, after the April 15 tax filing deadline.

In a press release read over the BIR website, the BIR-Oplan Kandado decided to close Joaquin Yap and Sons Marketing Inc. (JYSMI), a VAT-registered enterprise based in Sogod, Southern Leyte after  a close watch and series of surveillance of the enterprise’s daily operations which was determined to be underdeclared by at least 89%.

JYSMI enterprise considered as one of the largest enterprises in the province is operating out at four buildings at the heart of Sogod. It is engage in at least ten lines of business like supermarket operations, fast food, sale of dry goods, educational supplies and photocopying, bakery, plastic wares, hardware operations, rice and corn retail, including wholesale merchandising.

BIR disclosed that Maasin City’s District personnel headed by Revenue District Officer Ma. Teresa Noemi A. Pizon monitored its sales in compliance with the basic requirements such as the issuance of sales invoices and receipts last November 2009 yet and found out that JYSMI’s average daily sales totaled a close to P770,000.00 which resulted to an underdeclaration of sales by P361 million, the report said.

The Oplan Kandado Team consisted the personnel from the Region’s Legal and Assessment Divisions, and staff from the three of the Region’s six Revenue Districts, which was assisted by Ms. Pizon, Imelda Cebuano of RD 88 based in Tacloban City and Eduardo B. Gayas of RD 86 from Borongan, Eastern Samar, supported by operatives from the local Philippine National Police detachments as well as barangay officials from the town of Sogod. Members of the local media, specifically from ABS-CBN Tacloban, also joined the BIR team.

Dir. Alocilja stressed that the closure activity would be the largest of its kind throughout the region, and that its impact would surely be felt throughout the neighboring provinces. Though, they clarified that BIR-Oplan Kandado program is not intended to harass taxpayers, but to emphasize the need for the strict observance with the basic requirements of the government’s tax system.

The Regional Director also expressed his hope that with this latest closure operation, and in the light of prior Oplan Kandado activities undertaken in the previous year, the taxpayers would continue to gain a better understanding of the importance of their voluntary compliance with their tax obligations.

Last year, BIR RD 90 based here already closed down erring establishments found out to be with tax violations, however, the establishments were already re-opened after they paid their respective penalties.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





Leyte guv supports demand to retain 25 percent of total geothermal generation

By Provincial Media Relations Center
April 25, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said he in support of the move by electric cooperatives in the region with the Energy Regulatory Commission that demands for the 25 percent of the total capacity of the Tongonan Geothermal Plant to be reserved for the entire Visayas region as provided by law.

The 107,625-hectare Leyte Geothermal Production Field (LGPF), which straddles Ormoc and Kananga, generates 708 megawatts to supply the power needs of Visayas and Luzon.

The entire region, the governor said consumes only a small portion of the total power supply generated that there is no need to for the province and the region to suffer power outage.

Although, Gov. Petilla added, he is also open to talks with the present private owners of the geothermal plant to iron out creases that bar electric consumers in the region from fully enjoying power supply without interruption.

“If this is something that can be smoothed out by talking, it can spare us the hassle of going to other agencies to support our plight,” Gov. Petilla said.

He disclosed that initial findings from these geothermal plants after it became privatized revealed that some of the machines used in the power generation needed repair and was only operating before under contingency.

“We also have to consider that these are private owners running these plants now and we also have to consider what they have to put up with to ensure continuous operation,” the governor said.

Meanwhile, he reiterated his stand to lower power rates within the region by getting out of the Visayas grid.

As it has been learned, with Leyte and the entire region locked with the Visayas grid, expenses for power supplied to other regions are also passed to local power consumers.

Instituting an exclusive power grid, the governor disclosed, may prove even more beneficial to local power consumers in the long run.

“We would only then be paying for our own generation charges, our own transmission charges and not carry the burden for costs of transmission to other regions,” the governor said.





NSO to undertake PopCen 2010

April 25, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The National Statistics Office (NSO-Samar) is undertaking tranings for DepEd Supervisors and other personnel involved from Calbayog, Catbalogan, Basey and Gandara in preparation for the census on population.

NSO-Samar is presently training some 40 participants to include 11 supervisors, 12 NSO personnel from Catbalogan, and 17 hired assistant area NSO supervisors from Basey, Marabut, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Daram and Tagapul-an.

They are holed up at the Samar State University (SSU) as the training started on Monday and will end by Friday.

The population census will be held from May 17 to June 12, 2010 said Ms Letecia Chu, Provincial Statistics Officer.

Subsequent trainings will also be held in Calbayog, Calbiga and Basey, soon.

Meanwhile, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently signed Proclamation No. 2028 which declares May this year as National Census Month.

Citing Batas Pambansa Blg. 72 which provides for the taking of an integrated census every 10 years beginning in 1980 and the requirement for an up-to-date and comprehensive data of the population at the local levels in line with the national government's thrust to decentralize functions to the local government units (LGUs).

With this, President Arroyo enjoined all departments and other government agencies to implement and execute the operational plans, directives and order for the nationwide conduct of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (CPH).

The census will take an inventory of the total population and housing units in the country and collect information about their characteristics.

The data that will be collected by the undertaking will be useful in the formulation of policies, plans and programs of the government relative to the delivery of basic health and social services to target beneficiaries and the general public, in determining business opportunities and industry status, in research and development, and in academic studies.

More specifically, data obtained from the census provides government basis for redistricting and apportionment of congressional seats, allocation of resources and revenues, and creation of political and administrative units.

The Philippines population was 76.5 million as of May 1, 2000 based on the 2000 CPH. In 2007, a census of population (POPCEN 2007) was conducted by the NSO in order to get an updated population count for all barangays to serve as basis for the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) of the LGUs, among others. Presidential Proclamation No. 1489 issued on April 16, 2008 made the results of POPCEN 2007 official and the country’s population was placed at 88,574,614 persons as of August 1, 2007.

The NSO will submit to the President of the Philippines for proclamation the population counts by barangay based on the 2010 CPH before the end of the year. These data will be made available in print and electronic copies.  (PIA-Samar)





ESPPO, Borongan Police hold National Day of Prayer

April 24, 2010

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  In its sincere commitment to achieve a clean, peaceful and honest election in May, the Eastern Samar Provincial Police Office(ESPPO) shared their part on Wednesday, in the synchronized “National Day of Prayer” at their provincial headquarters.

The Ecumenical prayer which was led by different religious leaders highlighted the solemn event.

Fr. Ray Romualdo of the Borongan Archdiocese called for the voters discernment in choosing their future leaders. He said that it would be of great significance if the voters will vote for the candidate who possesses moral values since this could reflect in the kind of leadership that he will show.

“We hope that the voters will vote wisely, will be vigilant and will choose honest and God-fearing leaders,” the young priest capped.

Romualdo likewise urged the PNP members to be patriotic and not to allow themselves to be exploited by the politicians and instead be conscientious of their sworn responsibilities to support the holding of an honest, orderly, peaceful election (HOPE).

Superintendent Mario Lucero, Assistant Police Director read the written message of PNP Provincial Director Felixberto Castillo, who said that the success of the upcoming election will also need the participation of the community. Castillo called for the divine providence and guidance because he said, nothing is impossible with God.

The Ecumenical Prayer was also joined in by other religious leaders from the Islam and Borongan City Evangelical Church.  Col. Crisanto Rodriguez of the Philippine Army was also present with Mrs. Lydia Loyola of DILG and the Borongan Knights of Columbus.

Similarly, the office of the Borongan City Police Office, headed by Superintendent Rosula Mambulao held the same solemn occasion at the lobby of the Borongan City hall.  Aside from the ecumenical prayer, the ceremony was highlighted by the blessing and pinning of HOPE pins to each PNP member. (PIA-Eastern Samar)





Hundreds avail free eye cataract surgery

April 24, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  More than a hundred persons with eye cataract problems coming from various places in Southern Leyte province trooped to the Salvacion Oppus Yniguez Memorial Provincial Hospital (SOYMPH) this week for a free surgery, April 20 to 23.

The delicate eye surgical operation was performed by a team of six physicians from the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC), Tacloban City, in which all medicines and prescribed drugs needed for post-operation healing were also given free to the patients, just like the surgery itself, according to Nandy Acasio, records officer at the SOYMPH.

Acasio told PIA by phone on Thursday he cannot be so specific just yet as to how many people had successfully availed the free surgical services, saying only that more than a hundred had been listed in the screening process for possible patients, and the operation was still ongoing as we talked.

The free cataract surgery has been a yearly activity of the EVRMC Doctors in close coordination with the provincial government, which handled the visitors’ accommodation for board and lodging, and the SOYMPH has been a regular recipient of this annual program, said Acasio.

Patients came from as far as Panaon island, Malitbog, and the rest of the other towns.

The cataract surgery was also carried out as part of the Department of Health (DOH) program on the prevention against blindness, Acasio added.

The National Eye Institute in its website defined cataract as a clouding in the lens of the eye that affects vision.  Most cataracts are related to aging and are common to older people, the website said.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)



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