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Rotary Club of Tacloban named best club in Philippine Rotary District 3860

To attain HOPE, PNP augments force to Buenos Aires

Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival tradition goes on

Leyte court sentences forest law violator; orders DENR to dispose confiscated items

Saludaga makes it again for Lavezares over Balag

PNP VIII to diffuse 430 cops Samar-wide

Bishop Varquez asks parishioners “to rise from sinful politics”

Comelec 8 receives initial shipment of Official Ballots for Region 8

Human rights group lambasts death threat to group’s lawyer

Ombudsman Visayas dismisses complaints vs. Leyte guv





Call for Subiran Regatta 2010 participants

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 8, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  – The Subiran Regatta Committee headed by Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu, is calling for individuals who would be interested to participate in the Subiran Regatta, in line with the forthcoming Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival 2010 for the feast of Santo Nino de Leyte.

Mayor Tiu said that once more, the Subiran Regatta will be conducted on June 28 at the Family Park along Magsaysay Boulevard in Tacloban City, as a special feature in this year’s Leyte Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.

The Leyte Subiran Regatta is the first of its kind in the whole province of Leyte. First incepted in 1975, it revived the sailboat regatta as a sporting event.

A regatta, as defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary, is a meeting for boat races. Subiran, in the Waray dialect means attractive and colorful native boats, slim outriggers with single sails, painted and decorated with buntings of many hues, commonly used by Visayan fishermen for fishing and traveling short distances along the coast.

This display of the art of sailing crafts is a much-awaited moment by Leyteños and Samareños.

Leyteños will flocked once more to the shore of Cancabato Bay along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard to witness this unique race of boats, which is considered to be environment-friendly because the fishermen use sails in running the boat.

Every year no less than 30 participants from Carigara and Tacloban (Leyte), Basey and Marabut (Western Samar), Biliran and even Eastern Samar join the competition.

Over a stretch of 8 nautical miles (approximately 15 kilometers), the racers, mostly fishermen themselves, outsmart each other to win big prizes at stake.

To ensure fairness, Mayor Tiu always assigns the Region 8 coast guards at every point to record a certain area being reached.

In the words of Mayor Tiu, “Despite the rains and big waves, the participants bravely sail on. The boats run without the use of gasoline and engine. They are environment-friendly.”

The aim of this competition was to enhance the skills of boatmen in the use of sails and more importantly, to promote tourism in the province of Leyte and Samar.

Interested participants for this year’s Regatta are encouraged to register early. They may see Gilbert Eco at the Icot Caravan Office or call him up at 321-4053 or 325-3080.





Japan deputy chief of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato graces the inauguration of Catubig dam

June 7, 2010

CATARMAN, Northern Samar  –  The Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato graces the inauguration of Catubig Dam Saturday at Brgy. San Isidro, Las Navas, Northern Samar.

In his message Kato said, he was deeply honored to be invited at Saturday’s inauguration of the Catubig Dam under the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Program (HCAAP). This project reaffirms Japan’s continuous support as a top donor to the Philippines’ nation building efforts along the lines of the Philippine Government’s Medium Term Development and Investment Plan.

Likewise he said, Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the province of Northern Samar through HCAAP covers a comprehensive range of cooperation from infrastructure development, enhancing farmers’ livelihood, increasing agricultural productivity as well as improving health and sanitation conditions of the people in the rural communities.

“We are pleased to see the significant results of our extensive cooperation for socio economic development in this province, particularly the agricultural and infrastructure sectors”, he said.

HCAAP is a major agricultural and infrastructure project started in 2002 geared towards raising the income level of farmers, generating new employment opportunities as well as improving the social infrastructure and services of various communities in Catubig and Las Navas.

The Catubig Dam is one of the major components of the HCAAP. The dam has the capacity to irrigate approximately 3,227 hectares of farmlands in two cropping seasons and will benefit more than 580 farm families. The completion of the dam will substantially address the critical problem of lack of irrigation water in these communities and will contribute to increase crop production and livelihood opportunities, thereby raising farmers’ income and spur economic activities in this province, he added.

The project, totaling about 5,210 million yen or approximately P260 million pesos, is expected to foster the economic activities of, not only the project’s immediate target beneficiaries but also among the rest of the communities in the province.

He also congratulated the Provincial Government of Northern Samar led by Governor Raul A. Daza and Congressman Paul R. Daza, the National Irrigation Administration, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Agriculture as well as all the project officers and staff who contributed to the successful completion of this project component.

In closing, he expressed his sincere hope that the Catubig Dam and the HCAAP will contribute to the development of Samar and all the authorities concerned will renew the sense of mission to achieve the project’s ultimate goal. I wish this project to become another testimony of the longstanding friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, he further added.  (PIA Northern Samar)





Bangko Sentral promotes the continues use of coins

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Tacloban Branch is set to conduct a Multisectoral Consultative Dialogue on June 10, 2010 from 9:00 o’clock to 11:00 o’clock in the morning at Leyte SMED Center, Capitol Site, Tacloban City.

philippine coinsAtty. Leonides B. Sumbi, Acting Deputy Director, informed that the undertaking is in support of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ National Coin Recirculation Program.

The said activity is specifically aimed at collecting feedback from the public and other stakeholders to address the various issues and concerns on the non-circulation of certain coin denominations resulting in their unavailability or “shortage,” Atty. Sumbi added.

Atty. Sumbi disclosed that the Bangko Sentral has implemented programs and projects to promote the continued use of Philippine coins.

Recent data showed that the Philippines have the highest per capita number of coins in Southeast Asia with 75 pieces to 100 pieces of coins per Filipino.

However, Atty. Sumbi noted that shortage of coins has been a common complaint including in Region 8.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has urged the public to use coins, especially those kept in piggy banks, to address the artificial coin shortage in some parts of the country.

An artificial coin shortage is being felt in the country despite the fact that the central bank has minted 15.6 billion pieces of P10, P5, P1, 25-centavo, 10-centavo, five-centavo, and one-centavo coins worth P16.9 billion.

Data from the central bank showed that the BSP has minted 419.8 million pieces of P10 coin, 1.3 billion pieces of P5 coins, 4.3 billion pieces of P1 coin, 5.5 billion pieces of 25-centavo coins, 2.4 billion pieces of 10-centavo coins, 1.6 billion pieces of five-centavo coins, and 18.7 million pieces of one-centavo coins.





Region 8 honors migrant workers on June 7

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in Region 8 spearheads this year’s Migrant Workers Day celebration which is dubbed as “Araw ng Pasasalamat.”

Hundreds of Overseas Filipino Workers and their respective families throughout Region 8 joined the motorcade from the Capitol Grounds to the Robinson’s Place Tacloban in the morning of June 7.

The whole day program which is aimed at honoring the migrant workers in the Region started at 10:00 o’clock in the morning up to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The activity carried the theme: “OFWs: Tagumpay sa Hamon ng Panahon, Kaagapay sa Pagsulong.”

The whole day activity promises to be a day of fun with games and big raffle prizes for the OFWs and their families, a way of saying thank you to their contributions and achievements, OIC Tan said.

OWWA 8 Director Juliet Tan said it is but fitting to give a gesture of salutation to the Overseas Filipino workers who has been hailed as the country's news heroes, remitting billions of dollars annually and helping prop up the national economy.

The activity is aimed at paying tribute and giving recognition to the OFWs' contributions and achievements that raised the status and respect for the country.

Awards will also be presented to the Outstanding Overseas Filipino Workers both land-based and Sea-based. Another award will be presented to a physically and financially challenged OFW and to the Most Senior Surviving OFW in attendance, Ms. Tan added.

OFW participants will have the chance to win surprise, major prizes, giveaways and freebies from corporate sponsors. They are requested to bring along documents as proof of OWWA membership.

Remittances from overseas Filipino workers climbed to $1.4 billion in December, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.

The latest figure took remittances in the whole of 2008 to $16.4 billion, up by 13.7 percent from 2007 and above the BSP's growth forecast of 13 percent or $16.3 billion for the year.

Money sent home by Filipinos abroad amounted to $4.339 billion in the first quarter, up by 7 percent from a year earlier, as demand for skilled and professional Filipino workers continued to rise.

Total remittances in March alone amounted to $1.55 billion, or 5.6 percent more than the $1.427 billion recorded in March 2009, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Monday, noting the situation in global employment opportunities has improved in recent months.

The amount of money sent home by Filipinos abroad in March was the second highest monthly remittance level after the $1.567 billion posted in December.

BSP Gov. Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said remittances by overseas Filipinos coursed through banks were $282 million higher than the $4.057 billion registered in the first three months of 2009.

About 81 percent of the remittances reported by local banks came from the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"Prospects for global deployment of overseas Filipino workers remain positive, especially as employment opportunities are expected to rise along with clearer signs of global economic recovery," the BSP chief said.

Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed the job orders approved for the first three months of the year totaled 155,334, with 29.2 percent or 45,393 jobs in the service, professional, technical, and production sectors as well as related jobs processed for Saudi Arabia, UAE, Taiwan, Qatar, Kuwait, and Hong Kong.





Southern Leyte gets ready for golden anniversary celebration on July 1

June 7, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Golden memories for a golden jubilee.

The provincial government here has been working to ensure all bases are covered for an anniversary celebration this coming July 1 that will surely double as a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Provincial Board Member Jason Calva, during a radio block-time program this morning, disclosed that one of the features of this year’s festivities will be a parade of title holders of Miss Southern Leyte over the past five decades.

The beauty pageant has been a regular attraction in every anniversary, and there will be one for the province’s 50th year, held on its usual schedule every June 30, or a day before the anniversary proper, at the sprawling sunken garden in front of the provincial capitol.

According to Calva, in the afternoon of the same date, June 30, will be the oath-taking of provincial officials who were mostly re-elected during last month’s automated elections.

Previous public officials serving in the province will also be featured as part of the anniversary activities, Calva added.

Asked who will be this year’s guest speaker, Calva said no specific name was yet floated so far.

Another activity that will recapture the mood of the years gone by will be the socio-cultural night in the evening of June 29.

Calva said that among the cultural presentations were the hits from the 1960s and the 1970s, and this will be the first time such intensive showcase of a cultural program will be presented.

On March 24 this year, provincial officials led by Gov. Damian Mercado had launched the 100 days’ countdown for the golden anniversary celebration of the province.

The opening salvo will be on June 25 with an anniversary walk, then the inter-town town basketball competition and other sports tourneys will follow the day after, while on June 28 will be the opening of the agri-aqua fair.

Provincial Tourism Officer Nedgar Garvez earlier told PIA the theme for this year’s celebration is “Southern Leyte @ 50.”  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





Leyte guv takes pro stand on STL operations in the province

By Provincial Media Relations Center
June 6, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla is taking a pro stand on the operation of small town lottery in some towns in the province of Leyte provided that the operation of the said number games is implemented properly.

The governor said his stand is based on the fact that gambling is an “age-old vice” that is very, very hard to eradicate and that the government should come in to set out the guidelines with the end view of eradicating other illegal numbers game.

“It is a known fact that people just love to bet, trying their luck on the numbers game to win. There has been an unending campaign to totally eradicate it but still it persists. With the STL, as long as it is operated and implemented properly, I see no reason why we should object,” Gov. Petilla said.

The governor on the other hand respects the stand of the church to stop the operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)-supervised STL, to which the Church has earlier contended that instead of pushing the numbers game, officials should instead come up with programs and projects that will generate employment and income for the poor people.

The Church fears this would further place the people deeper into financial despair, as money earned at the end of a day’s work would instead be spent to bet via STL.

Bettors can place their bet in as low as P1 to win P800.  There is no maximum amount limit for bettors.

Gov. Petilla however remains optimistic that with proper implementation, this operation would eliminate the illegal numbers game while the local government would benefit from the STL operation through a percentage share in the gross sales.

It was learned that 55 percent of the gross sales would be allocated for the prizes and 15 percent would finance the STL operation and the salaries.

Of the remaining 30 percent, only 7.5 percent would go to the PCSO and the rest would go to the local government units, according to the PCSO in the region.





It’s DOH’s Cabral now, who’s the next target, DepEd’s Valisno? RH advocates ask

June 5, 2010

QUEZON CITY  –  A leading reproductive health advocacy group reacts in defense of Department of Health’s Secretary Esperanza Cabral amid calls from the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urging President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III not to reappoint the gutsy Secretary of Health.

DOH secretary Esperanza Cabral
Health Secretary Cabral

According to Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) pronouncements such as this coming from a heavily biased institution like the Catholic church is really unbecoming.

San Pascual laments that the Catholic church is again trying to unduly influence the incoming Aquino presidency on an all-important issue which is reproductive health.  “Why can’t the Bishops just allow President-apparent Aquino to decide on the composition of his cabinet,” expressed San Pascual.  “Besides, Fr. Melvin Castro’s claim that Sec. Cabral is inefficient because of her support on reproductive health is illogical,” he said.  “Sec. Cabral in her short stint in DOH so far has proven to be the most efficient and effective DOH Secretary under the Arroyo administration. Her unwavering support for reproductive health does not reveal inefficiency, rather it shows courage of the heart and strength of character, traits that we need badly among our leaders,” San Pascual stressed.

In another note, PLCPD express appreciation to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Secretary Mona Valisno for taking the cudgel for the long forsaken issue of sexuality education and the promotion of responsible behavior towards sex among the youth.

“We laud DepEd’s response on the increasing HIV and AIDS cases and other alarming reproductive health related cases among the youth.  We see DepEd’s effort as part of the continuing build-up of reproductive health momentum within the Arroyo administration even if this happens in the last few months of her governance.  We can see that the RH momentum is in many ways encouraged by election results that produced many pro-RH candidates winning in all levels from Presidential, senatorial and local government,” San Pascual said.

San Pascual further explains, the recent mainstreaming of sex education and family planning programs in DOH, DepEd and the re-election of reproductive health champions in Congress, and the open mind of President-apparent Aquino augurs well for the swift passage of the reproductive health bill in the 15th Congress.

“We urge President-apparent Aquino, Sec. Cabral and Sec. Valisno, and other government elected and appointed officials to continue implementing programs that will promote citizens' responsibility in running their lives, including building good future for their families.  We also call on them to continue to uphold state's political will, and high sense of responsibility and decisiveness,” San Pascual concluded.





Special elections in Samar is over

June 4, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The special elections that stirred some 492 voters in Barangay Buenos Aires, Pagsanghan, Samar is finally over.

Along with areas in Mindanao, a special election was set here as the ballots were inadvertently delivered to Guimbal, Iloilo on the scheduled regular election in May.

So yesterday, the whole Samar province watched closely how the elections in this little village will be.

“Even, the COMELEC Regional Director, Atty. Nick Mendros personally witnessed the elections along with a formidable group of security men composed of PNP and government soldiers,“ said Renato Gaditano, Comelec Officer of Pagsanghan.

Samarnons were not anymore interested in other candidates but the local ones, as the 492 votes from Buenos Aires was to spell the difference in the mayoralty contest between Ruben Palma and Jim Canones.

As a result, taken from Gaditano, it was Ruben Palma who won with Vice-Mayor Alicia Repol getting total votes of 2747 and 2749 respectively.

Councilors who won included Domingo Ceracas, Quintiliano Palma, Jr, Leonardo Repol, Edgar Tan, Noel Repol, Regina Bestudio, Adelina Carmona and Sabina Lozada.

“The two opposing parties have each four winners,” added Gaditano.

Then mayor, Violeto Ceracas who ran as Vice Mayor in the other party lost.

Little is known about the new mayor, except that this is the first time he joined politics, having worked as an employee of Samelco I.

The election, observed some local folks was peaceful and there were even more witnesses and observers than the number of voters.  (PIA-Samar)





Legal battle on Balyuan property referred for mediation

By Provincial Media Relations Center
June 3, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  With the city and provincial governments’ legal battle over the Balyu-an property now referred for mediation, Leyte Governor said that he is leaving the matter to his legal team to resolve the issue.

It was learned from the Regional Mediation Center of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan Region 8 that a mediation was originally set last May 29, 2010 between the city and the province over both cases filed by the two LGUs but has been reset to June 19, 2010.

However, the governor said he is hoping the case can be decided with soon finally so the property’s ownership can be resolved.

“I just hope the case can be decided on soon. But I left this (case) with the provincial legal team to pursue the issue,” Gov. Petilla disclosed.

In a recent talk with the media, Gov. Petilla said the province’s stand remain that the property is owned by the province of Leyte and that the city government should honor an earlier agreement it entered into with the province.

The governor was referring to the August 26, 2004 memorandum of agreement signed by then city mayor, Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, the father of the incumbent mayor, for the city to use the property.

The said agreement expired in August 2009 or five years after it was signed, prompting the province to give notice to the city to vacate the property.

On the other hand, the city government has then contended that it may have no documents to prove its ownership but it has been in possession of the property for the longest time already.

The said property, largely known as Balyu-an, sits on a 6,941 square meter lot. The area houses a building where the offices of health, social welfare and assessor, among others, are located. The multi-million Balyu-an amphitheater is also located in the same contested area together with a convention area-cum-training center.

Gov. Petilla otherwise said that the memorandum entered into by the city with the province, signed by the then city mayor and concurred by the city council can hold its own over the province’s claim on the said property.

Whether the court would decide for or against the province, the governor said in closing that he hopes the decision can be given by the court soon.





Pag-ibig, NHA condonation program until September 2010

June 3, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Housing Development Mutual Fund (HDMF-8) or Pag-ibig and the National Housing Authority (NHA-8) disclosed that members and awardees of both government-run offices have until September 2010 to settle their housing loan deficiencies in case of Pag-ibig and payment of monthly amortization in case of NHA. This was revealed during the recent meeting on Regional Development Council-Social Development Committee (RDC-SDC) at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-8) conference room chaired by Atty. Forter Puguon, Regional Director of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-8).

According to housing Czar Engr. Rizalde A. Mediavillo, Regional Manager of National Housing Authority (NHA-8) their office is very lenient in terms of foreclosure proceedings against their awardees.

Engr. Mediavillo further said that to initiate foreclosure proceedings the awardees are given only three months grace period to settle its obligations but this was not realized due to the pro-poor housing program initiated by the government.

Engr. Mediavillo revealed that there were no foreclosure proceedings and cancellation of rights as far as NHA’s awardees are concerned within his area of jurisdiction but there were recorded transfer of rights.

However, Jennylind Barreta of Pag-ibig also said that their condonation and re-structuring program is still on going until September 2010.

Ms. Barreta disclosed that their office will initiate foreclosure proceedings once a member-borrower of a housing loan have arrears for at least three months or delinquencies which they give notice to settle its obligations for a definite period of time and failure to do so a foreclosure proceedings will commence and once done the member-borrower can still recover their foreclosed property for a period of one year by paying its full amount or thru condonation and re-structuring program.

Pag-ibig recorded 25 percent foreclosed property last year but the exact figure has yet to be determined. Their office is not impressed with the percentage rate for it connotes negative impression to the financial capability of their member-borrower, she said.

Both Pag-ibig and NHA appeals to their member-borrowers and awardees to avail of the condonation and re-structuring program to lessen the burden of payment and to retain the property they have established.  (PIA-8)



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