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Call for Subiran Regatta 2010 participants

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





Zumarraganhons warmly welcomes Chief PNP in their island and in their home

By PIA Samar
June 11, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  If the Chief PNP feels elated with the pronouncement of Presidernt-elect Noynoy Aquino to retain him as Chief PNP, Zumarraganhons equally feel elated that the highest ranking PNP member chose Zumarraga to hold his ‘Legacy Run’.

“Never have we felt so secure in our entire life“, said the Montejo family who are from Bohol but has stayed in the island for more than twenty years, referring to the hundreds of PNP that suddenly sprouted in the island.

A teen ager who works at a snack pub owned by Elan Castillo said: I did not know Zumarraga had so much police force this time, she was surprised to see some 300-400 PNP men in blue t-shirst and shorts (athletic uniform) running in threes and retracing once or twice the one long road that defines the major throughfare in this small island town.

Chief PNP Jesus Verzosa, PNP Region 8 Director Rey Lañada, Samar PNP Provincial Director Pancho Huibilla and Zumarraga Chief Danilo Cornita led the runners that include PNP women in front.

A Zumarraga resident named Mano Remegio Bucatcat said he is happy that the PNP chose his hometown as the venue for the activity.

“Yana pa gud la ini hitatabo ha Zumarraga, nalilipay gud kami,” (trans: this is the first time it happened in Zumarraga, we are happy and honored.) he told PIA.

Mano Pictoy is from Barangay Canwarak who claims to be a Verzosa. “Iba gud it pag abat kun aada ka hin butnga han mga pulis, gwardyado ka gud,” he beamed. (trans: It‘s different if you are in the midst of PNP men, you are so secure.)

Some Zumarraganhons opened their houses for guests and PNP elements who came in droves for the two-way affair; the Verzosa clan reunion and the Legacy Run.

The Chief PNP hailed the island town for its beautiful cove, the clean and pristine waters: “walang lumulutang na papel, malinis at maraming lamang dagat“, his words to describe the beaches and coastal waters of Zumarraga.

He even jested that as he loved sea diving, he will be looking for some properties to develop and serve as his diving place when he retires.

Newly-elected Mayor Myrna Tan ‘embraced’ the presence of the general whom she described as maki-pamilya. Her vice-mayor goes by the name of Manny Verzosa.

Some of her househelp whispered that Mayor Myrna had some cows and several hogs butchered. As the men in blue slowly departed from the beautiful island town, Zumarraga will be receiving another round of visitors as they will be celebrating their annual fiesta come June 12-13 in honor of San Antonio de Padua.





Leyte is all set for Philippine Independence Day fete

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 11, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The provincial government of Leyte under the leadership of Governor Petilla is all set to celebrate the 112th anniversary of Philippine Independence through simple but meaningful rites.

At least 10 employees from each of the different departments of the Provincial Government are scheduled to attend the flag-raising ceremony which will be conducted at exactly 7:00 o’clock in the morning of Saturday, June 12.

The Independence Day rites will be conducted at the picturesque Leyte Provincial Capitol Terrace with the provincial government officials including the devolved national agencies and other provincial government employees in attendance.

In the afternoon of June 12, the province of Leyte will also mark the Grand Opening of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival Park at the RTR Plaza. This will proclaim the start of the nightly activities and programs at the said Park.

Meanwhile, the City of Tacloban will have its flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies at 7:00 o’clock in the morning at Plaza Rizal. Before these rites, a Mass will be celebrated at the Santo Niño Church.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and the other official of the City Government, has also scheduled a Clean Up Drive activity in connection with the I Love Tacloban program of the City Government.  Incidentally, June 12 is also celebrated as the Charter Day anniversary of the City of Tacloban.

The same scenario will be replicated in the different municipalities in Region 8 as the Department of Interior and Local Government has issued a memorandum circular on the suggested activities for the 112th celebration of Philippine Independence.

Meanwhile, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead the national celebration which will be held at the Luneta Park in Manila.

According to a Malacanang report, President Arroyo is expected at the flag-raising rites at 7a.m. in front of the Rizal Monument, then at 4 p.m. at the Luneta to deliver her Independence Day message and view from the Quirino Grandstand the traditional civic-military parade.

The civic-military parade will have floats featuring President Arroyo's achievements under her Ten-Point Agenda called "Beat the Odds".

"Beat the Odds" stands for: balance budget, education for all, automated elections, transportation and infrastructure, terminating hostilities in all fronts, healing the wounds of EDSA, electricity and water for all, opportunities for livelihood, decongestion of Metro Manila, and developing Subic and Clark.

"Kalayaan: Tagumpay ng Bayan" is the theme of this year's celebration.





PNP chief hails PRO 08 for their relentless pursuit of criminal elements

June 11, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus Verzosa hailed his men in Eastern Visayas led by Police Region 8 Director, Chief Superintendent Rey Lañada for the relentless pursuit of criminal elements especially in Gandara and Calbayog.

Verzosa in his message at the municipal wharf of Zumarraga island town on Wednesday, after the successful ‘Legacy Run’, cited the successful operations of the team in dismantling private armed groups especially in Samar province.

“You are one of the best performers nationwide“, Verzosa addressed his men at dusk with the breathtaking Zumarraga sunset in the background.

Some 400 PNP elements coming from all over Eastern Visayas swarmed Zumarraga shores for the ‘Legacy Run’.

Verzosa also talked of his transformation mission that he claims has gained significant results.

He mentioned his men’s efforts to continuously arrest suspected private armed groups in Gandara and Calbayog.

“That goes to show na nagtratrabaho kayo, kung mapayapa ang Region 8,” stressed the Chief PNP.

Verzosa was in high spirits when he arrived in the island town of Zumarraga as he received news that Noynoy Aquino has been proclaimed President that day and that Aquino mentioned that he will retain Verzosa as Chief PNP.

As he praised his men fot their regular duties, he also gave special mention to their committed service during the elections.

“Let us do it again next election, the citizens are appreciative of what we are doing,” he added.

“We have gained the status that people depend on us for credible elections,” Verzosa noted. He ordered his men to be where the action is, not to crowd in urban areas, “go where you are needed.”

As his final order the general has this to say: “Go against lawless elements, go against illegal firearms, go against those who violate the law!”  (PIA-Samar)





Verzosa feels elated about President Noynoy’s plan to retain him as Chief PNP

By PIA Samar
June 10, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa is elated that President-elect Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III announced after his proclamation to retain Verzosa in his post.

This was announced by a fellow Verzosa named Boy in a gathering of Verzosa clan in the island town of Zumarraga, Samar yesterday afternoon.

His Information Officer told the media that Noynoy's statement is an indication that the President-elect has confidence in Verzosa.

Verzosa was also there to grace a ‘Legacy Run’ for his more than a thousand PNP constituents in Eastern Visayas although only some 400 joined the run in a 7-kilometer stretch.

The Chief PNP said his PNP program on transformation has attained significant results and that he intends to sustain it.

Verzosa also stressed that his men are serious in its mandate on law enforcement, fighting criminality and environmental preservation.

 In a press conference, President-elect Noynoy Aquino told reporters he will retain Verzosa as PNP chief.

Some 350 Samareños from Allen, Northern Samar, Calbayog, Gandara, Catbalogan bearing Verzosa surnames gathered in Zumarraga, Samar to meet their fellow Verzosa, Jesus.

The Chief PNP in his speech said he is honoured that his Verzosa kins have invited him to this annual reunion going on for the last twenty years.

He said that his roots come from Ilocos and that in his every assignment as a young PNP officer, he scours for Verzosa families be it in Mindanao, Luzon and recently Samar where he met a big Verzosa clan led by newly-elected Mayor of Zumarraga, Myrna Ojeda Tan whose mother is also a Verzosa.

Zumarraga’s Vice Mayor is one named Manny Verzosa.





PCA to use natural pests for fighting brontispa infestation in coconuts

June 10, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  If only this will work out, then surely this will be a classic case using a natural way of eradicating coconut pests the harmless way, or chemical-less way.

Starting today, June 10, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will apply a new discovery: spread a bunch of ant-like parasitoids to wage war against brontispa, a tiny leaf-eating beetle whose alarming presence has been noticed in twenty upland barangays in this city to date, turning two to three year old and newly-planted young coconuts into virtual dead plants.

But to prove its case, the army of parasitoids must win this war, and to see that it is winning both the PCA and the farmer concerned must be patiently monitoring the progress by the day, said Manuel Sembrano, provincial PCA head.

The test case for a battleground will be in barangay Pinaskohan, this city, the very first barangay where brontispa’s growing population was first noted early this year, Sembrano said.

In one hectare of coconut plantation at barangay Pinaskohan, at least five infected trees will be tied with the microscopic parasitoids placed in a plastic bottle peppered with holes as passageways.

Crawling out, the parasitoids would lay eggs – one insect or wasp lays 25 eggs – and this will be spit on a budding brontispa worm, and the colony of eggs, once out of their shells, would have an eating frenzy on the worm, Sembrano said, describing how the fight would look like.

Adult brontispas will not be attacked directly by the parasitoids, who are wise enough to locate the larvae only, and open fire with their eggs there.

Sembrano brushed aside insinuations that the parasitoids will then lead the destruction once brontispa worms are no longer available to eat.

“This is the basic difference of a parasitoid and a parasite.  The parasitoid will live in the host plant, and this host plant will live as well.  The parasite will live in a host plant, the host plant will die,” he explained.

But until such time victory will be secured, it is still a plan B to resort using chemicals in a wide swatch of an area infested by brontispa.

For now the parasitoid wasps have been cultured in the provincial office of the PCA after it was delivered here last week from Albay Research Center, ready and waiting to be deployed to war zones.

And coco farmers, with the usual wait and see attitude, will be watching who will be winning the insect war.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





Police arrest suspected criminal, neutralized another in Samar

June 9, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Samar Police scored anew in its fight against criminality in the province as it arrested a suspected criminal and neutralized another in Barangay Piñaplata, Gandara, Samar.

In a report by Samar Police Information Officer PSupt Orlando Gardiola, he said, through an SMS that early yesterday, a team of policemen led by Gandara Chief of Police Jovie Espenido along with members of a Special Task Force and Regional Public Safety Battalion (formerly Regional Mobile Group) was deployed to serve warrants of arrest to suspected criminals in Barangay Piñaplata, Gandara.

As the police team was about to serve the warrant, the suspects unceremoniously fired at the policemen. The authorities recognized the leader as one Doroteo Moloboco alias Eyong/Jun.

The policemen immediately returned fire which resulted to the death of one Bobo Tamayo y Reyes, 21, whom the police said was armed with a .45 caliber pistol. They also arrested one Detty Tamayo y Reyes, 38. Both are residents of the barangay but are suspected members of a private army of one political kingpin in Samar.

The duo with other suspects, have been a subject of surveillance by the authorities for criminal records such that the warrant of arrest was supposedly to be served until they resisted.

Bobo and Detty have warrants of arrest under criminal case numbers 06-0342 and 3607 respectively.

Recovered from the site to serve as evidence are one piece of .45 caliber pistol and seven long homemade shotguns.

Police are still pursuing the alleged leader Doroteo Moloboco who slipped away while the gunfire raged on.

Samar Provincial Police Director Pancho Adelberto Hubilla said that the arrested suspect is now in police custody awaiting proper disposition.

Samar was stirred by the unfortunate incident.

Despite being ‘tagged’ as an election watch list of areas in the May 10 elections, Samareños surprisingly behaved during the May 10 and during the special elections in Buneos Aires, Pagsanghan on June 3, 2010.

Samarnons seemingly enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere during the election until today. (PIA-Samar with report from Samar PNP)





Gun ban ends after June 9

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 9, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Gun ban will no longer be implemented after June 9, the Philippine National Police (PNP) informed. However, the PNP will continue the enforcement of checkpoints to prevent the proliferation of firearms.

This means that on June 10, gun holders with a permit to carry firearm outside residence (PTCFOR) could bring their firearms with them already. Stricter measures on gun control will be put in place instead of extending the gun ban’s effectivity, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

The proposed stricter gun policies include limiting the security details for politicians and VIPs (Very Important Persons), and stricter requirements for those who are seeking a Permit to Carry Firearms Outside Residence (PTCFOR).

The PNP will also impose stricter penalties for those who will be caught possessing unlicensed firearms or guns with expired licenses.

A separate post-summit conference has been planned to be held next week to formulate a more comprehensive gun ownership policy.

It would be recalled that the gun ban went into effect on January 10, after the Commission on Elections ordered it in place as part of implementing election law as applied to the recent May 10 polls.

Nearly 3,000 individuals, including some 200 government employees, have been apprehended during the period.

There was a proposal for the extension of the effectivity of gun ban showing the result of the survey conducted at the National Capital Region where 73.8 percent of the 400 respondents believe the total gun ban should remain in force after June 9.

Several pro-gun advocates however, pushed for allowing the carrying of licensed firearm outside the confines of the home and business saying that "the Filipino should have the privilege to use legitimate and reasonable means to protect himself or herself and business. Inclusive and inherent, to enforce such privilege, the Filipino should be allowed to carry a legitimate and licensed firearm even outside household or place of business."





1.2 million tons of magnetite sand to be mined yearly along San Pedro Bay by one mining company

June 9, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Negative effects of mining on the society was never part of the discussions by mining companies especially at the affected municipalities along San Pedro Bay, which is from Tacloban til Abuyog, Leyte. For instance, the spokesperson of the Northern Access Mining Inc. (NAMI) declared their target of mining 1.2 million tons of magnetite sand next year.

“Our environment, if damaged, will take decades or even centuries to replace what have been lost, compared to destroying it, will take only several years. Thus, how much more million will it be worth if billions had been lost in effect to the society now and the generations to come?” informed Nestor Lebico, Secretary-General of SAGUPA-SB.

Many mining companies are interested on the whole region, especially in Leyte at the part San Pedro that is rich in magnetite sand and black sand, basic materials for steel.

One of the big mining companies is Pan Asia Mining Limited that was granted with the right to mine approximately 41,093.85 hectares of offshore – from the shore and sea of Basey, Marabut, Samar, Tacloban, Tanauan, Tolosa, Dulag, Mayorga, MacArthur and Abuyog, Leyte.

“These big mining companies are like leeches that suck our richness and like alligators and sharks who want to dominate and eat all that benefits the majority.” added Lebico.

These big foreign mining companies in our island are principal exporters of magnetite sand to China, which is the leading producer of steel in the whole world.





Northern Samar inaugurates the Catubig dam in Las Navas

June 8, 2010

CATARMAN, Northern Samar  –  The Provincial Government of Northern Samar inaugurated the Catubig Dam  with a blessing and ceremonial opening of the main gate of this dam and the right main canal of the first six kilometers on Saturday June 5, 2010  at Brgy. San Isidro, Las Navas, Northern Samar.

In his opening remarks, Las Navas Mayor Hon. Arlito Tan said 61 years ago, Las Navas was very rich in natural resources, abundant in forests/timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, surrounded by vast tracks of land planted with coconuts and abaca, and ricefields.  Because of these riches, in 1967 up to 1987, the San Jose Timber Corporation, a commercial logging concessionaire, explored and exploited our forests for 20 years resulted to extinction of wildlife and worst of all its direct effects were flooding since 1980s up to 2007 that posted millions of pesos of damages.

“But today, we are grateful and fortunate that the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA) came to us not to exploit our natural resources but for a development undertaking. The construction of this Dam, as projected, I suppose, would develop 3,000 hectares potential benefits/irrigable areas”, the mayor said.

He further stressed, that if the dam and the irrigation canals will be fully operational, rice production will greatly increase, and this project, in effect, will reduce, if not, eliminate hunger and poverty  not only to Las Navasnon but also to Catubignons as well.

Japan’s Chief of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato who graced the occasion also said that the inauguration of Catubig Dam under the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Program (HCAAP), 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 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.

JICA Senior Representative Kazuhiko Ueno also said that over the years, you might have observed some improvements in terms of infrastructure and services, which were completed through the assistance of the project. Noteworthy to mention are the roads and ferry landings including the Catubig-Las Navas Bridge.  Also, through HCAAP, we were able to construct several water supply and toilet facilities, intensify the promotion of agricultural technology, and help control the spread of schistosomiasis.

He also congratulated Governor Raul A. Daza, NIA, and Hanjin for the completion of the Catubig Dam. Though it is a major achievement to celebrate, much work still remains in order to ensure that we will be able to irrigate the design area. Hence, he sought the cooperation of the project implementers to continue to work together for the improvement of the lives of people in Northern Samar.

On the other hand, NIA Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Operations Mr. Antonio Galvez said that the most important structure of this project is being inaugurated to show to the public that HCAAP Irrigation and Drainage Component still exist and has an accomplishment. The realization  of the main objective of this project will be partially meet next planting season especially the area covered by the Pinipisakan Irrigator’s  Association, its final completion is near to come. The completion of Catubig Right Main Canal (CRMC) entire length (21 km) and the laterals which will irrigate the entire right portion of the Catubig Valley will follow later this year.

“We are not going to deny that the progress of construction on this project is not as fast as you were expecting, this was due to the local weather condition that is quite extreme being near the Pacific Ocean, not to mention the kind of terrain we have and the absence of access road. All of these are contributory factors why our working conditions are not normal, hence, greatly affecting physical accomplishment. But we are still working the best that we can, with the contractor Hanjin “, Galvez said.

The Catubig Dam is only one of the three dams to be constructed by this project. It is the biggest that can supply irrigation water to about 3,000 hectares. The other one is the Hagbay Dam, the construction will be started in the next few weeks, as a matter of fact, the contractor for Hagbay Area had already mobilized their equipment and now ready in completion with their access road from Bulao to the Dam Site of Hagbay Area. The construction for the Bulao Area will also be started soon. The Bulao Dam which was started by Hanjin will then be completed by another contractor. So by December 2012, we are confident that this project will be finally completed and irrigation water will be flowing to a 5,550 hectares area to help our farmers increase their income in Catubig and Las Navas and the province as well, he stressed.

Governor Raul A. Daza in his inaugural address said that he was very thankful to the Japanese government led by Deputy of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato and his collegues, the 1st Secretary of the Embassy of Japan Mr. Tekehiko Sakata, the Senior Representative of JICA  Kazuhiko Ueno , the project officer of JICA Mr. Ervin F. Mella,   the Sanyo President  Norohiko Kono, NIA Deputy Administrator  Antonio Galvez, NIA Regional Director Engr. Amadeo Montejo and NEDA Region 8 Representative Engr. Ernesto Octaviano, and to the others who are here in their capacity as a fellow government workers.

“I would like to ask your indulgence by putting out the brief history of the component  of the project. This project was conceived and proposed in 1990. I was then the Deputy Pro Tempore and the number two (2) man in the House of Representatives as the Congressman of the 1st district of Northern Samar. This project was submitted to NEDA and funded by JICA in one of its trances. I knew that the key to alleviate poverty would be to develop our rice lands. Like any other Filipinos the main staple is rice. The rehabilitation of the rice industry of the province which is the Catubig Valley would help the living condition of the people” he added.

It took 11 years of distinction in the bureaucracy of the Philippines and the Japanese government. It was a humble coincidence that I was elected as the governor of the province in 2001 when the project started in 2002. I look forward with the signing of the contract which I worked hard. But I change my mind to sign the loan agreement, instead allow my predecessor with my full consent and knowledge.  This project was beyond politics because I believe the key to investing poverty is though their stomach, the governor said.

The project components are irrigation and drainage, rural infrastructure improvement, schistosomiasis control, agricultural support services and institutional development.

With the completion of the project, the province will no longer spend millions of pesos just to buy rice from other parts of the country since we will be able to produce our own rice and our farmers will directly benefit and economic development will spur the area.  (PIA Northern Samar)





Only 59% of Samar households have sanitary toilets; 81% have access to water

By PIA Samar
June 8, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Samar’s newly elected leaders are challenged with this health and sanitation data.

In the record of the Samar Integrated Provincial Health Office, it revealed that only some 59% of Samar province households have sanitary toilets.

The data was culled from the IPHO records in calendar year 2009.

There is an improvement though, on scrutiny, comparing the two consecutive years, in 2008, only 51% of the 100,193 households in Samar have sanitary toilets then, commonly called as comfort rooms or ‘CR’. A difference of 7,451 was noted.

This area remains problematic, according to IPHO reports.

As regards access to water, IPHO reported that some 81% of the total households in Samar have access to safe water.

Some municipalities like Paranas, Sta. Rita, Pinabacdao, Villareal and and Sto. Niño use sodium hypochlorite (hyposal) to purify water.

The mentioned municipalities are beneficiaries of a water and sanitation project of WHO, PCWS, DOH and the Italian Government which benefited at least some 112,212 households from the project.

Hyposol is a water disinfectant used in raw and contaminated water. It is aimed to provide households with useful and practical approach to water quality to prevent onslaught of diseases that may afflict them when ingesting unsafe water.

Meanwhile in a press release given by NSO-Samar, it said that in the national scene, one in four poor families have no sanitary toilets or some 25%.



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