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DPWH bans putting names or pictures of officials in project billboards

Accounts Com chair Bem Noel prioritizes health programs to Waray provinces

Food producers and processors enrich Samar Day celebration

Anti-drugs campaign in Eastern Samar continues: Gov. Nicart strongly supports buy-bust and retrieval operations of cocaine

They should run for Governor not Board Members or apply at the Ombudsman or COA, says Gov. Tan

Leyte vice-gov is new chairperson of Vice-Governors League of RP

Samar Vice-Governor welcomes NNC, vows support to the nutrition program

Leyte legislators to conduct media interaction after every session

Leyte SP passes resolution to postpone Barangay, SK elections

Calbayog Mayor assumes office, vows rewards for good performance, mulls hospital construction





Mining exploration permits should remain within bounds, says Leyte guv

By Provincial Media Relations Center
August 17, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said they do not stand in opposition to applications for mining explorations in several Leyte towns that currently sits with the regional office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

The requirement however, the governor said, such activity would remain only as an “exploration” and not full “commercial mining”.

The latter, he said, would need to have the full consent and support of people involved particularly the residents of the community.

“We do not oppose mining explorations as long as the companies would operate within the stipulations and condition of the exploration permit granted and they have not started full mining operation in the area,” Gov. Petilla said.

This he declared amid calls from various sectors in the province to defer the approval of mining exploration permit applied for by at least four mining companies to explore possible mineral deposits in a number of Leyte towns.

For the part of the province, the governor said, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Leyte has already launched inquiry into the said applications and has even a pending schedule for another consultative meeting with mining companies applying for permits with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

He also lauded the efforts of the lawmakers of the province in appraising the situation and their intent to craft a resolution as regards mining in the province of Leyte after these consultative meetings.

The new schedule for a consultative meeting is set this August 17.

The provincial board is set on having a thorough knowledge on the mining activities that these companies are set to conduct before passing a resolution endorsing the mining exploration application.

Being summoned by the provincial board to appear this August 17 are Oregon Mining and Development Corp. and Lazarus Mining Corp., two of the three mining companies with pending application permits for offshore exploration in the first and second districts of Leyte.

Northern Access Mining, Inc. (NAMI) already made its appearance during the first consultative meeting held last July 27.

These companies are applying for exploration of magnetite sand and other associated mineral deposits in the northern part of Leyte’s coastal areas covering Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel and Babatngon.

Several members of the Provincial Board expressed unease over the proposed offshore explorations especially in the municipalities facing Carigara Bay as they learned from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that Carigara Bay is declared as a marine sanctuary and being such would not allow large-scale fishing and large-scale mining.





DILG calls for SK abolition, election of youth representative during barangay polls on Oct. 25

August 17, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has submitted a proposed bill to Malacañang, calling for the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan and the subsequent election of a youth representative during the barangay elections on October 25, 2010.

DILG-8 Regional Director Francisco C. Jose revealed that Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has proposed for the repeal of Section 423 to 439 of the Local Government Code that will in effect totally abolish the Katipunan ng Kabataan or the SK., and the amendment of Section 387 (a) and 390 of the same Code to include a youth representative in the barangay who shall be elected at large by the youth aged 15 years old but less than 18 years old during the barangay elections.

Secretary Robredo saw the need to abolish the SK council since it has not proven itself to be functional and effective in delivering its services under the Local Government Code.

It was explained that this will not deprive the youth of their voice in the Barangay but would instead strengthen the position of the youth since its representative will be a regular member of the barangay council and no longer an ex-officio member.

The SK abolition will not only save the government approximately P3.5-billion in election expenses, but this is also in line with the government’s judicious streamlining of functions and services at the barangay level.

Dir. Jose said that the bill proposes the holding of the synchronized barangay and youth representative elections as scheduled on October 25, 2010, and the next barangay and youth representative elections shall be held simultaneously with the local elections on May 2013 and every year thereafter.

The bill also amends Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9164 stating that the initial term of office of the youth representative shall be two years and eight months which is from November 30, 2010 to June 30, 2013 and every three years from June 30, 2013.

Further, it states that no barangay elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in the same position, while a youth representative shall only serve a single term.

In the said bill, the term of office of the barangay and representative officials that shall be elected on October 25 this year shall commence on November 30, 2010, while those elected in subsequent elections shall commence at noon of June 30 following their elections.

The bill includes holding of a special and continuing registration of voters for the youth representative to be fixed by the Commission on Elections, while subsequent registration of youth representative voters shall be governed by RA 8189.  (DILG-Office of Public Affairs)





Major facilities on the rise at the Government Center

By Provincial Media Relations Center
August 17, 2010

PALO, Leyte  –  The provincial government of Leyte is undertaking major infrastructure projects at the Government Center in Palo, Leyte which are part of the province’s long-term development plan for the said province-owned property  to become an alternative business and leisure hub in the region.

Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said during the weekly media forum Harampang ha PIA the two facilities are the 2,500 square meter building and a 5,000 square meter 1,500 capacity convention center.

The new building to be constructed would form part of the call center APAC Customer Service Inc.’s expansion while the convention center is the province’s answer to the need for bigger and better facility for national conventions and gatherings.

The provincial government is determined to provide more space for APAC's expansion to ensure that the company would continue to generate jobs for residents of Leyte and the region as a whole. APAC presently occupies the former Leyte Academic Center Gymnasium which the company has transformed into a modern-edged facility typical among call center locators.

With the 2,500 square meters additional office space APAC is asking, it could house at least 600 more call center agents, Gov. Petilla revealed. Already, with the present operations, APAC employs at least a thousand employees since it started.

The province, the governor added, is also preparing for more available space for other call center locator to the Leyte ICT Park.

The convention center would be located between the food chain Andok’s located at the Leyte ICoT Park and the office of the National Food Authority (NFA). Presently, the said area is being filled out to even the ground surface with the highway.

The convention center, on the other hand, is designed to seat 1,500 people which can be divided into three areas depending on the size of the event that would be held there.

Gov. Petilla said this project go hand in hand with the rehabilitation works at the McArthur Park Beach Resort being done by a private conglomerate.

The convention center project is now on its bidding process it was learned, but the province eyes its completion within the year.





Lady solon says: there is no constitutional prohibition for divorce law

August 16, 2010

QUEZON CITY  –  Amid revival of yet another controversial issue, the re-filing of a divorce bill, Cong. Janette L. Garin of the 1st District of Iloilo arise to say that there is no constitutional prohibition on the passage of divorce law in the country.

“If our Muslim brothers are granted the right to avail divorce under Presidential Decree 1083, why can’t our Christian brothers avail of the same right?” laments Rep. Garin.

Rep. Garin however emphasized that the issue here is on the propriety and wisdom of passing the law, which depends solely with the legislature.

According to Rep. Garin the sanctity of marriage as an inviolable social institution should be preserved, this preservation on the other hand, can still be maintained even with the passage of divorce law, provided that the law should provide stringent and exclusive grounds.

Rep. Garin explains, “reality would tell us that there are married couples who had been separated de facto for say, ten years, so why insist on the legal existence of the marriage that is no longer working?”  She added, “in this instance, divorce is proper.”  She further said, “when wives are repeatedly battered by their husbands, but could not end her ties with him because there is no available ground for her to end the relationship, legislation should come in.”

“If the grounds provided for in the divorce law is clear, reasonable, stringent and exclusive, to the effect that irreparable damage was caused to the marriage and that the reconciliation between the married couple is highly improbable, I feel responsible to say “aye” to the passage of the divorce law and rely on the good faith of the judiciary the grant or denial of the petition,” Rep. Garin concluded.





Samar governor to pursue concreting of Paranas-San Jose de Buan road

August 16, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan promised to fund the 38.5 San Jose de Buan-Paranas road.

During her first press conference on Wednesday (August 11) Tan reacted to questions regarding her plans about the worst condition of provincial roads in Samar specifically the Pagsanghan-Gandara road. The youthful governor promised the Samarnons that she will pursue concreting these roads to usher economic activities and also to address insurgency.

However, the governor said that it will take some P141 M to truly rehabilitate and concretize the 38.5 road stretch.

With the budget still being scrutinized by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) majority bloc, Tan said that every year she will allot some P10 M from the province’s 20% development fund.

The project, assured Tan will be done slowly as the fund needed is big but the project will be pushed steadily.

“The road network will also lead to Northern Samar to spur economic growth in the area,” Tan told the media.

“This way, we will somehow solve, insurgency and agricultural products will easily be transported,“ she added.

It will be recalled that during a visit of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Mayor Mila Rebato sought the help of the President to help them repair the ‘hellish’ road.

In that instance, Sharee Ann Tan who was still then a member of congress promised to allocate some funds for an immediate repair, but Buananons claim the repair was unfinished.

As to the present situation, now as Samar governor, Tan stressed that negotiations are going on with the majority bloc so that they can meet halfway in the approval of the budget, so that her administration can push for the developmental projects she has eyed upon as the new governor.

Presently, Tan said that the provincial government is operating on a re-enacted budget. That is why she and the Vice-Governor is pursuing negotiations for the SP members to approve the new budget.

She assured the Samarnons, listening to the proceedings of the presscon that she will not force the majority block but will deal with them using ‘diplomasya’ in the words Vice-Governor Stephen Tan.  (PIA-Samar)





DILG bans names, photos on firetrucks, police vehicles

August 16, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Following President Noynoy Aquino’s directive not to advertise his name or picture in government programs and projects, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has prohibited the use of names and images of officials in billboards and signages of DILG programs and projects, including those on fire trucks, ambulance vans and police vehicles.

DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said all heads of DILG operating units, including DILG-attached agencies should refrain from putting up billboards, signages and other similar information materials bearing the names and images of personalities, including him and the President, on DILG projects.

“Revisit previous projects and see to it that billboards, tarpaulins and signages for DILG projects do not emblazon the name or image of any government personality or politician,” Robredo said in a Circular he issued on Wednesday.

“Do the same for DILG properties such as firetrucks, ambulances and vehicles,” the DILG secretary further stated.

Robredo issued the order to comply with the President’s directive to all Cabinet members, heads of agencies and instrumentalities and government-owned or controlled corporations during the 4th Cabinet Meeting to refrain from associating the President’s personality and identity to their programs and projects

“The practice of putting up billboards and signages bearing the names of government officials and even politicians does not sit well among our citizenry who are the major contributors in financing government undertakings, through the payment of their respective taxes,” said Robredo.

Aside from providing firetrucks, ambulances, and vehicles, DILG oversees projects for waterless municipalities, road users’ tax, and other high-impact programs connected with attaining the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  (DILG-Office of Public Affairs)





Gov Icot says RDC East Visayas must prioritize IT, tourism, energy

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 15, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  If chosen as the Chairman of the Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said that he will propose for the prioritization of Information Technology, tourism and energy in the Region’s development plan.

Leyte Governor Icot Petilla

“I use to have a two-point agenda. Number one is IT, converting Eastern Visayas as an IT destination because we are already there, we already have an edge. And then, tourism.

Governor Petilla said that he added another one which has got to do with energy. He refused to elaborate, however as this is still in the negotiating tables.

“I added another which has some to do with energy. I don’t want to reveal it at this point. This is something big. I don’t even know if this is within my capabilities because it is huge… I think it is… it entails a lot of work…but it has something to do with energy,” Governor Petilla said.

Governor Petilla however, intimated that he has a meeting with Energy Secretary Rene Almendras in Manila on August 11 and on August 12 with consultants of syndicating-institutions. He clarified that syndicating institutions means those who source fund for big projects.

“I have asked Board Member Roque Tiu to come with me because he is a lawyer… this is an ambitious undertaking, but I think this is very good for us,” Governor Petilla added.

“The province now hosts a call center company and small BPOs and I want to expand its reach to other parts of the region,” Petilla said.

Governor Petilla added that one of his thrusts is the development of tourism industry in the region since Eastern Visayas is part of the tourism corridor as declared by the previous administration.

Just like IT, tourism creates jobs and that’s an added point if we focus its development here in the region,” Petilla stressed.

Governor Petilla clarified that while focusing on IT, Tourism and Energy, the RDC which he hopes to lead will also give priority on agriculture.

“I’m not saying that I’m not going to touch on agriculture. In fact, I have been consistent in my programs in the province because we need to sustain food sufficiency and security. I understand that Eastern Visayas is mainly an agricultural region, so it is a must that we also develop this sector,” Governor Petilla said.





Leyte gov confirms APAC request for 2,500 sq m office spaces for 600 call center agents

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 15, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla confirmed that a memorandum of agreement has been signed by the Provincial Government of Leyte and APAC for the Provincial Government to provide another 2,500 square meter office space for its expansion plans.

The provincial government is set to provide more space for APAC’s expansion to ensure that the company would continue to generate jobs for residents of Leyte and the region as a whole, Governor Petilla told the local media during the Harampang Ha PIA media forum at Gerry’s Grill on August 10, 2010.

With the 2,500 square meters additional office space APAC is asking, it could house at least 600 more call center agents, Gov. Petilla revealed. Already, with the present operations, APAC employs at least a thousand employees since it started.

The governor said that the province immediately has to go straight to the drawing board for the ICT Park’s growth to ensure that the job market as a result of APAC’s expansion would benefit jobseekers from Leyte and Eastern Visayas provinces.

However, the Governor said that he would rather that the private sector follow what the provincial government has started.

“We showed them how to do it, the private sector must then take it from there,” Governor Petilla said.

APAC presently occupies the former Leyte Academic Center (LAC) Gymnasium that sits on a 3,000-square meter site and was turned into a high-end call center facility when APAC located and finally opened early this year.

APAC officials have earlier revealed that their Leyte site would only be the start of the company’s five-year expansion in the country where 80% of its growth will be in the provinces.

This is still part of the province of Leyte’s vision to become an alternative hub for provincial expansion of BPO and ICT players because of its existing fiber optic connections, a good education system with 5,000 to 8,000 graduates every year, and incentives from the local government.

The BPO and ICT Industry is known as the “Sunrise Industry” of the country due to the fact that this industry has brought in millions of dollars in investment from foreign companies, while creating several thousand jobs in the process.

The governor likewise said that with ICT coming in, expansion of both upstream and downstream industries like telecommunications, food, real estate, construction, electronics, transportation, entertainment and lifestyle businesses, is seen.

During the recently held press conference on the regional economic performance of Eastern Visayas in 2009, NSCB Region 8 Head Evangeline Paran and NEDA 8 Director Buenaventura Go-Soco, Jr., cited the big contribution of BPO in Leyte towards the Region’s poverty alleviation and employment generation goals.





DILG Secretary proposes Performance Challenge Fund for LGUs

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 15, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Department of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo is proposing the Performance Challenge Fund for Local Government Units (PC Fund), Leyte Board Member Roque A. Tiu informed.

Board Member Tiu said that the DILG Secretary intimated his proposal during the recently concluded orientation seminar of the members of the faculty of the Mayors Development Center, Inc. of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

The Performance Challenge Fund for Local Government Units (PC Fund) is an incentive fund to LGUs in the form of counterpart funding to high-impact capital investment projects in the Annual Investment Program and funded the 20% Development Fund consistent with national priorities.

It shall seek to rationalize national government inter-governmental transfers to LGUs, and encourage alignment of local development initiatives with national government development agenda and priorities.

The PC Fund shall be open to all provinces, cities and municipalities awarded with the Seal of Good Housekeeping provided that the LGU shall allocate counterpart fund to implement capital investment projects aligned with the national development agenda and priorities.

The LGUs may be targeted based on income class or alternative indicators of fiscal need like income/IRA per capita, poverty incidence, or level of LGU. Coverage will be limited by the volume of grants that are sizeable enough to be attractive to the targeted LGUs.

The PC Fund aims to recognize good governance performance particularly in the adoption of “good housekeeping” governance areas of planning, budgeting, revenue mobilization, financial management and budget execution, procurement, and resource mobilization.

It also seeks the improvements in LGU performance by linking incentives/financial grants with performing LGUs based on an established set of requirements and condition; encourages alignment local development programs with national development goals and priorities; and stimulate LGU and private sector investments in sectors prioritized by the national government.

The Proposal is currently posted at the DILG website for those interested to browse and to give their comments.





Hilongos LGU airs protests over SAG quarrying operations

August 14, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  A group of barangay residents and farmers from Hilongos, Leyte led by its Municipal Mayor, Hon. Jose Emery Fulache Roble, united themselves in meeting top executives of the DENR in the region to oppose the Sand and Gravel Industrial Permit Application (SAG-IPA) of Chandran Rama and the present SAG quarrying operations along Salog River in that municipality.

RD de dios said the protest of the LGU over the SAG-IP application of Chandran Rama is pre-mature.

In the first place, the application will not be approved without the favorable endorsements from the Barangay Council/s and the Sangguniang Bayan of Hilongos, Director De Dios said.

On the SAG quarrying operations along Salog River, RD de Dios said that under the law, he can summarily suspend a mining operation if public interest is at stake.

“Our Office will do what it can with its available resources. Other stakeholders have to pitch in and MGB will be right there to make sure that all legitimate issues and concerns of the people are considered and addressed,” Director De Dios said.

“What the Barangay and LGU can do right now is to properly document the SAG quarrying operations in their respective areas as they are permanent members of the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT).”

“They should also police all illegal SAG extraction in these areas, which not only deprive the government from taxes, but likewise, become the source of corruption by local officials.”

“Our technical personnel have even personally observed these illegal extractions and hauling of SAG materials along Tagbaoto & Salog River in Hilongos, and our task force has apprehended trucks loaded with SAG materials owned by the LGU of Hilongos in the past,” Director De Dios added.

On the other hand, Mayor Roble said that he will lobby for the cancellation of all SAG quarrying permits in Hilongos as the monthly tax derived from their operation is not sufficient compared to the environmental damage it has caused.

Hilongos, Leyte is one of the suppliers of sand and gravel materials in Bohol and Cebu Islands.  (MGB8 / PIA 8)




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