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Gandara Mayor posts bail for gun ban violation

Mining exploration permits should remain within bounds, says Leyte guv

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





2 dead as a passenger bus fell on a mountainside in Maasin City

August 24, 2010

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The emergency room at the Salvacion Oppus Yñiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital (SOYMPH)  became a beehive of activity as many passengers injured in a bus crash accident were rushed here this morning.

Initial sketchy reports received by PIA this morning disclosed that a bus, named Honor 2, was full of passengers when it fell off a cliff in barangay Sta. Cruz, an upland village, while on its way to the city proper from barangay Libertad.

It was learned that Police, firemen rescue units, and paramedics were already at the crash site when PIA received a text message from Angie Book, correspondent of Southern Leyte Times, a local weekly.

The accident, sources said, reportedly happened around 8:00 to 9:00 o’clock this morning.

Barangay Sta. Cruz is located directly above barangay San Rafael or Bantig, an interior, upland barangay which is about 15 kilometers away from the city proper to the north.

According to Police officer Renato Cervantes, quoting the driver, Lonie Paloma, the steering wheel of the vehicle malfunctioned, and he lost control just as he negotiated a curved portion of the mountain road turning right, and so it fell about 25 to 30 feet deep down.

As this report was written, the driver is now at the San Rafael Police station for further inquiry, Cervantes said, while his injuries were treated at the the Rural Health Unit office in that barangay.

He identified the two fatalities as Anita Meneses, from barangay Libertad, and Porferio Serito, Jr. from barangay San Agustin, both mature adults with ages not yet known as of the moment.

At the SOYMPH, survivors were treated for their cuts and wounds in the head, faces, and other parts of the body.

A child by the nickname Jayvee, 7 years old, miraculously survived unscathed, save perhaps the traumatic experience of tumbling with the falling bus at least four times down a mountain slope.  Other children suffered bruises in arms and legs.

Most stories narrated by survivors said that around 30 passengers were riding on the ill-fated bus, but the vehicle was also heavy as it was loaded with sacks of dried copra at the top and inside, to be sold at the copra buyer in the city.

Emiliana, one of the passengers with sacks of copra cargo, said she intended to sell the copra to pay for the school needs of her children.

She is being treated for head and face injuries, while in the meantime wondering and awaiting word on how to go about selling the copra which is still stucked together with the fallen bus at the crash site.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





Samar PSWDO requests the transfer of Social Welfare Development Funds to her office

August 24, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer of Samar, Ms. Luz Tacal, requests that the Social Welfare Development Funds amounting to Thirteen Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php13,500,000.00) be transferred from the Office of the Governor to the PSWDO. The request was aired during the deliberations conducted by the Committee on Finance and Appropriations and the Commitee on Laws where the Department Heads were invited to defend the appropriated programs included in the Annual Investment Plan of their respective agencies in the provincial government of Samar.

Samar Social Welfare Officer Luz Tacal (left) telling the committee about the non availability of social funds in her office during the previous administration.

In attendance during the said hearing were Dr. Cernal, Dr. Mabulay and Ms. Luz Tacal, as well as the members of the Local Finance Committee. According to Ms. Tacal, she's appealing for the transfer of the said appropriations to her agency to ensure a better delivery of services to their clients.

Tacal mentioned of the following appropriations: Livelihood - P1 million; Scholarship grants - P7 million; Financial Assistance - P3 million; Day Care Services - P1 million; Maintenance of the Women & Children Protection Unit (WCPU) and ATIP Centers - P1 million; and Capability Building, wards and trainings of Staff and employees - P500 thousand. "These are essential services, but we cannot maximize its implementation because under the present budget, the funds are under the Social Funds of the governor." explained Ms. Tacal.

Samar PSWDO is one of the most criticized agencies in the province for its inability to effectively respond to the social needs of the Samareños. The Office has been observed to be ineffective in implementing socio-economic programs because of their inability to access funds. Most financial aids are coursed through the governor and the beneficiaries are not properly identified.

The Committee has noted on the request and commented on the status of the various programs that the PSWDO has undertaken in the past years. Hon. Sermense commented on the meager funds appropriated for the social services compared to other programs. "How can people uplift their living conditions when their needs are not prioritized? There is a need to intensify the livelihood programs and yet, look at the appropriations? Will it be enough to help the Samarnons?" were a few of the questions raised by Sermense.

The Committee is now preparing a report based on the observations and findings and is due for submission on the next session. The approval or the disapproval of the Annual Investment Plan and the Annual Budget will be dependent on the committee report.





Ombudsman: No injustice ex-cop's case

Press Release
By Office of the Ombudsman
August 24, 2010

QUEZON CITY  –  The Office of the Ombudsman maintains that there was no injustice in the case of P/SInsp Rolando Mendoza.

In a press statement, Assistant Ombudsman Jose T. de Jesus, Jr. explained that Mendoza and the other respondents filed their motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Decision, dismissing them from the service, beyond the 10-day period. Despite this, Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) Emilio Gonzalez III accepted the MR and assigned it to a new investigator so he can have a fresh look into the case.

The OMB-MOLEO resolved the motion and submitted it to the Office of Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez. The case is at present undergoing review by the lawyers at the Ombudsman Gutierrez’ office for their recommendation until this unfortunate incident occurred yesterday.

As the crisis was on-going last night, Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno met with Ombudsman Gutierrez to relay Mendoza’s demands. According to Moreno, Mendoza wanted that the case against him be dismissed and he be reinstated. Moreno then called Mendoza for him to be able to talk to Ombudsman Gutierrez. The Ombudsman in turn and assured him that she will personally look into the case, and that it will be resolved within 10 days. After the meeting, Ombudsman Gutierrez immediately ordered the lawyer reviewing the case to turn over the case folder to her.

Moreno asked the Ombudsman to write a formal letter confirming their conversation which he brought to Mendoza.

Mendoza, PInsp Nelson Lagasca, SPO1 Nestor David, PO3 Wilson Gavino and PO2 Roderick Lopena, all of the Manila Police District were charged with robbery, extortion, grave threats and physical injuries before the Internal Affairs Service of the Phil. National Police (PNP) by one Christian Kalaw.

In his complaint, Kalaw stated that on 09 April 2008, while his car was parked along Vito Cruz St., corner Taft Ave., Gavino and Lopena approached and while standing in front of his car told that he parked on a ‘No Parking area”. The two then accused him of being a drug user, conducted illegal search of his car, and took the P3,000.00 placed on the ashtray of his car.

He also stated that when the police officers found that he has a BPI ATM card, he was ordered to give his ATM pin and car and they tried to withdraw from his account.

He also stated that he was brought to the Ospital ng Maynila for a medical check-up, and while at the parking lot, David and Lopena grabbed his neck and forced him to swallow a suspected “shabu”. Kalaw also claimed that the respondents were demanding P200,000.00 “or this will be at the Fiscal's Office in the morning”. He said one of his friends gave him the amount of P20,000.00 which he gave to Gavino.

They were initially reassigned to ARMM, and subsequently preventively suspended for 90 days on the ground that the charges against them were serious and evidence of guilt was strong.

Then Kalaw’s father went to DO Gonzalez pleading that the Office of the Ombudsman take over the case because they feared for their lives, after the wife of Mendoza herself went to their house and delivered to them a copy of the summon reportedly coming from the PNP.

This prompted DO Gonzalez to ask the PNP to turn over the records of the case to this Office for administrative adjudication.





Persons with Disabilities receive assistive devices from Leyte province

By Provincial Media Relations Center
August 23, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  More than 80 persons with disabilities were given new comforts by the provincial government of Leyte through some new assistive devices such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes distributed personally by Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla during the culmination program of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.

The provincial government has been consistent in providing assistance for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) both for physical comfort and some livelihood training.

During this year’s National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, the Federation of Disabled Persons of Leyte Inc. (FEDPELI) held their Culmination Program after a weeklong celebration held later than the declared third week of July celebration for persons with disabilities.

Gov. Petilla said that persons with disabilities in the province would always be given support by the provincial government.

“There’s no reason why they should be treated differently. We should treat them as equals. That’s why, whenever there is an opportunity for them to excel and give their best, we help in providing for such opportunity,” Gov. Petilla said.

The province, as has become a tradition, provided assistive devices to identified beneficiaries, all suffering from physical disabilities.

FEDPELI, together with the supervision of the Provincial Social Welfare Office, also held a Sports Olympics participated by differently-abled persons from all over the province held the Leyte Sports Development Center.

Winners in the different sports such as swimming, basketballs and many others also received individual cash prizes.

This year’s National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week carried the theme: “Sa Istrakturang Accessible, Lahat ay Able (Accessible Structure, Everyone is Able).”

The NDPR Week was originally declared by Proclamation No. 1870, on June 22, 1978. It was amended on August 19, 2000, to recognize Apolinario Mabini, the Sublime Paralytic, whose disabilities did not hinder him from contributing to the Philippine Revolution.

This year's observance aims to stimulate public awareness and support for disability issues and concerns that will strengthen the involvement of various government and non-government organizations, PWDs themselves, and the media.

The observance seeks to develop and strengthen cooperation among agencies of the government to take active responsibility in uplifting the economic and social condition of the sector of persons with disabilities, to serve as a vehicle of information for programs being implemented by government agencies, and to forge a strong partnership among all sectors of society for better understanding of disability issues and concerns.





In defense of the people against Oplan Bantay Laya: NPA offensive in Catarman victorious, more to come

Press release
By Efren Martires Command, NPA-EV
August 22, 2010

The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army in Eastern Visayas hailed today the NPA's successful tactical offensive against the Philippine National Police within the provincial capital of Catarman, Northern Samar on the morning of August 21. "Initial reports state that the NPA punished village councilor Rolando de Guia for espionage in Brgy. Imelda, Catarman, about a kilometer from the town proper," said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. "Expected enemy reinforcements were then ambushed by the people's army, who used command-detonated explosives (which are manually set off) to disable their vehicle. At least eight police elements were killed in action, including Sr. Insp. Nicasio San Antonio, Catarman deputy police chief. The NPA also confiscated at least seven pistols and four M16 rifles."

Manuel belied the claims by Sr. Supt. Vicente Loot, PNP deputy regional director for operations, that the policemen were not on combat operations and that the NPA captured and then executed them. "Regular forces of the police and military are clearly legitimate targets for NPA tactical offensives. As can also be seen from the weapons taken from them, the policemen were heavily-armed and battle-ready and were accordingly killed in action. Moreover, the NPA always gives enemy combatants the chance to surrender if they could no longer fight. The NPA abides by international humanitarian law in respecting the rights of captured enemy combatants as well the hors d' combat. Wounded enemy personnel are also taken care of by NPA medics. The PNP seems to be covering up its embarrassment because the NPA could carry out a tactical offensive within the provincial capital and close to the town proper at that."

The NPA-EV said that the Catarman tactical offensive and more to come are the NPA's answer to the Aquino regime's extension of Oplan Bantay Laya. "The people are suffering from economic hardships, but the Aquino regime remains indifferent to the peace talks that should be discussing socio-economic reforms. Instead, the Aquino regime is extending Oplan Bantay Laya, which has been widely condemned for

political killings and other attacks on innocent civilians. Thus the NPA is defending the people and delivering the message to the Aquino regime that Oplan Bantay Laya and any other plan of fascist state terrorism will be defeated. The NPA will be launching even more tactical offensives in fighting to strategically raise the level of the people's war in the next five years."

Roy Santos, NDF-EV Media Officer,





Gov. Tan willing to compromise, sluggish committee hearing process criticized

August 22, 2010

CALBAYOG CITY  –  While the committees (laws & legal matters and budget & appropriations) with the presence of concerned government agencies are halfway scrutinizing the items enumerated in the 2010 budget, minority members of the legislative body doesn’t seem to recognize its importance.

In the recent press conference initiated by the governor, she said that she was amenable to the budget created by her mother, now Samar 2nd District Rep. Milagrosa Tan as she perceived it to be in consistent with the programs and projects of her administration.

In fact, she underscored her willingness to discuss the immediate passage of the budget with the majority and very enthusiastic to make compromises. “Gusto ko makig-istoryahan majority board members kay mayda ako liwat igpapahamtang nga mga amendments. Kay kun mag-utro pa ngani, it will take time. Nanhihinayang ako han panahon nga nakaghatag na kunta kita serbisyon gadto han katawhan. Now, back to zero na liwat kita. Why not ipasayon an mga butang? Diri na ma undergo another process na naman,” she stressed.

Aside from the lady governor, both Vice-Governor Stephen James Tan and ABC Pres. Joseph Escober were becoming impatient of the situation, stipulating that said budget had undergone hearings attended by each department; been accompanied by its Annual Investment Plan (AIP) duly approved by the Provincial Development Council.

Provincial Legal Officer Anastacio Yong added that the budget submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is an unfinished business. It would be unreasonable for the majority to presume things – doubting the intentions of the governor in parallel with the previous administration.

Apart from the 2010 budget, Governor Tan was also expecting that she be given a “blanket authority” to enter into contract with any agencies in behalf of the province. But the majority members appear to be evasive in not granting such request.

Based on her statements last Samar Day, while she was not given an authority, the DOH grant for P17M for Calbayog District Hospital, P3M for the Samar Provincial Hospital and P17.8M for Basey Hospital respectively, would not be received.

In disparity with the Tan and Escober’s intolerance was the declared optimism of Board Member Juan Latorre when he asked a considerable forbearance from his slate.

“Ini yana nga gin-gagamit nga re-enacted budget han 2009-2010, diri iton kasal-anan han yana nga SP. Sala iton han una. Kay an una, allergic hin budget making. Ini yana, mga reasonable ini nga kaapi han SP. Diri ito tuod an mga sabi-sabi nga diri hira naruruyag nga aprubahan an budget. Wrong ito! Naruruyag iton hira. Lugod nagka conduct hin budget hearing kay bag-o pala hira nga set han SP. Tagi la kami han baga gutiay nga panahon kay matuhay ngani iton nga budget hearing issusumeter na ito han session ha SP. Ciento por ciento nga aaprubahan namon an 2010 budget kay nagsaragbot na kami han taga 1st district nga ira ig-iendosar an approval han budget. Kay amo la ito an solusyon han ngatanan nga problema, an approval han 2010 budget.”

The governor on the other hand justified her definition of “employment agency” which she refers to the provincial capitol. With the non-passage of the 2010 budget, the administration would just be appropriating the PS with no output or non-implementation of the programs and projects since the 2008 re-enacted budget being utilized by the province would not be enough to subsidize every undertaking.

“All the programs and projects nga incorporated in the 20% development fund, diri naton ma re-release. Meaning, PS na la an aton mahahatag. So what’s the point of granting them salaries? Asya kita magsusweldo kay magtatrabaho hira! An question, hain an pundo para matrabaho nira an programa nga aton igpapaabot?”

Saddened by the present situation, she however has other alternative if the budget will not be approved – to lobby with any national agency tying-up her programs/projects utilizing the manpower of the provincial government.





PNP 8 chief denounces NPA’s devious killing of 8 Catarman policemen

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 22, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Police Chief Superintendent Arnold Rayala Revilla, Police Region 8 Director condemned the brutal killing of 8 Catarman police officers who were on their way to a call of duty, at about 8:30 in the morning of August 21, 2010 at Barangay Imelda, Catarman, Northern Samar.

Director Revilla informed that a PNP team led by the Deputy Chief of Police of the Catarman Municipal Police Station together with seven police officers were aboard a Toyota Hi Lux patrol car on their way to Barangay Imelda to conduct an investigation regarding the reported shooting and killing of a barangay kagawad in his residence by communists.

Suddenly, the team was waylaid by some forty communist terrorists with the use of a landmine. The patrol car was directly hit by the landmine wounding the policemen.

The communist terrorists were not contented, the wounded policemen were shot at repeatedly. With all the 8 policemen killed, the communist terrorists took the police firearms and personal belongings.

Director Revilla said that this violent incident perpetrated by the communist terrorists is a clear manifestation of the leftist rebels’ intent to carry out terroristic acts against civilians and government troops. Such devious acts show that they are violators of laws and enemies of the State and the peace-loving citizens. In brutally killing the eight Catarman police officers, the communists killed not only the victims’ dreams but also the dreams of their respective families and the community who trusted and believed in them.

Director Revilla called on all concerned citizens urging them to cooperate and help the police in their fight against the communist terrorists and other lawless elements in order to maintain and promote peace and order that will spur economic development in Region 8.





LGUs mobilized vs. dengue

August 22, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  With the reported rise in dengue fever cases in the country, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo called on all local chief executives to support the Department of Health (DOH) in its effort to contain the spread of the disease.

Robredo said there was a need for coordinated efforts among all concerned national government agencies and local government units to lessen the prevalence of the mosquito-borne disease.

Robredo issued Memorandum Circular 2010-78 last August 17 to all provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, and punong barangays calling for intensified information and education campaign on dengue fever and appropriate preventive and control measures.

He said local executives should enforce environmental sanitation such as dredging of clogged canals, esteros and other waterways; pruning thick bushes or tree branches; and removal or draining of receptacles containing stagnant water.

He also reminded local officials not to conduct indiscriminate fogging unless there was an outbreak of the disease in their areas.

DILG-8 Regional Director Francisco C. Jose appealed for local officials to coordinate with health authorities and take the lead in informing their constituents of ways to rid their surroundings of birthing places of mosquitoes carrying the dengue virus.

In Eastern Visayas, at least 5,090 dengue cases have been reported by end of July, with 65 deaths.  In Tacloban City alone there have been 1,279 reported cases with 19 deaths.  However all other towns and cities in the region have not been spared, with children the common victims.

The public should undertake self-protection measures such as wearing long-sleeved shirts, and pants and using mosquito nets at night and repellants during daytime. They should immediately consult a doctor in case they are experiencing symptoms of the disease,” said Secretary Robredo.

Some of the symptoms of dengue are sudden onset of high fever which may last from 2 to 7 days; joint and muscle pains including pain behind the eyes; weakness; skin rashes; nosebleeding; abdominal pain; vomiting of coffee-colored matter ;and having  dark-colored stools.

There are currently no vaccines for Dengue fever, a severe flu-like illness also called as breakbone fever.  (with the DILG-Office of Public Affairs)





Leyte SP calls on DENR MGB to review policy on granting exploration permits

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 22, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Leyte called the attention of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Mines and Geosciences Bureau to review the policy on the issuance of exploration permits.

Leyte BM Roque Tiu

Board Member Roque Tiu pointed out, during the first Summit for Stakeholders of the Mining Industry in Region 8 on August 19, that Exploration Permits are granted by the DENR-MGB without consultation with the Local Government Units, the Provincial Government, the City or Municipal Government and the Barangay governments.

This, he said is a violation against the autonomy of the Local Government Units as provided for in the Constitution and in RA 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code.

Section 2 on Declaration of Policy of Chapter 1 of the General Provisions of the Local Government Code states that: “(a) It is hereby declared the policy of the State that the territorial and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. Toward this end, the State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources. The process of decentralization shall proceed from the national government to the local government units.”

Board Member Tiu also brought to the attention of DENR-MGB, Paragraph (c) which provides that “It is likewise the policy of the State to require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units, non-governmental and people’s organizations, and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions.”

SEC.16 on General Welfare provides that “every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied there from, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.”

The Leyte Board Member also cited Section 26, Duty of National Government Agencies in the Maintenance of Ecological Balance, Chapter 3 of the Local Government Code, provides that “It shall be the duty of every national agency or government-owned or -controlled corporation authorizing or involved in the planning and implementation of any project or program that may cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of crop land, rangeland, or forest cover, and extinction of animal or plant species, to consult with the local government units, nongovernmental organizations, and other sectors concerned and explain the goals and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the people and the community in terms of environmental or ecological balance, and the measures that will be undertaken to prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof.”

Section 27 provides that “No project or program shall be implemented by government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with, and prior approval of the Sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Even the Environmental Code of Leyte provides for prior consent of the Sanggunian, Board Member Tiu said.

Board Member Tiu reacted on the speech of the MGB-8 Director saying that the Leyte SP is reversing the process. He said the SP Leyte received letters from Exploration Permit grantees which have been in the province for several years already, requesting for an audience with the Leyte SP so that they can individually present their companies.

What the Committee on Environment did was to set a date for all the Mining Companies to be able to make their presentations. Since the Committee have limited knowledge on mining, DENR-MGB, DA, Bureau of Fisheries and several NGO’s and media representatives were also invited.

To the surprise of those who attended the two consultative meetings, the mining companies has been conducting exploratory and research activities in the municipalities of the Province without knowledge of the LGUs. What is worse is that the MGB is blaming the LGUs when there are complaints about the activities.

The DENR officials headed by USec Jeremias Dolino assured Board Member Tiu and the LGU representatives present that they will raise this issue to the Central Office.

Board Member Tiu’s contention is that the DENR-MGB policies must not prevail over the laws of the country.



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