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Maslog town mayor yearns for rubber boats, evacuation center

DILG spearheads Climate Change Adaptation summit for LCEs, NGOs

Tacloban City declares state of calamity

Maslog mayor fears hunger in his town

Southern Leyte Solon seeks implementation of Republic Act 10121

MATA-Samar identifies anti-corruption activities for 2011

Calbayog City hosts this year’s EVRAA

Civilian survivors dismiss Salas’s statements as total lies

Use of landmines: globally prohibited

Data privacy measure to bolster PH's top rank in BPO – Romulo




Naval town mayor signs ordinance for a smoke-free municipality

January 25, 2011

NAVAL, Biliran  –  An ordinance passed and approved by the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Naval making the municipality as a smoke-free area was finally signed recently by Mayor Susan Parilla.

This was learned in a letter sent today by the lady mayor herself to the Philippine Information Agency, Biliran Provincial Information Center.

The letter indicated that one of the objectives of the local government unit (LGU) of Naval for a healthy environment for its residents is to promote Naval as a smoke-free municipality.

With the signing of the ordinance, Mayor Parilla informed that formal launching will be conducted on Monday, February 7, 2011 through a motorcade around poblacion Naval and the neighboring barangays of the municipality.

For his part, SB Member Gabino Velasquez, a medical doctor by profession and proponent of the ordinance said that the launching ceremony will be started with a flag ceremony at 7:30 in the morning at the Naval municipal grounds and this will be followed by a short program.  Key official of the municipality will deliver short messages to highlight the occasion.

Joining the launching ceremony and the motorcade are the officials and employees of the LGU-Naval, national government agencies based in Naval, private organizations and other civic organizations.

Balloons will be flown up in the skies to signal the start of the implementation of the smoke-free ordinance.

It was learned that early this year, an orientation on the salient features of the ordinance was conducted at the Naval SB session hall.  Said activity was attended by officials and representatives from the various concerned national government agencies, private organizations and businessmen here in Naval.

During the orientation, SB Member Velasquez explained the important provisions of the ordinance especially on the prohibitions in the selling of cigarettes in specific areas in the municipalities including its barangays.

He also discussed the dangers cigarettes bring to the smokers and the health risks of secondhand smoke.

He said, smoking could trigger to other diseases of the heart and blood vessels problems, cancer, lung problem and other health disorders.

Detailed discussions of the health hazards posed by smoking was given by Miss Queenie Amor, a nurse of the Biliran Provincial Hospital.

In order to saturate information about the provisions of the smoke-free ordinance up to the barangay level of the municipality of Naval, “Dok Gabby” as Dr. Gabino Velasquez III is fondly called by his friends and colleagues at the SB-Naval said they will conduct a massive information campaign regarding the ordinance so that it will be fully understood by everyone and no resistance will be observed.

“On Thursday, January 27, a symposium is scheduled at the Naval Statue University and this will be attended by the university students and faculty”, he said.

“Mayor Parilla will join with our group, the SB members and the speakers in this activity”, he added.





DENR Biliran prepares renewal of CSC for ISF

January 25, 2011

NAVAL, Biliran  –  More than 25 years after “kaingineros” were given the security of tenure by way of giving them the certificate of stewardship contracts (CSC) under the Integrated Social Forestry (ISF) program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), its Biliran provincial office has been evaluating these farmers and preparing for the renewal of their contracts some of which has expired in 2009.

Issuance of the the CSCs under the ISF program started in 1984 for 25 years of stewardship renewable if the tiller is found to be qualified.

Forester and designated coordinator of Community Based Forest Management Bonifacio Polinar of DENR-Biliran revealed in a telephone interview the 1,124 beneficiaries of the ISF program in the municipalities of Almeria, Cabucgayan, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, and Naval who are occupying a total of 1,879.8 hectares of forest lands.

These beneficiaries were once “kaingineros” whose lash-and-burn farming method destroyed the forest and environment, thus, impelled the agency to give them a long term security for 25 years on the lands they till to make them effective agents in food production and in the rehabilitation of forest lands.

The 25 years security of tenure for these “kaingineros” is provided in the Letter of Instructions (LOI) of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos dated July 28, 1982, recognizing the less privileged sectors of the society, the “kaingineros”, and other occupants of forest lands who could be effective partners of the state in economic development.

These farmers were then given capability building trainings, livelihood projects, seeds, and seedlings to meet the mandate of the law.  They were also allowed to utilize 20% the land they till for agricultural crops but 80% of it must be retained for forest trees.

Since DENR-Biliran is still waiting for the guidelines for the renewal of the CSCs, their office under PENRO Herminigildo Jocson, is now evaluating the qualified beneficiaries and the utilization of the lands.

Polinar stressed that CSC holders who abandoned the lands entrusted to them for stewardship are disqualified from renewing their contracts.  Also restricted from renewal are those whose areas were given up to the reforestation project of the DENR.





UP Visayas honors outgoing first woman university president

January 25, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas gave honors to its outgoing first woman president in a simple ceremony held Tuesday in UP Visayas-Tacloban Campus (UPVTC).

The top officials from the three campuses of UP Visayas in Miagao, Ilo-Ilo, Tacloban and some top officials from UP Diliman including the students of UPVTC witnessed the giving of honor to outgoing UP President Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman whose term will end in February this year.

UP President Roman is replaced by Alfredo E. Pascual who was elected by the UP Board of Regents (BOR) as the university’s 20th president.

Some selected top officials from the three UP Visayas campuses, a top official from UP Diliman and a student from UPVTC gave their thoughts and insights on the leadership, personality and their experiences with the outgoing UP president who served the institution for six years from 2005 to 2011.

The thoughts and insights expressed deeply touched the crowd present as it revealed personal encounters and observations and showed professional achievements and performances of the 19th UP president also known as the Centennial President.

Aside from the wonderful insights, the faculty and students of UPVTC gave their tribute through renditions of interpretative songs and dances.

UPVTC presented a token to Dr. Roman which is a portrait of the outgoing UP president and UP Miagao presented another token which is a painting of three women weaving fishnets depicting woman empowerment which symbolizes the quality of the outgoing UP president.

The UP Visayas community also gave a certificate of appreciation to the outgoing UP president for the substantial accomplishments she has contributed for the development and upliftment of the whole UP institution.





13 Leyteños, 2 of them minors, victimized by illegal recruiter

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 25, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Thirteen farmers from Tanauan and Palo, Leyte were victims of illegal recruitment. They are now at the PNP Police Station in Alitagtag, Batangas where they took refuge.

Former Barangay Chairman Eddie Mercado called up Leyte Board Member Roque Tiu in the late afternoon of January 24, informing him that two farmers from Barangay Tugop and 7 farmers from Barangay Lapay, both of Tanauan town, and 4 from Palo town were recruited to work in a sugarcane plantation at Alitagtag, Batangas, with a promised salary of P400 per day.

The Leyte farmers left a week ago and went to Alitagtag, Batangas where they found out that their salary was only P180 per day instead of the promised P400.

Board Member Tiu called up Ms. Lianda Bolilla, Executive Assistant at the Office of the Provincial Governor of Batangas, Honorable Vilma Santos, and wife of Batangas Board Member Caloy Bolillo, requesting her to check about the matter.

Ms. Bolillo called up to inform Board Member Tiu that the 13 farmers sought refuge at the Alitagtag Police Station as per information of the Chief of Police and the Batangas Provincial Police Director, who also furnished the names of the farmers.

Ms. Bolillo informed Board Member Tiu that the Alitagtag Police will take care of the farmers in the night of January 24. On January 25, the farmers will be brought to the Batangas Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office for assistance of their immediate needs and for their travel back home in Leyte.

The Batangas Provincial Police Director informed that he has already ordered his men to trace the recruiter.

The victims of illegal recruitment were identified as Teodulo B. Lopera, 48 years old; Machel S. Lopera, 20; Avelino G. Mercado, 48; Alfredo A. Mercado, 20; Ariel Mercado, 17; Elvin Albao, 23; Joseph L. Mendiola, 29; Jumbal H. Tondo, 15; Edgar C. Albao, 41, all from Tanauan, Leyte.

Meanwhile, Josefino R. Rebato, 50; Jomar R. Rebato, 27; Jonathan R. Rebato, 31 and Edwin Mongcal, 30, are from San Jose, Palo, Leyte.

Board Member Tiu said he was unable to contact the DOLE Regional Office in the evening of January 24 but said that he will contact the said office in the morning of January 25.





LGU-Naval discovers another tourist destination

January 24, 2011

NAVAL, Biliran  –  Another tourist attraction was discovered recently by the local government unit (LGU) of Naval in one of the barangays some two kilometers away from the town proper.

This was revealed by Mayor Susan Parilla in an interview with PIA.

She informed that they have identified Caraycaray River in Brgy. Caraycaray as very ideal for cruise because of its location, length and size.

“I have many plans to develop this  natural attraction so that more domestic and foreign tourists will come to the town of Naval to enjoy a beautiful experience in cruising along Caraycaray river”, Mayor Parilla said.

She added that part of the plan to is to put up cottages along the river sides where tourists and visitors can relax and enjoy sight-seeing.

She added that the LGU of Naval will allocate funds for the construction of the cottages which will be started soon.

In order to provide livelihood to the barangay folks living nearby, the lady mayor encouraged them to put up canteens and food stations so that food and snacks will be available to the tourists while enjoying their cruise.

As of now, Mayor Parilla informed, the LGU of Naval initially has acquired one motorized banca for use of guests and tourists.

For his part, Vice-Mayor Redentor Villordon, a lawyer by profession in an interview with PIA said, aside from the motorized banca owned by LGU-Naval, there are a number of motorized banca for hire owned by some residents living along Caraycaray river. “Owners of motorized banca charge a very low rent of P200 per trip”, he said.

It was learned from Vice-Mayor Villordon that Caraycaray river which has a length of two kilometers was opened for cruising to the public late last year.

“The beautiful scenery and the rich vegetation around the river makes cruising more exciting.  It’s really a touch of nature, and maybe this can only be found in Caraycaray river in the municipality of Naval’, he said further.

He likewise bared that Caraycaray River had also a place in history during the Japanese occupation.  Few kilometers away from the mouth of the river are traces that once, a watch tower was constructed by the Japanese forces to watch over their enemies and also guide them before reaching the shorelines of Brgy. Caraycaray.

“One can also go bird watching during late afternoons and early morning at the shorelines near the river mouth because the place is a favorite destination of a number of bird species where they pass the night away’, he said.

With this new tourist destination in Naval town, Mayor Susan Parilla together with Vice-Mayor Villordon and other LGU-Naval officials is inviting domestic and foreign tourist who love river cruising to visit and enjoy the place.





SELDA demands immediate passage of the Marcos victims compensation bill now, victims and kin dismayed over PNoy’s position

Press Release
January 24, 2011

MANILA  –  “It’s about time that the victims under the Marcos dictatorship are accorded a component of justice by recognizing the sacrifice they have made in fighting for the people’s rights and freedoms. The long-overdue measure in Congress seeking indemnification for the victims of Martial Law should be immediately passed. The presence of the Marcoses in both houses of Congress will not deter us from pursuing and demanding that justice and indemnification be served.”

Thus said Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Secretary General of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), as Martial Law victims, families and supporters led by SELDA, Karapatan, Bayan Muna, Desaparecidos, among others, conducted a picket protest today at the gates of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, in time for the meeting of principal authors of the five proposed bills in Congress on the Marcos indemnification.

Cabillas expressed support for the two measures filed by the progressive partylist bloc led by the Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casino.

“Several versions of House Bills 954 and 1693 have been filed by Bayan Muna since 2001 for the recognition and compensation of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship, but until now, a legislation that will render justice and compensation for the victims has yet to be enacted. Recently, the Hawaii court has announced its decision to distribute claims from a Marcos crony to the victims. It is a signal that the Phil. government should act now to pass the law, especially since many of the victims are very old, sick and dying,” he said.

Trinidad Herrera-Repuno, National Board member of SELDA and a torture victim under Martial Law, said that it has been more than two decades ago since the Marcos victims, led by SELDA, filed the class action suit against Marcos for crimes against humanity. In September 1992, the US Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539 Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims almost $2B for damages.  In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the then US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government, and in which the victims who filed the class suit in Hawaii be considered by the government in the release of the funds. Trinidad-Repuno is also one of the original plaintiffs in the Hawaii class suit.

The former urban poor leader said they are dismayed that Aquino has not prioritized the measure as an “urgent legislation,” despite his posturing and statements indicting his interest to compensate the victims.

“How serious really is Pres. Aquino in rendering justice for the victims? We demand that he declares the Marcos Victims Compensation measure as an urgent and priority legislation,” Trinidad-Repuno said.





Sen. Zubiri inaugurates P10-M UPVTC Ladies Dormitory

January 24, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri was here Monday morning for the inauguration of the P10-M worth Ladies Dormitory of the University of the Philippines Visayas-Tacloban Campus (UPVTC).

The P10-M funding for the construction of the UPVTC Ladies Dormitory came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Senator Zubiri.

The UPVTC Ladies Dormitory has 12 rooms with two comfort rooms and a spacious receiving area that can be utilized for studying and other activities of the students. Each room has four double deck beds that can accommodate eight students.

Senator Zubiri emphasized in his message the importance of the establishment of the facility in the campus which he said could be of great help in providing not only comfort, safety and security but as a conducive place for learning of the students.

He narrated how it would be staying in a dormitory as he stayed also in the dormitory of UP Los Baños during his college days and how it gave him the opportunity to learn life’s skills on his own.

Senator Zubiri said he is contemplating of building a men’s dormitory in UPVTC which he is now working with Congressman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of the First District of Leyte.

He mentioned also the contribution of JimJim Yaokasin for the electric fans and the floor tiles donated for the dormitory.

Meanwhile, Ma. Chrischelle A. Ferreras, a fourth year biology student of UPVTC, said she was deeply overwhelmed of the opportunity to be staying soon in a dormitory because this could give her an enjoyable college life with less hassles.

She said staying in the school’s dormitory would give her relief from paying the monthly payment for boarding house ranging from P700 to P2,000 and from influence of a bad environment experienced by some students while staying in boarding houses.

Ferreras also said staying in the school dormitory could lessen tardiness and parents will no longer worry as to the safety and security of their daughters studying in UPVTC.

“It’s a big blessing for us” Ferreras said imparting that they will take good care of the facility in exchange of the big opportunity given to her and other students from UPVTC who will be staying in the school’s ladies dormitory.

The inauguration and blessing of the UPVTC Ladies Dormitory was witnessed by UP President Emerlinda R. Roman and other UP officials and Board Member Roque Tiu of the 1st District of Leyte representing Leyte Governor Jericho Carlos L. Petilla.





DPWH 8 to strictly impose overloading provision of RA 8794 effective February 1

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 24, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 8 in coordination with the Philippine National Police 8 and the Land Transportation Office 8 will strictly enforce the overloading provision of Republic Act 8794, effective February 1, 2011.

Engineer Rolando Go of the DPWH Region 8 informed the Philippine Information Agency that the DPWH in the Region has been implementing Republic Act 8794 which is otherwise known as An Act Imposing a Motor Vehicle User’s Charge on Owners of All Types of Motor Vehicles and for other Purposes.

He said that the Agency is using a portable axle for weighing the trucks and trailers at San Juan, Santa Rita, Samar at the foot of the San Juanico Bridge. The platform weighing scale will require a large amount of funding before it could be repaired, the engineer added.

An oil company in the Region with several trucks that distribute oil in the Region, has already requested for the weighing of its vehicles to ensure that the same will not be overloaded, Engr. Go added.

The Advisory from the DPWH Central Office stated that movement of freight trucks and trailers whose axle loads exceed the allowable axle load of 13,500 kilograms or whose gross vehicle weight exceeds the maximum allowable, which ranges from 16,880 kilograms to 41,000 kilograms depending on the number and configuration of axles, are prohibited along national roads.

As provided by Article 1 Section 7 Paragraph C of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 8794, the LTO or its deputized officer shall require the owner of the truck or trailer which is loaded in excess of the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight to pay a penalty in the amount equivalent to twenty five percent (25%) of the MVUC applicable to the vehicle at the time of infringement , provided that the penalty shall be waived  for loads exceeding the gross vehicle weight by a tolerance of less than five percent , and that no vehicle shall be permitted to proceed on the roadway  if either a dual wheel axle load exceeds 13,500 kilograms or the vehicle exceeds 150% of the maximum  allowable GVW.

The maximum allowable gross vehicle weight per RA 8794 base of the maximum allowable axle load of 13,500 kilograms for trucks with 2 axles (6 wheels) is 16,880 kilograms; for truck with tandem rear axles (10 wheels), 27,250 kilograms; for truck with tandem rear axle 4 axles (14 wheels), 29,700 kilograms.

Furthermore, the maximum allowable gross vehicle weight for truck semi-trailer with 3 axles (10 wheeler), 30,380 kilograms; for truck semi-trailer with four axles (14 wheels), 30,380 kilograms; for truck semi-trailer with 5 axles (18 wheels), 37,800 kilograms; for truck-trailer with 2 axles at motor vehicle and 3 axles at trailer (18 wheels), 30,378 kilograms; for truck trailer with 2 axles at motor vehicle and 2 axles at trailer (14 wheels), 30, 378 kilograms; for truck-trailer with 2 axles at motor vehicle and 3 axles at trailer (18 wheels), 36,900 kilograms; for truck-trailer with 3 axles at motor vehicles and 3 axles at trailer (22 wheels), 41,000 kilograms;  for truck trailer with 3 axles at motor vehicle and 2 axles at trailer (18 wheels),  37,800 kilograms; and for truck-trailer with 3 axles at motor vehicle and 3 axles at trailer (22 wheels), 41,000 kilograms.





Military recovers M16 rifle in an encounter with NPAs at Catarman

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 24, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The elements of the 20th Infantry Battalion led by First Lieutenant Jonathan N. Sarausas recovered one M16 rifle in an encounter with more or less 30 members of the communist terrorists at the vicinity of Barangay McKinley, Catarman, Northern Samar.

Major General Mario Chan, commander of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Catbalogan City, informed that based on the report he received from the fields, the encounter took place at about 11:55 in the morning of January 23, 2011.

Major General Chan informed the Philippine Information Agency through a text message that the troops were on combat operations when the encounter took place.

No casualty on the part of the government troops was reported, Major General Chan said.

Even as he cited the government troops for a work well done, Major General Chan once again called on the members of the underground movement to lay down their arms and join the folds of the law.

While one of the functions of the Philippine Army is to organize, train and equip Army forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land, the current Administration’s policy is for the military to work "towards strategically defeating the NPAs by reducing their number to a level that becomes manageable for the national police and eventually stopping their illegal activities."

Furthermore, the military shall remain committed in "ensuring the territorial integrity of the Philippines as well as addressing the terrorist challenge that the secessionist extremists pose." The military shall develop focused strategies for overcoming all security threats and meet global and domestic security challenges.

Under the Aquino Administration, the armed forces of the Philippines’ internal peace and security initiatives shall focus on rendering the NPA irrelevant, with the communist insurgency abandoning the armed struggle and ultimately engaging in peace negotiations with the government.





Participatory budget approach being piloted in 6 government departments

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 24, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The participatory budget approach is being piloted in six government departments namely, the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and Department of Health.

Department of Budget and Management Region 8 Director Imelda C. Laceras disclosed this during the DSWD Region 8 60th Anniversary celebration on January 21, where she was the guest speaker.

Director Laceras said that the National Budget Call for 2012, the government is putting emphasis on strategies on transparency and accountability. The inclusion of the civil society organizations in the budget process is now being pursued by DBM to strengthen participatory budgeting at all levels.

Transparent government operations and greater public access to public information will allow the civil society organizations to monitor government spending and ensure accountability for every peso it spends.

The pilot agencies will be required to consult with interested CSOs and other stakeholders at the regional and central levels, Director Laceras said. The DBM Regional Office will spearhead the consultations anytime in February or March 2011.

“This is the first time that the participatory budget approach is being implemented,” Director Laceras said adding that this is being done to promote wider ownership for and monitoring of the government’s key public services.

The budget preparation for next year aims to strengthen the linkage between development planning and budgeting and increase the likelihood of accomplishing development goals by considering resource availability in the formulation of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and the Medium Term Public Investment Program (MTPIP) for 2011-2016

The National Budget Call for 2012 provides that the 2012 budget will focus on fighting corruption and promoting transparency, accountability and good governance; poverty reduction; ensuring sustained and inclusive economic growth; building a motivated, professional, energized bureaucracy; and encouraging integrated and safe communities and the sustainable use of resources for future generations.

Meanwhile, Director Laceras called on all the DSWD Region 8 personnel to continue joining hands in leading the way towards genuine transformation and social reforms.

The good lady director also cited each and every personnel of the DSWD for their contributions towards making the agency at 60, an agency truly committed to providing social service with integrity.


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