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Naval town mayor signs ordinance for a smoke-free municipality

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




Leyte guv wades through flooded villages to distribute relief goods, meds, other aid

By Provincial Media Relations Center
January 27, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY –  As continuous rains inundated the province over the week, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla recently visited barangays in San Miguel town – one of Leyte towns badly hit by the continuous rains.

The governor, who waded through the flooded villages to personally distribute relief goods and medicines to Brgys. Capilihan, Kinalumsan and Impo, has ordered the full activation of the respective barangay disaster coordinating council to prepare against more rains that is expected to come in the coming months.

Foremost of which, the governor advised, is for a ready rescue and evacuation plan in case the water would rise higher and endanger lives of their residents.

The most affected by the recent rains among the barangays recently visited is Brgy. Impo which has all of the houses of its 120 families flooded in waist-high waters. The whole of Brgy. Impo itself is flooded in water that usually subsides after four days of no rain.

However, according to Brgy. Impo Chairman Lino Caubalejo the water has thus remained at its waist-high level as rain did not seem to abate over the week.

Aside from activating their barangay disaster coordinating councils, the governor also assured the provision of a rescue water vehicle for faster evacuation of residents if the water level continues to go up.

Talks of relocating the residents were also opened, however, the village folks refuse to abandon their homes saying they could not leave behind their source of livelihood.

“My advice is for them to relocate since we really cannot tell the weather these days. Just when we thought the rain would stop and the flooding would subside, it would be raining for days again,” Gov. Petilla.

Most of the families are rice farmers whose rice farms were also affected by continuous heavy rains since January started.

The governor has likewise assured supply of rice seeds to the farmers from these three barangays but advised for the seeds to be planted if the weather could at least settle down.

Earlier, the Department of Agriculture in the region estimated the affected ricelands in Leyte province t be about 2, 979.60 hectares.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte has likewise declared during their first “sesyon sa bayan” a state of calamity as a result of the continuous rains that has affected the entire province damaging mainly agricultural crops.

The resolution was authored by Leyte First District Board Member Roque Tiu following a request by Gov.Petilla after considering the extent of damage caused by the continuous heavy rains that affected the province.

Based in their assessment, there are 21 towns and two cities (Ormoc and Baybay) that was greatly affected by the heavy rainfall in the start of 2011.





DTI supports tourism for economic development, investments in Southern Leyte

By NINA SITOY, Tomas Oppus Normal College
January 27, 2011

MAASIN CITY  –  The provincial office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been constantly in touch with the private sector to push for the tourism industry as a vital component in the overall social-economic development of Southern Leye province.

Michael Nunez, DTI Provincial Director, in an interview at the Kapihan sa PIA held at PIA office here on Thursday, disclosed that in a recent meeting with the newly-organized Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SLCCI) it was agreed that the province should come up with a tourism framework as a major thrust and strategy to attract tourists.

The framework called for the strong involvement of the private sector, in particular SLCCI members, with the tourism programs of the 18 towns and one city around the province, including the provincial government, and concerned national line agencies, Nunez said.

During the SLCCI meeting, the consensus was that the identified natural wonders in four key spots of the province should be complemented with man-made attractions so as to entice visitors who long to “experience the thrill, the excitement” these places can offer.

Nunez said the four key areas in the province which can serve as a hub for tourists that require man-made interventions to be enhanced included Agas-agas bridge in Sogod, Danao Forest Park in Maasin City, the natural forest in Silago, and the popular Napantao Dive Site in San Francisco.

Agas-agas bridge can be complemented with zipline or cable facilities, or for bungee jumping for extreme adventurers; Danao Forest Park can be developed with a Subic-style zoo in which wild animals and children can have friendly interaction;

The natural forests of Silago, where big trees cannot be embraced by three persons in outstretched arms, can be equipped with canopy so visitors can enjoy walking high around large trees and splash in a waterfalls afterwards; while amateur divers can appreciate the beauty of underwater marine life using only snorkels at the Napantao dive site, explained Nunez.

All other places of interests at nearby towns in relation to these hubs can also be visited as a spin-off activity, Nunez added.

He clarified that the DTI has thrown its full support in this undertaking because it can generate investments in the process, as support facilities like hotels, restaurants, and transportation are usually needed for the tourism program.  (PIA-Southern Leyte)





DSWD distributes an initial P13 Million in cash to beneficiaries of 4Ps in Southern Leyte

January 27, 2011

MAASIN CITY  –  The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), along with DSWD-Region 8 and a ranking Land Bank Executive, distributed a total of P13 Million as partial implementation for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Southern Leyte province.

Nelly Gomez, the Provincial Social Welfare Officer, told PIA by phone on Tuesday that the distribution was held in the town of Saint Bernard January 15, or a day after President Benigno Aquino III had visited the rain-ravaged municipality.

The sum of P9 million in cold cash was given to 778 family-beneficiaries for Saint Bernard alone, while another P4 million was given for Pintuyan town, the number of recipients of which was not yet determined as of press time, PSWDO Gomez said.

She added that a family with three children aged 0-14 received a lump sum of P15,000 for the entire year, and this should be closely monitored for compliance of pre-set conditions, like a regular visits to health centers and an 85% school attendance of children.

A team from the Commission on Audit (COA) will be involved in the monitoring, and the recipient heads of families were also warned that indulging in drinking sprees and card gambling are enough grounds for outright cancellation of being beneficiaries under the program.

She said some recipient households were among those who evacuated in designated evacuation centers at the height of the flooding spawned by non-stop rains, and those who pre-emptively moved to safe shelters for the risk of more flooding and landslides, but some of these families have since returned to their homes.

Assisting Gomez in the handling out of the cash assistance, officially called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), were DSWD Regional Director Leticia Corillo and a top-level Executive of the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Two other municipalities in the province, Tomas Oppus and Bontoc, have been included in the expanded 4Ps program under President Aquino, and the cash distribution for these towns is expected to be held anytime this week, Gomez added.

Early last month, Edna Dator, a key staff at the provincial DSWD office, informed that some 2,199 families coming from the four mentioned towns stood as beneficiaries the moment the expanded 4Ps will be implemented starting this year.

4Ps has been the centerpiece anti-poverty reduction project of the Aquino administration.





Catbalogan legislators approve tourism code

January 26, 2011

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Sangguniang Panlungsod passed the Tourism Code of Catbalogan City during its regular session last January 19, 2011. The said code was presented for the second and final reading by Hon. Ernesto Arcales, the Vice-Chairperson of the City Council’s Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Mass Media. He took the floor in behalf of Hon. Stephany Uy-Tan, the chair of the said committee and sponsor of the said code.

The code’s passage serves as a culmination of the series of consultations between the City Government and the Department of Trade and Industry - Samar in its goal to beef up the local tourism.  The Tourism Code of Catbalogan City saw initial reading last January 5. It was then presented for the first time to stakeholders composing of hotel and restaurant owners, travel agency managers, transportation operators, market vendors and the media, in a public hearing last January 10, 2011 at the Sangguniang Panlungsod. This is because the code also provides rewards and incentives for tourism-oriented and tourism-related businesses while at the same time giving categorizations, requirements and corresponding fees for regulatory purposes so as to improve their standards thereby making them more suitable to visitors and tourists.

The public hearing was a crucial step in the code’s approval for this served as a venue for consultation with the sectors likely to be affected by the code, which was still being proposed at that time. It also enabled the Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Mass Media to gather more ideas on how best to implement it. The said public hearing was presided by Councilor Tan and also had Councilors Ernesto Arcales, Maximo Pescos, Rodrigo Perez III and Joselito Mendoza in attendance.

The Tourism Code of Catbalogan City will serve as the legal basis for the implementation and promotion of tourism development programs. Two measures enforced by the code are the allocation of funds and creation of a City Tourism Council, the body that will be tasked with mapping out the direction of the city’s tourism program. Tourism Council’s responsibilities, as stipulated in the Code, include the creation of a Tourism Master Plan that wil contain guidelines and policies for the over-all management and promotion of the city’s tourism. This includes identifying and creating a directory of potential tourism sites and conducting programs to raise the public’s awareness of the merits of supporting their local tourism.

Although the Tourism Code was intended to be an income generating measure for the city government, the code highlights sustainable as the foundation of economic growth. Much emphasis is placed on management and preservation of both natural and man-made tourism resources. It also pushes for community empowerment through provisions that call for the protection of host communities against exploitation and other harmful circumstances that may come as a result of tourism boom.





PNP8, PNP7, 8th ID agree to jointly address peace and security concerns

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  In order to address, intensify and level up measures on peace and security in the Visayas, the Philippine National Police Region 8, Philippine National Police Region 7 and the 8th Infantry Battalion, successfully created the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center on January 25, at around 10:00 o’clock in the morning.

A report from Ms. Rochelle Febria of the PRO 8 Community Police Relations Office stated that the signing of the memorandum of agreement took place at the Governor’s Hall, Leyte Provincial Capitol, with the chairman of the Region 8 Peace and Order Council Leyte Governor Petilla who was represented by Vice-Governor Mimyet Bagulaya, as the guest of honor.

The activity was attended by Major General Mario F. Chan, commander of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the commanders of the 801st, 802nd, 803rd and 302nd Brigades; Police Chief Superintendent Ager P. Ontog Jr., regional director of Police Regional Office 7 and Police Chief Superintendent Arnold R. Revilla, Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 8.

The important activity was also attended by the City/Provincial Directors of the different Provincial and City Police Offices of Central and Eastern Visayas, and was witnessed by Police Director Jaime D. Calungsod Jr., Director of DIPO-Visayas.

Police Chief Superintendent Revilla said that the most important function of the JPSCC revolves around the drafting and execution of plans on joint military and police operations against lawless groups, criminal elements, private armed groups, and other threat groups within respective jurisdictions and in support to the local government units and government agencies that are in need of military and police assistance.





CHR conducts public inquiry on botanist death in Leyte

January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Commission En Banc of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) begun conducting on Wednesday its scheduled two-day public inquiry on the death of botanist and his companions in Leyte.

The public inquiry is docketed as Case No. CHR-VIII-2011-0012 for Deprivation of Right to Life in the matter of the killing of Dr. Leonard Co, Julio Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez in an alleged encounter between troops of 19th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, Armed Forces of the Philippines and a group of alleged communist terrorist/members of the New People’s Army in Sitio Mahiao, Brgy. Lim-ao, Kanaga, Leyte on November 15, 2011.

The holding of the public inquiry on January 26-27, 2011 at Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban City by the Commission En Banc is in pursuant to its mandate under Article XIII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution and in view of the development in the initial field investigation and fact-finding conducted by CHR-Region VIII and Composite Investigation Team.

Ordered by CHR to appear before the public inquiry are 35 persons composed of seven members of the Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO), medico-legal officer, forensic chemist and forensic firearms examiner of the Regional Crime Laboratory Office of PNP 8, 12 officers and men of the 19th Infantry Battalion, 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, a Municipal Health Officer of Kananga, Leyte, a CHR forensic consultant from UP Manila, a resident of Brgy. Tongonan in Ormoc City, an employee, security officer and an OIC of the EDC Security of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in Kananga, Leyte, a resident manager of Leyte Geothermal Production Field of EDC, a police officer and chief of police of Kananga Police Station and the provincial director of PNP-Leyte.

Also present in the inquiry are the parents, relatives, friends and legal counsels of Dr. Leonard Co, Julio Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez, concerned groups both national and local including some members of the private media in Tacloban City and some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who provided security in the venue.

Meanwhile, it was learned that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has handed down its decision exonerating the soldiers involved in the shooting incident in Kananga, Leyte that caused the death of Leonard Co et al.





554 cops in EV get promotion

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Police Regional Office 8 recently cited the five hundred fifty four (554) newly promoted police personnel region-wide, in a ceremonial pinning of rank insignia at the Police Regional Office 8 Headquarters in Camp Kangleon, Palo, Leyte.

PRO-8 Director, Police Chief Superintendent Arnold Rayala Revilla, led in the pinning of rank insignia to forty four (44) Police Commissioned Officers and five hundred ten (510) Police Non-Commissioned Officers, newly promoted police officers.

The pinning rite was held during the PRO-8’s Traditional Monday Flag Raising Ceremony, Ms. Rochelle Febria of the Community Police Relations Office in the Region, informed.

The program started with the usual program preliminaries followed with the Opening Remarks by PSSupt Edgar O. Basbas, Deputy Regional Director for Operations.

Meanwhile, the presentation of the newly promoted PNP Personnel was done by PSSupt. Vicente A. Loot, Deputy Regional Director for Administration, who is the overall chairman of the PRO-8 Promotions Board.

PSSupt. Eusebio A. Mejos, chief of the RPHRDD read the General Orders and Special Orders of the newly promoted PCOs and PNCOs.

In his speech during the Rites, Police Regional Office 8 Director Revilla expressed great pride and honor to be with the PRO8 personnel during the event.

He disclosed that he was very much inspired to hear the many stories of how uniformed men and women here in the region have proven that discipline, hard work, professionalism, love of country and people could make a difference in public service.





Number of deaths due to torrential rains in Eastern Visayas rises to 22

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The number of deaths due to the torrential rains in Eastern Visayas has risen to 22, Officer in charge Rey Gozon of the Office of Civil Defense in Region 8, informed.

The number of deaths rose as the province of Leyte reported that one person identified as Diomedes Nube, 60 years old from Burauen town died of severe hypothermia.

The province of Eastern Samar has the most number of deaths with a total of eight with three from Oras town, two from Borongan City, one in Dolores town, one at Maslog town and another one from San Julian town.

The province of Northern Samar accounts for six deaths, one from Palapag town, one from Pambujan town and four from Laoang.

Southern Leyte accounts for five deaths, three from Saint Bernard, one from Sogod, and one from Thomas Oppus.

Western Samar recorded only one death from San Jorge town while the province of Biliran has recorded no casualties.

Meanwhile, the total number of persons injured from all over Region 8 due to torrential rains was placed at 11 while two persons from Eastern Samar remains missing.

The total number of families affected by the flooding and landslides due to continuous rains in 526 barangays of Eastern Visayas has risen to 86,165 while the number of individuals affected has already risen to 390,504.

The number of houses which were totally damage is 204 while the number of houses which were partially damaged was place at 299.

Meanwhile, low-lying areas in Tacloban City were flooded once again as heavy rains pour since late in the afternoon till morning of January 26.





CHR Chair to Taft Mayor: respect CSC ruling

January 26, 2011

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  Appealing to Taft Mayor Francisco Adalim on Tuesday, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales asked that the authority of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) be respected.

Rosales flew in from the country’s capital to oversee the dialogue with Adalim and some 23 Local Government Unit (LGU) employees allegedly suspended from work unjustly.

Of the 29 employees who initially filed a case against the local chief executive, two are deceased while the other four are already overseas.

In October 2009, the CSC ruled that the employees be reinstated and paid back wages for services rendered since 2005.

According to the suspended employees, however, despite the order dated two years ago, they were still unable to report to work and perform their duties because the local chief executive already hired employees to replace them.

The case has also reached the Court of Appeals (CA), according to Adalim, and he is still waiting for the court’s decision.

To this, Rosales said that unless the CA issues a temporary restraining order, Adalim’s office has to execute what is stated in the CSC ruling: reinstate the employees immediately.

As for the employees hired as replacement, “their appointment would have been null and void the moment the CSC ruled for the reinstatement of the 29 employees,” CSC Field Officer Ariel Javier said.

In a separate interview, Rosales said that after the dialogue, her office will coordinate with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the CSC to figure out how the three offices can work together to help the Taft LGU employees.

The Region 8 Office of the CSC has filed a complaint to its central office against Adalim for his failure to enforce the ruling signed two years ago.





DILG reiterates call on full disclosure policy

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Interior and Local Government Region 8 reiterated the call of Secretary Jesse Robredo for local government units to comply with the full disclosure policy of the DILG.

Full disclosure policy requires local government units to post their budgets and finances, and bids and public offerings in government websites, newspapers of general circulation, and in other conspicuous and appropriate places, Director Jose said.

Adherence to the policy is now compulsory, as provided by Section 90 of Republic Act 10147 or the General Appropriations Act of 2011.

Meanwhile, DILG 8 Information Officer Mr. Myles Colasito, during the meeting of government information officers of Eastern Visayas, informed that many of the local government websites in the Region that are not functional or not updated at all.

The most common reason for this is that the local government units trained job order employees as webmasters and the same are no longer connected with the local government units.

It would be recalled that there was a project jointly conducted by the National Computer Center, DOST and NEDA, that designed websites for all local government units.

In a directive to provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, presiding officers of local legislative councils and the ARMM regional governor, the DILG Secretary said that non-compliance with the full disclosure policy may subject concerned local officials to suspension or removal from office on the ground of gross negligence or dereliction of duty in accordance with Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

Adherence with the full disclosure policy upholds transparency and accountability in government and in keeping with President Benigno S. Aquino III’s principles on good governance.  More importantly, through this reform, the government will be able to improve its services to the people, Secretary Robredo said.

A Commission on Audit memorandum also includes compliance with the full disclosure policy among the requirements in the auditing process.

Documents and transactions that are required to be posted by LGUs include the following: Annual Budget Report; Quarterly Statement of Cash Flows; Statement of Receipts and Expenditures; Trust Fund (PDAF) Utilization; Quarterly Report of SEF (Special Education Fund) Utilization; and 20% Component of the IRA Utilization, among others.





Leyte declares state of calamity

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 26, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte, during its first “Session ng Bayan” this 2011, at Tanauan, Leyte, on January 25, declared the province of Leyte under state of calamity.

The resolution was authored by first district of Leyte Board Member Roque A. Tiu who served as mayor of the host town for fifteen years and unanimously seconded by all the Board Members.

Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, who is the chairman of the Leyte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management requested for the resolution considering the extent of damage the continuous rains have brought to agriculture according to the presiding officer, Vice-Gov. Mimyetta Bagulaya.

In the discussion that ensued before the adoption of the Resolution, almost all of the SP members took turns in reporting the damage to their respective area of coverage, Tiu said.

Board Member Tiu said that Governor Petilla wants to provide the affected farmers certified seeds so that they can start all over again. This is the only way that the food security and the rice productivity of the province will not suffer.

The declaration of state of calamity was also in response to the many requests from Municipal and Barangay LGUs including the employees from the public and private sector as it would give them the opportunity to secure calamity loans from public and private agencies according to PCL President Wilson Uy.

It is expected though that only the Governor will utilize a portion of the calamity fund as it is only the first month of the year and besides only the heavy rains according to Board Members Antonio Jabilles and Deborah Bertulfo of the Fourth District affected a small portion of the 4th district.

Board Members of the second district, Anlie Apostol and Niccolo Villasin also shared the information that Capoocan suffered mudslides in some of their Barangays and plenty of their low-lying villages were also submerged and crops and plantations destroyed.


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