Governor Tan, 2 Congressmen in Samar calls for unity, renew promises in
their inaugural speeches
By RICKY J.
July 3, 2004
CATBALOGAN, Samar – The province’s newly-elected and reelected
government officials who took their oath of office on June 30 has appealed
to their local leaders, supporters and to their respective winning opponents
to set aside personal grudges and bickering as election fever is finally
Taking oath before administering officer Honorable Judge Odelon
Mabutin, presiding judge of the Catbalogan Municipal Trial Court (MTC),
reelected Samar governor Milagrosa “Mila” Tan and the two representatives in
the first and second districts of this province has the same message in
their respective inaugural speeches before their family, friends and
thousands of Samareños who were witnessing the oath-taking ceremonies at the
jam packed Provincial Gymnasium in Catbalogan Samar.
In random interviews, most of the winning provincial board
members lauded the messages of the speakers and assured the general public
of their full cooperation to each and everyone regardless of political party
“Let us set aside whatever personal grudges and biases towards
each other’s camp, tapos na man an eleksyon kalimti tana an mga uba-uba ngan
pagburubligay kita tanan,” Governor Tan said.
The governor who wears an elegant pinkish gown during that
significant day added “Let us support the newly elected officials of the
province and help in rebuilding new and transparent governance in Samar.”
Meantime, reelected representative of the province’s first
district Dr. Reynaldo S. Uy also called on to all supporters of each
political party to minimize if not to fully stop political “maneuvering.”
“(Though), we (all winning candidates) are now all friends, we
are appealing to our loyal supporters, please refrain from doing unpleasant
acts that will somehow cause panic to our residents,” Rep. Uy said.
The solon in the first district says, “though we cannot please
everybody at all times, we are doing our very best to satisfy the needs of
On one hand, come backing representative of the second district
Cong. Catalino “Cata” Figueroa expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the
Samareños for choosing him to their representative in Congress.
He also promised to continue serving his constituents in his
full capacity as congressman of the second district. “I will be ready, at
all time, to be at your service. Let’s us all start over again rebuilding
our dreams,” Rep. Figueroa said.
Meanwhile, the oath-taking ceremony of the Samar provincial
government officials and two congressional representatives started around
8:00 in the morning of June 30.
Several non-government volunteers augmented the police and
traffic enforcers in crowd control as thousands of residents, commuters,
friends and families of the winning candidates, and visitors trooped at the
Samar Provincial Gymnasium along San Roque Street in Catbalogan to witness
the significant event.
The on and off power interruption in the venue failed to disrupt
the oath taking of the newly elected provincial board members namely
election top notcher Susano D. Salurio, Cesario T. Ricafort, Rogelio T.
Casurao, Rosenaida A. Rosales and Renato P. Uy of the first district; Senior
board member Antonio L. Bolastig III, Fe Arcales, Menandro Q. Tiopes,
Arcadio L. Quijano and Conception R. De luna of the second district of Samar.
All those who took their oath, including the “press darling”
newly elected Vice-Governor Jesus “Jess” Redaja were witnessed by their
respective families (who stood behind them at the stage as the administering
officer sworn in them), friends, buddies and constituents.
New term, new promises
Governor Tan vowed to continue being “mothering” to her
constituents by serving at her full capacity up to barangay level. She
promised to build more farm-to-market roads, development of the provincial
hospitals and other unfinished infrastructures projects.
She vowed to shower her graces in the towns where she won
landslide votes but quickly explained that, “that towns are just priority,
bubuligan ko man gihap an iba (nga towns),” Gov. Tan said.
The lady governor of Samar made special mention on the towns of
Villareal, San Sebastian, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Basey, Paranas, Motiong,
Calbayog City and all island towns as primary beneficiary of her first
quarter term of office.
“Tatagaan naton ito hira hin additional nga mga farm-to-market
roads ngan mga wharf landings,” she said.
She admitted that though, the hospitals in the province,
affected her candidacy negatively last election because of the employees
alleged “disobedience,” she promised to give some P3 million to the Samar
Provincial Hospital (SPH) in Catbalogan and some P1.5 million to Calbayog
District Hospital in Calbayog City as additional funds aside from the
regular annual budget of said hospitals this year.
Both Rep. Uy and Rep. Figueroa promised to continue their
unfinished projects from the last time they held their office. Some of the
projects mentioned by the duo include construction of the Maharlika Highway,
farm-to-markets roads, health problems, help also for the development of the
hospitals and build additional school buildings in the first and second
districts of Samar.
In Congress, Rep. Uy prayed to be the chair of the Committee on
Health to fulfill his profession as a doctor while Rep. Figueroa promised to
delete himself from the “Committee on Silence.”
Facing the crowds, all winning candidates who took their oath of
office swear to faithfully discharge the function and duties of their
present position to the best of their abilities.
“I will support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of
the Philippines. I will bear true faith and allegiance for the same. I will
obey the laws, legal orders and duties promulgated by the duly constituted
authorities and I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily, without
mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” the newly elected officials of
Samar in their oath said.
Mayor Redaja sheds light on Water District 32M Project
ROMMEL L. RUTOR
Samar – Confronted by down beating queries and speculations about the
status of this town’s latest water development project, the Catbalogan Water
District (CWD) here was bailed out by the affirmation of Mayor Jess Redaja –
who fearlessly presented himself to the media last week – (and informed the
public) that the project is already complete.
The water project that was
funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with an amount of 32 million
pesos in year 2002, is a 5-kilometer water system in the upland Barangay of
Lobok, this town, and is expected to augment the existing water system of
Due to failure of the CWD to present the status of the
project in public, it was swarmed by speculations that the project might
have been riddled with fraud.
According to Mayor Redaja,
the pipeline and other structures necessary for the operation of the project
are already in place, however, he admitted that the electrical requirements
of the water system are still to be installed, and the CWD now faces the
dilemma of transporting the power transformers that will be used to activate
the water pumps.
“These power transformers –
one is 150 HP and the other two are 75 HP – though available, are so huge
that it cannot be transported to the site using a Carabao” Redaja explained.
“Unlike other pump stations, this water system is electrically operated so
as not to contaminate the water with fuel waste”, he added. “The CWD by now
is still contemplating on the best transport means that will not damage the
apparatus”, Redaja further explained.
Accordingly, the new water
system that will provide this town with clean potable water uses submersible
water pumps – the water volume will flow to at least 5 kilometers of blue
pipes with 12 inches in diameter buried one meter deep in the ground.
Meanwhile, Mayor Redaja
likewise informed that the CWD Board here will soon be turned over to the
municipality. He clarified that the CWD, formerly is run by Catbaloganons,
however, due to failure of the former members of the CWD Board to pay the
amortization of the CWD loans, the Local Water Utilities administration (LWUA)
had taken over the operation of the CWD in 1995.
“Though the LWUA already
offered to transfer operation of the CWD to the municipality recently, we
did not take it pending the completion of the project”, Redaja told, but he
is hopeful that once the project is fully operational, the turn-over of the
CWD will soon be realized.
At least five sectors of
the community will represent the CWD Board once the turn-over is completed.
Redaja pointed out that representations will come from the Women’s Group,
NGOs, Professionals, Education, and Business.
“Those that will be
selected from among these groups, will undergo training and orientation
relative to their responsibilities as members of the CWD Board before the
take-over”, Mayor Redaja concluded.
Mayor Redaja Vows to
Pursue Catbalogan Cityhood
ROMMEL L. RUTOR
CATBALOGAN, Samar – Outgoing Mayor Jess
Redaja here affirmed to all Catbaloganons that he will continue to undertake
the long time dream of this town to be converted into a full pledge City
even as he ascend to another position as Vice-Governor of the Province.
“The hope of this town’s
bid for cityhood is still alive!” Redaja said during a media interview,
stressing that even if he is no longer the Mayor of Catbalogan – for having
been elected as the new Vice-Governor of the province – he will continue to
help in the municipality’s pursuit for cityhood.
He explained that before
the elections last May this year, he attended a House sub-committee meeting
in Congress were House Bill #29 was laid out, and eventually endorsed to the
Senate for actions.
“If only Sen. Tito Sotto
did not oppose the treating of the bill, it could have been tackled by the
12th Congress”, Redaja said, adding that the said senator had not
relented on their appeal for the treatment of House Bill #29 – categorized
as a local bill - accordingly due to the urgency of some other bills pending
in the Senate which are of national concern.
The House Bill #29 contains
the “request for exemption” of at least 8 municipalities nationwide that
were able to submit and comply with the cityhood requirements even before
the Pimentel Law was enacted.
As this develop, Redaja
informed the media that House Bill #29 should be re-filed as the 13th
Congress opens on July or August this year, this time by the newly elected
Congressman Catalino Figueroa of Samar’s 2nd District. “Should the new set of town
officials need info relative to this endeavor, I swear that I will make
myself available to them.” Redaja further said.
“There are 7 other
municipalities who will join Catbalogan who will lobby for the exemption
from the Pimentel Law, thus, the chances of this town’s bid into cityhood is
inevitable”, Mayor Redaja concluded.
GMA to stomp
feet on K-4 termites
By Philippine News Service
June 24, 2004
President Arroyo would surely nip in the bud a tidy little operation
being undertaken by her running mate Noli de Castro and Sen. Manny Villar to
unseat Senate President Franklin Drilon. Sources within the victorious K-4
coalition say that de Castro is exerting his “imagined” influence as
incoming vice president to shake up the Senate leadership.
In hushed tones, K-4 insiders are speaking about attempts by de Castro to
contact the eight new administration senators to get them to support
Villar’s bid to wrest the Senate presidency. The Senate coup, it appears, is
a brainchild of the Wednesday Club clique in the Senate of which de Castro
and Villar are members.
The conspirators want to strike while President Arroyo is still preoccupied
with celebrating her fresh six-year mandate, and in setting into high gear
her programs of governance. The plotters, insiders say, are counting on
President Arroyo keeping a hands-off policy on the “developments” at the
In going about their scheme, de Castro and Villar need eight of the 15
administration senators to vote for Villar during a party caucus whereby a
need for leadership change in the Senate would be brought up. The magic
number is eight for Villar’s plot to come to fruition.
Villar’s power grab is premised, sources contend, on President Arroyo
disregarding the super-human efforts exerted by Drilon during the campaign
period to give her a winning margin of 800,000-plus votes in Western Visayas.
It is anchored on the new senators turning their backs too on Drilon after
he magnificently helped them win in the elections.
What has so riled K-4 insiders enough to expose this was de Castro’s
reported hand in getting Villar to realize his naked ambition. After the
millions of votes Drilon singlehandedly generated for K-4, including for de
Castro, this is what de Castro has repaid him with.
“Anay talaga itong si Kabayan,”
a K-4 insider said. “Kung di dahil kay SP ay baka hindi siya nanalo pero ito
pa ang iginanti niya kay Drilon. He’s a back-stabber worthy of Brutus.”
But the same sources in the administration say that Villar’s plot is dead on
the water since President Arroyo would not allow her party to break down to
pieces – like a house ruined by termites. She would surely stomp them with
her feet since she would like Lakas to remain strong to fully implement the
reforms she has already started in the last three years.
De Castro would be put into his proper place by President Arroyo, the
insider say, adding “the President would not countenance any other power
base other than her own.”
“The anays in K-4 would be exterminated, expelled even if they insist on
bringing down the house GMA built from the ground up,” the source said.
NPA killed in Eastern Samar encounter
CATBALOGAN, Samar - In a report released by the 8th
Infantry Division, Philippine Army here, the elements of the 14th
Infantry Battalion encountered more or less 30 fully armed communist
terrorists or New People’s Army (NPA's) at the vicinity of San Roque-Tugas
complex in Maslog, Eastern Samar last June 12, 2004 at about 2:10 in the
The encounter resulted to
the killing of 1 still unidentified communist terrorist, undetermined number
of wounded and the recovery of two (2) hand grenades and subversive
documents. On the government side, one soldier identified as Cpl. Elias
Solayao was wounded in the encounter but unfortunately died upon arrival at
On June 17, 2004 another
encounter between the 14th IB and the communist terrorists
numbering to about 15 transpired at about 1:50 pm in the vicinity of Brgy.
San Roque in Maslog, Eastern Samar wounding undetermined number of communist
terrorist along with the recovery of one (1) hand grenade and subversive
documents. No one was harmed on the government side.
The army said that the
series of encounters were the result of sustained combat operations in
Eastern Samar area due to the numerous volunteered report by the civilian
populace in the area regarding the sightings of heavily armed communist
terrorists who are believed to be planning atrocities against the peace and
stability in the region.
MGen. Glenn Rabonza, Commanding General of the 8th
Infantry Division, ordered the sustained operations so as not to allow the
communists terrorists (NPA’s) to inflict harm and disturbance against the
people of Region 8. He further cautioned all units in the Area of
Responsibility to be alert at all times against possible terrorist actions.
He likewise praised the civilian populace who remained vigilant and
courageous for their stand against the communist terrorists.
The 14th IB is presently conducting
pursuit operations to the remaining communist terrorists still operating in
Court summons fails to
ROMMEL L. RUTOR
Samar – Incumbent vice-mayor Manuel Van Torrevillas who was
recently proclaimed vice-mayoralty winner in the May 10 election has
allegedly not been in town for sometime already, thus he could not be served
personally with the summons issued by a Court here in relation to a petition
for injunction filed by Jay Yulo, a vice-mayoralty candidate under the Lakas-LP
coalition who lost to Torrevillas.
In a media interview, Atty.
Hermogenes Teves, spokesperson for outgoing sangguniang bayan member Yulo,
said that Torrevillas could not be reached both at his office and residence,
despite concerted efforts exerted by the server tasked to deliver the court
Teves pointed out that none
among vice-mayor elect Torrevillas’ office employees and household members
would like to receive in behalf of the vice-mayor the court summons,
reasoning out that the servers should wait for Torrevillas’ arrival since
they are not in any position to accept communications that are that serious.
Apprehensive of the turn of
events, Yulo’s camp is planning to exert every possible means to go on with
the injunction against Torrevillas to prevent him from taking oath for his
vice-mayoralty office come June 30 this year, by publishing the summon in a
print publication to warrant a court proceeding despite his absence.
The injunction, if
realized, will provide Yulo’s camp a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from
a Judicial Court that would block the expected oath-taking of the proclaimed
vice-mayor in this municipality.
It will be recalled that
Torrevillas won a margin of only 114 votes over his closest rival Yulo,
which eventually put in question his winning in at least 43 precincts when
Yulo’s camp alleged that the votes in those precincts which were supposed to
have been credited to Yulo had instead been incorrectly counted to the
credit of Torrevillas.
Despite the petition for a
recount filed by the camp of Yulo, the Comelec told the media that
Torrevillas’ proclamation as winner of the recent election will not be
affected, since the petition will still undergo proper court proceedings.
The Samarnews.com likewise
tried to reach Torrevillas in order to get his side on the issue, but
employees at his office told this publication that he is in Palawan
attending a seminar organized by “NMYL”.
SAMELCO II Disclaims
cause of Paranas Fire
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
June 20, 2004
– The Samar Electric Cooperative II (Samelco II) here, belied
earlier media reports that an explosion of an
electric distribution transformer was the main cause of a recent fire
incident in Paranas town.
(see related story)
Reacting to stories aired
and published in a radio station and this source, Mr. Ponciano Rosales,
General Manager of Samelco II, informed the media in a press statement that
the Municipal Fire Department of Paranas is still investigating the origin
of the fire that gutted 8 houses and partially burned 2 other residential
Mr. Rosales asserted that
the information relayed to the media by the Catbalogan Fire Station last
week was incorrect. Based on the Samelco II investigation, the nearest power
transformer in Rosales St. is located 300 meters away from the fire scene, and
is near the town’s municipal hall.
“The report made by one
of the members of the BFP to the media is contrary to our own investigation
and the Spot Report made by BFP Paranas Station”, Rosales stressed,
pointing out that Samelco II’s power transformers have nothing to do with
the fire incident.
However, based on the
initial account of Catbalogan Fire Marshall Daniel Salvatierra last week,
the fire incident was caused accordingly by an explosion of a power
transformer fronting the house of a certain Andy Abarquez that happens to be
an LPG gas storage. The fire eventually spread over the houses in Rosales
St., Paranas town, totally burning six dwellings to the ground, while
another 2 were partly razed.
A Spot Report, released by
the Paranas Fire Station confirmed the contradiction of informations
released to the media by Salvatierra.
Based on the report, FO1
Renilo Malibago, duty lineman/nozzleman of Paranas BFP accordingly received
a call from a certain Tantan Babalcon and Andy Abarquez that there is a fire
in progress near their residence along Rosales St. of Brgy. 6 – which means
that the fire did not originate from Abarquez’ house as earlier reported by
the media thru the account of Salvatierra.
The origin and cause of the
fire – which was reportedly cost 2.5 million in property damage to more or
less 10 families - according to said report, is yet to be determined by the
Paranas Arson/Fire investigators.
The same report confirmed
the estimated damages to properties amounting to 2.5 million pesos, while
the origin and cause of the fire is still being investigated as of this
Conservation in Public Schools Curriculum
By ROMMEL L. RUTOR
June 16, 2004
- The Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP) here, in its
immense effort to empower the public the significance of environmental
protection has sought the partnership of the Department of Education (DepEd)
for the integration of Biodiversity Conservation in public schools
The move is part of the
massive advocacy campaign being initiated by the SIBP to overlay the
efficient implementation of its component programs particularly the Samar
Island National Park (SINP), which by now is awaiting legislative action by
During an initial
discussion held at Tacloban City,
the SIBP presented its collaborative proposal to DepEd Asst. Regional
Director Jesusita Arteche, who fervently acknowledge the proposition, and
initially proposed that a curriculum development workshop be facilitated to
drill the foundations of the integration.
As this developed, the
DepEd further responded positively to the request of the SIBP in providing
upland communities with adult literacy education, in such a way that
illiterates in the area - so called the SINP buffer zones - be provided with
the basic learning skills for them to comprehend the significance of
Non-Formal Education Chief
for the DepEd Linda Cinco committed to prioritize SINP barangays with high
incidences of illiteracy as beneficiaries of the Literacy Service
Contracting Program (LSCP). Cinco explained that participation in the LSCP
will allow communities to receive assistance from the DepEd in the training
of facilitators, and the actual conduct of literacy classes in said
A memorandum of agreement
is currently being drafted by the two agencies to formalize the venture.
In a separate development,
the SIBP forge another partnership with the Family Planning Organization of
the Philippines (FPOP-Samar Chapter) to jointly develop and implement a
Family Management Program for SINP covered communities.
Accordingly, the agreement
will address the family management needs – such as those concerning health,
food, nutrition, environmental sanitation and care for the sick and elderly.
The joint program will
initially kick-off in Cansulabao, Hinabangan, Samar.