town wins 'Bursary Award' in Netherlands
By Ricky J. Bautista
October 24, 2003
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines - The
municipality of Calbiga, Samar, Philippines had won the Bursary Award in the
finals of the world's only international competition addressing the
management of the environment, enhancement of quality of life and community
well-being, Nations in Bloom.
Calbiga Samar, Philippines,
which achieved the Bronze Award, beat off heated competition at the finals
of the annual International Awards for Liveable Communities Nations in Bloom
2003 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands on October 2 to 6, this year.
Calbiga Mayor Melchor
Nacario who immediately phoned his constituents Monday night said the town
of Calbiga, Samar is the only finalist from Southeast Asia.
“Yes, we got the Bronze
Prize for our Category A and we got the Bursary Award, we are the only one who got it,” Mayor Nacario
said in his excited undertone.
According to him, Calbiga's
presentation was strong on two points: the environmental aspect and the
community involvement with regards to the anti-mining campaign of Samar
“(During the announcement
of winners) one remarkable thing happened, when Calbiga town was mentioned
as awardee of the Bursary Award, Filipinos present including the
participants plus the audience stood up out of respect, recognition and
The town of Calbiga is
known as one of the key sites in the management of the Samar Island Natural Park
while Nacario is a major partner in the Project's advocacy campaign. Two
days before the pronouncement of winners, the Filipino Catholic Community of
Rotterdam offered a cultural program to honor and support the Calbiga, Samar delegation.
His Excellency Ambassador
Romeo Arguelles gave an inspirational message reiterating that competitions
like this foster fraternity and enhance people-to-people friendship. Miss
Amy Garado, a Samarnon living in Netherlands, sang two Gospel Songs
accompanied on the piano by Peter Van Esse, a Dutch Gospel musician. A
spontaneous singing of medley of Samarnon folk songs followed led by the
Osmund Orlanes, also a member of the Samar delegation. Then lastly,
Tinikling (local dance) was demonstrated by Susan Baas, Mherzy van der
Steen-Gemarino, Auring van Rosmalen and Yanie Houkes-Sinajon. The mayor of
Apeldoorn was the first one to try his feet in between the bamboo sticks.
Then later that night, the
group of Filipinos went to a separate room to watch the Powerpoint
Presentation of Calbiga, Samar where one could only hear the ohs and
the ahs after seeing the beautiful sights, the waterfalls, the
mountains, the seas, the caves, the people, community activities and
festivities, social involvement of several organizations in Samar Island.
Some of the Filipinos there
said they were impressed, awed and proud to be Filipinos. “(And) we are
all determined to visit
Samar the next time we go home to
Philippines,” they said.
Meanwhile, the City of Port
Phillip has won Category C and the Gold Award. Waterloo, Canada came second and Plzen, Czech Republic came
third. Category C included municipalities with a daytime population of
75,001 - 200,000.
Nations in Bloom is the
largest awards for liveable communities, endorsed by the United Nations
Environment Programme. All communities entering Nations in Bloom are
eligible to apply for a Bursary Award of up to £10,000 without any
additional fee being payable. An application for a Bursary Award cannot be
accepted from a community not taking part in Nations in Bloom. The
international panel of 6 world-renowned judges at the finals in Apeldoorn,
Netherlands, listened to presentations from 25 finalists from 15 countries
across the globe.
The finalists were divided
into five categories according to their average daytime population. The
Nations in Bloom Award Winners 2003 were: Category A (average daytime
population up to 20,000) 1st - Soldiers Point, Australia (Gold Award); 2nd -
Killarney, Ireland (Silver Award); 3rd - Maze, Japan (Silver Award),
Chelsea, Canada (Silver Award), Largs, Scotland (Silver Award), Calbiga,
Philippines (Bronze Award), Lochristie, Belgium (Bronze Award).
Category B (average daytime
population 20,001 - 75,000): 1st - Enkoping, Sweden (Gold Award); 2nd - The
Woodlands, USA (Gold Award); 3rd - Playford, Australia (Silver Award),
Kladno, Czech Rep. (Silver Award), Barnstaple, UK (Bronze Award), Salekhard,
Russia (Bronze Award).
Category C (average daytime
population 75,001 - 200,000): 1st - Port Phillip, Australia (Gold
Award); 2nd - Waterloo, Canada (Gold Award); 3rd - Plzen, Czech Rep. (Silver
Award), Norwich, UK (Bronze Award).
Category D (average daytime
population 200,001 - 1,000,000): 1st - Quanzhou, PR China (Gold
Award); 2nd - Seattle, USA (Gold Award); 3rd - Puyang, PR China (Silver
Award), Aberdeen, UK (Silver Award), Den Haag, Netherlands (Bronze Award).
Category E (average daytime
population Over 1,000,000): 1st - Chicago, USA (Gold Award); 2nd - Tshwane,
South Africa (Gold Award); 3rd - Suzhou, PR China (Silver Award).
The AWARDS Enhancement of
the Landscape- Plzen, Czech Rep.; Heritage Management- Quanzhou, PR China;
Environmentally Sensitive Practices- Chelsea, Canada; Community Involvement-
Tshwane, South Africa; Planning for the Future- Playford, Australia;
Bursary Award- Calbiga, Philippines; Special Award- Salekhard, Russia.
residents slam poor provincial governance
By ALVIN T. DEVARAS
Philippines - A group of local residents
of Catbalogan, Samar protested on poor provincial governance of the present
In an open letter dated August 12, 2003 addressed to Samar Governor
Milagrosa “Mila” Tan but widely circulated in the Samar province, concerned
Catbaloganons stated that they have written said letter as they can no
longer bear the embarrassing situation of the province. The snail-pace
development of the province and the sufferings of the people of Samar are
very much obvious. In fact, these are felt and observed by local residents.
They lamented that this is experienced in Catbalogan, which is the capital
town of the province and center of communication, trade and commerce.
As residents of the Catbalogan, they are directly affected of the slow
economic activity indicated by scarce supply of agricultural/farm products,
the prime factor of the province’s economy considering that it basically
depends on agriculture and fisheries. The farmers had long been complaining
and hoping for certified seeds, agricultural program, technical assistance
and services from the provincial government but to no avail.
Likewise, same is true with the local fishermen who had been clamoring for
the assistance and proper program for the effective implementation of sound
policy for the prosperity of the Maqueda Bay. Contrary to their
expectations, the lady governor herself instead is seen busy in business
transactions in doling out materials out from the provincial coffers, such
as cement, electric fans, t-shirts, rice, food and many others.
More so, Samareños are experiencing the weakening and ailing foundation of
once strong provincial government of Samar and being concerned, are now
annoyed and irritated citing the alleged irregular practices of allowing the
beneficiaries sign a blank document or RIS; giving thousands of money to
aspiring barangay captains; consenting dummies sign job order forms and
daily time records (DTR); reportedly misuse of funds of devolved agencies;
giving out and throwing away money to the public during medical missions;
using her residence as alternate office during official transactions;
sponsoring derbies and grand cockfights; and her chronic absenteeism during
speaking engagements and important occasions that earnestly needs her
They also denounced the lady governor for taking advantage of her position
and abusing her political and administrative prerogative. They added, that
the governor doesn’t even bother to worry of the present situation nor she
showed sympathy to the people of Samar. Accordingly, Samareños suppose that
this could be due to her being not a native of Samar. Tan is reportedly from
Palompon, Leyte who got married to a Samarnon.
The group also urged the Samareños to take note and get involve to save
Samar from the inefficient administration of Governor Mila Tan.
Vice-Gov. Arcales cites Philippine Civil Service Theme as a call for help
CHRISTINE AC. CAIDIC
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines -
The Provincial Government of Samar in coordination with the Civil Service
Commission based in the Province commemorated the 103rd Anniversary of
Philippine Civil Service in a very simple ceremony held on the 1st of
September 2003 at the Capitol Grounds, Catbalogan, Samar.
As the highest-ranking local government official present during the said
celebration, and also as the guest speaker, Hon. Ernesto C. Arcales
delivered a very timely speech before a hundred of government employees from
the national and provincial government agencies.
With this year's theme of the Philippine Civil Service Anniversary, "Sama-sama,
tulong-tulong, Republika patatagin", the Vice-Governor said that
the theme speaks very clearly as an urgent call for help. He
emphasized that the Philippine government needs timely help, from every
citizen and government worker, in the fight against all forms of
destabilization attempts against the authorities and in its overall efforts
to strengthen and stabilize the democratic ramparts of our republican system
of government. He added that the call is significant and timely and
this deserves a positive response from everyone in the Philippine Civil
Service. Before he ended his speech, he reiterated his call for
vigilance in the fight against assaults on our Constitution lest we fall
prey to authoritarianism and dictatorship.
The simple celebration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Philippine Civil
Service was started with a mass and flag raising ceremony at the capitol
grounds which was followed by a short program and the viewing of showcases
of the different agencies' activities and a motorcade around the town as a
kick-off for a month-long celebration.
In her closing remarks, the Provincial Director of the Civil Service
Commission based in Catbalogan, Samar, Victoria E. Valeriano underscored
that the Panunumpa ng Lingkod Bayan should be kept in the hearts of
every civil servant, not only during this celebration, but also in every day
of their lives as they serve the government and its people.
Woman died due to rough road
MARVIN G. AÑONUEVO
August 27, 2003
CALBIGA, Samar, Philippines
– This is just like a classic case of ‘Ripley’s Believe it or
Not’ story. Her attending physicians pronounced a woman dead on
arrival shortly after she was brought to the town’s health center Friday
afternoon. This after she accidentally fell to the cemented ground while
on-board a moving motorized cab in the vicinity of Barangays Canticum and
Polangi, Calbiga Samar on August 15, 2003.
Records at the Calbiga police station identified
the woman as one Lydia Degasa y Estudillo, 34, and a resident of Barangay
Polangi. The driver of the motorized cab was also identified as certain
Tirso Tamugan y Dacoco, 26, single and resident of Barangay Canticum, both
of Calbiga town. In a brief
interview, Tamugan said that at around 12:40 in the afternoon while he was
driving the said motorized cab from Barangay Canticum, some two kilometers
west of Calbiga, he stopped upon seeing his cousin standing at the side of
the road also waiting for a passenger vehicles bound for Calbiga, and let
her ride. When the victim saw that the motorized cab stopped, she and her
little boy ran to the motorized cab and rode too.
“Dire man adto hira an akon ginparahan kundi an akon patod nga usa, dumalagan la adto nga biktima pati an iya anak tapos
sumakay” Tamugan said.
The driver claimed that the woman positioned
herself on his back while the woman’s son sat inside the sidecar. But upon
reaching a rough road between Canticum and Polangi, and sensing that her
baggage placed on her lap (actually, just a small cartoon) was about to
fall, she tried to catch it but unfortunately failed. Instead, she fell down
to the cemented road. “Dire man malaksi an akon pagpadalagna, basta
pag-agui han may lubak lumakso an iya dara nga karton gin-ikalalanat niya
amo adto nga nahuloag hiya. Disgrasya gud,” Tamugan added.
Immediately, the driver stopped his driven
passenger cab and run to the victim whose in a pool of her own blood. The
driver and witnesses’ accounts disclosed no fatal wounds suffered by the
victim but only bruises. “The blood scattered in the scene came out from the
victim’s nose,” the driver claimed. The victim was rushed to the town’s
health station for an immediate medical attention but was later pronounced
dead upon arrival. As of this writing, the autopsy report of the medical
experts is not yet available.
Meanwhile, the police disclosed that the driver,
after the incident, surrendered voluntarily to the municipal police station
at about 1:10 in the afternoon for violation of Article 365 (Reckless
Imprudence Resulting to Homicide). The driver, for fear of retaliation from
the victim’s relatives, prefers to be in the custody of the police while
investigation has been going on.
Bantay-Bayan reactivated in Catbalogan
MARVIN G. AÑONUEVO
Samar, Philippines – Reactivation and
re-orientation meeting of Bantay-Bayan Foundation Inc. (BBFI) Catbalogan
Chapter, was successfully held at the Provincial Social Welfare and
Development Office (PSWDO), last July 26, this town.
During the meeting, Major Felix Mangyao,
Commander Civil Affair’s Unit, 8ID, PA, Camp Lukban, in his message
encouraged the members of the said organization to help the government in
its effort in eliminating the alarming criminalities in our society through
“holistic approach”. He firmly believed that military is not the sole
solution to the society’s problems, but by the active participation of the
people especially civic organizations through holistic approach. “Bantay-Bayan
is my Civic organizations when I was in Davao, that’s why I believe BBFI can
help the government to combat those bad elements in the society like
criminals and drug users, “he said.
He also hailed the president’s unceasing effort
to address all the people’s problems especially in Samar because of its
poverty. He cited that the president’s visit in Eastern Visayas last month
was a clear presentation of her great desire to help the people of this
province. “Look, the president went to Eastern Samar so that she could
personally see the needs of the people in that area,” Mangyao
On the other hand, members of Bantay-Bayan
promised their support to the government in lifting up the lives of the
people through conducting seminars on anti-drug addiction, morality and even
livelihood programs. Rev. Santos A.Cayat Jr., Chairman BBFI Catbalogan, said
that they will continue their “Oplan Ilapit Program” in every school.
“Actually Oplan Ilapit is ilapit ang
gobyerno sa tao. That’s why whenever we conducted symposiums in
schools, we have speakers from DTI, DSWD, Anti-Narcotics, Police Community
Relations and from the Movement for the Restoration of National Discipline,”
Rev. Cayat said.
The said meeting was supposed to be attended by
Villareal Chapter but because of financial constraint, Mr. Artemio Romano,
BBFI Provincial Chairman, decided to have a meeting in Villarreal last July
Also present during the meeting were Mr.
Reynaldo Cuaderno, BBFI Regional Chairman, and some members of Bantay-Bayan
NSO opens Serbilis Center in Catbalogan
By MARVIN G. AÑONUEVO
Samar, Philippines –
With the desire of the National Statistics Office to bring its services
closer to its clientele, the Census Serbilis Outlet was launched last August
1, 2003, at the National Statistics Office Samar Branch located at 2/F Noble
Building, Rizal Avenue this town, through the National Statistics Office
Registry System (NSO-CRS) Project which will service the whole island of
The center is a multi-phase computerization
project thru the build-operate-transfer scheme (BOT) of the National
Statistics Office (NSO) in partnership with the Unisys Philippines Inc. to
ensure precision and efficiency in the issuance of the different civil
registry documents (birth, marriage, death) for local and foreign use
through computer technology.
Engr. Rolando C. Dimaunahan, NSO Regional
Director said that some of the objective of this project is to enhance and
improve the service of delivery through online ‘while-you-wait’ service.
“Before, before you can get your Birth Certificate for example, you will be
waiting for at least two to three months. But through this new technology,
probably even in 10 minutes your document is already there,” Dimaunahan
Dir. Dimaunahan also added that registry
documents issued by the NSO are preferred and more official than that coming
from any local civil registry office.
Mrs. Letecia C. Chu, Samar Provincial Statistics
Officer said that the new system simplifies the NSO service and could
minimize multiple registration of a person. "One person only one
registration; Multiple registrations can be detected because this is
computerized.” She said.
“This is a
request anywhere capability. That means if you’re registered in Mindanao and
you need a copy of your Birth Certificate, you don’t need to go there just
to get your Birth Certificate but visit our center here and get your copy,”
On the other hand, Dir. Dimaunahan also said
that the new system doesn’t mean to be perfectly sufficient especially if
the telephone line has a problem instead he said that the new system is much
better than the old system. “All is through electronics system, the only
manual here is to fill up the form, once your application form is accepted
by the personnel here, and everything is electronics already. The only
problem is that if the telephone has no connection,” Dimaunahan noted.
He also assured the public that no under the
table transactions will transpire and it should be on a first come first
serve basis transaction.
It was also learned that all of the equipment
and machinery shouldered by the investor Unisys will be turned over to the
NSO after 12 years to be fully handled and controlled by the latter.
There are 6 Serbilis Centers in Metro
Manila, ( East Avenue, Pasig, Makati, Muntinlupa,
Kalookan, Pasay), 14 Regional Serbilis Centers and
20 Provincial Serbilis Centers all over the country in which Catbalogan is
fortunately included. Those who don’t have the time to visit any Serbilis
Centers may opt to apply thru online service in the internet at
Save SAMAR Caravan - NO to Mining! held
ALVIN T. DEVARAS
CATBALOGAN, Samar, Philippines
– Stakeholders of the Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP), a special
project on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development that aims
to establish the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), among others, Samar-based
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); Local Government Units (LGUs);
Non-Government Organizations and Peoples Organizations (NGOs/POs); Religious
Sector; Academe; Youth and Students held an island-wide environmental
caravan on August 8, 2003. The caravan was purposely organized to amplify
mass awareness and action on the importance and benefits of SINP; drumbeat
people’s opposition to the impending threats to biodiversity conservation
and sustainable use of Samar Island’s forest and coastal resources; and, to
catch the attention of national leaders through media mileage.
Delegations from the different municipalities of
the three Samar provinces rendezvoused at the designated rally flash points
(Calbayog City, Gandara, San Jorge, Buray, Calbiga and Basey). Contingents
coming from Northern Samar and Eastern Samar on their way to Catbalogan
(convergence point) passed through participating towns/city. Same also with
the delegation from the southern municipalities of Western Samar. Equipped
with streamers containing signatures, flaglets/balloons bearing “Yes to SINP
No to mining!” and a public address system, the participants clamored for
the establishment of SINP and expressed strong opposition against mining.
Placards containing the following slogans were also displayed along the way:
mina galit kami!
· Samar Island Buenas Logging Mina malas!
· Kapitalista numero uno nga terrorista!
· Reservation for the next generation
save and protect mother earth
our dream alive. No to mining!
Karikuhan han dagat matatagamtaman, mina deri kinahanglan
An estimated 4,000
participants from different delegations simultaneously arrived Catbalogan
town and motored around the town proper passing through the major
thoroughfares that culminated at the pieta park, where a program was held.
Cultural presentations were presented during the program while various
speakers aired their sentiments and took turns in urging Samareños to
support SINP and denounce mining operations in Samar Island. Prominent
among those present were Calbayog Diocese Bishop Jose S. Palma, Eastern
Samar Bishop Leonardo Y. Medroso, Samar Governor Milagros Tan, 1st
Congressional District Rep. Reynaldo Uy, 2nd Congressional
District Rep. Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Eastern Samar Gov. Clotilde Salazar,
Eastern Samar Vice-Gov. Federico Suyot Sr and Eastern Samar Lone District
Rep. Marcelino C. Libanan. Identified among the speakers are as follows:
Calbiga Mayor Melchor Nacario talked on mining issues and shared his
experience in his visit to Palawan. According to him, environmental
preservation is now a culture in Palawan and is a concerned of every
resident. Politicians stand as one when it comes to environmental issues and
does not further go to the extent of deliberating the issues. Mayor Nacario
expressed hope that the same thing would happen in Samar, for local
politicians to unite themselves for the betterment of all Samareños;
Alex Galo talked on mining experiences in
Manicani Island, Eastern
Samar particularly the mining operation of Hinatuan Mining Corp and the
negative effects to the environment, resulting, among others, to massive
fishkill and the deaths of seacucumbers. Fr. Galo opined that he was
disgusted over the result of DENR inspection team’s report that yielded
negative environmental destruction despite the manifestations of some
indicators. He also talked on how the Save Manicani Movement (SMM),
struggled to stop mining operations and save Manicani Island;
Elino Delison likewise shared his experience on fear of local residents in
Batag Island, Northern Samar threatened by the near operation of Panapino
Mining Corp. According to him, the 5-hectare vegetable and coconut
plantation in the island considered the vegetable basket of Northern Samar
will be affected if Panapino Mining will start its operations;
Vice-Gov. Suyot opined that the only way to pre-empt and stop mining in
Samar Island is to have a mining moratorium. He urged local officials of
the different provinces in Samar Island to come-up with a joint resolution
for a mining moratorium;
Joseph Escober disclosed that Sanguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Samar proposed a
resolution for a mining moratorium; and,
Sison and Ian Mosquisa, NGO representatives talked on Samar Island Forests
as protected areas, both urged Samareños to support the establishment of
SINP and denounced mining and logging as it will not bring any good to the
people of Samar and reiterated on the negative effects. Both stressed that
declaring Samar Island forests, as protected areas will also preempt mining
and logging operations in Samar.
A “Pact of Samareños” was then made between
Calbayog City mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Bishop Palma, Gov. Tan, Gov.
Salazar and Bishop Medroso. It was followed by the messages of support by
Bishop Hobayan for the religious sector; mayors Antonio Rivera and Elito
Dapulag for LGUs; Dr Efleda Bautista for the academe; and, representatives
from KSFI/KAPAWA/SAGUPA for the NGOs. The activity ended with the
candlelight ceremony and community singing of “Iroy nga Tuna.”
The activity was considered as first in the
history of Samar Island where an overwhelming number of participants joined
a rally to show their support on a particular issue, which they consider as
very significant to Samarnons. The number of participants representing
three provinces suggested that Samarnons are united in their clamor to
establish the SINP and to strongly denounce environmental threats
particularly mining and logging. Congressman Nachura called the event
as a unification of the three provinces of Samar island.