CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Around ninety percent of the total 1,167 rank-and-file employees of the
provincial government here are set to join the one day “mass walk and work
stoppage” cum indignation rally to protest the continued refusal of Governor
Milagrosa Tan to give them a higher additional bonus.
In a phone interview, Mr.
Hermie Sanchez, president of the Alliance of Samar Provincial Employees (ASPE)
confirmed this information but quickly clarified that this was not through
their initiative but of the whole employees who hold secret “caucus” during
“Yes, that information you
got is true. In fact, some of the employees are now busy making some
streamers, banners and leaflets condemning this act of the governor,”
Sanchez said adding that these materials will be carried by the protesters
during the coming protest rally come next week.
“(But) let me just clarify
that this move was not through our initiative, though this was a welcome
move for us. We are even happy that there were employees and other group
that are now moving fighting this kind of endeavor,” Sanchez said.
The convenor group, however,
announced that the supposed protest rally that was earlier reported to be
held on January 6, this year, was postponed until next week due to the
following reasons: unreadiness of the streamers, banners and leaflet;
documents that will support the alleged graft and corruption of the
provincial government and unavailability of some important speakers.
It was learned that some key
players on the issue were also invited to talk during the event such as from
the national headquarters of the COURAGE. The print and television reporters
covering the Capitol and some reporters from giant media outlets in Manila
were also invited to cover the event.
“We have to wait for this, a
big event for us and the Samarnons. So, it’s only proper that the people
will know about the issue and what was happening in the present
Meanwhile, the issue stemmed
when Gov. Tan announced that there will only be a P1,000 additional
Christmas bonus each worker unheeding the directive of President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo to release P5,000 for each government workers. The order of
the President was released through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
to the governors, city and municipal mayors nationwide.
But when employees were
given only P1,000 each, silent protest looms. They started it by wearing
black t-shirts, not reporting to work, and refused to process their vouchers
and refused to claim the “small slice” of their bonus.
Some of them wore black
t-shirts as “their protest” and threatened to continue doing so until
provincial government to give in to their demands, which they said, first
time to happen in this province. “We will be constrained to do this until
the governor will heed our demand,” a certain “Mary,” one of the employee
The complaining employees
said it would be an insult to them if they will accept that amount while we
knew that other government workers received a minimum of P5,000 up to 12,000
as cash gifts and bonuses.
They also contested that
Gov. Tan, who purportedly gave the mayors Christmas bonuses ranging from
P25,000 to P100,000 on top of other projects, why the employees were only
When asked why is that so,
some of the employees hinted that and said: “She got only 30 votes out of
total number of employees here, that is why, she 'personalized' us.”
This writer tried to reach
Gov. Tan in the Capitol, in her official residence at Himyangan, and even in
her residence in Brgy. Mercedes, but was told the governor is in Manila for
official business. To really get her side, this paper sent text and called
the governor and her staff, but never bothered to send a reply messages.
In an interview,
Vice-Governor Jesus B. Redaja said he should not be included in the blame
because, according to him, he did all his best to grant the employees of the
exact P5,000 bonus but to no avail.
He said, his effort has even
resulted in a “heated confrontation” with SP member Joseph Escober, an
ex-officio ABC chair, believed to be on the side of the governor.
“Actually, there is fund for
that P5,000 extra-bonus. In fact, when the governor requested to revert that
nearly P25 million for other purposes, the latter disapproved and the
reversion of the nearly P25 million was approved by the provincial board
members unanimously,” VG Redaja surmised.
In earlier pronouncements,
the governor vehemently denied all accusations hurled against her saying
this all “mere fabricated and done to discredit her.”
But some groups here,
boasting they have strong evidence and witnesses strongly believed there
were "graft and corrupt practices" happening in the administration of Tan.
Some of them even filed a graft charge in the Ombudsman in Manila, hoping
that the case would move and eventually be tried by the Sandiganbayan this
Danger lurks in the Pisak
By NINFA B. QUIRANTE (PIA Samar)
January 5, 2006
– This was the fear echoed by
the Department of Public Works and Higways (DPWH) District Engineer Pablo
Aragon when he learned from PIA that all sorts of vehicles still pass the
Wright-Taft Road. The road has been declared impassable to heavy vehicles.
In an interview, Aragon said
that the pavement in the Pisak Road approaches has collapsed. Passing
through the 40-50 meter stretch is deemed dangerous, he said because of
continuous erosion. This pavement is between a high mountain and a deep
embankment on the other side. Soil erosion continues due to heavy rains.
Aragon added that the
regional office has declared a travel advisory closing the road to vehicular
traffic, but due to the exigency of the situation, they have remedied the
situation by an improvised passage on the shoulder only for light vehicles.
Heavy vehicles have been advised to take the other route – the Basey-Lawaan
coastal road. PUJs and PUBs meanwhile have been allowed as long as they
unload their passengers first, when passing the perilous site. Traveling too
at night has been disallowed.
The repeated warnings though
have been unheeded. PIA has personally witnessed that all sorts of vehicles
pass that way, without necessarily unloading their passengers in the area.
When PUB and PUJ operators
were asked why they insist to pass the dangerous site, an operator of a PUB
the Boronga-Catbalogan road said that the alternative route doubles the
travel time and gas consumption, making a huge dent in their operation
expenses. Eaglestar transport company (Manila
bound bus for Eastern Samar) has also been seen to have resumed passing the
Meanwhile, Aragon said that
his office has passed recommendations for road restoration that could cost
as much as 10Million pesos. Other plans include cutting the mountain or
cutting down below, and constructing walls or structures to contain the
soil. These, he said have reached the hands 'above. He just hopes, he said
that with the reported damage in infrastructure of 60 million pesos in the
region, people on top will heed the urgent need to repair the damaged
He also said that he has
called the attention of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)
and the congressman concerned.
Meanwhile, he reiterates:
Danger still lurks in the
Villar: OFW remittances
propped up RP economy in ’05; OFW investments can do wonders to it in ‘06
By OSV/ PNS
January 5, 2006
Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says that
the precious remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), as in previous
years, will continue to be the saving grace of the Philippine economy this
“It is no secret that the $12 billion or so OFW remittances were the main
driver of the country’s economy in 2005. This year, OFWs would still play an
indispensable role in our economic performance. We really have a lot to
thank the OFWs for,” says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.
The Bangko Sentral forecasts that bank remittances from OFWs are likely to
reach $10.3 billion by the end 2005, which is 20 per cent higher than 2004’s
level. This excludes transactions coursed outside the banks, thus total
remittances are expected to reach $12 billion.
However, Villar cites, “Imagine what this huge amount of money from OFWs can
do to our country’s economy if they would be invested into business
ventures? The amount would multiply even more.”
Villar, through his “Overseas Filipino Investment Bill” urges OFWs to save,
invest and engage in business ventures that would translate their
hard-earned money into more economic gains for their country by becoming
overseas Filipino investors or OFIs.
“Its good that financial experts and economic managers are now urging banks
and other financial institutions as well as private organizations to support
OFWs who are interested to become entrepreneurs or investors. We need more
of them, in order to create jobs for our people and to start off a positive
chain reaction,” adds Villar.
On top of fuss-free procedures and risk-free opportunities, Villar’s bill
proposes the issuance of short and long-term OFI bonds by government banks;
provision of government financial institutions (GFIs) of credit facilities
for OFIs; the allocation of 10% of the total equity of government’s existing
businesses or enterprises for OFIs and their families; among other benefits
and incentives such as income tax exemptions.
According to Villar, “We should take advantage of the continued strong
demand for OFWs worldwide. We are doing the country as well as the OFWs and
their families a huge favor by channeling their hard-earned money into
Gen. Palparan eager to
finish his peace mission in Samar
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 3, 2006
TACLOBAN CITY – General Jovito Palparan expressed his willingness to come back to Region 8 to be
able to finish his mission for a lasting peace in the conflict stricken
areas of the Region.
In an exclusive
communication with PIA 8 on New Year’s eve, General Palparan admitted that
there are some sectors who are working out for his return to the Region.
Although, he thinks that the possibility is remote, as a good soldier, he
said that he will go anywhere his superiors would assign him.
He bared that he would love
to go back to Eastern Visayas because it is his home Region and because he
believes that he still has unfinished commitment in the Region.
General Palparan who is
known to those close to him as a soft-spoken gentleman of the military whose
commitment to his duty and rule of law, is first and foremost, admitted that
he would love coming back to Region 8 in order to really eradicate
insurgency in the area which he believes is the hindrance to real
development of the area.
General Palparan is a native
of Southern Leyte. He took over as chief of the 8th Infantry Division of the
Philippine Army based in Catbalogan, Samar in February 2005. Upon his taking
over of the post, he boldly announced that he would crush the Region’s
insurgency problem within the period of six months to one year.
This gave him the picture of
a no-nonsense military leader and at the same time earned him many
detractors especially those who will be crushed by his commitment to duty.
His stint in the Region was
short-lived when four months ago, he was reassigned to Central Luzon. Under
his command, the military intensified its operations against the new
People’s Army, which some human rights and some cause-oriented groups blamed
for the massive evacuation of residents in the hinterland villages of Samar,
harassment and intimidation of militant groups.
At least five militant
leaders in the Region have been killed and several others were seriously
injured by unidentified assailants since March of 2005. All the unresolved
killings and foiled slay attempts were blamed by the militant groups on the
To date, General Palparan
remained firm in denying the allegations. He reiterated his strong denial on
the allegations that he did not respect human rights and that he was
responsible for the spate of killings mentioned.
As early as the middle part
of December, reports coming from several sectors in the Region have it that
General Jovito Palparan will be reassigned to Region 8.
Be it as it may, it is the
wish of every citizen of
Eastern Visayas, that lasting peace will be reached and will prevail
in the Region. This only becomes possible with strong will and commitment.
Leyte SMEs learn to do
business on the web
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 28, 2005
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – To push Leyte Small and Medium Enterprises to take the appropriate e-commerce
strategies that will make them more competitive in the borderless global
business, the Leyte Provincial Office of the Department of Trade in the
Region will conduct a three- days training on doing business on the web.
DTI Leyte Director Desiderio
P. Belas, Jr. reveaked that the training tagged as E-Commerce Made Easy to
SMEs will be conducted on January 10-12, 2006 at the Sagkahan National High
School Computer Laboratory in
City in cooperation with the Philippine Trade Training Center, the
Provincial Government of Leyte and Bayantel.
At the end of the training,
the participants will be able to develop their own company website that will
be useful in marketing their products and services, Director Belas assured.
He added that success
stories abound about people who are now selling their products and services
through the web. Many SMEs are already becoming more profitable by grasping
the opportunities offered by electronic commerce.
It is now the right time to
offer the opportunities of electronic commerce to the Leyte SMEs in using
appropriate technologies and applications, Director Belas continued.
DTI Leyte have sent our
invitations to SMEs which have the felt need for e-commerce and those which
have export potentials. Director Belas said that he is encouraging the owner
or manager of the SMEs to personally attend the training so that they will
be able to understand and appreciate more what e-commerce is all about and
how e-commerce could become an effective tool in advancing business.
No registration fee is
required, Director Belas revealed, but slots are limited on a first come
first served basis. Thus, the invited SME owners must submit their
confirmation slips on or before
January 4, 2006.
For further inquiries,
Director Belas suggests that Ms. Araceli Larraga be contacted at telefax
number 053-325-6448 or go to the DTI Leyte Office at Sagkahan, Tacloban
Consumer group opposes the
hiring of foreign consultants by the government
Press Release by
December 28, 2005
PARAÑAQUE CITY – The
National Association of Electricity Consumers for Reforms, Inc. (Nasecore)
today questioned the wisdom of the government in the hiring of foreign
consultants in the privatization of the National Power Corporation which is
part of the restructuring of the electricity industry.
This was the reaction of the
consumer watchdog to reports that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has
allowed the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) to
hire British Power International (BPI) to handle the contracts of the
National Power Corporation (Napocor) with its independent power producers (IPPs).
BPI was hired to advise
PSALM and Napocor in the appointment of IPP administrators (IPPAs) that will
be done through competitive bidding as mandated by the Electric Power
Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).
“Hiring of foreign
consultants is an insult to local experts and a big drain to the coffers of
the government as they will not be paid a pittance. This is a manifestation
of how our government is controlled and dictated by foreign lending
institutions,” Pete Ilagan, president of Nasecore, lamented.
“How much will the Filipino
people pay for this foreign consultant and the other consultants who were
previously hired to help the government in the implementation of EPIRA?”,
The consumer group is also
concerned about the cost in the appointment of IPPAs who will administer,
conserve and manage the contracted energy output of Napocor IPP contracts
fearing that these costs will simply be passed-on to the rates that
consumers will pay raising further the prices of electricity.
The IPPs contracted by
Napocor are already managed by the companies that set up the generating
plants. The appointment of IPPAs will be an additional administrative layer
that will raise the cost of operating the IPPs.
Borongan LGU steps up solid waste management
A. Nicart, PIA
December 23, 2005
BORONGAN, Eastern Samar
– With the current dumpsite
causing health problems to the people in the vicinity, Borongan local
government unit is bent to rehabilitate the existing garbage pile at
barangay Camada a few kilometers away of the poblacion.
In an urgent meeting called
for by Mayor Fidel Anacta, thru Sangguniang Bayan member Victor Franco,
plans to urgently arrest the problem resulting from the stockpile of garbage
were discussed. Reports have reached the mayor’s office of some cases of
respiratory infections and gaseous emissions notwithstanding the probable
half a million penalty for the LGU for violation of RA 9003, hence the
urgent call for all concerned to help in the solution of the problem.
As an immediate alternative,
Operation Duso-Basura will be imposed, when garbage workers will have to
push all the garbage into the dumpsite utilizing a bulldozer or pay loader
from either DPWH or NIA. It has been observed that scavengers who have been
frequenting the site have added to the problem because they scratch out the
garbage from the site and leave it open into the highway where commuters
witness the mess.
Another plan is there to
cover the garbage with soil and treat the decaying and hazardous garbage.
Likewise, the perimeters of the site will be completely fenced so as to
prevent the scavengers from entering the area even as they might be earning
from the trash, the most difficult and dangerous way.
Long term plans of the
Borongan LGU is to acquire and transfer a dumpsite, away from “civilization”
so as to protect them from garbage-borne diseases. But that is in 2006 yet,
Franco quipped. Some ocular surveys had been conducted for possible
dumpsites in as far as sitio Balakdas, an upstream barangay however with
The current site will we
converted into an eco-tourism site as observed in other model cities and
provinces. Sooner local artists will be invited to paint on the walls of
Early next year, some
resource speakers from UP Los Banos will be expected to share some of their
knowledge on how to properly manage solid wastes.
Water and sanitation
projects completed reaches over 600 units in 6 years
By Bong Pedalino, PIA Southern
December 22, 2005
MAASIN CITY – Some 642
units of various water and sanitation (WATSAN) projects province-wide had
been finished from 1999 up to the third quarter of the current year, 2005,
according to Gov. Rosette Y. Lerias.
In a recent talk show
program KAABAG at Maasin Cable TV where she was the guest, Gov. Lerias
spelled out some of the highlights of her administration in what looked like
a year-ender report.
She singled out among others
the water and sanitation projects like shallow wells and deep wells which
this year alone totaled 77 units with a cost of P 7,036,676.02.
Among the latest beneficiary
barangays of the WATSAN were Bato I, Hantag, Manhilo, all from this city;
Sindangan, in Macrohon, and Buac Gamay, inSogod.
Another program consistently
carried out by the provincial government since 1999 up to the present was
the Civic Action (CIVAC), whose overall beneficiaries in six year’s time has
reached 96,785 individuals.
“The CIVAC was a very
visible way of bringing the government closer to the people, particularly
those living in the innermost, hinterland villages of the province,” said
Aside from free consultation
and free medicines given during the CIVAC, several other free services can
be availed, like tooth extraction, circumcision, massage, and haircut by the
The barangay tanods will
also be briefed with lectures on legalities and technicalities of basic laws
for an effective peace and order and crime prevention in their locality.
In the same KAABAG program
the Governor also mentioned some infrastructure projects completed like some
educational facilities under the TEEP and SEDIP, and construction of bridges
under President Arroyo’s Bridge Program.
In keeping with the spirit
of the Christmas season, Gov. Lerias also disclosed that on December 15 she
led in an activity called “Pamaskong Handog” where in Maasin some 100
indigent families received packages and another 110 family-beneficiaries in
Padre Burgos also got some “bundles of joy.”