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Mila Tan declares P1.09M in campaign expenditures

Eco-tourism feasibility study of Pinipisakan Falls presented to stakeholders

NDF-EV scores Red-baiting paid ads

An Samar Naman Movement formed

Nachura says ConCon election probable in 2005

Shooting Incidents in Gandara town Blamed on Partisan Politics

Another Brutal Murder by NPA Hitmen

Fire Razes 15 Houses in Catbalogan

Save Samar Caravan - No to MIning! held

Pres. Arroyo visited Eastern Samar



Governor Tan, 2 Congressmen in Samar calls for unity, renew promises in their inaugural speeches

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 over.

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 affiliations.

“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 our constituents.”

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

June 25, 2004

CATBALOGAN, 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 this municipality.

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

June 25, 2004

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 Senate.

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

June 21, 2004

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 afternoon.

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 the hospital.

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 the area.





Court summons fails to reach Torrevillas

June 20, 2004

CATBALOGAN, 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. (see related story)

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 summons.

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 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

June 20, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar – 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 dwellings.

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 writing.





SINP Biodiversity Conservation in Public Schools Curriculum

June 16, 2004

CATBALOGAN, Samar   -   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 curriculum.

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 Congress.

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 environmental advocacy.

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 barangays.

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.



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