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New Army Commander in Eastern Visayas takes post

InfiniVAN’s Submarine Cable Network project with Globe and Eastern Communications marks new milestone

DPWH-BDEO hastens completion of Dispo Bridge widening

Aya-ay back as DAR Eastern Visayas RD

Central Luzon State U is first HEI to establish peace markers in PH

Eastern Visayas posts $191.99 million trade surplus in February 2022

Project Angel Tree brings joy to 50 child laborers in Tacloban

ASEAN Economic Ministers form united position on trade issues





8ID renders military honors to 3 newly promoted brigade commanders

8ID 3 new generals

January 23, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Three newly promoted Brigade Commanders of this Command were accorded military honors upon their arrival at Headquarters 8th Infantry Division earlier today, January 23, 2023.

Arrival Honors was accorded to Brigadier General Lenart R. Lelina, 801st Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Noel A. Vestuir, 802nd Brigade Commander, and Brigadier General Perfecto P. Peñaredondo, 803rd Brigade Commander and subsequently rendered courtesy call to Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, Commander, 8ID.

The three Brigade Commanders are members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sambisig” Class of 1991.

They were part of the 13 Generals donned with the new rank by the Commanding General Philippine Army, Lieutenant General Romeo S. Brawner Jr. on January 20, 2023, at the Headquarters Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila.

As Brigade Commanders, they are instrumental in transforming the insurgency landscape of Eastern Visayas for the better as it has always been regarded as a communist “hotbed” and has been denied socio-economic growth despite its huge potential due to insurgency.

Through their leadership, front guerilla units of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) have gradually been degraded as a terrorist organization with the neutralization of some of their key leaders, lost grounds due to the surrender of their regular fighters and the withdrawal of support from their so-called “mass base” thereby paving the way for the development of conflict-affected communities in the region.

“I want to congratulate you on your well-deserved promotions. Keep up the good work,” stated Maj. Gen. Ligayo.

“A promotion entails new responsibilities on your shoulders and comes with additional responsibilities that call for greater sacrifice and dedication to duties,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo concluded.

8ID new generals





DAR gives P1.5M for the establishment of greenhouse in Palo

DAR-Palo greenhouse project MOA
Assistant Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Eastern Visayas, representing Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu, and Mayor Remedios Petilla sign a memorandum of agreement for the implementation of DAR’s Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARCs) program in the municipality of Palo.

January 23, 2023

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) downloaded P1.5-Million to the local government unit (LGU) of Palo in the province of Leyte for the establishment of a greenhouse that will be managed by an agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO).

DAR Eastern Visayas chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD), Melecia Ong, disclosed that the said amount is taken from the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) for the implementation of the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARCs) program.

She further disclosed that the SANAG (San Agustin) Rice Farmers and Livelihood Association, a DAR-assisted farmer organization within the Palo Agrarian Reform Community (ARC), was pre-selected to be the recipient of the greenhouse to help them expand their livelihood activities and generate more income by undertaking the enterprise-based crop nursery project, which is in line with the food security program of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the nine primary goals of Agrarian Reform Secretary Connrado Estrella III, particularly in the provision of modern farm equipment to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

Ong added that the strong support of Mayor Remedios Petilla made this municipality qualify for the said project.

The collaboration between DAR and the Palo LGU was sealed towards the end of December last year when DAR Eastern Visayas Assistant Regional Director for Administration and Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Sustainability Program, Ismael Aya-ay, representing Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu, and Petilla signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the said project.

The LGU will take the lead in the implementation of this project including the engagement and procurement of goods and items.

Petilla, expressed her appreciation and thanks to DAR for choosing her municipality as the recipient of the said project.

According to her, DAR is very receptive. She assured DAR officials and other national agencies of the LGU’s support to any agricultural projects.

“We hope we can put our hearts and minds together to really come up with good agricultural production areas in the province of Leyte, especially in the first district,” Petilla added.

Aside from the benefits the recipient ARBO will get, this project will provide the farmers in the locality access to quality seeds and seedlings and ensure the production of improved crop varieties and better quality of plant materials.

Aya-ay and Petilla likewise talked of intensifying production of herbs and flowers which are also in demand in the markets.





Victims of NPA exploitation in EV withdraw support from CPP, swear oath of allegiance to the government

Victims of NPA exploitation in Alang-alang, Leyte

January 19, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Ninety-three individuals from four mass organizations under the Alang-alang Seksyon Komite (ASK), Regional White Area Committee (RWAC), Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) withdraw their support to the communist terrorist group and take their oath of allegiance to the government in the Municipality of Alang-alang, Leyte last January 19, 2023.

The exploited individuals bonded together to form the Alang-alang Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association and abandoned their former CTG-led organization.

Alang-alang Small Farmers Association (ASFA), Salvacion Coconut Farmers Association (SALCOFA), Alyansa han Gugti na Asosasyon han Parag uma han Tabanguhay (AGAPITA), and Bigaa Samahan han Gugti nga Parag uma han Asosasyon ngan Katirig-uban ha Alang-alang (BISAKA) have been organized to aid the resource generation of the CTGs to sustain their atrocities in Eastern Visayas.

Maj. Gen. Camilo Z. Ligayo Commander of 8th Infantry Division together with Brig. Gen. Noel A. Vestuir, Commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, and the local government units of Alang-alang, Leyte, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Regional Office 8, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other government agencies attended the indignation rally wherein the victims condemned the exploitations and deceptions of the CTG-led the group.

Likewise, Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla of Leyte led the local government officials and Alang-alang Municipal Mayor Lovell Ann M. Yu in receiving the returning former CTG mass members and supporters.

Other national government agencies also including the DILG, DOLE, DENR, DSWD, OCD, TESDA, DA, DTI, CDA, DAR and PSA graced the occasion to manifest their support and willingness to help improve the lives of the former CTG supporters.

The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF8-ELCAC) is hands-on in leading the pursuit of the whole-of-government approach and whole-of-nation participation anchored in good governance in ending local communist armed conflict.

Brig. Gen. Noel A. Vestuir, 802nd Brigade Commander, said that the success in compelling the members of the CTG-affiliated Mass Organizations (CAMOs) was achieved through the concerted efforts of the Leyte Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PFT ELCAC), Alangalang Municipal TF ELCAC, member agencies of the 12 clusters and the members of Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association (IPDWA).

Maj. Gen. Camilo Z Ligayo said "They are about to collapse; it is just a matter of time. Their leaders have been captured, most of them surrendered, and others have lie-low, the Chairman of the CPP-NPA, Jose Maria Sison, is already dead. And of course, with the implementation of EO70 or the whole-of-nation approach we are able to deliver the basic services from the government.”





IBP supports former DICT exec

Press Release
January 18, 2023

PASIG CITY – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) recently lauded the performance and accomplishments of former Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Jose Vicente Salazar in public service, saying he lived up to the ideals of the organization in his various stints.

In a resolution, the IBP cited Salazar’s commitment to the organization’s “pursuit of the highest ideals of integrity and excellence in the service of the Nation”. “He (Salazar) likewise espoused these ideals as he took on several major appointive positions in government,” the IBP said.

The IBP issued the resolution following Salazar’s irrevocable resignation from his post as DITC Secretary in December last year to attend to urgent family concerns. Salazar served as National President of the IBP for the Term 2005-2007.

In the resolution, the IBP also noted Salazar’s achievement at the helm of the organization.

“In the performance of these and other roles in the IBP, Atty. Salazar has contributed significantly to the advancement of the goals and ideals of the IBP, particularly in promoting unity and camaraderie within its ranks; in advancing professionalism and professional development among the legal practitioners of the country; and in expanding the IBP’s presence and role in the affairs of the government and society,” the IBP said.

Salazar was key in the formation of LENTE, a multi-sector movement spearheaded by the IBP for the education of voters and for the conduct of clean and honest elections.

“In the several decades of his commitment to and involvement with the IBP, both at the national and regional levels, Atty. Salazar has shown and proven that transparency and integrity are the key hallmarks of his person and character for which reason many members have looked up to him as a role model,” the IBP added.

Meanwhile, lawyer and constitutional law professor John Molo also cited Salazar’s achievements and crusade for reforms. Molo, who is the current Chair of the editorial board of the IBP Law Journal, said Salazar is “warm, amiable and keenly aware of the plight of others”.

In a statement published in the social media page of the Philippine Bar Association, Molo said Salazar “does what he can to fix systemic defects”.

“This is, to some, a failing for one who is in public service,” Molo explained, adding that “I am yet to encounter someone who has personally dealt with him call him a bad man”.

Salazar also spearheaded the country’s fight against modern-day slavery as he served as head of the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) and Justice Undersecretary from 2007 to 2015.





NPA leaders and members surrenders, 13 high powered firearms seize in EV

13 NPA surrenderees

January 17, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Thirteen New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered along with their issued firearms to the 801st Infantry “Bantay at Gabay” Brigade (801st IBde) of the 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division (8ID), Philippine Army at Barangay Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar last January 12, 2023.

The surrenderers were members of Bugsok Platoon, Sub Regional Committee (SRC) Sesame, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) under the leadership of Martin Colima alias Antos operating in the tri-boundaries of Pinabacdao, Calbiga, and Basey all of Samar.

Their surrender was made possible through the intervention of the Local Peace Engagement (LPE) Cluster of the Provincial Task Force End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) of Samar. The continued talks with their families and relatives prompted them to return to the folds of the law. According to the surrenderers, the hardships, longingness for their families, and lack of support for the exploited masses are some of the primary reasons that prompted them to leave the armed struggle.

Together with his group, Dino Bachicha alias Linoy the former NPA Terrorist Leader of the Sentro De Grabidad, Bugsok Platoon, SRC Sesame, EVRPC handed over ten M16 rifles, two Cal. 45 and one Glock 17 pistol as a symbol of goodwill and willingness to be integrated back to the society. They also revealed the locations of prohibited anti-personnel mines, medical paraphernalia, and numerous ammunitions.

Meanwhile, Colonel Lenart Lelina, Brigade Commander of the Army's 801st Bde said, “The disintegration of the leaders and members of the EVRPC is a manifestation that our efforts together with our stakeholders and peacebuilders have made them realize that we are sincere to help them.”

“I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the members of the PTF-ELCAC for the unending help and effort in quest of attaining lasting peace in Samar.” Col Lelina added.

Likewise, Major General Camilo Z Ligayo the Commander of the 8ID said “The communist terrorist groups are dwindling in numbers and are under pressure with the loss of their forces and mass bases which urged them to surrender to the government authority. Their surrender only proves that they are fed up with the wrong ideologies of the NPA. Also, this indicates that their trust and support are now shifted from the CTG to the government. With this, rest assured that the Army will assist them to avail the benefits under Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (ECLIP).”

“I hope that the continued commitment of the Army and different stakeholders in implementing the ECLIP will motivate the remaining members of the NPA to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law,” Maj Gen Ligayo added.

Said surrenderees will process their ECLIP benefits and privileges after their Medical and Physical examination at Camp Lukban Station Hospital.

surrendered firearms from NPA





Soldier sacrifices life during rescue ops in Northern Samar

January 12, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry "Stormtroopers" Division is saddened to report the death of a soldier during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations at Vicinity KM 6, Barangay Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar last January 11, 2023.

Corporal Jerry Palacio of the 43rd Infantry Battalion (43IB) assigned at Happy Valley Patrol Base situated in Sitio KM7, Brgy. Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar was on his way to Barangay Poblacion but was swept away by overflowing water current while crossing the concrete bridge in Sitio KM6. Corporal Palacio was dragged downstream and went missing since January 09, 2023.

A joint search, rescue, and retrieval operation were immediately conducted together with 43IB, Philippine National Police, and Philippine Coast Guard.

On January 11, 2023, at 8:30 in the morning the Search Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) operations team together with civilian volunteers located the cadaver of Corporal Palacio at Mauo River, Sitio Marasbaras, Happy Valley, San Isidro, Northern Samar, 3-kilometers away from the incident area.

He was en route to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in San Isidro to coordinate with the other agencies for the conduct of HADR and to monitor the effects of the continuous rainfall when the unfortunate incident happened.

In his statement, Major General Camilo Z Ligayo, Commander, 8ID said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Corporal Palacio’s family and loved ones during this difficult time, he died trying to save the people of Northern Samar. The Philippine Army will provide appropriate support and assistance to the bereaved family.”

"Despite the unfortunate incident, the Army will continue to deliver its mandate of performing HADR operations in affected areas to save lives", Maj Gen Ligayo added.

The cadaver was brought to the Municipal Health Office of San Isidro, Northern Samar for postmortem examination prior to its transport and turnover to his family in Brgy Chitongco, Mondragon, Northern Samar.





Former NPA Mass Supporters reveals arms cache in Leyte; high powered firearms seized

January 5, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The troops from 14th Infantry Battalion (14IB) of 8th Infantry Division discover and seized an arms cache of four high-powered firearms at the hinterlands of Barangay Maligaya, Mahaplag, Leyte, January 05, 2023.

seized high powered firearmsThis is after the revelation of former supporters of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) in the said area.

The said arms cache consists of one AK47 assault rifle, an M16 rifle, an M1 Garand rifle, a 40mm M79 Grenade Launcher, and assorted magazines that belongs to Platoon 1 of Sub-Regional Command-LEVOX, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (P1, SRC-LEVOX, EVRPC).

It was learned that the firearms were buried by the group due to their inability to recruit and recover former mass bases to fill in their ranks.

The series of engagements with the populace and the continued delivery of basic services and socio-economic development in the area have enlightened the populace of the deceptive scheme of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

The 14IB has immersed its Community Support Program team in Barangay Maligaya of Mahaplag Leyte and intensified government service through the implementation of the Retooled Community Support Program. And this became an avenue for the barangay to be a recipient of the Support to Barangay Development Project last 2022.

The Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Dela Rosa expressed that indeed the propaganda of the terrorists on convincing the local populace to support them is now futile because of the efforts of the government.

“This achievement displays the support of the civilian populace to the Philippine Army as they no longer want the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to regain their influence and control in the communities, much more of stockpiling food supplies and armaments,” Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa said that the information and security awareness conducted among the civilians have been one of the great tools to combat the terrorist’s propaganda.

“Our Operation Plan “PAHIBALO”, an information and security awareness program, equipped the civilians with the right information to make them strong enough to stand against the CTG exploitations and deceptions,” Dela Rosa added.

Meanwhile, the Commander of 802nd Infantry Brigade Colonel Noel Vestuir renewed his call on the remaining NPA to surrender.

“I reiterate my call to the remaining NPAs who are still hiding in the mountains in our area of responsibility to surface and join their families in the mainstream of our society. You are no longer welcomed by the people in the communities since they are already with us in our efforts to end this 54 years of local communist armed conflict. They are now giving us the information on your whereabouts, the locations of your pre-positioned foods in the area, and even your arms caches,” Vestuir said.

The Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division Major General Camilo Ligayo lauded the members of the Retooled Community Support Program of the Municipality of Mahaplag for the effective implementation of Whole-of-the-Nation Approach.

"The institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach is an effective tool to eradicate the issues that the CTGs used to deceive our fellow countrymen. With the convergence of Local Government units, national agencies, and government forces, the services and programs for the people are continuously being delivered and this addresses the issues being exploited by the CTGs that pollute the minds of our countrymen," Ligayo said.

Ligayo also assures that the 8ID will support the effort and ensure the implementation of the Barangay Development Projects towards peace and development.





Utility workers take centerstage during DAR Christmas celebration

DAR Christmas celebration

December 30, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – As the whole world celebrates the holiday season in so many ways, the regional office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas paid tribute to the ordinary workers during their Christmas festivity which centered on the theme “Pagpupugay sa karaniwang manggagawa.”

During the celebration last week, the 14 utility workers, seven males and seven females, took the centerstage in their shining, shimmering, splendid gowns and suits as they vied for the male and female “Faces of the Night.”

Wearing a black evening gown, Emilyn Fernando’s answer to the question, “Bilang isa sa mga utility worker papano mo maibabahagi ang iyong kakayahan sa DAR,” got the judges nod and emerged the female “Face of the Night.”

According to her, “Kahit walang nakatingin, magtratrabaho ako at saka kahit lumampas po ang oras ko sa trabaho, magtratrabaho din po ako. Bibigyan ko rin po ng respeto lahat.”

For the male category, the judges unanimously chose Menard Sabalza with his answer, “Kun ano talaga an akon trabaho, amo an akon tratrabahu-on. Ngan kun ano an akon mabubuhat ngan mabubulig, amo akon bubuhaton ngan ibubulig ko ha iyo nga tanan.”

Meanwhile, everyone was touched when Julie Ann Sanchez said “maraming-maraming salamat po sa gabing ito. Kahit papano nakaranas kami ng magandang damit, magmake-up, at hindi tagakuskus ng CR, taga-mop at tagalinis ng table.”

The different divisions provided their needs making their total transformation a night to remember. An experience they will forever cherish.





NMP reaches 179% accomplishment in seafarers trained

NMP seafarers training

By National Maritime Polytechnic
December 29, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), the only government maritime training and research center of the country achieved its annual target in training seven thousand (7,000) trainees as stated under its commitment on the Office Performance Commitment Review (OPCR) as part of the agency’s major deliverables for the calendar year 2022.

As of 15 December 2022, the total number of trainees trained is 12,501 composed of trainees aspiring and active seafarers, maritime instructors and assessors and/ or other allied personnel in the maritime industry. This means an accomplishment of 179 % of the 7,000 target trainees to be trained for the year.

This is a notable performance considering the pandemic-related restrictions implemented by NMP wherein its class intake was reduced to 50%-70% from the previous maximum capacity until July 2022 to effectively observe physical distancing. Likewise, NMP started accepting enrollees from other regions only in May 2022.

As part of the NMP’s commitment to prompt service, 100% of trainees received their certificates within seventy-two (72) hours from the successful completion of all course’s requirements. Likewise, the Agency achieved an average satisfaction rating of 94.66% on 8 service quality dimensions as of November 2022. These figures reflect the NMP’s untiring endeavors to ensure the delivery of quality services to its clients.

Moreover, two (2) additional Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) courses, namely: Safety Training for Personnel Providing Direct Services to Passengers in Passenger Spaces and Passenger Ship Crisis Management and Human Behavior Training were accredited by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and will soon be offered in 2023. This would mean additional enrollees to be trained and certificated by end of next year.

Meanwhile, NMP continues to upgrade its facilities and provide maritime trainings required pursuant to the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention as amended in 2010 including value-adding courses towards improving the qualifications of Filipino seafarers for their employment acceptability and enhanced competitiveness. It also regularly conducts maritime studies to come up with policies for the improvement of the manpower sector of the industry.

Those interested to take NMP training programs may visit the Online Registration System via or the agency’s Facebook page ( where all updates and relevant information on NMP programs are available. Likewise, for information on NMP research undertakings please visit the NMP website and access the e-Research Information System Portal ( which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the Research Agenda, and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate in the research activities.





IBP congratulates J. Eduardo Malaya on his election as president of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for 2023-2024

Press Release
December 29, 2022

PASIG CITY – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines congratulates the Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands, J. Eduardo Malaya, on his election as president of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) for 2023-2024.

His appointment is a recognition of his exemplary record in diplomacy and government service, having served as undersecretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from 2019 to 2022 and twice served as Assistant Secretary (Director-General) for Treaties and Legal Affairs from 2007 to 2011 and from 2017 to 2019. He was also the Philippine ambassador to Malaysia from 2011 to 2017 and the DFA spokesman from 2009 to 2011. Furthermore, he has led the Philippine accession in 2010 to the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, which paved the way for the country’s membership in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

As the first Filipino national to serve at the helm of the Administrative Council of the PCA, the IBP and the Philippine legal community expresses their pride and happiness in Ambassador Malaya’s election. The IBP considers this as an opportunity to uphold its commitment to advance all interests in the preservation of the rule of law. In this regard, the IBP strives to safeguard the ideals of achieving justice and peace through law.

Once again, the IBP congratulates Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands, J. Eduardo Malaya as he embarks on this endeavor and we look forward to supporting and celebrating his achievements in his new role as president of the Administrative Council of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) for 2023-2024.





2nd tranche wage increase in Region 8 to take effect on January 2, 2023

Press Release
December 28, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office 8 through the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) reminds private employers in Eastern Visayas of the effectivity of the second tranche wage increase under Wage Order No. RBVIII-22.

Starting January 2, 2023, workers in the non-agriculture sector and retail/service establishments employing 11 workers and above will be receiving a daily minimum wage of P375.00.

Meanwhile, employers in the cottage and handicraft industry, agriculture sector and retail/service establishments employing 10 workers and below must pay their workers not lower than P345.00 per day.

DOLE-8 Regional Director and Chairman of the RTWPB VIII, Henry John S. Jalbuena, calls on all employers in the region to adhere to the wage order.

“We at DOLE will be doing our part in ensuring that our workers are receiving what's due them”, said Jalbuena.

It can be recalled that Wage Order No. RBVIII-22 took effect last June 27, 2022, providing for a P50.00 increase to be implemented in two tranches.





Eastern Visayas Youth condemns another year of CPP thru Peace Concert

8ID Peace Concert

December 27, 2022

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City - The 8th Infantry "Stormtroopers" Division, Philippine Army supports the first-ever music festival for peace at Peoples Center, Tacloban City last December 26, 2022.

The said activity is in line with the strong condemnation of the youth for another year of deceptive recruitment done by the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The Music Festival aims to showcase the talents of various youth organizations all over the Region that are dedicated to all youth and members of Peoples Organization who have been victims of the CPP- NPA-NDF recruitment.

The activity also aims to capacitate the youth to be active partners in pursuit of genuine and lasting peace.

The participating performers included are TacMusico, Hands Off Our Children Movement Eastern Visayas Chapter, Istilo Poetry, KBOX, in active participation of Tacloban City Police Office, Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management Cluster, Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

"We support different sectors for a collaborative effort in nation-building particularly to the youth to harness their potential as catalysts for Peace, Growth, and agents of development," said by MGen Camilo Ligayo the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division.





Calbayog City Coastal Road: An update

Calbayog City Coastal Road

December 23, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Continuous construction of the Calbayog City coastal road is being done since it started in 2018. This multi-year project will connect Barangay Rawis to Barangay San Policarpo through Barangay Aguit-itan allowing vehicles to by-pass Calbayog City Proper.

Calbayog City is now one of the fast-expanding city and with it comes the heavy traffic which is prevalent in the streets of the city proper. This coastal road will serve as a detour to manage traffic congestion. Also, tourist attractions are being developed since the city is blessed with several natural attractions such as clean and wide beaches, unexplored caves, waterfalls and hot spring which will eventually add to the growing number of vehicles plying in and out of the city.

Since 2018 to 2020, much has been accomplished on the coastal road in terms of embankment and gravel road as well as concreting including its slope protection. A total of 3.074 lane kilometers is embanked and 9,335.86 square meters of slope protection is built in Barangay Rawis. Also, 3.073 lane kilometers is embanked and 9,333.31 square meters of slope protection is constructed in Barangay Aguit-itan. Moreover, 3.286 lane kilometers and 9,952.70 square meters of its slope protection is also built in Barangay San Policarpo. Likewise, part of the embanked portion are now concreted in Barangay Rawis and Aguit-itan for a total length of 3.08 lane kilometers.

However, the construction of two bridges that is part of the 2019 (package A) and 2020 (package 2A) projects just recently started which will link to a special bridge that will eventually connect to Barangay Aguit-itan.

In 2021, a total of 2.2366 lane kilometers of embankment are constructed along Barangay San Policarpo consisting of three packages (package 5A, package 4A and package 3A). Also, the scope includes 2,236.6-meter of slope protection.

By 2022, two of the three (3) packages are already completed. One of those is the concreting of road from Brgy. San Policarpo to Brgy. Matobato (Package A). The four-lane Portland Cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP) spans 1.423 lane kilometers with a width of 24.9 meters including the bike and pedestrian lanes. Apart from it, roadway lightings of 168 single arm and 28 double arm LED lights are installed including median island.

An extension of package A (Package 6A) is also completed which consists of Portland Cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP) with a length of 549.30 linear kilometers (including the pedestrian lane) and an additional embankment of 262.3 linear kilometers as well as 262.3-meter slope protection is also built. A median island is also part of the scope of work including 99 LED lights that are installed in the middle part of the road as well as on the side. Construction of the bridge which is the third package for the year is suspended.





5 flood control structures in Dagami nears completion

Dagami flood control structures

December 23, 2022

DAGAMI, Leyte – Ensuring protection against possible flooding, the Leyte Second District Engineering Office (L2DEO) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is now on its final phase for the construction of the Binahaan Flood Control Structure and Drainage System along the portion of the Binahaan River Basin in Dagami, Leyte.

For the current year, L2DEO has implemented five (5) flood control structure projects stretching the Binahaan River Basin, located in the barangays of Balilit (upstream and downstream), Cansamada, Digahungan, and Abre.

According to District Engineer Leo Edward Oppura, the flood control structure being built in Cansamada and upstream and downstream of Balilit will not only reduce flooding but will also protect the Balilit bridge from ravaging water surges as the river passes through the bridge.

Meanwhile, 440-linear meters of revetment wall are constructed for the Digahungan flood control and 328 linear meters of gabions are also installed located in Barangay Abre as protection against strong currents and to prevent riverbank erosion.

Flood control structures, such as gabion barriers, are necessary for communities near the Binahaan River to reduce erosion and scouring on river banks during floods and high-velocity river streams, as well as to avoid further damage to water-logged areas.

River banks will not be compromised during sudden occurrence of rains and tropical storms, thereby protecting the lives and property of those living nearby.

This project will ensure safety and protect residents' livelihoods and properties once it is fully completed in the first quarter of next year.

With funding sourced from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022, these five (5) flood control structures along the Binahaan River in Dagami town cost a total of P235.05 Million.





KADIWA brings noche buena goods and local products in Tacloban

KADIWA Tacloban

By DTI-Regional Operations Group
December 22, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Leyte Provincial Office joined the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 8 to conduct Kadiwa ng Pasko through its Diskwento Caravan: Noche Buena Edition.

The Diskwento Caravan has been a part of Kadiwa from November 16-18, 2022 in Rizal Plaza, Tacloban City. Basic necessities, prime commodities, Noche Buena products, and Christmas decorations from major distributors in the region, as well as locally manufactured delicacies and handcrafted items of assisted MSMEs were on display in this huge marketing event.

After the three-day selling event, Kadiwa ng Pasko continued to showcase basic goods, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, local delicacies and items for five Sundays – November 20, November 27, December 4, December 11, and December 18, and will run before Christmas Day.

Through the Diskwento Caravan, DTI invited and helped nine retail distributors and 32 DTI-assisted MSMEs to generate total cash and booked sales of P1.2M over the course of 8 days.

This year's successful edition of Kadiwa ng Pasko is a testament of the strong partnership between DTI, DA, DILG, DOLE, DSWD, and Tingog Sinirangan.

DTI will continue to establish strong local presence and partnership among government enablers.





Flood control structure built to protect residents of Brgy. Nabang

Brgy. Nabang flood control structure

December 19, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – A flood control structure was built by Samar First District Engineering Office along Jibatang River in Barangay Nabang, Calbayog City.

The above-mentioned structure spans 254.6 meters in length and has an average height of 3-12 meters since some areas have existing flood control structure. Part of the scope of work includes the installation of 16 solar street lights every 20 meters along the structure. This will serve as a protection wall for residents of the said barangay.

The structure has a total revised contract amount of P43.61 million drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022.

Barangay Nabang is a low-lying area that is prone to flooding, particularly during typhoons and heavy rains. Flood control was built to reduce the effects of flood water or high-water levels in flood-prone communities.





NPA in Northern Samar use anti-personnel mines blatantly disregard IHL

npa mines attack victim

December 18, 2022

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Six members of the Army's 20th Infantry "We Lead" Battalion (20IB) of the 8th Infantry "Stormtroopers" Division (8ID), Philippine Army were wounded while providing Peace and Development Program at Barangay Quirino, Las Navas, Northern Samar on December 18, 2022.

The Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) used Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs) against the Mobile Community Support and Sustainment Program (MCSSP) Teams of the 20IB while securing the water system project.

The Commanding Officer of 20IB, Lieutenant Colonel Joemar Buban said that Barangay Quirino is among the seven barangays in Las Navas, Northern Samar that are recipients of the Support to Barangay Development Program 2022 as part of the National Task Force-ELCAC Program. Barangay Quirino was also set to receive a Level II Water System Project after the groundbreaking ceremony at Brgy. Magsaysay on December 16, 2022.

"The 20IB has been doing its best to help the former conflict-affected barangays through our Mobile Community Support and Sustainment Program Teams to achieve long-lasting peace and sustainable development in Northern Samar." Lt Col Buban said.

Lt Col Buban also calls on the Commission of Human Rights to investigate and make a statement on these continuous inexcusable violations of the Ottawa Convention, International Humanitarian Law, and RA9851 by communist NPA terrorists in Northern Samar.

Major General Camilo Ligayo, Commanding General of 8ID said " The continued use of members of the terrorist NPAs of Anti-Personnel Mines that have been banned is a blatant disregard of international humanitarian law. For this, they deserve our highest level of condemnation."

The CTGs once again made a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law in Northern Samar. It can be recalled that last April 03, the CNTs used Anti-Personnel Mines against CSP Teams of the 20IB at Barangay San Miguel, Las Navas, Northern Samar which resulted in the death of two PNP Personnel and injured four others. Another APM incident happened at Barangay Magsaysay, Mapanas, Northern Samar last July 05, wounding seven Army Personnel. Last July 19, a soldier was killed and five others were wounded after a Communist Terrorist attack using APMs in the remote Osang village in Catubig, Northern Samar.





IBP conducts finance summit for chapter legal aid clerks

Press Release
December 19, 2022

PASIG CITY – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines held its first-ever Finance Summit on December 12, 2022, a three-day workshop on IBP Chapter Compliance and Liquidation, designed to strengthen the chapters' capacity and enhance reporting and liquidating processes by empowering chapter legal aid clerks. To that end, the legal aid clerks of the IBP chapters from all over the nation traveled to the IBP National Office in Pasig, Metro Manila, where the National Office's Finance Department provided a series of lectures and activities aimed at enhancing and strengthening the legal aid programs and administration of the chapters.

The Summit covered matters such as peak season requirements, how to utilize the IBP's new online payment options, and how to help members download and use the myIBP app. The clerks were again reappraised on how to create financial and liquidation reports and guarantee compliance with BIR and SC requirements.

The National Center for Legal Aid used the occasion to host the legal aid clerks' first-ever physical Christmas party on the first day of the Finance Summit, taking into account the fact that this was the first time they had all been together at the National Office.

As a way of giving back for the efforts that the legal aid clerks, as frontliners, have exerted, National President Burt Estrada also informed the clerks that the 25th Board of Governors has approved a performance-based bonus, a Christmas cash allowance, and the provision of vacation and sick leaves, in lieu of service incentive leaves for qualified clerks, starting January 2023. Our clerks were likewise provided health benefits through an HMO program negotiated by the IBP with CareHealth Plus, with the coverage beginning immediately on 13 December 2022.

Lastly, in coordination with Huawei and Radenta Technologies, Inc., the National Office, through Director for Chapter Affairs, Atty. Manuel Joseph B. Ibañez III was able to distribute laptops on the final day of the summit to all the clerks for use in the legal aid programs of the chapters all over the country.





Calubian farmers receive CLOAs as early Christmas gift from DAR

Enage Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiaries Association
Thirty-one tenants in an hacienda in Barangay Engage in Calubian, Leyte received individual Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

December 15, 2022

CALUBIAN, Leyte – Thirty-one agricultural tenants in an hacienda here received an early Christmas gift from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) when their individual land titles were handed to them on Friday making them now owners of the land they are tilling.

Sixteen days before Christmas, Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Maximo Castañeda Jr. distributed the 31 individual Certificates of Land ownership Award (CLOAs) to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in a simple ceremony in Barangay Enage where the subject landholding is situated.

Castañeda disclosed that the CLOAs covered a combined area of 39.9546 hectares.

He further disclosed that the awarded lots are part of the 58-hectare hacienda owned by Caridad Enage covered under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s (CARP’s) Land Acquisition and Distribution component.

Widower Romeo Cuizon, 67, received the maximum three hectares an ARB could avail.

Cuizon shared that he started working in the said hacienda when he was only 15 years old helping his tenant-father until he himself became one of the tenants too.

According to him, “As gratitude for this blessing, I will donate 2,000 square-meter for our association’s office/hall.”

Presently the Enage Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiaries Association’s (EARFBA’s) center stands temporarily in a private lot which can be evicted anytime.

Edgardo Juntilla, 56, recipient of a 1.1812-hectare lot, shared that “I am happy, and I am aware of my obligation to pay tax.”

Widow, Maria Maloloy-on, 50, a mother of three and one of the six female- beneficiaries shared that she became tenant of Enage in 1989, when she and her husband started working in the hacienda.

According to her, they did not believe when someone from DAR told them that they would soon own the lot they were tilling. “I was surprised when I was awarded with 1.0912 hectares,” Maloloy-on added.

It was learned from Castañeda that 10 of the 31 ARBs are former rebels. Providing land to the landless gives these former rebels the opportunity to livelihood, which is DAR’s contribution to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), a whole-of-nation approach to address insurgency in our country, said Castañeda.

The beneficiaries applauded when Castañeda announced that per Executive Order No. 4 of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., payment of their land amortizations is suspended for one year.

They applauded lauder when Castañeda shared that there is a priority bill of the Marcos Administration which, when approved, ARBs will no longer pay amortizations.





DAR validates Leyte farmer organizations as among potential recipients of the P16-B assistance

DAR-8 validates Brgy. Petrollo Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) validates the Brgy. Petrollo Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Calubian, Leyte as potential recipient of a package of support services under the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARCs) program.

December 13, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Six agrarian reform beneficiaries organizations (ARBOs) from remote villages in the province of Leyte are being considered as among the potential recipients of a package of support services from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) which aims to develop the rice and corn as well as coconut producing areas in the country.

Melecia Ong, Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) at the DAR Regional Office, disclosed that ₱16-billion from the agrarian reform fund (ARF) is earmarked for the Sustainable and Resilient Agrarian Reform Communities (SuRe ARCs) program to develop areas under major crops in support to the food security program of the Marcos administration.

In Eastern Visayas, Ong shared, we recommended areas planted to rice and corn, and coconut, which are the dominant crops here.

Last week, staff from DAR Central Office’s Bureau of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development (BARBD) validated the rice producing Canmarating, Odiongan, Pagsang-an, Sulpa Irrigators Association (COPS-IA) in Abuyog; Catoogan, Ulhay, Lacdas Irrigators Association, Inc. (CUL-IA, Inc.), with members from Abuyog and Javier; Sanulmaco Irrigators Association, Inc. in Javier; and the coconut-based Brgy. Agutayan Farmers Association in Hilongos; Enage Agrarian Reform Farmer Beneficiaries Association (EARFBA) and the Brgy. Petrollo Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BPFMPC), both in Calubian.

The said ARBOs were validated based on the organization’s operation management, program engagement, governance, farm mechanization, physical infrastructure, and support from local partners and other agencies.

Ong further disclosed that those who will qualify will receive a package of support services which include farm inputs, machineries, trainings, and infrastructure projects, in line with Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III’s nine primary goals which include farm mechanization and capacitating the ARBOs.

She added that DAR’s SuRe ARCs program is seen to boost the agriculture sector which eventually will bring an increased income to the farmers particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) which will benefit not only the recipient ARBOs, but the entire community as well.

Ong also stressed that this undertaking will likewise contribute to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC), a whole-of-nation approach to address insurgency in the country.





DTI chief partners with Google, provides scholarship for low-income students

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
December 10, 2022

MANILA – Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual has initiated the partnership with Google for 4,000 scholarships in the Google Career Certificate Courses on IT support, project management, data analytics, and UX design. This presents an opportunity for young entrepreneurs and underserved communities, including low-income and vocational students and college drop-outs, to participate in the digital economy.

Earlier, on 11 November 2022, Secretary Pascual issued the IRR of Republic Act No. 11904 or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act. In May, DTI released the Joint Department Circular for Cylinders Exchange, Swapping, and Improvement Program, the IRR for Republic Act No. 11592 or the LPG Regulation Law.

Further, since his appointment, Secretary Pascual raised about USD18 billion foreign investment pledges during the presidential visits in Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States, performing well as the country’s chief marketing officer.

The Trade Secretary was part of the Philippine delegation to the state and official visits of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to attract investments in the country. It is estimated that these pledges, once actualized, will generate thousands of jobs.

“These investment pledges are in industries of strategic importance, including the establishment of data centers, digital connectivity, renewable energy, textiles and garments, construction, among others", Secretary Pascual boasted.

The Trade Chief has also prioritized addressing the issue involving work-from-home (WFH) arrangements of IT-BPM companies.

“The Fiscal Incentives Review Board, in its meeting on 14 September 2022, decided on a seamless transfer of registration from one Investment Promotion Agency to another (from PEZA to BOI) to allow up to 100% WFH arrangement without reduction on existing incentives. It is ensured that the mechanism for this should be less burdensome for the Registered Business Enterprises (RBEs) and be done expeditiously”, Secretary Pascual said. He co-chairs the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno. 

Moreover, between July 1 and October 8, the Board of Investments (BOI) has approved P125.9 billion worth of investments with potential to generate over 9,000 jobs.

During the initial stage of his stint as DTI chief, Pascual also formulated the country’s Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI)-driven Industrialization Strategy 2022-2028, which serves as the framework for the Philippine economic recovery initiatives with an aim of attaining a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economy by 2028.

The country’s industrialization strategy focuses on handholding the biggest majority of its constituents – the MSMEs as they navigate a rapidly changing market and the consuming public.

According to DTI's report, “MSMEs comprise the overwhelming majority of Philippine business. To hasten the digital transformation of the backbone of the country’s economy, DTI enabled 43,878 MSMEs to adopt e-commerce through online transactions and cashless payments, onboarded 981 MSME sellers with 4,635 products to digital malls and marketplaces, and mainstreamed 413 MSMEs through the Go Lokal! Program".

Meanwhile, on the consumer welfare front, Secretary Pascual has continued to work on guaranteeing sufficient food supply at reasonable prices, safe and quality products in the market, and efficient resolution of consumer complaints.

From July to October, he also monitored sugar prices that allowed consumers to have access to affordable sugar. As of date, DTI has organized 7 runs of Diskwento Caravan Balik Eskwela-Presyong Risonable Dapat (Frozen Meat Edition) in 7 NCR cities, conducted 26 inspections and 63 factory audits, issued 13 Show Cause Orders, and tested 726 samples.

Relative to consumer protection, the Department has also issued Suggested Retail Price (SRP) Bulletins for basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) and a Price Guide for Christmas staples, ensuring that Filipino consumers will have access to reasonably-priced goods this holiday season.





Yu returns as DAR Eastern Visayas head

DAR Eastern Visayas turn-over ceremony
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Visayas Regional Director Reynaldo Anfone (left) formally turns over his post to returning Regional Director Robert Anthony Yu (right).

December 2, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – Lawyer Robert Anthony Yu assumed office on Friday as returning Regional Director of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Eastern Visayas after Engineer Reynaldo Anfone formally relinquished his post.

Yu’s reassignment to Region-8 was based on Special Order No. 682, series of 2022, issued by Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III on November 15 this year.

Prior to his new assignment, Yu had already served this region from August 2021 to July this year, when he was recalled to DAR Central Office to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance (BALA).

Meanwhile, under the same document, Anfone, who assumed office here on October 18 this year only, is transferred to central office as Deputy Project Director for Operations of the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) project.





InfiniVAN completes Boracay leg of largest, longest Philippine subsea cable project

infinivan boracay cabke pulling

Press Release
December 2, 2022

TAGUIG CITY – The Philippine Domestic Submarine Cable Network (PDSCN) – designed to directly interconnect islands and provinces in the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao island groups to the internet – has finally touched down in Boracay Island.

Representatives of the project proponents and joint-build partners InfiniVAN, Eastern Telecom, Globe Telecom, LGU officials, suppliers and community members gathered in a ceremonial cable pulling event on November 25 at the Savoy Hotel in Boracay’s Newcoast.

The joint-build project is regarded as a milestone because it will add a huge amount of domestic data transmission bandwidth capacity and much needed resiliency to the country's internet network infrastructure. When completed, the PDSCN project will improve mobile and broadband connectivity across the country, including far-flung islands and other underserved areas. It is in line with the current administration's goal to make the Philippines a digitally-advanced nation that is in step with the advances and innovations going on in the world. Cable installation began in July 2022 and was marked by a kick-off event in Subic. Since then, cable pulling events similar to the recently-held one in Boracay have been held in Mactan Island in Cebu and Siargao Island in Surigao.

The Boracay cable pulling event was graced by Aklan City Mayor Hon. Frolibar Bautista, Aklan Provincial Administrator Atty. Selwyn Ibbareta, National Telecommunications Commission Director Imelda Walcien, Board of Investments Governor Atty. Marjorie Ramos-Samaniego and BOI Director Atty. Elyjean DC Portoza.

InfiniVAN, Inc. Chief Technology Officer Alberto “Abet” Espedido said that besides connecting major islands in the country, the project will also help boost tourism and commerce in more provinces. “We see this as an opportunity to fulfill our objective of providing connectivity to far flung areas and hope that the good communications infrastructure will also pump-prime economies,” he said.

Espedido said the fiber optic cable technology used in the country’s biggest and longest submarine cable installation is “future-proof.” Unrepeatered fiber cables used in the project can handle large data throughputs that can be further expanded through advances in terminal equipment over the next 20 to 25 years.

“As a new entrant in the market, we are happy to work with well-established partners on a project that will really create an impact on people and progress in the next few years. It is heartwarming to have our so-called industry competitors work with us on this gift to our countrymen and the country as a whole. We look forward to the next phases of this project,” Espedido added.





PH active participation in 5th CIIE showcases strength of the Philippines’ food exports to China

5th China International Import Expo

By DTI-Foreign Trade Service Corps
November 28, 2022

SHANGHAI, China – The Philippines once more showcased the strength of its food exports to China through a highly successful participation in China’s largest import-themed trade show – China International Import Expo (CIIE), held in Shanghai on 5 to 10 November, 2022.

In his remarks during the opening of the CIIE, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual stated that “The Philippines’ participation in CIIE has become not only a practical response to opportunity, but an imperative to expand our international market, cement the Philippines’ reputation as a reliable sourcing destination for food, and introduce more quality food products into China’s mainstream markets.”

The Trade Chief further mentioned that “The DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) has also provided the much-needed tools in upskilling our exporters to be fully equipped to join this exposition. We have also partnered with the private sector through Liwayway China, which carries the highly renowned “Oishi” brand – a brand that is deeply cherished with fond memories both in the Philippines and in China, and a testament that quality products can truly be a bridge that connects our country, and our people.”

The Country’s participation is supported by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Shanghai, Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai, and in partnership with our Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Agriculture Counsellor (OAC) in Beijing.

Additionally, the DTI, through its Trade Promotions Group (TPG) and the EMB also formed strategic linkages via signed cooperation intentions with 2 of China’s largest food chambers – the Beijing based China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA) and the Shanghai Food Association (SFA). With both chambers having a combined number of 7,500 member companies, these cooperation arrangements will be vital to enhance cooperation between food exporters in the Philippines and Chinese food companies in areas of business matching, technical cooperation, and investments to boost capacities in food production.

TPG OIC, Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda affirmed the importance of these agreements and commented that “We value the partnership with CFNA and SFA as we pursue increased collaboration in enhancing food trade. We hope that this can progress to deeper collaboration in the whole value chain in food production, processing, and marketing”.

Likewise, PTIC Shanghai Head Mario C. Tani said, “The amount of products we export to China has vastly increased in the past five to six years, and sales were five times larger compared to the first time the Philippines has participated in the 2018 CIIE."

For this year’s CIIE, due to strict travel restrictions still in place related to China’s Zero-Covid Policy approach, the official Philippine delegation was physically led by the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai as represented by Consul General Jose Ignacio. In the official pavilion opening at Shanghai’s enormous 500,000 sqm National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC), CG Ignacio stressed in his message that “What is constant is that the FOOD PHILIPPINES Pavilion’s central message - “healthy and fresh”, as only food products from the Philippines can offer, bar none, and as devoted and new buyers and importers alike can strongly attest to.”

At the forefront of the CIIE “FOOD PHILIPPINES” Pavilion design and conceptualization, CITEM presented this year a unified one-country promotional approach featuring three brands – “FOOD PHILIPPINES”, “COCONUT PHILIPPINES”, and the famous “Oishi” brand by Liwayway China, with a single storyline – a call to experience a “Festival of Island Flavors”.

For the first time, several Philippine coconut products were on display at the Coconut Philippines Pavilion. The Country is known worldwide to be a major producer and supplier of coconut oil, and the exhibits did not only showcase coconut oil in various forms, but also other innovative products made from coconut – the tree of life.

A key partner for the CIIE, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the OAC in Beijing, also highlighted new and exciting products featured in this year’s expo, namely Philippine specialty coffee, and innovative coconut-based products.

Agriculture Counsellor Ana Abejuela reiterated the need to sustain the good momentum of the Philippines' agricultural exports to China. “The Philippines is already the top exporter of tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapples to mainland China. We must sustain this momentum by introducing even more innovative and exciting products through the CIIE such as PH specialty coffee and where to introduce this best but in the city known to be the coffee capital of China – Shanghai, and at the largest import expo – CIIE.” The Philippine specialty coffee brands were well received by coffee aficionados in both offsite and onsite tasting events.

With a record high of 62 food and food-related exporting companies from the Philippines, total sales recorded from this year’s participation reached USD655.15 million (exact amount: USD655,145,756.02), the highest yield recorded for a Philippine country participation anywhere in the world for the year, and the highest sales generated from the CIIE, since its inception in 2018. Of this total amount, 97% came from onsite sales and bulk purchase contracts, with 3% coming from online business matching activities.

In 2018, the CIIE was launched as one of China’s major trade promotion initiatives and was supported by Chinese President Xi Jinping who attended the first 2 editions in 2018 and 2019 in Shanghai. The Philippines registered sales of USD128 million in 2018 and USD256 million in 2019. Despite the pandemic, increased sales were generated both in 2020 and 2021.





Surf in the City 2022 pushes for gender equality in male-dominated surfing

Surf in the City 2022
Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan 'Dayan' Agda leads the breaking of the ceremonial surfboard to officially signify the start of the Surf in the City 2022. With him are Surf in the City Chairman Rupert Ambil, UPSA representative Ralph Tecson, Congresswoman Fe Abunda's representative Cora Basada, Governor Ben Evardone's representative and Eastern Samar Board member Atty. PJ Evardone, Surfrider’s Club of Eastern Samar President Atty. Bryan Lassiter, and the Borongan City Councilors. (Photo by BCIO)

November 26, 2022

BORONGAN CITY – Though sports have contributed significantly towards unifying different races and nations in events like the Olympics, gender inequality remains one of the most hotly-debated issues. Surfing, for example, is still mostly dominated by men.

Surf in the City 2022 in Borongan City, Eastern Samar has been making waves not only because it will award the biggest prize money in surfing competition history in the Philippines amounting to P1.1 million, but also for its aim to close the gap between the prize money in the Men's and Women’s Division. The competition will award the same amount to winners from both categories.

In a press conference after the opening ceremony, Surf in the City Chairperson Rupert Ambil announced that more women athletes joined this year’s competition. The equal prize money opportunity encourages these females to further develop in the sport.

“If hindi mo kayang i-explain kung bakit mas malaki ang prize money ng lalaki sa babae, eh, fundamentally, mali iyon. Tayo dito naniniwala sa strength ng all genders. It’s really a statement from all of us, not only the surfing community but as representatives of Borongan City, Eastern Samar,” Ambil said, citing gender equality and LGBTQ rights as “values that a Boronganon respects.” (If you can’t explain why the prize money for men is higher than for women, then there’s something fundamentally wrong there. Here in Borongan, we believe in the strength of all genders. It’s a statement from all of us, not only as a surfing community but as representatives of Borongan City, Eastern Samar.)

Meanwhile, John Carby disclosed that the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA) will not sanction a competition unless there is a counterpart male and female in both categories. The organization is also trying to include more women in their judging programs.

“We have a minimum standard set for our prize ranges. Borongan has gone beyond that, and also included an initiative to include equal opportunity for men and women. We celebrate, acknowledge, and applaud the initiative Borongan has done that nobody else has done. At this point, we hope other regions see it and increase it and put it into practice,” Carby noted.

Surf in the City 2022 officially opens

This is the third time that Borongan City is hosting the event, which brings surfers from across the Philippines to the capital of Eastern Samar. Almost 250 participants from the provinces of Siargao, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Cebu, Eastern, Aurora, Sorsogon, Cebu, Catanduanes, Zambales, Camarines Norte, Leyte, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar are registered to compete in this year’s Surf in the City.

During the opening ceremony on Saturday, Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda said the city plans to institutionalize the event, as part of the local government’s bigger goals of raising local surf athlete champions.

“The City Government will not just abandon this program. We intend to institutionalize this. Yes, we will come in sponsorship but we will see to it that the spirit of hosting the Surf in the City will not be compromised. That’s the very purpose why we are holding a Sports Summit next year - because we intend to institutionalize everything,” Mayor Agda said.

He added: “If there is really cooperation and unity politically, progress is what we can expect. There is no division among us. That is the Estehanon way and that is the Boronganon culture, we are united as one.”

Gender-sensitive city

For women athletes participating in the competition, the equal prize money is a welcome development in the sport.

“Happy ako, excited, kasi hindi na bias. ‘Yung galing ng isang surfer hindi naka-base sa gender, kumbaga pareho na yung tingin both male and female kasi same prize na eh,” said Jessa Jundarino, a 21-year-old surfer from Borongan. (I’m happy and excited because it’s not biased anymore. A surfer’s skills are not based on their gender and it’s good that the prize money now acknowledges this.)

The local government of Borongan has also implemented other initiatives to make the city more gender inclusive. It recently created several gender-sensitive comfort rooms along Baybay Boulevard, where the surfing competition is taking place.

The comfort rooms cover four cubicles designated for males, females, gender-neutral, and Persons with Disability (PWDs). Beach showers were also constructed for locals and visitors who engage in water and beach sports activities in the area.





San Jorge Municipal Police Station Building ready for occupancy

San Jorge Municipal Police Station Building

November 25, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – San Jorge Municipal Police Station building is now ready for occupancy by the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel, says Samar First District Engineering Office.

Phase I of the building was also initiated by the office allowing the construction of the structure. Moreover, phase II of said building is now completed with a contract amount of P4.8 million under the Tatag ng Imprastrakura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad (TIKAS) Program.

The project aims to complete the necessary features of the building, thus, its scope of work includes window security grilles, front desk and directory board, tileworks and painting of the whole structure. In addition, perimeter fence and steel gate was constructed as well as solar led lights are installed.

The construction of the PNP building will reinforce their operations in San Jorge, and will boost the morale of the armed forces. This will also provide a more spacious area to better serve the public.





PH national surfing coaches train young surfers in Borongan

Borongan young surfers
Mike Breuker, Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Philippine National Surfing Team, poses with the ‘Groms’ during the In and Out of Water Training held in Baybay Boulevard, Borongan City, Eastern Samar. (Photo by Borongan City Information Office)

November 25, 2022

BORONGAN CITY – Days before the biggest sporting event in Eastern Visayas, Surf in the City 2022, more than sixty (60) local youth participated in the Groms Grassroot Program for young surfers here from November 24-25.

“Malaking tulong ito sa amin para matuto kami ng mga surfing techniques at disiplina sa sarili na rin, tsaka syempre libre na ‘to kaya umattend talaga kami,” said Kai, a young surfer from Bato, Borongan City. (This is a big help for us to learn about surfing techniques and self-discipline. Of course, we also attended because it’s free.)

Though most of the participants will not join in the Surf in the City competition, everyone was all ears as Philippine National Surfing Team Head Coach John Carby encouraged the young surfers to become athletes through discipline, goal planning, and passion.

“Start a small plan and add discipline to your plan. Then use your passion to reach that goal. If you already reach that goal, push it a little bit higher. Let your passion be your flair,” stressed Carby during his talk.

Carby also shared that surfing events such as Surf in the City in Borongan is a window of opportunity for aspiring surfers to hone their skills and eventually create a name in the surfing industry.

“You are the future of surfing. You have permission to dream big. You have permission to be who you want to be and to set the limit as high as you can when you want to represent your country in an international competition. You are the next generation of surfing,” said Carby.

Mike Breuker, strength and conditioning coach of the Philippine National Surfing Team, then conducted an In and Out of Water Training with the participants. This was followed by a Surfing Techniques and Analysis Training on the second day of the program.

"Kahit hindi kami lahat mag-cocompete, umattend kami para matuto kami kung paano maging mabuting surfer at makatulong sa community na pangalagaan ang karagatan, kasi for awareness din ito," noted one Grom who refused to be named. (Even though we won’t be able to compete, we attended to learn how to become good surfers and how to help the community by taking care of the sea. This is also for awareness.)

‘Grom’ is a shortened form of the slang term ‘Grommet’ meaning a child. In surfing lingo, grom refers to a child or an adolescent surfer.

The grassroots program of the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA) focuses on training youth or people under 18, and educating them on the values of surfing at the grassroots levels, such as a healthy lifestyle, discipline, and techniques or the athletic side of being a surfer for the future of the Philippine National Surfing Team.





Farmer organization from a remote Samar village receives farm equipment from DAR

Panoypoy Farmers Association
Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Alfonso Catorce turns over various farm equipment to the Panoypoy Farmers Association in Calbayog City.

November 23, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar – An agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) from this city’s far-flung village rejoiced as they received another set of farm equipment from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

“We thank you DAR for listening to our concerns, for granting us what you had committed,” said Pedro Abajo, president of the Panoypoy Farmers Association (PFA), as he expressed gratitude to DAR officials for fulfilling their promise.

On October 21 this year, DAR Samar provincial chief, Alfonso Catorce, formally turned over to PFA a hand tractor with rotavator, a water pump with suction and discharge hose, a grass cutter and several garden tools.

Catorce disclosed that the said equipment, with a combined amount of P260,250.00 were funded under DAR’s Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support (CRFPS) project.

According to him, the distribution of common service facilities is in line with Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III’s nine primary goals which include the provision of modern farm equipment.

PFA identified the above mentioned common service facilities as what they badly need in their daily farm activities, which DAR provided under CRFPS’ Sustainable Livelihood Support to Disaster Affected Areas.

Abajo Shared that the newly acquired equipment “will surely benefit our members.”

Thelma Alfaro, chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) reminded the recipient ARBO of their responsibility to maintain the equipment in good condition and provide a secured storage facility.

Meanwhile City Councilor Minda Pasacas, who is a resident of this village, and Barangay Chairperson Maria Princess Montaner, both expressed their gratitude to DAR for the never-ending support to the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) here. “From providing them lands to till, to livelihood assistance, to linking them to institutional buyers, and now PFA receives another set of farm equipment from DAR,” said Montaner.

Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officer (MARPO) Jose Arropo further shared that PFA is composed of 113 members, where 69 of them are ARBs. PFA is into hog raising and organic vegetable production, Arropo added.





DPWH-Biliran DEO holds year-end contractors’ meeting

DPWH year-end contractors’ meeting

Press Release
November 22, 2022

NAVAL, Biliran – With only a month away before the year ends, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)- Biliran District Engineering Office (DEO) urged the contractors to fast-track its project implementation in a coordination meeting held on November 16, 2022.

Highlight of the said meeting is the implementation on its Prior Year (PY) projects from 2017-2021 which should have been completed on December 31, 2022.

“We have a problem on our PY projects that is why this meeting is called to address the problem especially that we have limited time before end of the year,” said OIC-District Engineer (DE) Alfredo L. Bollido.

OIC-DE Bollido said that the district office failed to meet the 80% target on PY project implementation, with only 44.42% accomplishment as of October 31, 2022.

According to OIC-DE Bollido at least P381.6-M which is composed of 51 projects from year 2017 to 2021 are possible to be reverted to the National Treasury if contractors cannot complete their projects by end of this year.

Engr. Rosario B. Rosete, OIC-Assistant District Engineer (ADE) reported that of the 51 projects, 23 are still on-going on the construction, 25 are already completed but on-going on some minor corrections on the projects while three are now on the process for final billing.

Under Executive Order (E.O) No. 91 series of 2019 or known as Cash-based Budgeting System, contractors have only until a year to complete the construction of their projects with a three-month extended period on the following year to process payment.

According to OIC-DE Bollido, contractors’ failure to finish their projects by end of the year will not only loss profit but will also be blacklisted to participate any bidding on DPWH projects nationwide for a year.

“Work double time and avail the good weather condition so that you can complete the projects by December 31, 2022,” OIC-DE Bollido said to the contractors.





South Korea-based church holds graduation ceremony for over 100,000 Bible students, the largest in the world

ZCMC graduation

Press Release
November 21, 2022

DAEGU, South Korea – A graduation ceremony for Bible students from Zion Christian Mission Center (ZCMC) Class 113 was held at Daegu Stadium on November 20. With a total of 106,186 graduates from 79 countries including the Philippines, it was the largest in the world for a theological education institution.

ZCMC is the Bible education institution operated by Shincheonji (New Heaven and New Earth) Church of Jesus, a church based in South Korea. Their students completed a 9-month theology course that covers the 66 books of the Bible.

This is their second 100,000-person graduation, after almost 3 years. When the pandemic hit, the institution shifted to online learning and utilized the virtual platform to make their theology lessons more accessible to the public including pastors.

In a press conference held before the ceremony, Chairman Lee Man-hee shared, "When this world has become corrupt and is full of sin, God desires to carry out the work of recreation. That one book [Revelation] is actually the content of recreation... People have to become a new person, completely changed."

Among the graduates, there has been a significant increase in the number of pastors and seminarians for a total of 522 pastors in Korea and overseas.

One of the pastors, Heo Jeong-wook, presented his testimony at the graduation ceremony as a representative of domestic graduates. After 20 years of ministry, he said, “I only learned traditional theology at seminary, but I didn’t know much about the Book of Revelation. I put aside the difficult words and only taught the words that are easy to convey to the congregation members. I repent that I was a sinner who added to and subtracted from the word of God." He added, “I have let go of everything I had and have come forward to the truth. I have completed this course by learning the real theology that leads to heaven, not human studies. I thank God for giving me a chance at life.”

The organizers assured the participants on security measures being observed in cooperation with the local government, police and health officials, given the high concern about safety issues in Korea recently. "Above all, in order to hold the graduation ceremony safely, we prepared with safety as the top priority above all else”, a church official said.





DAR-8 chief orders resurvey of CARP awarded lots in Balangiga to correct errors

DAR dialogue with CARP beneficiaries of Balangiga
Protesting farmers from Balangiga, Eastern Samar thanked officials from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the fruitful blended-mode dialogue which resulted to the resolution of their issues.

November 20, 2022

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar – To correct the errors as the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in this province implemented the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Regional Director Reynaldo Anfone ordered to re-survey the awarded lots in Balangiga town.

Anfone, who was at the moment in Manila attending a planning conference, joined virtually the dialogue with protesting farmers at the DAR Provincial Office in this city on Thursday and ordered Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II), Lawyer Bryan Lassiter, to conduct the re-survey of the subdivided lots under Lot No. 2230 in Barangay Cag-olango in Balangiga to determine the correct area and assignment of lots based on the actual tillage of the farmer beneficiaries.

The erroneous survey was found out when the farmers complained that Simeona Bennet, a recipient of an individual Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) for Lot 2230-A, based on the approved survey plan (ASP), is not an actual tiller; while Elena Balagasay, who is actually cultivating the said lot, received her individual CLOA for Lot 2230-J.

Lassiter confirmed the allegations of the farmers which conformed with the findings of the DAR-Eastern Samar investigation team composed of the Chief of the Legal Division, Atty. Jane Arra Promeda; Municipal Agrarian Reform Program Officers (MARPOs) Ma. Flor Daganta and Glicerio Camenforte Jr.; Geodetic Engineer Renan Cadiente and Cartographer Saldy Corado.

Aside from the issue involving Bennet and Balagasay, other farmers within the 25-hectare lot also complained of erroneous survey, prompting Anfone to order the conduct of re-survey.

Further, Anfone likewise ordered the simultaneous identification of qualified actual tillers who will be awarded with individual CLOAs.

Furthermore, Anfone ordered the filing of petition for the cancellation of the two CLOAs issued to Bennet and Balagasay and issue CLOAs to the rightful occupants in this 25-hectare government-owned land (GOL).

Anthony John Jumauay thanked Anfone and the entire DAR workforce in behalf of the protesting farmers for a fruitful blended-mode dialogue facilitated by the Clientele Relations Service headed by Director Jayzon Collado.





Construction of cross-country roads in progress

samar cross-country road

November 16, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – An on-going construction of cross-country roads with a total contract amount of P187.5 million from Oquendo to Northern Samar will connect the northern portion of Samar, said OIC-District Engineer Raulito Yangzon.

This is a multi-year road projects which are targeted to be completed by 2024.

Phase I is an opening and gravel road which will start in Barangay Macatingog and will connect to the Municipality of Bobon, Northern Samar (Allen-Catarman Road).

Moreover, Phase II which is also a gravel road that will start from Barangay Sigo, along Oquendo-Pilar road and will traverse the isolated barangays of San Rufino and Cag-anahaw until it taps at Barangay Tarabucan along Calbayog-Catarman Road.

Both projects will span 4.293 kilometers and a width of 20 meters and each is allocated with P93.75 million.

Completing said road constructions will further develop those far-flung barangays and eventually promote peace and order. Furthermore, it will increase road network capacity and interconnectivity in the Island of Samar which will bring faster and more effective mobility from any parts of Samar.





New DAR-8 chief pays courtesy visit to Samar governor, congressman

DAR regional director Reynaldo Anfone pays a courtesy visit to Samar governor Sharee Ann Tan
Newly installed Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Eastern Visayas regional director Reynaldo Anfone (left), pays a courtesy visit to Samar governor Sharee Ann Tan and second district representative Reynolds Michael Tan.

November 11, 2022

CATBALOGAN CITY – Securing a clearance from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and conversion of agricultural lots to give way to the construction of an airport in this city were among the issues discussed when DAR Eastern Visayas Regional Director Engr. Reynaldo Anfone paid a courtesy visit to Governor Sharee Ann Tan and her brother, Second District Representative Reynolds Michael Tan on Friday, November 4 this year.

During his meeting with the two Samar officials, Governor Tan consulted Anfone on how to go through these requirements so the provincial government and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) can proceed with the project.

Considering that the construction of the airport is a priority project of the Marcos administration, Anfone ordered Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II (PARPO II) Alfonso Catorce, who was also present, to extend the necessary assistance to the local government unit (LGU).

Anfone, installed as the new regional chief of DAR on October 18 this year, included courtesy visits to local government officials to establish harmonious working relationship with the different LGUs as he went around the region the past two weeks.

Other issues discussed during the two-hour meeting were about activities related to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) particularly at the Calbiga-Pinabacdao Settlement, and funding for the construction of the DAR Provincial Office.

Governor Tan assured Anfone and Catorce the inclusion in the 2023 budget of the provincial government the funding requirement for the construction of the said DAR building.

Catorce disclosed that the lot where the DAR provincial office will rise was also donated by the provincial government.

According to him, at the moment they are only renting office space along corner San Francisco Street and Rizal Avenue here in this city.





Media groups submit complaints to UN experts before PH human rights review

Press Release
November 11, 2022

GENEVA, Switzerland – Media and academic groups submitted complaints to the office of United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor several days before the United Nations Human Rights Council conducts its universal periodic review on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

Pinoy Media Center (PMC), publisher of Pinoy Weekly, reported that then National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon has ordered the blocking of their website and 27 other organizations, which is still inaccessible to the public.

In its letter to Lawlor, the independent media outfit also stated that its website have also been subject to continuous cyber-attacks since 2018. The website had also been hacked between November 17 and 18, 2021, the PMC said.

“Enforcing restrictions to access our website does not only violate our rights to freedom of the press, speech and free expression, which are guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution,” PMC, though its executive director Angela Colmenares, said.

PMC added that copies of Pinoy Weekly’s print editions have been confiscated and burned by members of the Philippine Army and the Bulacan Philippine National Police three times between September 5, 2019 and July 25, 2020 in Pandi, San Jose del Monte City and Norzagaray., the country’s longest running alternative media outfit, also complained of its website’s blocking by the National Telecommunications Commission last June 8 as well as incessant cyber-attacks using the Department of Science and Technology infrastructure assigned to the Philippine Army.

“Perpetrated by the state, the attacks are tantamount to content-based prior restraint and censorship,” Bulatlat managing editor Ronalyn Olea said.

The submissions were made by the Philippine UPR (Universal Periodic Review) Watch, a network of church and human rights organizations, that is currently in this city to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council review on the human rights situation in the Philippines on November 14.

Justice secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla is again expected to represent a high-level mission to represent the Philippine government.

Philippine UPR Watch also submitted to the UN experts a report on academic freedom developments in the Philippines by the Scholars at Risk Network.

The report said attacks and pressures on academic freedom escalated during the transition between the Rodrigo Duterte and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. governments.

“These have included the threat of red-tagging, anti-terrorism legislated, and censorship that undermine academic freedom and freedom of expression,” according to the report.

As both Pinoy Media Center and Bulatlat, the academics said scholars and academic institutions have been subjected to red-tagging, it adds.

The report also cited the killing of two volunteer teachers of indigenous peoples’ schools in February 2022 as well as former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy’s red-tagging of former Ateneo School of Law Dean Antonio La Vina.

Threats to academic freedom in the Philippines include the censorship of books in libraries of state universities by the Commission on Higher Education and the banning of the publication of books by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, an attached agency of the Office of the President.

Philippine UPR Watch said that aside from Monday’s review of the Philippines, the submissions are in anticipation of the official visit of UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion Irene Khan to the Philippines next year.





Declining trend in the number of registered births seen in EV

By PSA-8
November 10, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – According to the latest Vital Statistics Report (January – December 2021) which was released on 13 August 2022, the number of registered live births by place of occurrence in Eastern Visayas is 56,105. This figure represents the total number of live births from the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Southern Leyte, and the highly urbanized City of Tacloban.

registered live births in Eastern Visayas from 2015 to 2021

Figure 1 shows that there is a declining trend in the number of registered live births in Eastern Visayas from 2015 to 2021. The number of registered live births in 2021 is lower by 2,542 (4.3%) from the registered live births of 58,647 in 2020. Since 2015, the peak of the 10-year period, the number of live births is declining by an average rate of 4.9 percent annually, except in 2019 when a brief period of an upward spike occurred. The number of registered live births in 2021 is 29.0 percent lower than the 2015 record with 76,322 registered live births. (see Table 1)

number of registered live births

Among the six provinces and one highly urbanized city, the province of Leyte had the greatest number of registered live births by place of occurrence from January to December 2021, with 22,929 or 40.9% of the total registered live births in Region VIII. Leyte was followed by the province of Samar, with 9,795 (17.5%) registered live births. Northern Samar comes next, with 7,211 registered live births (12.9%). Biliran has the least number of registered live births with only 2,344 (4.2%), nearly 10 times fewer than Leyte’s figure. The City of Tacloban, a highly urbanized city has registered live births totaling 3,379 (6.0%). (Figure 2 and Table 2)

percentage of live births per province

live births by sex

September recorded highest number of registered births

Figure 3 shows that the month of September had the highest number of live births in Eastern Visayas, totaling to 5,527 live births in 2021. September was followed by October, with 5,484 registered live births. The month of February observed the least number of 3,520 registered live births. (see Table 3)
More males born than females.

live births by month

live birth by month in 2021

More males born than females

Eastern Visayas reported 2,165 (4.0%) more male registered live births than female live births, after recording 29,135 male births and 26,970 female births in 2021. This resulted to a sex ratio of 108 males per 100 female births. (see Figure 4 and Table 2)

percentage of live births by sex





FAME+ Market Days 2022 releases new home, fashion, & lifestyle collection for int'l market

FAME+ Market Days 2022

November 8, 2022

PASAY CITY – Emerging from the creative minds that continue to push the boundaries of Filipino artisanship, a new collection of home, fashion, and lifestyle pieces was unveiled at the digital sourcing festival FAME+ Market Days last October 21-22, 2022 via the online platform Hopin.

A total of 50 brands and manufacturers were able to develop more than 500 original designs for this year.

The new collection is housed under Design Commune, the culmination of the product development program by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). Design Commune is a main show feature at Manila FAME and a key section of its digital sourcing and storytelling platform

In collaboration with design specialists Rita Nazareno and Gabby Lichauco, the collection this year revolved around the concept of ‘Stitch’. Sewing traditions and tools of various cultures was the inspiration in crafting new indoor and outdoor pieces to showcase the versatility of Philippine artistry through a contrast of design disciplines.

The design specialists, in a talk on the first day of the event, expounded the creative process of Design Commune. “Guided by the sensibility of our personal universes, we are crafting grander stories together. This is how we are weaving worlds through the art of Stitch,” Lichauco shared.

Cultivating a worldwide community through the digital sourcing festival

A total of 484 participants from different parts of the world attended the second edition of FAME+ Market Days 2022.

Assistant Secretary Glenn G. Peñaranda of the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) and OIC of Department of Trade and Industry-Trade Promotions Group (DTI-TPG) spoke at the opening ceremony. He highlighted that this edition is “geared to intensify business-to-business (B2B) efforts and continuously cater to the needs of buyers in different parts of the world.” He also encouraged the attendees to support local businesses in their journey to the global stage.

CITEM’s OIC Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes D. Mediran, in her welcome message, said that the digital event is a key component in strengthening the FAME brand in the digital sphere. “The ultimate goal in staging this year's FAME+ Market Days is to spur an in-depth engagement with buyers as exhibitors present their design products,” she added.

CITEM, the event’s organizer, facilitated more than 100 business-to-business meetings among trade buyers and exhibitors that spanned for five days, from October 17 to 21. The trade buyers came from various countries such as the United States, Australia, China, Singapore, and India among others.

The two-day event augments the initiatives of FAME, the country’s longest running export promotions program for MSMEs and artisan communities in the home, fashion, and lifestyle sectors. The program currently promotes 293 exhibitors and showcases 5,059 available products on its online platform A total of 2,300 unique trade buyers have registered since it went live in 2020. Last year, the digital platform booked and negotiated USD635,119 export sales and generated P21.49M domestic sales.

Manila FAME, its signature event component, has been running for 38 years. However, due to the pandemic, it has shifted to digital means to reach international buyers. It is set to return onsite next year, October 19-21, at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City, Philippines.

Sourcing made convenient

To innovate the digital sourcing experience this year, FAME+ Market Days introduced pitching rooms where exhibitors themselves shared their brand stories, inspirations, and latest product offerings through recorded videos.

These videos were made available on-demand during the event, giving the attendees adequate time to find brands that match their sourcing needs. Aside from the pitching rooms, the exhibitors were also able to showcase their products through digital storefronts in the expo section of the event. Trade buyers were then encouraged to set B2B meetings with the brands and manufacturers of their choice.

A shared vision of quality craftsmanship, design, and innovation

Thought leaders on design and market trends were also invited to share their knowledge with the participants.

Global trend ambassador Patti Carpenter talked about macro trends that will impact markets for 2023. She shared that “conscious consumerism” is on the rise, and that both longevity and sustainability are given importance by buyers of home, fashion, and lifestyle products.

Carpenter added that more and more individuals are opting for carefully cultivated spaces with culture-rich interiors filled with multi-functional, comfortable, and warm design concepts. “A myriad of material mixes allow technology to coexist with fashionable fibers and stylish silhouettes mixed with organic elemental essentials. These are the components for a hearty and hospitable habitat that finds us rooted in our retreats.”

Meanwhile, Jacqueline Wong, a global trend consultant of WGSN, discussed consumer profiles and behaviors and their importance in the product creation. She said that the pieces people buy impact the spaces where they live, work, and play in.

Advising manufacturers and designers, Wong said, “Create an emotional connection between your brand or your product and this cohort of consumers. Support them in cherishing and curating their keepsakes and memories with mindful design throughout the home.”





Trade chief reiterates e-commerce as important tool for economic development

DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
November 4, 2022

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Industry, in partnership with the Philippine Bar Association, held the 1st eCommerce Congress on 4 November 22 at the Philippine International Convention Center. The event brought together government officials, members of the business sector, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to pursue the overarching goal of strengthening eCommerce industry in the country.

The eCommerce Congress tackled the Internet Transactions Bill, a top legislative priority of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., that aims to harness the overwhelming potential of the eCommerce market.

Based on Google Temasek Bain’s e-Conomy SEA 2022 report, the Philippines’ internet economy continues its upward trend at 20% year-over-year to reach USD20 billion this year, with e-commerce propelling it to USD35 billion by 2025.

According to DTI, the number of businesses on retail sales via the internet has increased, while there has also been an increase in the number of consumer complaints against online sellers. The time is thus ripe for a new, relevant, and responsive eCommerce Law. In this light, DTI deems the inputs of players in the internet economy as crucial to the efficient crafting of legislative policies that respond to the issues faced by the industry.

"We are grateful to the DTI for our long-term partnership, founded on common goals. We remain committed to supporting the eCommerce Road Map and regulatory framework being built, and believe that together, we can help drive the growth of the digital economy in the Philippines”, said Lazada Philippines CEO Carlos Barrera.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual thanked the participants for their contribution to making the eCommerce Congress possible to discuss the crucial policy reforms to boost the e-commerce in the country. The event hoped to promote a robust eCommerce environment in the Philippines, where online businesses, especially small ones, can develop and compete globally.

“We have all the ingredients – the economic assets – to make this happen: a young and digital native population, a growing middle class, available and affordable technologies, and significant surpluses in the financial sector. E-commerce is one of the most potent tools and fastest routes in unlocking these economic assets toward sustained accelerated economic development”, Secretary Pascual said.

Last year, DTI launched the eCommerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap to employ strategies by the government that will speed up and broaden internet transactions by improving the digital infrastructure. The current administration is bent on working on and enhancing this agenda to increase the contribution of eCommerce to the Philippine economy with the development of the eCommerce Philippines 2023-2025 Roadmap.

In closing, Secretary Pascual mentioned that there are new laws and regulations related to e-commerce that are currently being drafted, such as on privacy, digital taxation, the gig economy, and pivoting to a cash-light society.

“I hope that there will be productive dialogues in these areas because we urgently need to develop and improve our policies to create an enabling regulatory environment for e-commerce to grow. With the brightest legal minds of the country gathered here today, let me make a humble request and professional challenge for all of us: Let these policy dialogues be united by one purpose – better lives for all Filipino families, with a target of a 9% poverty rate within six years”, he added.





Samar vegetable growers thank DAR

Samar vegetable growers
Thirty-three agrarian reform beneficiaries from Calbiga, Samar completed the 25 sessions Farm Business School (FBS) initiated by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

November 3, 2022

CALBIGA, Samar – A farmer from Barangay Macaalan in this town thanked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the opportunity to learn the different aspects of marketing their produce such as planning, recording and even in planting.

Ricky Antony Cardeno, a leaseholder, was among the 33 agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) members of the Calbiga Vegetable Growers Association (CVGA) who graduated recently from DAR’s Farm Business School (FBS) after completing the 25 sessions in seven months.

Cardeno was chosen to receive the Mountain Mover Award for his active participation, dedication to his craft and the ability to provide solution when problem arises.

During their graduation, Thelma Alfaro, Chief of the Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) at the DAR Samar Provincial Office, encouraged the participants of the FBS to apply what they have learned in order to increase their income.

FBS, according to the point person, Kimberly Morillo, is a sub-program under the Enterprise Development and Economic Support (EDES) of the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Sustainability Program (ARBDSP). It is guided by the principle of learning by doing together, which aims to improve market access and increase incomes of the farmers, she added.

Meanwhile, Fe Ocasla, barangay chairperson of Barangay Macaalan, emphasized to the FBS graduates that “By sharing what you have learned here will also help improve the lives of other farmers in our village.”

At the moment, Cardeno disclosed, crops planted in their garden include eggplant, bell pepper, hot pepper and bitter gourd (amplaya), as a result from the market survey they have conducted, which was among the activities they have learned in FBS.





Apayao governor’s recent order encourages commission of extrajudicial killing, other rights violations

November 1, 2022

QUEZON CITY – Human rights group Karapatan slammed Apayao Provincial Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. for issuing “an official order that may potentially be used to drive and encourage the commission of extrajudicial killings.”

In an executive order dated September 30, 2022 Bulut offered reward money of P100,000 for anyone who “captures, arrests or kills in a legitimate military operation a member of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).” The governor upped the bounty to P1,000,000 if the person arrested, captured or killed is a “high-ranking CTG personality.”

This is a kill order, said Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay. “It gives the go-signal for anyone to arbitrarily attack and kill political activists who have been repeatedly threatened and red-tagged, and be paid handsomely for it.”

“Is it just a coincidence that last October 25, Lorraine Badoy and the other talking heads of NTF-ELCAC recited the names of members and community leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) as ‘mga pangalan ng CPP-NPA’ on their program aired over the SMNI network?” asked Palabay.

A Cordilleran governor issues a hit order with bounty, then Badoy and her ilk come up with a hit list comprised of Cordilleran activists, said Palabay. “Following the pattern we have observed in other cases,” she said, “it looks like CPA leaders and activists are being set up not only for intensified threats, harassment and intimidation, but for arrest, capture or murder.”

“With incessant red-tagging and this latest bounty offer, the State has cranked up its deadly campaign to suppress human rights defenders and other activists working for people’s rights and welfare,” said Palabay.

“All freedom-loving Filipinos must forge ranks to counter these virulent and stepped-up attacks on our civil and political rights.”





Concreting from Barangays Balud to Jasminez completed

Balud-Jasminez road

October 28, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office finished a newly concreted road from Barangay Balud to Barangay Jasminez in Gandara, Samar.

The said project has a total contract amount of P48.7 million drawn from the Local Program. The road will connect the two barangays surpassing eight (8) barangays if you will go through the normal route along Daang Maharlika.

This road covers a total length of 2,803.6 meters and a width of 6.1 meters. Part of its scope of work is a stone masonry structure which provides for slope protection along the road. The 60-linear meter stone masonry are incorporated on the areas which are susceptible to soil erosion. In this way, the slope will be stabilized, maintain the quality and functional condition of the road construction by protecting the surrounding structure from damage and people from injury.

Through the construction of this road, socio-economic stability will be achieved. This will provide easiness to employment, social, health and education services, especially to residents in innermost barangays within the district.





DTI warns against establishments implementing a “No Return, No Exchange” policy; explains to consumers the rule on return and exchange

By DTI-Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau
October 28, 2022

MAKATI CITY – The DTI reiterates that the “No Return, No Exchange” policy is prohibited because this is considered a deceptive sales act. Under Republic Act No. 7394 (RA 7394) or the “Consumer Act of the Philippines,” as well as its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the words “No Return, No Exchange” or words to such effect shall not be written into the contract of sale, receipt in a sales transaction, in any document evidencing such sale or anywhere in a store or business establishment.

The Consumer Act of the Philippines specifies, “Sellers are obliged to honor their warranties and grant corresponding remedies to consumers”. As such, consumers should be allowed to return or exchange the goods, or avail themselves of other remedies, in case of hidden faults or defects, or any charge the buyer was not aware of the time of purchase. In enforcing these remedies, however, consumers should bear in mind to at least prove the sale transaction and show an evidence such as the official receipt. In cases where the official receipt is not available, the buyer may resort to any other alternative proof.

In the case of medicines, the seller is obliged to replace medicines that are adulterated, misbranded, counterfeit or expired upon purchase. However, if the product bought has no imperfection or defect, or if the medicine purchased is not adulterated, misbranded, counterfeit or expired, the seller may either refuse to replace or refund or, in the exercise of goodwill towards their customers, may grant the replacement or request for refund.

DTI Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Assistant Secretary, Atty. Ann Claire C. Cabochan emphasizes, “Consumers are entitled to the repair, replacement and refund of products with defects. However, they are not entitled to these because of a change of mind or a mistake on their part.”

“This is why the Department constantly advises the consumers to examine the product prior to purchase and ask about the seller's return and exchange policies”, Assistant Secretary Cabochan explains.

For consumer-related concerns and queries, send an email to or call the One-DTI (1-384) Hotline.





Caltex and AMCHAM foundation donate roofing materials to victims of Super Typhoon Odette in Southern Leyte

Caltex and AMCHAM foundation donate roofing materials
Residents and government officials of Padre Burgos, Macrohon, and Maasin Southern Leyte express their gratitude for the roofing materials donated to their communities.

Press Release
October 28, 2022

MAASIN CITY – Caltex, marketed by Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI) in partnership with American Chamber Foundation Philippines (AmCham Foundation), provided roofing materials to 115 beneficiaries in Southern Leyte who were impacted by Super Typhoon Odette

Months after Super Typhoon Odette made landfall in the Philippines in December 2021, homes in Southern Leyte province are still in need of repair. With the help of PASAR Foundation who took charge of the distribution of the construction materials, each family from the city of Padre Burgos, Macrohon, and Maasin, received 10 corrugated zinc roof sheets and 2kg of roofing nails.

Distribution began on August 31, 2022 by handing out the construction materials to 46 beneficiary families in Maasin City, 36 beneficiary families in Padre Burgos and 33 beneficiary families in Macrohon. Residents of each city attended the turnover ceremony and expressed their gratitude for the donation to their communities.

“Typhoon recovery can be challenging, which is why we are always ready to lend a helping hand in any way we can. We are appreciative that we have partners like AMCHAM Foundation that assist us in establishing connections with the communities in need so that we can make these donations,” said CPI Country Chairman Billy Liu.

Through the Caltex Biyaheng Pagtulong fuel promo launched earlier this year, Caltex was able to raise funds to help communities in five other provinces hit hard by Super Typhoon Odette.





EV employment rate up at 95.5% in July 2022

EV employment July 2022

By PSA-8
October 27, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The Employment Rate (ER) in Eastern Visayas in July 2022 was estimated at 95.5 percent. This translates to 2.01 million employed persons out of the 2.11 million persons in the labor force. This was higher by about 182 thousand employed persons than the 1.83 million employed persons reported in April 2022. This was also higher by 2.1 percentage points compared with the 93.4 percent ER in July 2021.

The region registered a Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of 65.0 percent in July 2022. This placed the region’s labor force at 2.11 million persons who were either employed or unemployed out of the estimated 3.24 million population 15 years old and over in July 2022. The 65.0 percent LFPR was higher by 5.0 percentage points than the LFPR in April 2022 posted at 60.0 percent. This means that the labor force in July 2022 was stronger by around 161 thousand persons than the 1.95 million persons in the labor force in April 2022. Moreover, the LFPR was higher by 4.5 percentage points compared with the 60.5 LFPR in the same period in 2021.

Eastern Visayas’ unemployment rate has improved at 4.5 percent in July 2022, lower by 1.5 percentage points compared with the 6.0 percent unemployment rate recorded in April 2022. This was equivalent to around 96 thousand persons in the labor force who were unemployed in July 2022, lower by 20 thousand unemployed persons compared with the 116 thousand unemployed persons in April 2022. The unemployment rate in July 2022 was also 2.1 percentage points lower than the unemployment rate in July 2021 at 6.6 percent.

The underemployment rate in Eastern Visayas was posted at 16.0 percent or 322 thousand persons out of the 2.01 million employed persons in July 2022. The latest underemployment rate has improved compared with the underemployment rate in July 2021 posted at 27.3 percent. However, it is slightly higher by 1.2 percentage points than the April 2022 underemployment rate of 14.8 percent.





NMP graces the opening of EVMC medical facility for OFW and seafarers

EVMC medical facility for OFW and seafarers

Press Release
October 25, 2022

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) graced the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVMC) Medical Facility for Overseas Filipino Workers and Seafarers last 19 October 2022 at the 3rd Floor OPD Building EVMC, Bagacay, Tacloban City.

The said project is a great help especially for the OFWs and NMP stakeholders particularly the Filipino seafarers in Region 8 as they no longer need to travel to Cebu, Manila or to other regions just to undergo the Pre-Employment Medical Examination (PEME) which is one of the requirements to work abroad for both land-based and sea-based OFWs.

The services offered by the said medical facility are the mandatory Pre-Employment Medical Examinations such as: Physical Examination, Laboratory, Chest X-ray, ECG, Drug test, Visual Acuity and Ishihara, Dental Examination, Audiometry and Psychological Examination.

In her speech, NMP OIC-ED Mayla N. Macadawan, commended the EVMC for the noble undertaking. She expressed that NMP, as the only government maritime training and research institution dedicated for the Filipino seafarers is grateful for the said initiative. She also emphasized the advantages of the said facility that aside from its strategic location, it is owned by the government, thus, it offers services with affordable rates and performed by competent medical professionals.

“Thank you for stepping forward in behalf of the OFWs and seafarers of Region 8. This is a substantial support specifically to our Filipino-seafarers who are considered as “modern heroes” being at the forefront of delivering goods and services in all parts of the world even in the midst of global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic,” OIC ED Macadawan expressed.

The activity was also attended by the EVMC Medical Chief Dr. Salvador Evardone, Dr. Lilibeth Andrade of DOH-8, Atty. Mark Stephen Reyes of the Multi Sectoral Governance Council and some representatives from DOLE, MARINA and POEA.





Slope protection structure built in Gandara, Samar

Gandara slope protection

October 23, 2022

CALBAYOG CITY – Samar First District Engineering Office has constructed a slope protection structure along Barangay Piñaplata to Barangay Tawiran Road in the Municipality of Gandara with a total revised contract amount of P19.50 million drawn from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2022.

The slope protection structure has a length of 82 linear meters with a height of six (6) meters on its left area while on its right side, has a 70-linear-meter length with a 3-meter height. Part of the structure’s scope of work is a Portland Cement Concrete Pavement (PCCP) on both side of the road with a length 82 linear meters (left) and 70 linear meters (right). This road has a width of 3.35 meters on each side.

The said project is located along Gandara-Matuguinao Road which is being requested to be converted into a national road, thus, widening is already incorporated. Similarly, the surrounding area is a grassy field and part of it has a stream of water which contributes to the scouring of soil, that in turn damages the paved road.


Last updated: 06/01/2023