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Pacific Friendship 2008 visits Gandara

Samar solon sponsors surgical mission with UST Medicine Class of 1964

8th ID releases P147,600 for Balik-Baril Program

Mass surrender of NPA supporters in Eastern Samar

LMP holds Visayas island cluster conference

Mayaw-Mayaw takes center stage at Kamurayaw Festival in Pinabacdao, Samar

Calbiga town undergoes ‘economic’ workshop

Tanauan skimmers rein in Surigao 3rd National Skimboarding fete

30,500 bags of NFA rice delivered to Samar

Army soldiers reach out to uphill barangays through medical-dental mission


Samar’s mussel industry threatened

June 18, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  The mussel industry that gives jobs to thousands of Samarnons is threatened by parasitic bacteria causing heavy mortality.

mussel varietyThis was revealed through a report obtained on Tuesday from Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Chief Rolando Ay-ay in an interview.

In a two page report prepared by Fish Health Officer Rosalinda Canas, it stated that results of laboratory examination done showed high level of bacterial count indicating further that green mussels (tahong) are infected with pathogenic bacteria.

Mussel samples examined were taken from Jiabong area.

Mussel farmers started to report to BFAR about the mussels ‘dying’ on the last week of May. Reports of the same malady started coming in also from mussel farms in Villareal and Tarangnan towns (all in Samar).

Presently, with the extensive mussel sampling examinations, scientists are worried that 60-70% of the mussel farms experience the phenomenon. Officials from BFAR said that if there is no synchronized move to rehabilitate the industry, the industry will suffer heavy losses.

BFAR seeks the intervention of either DENR or DOST to examine water samples from the areas affected. These two agencies, Canas said are better equipped to analyze water samples.

In normal times, one stake (tulos) could yield a sack of mussels, but presently, it takes three or four stakes.

In the report, BFAR officials recommend that stakes be relocated along areas where water current is present to maximize tidal flushing of marine waters along mussel farm areas. Mussel farmers then suspected that run off coming from the rehabilitation of Samar roads are causing the ‘death’ of the mussels; scientists however refute this saying the rehabilitation has been going on for years now. Besides, they said that the distance from the Samar roads, is kilometers away and that some sort of filtration happens before the suspected destructive run-off reach the mussel farms.

Another suspect the mussel farmers point to is the mining of coal in Samar. Still another is the jellyfish processing facility in Barangay Bunuanan but City Agriculture technicians said that the facility has existed for years now.

Right now, scientists point to domestic waste and pollution as the culprit in the decline of mussel harvests.

Meanwhile, aside from linking with DENR and DOST, BFAR will be continuously conducting tests to arrive at conclusive results to recommend to the mussel industry. In DTI’s files, the mussel industry provide ample source of livelihood opportunities for the people of Samar.

Based on the latest industry figures, mussel culture provide a projected gross and income of about P14 M based on an annual projected mussel production capacity of nearly 4,700 MT.  At present, there are about 320 households directly engaged in mussel farming in the municipalities of Jiabong, Villareal, Tarangnan, Catbalogan and Daram.





Students flood Maasin City College as City LGU subsidizes tuition fees

By ERNA S. GORNE (PIA Southern Leyte)
June 18, 2008

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Giving flesh to his commitment to provide affordable access to quality education among his constituents, Mayor Maloney Samaco pushed for a continued subsidized tuition fees for all the students of the Maasin City College this school year, 2008-2009.

Early this year, Mayor Maloney Samaco refused an offer to upgrade the one-year old Maasin City College into a state college since it would eventually effect higher tuition fees under the latter’s administration and runs in contrast with the objectives of the scholarship program of the city government.

Maasin City College is a pet project of Mayor Maloney Samaco that he implemented upon his assumption as the newly-elected chief executive of the city last year.

He maintained that by continuing to subsidize the cost of education at the Maasin City College under the supervision of the city government of Maasin, the tuition fees for all the courses ranges from P1,775 to P2,045 only for one semester, which is very affordable for all.

Mayor Samaco also initiates a free college education at Maasin City College for all the children of all elected and appointed barangay officials to include barangay health wokers, Sanguuniang Kabataan (SK) kagawads of the city of Maasin.  Wherein, scholars of the city government were only required to pay P300 for one semester.

Maasin City College now offers four-year bachelor degree courses each on Public Administration, Agriculture, Social Services and Travel and Tourism.

Aside from the scholars from the city government, the Limasawa Development and Economic Foundation (LIDEF), a non-government organization, also sends twenty four scholars to the institution for two years now.





Unarmed Army troops attacked; 4 soldiers killed

June 18, 2008

CAMP PANACAN, Davao City  –  Unarmed military troops from 73rd Infantry Battalion were attacked by more or less 15 NPA rebels believed to be under Pulang Bagani Command 1 (PBC1) on June 14, 2008 at Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District, Davao City that left four soldiers dead.

The government forces were on their way back to their temporary patrol base during the attack. They were coordinating with the local leaders for a proposed civic action program which would benefit the populace in the area.

Earlier on June 11, 2008, 73rd Infantry Battalion troopers and the same NPA group figured in a fierce firefight at Sitio Betuin, Barangay Dalagdag, Calinan District, Davao City. The proposed civic action was meant to restore the trust and confidence of the local populace to the government’s peace and security efforts following the June 11 incident.  Lt. Col. Rolando JD Bautista, Spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division said, “The Command denounces in its strongest terms the NPA attack on soldiers who are performing peace mission and who were unarmed. It goes to show that these NPAs are cowards and are only capable of fighting if their enemy is unarmed. This is tantamount to murder. The soldiers were ruthlessly executed as they were unarmed during the attack.”

The Command through the 1003rd Infantry Brigade immediately launched a pursuit operation against the NPA rebels. The names of the victims are withheld until their families are informed.

Related past events show sudden increase in NPA criminal atrocities in the region. On March 18, 2008, Custodio Varona, the Barangay Chairman of Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District District, Davao City was liquidated by the NPA rebels. Varona was a member of the CAFGU and known to be an anti-Communist Terrorist. Other Barangay Chairmen who were liquidated by the Communist Terrorist were Nelson Sam-O of Barangay San Jose, Monkayo and Felimon Eyana of Barangay San Vicente, Montevista, all of Compostella Valley Province.

Asked if these series of events are related, MGen. Jogy Leo L. Fojas, Commander of 10th Infantry Division said, “These incidents are definitely related. The NPA rebels have been on the run after the government forces have intensified its Internal Security Operations in the region leading to the discovery of several NPA rebel’s major encampments in New Bataan, Compostella Valley Province on April 7, 2008. They desperately resort to violence by murdering local officials and soldiers and sowing terror among the populace in order to control and recover their lost grounds.”

Maj. Gen. Fojas has lamented the death of the four soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to restore back peace and order in the region. “The loss of lives of our soldiers shall inspire us further to double our efforts in protecting the populace from the criminal and terrorist activities of the NPA rebels,” he added.





Samar’s Capital City turns one; boosts of becoming the trading and service hub of Samar island

June 17, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  If Catbalogan City dad Coefredo “Tekwa” Uy would be asked, he’d boost that Catbalogan City has risen to new heights in trading and service hub.

Catbalogan mayor Tekwa Uy delivering his message during the 1st city charter day celebrationIn the program held at the city plaza which continued up to midnight of June 16, the exact day of the Charter, Uy affirmed that with him at the helm, he would ensure that the city remains the trading and service hub of the Samar island.

The city celebrates the anniversary of Catbalogan Charter when some 25,426 Catbaloganons voted Yes in a plebiscite a year ago.

Mayor Uy in his message said that his leadership would try to propel the city onwards to its dream of being the trading and service hub in the whole Samar island.

Meanwhile, in his message of felicitations, Bishop Isabelo Abarquez of the Diocese of Calbayog City said that he is hopeful that the services hub that the city employees dream would somehow reach the poorest of the poor, “to bring Jesus Christ to others.”

Representative Sharee Ann Tan of the second district of Samar said that the new city status could bring better social services, generate jobs, provide business opportunities and send a message of a sound economic atmosphere pervading in the city.

She urged the Catbaloganons to become forward looking individuals to reap the dream it has continuously aspire.

The video presentation displayed acquisition of vehicles for the police, motorboats for bantay-dagat, flood control projects, volunteer cleaners, city scholars thanking Mayor Tekwa in unison for their school bags, the busy city market and others scenes that depicted a busy and thriving community.

The program’s highlight was the endless distribution of tons of tokens and awards of recognition to the people that shared and cared in pushing the municipality to become a city.

A 15-minute fireworks display capped the near-morning ceremonies.





Gov. Icot urged local folks to be more vigilant in sand and gravel extraction activities

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC Leyte)
June 17, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla urged local residents to be vigilant in the sand and gravel extraction activities being done in their respective areas, pointing that sand and gravel permittees should be paying the right amount in taxes to the local government units concerned.

Leyte governor Icot Petilla
Leyte governor Icot Petilla

Gov. Petilla said the local folks can best attest to these kind of activities and give a near estimate on the volume of sand and gravel extracted in their respective areas and in order for authorities to assess if the current permittees are remitting the correct amount of tax payables.

“This is important for the people to know and be vigilant about because their towns are entitled to a share from the sand and gravel taxes,” Gov. Petilla said.

This the governor shared during the turn over of the P20,000 amount to Brgy. Arado of Dulag, Leyte, which amount was the barangay’s share from the sand and gravel extraction in their village.

However, the governor also emphasized that though sand and gravel extraction is given industrial permits, it should be within the bounds of environmental protection laws.

Earlier, the governor has warned hollow-block businesses operating from sea sand extraction to discontinue their illegal sand extraction or otherwise face legal sanctions.

It was learned that regular payment of extraction fee should be paid to the provincial treasurer, or the municipal treasurer if deputized by the province, which is one of the requirements of the new Mining Act and other subsequent policy issuances or amendments, and terms and conditions of the issued permits in the conduct of industrial sand and gravel operation.

Under the Local Government Code of 1991, it is provided that 30% of the extraction fees goes to the province; another 30% goes to the municipality and the remaining 40% accrues to the barangay where the materials are extracted.

Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement given to sand and gravel permittees shall be a ground for cancellation of the sand and gravel industrial permit.

For calendar year 2007, the estimated revenues accrued to the Local Government Units in Region 8, from the sand and gravel extraction fee was more than P6 million where the bulk of the sand and gravel production is from the province of Leyte, it was likewise learned.





So. Leyte solon opens 100 scholarship slots on agriculture and fishery courses at SLSU

By ERNA S. GORNE (PIA Southern Leyte)
June 17, 2008

MAASINCITY, Southern Leyte  –  Congressman Roger G. Mercado allocated 100 scholarships to the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU) for those who opted to take up agriculture and fishery courses commencing this school year 2008-2009.

Amidst the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to invest on agriculture, Congressman Mercado left no time to assist in strengthening the education component of the agricultural development in the province.

The SLSU has five campuses spread all over the province with the Hinunangan Campus spearheading in the field of agricultural courses and Bontoc campus focuses on marine and fisheries sector.

Recently, the congressman announced that SLSU will be allocated P4 Million to assist for the development of an agricultural program at the state college.  To equip the institution facilitate formal education on livestock dispersal, rubber plantation, Gulayan Ng Bayan, nursery for vegetables, among others, not just for the academic students but also to include farmers to be given opportunities to learn more.

He also pushed for the establishment of demonstration farms at the state college campuses for a more interactive learning, not just from the books, he added.

Meanwhile, the solon also will send scholars at Maasin City College this school year for the students who will take up agriculture course.  Maasin City College is offering four courses on Travel and Tourism, Public Administration, Social Service and Agriculture on its second year of operations.





Enrolment in Region 8 increases by 40%, DepEd says

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 17, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Department of Education Regional Office 8 Director Sol Matugas happily informed that initial reports reaching her office disclosed that enrolment in elementary and high school levels in the Region has increased by about 40 to 50 percent.

Even the enrolment in Grade I increased by about 40%, which is good news because this is plus factor in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on education for all.

The disclosure was done during the 110th Independence Day Anniversary celebration in Ormoc City. Director Matugas attributed the increase in the enrolment of student in the Region to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directives on no payment of enrolment fees and the no uniform policy.

Director Matugas together with the DepEd 8 Regional Monitoring team has been going around the Region since the start of classes on June 10, in order to monitor the start of classes in Region 8.

Director Matugas bared that because of the increase in enrolment additional classrooms and teachers are needed. This means that the number of lacking classrooms and teachers have increased. Director Matugas, however, assured that the Department of Education is doing its best to solve the concerns of the various schools in the Region.

There is always a solution to the problem, Director Matugas said, depending on the innovativeness of the teachers and the school administrators.





US Ambassador Kenney wows Calbayog City

June 15, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  In an unprecedented gesture of goodwill and friendship to Calbayog City, the United States of America Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny visited Calbayog City yesterday.

US ambassador Kristie Kenny with Samar Officials
US Ambassador Kenny with Samar and Calbayog City officials

Kenney served as Guest of Honor during the closing ceremonies of Pacific Partnership 2008: Samar Mission, a humanitarian mission rendered by the US Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy.

In her speech, Kenney said that it was her first time to visit Samar and Calbayog City and she is pleased with the extra-ordinary warmth afforded to her by Samarnons led by Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento.

She added that the friendship shared by her country and the Philippines began in 1987 when the US Naval Ship came to Samar to provide assistance and to interact with the people of Samar.

She added that the Samar acceptance of her people doing missionary work could win any award on friendship.

The US Navy ship USNS Mercy docked some kilometers away from Calbayog Cit Port has loaded the Sea Bees (members of U.S. Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133) who extended five engineering projects in Samar and the ship’s dental-medical services team who served to some 26 thousand Filipinos in Cotabato and Samar.

The servicemen, wherever they went to perform their mission always draw crowds of Samarnons, especially children, the servicemen in turn could not help but warm up to the sun kissed tots.

Kenney and company were welcomed by live bands and school children in a standing parade waving both US and Philippine flaglets.

Mayor Sarmiento in his welcome message said the day of Kenneys visit will be etched in the history of Calbayog City and Samar.

Kenney was accompanied by DFA Under Secretary Edcel Custodio, Captain William Kearns of the US Navy and Capt. Crispin Mercado of the Philippine Navy.

Scores of Calbayog City and Samar officials, Bishop Isabelo Abarquez, Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Samar Vice-Governor Jesus Redaja, Congressman Reynaldo Uy were among those spotted by the media at the Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST) who welcomed the US visitors.





Sec Claudio conducts forum on food and energy security in Catbalogan City

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
June 15, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – Presidential Adviser Secretary Gabriel Claudio will lead the conduct of the Forum on Food and Energy Security at the Tiya Anita’s in Catbalogan City on June 17.

This was learned from Assistant Secretary Ian Norman Dato of the Office of the Political Adviser who informed that the Catbalogan Forum will be held the day after First Forum on Food and Energy and Security in Calbayog City.

Scheduled to be conducted at 9:30-11:30 in the morning, the Forum is aimed is aimed at explaining to the citizenry that the problems besetting the country at the moment, are part of a global problem on food and energy security and that the country’s situation is but a microcosm of a global situation.

The Forum also hopes to present to the public the programs that the government under the leadership of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has put in place and the many more which are in the pipeline, in order to mitigate the current situation.

In addition, the Forum shall exhort the citizenry to do its part in solving the problem by presenting to them various concrete ways and means they can undertake to help the government solve the nagging problem.

Expected to attend the Forum are representatives of all the sectors of society in Catbalogan City, the local government officials led by Mayor Tekwa Uy, the academe, leaders of government and non-government organizations, the media and all the other stakeholders.

Before attending the Forum, Secretary Claudio together with his party, will inspect the Catbalogan Public Market and NFA Warehouses in order to monitor the availability of rice supply not only for the City but for the entire province of Samar.

After the Forum, Secretary Claudio has accepted to meet with the local media in order to answer their questions.





Search for fairest Borongan beauty up

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
June 14, 2008

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  Borongan City might just soon be swarmed with youthful and beauteous young ladies from all over the 61 barangays of the city as the search for “Binibining Lungsod ng Borongan” is up.

In an interview with Sangguniang Panlunsod member Victor Franco, who at the same time is the chairman of the Culture and Arts Committee, it was gathered that the search is anchored on the Binibining Lungsod ng Borongan Charity which will serve as the platform for charity works and activities of the needy sectors of the City government.

He added that the search is likewise aimed at developing the personality and communication skills of the young women in this part of Eastern Samar province.

In a separate interview, Vice-Mayor Fe Abunda said that despite the yet humble beginning of the project, the organizers, her included, are seeing to it that every little detail is fixed.

The lady Vice-Mayor is known for her hardworking management style that any minute aspect which  does not fit to her sensitive taste will not come to pass.

“Aside from SP Franco I am also looking into the preparation not only for the Binibining search but for the other activities as well.  For the search, we will ensure that all candidates will be subjected to screening”, she assured PIA, “however, only 18 will be chosen to vie for the title on the evening of June 18”, she added.

Abunda who is seen reporting to office way ahead of the others reiterated that there shall be fair and just treatment of the candidates adding that the judges they are eyeing at are those who are known for their honest service and integrity.

Meanwhile SP Member Franco is in all gratefulness for the support Mayor Fidel “Panka” Anacta is giving to the project. “As the First City Mayor, he wants that every project or activity attached to the first cityhood must be worth-remembering, as in this first Search for “Binibining Lungsod”, Kuya Vic quipped.

With a cash prize of P20,000, P15,000 and P10,000 for the titlist, 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively, Franco expects more young ladies aging 15-24 will join the contest.  Other qualifications are: a native of the barangay she is representing, of good moral character, standing at least 5’3”, willing to participate in other charity activities.



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