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Leyte victorious in its bid to host 2009 Palarong Pambansa

Samar lady solon awards deserving servicemen, hails them for heroism

Planet Hollywood hotel to host Pacquiao vs. Valero title fight

Gov. Petilla speeds through typhoon-hit coastal barangays to distribute relief goods, calamity financial aid

Power in region 8 now fully restored, TransCo says

Frank leaves province P5M damages, Eastern Samar in state of calamity

Samar’s mussel industry threatened

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


Region’s bet is one of ten RP’s outstanding cops

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 5, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  SPO2 Oscar Paderan Bandoy, intelligence officer of the Intelligence Research Section of the Police Regional Office 8 at Camp Kangleon in Palo, Leyte, this year’s bet in the Search for Country’s Outstanding Policemen in the Service, have been chosen as one of the ten cream of the crop men of the Philippine National Police.

The 10 outstanding policemen of 2008 with president Arroyo at the malacanang hallHe received his trophy and cash price of P200,000 from no less than Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the awarding ceremonies at Malacanang on August 1, 2008.

SPO2 Bandoy was born of humble parents in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. He graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the Leyte Institute of Technology in 1982.

The Outstanding cop has been in the police service for almost 18 years already and has garnered an estimated 60 medals and 40 commendations for exemplary performance in the police service.

Among his major accomplishments in crime solution with community involvement was his direct participation in the conduct of special intelligence and manhunt operations against criminal groups and most wanted persons in the country to include several members of the notorious Waray-waray Kidnap-for-Ramsom Group which resulted in the eventual arrest and neutralization of criminal elements, among who were Jonathan Riños alias Jing Jing, a member of the Waray Waray Kidnap for Ransom Group and included in the list of Most Wanted Persons involved in the kidnapping for ransom activities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and carries a monetary reward of P350,000; Eldebrando Arguelles y Tinok aka Ka Melanio Arguelles alias Mende who was also involved in the DILG Most Wanted Person list and carried a monetary reward of P200,000; Allan Balimbingan alias Allan who carried a monetary award of P600,000; Joel Morano y Pedrera who was charged of murder and carried a monetary award of P90,000; and in the arrest of Victor Chen alias Chen Fei Huang, a Chinese National for violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294.

His accomplishments in crime prevention with community involvement include the active participation of SPO2 Bandoy as invited guest speaker in the seminars for barangay tanods; participation in the implementation of Sagip Batang Manggagawa in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment; the orientation seminars of barangay information network; speaker for the role of a police-father in the family in a class of marriage encounter seminar, among many others.

His service awards include several Medalya ng Kagalingan, Medalya ng Papuri, Medalya ng Kasanayan and a Plaque of Merit for having been adjudged as the Non Officer of the Year given by PACER Visayas.

For his achievements and dedicated police service, SPO2 Bandoy has not only made the PRO 8 but the entire Eastern Visayas Region proud.





Leyte to start big preparations for Palaro ‘09

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC Leyte)
August 5, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  In hosting the 2009 Palarong Pambansa, Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla would be setting its best foot forward to present a progressive and thriving province.

He said, it is not every year that a province gets the chance to host such a big national event, so the host province should present its best to encourage more similar activities in the future.

In preparation for the big national summer games next year, the provincial government has set P50 million in fund that would be used for rehabilitation works on the Leyte Sports Development Center.

According to Leyte Provincial Administrator Vincent Emnas, who is tapped to be the point man for the Palaro hosting, rehabilitation works of the Leyte Sports Development Center is targeted to start this September and finish by December 31 this year.

The bulk of the allotted amount would be spent in improving the oval track, transforming the current rough-sand track into a rubberized track at the sports center’s oval that would mainly serve running and track and field events.

Emnas said the province, as a host, would conform to the standards set for national and even international sports facilities as the Palaro is the country’s source for athletes being pitted in and out of the country in various international competitions.

Meanwhile, Emnas disclosed the province may be spending in hosting for this national sports gathering but the event would be more than worth the investment.

The province, he added, by mixing sports and tourism through Palaro would benefit a lot from visitor influx aside from the thousands of delegates to come from all over the country.

At least 6,000 Palaro athletes, officials and chaperones plus other visitors and tourists are expected to come to the province to participate and witness the national sporting games.





Defense Chief bats for approval of the amnesty program

August 4, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Leyte  –  Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro bats for the approval of the Amnesty Program for rebel returnees.

Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro in his visit to the 8th infantry division in Catbalogan CityIn a statement as the secretary met the local media from Eastern Visayas, Teodoro said that funds from the amnesty program could help the rebels start life anew.

Teodoro was Guest of Honor at the 20th anniversary celebration of the 8th Infantry Division (8ID), Philippine Army based in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City on July 31, 2008.

In his message, the good looking secretary hailed the gallant men and women of the division for their unfailing commitment as vanguards of peace and security not only in Eastern Visayas but also in Cebu and Bohol.

He also urged them to continue partnership with the LGUs and private sector to fully realize peace and development in this part of the country.

He also said that with a better peace and order situation in the Visayas, government troops could now focus more in their operation in Masbate, Bicol and Eastern Mindanao.

Meanwhile, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a message at the Local Peace and Security Assembly in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province, again asked Congress to approve a new amnesty for communist rebels, saying the “most important” counterinsurgency strategy is the "soft power of economic progress" and "dialogue."

“For years,” the President said, “the Communist rebels have been a low-level threat, and it is time for their disruption and violation of human rights to be put to rest so that the nation can move ahead.”

“But to the rebels who genuinely and sincerely speak peace, we shall respond in kind. The most important part of our counter-strategy is the soft power of economic progress, dialogue and continuing efforts to arrive at mutual understanding,” the President said.

The President said the government is continuously devising programs to advance peace and development in the country that include human rights advocacy and a social integration program for rebels wanting to return to the mainstream of society. It is no longer necessary to lose lives on both sides of the conflict when so many opportunities are now available to improve the people’s welfare, the President said.





Catbalogan City reorients Barangay Nutrition Committees, PGMA endorses veggie noodles

August 1, 2008

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  As the whole country celebrates the 34th National Nutrition Month last July, Catbalogan City gathered some 200 members of the Barangay Nutrition Committees in the 57 barangays for  a refresher course on nutrition.

President Arroyo and PMS secretary Cerge Remonde
President Arroyo is all smile as she shows off the squash and a finished product of canton noodles from squash during the launching of Proud Harvest Vegetable Enriched Canton Noodles in Dagonoy Public Market, San Andres, Manila. With the president is PMS Secretary Cerge Remonde. (Melyn Acosta/PCPO/PNS)

The barangay committee on nutrition included the Punong Barangay, a Kagawad who chairs the Health and Nutrition Committee, the Barangay Nutrition Scholar and a teacher nutrition coordinator.

From July 30 to July 31, they all assembled at the Cocina de Cabral while Ms. Alva Gadin, the Samar Provincial Nutrition Action Officer (PNAO) gave them updates from the National Nutrition Committee (NNC).

City Councilor Herminia Cabral who also acts as City Nutrition Officer also served as lecturer with members of the Provincial Nutrition Committee.

Dr. Sesenia Yong, City Health Officer presented the nutritional status of the children in Catbalogan and urged the Punong Barangays to address this concern.

She also urged them top patronize Garantisadong Pambata to avail of micronutrients for free, because she said that micronutrients are equally important.

Although many children are still malnourished, Dr Yong said that somehow the percentage of malnourished has gone down.

Children are weighed annually through the Operation Timbang or OPT which serves as a guide in locating poorly nourished kids. The list will give the nutrition committees an idea where to start rehabilitation.

Dr. Yong praised the barangays that conduct ‘feeding’ but Ms. Felecita Borata, Chief of the Samar Integrated Health Office (IPHO) Technical Services said that information on the availability, affordability and nutritional quality of food could be more of a long-time solution to the malnutrition problem.

Another member of the Samar Provincial Nutrition Committee (PNC) lamented that LGU officials are not keen on the Nutrition Program but focus more on the more tangible projects like infrastructure.

As the whole team culminates the month long celebration on Thursday with Mayor Coefredo Uy, PNC members are hopeful that some 50% of the problem would be threshed out.

Meanwhile, to address malnutrition and hunger in poor families, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched the veggie-enriched noodles as part of The Pagkain sa Bawat Mesa program designed to ensure that every Filipino family is assured of sufficient supply of affordable food.

The 250-gram pack squash-fortified canton noodles will be available starting next week in “Tindahan Natin” outlets in the Cordilleras and Ilocos provinces, Cagayan Valley and Metro Manila.

“The development of the veggie noodles is part of our program to solve hunger by providing every Filipino family’s table with healthy but affordable food,” the President said in Filipino.

The President stressed that the government teaches Filipinos to embark on good nutrition balanced diet and even management of families through natural family planning.

She urged the public in Tagalog to cooperate as, “Kaya ngayon higit nating kailangan ang sipag at pagkakaisa. Sana magkapit-bisig tayong lahat para makamit natin ang mga pangarap ng mga taga Manila pati na rin ng sambayanang Pilipino.”





Per PGMA’s directive, DA provides incentives for farmers who sell their produce to NFA

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 1, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  In compliance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive, the Department of Agriculture has come up with a production incentives for farmers who sell their produce to the National Food Authority, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said.

Under the said incentive program, farmers who can supply 50 sacks or up to 500,000 metric tons of rice to the National Food Authority will be given P1,800 per 50 sacks as rebate which the farmers can use to purchase fertilizers and other farm needs.

President Arroyo has ordered that the Department of Agriculture provide P1,800 production support per 50 sacks, for the dry crops in order the concerns of the farmers on the price of fertilizers which have gone up considerably, Secretary Yap said.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has approved the allocation of P1.68-billion as subsidy to the farming sector for the acquisition and distribution of certified palay seeds nationwide.

This was learned as the President launched the National Seed Program on July 31 at the province of Apayao.

The amount will be used to buy some 1.4 million sacks of certified seeds to be planted in 1.4 million hectares of irrigated and rain-fed ricelands all over the country during the 2008-2009 cropping season.

In addition, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will provide P7 billion in micro-finance loans which farmer-beneficiaries could use to improve rice and crop production.

Each sack of certified palay seeds under the subsidy program can generate up to 120 sacks of palay or 60 sacks of milled rice.

According to Secretary Yap, the funding will be sourced from revenue collections particularly the Expanded Value Added Tax.

The subsidies are part of the DA's mission of helping the country attain rice self-sufficiency by 2013, he added.





Gov. Evardone, TV host Boy Abunda to upbeat tourism promotion & activity in Eastern Samar

July 29, 2008

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  Now that tourism potentials are within reach with Eastern Samar particularly this city as a definite flying destination of South East Asian Airlines (Seair) and Philippine Airlines (PAL) starting this year, what now? Can the province sustain the possible upsurge of the visiting local and foreign tourists?

TV host Boy Abuda during a meeting on tourism in Borongan CityThese are primarily the questions that were tried to be answered in a meeting spearheaded by Gov. Ben P. Evardone and ABS-CBN’s celebrated host Boy Abunda in the Provincial Capitol, this city. The meeting was also attended by Regional Director Karen Tiopes of Department of Tourism, Bishop Cripin B. Varquez and some Provincial Heads.

“This meeting was spurred by the rapid developments in trying to attract commercial airlines to fly to Borongan directly,” Gov. Evardone opened up during the interaction. The governor has been tapping commercial air carriers to ply Manila-Borongan-Manila route and was first responded by Seair which will fly to the city as soon as the airport in Barangay Point Mary is ready for operation. PAL has also put Eastern Samar as one of the added domestic destination before the year ends.

“If these all will be in place,” Evardone said referring to the commercial flights to the province,” definitely tourists, both domestic and foreign, will flock.”

“Boy (Abunda) is willing to help in promoting tourism in the province,” the governor announced. Abunda is a native of the City of Borongan.

The TV host on his part said that the province really has much to offer to incoming tourists. “With Seair and PAL flying to Borongan, this is really our chance to shine,” Abunda said. Abunda added that for so many years Eastern Samar has been a backyard and a layback of Tacloban City and Leyte because of inaccessibility of potential tourist attractions in the province but with the entry of the two airlines, opportunity is definitely at the door of the province.

“We want to be a major player in the Visayas, if not in the country,” Abunda said obviously referring to tourism. “We cannot be a laidback and we cannot be inaccessible for the rest of our lives,” he commented.  “How to be one cannot be done by the Church, by the Provincial Government or the DOT alone but by all,” he added.

With the coming of the two air players in the country to the province, “we have to be viable”, ABS-CBN’s Abunda said. Abunda added that the operation of airlines in the province is sustainable with the fact that a great number of PAL passengers in Tacloban are from Eastern Samar.

For a start, Gov. Evardone, Abunda and Tiopes agreed to make use of the currently developed attractions in the province. Among the tourist-ready destinations in the province are beaches and islands in the province.

For his part, Evardone already instructed Provincial Administrator Joseph Alan Limabauan to come up with floating cottages along the rivers of Sabang Suribao and Camada, southern barangays of the City of Borongan. Limbauan is also the designated Tourism Officer of the province.

Director Tiopes encouraged the local officials in the province to be tourist-friendly. “The local officials should campaign on educating the people to bear the basic courtesies when visitors come,” she urged. Most tourist-flocked cities and provinces are educating their people on how to be tourist-ready.

Provincial Planning and Development Officer Henry Afable meanwhile urged the governor and the rest who were in the meeting to come up with a Tourism Master Plan. “We need to systematize everything that had been said here,” Afable said. The TMP is initially scheduled on the early part of August which will be spearheaded by the DOT and the Tourism Development Council and which under the watch of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Editha Sepulveda.

Meanwhile, the Church is asking all the planners to consider the protection of the ecology in the tourism plan. “Please give regard to the environment in your plans,” Fr. Euly Belizar, Jr. voiced out in the meeting.

“I am proud to come from Borongan. I am very vocal about my birthplace and I know we have much to offer to the tourists,” Abunda declared. “I am very much willing to help” he said.

“Of course there will be problems and obstacles along the way, but surely we will overcome it,” Abunda said.

Governor Evardone said that developing Eastern Samar into a tourist hub is not an overnight task. “This will take years and even decades,” he said but there really is a need to develop the province.





DOT turns over kayak, protective gears to Sohoton Services Association

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 29, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Department of Tourism turned over kayak and protective gears for the Eco-tourism Product Development Livelihood Project of the Sohoton Services Association, in a ceremony which was conducted on July 24, 2008 at Barangay Inuntan, Basey, Samar.

Said project which is under the Community Based Sustainable Tourism Project, is an undertaking of the community at the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park known worldwide for its natural beauty express in its caves, subterranean rivers, waterfalls and unique limestone formations.

The turn over ceremony is the latest of a series of dialogues, consultations, trainings and interventions for the stakeholders of the National Park, being conducted by the Department of Tourism, which aims to employ community based development as a form of capacity building aimed at generating supplementary livelihood activities at the local level.

The turn-over program commenced with an Invocation led by Ms. Betty Boleche, Sohoton Services Association Vice President. Hon. Wilfredo Estorninos, mayor of Basey welcomed the guests and the participants to the Turn-over Ceremony.

DOT 8 Director Karina Rosa S. Tiopez delivered a message and the Presentation of the Deed of Donation was done by Director Rolando Canizal of the Office of Tourism Development Planning of the Department of Tourism.

The signing of the deed of donation was done by Richard Alibado, president of the Sohoton Services Association of Barangay Inuntan, Basey, Samar and Hon. Joseph Ace Durano, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, represented by Director Canizal, with Mayor Estorninos and Director Tiopes as witnesses.

Director Tiopes said that in August, the Department of Tourism will conduct a consultation with the local Travel and Tour Operators to get their support to the new product.

Finally, Secretary Durano, in April of 2009, will formally launch the new product of the Sohoton Services Association during the Philippine Speleological Society Cave Congress 2009.

On March 3-7, 2008, the Department of Tourism Regional Office 8 conducted a Capability Enhancement Seminar for the members of the Sohoton Services Association and Community Based Resource Management Organization of Barangay Guirang, at Balantak Resort, Barangay Guirang, Basey, Samar.

DOT 8 Director Karina Rosa Tiopes informed that this seminar was the third of the series of capability building seminars which are aimed at capacitating the community on the development and management of the Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge located in Basey, Samar, as a means of income augmentation within the framework of biodiversity conservation and development.

Earlier, DOT 8 conducted the Local Cave Guiding Training on January 14-18, 2008 and the Kayaking and First Aide Training on February 4-7, 2008 where the participants were the members of the Sohoton Services Association and the cave guides from other barangays of the Municipality of Basey, Director Tiopes added.

The Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge which is located in Basey, Samar, the banig capital of the Region, is the most visited ecotourism destination in Eastern Visayas, Director Tiopes said. This is the reason why it has been identified as the pilot area for the Community-Based Sustainable Tourism Project of the Department of Tourism.

Director Tiopes disclosed that the project is anchored on organizing Community-Based Sustainable Tourism livelihood projects and capacitate communities ready to implement Community Based Sustainable Tourism livelihood ventures.

In line with the Eastern Visayas Tourism Master Plan which is consistent with the objectives and strategies of the Samar Island National Park General Management Plan, the Department of Tourism prepared an Ecotourism Action plan that will ensure a more dynamic, responsible and sustainable tourism development in the area.

The Ecotourism Action Plan recommended the Community Based Sustainable Tourism Project with the pilot area identified as the Mt. Sohoton Bridge located in Basey, Samar.

The Project has two components, the first is the community preparation and the second is capability building on CBST livelihood project. The Project in Basey is on the second component, Director Tiopes said.

After the conduct of skills training, the purchase of equipments like kayak and life vests, safety helmet with headlight, first aid kits and cave guiding uniforms; and post product development like media familiarization tour, brochure production, establishment of network with industry players, and communication plan will follow, Director Tiopes concluded.

All these interventions are aimed at nurturing and sustaining community awareness, self-help and co-management, fostering a spirit of collective responsibility and equity in relations whilst simultaneously functioning as an effective monitoring mechanism.





Reproductive health supporters growing despite bishops’ threats

Press Release
By Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD)
July 28, 2008

MANILA, Philippines  –  Advocates of the Reproductive Health bill hail DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian and Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña for their public announcement of support for reproductive health.

“This is what public service should be. Despite the open threats of political backlash from Catholic Bishops, Sec. Cabral, Mayor Gatchalian and Mayor Osmeña are being true to their avowed task and standing up for what the people actually need,” Romeo Dongeto, Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc (PLCPD), states.

In media interviews last Tuesday, Cabral blamed the government’s poor population management for the high hunger rate of the Filipinos, going as far as saying that she is ready to lose her job as she stands by what she believes in.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview, Gatchalian announced his support for reproductive health by issuing an executive order reorganizing the population council of Valenzuela. Gatchalian said that the city’s health workers are ready to give mothers adequate and correct information on their right to have safer pregnancies and on reproductive health services.

In Cebu, Osmeña announced over the weekend that he will not let religion dictate him on his reproductive health programs.

In other areas of the country, more and more public officials are coming up with their reproductive health ordinances. In Luzon, Quezon City, Antipolo City, Olongapo City, the provinces of Aurora, Ifugao, Mt. Province, and the municipalities of Tinoc, Sagada, Lagawe, Asipulo, Bontoc, and Paracelis have passed their own Reproductive Health Ordinances.

In the Visayas region, the municipalities of Talibon, Ubay and Carmen of Bohol province, and the municipalities of Llorente and Maydolong of Eastern Samar have also enacted their own RH ordinances. In Mindanao, General Santos City, the provinces of Sulu and Lanao Del Sur, and the municipalities of Lebak and Kapatagan have also passed their RH ordinances.

“A reproductive health policy is a practical solution to reduce the high incidence of maternal and infant mortality. This is why policymakers at the local level are starting to enact their own policies”, Rene Llorin of the Local Legislators’ League on Population, Health, Environment and Development (3LPHED) secretariat states. The 3LPHED is composed of local legislators from all over the country advocating for sound policies to address population, health and environment concerns.

“The ongoing debate has educated policymakers in the LGUs on the bill more than anything. Even without any intervention or direct advocacy coming from us, many of them have already decided that there really is a need for a reproductive health policy, especially in the poorest regions,” Llorin adds.

“We urge other legislators not to be cowed by empty threats coming from certain sectors. Surveys have consistently shown that the electorate wants a policy on reproductive health and family planning. Studies have shown that it is key in saving lives and in combating poverty. Supporting the Reproductive Health bill is a decision that is both morally and politically sound.” Dongeto concludes.



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