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DTI launches ‘Pag-Asenso’ live weekly TV sitcom

SAGUPA-SB: Black propaganda cannot stop us

People’s initiative steps up in Region 8

Rep. Figueroa seeks reelection; endorses wife as next governor of Samar

There was Balikatan in Guinsaugon – Gov. Lerias

Sarmiento denies blocking the cityhood bid of Catbalogan

Eastern Samar BAYAN MUNA youth leader gunned down

Mayor Bejo opens Tacloban City Hall to the media

NPA ambush military personnel on CIVAC

Gov. Tan argues she don’t deserve suspension on her plunder case


Solon lauds remedial classes for teachers, pushes for more educational reforms

Press Release
Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE)
April 21, 2006

MANILA, Philippines  –  A party-list solon lauded the program launched by the Department of Education (DepEd) where 37,000 public school teachers will be honed in Mathematics, English and Science in response to the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to address the deteriorating quality of Philippine education, but was quick to add that this is still not enough to solve the problem.

Alliance of Volunteer Educators (AVE) Party-list Representative Eulogio “Amang” R. Magsaysay said “the DepEd program is definitely a step in the right direction in our efforts to address the growing problem on education.”

“We are pleased with this re-training program and appreciate the fact that the initiative came from no less than the highest official in our country,” he stated, adding that “this is a manifestation that the President is being consistent with her 10-point agenda, where ‘education for all’ is stressed.” According to him, “as molders of the young, inquisitive minds, our teachers should be well-equipped in their craft and this includes undergoing re-training at least every year to enhance their skills.”

Magsaysay, a staunch advocate of education as the effective means of alleviating poverty in the country, believes that the Php581-million allocation for the said training is a good start. However, he stressed that the need for more programs that will ease the constraints faced by our teachers is still glaring. He cited the recent Social Weather Survey (SWS) report that the ‘self-assessed proficiency in the English language’ of Filipinos, especially on the ability to speak it, has ‘dropped over the past twelve years.’  This and the fact that only 6.59 percent of senior high school students have mastery of English based on the recent tests conducted by DepEd, only show the alarming state of English-teaching in our country today.

Although acknowledging the government’s budgetary constraints, Magsaysay is determined to reverse the declining quality of education with his House Bills 1189 and 1190 that seek to upgrade the salary grade level of public school teachers in elementary and secondary levels from grade 10 to grade 19 and provide further non-monetary benefits, respectively.

“Aside from constant retraining, our teachers are in dire need of receiving higher wage,” the lawmaker contends. “With only Php9,939 as their basic salaries, our teachers cannot help but seek greener pastures abroad where they could get higher remuneration. If only we can provide them the amount commensurate to their hard work and sacrifice, we will not lose them to foreign countries and suffer brain drain,” he said, adding that “most of the good teachers are already teaching abroad and that most of those who are left here are either fresh graduates or do not have the three basic foundation subjects as their major field of studies.”

Based on the 2003 Labstat Updates of the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics, from 112 in 1992, the number of teachers who left the country every year rose five times in 2002, with 586 of them opting to teach abroad.





Renal disease prevention program in Region 8 reinforced

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 20, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  – Thanks to the visit of the National Monitoring Team and the Regional REDCOP Coordinators, the Renal Disease Program in Northern Samar and Region 8 as a whole got the much-needed boost to really take off.

Kidney diseases rank as the number ten killer in the Philippines, causing death to about 7,000 Filipinos every year. This was revealed by Dr. Remedios de Belen Uriarte, the National Program Chairman of the Renal Disease Prevention Program, during the monitoring and evaluation activities at Catarman, Nothern Samar which started on April 19. These kidney diseases, she emphasized, include diabetic kidney disease, chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive kidney disease, chronic and repeated infection or pyelonephritis.

In Region 8, statistics available to the Regional REDCOP reveals that renal diseases are the 6th mortality cause. The prevalence of this silent disease is enough to get the attention of the various stakeholders.

Dr. Uriarte who arrived from Manila together with the partner agency representative Mr. Angel Katindig of the Philippine Information Agency, Ms. Beth Coloma of the National Kidney Institute and Dr. Jaime Velasquez, the chief anaesthesiologist and head of the OR Department of the National Kidney Center were met at the airport by Regional REDCOP Coordinator Dr. Eduardo Pedrosa, PIA 8 Olive Tiu, Ms. Elvira Lanza of the Department of Health Region 8, Mr. Vino Cuayzon and Ms. Rosario Obregon of PIA 8 and Ms. Aileen Diaz of PIA 8 Provincial Office.

The group made courtesy calls on Vice Governor Lavin representing Gov. Raul Daza who is presently in Australia and on Vice Mayor Romeo Cardenas of the capital town of Catarman. Both local government executives welcomed the guests and the program and pledged their full support to the program which they agreed has already afflicted many of their constituents and must be prevented.

The Monitoring Team observed the training on the Prevention of Kidney Diseases for Health Workers such as municipal health officers, nurses and midwives. The team noticed the enthusiasm of the field health workers, some of them of whom are already implementing the REDCOP in their respective municipalities.

To emphasized the learning that advocacy and information is very vital to the success of the program or any program for that matter, an interface with the local private and government media and information officers was held at the Bahay Pinoy Restaurant. The local media expressed their support to the Program noting the observed increasing incidence of kidney diseases in the province especially because many are afflicted with diabetes and hypertension.





Bejo remains firm on new public market policy

April 18, 2006

Mayor Bejo Romualdez

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Risking popularity, but considering the general consensus of the public, City Mayor Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez firmly said “no” to the demand of the sidewalk vendors, to reconsider allowing them to vend in the market-sidewalks from 6:00 p.m.- 6:00 a.m. daily.

The resolute local chief executive faced members of the Koalisyon han Gudti nga Magtirinda han Tacloban (KAGUMA), who staged a second picket at the City Hall grounds on Monday morning (April 17) at around 10:00 o'clock.

Being straightforward, he told the sidewalk vendors “diri ko igtutugot nga makabalik an sidewalk vendors ha kalsada samtang nagpapabilin pa ako komo alcalde hini nga ciudad. Hingyap ko magin malimpyo an ciudad ngan matuhay an ‘sectioning’ han mga tienda ha mercado. Labot pa, diri maupay kitaon ini nga market building nga nagkakantidad hin 92 milyones pesos, nga waray sulod.”

The sidewalk vendors threatened the mayor of losing their votes come election time. Some had made emotional remarks that the mayor did not care about their economic plight. But mayor Bejo emphasized, “I could have allowed the entry of shopping malls to our city, but I believe that giant stores would only displace small scale merchants, hence my reluctance. I hope the sidewalk vendors will also realize what the City had sacrificed for them.”

A Barangay Chairperson whose area is located near the marketplace, who requested not to be named, affirmed that the then crowded sidewalks was an inviting venue for petty crimes such as pick-pocketing and snatching incidents. ”Hadto, damo nga snatching an natatabo ngan nakakalagyo an suspek tungod nga nagbubugiot, ngan masiot hin duro nga nakakabara han drainage nga nagreresulta hin baha.”

Majority of Taclobanons have lauded the city mayor’s political will to keep the cleanliness and orderliness of the Tacloban Public Supermarket, consistently implemented since January of this year. Continuing improvements are being undertaken such as the renovation of the Annex B building, and other planned repairs on the market roads and drainage system.





Mayor Bejo supports the use of plant-oil stove for a healthy Tacloban

April 15, 2006

Mayor Bejo Romualdez (in white cap) at the Philippine-German Information Center.

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – The environment-friendly and economic-wise plant oil stove is strongly supported by City Mayor Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez. In his visit to the display center at the Philippine-German Information Center in Brgy 43, Quarry District, this city, where the use of this state-of-the-art technology was demonstrated to him, he was so impressed that he immediately placed an order for 12 units to be utilized as part of the mobile kitchen component of the Barangayan Program of the City Government.

In his welcome message, Mayor Bejo lauded the German multi-national company Bosch and Siemens Home Appliance Group (BSH), saying, “this revolutionary invention is designed to address problems on the soaring LPG prices and the environmental and health hazards caused by conventional stoves.” He likewise commended the Leyte State University’s commitment to be partner in the manufacturing of the new stove for mass production. He named BSH and LSU as the “silent heroes of today for this timely technology that will surely improve the livelihood and nutrition of the people.”

Barangay Chairperson Napoleon Arañez, also expressed his gratitude to BSH for giving them 2 plant-oil stove sample units last year. He attested to the efficiency of the stove, “using plant oil as fuel is really economical, three times cheaper compared to using LPG-operated stove,” he said. Other features include: portability and affordability. Limited stocks are currently being sold at a 25% discounted price of 2,000.00 pesos per set.

Plant-oil stove is a revolutionary pressure cooking stove developed in Germany which can be operated on different pure plant oils as fuels like Jatropha oil or Canola oil in some parts of the world, or the more abundant coconut oil we have in our country. Plant oils are a new alternative cooking fuel resource securing a sustainable and independent cooking energy supply.

Utilization of plant oils as cooking fuel presents an interesting alternative to yet known cooking methods and offers a variety of ecological, economic and sociological benefits. In terms of handling and functionality, the new plant oil cooking stoves equals the well-known kerosene pressure stoves.

Their utilization as an alternative cooking tool can bring numerous benefits not only for the city of Tacloban but also for other rural communities in the region.

For more information and placement of orders, visit the Philippine-German Information Center, in Barangay 43, Quarry, Tacloban City.





“Valuing Work”: Evardone implements DOLE-SPES and Jobs Promotion Programs in Eastern Samar

April 12, 2006

Some youth of Eastern Samar who are recipients of the program on a special occasion.

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  ”We may not implement the program for students perfectly, my administration made it sure the program goes to deserving recipients”, this was sternly addressed by the governor Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar in an interview over the local radio stations here.

The provincial government has allotted more or less P200 thousand pesos to accommodate at least 100 students from poor families for the “summer job”. Application was open since January this year observing strictly the DOLE’s policies to implement the program, Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).

However, governor Evardone made some local adjustments based on the existing realities of the province such as giving priorities to those who have not availed of the program in the past. “We have so many poor and deserving students and we cannot accommodate all of them with the limited funds, we set a “first come first serve policy” following the basic requirements as mandated by the DOLE and giving chance to those who have not availed the SPES last year”, Evardone added.

That these student-recipients may value and appreciate work, Evardone ordered to consider “studies -related work” assignments. He further accorded it, that it will also instill to the consciousness of the youth their possible role in the next generation.

Evardone also urged parents to give full support to their children. He made this clear during the awarding ceremonies last March 29 for this year’s PASIDUNGOG, a program recognizing exemplary performance of students in the whole province of Eastern Samar.

Side by side with the summer job for youth aged 15 to 25 years old, governor Evardone also scheduled a quarterly JOBS FAIR. It is expected that 4 Jobs Fair activities will be conducted in strategic areas in province such as Guiuan in the south, Dolores in the north, Balangiga in the northwest and Borongan in the central region of the province.

For the first quarter, Mayor Antonio Rivera together with the Provincial Jobs Promotion and Placement Center (PJPPC) will conduct a Jobs Fair this April 26, 2006 at the municipal lobby of Dolores. According to POEA Satellite Office of Region 8 headed by Ms. Rose P. Jervozo, at least there are 4 certified recruitment agencies confirmed to join the one-day JF. PESO managers of towns of Taft, Can-avid, Dolores, Oras, San Policarpo and Arteche started registration of skills early part of January to ensure participants and in order to determine the skills to be matched with what these agencies need.

It was noted that the prevailing problem of qualified applicants was inability to pay the placement fees. “Sayang an aton Jobs Fair efforts kon waray makakagawas pagtrabaho” said Evardone, and requested planning officers of the province to conduct a study on how the provincial government can offer loan for placement fee.

“Dako it ak paglaum nga makakbulig ine hiton mga naghihingyap hin trabaho” (I hope this will greatly help those who seek for job) Evardone hopefully expressed. The governor further disclosed the plan that is now under study, to maintain a fund to help qualified applicants for their placement fees. Loan for placement fees will be charged with very low interest.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar, encouraging local businessmen to participate in the jobs promotion, approved a resolution. The resolution states that local businessmen will submit job vacancies to PESO Managers to be matched with the available skills registered.

“This will professionalize hiring of skilled workers and consequently improve the labor force of the province”, the governor pointed out during a radio program.

Meanwhile the 100 youth who qualified for the summer job will meet the governor during the orientation on April 17, Eastern Monday.





LCDE brings relief aid to victims of landslide

By RANDY ANTONI, LCDE Advocacy Officer
April 11, 2006

Ruins of the Guinsaugon landslide tragedy

ST. BERNARD, Southern Leyte  –  At least 646 peasant families from four villages benefited from the relief effort launched here by the Leyte Center for Development, Inc. (LCDE) on April 6.

The beneficiaries came from Guinsaugon, Ayahag, Sug-angon and Nueva Esperanza in the said town who were displaced from their villages by the killer landslide that occurred last February 17. They are presently housed in two evacuation centers located at the town proper.

The LCDE distributed food packs, which consisted of rice, fresh vegetables, dressed chicken, mongo, dried fish, and other vital provisions such as spices, salt, sugar, toothpaste, soap, beddings and kitchen utensils. The relief aid was granted by the German Church Agency and the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.

According to Jazmin Jerusalem, LCDE Executive Director, they launched the relief mission in response to earlier reports that the government already stopped giving relief aid to the evacuees.

“The relief mission was timely since the local government unit already stopped giving relief assistance to the victims of the killer landslide. Since March 14, all the donations that have been pouring in came from private agencies and nongovernmental organizations,” she said.

Jerusalem added that aside from the relief mission, they are also planning to conduct other disaster response activities for the victims within this month. These include trainings on disaster management, and rehabilitation assistance such as farm tools dispersal and food-for-work projects.

So far, this was the second relief mission the LCDE has launched since the start of the year. The agency had just extended relief assistance last March 17 to 198 poor peasant families from four communities in Motiong and San Jose de Buan, who fled their homes following incidents of alleged military abuses.

The Leyte Center for Development, Inc. is a disaster response and development-oriented nongovernmental organization that extends services in Eastern Visayas. Its programs range from disaster preparedness and mitigation, emergency response, rehabilitation assistance, advocacy and community health. The agency has already served more than 24,000 families from 454 communities in 31 municipalities in the region.





Bejo promotes proper waste management in the City

April 11, 2006

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The City Government of Tacloban and the Private Garbage Collector - Gyanendra Management Corporation, lauded the 4 pioneering barangays of the City that have initiated proper waste segregation, and left only their residual wastes for collection. This was the result gathered after four days since the start of the implementation of the “No segregation, no collection of garbage,” last April 1.

These barangays and their commendable chairpersons are as follows: Brgy. 64-A, Sagkahan, Bliss - Hon. Telesforo “Roy” Chua; Brgy. 82, Villa Dolina, Marasbaras - Hon. Rustico Medina; Brgy. 78, Alande Subdivision, Marasbaras - Hon. Eugenio Babon; Brgy. 85, Sogod, San Jose - Hon. Joseph Agero.

Meanwhile, City Mayor Alfredo “Bejo” Romualdez has directed the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, the City General Services Office and the Kanhuraw Information and Media Relations Office, together with the Private Garbage Collector to create a monitoring team that will conduct a continuous and intensive information dissemination drive regarding the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law particularly on Waste Segregation at source, on barangays that need special assistance on its implementation.

According to Engr. Sammy, Gyanendra Corporate Liason, “Right now, we are on a dry run period for fourteen days, meaning there are some areas where we still collect unsegregated garbage but we give them warning that by April 15, we will be only collecting the residual wastes as mandated by the law.” Under (Sec.49 ( c ) RA 9003, the collection of unsegregated waste will be penalized “with a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) but not more than Three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than fifteen (15) days but not more than six (6) months, or both.”

On a meeting last April 4, Mayor Romualdez also ordered the monitoring team to, “focus information drive particularly at the grass roots level, until the time they will be able to practice proper solid waste management,” he stressed.



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