Surf in the City
2022 pushes for gender equality in male-dominated surfing
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
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,
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,”
Surf in the City 2022
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
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.”
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.
Municipal Police Station Building ready for occupancy
GISSELLE G. PARUNGAO
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.
surfing coaches train young surfers in Borongan
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.
organization from a remote Samar village receives farm equipment
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
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)
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
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.
holds year-end contractors’ meeting
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,
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
church holds graduation ceremony for over 100,000 Bible students,
the largest in the world
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,
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
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.
orders resurvey of CARP awarded lots in Balangiga to correct errors
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
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
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.
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.
cross-country roads in progress
GISELLE G. PARUNGAO
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
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
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.
JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
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
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.
submit complaints to UN experts before PH human rights review
November 11, 2022
– 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
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
www.pinoyweekly.org 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.
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
“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
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
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