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Squabbling Basey officials delay infrastructure projects

Gunmen killed noted anti-communist leader in Catbalogan

Murder raps filed versus the Lofrancos over Janine’s death

Gov. Daza distributes relief goods to Northern Samar flood victims

Northern Samar flood waters subsided, evacuees back home, need food – Gov. Daza

LNU student qualifies for Global Xchange Program

UNICEF equips PNP with investigation skills on crimes involving women and children

Public warned on fake PNP checks

Two died, one injured 274 families homeless as Typhoon Seniang hit Biliran province

Southern Leyte sends Search and Rescue Team to Albay

Eastern Visayas holds 1st Mariculture Park Congress

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 29, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Eastern Visayas which is now considered as the mariculture center of the country is set to host the First Mariculture Park Congress.

This was revealed by Regional Director Ernesto Hilvano of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Region 8.

Director Hilvano said that the Congress is tentatively scheduled on October 18-20, 2007 in Tacloban City.

He informed that some 1000 participants from both government and private sectors are expected to attend the Congress which aims to promote the benefits of mariculture parks and zones.

Director Hilvano revealed that the participants to the 1st Mariculture Park Congress will be coming not only from the different parts of the country but also in the various countries of the world. He said that delegates from Japan, China, Thailand and Norway have signified their interest to attend.

In view of this, Director Hilvano said that BFAR is now busy with the preparations for the forthcoming Congress.

In fact, he said, he has scheduled a preliminary meeting of the Mariculture Congress Steering Committee on January 31, 2007, 10:00 o’clock in the morning at the Stephanie’s Smoke Haus along Avenida Veteranos St., Tacloban City.

The main agenda of the meeting, Director Hilvano said, is the Presentation of the Tentative Plans for the Congress.

Director Hilvano  called on those invited to attend the Preliminary Meeting and give their utmost support and cooperation to ensure the success of the first Mariculture Park Congress in Eastern Visayas.





Multi-million projects of Mayor Grey continues in San Jorge town

January 27, 2007

Mayor Joseph V. Grey

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Undisturbed by the series of harassments apparently instigated by his political nemesis, Mayor Joseph V. Grey with the support of his wife Nancy and their benefactors-friends in Makati City, continues providing basic services and multi-million worth of infrastructures projects in the villages of San Jorge, in the first district of Samar.

Last December 2006, another 4-room school building with male and female comfort rooms worth P2.8 million was constructed in Brgy. Buenavista, San Jorge that would benefit at least 230 elementary pupils in that village.

Accordingly, the Buenavista village was the pilot project of Mayor Grey’s Education for All programs of constructing more school buildings in his municipality. He said, after the completion of said project in Brgy. Buenavista, he is planning to construct the same school buildings, with the same type and budget, in the villages of Tomogbong, Blanca Aurora, Himay, Bulao, La Paz, Quezon, Aurora, Mabuhay, Rosalim, Sapinit and Erenas.

If this plan materialized, these would benefit at least 1400 elementary pupils enrolled from Grade 1 to 6 in these villages. There were 35 teachers working in these schools.

“These were the clamor of my constituents, especially the parents – to have additional school buildings, books, chairs and more teachers in their respective villages for their youths. Naaawa ako sa mga bata, masyadong malayo ang nilalakad nila papunta sa town proper para lang pumasok, whereas kung magtatayo tyo ng mga eskwelahan sa mga barangay nila, mga teachers na mismo ang pupunta sa kanila para magturo” Mayor Grey stressed.

The project, which was being funded by the Serraphil Foundation Incorporated based in Makati City, was an augmentation to the existing old and dilapidated school buildings earlier damaged by the previous typhoons.

“These schools were dilapidated, damaged and unsafe for our young pupils. It needs rehabilitation and repair… so we sought the assistance of the Serraphil Foundation and other donor-friends in Manila who were, from the start, very supportive to our program of helping the poor here in Samar,” Mayor Grey said.

Last year, according to the mayor, with the help of the Serraphil Foundation, he has finally completed the over-all rehabilitation of the San Jorge Parish Church worth P6.5 million and the construction of the municipal driveway grills and Senior Citizens’ building worth P1.2 million.

He added infrastructures project that are undergoing nowadays are the municipal stage and the covered court in Brgy. Aurora. These, however, were funded by the IRA of the local government unit of San Jorge. To the date of interview, the mayor was in Manila looking for some donors or sponsors for his proposed construction and rehabilitation of San Jorge Public Market, Municipal Health Center, among other projects lined up this year.

In closing, the mayor extended his thanks to his benefactors and his constituents who have helped him in providing good services, building significant infrastructures in the town of San Jorge.





2007 budget to alleviate malnutrition

January 27, 2007

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar  –  Governor Ben Evardone expressed optimism for the approval of the 2007 budget which in many ways can improve the nutrition problem among the children of Eastern Samar province.

Governor Ben Evardone

This he said in a radio interview recently. In a separate forum, Evardone also said the same thought during the Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (FNRI) Feedback Conference at the provincial capitol where a report revealed some nutritional problems in children.

The report of the FNRI showed that about 32% of zero to five year-old children are underweight while 37% among six to 10 years old are underweight as well, due to chronic malnutrition. The findings attributed this problem mostly to adolescent pregnant and lactating mothers and the unpopular breastfeeding campaign. It added that the Iodized Salt utilization is likewise weak in some parts of the province. However, the researchers found out that there is 72% level of awareness on the Iodized Salt, but despite that, there is still a low percent utilization of the commodity.- in fact, this coastal province has high iron deficiency, it was told. Some mothers reveled though that sometimes the salt is not available in their locality. FNRI likewise suspects that it might be in the preservation of the salt that the nutrient might be lost, hence their advice to place the prime ingredient in a colored bottle.

With the above findings, it was recommended that the promotion of proper nutrition among children be intensified, particularly on breastfeeding, appropriate supplementary feeding and strengthen Vitamain A supplement distribution. On top of these, Governor Evardone immediately instructed the Provincial Nutrition Action Officer, Sally Jabinal to formulate an Action Plan which can address the malnutrition problem.

But still, Evardone believes that should Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s "Food for School Program" is funded through the 2007 budget, more benefits can be derived from it, just like the participation of school-aged children, he said; the program includes the distribution of fortified rice to children, which in one way or another can encourage a hundred percent participation. He also suggested to DA Secretary Arthur Yap that more nutritious food be added to the package as in milk and eggs.





Senate inaction on Renewal Energy Bill not an option, Greenpeace says

Press Release
January 27, 2007

Manila, Philippines  –  Greenpeace on Friday intensified their call on the Senate to fast-track the passage of the Renewable Energy (RE) Bill, in a press conference in Quezon City with other pro-renewable energy groups, contending that renewable energy can–and must–play a leading role in the world’s energy future if we are to secure the planet for the next generation.

The press conference, which included speakers from World Wildlife Fund-Philippines and the Klima Climate Change Center of the Manila Observatory, came at the heels of the launch of Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook, a groundbreaking new report produced by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace. The report details how renewable energy, combined with the smart use of energy, can deliver half of the world’s energy needs by 2050, and effectively help stop climate change and its disastrous consequences.

“The Senate must realize that the massive uptake of renewable energy is both urgently necessary and technically possible. All that is missing is urgent policy support. The Philippines’ RE Bill would be the first of such policies in our region – if the Bill is enacted before the 13th Congress adjourns. Otherwise, the bill, which took 10 years before it was passed in the Lower House, can face another long wait-time which our country can ill afford," said Greenpeace Climate & Energy campaigner Jasper Inventor.

"We need a renewable energy law with clear targets which would allow Filipinos to benefit from the country's vast wind and solar energy potential. It is just unacceptable that this potential remains mostly untapped, especially given the daunting challenges we face in the areas of energy security and climate change,” he added.

The Philippines, along with other developing nations across the region, have been bearing the brunt of the disastrous consequences of climate change. Last year, the country was battered by three strong typhoons which left entire regions in a state of calamity with the tragic loss of lives and property. Early this week, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) admitted that damage to agriculture from typhoons have adversely affected economic growth in 2006. Meanwhile, climate change impacts are expected to worsen in the coming years, likely to trigger fresh rounds of economic disasters.

The massive uptake of renewable energy is the key to the fight against climate change. At the same time it also addresses other challenges, such as energy security and the increasing volatility of fossil fuel prices, which are crucial to developing countries like the Philippines.

"Inaction is not an option. The RE Bill is a measure to protect the people and the economy. For the sake of a sound environment and economic growth, the Senate must immediately ensure the passage of this bill, and in doing so commit to a truly secure and sustainable energy future," said Inventor.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organization which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environment problems, and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.





Samar town Mayor shot dead

January 25, 2007 (9:42 am)

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The town mayor of Daram, an island town in Samar southwest of Catbalogan, was shot dead by still unidentified assassin early this morning in Brgy. Birawan, Daram, Samar while attending a benefit dance for the village fiesta.

Initial police report identified the victim as a certain Benito Astorga y Bucatcat, married, of legal age, mayor of Daram town this province, while attending a benefit dance at about 2:00 o’clock in the morning of Thursday, January 25, 2007.  The victim sustained five gunshot wounds from a caliber .45 pistol which caused the instantaneous death of the victim when brought to the St. Pauls Hospital in Tacloban City.

Police authorities recovered five empty shells from a .45 caliber pistol in the crime scene and the case is now under investigation.

As of press time, a police team headed by Samar Police Director PSSupt. Asdali Idja Abah is on its way to Daram to conduct a thorough investigation.






Ombudsman denies motions filed by Samar Governor, others

January 24, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  The Ombudsman has denied for lack of merit the various motions for reconsideration separately filed by Samar Governor Milagros T. Tan and four of the six dismissed capitol officials accused of violating Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Samar Governor Mila Tan

The graft charges, contained in 8 information for violation of Section 3 (e) Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) with SB-06 Criminal Case Nos. from 0457 to 0464, were filed by Ombudsman Merceditas N. Guttierrez before the Fourth Division of Sandiganbayan in Quezon City last September 7, 2006.

Named respondents of the cases were Governor Tan, former Provincial Treasurer Damiano Z. Conde, Budget Officer Maximo D. Sison, Administrative Officer Rolando B. Montejo, General Services Officer Aurelio A. Bardaje, Jr., GSO Records Officer and Inspector Numeriano Legaspi, Provincial Accountant Romeo C. Reales, John Does and Jane Does, all of this province.

In compliance with the directive coming from the Sandiganbayan dated October 17, 2006 to reinvestigate the cases, Deputy Special Prosecutor Robert E. Kallos penned a 17-page resolution denying the motion for reconsideration separately filed by the accused from September 25 to November 7, 2006. The resolution, dated Nov. 27, 2006, was received by the office of Special Prosecutor on Jan. 17, 2007.

Tan, in her manifestation, claimed that (1) there is no probable cause to indict them; (2) the transactions are emergency purchases; (3) the transactions are all in accordance with proper procedure; (4) there was no conspiracy between them; and (5) before she affixed her signature in the vouchers and supporting documents, it was examined, evaluated and signed by the prior certifying officials.

But Kallos maintained that there was “no cogent reason to justify or warrant the reversal of the resolution contained in the Reviewer’s Resolution sought to be reconsidered, there being no newly discovered evidence presented by the accused or evidence of errors of law or irregularities that are shown to be prejudicial to their interest.”

Meanwhile, the appeal of accused Bardaje and Legaspi to serve as “state witnesses” and “immunity” from any suit were granted by the Ombudsman saying “it was through the voluntary disclosures of accused Bardaje and Legaspi of facts, documents and circumstances which were constitutive of the offenses complained of that the complaints against the other accused were successfully investigated by this Office and by the Commission on Audit (COA).”

The graft cases were offshoots of the complaint dated October 7, 2004 by the complainant Isog Han Samar Movement received by the Office of the Ombudsman and was docketed as OMB-C-C-05-0049-B, for plunder.

The Ombudsman, in a September 7 report said the transactions made by the provincial government, pegged to a total of 16.1 million pesos were considered “questionable and anomalous” there was no competitive bidding took place for the purchase of various goods and that the delivery were made before the bidding.





Maasin City mayor delivers last State of the City Address (SOCA)

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
January 24, 2007

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  Damian Gaviola Mercado, the bachelor Chief Executive in this 6-year old city, outlined the major tasks he had accomplished thus far throughout the nine consecutive years he held office, including the changing of the municipality into a component city.

“My dearest wish is just to make a positive difference in our people’s lives as I know history will judge me at my accomplishment.  Part of this wish has already come true.  You can see how Maasin has transformed after six years - the fruit of our endeavor, making our conversion into a city,” Mayor Mercado said in a speech marking his last State of the City Address (SOCA) at the gymnasium here Friday, Jan. 19.

This year’s address was a departure from tradition, where it used to be held only in the confines of the Sangguniang Panlunsod Session Hall in the past.

But the change was deliberate to highlight the occasion as the Mayor’s last address, said Vice-Mayor Maloney Samaco in an earlier radio interview.

Listening the Mayor speak were barangay captains or representatives from this city’s sixty-nine out of seventy barangays and heads of city offices, and the speech was preceded by a formal opening session of the City Council in complete attendance presided by Vice-Mayor Samaco.

Mayor Mercado mentioned in particular early on in his speech the citation received by the local government unit in October 2006 as best performing LGU in finance operation.

He stressed that revenues generated by the city had increased year to year as businesses slowly came, opened shops, and made their presence felt.

This enabled the city government to plow back monies as capital expenditures in such priority areas as agriculture, farm-to-market roads, farm inputs, and access to technology which resulted to better crop harvest, Mayor Mercado said.

In infrastructure projects, the Mayor underscored that over 100 kilometers of road concreting, accessible cross country road networks traversing interior barangays, including bridges, had been finished, the latest of which was a steel bridge linking barangay Canturing and Mambajao under the President’s Bridge Program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

For social services, he cited an ongoing water system project from barangay Matin-ao which was programmed to reach barangay Hantag within the year, the setting up of day-care centers in all 70 barangays, a plan to establish a City College, and another Rural Health Unit Station, a third health station unit to cater for the health and nutrition needs of outlying barangays.

Among the awards, recognitions received by the city LGU under his watch were the accreditation of all health centers as “Sentrong Sigla” by the Department of Health, the Most Child-Friendly LGU for nine straight years, a consistent winner in Nutrition awards, including the Green Banner Award, and five other Regional Awards for Healthy City initiatives.

All the development projects and allocations for social services totaled an investment of about P 800 Million, Mayor Mercado emphasized.

The SOCA speech lasted 23 minutes and was interrupted by applause 13 times.

He thanked all supporters and all the people who have had faith in his capacity to lead the city, saying it was his “driving force, inspiration of success.”

The end of his term would not mean, he said, that the service he had rendered would also end, hinting that he may “still be of service in what destiny would take me.”



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