CATBALOGAN, Samar –
Officials of Samar’s capital enjoyed a hero’s welcome on Thursday after
coming home with the document approved by Congress that will led to
the granting of the town a city status should the town residents
approve it in a referendum.
The town was in a
festive mood Thursday afternoon as Catbaloganons came out of their
homes to watch the motorcade welcoming Mayor Coefredo Uy, together
with Vice Mayor Van Torrevillas and Councilor Art Gabon who just came
from Manila to secure the approved House Bill 5998 seeking the
conversion of Catbalogan to a component city and exempting the same
from Republic Act 9009.
Republic Act 9009
barred Catbalogan and two other cities in the Eastern Visayas namely;
Borongan in Eastern Samar and Baybay in Leyte from being granted city
status as it sets higher income requirement for towns who will file
application for cityhood from the previous P20 million to P100
But with the help of
some congressmen in the region, the three Eastern Visayan towns,
together with 9 other towns in the country, were granted exemption
from the said law since they filed their applications before it was
To recall, the town’s
cityhood bid was first revived during the incumbency of the then town
Mayor Jesus B. Redaja in late 1990s through House Bill 6346 filed by
the then Congressman Eduardo B. Nachura but the deliberation for the
approval of the bill was overtaken by the impeachment fever that
eventually toppled President Joseph Estrada from power in 2001.
It was refiled in the
13th Congress, however, through House Bill 2088 sponsored by
Congressman Catalino Figueroa seeking for exemption from RA 9009. It
enjoyed the support of Eastern Samar lone District Congressman
Marcelino Libanan and Leyte 5th District Congresswoman Carmen Cari.
In a speech before the
welcoming crowd at the town plaza yesterday, Mayor Uy acknowledged the
support of these officials along with Senators Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.,
Franklin Drilon and Alfredo Lim who, he said, were instrumental in the
approval of HB 5998.
He likewise thanked
Torrevillas and Gabon who have been lobbying hard for the approval of
the town’s cityhood application even during the filing of the first
bill in the 11th Congress.
The mayor then urged
the people to support it in a referendum but he expressed uncertainty
if it can be included in this May’s elections for lack of material
Vice Mayor Torrevillas,
meanwhile, recalled that the task assigned to them was very hard but
it paid off when the bill was approved by Senate in the 3rd and final
reading last February 5.
Some 163 TB patients
treated in Northern Samar
By TERESITA B. CARDENAS (PIA Northern
Samar – Of the 696 patients examined during the third quarter of
2006, there were 163 who were found to be positive on sputum
examination or Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) examination have been treated
from the disease. This was learned from TB coordinator Cesareth P.
Hernandez of the Provincial Health Office.
This program is in
line with the President Arroyo Administration to provide the citizenry
with the basic services particularly efficient and fast access to
For the first quarter,
out of 285 patients examined 72 were AFB smear positive and 71 were
x-ray positive. A total of 143 patients have “enrolled” for treatment
during the first quarter of 2006 while for the second quarter, of the
510 patients examined, 98 were found positive with AFB smear
examination and 68 were x-ray positive. A total of 166 patients
enrolled in the TB program for the said quarter. Patients enrolled in
the TB treatment program are provided with free medicines from the
to Hernandez, is a chronic or acute infectious disease caused by
Bacillus Mycobacterium, which may affect any tissue of the body but is
usually found in the lungs. The name “tuberculosis” is derived from
the formation by the body of characteristic cellular structures called
tubercles, in which the bacilli are trapped and walled off.
The disease is
transmitted through sputum, mainly in airborne droplets, or by dust
particles of dried sputum. They are rarely spread by excreta or food
products. Unlike other infectious diseases, tuberculosis has no
specific incubation period. A single attack does not confer lasting
immunity; rather the bacilli may remain latent in the body for a long
period, until a weakening of the body’s resistance affords them the
opportunity to multiply and produce symptoms of the disease.
This disease remains a
major public health problem in the Philippines. In 1996, TB ranked
fifth in the 10 leading causes of death and fifth in the 10 leading
causes of illness. Our country ranks second to Cambodia in terms of
new smear positive. TB notification rate is 99.7 per 100,000
population, among the major countries in the World Health Organization
Western Pacific Region in 1999.
In Northern Samar TB
ranks fourth in mortality and ranks fifth in morbidity.
Army foiled NPA ambush
By Cpt. MARIO JOSE M. CHICO, (QMS) PA
Catbalogan, Samar – A text message from a concerned resident of Brgy.
Pahug prevented a would be atrocities of the communist terrorists
group CPP-NPA-NDF and resulted to a combat encounter between the Army
and the terrorist group along Maharlika Highway in Brgy. Pahug,
Pinabacdao, Samar at about 7:30 a.m. of February 12, 2007.
Acting on the
information that unscrupulous armed men were sighted along Maharlika
Highway, Army troopers from Madalunot Detachment of 52IB led by Sgt.
Edgardo L Tizon proceeded to the area to confirm the report. While
traversing the hilly side of the highway in the vicinity of Brgy.
Samar, they were fired upon by a group of more or less 20 NPA
terrorists from an adjacent hill. Immediately, the Army troopers
maneuvered to a higher ground and established a base of fire and hit
the terrorists hard while calling for reinforcements. After ten (10)
minutes of intense firefight, the NPA terrorists withdrew towards
Northeast direction leaving behind One (1) M-1 Garand rifles with
ammunitions and other personal belongings. Reinforcements from 62IB
arrived and conducted hot pursuit operations trailing the bloodstains
along the withdrawal route of the enemy.
After clearing the
area, the government troopers recovered two (2) Improvised
Anti-Personnel Land Mines emplaced by the NPA terrorists in the area.
It was believed that the communist terrorists have planned to ambush
Army troopers passing through the Maharlika Highway. Two (2) CAFGU
personnel have been slightly wounded and were immediately evacuated to
Camp Lukban Station Hospital for medical treatment.
The use of landmines
has long been prohibited under the existing provisions of the
International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
MajGen. Armando L. Cunanan AFP, the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division of
the Philippine Army commended the involved troopers from 52IB for
acting swiftly on the information provided by the civilian populace.
He stressed the importance of establishing harmonious relationship
with the civilian populace in our ultimate objective of “Winning the
hearts and minds of the Filipino people” which is an integral part in
our campaign on eradicating the menace of our society, the CPP-NPA-NDF
terrorist group, and achieved a lasting peace conducive to development
in the Eastern Visayas region.
UP Tacloban studes
negative over tuition fee hike
By GEMMA TABAO (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– Students and teachers of the University of the Philippines (UP) in
the Visayas, Tacloban College, are distressed over the 300 percent
tuition fee increase come school year 2007-2008.
In an interview with
some of the students, they desperately revealed their apprehensions
over the tuition fee hike as this may result to a slow turn-over of
enrollees, considering that most of them come from families of middle
to low income earners.
"We fear only a few
will decide to enroll in this prestigious school even if they are
entrance passers, as the tuition would be beyond their parents’
resource capacity." "Moreover, the increase would even result to
students’ protest considering that it is a state university, yet the
tuition would just be as high as a private one", they said.
The students also
claimed that the tuition increase was decided by the UP board sometime
in December last year, without consulting the students, and with this,
an appeal has been filed with the UP Board of Regents (BOR) but in
vain did it go.
development, it was learned that Gabriela Party List Representative
Liza Maza has urged the House of Representative to investigate this
300 percent increase, and even wanted that the implementation be
suspended until after the hearing to be conducted by the House
Committee on Higher and Technical Education shall be completed.
According to Maza, the
board’s decision lacks transparency as the academic community never
had the chance to discuss the significance of the committee reports on
which the BOR based their decision.
Maza also fears the
increase in the country’s premier state university would set a
precedent for other state colleges and universities to do the same.
Southern Leyte is
least poor in region 8, but poverty incidence worsening
By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern
MAASIN CITY, Leyte –
There is both good news and bad news on the poverty situation in
Southern Leyte province.
First the good news.
The province has been rated the least poor in all the provinces in
Region 8 that it was no longer listed as a priority in poverty
Now the bad news. The
number of poor families has risen -- worsening was the term used -- in
a span of three years, from the year 2000 to 2003.
This much information
complete with details in figures was shared by Evangeline Paran, the
Regional Administrator of the National Statistics Coordinating Board,
an attached agency under the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
Discussing on the
topic "Poverty profile of Southern Leyte" during the Provincial
Development Council (PDC) meeting at the RK Kangleon Function House,
this city, February 7, Paran said the poverty data based on household
income and expenditures were gathered every three years, the latest of
which reflected the conditions for the year 2000, and another in 2003.
In Region 8 as a
whole, 35 out of every 100 families were poor, and this made the
region the 7th poorest out of 17 regions in the country for the year
2000 and 2003 rankings.
Out of six provinces
in the region, Southern Leyte has 31.9 out of 100 families labeled as
poor for the year 2003, up from 26.3 out of 100 families in 2000, NSCB
Regional Administrator Paran disclosed.
The trend showed a
"worsening of poverty situation," Paran said.
The 2003 data of poor
families, rounded at 32 out of 100 families, were reclassified further
as subsistence poor wanting on food requirements, in which there were
11 out of 100 families, and non-food poor that are lacking in
education and housing, 22 out of 100 families.
PIA was unable to get
hold of a copy of the papers presented so no more details can be
presented as this report was written.
Asked what caused the
poverty increase, Paran was not able to provide an answer, tossing the
question instead to the PDC audience.
But Provincial Board
Member Eva Tomol, who presided the PDC meeting, offered some insights
into the cause, citing the lingering abaca bunchy top disease, the
Panaon disaster, the continuous rains that damaged rice plants, and
the population growth which has not reduced.
More PPA funds coming,
Rep. Mercado reveals
By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern
MAASIN CITY, Leyte –
Funds intended for development of existing and new shipping ports in
various locations of Southern Leyte province are due to be released by
the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), according to Cong. Roger
Mercado, the province’s lone district representative.
Among these are the
P70 Million for the expansion of Liloan port, P13 Million for Limasawa
island port, P12 Million for a roll-on, roll-off (RORO) port facility
in Padre Burgos, and an all new RORO port in barangay Benit, San
Ricardo with an appropriation of P200 Million, in which an initial
release of P70 Million is forthcoming.
The four PPA-funded
projects mentioned have a total outlay of P295 Million.
All these good tidings
for improvement and construction of port facilities in different key
points of the province were disclosed by Cong. Mercado during a news
conference with members of the associated media of Southern Leyte (AMSL)
in his district office at barangay Abgao, this city February 11.
These projects also
constituted the "super-regions" investment priorities in this part of
the country as outlined by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her
State-of-the-Nation (SONA) address in late July last year.
Regarding the finished
Maasin city port, on insinuations the new pier has become a white
elephant since too few ships docked despite its modern facility, Cong.
Mercado still strongly "believed that in the future the new port can
be used" with the expected influx of investors, tourists, and other
visitors to the city and the province.
Aside from that, the
solon saw wisdom with its construction at the moment, saying that five
or ten years from now, the construction costs would have been much
higher compared with last year or this year, which in effect redound
to a wise investment.
On suggestions the
city’s port be declared an open or free port through legislation,
Cong. Mercado said the initial step towards that direction was already
done when he proposed a bill making the city an economic zone or an
export processing zone.
"But such moves
take time," Cong. Mercado admitted, obviously to stress the fact that
developments like these may happen on a gradual manner.
Gov. Petilla welcomes
Baybay town’s cityhood
Media Relations Center (PMRC Leyte Province)
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte
– Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla welcomes the news on the
cityhood of Baybay town in Leyte’s fifth district seeing it as a big
economic boost to the province.
The governor sees this
that with an increased income by being declared a city, it can stand
for itself in serving for the needs of its constituents.
In his weekly radio
program Hingyap han Leyteńo, Gov. Petilla said that he is happy over
the news as this would mean that other barangays under the province
can be benefited.
“Nalilipay ako kay
mamemenos-menusan paghatag ngadto hiton ira mga barangay ngan lugod
mahahatag naton iton pondo ha iba pa nga mas nanginginahanglan nga mga
barangay,” Gov. Petilla said over his weekly radio program Hingyap han
speaking, the governor said the province has only a budget of 900
million to be distributed among more than 1,000 barangays to that of a
city such as Tacloban that has a budget of P500 million but serving
only 138 barangays.
“So, you would see the
big difference. If Baybay would eventually become a city, their income
would increase and this would go only to the barangays they serve,”
Gov. Petilla added.
According to the
governor, under the province, Baybay would provide as a center of
growth on the other half of the province.
though, he said, Ormoc City located west of the province, but Ormoc is
a chartered city and therefore apart of the provincial wing.
It can be recalled
that the Senate early this week approved on third and final reading
the conversion of municipalities into cities that includes Baybay in
Leyte, Catbalogan in Samar and Borongan in Eastern Samar.
Baybay, located in the
province’s fifth district is
municipality in terms of land area, population and annual income.
The towns of
Catbalogan, Borongan and Baybay will bring to seven the total number
of cities in the region.