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Leyte hosts 51st BSP Annual National Meet

DILG turns-over new bridge to Southern Leyte government

Eastern Samar eyes on more tourism projects

Catbalogan officials receive hero’s welcome following approval of town’s cityhood bid

UN Rapporteur on arbitrary executions visits the Philippines

10 vie for UEP-Northern Samar presidency

Eastern Visayas holds 1st Mariculture Park Congress

Squabbling Basey officials delay infrastructure projects

Gunmen killed noted anti-communist leader in Catbalogan

Murder raps filed versus the Lofrancos over Janine’s death

PGMA K4K Program potable water system reaches Samar villages

March 16, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  To win the war against poverty and even insurgency PGMA through the program Kalahi para sa Kalayaan (K4K) brought about potable water system in Barangays Lulugayan and Parina in Jiabong, Samar.

In a simple turn-over ceremony, members of the Philippine Army  through Major Joselyn Regis of the 546th Engineering Brigade, received accolades from Jiabong Mayor Chanita Gabieta and the Barangay officials in Lulugayan, led by Brgy. Captain Nolito Lagbo.

The project said construction engineer Elmer Galang cost some 500 thousand as the source was a good two kilometers away. Mano Pedro Abalos, 64 said that in the past their source funded by other NGOs would dry up during summer days but this project being assured of water supply even during dry days would now best serve some one thousand households in Lulugayan and neighboring sitios.

Jiabong Municipal Engineer Pedrito Resano told PIA that they are satisfied with the job done by the army.

Resano served as inspector and monitor of the project. The Presidential Management Staff (PMS) usually validates the projects under the Office of the Presidential Assistance on the Peace Process (OPPAP).

The project said Galang, stemmed from Special Operation Team (SOT) activity where AFP elements were immersed in the barangays and in the process identified the top four priority needs of the area.

Though the funding and actual implementation took place after three years, rural folks welcomed the   project wholeheartedly.

Construction, said Galang took place in less than three months. Some 12 members of the Engineering Brigade and some rural help joined forces to effect the construction.

In Barangay Makabitas and Salvacion both of Jiabong, water systems were also identified. Construction said Galang will soon be done.

Meanwhile, a school building in barangay Malino, Jiabong is now being used by schoolers. The last three projects are still part of the (K4K) program.

Engr. Regis of the engineering brigade said that in Samar alone some 65 barangays will be given the same projects while in eastern Samar some 18 new school buildings will also be constructed under the K4K of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.





NPA terrorists murdered 1 soldier, wounded another

March 13, 2007

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar  –  NPA Terrorists operating in Northern Samar under CPP-NPA-NDF EV leader Fr. Santiago Salas brutally murdered Sgt Jose D. Baccol of 52IB at about 3 pm, March 11, 2007 at Poblacion, Las Navas town in Northern Samar.

The victim was treacherously shot to death by three NPA terrorists using Cal .45 pistols. He was attending to his newly-harvested riceland at Brgy Bugay of Las Navas, Northern Samar when he was murdered.

This butchery is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) since during the time of the murder, the victim was unarmed, hence at that time he was a hors de combat or considered as non-combatant based on the existing Laws on Armed Conflict and therefore should not be subjected to armed offensive.

This killing is but only a few on the long list of blatant violation of IHL perpetrated by the communist terrorist operating in the region. It can be recalled that last month, CAFGU Active Auxiliary Armando Liwanag was treacherously murdered right in front of his family at Brgy. Sta. Fe of Catubig town in Northern Samar.

At about 2:45 pm of the same day, another soldier and his wife nearly escaped death from the hands of the NPA hitmen. Cpl Dulpiano Orot was with his wife walking their way to their residence at River bank of Poblacion, Las Navas town when 3 NPA hitmen armed with Cal .45 pistols without warning opened fire at them hitting him in the left thigh. He was brought to Catubig Hospital for medical treatment.

The latest killing brings to 12 victims of CPP-NPA-NDF atrocities since January this year in Samar Island alone. The most prominent of which are the murders of Mayor Benito Astorga of Daram, Augusto ‘Ka Agoy’ Daclitan of ANAD in Catbalogan, and Brgy Cpt Bedasto Gabiana of Brgy Dogongan, Jiabong. This does not include those killings that were not reported to the authorities.

Maj. Gen. Armando L. Cunanan AFP, the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Catbalogan, strongly denounced the vicious and treacherous killings being perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists operating in the region. He calls on the Human Rights Advocates to condemn these acts of butchery and lawlessness perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorist group in the region, as he exhorts all peace-loving Filipinos to unite and fight to finally put an end to the nearly four decades of  the communists terrorists menace in our country.





3rd Annual PopDev Media Awards is On

March 14, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  In cognizance of their exemplary efforts, the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) and the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) invites print journalists to once again join the 3rd Annual PopDev Media Awards.

Print journalists who have articles featuring population and development issues published starting October 1, 2006 onwards are enjoined to participate in said Awards.

The search which is open to all print journalists from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR, will give away a cash prize, trophy, and a study trip to a UNFPA project area in the country.

The Awards which took off last 2005 had chosen only three winners all over the country for that year. The following year, 2006 more than 200 journalists participated in said Awards and eight winners were chosen nationwide. Carolina "Rollie" Montilla, Editor-in-Chief of the local weekly Eastern Times, made Visayas proud when she bagged one of the awards which was the "Best Editorial Piece".

Most entries submitted in the previous years that were centered on population and development issues were on population and education; population and health services; population, economic growth and poverty; reproductive health and rights; family planning; and population, reproductive health policy and governance.

The Annual PopDev Media Awards aims to give due recognition to print and other mass media practitioners who have been instrumental in disseminating relevant information and positive values on population and development.





Calbayog City opposes cityhood bid of 12 towns, including Catbalogan

March 12, 2007

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  In an apparent support to the stand of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) opposing the recent decision of the Senate approving the conversion of at least 12 towns, including Catbalogan – the capital town of Samar -, the city council here passed Resolution No. 2007-06-241 authorizing Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento of this city to file a petition in any courts that will declare null and void the laws that maybe enacted allowing the conversion of municipalities into cities without complying the provisions of RA 9009 or the Pimentel Law.

This billboard of proud Catbaloganons is under protest by fellow Samareños.

The said resolution specifically pointed out the approval of the Senate on its third and final reading the cityhood bills of 12 towns, which includes Catbalogan, Samar and that of Borongan, Eastern Samar.

It argued that the enactment of the cityhood bills of these towns will render inutile the subsisting requirements of RA 9009 and will violate the Constitution, particularly the equal protection clause.

According to Hon. Noel Sermense, the resolution will authorize the city mayor to contest in appropriate court the 12 cityhood bills which is now awaiting the signature and approval of Malacañang.

The same resolution likewise gave Sarmiento the authority in behalf of this city to file a petition to prohibit the Commission of Elections from holding plebiscites in the concerned municipalities.

According to Sermense, the principal sponsor of the resolution, since the passage of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code in 1991, the number of chartered cities in the country has more than doubled from around 50 to 117 to date.

The reason cited was that under the said law, it is easy for any towns to be converted into a chartered city if its has an average annual income of P20 million for two consecutive terms, and either it has a contiguous territory of at least 100 square kilometers or a population of not less than 150,000 inhabitants.

But the said provisions were amended by RA 9009, increasing the local revenue requirement from P20 million to P100 million, which is now the subject of the opposition of the LCP, at which City Mayor Sarmiento is the Secretary-General.

Earlier, Sarmiento clarified that he is not personally opposing the cityhood bid of Catbalogan, but told that he want the town officials to help him work out a strategy that will reduce number of the cityhood applicants which earlier pegged to more than 30, but reduced to 24 later.

And in an apparent attempt to further reduce the number, congressmen and local officials of the involved 24 towns finally settled to eliminate 12 more towns from the final list of 24 to give way to capital towns and congressional districts who don’t have a city yet.

However, Sarmiento earlier told that the LCP might consider the exemption sought from the provisions of RA 9009 if the number of town to be converted could have been reduce to only about 2 or 3.

“All of the existing cities will definitely oppose this development, because it will significantly affect the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) by about P36 million, and I cannot do otherwise because I am the secretary-general of the LCP, I can help in convincing maybe my colleagues in our group to reconsider our stand, but with this number of new cities all at the same time will make it impossible for me to be heared”, Sarmiento stressed.

Earlier, Mayor Tekwa Uy of Catbalogan already pointed out the action taken by the LCP into putting a pressure in Malacañang thru its advertorials in national dailies requesting the President to veto the 12 cityhood bills approved by the Senate.

“Bisan ngani dida han senate deliberation pala, ginbla-black mail na hiton LCP an mga senador”, the Mayor told, explaining that the LCP threatened not to support re-electionist Senators if they approve the 12 bills.

“Good thing nga waray magpahadlok iton mga Senador, kay sering pa ngani didto ni Senator Alfredo Lim, that the Senate should make its stand, kay hadto daw dida han hira pa iton nanuktok ha senado para makonberter komo siyudad, ginpasulod hira, pero paka-sulod nira, hira ngayan gihapon an mag-sasara hiton purtahan para hiton iba pa nga munisipyo nga karuyag na magin siyudad”, Tekwa told.





Known whistleblower is new president of ARO in Eastern Visayas

March 12, 2007

NAVAL, Biliran  –  The courageous man who exposed the highly controversial switching of confiscated smuggled rice with sawdust in June 2002 when he was still the supervisor in the National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Alang-Alang, Leyte, is now the newly elected president of the Association of Resident Ombudsmen (ARO) in region 8.

The election of Ruben M. Manatad, resident ombudsman of NFA 8, to the top post in ARO 8 is highly recommended by his peers not only because he’s a whistleblower but the group wanted a person that can best promote and enhance the ideals, vision and mission of the organization.

Manatad who is also the Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Manager of NFA in the province of Biliran bared in an interview after his election as President of ARO in the region that he will raise the level of commitment of the resident ombudsmen in the region over and above personal interest.

The recipient of the 2006 Whistleblower Award said that as watchdog of agency responsible in the fight against perceive graft and corruption in the bureaucracy, one must not bow down to the wishes and caprices of people in the corridors of power or compromise the welfare of the majority for own benefit and welfare.

The newly elected ARO 8 president who will serve from 2007 to 2009 also envisions to equip resident ombudsmen with the necessary skills in the exercise of their duties and functions so they may effectively and efficiently carry-out the main objective of the organization which is to weed-out graft and corrupt practices in the bureaucracy.

Manatad emphasized that ARO 8 under his leadership will vigorously campaign for integrity and genuine public service which he believes would be the strong guidepost in restoring the seemingly fading trust and confidence of the people in the bureaucracy.

The new set of ARO 8 officers who will serve for a term of two years are: President-Ruben M. Manatad, NFA; Vice-President for Leyte and Biliran Province-Jose Clarin, Pag-Ibig Fund; Vice-President for Samar Provinces-Luisito M. Quitalig, Samar State University (SSU); Secretary-Rosemarie TC. Padilla, Bureau of Customs (BOC); Asst. Secretary-Merla Duran, Eastern Samar State University (ESSU); Treasurer-Pilar Raagas, Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF); Assistant Treasurer-Dalila Villegas, National Telecommunication Commission (NTC); Public Information Officer-Hermanito Mangalao-Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Business Manager-Isabelo Gervacio, Naval Institute of Technology (NIT); Auditor-Ireneo Maribojoc, Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST) and Board of Directors-Pablo U. Amascual III, Leyte Normal University (LNU) and Vicente Oquino, Department of Health (DOH).

This year’s regional assembly of ARO 8 which was held on March 2, 2007 at the NIT Hostel is anchored on the theme “Strengthening Participation of Resident Ombudsmen in Anti-Corruption Campaign”.





Yu assumes office as acting mayor of San Jorge

March 11, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  To avoid possible disruption of services of the municipal government of San Jorge, Samar due to the absence of the mayor, Vice Mayor Marcelina Yu issued an executive memorandum to the town officials on February 26 that she will be assuming office as mayor in an acting capacity.

This after a Regional Trial Court in Calbayog City issued on February 20, this year, a warrant of arrest against Mayor Joseph Grey for the killing of a certain Rolando Diocton in October of 2006 where the mayor and his son, Francis, were implicated.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) in the region has launched manhunt operations against Grey who failed to report to his office for months now.

Reports said the San Jorge mayor, since late last year, run the office through an officer-in-charge while in Manila but lately the officer-in-charge designate stopped reporting to office.

This prompted Vice Mayor Yu to seek advice from the Provincial Director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) here Mr. Jovito Lacaba what steps she should take to fill the leadership vacuum in the municipal government.

Lacaba, in an interview, informed that he told Yu that she could assume office in an acting capacity if the mayor is temporarily incapacitated to perform his duties for physical or legal reasons as provided for in Sec. 46 of the Local Government Code but warned that she is barred from appointing, suspending or dismissing town employees as this is prohibited under the Code.

The DILG Director said Yu should have done that earlier had she asserted her right as the town’s next high-ranking official.

According to Lacaba, the effectivity of an appointment of an officer-in-charge is only three days so that the vice mayor can automatically assume office as acting mayor in the fourth day, otherwise he can be charge with dereliction of duty should anything untoward happen.

There were no reported tensions however that took place since Yu’s assumption to office last Tuesday.





GSIS offers accident insurance for as low as P100 annual premium

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 6, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Do you know that the Government Service Insurance System is also offering accident insurance for its members and their immediate families? Yes! For as low as P100.00 annual premium for a P100,000.00 face amount.

This was learned from Atty. Teresita Rojas, the GSIS Tacloban Branch Manager. Atty. Rojas said that even the parents, the brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters, the husband or the wife of the GSIS member can avail of this plan.

What is good about the enhanced GSIS Accident Insurance is that in case the plan holder meets an accident, she or he gets a hospitalization benefit in the amount of P10,000.00.

God forbids that the plan holder dies because of an accident, his beneficiaries will receive P10,000.00 burial assistance aside from receiving the face amount of P100,000.00, Atty. Rojas added.

The face amount, Atty. Rojas clarified, will depend on how much face amount the member wants. He may get an accident plan which is as high as P1 million.

Aside from the enhanced GSIS Accident Insurance Plan, GSIS also has the enhance car insurance and fire insurance.

Where before, what is being insured by the GSIS are only the vehicles of government offices, nowadays, even the personal cars and other vehicles of the members may also be insured at GSIS. This, at a much, much cheaper premium than those offered by the private non-life agencies, Atty. Rojas revealed.

The government agencies are required to insure their offices from the hazards of fire, Atty. Rojas said. The head of the agency will be made liable in case something happens to the office without any insurance, she added.

The enhanced GSIS Fire Insurance accepts insurance of the houses or buildings of the members from any government agency, Atty. Rojas informed.

Indeed, the GSIS, a social insurance institution created under Commonwealth Act No. 186, and operating under its present charter P.D. No. 1146 as amended by R.A. No. 8291, otherwise known as the GSIS Act of 1997, has gone a long way.



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