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New registrants swarm Comelec offices in Samar

Close to a thousand Samar youth are pursuing ladderized education – TESDA

Congressman Chong bares programs, projects to be funded by his CDF

Alfred takes post as new City mayor

Basey LGU conducts massive Jathropa tree planting

PGMA signs Anti-Red Tape Act

Government workers finally get 10% salary increase

Man runs amuck with a bolo, kills 9, hurts 18

Small Shot made Big Shots in the Congressional Slate in Eastern Samar

Eastern Visayas has new police regional chief


Eastern Samar joins 30 Best Provinces in the country

July 23, 2007

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  The province of Eastern Samar made it to the list as one of the 30 best performing provinces in the entire country based on the latest provincial statistics made available by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

Governor Ben P. Evardone (center) poses with Chinese investors during a group visit at Calico-an Island in Guiuan. The Chinese nationals are interested in putting up various businesses in Guiuan town. Evardone is wooing foreign and local investors to uplift the economic condition of Eastern Samar.

In a letter, Romulo Virola, NSCB Secretary General, congratulated Governor Ben P. Evardone as Eastern Samar is among the 30 best provinces in the Philippines based on the Provincial Good Governance Index computed by the NSCB.

Prior to the administration of Evardone, the province belonged to the 20 poorest provinces in the country or popularly called the “Club 20.”

Governor Evardone stressed that the hard work his administration is putting forth is paying off as the province did not just graduate from the Club 20 but is now among the top 30 provinces. “It’s so consoling to know that the economic reforms we are applying in the province are gaining great results as we see in now in this survey,” Evardone said.

Eastern Samar was included in the top list for its success in reducing poverty incidence in the province. The provinces that fared well in reducing poverty incidence are Ifugao, Bohol, Camiguin, Capiz, Tawi-tawi, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato, Romblon, Sulu and Tarlac. Also included in the list are Catanduanes, Zambales, Negros Occidental, Apayao, Cebu, La Union, South Cotabato, Sorsogon and Ilocos Sur.

In an article by Virola posted in NSCB’s website, he noted that 6 provinces in the top ten lists were once in the ranks of poorest provinces in year 2000. Eastern Samar is one of the provinces that made a big leap from the poorest to the best provinces in the country.

Governor Evardone emphasized that the battle against poverty will not end with the statistical result. “Obviously, marks of scarcity in the province are still visible and we will continue to strive to totally pluck out the Eastern Samareños from the quandary of poverty,” he said.

“We have high hopes for Eastern Samar in terms of economy,” the governor continued. “Investors are coming in, both local and foreign, as we continue to promote tourism industry in Guiuan to the world and as these will be in place, surely it will make greater economic impact on our province,” Evardone said.





City police chief says death of former Anakpawis leaders in Tacloban not extra judicial killings

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 22, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The early Friday morning killing of Rogelio Picoy and early this week of Charlie Solayao, are not extra judicial killings based on the initial information taken from witnesses that both men started to get death threats after they terminated their ties with the Anakpawis group.

On Friday, Col. Romulo Cleve Taboso informed that the Philippine National Police Tacloban City already have positive leads as to the  killing of former Anakpawis chairman Rogelio Picoy which he said is connected with the killing early this week of Charlie Solayao, also a former member of the Anakpawis partylist.

Col. Taboso revealed he has already dispatched members of the Tacloban City PNP investigation section to follow up on the leads which were received by the office and he has already requested for a comparative analysis of the bullet shells retrieved from the Dacut, Solayao and Picoy killings.

Col Taboso said that the two killing incidents are connected considering that both victims have both been former members of Anakpawis and both were killed with a .45 caliber pistol just as Atty. Dacut was killed with a .45 caliber pistol, last year.

Initial investigations on the Picoy case only confirms the initial PNP assessment that point out to internal rift within the organization as the cause of the killings, Col. Taboso informed. This was gathered from the statement of the wife of Picoy and the other witnesses, Col. Taboso said.

In a Radio interview, the wife of Picoy said that his husband started receiving threats since he resigned as chairperson of the Anakpawis Group and become member of the Guardians Brotherhood.

The killing of Picoy shed light on the cause of the killing of Charlie Solayao early this week. Col. Taboso said and this only strengthened the determination of the Philippine National Police to exert more efforts for the early solution of both cases.

Col. Taboso called on the public to remain calm in the light of these killings saying that the same are just isolated cases and that the Philippine National Police is in control of the situation.





New Samar SP intercede rehabilitation of Maharlika Highway

July 21, 2007

CATBALOBAN CITY, Samar  –  In the past two sessions of the Samar Sangguniang Panlalawigan, SP members took turns in grilling Samar’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 2nd District Engineer Virgilio Arayon for the snail-paced  rehabilitation of the Maharlika Highway.

Samarnons have time and again clamor for better roads especially since it is Maharlika Highway that links Luzon and Mindanao.

In a radio interview over DYMS in the CCATMAN program “Panginano-a Daw” Presiding Officer and Vice Governor Jesus Redaja said that the SP was not satisfied with Arayon’s explanation as to why the repair is very slow.

Redaja further said that motorists are irked because of the so many cracks grilled by the contractor for the so called crack-and-set rehabilitation method. The engineers, he said have explained that the cracks were made, to be later filled with surfacing materials where four layers of cement and asphalt would be overlaid.

However, the builders admitted that their lack of equipments also contributed to the slow phase by layman’s standard.

Though the builders admitted that they have just had an accomplishment of 7%, they are not worried because they are right on schedule. They assured the legislative body of Samar that they would finish the job in 1,020 days from Calbiga to Tizon (Catbalogan) and another 1,080 days for the remaining stretch to Calbayog City and beyond.

The SP identified the road areas in Barangay Maulong, Mahayag and San Vicente all in Catbalogan as a motorist’ s nightmare because of the worst road condition.

Redaja said that they could not just ignore the difficulty that besets travelers and motorists with the road condition in the province that is why he said they have to summon DPWH.

The Vice Governor explained that although DPWH justified that their task is mere monitoring, they still have to face the public. In addition, The Vice Governor said, the SP could not bother the contractors as they are private entities, so he said that it is the DPWH that would explain the situation.

Another concern that Redaja raised was the absence of traffic signals on the road being constructed. He said he noticed that children direct the traffic in one-way lanes. He surmised that children are there because adults (DPWH workers) are not.

Redaja assured the public that the SP would intervene in matters that affect the people of Samar.





Former Anakpawis leader shot to death at Tacloban City public market

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA Samar)
July 21, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte   –   Tacloban City woke up yesterday morning with the news of a shooting incident at the Tacloban City Public Market killing a certain Rogelio Pikoy y Bersola, 50 years of age, described as a former chairman of Anakpawis and KADAMAY leader and who is now a member of Guardian Brotherhood.

Report from the responding Policemen said that Pikoy, who is from the Pericohon District this City and whose occupation is selling cooked food to the Carnival laborers at Rimas Colon, was at 5:30 in the morning, choosing fish displayed at the pathway beside the main fish section of the Tacloban City Super Market, when he was shot from behind by one of the suspects while the other three were acting as look outs.

Pikoy was hit at the lower right side at the back of his head exiting through his right eye. The stray bullet in the process, then hit the lower abdomen of the vendor nearby, Teresita Tadera y Borines, 70 years old and a resident of Barangay Calvary Hill, Serin, Tacloban City.

The PNP members at the PNP Public Market Substation immediately responded upon hearing the gunshot but since the people scampered, they couldn’t identify the culprits who were alleged to have fled towards Annex B of the Tacloban City Supermarket.

The victims were immediately brought to the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center where Pikoy was pronounced Dead on Arrival by the attending physician and Tadera was given proper medical attention.

Pikoy’s wife who was interviewed by the reporters of a local radio station right after the early morning shooting, in between tears said that her husband has been receiving threats. She said that she knows the perpetrators and in between sobs she bewailed “after my husband served you… and helped you… this is what you will do to him…”

Tacloban Police Chief Col. Cleve Taboso assured the public that the Philippine National Police is already conducting investigation on the case. He said that there are several witnesses but the Police have yet to convince them to give information. For sure, the vendor who was hit by the stray bullet has something to say, Col. Taboso said.

Col. Taboso also allayed the fears of the City residents saying that the shooting incidents are just rare and remote cases. He also called on those who know or have witnessed the shooting incident to come out in the open and help solve the case so that the perpetrators will not be able to do the same again.

Saying that it is too bad that these incidents happen at the time when the City has already been considered as a peaceful place, he assured the witnesses that they will be given proper protection by the Philippine National Police.





Earthquake shakes, causes damage in several South Leyte towns

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 21, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  An earthquake of tectonic origin shook Western and Southern Leyte at 11:10 Thursday night causing power failure in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte and in some areas in Southern Leyte.

The earthquake per information provided by the Office of Civil Defense in Region 8 (OCD-8), was traced at 10.37 degrees north, 125.15 degrees east, seven kilometers southwest of Hinunangan, Southern Leyte.

The origin of the earthquake was reported to be the Philippine Fault Zone Leyte Segment and it has a magnitude of 5.5.

Director Salvador Estudillo informed that the earthquake was felt at intensity 6 in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte; Intensity 5 in St. Bernard; Intensity 4 in Sogod and Intensity 2 in Cebu City.

Initial reports on damage of the earthquake revealed power failures in Hinunangan from 11:10 in the evening of July 19 until 5:00 o’clock in the morning of July 20. Cracks at the Hinunangan Municipal Hall have been observed.

Mr. Rey Gozun of OCD-8 who was dispatched to Southern Leyte by Director Estudillo, together with staff of Philvocs, informed the Philippine Information Agency said that the team is now conducting Rapid Assessment on the Damage and Needs Analysis of the people affected.

Mr. Gozun confirmed that the belfry of the Hinunangan Church have severe cracks and that the road beside the belfry has already been closed to traffic because of the danger of belfry collapse.

Mr. Gozun added that cracks have been observed at the approach of the Day-as Bridge, also in Hinunangan. The bridge however, is still serviceable and open to commuters.

The Rapid Assessment team is scheduled to proceed to St. Bernard town and the other municipalities affected to look into the extent of damage caused by the earthquake.

No damage to life was reported. The Office of Civil Defense will make the official announcement regarding the rapid assessment as soon as the team has made its report.





Sec. Dureza assures slain vendors leader's family of government’s support

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 20, 2007

Secretary Jesus Dureza

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Determined to accomplish President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s directive to condole with and to bring the government’s support and to the family of fallen vendors leader Charlie Solayao, Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, personally went to Barangay 71 at Naga-Naga, Tacloban City.

It was a bit of a walk passing through the earthen path walk lined by small shanties, going to the house of the Solayao family which happens to be the last house. Several neighbors and relatives were there as the remains of Charlie Solayao has just been brought in from the nearby funeral parlor.

Wife Marina was sitting in a chair beside the coffin, silently crying when Secretary Dureza arrived. Her surprised couldn’t be hidden when Secretary Dureza entered and introduced himself to have been sent by no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

She said her husband does not have any enemy. He was only fighting for the rights of the market vendors and that the rallies he attended were only those related to the market vendors’ gripes against the City Government. Now, she does not know what will happen to her children, six of who are still in elementary and high school.

Of the 12 Solayao children, three are already married, 2 are working as housemaids in Manila, 3 are in elementary school, 3 are in the high school lever and one is helping in their fish vending.

She said that the remains of Charlie was brought to their house only that afternoon because she couldn’t produce the amount of money needed. She thanked the owner for allowing her to pay just half because that was all she was able to borrow. She also thanked the Sisters at the Divine Word Hospital for giving them a big discount so that she can bring the remains at the funeral parlor. She also called on all the government agencies to help her husband and her family.

Secretary Dureza and Marina went into the kitchen of the house and talked for a while. When they came out, Marina was sober and appeared stronger. Secretary Dureza before leaving asked for the cellphone number of Marina so that he could contact her.

Together with the assurance that the government will help the Solayao family get justice for the death of Charlie, he also promised the children who turned out to be intelligent students and who expressed their desire to finish their studies, that the government will help them. The son who is third year high school was so happy to hear that news because he intimated that he really wants to become a doctor someday.

Although Secretary Dureza did not announce it to anybody, he left some money to Marina so that she will be able to pay her bill at the funeral parlor.





Samar LMP voted for Calbiga Mayor Melchor Nacario as president

July 20, 2007

CATBALOGAN, Samar  –  Samar’s League of Municipalities has finally elected Calbiga Mayor Melchor Nacario as its President in a very rare gathering of Samar town mayors on July 18, 2007 at the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Office.

Mayor Nacario

Out of 24 municipal mayors, only Mayor Cornelio Bersales of Talalora was absent. Although Catbalogan City Mayor Coefredo ‘Tekwa’ Uy has graduated from being a town mayor to a city mayor, he was there to support his former league.

Professor Rommel Banlaoi, a consultant of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) was the guest and witness to the elections done through the supervision of DILG Provincial Director Jovito Lacaba.

Also elected were executive Vice President Wilfredo Estorninos of Basey; Vice President for 1st District is Nancy Grey of San Jorge; Vice President for 2nd District is Felix Babalcon of Paranas; Secretary is Mayor Lucia Astorga of Daram and Treasurer is Emmely Olaje of Tarangnan.

Also elected as Auditor is Dr. Mario Quijano of Pinabacdao and Press Relations Officer is Mayor Arnold Abalos of San Sebastian.

The four Board of Directors for the 1st District include: Mayor Edwin Figueroa of Zumarraga; Mayor Jun Pacanan of Motiong, Mayor Alex Abarratigue of Hinabangan and Mayor Kim Adolfo of Sta. Rita.

On the 2nd District, Mayor Silvestre Acilo of Sto. Niño, Mayor Fred Serrano of Sta. Margarita; Mayor Jun Limpiado of Tagapul-an and Mayor Violeto Ceracas of Pagsanghan will serve as Board of Directors.

Outgoing LMP Samar President, then Mayor of Zumarraga, Neliptha Figueroa graciously turned over the leadership to Mayor Nacario.

Mayor Nacario vowed to pursue the LMP goals in a non-partisan environment, he urged the league members to anchor their strength in non-partisanship to usher development.

Nacario is known in the media circle as a writer and an environmentalist.

Prof. Banlaoi meanwhile, invited the new mayors to attend a neo training for newly elected officials to be equipped with knowledge and skills on how best to serve their constituents.





PNP orders investigation on slaying of Tacloban vendors leader

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
July 19, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Tacloban City Police Chief Romulo Cleve Taboso assured that the Philippine National Police is already conducting the necessary investigation on the shooting incident which killed Charlie Solayao, 50 years old, the vice president of the Katipunan Han Mga Gudti nga Magtirinda (KAGUMA) which is affiliated with the Bayan Muna, and also of the Katipunan ng Damayan ng Mamamayan (KADAMAY) which is affiliated with the Anakpawis.

When interviewed by the Philippine Information Agency, Col. Taboso was waiting for Mrs. Marina Solayao, the wife of the slained, who was with him during the slaying.

Colonel Taboso added that the Philippine National Police has immediately installed the needed checkpoints after the shooting incident. He assured the public that the PNP will not rest until the case has been resolved. So far, however, the PNP has yet no lead as to the identity of the perpetrators.

Verified reports said that Solayao has been known as “leader, together with his brother David, of the rallies which were held in the past in Tacloban.”

Meanwhile, PNP Regional Director Abner Cabalquinto informed the Philippine Information Agency that he immediately ordered the investigation of the shooting incident as soon as he was informed about it.

According to police reports, Solayao was shot at around 1:50 in the morning of Tuesday (July 17) in front of the parking area of the CITLOUR bus company in Barangay Naga-Naga, Barangay 71, a village located in the northern part of Tacloban City.

Initial Police investigation disclosed that while the slained Solayao and his wife Marina were waiting for a passenger vehicle bound for the shed house in Sagkahan District where they would purchase fish which they will sell in the city Public Market, two unidentified gunmen clad in black satin jackets and riding in tandem on a yellow lady’s type motorcycle without plate number, approached him.

The black rider who was wearing a bonnet allegedly stepped down from the motorcycle and shot the victim five times in the different parts of his body and then the suspect immediately fled to the direction of the city proper.

Solayao was immediately brought to the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City where he expired while he was being operated on. His attending physician pronounced him dead at about 11:35 in the morning.



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