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Calbayog cops nab 31 people, seize home-made guns, money for violation of election laws

One protesting Sumilao lady farmer hospitalized in Leyte

Leyte town adjudged most business friendly municipality of the Visayas

All is set for historic Leyte Gulf Landings commemoration

2 pharmacies from Catbalogan to receive “Quality Seal” awards from DOH-BFAD

Cong. Cari to refile bill creating Western Leyte province

Region 8 got ten of top 20 in National Achievement Test

Schoolgirl from Eastern Samar tops National Achievement Test

PNP, army forge MOA on internal security







PGMA showers Eastern Samar with more anti-poverty goodies

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
November 12, 2007

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo brought more financial assistance to Eastern Samar in her recent visit to this province on the occasion of their 42nd Founding Anniversary.

In spite of the province’s giant leap from the country’s poorest provinces (from rank 17 to 33), the President said she still opts to accelerate aggressively the trend of progress not only in this part of Region 8 but in the entire nation.  Thus, for Eastern Samar, she was happy to note that it held the first ever Provincial Anti-Poverty Summit, where the province’s top priority problems were given attention to.

She also said in her keynote speech, that for the coming holiday season, she will bring rice to those who need it most and work hard to protect the poor from high prices.  She added that her long term vision is for the Philippines to reach the verge of first world in 20 years by putting in place a robust middle class, world class infrastructure and strong institutions of government.

Before she even went to Borongan City for the Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Province, the President inspected first the P20M road project in Jipapad, the tip most town which is one of the most depressed areas of the province.  Here, she was happy to note that after two years or so, the road which connects Eastern and Northern Samar will open the town’s gateway to progress by the end of November, the expected day for completion.

Mrs. Joy Catamco, a BIR employee was happy to hear the good news about Jipapad.  According to her, once she had the chance to visit Jipapad, and there she noted that the place really needs the attention of the national leadership.  She said, that her sank for the people seeing them feeling just happy and contented with what they had then, despite the gap in living standards that she surmised in just a few hours that she was there.  With the President’s recent personal attention and visit, Catamco concluded, Jipapad town and people will surely change their lives for the better.

Aside from Jipapad, the President also reported that she is extending financial assistance to the roads of another tip most town-Arteche. Some of the assistance awarded by President Arroyo to the respective beneficiaries are as follows: For DSWD, checks worthP1.4M under the Core Shelter Project, P575,000 for the Cash for Work Program and P300,000 for SEA-K.  DA also received P4M check under the Calamity Assistance Rehabilitation (CARE) and P1M under the Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector (INFRES);  BFAR: 8 units of Deep-Sea “Payao”, 50 Units gill Nets and 1-multipurpose vessel under the Bantay-Dagat Program; DAR: Certificates of Completion for 5 bridges and newly rehabilitated farm to market roads worth P48M from ADB-ARCP fund. DOH: Awards of Certificates for Medicines to operators of Botika ng barangay at 25,000 each Botika, while DENR awarded land titles under the “Handog Titulo”.

For the province, Governor Evardone awarded five tractor units worth P80,000 each to the beneficiaries of the provinces’ Farm Mechanization Program.





President Arroyo visits Region 8 today

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 9, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The people of Eastern Visayas are eagerly awaiting the arrival of President Arroyo who is scheduled to arrive in the Region today.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to fly to Tacloban early morning today where she is scheduled to inspect the Jipapad-Lapinig Road in Northern Samar, grace the Founding Anniversary of Eastern Samar in Borongan and then come back to Tacloban to attend the Closing Program of the Local Peace and Security Summit in Eastern Visayas, at the Leyte Park Resort Hotel.

President Arroyo is scheduled to arrive at the Jipapad Elementary School where she will be briefed on the status of the Samar Circumferential Road Project by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Lapinig-Jipapad Road by the 543rd ECB.

The President will also grace the Founding Anniversary of the province of Eastern Samar which is highlighted by the first Provincial Anti-Poverty Reduction Plan.

President Arroyo is expected to present under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, P1.4 Million check for core shelter, P575,000 check for the Cash for Work Program and P300,000 check for the SEA-K.

Through the Department of Agriculture, the President will present P4,053,116.60 check for the calamity assistance Rehabilitation Effort, P1,409,897 for the Infrastructure for Rural Productivity Enhancement Sector.

Under the programs of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, President Arroyo will award certificates for 8 units deep sea Payao, certificates for 50 units Gill Nets, and certificate for 1 multi-purpose-vessel for use under the Bantay Dagat Program.

Through the Department of Agrarian Reforms, the President will also award the turnover of certificates of completion for 5 bridges and newly rehabilitated farm to market roads worth P48,032,752.02 funded from the ADB-ARCP Fund and the distribution of certificates of land ownership awards covering a total area of 223.43 hectares to 154 beneficiaries.

The President will also award 2,224 land titles under the Handog Titulo Program of the DENR and certificates for medicines to 5 operators of Botika sa Barangay worth P25,000. 00 each.

In Leyte, the President will attend the Presentation of the Action Plan which is the output of the two-day Local Peace and Security Assembly and in the evening she is expected to induct the league of municipalities of the Philippines-Leyte Chapter and have a dinner and informal interaction with the Region 8 Media.





Peace and Security Summit reels off in Eastern Visayas

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 9, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The Local Peace and Security Summit attracted the interest of the various sectors all over Eastern Visayas, from the government sector, the non-government organizations, the academe, the indigenous people and the media.

Peace advocates trooped to the Leyte Park Resort Hotel Convention Center A for a two day assembly determined to work together to identify the peace and security concerns in the Region and to formulate a working plan that would answers the concerns.

No less than Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez were at hand to welcome the participants to the two-day gathering. Other Region 8 officials present were Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Congressman Paul Daza of the first district of Northern Samar and Calbayog City Mayor and Regional Development Council of Region 8 chairman Mel Senen Sarmiento.

National Security Council’s Retired General Victor Mayo was at the venue early supervising that everything is in order. Joining him, is Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hon. Jesus Dureza, Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Cencom Commander Major General Victor Ibrado, Major Gen. Armando Cunanan, commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and PRO 8 Regional Director Abner Cabalquinto.

Hon. Francisco Mier, Assistant Director General of the National Security Council provided the participants an overview of the Local Peace and Security Assembly.

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento presented a comprehensive report on the role of Region 8 in a First World Philippines while Congressman Paul Daza talked about the roads to peace: Key to Samar’s Development.

In order to provide the participants a complete overview of the Region, Col. Raoul Reyes, Commanding officer of the 802nd Infantry Battalion of the 8th ID discussed the insurgency situation in Region 8 while Police Chief Superintendent Abner Cabalquinto of the Philippine National Police Regional Office 8 presented the Region’s peace and order situation.

The morning session also featured Mrs. Maria Lourdes Lagman’s, a former rebel’s point of view on returning to the mainstream of society.

The updates on the Philippine Comprehensive Peace Process was discussed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hon. Jesus Dureza while the Challenge of Peace to Leadership was presented by National Security Adviser Hon. Norberto B. Gonzales.

While the participants were having a workshop, Secretary Gonzales and the guests answered the questions of the local media during a three hour press conference, the longest press conference ever held in Tacloban as many of the media practitioners claimed.

The participants presented the workshop outputs early evening which shows that they really were interested in achieving peace and security in the Region.

The action plan will be presented to the President during the closing ceremonies on November 9.





DSWD region 8 office bares highlights of PGMA’S Borongan visit today

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
November 9, 2007

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has revealed here Thursday some significant events during the scheduled visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today in Borongan, Eastern Samar, at least as far as her office is concerned.

Leticia Corillo, Regional OIC of DSWD – who was here in the city Thursday morning as Guest during the awarding of capital funds for the 266 beneficiaries of the Self Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program – said that in Borongan she will also be doing the same distribution of livelihood assistance.

A two-day poverty summit was conducted in Borongan yesterday and will end today, and during the culmination program President Arroyo will be there to grace the occasion, Corillo added.

In a fact sheet given to local media right after the SEA-K awarding ceremony at the Abgao Covered Court, this city, it was learned that the DSWD Regional field office “is taking the opportunity (of PGMA’s Borongan visit) to award the three major rehabilitation efforts of the department to the family victims of Typhoon Seniang.”

One of the rehab efforts was the Core Shelter Assistance Project amounting to P1.4 million at P70,000 per unit/beneficiary, to be awarded to twenty beneficiaries in the municipality of Salcedo in Eastern Samar.

Another major event will be the awarding of cash for work in the amount of P757,000 to the Local Chief Executives of the five affected municipalities, the amount intended for the repair of day-care centers in the towns of Borongan, Lawaan, Salcedo, Gen. MacArthur, and Guiuan.

Seed capital to SEA-K beneficiaries, the amount totaling P295,000, shall be awarded to the President of five (5) SEA-K groups, and this will be given to groups based in Guiuan, Balangiga, Borongan, and Mercedes towns.

All in all the total amount to be released for the three rehabilitation activities cited above was P2.27 million.





Sumilao Farmers arrive at Calbayog City

Press Release
By Sumilao Farmers
November 7, 2007

Sumilao farmers taking overnight sleep in Catbalogan.
The Sumilao farmers during their overnight stay on Saturday at the Saint Mary’s College of Catbalogan.

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  It had been a hot Monday afternoon when the Sumilao farmers walked their way to the City at around 4:00pm.  They proceeded to the Our Lady of Porziuncola Hospital to bring their fellow marcher, Restituto “Toto” Anlicao, who is suffering from pain due to complications brought about by his foot blisters.  For 8 days, Anlicao endured the wound on his feet and walked the unpaved and muddy roads of Western Samar.  Last night, his blood pressure shot up as the wound may have already reached his bones.  Anlicao is one among the 54 marchers reclaiming the 144 hectare land in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon and a qualified farmer beneficiary of the said land.

The “Walk for Sumilao, Walk for Justice” is the 60-day campaign of the Sumilao farmers who are determined to walk, on foot, from Sumilao, Bukidnon to Malacanang, Manila.  They have walked approximately around 730 kilometers up until Calbayog City to bring their calls to the President and to the DAR Central Office: Restore the Dignity of the Sumilao Farmers and Reclaim the 144-hectare Land.  The 144 land that was supposedly converted into agro-industrial purposes – there would have been constructed a museum, golf course, schools, and hotel - remains to be agricultural in use today.  Being the rightful beneficiaries of the said land, the 144-hectare ought to be distributed to the Sumilao farmers.

Rene Penas, one of the spokespersons of the Sumilao farmers, said during the press conference held at Diocesan Pastoral Center early this evening that, “we farmers are legitimate beneficiaries as provided under Sec. 22-A of RA 6657 being landless residents of San Vicente Sumilao and are able and willing to till the lands as provided for by law and so much so we are in the order of priority of said law”.

Ten years ago, the said land was awarded to them by virtue of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) issued to them by DAR Secretary Garilao and was further affirmed by a win-win resolution issued by then President Fidel V. Ramos after the 28-day hunger Strike in the Year 1997. Such victory was short lived, as the Supreme Court ruled against the MAPALAD farmers based on technicality and not on substance, thus evading the question of constitutionality and affirming the infamous “Torres Resolution” approving the application for conversion order. Ten (10) years have already lapsed and nothing happened to the land as per conversion order, worst Quisumbing Sr. had already sold the 144 hectares to San Miguel Foods Inc., (SMFI), which under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RA 6657) is a grave violation of the said order.

Apparently, the Quisumbings have successfully fooled the Sumilao farmers and the peasant sector, the local government units of Sumilao and Bukidnon, the national government, the Supreme Court, and the Filipino people, by circumventing the coverage of the 144 ancestral land through illegal conversion.  They evaded the implementation of a genuine agrarian reform in the country. Both actions were made in violation of DAR Administrative Orders 1 and 2, Series of 1990 and other pertinent laws on conversion.

A decade has lapsed since the “28-day Hunger Strike” and until now the farmers are still landless and fooled by rich and unscrupulous owners who manifestly evaded the spirit and intent of the Agrarian Reform Law.

Sumilao Farmers composing of two organizations the MAPALAD (Mapadayunong Panaghiusa sa Lumad Alang sa Damlag) with 78 members and SALFA (San Vincente Landless Farmers Assocation) with 90 members, are now taking the lead to reclaim the 144 hectares which is theirs from the very start.

The Monday march (November 5) is the 27th day-march of the high-spirited farmers despite of all the challenges that came along their way.  Never hesitating to walk, regardless of road and weather situation, the long and winding road bound for Malacanang.  Since Mindanao and up until Calbayog City, they were consistently accommodated by the priests and bishops of the Catholic Church.  In Calbayog, for example, they were welcomed by Bishop Isabelo Abarquez and Fr. Cesar Aculan and they would rest for two nights at the Diocesan Pastoral Center.





Gov. Petilla assures 10% salary increase of capitol employees will be released

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC-Leyte)
November 7, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla assures the 10% salary increase among the more or less 2,000 capitol employees will be released by the provincial government.

However, the date for the release as Gov. Petilla explained the more or less P18 million salary differential to cover the period from July to December 2007 is still being sourced out.

A whole year computation would cost the province about P40 million to effect the mandated increase.

According to Gov. Petilla the mandate for the salary adjustment came at a time when the budget for the whole year 2007 has already been laid out thus the increase was not among those included.

He further explained that the increase is being effected mandatorily but the national government has not spared any additional budget for it other than for the local government unit to source it out.

As per Executive Order signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 10% salary increase should take effect July 1, 2007.

The governor however assures the increase will be given as it is mandatory but considering the circumstances it may be released next year.

In an earlier report, members of the Provincial Association of Government Employees (PAGE) has voiced out their call for the release of their salary differential the soonest possible time saying it has long been due considering the increasing cost of living.

Provincial employees also sees it salary increase as something to boost their morale and heighten their enthusiasm for public service.





PGMA to induct Eastern Samar barangay officials

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
November 6, 2007

BORONGAN CITY City, Eastern Samar  –  Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to install the province’s newly elected barangay officials come November 9, 2007.

This was learned from Governor Ben Evardone in a phone call by PIA.  The Governor said, it is his plan to take this opportune time since the President is gracing the province’s Founding Anniversary; and should she have ample time to do the installation, that would be most symbolic, as no less than the highest official of the land would do the oath taking ceremony of the local officials.

“It would be of great honor for the newly elected officials to take their oath of office before the President”, Evardone said, adding that, “it is a very rare occasion when the President comes to the provinces, so I deem it fitting to grab this rare chance for the barangay officials to meet  the President in person.

Reelected barangay Alang-Alang Chairman, Teresa Alconaba reacted very much favorably to the plan of the governor.  She would have several reasons to celebrate, she said that she was favored by the people for the second chance and she might again be a part of the reception line at the arrival honors for the President as she did it before.

“Hala, Kaupay!”, the lady Punong Barangay said when told about the good news. Alconaba is lucky to Chair the barangay where the offices of Provincial Government is seated, being Alang-alang.  It is also in the same barangay where the landing field is located and so, for the second time, she might have the chance again to welcome the President.

The Presidential Visit is in time for the province’s 42nd Founding Anniversary. Early on, some preparations have been made for the celebration since it will be stamped also by a Poverty Summit.  Expected to listen to the issues to be raised in the summit, is Secretary Domingo Panganiban of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, he shall listen to the province’s priority problems.  Some invited stakeholders will in turn express their commitment of support to alleviate poverty in this part of Region 8.





South Leyte youth group wins national award

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
November 6, 2007

HINUNANGAN, Southern Leyte  –  An organization of young people, mostly out-of-school youths (OSYs), which was formed just about a year ago, landed fourth place in the nationwide search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO) award.

According to Edgar Bayano, the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO) here, the “Silak sa Kauswagan Youth Organization” (SAKAYAN) , whose area of operation was based in barangay Tahusan, this town, garnered the award for their project entry “Tahusan Smile.”

The awarding ceremony was held October 22 at the Hotel Intercontinental, Manila, Bayano told PIA in a chance visit to the office last week.

SAKAYAN was headed by Benjamin Bengalong, a youth leader, with about 60 members, ages ranging from 15 to 30, mostly OSYs.

It was not immediately known what were the contents of “Tahusan Smile”, the entry that earned for the group the distinction of being included among the top ten, fourth place in particular, active youth organizations in the country.

But Bayano affirmed the youth group has been active in socio-civic activities in their place and has, in fact, been consistently helped by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in many of their major undertakings.

For bagging the fourth prize, SAKAYAN received P50,000 plus an all-expense trip of the presentor from the point of origin to Manila , and a chance of the youth leaders to join the Asean Youth Cruise, Bayano disclosed.

The names of the other top ten youth group winners were not yet available as of this writing, including the name of the agency or office which spearheaded the search.



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