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Roxas is the standard bearer of LP in 2010, Drilon says

PGMA showers Eastern Samar with more anti-poverty goodies

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







Calbayog mayor takes oath as new RDC 8 chairman

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 25, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento is scheduled to take his oath of office as the new chairman of the Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas for 2007 - 2010.

Calbayog City mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento
Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento

Mayor Sarmiento will take his oath before Hon. Rogelio C. Sescon, Executive Judge, RTC Branch 6,7,8,9 and 34, during the Regional Development Council meeting on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 1:30 in the afternoon, at Hotel Alejandro, Tacloban City.

Mayor Sarmiento who is known as an innovative and development oriented local government executive, was the lone nominee of the Regional Development Council. His nomination was endorsed to and confirmed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The confirmation letter was received by the RDCEV Secretariat on November 9, 2007.

Mayor Sarmiento, who is on his third term as mayor of the City of Calbayog, ran and won as mayor of Calbayog in 2001. Since then there was no turning back. Mayor Sarmiento faced the daunting task of reversing a P144M deficit, alongside a City Council and City Hall that were largely loyal to the previous administration. Only over a year in office and already his administration has exhibited impressive gains.

Through a series of strategies he attributes to his experience in the private sector and the Calbayog City Development Strategies process, his administration has increased tax collection efficiency to 97.65% (from 6.87% in 1997), increased local revenue by 5.4%, and a 130% increase in revenues from business collections.

His hardwork and innovative programs won recognition and several awards for the City of Calbayog, among which, first place in the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) Best Practices Competition with its entry Coastal Zoning - Delineating Waters for Commercial and Marginal Fishermen, to respond to the problems of illegal fishing and poverty faced by the City; and recently, as the Best Local Government in Region 8 in the localization of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

Mayor Sarmiento who is also in his second term as the Secretary General of the League of Cities of the Philippines, has won the respect and trust of his colleagues. Recently, Mayor Sarmiento was invited as one of the speakers in the four-day United Cities and Local Governments’ World Congress in Jeju, South Korea where he spoke on the topic Scaling Up City Development Strategies in the Philippines.

The congress aimed to exchange best experiences on the City Development Strategies in order to inspire the delegates to emphasize on the role of cities in a global context to promote effective economic growth and poverty reduction.

With the theme "Cities without Slums - Strategic Responses in Fast Growing Cities," the sessions centered on local government experiences in using CDS and slum upgrading tools in cities where Cities Alliance members have financed interventions and promoted cities as partners of international cooperation.

The City Development Strategies process is a tool which aims to help create a well governed, sustainable, productive and social inclusive city. In Calbayog, the activities are being monitored and documented by the City Planning and Development Office.

Mayor Sarmiento has also recently been invited to attend the Public Policy Forum sponsored by the Cities Alliance with Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), League of Cities of the Philippines, Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the UN Habitat.

With his expertise on development strategies and with his commitment to public service, Mayor Sarmiento’s term as the chairman of the Regional Development Council of Eastern Visayas promises to be a fruitful one.





Diarrhea cases noted in Mondragon, Northern Samar due to typhoon Lando

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 25, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  At least 47 diarrhea cases from the same barangay in Mondaragon, Northern Samar were reported by the Provincial Health Office of Northern Samar to the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Region 8.

The dirty source of drinking water that is also prevalent in the neighboring municipalities, was pinpointed as the cause of the diarrhea cases. Several children were the victims, 13 of who were confined at the Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in Catarman.

Locator map of Mondragon, Northern SamarIt was reported that open dug wells and jetmatic pumps are the source of drinking water, all of which are exposed to the elements and bacteria. More so, these sources of drinking water are not treated with chlorine.

Because of the continuous rains that was experienced for several days due to typhoon Lando, the drinking water sources have been rendered unsafe for drinking.

As a safety measure, the Northern Samar Provincial Health Office advised the villagers to boil or put chlorine in the water that they use for drinking.

The Northern Samar Provincial Health Office reported that the situation is now under control and that no new cases have been reported.

It would be recalled that a diarrhea outbreak was reported in the municipality of Gamay in Northern Samar in the early part of November. This was caused by a dirty source of drinking water.

As advised by the Department of Health, in places where there is no supply of water from a chlorinated water system, the water for drinking must be boiled for 30 minutes and the counting must start when the water starts to boil.

Personal hygiene and home chlorination were emphasized until a system in chlorinating the water for drinking is in place in these places, the Department of Health recommended.





Samar OTOP advocates meet; thresh out issues

November 24, 2007

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Samar assembled the province’s One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) advocates from Calbayog to Basey on Friday at the Fame Hotel, this city.

In the meeting, DTI said that Samar’s OTOP has generated jobs in the countryside both directly and indirectly and has also pushed the development of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in the different towns of the province.

A report showed that 42% of Samar’s OTOP is inclined in Aquamarine as Samar is considered with rich marine resources.

However, DTI admitted that only 55% yet of Samar’s 26 municipalities have already identified their OTOP. DTI Provincial Director Ruthelma Samonte said that it is the Local Chief Executive (LCE) that identifies the OTOP taking into considerations some parameters for the choice.

Some members of the audience could not hide their distaste over the power of the chief executives over the choice of OTOP. They expressed that LCEs may not include them in the financing scheme as they may not share the political color of the LCE.

One LGU staff of Jiabong (with Mussels as OTOP) stood to defend her mayor whom she said would rather not involve herself in relending funds for small businessmen.

The DBP expert replied that the mayor has to get involved to help the constituents grow and develop.

For the choice of OTOP considerations include abundance of raw materials, availability of skills and services present in the locality, among others.

Issues that came out about financing were answered with the presence of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) James Laniwan who oriented his audience about the financial assistance of the bank. He also told them that he could assist in the formulation of project proposals. He just told them to be sure of the project one proposes.

Laniwan reminded his audience to ensure that the project proposed is financially, economically, environmentally and technically feasible.

DTI Jeremy Balondo of the so called Rural Micro Enterprise Program shared that the program will finance micro businesses through their conduit lending partners like Samar Micro Credit Cooperative (Samico) based in Samar’s capital city of Catbalogan and Biatongan Multi purpose Cooperative in Calbayog City.

Other agencies offered technical expertise, trainings and other assistance like Bureau of Fisheries – Regional Training Center (BFAR-RTC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and others.

Finally, DTI promised the other LGUs that have not selected their OTOP yet that DTI will schedule a convergence planning for them to identify their OTOP.





NPA admits execution of Barangay chairman in Basey, Samar

November 24, 2007

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City  –  The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas Spokesperson, Fr. Santaigo Salas alias Mando/Grano admitted on November 18, 2007 that Elizabeth Gutierrez, a candidate for Barangay Chairman during the synchronized Barangay and SK elections last October 29, 2007, was arrested and punished by the Arnulfo Ortiz Command, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (ERVPC) operating in Samar Province for being a military informant.  [see press release]

It can be recalled that Gutierrez was abducted by Communist Terrorist in Brgy. Cancaiyas, Basey, Samar last October 24, 2007 while having her house-to-house campaign in the said place. But even in the hands of Communist Terrorist NPA abductors, the people supported and voted her that led to her victory during the last Barangay and SK elections.

Her abduction was not because she was a military informant but because she was running for barangay chairman in the areas whose populace are very supportive to her and would runaway with the communist terrorists’ claws, hence, she was executed. The Communist Terrorist feels that with her would-be leadership they will lost the sympathy of the populace and will hinder their plans to rule the barangay. Now, the Communist Terrorist branded her as traitor which cause her untimely death.

Gutierrez was a former NPA party member but turned her back with the underground movement due to the continuous hardships, disappointments and lies of the Communist Terrorist movement. The plight of Gutierrez is a clear manifestation of a human rights violation committed by the CPP/NPA.

She was not the first person being tried and punished before a so-called “Kagaroo Court”. She was just one of the few innocent members of the New People’s Army who decided to live a normal life but was deprived by the heartless CPP organization. The infamous Inopacan mass grave in Leyte tells us the barbaric acts of the Communist Terrorist movement.

Major General Armando L Cunanan AFP calls all human rights group and investigative bodies to look into the matter and take appropriate actions of the execution of Gutierrez perpetrated by the Arnulfo Ortiz Command, front command of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, CPP/NPA.

He also urged the family and relatives of Elizabeth Gutierrez to file a case against the CPP/NPA as well as denounce the group for taking the life of Gutierrez without due process of law.

“This is the right time that we work hand in hand to denounce the nefarious activities and barbaric acts committed by the CPP/NPA to innocent civilians. This has to stop otherwise many law abiding citizens will suffer the evils of the merciless underground group.” Cunanan said.





Typhoon Lando leaves P65.340 M damages to roads and bridges in Region 8

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
November 23, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte – Tropical depression Lando which visited the Region early this week, caused damages to roads and bridges in Region 8 initially estimated at about P65.340 million, the Department of Public Works and Highways through the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council reported.

The total estimate all over the Region was taken from the DPWH Engineering Districts which reported the conditions of national roads and bridges.

The Leyte Third Engineering District reported the highest estimated cost of damages at P29.96 million while Eastern Samar reported the least estimate of damages at P2.900 million.

Southern Leyte placed the estimated cost of damages of roads and bridges at P8.250 million; Biliran Engineering District at P3.70 million; Leyte Fourth Engineering District at P8.500 million; Northern Samar First Engineering District at P9.080 million; and Samar Second Engineering District at P2.950 million.

The Leyte First Engineering District and the Leyte Fifth Engineering District reported damages to roads and bridges but no estimate of the damages was stated.

The Leyte Third Engineering District reported estimated cost of P29.96 million, includes the damages to the Tabango-Catmon-Minlawaan-Gimarco Road, the Cabungaan-Tabunok-Consuegra Road and Tugas Bridge which was rendered unpassable due to road slips.

Also in the Leyte Third Engineering District, the Tabing-Tugas-Tabango Road was rendered hardly passable due to rotten carriageway while the Calubian-San Isidro-Tabango-Villaba-Palompon Road was only half-lane passable due to road slips. The DPWH already installed barricades and warning signs.

The Eastern Samar Engineering District reported the least cost of damages estimated at P2.900 million. The Eastern Samar Engineering District reported that all road network are passable to vehicular traffic despite road damages along Camp 5 (Bdry.)- Borongan Road and the two minor landslides and fallen debris which were noted along the junction of Buenavista-Lawaan-Marabut road and at Barangay Sto. Nino, Paco, Quinapondan, Eastern Samar. Fallen debris along the roadway were also noted along Borongan-Guiuan Road.

Southern Leyte reported that all road network is passable to vehicular traffic except Liloan-San Francisco Road at Km 106+650 which is only half-lane passable due to landslide with estimated volume of 2,000 cubic meters.

Other damages in Southern Leyte include washed out shouldering materials along Barangay Matalom-Macrohon Road and damaged bridge abutments on four bridges namely, San Roque Bridge, San Juan Bridge, Timba Bridge and Iniguihan Bridge.

Fallen debris and uprooted trees were also noted along Brgy. Mahaplag-Sogod Road, Matalom-Sogod Road and Maasin-Padre Burgos-Tomas Oppus Road.

In the province of Biliran, all road network are passable to traffic but damages which include surfacing materials partially washed out, erosion on sub-grade and shoulder and clogged up waterways.

All road network in Leyte First Engineering District are passable to traffic and the damages include minor soil erosion and water ponding on some road section due to clogged-up canals.

There are no damages were noted at the Leyte Fifth Engineering District except for minor fallen debris from trees along the roadways.

In Northern Samar, landslide was noted at Barangay Libas, Lavezares along Catarman-Allen Road with an estimated volume of 200 cubic meters. Other damages noted were clogged up culverts, silted canals and washed out surfacing materials in some road sections.

Meanwhile, in Samar Second Engineering District, damages were observed along Catbalogan North Road where patching materials were washed out and some road sections are flooded due to clogged up canals caused by fallen debris and soil erosion.

Along Samar-Leyte Road and along Wright-Taft Road, some sections of the roadway are flooded due to the same reasons.





Leyte province extended support to surrendered NPA supporters and sympathizers

By Provincial Media Relations Center (PMRC-Leyte)
November 22, 2007

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The provincial government of Leyte extended the initial assistance to farmer organization members who recently surrendered to government troops after admitting they have been supporters and sympathizers of the communist movement in the hinterlands of San Isidro town.

This during the Tripartite Consultative Assembly initiated by the Philippine Army and the local government unit of San Isidro town Tuesday which was attended by more or less one thousand members of the Kahugpungang Mag-uuma sa San isidro (KAMAS) members held at the Municipal Gymnasium of San Isidro, Leyte.

According to Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla the initial assistance were in the form of rice, canned goods and some relief goods.

However, the governor said, he is expecting for the local government unit of San Isidro to request other assistance, in financial terms, to aid the farmer-surrenderees get back their feet in normal society and he said the provincial government is willing to extend financial help.

With recent talks with army officials in the province, the governor said, they have also initially requested from the province financial reward in exchange of surrendered firearms under the government’s Balik-Baril Program.

The "Balik Baril" program consisting of cash and in kind materials are given to the rebel returnees in exchange for their surrendered firearms. The program intends to provide initial assistance to the surrenderees as they are integrated in the mainstream of the Philippine society.

“I agreed to it provided everything would be in order and the firearms would really be those surrendered,” Gov. Petilla said while extolling the army in the province for being active and in constant coordination with the local government unit in its drive to flush out rebels from their lair and encourage them to return to the fold of the law.

“What the government is actually offering is to give them a chance to live normal lives without any fear of being arrested or killed in armed confrontation and make them realize that there is hope to alleviate their lives. This in effect is motivation enough for these communist terrorists (CTs) to surrender voluntarily with or without firearms,” the governor added.

It can be recalled that about 46 supporters of the New People’s Army operating in Leyte’s third district, and all members of some farmers’ organizations, surrendered to the army’s 19th Infantry Battalion after the latter continuously conducted intensive information drive of the true nature of communist rebellion in the hinterlands.





DILG issues guidelines on the conduct of Liga ng mga Barangay Chapter elections at all levels

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

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The synchronized chapter elections for Municipal and Component City Chapters of the Liga ng mga Barangay has been set for December 11, 2007.

For the Provincial/Metropolitan/Highly Urbanized City/Independent Component City Chapters, the elections will be on December 29, 2007 and for the National Chapter, the election is scheduled for January 29, 2008.

This is contained in the DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2007-151 signed by DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, pursuant to Article One, Chapter 1, Title I, Book III of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that "there shall be organized Liga ng mga Barangay Chapters at the Municipal, City, Provincial and Metropolitan Political Subdivision levels which shall elect their respective officers and members."

This is also in accordance with Sec. 3 of R.R. 9340 which states that “...the Liga nga mga Barangay at the municipal, city and provincial levels shall, within thirty (30) days after the next barangay election, conduct elections for ex-officio positions in the in the Sangguniangs under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Government."

From November 26 to December 3, 2007, the incumbent Liga chapter President or in his absence, the next highest ranking incumbent Liga officer will send written notice to the newly elected Punong Barangays and the incumbent Liga chapter board members to meet for the for the purpose of forming the various committees like the nominations, registration/credentials election committees, and board of canvassers and board of election supervisors, for the chapter election.

The written notice shall notify the Punong Barangay of the December 4 meeting and the venue within the municipality/city and the time; and the date of the chapter elections together with the election requirements which include payment of registration fees to cover the election expenses, the honoraria for the BES Chairman and the Members; and their credentials such as certified true copy of Comelec Certificate of Canvass and Proclamation of the winning candidate as the Punong Barangay.

Those who are interested to become officers of the Liga have three (3) days from December 4-6, 2007 to file their certificates of candidacy which shall be provided for the nomination committee. The same should be filed to the Nominations Committee.

After the synchronized elections of the Municipal and component city Liga chapters, the transmittal of the True Copy of the Certificates of Canvas and Proclamation, minutes of the election meeting and other pertinent documents to the Provincial or Metropolitan Chapters and the National Liga must be conducted on December 13, 2007.



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