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Region 8 KALAHI-CIDSS project wins 2 golds, citations for best practices

All is set for the 4th National Skimboarding Open Competition

Results of 2006 family planning survey bared

Calbayog mayor takes oath as new RDC 8 chairman

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







BFAR-RFTC ushers in 411 jobs for Samarnons

January 6, 2008

Demo fish pond at the SSU Mercedes campusCATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Fisheries Training Center (BFAR-RFTC) based in the Samar State University Mercedes Campus was able to provide some 411 jobs to Samarnons in its various livelihood trainings in 2007.

This was bared by Ronnie Berida, Training Director of BFAR-RFTC in an interview with PIA.

Berida added that it has conducted some 66 trainings to benefit participants engaged in tilapia and bangus production, seaweeds and mudcrab culture, bangus deboning and newline products for mussels and other related livelihood activities.

PIA also learned that the agency has existing techno demo farms in Jiabong, SSU Campus in Catbalogan City and a mudcrab culture farm in Palompon, Leyte.

BFAR RFTC has also established new techno demo farms for an Integrated Provincial Freshwater Hatchery in San Jorge and Bangus fingerlings farm in Jiabong.

Berida emphasized that his office has made connections and coordination with agencies like Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA-RFU)/National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAFC)/Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council (PAFC), Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) 08, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Samar, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) Samar, Pasar Foundation, Coastal Care Inc.-Northern Samar, Plan Philippines and Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) for the much needed complementation of resources.

BFAR is hopeful that with the province landing in the Priority 2 of the Hunger Mitigation Program, more programs and projects will be funneled to Samar and BFAR would be one to implement and share its expertise in fisheries – a passion and pride for the Samarnons.





4th National Skimboarding tilt ends in a big bang

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
January 3, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  The 4th National Skimboarding Competition held at Tanauan, Leyte, the skimboarding capital of the Philippines, was a big success, Mayor Roque Tiu announced.

"Judging on the success of the Competition, we are now contemplating of making two competitions annually," Mayor Tiu said. The summer or Easter Sunday Competition which is the usual schedule of the national skimboarding competition will still be continued while the December Competition will still push through every year.

This will still depend on the availability of sponsors for the event, Mayor Tiu said. While he knew that Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and the other sponsors, will still be willing to sponsor the two skimboarding events, he said that he still need the support of more benevolent benefactors and the promotional support from the national government so that this competition will really be included in the annual Tourism activities of the Philippines.

Several members of the media voiced out the need for the support of the national government so that the Skimboarding initiatives of the local government of Tanauan, Leyte will get a big boost. This kind of activity which has been launched through local initiatives, must be given the necessary logistics and promotional support from the national government, the local media opined.

The Competition was capped with an Awarding ceremonies, followed with a Reggae Party which lasted until three o’clock the following morning. This was participated in by hundreds of participants and other spectators from the different parts of the country.

Two hundred skim riders participated in the three categories of the National Skimboarding Competition, the Groumet division for the youngsters category, the Wahini Division for the women participants and the Open Men’s Division for the professional skim riders.

As in the past, the riders from Tanauan lorded it in all categories, over the other riders from all over the country. This is not a hometown decision, Mayor Tiu said, because the judges came from the Philippine Skim Association.

For the groumet division, Jhonry Cinco got his second championship title, followed by Frande Piamonte, Carl Gabas and Hendric Vargas, all of Tanauan, Leyte.

Woman rider Sheryl Pajelleno was again adjudged as the Wahini Division champion for the second year. The other winners are Kikay Espada, Tina Cumpio, all of Tanauan; and Jamaica Salceda of Cebu as the 3rd runner up.

Obet Yanuario emerged as champion in the Men’s Division. Obet was the emerging champion last year but he ended up as a runner up because he suffered a foot dislocation on the last day of the competition.

Dariel Espada of Tanauan, who was last year’s champion, won as the first runner up while cousin Leo Espada who is this year’s first International Malaysian Skimboarding Champion emerged as 2nd runner up. Dags Hermosa of Cebu placed 3rd runner up.

As Philippine Skimboarding Association President Juan Duazo said, the Skimboarding competition in Tanauan does not only provide a venue where the riders can compete and enjoy the ocean, it is also an opportunity to meet other riders from all over the country, renew friendships and develop love for the sea and nature. When one loves the sea so much, that will really make him want to protect the environment.

He thanked Mayor Tiu and the local government of Tanauan for taking the lead in promoting skimboarding as water sport.





Biliran launching of Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo successful

December 30, 2007

NAVAL, Biliran  –  The weather was cooperating as it was a sunny day on Friday when the activity dubbed “Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo” in Biliran province was launched at the bus terminal of Biliran town, one of the six municipalities in the entire province identified to receive  gifts from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this Christmas season.

Sec. Sergio Apostal (2nd from right) with line agency regional directors during the same feat in Sta. Rita, Samar. (PIA 8 Samar Infocen)

Residents from the barangays who were identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) at the regional office as the poorest in their areas trooped to the venue of the activity as early as six o’clock in the morning to receive their package of gifts.

Secretary Sergio Apostol, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel who arrived Biliran by chopper at the Biliran National Agricultural College (BNAC) helipad at around 9:00 o’clock in the morning together with his party composed of regional Directors of the line agencies led in the ceremonial distribution of the gift packs from the President to the first 20 identified recipients coming from the barangays of Biliran town. He was assisted by Director Juan Sabulao of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), Director Letecia Corillo of DSWD, Asst. Director Adelaida Asperin of DOH, Regional Manager Benjamin Marta of the National Food Authority (NFA), Director Olive Tiu of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Director Leo Caneda of the  Department of Agriculture (DA) and other officials.

Aside from the gift package of goodies, the recipients of the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo likewise received a package of services to help them earn livelihood that would augment their family income.

In his welcome remarks, Mayor Carlos “Charlie” Chan of Biliran town expressed his appreciation and thanks to President Arroyo through Sec. Apostol and to the guests as he said, he was deeply honored that today, his town was visited by government officials who brought in the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo saying that this would make the less privileged families in his town happy during this holiday season.

He said that if there would be another Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo in the future, he hopes there would be more for the poor families of Biliran town.

Mayor Chan was delighted to say that he felt so good because his very own town-Biliran, was the first to receive the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo in the whole of Eastern Visayas.

“We would like to graduate from the list of poorest provinces in the country.  Please give priority always to Biliran town and Biliran province”, he said.

For his part, Sec. Apostol who represented President Arroyo was the guest of honor in this morning’s launching ceremony said “this is only the beginning of a series of activities that will help the parents of poor families keep their children in good health through proper nutrition”.

“Biliran is lucky because it is the first province in region 8 to receive the grace of the program of President Arroyo on poverty alleviation through the Pamaskong Handong ng Pangulo.  Biliran is priority two, meaning in region 8, it is the priority area”, he said.

He ended by saying “we are here to help bring the gift from the President to the people of Biliran town and the entire province”.

According to Mercedita Ochea of the DSWD regional office and point person of the activity in Biliran, the distribution of the gift package in other municipalities in the province was done simultaneously with Biliran town this morning except for the municipality of Kawayan which will distribute the Pamaskong Handog ng Presidente in another schedule.

The activity in Biliran town was very dramatic as everyone saw the placards displayed by the parents of the beneficiaries and some beneficiaries themselves at the venue of the program thanking President Arroyo for the jobs they have at present through the trainings they got from concerned agencies on poverty alleviation.

The placards carried messages like “Salamat Madame President, Ang Anak Ko Nagtatrabahon na sa Qatar”, “Nagtatrabaho Na Ang Anak Ko sa Holiday Inn – Salamat Madame President, “Salamat Ma’am, may sarili na akong welding shop”, and many more messages of thanks especially from parents whose children have landed in jobs abroad because of President Arroyo’s program to help poor families increase their income through skills training and other livelihood programs.

On the other hand, the beneficiaries in Biliran town, thanked the President for the gift they received through Sec. Apostol.

Eufemia Mendoza, 59 years old, laborer with nine children and a resident of Brgy. San Isidro, Biliran, Biliran was teary-eyed as she thanked President Arroyo for the packs of goodies, in an interview.

Norlita Corpina, 36 years old, a housewife with five children and likewise one of the recipients of the gift pack from Brgy. San Roque said, “ito ang unang pagkataon na ako at ang aking pamilya ay nakatanggap ng regalo mula kay  Presidente Macapagal-Arroyo.  Sana tuwing Pasko may pamasko kami galing sa kanya”, she said.

She added that the goodies she received are enough to let her family especially the children feel the joy of the holiday season.

As part of the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo gift package, the DSWD through Director Letecia Corillo distributed the Tindahan Natin Operators (TNO) certificates to operate to the beneficiaries.

Scholarship coupons and training starter kits for the “Galing Mekaniko Ako” and “Galing Masahista Ako” were given to the trainees in this particular program by TESDA through Director Juan Sabulao.

Certificates to operate a Food Terminal in Naval and seeds were also given to the beneficiaries by Director Leo Caneda of the DA.

On the other hand, DOH through Assistant Director Asperin who represented Director Teogenes Baluma turned over drugs and medicines to the Biliran Municipal Health Office.

Earlier before the arrival of Sec. Apostol and his party, the NNC through the Leyte State University (LSU) conducted a cooking demonstration to teach the beneficiaries especially the mothers how to prepare nutritious but cheap meals and other menu for the family. During the cooking demo, they prepared “puto” made of squash, vegetable lumpia and other nutritious recipes and foods.

A total of 7,011 households in six municipalities were beneficiaries of the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo in the entire province of Biliran.

The distribution of the gift packs by the local officials in Biliran town  continued even as Sec. Apostol and his party has left by chopper for  Sta. Rita in Samar province for the same activity.





Flower barangay in Sta. Rita, Samar receives PGMA's Pamaskong Handog

December 30, 2007

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar  –  Barangay Bokinggan (literally a flower) played host to recipients of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Pamaskong Handog as distributed by Secretary Sergio Apostol.

The beneficiaries of the PGMA Training for Work Scholarship Program shows placards showing their gratitude to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the Pamaskong Handog ng Pangulo at Sta. Rita Samar.  (PIA 8 Samar Infocen)

Some 200 poor residents of this flower barangay received their Christmas packages of rice, noodles and carne norte on Friday in this part of Samar.

Barangay Chairman Jocelyn Yerro had to mobilize her constituents to ensure that guests do not get wet with the steady downpour of rain. They hoisted a makeshift tarpaulin-roof to protect their guests.

Secretary Apostol with the different regional directors of line agencies arrived by chopper from Biliran where they also attended to a similar gift giving feat.

Apostol in his speech relayed the Christmas message of the president to the poor people of the barangay who were beneficiaries of the gift giving.

Michelle Pacsa, 27 with four kids held on tightly to her pack, she knew Apostol and that PGMA gave those gifts. She said two of her kids aged 6 and 3 are malnourished. She was grateful for the package and smiled shyly saying, the pack would assure them food for at least two days.

Jennilyn Pacsa was breastfeeding a 2-month old baby as she waited for her turn to receive her gift. The baby she held was not malnourished, one of the elder kids was. Unlike Michelle, she would wait till New Year to consume her carne norte, she would add it to spaghetti which she plans to prepare come new year’s eve.

Chairman Yerro said she is aware of the malnutrition problem in her barangay, she said she would fund a feeding program and mothers class for mothers to be educated on feeding their children.

Sta. Rita Mayor Lisandro Kim Adolfo said it took them only ten days to prepare for the grandiose reception, but because of the full cooperation of his staff, they were able to host the launch successfully.

More than 23 thousand families benefit from the Pamaskong Handog in ten municipalities in Samar.

Samar is one of the 31 poorest provinces that were given the gift as part of PGMA’s Hunger Mitigation Program.





Rights group happy that missing couple surfaced

Press Release
December 29, 2007

QUEZON CITY, Philippines  –  Rights group express joy on the sudden surfacing of the couple Manuel Pajarito and Juliet Fernandez after seven months of disappearance but also harbor serious doubts on their fate and ask that the military be held accountable for their illegal arrests and arbitrary detention.

Fernandez, 32, was abducted by elements of the 52nd IB on May 11 in Calbiga town, Samar. She organized local fisherfolk to join the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

Fernandez was formerly a member of the peasant women's group Amihan. She also served as secretary-general of Gabriela Youth while she was a student.

Families and relatives of Pajarito and Fernandez have been searching them for so long. They had sought assistance from human rights groups to search for them. On June 19-21, a fact-finding mission was conducted by Karapatan and Gabriela to search for Juliet Fernandez. The team visited the 801st Infantry Brigade but Major Armand Rico denied having custody of Fernandez and refused to issue a certification denying her custody. The team also went to the police stations of Calbiga and Pinabacdao but they did not find any police blotter on the abduction of Fernandez and Pajarito. Last October 16, Gabriela launched a protest action in front of Camp Aguinaldo to demand that the military surface peasant leader Juliet Fernandez.

"We are surprised by the testimonies made by Fernandez and Pajarito that they were treated kindly. Their public presentation by the military has all the hallmarks of a staged or scripted play.  Given the length of time they were in the complete control, custody and even mercy of the military – in absolute isolation from anybody else – and given serious reports of torture, intimidation,  and even rape, the voluntariness of their statements that are not only self-incriminatory but unbelievably wholly favorable to their captors remain dubious, if not contrived. The couple must be completely set free from the control of their captors so that they can tell their real story."

The mere deprivation of liberty and denial of their custody to their families is definitely a kind of treatment that they don't deserve considering the fact that on mere suspicion they were abducted. It adds insult to injury that persons who are disappeared will be forced – under pain of further or future threat and harm to them and their families – to absolve from any liability their captors who capitalize on the basic instinct for survival." Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.

"The Pajarito and Fernandez case clearly points that the military, specifically the 62nd IBPA under Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce is committing the dastardly act of disappearance, illegal arrest and detention contrary to what government functionaries, under a president who condones and tolerates them, has parroted that they are not involved in any of these crimes on hapless civilians." Enriquez added.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General, Contact Number - 09178176274





Escudero to amend procurement law

Press Release
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
December 29, 2007

MANILA, Philippines  –  Senator Chiz Escudero has filed a bill amending Republic Act 9184 also known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Senator Escudero during his campaign sortie in CatbaloganSenate Bill No. 1963 seeks to address three points in the currently existing government procurement system embodied in the RA 9184 in view of the recent anomalous contracts favored and concluded by the government such as the ZTE and the CyberEd projects.

Firstly, according to Escudero, the bill puts under the coverage of RA No. 9184 the procurement of infrastructure projects, goods and consulting services funded by loan or credit under the Official Development Act, RA No. 8182, as amended.

Escudero said this is in the light of the interpretation that the procurement of certain infrastructure projects, goods and services can be made exempt from the operation of RA No. 9184 on the basis of Section 4 of said law which mandates the observation of treaties or international or executive agreements affecting procurement in relation to Section 1 of RA 8555 which on the other hand empowers the President of the Republic to waive application of any law in deference to the contracting of a loan or credit with a lending institution.

Secondly, SB 1963 proposes to strengthen and advance transparency by mandating the posting of decisions of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) relative to criteria, ratings and calculations of bids as well as all other bids, responsive or otherwise, on the procuring agency’s website or that of the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB).

“We want this included in the provisions of the procurement law to bolster and reinforce accountability of public officials by making public how BAC members decide and why. If there be any anomaly in the bidding, the responsible BAC member may be identified” Escudero said.

Thirdly, the bill seeks to lessen the discretion of procuring agencies specifically in the consideration of single calculated/rated and responsive bid submissions, and the use of observers.

On the consideration of single calculated/rated and responsive bid submission, a procuring agency can only do so by, in addition to the current requisites provided for in RA 9184, subjecting it to the approval of the GPPB.  “In this manner the procuring agency will have the inability to rig biddings through a consensus amongst competing contractors or bidders in that agency” Escudero said.

The senator added that on the matter of using observers in the bidding process, the invitation of observers is made strict by limiting the number of times an observer can be invited by a procuring agency. This is being proposed in consideration of the fact that the observers who become regulars of the BAC become friendly, if not, even cohorts in anomalous biddings and transactions.

Escudero said the passage of this bill would address the problems and issues that have resulted from the ZTE and Cyber Ed projects.





Local PNP to get housing projects as well

By ALICE NICART (PIA Eastern Samar)
December 28, 2007

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar  –  More policemen shall be blessed with additional government housing projects as the country’s economy continues to reap heights.

This was the gist of Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye’s message in his weekly column “The View From the Palace”.  Bunye said that aside from the new medium-rise housing project at Camp Bagong Diwa, more units are programmed to be constructed in Camp Panopio, Quezon City, San Miguel, Bulacan, Camp Castaneda in Silang, Cavite and Baras, Rizal.

For Eastern Samar PNP, whose personnel mostly do not own permanent residences, Director Prudencio de la Cruz reported that Governor Ben Evardone has included the said concern in his priority projects for 2008.  Initially the provincial government will be looking for the appropriate site for local PNP housing project.

“Alam naming yan na isa yan sa mga pangunahing programa ng Presidente, kaya napag-usapan naming ni Governo Evardone kamakailan lamang and tungkol diyan at magpapahanap daw siya ng lupang magandang pagtayuan ng mga pabahay para sa mga pulis ditto sa local command”, said Dir. De la Cruz in a phone talk with this writer.

He added that, the City Police Office of Borongan is quite advance as it has already identified a location.  He mentioned that City Mayor Fidel Anacta, Jr. has for a start identified an 800 sq. meter lot for the City Police Housing Project, which can be expanded eventually, he said.  According to him Mayor Anacta is likewise concerned on the dwelling problem of some of his police, thus the initiative.

Reliable source from the PNP Police Headquarters stressed that for many times they already have attempted to acquire a housing site, either thru PAG-IBIG or GSIS programs.  However, the plan would always find the backstage when the financing institution asks for the location, adding that security is also a critical factor to consider.



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