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Contents

OT: Monitoring of LGU compliance on Tourism Act should be included next year

by SARWELL Q. MENIANO


TACLOBAN CITY – Monitoring of local government compliance on Tourism Act of 2009 should be included in next year’s task list of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), an official said.

During the recent Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting, Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that compliance to the Tourism Law should be traced by DILG considering tourism is one of the priority sectors under the 2011-2016 Regional Development Plan (RDP). “We noted in the DILG proposed budget that there’s a category for monitoring of LGU compliance to national laws and policies, may we request the DILG that the Tourism Law should be included,” Tiopes added.

DILG Assistant Regional Director Arnel Agabe said that they will consider the recommendation in support to the shared responsibilities of the DOT and DILG in the implementation of Tourism Act.

“Our 2013 budget is centered on promoting peace and order, ensure public safety, and help LGUs improve their performance in complying national policies,” Agabe said.

The DILG is proposing an operational budget of P10.11 million for 2013 to finance various activities designed to raise the capability of LGUs.

Among the national policies included in the list with proposed budget for monitoring of LGU compliance are violence against women and their children, anti-red tape, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management, business processing, Millennium Development Goals, peace and order, gender and development, and access to safe water. Tiopes said that eco-tourism development is one of the three priorities of the six-year plan and there’s a need for the DILG to look into the LGUs compliance to the new Tourism Act. Under its section 35 , the DOT, DILG and LGUs are mandated to integrate and coordinate local and national plans fo tourism development.

The law directs LGUs to prepare, implement, and monitor their tourism development plans, gathering of statistical data, and enforcement of tourism laws and regulations, giving due priority to areas that have been identified as strategic in the implementation of the national tourism development plan.

The DOT is tasked to provide financial and technical assistance, training and other capacity-building measures to ensure that LGUs will implement such plans.

DPWH completes project ahead of schedule

by Leonilo D. Lopido


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, May 11 (PIA) –- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) - Tacloban City Sub-District Engineering Office (TCSDEO) has completed a road preventive maintenance project with a total allotment of more than P8.5 million.

The project was completed on April 20, 2012, which was 68 days ahead of its scheduled date of completion.

Another project completed is the construction of concrete shoulders along Cabalawan-Camansihay road, the purpose of which is to give extra space for motorists to avoid traffic congestion and possible road accidents.

The project which costs P8,923,478 started on February 15, 2012 and was carried out 125 days ahead of its scheduled date of completion with the service assistance of NDM Equipment Rental and Construction.

The construction of a one-storey multi-purpose building costing P472,483.00 was also completed on April 20, 2012 in Brgy. New Kawayan.

Lastly, after successfully installing water tanks in three different public schools in the city last November 15, 2011, the DPWH-TCDEO is pursuing again the implementation of RA 6716 or the Rain Water Collection System Law.

The two schools in the city that will benefit said project is the Camansihay Elementary School and Bagacay Elementary School.

Currently, preliminary detailed engineering is going on to determine and prepare all the necessary and pertinent documents needed to execute the implementation of this project. (PIA-8)

Biggest attendance in the history of archbishop installations

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, May 10 (PIA) -- The formal installation of Archbishop John Du as Archbishop of the Metropolitan of Palo drew the biggest attendance in the history of installations in the archdiocese.

Politicians in the province of Leyte put aside their enmity as they and the other faithful attended the formal acceptance of Archbishop Du as the region’s top spiritual leader.

Papal Nuncio, Giuseppe Pinto, formally installed Archbishop Du to his new position at 10:00 a.m. yesterday.

The rite was witnessed by church princes, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, archbishop emeritus of Manila; Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu and Du’s predecessors-Archbishop Pedro Dean and Jose Palma, now the archbishop of Cebu.

Also in attendance were Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila; Locrates Villegas of Lingayen; about 60 bishops from the various dioceses of the country; Du’s family members and relatives; and priests from his former assignment in Dumaguete.

Father Amadeo Alvero, media coordinator of the archdiocese said that the installation of Archbishop Du, which gathered the biggest attendance perhaps indicates the importance of his position not only as an Archbishop of Palo but also to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) as well. Archbishop Du will now serve as the leader of the more than 1.4 million Catholic faithful in the province whose jurisdiction also covers the suffragan dioceses of Borongan, Calbayug, Naval, and Catarman.

It was learned that Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Du to his new post in February 25, this year. (EOPT/AJC-PIA8)

Ocean Month highlights management of marine resources

by Gemma T. Tabao


TACLOBAN CITY, May 9 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR marks q double celebration this month: Ocean Month and May 22 is International Day of Biodiversity (IDBD), both highlighting the richness and importance of the country’s marine resources in sustaining human life.

This year’s theme is, “Buhat Dagat, Buhay Natin” for the National Month of the Ocean and “Marine Biodiversity” for IDBD.

In the Eastern Visayas region, the agency’s Regional Executive Director Rogelio T. Trinidad said there will be the conduct of information, education, and communication (IEC) activities in efforts to raise public awareness . According to him, this will increase public participation in support for management initiatives pertaining to oceans.

“We hope that in this year’s celebration of the Month of the Ocean, we will be able to generate a broader support to sustainably manage the oceans, which is the greatest common heritage we have and without which we cannot exist,” said RED Trinidad.

During said celebration, an exhibit at the regional office through the Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone Management Service (PAWCZMS) will showcase biodiversity conservation programs and projects including marine protected areas in the region.

Lectures on marine biodiversity conservation were likewise offered to high school and college students, coupled with poster-making contests.

Other activities lined up for the celebration include coastal clean-up, educational trip and tree planting in an identified mangrove area. Bird Watch at Maqueda Bay in Samar has also been scheduled on May 12-13, coinciding the global observance of Migratory Bird Day.

The month of May was declared in the Philippines as the National Month of the Ocean under Presidential Proclamation No. 57 signed in 1999 by then President Joseph Estrada. The proclamation names DENR and the Department of Agriculture through its Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources as the lead agencies for the observance. (GTT-PIA8, Tacloban City)

Ormoc songstress named Leyte IDOL

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)


LEYTE IDOL Singing Search Season 7 named another Ormoc belter, Chelka Mae Sebuguero, as this year’s grand champion during Sunday’s grand finals night held at the Leyte National High School gymnasium.

Sebuguero gave a consistent performance in the three categories that each of the eight grand finalists went through to compete for the top three spots.

She is the second Leyte IDOL to hail from Ormoc City. The title earned her P200,000 worth of prizes.

In 2010, May Obando of Ormoc was named the grand champion.

Meanwhile, Carla Mae Enfermo of Tanauan, Leyte, wowed the crowd with her performance earning her the second place. She went home with P100,000 worth of cash prize. Tanauan town has been in the top eight for the past seasons.

Another Hilongosnon, Jessa Vilbar, a self-confessed rock enthusiast, grabbed the third place and won P50,000 worth of prizes.

Judges in this year’s Leyte IDOL were TV and radio host Amy Perez and APO Hiking Society members Danny Javier and Boboy Garuvillo who also revived their well-loved APO Hiking songs on stage.

The finals night opened with a production number from the eight grand finalists who were joined by former Leyte IDOL winners and finalists, including Monica Sacay who won third place in ABS-CBN’s “Star Power Search of the Sharon Cuneta Show” last year.

Governor Jericho Petilla said the program will continue for as long as there would be singing talents to be discovered in the province of Leyte.

Petilla expressed hope that after his term ends, his successor in the will continue the projects that he started including the Leyte IDOL





2010 census reveals East Visayas population hits 4.1M

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, May 7 (PIA) -- The results of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing have revealed that the total population of Eastern Visayas is now 4,401,322 as of May 1, 2010.

This figure is 13.6 higher than the count in 2010 of 3,610,355 persons, director Raul F. Dones of the National Statistics Office Region 8 said.

Dones said that the census counts up to the barangay level were made official with the signing by President Benigno S. Aquino III of Proclamation No. 362 on March 30, 2012.

Eastern Visayas’ population growth rate posted at 1.28 percent annually from 2000 to 2010, which means that about a person is added annually from 2000 to 2010 for every 100 persons in the population, Dones explained.

In the region, Leyte province remains to have the highest population with 1,567,984 as of May 2010. This excludes the population of Tacloban City which is pegged at 221,174.

Samar has now a total population of 733,377; Northern Samar has 589,013; Eastern Samar has 428,877; Southern Leyte has 399,137; and Biliran has a population of 161,760.

Meanwhile, the Philippine population as of May 1, 2010 is 92,337,852, which is higher by 15.83 million compared to the 2000 population of 76.51 million.

Eastern Visayas is the seventh smallest region in terms of population and accounts for 4.4 percent of the country’s total population.

Across regions, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) registered the smallest count at 1.6 million while Region 4A (Calabarzon) exhibited the biggest population at 12.6 million.

Enumerated in the census were those persons who were alive as of 12:01 a.m. of May 1, 2010 and who were Filipino nationals permanently residing in the Philippines; Filipino nationals who, as of May 1, 2010, were temporarily at Philippine sea, or were temporarily on vacation, business/pleasure trip or studying/training abroad and were expected to be back within a year from the date of departure; Filipino overseas workers, including those on board oceangoing vessels, who were away as of May 1, 2010 but were expected to be back within five years; Philippine government officials, both military and civilian, including Philippine diplomatic personnel and their families, assigned abroad; and Civilian citizens of foreign countries who have their usual residence in the Philippines, or foreign visitors who has stayed or are expected to stay for at least a year from the date of their arrival in the Philippines. (PIA8)

News feature: Improving Leyte’s real property tax collection thru iTax

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


Barely a year after its initial implementation, the Integrated Taxation Management System (iTax) has improved the real property tax collection (RPT) in Leyte in 2011.

This good news was relayed by the Leyte iTax coordinator, Madelyn Aclo who said that 22 of the 23 iTax municipalities showed an increase in Real Property Tax collection since the system was implemented in June of 2010.

The iTax municipalities of Tabontabon, Pastrana and Javier experienced over 100 percent increases in RPT collection. Ten municipalities had 50 percent to 100 percent increase; 21 municipalities had one percent to 50 percent increase, Aclo said.

Based on the latest report on RPT collection for the province of Leyte, the municipalities of Isabel, Kananga, Merida, Matalom, Abuyog, and San Isidro decreased by one percent to 50 percent. Except for Abuyog, all municipalities are non-iTax.

Report showed that in 2011, Leyte collected P180,515,615.24 in RPT. Overall, the average increase of RPT collection in Leyte was 35 percent and could be attributed to the iTax implementation, Aclo added.

Municipalities implementing iTax claimed the system proved beneficial in performing non-tax and tax transactions in their respective local government units. Assessors said the system helped them in producing more reliable assessments, theiTax coordinator said.

In the middle of 2010, the provincial government of Leyte and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) started rolling out the iTax, a computerized computing and accounting system for local revenue to 15 local government units (LGU) in Leyte.

Dr. Andreas Lange, local governance chief adviser for the Environment and Rural Development Program (EnRD) of the GTZ, said the iTax sytem stores all relevant credit and debit data of the project in individual accounts and a relational data bank and thus helps to monitor and control all tax transactions.

It also aims to improve tax collection by sending out tax reminders and demanding action from the taxpayers, Dr. Lange told the media during the launching.

The most significant benefit of iTax is that it will increase the revenue in the LGUs. There will be a clear view of how much tax will be collected in a year, who the delinquents are, and how much they owe, and the exact size of property taxpayers own, Dr. Lange added.

The system was first implemented in the municipalities of Abuyog, Alangalang, Albuera, Babatngon, Barugo, Bato, Burauen, Calubian, Capoocan, Javier, Mayorga, Tabon-tabon, Tanauan, Tolosa, and the city of Baybay.

Initial implementation was rolled out in Leyte because the demand is there and the provincial government (Leyte) is very receptive and they already started to update their real property tax collection, Dr. Lange said.

According to Lange, the GTZ has also assessed the province of Southern Leyte and received positive response but could not immediately be implemented, as the iTax system requires a substantive investment on the part of the province such as equipment, manpower and other costs involved that the LGU has to incur.

Leyte iTax coordinator Madelyn Aclo said the iTax system is expected to create a certain level of uniformity when it comes to tax collection enabling the local government units to generate more revenue that can be used to further improve the lives of the people.

Aside from real property tax, iTax system could be used in collecting business permits and licenses, water billing and collection and other local impositions, Ms. Aclo added.

The iTax software is developed using Power Builder 10.5 licensed under Sybase Corporation. The database software is widely used is Europe and the United State and is considered to be reliable and easy to maintain.

The iTax is a software that offers local government units a faster and easier way of performing non-tax and tax transactions such as collections, billings, assessments and reports.

One of its modules is the RPT module, which simulates a virtual assistant that provides local government units with all the tools needed to process real property assessment, tax billing and collection, as well as reminders and reports for easy monitoring of the income generated.

Other major benefit of iTax was the data pruning. Through the system, erroneous data became visible and easier to correct and verify. Municipal assessors are now editing duplicate PINS, multiple tax declarations, tax declarations with no names and no areas, mismatched assessments and misapplications of SMVs, Aclo said.

At present, iTax is installed in 23 out of 41 municipalities in Leyte. Late last year, data capture for the second batch municipalities has been completed and expected to implement the system before the second semester of 2012. (EOPT-PIA 8)

NMP underscores importance of basic training for ship employment

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, May 5 (PIA) -– The basic safety training course is being underscored by the National Maritime Polytechnic in Eastern Visayas for those planning to seek employment in a ship.

Presca Lee Lugo, NMP officer-in-charge/executive director, stressed that basic safety training course should be taken as it is a requirement for employment in a ship regardless if it a cargo or cruise ship.

Employment in cargo ship includes seafarers, and for cruise ships are the waiters, bartenders, crew and performers.

Lugo added that maritime instructors and assessors also undergo the course training at the NMP since it is required by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Maritime Training Council.

It was learned that NMP also conducts off-site training for maritime instructors and assessors which explains the increase of enrollees at the maritime polytechnic. Presently, NMP has an off-site training in Tagbiliran, Bohol for maritime instructors and in Makati for simulator instructors.

Even a seaman who decides to teach in maritime schools or maritime training centers is still required to undergo training as CHED, TESDA and MTC will not allow nor grant a teaching permit without undergoing the training course.

Lugo also disclosed that the most number of enrollees at NMP are those in basic safety training and that last year the maritime school was able to certify more than 19,000 trainees. (PIA-8)

DOH, LGU acts to stop typhoid outbreak in Maydolong

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


PALO Leyte, May 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Health in Eastern Visayas and the local government unit has put in place several measures in order to stop the typhoid outbreak in Maydolong, Eastern Samar.

Boyd Cerro, sentinel nurse of the DOH- 8, informed the Philippine Information Agency that DOH Director Jaime Bernadas has sent a Health Emergency Team and a Sanitary Engineer to Maydolong to help contain the outbreak of typhoid by seeing to it that the people boil the water before drinking or to chlorinate the water before drinking.

Cerro said that Waterine, Aquatap, and Chlorine granules were given to the municipal health officer for distribution to the people in the affected barangays.

The Health official said Thursday that about 144 patients were treated at health facilities in Maydolong, Borongan City and as far away as Tacloban City in Leyte province. However, it was learned that there are many patients who have not availed of medical services from health officials in the area.

There are 12 barangays mostly in the poblacion that were affected but most of the typhoid cases were from Barangay Maybucog where the water source for the municipality is located.

Cerro said that the water source is a spring from where the water goes directly to the consumers’ faucets without undergoing chlorination.

The water samples taken from the water source and faucets tested positive of total coli form and e-coli. The samples from the artesian well showed positive to total coli form, Cerro added.

Moreover, the blood culture done on samples from patients showed growth of salmonella, Cerro said.

Meanwhile, Maydolong Mayor Henry Afable stated that the LGU is intending to purchase a chlorination machine and to transfer the source of water for the municipality.

However, both will take time to be implemented, Cerro said. Thus, the people of Maydolong have been advised to boil or to chlorinate their drinking water, to cover their food, and to wash their hands very well before food preparation and after using the comfort room. (PIA 8)

Residents, local govt in deadlock over mining in Leyte's Lake Bito

by Ralph Angelo Ty /LBG, GMA News


Residents of Villa Imelda village in McArthur town in Leyte and the local government are in a deadlock over mining operations near Lake Bito.

Hundreds of residents of Villa Imelda have been blocking the entry of three mining barges to their area near the lake since last Friday, fearing that mining operations by the Nicua Mining Corp. and dredging may cause further damage to the lake and result in fish kill.

In a statement released on May 1 by the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Villa Imelda barangay captain Ronaldo Mentes claimed there was no consultation conducted prior to the dredging operation.

ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and non-government organizations opposing large-scale mining operations in the country.

"What we wanted is for the mining company to clean up their silt that blocks the waterways of the lake towards Pamunawan and Saloquege creeks. They should be responsible and accountable for whatever mess they caused to the community and ecology,’ said Mentes.

According to the ATM, heavy siltation from the company’s operations caused the formation of sandbars that block water ways flowing out of the lake.

But according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Engr. Leo Jasareno, investigations conducted by the MGB and the Bureau of Fish and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) belie ATM's claims.

In a phone interview, Jasareno told GMA News Online that the fish kill in March was not related to mining operations there, adding that the distance from the lake to the mining site is at least 200 meters, and that the mining pits are at least a meter below the lake surface.

"Claims of backflow of sediments could have occurred," he said.

He also said the biological oxygen demand in the lake was already high long before the operations started, due to the growth of communities around the lake. This could have triggered the fish kill.

Moreover, Jasareno said "all mining companies are required by law to dredge waterways in their areas of operation."

MGB Region VIII records show that of the 797 hectares leased to the Nicua Mining Corporation under the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement, only 100 hectares have been mined so far.

The mining firm, which is mining magnetite sand in the area, is partly-owned by Chinese nationals.

Meanwhile, ATM fears that mining operations might affect local agriculture output because Lake Bito sits amid rice-producing agricultural land.

On the other hand, Jasareno said negotiations are ongoing with the residents of Villa Imelda, and expressed confidence the multi-partite monitoring team, lead by MGB and composed of various stakeholders, will resolve the issue.

More than a hundred East Visayans land jobs on the spot at Labor Day jobs fair

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, May 2 (PIA) -- At least 139 Eastern Visayans were hired on the spot (HOTS) during the Labor Day jobs fair sponsored by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

DOLE 8 Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga informed that there were about a thousand jobseekers, 904 to be exact, from all over the Region who trooped at the Tacloban City Convention Center on May 1.

About 15 percent or 139 were able to land a job as of 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon of May 1, Ms. Thess Viñas, chairman of the Jobs Fair Committee, said.

Most of the hired applicants are from the provincial government of Leyte through the Work Appreciation Program, one of the components of the year-round President’s Youth Work Program, Kabataan: to provide the youth the opportunities to be able to appreciate work and develop proper work ethics by exposing them to actual work situations and giving them stipend of 75% of the prevailing minimum wage.

The number will still increase as several applicants have yet to complete the requirements, Ms. Viñas said.

There were about 38 recruitment agencies, 26 local employers and 12 overseas, who participated in the Labor Day Jobs Fair, which was conducted from 9:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon on May 1 at the Tacloban City Convention Center.

POEA Regional Coordinator Rosario Jervoso informed that for this year’s Labor Day jobs fair, only job orders that are for immediate deployment overseas were considered by the POEA to ensure that applicants if qualified may be deployed in two-week time.

She added that no placement fee was required from the applicants by the participating recruitment agencies.

Earlier reports from DOLE-8 stated that the Region has about 110,000 people who are jobless as of January, 2012.

All the regional offices of the DOLE conducted job fairs on Labor Day. The mandate from Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was that at least 15 percent of those who applied during the jobs fair should be hired on the spot. (EOPT-PIA 8)






March inflation rate for EV remains at 2.8 percent

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY Leyte, May 1 (PIA) -- The inflation rate in the Eastern Visayas in the month of March remains at 2.8 percent, the same figure in February 2012, the National Statistics Office in the Region said.

NSO Region 8 Director Raul Dones said that most of the provinces in the region experienced increased inflation rate except for the province of Leyte and Southern Leyte that registered slower rates from 3.5 percent and 2.2 percent in February to 2.9 percent and 2.1 percent in March, respectively.

Samar showed the biggest increase in inflation from 2.6 percent in February to 3.8 percent in March. The province of Northern Samar followed with an increment of 0.8 percentage points.

Likewise, the annual price change in Biliran picked up to 1.2 percent in March from 0.6 percent in December. Inflation in the province of Eastern Samar also registered a 0.2 percentage points increase now posted at 3.3 percent.

Director Dones said that in terms of Purchasing Power of Peso (PPP), Eastern Visayas weakened by one centavo and now stand at P0.75 from P0.76 in February. This implies that the one (1) peso value in 2006 (base year) is now worth only 75 centavos.

The three Samar provinces, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, & Samar, in the region likewise, recorded a one-centavo decline in their respective PPP.

Meanwhile, the provinces in the island of Leyte sustained their previous month’s PPP of 79 centavos in Biliran, 74 centavos for Leyte and 76 centavos for Southern Leyte.

Director Dones isaid at the national level, inflation has been on downward trend since November 2011 and is now recorded at 2.6 percent. Eleven regions in the country showed a decelerated inflation, he said.

Inflation rate (IR) is the general rise of prices over a specified period. It indicates how fast or how slow price changes over two time periods. Contrary to common knowledge, low inflation does not necessarily connote that prices are falling; rather, it means that prices continue to increase at a slower rate. (PIA 8)

DOLE-8 hosts Labor Day job fair on May 1

by Marivic A. Alcover


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 30 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-Regional Office VIII will be hosting a job fair with 4,800 overseas and local job opportunities available as part of the observance of the 110th Labor Day Celebration tomorrow.

The job fair will be held at the Tacloban Convention Center from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

According to Virgilio A. Doroja, Jr. of DOLE, the conduct of the job fair is a yearly activity not only in region 8 but also in various regions during the observance of the Labor Day celebration.

DOLE, through its Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga, said the fair aims to extend job opportunities to the unemployed, displaced workers, and to the fresh graduates.

It was also bared that there are some 855 local job vacancies available, and among the local employers who gave their confirmation in their participation during the job fair are: APAC Customer Service, Fast Distribution, Health Station Maternity Hospital, Sheridan-Jeco-Group of Companies, Dranix Distribution Inc., Gaisano Mall, Andoks, New Leyte Edible Oil, Cellness Connect Enterprises, Volunteer for the Visayan, Taytay sa Kauswagan, Trisean Ventures/Bayantel, Sinai Manpower Agency, Sunpride Foods Inc., ABE International Business College, Ford Tacloban, Pre-Biotic Health, MSS Cycle Trading, Mcdonalds, Robinsons Place, Camella Homes, Max’s Restaurant, Paramount Human Resource Service Cooperative, and lastly, Motortrade.

On the other hand, Doroja said that for those who are interested in seeking overseas job opportunities, twelve overseas recruitment agencies will be participating with some 4,000 job order for immediate deployment abroad.

Relative to this, Sarcauga is once again calling on all job applicants not to miss this rare opportunity and take advantage of the Job Fair at the Tacloban City Astrodome on May 1, and bring along the usual necessary documentary requirements in applying for a job. (PIA-8)

Radio man killed in motorcycle accident in Leyte

by Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer Visayas


TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – A radio broadcaster and his father-in-law were killed Saturday after their motorcycle collided with a multi-cab owned by the Palo Archdiocese in Palo town, Leyte. Roy Tolibas, 42 and his father-in-law Artemio Cornitas were heading home to Barangay Panda, Jaro town in Leyte past 8 p.m. when they figured in a vehicular accident in Barangay Arado, about two kilometers from the city proper. The police detained Reyson Jardin, driver of the multicab owned by the Palo Archdiocese, pending filing of charges. Jardin is assigned to Msgr. Bernardo Pantin of Palo Archdiocese. Tolibas was anchor of daily morning commentary program, “Ronda Puersa” over radio station dyBR, which is owned by the family of Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. He was also anchor/reporter of Bombo Radyo from 1998 to 2003. Tolibas was also serving his first term as the barangay chairman of Panda, Jaro where he was supposed to lead a “pintakasi” on Sunday morning. Police said Tolibas, who was driving his motorcycle, picked up his father-in-law from Cornitas’ house on T. Claudio Street in Tacloban. They were heading to Tolibas’ house in Jaro when their motorcycle collided with a multi-cab in Barangay Arado. Tolibas and Cornitas, who both suffered severe head injuries, were brought to the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban but physicians declared them dead on arrival. Jardin said he was on his way to the Palo Cathedral from La Verna, a retreat house for nuns, when he saw the motorcycle heading towards him. “He was driving fast. I stepped on the brakes to stop the multi-cab but he still hit my vehicle,” Jardin said.

4Ps members get additional income from gov’t poverty program

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 28 (PIA) -- Recipients of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Eastern Visayas will be receiving additional income through the Poverty Alleviation Program of the government.

The said program coursed through the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-8) will provide members of the 4Ps beneficiaries’ additional income through the Pamilya Guaranteed Employment which is under the sustainable livelihood program.

Monica Insigne, DSWD-8 field officer, said that to realize the program, the DSWD and the regional Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have partnered to undertake road projects.

The partnership stated that both parties agree to hire members of the 4Ps in the maintenance of the road projects under the DPWH.

It was learned that the assignment of 4Ps members hired in the maintenance of road projects will be realized which means that workers will maintain road projects nearest their residential areas. (ldl/ajc/PIA-8)

Inflation rate in Leyte down to 3.5% in February

by (NSO/LDL/PIA8 Leyte)


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 27 (PIA) -- The inflation rate in the province of Leyte declined by 1.1 percent to 3.5 percent in February 2012 from 4.6 percent in the previous month, the provincial statistics office here said in a statement.

In its report, the 3.5 percent inflation rate during the month-in-review denotes that the general price levels of goods and services in Leyte were higher by 3.5 percent compared to the price levels during the same period last year.

All of the 11 major commodity groups contributed to the 3.5 percent overall inflation rate; however, the major commodity groups that contributed significantly to the provincial inflation rate are: education (9 percent); alcoholic beverages and tobacco (6.8 percent); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (4.7 percent); recreation and culture (4.1 percent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (3.6 percent); and transport (3.5 percent).

In addition, year-on-year rate of price change of the province posted a declining trend since September 2011 wherein the biggest drop noted was the 1.1 percent decrease from January to February 2012 due to the reduction of the inflation rate on food and alcoholic beverages by 2.3 percentage points; alcoholic beverages and tobacco by 0.6 percentage point; and clothing and footwear by 0.1 percentage point.

The heavily weighted food and non-alcoholic beverages group had the highest shrink on its year-on-year rate of price change from January to February 2012 by 2.3 percentage points. Almost the entire commodity group exhibited a decrease on its inflation rate over a month. Rice and sugar, jam, honey, chocolate and confectionery had the significant decline by 5.7 percentage points and 5.3 percentage points, respectively.

On the other hand, there was a slight growth on the inflation rate of the following major commodity groups over a month: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (0.5 percentage point); restaurants and miscellaneous goods and services (0.3 percentage point); and transport (0.2 percentage point).

Meanwhile, inflation rate on furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house, health, communication, recreation and culture and education maintained its rates over a month.

Leyte’s purchasing power of the peso (PPP) drops to 74 cents in February 2012 after a sustained PPP from May 2011 to January 2012.

Inflation rate refers to the annual rate of change or year-on-year change in the average retail prices of goods and services commonly purchased by a particular group of people in a particular area while PPP is a measure of how much the peso in the base period is worth in another period.

Palo starts flood control program in Bangon River

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)


THE Municipal Government of Palo in Leyte had started its flood control program in Bangon River. The river affects almost the entire municipality when it overflows during heavy rainfall. About P47 million was allocated by the Department of Public Works and Highways Central Office for the project, according to Mayor Remedios Petilla, while the Provincial Government also provided them P25 million as additional funds for the project. Among the activities to be undertaken for the two-kilometer flood control project in Bangon River are dredging, desilting and widening of the river itself. The flood control project will start at the portion of the river nearby from Purisima Shrine and Old Bangon Bridge bordering the barangays of Buri and Guindapunan which will limit and reduce excessive erosion caused by water flow up to Barangay St. Michael, according to Petilla. Flood control project along St. Michael will be funded by the Provincial Government, she added. “River banks are also to be concreted to avoid erosion during flooding, which we had experienced in the previous flooding that hit the town,” Petilla said. Petilla added that as there are areas of Bangon River that are inhabited, a relocation program is to be implemented by the Municipal Government with the help of the socialized housing program of the government under the stewardship of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Around 15 families are identified to be affected by the projects. They will be relocated to the socialized housing in the town once facility is done. They will also be given financial assistanc

Mines Bureau bats for responsible mining

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 25 (PIA) -- The top official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Eastern Visayas is urging mining firms to adhere to responsible mining.

Over proposals to declare the provinces of Eastern Samar and Biliran to be mining free provinces, MGB regional director Roger De Dios opined that areas which have potential for the mining industry should be allowed to be mined but cautioned all mining operators to observe responsible mining.

Director De Dios explained that areas that are identified to be minerals rich like the province of Eastern Samar should be allowed to be mined especially as mining is the only big industry that can survive in the province.

According to De Dios, products of mining operation are used in almost all of man’s needs and since minerals are God-given resources, it should be utilized by man.

De Dios however, stressed that while DENR supports mining operations, the department is pushing for responsible mining emphasizing the importance of putting limitation on mining operations.

It was learned that DENR can only enforce laws concerning mining operation to large scale mining. While the agency is responsible for the supervision and granting permits to mining companies it is the provincial governments that grant permits to small-scale mining operations. (ldl/ajc-PIA 8)

PhilHealth expands program coverage to TB patients

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 24 (PIA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in Eastern Visayas has expanded its program coverage to include tuberculosis (TB) patients.

Miramar Zabala, PhilHealth information officer, said in a statement that the insurance office will extend help to TB patients who are not confined in hospitals or those Directly Observed Treatment Short-courses (DOTS) and those newly-infected TB patients.

Zabala explained that new TB patients qualified for inclusion to the program are those who have yet to take the anti-TB medication or just starting to take the medication. She disclosed that each qualified TB patient will be allotted P4,000 for diagnostic work up, consultation services, and other needed medicines. The allotted amount will be placed with the TB-Department of Science and Technology facility where the medicines are held for patients not confined in the hospitals.

Zabala is encouraging the public and its members to learn more about the program by visiting their office. (GTT/LDL/AJC-PIA8)

Local governments ‘overshoot’ target in tax collection

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)


REAL property tax (RPT) earnings in Eastern Visayas surged last year as local government units (LGUs) managed to collect P788.6 million, higher than the P629.8-million target, the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) reported this week.

With a collection efficiency of 125 percent, LGUs in the region rank third in terms of RPT collection efficiency in the country, said BLGF Regional Director George Roma, given the fact that many LGUs in the region still struggle to earn more local revenues.

Last year’s collection is up by 60 percent than the P490-million actual local tax earnings recorded in 2010.

Surpassing the 2011 goal was buoyed with better performance of the LGUs of Ormoc City with a P329.5-million collection, Tacloban City with P123.1 million generated taxes, and Leyte province with P165.8-million earnings.

LGUs of Ormoc, Tacloban and Leyte posted an attainment rate 242 percent, 152 percent, and 110 percent, respectively.

“Last year, Ormoc City was able to collect real property tax from California Energy. Tacloban City implemented the tax condonation program, while Leyte province held a public auction. Taxes generated out of these activities contributed a lot to the overall performance,” Roma said.

Other areas, however, registered a lower collection (with corresponding collection efficiency) like Southern Leyte with P28.6 million (83 percent), Biliran with P11.2 million (71 percent), Northern Samar with P29.5 million (55 percent), Samar with P11.7 million (42 percent), and Eastern Samar with P13.9 million (39 percent), Maasin City with P9.6 million (106 percent), Baybay City with P10.4 million (99 percent), Catbalogan City with P15.6 million (88 percent), Calbayog City with P17.8 million (56 percent), and Borongan City with P4.9 million (48 percent).

Real property tax covers tax obligation of owners of buildings and lands classified as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and timberland, among others.

Roma said the region has also exceeded the target in business tax with P457 million, fees and charges with P372 million, and economic enterprise with P409.4 million.

“We are building the capability of local collectors on how to collect revenue from taxable properties and how to deal with unsettled accounts. The latest training was in Northern Samar and we will continue to do that in the whole region,” Roma added.

“Team from BLGF conducts revenue and assessment audit and in that process, we were able to evaluate their tax ordinance and if the local government comply the schedule of market value,” Roma said.

Roma reminded LGU officials to update the local revenue code every five years and revise the schedule of market values once in every three years.






Massive MCC-Funded Eastern Samar Highway Rehab Project To Start August

by JACK GADAINGAN


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte — The much awaited $230 million grant designed for the rehabilitation of the Eastern Samar highway from Buray, Wright to Taft, Borongan and Guiuan by the United States Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will start August this year, and set for completion by 2015.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Region 8 director, Rolando M. Asis said the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Philippines, will manage the implementation of the rehabilitation of some 224.17 kilometers of roads from Buray, Samar to Guiuan in Eastern Samar the cost of which will not be funded by local funds, and at no cost to the Philippine government. Government’s counterpart will be to secure the road-right-of-way for affected settlers, Asis said.

In previous years, Eastern Samar suffered from the stigma of having very bad roads. In November, 2010 the MCC conducted a field inspection of the entire road length, sparking the start of the multi-million dollar project.

During said field inspection, MMC Country Director Matthew Bohn said, “We have five years to do the project of constructing 220 kilometers of road, and I’m very enthusiastic to do this.”

The MCC approach in implementing said project is to find areas where it can reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth, whether with the improvement of road conditions or the easing of constrains or bottlenecks to the economic growth in the area.

DENR spearheads Earth Day celebration on April 22

by Leonilo D. Lopido


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 21 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in cooperation with the Earth Day Network Philippines (EDNP), is spearheading the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 2012 with the theme: “Earth Day every day, everywhere”.

This was learned from Purificacion Daloos, DENR-8 information officer in a press release.

“Celebrations like this remind every citizen to appreciate the Earth’s environment and do their share for the protection and conservation of the Earth’s resources”, says DENR 8, Regional Executive Director Rogelio T. Trinidad.

“In doing so, let us practice Acts of Green such as the use and promotion of renewable energy resources coming from solar, hydro and wind power. We must also practice wise and efficient use of energy and proper solid waste management, among other acts that would not degrade our environment.” RED Trinidad added.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje enjoins all National Government Agencies, Local Government Units, State Universities and Colleges, Government Owned and Controlled Corporations, Civil Society and Non-government Organizations to come up with their respective strategies in celebrating this event, Daloos informed.

Meanwhile, the first Earth Day celebration took place on March 21, 1970. It was the brainchild of John McConnell, a newspaper publisher and influential community activist, who proposed the idea of a global holiday called Earth Day at a UNESCO Conference on the Environment in 1969 to remind the people of Earth of their shared responsibility as environmental stewards.

It was learned that the Philippines’ Earth Day was first proclaimed in 1990 by then President Corazon C. Aquino by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 553 declaring April 22, 1990 as “Earth Day 1990”. On April 10, 2008, Proclamation No. 1481 was issued declaring April 22 of every year as the Philippines’ Earth Day which identified the DENR as the main convener of the celebration. (ldl/PIA-8/DENR-8)

DA exec vows to support promotion of GIS viewer

by RYAN GABRIEL ARCENAS


TACLOBAN CITY- The Department of Agriculture will support German Development Cooperation- Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on promoting their Provincial GIS Viewer to other areas of the region 8 not only in Leyte and Southern Leyte provinces.

According to DA-8 regional technical director for operations and extension Arsenio Fortin, a study conducted by GIZ in 2010 revealed that information required in creation of the Comprehensive Land Use Planning (CLUP), Comprehensive and Development Plan (CDP) and Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) are not readily available.

”In order to correct this problem on data availability GIZ contracted GEOPLAN Cebu Foundation Inc. to develop software called Provincial GIS Viewer,” Arsenio said.

He also said that the Provincial GIS Viewer was designed to provide ease in data collection, storage, analysis, manipulation, use and distribution of data relevant to land use and development planning.

“This software can help LGUs identify, analyze and quantify all land management related data and information in an easier way leading them to more informed decisions on land use, natural resources management and urban management” he added.

Fortin assured that they will help on promoting the Provincial GIS Viewer to other areas in Region 8 not only in Leyte and Southern Leyte which it has been launched last April 17, 2012 here in Tacloban.

Geographic information system launched

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)


TOP officials in Leyte lauded the geographic information system (GIS) launched by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The GIS software generates maps that can easily be viewed by residents in the barangay halls to check the location of their properties if they are located in hazard-prone areas, software developer Ubo Pates said.

Pates said the software is new in the Philippines.

Leyte Vice Governor Mimmiette Bagulaya, who represented Governor Jericho Petilla in the GIS software launching, said the system will relieve pressure from incoherencies in identifying, quantifying and in land management-related data.

Local government units can store data of important local development plan with the use of GIS, Bagulaya said.

Board Member Albert Esclamado of Southern Leyte, who represented Governor Damian Mercado, said the use of GIS is also significant in developing environment in the rural areas.

Esclamado thanked the GIZ for always supporting the local governments in their various development projects and in providing technical assistance to their various needs in disaster mitigation.

The development of the software is expensive and costs to about a million per software license, but the GIZ distributing it for free to local government units.






2 communists surrender to gov't

by Leonilo D. Lopido


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 18 (PIA) -- Two communist members voluntarily surrendered to the government on April 16 according to the regional Philippine National Police (PNP) here in a press release.

Police Superintendent Lito T. Bigoy, chief of the regional police community relations division, said that the two communists surrendered to PSSupt. Raul Pili Saysay, Battalion Commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion in Barangay Pinampoan, Capoocan, Leyte.

The surenderees were identified as Eleazar Porlas Jaca, 37, married, farmer, and a resident of Barangay Roxas, Burauen, Leyte; and Sabina Didasi Rolona, 36, married, and a resident of barangay Cabongaan, Baybay City, Leyte, Bigoy said.

Bigoy informed that the rebels turned over one M1 Garrand Rifle with defaced serial number and 15 rounds of live ammos. Both are now undergoing tactical interrogation by said PNP unit.

For his part, PCSupt. Arnold R. Revilla, PNP-8 regional director, stressed that with the two rebels who just surrendered, this will significantly weaken the enemy’s capability to conduct offensives against the government troops and economic sabotage. (LDL/PIA 8/PNP 8)

‘Abortion road’ now improved

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)


VILLABA, Leyte – The so-called Abortion Road in Leyte’s third district was improved with the National Government pouring out at least 70 percent of the engineering field office fund to upgrade the cross country roads linking Leyte towns, an official said.

Engineer Leopoldo Pica, chief of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) district engineering office here, said majority of their P327-million budget for 2012 are now focused on improving the 68.27 kilometers of unpaved roads straddling the municipalities of San Isidro, Calubian, Leyte, Tabango and Villaba.

“Abortion Road is now a thing of the past. There have been improvements since last year. More than 70 percent of our appropriations are focused on those road sections,” Pica said.

Among its ongoing projects are the P41.880-million Belen-Consuegra Road, P1.7-million Lemon-Leyte-Biliran preventive maintenance, P2.44-million paving of Tabing-Kawayan-Sta. Rosa-Lawis-Tabango Road, P16.2-million replacement of Sta. Rosa Bridge in Tabango, and P30.15-million concreting of Calaguise-Calubian Road.

“Concreting of critical road sections, particularly in Calubian to Leyte, has been the priority wherein most of the funds have been focused there,” Pica said.

For 2012, the Leyte 3rd district engineering office has a budget of P327.06 million for 73 new and carry-over projects - P273.25 million are for DPWH regular projects, P1.79 million for preventive maintenance, P32 million for various infrastructure including local projects, and P20 million for priority development assistance fund.

Leyte’s third congressional district has 178.96 kilometers of road, all are identified as secondary road with 97.87 kilometers categorized as concrete, 12.82 kilometers with asphalt overlay, and 68.27 kilometers are still unpaved.

Pica said they are on track to heed the order of Secretary Rogelio Singson to concrete all secondary roads by 2016.






Upland village in Leyte recipient of DSWD road-concreting

by (PNA)

LAP/FNC/mec


ORMOC CITY, April 16 (PNA) - A mountain barangay in neighboring Kananga town is a recipient of a road-concreting project from the Makamasang Tugon (MT) of the Social Welfare Department. MT is formerly known as Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS).

The barangay beneficiary is San Isidro, located some 15 kms. from poblacion. Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Henry F. Nicolas said P1,157,634 has been downloaded for the road-concreting after the locals identified it as a priority project during the barangay assembly.

The beauty of the project is that the workers are hired in that village, Barangay Captain Lito Canonigo bared. Mayor Elmer C. Codilla is pleased with the project which will facilitate the transport of agricultural products from the barangay to the trading center.

Greens hit mining in Leyte rice fields Extractions may have aggravated fish kill in Lake Bito

by Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)


Environmental groups raised alarm in the actual extraction of magnetite sand in an irrigated agricultural land about 300 meters away from Lake Bito in MacArthur, Leyte, that may have aggravated the massive tilapia fish kill reported since last March 30.

Professor Tabada of Visayas State Univeristy (VSU) said that the investigation conducted two years ago by Dr. Sergio Abit Jr., a soil physicist, showed that the soil in the area very effectively allows water to pass through, which means that continued excavation in the area would incessantly draw water from surface water sources such as the river, lake, or from the aquifer adjacent to the excavation. The water budget in a nearby lake could have been disturbed and endangered the year-round water supply in the lake.

According to a Nicua Mining Corp. (NMC) official during a forum organized by the MacArthur Parish in November 2009, mining operations in the MacArthur rice paddies have an excavation depth of 10 to 15 meters. The field investigation projected that a 10-meter deep excavation could lead to drawdown from the observed WT depth of 0.24m to as deep as 4.33m from the surface. Hence, the presence of a nearby source of water, as a high as 44,603 cubic meter of water could be drawn into the 10m deep excavations for every hectare of area excavated.

Since 2010, the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Archdiocese of Palo and the National Irrigation Administration together with the Liwayway-Danao-Romualdez-Imelda-Maya Irrigators’ Association (LIDAROIMMA), the Visayas State University, and Alyansa Tigil Mina, have studied the impacts of the magnetite extraction in irrigated rice fields which included the loss of food security due to the conversion of rice fields to mining areas, competition for water utilization for household use, rice production and magnetite extraction, damage to the NIA irrigation canal, among others.

According to Fr. Edwin Perito, SAC director of Archdiocese of Palo, “Farmers had been distressed about the observed lowering water level in Lake Bito where they grow tilapia. They too are complaining about the strident noise of the mining operations.”

Perito said that there was no posting of a “notice to mine,” and people were taken by surprise when the NMC, now the Leyte Ironsand Corp.(LIC), started its operations. NMC partnered with the big Chinese mining firm, Hengsheng Mining Corp. (HSMC) in a joint venture agreement to form the LIC. According to the company website, LIC controls some 20,402 hectares of claims in Leyte, and the claims are all mineralized and cover a flat area of rice paddies and coconut plantations. The mining company transports the magnetite to China.

“The fish kill in Lake Bito may have been caused by lack of oxygen due to overcrowding and climate change, but magnetite mining, which sucks in water during extraction may have also contributed to this incident. This only shows that magnetite mining [in Leyte] is a clear threat to food security—wherein the tilapia fish industry in Lake Bito is at stake as well as rice production in the nearby area,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

Garganera emphasized that magnetite mining in prime agricultural lands as well as in other areas such as in coastlines and offshore should be stopped considering the present threats of climate change and disasters.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is calling for the scrapping of the export-oriented Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the enactment of the Philippine Mineral Resources Act of 2012 pending in Congress.

“The Mining Act of 1995 is not clear on the protection of our agricultural areas—mining is being permitted adjacent to productive farms or within rice fields and provides mining companies full right over our water resources,” claimed Garganera.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

Coastal waters in EV now free of red tide toxins

by ALVIN P. CARDINES


TACLOBAN CITY – All coastal waters in Eastern Visayas are now free of red tide toxins, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the region said.

This after Matarinao Bay, which covers the areas of Salcedo, Quinapondan, Gen. MacArthur and Hernani, Eastern Samar which has been contaminated with red tide toxins for years has been declared to be positive from high toxicity level based on a three-week sampling in the area.

A shellfish ban took effect in said bay last March 2010 but was lifted the following year. However, there was a resurgence of the red tide toxin after eight months during the same year.

The toxicity level of the paralytic shellfish poisoning went below 60 microgram per 100 grams of shellfish meat.

Other bays which BFAR identified to be free from toxic red tide organisms are Carigara Bay (Carigara, San Miguel, Barugo, and Capoocan, Leyte); Ormoc Bay (Ormoc City, Albuera and Merida, Leyte); and the waters in Biliran (Naval and Kawayan, Biliran).

Shellfish ban was also lifted in the waters of Camotes Sea (Palompon, Leyte); San Pedro Bay (Palo and Tanauan, Leyte); Villareal Bay (Villareal, Samar); Maqueda Bay (Jiabong and Catbalogan Samar); Irong-irong Bay (Tarangnan, Samar); Cancabato Bay (Tacloban City);and Sogod Bay (Sogod, Southern Leyte).

The advisory said that all types of shellfish and alamag gathered from these areas are already safe for human consumption.

However, fish, squid, shrimps, and crabs are safe for human consumption provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly, and internal organs such as gills and intestines are removed before cooking.

9th OWWA help desk established in Leyte

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 13 (PIA) -- The Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA) partnered with Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla to open the ninth OWWA help desk in the province of Leyte.

According to OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon, who flew in today for the signing of the memorandum of Agreement with LGU Leyte, this is part of the labor and employment agenda of President Benigno Simeon Aquino lll.

She added that this is done, “upang lalong mapangalagaan ang welfare ng mga OFWs (This was done to look after the welfare of the OFWs).”

Help desks for OFWs had been established before but the OWWA discovered that only 50 percent of these were operational.

“We have to activate them,” Dimzon told the local media that covered the event held at the Leyte provincial capitol.

In Leyte, Petilla said that he will set up some personal computers that the families of OFWs can use every time they need to see their OFW family member.

“Establishment of the help desk will require a minimal investment compared to the social benefit return,” the governor said.

Isabel and La Paz LGUs also signed the same MOA on help desk establishments in the two towns. Mayor Lesmes Lumen of La Paz personally came to sign the MOA.

Meanwhile, Petilla also informed the press that he will set up a training room where there will be high tech equipment, appliances, and gadgets used in modern homes abroad. Trainees, or those going abroad to work, will be taught how to operate these gadgets before they are deployed as domestic helpers abroad.

The governor said that domestic helpers abroad are forced to pay the damages resulting from their inability to operate the home appliances of their employers. (ldl/nbq-PIA 8, Samar)

DOT-8 organizes group of tour guides

by (LDL/MAA-PIA 8/DOT 8)


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 12 (PIA) -- To be able to come up with a professional pool of tour guides within the region, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 8 will be conducting a regional tour guide training on May 7 to June 1 in Tacloban City with a training fee of P7,500.

In an interview with DOT Regional Director Karina Rosa S. Tiopes, she informed that DOT-8 needs only 30 participants for the said training, wherein they will be taught to plan, conduct, and manage sightseeing tours and deliver the tour guide component of tour packages in accordance with current best practices of the tour guiding profession on a regional level in general and within a specific destination in particular, in a competent and professional manner.

The criteria for the screening of applicants for the Tour Guides’ Training Course are as follows: language proficiency (40%); communication skills (30%); personality (20%); and grace under pressure (10%).

According to Dir. Tiopes, interested participants will be required to submit a diploma of any four-year degree course, transcript of records, copy of their birth certificate, medical certificate issued by a government physician, and an ID picture.

The deadline for submission of the required documents is on April 18 at the Department of Tourism Regional Office 8, Kanhuraw Hill, Magsaysay Blvd., Tacloban City, while the prescreening schedule for the IQ test will be on April 19 and 20 in the morning.

It was disclosed that the conduct of the interview will be on April 19 and 20 in the afternoon at the Leyte SMED Center, Senator Enage St., Tacloban City.

“SINEBATA” video, photo contest open to youth aged 9-23

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY Leyte, April 11 (PIA) -- The nationwide staging of SINEBATA: Kabataang Pinoy Festival was jointly announced by the triumvirate of child advocates Boy Abunda, Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski, and Cheryl Cosim.

Mag Cruz Hatol, director of the National Council for Children’s Television, said that SINEBATA is a follow through of the successful Visayan edition that was staged jointly in Tacloban City, Leyte last year by Anak TV, Plan Philippines, and other partners which drew in a bumper harvest of over 100 video entries and 190 photographs.

Hatol said that the contest is open to amateur Filipino youth aged 9 to 23 who use digicams, handy phones, regular cameras, and other non-professional equipment.

Entries must be received by 30 April 2012 at any of the following reception centers: Sinebata, AnakTV, 8A Matatag Street, Pinyahan Quezon City; Sinebata, Plan International, 2F Uytingkok Bldg, Veteranos Avenida, Tacloban City; Sinebata, Baguio Museum; Sinebata, Office of the VP for Research, West Visayas State University, Iloilo City ; Sinebata, Office of External Affairs, Aquinas University, Legazpi City, or to Sinebata, NCCT, 4/F, Bonifacio Bldg, DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City.

Filipino youth may enter as many video materials per category as producer/director in all four categories namely, short video clips (running from 30 seconds to 10 minutes); public service announcements or social messages (from 30 seconds to two minutes only); Creatively packaged music videos (up to seven minutes only); using originally composed or commercially available music and mini documentaries and social commentaries (from 10 minutes to an hour).

There are no restrictions in themes but the contest is seeking works that define the Filipino youth’s view on issues that affect him, his family, his school, and his community in general. They can be about his hopes and wishes for the future, family concerns, education, environment, substance abuse, teenage life and problems, career plans and ambitions, community issues and others.

Every CD/DVD entry should be accompanied by a page containing the producer/director’s name, complete mailing address and contact phones (mobile, land phones, fax and email address where applicable), birth date and school, organizational or town affiliation. The participant is also expected to write a short description of his/her entry and where possible, brief production notes. If he/she completed the material with other youth, their names and roles in production should be listed.

Moreover, photographs may also be entered. Each photographer may field up to 10 photos. There are no categories in the photography section. The entries may be in color or black and white. The minimum image size is five megapixels (equivalent to A4 size if printed). Even cell phones may be used.

Entries must be emailed to anaktv_seal@yahoo.com, each one properly titled in any language of his/her choice. (If entrant uses a dialect or local language, he must provide an English translation.)

The entries should be accompanied by a page containing the photographer’s name, complete mailing address and contact phones (mobile, land phones, fax and email address where applicable), birth date and school, organizational or town affiliation. The type of camera used should also be indicated (digital cam, mobile phone with camera, etc.).

Entries received early will enjoy screening/viewing opportunities in a national roadshow that will cover Baguio, Legaspi, Manila, Iloilo, Tacloban, and Davao.

All entrants will receive a Certificate of Participation. There will be a winner in each of the categories and in two levels: 9 to 17 and 18 to 23. A trophy and cash award will be given to each top winner. Special awards with cash incentives have been earmarked by organizing and cooperating partners.

The top choices to be declared on May 29 and 30 in Tacloban City will be sent to international video and media derbies to represent the Philippines.

Sinebata is a joint undertaking of the National Council for Children’s Television, Department of Education, DSWD, PIA, PDEA, University of the Philippines, Baguio Museum, West Visayas State University, Aquinas University of Legazpi, Goethe Institut, Robinson’s Malls, Leyte Normal University, PNP, East Visayas State University, Kairosolutions, Columbia’s, AnakTV and Plan International. (Sinebata/PIA 8)

NSO-8 conducts Consumer Expectations Survey in East Visayas

by (LDL/MAA-PIA8)


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 10 (PIA) -- The National Statistics Office (NSO) in Region 8 is currently conducting the April 2012 Consumer Expectations Survey in Eastern Visayas, financed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

NSO said the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar are being surveyed. In Leyte, five sample barangays are included such as Brgy. Tabunok, Bato; Brgys. Manloy and Poblacion Zone I, Capoocan; Brgy. Hilusig, Mahaplag; and Brgy. Nasunogan, Ormoc City.

According to NSO, the survey is to provide regular assessment of the consumers’ perceptions and expenditure plans to be used as tool in the evaluation of the consumer’s own financial situation, key economic indicators and the economy’s condition over a reference period.

Likewise, the survey, which has a total of 308 household respondents in the region, also aims to assess the over-all performance of the government.

Relative to this, NSO requests assistance from the local government units and cooperation from the respondents by answering the questions in the said survey. NSO assures the respondents on the confidentiality of the data gathered from them. Such data will be used in the form of statistical summaries in which no reference on the identity of the respondent shall appear.

Meanwhile, to prepare their personnel, NSO shared that training was facilitated last March 27 at the NSO Regional Office VIII, Tacloban City with NSO field personnel and hired statistical researchers as participants.






Visayas officials move to preserve coral reefs

by Reyan L. Arinto and Sarwell Q. Meniano


TACLOBAN CITY -- Efforts are under way in the Visayas to preserve coral reefs arising from overfishing and infestation.

Local government units in Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas regions have moved for the reactivation of a management council that will protect and preserve the marine resource-rich Danajon Double Barrier Reef. Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said the governors, city and town mayors of Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Southern Leyte have agreed to come up with new steps to mitigate further damage to the reef. The four Visayas provinces border Danajon Bank, a 130-kilometer-long, 272-square-kilometer coral area. The bank represents 1% of the country’s total coral area. “The depletion of corals has been observed over the past 50 years. We need to stop overfishing and allow the corals to breathe new life to the sea or else the next generation of fishermen would not have anything to catch,” Mr. Petilla said. Several consultations have been held in Maasin City, Southern Leyte; Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu; and Leyte. The reactivation of the reef’s management council was initiated by Bohol Governor Edgardo M. Chatto in collaboration with the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF). “We have reactivated our provincial working group composed of the provincial government, the city government of Baybay and the municipalities of Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Bato and Matalom,” Mr. Petilla said. Mr. Petilla added the working group will consolidate plans to strengthen protection and management of the reef along with other government agencies and stakeholders. “The four provinces including the towns encompassing the reef have initially proposed the revision of the memorandum of agreement that include the streamlining of organizational structure, council membership and committee composition,” Mr. Petilla said. Danajon reef is considered among only six in the world that have unique geologic formation believed to have been carved for over 6,000 years of coral ecosystem development. The area also has a vast expanse of mangrove forests and extensive coral reef systems. The Danajon Bank encompasses Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island, Maasin City in Southern Leyte; Baybay City, Inopacan, Hindang, Hilongos, Matalom and Bato in Leyte; Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Ubay, Trinidad, Bien Unido, Talibon, Getafe, Buenavista, Inabanga, Clarin and Tubigon in Bohol. A report from Project Seahorse Foundation (PSF) for Marine Conservation, Inc. revealed that since 1995, the rate of depletion and destruction of the coral reefs in Danajon Bank have been estimated at 10% a year. This has increased to up to 30% a decade later. The depletion has been going on since the 1950s as the reef has been a critical fishing ground for thousands of fishers from Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Southern Leyte. STARFISH OUTBREAK Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has reported an outbreak of the damaging crown-of-thorns starfish in 74 hectares of coral reefs in Southern Leyte. An initial assessment report showed a population density of up to 420 pieces per 500 square meters of the affected area, said BFAR Regional Director Justerie M. Granali. Of the 74 hectares infested, 60 hectares are in the municipality of Padre Burgos, nine hectares in Maasin City and five hectares in Macrohon town. Diving sites in Barangays Buenavista and Santo Rosario in Padre Burgos have been affected. “We prioritized the assessment of areas recommended by local government units and GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation). Other local government units in Southern Leyte have not yet reported population outbreaks,” she told BusinessWorld. She said various groups who conducted manual extraction of the toxic starfish since last month have removed 76,270 pieces from Padre Burgos. The crown-of-thorns starfish absorbs the coral polyp, leaving only a coral skeleton. This starfish breeds from December to April. Its body is covered with thousands of four- to five-centimeter-long poisonous spine. For his part, Southern Leyte Governor Damian G. Mercado said the provincial government has launched a community removal of crown-of-thorns starfish. “This is very damaging that’s why everybody should act to stop the infestation. We have to sustain this to maintain the status of the province as haven of foreign divers. We will train the community on how to extract the starfish,” Mr. Mercado told BusinessWorld. The provincial government formed last month the Sogod Bay Sustainable Marine Management Alliance, which solicited the commitment of support from the mayors of Southern Leyte. Mr. Mercado said Southern Leyte Rep. Roger G. Mercado earlier allocated half a million pesos to support activities that seek to avoid the infestation.

2 Ormoc SMEs raked in P2.8M from rice cakes last year

by FELIX N. CODILLA III


ORMOC CITY—Cassava cake earned P2.8 million in 2011 for two businesses that produce this top native delicacy of this city. This was learned during the recent One Town, One Product (Otop) Congress for Third, Fourth and Fifth Districts in the province of Leyte. The two businesses are Young Attitude and Yoyi’s that infused some twist in the ordinary cassava cake by mixing it with coconut sprinkled with cheese and packaging it in a presentable way. However, representatives of the two stores said they are experiencing a problem due to lack of raw materials, especially cassava.

This is one of the reasons why Agapito Pongos, proprietor of Early Seven Marketing (ESM), is promoting the planting of cassava among farmers. ESM supplies cassava to the feed mill of Tacloban City-based BMEG, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp., as well as Eastern Petroleum Philippines which converts the crop into bio-fuel.

During the same activity, Otop coordinators proposed the acquisition of a retort machine for Ormoc to prolong the shelf life of local delicacies including suman (rice cake wrapped in banana leaves), binagol (sweetmeat made of native yam and stuffed in coconut shell), moron and biko (rice cake).

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) acquired a retort machine for Tacloban which is also used by producers of native delicacies in nearby towns, making their produce last up to 200 days due to its heat penetration system, making it possible for the products to be shipped to faraway places.

DTI Provincial Director Desiderio Belas Jr. said they will study the proposal.

Otop is a program of the government to promote entrepreneurship by identifying, developing and promoting specific products and services in each area where they have a competitive advantage.

Mild quake jolts Tacloban City

by Francis T. Wakefield


Philippines – A magnitude 4.5 earthquake hit Tacloban City early Friday morning but the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) said they expect no damages or aftershocks as a result of the tremor. State seismologists said intensity IV was felt over Llorente and Borongan in Easter Samar, while intensity III was felt over Tacloban City; Mercedes, Taft, Oras and Sulat all in Eastern Samar and Palo, Tolosa and Dulag all in Leyte. Intensity II, on the other hand, was felt over San Policarpo in Eastern Samar and Leyte, Leyte province. Meanwhile, a separate quake with a magnitude of 1.7 which was also tectonic in origin hit the Visayas at about 8:02 a.m. but there were no reports of damages.

PhilHealth covers outpatient TB treatment for members

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 6 (PIA) -- PhilHealth covers outpatient anti-TB treatment or directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS) for new cases of pulmonary and extra pulmonary TB.

PhilHealth Tacloban Information Officer Marimar Zabala said that new cases means that the patient has never had treatment for TB or has taken anti-TB drugs but for no less than a month.

Zabala said it is important that the PhilHealth members especially the poor know about this considering that most of the cases of TB belong to this sector.

The benefit package is worth P4,000 which covers diagnostic work-up, consultation services, and anti-TB drugs, Zabala said.

The amount is paid to the accredited TB-DOTS facility handling the treatment on an outpatient set-up.

The benefit package will be paid to the DOTS facility in two separate payments. The first payment of P2,500 will be paid after the facility has completed the intensive phase of DOTS treatment for the patient, and the final payment of P1,500 will be paid after the end of the maintenance phase considered as the date of treatment.

The concerned DOTS facility will settle the payments to referral centers, physicians and other health workers.

Additional services rendered or extensions of treatment are not covered under the benefit package.

PhilHealth also released Circular No. 18, series of 2011 in support of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to reduce the prevalence and mortality of TB by 50 percent.

This circular provided the guidelines for the reimbursement of claims for TB in children nine years old and below, Zabala added. (EOPT-PIA 8)

DOLE, NCMB initiate dialogue between management and PASAR union

by Leonilo D. Lopido


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 5 (PIA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment and the National Conciliation and Mediation Board in the region recently initiated the dialogue between management and labor union of Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining (PASAR) Corporation in Isabel, Leyte. This was in an effort to facilitate the negotiations of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the two parties whose previous contract expired last March 31, 2012. This information came from DOLE 8 press release.

DOLE information officer Virgilio Doroja Jr.said that the CBA being negotiated concern wages, hours of work, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

DOLE Regional Director Exequiel R. Sarcauga encouraged the parties to come up with a new CBA in less than the 90-day period allowed by law for its negotiations.

“With your commitment, dedication, openness and willingness to this undertaking there is no way you cannot achieve a negotiation in a breakthrough period of 30 days,” the labor chief said.

He added that in the negotiation, terms of reference should be clearly understood, and the changes that are being sought by the parties should always be on the basis of serious transformation and towards one common direction, that is, for the growth and success of PASAR.

NCMB Director Juanito Geonzon supported the call of Director Sarcauga for an early conclusion of the CBA saying that with the good ideas, cooperation and open communication of the parties, a CBA may be signed even before the expiration of the 90-day period.

PASAR Senior Vice President Manuel del Rosario and Union President Arturo Estrera both accepted the challenge for a brief and meaningful CBA negotiation in less than 30 days.

After the dialogue, the parties are expected to trail-blaze the negotiation by immediately laying down the ground rules for the negotiation, iron out differences, and balance the interest, objectives and positions of both parties. (PIA 8/DOLE 8)

Travelers during the Lenten season assured of safe journey

by (ldl/PIA-8)


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 4 (PIA) -- Travelers going home to their respective home areas to spend the Lenten season are assured of a safe journey. This was the assurance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Eastern Visayas in the establishment of police assistance centers (PACs) all over the region. PNP-8 regional director Chief Supt. Arnold Rayala Revilla disclosed that travelers throughout the region can be assured of assistance whenever needed as they travel to their destinations during the Lenten season. This was to give locals, visitors, and tourists any information and assistance they need regarding safety and direction. He added that PACs were established in public places from provincial to municipal levels in coordination with barangay officials, barangay tanods, and other concerned groups in the community. In addition to the establishment of PACs is the deployment of uniformed policemen in strategic places specifically in areas where many people converge like churches and other holy places serving as places in the observance of the holy week. The deployment of uniformed policemen to places where people converge whether to observe the Holy Week or traveling to their destinations is undertaken to ensure the safety of the public. The presence of uniformed policemen is a deterrent to people with criminal intentions or to trouble makers who have nothing better to do than cause chaos. The PNP-8 top official is encouraging travelers and the public to seek assistance from the PACs should it be necessary to ensure of a safe journey. (ldl/PIA-8)

Mines and Geosciences Bureau to impose sanctions for under-reporting productions

by Aurora J. Casimpam


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 3 (PIA) -- As the agency tasked with regulating the minerals industry in Eastern Visayas, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the region has taken a strict stand on the imposition of sanctions against permit holders on mineral production underreporting production.

MGB Regional Director Roger A. De Dios said the agency’s plan to impose severe sanctions and penalties as required by law to holders of non-metallic permits including sand and gravel contractors.

De Dios revealed the under-reporting of some permittees disclosing only minimal to non-production of all has resulted to less share or income for the government especially the local government units where the minerals are extracted.

It was learned that some permittees, which have programmed production of 30,000 metric tons per year, disclosed minimal production reports incurring less taxes paid to the government.

According to De Dios the presence of booming infrastructure projects from government road construction projects to building construction activities of different private institutions belie minimal production of minerals especially that of sand and gravel.

De Dios added the agency is urging local government units to act and monitor operations in their respective areas and to enforce the laws relative to appropriating government revenues from mineral utilization.

The MGB is determined to enforce the law to its full extent including non-renewal of permits to erring permittees. (ldl/PIA-8)

Fake "new generation bills" alarm bankers, to conduct info campaign

by Aurora J. Casimpan


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, April 2 (PIA) -- The Tacloban Bankers Club together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Eastern Visayas will conduct an information campaign this April 12 in connection with the counterfeit bills in circulation and how to detect the fake bills.

The bankers association in Tacloban City have expressed alarm on the so-called “new generation bills” newly issued by the BSP which are being counterfeited.

The bills being counterfeited which include the P 20, P 50, P 100, P 200, P 500, and P 1,000 bills have been found circulating in the market.

Francisco Barredo, president of the Tacloban Bankers Club and the branch manager of the Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI), Tacloban main branch, disclosed during the Saturday media forum, "Express it at the Park" that they have been receiving reports and at the same time their bank had received such fake bills.

The bankers voiced their concern on the fake bills and have cautioned the public to be extra cautious in scrutinizing their money bills whether it’s genuine or fake.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Quintero, auditor of the bankers’ club and branch manager of the Postal Savings (PS) Bank echoed that their bank has also received fake bills and expressed the opinion that the counterfeit bills will increase in circulation with the coming elections in 2013 as fake bills are usually given during elections.

She also said that bogus bills now include lower denomination where in the past only bills in the amount of P 500 and P 1,000 were counterfeited.

The bankers associations together with the BSP have decided to take a move to contain the circulation of the fake bills through the conduct of the information campaign which will teach the public on how to detect counterfeit bills. (EOPT/AJC-PIA 8)

DILG-8 to LGUs: Step-up measures to guarantee peaceful observance of Holy Week

by Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu


TACLOBAN CITY Leyte, Apr. 1 (PIA) – Department of Interior and Local Government Region 8 Director Pedro Noval Jr., called on local government units in Eastern Visayas to implement necessary measures in order to ensure peaceful observance of the Holy Week.

Director Noval, through DILG-8 Information Officer Mr. Myles Colasito said that DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has issued Memorandum Circular No. 2012-59 directing all governors, city and municipal mayor and barangay chairmen, to step up their respective safety and security measures in line with the forthcoming observance of Holy Week.

Noval said that the directive pointed out that because the Holy Week coincides with the start of the summer vacation, there is a need to put in place necessary measures to ensure safety and security, particularly at the bus and jeepney terminals.

As throngs of commuters are expected to troop to their provinces, local governments are expected to enforce the appropriate security measures for the benefit of the commuting public, Secretary Robredo stated in his directive, Director Noval said.

The regional director also reminded the LGUs to closely monitor the weather conditions in their respective areas considering that PAGASA has already announced about the possibility that one tropical depression will affect the country during the Holy Week.

The DILG also directed LGUs to undertake activities with the end-in-view of ensuring a solemn and peaceful observance of the Lenten Season.

Among the activities recommended are the calling for a meeting of the Peace and Order Councils and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils/Committees in order to make plans and strategies in preparation for the people who will go home to their respective towns. DILG particularly pointed out the stepping up of the LGUs’ ability to respond to any emergency medical services that will be required.

Noval said LGUs should also deploy “force multipliers” to help maintain peace and order in their communities.

Attention should be accorded to ensure the presence of Barangay Tanod to assist the Philippine National Police, to see to it that garbage is collected and properly disposed; to guarantee the maintenance of cleanliness of public places in their areas of responsibilities like churches, parks, beaches, transport terminals¸ among others¸ and to ensure smooth flow of traffic, Director Noval said. (EOPT, PIA 8)


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