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USNS MERCY on its Trans Pacific Partnership

USNS MERCY on its Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) run goes to Western Samar June 18 to July 1, 2012.

Its Mission Statement: "Preparing In Calm To Help in Crisis"

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- One World Institute Inc. President Yolanda "Mg. YO" Stern has announced that the USNS MERCY will visit Western Samar in the Philippines from June 18 to July 1, 2012. It will be anchored in Calbayog bringing with it hospital as well as land-based misssions.

In Indonesia, the MERCY team ran a veterinary, construction, as well as surgical mission and even threw in the TPP band for entertainment.

Per Ms. Stern, the MERCY expects to promote goodwill while serving hundreds of Samaranons.

S. Maria Lohmeyer, Lt. Commander of USN Pacific Partnership 2012 is the Public Affairs Officer of the MERCY.

  • For further information, please contact Ms. Yolanda O. Stern,
  • President of One World Institute
  • (510) 541-0964

Army condemns use of land mines

by (PIA8 Samar with LTC. Alvin Lagamon)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 11 (PIA) -- The Eighth Infantry Division (8th ID) is calling on the public to join them in condemning the continued use of landmines by the New People’s Army (NPA).

BGen. Gerardo T. Layug, commanding general of the 8th ID of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the use of landmines is a violation of Republic Act 9851 (Crime Against International Law).

This is also a clear violation of the paragraph 15, article II of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL). It is prohibited because such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians.

“I call on everyone to condemn this senseless act of violence against our troops and our people,” Layug said.

On December 14, 2010, local NPAs launched a landmine attack at the vicinity of Barangay Sta. Fe and Barangay Perez, Catubig, Northern Samar against the elements of 63rd Infantry Battalion (63rd IB) which resulted to the death of military troops and a nine-year-old boy.

Recently, the NPA have also used landmines against government troops in Barangay Antipolo, Llorente, Eastern Samar and Barangay Nago-Ocan, Catubig, Northern Samar.

In other areas, the rebels also employed landmines during an attack against the operating elements of the 71st Infantry Battalion (71st IB) at Sitio Linaw, Brgy Panamin, Mabini town, Compostella Valley on April 28, 2012, killing a soldier and wounding seven civilians. A similar incident also happened on February 27, 2012 in another undisclosed area. Early this year an elderly woman died during a landmine explosion in CARAGA region and the previous year another civilian was killed due to a landmine explosion at Maco, Compostella Valley.

It may also be recalled that in the early morning of March 5, 2012, the 8th ID troops seized forty-four (44) improvised landmines and production paraphernalia in an NPA explosive factory in the hinterlands of the Municipality of Paranas, Samar.

“All of these only prove the NPA’s tenacity to use landmines in complete disregard of the safety of the innocent civilians. The Human Rights Office is already preparing to file criminal charges against the NPA rebels for these blatant violations of IHL provisions,” according to a statement from the 8th ID in a press release.

Infantry Div installs first woman military police chief

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 10 (PIA) --The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army installed 1Lt Julie G Fadchar (OS) PA, former Admin Officer of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Office (CMO), as the first ever woman Commanding Officer of Military Police (MP) Company replacing Maj Noel B Luoang (Inf) PA, the outgoing Commanding Officer.

In a simple yet remarkable Change – of - Command ceremony of the Military Police (MP) Company at the 8ID Multi-purpose Hall the ceremony was presided by LtC Ricardo G Ellorda (Inf) PA, Commanding Officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Service Battalion, 8th ID, PA.

Ltc Ellorda welcomed and challenged the newly installed woman commander in her new field of assignment. Her designation is in recognition of her leadership qualities to command a company of men in uniform entrusted to enforce military law, order and camp regulations.

In her assumption speech, Fadchar expressed her gratitude to Commanding General Gerardo Layug for the trust and confidence bestowed on her. (EOPT/NBQ-PIA 8-Samar with LtC Arvin Lagamon, Chief DPAO)

CHED approves only 2 private colleges to hike tuition fee

by Aurora J. Casimpan

Tacloban City, Leyte, May 8, (PIA) -- A lot of parents and students in Eastern Visayas have been given a respite in the payment of tuition fees as only two out of the 97 colleges and universities in the region had been approved by the Commission on Higher Education for tuition fee hike.

CHED, which administers colleges and universities, approved the tuition hikes of Bato Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) in Bato town in Leyte and the Samar Colleges (SC) in Catbalogan City, Samar to eight percent and 9.8 percent, respectively.

CHED regional director Liberty Garcia confirmed the approval of the increase on tuition fees as the said colleges were able to follow the requirements in applying for tuition fee hikes.

Director Garcia explained that the CHED is strict in the compliance of requirements for the approval of tuition fee hikes because the issue of increase is sensitive among students.

She also informed that there were other private colleges and universities across the region including three government-run colleges which applied for tuition fee hike but were told to put on hold the plan as the said schools failed to conduct the mandatory consultation of the schools’ respective student organizations mandated under CHED Memorandum Order No. 3 issued this year.

Under the said memorandum is the explicit mandate that the consultation period must be completed not later than February 28 of the academic year preceding the school year where the increase shall take effect.

Another important requirement which needed to be complied with is that 70 percent of the proposed increase must go to the faculties in the form of salaries and benefits with the remaining 30 percent to be spent for the improvement of laboratories and equipment of the school.

Applicants for increase of tuition fee have to satisfy the requirements before being approved for tuition fee increase. (EOPT/AJC-PIA 8)

DTI convenes industrial workers, service providers over business issues

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 8 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) called on industrial workers and service providers over business issues in a forum at the DTI conference room here recently.

The whole day meeting was attended by six proprietors and nine workers from the different repair shops in Catbalogan City.

DTI discussed the provisions of Presidential Decree (PD) 1572 or The Regulation of Repair and Service Shops, Republic Act (RA) No. 7394 or The Consumer Act of the Philippines, and RA No. 8749.

This is to implement the DTI function of accrediting establishments and practitioners of the Administrative Code of 1987 and provide for redress mechanism pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 913.

TESDA was also present during the forum to discuss the importance of the assessment and requirement needed by the workers who will undergo the evaluation.

TESDA assessment is to assure that the workers are qualified for the service they are providing.

TESDA also will give certificates to those who will pass the three- to four-hour of actual demonstration, written examination, and questioning assessment.

The proprietors and workers who attended the forum agreed and gave their commitment to comply with the requirements of DTI concerning the business permits.

There are two types of assessment for the worker with experience. For the workers with 10-year working experience, they can apply for the portfolio assessment, while workers who gained skill from years of doing the job, can apply for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

TESDA assessment fee is P500.00 and P75.00 for the certificate.

DTI and TESDA are working together to ensure that the quality of the service providers is maintained. (ldl/nbq-PIA 8, Samar with Avha H. Ebalde)

DPWH allots P12.3 M for road maintenance in Samar

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 7 (PIA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has earmarked some P12.3 million for maintenance work of Samar’s first engineering district in 2012.

In a press release, Ma. Nenita Gomez of DPWH Samar 1 said that it maintains more than a hundred kilometer road stretch of national highway.

The fund is used to for pavement maintenance, vegetation control, traffic service maintenance, shoulder and drainage maintenance and bridge and structure maintenance.

Gomez added that with this allocation, the DPWH Samar 1 can assure the public of a well-maintained national road here.

Meanwhile, the same engineering district office has lined up nine tourism road infrastructure for Calbayog City.

Based on a development plan drafted by DPWH and the Department of Tourism (DOT), nine (9) infrastructure projects will be implemented from 2013 to 2016. The plan aims to make Samar a tourist haven by 2016.

These infrastructure projects will make tourist destinations accessible to the public. These include Bangon Falls, Larik Falls, Tarangban falls, Ton-ok Falls, Mawacat Slide, Lo-ok Beach, Mapaso Hot Spring, Pilar Waterfalls, Guinogo-an Caves.

DPWH said that the road projects will also usher economic activity in the mentioned areas. (NBQ/PIA 8 with Nette Gomez)

Quality assurance program tackled in a DPWH meet

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 6 (PIA) -- The issue on the Quality Assurance Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was tackled during the materials engineer meeting in Calbayog City recently.

Material engineers came from all over Eastern Visayas from Leyte, Samar provinces, and Biliran.

Material engineers design, produce, and evaluate materials and their usage. They bring valuable expertise in the industry materials.

In a press statement released to local media, Nenita Gomez, Information Officer of DPWH Samar 1 said that Engr. Brenilda Mendoza talked about the imposition of outright sanction to DPWH field engineers who refuse to provide pertinent documents during inspection or investigation.

“A department order says that all district offices should inform their field engineers to cooperate during the conduct of project assessment, that they should have all the pertinent documents at the project site at all times,” said Mendoza.

She also talked about conduct of required core tests for thickness determination for concrete and asphalt pavements.

“These requirements are geared towards effective upgrading of the quality assurance program of the department,” said Mendoza.

Mendoza applauded Samar 1st Engineering District for ranking second in 2011, when it ranked only seventh in 2010.

Southern Leyte got the number one slot, said Gomez.

Engr. Carlos Ranola, Chief of the materials and quality control section of DPWH recognized the diligence of the personnel of Samar’s first engineering district for the significant improvement on their quality assurance. (EOPT/NBQ/PIA 8-Samar with Nenita Gomez)

Catbalogan landslide victims get aid from Local Council for Women

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 5 (PIA) -- Some 15 families, who were landslide victims from Barangay Guinsurungan and Guindapunan, Catbalogan City received a sack of rice, grocery items and P540 at the city hall lobby today.

The gift-giving is a project of the Local Council for Women.

During the Women’s Month commemoration in March, the women's group had a ‘dinner for a cause’ where members and their friends bought a dinner plate of a thousand pesos each, this netted the council some P38,000.

The amount was then divided among the families who lost their dwellings and family members in a landslide in November, 2011.

The fund afforded them rice, some grocery items and a small amount of cash.

Amparo Abaincia, a mother of a child, who perished in the landslide still cries when she remembers her son, Aldrin.

“He was my youngest, although I have accepted his fate, I can’t help but cry when I remember,” said the teary eyed mother.

"will not risk my other children anymore, so my husband and I am looking for a place to stay permanently and open a small business,” she told PIA while waiting for the start of the distribution.

She said that the other families stayed temporarily at the Barangay Hall.

The other families have since moved on and are now distributed in other safer place in Catbalogan.

Another victim who survived the landslide, Barangay Tanod Danilo Roque, from time to time still feels pain on his back, he was buried with the boy who died but was immediately recovered by rescuers.

He too has relocated his family and vowed to be always on the alert. (PIA 8-Samar)

DPWH adapts coconet to prevent erosion near nat'l highways in Samar

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 4 (PIA) -- The coconut tree lives up to its name as the tree of life as coconut husks that have been decorticated are woven into coconets and used to prevent erosion that could save lives.

To support the government’s effort in promoting green engineering and climate change adaptation program, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Samar 1 Engineering District implements the use of coconet bio-engineering technology in its projects.

The use of coco fiber products for soil conditioning and erosion control is the civil engineers contribution in mitigating global warming, said DPWH 1 in a press release.

The government is also reportedly getting savings from the use of the coconet. Coco fiber woven into nets has been discovered to have unique characteristics - it is completely biodegradable, allows vegetation to settle firmly in the soil, and has excellent water absorption and water holding capacity.

DPWH Samar 1 has utilized the coconet in the rehab/ construction of drainage system along the P 10-billion Calbayog-Allen Road Project. This coconet bio engineering solutions was used in the slope protection of 67,000 square meter area of the project.

In recent years, Calbayog City and surrounding areas have experienced continuous heavy rains, floods, landslides, and road slips along the national highway.

Because of the topography of the district, soil erosion becomes a major problem. Half of the land area is considered sloping - more than 18 degrees and further aggravated by regular visits of typhoons.

The use of the coco fiber product in the engineering industry will not only protect the environment but will also provide rural employment and revive the ailing coconut industry, said Virgilio Eduarte, DPWH Samar 1 district engineeer. (NBQ-PIA 8, Samar with Nette Gomez, DPWH Samar Eng’g District 1)

PAG-ASA-Catbalogan reports more rain in May

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 3 (PIA) -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) has reported that the month of May signals afternoon rains.

“Isolated rain showers may occur in the afternoon as cumulus clouds and thunderstorms are now in the weather system," said PAG-ASA-Catbalogan chief Eddie dela Cruz in an interview.

Dela Cruz added that the days are now colder compared to last month.

“Yesterday, the highest temperature measured 34.5 degrees Celsius, this is cooler than those recorded in April,” Dela Cruz added.

Meanwhile, he said that as soon as the modernized Guiuan Weather Station is completed, the weather bureau can predict rains, when it will pour and how much is its volume.

“This is a big help to our farmers and to the people as the same weather station will also be able to predict the intensity of the tropical cyclones accurately and within the hour,” the PAG-ASA official said. (EOPT/NBQ-PIA8 Samar)

A peaceful Labor Day celebration in Samar

by (EOPT/NBQ-PIA8 Samar)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 2 (PIA) -- Samar province remained very peaceful during yesterday’s Labor Day celebration, according to the Samar Provincial Police Office (SPPO).

“(It was) Very peaceful in Samar except for one vehicular self accident where one Tintoy Gabornay died on the spot as he bumped into the railing at the national highway in Barangay Mogdo, Hinabangan, Samar,” P/Insp. Carlito Abriz, Deputy Police Director of Samar said in a text message this morning.

Meanwhile, Catbalogan City Police also reported that the city marked a peaceful labor day.

According to desk officer PO3 Toribio Acedillo, 30 PNP elements were deployed in strategic downtown streets to ensure that peace and order situation will be maintained.

“The police visibility strategy helps discourage unscrupulous elements from carrying out their plans,” Acedillo said.

A check point was also established in Barangay Socorro to check on illegal firearms and other fugitives, he added.

The police also did not record any labor group that stage a protest-rally like those in Metro Manila.

Road repair in Samar’s poorest town now in the works

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, May 1 (PIA) -- The repair of the 34.121-kilometer access road to Samar’s poorest town is now in the works.

This was learned from the Emy Bonifacio, Program Development Officer of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process –Payapa at Masaganag Pamayanan (OPAPP-PAMANA) in an interview yesterday.

San Jose de Buan is a hinterland town, and in 2003 was ranked one of the poorest in the region with a poverty incidence of 82 percent. It is accessible by road and is 74 kilometers from the capital city of Catbalogan. About 34.121 kilometers of the total road length is poorly maintained and in a very sad state where time travel by bus runs from five to six hours.

OPAPP then invited provincial heads, national government agencies, local government unit (LGU) officials, and the civil society, which recommended projects of this nature.

Even the provincial government under Gov Sharee Ann Tan has placed the road project as priority and Tan committed around P30 million for this road project.

PAMANA and LGU proponents express hopes that the concreting of this road will eventually improve the delivery of government services like agriculture, health, education, information to the rural folks, and this will also encourage the farmers to produce more.

The military also hopes that an improved peace and order situation will be brought about by the better road link to the main highway. (PIA 8-Samar)

1,000 apply for DSWD’s internship program

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 30 (PIA) -- Around 1,000 applicants responded to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) office’s government internship program in Catbalogan City.

A total of 1,145 application forms had been received since April 26 but only 859 participants were interviewed due to lack of time.

Most applicants came from Catbalogan City and only one has applied from San Jose de Buan. No one applied from the towns of Sto. Nino, Almagro, Tagapul-an and Matuginao.

Sto. Nino, Almagro, Tagapul-an are island towns off Calbayog City while Matuginao is a remote town reachable only by a four-hour pump boat rides upstream.

The applicants will be notified by DSWD-8 through a text message or a call whether they had been, accepted on Monday, April 30.

The hired applicants will work for 52 days in the community where they come from in 4Ps, Social Pension for the Indigent Elderly, Supplemental Feeding, Cash for Work and Day Care Services earning P252 per day.

Most of the applicants were aged 18 to 30 years old, many are in school, some are out of school and others have degrees and technical-vocational courses.

Eruisa Ramos, 4Ps administrative assistant said she is confident the 1,500 slots for Samar will be filled up, as some Samarnons applied at the DSWD regional office, Tacloban City. (LDL/NBQ-PIA 8, Samar with Avha Ebalde)

DSWD applicants swamp 4Ps office in Catbalogan

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 29 (PIA) -- Applicants with various backgrounds swamped the Pantawid pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) office in Catbalogan as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) accepted applications for the government internship program.

According to Eruisa Ramos, administrative assistant, applicants numbering more than a thousand appeared in the office to try their luck on the employment program.

“Graduates, undergraduates, skilled and unskilled came for the interview,” said Ramos in a PIA interview.

She said that there were even two youngsters from Barangay Independencia, Talalora town who showed up after office hours, but were accommodated just the same.

“One applicant from Daram Island town admitted he came and completed the requirements from borrowed money,” Ramos said.

Another applicant was holding a job at a pawnshop but needs another daytime job to meet the demands of a big family dependent on her. She also noted a person with disability, a commerce graduate, came, adding that this person stands a bigger chance of admission, because he is a computer literate.

“These applicants can be of use in the different programs of DSWD,” said Ramos.

Those who are computer literate can be useful in the social pension for the elderly, those who can cook can be hired in supplemental feeding, while those with social skills can be assigned in the fields as community organizer or facilitator, explained Ramos while enumerating the qualities and qualifications of the numerous applicants.

Samar has 1500 slots for the internship program.

These workers will be hired for 52 days starting May 2 until the first week of June, where they will be paid P252 a day.

The department is hopeful that when the government internship program is over, they have employed a number of youth, and have provided them knowledge, skills, and experiences that may come in handy in their future job hunting. (ldl/NBQ-PIA 8 Samar)

Army reaches out to N. Samar rural folks

by (PIA 8-Samar with 34th IB)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 28 (PIA) -- The Philippine Army through the 34th Infantry Battalion (34th IB) held a consultation-dialogue, Legal and Medical/Dental Mission last April 25 at Palapag, Northern Samar to benefit 700 rural folks.

In a press statement, Battalion Commander, Lt Col. William Penafiel said that the activity was aimed to reach out, inform and orient the barangays folks of Barangays Capacujan, Osmeña, Bagacay and Bangon, Northern Samar.

The army official urged the people to approach government agencies for their various needs instead of interacting with the rebels.

He also guaranteed that the 34th IB will continue to pursue peace and development in the Pacific towns of Northern Samar.

Capt. Ramil S. Palisoc, CMO Officer of 34th Infantry Battalions, lauded the support of the various stakeholders in the conduct of the activity.

“The cooperation of the government agencies and the LGU only means that everyone is concerned and responsive to the needs of our fellowmen, which is a true Filipino ‘bayanihan’ spirit,” said Palisoc.

Meanwhile, Palapag Mayor Florencio Batula Jr. was overwhelmed with the success of the event and deeply thanked the government agencies and the army for their convergence efforts.

DPWH to provide access roads to Samar’s tourism destinations

by (nbq/PIA 8-Samar with N Gomez)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 27 (PIA)-- Access roads leading to tourist destinations in Samar’s first district will soon be constructed.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Samar’s first engineering district in a press release said that like Samar’s Tourism Council, DPWH also envisions Calbayog City as an alternative tourist destination by 2016.

The focus of the Tourism Master Development plan provides framework and direction to tourism development plan in the three provinces of Samar, pushing DPWH-Samar 1 to provide the needed access roads.

These areas are identified in the Department of Tourism-Department of Public Works and Highways (DOT-DPWH) convergence program.

The proposed road networks lead to the water falls in Calbayog City as the main attraction in the tourism areas identified as Bangon Falls, Larik Falls, Ton-ok Falls, Pilar Waterfalls, Tarangban Falls and other scenic sites like Mawacat Slide, Look Beach and Guinogo-an Cave.

Presently, DPWH is doing site validations-needed to determine what type of development is appropriate for the tourist destination identified.

PAGASA warns of hotter days until April ends

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 25 (PIA) -- The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Senior Meteorological Officer Eddie Dela Cruz bared that the temperature will remain high until the end of April.

Dela Cruz said in a telephone interview today that he expects that rain showers will pour in May.

Yesterday afternoon though, light rain showers poured in the city but it stopped as a high pressure area prevented more downpour, added the weather officer.

The highest temperature that PAGASA Catbalogan recorded was last week when it reached 36 degrees celsius.

“Even during the early mornings when it is supposed to be cooler, it is still warm these days,” he said.

When asked if it is good, he said it is good for upland farmers as they can now plant upland rice, and it is not so good though for non-irrigated areas as the farmers then just have to wait for rains to plant rice.

It is also not too good for urban settlers as the hot days require double time for air-conditioning units and electric fans.

“High consumption of electricity peaks during summer months,” De la Cruz said.

Meanwhile, the sunny weather is favorable to farmers in Calbayog City, 87 kilometers away from the capital city of Catbalogan. Farmers are busy drying their palay, according to Adela Ocenar, city agriculturist in a text message to PIA-Samar.

Ocenar bared that a remaining 25 percent of palay is still being harvested by farmers in Calbayog City.

“The dry days do not pose a problem to the farmers yet,” said Ocenar.

Planting rice will still be in May to June for Calbayog farmers. (ldl/NBQ-PIA 8, Samar)

4Ps help transform habits of Samar beneficiaries

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 24 (PIA) -- The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) does not only temporary assistance to its beneficiaries but also ensures transformation of their character.

A beneficiary of the 4Ps, Loraina Mediana, 23, of Barangay Old Mahayag, Catbalogan City and a mother of two receives P 1,600 every two months. She said aside from education, health, and nutrition benefits, the program also helps them to change their character.

“Kasama sa kondisyon ng 4Ps ay bawal ang magsugal at mag-bisyo at dahil dito ngayon natutunan naming na mas maganda ang buhay ng hindi nagsusugal at hindi nagbibisyo (4Ps prohibits gambling and indulging in vices, we learned that life is better without vices),” she said.

“Malaki ang tulong talaga nito sa aming buhay at pagkatao. Malaki ang katipiran na nagawa nito na naidagdag para sa mga importanteng pangangailangan ng pamilya (The program is a big help to our life and character. The program allowed us to have big savings to be used for the important needs of the family),” she added.

Another 4Ps beneficiary and a father of five, fisherman Freddie Mura receives P2,800 every two months from Barangay San Roque, Catbalogan City.

“I thought at first that DSWD had planted agents in our barangay to arrest us while gambling, so I avoided it and discovered that we could save more if we do not gamble anymore,” Mura said in vernacular.

“Nahadlok ako bangin bawion ha amon an allowance nga ginhatag, pero tikang didto nahibaro kami hin pagsunod han kondisyones ngan kun kay anu kinahanglan namon sumunod (I fear that they will really forfeit the cash grant if we don’t abide by the conditions,” said Mura.

He and his family followed the conditions given to them and from there they have learned the importance why they needed to follow.

“Nakaupay ha amon ang pagsunod han kondisyones kay nahibaroan namon hin maupay nga pagkinabuhi hin waray bisyo ngan huwigo, dako nga katipiran ngan kalipayan kay may natitirok na yana bisan tala gudti. (Obeying the conditions made us feel better, we also found out that by avoiding vices, we spent less and we saved the little cash instead), " he said.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the National Government that provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition, education. (LDL-PIA 8, Samar with A. Ebalde)

Samar social welfare office conducts Rebel Returnee Profiling Project

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 23 (PIA) --The Samar Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office had started profiling former rebels on April 16-17.

This project is done by the office with the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to assess the needs of rebel returnees (RRs) and the eventual provision of the government in addressing the needs.

This is according to Emy Bonifacio, OPAPP extension worker in Samar.

According to Alma Austero Social Welfare Officer 1, they have started with some six Samarnon RRs all males, three from Sta Rita, two from Paranas town, and one from Gandara.

The livelihood program will be in effect for six years, she added.

Partner agencies in the project are Samar LGU, DepEd, Department of Health, the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP), the police, and the agricultural office in the LGUs.

Rebel returnees are former members of the communist party/New Peoples Army(NPA) who have decided to surrender to the authorities and live normal lives away from the insurgents.

There are some cases when the rebels need cash because they would really want to start a new life away from those who know them,” added the welfare officer.

Some RRs though would just like to be where their relatives are, so that the partner agencies will just extend services to the family members like health benefits and scholarships to the former rebel beneficiaries.

The profiling project is in relation to the Comprehensive Local Integration Program. (ldl/NBQ-PIA 8, Samar)

Vegetable dish wins ‘Master Gulay Chef’


A VEGETABLE recipe using indigenous ingredients bested 14 other entries during this week’s Master Gulay Chef Showdown, a prelude to the 2012 Nutrition Month activity highlighting the importance of consuming vegetables.

Patricia Lirios and cooking partner Trixia Dumaguet of Barangay Canramos, Tanauan, Leyte said their recipe is easy to prepare and affordable for poor families who want to eat nutritious food.

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Tagged as Linaw-ag na Gulay (boiled vegetables), Lirios’s recipe is a mix of onions, tomatoes, squash, malunggay, patola, okra, and eggs. What makes the recipe unique is that it is savored with “lawlaw” sauce instead of patis and lemon grass locally known as “tanglad.”

“I encourage mothers to patronize the menu. I used eggs instead of meat because it is more affordable. This will pass the taste of both young and old,” Lirios said after receiving the medal and a cash prize of P10,000.

Criteria for judging were palatability or taste (25%), use of nutritious ingredients (25%), originality (20%) visual appeal (15%), and ease of preparation (15%).

Their recipe, along with other five winning entries, will be compiled in a book scheduled for launching by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) on Nutrition Month this coming July 2012. The compilation will be distributed to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Copies of recipe will also be given to local nutrition workers as information and education material to teach families to improve their meals and food intake.

Other winning entries are Ginataang Gulay na Kamway, Pako at Alugbati (2nd place) by mothers from Calbiga, Samar; and Ginataang Gulay na may Buko (3rd place) of Maasin City local government.

Consolation winners were Tempura Vegetables by Richard Elardo of Tacloban City, Easy Vegetable Fritters by Joan Deramayo of Tacloban City, and Napoles Salad by the Eastern Samar State University in Borongan City.

NNC Regional Program Coordinator Carina Santiago said their office has released P30,000 cash to all winning entries in addition to tokens given to all participants.

“Through this contest, we want to showcase different ways of cooking vegetable using indigenous ingredients. We have to promote recipes like this because many people prefer meat and oily foods,” Santiago said.

Paranas LGU conducts an awareness campaign on Ulot watershed

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 19 (PIA) --To ensure that Ulot Watershed is protected, the Paranas local government unit (LGU) conducted an awareness campaign concerning the watershed and other protected areas within the Samar Island Natural Park.

According to Joy Salazar, Paranas’ municipal tourism officer, the activity was attended by barangay captains, chiefs of offices, national governmentagencies (NGAs), and other representatives of local governments.

Angelito Villanueva, Protected Area Superintendent, Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) explained the fragile condition of the watershed that it takes more than an advocacy campaign and promotion to ensure the protection of the remaining forest cover of the region.

In line with the activity and protection promotion, Paranas LGU will allocate budget to be determined still by the Sangguniang Bayan through a resolution, to support its task to construct and establish facilities in the area based on an approved engineering design.

This is in line with a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the LGU and the Samar Park on February 28.

Paranas passed an ordinance where a development fee is collected from persons who register as visitors or tourists at the Ulot Water Shed Eco-Tourism Loop, where torpedo boat riding is drawing visitors daily.

The Ulot Water Shed, located in the south central portion of Samar Island, is rich in forest and other resources and considered a model forest.

There are some 885 flowering plant species where 406 of them are considered endemic.

The place has also been declared as a protected area or forest reserve.

The Ulot Watershed is also a vast source of water; its annual run-off of 815 million cubic meter is more than enough to supply the domestic water requirements of the residents in the area and nearby towns. (ldl/nbq-PIA 8, Samar with A Ebalde)

DepEd opens Catbalogan Division office

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 18 (PIA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd-8) has opened a new division and appointed an officer-in-charge in Catbalogan City.

Dr. Editha De Veyra from Leyte has been installed as the officer-in-charge of the Catbalogan City DepEd Division

A motorcade around the city signaled the opening of the Catbalogan DepEd office located at San Bartolome Street, Catbalogan.

As Catbalogan became a city, it is then automatic that the DepEd will function as another division apart from the Samar Division.

The new city division will cover both public and private schools located in the city of Catbalogan with total personnel of some 757 under De Veyra’s watch.

In the simple ceremonies that followed, De Veyra formally accepted the challenge as the division head and asked the support of the personnel and teachers.

“Hindi man ako taga dito pero magiging maayos at madali ang lahat kung magtutulungan tayo. (Though I am not from Catbalogan, everything will be orderly and easy if we all help each other),” she said.

De Veyra served as OIC- Assistant Superintendent in Samar for one and half year in 2010.

She finished her doctoral degree, Doctor of Philosophy major in Educational Programs Management in 2003 at the Leyte Institute of Technology, now called Eastern Visayas State University. She started as an elementary grade teacher in 1974, and has served the department for 43 years.

The program that ushered the new city division ended with the message of Catbalogan mayor Coefredo Uy as he expressed his appreciation on the launch of the City Division. Uy also announced rice support for the city division teachers. (LDL-PIA 8 Samar with A Ebalde)

Zumarraga island health fair draws 100 mothers

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

CATBALOGAN CITY — Over 100 mothers pledged to breastfeed their infants exclusively for six months and completed their children’s immunization during the first-ever Zumarraga health fair.

The event by the Municipal Government drew some 117 lactating and 11 pregnant women, who joined the health classes and received basic pre-natal, post partum and child care services.

Municipal health officer Dr. Katerina Abiertas said in 2010, only 45 percent of the mothers in the town initiated breastfeeding within one hour after birth while only 34 percent of them gave birth with the help of a doctor, nurse or midwife.

The health fair aimed to improve the key health indicators in the island town.

Town Mayor Myrna Tan emphasized the importance of giving birth at a health facility assisted by skilled birth attendants and how it can save both the mother’s and the baby’s life.

“The construction of the new health center is already in process with the new birthing facility to encourage mothers to give birth at the center,” Tan said.

Abiertas discussed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and complete immunization.

“A mother’s milk is the most nutritious food a baby could have. Every child should be immunized to be protected from diseases,” Abiertas said.

She said they are now strengthening their health promotion activities because there are still mothers who do not give birth at the health facility even if one is accessible in remote barangays.

An audio-visual presentation on family planning, breastfeeding, tuberculosis, filariasis, anti-smoking campaign, diarrhea and dengue was also shown to the mothers.

Mothers were also able to avail themselves of the services provided by the local government, which included vital signs taking (blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate), weight recording, dental check-up and consultation.

After the consultation, they were given vitamins and medicines donated by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan.

Zero accident before and after lenten season in Samar

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 16 (PIA) -- Samar province Traffic Management Group (TMG) headed by Police Senior Inspector (PSI) Emmanuel Arteche said their record shows that there was zero accident or incident before and after the Lenten season.

Arteche assumed his post on March 16, 2012.

PSI Arteche said, “The continuous monitoring of the TMG with the support assistance from the volunteer group SUMVAC, KABALIKAT, REACT, and ALERT resulted to 100 percent safety travel along the Samar, Maharlika highways.” (LDL/NBQ-PIA 8, Samar with A Ebalde)

New birthing facility ready for use in May

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 13 (PIA) -- Pregnant women and mothers will be relieved to know that there will be a place to safely deliver their babies. In a month’s time, an expanded Rural Health Facility in Paranas, Catbalogan will be ready for use.

According to Dr. Perlie Langi, Municipal Health Officer, the building construction is already 80 percent complete and a new birthing facility will be ready to cater to residents of Paranas by May.

The Department of Health (DOH) gave P1.5 million for the construction of the building while another P1-million worth of equipment will be released after the completion of the health facility.

“This DOH project, in partnership with the Municipal Health Center, was initiated to encourage the mothers to give birth at the center,” Langi said.

The health department launched the national campaign to strengthen its advocacy for maternal and neonatal child care as there are still mothers who do not give birth at health facilities. (LDL/NBQ-PIA8, Samar with Avha H. Ebalde)

Fun run to raise funds for day care centers

by ((PIA 8-Samar with report from Avha Ebalde)

CATBALOGAN CITY — To raise funds for its day care centers, the local government unit of Paranas, Samar through the Municipal Tourism Office, will hold a fun run on April 13, Friday.

With a registration of P50, participants of the fun run themed, “Takbo Ko Para sa Gamit Eskwela ng Kabataan,” will help support Paranas’ 45 Day Care Centers.

According to Joy Salazar, Paranas municipal tourism officer, the activity will be attended by participants from the LGU, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Samar Electric Cooperative (SAMELCO 2), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the Department of Education (DepEd), among others.

The activity will start at 6:00 in the morning. It will be a five-kilometer run from Barangay Pequet, to the Paranas Municipal quadrangle.

Fun run to raise funds for daycare centers

by (LDL/NBQ/PIA 8 Samar with report from Avha Ebalde)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 11 (PIA) -- To raise funds for its daycare centers, the local government unit of Paranas, Samar, through the Municipal Tourism Office, will hold a fun run on April 13, Friday.

With a registration fee of P50, participants of the fun run, themed, “Takbo Ko Para sa Gamit Eskwela ng Kabataan,” will help support Paranas’ 45 daycare centers.

According to Joy Salazar, Paranas’ municipal tourism officer, the activity will be attended by participants from the local government, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Samar Electric Cooperative, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and the Department of Education, among others.

The activity will start at 6:00 a.m. with a five-kilometer run from Barangay Pequet to the Paranas Municipal quadrangle.

Fil-Am doctor heads 2012 PHL Independence Day council


The funny way Dr. Prospero Lim told the story, it was a choice between being a surgeon and a psychiatrist. In the end, he chose to treat mental disorders because “I don’t want to stand.”

Lim, this year’s Philippine Independence Day grand marshal, is a psychiatrist from Staten Island. This 70-year-old, unmarried doctor from Samar has more than four decades of medical practice.

“It can be painful to stand for too long,” he said. “As a surgeon, you have to stand the whole time. I cannot stand too long, masakit sa baywang.”

We both laughed. I had expected the reason to be more profound than just a matter of comfort. Something in the realm of wanting to decipher the depth of the human mind to better understand clinical depression. But that’s how Lim struck me: He was comical, down-to-earth and uncomplicated.

Although retired since 2006 from his position as director of psychiatry at Cumberland Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Brooklyn, Lim continues his private practice. “I have to keep busy, otherwise I’d get sick,” he said. “I’m now 70.”

“I cannot retire, maraming utang,” he added wisecracking.

From the time he left the Philippines, Staten Island has been home since 1977. After graduating from UST medical school, Lim interned at the St. Vincent’s Medical Center/North Richmond Community Mental Health Center, and later set up the psychiatric unit of Bailey Seton Hospital.

Throughout his psychiatric practice, he found time to be involved in numerous faith-based and humanitarian organizations and social clubs, including the San Lorenzo Ruiz Association in Staten Island and the Katbaloganon Association USA.

“I love to talk — and listen,” said Lim on why he enjoys his job immensely.

He does not treat a lot of Filipino patients because of the “good support system.” Filipinos who are emotionally troubled have families, friends, and even the parish priest to turn to.

The Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (Pidci) chose Lim to be this year’s grand marshal. He apparently met three important criteria: he is positive role model, he is actively involvement in FilAm or mainstream community, and he is an effective fundraiser.

“I’m just lucky,” he said, brushing aside the attributes that clinched him the title. “I think they like me.”

He is “very amiable,” said his friend Myrna Gutierrez.

As grand marshal, Lim was feted at a ballroom gala on March 24 in a tradition rich with music and pageantry. There, he was given an uproarious welcome by the Pidci officers and his supporters from the medical profession. In response, he pledged to do his best to make this year’s Independence Day parade on Madison Avenue – touted as the biggest outside of the Philippines – bigger than in previous years.

“First, I need to galvanize my support,” he told The FilAm, referring to more than a dozen organizations he has founded or is affiliated with.

Only then, he added, can he work to heal the fractured Pidci organization that has been hit by infighting within its ranks.

“The one thing I’d like to see is to have some kind of unity in Pidci,” Lim said. “It always happens that if a candidate loses, he and his followers don’t participate in the new administration. I’d like for that to stop.”

“But we can always change,” Lim said confidently. “I believe in change.” - The FilAm

Puey Quiñones– from runway to redemption

by Pam Pastor

Philippine Daily Inquirer

It was a scandal of epic proportions. In February last year, fashion designer Puey Quiñones was caught trying to pass off a department store-bought jacket as his own creation. Shea Gamboa, the furious bride-to-be whose groom Jhon Maala commissioned the suit for their wedding, tweeted about what people soon referred to as “a fashion scam.” Within hours, the tale of retagging had become a full-blown controversy that brought the designer to his knees. Rewind Growing up in Samar, Quiñones did not dream of becoming a fashion designer. “I didn’t even know what fashion was. I grew up in a small town. I was older than 10 when we got our first TV.” He had visions of being on the center stage but he wasn’t sure how. “I tried singing, I joined contests. But puberty hit and my voice changed. So I tried dance. Then I said, this is it. I’ll become a teacher, I’ll teach dance.” But his father, a policeman, had other plans for him. “He asked me to take up Political Science. I think he was hoping na magiging straight pa ako.” After three years of Political Science at University of Eastern Philippines, Quiñones wasn’t happy at all. He heard that his aunt, who was based in Manila, was going into partnership with fashion designer Dennis Lustico.

“I asked her, can I just work for you? You don’t have to pay me. Gusto ko lang lumayo.” He made the big move to Manila and started earning money by volunteering to wash his aunt’s car. Soon, he started working for Lustico. “I was his assistant. I was very happy doing that—working on the finishing touches, sewing the buttons, answering the phones.” Although he was starting to feel the urge to create his own designs, at first, Quiñones resisted. “I always thought fashion was only for rich kids.” But then he started to sketch. “I sketched every day tapos nilalagay ko sa table ni Dennis para makita niya.” When Bergamo CEO Mel Meer was looking for a designer, Lustico told Quiñones that he was ready. “I submitted my sketches and Mr. Meer loved it. I was so happy but nervous,” Quiñones recalls.

It was 2000 and he was only 20. Fame Quiñones was just starting. He joined competitions and won over clients and fashion editors with his bold, dramatic and unorthodox designs. His clientele, who included celebrities, grew exponentially. Ironically, it was the fame that he worked hard for that led to his downfall. “I went overboard. I felt untouchable. Hindi ako babagsak. I was having a great time, I had a fabulous life. Lahat kaya ko. Nasusunod lahat ng gusto ko. Anywhere I wanted to go, I could go. Anything I wanted to eat, I could eat. I felt the power. I abused it. I came from nothing, then I had so much. I was living beyond my means. I didn’t know how to control it anymore.” Perhaps with that power came the feeling that he could get away with anything. Then, the scandal. Damages At the height of the controversy, Quiñones issued a public apology. He paid Shea and Jhon almost P200,000 in refunds and damages. But his troubles were only beginning. “I lost a lot of clients. I lost a lot of money. I lost projects. Brides canceled their orders and asked for refunds. I said I’ll try to refund as long as I can. I did it and I was willing to face the consequences.”

Quiñones’ mother, a teacher, came to his aid. “She was the one who produced money to refund my clients. She took out loans. I realized, wala talagang tutulong sa ’yo kundi family mo.” It was his family and his closest friends who kept him afloat. “Yung mga real friends talaga, mabibilang ko lang sa aking kamay. My family and si Dennis Lustico, whom I call “mother,” never siyang tumalikod sa akin; si Ronald Magalang whom I call “father”; si Ivarluski Aseron, Pia Campos, Carmina Sanchez.” Quiñones says practically everything he’s earned has been used to pay off debts. “The whole year, I had no income. But I’m dealing with it. I’m not running.” The scandal took a toll on him. “I got depressed. I couldn’t design. For months, I couldn’t go out of my room. I couldn’t eat. I was just crying and praying every day. I couldn’t afford to see people. I couldn’t go to the mall. I kept thinking, what about my fabulous friends? My fabulous lifestyle? What about the parties? Hindi na ako mai-invite sa social gatherings.” But after weeks of reflection, Quiñones’ priorities changed. “Before this happened, I was not a religious person. I was very modern. Pero sobrang nag-iba yung mundo ko. One day, I went to church and said, ‘Okay, Lord, pagod na ako.’ I was tired of dealing with the controversy, the criticisms, the people bashing me. I deserved it, I accepted it. I didn’t blame anybody. But I was ready to face a new life. I wanted to surrender.” That moment, which came six months after the scandal, was pivotal. “Doon ako nagkaroon ng strength ulit. I said to God, I am willing to lose everything, just give me back my peace. I was ready to give up fashion. I was ready to go home or go to another country and start a new life. When I surrendered, gumaan yung pakiramdam ko. I said, Lord, Ikaw na bahala sa akin. Just give me the right direction, give me what you think is best for me.”

8th ID Commanding General retires

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 7 (PIA) -- The 8th ID Commanding General Mario F Chan ordered his sergeant at arms: lower my personal flag, as his final order as he faced his division for the last time before retiring.

After 38 years of service in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Battalion said his last piece on April 3 in front of army officials, heads of agencies, and soldiers.

“My service ends here,” Chan said.

Chan joined the AFP as second lieutenant in 1978 after spending four years in the Philippine Military Academy.

“The rich and fulfilling experiences, the glorious days I spent with my comrades, the triumphs, frustrations, the learning, the challenges, the duties and responsibilities,” Chan described his years with the army.

The general is credited for working hard to quell insurgency in the region, for his peace initiatives in Samar.

Army Chief Major General Emmanuel Bautista commended Chan for his peace initiatives in Samar where his biggest accomplishment was the declaration of Southern Leyte as insurgent free and Leyte province with “manageable conflict-affected" and development-ready area.

BGen Gerardo Layug will be taking over from Chan thereon.

Regional Directors of national agencies, some local chief executives joined Bautista in gracing the turn-over ceremony at the 8th ID, Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City. (ldl/NBQ-PIA 8 Samar)

Delgado: The real fight has not yet started

by (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

SAMAR gubernatorial aspirant Rosa Jessica Uy-Delgado said the fight is not yet over despite the unexpected loss in the recall bid to oust the Tan siblings from their posts in the province.

Delgado’s reaction came after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc affirmed the suspension of all pending recall petitions across the country notwithstanding the motion for reconsideration, which the petitioners filed to pursue the recall elections in Samar.

The recall bid was filed against incumbent Provincial Governor Sharee Ann Tan-De los Santos and Vice Governor Stephen James Tan but was suspended due to lack of material time and insufficiency of funds to hold the elections.

She said they are disappointed on the recent decision of the en banc but would not let them be frustrated in their call for reform in the province.

Delgado is the eldest daughter of slain Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy.

“Even if the recall was not pushed through this does not mean that the reform we are aspiring for the province will also end. We will continue the advocacy for reform because the real fight has not yet started,” she said, hinting that the fight might end up in the 2013 midterm elections.

While Delgado has not formally declared her political plans to run for the gubernatorial post in the province, the Liberal Party has earlier declared its stand to support Delgado to run against Tan-De los Santos had the recall election was pushed through.

Citing an amassed support from supporters and local chief executives who are political allies, she said she and Samar Board Member Eunice Babalcon will officially proclaim their political plans on May 1 this year.

Babalcon has also expressed her interest of running as vice-governor in said province had the recall bid was realized.

“I thank all the mayors and our leaders who are giving us support and for giving me and my family adequate time to decide about my plans this 2013. All of these will be answered during the death anniversary of my father this May 1,” she emphasized.

New Commander

by Restituto A. Cayubit

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar — The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8ID) based here has a new commanding general. Maj. General Mario Chan who was the 8ID’s commanding general since August 25, 2010 relinquished his command to his successor yesterday, April 3.

The new 8ID commander is Brigadier General Gerardo Layug who was installed in a change of command ceremony presided over by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army at Camp Lukban command headquarters here.

SC declares Samar solon natural-born Filipino

by Mark Merueñas/RSJ, GMA News

The Supreme Court has declared Western Samar Rep. Milagrosa "Mila" Tan a natural-born Filipino who is qualified to sit as a member of the House of Representatives.

In an en banc resolution dated March 3 but released to the media Tuesday, the high court denied Wilfredo Estorninos' petition contesting a House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) ruling in favor of Tan.

“After a careful examination of the records, the court resolves to dismiss the petition for failure to show that the HRET committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack, or in excess of jurisdiction, in finding that [the] respondent is a natural born citizen, and therefore, qualified to sit as a member of the House of Representatives,” the high court said.

The high court said the HRET "correctly applied [to Tan's case] the doctrine" used in the case "Jose Ong Jr. v. Electoral Tribunal of the House or Representatives" in which Ong Jr. no longer needed to formally declare his choice of Filipino citizenship since his mother was a natural-born citizen anyway and his father was a naturalized citizen.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2010 disqualified Tan to run for a seat in the House of Representatives, saying she was not a natural-born citizen.

But the HRET later ruled that Tan had the legal qualifications to run as congresswoman of Western Samar's second district.

Tan was born in Palompon, Leyte and now lives in Catbalogan City, hometown of her late husband Ric.

She had served as Samar governor for three terms.

P 30-M worth of poverty reduction projects targeted for Catbalogan

by Ninfa Iluminda B. Quirante

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, April 2 (PIA) -- The Catbalogan local poverty reduction program targets P 30 million worth of projects this year.

In a talk with Jose Obrero, the local government operations officer, he said that the projects and programs are results of the workshops identified both by the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) and the civil society represented by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) basic sector and the LGU-accredited organizations.

One distinct feature of the LPRAT is the active involvement of the civil society in identifying projects that are meant to benefit the marginalized sector of society.

They will validate and attest that the prioritization process were for the real pro-poor programs and projects.

Ranked one to five are projects that involve aqua-culture like rehabilitation of Marine Protected Areas, construction of artificial reefs, eucheuma/mussel and oyster farming, and the enforcement of Bantay Dagat (sea borne patrol).

These projects will be implemented by the Department of Agriculture based on the proposals submitted by the LPRAT.

There are also six health projects like health facilities improvement for TB DOTS, enrolment to Philhealth, information/ IEC campaign of the new birthing facility and others.

As for the Department of Education (DepEd) repairs and rehab of school buildings rank 18- 20.

Other national government agencies that partner with the LGU in these projects are the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of National Defense – Office fo the Civil Defense (DND-OCD), and the National Irrigation administration (NIA).

According to the guidelines,the LPRAT scheme uses the bottom-up approach where the national government recognizes that projects for implementation must be what people need in the barangays where they themselves will identify it rather than by those above to just sporadically distribute projects which most often the rural folks do not need.

Given the scarce LGU resources and pre-allocated Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), the LGU could specifically prioritize programs that are really intended for the poor constituents. (EOPT/NIBQ-PIA 8, Samar)

NEDA approves 3 road/bridge projects in Aurora and Samar


The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved Thursday three road/bridge projects amounting to P4.3 billion—the Project for the Bridge Construction for Expanded Agrarian Reform Communities Development (Phase II-Umiray Bridge), the Baler–Casiguran Road Improvement Project, and the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project (SPCRP). These projects aim to improve distribution of goods and mobility of people in the provinces of Aurora and Samar. The P798.56-million Umiray Bridge Project, proposed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), involves the construction of a 358-lineal meter bridge that will cross Umiray River along the boundaries of Barangay Umiray in Dingalan, Aurora province and Barangay Umiray in General Nakar, Quezon province. About P711.21 million will be funded through the Government of Japan Grant Aid Program, and the remaining P87.35 million will be sourced from DAR’s regular budget. “This project aims to improve the distribution of agricultural products as well as increase the incomes of people in four ARCs [agrarian reform communities], 11 barangays of Dingalan, Aurora and 19 barangays of General Nakar, Quezon,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr., who is also NEDA Board Vice Chairperson, said. The second road project is the P1.66-billion Baler–Casiguran Road Improvement Project, which involves the completion of the remaining 50.95 kilometers of unpaved sections of the 116-kilometer road. The unpaved sections run through the municipalities of Baler, Dipaculao, Dinadiawan, Dinalungan, and Casiguran in the province of Aurora. The project is proposed to be financed through the overseas development assistance (ODA) loan from the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of P1.44 billion and counterpart funding from Philippine government of about P219.69 million. “The project ensures the interregional connectivity between Region[s] 2 and 3. This will improve travel time and transportation of goods from five hours to one and a half hours,” Paderanga said. The third road project, the SPCRP, involves improvement of the 27.75-kilometer unpaved arterial road sections of Samar Pacific Coastal Road and construction of three bridges: Simora, Jangtud, and Pinaculan. The P1.81-billion project will be financed through a P1.6-billion ODA loan from the Korea EDCF and counterpart funding from the Philippine government amounting to P207 million. Paderanga said this aims to enhance the development of potential agricultural lands and fishing grounds, as well as facilitate distribution of goods and services in the area. The NEDA Board is the governing body that sets major development policy directions for the Philippines, whereas the NEDA Secretariat serves as its research and technical support arm. President Benigno S. Aquino III is Chair of the Board, and Paderanga serves as Vice Chair. The NEDA Board members are: the Secretaries of Agriculture, Budget and Management, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, Public Works and Highways, Science and Technology, Tourism, Trade and Industry, Transportation and Communications, and Presidential Management Staff; the Deputy Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; the Chairpersons of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Metro Manila Development Authority, and Mindanao Development Authority; the Governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao; and the President of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines.

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