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AUG (01-20) 2009 TACLOBAN NEWS
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BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

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Aug 20, 2009

Bench plans to expand in Tacloban

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A local franchisee of Bench clothing is optimistic of expanding in this city after it recently opened a new branch at the Robinson's Place Tacloban.

Melvin Rompal, the sole franchisee of Bench in this city, said that they are ready to open a new shop if there will be a new mall that will locate in this city.

"After ten years of Bench's presence in this city, we decided to expand because items are sellable considering its standard price nationwide. This is our second branch. We expect a better market in the next years. We have experienced that despite of the economic crisis, people will still buy our products if they want it," Rompal said in an interview.

The Bench store has been operating in downtown area of the city since 1999, next to a shop owned by the family. Other than being a franchisee of Bench, Rompal is also the owner of Kevin's and Brian's store, Tita Del's eatery, and an internet shop.

"The company is committed to set up more shops in the city. We will go along with expansion of malls here," he added. The new branch is located within the 148 square meter area at the ground floor of the Gokongwei-owned mall. The owner put up a P7.5 million investment.

The franchisee is convinced that the city is becoming a good market for popular clothing brands such as Bench.

"When we opened the first Bench store in Tacloban 10 years ago, we're able to note a return of investment after a year and a half. Even with the presence of many competitors now, we are still optimistic to recover the investment within two years," he explained.

Rompal said that Bench conducted a study in Ormoc City and Samar area but they concluded that it will take years before they can set up stores in those areas.

Beginning in 1987 with a small store selling men's t-shirts. It's website revealed that Bench grew at a unparalleled rate by being the pioneer in the use of celebrity endorsers, television ang giant billboards to propel a fashion brand that offers premium quality products at affordable prices.

To date, Bench has grown to include a ladies' line, underwear, fragrances, house ware, snacks, and a wide array of other lifestyle products, with the distinction of being present in virtually every retail space in the country.

Recently, the company was able to establish worldwide network of stores and outlets, reaching as far as the United States, the Middle East, and China.






Aug 20, 2009

Bookshop opens branch in Tacloban

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- C and E Bookshop opened its first branch in the Eastern Visayas Region, at Burgos Street here in Tacloban City.

City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez led the grand opening of the newest branch of the C and E Bookshop, which was held Tuesday. She was assisted during the ribbon-cutting by company officials headed by branch manager Richard Morales and account executive Jose Enriquez.

In a brief message during the opening ceremony, Councilor Romualdez congratulated the company officials for successfully putting up its first-ever branch in the region.

"We, in the city government, are very much happy with your opening of a new bookstore. That signifies that more investors are now doing business here since Tacloban was declared a highly-urbanized city," Councilor Romualdez said.

Morales, in an interview, said that what pushed the bookstore chain to set up its first branch here is the business-friendly climate and the fast growth of the city's economy since it was declared a highly-urbanized city (HUC) several months ago.

"The company is optimistic with its prospects because of the fact that Tacloban is already an HUC and also because it is a major commercial hub with a business-friendly environment," Morales stressed.

"In addition, we also want to be near as possible to our regular clients, many of whom came from this region. Our clients, majority of them medical students and practitioners, no longer need to go to Cebu and other far-off places to purchase our books and other materials," he added.

The company sells foreign medical and science books, locally-authored textbooks for basic education (pre-school, elementary, and secondary levels), college textbooks, local trade books, biographies, law books, and many other kinds of foreign and locally-produced books and reference materials.

While their focus is on their newest branch, Morales said that they are looking into expanding their operations and presence in the region in the future.

"We will not stop here. We are looking into putting up additional branches in other parts of Eastern Visayas in the coming years," he pointed out.

A division of the C and E Publishing, Inc., the bookstore chain was founded several years ago by the couple Candy and Eugenio Lopez. Currently, C and E Bookshop has 14 branches nationwide, including branches in Cebu, Iloilo, and Bacolod.






Aug 19, 2009

City gov't launches
'ITxt si Mayor'

By Danylie P. Condes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City Government of Tacloban, in cooperation with the Bayan Telecommunications, introduced the ITxt si Mayor @ 8585 that provides an easy access for the residents of Tacloban to the City Government during its launching yesterday at the Balyuan Convention Center.

The main objective of the service is to let the Taclobanons voice and ideas be heard as well as to get the pulse of what people think and feel. It also provides easy access to communicate ideas and issues via mobile communication.

"This is a venue to get the bulk of the people, ano ba'ng nararamdaman mo, ano bang nakikita mo I-text mo lang...it provides an easy access to communicate issues viable by phone or your mobile device like your BWL or span," Jose Adolfo Cornello Jr., EV Market Head, Bayan Telecommunications, said during a press conference held at Balyuan Convention Center before the launching of the new service yesterday.

He also revealed that the service is available for both Smart and Globe subscribers.

"Right now we are launching Itxt si Mayor sa 8585, so anybody who has a mobile phone can already text to Mayor (Alfred Romualdez), both Smart and Globe users," he said.

Mayor Romualdez extended his thanks to Bayan Telecommunications for having this project because, according to him, it will be really of great help in monitoring concerns of the local residents of Tacloban City as well as in providing immediate actions from the local government.

Furthermore, he said that it would be good for there is now a closer communication between the Local Government and the people.

"Talagang mas gusto ko itong ganito. I hope it will develop further and it will also give an opportunity sa mga Taclobanons and everyone so that people here in Tacloban will know also exactly what is happening. So, nagpapasalamat ako sa Bayan Telecommuications for doing that and let's hope for the best," he said.

To avail of the services of ITxt si Mayor, there is a corresponding charge which is P1 for Smart and Globe subscribers and P0.50 for Span users. To Smart users, send your texts to 053-341-8585, while Globe subscribers could send their messages through 2963-053-341-8585.






Aug 17, 2009

Councilor Romualdez leads inauguration of Day Care Center in Brgy. 54-A

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez led the inauguration on Thursday, August 13, of a newly-completed day care center in Barangay 54-A, this city.

Assisted by Chairwoman Lilia Tan of Brgy. 54-A and other barangay officials, Councilor Romualdez ceremonially cut the ribbon to formally open the day care center. Earlier, Fr. Tobin of the Redemptorist Church led the blessing of the said building.

Councilor Romualdez lauded Brgy. 54-A officials for coming up with the new day care center.

"I wish to congratulate all of you for having this new building. A day care center is a second home for children, and I want you to take care of this building so that it will be able to serve your children for a very long time," Councilor Romualdez stressed.

Chairwoman Tan, in an interview, said that she and the barangay councilors had the children in mind when they planned to build the structure.

"With the day care center, the children are made to feel a different world, where they have the freedom of space, and a comfortable room where they can learn," Tan stressed.

According to her, the new day care could accommodate more than 60 children.

"What we are lacking here is a day care teacher, but Councilor Romualdez promised to us that the city government will provide one. Once the promised teacher arrives, we will have two day care classes here, one in the morning and one in the afternoon," Tan said.

Tan disclosed they were able to complete the building, whose construction cost amounted to more than P200,000, with financial assistance from the city government and the office of Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

"Without their assistance and support, this new building would not have been realized," she pointed out.

Because of their importance in improving the quality of basic education in the city, the city government under the administration of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez had made the construction of day care centers in different barangays as one of its priorities.






Aug 15, 2009

Police intensifies search of 'Agaw-Bag' suspect in the city

By April Rose Q. Uykieng

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The police has intensified their search for the unidentified "Agaw-Bag" suspect that has been shifting his operations in various areas of the city.

The suspect has been spotted three weeks ago at the V&G Subdivision as he attempted to snatch a bag one early morning from a local resident as she was walking to catch a jeepney ride.

SPO4 Romeo Mesias, head of the V&G police office, said in an interview that they had received complaints for the past two weeks that the suspect had already been successive in snatching bags from four victims and most of these incidents happened in the mornings.

"We then coordinated with the barangay chairman of V&G 109 and 109-A and the barangay tanods to have an operasyon "Pukot" to arrest this snatcher. We did morning roving around the subdivision up to Caibaan and Marasbaras areas and also after 6 p.m. although for the past week the suspect was not seen," Mesias explained.

Mesias said that probably the suspect learned that he was being watched because he fled the area and went on his "Agaw" bag operations at Sagkahan Bliss and last heard he also was seen near Coca-Cola.

"But we will sustain the operation Pukot here in V&G, with the cooperation from the barangay tanods and the Marasbaras and Sagkahan Police in order to catch this snatcher and file a case against him by all those he victimized." Mesias added.






Aug 14, 2009

Tacloban City Astrodome to be upgraded next year

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Tacloban City Convention Center (TCCC), popularly known as the Tacloban City Astrodome, will be upgraded next year.

This was bared by City Building Officer Danny Fuentebella in a recent interview.

Fuentebella stressed that the upgrading of the Astrodome is part of the plan of the city government to convert the astrodome into a sports complex

"It is not only the city hospital that will be upgraded and improved, but also the astrodome," he pointed out.

The city building officer disclosed that the upgrade of the said facility will involve the putting up of a soccer field, beach volleyball, basketball, and volleyball courts on the grounds of the astrodome complex; and the extension of the concrete sidewalk.

"The dream of sports complex will become a reality once the upgrade will be finished," Fuentebella said.

Aside from that, according to Fuentebella, the city government will also install a ramp and an elevator inside the facility.

"Those will facilitate the entry and exit of disabled persons," he emphasized.

Fuentebella revealed that the upgrade of the astrodome is one of the priorities of the administration of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez for next year, and that the city government will allocate P10 million for the project.

"The upgrade will begin early next year. Hopefully, before the end of 2010 it will be finished," he said.

In a separate interview, City Sports Director Joel Bugho welcomed the impending upgrade of the Tacloban City Astrodome.

"That's a very good development. That will help a lot as we aim to become the sports capital of Eastern Visayas," Bugho said.

Built during the administration of former Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez at a cost of more than P300 million, the TCCC is the biggest and most modern astrodome and convention center in the entire Eastern Visayas region. Presently, the astrodome serves as a venue of a variety of local, regional and national events.






Aug 13, 2009

City gov't to upgrade
Tacloban City Hospital

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government-run Tacloban City Hospital in Marasbaras will get a much needed upgrading and facelift, according to City Building Officer Danny Fuentebella.

Fuentebella said that the upgrading of the hospital facility would be financed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the City Government of Tacloban to the tune of P18 million.

The city building officer stressed that the sorry state of the said hospital prompted the Administration of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez to prioritize its upgrade this year.

Fuentebella said that the upgrade would start next month.

"The proposed upgrade of the city hospital is already in the bidding stage. After the bidding process is completed, the upgrade will begin by September of this year," he pointed out.

The upgrade of said medical facility, Fuentebella revealed, will involve the construction of a new delivery room, nurses' station, pharmacy, and emergency room; repair of the outpatient department and the fencing; expansion and completion of the emergency room; and the repainting of the entire facility.

The city building officer pointed out that the upgrade will be bring more and better medical services for the more than 200, 000 residents of the city.

"What you will see, once the upgrade is completed, is a bigger, better, and more modern Tacloban City Hospital that will serve better the medical needs of Taclobanons," Fuentebella stressed. "We would like to thank the DOH for its support to the city government."

The Tacloban City Hospital, which is being run by the City Government of Tacloban, is one of the two government-run medical facilities here in Tacloban. The other is the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC).

"Once we are finished with the project, we will be going for a bigger undertaking, which is the construction of a new, 100-bed hospital in the vicinity of the New Abucay Bus Terminal," Fuentebella ended.






Aug 12, 2009

Exclusive power grid for Leyte pushed

By Jack Gadaingan

Manila Bulletin

Tacloban City -- A study to create an exclusive Leyte Grid for the power supply consumption of Leyte province is underway, considering that it is the biggest source of electric power in the country.

This was disclosed by Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla in the wake of continuous calls for lower electricity rates by Leyte consumers, as well as those from neighboring provinces in Eastern Visayas.

The 107,625-hectare Leyte Geothermal Production Field (LGPF), which straddles Ormoc City and Kananga town, generates 708 megawatts supplying the power needs of Visayas and Luzon.

Among the generation facilities located there are the 231-MW Malitbog plant and the 130-MW Upper Mahiao plant, both in Kananga, and the 180-MW Mahanagdong A & B plants in Ormoc.

Petilla laments the fact that since Leyte is locked into the Visayas Grid, it shoulders expenses incurred in supplying power to other regions, with these expenses being passed on to local power consumers.

"Having an exclusive Leyte Grid will mean that we would only be paying for our own generation and transmission charges," Petilla said, "and we would not have to carry the burden of having to shoulder the cost of bringing electric power to other regions."

Petilla, along with heads of big business locators in Leyte, is asking the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to provide the province with a preferential rate since the power it uses comes from within the area.

Installation of an exclusive Leyte Grid, the Leyte governor said, may prove even more beneficial to local power consumers in the long run.

Still, he underlined, this is a long-term plan with many aspects that have to be studied first. If found viable, Petilla said, "we can proceed to set a time frame for its implementation."






Aug 10, 2009

Tacloban City police to have new building next year

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The plan to put a new building for the Tacloban City Police force will push through next year.

This was disclosed by Tacloban City Police Chief Brigido Unay in an interview at his office Friday.

Unay said that he already talked with City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and that the mayor told him that the putting of such new facility is one of the priorities of his Administration for next year.

"Construction work will commence next year. Hopefully, before the end of year 2010, we will be able to relocate to a new headquarters with the active support of Mayor Romualdez," he said.

According to Unay, the proposed new building for the Tacloban City Police Office (TCPO) would be a two-story structure that would be constructed either in a vacant lot near the City Engineers' Office (CEO) or at the back of the DYVL radio station.

The police chief revealed that the city government will finance the construction to the tune of more than P 18 million.

Unay said that he is optimistic to the prospect of relocating to a new building.

"We will have a more spacious and modern station. Besides, from that site, we could respond better to crime situations and people could easily locate our headquarters and seek assistance from us," he pointed out.

Asked what will happen to their old building, Unay replied it will be divided into two police sub-stations.

"Station 1 will cover the Downtown area up to Marasbaras, while Station 2 will be in charge of maintaining peace and order in the northern barangays, New Abucay Bus Terminal, and V&G Subdivision," he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Unay revealed that the TCPO had instituted additional security measures to effectively deal with the reported rise in crime incidents in the city.

These measures, according to the police chief, are the deployment of more policemen in the streets and the putting up of more checkpoints in strategic areas of the city.






Aug 07, 2009

MCH controversial route to Robinsons ok'd

By Gerardo V. Acaba

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Finally the long awaited route for motor- cab- for- hire (MCH) to Robinsons supermall was launched this morning by the City Traffic Division and the Civilian Traffic Enforcers Office.

The city traffic chief, Police Sr. Insp. Mariano Edgar Callera, headed the occasion together with the City Civilian Traffic Enforcers Officer Ret. Col. Salvador "Buddy" Estodillo by leading a convoy of highway patrol group and about 30 MCHs.

After parading in the city proper, the convoy headed for Robinsons supermall and there occupied a part of its parking lot intended to be the pick-up point of the said MCHs.

In an interview with the city traffic chief, Callera disclosed the re- routing is a compliance of long-standing permit given by the City Mayor Alfred Romualdez which was issued on June, 2009. "We finally made it possible after series of consultations with the other agencies concerned," Callera added. When asked to whom the permit was awarded to, he said it was the United Motorcab Drivers of Tacloban (UMDT) under the leadership of Benedicto Corilla.

According to Corolla, other transport group has nothing to worry about. Their concentration will still be in downtown area. Whenever they head for Robinsons supermall, they already have passengers therefore they can not pick-up along the way. When asked how many are their members, he said "thirty and growing."

In support to the said activity, Brgy. Chairman Norman Mojados of Brgy. 60-A, mobilized his barangay tanods in clearing the roadsides. "The re-routing helped us a lot. It decongests our traffic and at the same time cleaned the sidewalks. In fact, we have an existing ordinance preventing double-parking and sidewalk vendors, but my tanods find it impossible to be realized.

"The presence of traffic police helped us a lot," he reiterated.

Also present during the said affair was the representative of the city mayors office through its community extension program (CEP), Wilfredo Novela, a community organizing supervisor. He said that one of the main thrust of the office is bringing the city government closer to the people and the people to the city government. This activity is just an indicator of Mayor Alfred Romualdez' general treatment of the sectors of the poor, one is the motorcab drivers and operators.

"CEP is on its way now. Days ahead will be a series of consultation with the grassroots. Listening, making them decide on their own, empowering them on vital decision- makings the newly highly urbanized city is up to," Novela disclosed.






Aug 05, 2009

P23-M drainage system projects completed

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- More than P23 million worth of drainage system projects were completed by the Administration of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez since January of last year.

This was according to data furnished to the media by Engr. Ed Manadong of the City Mayor's Office (CMO).

Manadong said that nine drainage system rehabilitation and construction projects were implemented and finished by the city government at a cost of P23, 773, 264 from January 2008-July 2009.

These projects, according to the same data, are the rehabilitation of drainage system in Brgy. 92 (Apitong) worth P345, 117; construction of drainage in Shopping Center, Rizal Avenue worth P628, 147; construction and rehabilitation of grouted riprap in Brgy. 100 (Scandinavian);

Also finished in that same span of time were rehabilitation of drainage system in Brgy. 86 (San Jose) worth nearly P1.5 million; Construction of drainage system in Brgy. 92 (Apitong) worth more than P3 million; repair/ rehabilitation of concrete stairways and drainage system in Brgy. 3 (Upper Nula-Tula) worth more than P12 million; rehabilitation of drainage system in Brgy. 86 Ursula Street worth P 1.5 million; and construction of drainage system in Barangay 92 costing P 3.3 million.

According to Manadong, who is in-charge of monitoring infra projects implemented in the city, some of the said drainage system projects were constructed by the City Engineer's Office (CEO), while others were implemented through private contractors

The completion of said projects was hailed by officials and residents of the aforementioned areas.

Sol Velasco, a barangay official from Apitong, for one, said that flooding is no longer a big problem in their place as a result of the project implementation.

"Before, every time it rains, our area is instantly becomes flooded. But now, because of the newly-completed drainage project, the flooding problem in our barangay is more or less solved," she stressed.

Added another resident of the said barangay, "we no longer have apprehensions and fears of flooding every time the rainy season approaches."






Aug 05, 2009

City gov't donates 15 more thermal scanners to schools

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- An additional 15 thermal scanners were donated by the City Government of Tacloban to different schools in the city.

The latest donation was in addition to the 12 thermal scanners that the city government gave to the Department of Education (DepEd) City Division and to several other schools last week

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez turned-over the scanners to the heads of the different schools during the "Barangayan" held at the Anibong mini-gymnasium, recently.

Among the schools that received the thermal scanners were Marasbaras National High School (MNHS), Tacloban National Agricultural School (TNAS), Caibaan Elementary School (CEM), Sagkahan Elementary School (SES), Fisherman's Village Elementary School (FVES), Don Vicente Quintero Memorial School (DVQMS), Bagacay Elementary School (BES), Cirilo Roy Montejo National High School (CRMNHS), JARMS, Palanog Elementary School (PES), and V and G Elementary School (VGES).

The aforementioned schools each received one thermal scanner.

Mayor Romualdez stressed that the equipment donation is part of his Administration's contribution in the effort to prevent the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) in the city. He said that the city government, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), is working very hard and is very much serious in its effort to stop the spread of the dreaded disease in the Tacloban area.

To date, Tacloban City has 68 confirmed A (H1N1) cases. The A (H1N1) outbreak has led to the suspension of classes of several schools in the city.

The heads of the beneficiary schools, on their part, thanked Mayor Romualdez and other city officials for the donation. They said the thermal scanners that have been donated to them would be very helpful in preventing the spread of Influenza A (H1N1), particularly in the schools.

A thermal scanner, which is also known as Non-Contact Forehead Digital Thermometer, is a medical gadget used for measuring the body temperature. Once an operator points the scanner on the forehead of a person, the body temperature of the said person is taken and recorded after two seconds. Each scanner cost around P11, 000.






Aug 04, 2009

Tacloban, EV officials mourn passing away of Cory

By Sharon Evite and Melanie Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- This city is known as a Romualdez-Marcos country. This however did not stop supporters of the late former president Corazon "Cory" Aquino to struggle against the dictatorship of then strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Engineer Billy Roseño said he was among those who led rallies in Tacloban against Marcos in the ‘80s.

After Cory's husband, former senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was assassinated, Roseño was among those who led prayer rallies for Cory in Tacloban in 1983.

Along with other members of the Cory Aquino for President Movement, a signature campaign to push Cory presidential campaign was launched in 1986 in Tacloban. "We were not expecting that we can get many signatories because you know, this is considered as Imelda country," Roseño said as he reminisced the past.

For him, Cory's legacy should always be remembered. " I think the people should be thankful for Tita Cory for giving us or restoring democracy in our country. It's the best legacy she gave not just to our country but to the whole world," Roseño added.

After the death of the first woman president of the country, Roseño said Cory should now be an example to the Filipino people. "We should care about what's happening to our country. We should assert our rights. We should be informed of the issues at hand," he said.

Joining the world in mourning for the death of Aquino, groups Movement for Action and Reform and the Friends of Cory which are based in Tacloban are set to sponsor a mass on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Sto. Niño Church.

EV solons, officials

Meanwhile lawmakers and local officials in Eastern Visayas were one in expressing their condolences as well as citing the country's loss in the passing away of the former president.

"I'm sad, not only for myself but the nation. We've lost a democratic icon," said Biliran Rep. Glen Chong after hearing the news about the former president's death.

Other lawmakers in Eastern Visayas also expressed the sentiment but also said they hope that the fervor and passion for the country as well as for democracy that Cory exemplified would still live in the hearts of Filipinos.

"I hope that people would be inspired and have the same stand for democracy," said Rep. Sharee Ann Tan-Delos Santos of the second district of Samar.

"I know President Cory is happy now," said Calbayog Mayor Mel Sarmiento who also chairs the Regional Development Council (RDC).

Samar 1sst district Rep. Reynaldo Uy meantime expressed his gratefulness to the Aquino who he said had appointed him as Vice-Mayor of Calbayog which had made him a politician aside from being a doctor.

"If it was not for her, I wouldn't be in politics right now," he said.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez meanwhile asked the people to pray for the loved ones of Cory.

"I see it's God will. For now, let's pray for the loved ones she left behind because they need all the support now," he said.






Aug 03, 2009

Icot mulls creation of Leyte grid to reduce power rates

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said there is a study presently being made on the possibility of having an exclusive Leyte Grid for the province's power supply.

This, the governor said amid continuous call to lower power rates in Leyte province and even neighboring provinces within the Eastern Visayas region considering that the biggest electricity source is located here in Leyte.

"As of now it is just a plan while a study is being made if this idea is possible and if it could proved viable," Gov. Petilla said in an interview with the local media.

He said, with Leyte locked with the Visayas grid, expenses for power supplied to other regions are also passed on to local power consumers.

"We would only then be paying for our own generation charges, our own transmission charges and not carry the burden for costs of transmission to other regions," the governor said.

That is why, he added, the province together with big company locators in Leyte pleaded with the Energy Regulatory Commission to provide the province with a preferential rate since the source of power is located here.

Instituting an exclusive Leyte Grid, the governor disclosed, may prove even more beneficial to local power consumers in the long run.

"However, this is a long-term plan which still many aspects to be studied. In case, it would prove viable, we can then set a time frame for its institutionalization," Gov. Petilla said.

The 107,625-hectare Leyte Geothermal Production Field (LGPF), which straddles Ormoc and Kananga, generates 708 megawatts to supply the power needs of Visayas and Luzon.

Among its facilities are the 231-MW Malitbog plant and the 130-MW Upper Mahiao plant, both in Kananga, and the 180-MW Mahanagdong A & B plants in Ormoc.

Earlier, the governor together with officials of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corporation and Philippine Phosphate Corporation personally appealed to ERC Chair Zenaida Ducut to provide the province a preferential rate and be spared from the power rate hike being sought for by the National Power Corporation.

These two big businesses located in Leyte expressed fear of mass lay-offs, and much worse, closure, if power rates in the province would continue to increase, saying they would not be able to sustain millions more for their power bills.






Aug 03, 2009

Cory's death mourned by the people of E. Visayas

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The death of former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino was widely mourned in Eastern Visayas.

For ordinary persons like Lolita Ditchon, 72, the passing away of the country's first lady President was so huge that she could not help but cry.

"The first time I heard the sad news over the radio, I could not help but cry. It was such a huge loss not only to her family but to the entire nation. She has done so much for our country," Ditchon, who recalled seeing the former President during a political rally during the 1986 presidential campaign.

She said that it was the only time Aquino visited this city, known to be a "Marcos country."

The premises of the Santo Nino Church were festooned with ribbons in yellow, the color associated with the former leader.

For Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Aquino's passing away would not mean that the Filipino nation would forget her contributions.

"Cory led the Filipinos to recover our democracy through a peaceful revolution which later inspired other nations," Daza, who is the only opposition governor in Eastern Visayas, said.

Daza was named by the former President as a commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government in 1986. The provincial board of Northern Samar had earlier filed a resolution for the speedy recovery of the former leader.

The former President died Saturday at 3:18 a.m. due to cancer of the colon. Aquino, 76, was the country's President from 1986 up to 1992. She was hailed as an international icon for democracy.

She was swept to the presidency after the peaceful People Power I revolution. The historic event ended the administration of Ferdinand Marcos who held power for 20 years.

FM stations in the city played one of the songs that reverberated during the 1986 EDSA People Power I "Magkaisa" by Verna Lisa. "It's our humble way of giving tribute to her," Larry Brown, disc jockey of Star FM said.

Veteran radio broadcaster Francesca "Ate Babes" Custodio said that Cory should be credited for bringing back democracy in the country.

"I just hope she did not die in vain," she said. "I believe the entire nation is in deep sorrow for her loss," she said. Their radio station, DyVL, was known to be one of the critics of the Marcoses for its suppression of press freedom.

Journalist Carolina Montilla wore a yellow ribbon as her way of extending her condolences to the family of the late President. "She gave so much to us, including our freedom," Montilla, who was among the journalists who went into exile during the Marcos dictatorship, said.

Father Amadeo Alvero, spokesperson of the Palo archdiocese, said that Archbishop Jose Palma together with all the priests and religious of the archdiocese expressed their deepest sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of the former President.

"We will surely remember her in our prayers. May the Good Lord reward her of countless works and sacrifices for the Filipino people. Her passing away is surely a great loss to us all but we take comfort in the certainty that many are inspired of what she did for our country," Alvero said.

Masses for the eternal repose of the soul of the former President are expected to be held on Sunday.

The Friends of Cory-Tacloban Chapter also expressed its sorrows on the death of the former President.

"We were blessed that for having Cory Aquino as our leader and every Filipino should be thankful to her for restoring democracy in our country. We would not be enjoying the freedom we have today if it was not for her," Billy Roseno, organizer of the said group, said.






Aug 03, 2009

H1N1 scares visitors away from E.Visayas

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A group of Chinese businessmen in the city admitted that they've been noting the negative impact of the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) virus in business operation.

Go Tic Ching, president of the Tacloban Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said that many guests have changed their minds not to visit the city even after making hotel reservation due to the virus scare.

Ching, who heads the Uytingkoc Development Corporation, which runs Asia Stars Hotel, said that they have incurred a 20% loss especially in hotel business between June and July.

"This is because of too much publicity in the national media about quick transmission of the illness in the city. Many have called us to cancel their reservations. It creates fear among visitors," Ching said in an interview.

"The closing of schools affect also to the business since it sends a bad message to many costumers," he said.

Eastern Visayas has more than 200 confirmed Influenza cases with hundreds placed under observation by the health department.

"We have joined the information drive to the parents and children to follow guidelines of the Department of Health to avoid getting infected," Ching added.

Despite the illness' bad effect to their business, the official expressed satisfaction of the government's effort to arrest the virus. "The government is trying their best. What more are we going to ask as of now? We have our limit also," he said.

Earlier, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) regional director Buenaventura Go-Soco said that as of now, the effect of the virus is limited to those who have been infected with the flu.

"We can connect it with the inability of the person to work, which means lost productivity during the period of illness. We do not see a major impact on economic output as a result of the spread of the virus," Go-Soco told Leyte Samar Daily Express in previous interviews.

Considering that "it doesn't take a long time for an infected person to get well, it is not really a significant lowering of productivity," he added.

Secondly, he said that the flu it is not widespread and not affecting a large portion of over three million population.

"It is still at early stage. Those affected were able to resume work and some come back to school," he added.

In terms of education, Go-Soco pointed out that "the system will adjust so that lost times in schools will be recovered within the year."

Meanwhile, he explained that the virus has been spreading in different parts of the world and not just in the Philippines. The fact will help sustain the tourism industry in the region.

"Maybe, those who have plans to come will put off their plans to visit the region but eventually, they will come if they really want to see the place," the official stressed.

He noted that visitors have been coming to Tacloban and Region 8 despite news reports of virus spread. Airline companies have been seeing high volume passengers coming to Eastern Visayas.






Aug 02, 2009

Modern public market soon to rise in Tanauan

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The much-awaited modernization of the more than 90 perimeter tiendas located at the Tanauan Public Market at Brgy. San Roque will soon be realized, Mayor Roque A. Tiu informed.

This development came after the Philippine Veterans Bank (PVB) approved the project at a cost of P48.250M, Mayor Tiu said.

The pre-engineering works is now ongoing and once approved, it will be submitted for bidding after publication in the internet, Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and in a newspaper of general circulation.

Mayor Tiu said that this has been the felt need of the people of Tanauan specially of the present tenants thereat as they have been experiencing for a long time now the inconvenience of the dilapidated building.

The rent and other financial obligations of the tenants for the new building will be very much lesser than what is obtaining in the area, Mayor Tiu said. A new three storey building is being constructed across the market and the rent for the ground floor only is reportedly very much higher than the projected rental of the new market tiendas.

It is expected that the bidding will be conducted soon and construction will start immediately if everything will already be in order according to the Bids and Awards Committee Chair Jun Mueva who is also the Budget Officer of the Town.

Meanwhile, the Veterans Bank offered to the LGU of Tanauan a computer software for free on the electronic Business Permit and Licensing and electronic Real Property Tax. Aside from this freebie, the bank also offered for free the establishment of a payroll system using a card and biometrix system. The card can also be used for ATM and ID. The Bank also informed that an ATM machine maybe installed at the Municipal Hall to service the LGU employees, Pepsi and New Leyte Edible employees, Police and Fire Personnel, Teachers and other National Government offices situated in Tanauan and the residents not only of the town but also the neighboring towns.

Should this happen, Town Mayor Roque Tiu said that we will be the first town to have these modern facilities at least in Eastern Visayas to service its people.






Aug 01, 2009

PGMA leads nation in 10-day mourning for former President Cory Aquino

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is on an official visit in the United States, has declared a ten-day period of national mourning, upon learning of the death of former President Corazon Aquino in the early morning of August 1.



"Today, the Philippines lost a national treasure," President Arroyo said as she announced over national televisions of the ten-day period of national mourning.

President Arroyo said that the former President helped lead a revolution that restores democracy and the rule of law to the nation at a time of great peril.

"The nation will mourn her passing and our hearts go out to the family at this hour of grief and sorrow," President Arroyo said from the United States where she met with President Obama at the White House.

A separate statement which was issued by Malacanang stated, thus:

"Former President Cory has been the country's icon of democracy. She has restored democracy and continually defended it during her rule from those who challenge the hope that was brought about by the Edsa 1 people power. President Aquino was also the inspiration of so many nations around the world that aspired for a government that is free from tyranny and from the bondage of dictatorship. We are one with the entire Filipino nation in prayer and we extend our sincerest condolences to the family of the late president Cory Aquino."

Former President Aquino, 76, who was battling colon cancer for about two years, died at 3:18 a.m. of cardio-respiratory arrest, after being confined at the Makati Medical Center for more than a month due to loss of appetite.

Her legacy was the restoration of democracy and its institutions in the country when she led a bloodless, military-backed people power revolt in 1986 that toppled the dictatorship of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

In a media briefing, Senator Noynoy Aquino, the only son of the late president, informed the media that the remains of his mother will be brought to the De La Salle University where it will lie in estate.




    
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