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AUG (19-30) 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS

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BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

>>> AUG (19-30) 2008 <<<

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Aug 30, 2008

East Visayas fights calamity effects, hikes rice yields

By Vicente Labro

Philippine Information Agency

TACLOBAN CITY -- Despite the calamities that struck Eastern Visayas early this year, palay and fishery production in the region increased during the first semester of 2008.

The production of palay (unhusked rice) during the first six months of this year reached 565,174 metric tons (MT), more than 10 percent higher than the 508,000 MT produced in the first semester of 2007, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported.

Leo Cañeda, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture, attributed the increased production to the farmers' continued planting of high yield rice varieties and the government subsidies that encouraged farmers to plant more.

Cañeda also noted that farmers in Eastern Samar and Leyte, which were badly hit by floods last February and a typhoon last June, were able to recover from the calamities as a result of good programs.

He added that the rate of growth is also higher because the first semester data reflected the results of the November-April cropping season, which is the major cropping season in the region.

Cañeda also expressed optimism that the region would surpass its rice production target of 1.02 million MT for the year 2008.

The NSCB data also showed that the fishery sector's production reached 112,200 MT in the first semester, higher by five percent than the 107,000 MT production posted last year.

Justerie Granados, assistant regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, on Friday attributed the growth of the fishery sector to the increasing production in aquaculture, especially in grouper farms in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, and the mariculture zone in Merida, Leyte, that has 233 fish cages.






Aug 30, 2008

Leyte folk switch to prepaid electricity

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Syvette Dacuyan used to spend at least P1,000 for electricity but since she shifted to the prepaid mode, she just spends an average of P800 per month.

Since then, Dacuyan said she could go on vacation for days or even months without paying for the electricity that she had not consumed.

Dacuyan is among those who have opted for a prepaid account with the Leyte II Electric Cooperative (Leyeco II) availed of by more than a thousand consumers within the cooperative's coverage area in Tacloban City, and the towns of Babatngon and Palo.

"The prepaid metering is convenient for me. I travel a lot. Unlike the conventional meter, you will not be bothered with the thought that you will still pay the monthly minimum though you did not consume any electricity," said Dacuyan, a freelance news writer.

All she has to do is switch off the meter to stop the power service before leaving her home.

Dacuyan is one of the residents of a subdivision in the city where 240 residents chose the prepaid metering, said subdivision project accountant Edgar Babon.

Dacuyan, who has a 3-year-old son, said she bought P100 worth of electricity, which has an equivalent of 17.8 kilowatts per hour and good for one-week consumption. Aside from several energy-saving light bulbs, she said she also uses a refrigerator, a computer, a flat iron and electric fans.


"The prepaid system teaches us to be conscious of our electricity consumption," Dacuyan noted.

In contrast, Belen Morante, a government worker whose residence use postpaid metering, said she has to set aside more than P1,000 for their monthly power consumption.

Her family of seven people has a television, a computer, refrigerator, three electric fans, rice cooker, flat iron, light bulbs and fluorescent lamp.

The prepaid metering system is not new in this city of over 200,000 people, said Hector de Veyra, Leyeco II internal auditor.

He said Leyeco II introduced the system in 1999 as part of its effort to address its huge systems loss of tens of millions of pesos.

Just last year, the utility lost "unaccounted kilowatts" due to pilferage amounting to P11 million, he pointed out.

Since the system was introduced among its consumers in 2000, those using the prepaid system have reached 1,800, De Veyra said.

He said the number of prepaid customers remained lower than the postpaid ones that number 35,000 as of this month.

Still, Leyeco II considered the program, which is the first of its kind in the country, a success, De Veyra said.

"We don't make it mandatory among our members but we offer it to them as an option to the conventional system or the billing system," he said.

Buying the electricity under this system is just like buying a "load" for one's cellular phone.

A consumer goes to the Leyeco II office and pays for an electric load of at least P100. Leyeco II gives the consumer a credit transfer voucher, which has 16 digits.

The consumer then enters the numbers into the meter's keypad. The service is open 24 hours Mondays through Sundays.

A consumer has to shell out P7,000 for the gadgets, keypad and a meter reader imported from South Africa, the first country in the world to introduce the system, De Veyra said.

This is higher than that of the conventional meter at P5,000, which could be paid on installment basis.

The prepaid system also helps reduce the workload of their meter readers since they no longer have to read the meters, De Veyra said.

"And of course, we have a 100-percent collection. It is actually cheaper and economical (for both the cooperative and the consumers)," he said.






Aug 27, 2008

LMP Leyte prexy trains for new role as mayor mentor

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In order to prepare himself for his new role as a mayor mentor, Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu, is scheduled to attend the Course Enhancement and Training Activity on August 27-29, under Professor Edel Guiza, senior adviser of the Mayor's Development Center.

Mayor Tiu who is the general legal counsel of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines was invited by Mayor Gerardo V. Calderon, Mayor's Development Center President and CEO and Mayor Ramon N. Guico, Jr. LMP National President and Chairman of MDC, to be a member of the faculty of the Center and to share his valuable expertise with his fellow mayors.

It was learned that Mayor Tiu is one of the twenty mayors from all over the country, who were identified and chosen to prepare for their new role as mayor mentors.

During the two-day training, the mayors are expected to discuss and share their ideas on the various topics which will become part of the Strategic Management in Local Governance Course. At the end of the training, the mayors are expected to finalize the training design and assignments.

This is in support to the League of Municipality's advocacy to capacitate its mayors to become effective development managers and instill good governance in all municipalities within the country wherein the Mayors Development Center is currently in the final phase of negotiations with the Hans Seidel Foundation and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation for the conduct of training for the local chief executives.

Mayor Calderon, MDC President and CEO, informed that the training activities are part of the comprehensive program on capacity development for the municipalities that will be crafted by LMP and MDC.

What makes the training activities different from those being offered by other training institutions is that this program will be crafted and implemented by award-winning local chief executives and other experts in the field of local governance, the MDC President and CEO said.






Aug 26, 2008

Campaign now in full blast for Taclobans HUC bid

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- It's all systems go for the campaign of the city government to make Tacloban a highly urbanized city.

And in the words of one of the closest aides of Mayor Alfred Romualdez at the City Hall, they are now in "full blast" on their drive on the reclassification bid of Tacloban.

"We are now in full blast. All the 63 heads of offices and division chiefs attended a briefing (presided by) Mayor Romualdez and (city legal officer Sergio) Sumayod," Bernardita Valenzuela said Friday afternoon.

According to her, during the briefing the mayor and his legal officer initiated, they explained to them the ramifications once Tacloban become an HUC.

She also said that its more than a thousand employees would also be brief about highly urbanization plan of the city government led by Mayor Romualdez.

"And our employees, in turn, will explain to the members of their respective families and their communities why the mayor is pushing for the highly urbanization of Tacloban," Valenzuela added.

This early, she defended the move of the city government to mobilize the employees to advance its plan on the reclassification bid of the city. Valenzuela said that the employees could not be charged of "politicking" which is not allowed under our civil service laws.

"What we will be having is a plebiscite where our people will ote on a particular issue and not a person," Valenzuela said.

She also said that Tacloban, base on the requirements lay down under the 1991 Local Government Code, is already a highly urbanized city.

"What we are after is just an official declaration; that Tacloban is now a highly urbanized city," she said.
Under the 1991 Local Government Code, a city can be classified as an HUC if it has a P50 million annual income as certify by its local treasurer and with a population of about 200,000.

The city has about 217,199 population based on the official result of the 2007 population census conducted by the National Statistics Office.

The chief officer of the action center of the current administration, echoing what the mayor had relayed to them, said that there are reasons why an HUC status is being sought.

Among the benefits that the people of the city would enjoy once it become an HUC, Valenzuela said, are more financial assistance could be expected from the national government; its share on internal revenue allotment would increase that could translate to a better service to its people and more investors would be coming in to the city to do business.

Aside from these, with a bigger income and population, more policemen would be deployed in the city; would have its own water system; a possible own congressional representative and increase of salaries and benefits of its employees, Valenzuela added.

She also repeated what the mayor had explained earlier on the non-increase of taxes and other fees and charges being levied by the city government to its taxpayers and on the fear that there would be merger of barangays.






Aug 26, 2008

Eastern Visayas tops rice output goal in first semester

GMA news.tv

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - The Agriculture department said rice production in Eastern Visayas surpassed growth targets in the first half of the year.

Production rose 11.46% to 576,000 metric tons (MT) from January to June this year. This surpassed the 10% growth target for the period and raised hopes that the production target of 1.02 million tons for this year would be achieved.

Citing the Bureau of Agriculture Statistics (BAS) estimates, department regional executive director Leo Cañeda said production in the first semester is normally higher than in the second semester because this includes the wet cropping season from November to April.

Mr. Cañeda, however, was confident that production will also grow in the second half of the year. The target growth for the second half of the region is 7.89%, less than the 10% first semester goal.

"I am confident that just as we were able to surpass our growth target of 10% during the first semester of 2008, we will also register a higher growth in the second semester," Mr. Cañeda said.

For the whole year, the department targets an output of 1.02 million MT. But based on the forecast of BAS, Region 8 will be able to produce 1.04 million MT this year.






Aug 25, 2008

Magnitude 5.7 quake hists S.Leyte; aftershocks expected

By Amita Legaspi

GMA news.tv

MANILA, Philippines - A magnitude 5.7 earthquake hit Southern Leyte Monday morning. Although no damages were reported as a result of the tremor, state seismologists warned residents against possible aftershocks.

In its bulletin, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the earthquake - which was tectonic in origin - occurred 10:43 a.m.

Phivolcs said the earthquake was felt at Intensity V in Sogod, Southern Leyte; Intensity IV in Surigao City; Intensity III in Tacloban and Intensity II in Cebu City and Camiguin Island.

State seismologists said the Leyte segment was the possible source of the ground movement, noting that the epicenter of the earthquake was located 40 kilometers of Maasin town and has a depth of 23 kilometers.






Aug 23, 2008

AFP medcap serves 1,184 Northern Samarnons

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- About 1,184 Northern Samarnons were served during the two-day medical and dental outreach mission sponsored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, 803rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, on August 12 -13 at Barangay Baybay, Catarman, Northern Samar.

Lt. Col. Ernersto Simon, Brigade CMO Officer informed that the medical and dental mission which served the people of four Barangays, was conducted in coordination with the Provincial Government of Northern Samar, and the Municipal Government of Catarman.

He said that 932 medical and 252 dental patients from Barangays Airport Village, Talisay, Abad Santos and Baybay were served during the two-day activity.

The outreach mission dubbed as "People's Day of Catarman" which was a brainchild of Lt. Gen. Ike I. Inserto, Commander of the AFP Central Command, aimed to alleviate the living condition of the disadvantaged fellowmen by taking good care of their health needs so that they will be more capable of undertaking economic activities. The medical and dental civic action is a flagship program of the AFP Central Command.

In his speech during the Opening Program, Lt. Gen. Inserto expressed his deep appreciation to Mr. William Medici, a kind-hearted Catarmanon who is the Regional Director of the PCSO based in Cebu City, for facilitating the release of the amount of P75,000 worth of medicines.

Present during the said activity were Col. Eduardo del Rosario, commander of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, Vice Gov. Antonio P. Lucero, Mayor Alita E. Rosales, Brgy Chairwoman Mila Edria of Brgy Baybay, Brgy Chairwoman Yolanda Talavera of Brgy Airport Vilage, Brgy Chairwoman Pilar Adriasola of Brgy Talisay and Brgy Chairwoman Luz Marino of Brgy Abad Santos, Barangay Health Workers, School Teachers of Brgy Baybay Elementary School whose classes were temporarily suspended to give way to the 2-day activity.

During the simple closing ceremony on day 2, the four Barangay Chairwomen of the four barangays expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the men in uniform for spearheading the outreach program.

Lt. Col. Lucino A. Astrero,Jr., who represented the Brigade Commander, expressed his gratitude for the support extended by the provincial and municipal governments, the members of the Medical and Dental Teams from the Central Command AFP and 8th Infantry Division, the medical and dental volunteers from the Provincial Health Office headed by Dr. Alejandro Lucan and the Municipal Health Office of Catarman headed by Dr. Myrna Trongcoso, the Barangays officials, barangay health workers and the Barangay Tanods, all of who, made the 2-day MEDCAP activity successful.






Aug 21, 2008

Alfred exhorts Taclobanons to believe in themselves

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez exhorts the people of the city to "believe in themselves" as he renews his promise to make Tacloban one of the competitive cities in the country.

The city mayor said that for him to realize his goal to make the city more economically progressive and developed, he needs the cooperation of the people.

"We can make it. Taclobanons are talented people. The only problem that I have noticed is that we lack the confidence; that we can't compete with others. This kind of attitude must be changed if we want to become a more progressive city," Romualdez said.

According to him, he feels "bad" when he hears comments that the people of this city not only lack "drive" to make Tacloban a better city but also lack discipline.

"It really breaks my heart for I know we can make it. Look, when I first introduced the one-way traffic scheme, my critics said that it was bound to fail. But hey, no one can argue with me that it is working," he said.

"It's because our people are disciplined people. It is just a matter of how you implement the order. Now, with the traffic lights installed, our traffic flow is going smooth," the city chief executive said.

He also urged his critics to check their information before they criticize the programs and projects initiated by him and by his father, former Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez.

He said that when his father decided to construct the Tacloban City Convention Center and the new Abucay Bus Terminal, "our critics said that these would be just white elephants."

"But both projects are now among our sources of income. These ventures are earning. The stalls at the convention center are filled up and we are now earning P2 million a month for the operation of the bus terminal from its previous income of P200,000," he said.

The mayor said that if the Taclobanons would only fully extend their cooperation to all the programs and projects undertaken by the local government unit, there is no way that the city would not become more developed and progressive.

Romualdez added that he is determined to make the city among the country's most developed economically.

He also defended his plan to make Tacloban a highly urbanized city saying that this would encourage investors to come in to the city.

"I am fighting for it because I know that once Tacloban will become an HUC, it will benefit us all. This is not for any personal reason but for all the Taclobanons," he said.

Mayor Romualdez, in all the fora and speaking engagements that he is invited, do not fail to discuss about the HUC bid of Tacloban.






Aug 19, 2008

Tanauan riders dominate 2nd Malysian Skimboarding Competition

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Tanauan, Leyte riders once again dominated the Penang, Malaysia International Skimboarding Competition held on August 16, emerging as champion in the groumet division while the other one is first runner up in the open division.

Carl Gabas, a lanky high school student, bested riders from Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong and other parts of the skimboarding world to become the champion in the groumet division of the 2nd Penang Malaysia International Skimboarding Competition.

On the other hand, Leo Espada, last year's champion, is this year's first runner up in this year's open category. The two are the only riders representing the Philippines in the competition.

The winning of the two Tanauan riders strengthened his determination to develop the skimboarding area in Tanauan with the help of President Arroyo and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Mayor Roque Tiu said that the two were accompanied by Carl's father. He added that he was not able to join the riders because the competition was held on the fiesta of the municipality, an event he could not afford to miss.

The riders' trip was made possible with the support of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and the Municipal Government of Tanauan, Leyte.

Carl's determination to join the Competition was so strong that even when he and his father encountered problems in processing their passports, he did not give up.

He and his parents sought the intercession of PIA Director Olive Tiu who immediately helped them by coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs Regional Director and the National Bureau of Investigation Regional Director.

Together with Carl and his parents, Mayor Tiu expressed gratitude to Director Venturanza of the Department of Foreign Affairs Region 8 for expediting the release of the passports.

Carl was late in the processing of his papers as the invitation came in late also, Mayor Tiu said. To make matters worse, Carl's father lost his wallet and so he could not apply for NBI Clearance. Thanks to Director Tony Pagatpat, his only ID left was honored, Mayor Tiu said.




    
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