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FEB (24-28) 2009 TACLOBAN NEWS
HOME » TACLOBAN NEWS

BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

>>> FEB (24-28) 2009 <<<

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Feb 28, 2009

First call center in Region 8 formally starts operations on March 2

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Eastern Visayas finally has its first call center, thanks to the unrelenting efforts of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla who is really determined to make Leyte and the Eastern Visayas Region, an IT hub.

Illinois-based APAC Customer Inc. will start its operations in Leyte, on Monday, March 2, 2009 as the first call center locator not only of the Leyte ICT Park but as the first call center in the Eastern Visayas Region.

Governor Petilla announced the inauguration of APAC last week, during the launching of eSkwela ICT Center in Tanauan, Leyte.

APAC, a leading provider of customer care service and solutions for market leaders in healthcare, financial services, business services, publishing, travel/entertainment, and communications, was one of the business leaders and investment groups which met with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in New York during her US trip in June of 2008.

No less than APAC's CEO, Mr. Michael Marrow will be around during the inauguration. He will be accompanied by APAC Vice President for International Affairs, Mr. Doug Almond. US Embassy Consul for Commercial Affairs, Mr. Patrick Wall, is one of the important guests during the inauguration where the first call from its client MEDCO will be received.

APAC's 3,000-square meter site, the only call center of its size in Leyte, will initially have 140 employees before filling up its capacity with 1000 workers coming from around 22 universities and colleges producing around 6,000 graduates every year.

Governor Petilla said the presence of APAC, a major BPO firm, in the province would help ease the unemployment not only of Leyte but of the entire Region 8.

APAC Customer Services, Inc. is a leading provider of customer care services and solutions for Fortune 500 market leaders in healthcare, financial services, business services, publishing, travel and hospitality, and communications. APAC partners with its clients to deliver value-added solutions designed to enhance bottom line performance by serving their customer service needs.

APAC is publicly held (Nasdaq: APAC) with nearly 35 years of experience and more than 8,300 professional contact management employees across the U.S. and the Philippines. APAC is looking for candidates to fill both full-time and part-time positions. The company has job openings year-round with additional opportunities available during the holiday season.

In addition to their customer call management sites across the U.S, APAC also has a growing atHOMETM program which allows some of their employees to work from home while serving the customer care requirements of their clients.






Feb 2
7, 2009

Rehab of DZR Airport underway despite global economic crisis

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas premier airport would continue notwithstanding the global economic crisis.

In fact, initial bidding for the project has been scheduled next month, Merla Negradas, area manager of the Civil Aviation Authority-8 (formerly known as Air Transportation Office) said yesterday.

"We still remain optimistic that despite of the economic crisis, the redevelopment of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport will still continue. In fact, there is a scheduled bidding next month for this," she said.

Negradas, however, said that considering the huge amount that would be needed for this project, the scheduled bidding would only cost around P500 million.

"The (entire) redevelopment project would be done on a piece- meal basis due to the big amount involved," the ATO-8 said.

The rehabilitation project of the DZR Airport is estimated to cost P2 billion.

Next month, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) would construct a building next to the office of ATO-8 as part of the preparation for the rehabilitation work.

It is the DOTC which would oversee the entire project, Negradas said.

Involved on this P500 million worth work are site development, relocation site of families living along the areas that would be used for the expansion of the airport named after an uncle of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

At present, improvement of the airport's terminal building worth P10 million and construction of shore protection wall and the grading of the runway shoulder with cost at P72 million is on-going.

The rehabilitation of the DZR Airport has been in the pipeline for over 10 years now but for some reason, the project failed to materialize. It has been in operations since 1973 occupying 90 hectares of lot.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez had earlier proposed to undertake the rehabilitation of the airport through the build and operate transfer (BOT) scheme. However, the DOTC has yet to act on this proposal of the city government.

Negradas said that there is really a need to pursue the rehabilitation of the DZR airport to accommodate both the growing number of passengers as well as the increasing number of domestic flights, mostly from Cebu and Manila to this city.

Last year, DZR served 308,379 incoming passengers and another 310,322 outgoing passengers.

This number of passengers is relatively higher compared to the 2007 number: 256,177 incoming passengers and 253,789 outgoing passengers.

The country's two leading airlines, Cebu Pacific and the Philippine Air Lines, have a combined seven flights a day for Manila and four flights on a daily basis to Cebu.

Negradas also revealed that another airlines company, Seas Air, is set to start its Manila-Tacloban operations next month.

"The company has set a tentative flight on March 15 using Airbus 319 which can accommodate 168 passengers," she said.

The Tacloban airport is considered to be the region's premier airport. Other airports in the region are located in Ormoc City in Leyte; Calbayog City in Samar; Borongan in Eastern Samar and Catarman in Northern Samar.

 






Feb 2
7, 2009

Limpyo Tacloban Monitoring Team to conduct a regular inspection tour around the City

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Councilor Romualdez disclosed that the Limpyo Tacloban Monitoring Team will conduct a regular (weekly) inspection tour around the City beginning this week.

The monitoring team, which is composed of officials and prominent individuals from this City, was created recently to check on the implementation of the Limpyo Tacloban beautification program.






Feb 26, 2009

Proliferation of illegal numbers game a big problem of PNP

By Miriam Garcia Desacada

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Senior Superintendent Doroteo Palconit, provincial PNP director of Leyte, yesterday expressed alarm over the proliferation of illegal numbers game locally known as "Pik-3" or "suertres" which, he said, is a big problem than illegal drug operation in the province.

Suertres or 3D, a component of the daily lottery draw by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) according to Palconit, is giving headaches not only in Leyte but also in other provinces inside and outside the region.

Because of this problem the office of the Leyte PNP provincial Office early this month reiterated his order to the 42 police chiefs of the province to intensify their campaign against illegal gambling wherein he identified the towns of Baybay, Calubian and Bato all of Leyte whose now on their rampant proliferation despite of the PNPs all out war against illegal gambling.

Palconit, in an exclusive interview with the Leyte Samar Daily Express, also disclosed that there are 20 Leyte-based suertres-financier who are targets to be neutralized if only an all out support and cooperation of the public and the local chief executives will be given to the police authorities.

" I already ordered my 42 police chiefs to stop illegal numbers game operations in the province, otherwise they will be relieved from their post, or arrest them if evidence warrant," Palconit said.

Reports reaching his office revealed that unnamed personalities planning to enter politics in the upcoming 2010 elections are financing suetres to earn more income and sufficient fund that would be utilized as logistics in the political exercise.

Earlier, top ranking officials of the PNP have candidly expressed their views and opinion that policemen in the field are very much willing to religiously enforce the anti-illegal gambling law, but what hinders the enforcement is that the non-support of some local chief executives.

Palconit said that drug problem is no longer a problematic illegal activity compared to illegal numbers game.

"We monitored less supply of shabu while marijuana supply and demand is now high, but illegal gambling remains to be the number one problem in my area of concern," he added.

The government-run lottery's televised results of Suertres, a three-digit number lottery operated by PCSO, is keeping masiao alive because the daily draws are being used as basis for the winning combination of the illegal numbers game.

Masiao, which is popular in the Visayas, is illegal.

Last year the rampant illegal operation of suertres got the attention of PCSO national officials, as they even asked the help of National Bureau of Investigation to immediately stop operating the numbers' game because its proceeds "benefited the poor."

Instead, the government must provide jobs to those involved in the variation of the illegal three-digit numbers game.

Palconit, however, said he could not say what alternative form of livelihood would be given to those involved in the illegal numbers game.

Ironically, the PCSO came up with Suertres to counter masiao, which was highly popular in the Visayas and Mindanao especially in the 1980s and 1990s at the height of the jai-alai games played in Manila.

It was earlier admitted by Eastern Visayas police regional director Chief Supt. Abner Cabalquinto that the problem was alarming in the region but he remained confident that local leaders could carry out his order -to eradicate the illegal operations that also got some students hooked.

Cabalquinto said he already met some mayors in the region and asked them to help in the campaign.

Masiao had weakened after the jai-alai frontons closed. But masiao operators have found a ray of light on Suertres.

As of this writing, Palconit identified the town of Tanauan as the only "illegal-gambling free" town because of the support of Mayor Roque Tiu to the PNP's campaign against illegal gambling.






Feb 25, 2009

Napocor to hike Visayas electricity prices in March - report

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

Electricity cooperatives in Leyte were dismayed by a report that the National Power Corporation (Napocor) will be increasing power rates in the Visayas in March.

Allan Surpia, Leyte II Electric Cooperative (LEYECO II) board member, said that the news was painful for both consumers and electricity cooperatives.

"This is the painful news. Why is that we have the higher power rate when we have the energy source?" he said, referring to the power sources in Leyta like the Tongonan geothermal power plants.

"This is really hard for consumers especially in these times of crisis. But the only way for consumers to cope with this is to reduce electricity consumption so that they can have lower bills," he said.

Surpia stated, however, that fighting the increase would be hopeless. "We have not yet received the formal communication from Napocor, but definitely there would be an increase," he said.

LEYECO II, an electric cooperative servicing consumers in Tacloban City, Palo, and Babatngon, reportedly buys its electricity from the National Transmission Corporation (Transco), which is supplied by Napocor.

LEYECO II currently charges residential power consumers P 5.57 per kilowatt hour while commercial power consumers are charged P5.33 per kilowatt hour.

Napocor power rates are reportedly set to increase by P0.46 per kilowatt hour in Luzon, P1.14 in Visayas, and P0.71 in Mindanao. The company, which has been filing for power rate increases since 2005 to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), was reportedly seeking an increase to recover the fuel and generation costs of its independent power producers (IPP).






24, 2009

In Tacloban City Several department heads in City Hall to be relieved?

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Several department heads in City Hall might just get their exit passes from Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

This was revealed by one of the department heads, who also disclosed that the first to exit from his post was Erwin Oledan who was transferred to the Physical Fitness and Sports Development office from being the head of the City Licensing Office.

"He was the first to go. He was transferred effective last Thursday and many more department heads would be relieved from their posts," the department head, who requested anonymity, said.

However, Pinky Brosas, chief of the city human resources office of the City Hall, was quick to downplay the transfer of Oledan to another agency of the city government.

"It was more of a health reason and not on what others claim. There is no such thing as ‘rigodon' among department heads. That is far from the truth," Brosas insisted.

She said that the job of Oledan as chief of the licensing office has many "pressures" which may prove to be too much for his fragile health condition. Brosas said that the mayor was more than satisfied with the performance of Oledan while he was still the chief of City Licensing Office.

"In fact, the city government was able to collect around P50 million during the licensing period with (Oledan) was its chief," the city human resources officer said.

But the source insisted that the transfer of Oledan was part of the plan of Mayor Romualdez to relieve several department heads.

"According to the plan, at least five of us would be relieved by the mayor. We don't know his reason why he would relieve us," he said.

Based on the information of the source, aside from Oledan and himself, four more department heads would be axed from their posts.

Asked what he plans to do with this alleged plan of the city mayor, the official who heads one of the most sensitive departments of the city government said that he would not take this sitting down.

"I will question this move of the city mayor before the Civil Service (Commission). And I believe those who will be affected by this move of the city mayor will also do the same thing. We will not allow this to happen without a fight," he said.

The department head described the current condition at the City Hall as "very confusing."

"What is happening right now was similar to what happened during the first term of his father where several department heads were also removed from their posts and replaced by their own people," he said.

The department head was referring to incident during the first term of former Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez wherein various heads of departments and offices of City Hall were either removed or transferred from one office to another.

The source also lamented that the city mayor listened to advises of his numerous advisers. "And most of his advisers are not from Tacloban," he said.

But Brosas brushed this aside, saying that it is the prerogative of the city mayor to get an adviser that he believed could help him realized his goals for the betterment of the city.




    
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