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JUN (11-17) 2009 TACLOBAN NEWS
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BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

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Jun 17, 2009

Ex-Public Works chief,
4 Japanese in graft rap

By Macon Ramos Araneta

Manila Standard Today

Former Public Works Secretary Gregorio Vigilar, five other officials and four Japanese nationals were charged with graft by the Ombudsman over the irregularities surrounding the construction of P58-million pumping stations in Tondo, Manila.

This developed as Tacloban City Councilors Wilson Uy and Ranulfo Abellanosa asked the Ombudsman to suspend their legal officer Sergio Sumayod pending investigation of graft charges for the creation and operation of the Tacloban Sangyaw Foundation Inc. which allegedly cost the city government P2.6 million.

The councilors also urged the Ombudsman to suspend Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Jeffrey Didulo, also of the City Legal Office, who were charged as co-conspirators for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and a Commission on Audit circular.

The councilors claimed that Sumayod used his position as city legal officer, and as an officer-in-charge of Tacloban when the city government granted financial assistance to the foundation.

They said these acts of Sumayod could not have been done without the help of Romualdez and Didulo.

Meanwhile, Vigilar's co-respondents were Public works Undersecretary Vicente Lopez; Project Director Nonato Fano and Project Managers Macariola Bartolo, Bernardo Aman and Francisco Imperial and their consultants Isamo Konakahara; Toyo Ebara Joint Venture officials, Yoshinori Ikeda, general manager and Hiroyuki Shimomura and Taka Oka, members of the negotiating team.






Jun 16, 2009

Robinsons Land Corp. bares plans to expand mall, construct 100-room hotel

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) announced plans to expand its newly opened mall in this city and construct a 100-room hotel next year in the vacant lot within RLC's four-hectare property.

"The mall is just the first phase of our development. Subsequently, the next development could be the expansion of the mall and expansion of a hotel here right next door," said Robinsons Land president and chief operating officer Frederick Go in a media interview during last week's mall opening.

Go said that they're still thinking of the hotel concept but "probably, it will be a 100-room hotel." The official refused to disclose the RLC's investment in the city.

The first mall in Eastern Visayas has paved the way for the opening of popular food and retail giants to Leyte. Adding the 70 tenants are Robinsons Malls' prominent retail affiliates such as Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliance Center , Handyman Do-It Best Home Center and Movieworld.

The two-storey shopping area has a total gross floor area of 31,000 square meters, the commercial center was built along the national highway, in Taboan, Marasbaras district of this city.

"We still have land available around the mall to expand. Economy is not bad and we think that the mall will do very well here in Tacloban," Go added.

The plan will beef up existing RLC hotel chain such as Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay, Cebu Midtown Hotel, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila, and Holiday Inn Galleria Manila.

Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of JG Summit Holdings Inc., in which RLC is the real estate arm of the conglomerates, said in a separate interview that the good business climate and increasing demand for air travel in Tacloban prompted them to include the province in their expansion.

"I think the city has been progressive even flights of Cebu Pacific (CEB) have increased. There's a lot of demand for travel to Tacloban and Region 8. From last two to three years ago, we are only doing two times a day flight. Now, we are going four flights daily from Manila and once to Cebu. That's a reflection of economy progressing," said Gokongwei, also a president and CEO of the airline company.

He said that they are upbeat of expanding the mall business in the country this year with the current trend of mall aspirations in the country.

"Global financial crisis affects everybody. It's really managing to grow despite that. We've been very quiet positive about provincial expansion. People all over the Philippines wants to expose to modern shopping and modern amenities and it's very hard to turn back," Gokongwei stressed.

The Gokongwei Family's real estate arm earlier reported an 11% increase in earnings for the first half of its 2009 fiscal year due to strong revenues from its mall operations.

In a press statement, RLC said its income for the first six months of its current fiscal year hit P1.62 billion.

Its commercial centers division contributed 40%, or P2 billion, to the company's gross revenues, posting a 10% growth.

Before the opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban, Robinsons Cybergate Mall Davao started its operation last month. Part of 2009 expansion is the opening of commercial centers in General Santos, Dumaguete, and Ilocos Norte.






Jun 16, 2009

138 Tacloban barangay officials invited to join Barangays Nights

By Fred Padernos

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- This year's celebration of the 120th annual fiesta of this city, the 138 barangays will have the chance to enjoy all together through the Barangay Nights which will be held at the attractive Balyu-an Amphitheater starting on June 16.

Councilor Eden Chua Pineda, Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President, told Leyte Samar Daily Express that this nightly event would be very exciting and enjoyable as there would be presentations and surprise numbers from every barangay.

"Of course we will have the usual program for the night, but the thing to watch are the presentations from every barangay that would surely enliven the whole duration of the party," said Pineda.

Pineda said Mayor Alfred Romualdez wants every official of each barangay to participate because this night is for them, and a time to be together in a party atmosphere.

In the past, she said, it was only the officials coming from within the downtown barangays who would attend gatherings like this due to distance, but this time, according to Pineda, as ABC President she called upon to all the 138 barangays to attend, saying that their concerns about transportation in going home to northern barangays would be given due consideration.

Balyuan Amphitheater and its vicinity, as the center for this year's fiesta celebration, has been improved a lot to make it more comfortable to the promenaders day and night.

Facing the sea while at Balyu-an, to the right is the Carnival Fair where lots of rides and games are available for the kids and even parents. To the left, is a newly asphalted bay walk that is occupied by barbecue stands at nighttime where, pork, chicken, sea foods, and even short orders are available.

Early in the morning the place would serve as an area where people could jog, walk, and other exercise while breathing the fresh sea breeze.






Jun 16, 2009

Tacloban licensing office generates P68 M collection from Jan. to May

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City Licensing Office (CLO) has generated a total of P68 million in the first five months of this year.

Atty. Rhyna Peñaranda, City Licensing Officer-designate, said that the figure is P6 million higher than the income derived by her office in the same period last year

Based on a report furnished by Atty. Peñaranda, the CLO collected P62 million from January to May last 2008

Atty. Peñaranda attributed the increase in earnings mainly to the creation of the Mayor's Inspection Task Force.

The Mayor's Inspection Task Force was created by the City Government of Tacloban last March to monitor the compliance of business establishments on the city's Revenue Code. Seven teams comprising the task force has been going around the city to implement door-to-door monitoring to determine businesses without permits and to check if those declared in the application for licenses coincide with the actual operations.

"Owners of establishments found by the task force to be operating without permits have been coming to our office to apply for one," Peñaranda disclosed.

Of the more than 4,952 business establishments inspected so far by the Mayor's Inspection Task Force, 2,249 were found to be operating without business permits.

"Another reason for the increased earnings is that more businessmen have come over here now that Tacloban is already a highly-urbanized city," she added.

Of the P68 million, based on the same report, P56 million came from the graduated fixed tax, annual permit, CEO, garbage, and billboard fees.

The P12 million balance was derived from fees on police clearance, tourism, zoning certification, RPT clearance, business stickers, franchises, and other miscellaneous fees.






Jun 17, 2009

'Pisay' student first H1N1 case in E. Visayas

By Jenette Fariola-Ruedas

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A student of Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas Campus (PSHS-EVC) became the first patient who tested positive for A (H1N1) flu in Eastern Visayas.

The student was referred to Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC) and had undergone series of medical examination.

Classes at the school have been suspended until the 1st day of July.

"Students are advised to undergo self quarantine especially those who had close contact with the patient," Dr. Nicholas Bautista, Regional Epidemiologist of Department of Health (DOH), said.

The students, however, were given instructions on what to do and what to observe after the said first case in Leyte.

But the DOH here advised the public not to panic, adding they are doing everything to contain the case.

"We all just relax. These are mild cases and nothing to worry," Bautista said.

The DOH had advised the public to increase body resistance and observe proper hygiene to help prevent them from contracting diseases especially the A(H1N1) virus.

At Leyte National High School, the biggest high school in Eastern Visayas, an information dissemination and forum to its students and teachers regarding the A(H1N1) virus was organized to give better understanding of the disease.






Jun 16, 2009

Leyte school suspends classes

By Vincente Labro, Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines -- A public high school in Leyte suspended its classes Tuesday after one of its students became the first Influenza A (H1N1) virus case in Eastern Visayas.

The region also reported its second case when a seaman tested positive for the H1N1 virus and has been confined at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City, Department of Health (DOH) Edgardo Gonzaga said in an interview on Tuesday.

Gonzaga said that a third year student of the Philippine Science High School Eastern Visayas (PSHS-EV) campus in the village of Pawing, Palo town was found positive for H1N1 virus on Monday evening.

In a health advisory issued to PSHS-EV, Gonzaga explained that according to the DOH Interim Guidelines Nos. 10 and 14 on H1N1 cases, the school had to impose a 10-day suspension of classes to allow the students and the school personnel to comply with the 10-day home confinement to contain the virus.

The victim was now being treated at his home. It was not, however, immediately known where and how the student acquired the virus since he was reluctant to talk to DOH about his infection, Gonzaga told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

On the other hand, the 44-year-old seaman arrived in the country from Singapore last June 9 and developed a fever three days later, Gonzaga said.

He explained that the DOH Eastern Visayas office received Wednesday morning the results of tests on the swab samples taken from seaman and submitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine RITM).

Gonzaga added that the DOH has started tracing the persons who were in contact with the infected seaman.

Meanwhile, health officials have advised the other students, teachers and school personnel of the PSHS to stay at home, wear mask at all times for 10 days and exercise proper sanitation practices.

The DOH also urged those who develop flu symptoms, such as a temperature of 37.8 centigrade, running nose and cough, to consult a doctor immediately.

A student of the PSHS said health and school authorities were at the school early Tuesday morning to announce the suspension of classes and to advise them on what to do while on home confinement.

About a dozen people, including foreigners who were suspected to have been afflicted with the H1N1 virus, had been placed under observation earlier in the isolation rooms at the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) facility building located at the rear portion of Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center here in Tacloban City.

However, no one among them had been found positive for the H1N1 virus, the DOH said.

The SARS Facility building was constructed about five years ago when the SARS outbreak hit the country and one of the victims came from Eastern Visayas.






Jun 16, 2009

Expansion plans being drawn up for Robinsons Land's newly opened mall in Tacloban

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN -- Robinsons Land Corp. is already planning to build a hotel and expand next year with last week's opening of a new mall here.

Frederick D. Go, Robinsons Land president and chief operating officer, said the hotel, which will have 100 rooms, will be built near the mall and within the company's four-hectare property.

"The mall is just the first phase of our development. We still have land available around the mall to expand. The economy is not bad and we think that the mall will do very well here in Tacloban," he told reporters during the opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of Robinsons Land's parent company JG Summit Holdings, Inc., said in a separate interview that the good business climate and increasing demand for air travel to and from Tacloban prompted the Gokongwei group to include Leyte in its expansion plans.

The Gokongweis are planning to build a 100-room hotel near the new Robinsons mall in Tacloban. - www.robinsons.com

"I think the city has been progressive. Even flights of Cebu Pacific have increased. There's a lot of demand for travel to Tacloban and Region 8. Two to three years ago, we were only doing two [flights] a day. Now, we are going four flights daily from Manila and once to Cebu. That's a reflection of the economy progressing," said Mr. Gokongwei, who is also president and chief executive officer of budget airline Cebu Pacific Air.

He said Robinsons Land was upbeat about expanding the mall business this year despite the global crisis.

"The global financial crisis affects everybody. It's really just managing to grow despite that. We've been very positive about provincial expansion," Mr. Gokongwei said.

Robinsons Land, the real estate arm of JG Summit, earlier reported an 11% increase in earnings for the first half of its 2009 fiscal year due to strong revenues from mall operations.

In a statement, Robinsons Land said its income for the first six months of the fiscal year hit P1.62 billion.

Prior to the opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban, Robinsons Cybergate Mall Davao was opened. Part of this year's expansion is the opening of commercial centers in General Santos, Dumaguete, and Ilocos Norte.






Jun 15, 2009

Tan appeals to city, prov'l officials not to drag Pintados Festival into their squabbles

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Pintados Festival should be insulated from any political squabbles between officials of the city and the province.

This was the appeal issued by Eugene Tan, the president of the Pintados Festival Foundation, as he argued that the cultural festival that their group has been spearheading is already recognized as among the most established in the country.

"We have been appealing to them not to drag the Pintados Festival into politics. We all belong to the private sector; we are not advancing any (personal) motives," Tan said.

"We are doing this as part of our devotion as Catholics paying our homage to Senior Santo Niño," the president of the Pintados Festival Foundation added.

He also stressed that the festival has been in existence for more than 20 years now without seeking any financial assistance from the city government.

"The only time that we received financial help from the city government was in 2006 when we were the hermanos for the fiesta," Tan said.

The group of Tan, which counts 15 individuals for its board and more than a hundred volunteers, is allegedly being threatened by the city government of non-issuance of permit to stage their street parade. Some of the organizers of the group have been identified with the Petilla camp, political nemesis of the Romualdezes.

The group had applied for permit for the scheduled June 27 parade last June 9 but up to this time, it has yet to be approved, Tan revealed.

Tan said that no less than the Department of Tourism has acknowledged the Pintados Festival as it is now included among its calendar of activities for Eastern Visayas.

"The mere fact that we are included by the DOT in its calendar of activities says a lot. We were able to make the Pintados Festival grow (from its humble beginnings)," he added. A resolution from the city council was even passed recognizing the festival as the real festival for the Tacloban fiesta, Tan added.

Tan, one of the city's most prominent businessmen, said that all Taclobanons have "embraced and took as their own" the Pintados Festival than any other festivals in the city.

The festival was first organized in 1987 by some of the city's businessmen after the city's then existing Sangyaw Festival was not held. The Sangyaw Festival, organized by former First Lady Imelda Marcos, was eventually revived by her nephew, Mayor Alfred Romualdez, in 2008.

Tan said that all the proceeds that the foundation generated from its various activities were all accounted for up to the last centavos.

"We are a non-profit and non-stock foundation. All of the proceeds that we raise out of our fund-raising activities are spent for a good cause...," he said.

Among these is the annual feeding program for street children. It also offers some educational scholarship to less privileged school children.

The foundation, aside from raising funds from corporate help, generates funds from the holding of the Miss Pintados which is now a regional beauty and brain search.






Jun 15, 2009

DOT exec says Robinsons opening to boost tourism in Eastern Visayas

By Lemuel Pagliawan

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Tourism (DOT-8) is optimistic that the opening of Robinsons place in this city would further boost the tourism activity in the region.

Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express recently that this mall, which is the very first in the region, would serve as an important facility to the tourism industry of Eastern Visayas .

According to her, it would cater to the various needs of the residents in this city and also those who usually visit here to buy different goods they need.

"It will serve the shopping, dining, and entertainment needs of both the residents of Tacloban and nearby localities plus the visitors and traveling public," Tiopes pointed out.

She added that this will also answer the curiosity of those individuals who haven't gone yet to any mall in some places in the country like Cebu or Manila.

Tiopes hinted that with the coming in of Robinsons, business atmosphere in the city would become more competitive to the advantage of the general public.

She added that trust and confidence of investors to the city of Tacloban would also increase as Robinsons is already considered as among those of the country's most established business corporations.

"The establishment of Robinsons in Tacloban is a positive indicator that the city is a good area to invest in," Tiopes said.

But Tiopes said the support of DOT to business establishments in the region is not only confined to big corporations but also to small ones as all of them are part of the economic activities in the region.

Meantime, Tiopes urged the local government units in the region to maintain a business friendly atmosphere in their respective localities so that investors would keep coming in to the region and eventually uplift the economic standing of Eastern Visayas where poverty rate still remains high up to this time.






Jun 15, 2009

Matin promises of a grander Tacloban fiesta celebration

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Former Leyte Governor Remedios "Matin" Petilla vows that there would be a grand celebration of the Tacloban fiesta this year with the holding of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.

Petilla, who chairs the committee that oversees the festival, also downplayed any possible cancellation of the presentation of the festival which is now on its 14th year.

"We can assure our people that they will enjoy this year's Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival as we want our people to enjoy as a way of paying our respect and homage to Santo Niño," Petilla said.

Up to now the city government has yet to issue a permit to the organizers of the festival for them to use the city's main streets during the street parade on June 27.

The former Leyte congresswoman remains confident that eventually, Mayor Alfred Romualdez would allow them to use the major streets of the city for the parade as she stressed that they have no other intention but to make the fiesta more lively.

"What we are offering to our people is not only (pure) cultural entertainment but paying homage to Senior Santo Niño which is also the patron saint of the entire Leyte and not only of Tacloban," she said.

She said that about 15 contingents are expected to join the festival, which is slated to be held at the newly-refurbished Leyte Sports Center (Grandstand).

"It will be a grander presentation, I assure our people," Petilla said.

Aside from the festival presentation, a series of activities has also been lined up by the organizers.

Among these activities are the musical concerts and presentations like the Waray Music Festival, which is now on its 5th year; magic show; agri-aqua show; and dance competitions.

All these activities are to be held at the RTR Plaza where rows of barbecue stalls are to be enjoyed by the public.






Jun 13, 2009

Tacloban City celebrates
56th Charter Day

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City of Tacloban celebrated yesterday its 56th Charter Day with Presidential Adviser and Political Affairs Secretary Gabriel "Gabby" Claudio as the guest of honor.

The activity coincided with the 111th celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, which also falls on the 12th of this month.

Led by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the Charter Day celebrations started with a mass at the Santo Niño Church. After the mass, Sec. Claudio joined Mayor Romualdez, guests and other city officials for the Flag-Raising Ceremony and a wreath-laying at Plaza Rizal.

Other guests and officials present were Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Angelito Twaño, Councilors Sambo Yaokasin, Pax Pacanan and Cristeta Pedrosa, Department of Labor and Employment Regional Director Forter Puguon and Department of Health (DOH) regional chief Edgardo Gonzaga,

Also in attendance during the ceremony were Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) regional head Arturo Gabrieles. City Administrator Roberto Muñoz, Executive Assistant Mike Zosa, City Nutrition Officer Malou Tabao, City Building Officer Danny Fuentebella, City Legal Officer Sergio Sumayod, City Social Welfare Officer Liliosa Baltazar, City Coop head Mely Cruz, Executive Assistant Maria Lagman and City Agriculturist Alfredo Camposano.

After the ceremony at Plaza Rizal, the mayor, guests and other attendees participated in a "Charter Walk" around the city that culminated at the City Hall where the mayor opened the "Palarong Empleyado."

They then joined a motorcade to the Tacloban City Astrodome for the launching of the Comprehensive Livelihood Employment Program (CLEP), which is jointly sponsored by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the City Government of Tacloban.

Tacloban City has grown from a small fishing barrio of Basey to a bustling, growing center of commerce and industry, into the first highly-urbanized city (HUC) in Eastern Visayas. In June 12, 1953, Tacloban became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 760 signed by then President Elpidio Quirino.

Meantime, Mayor Romualdez led yesterday the blessing of the Kanhuraw Business Center (KBC) in this city.

A priority project of Mayor Romualdez, the putting up of a one-stop-shop business center is in anticipation of an influx of a lot of investors and business establishments here.

It was noted that the one-stop-shop, with its streamlined and systematic operations, will lessen the time it takes for new investors to apply for permits to do business in the city

Fr. Amadeo Alvero of the Sto. Niño Parish officiated during the blessing ceremony.






Jun 12, 2009

Gokongwei Top Official says Robinsons opening means trust in city's economic potential

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY - The coming in of the Robinsons Malls in the city was a testament of their confidence of its economic potentials.

Thus said Frederick Go, president and chief operations officer of the Robinsons Land Corporation, as its first shopping mall started its business operations yesterday.

He also said that despite of the current economic condition of the country, the company remains bullish of its operations in Tacloban.

This early, the company is already planning for a possible expansion of the present two-storey mall as well as building its own hotel, Go added.

"It's a great place to do business here. This is just the first phase of our development and subsequently, we'll be expanding our mall and hotel as well," he said, adding that this could take place by next year yet.

"(And) we expect that the mall will be doing very well here in Tacloban," Go added.

The construction of the two-storey Robinsons Malls was started October of last year and was over by May of this year with almost 90 percent of its total leaseable stalls now occupied.

Go said that the operations of the first mid-size mall of the region is expected to generate 3,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly.

However, the president and chief operations officer of the Robinsons Land Corporation, declined to reveal how much they have invested in the city in building up its 25th malls.

The Robinsons Place-Tacloban, which is located in the Marasbaras area, is its sixth in the entire Visayas.

Also present during yesterday's opening were Lance Gokongwie, RLC's vice chairman and sister Robina Gokongwie-Pie, among others.

Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Vice Governor Mimiette Bagulaya, former City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, Ormoc City Mayor Eric Codilla and councilors of the city as well as various heads of regional government offices were also around.

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that he was happy that finally the city has its own mall which could serve as a magnet for other big businesses coming in Tacloban to do business.

With a giant establishment doing business in the city, people of Tacloban and other parts of the region would not need to go out to other places to find employment, the city mayor added.

Aside from generating employment, the operations of the Robinsons in the city would also help local suppliers and those in the transportation sector.

He also allayed fears among local businessmen in the city saying that the market of the Robinsons is different and would even complement with them.

"I don't think they would be affected. The business establishments (located in our) downtown area has its own characteristics," he said.

Within the city, two big shopping malls, owned by the Gaisano family, are serving the people of this city and nearby places.






Jun 12, 2009

Mayor Romualdez to lead blessing of Kanhuraw Business Center

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Mayor Alfred Romualdez will lead the blessing of the Kanhuraw Business Center (KBC) in this city, today.

"The conversion of the Kanhuraw Convention Center into a one-stop-shop business center has already been completed. Mayor Romualdez , assisted by other city officials, will be on hand to personally lead the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony," said KBC administrator-designate Redentor Curate in an interview Tuesday.

Aside from the mayor, also expected to grace the occasion are councilors, department heads, and other officials of the City Government of Tacloban.

"After it is formally opened, the facility will now be operational," he added.

Curate revealed that once it is operational, bills, payments, and other transactions with respect to the renewing of and applying for business permits will be done there.

A priority of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the putting up of a one-stop-shop business center is in anticipation of an influx of a lot of investors and business establishments here.

It was noted that the one-stop-shop, with its streamlined and systematic operations, will lessen the time it takes for new investors to apply for permits to do business in the city.

In addition, the establishment of a new one-stop-shop business center is also geared towards an increase in traffic enforcement. Payment of tickets and fines for traffic violations will also be done at the Kanhuraw one-stop-shop, it was learned.

As part of the conversion plan, the city government will transfer some of its offices like the City Licensing Office to said center.






Jun 12, 2009

Mayor Romualdez leads opening of new Jollibee branch

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez led the opening of the newest branch of the fast-food giant Jollibee in this city, Wednesday.

Assisted by Jollibee Vice President for Operations Manuel Yap and other company officials, Mayor Romualdez ceremonially cut the ribbon to formally open the said food outlet to the public.

Located at the Robinsons Mall, the newly-opened Jollibee outlet is the fifth such branch of the fast food giant in the city. Jollibee has already four branches in the city, namely: Jollibee-Zamora, Jollibee-Gomez and Jollibee-Real.

In his message during the short opening program, Mayor Romualdez thanked Jollibee for investing and putting up with another branch in the city. He said that it will help bring more progress and will provide more employment opportunities to people from this city and other parts of the region.

Jollibee Operations Manager Nelia Sasil, speaking in behalf of Jollibee, said that what encouraged them to set up another branch was the "business-friendly" climate and the booming economy of the city.

"This is the manifestation of our trust in the strong economy of the city and the leadership of Mayor Romualdez," Sasil stressed.

In its initial operation, Jollibee-Robinsons offers products like Jolly Spaghetti, Chickenjoy, milkshakes, apple pie, Yumburger, Jolly Crispy Fries, Champ Premium Burger and some local Filipino dishes.

The newest Jollibee branch is manned by 60 employees all from this region.

Jollibee Foods Corporation is a fast-food restaurant chain based in the Philippines. As of this year, Jollibee has become one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world with 1,655 stores worldwide.

As of the present, JFC has 1,466 stores in the Philippines namely, Jollibee (627), Chowking (377), Greenwich Pizza (236), Red Ribbon Bakeshop (194), Dilifrance (28) and Manong Pepe's (4). According to its own web site, it has 50 restaurants overseas.






Jun 12, 2009

Residents call for resignation of LMWD manager over water supply

By Valentino B. Lopez

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Posters calling for the resignation of LMWD Manager Nestor "Ganggang" Villasin pervaded the vicinity of Barangay 69 and 70 the other day, as residents in the area manifested their outrage over the prolonged non-availability of potable water in their barangay.

And complicating the situation even more, the residents said, is the fact, that even if they only were able to consume a few cubic meters in a month, they still are made to pay a bill equivalent to a minimum of 10 cubic meters, which is the minimum monthly charge for a single water concessionaire.

Sounding helpless over this situation, Brgy. 69 Chairman Noel Tabao said in a press briefing that they can only do so much on the matter, as all solutions regarding this problem can only come from the management of the local water utility, the LMWD.

Consequently he said, "All we can do now (barangay officials) at our level is just to tell the people of what Mr. Villasin told us, to wait for a little while. But the matter is the people have gone weary now, and I don't think I still could hold back their fury over this matter."

During what seemed to be a protest action shown by residents of both barangays, a woman named Fe Canaber, who felt shortchanged of having made to pay water bills higher than what she actually utilized, openly aired contempt over the tricky billing tactics of the LMWD which she finds injurious to the interest of the consumers and yet being consented to by the management of LMWD.

Enraged of unnecessarily spending for their drinking water which is still bought from the city's downtown area, professional butcher Edwin Erandio, on the other hand, promised to drive anyone from the water district, purporting to read water meters in their area.

In the same location, however, and perhaps due to the elevation where a certain house is situated, residents are complaining not more on the scarcity of water but on the quality of water that flows out from their faucets.






Jun 12, 2009

National Book Store opens first outlet in E. Visayas

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN -- National Book Store (NBS) yesterday opened its first branch in the Eastern Visayas region, at the new Robinsons Place mall in this city.

Jocelyn Basierto, NBS area manager for Visayas and Mindanao, said she was optimistic about the store's prospects in the region, noting that Tacloban is a major commercial hub in Leyte province and the region.

"There's a request from everybody to have a National Book Store branch here. We accepted the offer when Robinsons invited us. This will create an impact here in Tacloban. All of our branches have a wide variety of school supplies," Ms. Basierto said.

The new branch is among the 1,000 stores planned to be set up nationwide and in the Asia-Pacific region over the next 10 years.

Ms. Basierto said more branches may be set up in Eastern Visayas, although the Tacloban branch will be considered the prime outlet here.

The company will ride on the expansion plans of the different shopping malls instead of putting up stand-alone units. There are over 100 outlets nationwide and two overseas branches. A National Book Store outlet costs P30 million to P40 million, including the inventory.






Jun 11, 2009

Robinsons Place opens
today in Tacloban City

By Sarwell Q. Meniano & Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Robinsons Malls is to officially open its doors for business today, making it the first mall to operate in Eastern Visayas, a region of more than four million people.

This development was welcomed by no less than Presidential Assistant for Eastern Visayas Cynthia Nierras and Labor Regional Director Forter Puguon who both said that the operations of the Robinsons Malls in the region would help create employment and raise the region's business competitiveness.

Among the guests in today's opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban are Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez, Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC) Chairman James Go, RLC Vice Chairman Lance Gokongwei, RLC President and COO Frederick Go, and Leyte Vice Gov. Mimiette Bagulaya.

With its opening in this city, the Robinsons Place became RLC's 25th mall in the country and its sixth in the entire Visayas. It is located at the sprawling four-hectare lot located at the Taboan, Marasbaras.

The construction of the mall, which has a gross floor area of 31,000 square meters, was started last year and ended last month.

The full-service home is home to Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliance Center and Handyman-Do-It-Best Home Center. Along with this, a unique mix of tenants that caters to the whole family is also in hand- from local and international brands, fast food chains, amusement and specialty shops and other efficient-providers, said Rofel John Parreño, senior marketing communications officer.

Parreño said that aside from reputable and world-class shops, the mall will also be the home for wholesome, family-oriented and original promos and activities as he encouraged shoppers to be around during its formal opening today.

It was learned from him that the first 700 shoppers with a single-receipt purchase worth P1, 000 and above from any shops of the Robinsons Place Tacloban will get a free gift tote bag.

Receipts must be presented at the Customer Service located the ground floor of the two-storey mall, Parreño said.

The opening of the Robinsons Malls in the city should be welcome as it would help create employment and even boosts Tacloban and to some extent, the entire region, says Presidential Assistant Cynthia Nierras and Labor Regional Director Forter Puguon.

Both officials said that the coming in of the Robinsons Malls in the city was so timely amid problem on lack of employment opportunities in the region due to the financial crisis affecting the country.

"It is really a big help not only for Tacloban but even the entire Eastern Visayas region," Nierras said.

Earlier, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said that the decision of the Robinsons Malls to come to the city and put up business was an indication of their confidence of the city and the region.

The city government is also expected to benefit the operations of the said mall in terms of business tax and other form of taxes that the operator would be paying.

As today's opening, young actor and Kapamilya star Jason Abalos will be around to personally meet his fans at the Supermarket lobby with Dingdong Dantes, one of the leading actors of the Kapuso channel expected to bring joy to his thousands of fans as he will make a personal appearance tomorrow afternoon.

Fun events will continue to happen at the new mall with the Alaska Milk's cooking demo on June 13 at 10 am with the search for Gng. Alaska to be staged the following day at 4 pm.

The 12 candidates for this year's search of Miss Tacloban will be seen by the public for the first time as they would present their respective talents on June 15 at 4 pm.






Jun 11, 2009

Tacloban to mark
56th Charter Day

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City of Tacloban is set to celebrate its 56th Charter Day this coming June 12 with Presidential Adviser and Political Affairs Secretary Gabriel "Gabby" Claudio as the keynote speaker and guest of honor.

This was disclosed by event coordinator Malou Tabao.

"The city government is preparing for a big celebration of the 56th anniversary of its being a city. We sent an invitation to Sec. Claudio and he confirmed that he will be coming here on the 12th to grace the occasion," Tabao said.

Lead by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the Charter Day Celebration will start with a mass at 6:30 o'clock in the morning at the Santo Niño Church. After the mass, Sec. Claudio will join Mayor Romualdez and other city officials for the Flag-Raising Ceremony and a wreath-laying at Plaza Rizal.

The secretary will then deliver his message as keynote speaker in a short program that follows the wreath-laying ceremony. After the program, the mayor, guests, and other attendees will participate in a "Charter Walk" from Plaza Rizal to the City Hall.

After that, they will join a motorcade to the Tacloban City Astrodome for the launching of the Comprehensive Livelihood Employment Program (CLEP), which is jointly sponsored by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the City Government of Tacloban.

There will be "Laro ng Lahi" competition and the Kanhuraw Business Center (KBC) will be "officially opened" on the same day, according to Tabao.

During the evening, there will be a presentation of the 12 finalists of the Search for Miss Tacloban 2009 at the Balyuan Amphitheater. The celebration will be culminated by a concert to be performed by local bands at the Balyuan Barbecue Park.

"We will make it sure that the city and its residents will have a wonderful time celebrating the 56th Charter Day of the City of Tacloban," said Tabao, who disclosed that the Charter Day celebration will also kick-off the Sangyaw Festival.

Tacloban City has grown from a small fishing barrio of Basey to a bustling, growing center of commerce and industry, into the first highly-urbanized city (HUC) in Eastern Visayas. In June 12, 1953, Tacloban became a city by virtue of Republic Act No. 760 signed by then President Elpidio Quirino.






Jun 11, 2009

KFC opens branch at
Robinsons Place

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Chicken Restaurant KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) will open its second branch in this region through its newest store location at Robinsons Place Tacloban.

KFC-Robinsons Tacloban Manager Aileen Mae Pardillo said that the ribbon cutting would be held 8:00 a.m. today to be graced by top restaurant officials led by KFC Visual Display Department Director Simon Reyes.

"After opening our first branch in the city, we have been getting tremendous support from people in the area," Pardillo said.

Set up on the ground floor of the Gokongwei-led mall, the store has 210 square meter floor area with modern setting.

KFC offers products like fried chicken, crispy strips, chicken steak, Mongolian rice bowl, burger, chik'n fillet, snack box, go-go, spaghetti, hot wings, famous bowl, mashed potato, coleslaw, fries, brownies and choco mousse.

The new branch is the 21th store in Visayas and Mindanao under Operations Manager Dennis Cuyugan and Area Manage Tess Gajudo.

Gajudo said in an earlier interview that the good market in the city has encouraged them to set up a store in the province, which coincided with the opening of Gaisano late last year.

"We checked the area and we found out that the city is developing. We're hoping that KFC will have a better chance here in Tacloban," said Ms. Gajudo who heads KFC restaurants in Leyte, Cebu and Bohol .

She disclosed that other than Leyte, they would open other five restaurants in Cebu, Davao and other key cities in Visayas Mindanao.

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain, specializing in original recipe, extra crispy, twister and Colonel's Crispy Strips, and chicken with homestyle sides.

The company's website reported that nearly eight million customers daily are served around the world in over 11,000 restaurants in more than 80 countries and territories around the world.




    
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