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Jun 30, 2009

Pontifical Mass highlights today's Tacloban City fiesta

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- As the city mark its 120th fiesta today honoring its patron saint, Señor Santo Niño, Archbishop Jose Palma will lead in the Pontifical Concelebrated Mass at the Santo Niño Church this morning.

Joining Archbishop Palma in the Holy Mass will be about a hundred priests from the Palo archdiocese and Bishops Isabelo Abarquez of Calbayog; Maximiano Cruz of Calbayog; Filomeno Bactol of Naval; Emmanuel Trance of Catarman; Angel Hobayan of Catarman and Crispin Varquez of Borongan.

City officials led by Mayor Alfred Romualdez and former First Lady Imelda Marcos are among the officials who are expected to attend the 9 a.m. Holy Mass.

In the afternoon, a fluvial procession will be held at 2 p.m. to be followed by a land procession.

At 6 p.m., a Eucharistic celebration will be held at the Santo Niño Church to be officiated by Monsignor Benjamin Bacierra who will be assisted by other priests of the parish.

Monsignor Bacierra said the celebration of the city fiesta is to mark the "miraculous return" of Señor Santo Niño de Tacloban.

"It would be fitting that we not only focus on the external festivities that attract and are pleasant to our senses but we also give more time to ponder on what in particular the Santo Niño Parish has resolved to journey towards after celebrating the 25 years of its existence as (Palo) archdiocese," the parish priest of Santo Niño Church said.

Today's Holy Mass marks the end of the nine-day novena in relation to the 120th fiesta of Tacloban. "Journeying Together towards Becoming a Renewed Church" serves as this year's general theme.

This year's hermano mayors are the members of the Catholic Women's League, Santo Niño unit lead by its president, Isabel Lim.

Aside from the religious activities, a series of cultural events were also marked as part of the fiesta with the Sangyaw Festival as the main highlight.

This year's fiesta was punctuated with controversies as officials behind the Sangyaw Festival and the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival engaged in verbal tussles.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez insisted that only the Sangyaw Festival should be held in the city as the main cultural showcase for the fiesta, a move which was questioned by those behind the Pintados- Kasadyaan Festival.

Former Leyte Governor Remedios "Matin" Petilla, who chairs the Kasadyaan Festival, lodged before a court for a temporary restraining order as the mayor declined to grant a permit to them.

The Sangyaw Festival was first held in the city in the 1970s but was cancelled in 1987.

This resulted for some businessmen in the city to form a group which launched the Pintados Festival which was years later, merged with Kasadyaan Festival, a brain-child of former Gov. Petilla.






Jun 30, 2009

Surigao group triumphs in Sangyaw Festival 2009

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The 200-strong contigent from Surigao City was adjudged as this year's best of the Sangyaw Festival, bringing with them half a million of pesos as their winning prize.

The "Bonok-Bonok Festival" was clearly the runaway winner as it was among the crowd drawers with its fantastic and colorful costumes and vibrant music.

Another crowd favorite, the "Banigan Festival" from Basey, Samar was named as second prize winner, bagging P300, 000 in the process. The third price winner was the festival from Santiago City in Isabela, the "Pattaraday Festival: Araw ng Santiago," that won a P200,000 cash prize.

In the barangay and school -based category, the champion was the contingents of the Eastern Visayas State University, winning P200, 000 in the process. second place winner was the Holy Infant College contigent bagging P150,000, with the delegation of Barangay 60-A (Villa Dolina) named as the third best, winning P100,000.

The more than two-hour cultural presentations among the participating contingents was held at the jampacked Balyu-an Amphitheater.

Last year's winner, the Tribu Kankabatok from this city did not join the competition as it instead made a presentation together with the Makati band bugle corp.

Prior to the competition, the 14 contingents which joined this year's Sangyaw Festival started with a parade around the major routes of the city with politicians like Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Manny Villar among those who joined city officials led by Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

Thousands of city residents and guests including foreigners lined up the streets to watch the colorful parade, with a rain threatening to fell down.

Presence of major television stars, namely Dingdong Dantes, Lucky Manzano, Christian Bautista and Karylle resulted to shrieks from the public, stopping their vehicles at some points during the parade.






Jun 30, 2009

Pasaka Festival wins Kasadyaan Festival, EVSU bags Pintados Festival on June 27

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Tanauan's Pasaka Festival won this year's 14th Kasadyaan Festival and earned the spot to represent the province in national festival competitions in the coming months while Eastern Visayas State University bagged the crown in 23rd Pintados Festival.

 

Winning a whopping half a million pesos for taking the top plum, the Pasaka Festival was already a crowd favorite during the more than two hours street dancing held Saturday around the city, and disappointed Dulag's Karatong Festival as the latter was gunning to take the crown in this year's Kasadyaan after winning 5th place in two major national festival competitions just some months back.

Tanauan Mayor Roque Tiu said he was surprised by the energy and enthusiasm displayed by their contingent but disclosed that Pasaka Festival has been aiming to take the top spot for several years now and earn the opportunity to compete in other festival competition such as the Sinulog in Cebu City and the Aliwan Fiesta in Manila.

"I am very, very happy our contingent won this year because this is one way that we can gain entry to other national festival competitions particularly for the Aliwan Fiesta where contigents can join only per invitation and have to win first in major festivals such as the Kasadyaan," Mayor Tiu said.

Represented by students from the Tanauan National High School, Pasaka Festival performed a colorful ritual honoring the patron Sr. Sto. Niño for the bountiful catches from the sea. One of Tanauan's main livelihood is sourced from the sea as it lies facing the marine-life rich Pacific Ocean .

Dulag's Karatong Festival settled as first runner up for the second time now. It was also a runner-up in last year's Kasadyaan to the newly-elevated Hall of Famer Buyogan Festival of Abuyog, Leyte .

It earned P300,000 for taking the second spot and would still join in upcoming national festival competition such as the Sinulog Festival in Cebu next year. However, it would not be able to represent the province in the Aliwan Fiesta next year as the two spots given by Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliwan's organizers, are already given to Buyogan Festival as Aliwan's defending champion, and to Pasaka Festival as this year's Leyte Kasadyaan Festival grand champion.

Karatong Festival was also judged as the Best in Dance Parade and was awarded with another P100,000 cash prize. Both prizes were received by Dulag Mayor Manuel Sia Que.

Meanwhile, getting the third spot was Bato's Bato-Balani Festival which was one of the most applauded performance this year. Settling for fifth place last year, Bato's colorful portrayal of paying homage to their patron as well as their gigantic and vibrant props earned them a spot two notch higher than they captured last year.

Bato Mayor Luis Kuizon was on hand to receive the prize of P100,000 and said he is happy with this year's success of their Bato-Balani contingent in the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals. The Bato Balani contigent was also judged as the Best in Festival Music which earned them another P100,000.

After being elevated to the Hall of Fame, Abuyog's Buyogan Festival joined this year only as guest contingent and was awarded P100, 000 by the Department of Tourism in the region for winning various national festival competitions and brought honor and pride to the province and the region.

Buyogan is set to perform in Singapore in the coming months as disclosed by Abuyog Mayor Octavio Traya.

On the other hand, in the Pintados-based category, Eastern Visayas State University bested eight other contingents and won P50,000. Placing second was the contingent SPAS of Sto. Niño, Tanuan, Leyte and placing third was Leyte Normal University . They received cash prizes of P30,000 and P20,000 respectively courtesy of the Pintados Foundation, Inc.

Meanwhile, in the Merrymakers category, Colegio de La Salle won the first place, followed by ACLC and Tacloban Institute of Electronics. They each received cash prizes of P10,000; P7,000 and P3,000 respectively.






Jun 30, 2009

Rachelle Chua-Pineda bags Miss Tacloban title

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Seventeen-year old Rachelle Erica Chua- Pineda, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) federation president of Tacloban City, was crowned Miss Tacloban 2009 at the Tacloban City Astrodome, Saturday.

Pineda bested 11 other lovely ladies from this city to win the coveted plum.

For winning the title, Pineda received a cash prize of P50, 000 plus other special prizes from the organizers

The other winners were Rosjane Tiunayan, who was first runner-up; Shierra Israel, 2nd runner-up; Noeime Claire Lee, 3rd runner-up; and Santañina Dagami, 4th runner-up.

The newly-crowned Miss Tacloban, who is also the daughter of Councilor Eden Chua-Pineda, the president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) of Tacloban City, also bagged six special awards.

Pineda copped the Best in Talent award for her flawless rendition of the song "Careless Whisper" using a saxophone. Aside from that, she also won the Miss Coke Zero, Best in Evening Gown, Globe Texters Choice, Darling of the Press, and Leila's Collection special awards.

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, assisted by City Councilor Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez and Miss Tacloban 2008 Sushiela Kumar, crowned the new beauty queen

In addition to bagging the Miss Photogenic award, Tiunayan, who is a Nursing graduate of the Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Medical Foundation (RTRMF), also won the Miss Duptours award.

As runner-ups, Tiunayan received P30, 000; Israel P20, 000; Lee P10,000 and Dagami P5,000.

Lee was selected among the candidates as the most friendly as she bagged the Miss Congeniality award. Also, she won the Miss Royale Beauty award.

Israel went on to win the Miss New Placenta and the Miss Natasha Beauty special awards.

Dagami, who is a student at the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU), won three special awards, namely: Jimms Choice award, Best in Swimwear, and Miss Digital Gleen.

Renowned cosmetologist Dr. Richard David served as the chairman of the board of judges, which also included actor Jestoni Alarcon and Evangeline Pascual, the 1st runner-up of the Miss World 1973 beauty pageant.

Actor Gabby Concepcion serenaded the top five finalists who were on their evening gowns.

Among the sponsors of the Search for Miss Tacloban 2009, which was held as part of the Sangyaw Festival celebration, are the City Government of Tacloban, Leyte Samar Daily Express, Cristina's Saloon and Spa, Globe, Rafael's Farm, New Placenta, Gleen Marketing, Nenas Trading, Coca Cola, Natasha, Duptours, Jimms Coffee, Robinsons, Postal Bank, San Miguel, Dana Souvenir and Flower Shop, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and the Rotary Club of Kandaya.






Jun 30, 2009

Icot say province determined to go on holding Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival

By Ahlette C. Reyes

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said the province is all the more determined to continue in the coming years what has already become a tradition that is the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals.

This was disclosed by the governor as the 23rd Pintados Festival and the 14th Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals successfully concluded Saturday at the Leyte Sports Development Center .

The governor stated this determination after this year's festival street parade was marred by some minor incidents that forced the parade and its contingents to traverse a different course from its yearly traditional route and this even in the middle of a temporary restraining order issued by the court two days before the slated street dancing by the joint Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.

In similar events they hope to stage the next time, the governor said the province can only "expect the worst and hope for the best.'

"This festival has already become a breeding ground of festival champions with our contingents winning big in major national festival competitions so I do not see any reason why we should end this," Gov. Petilla said during the grand festival presentation at the Leyte grandstand.

He added that with the thousands who trooped to the Leyte Sports Development Center Saturday and packed the bleachers to the brim some hours before the grand presentation only shows that this event "has already been ingrained in the hearts of the people who would yearly look forward to this cultural affair."

"An ira siguro pagsamok gud la hini. Buwaon na ako yana kon masiring nga adto nga mga lakat diri adto mga panamok.Ha kada aksiyon namimiling gud ako hin maupay nga rason kon kay-ano nasusugad hito pero adto, waray na gud ako nabibilngan nga rason kondi panamok la adto," Gov. Petilla said.

The governor was referring to the supposed rally against water supply in the city and pedicab-race held on the same route and the same time the Pintados-Kasadyaan parade was going on.

"In the end bisan ano nga panamok it's the people who decide. Hira man gihapon namalhin hin puesto para la makit-an an parade. It aton biling man gud la hini karisyuhan, ngan it nabenepisyo hini it tawo man la liwat," the governor said.

The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals was held Saturday cloaked with a temporary restraining order issued two days before the event after the city refused to issue the organizers a special permit.

With the rally and pedicab-race incident that marred Saturday's street dancing, the governor said, is a development that the legal experts can look into if it would hold further merit in the organizers' case for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction filed before the Regional Trial Court here.

The case was scheduled for raffle among the different branches of this Court Monday, June 29, 2009, the same day Tacloban City is having it's Vespers Day for its fiesta celebration.






Jun 29, 2009

Editorial:
Isn't the merrier the better?

Leyte Samar Daily Express

Even a dictator doesn't have that monopoly of culture. How anxious then was the wait for the outcome of the threat to deny permit to the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival. For a time, the matter of allowing the province to stage the show on the city's streets hung in suspended curiosity. Will a tradition that has been going on long before proud Tacloban became a Highly Urbanized City be now quashed that it is? Does HUC mean nothing can happen anymore if the city head doesn't like it? The promoters behind the cultural affair could only think that they are not even asking to stage a political rally, which is indeed guaranteed by the Constitution.

But as far as city authorities are concerned, they would have nothing of the traditional Mardi Gras anymore. The city mayor even went on to threaten with dire consequence should the organizers and participating municipalities proceed against his will. The fundamental law says that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. Grant that the royal highness at Kanhuraw is seeing the innocent dance festival as a political statement of some foes. Is not preventing it tantamount to making laws of his own republic? It is only a simple cultural show. Is he now surpassing the conjugal rape of democracy by his kin, three decades ago?

Nobody begrudges the City Hall for putting its own creation, the Sangyaw Festival, in the center stage. Nobody complains of having been bumped off the eve of the Sto. Nino fiesta, the traditional day of the holding of the high-spirited Pintados that the folks in this province have used to know. The Sangyaw Show is a most welcome addition, even if many would certainly miss the former on the city government's appropriated schedule for the event. The new flavor still makes the celebration more worth it. But why throw out the previous for good, if there are still philanthropic souls willing enough to foot the bill? Isn't the merrier at least the better?

More than disappointed, we are appalled of the attempt to crush a tradition that has outlived the ravages of recent history. In the restored democracy that replaced a regime of dark repression for fourteen years, there is now such a thing as freedom of expression. The Pintados-Kasadyaan show is not even a political mass action calling for the overthrow of the powers-that-be. It is only a form of cultural expression that reflects on an ethnic past. It is only an attempt at reenactment of what a people has been a long time ago. Why heap political ire on the show?

The Pintados event has become popular even in other regions, and a source of pride by municipalities as well as their leaderships around Tacloban. This is yet so even if the urban center has already separated from the mother unit to proudly become an HUC. Is the nephew of an ousted dictator now the one to sentence it to death?






Jun 29, 2009

Editorial:
Petty politics in Tacloban City

By Ramon Tulfo

Inquirer.net - Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- I went to Tacloban City over the weekend for the annual reunion of our high school class.

The Waray-Waray trait of toughness-as a popular song goes, "Waray-Waray handang matodas (Waray-Waray is ready to die)" - somehow rubbed off on me.

Whenever life deals me a bad card, I stick to the trait I learned from the Warays as an adolescent.

Behind the tough Waray exterior is a very generous heart. A Waray invites strangers to his home to partake of food on his table during a fiesta.

I regret having to leave yesterday, the eve of the city's fiesta, a much-celebrated event in the Tacloban calendar.

But if ordinary Taclobanons are magnanimous, their leaders are petty.

Pettiness is nowhere more evident than in Mayor Alfred Romualdez disallowing the holding of the Pintados, a parade where participants, their faces painted, dance in the streets much like Aklan's Ati-atihan, last Saturday, three days before the fiesta.

Romualdez did not honor a court order lifting his ban on the holding of the yearly parade.

The parade organizers, however, held the parade anyway in complete disobedience to the mayor's order.

City policemen, ordered to block the parade, would have clashed with fellow policemen assigned in the province and the regional command who escorted the Pintados revelers, but did not.

Why did the mayor try to prevent the holding of the yearly parade?

Because he had his own parade similar to the Pintados-the "Sangyaw."

Pintados is sponsored by the provincial governor, Jericho Petilla, whose family is an arch political rival of the Romualdezes.

Politics is supposed to make people magnanimous, but in Tacloban City, it has made a petty tyrant.

The great politician, Daniel Z. Romualdez, once a Speaker of the House of Representatives, a grand-uncle of the mayor's, must be turning in his grave.






Jun 29, 2009

EV has 35 confirmed A (H1N1) flu cases

By Jenette Fariola-Ruedas

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that there are already 35 confirmed cases of A(H1N1) virus infections in Region 8.

The victims were from different parts of the region. Eight of them are from Tacloban City. 163 persons are still under observation and 24 of them have already undergone throat swab test.

Dr. Jaime Opinion, Tacloban City's health officer, however said that residents do not need to panic since these are mild cases only. Opinion also confirmed that some of the victims including the seaman from Catbalogan and the student from Philippine Science High School have already recovered and have already been released from the hospital.

The Tacloban City Health Office including the Department of Health however said that it continues to monitor people who might have gotten in touch with the people who tested positive from A(H1N1) flu.

For the fiesta celebration, the health office said it will set up five medical booths as part of the A(H1N1) prevention advocacy and information dissemination.

"We are just appealing to those who are sick not to join the celebration anymore or if they will do so, they have to wear a face mask to prevent from spreading the virus," Opinion also said.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez had assured that people from indigent families who might be infected with the A (H1N1) virus can avail themselves of free medicine from the city government.






Jun 28, 2009

Feature:
No pedicab race nor protest rally can stop Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival

Philippine Information Agency

Taclooban City -- Thousands of Sto. Nino tribes and devotees proved on June 27 that the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival will continue to be staged despite deliberate moves to prevent its restaging this year.

This year's staging of the annual Pintados Kasadyaan Festival was a test to the participants, the devotees and the organizers' faith and determination to make the devotion to Senor Santo Nino remain to be the center of the annual festivities.

Despite attempts to prevent the festival from being staged, eleven Pintados tribes, eight Kasadyaan contingents, five mardigras groups and more merrymakers participated in yesterday's grand Pintados Kasadyaan Festival which started at 9:00 o'clock in the morning and ended at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon.

The year 2009 marks the 14th year of the joint celebration of the Kasadyaan Festival and the 22nd year of the Pintados Festival which is the oldest festival in Region 8. Now known as the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festival, it used to be celebrated every 29th of June, the Vesper's Day of the Feast of the Senor Santo Nino de Leyte, until last year when with the coming in of a new mayor, the Festival was relegated to June 27 in favor of a new festival, Sangyaw, organized by the Mayor and his wife.

The trials and tribulations started with the non-issuance of permit to parade without any reason. Instead, a permit was given to a group of rallyists.

Despite intercessions and forum by well-meaning priests and laymen, aimed at enlightening the public on the truth about the Santo Nino devotion, cold hearts remained as such, while with the enlightenment, devotees' hearts were emblazoned with more fervor.

The relief came as Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Crisologo Bitas issued on Thursday a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) commanding the City Government through Mayor Alfred Romualdez to cease and desist from stopping and preventing the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival parade and street dancing and the ritual presentations.

On the D-Day, a motorcycle race was "organized with the route carefully chosen directly to be on a head on collision" with the Festival. The Festival organizers remained unperturbed and had to change the route to preserve the intent of the event, to pay homage to Santo Nino.

The spectators rallied behind the Festival and at one time voluntarily made a human barricade to prevent the "organized and paid" ones from disrupting the festival street-dancing parade.

By the grace of God, realization came to the "organized and paid" ones who little by little inched away like the "devil being overpowered by Michael, the Archangel."

As one media practitioner rightly texted, "I have just witnessed the triumph of goodness over evil."

The first Pintados Festival on June 29, 1987 was in memory of the first inhabitants of the Visayas called "Pintados" whose art of body painting amazed the Spaniards. The Visayan men had their bodies tattooed from ankles up to their upper torso and the neck. The braver ones even extended their tattoo marks up to their cheeks, around their eyes and forehead.

The Festival is a brainchild of a group of pro-active businessmen in the city who saw the need to organize a big relevant event that would set a joyful mood as a fitting homage to the Patron of Tacloban, Senor Santo Nino.

As Mayor Roque Tiu, the founding president and Mr. Eugene Tan, the current president were quick to quip, the Pintados Festival will not have reached its 22nd year if the Taclobanons and the entire people of Region 8 did not merrily welcomed the celebration of the Pintados Festival on June 29, 1987.

Then Parish Priest of Tacloban now bishop of Naval, Msgr. Filomeno Bactol as chairman, Atty. Roque A. Tiu as the President, OIC Mayor Butch Veloso as the honorary chairman, Manager Shane Lim of Tacloban Coca Cola Plant, Manager Rommel Gonzales of the Philippine Airlines, Manager Mon Torralba of San Miguel Corporation, Mr. William Chan, Mrs. Evelina Acevedo of the Katolinan Dance Company, among others, formed the Pintados Foundation, Inc.

This group made a thorough research with the help of the experts in the culture and the arts, and finally came up with the Festival that kindles appreciation for the Eastern Visayan culture.

The Pintados Festival showcases the ancient practice of body painting and shows how the Visayan ancestors came to accept Christianity and develop great love for Santo Nino.

After 22 years, the Pintados Festival grew to be one of the landmark events in the province of Leyte drawing Visayans from all over the world to come home just to be part of the annual festivities.

It is now celebrated jointly with the Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals, making the celebration of the feast of the Santo Nino, an event the people of Leyte and the entire Region 8, can truly be proud of.

On the other hand, the Kasadyaan Festival was first staged in 1996 as project of the Eastern Visayas Regional Tourism Council through the inspiring leadership of then Governor, former Congresswoman of the First District of Leyte, now Vice President of PAGCOR Hon. Remedios L. Petilla.

This year's champion is the Pasaka Festival of Tanauan, followed by the Karatong Festival of Dulag and the Batobalani Festival of Bato, Leyte.

As one Pasaka Festival official said, I know that headlines will read 'Tanauan's Pasaka Festival triumps in Tacloban,' but it is not the winning that matters but the privilege to be part of the huge group of people who united and bound themselves together despite all odds, to continue paying a special homage and tribute to the Senor Santo Nino, the Patron of the Province of Leyte.






Jun 27, 2009

Mayor Romualdez denies
any plan to stop Pintados-Kasadyaan rite

By Miriam Garcia Desacada

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Alfred Romualdez has denied that he has any intention whatsoever and has never planned to stop or prevent the organizers of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival from performing its parade, street dancing, presentation and rites today.

In a news conference yesterday, Mayor Romualdez expressed sadness and lamented about the issuance of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) last Thursday by Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Crisologo Bitas commanding the city government through him (Mayor Romualdez) to cease and desist from stopping and preventing the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival parade and street dancing and ritual presentations today, Saturday, June 27.

The TRO, which covers the mayor's representatives or agents, including officials, employees, police and similar forces acting for and in his behalf, also enjoins the aforementioned from consumating the serious threat to stop and prevent the said festival activities and/or the use (of) water cannons and such other underhanded methods upon the participants as a means to disperse or block them today.

"I have no intention to stop Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival from performing its activities. Never as a mayor of Tacloban will I violate the law or create disturbances ... I am sad with the court decision as I am only 10 meters away not to be available to discuss these things. I am appealing to Taclobanons to stay calm and not to panic. I will abide with the TRO hoping for a peaceful and festive fiesta celebrations of Tacloban at ako'y umiiwas na sa political," Romualdez said.

The city mayor said that Mrs. Petilla (Remedios L. Petilla, former Leyte governor and former Leyte 1st district representative and presently PAGCOR Vice Chairman) has been talking in media interviews that with or without permit the parade (Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival) will go on.

He added that in two separate letters from former conmgresswoman Petilla and Governor Jericho Petilla dated June 8, 2009 and May 4, 2009, respectively, it informed him that they will be celebrating the 23rd Pintados and 14th Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals and its scheduled June 27 parade without first applying a permit for the use of the streets around the city.

"I remember January pa lang Mrs. Petilla has been attacking me at lagi akong hinahamon... kailan pa ba tayo magbabago... na para bang suggesting public disturbance to the people aba ay politica na ito," he said.

On his part, Gov. Petilla in an interview immediately after he arrived at the DZR airport yesterday said he was happy about the favorable decision of the court from keeping the Pintados-Kasadyaan safe from any threat to be stopped from holding its activities like the street dancing parade.

"I am happy about this development...Sad, of course, kay sugad-sugad nga deri nagkakausa an duha nga local government units han Leyte and Tacloban City with their own reasons from both sides," the governor told reporters.






Jun 27, 2009

RTC issues TRO vs Mayor Alfred not to stop today's Festival

By Eileen N. Ballesteros

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Regional Trial Court Exec. Judge Crisologo Bitas issued on Thursday a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) commanding the City Government through Mayor Alfred Romualdez to cease and desist from stopping and preventing the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival parade and street dancing and the ritual presentations.

The TRO, which covers the mayor's representatives or agents, including officials, employees, police and similar forces acting for and in his behalf, also enjoins the aforementioned from consummating the serious threat to stop and prevent the said festival activities and/or the use (of) water cannons and such other underhanded methods upon the participants as a means to disperse or block them on Saturday June 27.

This TRO stemmed from a petition filed June 24 by the Pintados-Kasadyaan Executive Committee through its chairperson and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation Vice President Remedios "Matin" Loreto-Petilla seeking legal remedy in a case for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for Issuance of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction And or Issuance of a 72-Hour Temporary Restraining Order.

On June 15, City Administrator Roberto Muñoz wrote the Festival Execom Chairperson Petilla informing of the denial of the request stating "The City Government has the sole authority to disallow any activity in connection with our City Fiesta that are not coordinated with the Tacloban City Tourism Council."

It further informed that should the Pintados-Kasadyaan Foundation "opt to join the June 29 Parade, you are welcome to join us as participants " not as an organizer." Further, the letter reminded that no public activity such as a Parade can be held without a permit from the chief exec of the LGU where the activity will be held as provided in Rep. Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

In its Petition, the Foundation averred, "denying the issuance of a Special Permit for the Pintados Kasadyaan Festival Parade and Street Dancing slated on June 27, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. will render the contingents effort futile but also will deprive them of their constitutional right to free expression of their cultural and religious heritage and celebration."

PAGCOR VP Petilla, who personally filed the case at the RTC Office of the Clerk of Court assisted by counsel Atty. Peter Panis, was earlier granted authority by the Pintados Foundatidon Inc. in a resolution numbered 01, series of 2009.

The resolution was signed by the Pintados Foundation Corporate Secretary Evelina Acebedo and attested by its president Eugene Tan as well as its members namely, Atty. Roque Tiu, Wilson Uy, Erwin Alcala, Stephen Lagarde, Tito Aures and Nestor Villasin. Other members namely, Agustin Uykim, Henry Gosyco, Virgilio Andrade, Emmanuel Veloso, Atty. Henry Yaokasin and Jorge Yu failed to affix their signature.

She was likewise designated by Gov. Carlos Jericho Petilla as chairperson of the 23rd Pintados Festival and 14th Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals as embodied in Memo No. 09-1565 dated May 4, 2009.

Lawyers Sergio Sumayod and Jeffrey Didulo, City Legal and Assistant Legal Officers respectively, as well as Bernardita Valenzuela, the City Mayor's Action Center chief, tried to have an audience with Exec. Judge Bitas. They, however, failed as the Judge was conducting a trial in his chamber at the time they went to his office.

The case is scheduled for raffle among the different branches of this Court on June 29, 2009 at 9 oclock in the morning before this Court. Parties and counsels were directed to be present during the said hearing to be held at the sala of Exec.




    
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