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MAY (01-14) 2009 TACLOBAN NEWS
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BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

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May 14, 2009

Kanhuraw Business Center soon to open

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Conversion of the Kanhuraw Convention Center into a one-stop shop business center known as the Kanhuraw Business Center (KBC) is almost done.

Redentor Curate, KBC Administrator-designate, said that the facility will be formally opened a month or two from now.

"We are just awaiting the completion of work on extension offices at the back of the building. The ribbon-cutting will be done either in June or the next month," Curate disclosed.

Curate clarified that their opening for business of the almost-finished business center since April 27 was only for a dry run.

"We are just testing the effectiveness of a system we have installed to simplify operations. The results are so far, so good," he said.

Curate revealed that once it is fully-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.






May 12, 2009

Waste segregation a go in Tacloban

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office who now manages the solid waste management of the city of Tacloban will strictly implement a "no segregation, no collection" policy.

City Environment Officer Jonathan Hijada said his office is conducting a massive information drive through the barangay officials so that proper waste management practices including segregation will be learned by Taclobanons.

He said garbage collection will be done every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the biodegradable wastes while Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday will focus on non-biodegradable garbage. "We hope everyone will cooperate so that we can maintain a clean and healthy city," said Hijada.






May 12, 2009

Tacloban Airport

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Despite having held groundbreaking ceremonies for the proposed passenger terminal building at the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport, the Transportation department could not start construction yet because the building design has not been finalized.

The miniature building displayed during the groundbreaking ceremonies led by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo almost two weeks ago was just one of the options, said Dante Lulu, Transportation department area manager for Western and Eastern Visayas.

The new terminal building is estimated to cost P155 million. Acquisition of lots for the expansion of the airport is ongoing, with only 30% of the targeted properties acquired by the government so far.

The rehabilitation of the Tacloban Airport has been in the pipeline for the past 10 years. When completed, the DZR airport will become one of the country's secondary international airports.






May 11, 2009

119 youths attend men, women haircut seminar

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Some 119 youths working at the City Hall under its Work Appreciation Program (WAP) attended a one-day training on men and women's haircut initiated by City Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez.

Sixty of the 119 underwent raining last April 27, while another 59 attended training on May 8. Training was held both times at the Balyuan Convention Center

Training was handled and supervised by staff of Councilor Gonzales who are actively involved with the Cristina's Learn and Earn Program, it was learned.

The Cristina's Learn and Earn Program is a livelihood skills training program jointly undertaken by the office of Councilor Romualdez, Department of Education-Alternative Learning System (DepEd-ALS), and the City Government of Tacloban that aims to arm interested individuals with the necessary livelihood skills for them to earn extra income for themselves and their families.

The training was aimed at teaching youths the skills that could be of great use to them in the future, according to learn and earn program coordinator Lily Cagara.

"Participants can use the knowledge and skills gained here to easily earn extra income for themselves and their families in the future," said Cagara, who noted the big demand for haircut services in the city.

"Who knows? Maybe some of them here will open their own beauty parlors a year or two from now," she quipped.

It was learned that trainees, majority of whom were girls, were taught the basics of men and women's haircut by five trainors from the learn and earn program headed by Ms. Luz Ang.






May 11, 2009

DOTC undecided as to design of proposed DZR airport terminal building

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Over a week after the groundbreaking of the Tacloban Airport terminal building led by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Department of Transportation and Commu-nication (DOTC) is still undecided as to what would be the final building design.

DOTC area manager for Regions 6 and 8 Dante Lulu said that they are still looking for a design that will be incorporated in the final plan of the P155-million project.

"Our experts are in different airports of the country to see which of the existing terminal building designs is ideal for the city," Lulu said in a mobile phone interview.

The official who takes charge of the project said that the miniature displayed during the Presidential visit is just one of their options and it's not the final blueprint.

Even after the groundbreaking, the government will not yet start the project since they are still on the process acquiring lots for airport expansion which is now 30% accomplished.

The central government has allocated P500 million for lot acquisition this year. Under the original plan, it will be finished by August along with the installation of navigational facilities.

When asked when the project will start, he said that they would just wait for directives from higher transportation officials.

It can be recalled that the Chief Executive lowered the time capsule of the proposed P155-million airport terminal building on a 4,899.96 square meter portion of the airport complex.

The airport terminal building project will generate 600 jobs for residents in the area, according to Office of the Press Secretary.

The Arroyo administration has already released an initial P1.141 billion for the modernization of the airport. When completed, the DZR airport will become one of the country's secondary international airports.

Already under way is the asphalting of the airport runway and construction of shore protection costing P625.5 million.

The other components of the project to be implemented include the installation of air navigational facilities costing P230 million and the acquisition of lots for the expansion of the total land area of the airport terminal complex. A total of P130 million has been earmarked for land acquisition.

The balance of P 2.989 billion of the total allocation for the TADP will be released under a multi-year obligation allotment scheme until 2012.

Aside from the passenger terminal building, a new and larger cargo terminal building is planned to be constructed to cope with the rising demand for air cargo services in the region.

The rehabilitation of the Tacloban Airport has been in the pipeline for over 10 years now but for some reason, the project failed to materialize.






May 11, 2009

SOS Children's Village strengthen partnership with gov't, private sector

By Lemuel Pagliawan

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The SOS Children's Village Tacloban, Inc. is strengthening its relationship with partners in the government and the private sector this year, hoping to get more support and assistance for the orphaned, abandoned and neglected children residing in this facility.

Oscar Garol, village director of SOS Tacloban, told the media in a press conference held Saturday at their office that this undertaking is now being intensified especially so that the SOS Children's Village will already reach its 40th year of existence in this city.

The 40th year founding anniversary is anchored on the theme: "40 Anyos Nga Pagtimangno, Paghatag Hin Paglaum Ug Gugma Para Han Kablasanon Nga Mga Kabataan."

The press conference being part of this year-long celebration was attended by the following: Mercedes Baarde (Board Secretary), Glenda Orejola (PFR/ Sponsorhip Sec.), Dr. Pablo Quianzon (Board President), Oscar Garol (Village Director), Edna Samson (PEDA Head), and Teresita Gonzales (Board Treasurer).

To kick-off the year-long preparation for the 40th year anniversary of the village next year, a fun ride was made last Saturday morning participated by some SOS partners by which the facility expects to gather additional support and also collect some contributions as part of the fun raising campaign.

By the months of July or August, the SOS village here would also embark on another initiative of raising funds for the kids by conducting a "fun walk."

This will be followed by a "barbecue festival" in October coinciding with the Children's Month celebration. Next to this would be the "Share a Light, Share a Love" activity on the month of December.

Garol said they are expecting that their partners both from the government and the private sector would show active participation and full support to these undertakings so to achieve success and promote the cause of helping the underprivileged children in the society.

"We would like to appeal to those who are kind hearted to continue helping and supporting us so we can help more and more children who are less fortunate," Garol said.

At present, he said, around 72 individuals coming from the SOS village Tacloban were already able to finish their college studies, about 50 of which under two-year courses.

He said the SOS Tacloban has already produced professionals and some even pursuing postgraduate studies this time still with the support of SOS.






May 10, 2009

Oplan Red Plate in Region 8, a response to PGMA's anti-graft campaign

By Neil D. Lopido

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Some 85 government vehicles were spotted yesterday (Saturday) by the Task Force Oplan Red Plate in Eastern Visayas when it conducted operation this city and in some nearby Leyte municipalities in line with the Administrative Order (AO) 239 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo prohibiting all government agencies and offices from using government vehicles for purposes other than official business.

The operation was composed of two teams headed by Elmer A. Guttierez, Associate Graft Investigator Officer and Roderick S. Blazo, Graft Prevention and Control Officer, both from the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas. Said two officers spotted 14 government vehicles while on their way from Ocmoc City to Tacloban City.

Of the government vehicles inspected by the task force, almost two-thirds (63 percent) have no trip tickets; some were used by public officials, some drivers were not the designated drivers, some were loaded with groceries, private individuals, no plate number, among others.

Recently, the interagency Task Force Oplan Red Plate in Eastern Visayas was formally launched in Tacloban City last May 5, 2009 which was attended by no less than Hon. Pelagio Apostol, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas who emphasized that millions of government funds are wasted due to misuse of government vehicles which may have been used for more significant government programs and projects.

In line with the government's energy saving and anti-graft and corruption campaigns, Section 4 of AO 239 encourages the public to report any unofficial use of government vehicles to the Presidential Action Center (PACE) through the following contact information:

# Letters, telegrams and written correspondences:

PRESIDENTIAL ACTION CENTER
Arlegui Street, San Miguel, Manila

# Text Messages

09198984621, 09198984622, 09198984623,
09178398462, 09178982462, and 09178985462.

The report shall contain, among others, the type of vehicle, plate number, and the place and time where the government vehicle is found, preferably with pictures.

Task Force Oplan Red Plate is composed of the representatives from the Office of the Ombudsman, Land Transportation Office, Commission on Audit Philippine National Police, Civil Service Commission, Philippine Information Agency and the Association of Resident Ombudsman of Government Agencies.






May 09, 2009

City gov't acquires 7 more garbage trucks

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The City Government of Tacloban has recently acquired seven additional garbage trucks with compactors for use in the collection of garbage around the city.

Five of the seven trucks have already been delivered by a local supplier to the city, according to City Environment Officer Jonathan Hijada.

"We are only awaiting the delivery of the two other trucks," he disclosed.

With the acquisition of the new garbage collection equipment, the city has also hired additional personnel to man them, it was learned.

Hijada said that the newly-acquired garbage trucks are now being used by the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) in the garbage collection effort.

Since May 1, according to Hijada, the City ENRO has been tasked by City Mayor Alfred Romualdez to be in-chargeD of the collection effort.

"The initial five trucks are already rolling and making their rounds around the city to help collect garbage that have piled up in the downtown area and in the main thoroughfares," he revealed.

It has been noted that piles upon piles of garbage have accumulated in the city due to the failure of Gyanendra Corporation, a private contractor that won the bid to collect the city's garbage, to fulfill its obligations under the contract.

"With the new equipment, we are very much hopeful that we can at least help solve the garbage problem," the environment officer added.

It can be recalled that because of the worsening garbage problem, the city government decided way back in January of this year, to assist in the collection of garbage.






May 08, 2009

Icot says he will seek
reelection in 2010 polls

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla said he would seek another term as the province's top executive in next year's elections, squelching speculations he would retire from politics.

And as he would be seeking for a possible third and last term as a governor, he would still have Vice Governor Mimiette Bagulaya as his running mate, Petilla said.

"Of course (I will run). Why are you asking me whether I will run again or not? It's already given," he said when asked whether he would seek for a third term.

Critics of Petilla claimed that the governor would not run in the 2010 elections for some reasons.

As he confirmed his decision to seek for another term, Petilla also revealed that it would still be Bagulaya who would be his running mate.

Petilla said he is proud to say that in his five years in office as governor of Leyte, he had achieved so much that benefited the entire province.

He particularly cited the staging of the "very successful" Palarong Pambansa as well the numerous investors that are now in the province, the recent of which is the APAC Customers Service, the first call center company to invest here, as among his accomplishments.

‘I have been a governor for five years and I have a performance to show. And I think it will be unfair to the people of Leyte if I will quit at this time. I have more to give to our people," Petilla said.

He added that he sees himself growing old in politics serving his people. Petilla's both parents served as governor of the province, becoming the longest serving political family to rule Leyte.

In the 2007 elections, the governor was drafted by President Macapagal Arroyo to run for senator under the administration ticket but chose to drop out to seek for a second term which he won handily.

The governor, however, was dogged with questions like his health conditions and his alleged absenteeism.

Petilla dismissed these concerns, saying that he is healthy as a bull and his being out of the provincial capitol is part of his work as a governor.

On his alleged poor health condition, Petilla said that he is willing to run against anyone, including his critics and political opponents, at the newly-refurbished oval at the Leyte Sports Development Center to prove that he is not sickly as his critics wanted it to appear.

"I will tell you that after my (heart) surgery, I won three gold medals in badminton in various competitions in Manila. All these have happened after just a year after the operation,"Petilla said.

As a proof that he is healthy, he has now stopped taking medicines related to hypertension, Petilla said.

And his being out of the provincial capitol has something to do with his work of inviting investors, visitors and government officials and agencies that would benefit the entire province, Petilla added.

"I get sick if I will just stay at the capitol," he said.






May 07, 2009

Major reforestation project underway in Tacloban's northern barangays

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A major reforestation project aimed at restoring the forest cover and attaining a balanced ecosystem and sustainable production of agriculture and forest resources is underway in the northern part of the city.

City Environment Officer Jonathan Hijada made this disclosure as he said that the project involves a total target area of 100 hectares, including several critical watershed areas.

"We have already finished surveying the area. We are now in the planting phase," Hijada disclosed.

According to Hijada, several thousand kakawate, acacia and mahogany seedlings were initially planted in an area at the project site covering 20 hectares.

"Next week, we will be planting seedlings in another 20 hectares. We are targeting to finish the planting before the end of June this year," he said.

Based on the project plan, a total of a 100 hectare deforested area between Barangays Palanog and San Roque in the northern part of the city will be reforested with mahogany, acacia mangium, kakawate and other kinds of trees. The 80 hectares of the total area is in Palanog, while the remaining 20 hectares are in San Roque.

Among the priorities of City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the project is expected to boost the city's forest preservation efforts and provide employment opportunities to 70 farm families living nearby.

Also, it is expected to curb air pollution and erosion problems, and enhance the sustainable use of natural resources in the area.

Funding for the project came from a P1.7 million grant recently extended to the city by the German Government through the GTZ, it was learned.






May 07, 2009

Guiuan airport rehab project nears completion

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The rehabilitation of the Guiuan Airport in Eastern Samar will be completed by June this year. The airport project was seen as a big step towards tourism advancement of surfing haven Calicoan Island.

Mayor Analiza Kwan said that project is almost done with the completion of terminal building and apron. "They are working on asphalt overlay concreting of access road but it's over 50% accomplished now."

The construction of the Apron and Taxiway was completed in September of 2007. Additional concreting of Apron and Taxiway was completed in January of 2008 while the Passenger Terminal Building was completed in August of 2008.

The Guiuan Airport Development Project has a cost of P155 million. Around P25 million was allocated in 2006 and 2007 for the construction and concreting of Apron and Taxiway and rehabilitation of the Passenger Terminal Building . Guiuan Airport, which was originally a United States Navy air base in World War II, has a runway length of 2,094 meters. Prior to upgrading efforts, the airport services light private planes, chartered cargo and military planes.

Some P130 million has been programmed for 2008 for the construction of the perimeter fence, site acquisition and construction of access road, completion of apron and taxiway and asphalt overlay of runway.

"It will have a very great impact on our tourism program," Kwan said in a brief interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Kwan claimed that with the intensive promotion of Calicoan Island as one the country's tourism destination, they have started to notice the increasing number of visitors to their town.

"In 2004, only three passenger vans took trip from Tacloban to Guiuan daily but now we've noticed over 20 trips a day," the lady mayor said. The nearby regional capital of Tacloban is only two to three hours away.

Calicoan is one of the islands in Guiuan town. It boasts of miles of white sand beaches. The place has been identified as surfer's paradise with its powerful swells rolling in from the Pacific over the 10,000 meters Philippine deep. The season for the best waves is generally from October to March.

In the middle of the island are six lagoons ringed by forest, the largest being 30 hectares in size. At the cliff side margin of Calicoan's forests are dozens of caves. On the northern tip of Calicoan are wetlands like the Everglades, teeming with fish, shrimp, and crabs.

The project is a thrust in line with the present administration's super region concept of development where Region 8 is part of the Central Philippines Super Region envisioned to be the tourism center of the country.






May 07, 2009

'Flores de Mayo' teaches Tacloban kids to pray

By Melanie L. Bingco

ABS CBN News - Philippines

May is more than just a "Month of Flowers" for a number of children lined up before the Sacred Heart Parish in Tacloban.

Through this Catholic ritual, children as young as four years old learn the value of prayer.

With "santan" or bougainvilleas in their hands and rosaries around their necks, the children join in praying the rosary at the church, led by teenagers or elders from the church's youth organization every afternoon in celebration of "Flores de Mayo", a tradition of offering flowers and prayers to the Virgin Mary.

"I know how to pray 'Our Father' (The Lord's Prayer), 'Hail Mary', and 'Glory be' (or Gloria Patri)," said Justin, 9. He said that he does not mind carrying flowers, especially since he offers them to Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

For 11-year-old Ronalyn, meanwhile, who has been offering flowers since the she was 4 years old, said she still feels the same joy every time. "Even if it's just a simple flower, I feel happy to give it to Mama Mary. And from praying, I always receive blessings from God," she said.

"Flores de Mayo", introduced to the country by the Spaniards, are month-long celebrations usually preceded by a nine-day novena honoring the Holy Cross.

In many regions, the highlight of the "Flores de Mayo" is the "Santacruzan" or Festival of the Cross, which is a procession and beauty pageant ("sagala") where young men and women dress up in elegant costumes to portray several Biblical characters. The "Santacruzan" dramatizes how St. Helena (locally called "Santa Elena"), mother of Constantine the Great, found the Holy Cross where Jesus was nailed.






May 06, 2009

PGMA's "One Town One Scholar" program makes pedicab driver and son cry

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- A pedicab driver and his son shed tears upon being told that the son is among the first set of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's "One Town One Scholar" Program.

"I was anxious when a neighbor told me last night that my son Argie and I are being requested by the Mayor to see him at 8:00 o'clock in the morning today," Mr. Mabag, a pedicab driver from Cabuynan, Tanauan, Leyte, said.

At exactly 8:00 o'clock in the morning, Mr. Mabag and his son Argie were at Mayor Roque Tiu's office.

Mayor Tiu then told the father and son that Argie's application to be a "One Town One Scholar" has been approved by CHED and that the Mayor will accompany him to Manila to receive the scholarship certificate from no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the Malacanang Palace.

"I was shocked and at the same time surprised to see they shed tears," Mayor Tiu said confiding that he was taken aback at the reaction of the father and son.

He said that CHED Region 8 called him up early evening of Monday informing him that Tanauan's "One Town One Scholar" will represent Region 8 in the awarding of scholarship certificates at Malacanang on Wednesday.

Mayor Tiu who just bought a ticket to Manila for Thursday May 7, immediately called up the ticketing office to change his flight date and bought another ticket for Argie.

"I never expected to be able to pursue a college education," Argie said. "Thanks to President Gloria, my dream to become a professional so that I could help improve the economic standing of my family will be realized," Argie said crying.

Admitting he has never been to Manila, Argie said he is not afraid because he will be with the Mayor. He is excited to see President Arroyo at Malacanang, he confessed.

Argie said he learned about the "One Town One Scholar" program of President Arroyo from Mayor Tiu during the graduation exercises last March.

Knowing that his parents cannot afford to send him to college because his father is just a tricycle driver who every now and then would cook bread and native delicacies to augment the family income, Argie wrote an application letter and he took the written exam given by the local government unit.

Argie, who graduated as an honorable mention in his class, the first batch of graduates from the Cabuynan Annex of the Tanauan National High School, topped the written exams and interview conducted by the LGU, together with an equally bright student from his school.

Mayor Tiu said that after he recommended Argie to CHED, he decided to take in the other bright student applicant as a scholar of the Local Government Unit.

As a PGMA's "One Town One Scholar" grantee, Argie will receive a scholarship for a four or five year college degree program, including free tuition and transportation and living allowances, not exceeding P15,000 per semester for School Year 2009-2010 and every year thereafter.






May 04, 2009

DepEd hails success of Palarong Pambansa 2009 in Leyte

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Ramon Bacani commended the province of Leyte headed by Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and all the committees mostly headed by Region 8 directors for the very successful hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2009.

"As Governor Petilla promised when Leyte was still bidding for the hosting of the Palaro, Leyte will not be the only host but Region 8 as a whole," USEC Bacani said.

All the delegations were all praises for the hospitality and support they received from their respective hosts from DepEd and local government units, USEC Bacani added.

All the concerns of the delegations were answered and the billeting areas are comfortable, complete with sleeping mattresses which is the first time in the history of the Palarong Pambansa.

No less that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo opened the Palarong Pambansa 2009 and for the first time, the President and the vice President of the Republic of the Philippines were together in the same event.

The Opening until the Closing was spectacular with media from all over the country covering from day 1 to closing. The whole duration of the Palaro was covered live nationwide thru the PBS Radio ng Bayan and in the Region via AAC cable television, ABC 5, with footages by GMA 7 and ABS CBN, and in local radio stations, DYVL and Radyo Diwa.

Noteworthy is the fact that all the delegations were intact up to the closing ceremonies and Paalam Night and the young athletes ignored the rain showers as they danced in merriment for their achievements and for their newfound friends.

Several delegations like ARMM and CARAGA Region left at midnight of May 4. Others left in the morning of May 4 while others went on tour while waiting for their departure at 12 midnight.

The hosts and the technical working group and staff are tired but the thought of the work well done gives them the vim and vigor to go on.






May 04, 2009

Tourism stakeholders all smiles with holding of Palaro

By Bong Pedalino

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- This year's national games held here was over, but the joy it generated created ripples of wide smiles to this city's tourism sector.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Rosa karina Tiopes was fully aware of this fact, and even she herself was wearing a smile.

"I am happy for the support of the operators, especially in the process of bidding to hold the Palaro games here," Tiopes said in a chance interview.

With excellent facilities now available in the city, Tiopes said Tacloban has been duly considered in the convention map of groups or organizations that intend to have mass gatherings this summer.

This was the reason more than twenty (20) small and large hotels in the city were already fully booked weeks before and weeks after the Palaro, for the activities of these varied groups were already scheduled.

The Palaro was a clear indication that there is such a thing as sports and wellness tourism, Tiopes stressed, adding that the week-long conduct of the games fueled the various sectors of the local economy, such as the hotels, tricycle drivers, eateries, among others.

The Tourism department organized half-day tours for the visitors around the city, and whole-day tour packages to include outlying areas in the city weeks before the Palaro and even while it was in progress, Tiopes said.

Asked to estimate how much revenues were generated out of the sports and wellness tourism catered by the city, Tiopes simply offered a conservative figure of an average P 500.00 per day spent by a single visitor while he or she lingered anywhere in Tacloban.

Multiply that by twenty days at least for a visiting population of 10,000 people.

Now that's another reason for every Taclobanon entrepreneur to smile.






May 04, 2009

2009 Palarong Pambansa boosts tourism industry in Eastern Visayas

By Rodrigo S. Victoria

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The chief of the Department of Tourism (DOT) here in Eastern Visayas revealed that the holding of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa boosted the tourism industry in this part of the country.

Director Karina Rosa S. Tiopes of DOT Regional Office No. 8 revealed in an interview that the holding of the weeklong national annual sports event in Region 8 specifically in the heart of Leyte province which is Tacloban City the capital of the province helped much in promoting the tourism industry of the region.

Region 8 is part of the Central Philippines which is considered as the tourism hub in the country as per geographical location mentioned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in her 2007 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Director Tiopes informed that the number of delegates ranging from 8,000 to 10,000 coming from the 17 participating delegations all over the country including the guests, parents and chaperons of athletes greatly contributed to the tourism industry in region 8.

She said that if one athlete, guest or a visitor spends about P500 a day for just one week that's already something significant not only to the tourism industry but also to the economy of Eastern Visayas as a whole.

The tourism chief in Eastern Visayas further said that the big and smaller hotels are already fully booked until May 20 because of the holding of national convention like the one to be sponsored by the Philippine Dental Association which is scheduled after the Palarong Pambansa.

In fact there were already private homes here in Tacloban City or in the neighboring towns which catered to homestay because of the big number of local tourist arrivals in the region brought by the holding of the 2009 Palarong Pambansa, Director Tiopes added.

She further said that the DOT office in the region had trained students from the Leyte Normal University (LNU) to serve as tour guides to athletes, officials, guests and visitors who took part and watched the 2009 Palarong Pambansa.

She admitted that holding the 2009 Palarong Pambansa was a learning experience on their part as to the things to be prepared, needed and improved in hosting a national event like the 2009 Palarong Pambansa.

She plans to hold a post - conference with other stakeholders of the tourism industry in the region after the 2009 Palarong Pambansa in order to know what are the things that need to be improved in hosting a big national event.






May 04, 2009

E. Samar gov to ERD:
Stop power rate hike

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte -- Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to stop the implementation of the P1.14 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) provisional power rate increase granted to the National Power Corp.

In a three-page petition to the ERC dated April 20, Evardone noted that any power rate increase would be "unconscionable" in this economic crisis that has affected Eastern Visayas residents, who are among the country's poorest.

He urged the ERC to consider the adverse impact of the ongoing economic crisis on Eastern Visayas people who have already suffered from the effects of recent typhoons and floods.

In a text message, Evardone expressed hope that the ERC would consider his appeal that was made in the interest of his constituents.

He also explained that if the P1.14 per kWh power rate increase was implemented, the consumers from his province would be paying a higher rate similar to those imposed in other areas that are not economically depressed.

The Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative has been charging P7.7487 per kwh, which is among the highest in the country, Evardone said.

The consumers of Eastern Visayas should be exempted from any power rate increase that would be imposed by the Napocor because the region serves as the host of the Tongonan geothermal power facility, Evardone also said.





May 03, 2009

More passengers, vehicles get stranded in Region 8 due to Typhoon "Dante"

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- More passengers and vehicles remain stranded at the Ports of Dapdap and Looc in Allen, Northern Samar, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Region 8 reported.

The ferry operations at the two ports remain cancelled since 7:00 o'clock in the morning of May 2 due to the tropical depression "Dante."

The number of stranded vehicles and passengers at the ports of Dapdap and Looc has considerably increased, the progress report at 6:00 o'clock in the evening of May 2 stated.

At the Looc Port, the number of stranded passengers increased to 691 and the stranded vehicles which include light cars, buses and trucks counted 61. The number of stranded ships at the port remained to be three.

Meanwhile at the Dapdap Port, about 228 passengers have been reported to be stranded as of 6:00 o'clock in the evening of May 2. Also stranded are 19 light cars, buses and trucks. Only one ship is on hold at the port since the morning of May 2.

Furthermore, the Philippine Port Authority in Tacloban City headed by Manager Winfred Elizalde reported that the ferry terminals located at Ormoc City in Leyte, and Liloan in Southern Leyte remain operational as of press time.

The PPA Tacloban will continue to closely monitor the ferry operations at all the ports of Tacloban while the RDCC gave the assurance that it will continue to closely monitor the effects of tropical depression Dante in Region 8.

The weather report at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 2 disclosed that Tropical Depression "Dante" was estimated based on satellite and surface data at 20 kms East of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph. It is forecast to remain almost stationary.

Bicol region, Southern Quezon, and Northern Samar will experience rains and gusty winds and the coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough. The rest of Southern Luzon and Eastern and Western Visayas will have cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms while the eastern section of Luzon, the rest of Visayas, and Northern Mindanao will be mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms. The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to at times cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening.






May 03, 2009

Pacquiao fever hits Palarong Pambansa athletes

By Nene A. Manzanares

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- There have been several firsts in the Leyte Palarong Pambansa 2009 which will culminate today. Some of these were mentioned by no less than Sec. Jesli Lapuz himself who said that this is the first time that all athletes have been given sleeping mattresses each. Region 8 Regional Director Sol Matugas said that this is the first time that both the President of the land and the Vice- President were together during the opening program of the week-long national sports event.

And this will also be the first time that the Palaro may have to stop for awhile as Manny "Pambansang Kamao" Pacquiao tries to grab from Englishman Ricky Hatton the junior welterweight title early this morning.

It will not only be in General Santos City that the Pacquiao-Hatton fight will be shown live but in different parts of Leyte province as well. As this article goes to the different websites today, big screens have already been readied at the Leyte Sports Development Center (the venue of the Palarong Pambansa), the Leyte Sports Gymnasium (a stone's throw away from the Provincial Capitol) and the Tanauan Civic Building in Tanauan town.

Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu said that he bought a satellite disc in preparation for today's Pacquiao-Hatton fight to accommodate the request of athletes from General Santos City or the whole of Region 12 who are billeted in his town, to watch the much awaited fight of Manny Pacquiao with Ricky "Hitman" Hatton. "Manny Pacquiao's townmates will thus be able to see the fight live on a big screen," the very accommodating local chief executive of Tanauan said.

The Tanauan Civic Building can hold 2,500 viewers which is more than enough to have room for the athletes of Region 10 (Davao Region) and Region 12 (SOCSARGEN) who are all billeted in Tanauan town.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police expects another zero crime rate during the actual fight of Manny "Pacman" Paquiao who is now known as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Observers expect that traffic will be at a standstill this morning and streets will go empty as the majority of the 90 million Filipinos will either stay at home or look for big screens where they can watch the fight.

The pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao's showdown with Ricky Hatton has been dubbed as "The Battle of East and West."

The Palarong Pambansa 2009 will resume its sports activities after the "Pacman-Hitman" fight.






May 03, 2009

Palarong Pambansa 2009 in Leyte ends with Awarding and "Paalam" Night

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The holding of the Palarong Pambansa 2009 in Leyte is unanimously cited by the delegations as well as the onlookers, as very successful, enjoyable and full of firsts.

After a brief timeout in order to watch the Pacquiao-Hutton boxing match, thanks to Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla who provided a satellite pay-per-view telecast live, the championship matches of several events continued.

At 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon of May 3, the Awarding Ceremonies will be conducted at the Leyte Sports Development Center. Right after, all the delegations will be treated to a "Paalam Night" courtesy of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and the League of Municipalities of the Philippines led by Tanauan Mayor Roque A. Tiu.

As expected, the National Capital Region bagged the overall championship crown both in the secondary and elementary division. In the secondary division, far second is Region 4-A followed by Region 6 or Western Visayas, Region 7 or Central Visayas, Region 11 or Davao Region, Region 12 or Cotabato Region, Region 3 or Central Luzon Region, CAR, and Region 4-B in the top ten delegations.

All the Palarong Pambansa delegations, however, won the love and admiration of the Leytenos and the whole country for their sportsmanship and determination to win not only honors but friends for their respective regions and for the country Philippines.






May 02, 2009

Typhoon "Dante" cancels ferry operations in Region 8

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The ferry operations at Looc and Dapdap Ports, both situated at Allen, Northern Samar, have been cancelled since 7:00 o'clock Saturday morning due to tropical depression Dante.

As of press time, the reports coming from the Philippine Ports Authority and from the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council for Eastern Visayas, disclosed that there are already stranded vehicles and passengers in both ports.

The number of stranded passengers at the Looc Port totaled to 251 while 99 stranded passengers have been reported at Dapdap Port.

The same report stated that there are 38 light vehicles, buses and trucks stranded at the Looc Port while another 18 vehicles are stranded at Dapdap Port.

Office of the Civil Defense Director Angel Gaviola said that there are three ships on hold at the Looc Port while in Dapdap Port, there is only one ship on hold.

The Philippine Ports Authority in Tacloban continues to monitor the ferry operations at all ports in Region 8.

The RDCC 8 has already disseminated weather advisories to all concerned Disaster Coordinating Councils in Region 8 and advised all to take the necessary and appropriate measures.

The RDCC 8 will continuously monitor the effects of tropical depression "Dante" in Region 8.

The weather in Tacloban City continuous to be cloudy, with isolated rain showers. PAG-ASA reported that as of 2:00 a.m. May 2, Tropical Depression "Dante" was estimated to be 80 kms. East Southeast of Legazpi City (13.0 °N, 124.5 °E) with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph. It is forecast to remain almost stationary.




    
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