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OCT (19-30) 2008 TACLOBAN NEWS

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BREAKING NEWS / TACLOBAN REGION

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

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Oct 30, 2008

Tacloban PNP on alert as RP commemorates All Saints Day

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- The Philippine National Police in Tacloban City will be on alert as the country commemorates All Saints and All Souls Days on November 1 and 2 respectively.

There will be traffic rerouting on November 1 particularly at the Sagkahan area, City Police Chief Romulo Cleve Taboso said thru PO1 Jacobe.

All vehicles going to the downtown area, from San Jose, Marasbaras, Calipayan and V&G Subdivision will turn right when they reach Aslum area going to Magallanes. When the commuters reach Pericohon then will turn left going back to Real Street. Going back, the commuters are advised to use Real Street again.

PO1 Jacobe said that the reason for the rerouting is that the area between Aslum and Pericohon will be used as parking area for those who will go to the Tacloban Cemetery at El Reposo Street.

Col. Taboso said that as in previous years, the El Reposo St. will be closed to traffic to accommodate the pedestrians who will go to the Tacloban City Cemetery in order to pay respect to their dead love ones.

No motor vehicles will be allowed to enter El Reposo St., Col. Taboso said, even as he urged the public to just park their cars along Real St. and just walk towards El Reposo St. where the Catholic Cemetery and the Chinese Cemetery are located.

Meanwhile, the Tacloban City Police will provide police visibility to see to it that the safety of the public is safeguarded.

There will be policemen who will be on duty 24 hours on November 1 and 2 at all the cemeteries in Tacloban City.

In addition, Col. Taboso said that Police Assistance Centers will be set up in the cemeteries, at Caibaan Rotonda, Naga-Naga, Coca Cola Rotonda and at the junction between San Juanico Bridge and street going to Babatngon, Leyte.






Oct 29, 2008

Philip Romualdez to run for Leyte gov in 2010?

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A Romualdez is sure to run for Leyte governor in the 2010 elections.

But as to who among the still influential family would run for Leyte's top post was not revealed by Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez who made this disclosure in a recent press conference.

This disclosure of the city mayor came on the heel of his campaign to convert Tacloban into a highly-urbanized city, which would prohibit its residents to vote and be voted upon for any provincial post.

Other than the small town of Tolosa, the city of Tacloban, which has over 90,000 registered voters, is considered to be the main bailiwick of the Romualdezes whose political fortune is largely credited to former first lady Imelda Marcos.

Tolosa, some 24 kms away from this city, is considered to be the hometown of the Romualdezes.
"Politically, the conversion of Tacloban into a highly-urbanized city is not good for us because a Romualdez would like to run for (governor)," the city mayor said.

He, however, declined to identify who among the family members would run for governor.
Philip Romualdez, cousin of the city mayor, is being rumored to be interested in running for governor in the 2010 elections.

His younger brother, Ferdinand Martin, is the incumbent congressman representing the first district of Leyte, which covers this city and seven towns.

Philip's father, Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez, served as Leyte governor for 20 years while he was the provincial chairman of the Kabataan Barangay, the precursor of today's Sangguniang Kabataan.
The family and their cronies left the province in 1986 as a result of the EDSA People Power I.

The family is now considered to be among the closest political allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo.
Reached for comment, a close aide of Governor Jericho Petilla said that they would welcome anyone from the Romualdez family who would seek for governor.

"It's every one's right to run for any elective position," the aide, who asked not to be named, said.
The Petillas has ruled the province of more than 1.2 million people for 18 years now.

Meantime, Mayor Romualdez dismissed speculations that he is pushing for the conversion of Tacloban into a highly-urbanized city as part of his plan to return to Congress.

"That rumor is funny; that I will run for a congressional seat as my wife (actress Cristina Gonzales) will run for mayor," Romualdez said.

"I want to see Tacloban become a HUC because it will give us more opportunities like attracting more investors and not for any political reason," he added.

An HUC is entitled to a congressional representation. Romualdez served as congressman from 1995 up to 1998. He was defeated by popular news anchor Ted Failon when he sought for a reelection.






Oct 29, 2008

Bongbong eyes Senate seat in 2010 elections

By Jose Rodriguez T. Señase

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos jr. said he might run for senator in the coming 2010 elections.

"I have many plans, but most likely I will run for senator in the coming elections," said Marcos, who was in the city recently to attend a function of the Tacloban Host Lion's Club.

However, he stressed that there might still be changes in his plans.

"But again, alam naman natin na mayroon naman bagong attempt at Charter Change and the legislated proposal ay unicameral ulit. So, kailangan din bantayan ‘yan. But if nothing changes, then I'm going ahead with my plan na tumakbo pagka-senador,"Marcos said.

Marcos said his going to different places in the country is part of his plan to seek national office.

"One of the reasons why I'm going to places outside Ilocos is to assess the political situation. I am assessing whether it is feasible for me to run for national office," Marcos stressed.

Asked on his winning chances, Marcos expressed confidence that he will make it to the Magic 12.

"Sa palagay ko tanggap pa tayo ng tao, lalo na ngayon. Noon, masyadong mainit and panahon kontra sa amin. Ngunit ngayon, nakita ng mga tao na may basis for comparison pala. Sinasabi nila noon na kami lang mga Marcos and mga bad guys. Ngayon, iba na ang inyong narininig. Marami ang nagsasabi na mas maganda pala sa panahon ni Marcos at mga walanghiya pala ang mga pumalit sa kanya," Marcos pointed out.

"Doon sa klase ng pag-alala ng mga tao sa aking ama, malaking tulong ‘yan," added Marcos who belongs to the minority bloc in the Lower House.

Bongbong, as he is popularly called, is the son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, who was Philippine president from 1965 to 1986, and former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, who hails from this province. Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez are his cousins.

Before becoming a representative of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte, he was vice governor of Ilocos from 1980-1983 and served outstandingly as its governor for three terms from 1998-2007.






Oct 29, 2008

Alfred to implement development projects in different barangays

By Rhonna Rubie A. Rona

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city mayor's office will be implementing development projects this year in different areas of the city.

The different projects include repainting of school facilities worth P179,770.86, installation of concrete pavement and construction of comfort room at the Balyuan Amphitheater worth P3,505,654.17, and the construction of mini gym in Brgy. 105-Suhi worth P4,653,000.

Aside from these projects, there were also projects for completion of the gyms in the different barangays like the construction of mini-gym of Brgy. 60 worth P385,870.04, completion of mini-gym of Brgy. 83-A worth P1,142,579.10, construction of mini-gym in Brgy. 103-Palanog proper worth P1,027,000, construction of mini-gym in Brgy. 107 worth P2,277,000, and construction of mini-auditorium in Brgy. 12-Palanog worth P1,068,216.17.

According to Rolando G. Hidalgo, head of the city planning and development office, these projects were requested by the different barangays and were accommodated through the mayor's approval.

"These projects are already with the Bids and Work Committee, subject for bidding. And after the bidding, whoever is the winning bidder will be given the notice to proceed by the office of the city mayor. We are just waiting until the bidding is finished and then right after the bidding, it will be given the notice to proceed by the city mayor, then it will be ready for construction," Hidalgo said.






Oct 26, 2008

Romualdezes eye return in 2010

By Joey A. Gabieta

Inquirer.net - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- A Romualdez is sure to run for Leyte governor in the 2010 elections.

But who among the members of the influential family would run for Leyte's top post was not bared by Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez who revealed his family's plan in a talk with reporters here on Saturday.

The mayor's disclosure came in the heels of his campaign to convert Tacloban into a highly urbanized city, which would exclude its residents from voting and being voted upon for any elective post in Leyte.

Other than the small town of Tolosa, Tacloban, which has over 90,000 registered voters, is considered to be the main bailiwick of the Romualdezes whose political fortune is largely credited to former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

Tolosa, some 24 kilometers from this city, is considered to be the hometown of the Romualdezes.

"Politically, the conversion of Tacloban into a highly urbanized city is not good for us because a Romualdez would like to run for (governor)," the city mayor said.

He, however, declined to identify who among the family members would run for governor.

Philip Romualdez, a cousin of the city mayor, is rumored to be interested to run for governor in 2010 elections.

Philip's younger brother, Ferdinand Martin, is the incumbent congressman representing the first district of Leyte which covers this city and seven towns.

Philip's father, Kokoy, served as Leyte's governor for 20 years throughout the Marcos regime. Philip himself was the provincial chairman of the Kabataan Barangay (Youth Village), the precursor of today's Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council).

The Romualdez family left the province in 1986 after the regime of Ferdinand Marcos was ousted through the peaceful Edsa People Power Revolution.

The family is now considered to be among the closest political allies of President Macapagal-Arroyo.

A close aide of Leyte Gov. Jericho Petilla, another Arroyo ally and whose family's stock as a political clan rose during the Aquino administration, said they would welcome anyone from the Romualdez family who would seek the gubernatorial seat.

"It's every one's right to run for any elective position," said the aide, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized by the governor to speak on the issue.

The Petillas have ruled the province of more than 1.2 million people for 18 years now. Petilla's mother, Remedios, was the governor he succeeded.

Mayor Romualdez, meanwhile, dismissed speculations that he was pushing for the conversion of Tacloban into a highly urbanized city as part of his plan to return to Congress.

"That rumor is funny; that I will run for a congressional seat as my wife (actress Cristina Gonzales) will run for mayor," Romualdez said.

"I want to see Tacloban become an HUC because it will give us more opportunities like attracting more investors, and not for any political reason," he added.

An HUC is entitled to a congressional representation.

Romualdez served as congressman for Leyte's first congressional district from 1995 to 1998. He sought reelection but was defeated by popular news anchor Ted Failon.






Oct 26, 2008

Leyte call center

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN -- APAC Customer Services, Inc. will start the renovation of the gymnasium at the Leyte ICT Park into a P200-million facility, its first outside Metro Manila. "We have a floor plan. It's not just renovation but a complete [rebuilding] of the gymnasium," said Joe Mar Tabarangao, APAC site general manager for Leyte.

The Nasdaq-listed business process outsourcing firm will hire about 1,000 workers. Initially, the company is looking for 30 managers and 150 call center agents. Expansion will depend on client growth.

Doug Almond, APAC vice-president for international operations, said in an interview during the company's first jobs fair here that the first training class will be in January. Full production will be in February. Mr. Almond said Leyte was an ideal location for APAC's first provincial facility because of the good talent pool and a business-friendly environment.






Oct 24, 2008

Isuzu's P130-M training center to open in Tacloban

By Sarwel Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The P130 million Auto Mechanic Training Center funded by the world's largest automaker, Isuzu Motors, will formally open November 18 at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) regional office here.

Juan Sabulao, TESDA regional director, said that the facility, which is the first of its kind in the country, is equipped with automatic transmission vehicles, trucks, diesel engines, gasoline engines and other training tools.

The center will be open to all poor but deserving students nationwide. Isuzu firm has tied up with the non-government organization Plan Philippines to identify trainees who would avail of scholarships financed by Isuzu in the next five years.

"The project will cover full support of living and educational fee for trainees, construction of dormitory to house the trainees while they complete their courses, advice for curriculum development and supply of training facilities and equipment," Sabulao added.

He said they have already started listing trainees for the first batch who are residents of economically depressed areas supported by Plan Philippines initiatives. TESDA also tied up with the Department of Education to augment its alternative learning system program.

Plan Philippines and TESDA have agreed to collaborate in developing a technical education program that seeks to produce top-class automotive technicians.

"We are happy to have this center in the region. This is part of Isuzu's corporate social responsibility to help out the poor in the country," Sabulao said in a news conference.

A day before the opening on November 18, 2008, top Isuzu executives from Japan will tour the multi-million facility. The training center constructed early this year has a dormitory, water system, and recreational facilities.

The project was launched and the tripartite partnership was sealed through the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing on January 31, 2008 in Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City by TESDA top officials, Plan International and Isuzu Motors.

Isuzu Philippines Vice President and former Isuzu Motors human resource manager Tomoki Umeda and Plan Japan Project Manager Aya Yamagata have been visiting the site and have been negotiating with TESDA officials.

In it's website, Isuzu Philippines Corp. revealed that their company is donating one NHR passenger van and Isuzu Motors Limited (IML) of Japan is giving one Crosswind XTi to the training center to help the government in carrying out its "altruistic goal of providing technical education to young and poor Filipinos."

"We are confident that the two vehicles will be put to good use in training young Filipino students for automotive expertise. We believe that, in the end, the car industry and most importantly the Philippines will benefit from this," said Isuzu Philippine Corporation President Keiji Takeda in a statement.

Isuzu Motors has chosen the country as the beneficiary of this training center after considering that "37% of the country's population lives below the poverty line, with some three million young people unable to receive education."

According to Isuzu, the training will fill the poverty gap with the growing demand for auto technicians as the country registers more than five million motor vehicles each year.

Sabulao said that in its second year of operation, the training center would also upgrade skills of workers who have been in the automotive industry for many years now. "The center will be opened during evenings and weekends to accommodate to retrain workers."

The training center is an "Isuzu Heart & Smile Project," an integral part of the Japanese carmaker's campaign to mark its 70th inaugural anniversary.






Oct 24, 2008

Yaokasin: MCH vehicles will still exist after HUC

By Beverly Ann Torreros

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Councilor Jerry "Sambo" Yaokasin said that the motorcycle-for-hire (MCH) will still exist even after the conversion of Tacloban into a highly-urbanized city.

"I think the MCH operation will still be there even if Tacloban becomes a highly-urbanized city. Just like in Puerto Princesa when it becomes HUC, the drivers thought they will be fist-off but after a year they were still there," Yaokasin said.

On the other hand, Yaokasin also commented about the fare of MCH after the HUC conversion.

"The fare could still be the same. I think it has nothing to do with HUC, it has something to do with the price of gasoline," he added.

Furthermore, the national government assured Phil health cards for the MCH drivers as a benefit.






Oct 24, 2008

City gov't pushes intensive campaign on HUC

By Beverly Ann Torreros

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- City Legal Officer Atty. Sergio Sumayod said that while waiting for the resolution of plebiscite campaign from the national Comelec, the city government is having an intensive public campaign towards Taclobanons about the conversion of Tacloban to a highly-urbanized city (HUC).

It was on Oct. 4 when President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo (PGMA) signed the Presidential Proclamation 1637 declaring Tacloban as a highly-urbanized city (HUC) having met the qualifications or legal requirements under the law.

Sumayod, on the other hand, stressed that according to the law an intensive public campaign could be done while waiting for the resolution from the Comelec.

The tentative date that was selected by the Comelec national office for a plebiscite campaign is on December 6, 2008.

"We made an official coordination with the Comelec in Manila and they already calendared it, and soon they will come up with a resolution scheduling the plebiscite campaign and their tentative date for the campaign is on December 6, 2008," Sumayod disclosed.






Oct 23, 2008

Tacloban's P1.2-B AIP is for high impact city projects

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The newly-approved annual investment plan (AIP) of the city government worth over P1.2 billion was designed to provide more economic activities in the city.

Thus, the projects identified under the said annual investment plan are all high impact projects that would benefit the people of the city, said city planning and development officer Roland Hidalgo.

Among the projects identified under the 2009 AIP include the rehabilitation of the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport; construction of a fish port and 4-kilometer coastal road project and site development of the long-dormant economic growth center.

"The AIP is geared towards the economic development of the city," Hidalgo said.

The P1,205,083,443 AIP for next year was approved last week by the members of the city council and would be funded either by local sources or by the national government like that of the DZR Airport, the city planning and development officer said.

The airport's terminal would be rehabilitated and a new parking area would be constructed to the tune of P400 million, the single biggest item under the 2009 annual investment plan of the city government.

"While the budget of 2009 AIP is higher compared to our proposed annual budget, there is no conflict there because some of the items under the AIP will be funded by other agencies like the national government," Hidalgo.

Some of the projects identified under the more than P1.20 billion annual investment plan of the city would be funded by other agencies. For one, the national government would fund the rehabilitation of the DZR Airport.

It was learned from the city planning and development officer that the proposed 2009 city budget as prepared by Mayor Alfred Romualdez is worth over P630 million.

Mayor Romualdez has yet to submit the proposed city budget to the members of the city council though.

Other projects identified under the 2009 AIP were construction of a sanitary landfill worth P20 million; construction of a south cemetery with a budget of P15 million; site development of a Teachers' Academy (P10 million); construction of a new police station estimated to cost P23 million; construction of a building for new economic enterprises at P50 million.

In addition, P15 million is also to be spent by the city government for next year for the installation of new traffic lights.

The construction of the 4 kilometer coastal road had a budget allocation of P10 million. This road opening would serve as an alternative road starting from Magsaysay Boulevard all the way to Sagkahan area.

The 2009 AIP was divided into three sectors, namely, the infrastructure development; social services and economic sector.

As expected the infrastructure development had the highest allocation at P1,055,707,740 followed by social services, P88,148,703 and the economic development at P61,227,000.






Oct 23, 2008

Tacloban folk want fare rollback

By Jenette Fariola-Ruedas

ABS CBN News - Philippines

TACLOBAN CITY -- Commuters here are already complaining about the lack of a fare rollback despite several price cuts on petroleum products. They were expecting a rollback to happen after the gasoline and diesel prices went down recently.

According to the Land Transportation Office in the region, a rollback has yet to be discussed on the national level. A pending request is already at the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board's national office.

The request for a fare cut is possible in the region once it is implemented in Metro Manila and as soon as a memorandum comes from the LTFRB's headquarters.

Last week, petroleum companies implemented a price rollback for diesel and gasoline products. Another round was implemented on Thursday.

Meanwhile, tricycle drivers in Tacloban have called on the national government to grant them health maintenance cards and fuel discounts since President Arroyo have promised their Metro Manila counterparts with the same benefits.

These include Philhealth cards, a P1 per liter discount from Pilipinas Shell stations and scholarships for their children.

Tacloban's tricycle drivers said they expect to receive the same kind of benefits, too.

"Dapat kung nasimulan na yan sa Manila, kami rin dito meron. Pare-pareho lang naman kaming mga tricycledrivers. Malaking tulong na ang maibibigay nito saamin dahil wala namang kasiguruhan an buhay namin sa kalsada", Benedicto Corilla, president of United Motorcab Drivers Association, said.

According to the Philhealth office in the region, it does not have the resources yet for the drivers because the head office has not released a memorandum regarding the matter.






Oct 22, 2008

Plebiscite on HUC bid of Tacloban set on Dec. 6

By Sarwell Q. Meniano

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Commission on Elections has tentatively scheduled December 6 as the date for the holding of a plebiscite that would ratify the declaration that Tacloban is a highly urbanized city (HUC).

City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said in an interview that the Comelec has proposed that December 6 would be the date for the plebiscite on the HUC bid of Tacloban City.

He added that because of this, the information drive regarding the city's conversion would be more massive starting next week in preparation for the voting.

"I don't see any problem here. It's just informing the people what is HUC all about. We are still starting our information drive. I'm happy that many are well informed and some groups have already spoken up," Romualdez told Leyte Samar Daily Express Monday evening.

"It's the Comelec that proposed the date of plebiscite and not us. We are still waiting for the final schedule since the Comelec en banc has not yet meet this week," he added.

The city government will spend P7 million for the plebiscite, according to the mayor.

Comelec Regional Director Gregorio Larrazabal yesterday confirmed that the Comelec central office had already proposed that December 6 be the tentative date of the plebiscite.

He added that they would just follow orders from higher officials in Manila since the preparation is the task of their main office.

"We cannot say that it's final. They will come up with a resolution in their regular meeting and announce the final date (of the plebiscite)," Larrazabal said in a brief phone interview yesterday.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Presidential Proclamation 1637 last October 04, 2008, citing the qualification met by the 55-year-old component city in terms of population and income.

The city has a population of over 217,000 with an income from local sources of around P230 million in 2007.

The conversion of the city to a higher category will take effect "only upon ratification in a plebiscite" by the city's qualified voters. Under the law, the plebiscite will be held within120 days from the President's declaration.

A plebiscite is a popular vote on a proposal which includes the entire populace. Voters are asked to either reject or accept the proposal, with the outcome of the plebiscite determining the fate of the proposed reclassification of the city.

"I'm looking forward to get this done within this year so that we can plan for 2009," Rumualdez said.

During the city government's barrio fiesta in the sidelines of the 64th Leyte Gulf Landing celebration, Romualdez appealed to barangay officials to vote "yes" for HUC.

"In the next weeks, Tacloban will celebrate independence. We will be asked to vote. I'm happy that time comes that we will be recognized as capital of Eastern Visayas as leader of progress and development," the mayor told hundreds of local officials.

He added that with the conversion, the city's income from both businesses and from the central government will be increased to provide services of a bigger populace. The city would also be placed under the supervision of the Office of the President.






Oct 22, 2008

Comelec enjoins Taclobanons to vote during plebiscite on HUC

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The regional office of the Commission on Elections is ready to join the campaign of Tacloban city government on its bid on becoming a highly urbanized city.

But the participation of the Comelec would only focus on encouraging the city's voters to come out and vote during the plebiscite that would be conducted, says Comelec Regional Director Gregorio Larrazabal.
The regional director of the Comelec added that he would encourage officials of the city government to conduct a more intensive information drive on its bid to reclassify Tacloban into a HUC.

"The Comelec will assist the city government on its information campaign on HUC but this will only be limited on information that there will be a plebiscite in connection to the proposal of the city officials to convert Tacloban into a highly urbanized city," Larrazabal said.

He urged the city officials to discuss all issues relative to the HUC bid of Tacloban, saying it is "incumbent upon them to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of being an HUC."

But in an earlier press conference, Mayor Alfred Romualdez insisted that there were no disadvantages if and when Tacloban become a highly urbanized city.

While the city officials through the Office of the City Mayor has already transmitted all the documents like the presidential proclamation that would supports its bid for the reclassification of Tacloban into a HUC, their central office has yet to convene and schedule the day for the holding of the plebiscite, Larrazabal added.

"It will be tackled by the en banc," he said, referring to the issuance of an order directing for the holding of the plebiscite.

During the plebiscite, the city's registered and qualified voters would be casting "yes" or " no" votes on question of Tacloban becoming a HUC.

The Comelec regional director also hinted that the holding of the plebiscite could take place before the year end.

"It is possible. We have a plebiscite in December in Meycauyan, Bulacan which was then seeking to become a city," Larrazabal, who was then the Comelec provincial officer of Bulacan, said.

He also said that during a plebiscite, the turn out of voters is usually low as compared to the regular elections.

"It's not necessary that all or majority of the city's registered voters will vote during the plebiscite. What is important is that there were more "yes votes" compare to the "no votes," Larrazabal said.

All the expenses related to the plebiscite would be shouldered by the city government.

Mayor Romualdez is pushing for the conversion of Tacloban and become the country's 33rd HUC on the ground that it would help attract more investors to the city that would generate income and employment to its people.

A city could be reclassified into a HUC if its income is at least P100 million with a population of at least 200,000. Tacloban has more than 217,000 people based on the latest population census and with an annual income of over P500 million.






Oct 22, 2008

Tacloban giving aid to World War II veterans

By Rhonna Rubie A. Rona

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- The city government has been giving assistance to the aging and sickly World War II veterans in the city.

Nenita Brazil, head field service extension officer, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office regional office here, said the local government of Tacloban had passed last year Ordinance No. 2007-9-365, otherwise known as "Ordinance Honoring and Giving Tribute to the World War II Veterans," which a P10,000 burial assistance to the family of a deceased veteran.

The Ordinance also requires the raising of the Philippine Flag at half mast at the City Hall and all city government buildings for at least a day during the wake of any deceased Taclobanon World War II veteran as a tribute.

Brazil said that based on their records only one family of a deceased veteran has gone to their office to secure a certification to avail the assistance.

"We are hoping that the World War II veterans of Tacloban are aware of this assistance the City of Tacloban have for them," she added.

Under this ordinance, the family of the deceased veteran will present the requirements to the city government, which includes certification from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Discharge Paper or Military Service Record issued by the Office of the Adjutant General (OTAG), General Headquarters (GHQ), Armed Forces of the Philippines, and must be a resident of Tacloban City for five consecutive years prior to his death as certified by the Barangay Chairperson of the place where he resides or whose place of birth is Tacloban City as certified by the City Civil Registrar.

"All deceased World War II veterans of Tacloban are also entitled to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani located at Barangay Basper, Tacloban City. The burial assistance to the family of the deceased veteran is also released through the City Treasurer's Office upon the presentation of the necessary documents required under the ordinance," Brazil said.






Oct 22, 2008

Plebiscite for Tacloban

By Paolo Luis G. Montecillo

BusinessWorld Online, Philippines

TACLOBAN -- The Commission on Elections has tentatively scheduled for Dec. 6 the plebiscite to ratify the presidential proclamation of Tacloban as a highly urbanized city.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on Oct. 4 Proclamation 1637 that declared Tacloban as a highly urbanized city.

Tacloban, which is the first highly urbanized city in Eastern Visayas, has a population of over 217,000 and an income of around P230 million in 2007.






Oct 20, 2008

EV group vows support to Binay's presidential bid

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- A group coming from various sectors in the region have pledged to support the bid of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay as President in 2010 elections.

The group, dubbed as "Binay Na," had its first meeting yesterday with Rodolfo Cañeda, national convenor of the movement, in attendance.

The regional coordinator of the Binay Na is Engineer Billy Roseño who said that the member-organizations would sign a manifesto expressing their support on Binay's bid to become the country's next President.

"Aside from that, we will also gather signatures from our people," Roseño said.

Roseño said that the group has decided to throw their support on the possible presidential candidacy of the Makati City mayor saying that among the so-called presidential wannabes, Binay has the necessary experience.

"He knows the problems of the masa. He has the experience considering that he is the only one among our presidentiables who hold an executive position," the regional coordinator of the Binay Na movement said.

Binay is also the only "true-blooded" opposition among those who aspire to succeed President Macapagal-Arroyo, Binay said.

The Binay Na group members come from professional, farmers, business and legal sectors. Various people's organizations have also signified their commitment to join in supporting the Malacañang ambition of Binay.

Binay, however, has yet to formally announce his political plan for 2010.

Cañeda said that they are positive that once they submit their manifesto of support as well as the signatures that they would gathered to Binay, he would not turn his back to them.

He also said that he expect that the opposition leader would announce his plan for 2010 on his birthday on November 11.

"We are optimistic that he will make a positive announcement on that day," Cañeda said.

It was learned from Cañeda that the Binay Na movement was launched four weeks ago in Cebu and Cagayan de Oro cities.

The national convenor admitted that while Binay has a high level of public awareness, his rating as a presidential contender remains low.

"That is why we have launched this movement to prop up his nationwide rating as a presidential candidate. This is the area that we are trying to work on," Cañeda said.

The group is confident that they would get support from various sectors once Binay runs for President.

"We have the backing of various sectors like the Makati Business Club. And we are also guaranteed to enjoy the endorsement of Cory and Susan (Roces)," he said, referring to the widow of the late actor and presidential candidate during the 2004 elections, Fernando Poe Jr.

He, however, admitted that the 2010 plan of Binay hinge on the plans of former President Joseph Estrada. "If Erap will run as he had announced, then he will not pursue his ambition. But I guess, he will try to become the running mate of Erap," he said.

Among those seen as potential running mate of the Makati mayor were Senators Francis Escudero and Jinggoy Estrada.






Oct 20, 2008

LEYTE GULF LANDINGS ANNIVERSARY Sen. Mar Roxas is honored guest in today's 64 Gulf Landings

By Joey A. Gabieta

Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY -- Senator Mar Roxas will be the guest of honor and speaker in today's 64th anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Candahug, Palo, Leyte.

And just like in previous years, today's commemorative program would be "simple but significant," says Governor Jericho Petilla.

"We have been commemorating the Leyte Gulf Landings in the past and our message is always the same: war is not an option," he said during radio interview aired over Radyo Diwa.

The governor also said that as in the past, his office has invited President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to grace the annual and historical commemorative program.

"But she declined the invitation. Anyway, she was with us during the 2004 celebration," the governor said in the same radio interview.

The commemoration of the Leyte Gulf Landings is an official holiday in the entire province of Leyte by virtue of a presidential order.

Among today's guests are Ambassador Robert Desjardins of Canada; Minister Hidenobu Sobashima, deputy minister of Japanese Embassy; Group Captain Mary Cox, defense attachi of the New Zealand Embassy; Paul Jones, deputy chief of mission of the United Sates' Embassy and Captain Victor Jones, defense attachi of the Australian Embassy.

A wreath laying ceremony will officially start this year's commemorative program that led to the liberation of the country from the Japanese invaders 64 years ago.

A lighting of the Veterans Torch for Peace will be lead by retired Lieutenant General Ruperto Ambil, district commander-Eastern Samar chapter and vice president of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VFP)-Region 8 and Brigadier General Joel Joseph Cabides, regional president of the VFP-SDAI- Region 8 chapter.

Retired Colonel Emmanuel de Ocampo will lead the Solidarity Greeting with Monsignor Raul Aguilos presiding the invocation.

Senior Superintendent Doroteo Palconit, provincial police director, said that all is ready for the security among the guests as well as the hundreds of people who will witness the commemorative program at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park.

"We have already laid out the security preparations. I could say that we are doing our best to ensure that no untoward incident will happen during the commemorative program," Palconit said.

He said that policemen from the provincial headquarters and that from the municipal station of Palo would be deployed at the program site and its premises.

Antonio Cinco, member of the working committee of the Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary, echoed the statement of the governor of this year's commemorative program to be simple.

"We are emphasizing here that we have invited Japan and they have been offering peace and reconciliation. What is important is that we have learned our lesson- that war is not anymore an option for a country," Cinco said.






Oct 20, 2008

Achieving freedom from hunger, hardship is real fight we shall win, says Roxas

By Jonnie H. Buenaventura

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In his pursuit to liberate the Philippines from Japanese invaders 64 years ago, General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise when he landed in Leyte and said "I have returned."

Thus said Senator Mar A. Roxas during the 64th Leyte Gulf Landings Commemoration at Candahug, Palo, Leyte, this morning.

That promising statement, Senator Roxas added, made the allied forces continue their perseverance and high hopes that the Japanese invasion will soon ended.

That moment was very tragic as our Filipino brothers were craving to be free from the Japanese invasion and to liberate themselves from the devastating effects of war, Senator Roxas said reminiscing what happened 64 years ago.

"Today we are commemorating the 64th Leyte Gulf Landings in order to remember and honor the World War 2 veterans, the United States of America and its allied forces that changed the history of our nation."

"We fought those wars 64 years ago but the real war we are facing now is to free our country from poverty, hardship and corruption," said Sen. Mar Roxas.

Sen. Mar Roxas who is the commemorative speaker in today's 64th Leyte Gulf Landings Anniversary, said that the challenges our country is now facing is to let every Filipino free from hunger which means sufficient income in order that there is something to buy food and feed their family with nutritious food.

We cannot solve poverty if we are divided, this is an economic war which every citizen in this country should take his part, said Sen. Roxas.

Hon. Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, Governor Province of Leyte in his anniversary message said that we still continue fighting for our independence against all sort of economic difficulties but despite all these, as long as we are Leytenos and Filipinos we should not forget to remember the October 20 which marks Leyte a place that starts the liberation of our country.

Most importantly we shall impart the people to always remember the past, face the present, plan and prepare for the future, said Gov. Petilla.

Present dignitaries during the 64th commemorative Leyte Gulf Landings are Captain Victor S. Jones, Defense Attache, Embassy of Australia; His Excellency Robert Desjardins, Ambassador, Embassy of Canada; Ministry Hidenobu Sobashima, Deputy Chief Mission, Embassy of Japan; Group Captain Mary Cox, Defense Attache, Embassy of New Zealand; and Mr. Paul Jones, Deputy Chief Mission, Embassy of United States of America, other presents are Local Government Units of different municipalities of Leyte, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and heads of national agencies.






Oct 19, 2008

DENR-MGB answers PGMA question on flood-prone barangays

Philippine Information Agency

Tacloban City -- In answer to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's query during her meeting with the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council of Eastern Visayas on September 30, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has identified the eight barangays of Borongan City which are highly susceptible to landslide are Alang-Alang, Baras, Cagbonga, Camada, Galigatngan, San Gregorio, lower San Andres and Balacdas.

The eight are included in the list of landslide-prone barangays in the provinces of Southern Leyte, Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar, based on the result of the 2006 to present Rapid Geohazard Assessment by MGB.

"What are the 8 landslide-prone barangays in Borongan City?" President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked during a meeting with the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Tacloban City.

President Arroyo asked the question as a reaction to PAGASA report that the typhoon will make a landfall in Borongan City, Eastern Samar.

The President's point was that the local government units must be informed of the results of the Rapid Geohazards Assessment so that they will be able to incorporate the result in their respective Local Disaster Management and Mitigation Plans.

What is important, President Arroyo said, is that the concerned barangays were presented with a landslide threat advisory that will inform the people of their susceptibility together with the recommendations on what to do and what precautions to make. This, the President said will help mitigate the damage of future calamities.

The President ordered the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of DENR to conduct rapid geohazards assessment of Southern Leyte and the Leyte Island provinces after the Guinsaugon Mudslide in February of 2006, which claimed the lives of thousands of barangay residents.

Aside from the three Leyte Island provinces, MGB also conducted rapid assessments at Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.




    
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