Sunday, May 24, 2015
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Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY – The Land Bank of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas is now preparing to extend financial assistance to the region’s over 124,000 indigent families to help them graduate from receiving cash grants from the national government.

Land Bank regional head Alex A. Lorayes said that their Development Assistance Center is now coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the identification of more stable groups where the loan will be channeled.

Lorayes said that they will take the risk in allowing the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to access the loan.

“If we will not take the risk, we will not be able to reach hard-to-reach areas. They have no access to credits. The only way to assist them is to tap those groups previously assisted by the DSWD who are now more stable. They will serve as conduits,” Lorayes said in an interview.

These groups previously assisted by DSWD are located in 4Ps areas. They are qualified as conduit since they already have their own set of officers and have been operating with internal control. The loan for poor families has no collateral.

In the implementation of 4Ps, Land Bank is tasked to disburse cash grants every quarter based on order of payments prepared by the DSWD.
The 4Ps, which was launched March 2007, provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition, and education, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old.
The pro-poor program has expanded this year from Northern Samar and Samar to all provinces in Eastern Visayas with over 124,000 family-beneficiaries receiving financial assistance in the next five years.

“For the 4Ps to be unique in Region 8, we have been studying the livelihood component. Through this loan, we can teach them how to start a business,” the official said. “With the grant and financial assistance to improve their livelihood, they can now stand by their own.”

Financing will focus on funding agricultural productivity considering that beneficiaries are located in farming communities of the region.

The Land Bank’s Development Assistance Center is set to conduct trainings to enhance business management skills of loan beneficiaries. Market linkage is also a component of the program to ensure repayment and sustainability of livelihood.

Land Bank has a loan exposure of around P4 billion to cover financing of all sectors in Eastern Visayas with concentration in agriculture sector. The minimum amount for loan this year is the highest in record since it shifted its thrust and transformed its loan portfolio in favor of the priority sectors.
The state-owned bank is targeting to release P400 million loan for small farmers and fisherfolks, P170 million for farmers, and P170 million for farmer cooperatives.
Economic activities regularly financed by the Land Bank include crop production, livestock, fishery activities, agricultural services, marketing loans, and agro-processing.

Lorayes added that their borrowing coverage on the agriculture sector has expanded to finance more activities such as infrastructure in farming communities, planting of non-rice crops, high value commercial crops production and crop insurance.

He said that financing can be accessed through Land Bank branches in Tacloban City; Catarman, Northern Samar; Calbayog City; Catbalogan, Samar; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Naval, Biliran; Baybay, Leyte; Maasin City; and Sogod, Southern Leyte.

In areas without Land Bank branches, loans are available through accredited conduits like Rural Banks, accredited farmer’s organization and cooperatives in cities and municipalities regionwide. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)


Leyte Samar Daily Express

They are now just an inch away towards the realization of their dreams.

This is how Anabel Montes and Cesar Espinosa feel at this moment.

Biliran Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Elisea Orapa (center) pose with “Programang Agraryo Iskolar” recipients Anabel Montes (left) and Cesar Espinosa (right) when the two visited her office after they passed the April 18, 2010 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA)

The two were recipients of the “Programang Agraryo Iskolar” (formerly the President Diosdado Macapagal Agrarian Scholarship Program or the PDMASP) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Through the said scholarship program, they earned a degree in education at the Naval Institute of Technology (now Naval State University), and were among the more than 11 thousand lucky passers of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) held on April 18 this year.

Both Anabel and Cesar are children of farmers from Biliran province, with ricefields serving as their playgrounds during their childhood days.

Both are children of agrarian reform beneficiaries, the reason why they qualified to avail of the scholarship program extended by the DAR. Their farmer-parents had dreamed of having them finish college education, as their legacy

Anabel, 22, from Barangay Larrazabal in Naval, whose father, Antonio Montes, is a recipient of the government’s land transfer program under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), dreamed of becoming a teacher.

The youngest among three siblings with parents financially hard up, she was able to pursue college education through the then PDMASP, taking up Bachelor in Elementary Education, major in Pilipino.

But for Cesar, 22, son of Santos Espinosa, another CARP beneficiary from Barangay Burabod in Biliran town and also the youngest in a brood of three, to become a policeman was his childhood fantasy.

Poverty forced him to shift interest and took up a course in college that was less expensive.

Though he qualified to avail of the scholarship program offered by the DAR, Cesar said the budget was limited and not sufficient to finance the numerous school requirements, thus he enrolled and was able to graduate a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Math.

Now, Anabel and Cesar’s next step is to apply for a slot at the Department of Education in order to serve in public schools.

Although Cesar now earns on a commission basis as provincial coordinator of Rasti Review Institute, finding a regular job is much better, according to him. He hopes that very soon he will get hired as a teacher in one of the public schools in Biliran.

With this development, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Elisea Orapa beams with pride, saying that DAR’s effort was not put in vain.

According to her, in the conceptualization of this scholarship program, DAR believed that there are jewels in the farm that just need to be polished like diamonds in order to shine.

Orapa further said that these scholars could also be of big help to us in the smooth implementation of the CARP by simply assisting their illiterate co-villagers understand the laws on agrarian reform as well as in the values formation for a successful implementation of the program.

For Anabel, Cesar and their parents, dreams do come true even to those who have less in life. It is just a matter of grabbing opportunities. They are thankful that the opportunity landed on them that could change the fate of their families. And they believe this is now the start for a better life. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA)


Leyte Samar Daily Express

GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte – Small-scale miners operating without permits remain rampant in Eastern Visayas, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

“Our technical personnel personally observed the ongoing quarrying operation involving extraction and hauling of filling materials in various areas of the region,” De Dios said in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

“Most of the small-scale miners operating without permits are centered in Samar and Eastern Samar provinces. The chromite mining areas in Salcedo and Homonhon Island are also hotspots for small scale mining activities,” De Dios added.

“Even in Leyte, where implementation of mining and environment laws are in place, there are expanding small-scale mining communities,” De Dios said.

As this developed, the MGB has issued a cease and desist order to a small-scale miner in Barangay Palarao, Leyte, Leyte.

According to De Dios, the ongoing quarrying in the said area is said to be operated by a certain Felomino Velarde of Sitio Mokal-bokal, Barangay Catmon, Naval, Biliran.

“Our technical personnel gathered that the barangay council has passed a resolution endorsing Mr. Velarde’s quarry operation. But it was also learned that the barangay chairman, Julianito Villegas, allowed Mr. Velarde to operate without looking into the necessary quarry permit but instead reportedly collected an amount of P15 per truckload,” De Dios disclosed.

Based on MGB records, the company owned by Velarde has no permit issued by the provincial government of Leyte and the List of Quarry, Sand and Gravel Permits.

“Relative to the illegal operations of Mr. Velarde, I directed immediately the barangay to cause the stoppage of the quarrying operation until such time that he can secure the necessary permit pursuant to the provisions of RA 7942, the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and based on the existing Provincial Mining Ordinance of Leyte,” the MGB director said.

“Because of this situation, we are reiterating to the local government units (LGUs) about the devolved mining functions and enforce the mining laws to miners especially the small-scale miners,” De Dios said.

“The devolved function may be new to local authorities and that could increase the problems in small-scale mining. MGB will provide technical assistance to these LGUs especially in exercising their authority to provide adequate means to ensure sufficient enforcement,” he added. (REYAN L. ARINTO)


Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY-The regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reported that there are four new governors and 50 new mayors in the region.

And all the new officials were given orientation by them to help them “capacitate” on the functions of their respective positions, Myles Colasito, DILG-8 information officer, said.

The four new governors in the region are Governors Gerardo Espina Jr. of Biliran, Sharee Ann Tan of Samar, Conrado Nicart of Eastern Samar and Paul Daza of Northern Samar.

The two other governors, Jericho “Icot” Petilla of Leyte and Damian Mercado of Southern Leyte were reelected in their respective bids.
The new 50 mayors are from across the region, Colasito said, with Mark Biong of Giporlos in Eastern Samar elected as the youngest mayor in the entire region at 21 years old.

Colasito also said that the region has three new city mayors, Carmen Cari of Baybay, Reynaldo Uy of Calbayog and Fe Abunda of Borongan.
The remaining four city mayors in the region were reelected during the May 10 elections, including Alfred Romualdez of this city.

Colasito said that all the new officials were given orientation by their office on local governance.

“This will capacitate our new officials to achieve their tasks and goals and give them a clearer vision on their plannings,”Colasito said.
The orientation attended by these new officials was presided by DILG Regional Director Francisco Jose.

The DILG-8 chief had urged the new leaders not only to work with their own people but even with their adversaries and sectors.
It was learned that the new officials were also taught on how to increase their respective local income and not to depend on their share on internal revenue allotment.

They were also reminded to be prudent in using their resources and practice sound fiscal policies considering of their limited resources.
Colasito also said that the new officials were also warned not to fire any personnel on ground of political reasons. (JOEY A. GABIETA)


Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY – The coronation of Miss Tacloban 2010 was held last June 26 at the Tacloban City Astrodome as one of the highlights of this year’s celebration of Sangyaw Festival.

As revealed by Don Dolina, Creative Director of the Search for Miss Tacloban 2010, among the 12 gorgeous candidates vying for title of this year’s Miss Tacloban only five lovely ladies made it to the top.

Ms. Yedda Marie K.Romualdez (right) with husband Leyte 1st District Rep.Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (2nd from left) crown Miss Tacloban 2010 winner Miss Ivy Severson during the coronation night at Tacloban City Astrodome. Looking on is Miss Tacloban City 2009 Miss Rachelle Chua-Pineda (left). (Ver Noveno)

Ms. Yedda Marie K.Romualdez (right) with husband Leyte 1st District Rep.Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (2nd from left) crown Miss Tacloban 2010 winner Miss Ivy Severson during the coronation night at Tacloban City Astrodome. Looking on is Miss Tacloban City 2009 Miss Rachelle Chua-Pineda (left). (Ver Noveno)

The newly crowned Miss Tacloban was Miss Ivy Advincula Severson representing Brgy. 109, V and G subdivision as her stunning beauty emerged as among the top five finalists of the said pageant.
Aside for bagging the crown, she was also awarded as Miss Photogenic, Miss Globe and Miss PHCCI Tacloban.

Her first runner-up was from Brgy. 85, San Jose, Miss. Keena Mary Annie C. Sumido, who also received two awards like Miss Congeniality and Miss Natasha Beauty.

Miss Maricor D. Abenio won the 2nd place. She is from Imelda Village and she got the most number of awards, namely Miss MLhuillier Beauty, Miss Duptours Beauty, Miss LBC Beauty, Best in Swim Wear and Best in Philippine Terno Design.

Representative of Brgy. 24 Burgos, Miss Joyce June L. Viojan was announced as the 3rd runner up and received an award as Best in Production Attire and Miss PhilHealth and Miss Jennylyne S. Torcino from El Reposo took the 4th runner up award. She was also the recipient of four awards like MissTalent first runner up, Miss New Placenta, Miss Pino Filipino Cuisine Choice Award and Miss Camilla Homes Leyte Choice award.

The other minor awards were given to the other candidates, Miss Ann Nicolae M. Mercado from Brgy. 2 Lopez Jaina – Cristina Salon and Spa Choice Award, Miss. Arianne May P. Briones of Brgy. 62 – B Sagkahan – Darling of the Press and Miss. Robelle Ann C. Pedere, Brgy. 78 marasbaras – Miss An Maglipayon USA Choice Award.

Dolina said that the said pageant was judged according to the following criteria: 1. Poise – 30%, 2. Personality and Beauty – 30%, 3. Communication Ability – 30% and 4. Professionalism – 10%.

He disclosed that the winners received cash prize and trophy – 50,000.00 for Miss Tacloban 2010, 1st runner up – 30,000.00, 2nd runner up – 20,000.00, 3rd runner up -10,000.00 and 5,000.00 for 4th runner up. (NOEL TALACAY)


Leyte Samar Daily Express
Photos by Ghavi Anasco, Kenskie, Staff

NAVAL, Biliran – Seeking to know if their votes were really counted during the recently held and first ever automated elections, more than a thousand Biliranons coming from the eight municipalities that cover the province staged a silent protest asking for the Commission on Election to conduct a manual counting to prove that their votes were really counted during the recently held election.

The silent protest, which was started with a mass at the church in Naval and followed by a march to the vicinity of the Biliran Provincial Capitol, was headed by the Biliran Provincial Women’s Organization and supported by the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Franciscan Missionaries of Mary headed by Sr. Gloria Carmen Eamiguel.

In an interview with Sr. Carmen Eamiguel at the protest rally held at the capitol grounds, she denied allegations the rally was initiated by losing congressional candidate Glen Chong who lost in his re-election bid to the present Governor of Biliran Roger Espina.

“It maybe of the consequence that the losing candidate be of that,” Sr. Eamiguel said.

“But this is more for truth, because this is the first time that we had the first ever automated election and we have to make it clean because this is a precedent”, she added.

“We are for truth, we are for justice and we are for peace”, Sr. Eamiguel stressed.

“What is more important is we make this election clean and credible, because kung hindi ito malinis the people will have no faith anymore”, she added.

Sr. Eamiguel added that the protesters would only want the COMELEC to open the ballot and conduct the manual recounting of ballots to unveil the truth.

“If they (COMELEC) will conduct a recount that will unveil the truth in fairness to both candidates, if the votes in the automated count tallied with the votes in the manual count they (people) say that they will support whoever wins”, Sr. Eamiguel added.

“But the people said that unless there will be no recount, they will still have doubts in the result of the election”, she added.

“This is a constitutional right and they just wanted to express their democratic right”, she stressed.

In the letter address to the COMELEC Commissioner Jose Melo by Sr. Eamiguel, she attached with a signed petition by some residents of Biliran Province and it states that “people want reform and change in the electoral process. They believe that the automated election system facilitated the speedy transmission of results, but one thing that we have to look into, is the manner and process of the voting system and the authenticity of the election results that was transmitted.”

It further stated that “manual recounts of the ballots throughout the Province of Biliran would clear the doubts of the people.”
Sr. Eamiguel stressed that the COMELEC had done their effort to have a more secure, honest and credible election but there are still discrepancies experienced in the recently held election.

In an interview with Flora Busa, president of the Biliran Provincial Women’s Organization, she said that the residents of Biliran were only asking for the COMELEC to conduct a manual count.

“We wanted to know if our vote was really counted during the election,” she stated.

“If the result of the manual count is the same with the result in the automated election, then we will abide and respect the result”, she added.

The silent protest of Biliranons that ended at the gate of the Biliran Provincial Capitol Grounds experienced a little tension when police operatives from the Provincial Police Office of Biliran and some protestors argued when their permit was not honored by Police Superintendent Excel Lamirez, assistant provincial director of Biliran PPO.

In the dialogue with the protestors, Superintendent Lamirez asked the organizers who wanted to have their rally inside the capitol grounds to secure rally permit from the Governor’s Office.

This decision of Lamirez angered some of the protestors who had argued with him after hearing that he will honor the said permit inside the capitol grounds of the provincial capitol.

The rally permit was granted by the mayor of Naval Susan Parilla that started in June 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010.

In an interview with municipality of Kawayan Mayor elect Gerardo “Gerry” Espina Sr. when asked for his reaction in the on-going protest by some residents of Biliran Province, he said that they are not objecting in the call of the people for a manual re-count.

“We have no objection to that, but they will be fighting against the COMELEC”, Gerry Espina said.

He added that cheating is hard to be done in the recent election as compared to previous elections held in the country.

“In this election it is hard to cheat because there is no human participation (in counting) you just only need to shade the ballot and fed it into the machine unlike in previous election that it needs for humans to read and count the votes which is very prone to cheating,” Espina added.


Espina further said that since the people had already filed complaint in the COMELEC they should not conduct any rally instead wait for the COMELEC decision.

Espina also cleared their name in the allegation that they paid the COMELEC Officer of Biliran to favor them in winning the previous election.

“We are not out of our mind paying someone with a huge amount just to favor us win in the election”, he stressed.

“We rather use the money for projects that would be benefited by people rather than spending it with only one person,”he added.

Although the silent protest march was started with a slight tension in the morning the candle lightning ceremony held in the capitol grounds at the evening was peaceful one.

Ecumenical program by various religious groups and sharing of some residents culminated the protest rally. (Roel Amazona)


Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY — Top officials of the Commission on Higher Education and Biliran officials are to lead in today’s launching of the Naval State University, with the investiture of its president among the highlights.

The conversion of the Naval Institute of Technology into a full-pledge university is one that should not only be celebrated by school personnel and students but also by the entire province, Doctor Edita Genson, the first university president, said.

“This is really a historical celebration as no amount of money can compensate the happiness that we are all feeling right now that we are a full-pledge university,” Genson said.

According to her, aside from the “prestige” brought by the conversion, the NSU will also help in boosting the province’s economy.

Genson, who will be inducted as the first university president in today’s occasion, also said that the conversion would result to a much better quality of education. In fact, the school has been an awardee for being one of the pioneers on the implementation of the Ladderized program.

“And no, there will be no tuition fee increase,” she stressed.

Genson said that as a way of giving importance of the conversion of the NIT into a full-pledge state university, a series of activities has been lined up to be attended by top officials of Ched and provincial officials, to include Rep. Glenn Chong, who sponsored a bill for the conversion.

The conversion of the NIT into a state university was made possible through the efforts of Chong whose House Bill 4414 was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The conversion of the NIT into a state university was contained under Republic Act 9718, which took effect last October 14.

The newly-converted state university, with its forerunner founded 37 years ago, has a student population of over 6,000 enrolled at their main campus with another 410 students enrolled at their satellite campus located in Biliran, Biliran. It has over 500 teachers and personnel.

The NSU offers 35 courses which include Law, education, nursing, hotel and restaurant management, among other major curricular offering.

The NSU also offers bio-medical technology, the only school in the entire region which offers such a course.

Genson said that leading today’s activities is the unveiling of the new emblem of the university and raising of its university banner. The school façade will also be changed from its previous name to now being a university.

The investiture of Genson as the first university president will be witnessed by top Ched officials led by Commissioner Nona Ricafort, who is also the presiding chairman of the NSU Board of Regents.

Aside from Rep. Chong, also to witness the ceremony are Governor Roger Espina, Naval Mayor Susan Parilla and other mayors of the province. Monsignor Filomeno Bactol will be the main celebrant during the Holy Mass.

Staff writer

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