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20th April 2016
Public asked to help protect Philippine eagle in Leyte
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on April 20, 2016, 5:11 pm

(By Restituto A. Cayubit, 20 April 2016, Manila Bulletin)

 Tacloban City, Leyte --- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Eastern Visayas (DENR-8) is appealing to the public to help government efforts to protect the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) in  Leyte  as it confirms the existence of the national bird in the Island.

DENR-8 Regional Director Leonardo Sibbaluca told reporters in an interview that his office is appealing for and soliciting support from the general public, the  local government units, private organizations, stakeholders and concerned  other concerned government agencies to help preserve the Philippine Eagle now freely flying in the mountain ranges of Leyte island.

Sibbaluca said his men in the field have spotted the bird recently in the forest boundaries of the town of Burauen and Ormoc City.

Based on an initial assessment, the Philippine eagle is roaming along the forests in the Anonang-Lobi mountain ranges located at the boundaries of the towns of  Burauen-Jaro-Albuera and Ormoc City.  He added that his men in the field is further conducting studies on the range or how far is the coverage of the Philippine eagle forest habitat in the Island of Leyte.


30th August 2015
Fisherman walks the talk for endangered species preservation
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on August 30, 2015, 10:31 pm

By  Elvie Roman Roa

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, Aug. 30, (PNA) – For preserving endangered species, fisherman Marcelo Tomada believes that his advocacy provides him good catches.

Tomada, 52, living at the coastal village of Libas village in Merida town, usually frees caught sea turtle since 1995.  On Saturday the 26th he returned to the ocean another sea turtle he caught through fishing net.

He said the recently caught adult green sea turtle was latched along with a good volume of fish at the town bay in less than 500 meters from the shoreline at three fathoms deep.

The specie measured 50-inch long and 33-inch wide was estimated at 80 kilograms.  Its carapace and size determined that it is adult.

Tomada feeds the turtle while waiting for the government representative to arrive before returning it to the ocean.

Asked why their helper’s name was written on the tag instead of his family’s, he said, all their names were already consummated and re-used.

Tomada believes that his compassion for endangered species is reciprocated by abundant catch. Prior to this, he caught one last year.

Iluminada T. Gomez, Municipal Agriculture officer-in-charge praised the act displayed by Tomada saying a fisherman like him deserves emulation.

She organized local fisher folks from the town’s 11 coastal villages and one of its advocacies is preservation of endangered species.

However, reports reaching her that some fishermen prefer putting on their kitchen pots the caught sea turtle rather than returning them to their natural habitat.

Gomez revealed the town has 11 hectares fish sanctuary where species stay due to abundant fish.


15th June 2015
Kidnapping case vs Gov. Mercado, others dismissed
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 15, 2015, 4:40 pm


June 4, 2015

MAASIN CITY – Southern Leyte Governor Roger G. Mercado said he feels vindicated over his crusade against illegal quarrying of sand and gravel at the biggest river in the province after a case of kidnapping filed against him was dismissed by a joint panel of prosecutors for lack of probable cause.

In a press conference at his office, Mercado said they can now proceed with the filing of a case against their accusers for stealing minerals at the Subang Daku river in Sogod town in violation of Section 103 (theft of minerals) RA 7942 .or Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

The case stemmed from the apprehension of workers at a crushing plant in Sogod town by the provincial officials led by Governor Mercado himself. The employees of the crushing plant, including the plant manager, Federico Ozon, the skipper of a barge and several crew members were brought to the provincial police office after they failed the show the necessary permits to extract and documents for loading extracted materials.

The incident prompted the complainants to file a case with the provincial prosecutor’s office for serious illegal detention or kidnapping against Mercado, SPO! Rogelio Orit, PO3 ovanni Galo, PO2 Windee Lim, Atty. Cromwell Gerong, provincial attorney, Eva Abad, prov’l environment officer and Noel Mercado.

In their compliant, Emmylou Sinagan, deck cadet of the LCT 369 and Engr. Federico Ozon, plant manager of Ernesto Dacay owned Shemberg Corporation, accused Gov Mercado and several officials of the province for violation of Article 267 of Revised Penal Code or Kidnapping or serious illegal detention.

They alleged “that on October 10, 2014 Gov. Mercado and his escorts SPO1 Rogelio Orit, PO3 Jovanni Galo and PO2 Windee Lim entered the said crushing plant and started making arrest by force, threat and intimidation then pushed people in the crushing plant to enter a coaster owned by the province.”

They further alleged that they are aware that respondents are public officers but considering that they acted neither in furtherance with their official functions nor in the pursuit of any legal authority vested in them, they charged them with the violation of Article 267 of the revised penal code.

In his counter-affidavit, Mercado alleged “that they were at the sand and gravel extraction area of Shemberg Marketing Corporation/Prime Rocks Aggregates in Subang Daku river in Sogod on October 10, 2014 for an inspection and the conduct of og on the spot investigation of the reported ongoing illegal extraction in the said area.”

Mercado said that “when the plant manager, Federico Ozon and the barge skipper Emmanuel Mausisa could not produce the required documents to extract and load extracted sand and gravel materials, they were brought to Maasin City and turned over to the provincial police office for violation of Section 465 of the local government Code and Section 103 for violation of RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.”

In reply to Mercado’s counter-affidavit, Ozon alleged, “Respondent Mercado was not performinghis function under Section 465 of the Local Government Code because he was restrained by the RTC to implement his functions and power. And that the arrest was illegal because the respondents were not deputized by the MGB or DENR on the date of the incident.”

In their joint resolution, the panel of provincial prosecutors resolved, “After a careful evaluation of evidence on record, we are convinced that there is reallyno kidnapping or serious illegal detention to speak of . It is very clear that there was no motive on the part of the respondents to resort to kidnapping of the alleged date of incident. They have no personal interest on the herein complainants and their companions. They are ust performing their duties and responsibilities as requiredby law.”

“the lack of motive to esort to kidnapping is manifested by the determination of the respondents to deliver the arrest persons to the proper judicial authorities. The case ofor theft of minerals was filed before this office for inquest proceedings but the respondents, the herein complainants and companions opted to avail their right to a preliminary invstigation and waved their righrt under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.”

The joint panel of prosecutors stressed, “that it beas stressing that the arrest was made in good faith for the the herein complainants and companions failed to present pertinent documents regarding permits on the extraction, loading and transport of the sand gravel on the daate of the incident plus the confirmation of the PNRMO-SAG monitoring the LCT 369 is loaded with sand and gravel illegally extracted from the are without any valid and existing permit.”

“Foregoing premises considered, the undersigned respectfully recommends the dismissal of these cases for lack of probable cause.”

The dismissal was signed on May 14, 2015 by Raymundo C. Clavejo, Deputy provincial prosecutor, “Felix B Vivares, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, Judy O Ramos-Navarrosa, Assistant provincial Prosecutor and approved by Anotonino G. Ruiz, Provincial Prosecutor.

When the case was filed last year, it saw print in some national paper after complainants’ lawyer Winsor Calamba, told the weekly media forum at Annabel’s in Quezon City, that ‘‘Governor Mercado, who is a lawyer, knowingly broke the law and brazenly defied a court injunction.”

Gov. Mercado had heavily criticized the publication of the kidnapping case without taking his sides. “Some papers just showed their irresponsibility by publishing the story without getting my side.”


17th April 2015
Fisherman catches turtle, DENR tags, releases it
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 17, 2015, 7:16 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, April 16 (PIA)  --  A local fisherman in barangay Combado here got the surprise of his life when what he thought was a big catch for the day turned out be a turtle, a Green Sea Turtle, according to personnel of the Office of the City Agricultural Services (OCAS) who examined it.

The fisherman, whose name was not immediately known, was quoted as saying the hook in his fishing line found its mark on the left side of the turtle’s shell just below the head, so the animal was not at all harmed or injured when it was hauled to the shore early morning Tuesday.

Crowd of curious onlookers easily gathered and watched the “catch” brought ashore, tended by OCAS personnel who contacted the DENR-CENRO for tagging and subsequent release.

The shell’s length measured 30 inches from the base of the head to the base of the tail, the width 22 inches, circumference, 90 inches, and its weight was approximately 70 kilos. 

Comments of facebook users from Ormoc, Luzon, and Australia mostly inquired about its condition when pictures of the turtle was posted on PIA-Southern Leyte’s facebook account.

A very brief video also got likes and a share.

In less than two hours since the turtle was brought to shore, DENR personnel released it back to the sea after proper tagging procedures, according to those who saw the “send-off” ceremony.

Turtles are known eaters of the deadly crown of thorns, a kind of sea urchin whose massive number can destroy coral reefs, it was learned.  (esg/mmp, PIA-Southern Leyte)


Marine Protected Areas existing sites increasing in So. Leyte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 17, 2015, 7:14 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, April 14 (PIA)  --  In less than two years, the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) all over this province has increased to more than 60 sites, up from 40 barely a year ago.

Eva Abad, head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Management Office (PENRMO), disclosed in a cable TV program last week, that seven (7) more are expected to be added to the existing sites, and these new locations are all in the coastal barangays of this city.

The Sangguniang Panlunsod (SP) or the city council was deeply in the process of deliberating in its regular session the approval of the 7 new MPA sites, Abad said.

Fishing is strictly prohibited in areas tagged as MPAs, with designated bouys as perimeter boundaries clearly visible for fishermen to understand it is not allowed to get in.

MPAs serve as breeding ground for many kinds of fishes, and when these fishes do populate the surroundings the mature ones go out into the open, beyond the bouy-lined zones, and that’s the time local fishermen can catch them, Abad explained.

Most MPAs in the province covered large areas of mangrove forests, which also served as natural barriers against storm surges during stormy weather, Abad also said.

PENRMO is the provincial counterpart of a national agency, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as mandated by the local government code of 1991.

In Southern Leyte province, PENRMO began to exist as a separate office in 1998 with the passage of the Provincial Environment Code, Abad informed.  (ajc/esg/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)


8th April 2015
Fuel wood production in So. Leyte answers need for wood as fuel
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on April 8, 2015, 8:42 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, April 8 (PIA)  --  The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Management Office (PENRMO) in this province has initiated a forest production project specifically aimed to address the common need for wood as fuel for poor households.

Started in earnest last year, with initial harvest of fast growing local species like ipil-ipil expected in three years, the project, aptly named fuel wood production, has covered 19 hectares spread in 14 municipalities and one city, said Melay Labata, in-charge of forest services at the PENRMO.

The ideal set-up for the project was one hectare in a barangay per municipality and city, but four towns  --  Sogod, Libagon, Limasawa, and Padre Burgos  -- could not find any space, so other LGUs have two or more hectares to compensate the shortage in area, Labata said during the Provincial Report cable TV program Tuesday.

The barangay concerned will be the one to maintain the project, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) while the provincial government, through the PENRMO, provided for the site development and the seedlings, Labata said.

Eva Abad, head of PENRMO, disclosed that for this year, Libagon has joined the fuel wood production project after finding a suitable four-hectare lot.

Also for this year, Abad said that they will intensify the project by encouraging private landowners whose lands remained idle for years to join, so their untended lands can be productive.

Abad said her vision will be for the local government units to replicate the initiative at their own levels to ensure a steady supply of fuel wood, in which wood gatherers will not cut just about anywhere but in the designated area in the barangay solely for this purpose.

This will also provide a sustainable livelihood to wood gatherers in the long run, Abad also said.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


13th December 2014
NGCP targets complete line restoration before Christmas
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on December 13, 2014, 11:19 am

A top executive of a power distribution company has assured the public that restoration of transmission lines and facilities affected by Typhoon “Ruby” will be restored before Christmas.

Henry Sy, Jr., NGCP President and CEO said that “NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines) is fast-tracking the restoration of transmission lines and facilities affected by Typhoon Ruby in the Visayas. We are targeting completion of restoration activities before Christmas,”

He said that the target restoration date was determined after NGCP completed the assessment of its affected facilities through aerial inspection and foot patrol. To expedite restoration, 36 line gangs– 24 from Visayas, 6 from Mindanao, 3 from North Luzon, and 3 from South Luzon– were mobilized to ensure that NGCP complies with the deadline set by the Department of Energy (DOE).

“We intend to restore our backbone lines within the week. All our remaining unrestored 69-kV lines in Leyte and Samar will be ready to transmit power to the different distribution utilities and electric cooperatives by December 25,” explained Mr. Sy in a statement.

The system operator and power transmission service provider, however, clarified that the completion of restoration works will still depend on weather conditions prevailing in the area. Adverse weather may still hamper restoration activities and prevent them from meeting the deadline.

NGCP implemented necessary precautions and preparations to facilitate immediate restoration work even before the passage of Typhoon Ruby. These include ensuring the availability of hardware materials and supplies necessary for the repair of damages to facilities, as well as the positioning of line crews in strategic areas.

NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets. The consortium holds the 25-year concession to operate the country's power transmission network and is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., led by Henry Sy, Jr., Calaca High Power Corporation, led by Robert Coyiuto, Jr., and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as technical partner


18th November 2014
Ormoc remembers 1991 flash flood, ST Yolanda
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 18, 2014, 6:32 pm

By Elvie Roman Roa

Ormoc City -- It may be sad to recall the flash flood that hit the city at past 11 a.m. of November 5, 1991 during typhoon “Oreng.” The tragedy claimed some 8,000 residents, 3,000 of which went missing.

But the city led by Mayor Edward C. Codilla continues to commemorate on their loss with the advocacy of “protecting the environment and help the populace prepare for any hazards to come.” said Bienvenido A. Matiga, the chairman of Task Force for Nov. 5 and 8 Commemoration.


At 7:30 a.m., a procession of city officials and government employees saying the rosary from the new city hall passing through both sides of river walk at Anilao river before going to the mass grave at the public cemetery.

The procession showed a picture of white-clad employees that symbolized unity and peace. It was at the Anilao river where the bulk of flood water with at least 10-feet torrent traversed and overflowed to the city proper..

Rev. Fr. Danny Pongos celebrated the holy mass at the mass grave where 4,922 bodies were buried. The mass ended with the releasing of white balloons.


In a message, Mayor Codilla said that the 1991 flash flood is one of the country’s worst tragedies where Ormoc became globally known resulting to the pouring of aid from all over the world.


“The tragedy also became part of the city’s history that should never be ignored,” he went on.


He added, the tragic flooding made people tough and recovered from the tragedy to face life’s challenges making Ormoc more developed economically.

Councilor Atty. Ruben Capahi broke nearly his voice when he recalled how his family grieved on the loss of their mother Nenita Capahi, 50, then the City Budget Officer whose body was found at the sea three days later.

He said their mother was at their house in the city proper when bumped by container vans that were carried by the strong flood water.

Atty. Capahi compared “Yolanda” to the 1991 flash flood saying the former destroyed wider scope since Ormoc was near its eye but claimed only few lives while the latter was focused at the city proper claiming thousands of lives in the city’s most populous area.

This year’s theme, “we prayed, we survived, one city, moving on”.

On Nov. 8, the city observed the first anniversary of typhoon “Yolanda” that claimed thousands of lives and caused great damages to properties in Eastern Visayas, including this city.


17th November 2014
DPWH-South Leyte implements MGB Oct. 15 memo
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 17, 2014, 4:55 pm
By Marcelo M. Pedalino
MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Nov. 13 (PIA)  --  The provincial office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here has served notice to quarry operators in Subangdaku river, Sogod, that sand and gravel works in the river are suspended.
“Per instruction from Hon. Rogelio L. Singson, Secretary of Public Works and Highways, all sand and gravel extraction operations are hereby suspended effective immediately pending completion of Subang Daku River Rechanneling/Dredging Plan to establish the horizontal and vertical control points of such operation,” District Engineer Ma. Margarita Junia wrote in a letter dated November 10, 2014.
The said letter was signed by Assistant District Engr. Allan Eway for and in behalf of the lady District Engineer.
The letter also made reference to the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) Central Office Memorandum last month addressed to the MGB Region 8 Director, in effect saying that the agency’s move was in compliance with the said instruction.
“In connection with the Memorandum dated October 15, 2014 of the Mines and Geosciences Burau, Central Office to the Region VIII Regional Director, all sand and gravel operations in Subang Daku River are suspended pending issuance and/or approval of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” the letter said.
“Our records show that you have yet to secure said clearance from our department.” The DPWH-SLDEO letter said.
It added:  “In view of the above, you are hereby ordered to suspend further sand and gravel extraction and operation at the Subang Daku River effective immediately or upon receipt hereof.”
The letter, one of which was addressed to Ma. Selena Salas of San Miguel, Sogod, was copy furnished to seven other entities, including Director Leo Jasareno, MGB-CO; RD Alilo Ensomo, Jr., MGB-RO8; DPWH RD Rolando Asis; P/CSUPT Henry Lozanes, PNP Regional Director; Provincial PNP Director PSSUPT. Marni Caluya Marcos, Jr.;  P/Sr. Insp. Castor Cabilugan, Chief of Sogod Municipal Police Station; and Sogod Mayor Imelda Tan.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)

9th October 2014
LGUs, DENR, PIA undertake action-oriented advocacy on climate change in So. Leyte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 9, 2014, 3:15 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, September 11 (PIA)  --  The advocacy campaign on climate change adaptation here is headed to produce concrete results in terms of waste reduction, especially in the pilot barangay of Asuncion.

This direction developed following an orientation with barangay officials and heads of various sectors within the barangay Monday, September 8, with speakers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and from the General Services and Disaster Risk Reduction Council of the city government.

Forester Edilberto Alcarde of DENR-CENRO talked about the overall subject on climate change and its ill effects, Benjase Lumen of the City General Services lectured on zero waste management, while Michael Samaco of the CDRRMC briefly took up the integration of risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


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