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25th November 2014
Mercado gets TRO from Appellate Court vs Judge Gonzalez
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 25, 2014, 11:14 am

By JANI ARNAIZ

November 25, 2014

MAASIN CITY – The battle at Subang Daku river continues with The Southern Leyte provincial government represented by Gov. Roger G. Mercado getting a TRO (temporary restraining order) from the Appellate Court against an RTC judge.

A copy obtained by the Inquirer, The TRO issued by Court of Appeals 20th Division restrained presiding Judge Rolando Gonzalez of RTC Branch 39 in Sogod, Southern Leyte from “implementation of the Writ of Prohibitory Injunction issued pursuant to the RTC’s Resolution of June 16 2014.”

The TRO also “restrained the conduct of further proceedings in Civil Case No. 632-C.”

The CA TRO further ordered Jusgw Gonzalez: "You, your officers, representatives, agents snd or any other person or agency assisting for and in your behalf, are hereby ordered to cease and desist from implementing or enforcing the Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction..."

The TRO was signed by its Division Clerk of Court May Faith L. Trumata-Rebotiaco on November 20, 2014. It will take effect within 60 days.

The case stemmed from Judge Gonzalez’ granting of Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction to sand and gravel industrial permittees Ernesto U. Dacay, Ma. Selena Salas both of Cebu city and brothers Cesar Servacio Jr. and Rodulfo Servacio on June 16, 2014.

The permittees asked RTC court in Sogod for Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction after Gov. Gov. Mercado issued a cease and desist order of sand and gravel extraction from the Subang Daku river, saying that the permittees have no permit from the provincial government.

In their case against the governor, the operators said they don’t need a from the governor saying the area they operated exceed 5 hectares and that only the MGB (Mines and Geo-science Bureau) regional office has the sole authority to grant permit if its above the 5 has.

They said they only need two permits from two LGU’s, from the barangays where they operated and the town where the operations is located.

However, Mercado contended that they have to apply for a permit from the provincial gov’t. citing a Supreme Court decided case in Lara vs. Cagayan provincial government.

But Gonzalez saw it otherwise and issued the Writ of Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction to the operators. Thus the appeal of the provincial gov’t. to the CA.

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South Leyte Governor refutes Philippine Star Columnist
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 25, 2014, 4:17 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Nov. 24 (PIA)  --  Governor Roger Mercado last week clarified several points raised by a national daily columnist regarding hot issues and latest developments arising from Mercado’s hands-on implementation over quarrying and sand and gravel extraction regulation last month.

In a letter sent to the Philippine Star daily newspaper, which the broadsheet published on its November 21 issue, Mercado discussed intensively his side of the story on the events that happened on October 10, the day he, together with Task Force Subangdaku team, accosted crewmen of a sea-faring vessel docked in Sogod town, along with personnel of a crushing plant.

He also tackled the legal foundations of the provincial revenue code, the lawful grounds or the authority   on Governor’s permit for sand and gravel extractions, and his take on the kidnapping charges and a petition to the President to have him suspended purportedly for grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

Coincidentally, his letter, addressed to Star Columnist Alex Magno in response to Magno’s November 18 column, was aptly titled “Caught in the act,” which was basically Gov. Mercado’s defense on the October 10 incident.  Magno’s Nov. 18 column, meanwhile, carried the title “Governors”, for aside from Mercado, he also criticized another Governor.

Warrantless Citizen’s arrest

“The arrest of the sand and gravel company crews was a straightforward caught in the act (or en flagrante delicto) situation calling for and requiring a warrantless arrest authorized both by the text and spirit of existing law (Sec. 5, (a)& (b), Rule 113, Rules of Criminal Procedure), “  Mercado wrote.

He added:  “The arrestees were caught in the act of committing a crime, namely, theft of mineral resources, defined and punished under Sec. 103 of the Mining Law (Rep. Act No. 7942); they could not even show the police and environment officers permits for the transport of the sand and gravel found in the barge that was about to depart from Southern Leyte.”

Mercado took exception to Magno’s casual line that the workers were not at work at the time they were approached, saying the statement “may be correct in the sense that the plain fact is that they were busy committing a crime.”

He said the “express legal authorization for warrantless arrest is given not just to a duly sworn officer of the law but to a private person or plain citizen so he can lawfully make a citizen’s arrest.”

This, without doubt, according to him, “underscores not just its legal justification but also  --  and more importantly perhaps  --  the urgent need in the real world for warrantless arrests if our ordered society must meet the vital necessity of upholding the law at all times.”

And in the matter of always upholding the law, the concerned government officers, national and local, “were all duly engaged in a relentless effort to enforce laws and ordinances meant to protect the environment and natural resources,” with Guinsaugon landslide and Yolanda as fitting background, Mercado declared.

Provincial Revenue Code, Governor’s Permit for SAG

On the issue of the Provincial Revenue Code which Magno assailed as nearly tripled the extraction fee for sand and gravel, Mercado explained it was well within the Local Government Code, Republic Act No.7160, adding that it was not contrary to the Mining Law “which in particular does not expressly amend, much less repeal, any part of the Local Government Code.”

“As for the governor’s authority to issue permits for sand and gravel extractions or mining activities, irrespective of area in hectares, the same is clearly provided for both in the province’s ordinance and the Local Government Code, and sustained by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Province of Cagayan, etc., et al vs. Lara, G.R. No. 188500, July 24, 2013,” Mercado noted.

Fabricated charges

On the alleged charge of kidnapping and serious illegal detention slapped against him and others, Mercado remarked that those were “pure fabrication meant to harass, cow, and stop us from our relentless enforcement of the laws and ordinances to protect the environment and natural resources.”

“I am asking the Office of the President as well as the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss outright the said alleged charge or charges as it is in violation of Section 1, Rule 6 on Strategic Law Suit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) under Supreme Court Circular A.M. No. 09-6-8 (Rules on Procedure for Environment Cases).

On the offensive

Mercado informed Magno that he had initiated some countermoves.

“I am also asking the Supreme Court thru the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to consider disbarment or disciplinary proceedings against Atty. Winsor Calamba for serious violation of the lawyer’s oath and code of ethic for promoting among other things a malicious prosecution of national and provincial officers who are simply doing their best to protect the environment and natural resources.

“Our lawyers also have brought suit against Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Rolando L. Gonzalez with the Court of Appeals for grave abuse of authority in the case filed against the province by businessmen who were found to be conducting illegal sand and gravel extraction and mining activities in violation of laws and ordinances meant to protect the environment and natural resources.

“Among other things, the suit assails Judge Gonzalez’ violation of the Supreme Court kalikasan rules prohibiting RTC judges from issuing injunction writs against government actions to protect the environment,” Mercado stressed.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)

 

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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.

 

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15th November 2014
Soldier under tight watch
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on November 15, 2014, 2:07 am

EBOLA-LIKE SYMPTOMS FOUND ON SECOND DAY
(By Kristine Felisse Mangunay, Inquirer.net, 2:07 AM | Saturday, 15 Nov 2014)


SLAND QUARANTINE Filipino peacekeepers who returned from Ebola-hit Liberia arrive on Caballo Island, off Cavite province, on Wednesday to be quarantined for 21 days as part of the government protocol to keep the Philippines free
of the dreaded disease. One of them with a fever was flown to a government hospital on Friday.
PHOTO FROM NAVAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE

The Department of Health (DOH) is closely watching a Filipino peacekeeper who developed symptoms of the dreaded Ebola disease on the second day of a government-imposed quarantine on Caballo island near Corregidor following his return with 137 others from Ebola-stricken Liberia on Wednesday.

Reports on Friday that the soldier was ill were quickly followed by text messages that Ebola had reached the country, prompting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to appeal to the public not to propagate the unconfirmed information.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, warned that spreading rumors may cause panic among the people even though the Philippines remains free from Ebola.

Read more...

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13th November 2014
Ormoc City gives thanks to EDC
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 13, 2014, 7:54 am

By Elvie Roman Roa

ORMOC CITY, Nov. 11, -- The help of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) extended to Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Ormoc City was for humanity, but the city government sees it fit that they be recognized for easing the pains of the victims.

At the first year commemoration of Yolanda’s wrath on November 8, The city government, led by Mayor Edward C. Codilla and vice mayor Carmelo L Locsin, Jr., handed over a plaque of appreciation to the geothermal energy company based in Leyte in recognition for their relief operations three days after ST Yolanda hit the city.

Yolanda, (internationally named Typhoon Haiyan), the strongest typhoon to hit land in the world, hitting first Guian, in Eastern Samar then Tacloban pushing sea water as high as 5 meters, leaving more than 8,000 dead.

In response, an EDC top official said that what they did was not all business.

“The primary purpose of business is not profit but for humanity,” EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco, remarked.

Tantoco recalled that when they came to Ormoc on day three together with the company’s big bosses to consult of what they can help, he said the city officials were still in shock but showed agility in assisting the victims.

He appreciated the optimism and determination of the city officials in taking action of helping the devastated community, referring to a text message from a friend appreciating the positivity of the city for their “strong leadership”.

Tantoco then requested a standing ovation for the tough leaders of the city who he describes, “that even the strongest typhoon could not topple down.”

EDC provided generator sets with free fuels to city hall that was used as incident command center and to the local hospital. 

The company also provided generator sets to the water pumping stations that made the water services in the city 80% operational few days after the typhoon.

Rice, food packs, assorted household items and assorted medicines were among those that EDC right away distributed to various areas in Leyte. 

The company did not forget to once again illuminate its host villages by giving out solar lamps having no electric power then.

With their help, the company procured crude in Cebu to sustain the needs of the city and hired plane, ship and helicopter to immediately support the needs of the typhoon victims. 

Tantoco said, the company ignored the high cost of jet fuel and use of helicopters to immediately bring food to far-flung villages and to convey messages to the people that there are aids coming.

They also utilized company trucks and cleared at least 29-kilometer road of debris.

The EDC president added, the help provided by EDC may be small but assured to offer help anytime saying the company’s chairman had  “ordered to keep on helping and disregard the cost it entails.”

Mayor Codilla regarded EDC’s help as “hulog ng langit” (heaven sent) for the help it poured to the city during the time it were needed most.

EDC operates 60% of its business in Leyte.  It is the largest producer of geothermal energy in the Philippines and the second largest in the world

 

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29th October 2014
Scrap terminal fees for OFWs, court asked
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on October 29, 2014, 6:57 pm

(By Ben Rosario, 29 Oct 2014)

At least 12 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) groups and non-government organizations (NGOs) filed yesterday a court petition to stop the government from collecting a P550 airport terminal fee from OFWs leaving for abroad, saying it is illegal.

The leaders of at least 10 OFW organizations asked the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City to issue a temporary restraining order that would prevent the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Manila International Airport Authority from imposing the fee starting November 1.  The group was led by OFW Family Rep. Roy Seneres,

The OFW groups have resorted to a court action after failing to convince President Aquino to heed their complaint against the allegedly unlawful airport collection.

Read more...

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13th October 2014
Subang Dako row: 7 apprehended
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 13, 2014, 9:19 am

By JANI ARNAIZ

October 13, 2014

MAASIN CITY – The Southern Leyte provincial government on Monday filed a case of illegal sand and gravel(SAG)extraction against two personnel of a crushing plant and several crew members of a barge believed to be used in transporting “illegally” extracted materials.

Accompanied by elements of the Phil. Army and several policemen,  Southern Leyte Gov. Roger Mercado apprehended the suspects on Friday at a sand and gravel crushing plant in Concepcion village along the massive Subang Daku river in Sogod town.

The suspects were placed under the custody of the Maasin City police office.

 

Read more...

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10th October 2014
NGCP sponsors facility tour for Info officers from So. Leyte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 10, 2014, 12:39 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

ORMOC CITY, (PIA)  --  More than two dozen information officers from various national line agencies from the province of Southern Leyte, including local government units and private media practitioners, visited the sprawling compound of the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) here Tuesday and gained ringside views on some technicalities behind the company’s work.

The facility tour was made possible upon the invitation of Betty Martinez, the Regional Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Officer of NGCP.

The visit also served as an occasion for NGCP to share inputs on their basic role in the power industry sector, which was invariably described by top-level officers as like a highway transmitting electricity from the generation source up to distribution utilities like electric cooperatives.

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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.

Read more...

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DOST SoLeyte extends P1.5-M financial assistance
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 9, 2014, 2:58 pm

By Erna Sy Gorne

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Septembre 7 (PIA) - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Southern Leyte Provincial Office releases substantial amount to assist local entrepreneurs improve trades with the acquisition of more equipment.

A total of P1.530,620.00 checks were distributed by Provincial Science and Technology Officer Dr. Dominador Clavejo to six local entrepreneurs under the Grants In Aid (GIA) and Small Enterprises Technology- Upgrading Program (SET-UP) programs of DOST.

Including in the SET-up releases from DOST this year are those who received the assistance from DOST this year SJR Auto Repair and Welding Shop with the amount of P416,120.00 to upgrade the production facilities for the welding metal fabrication to Roberto Borces sa Brgy. Cantutang, Padre Burgos; Maisam Glass Aluminum and Metal Works amounting P 186,000.00 for the procurement of aluminum cutter, welding machine, miter saw, speed cutter and cutting outfit of Emily Cadayona in Lilo-an.

Also to procure additional equipment like big working tables, weighing scales, digital scales and sealers to Janmer's Banana Chips in the amount of P138,000.00 and the LRG Farms in the amount of P295,000.00 for the acquisition of drip irrigation system and organic farming technology in Sogod to produce more income.

The financial assistance under the SET-UP program has to return the amount received in the span of three years and without any interest while under the Grants in Aid (GIA) program, this is freely given to the propenents of the projects that were considered among the priority thrusts of DOST, according to Clavejo.

These also includes the GIA assistance to the municipality of San Francisco for the Manlico Upland Farmer's Association in the amount of P390,000.00 for the establishment of Organic Feeds Facilities to supply inland fish growers, particularly tilapia and prawn, according to Marayag Punong Barangay Jesus Gamutan, who is also the ABC president.

And to upgrade the facilities for the production of FNRI Rice Mongo,

Sesame blend as baby foods initiated by Sta. Cruz Nutripak Producers Association (SACNUPA), a group of women in Sta Cruz, Macrohon, according to Punong Barangay Allan Vicente Mantilla, who also received the check.

According to Dr Clavejo, those funds covers the total financial assistance appropriated for the province of Southern Leyte within this year and are now also accepting proposals for next year. (vrc/esg/PIA8 SoLeyte/emailed by mmp)

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LOCAL WEATHER & NEWS
Your Link to the regional weather outlook for Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
HEADLINE NEWS  >>
Ormoc remembers 1991 flash flood, ST Yolanda, November 18, 2014, 6:32 pm

Soldier under tight watch, November 15, 2014, 2:07 am

Ormoc City gives thanks to EDC, November 13, 2014, 7:54 am

 
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DPWH-South Leyte implements MGB Oct. 15 memo, November 17, 2014, 4:55 pm

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DPWH-South Leyte implements MGB Oct. 15 memo, November 17, 2014, 4:55 pm

Subang Dako row: 7 apprehended, October 13, 2014, 9:19 am

 
TACLOBAN   >>
All Hands Volunteers to join fun run, August 30, 2014, 4:28 pm

 
ORMOC  >>
Ormoc remembers 1991 flash flood, ST Yolanda, November 18, 2014, 6:32 pm

Quake hits Cebu, Leyte, November 13, 2014, 2:41 pm

Ormoc City gives thanks to EDC, November 13, 2014, 7:54 am

30 MW solar plant to rise in Ormoc, October 9, 2014, 1:41 pm

 
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