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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)


9th January 2015
Maasin employees attending papal visit on official time, says Mayor Samaco
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on January 9, 2015, 6:16 am

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Jan. 5 (PIA)  --  Personnel from the city local government unit here who wish to be in Tacloban for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis will be on official time, City Mayor Maloney Samaco declared.

“While it cannot be done on official business, we can consider it on official time, and we will just look for somebody who can gave us certificates of appearance,” Mayor Samaco said on dydm prime time news over the weekend

Pope Francis is scheduled to be in Tacloban next week, January 17, a Saturday, but for those who will be going ahead  -- since the holiday declarations for Thursday and Friday, January 15 and 16, respectively,  are limited only to the National Capital Region (NCR)  -- hence the idea to make it on official time, Samaco explained.

He himself, with his family, will already be in Tacloban on January 16, Samaco said, adding that it was a personal schedule, and not in coordination with other city officials or heads of offices.

Meanwhile, Samaco said he was glad to know there was zero injury in the city with regards to firecracker-related burns and accidents at the height of the revelry celebration welcoming the new year.

The new provincial hospital at barangay Dongon also had not received any similar cases of firecracker emergencies, a record maintained for three consecutive years, it was learned.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)

31st December 2014
missing pumpboat found, passengers safe
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on December 31, 2014, 4:47 am
By Marcelo M. Pedalino
MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Dec. 30 (9:30 PM) (PIA)  --  The seven passengers of a pumpboat that left barangay San Roque, Macrohon, Monday afternoon, supposedly enroute to Limasawa, reported missing until today, were washed ashore this afternoon at barangay Sto. Rosario, Maasin City  --  more than 40 kilometers away from their point of origin  --  tossed by “habagat” winds after enduring 24 hours at sea.
At about 3:00 in the afternoon today, December 30, a text message received by PIA from the Southern Leyte Police Provincial Office (SLPPO) stated:  “All missing passengers were found alive and accounted for at barangay Sto. Rosario.”
A few minutes later, Danilo Atienza, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) also texted PIA:  “All of the missing persons are now rescued and are brought to our new provincial hospital in Dongon.”
The survivors --  two males and five females, (the four of five females all teenagers)   -- were earlier identified as Police Sr. Insp. Richard Castanares, 41, chief of Limasawa Municipal Police Station; Lourdes Rogador, 46, married; Charlotte Malunas, 15, church server; Claissa Malunas, 13, church server; Joanah Juanico, 14, church server; Ednamae Cabanero, 15, church server; and Eusebio Pelenio, Jr. 30, single, the pumpboat operator.
They were heading back home to Limasawa after attending a parish-related activity in Padre Burgos town, it was learned. Tropical Storm “Seniang” was up and about on the day they ventured to sea, and in fact, Southern Leyte was under storm signal number one when they left off.
Maasin Coast Guard Officer Felino Ingan, who was able to talk to Pelenio at the Dongon provincial hospital, told PIA their boat, with a 16 horsepower engine, capsized in the rough seas just within an hour after they departed, in a location estimated as between Macrohon and Limasawa.
They held on to the boat for dear life, with a rope helped and managed by Pelenio and Castanares, as they aimlessly drifted along with the current for the next twenty-four hours, battered by winds and waves, until they came upon a coastal community where they sought help from residents who saw them weak and tired, Coast Guard Ingan told PIA by phone.
All of them looked fine even as they were obviously weak from trauma and hunger.  Pelenio and Castanares had “gasgas” or skin rashes suffered while trying to control the rope that held them together, Ingan added.
Their respective families were already informed of their situation, but for now they will stay overnight in the hospital for much needed rest, Ingan also said.  (with report from Erna Gorne)

15th December 2014
DTI-Southern Leyte holds trainings on integrated coconut processing
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on December 15, 2014, 10:32 pm

By Marcelo M. Pedalino

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Dec. 15 (PIA)  --  A Basic Skills Training on Integrated Coconut Processing will be conducted by the Department of Trade and  Industry (DTI) provincial office here on two occasions within this week.

In a statement sent to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) today, DTI informed that the first training is scheduled December 15-17, or today until Wednesday, at barangay Hantag this city, an interior barangay from the city proper, about ten kilometers upland to the north.

“This will be participated by the officers and members of Hantag Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative, Inc. (HAFAMCI).  Mrs. Minerva Baclayon, a licensed food technician of Southern Leyte State University (SLSU)-Sogod Campus will be tapped as the trainer,” the DTI statement said.

The second similar training, on December 19-21, will be at Mahayahay, Bontoc, Southern Leyte “participated by workers of Yummy’s Homemade Products, and coconut farmers from the said barangay.”

Funds for the two skills trainings were taken from the DTI’s CARP funds.

The activity will also discuss matters on costing, pricing, and some good manufacturing practices.

“The main purpose of these trainings is to introduce other by-products of coconut, an alternative source of income aside from the traditional copra or coconut kernels,” the DTI statement also said.  (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)


4th December 2014
DPWH-SLDEO activates DRRM Team for 'Ruby'
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on December 4, 2014, 8:13 pm

The District Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team (DRRMT) of DPWH Southern Leyte District Engineering Office conferred on December 3, 2014 in preparation for Typhoon “Ruby.”

OIC-Asst. District Engr. Allan D. Eway relayed instructions to the different officers-in-charge as TY “Ruby” entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Thursday. The said storm is expected to intensify as it heads to Eastern Visayas. “Ruby” is expected to make a landfall on Saturday morning or afternoon, the state weather bureau said with a maximum winds at 185 kph with gustiness of 210 kph.

Engr. Eway alerted the team to prepare for the worst case scenario and instructed them to deploy heavy equipment like backhoes and dumptrucks in strategic locations in the province where it can immediately respond to any untoward events.

He also gave specific instructions to prepare supplies and tools needed to keep the national roads passable such as chainsaws, gasoline, ladder, axes, etc. He ordered all members of the team to maintain an open line of communication 24/7.

Each District DRRM Team is composed of an Incident Commander and Deputy Incident Commander, where the District EngineerMA. MARGARITA C. JUNIA, DM, and Engr. Eway head respectively. It also has a Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, Operations Officer, Planning Officer, Logistics, and Administrative and Financial Officer.

The team recently underwent a seminar about the roles and responsibilities of the team and the team members last November 19-20. The training sought to institutionalize an Incident Command System (ICS), a system for agencies to work together smoothly under one management system during disasters.Meanwhile, District Engineer Junia, DM met with Asec. Dimas S. Soguilon, DPWH Asst. Secretary for Regional Operations in Visayas and Mindanao, today at the DPWH Regional Office, Baras, Palo, Leyte to discuss the instructions from DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson on the papal visit next year, status of project implementation, and preparations for the impending storm. ROUELLA MAY P. ALTAR, Public Information Officer, DRRM Team

25th November 2014
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)


10th November 2014
Indon pug vows KO vs Aguelo in 4th round
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on November 10, 2014, 1:00 am


November 10, 2014

MAASIN CITY – Indonesian pugilist Elly Ray has promised to knock out Maasinhon Asian Boxing Federation (ABF) titlist Adonis Aguelo Singwangcha in fourth round.

Ray will challenge the ABF lightweight crown of Aguelo Singwangcha on November 11 at the Maasin gym at 6:00 p.m.

It would the first title defense of the Maasinhon who ABF lightweight last year in Talisay Cebu.

“I’m prepared much for this title. I promise you I will knock him out on the fourth round,” said Ray as interpreted by his lady manager Rose Corano during a brief press conference before weigh-in held at the bus terminal here on Monday.  

Rose, who manages two other Filipino boxers, said, “I believed my boxer even if he lives and trained in Bali and I believed he will knocked out the Filipino.”

Both have almost even records with Aguelo’s record of 24 fights 12 by ko’s and 10 losses and two draws against Ray’s 25-14-11. Aguelo said most of his losses were fight outside the country. “Those losses I got were from my fights abroad. Even if I win some of those fight, I lost because of hometown decision,” said Aguelo, who is from mountain village of Matin-ao in Maasin City. He is now based in Thailand. He started his boxing career in the city at the helms of Maasin City Sport Council.

Maasin City Mayor Malone Samaco, who brought many boxing bouts in the city including the championship bout of Pagara brothers, who are both from the city against Indonesians including this one said he will continue to bring big fights to the city.

“We want to continue to inspire our athletes here by bringing fights like this. We will hone-up our boxers in their amateur days and recommend them to big promoters thereafter. But they have to finish their schooling first.”

The mayor was forced to answer he will be running for vice-mayor next election when asked whether his expertise in training athletes be brought to the province when he should intend to move up to the province after he finished his term on 2016.

“I will not move up. I will remain in Maasin and run for vice-mayor. That’s my frank revelation.”

Meanwhile, Aguelo’s handler, Naris Singwangcha, who co-promote the championship, said “I love the Philippines and the Filipinos and I love Maasin.” He added that he loves boxing very much. “I don’t take anything from my boxers.”



9th October 2014
PSA-Southern Leyte joins 25th National Stat Month celebration
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 9, 2014, 1:52 pm


MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Sept. 29 (PIA) -- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) formerly National Statistics Office Southern Leyte Provincial Office will be celebrating the 25th National Statistics Month (NSM) on October, said PSA provincial office statistician Jimmy Dagupan.

Dagupan said that, PSA Memorandum No. 01-14 issued by Socioeconomic Planning secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan enjoin all agencies of the government, local government units, academic institutions, and the private sector at the national and sub-national levels to actively participate in and support the celebration of the 2014 NSM.

The conduct of the NSM is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 647 that has the following objectives: (a) to promote, enhance and instill nationwide awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of statistics to the different sectors of the society; and (b) to elicit the cooperation and support of the general public in upgrading the quality and standard of statistics in the country.

This year’s   NSM silver anniversary celebration carries the theme, “NSM at 25 Years and Beyond: Solid and Responsive Philippine Statistical System in Support of Globalization and Regional Economic Integration.”

The theme highlights the objective of the newly established Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) to be a solid and responsive Philippine statistical system, Dagupan disclosed.

For the month-long celebration, PSA Southern Leyte has lined-up several activities to highlight the relevance of statistics which include: hanging of streamers; radio and TV information dissemination; conduct of civil registration information drive and statistics quiz in secondary schools in the province; conduct of basic statistics training for municipal planning officers; conduct of corporate and social responsibility activities (environmental related activities); and the conduct of court decrees and legal instruments processing training for city/municipal civil registrars, Dagupan added. (jrc/rgc/PIA8-SoLeyte)

TESDA-SoLeyte caters TWSP scholars
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on October 9, 2014, 1:45 pm


MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Oct. 4 (PIA) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Southern Leyte awarded scholarship certificates to 25 beneficiaries for the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) in a a ceremony held at Hinunangan Skills and Technological Center (HSTC), Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, October 1.

ESDA administrative officer Jocelyn Gidal informed that the scholars will undergo five months training in Shielded Metal Arc Welding at HSTC.

“TESDA will shoulder the training cost amounting to P10,000.00 as well as assessment fee in the amount of P500.00,” she told.

She added that the 25 awardees were chosen through the Community Training and Employment Coordinators (CTECs) that is composed of the local Social Welfare Office personnel from the different municipalities in the province.

“The scholars come from the Pacific towns of St. Bernard, San Juan, Anahawan, Hinundayan, Hinunangan and Silago,” Gidal disclosed further.

During the awarding program, TESDA OIC-provincial director Rodrigo Lacaba presented the scholarship certificates to the beneficiaries assisted  by scholarship focal person Alma Mesa, competency assistant Silvestre Paedlin Sr. and HSTC Chancellor Wilma Elivera. (jrc/rgc/PIA8-SoLeyte)

26th September 2014
Sen Marcos Bill to benefit retiring bgy. officials
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on September 26, 2014, 5:36 am


September 26, 2014

MAASIN CITY – Retiring barangay officials including its workers stand to benefit from Senator Ferdinand Marcos’ bill in the senate which the senator said already passed in the committee level.

The senator who “gate crashed” at the first Southern Leyte tourism summit held at Lourdes convention center here in the city on Friday, told tourism stakeholders including LGU officials on the side about his bill (SBN 12) an act providing retirement benefits to Barangay officials and barangay workers.

“I am optimistic that the Bill will be passed in the Senate considering that 11 senators have co-authored my bill after I submitted my committee report.”

He said in jest that in the Senate they now have a different mathematics. “We are supposed to be 24 members but three are on vacation and another is on medical leave. With the 11 senators as co-authors we are already the majority.”

Marcos said that included in Bill is the provision of Philhealth for every member of the family of the barangay officials.

“In the House, they have a similar Bill but different provisions. But with the prodding of LGU officials to their representatives I think this will become a law.”

He said “It’s about to return the favor to the hapless barangay officials and workers who are only receiving honoraria but if without them there will be no government because they are the ones who will deliver the basic needs of our people.”

With the Bill, village chiefs stand to receive P100,000 cash benefits if they have completed their three terms, so with barangay kagawads, P80,000 and other workers like tanods, BHW and other barangay workers stand to receive from P30,000 to P50,000.



Your Link to the regional weather outlook for Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines
GMA labor case prompts House inquiry, February 13, 2015, 5:22 pm

Highest bridge in PH in danger of collapsing, February 12, 2015, 8:46 pm

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missing pumpboat found, passengers safe, December 31, 2014, 4:47 am

DPWH-SLDEO activates DRRM Team for 'Ruby', December 4, 2014, 8:13 pm

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Tacloban folks flee Ruby, December 8, 2014, 2:44 pm

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

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Police arrests village official in buy bust, February 5, 2015, 10:21 pm


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