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SOUTHERN LEYTE NEWS & INFORMATION

4th November 2017
TAcloban City honors World War II veterans
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on November 4, 2017, 12:37 pm


In Photo: An unnamed World War II veteran attends the commemorative dinner hosted by
Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Romualdez on October 19.
 

(By Elmer Recuerdo, Business Mirror, 3 Nov 2017)

TACLOBAN CITY --- They are now in the twilight of their life. Their bodies hae been weakened by age and the many battles they fought - in life and war time - but their spirits remain willing.

The soldiers of World War II (WW II) were present during the annual celebration of General Douglas McArthur’s landing in Leyte every October 20.

With each passing year, the number of surviving veterans of WW II is rapidly dwindling. In this year’s 73rd celebration, only 11 of the 19 remaining war veterans from this city were present when the city government hosted them a commemorative dinner on October 19.

The war veterans, aged between 89 and 101 years old, came in their veterans’ uniform on wheelchairs assisted by their close family members.

"At least for one day in a year,we are being remembered," said one veteran through his son.


20th October 2017
19 WWII veterans get honors, cash assistance
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on October 20, 2017, 12:00 pm

(By Miriam Garcia Desacada (The Freeman) |


15th September 2017
DILG installs Yap as new governor of Southern Leyte
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on September 15, 2017, 7:58 pm

By: Jani Arnaiz - Correspondent / @janiarnaizINQ

Inquirer Visayas / 07:27 PM September 15, 2017

MAASIN CITY – Southern Leyte has a new governor.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) installed on Friday Vice Gov. Christopher “Coco” Yap as the new governor of the province after beleaguered Gov. Damian Mercado personally received the Ombudsman order dismissing him from his post.

In a mobile phone interview, Mercado told the Inquirer that he personally went to the DILG regional office to receive the dismissal order “to end all speculations surrounding the Ombudsman order.”

Mercado said the DILG immediately installed Yap, who accompanied him to the agency’s regional office along with some board members, upon his receipt of the Ombudsman order.

Accordingly, top board member Jessica Escano Pano was installed as vice governor in place of Yap.

“Although we appealed the Ombudsman’s decision with the Appellate Court, we will abide by its decision whether it’s not in our favor,” Mercado said.

Asked if there is someone to blame for the case that moved very slowly for a decade, Mercado said: “I don’t blame anyone.”

Mercado said he will stay in Maasin, as he has to undergo some minor medical procedure for his illness.

The case of Mercado at the Ombudsman stemmed from his alleged anomalous purchase of three second-hand vehicles, which included his previously owned vehicle, amounting to P2.3 million.

In a resolution released on August 10, the Ombudsman held Mercado liable for grave misconduct in the alleged irregular procurement in 2007, when he was still mayor of the city.  /kga


11th August 2017
Business as usual at Capitol amidst Gov. Mercado dismissal
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on August 11, 2017, 6:59 pm

By JANI ARNAIZ

August 11, 2017

MAASIN CITY – It’s business as usual at the Capitol less than 24 hours after a stir on the reported dismissal of Governor Damian Mercado by the Ombudsman.

According to Jason Calva, Southern Leyte provincial administrator, they are on standby. “(We’re) on standby to avoid technicalities. So far no legal documents officially received.” He did not elaborate.

On Thursday at the Charter Day program, Gov. Mercado told the The Reporter online in a text message, I will talk to my lawyer first. No comment,” when asked for his statement.

The Reporter online also tried to get the statement from Interior department but provincial director Jess Naquila was on a meeting with his officials.

An employee said, Naquila told them that media personalities will be coming over and that there’s no order yet of the dismissal.

A netizen has commented on FB, what a pity, the dismissal came at the height of the celebration of the 17th Charter Day against the proponent of cityhood who eventually the fist mayor when Maasin became a city. He was referring to then Mayor Mercado.

The case stemmed from the reported anomalous purchase 10  years ago of three second hand vehicles, including one he had previously owned and more than a decade old, for P2.3 million.

In a resolution announced on Thursday, the Ombudsman held Mercado liable for grave misconduct in the alleged irregular procurement in 2007, when he was mayor of Maasin City, the provincial capital.


3rd July 2017
Alvarez considering possible impeachment of Sereno over CA issue
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on July 3, 2017, 4:40 pm

By: Jani Arnaiz - Correspondent / @janiarnaizINQInquirer Visayas / 04:35 PM July 02,2017

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer) 
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (File photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)
 
MAASIN CITY -  Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez announced on Sunday the possible filing of an impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if it could be proven that she had ordered the Court of Appeals (CA) to defy the show-cause order asking three CA justices to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for granting the petition for habeas corpus of the so-called Ilocos Six.
 
Alvarez, who was here to administer the oath-taking of new members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said he had received a report that Sereno had ordered the CA to defy the show-cause order.
 
"If we found it to be true then we will discuss it in Congress for a possible impeachment case,” he said.
 
The House of Representatives has been locked in a standoff with CA Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Edwin Sorongon, and Nina Antonio-Valenzuela after they ordered the release of the Ilocos Norte officials detained by the House for refusing to answer questions about an alleged anomaly involving the purchase of P66.45 million worth of vehicles, using funds from tobacco excise taxes.
 
The new members of the PDP-Laban in Southern Leyte who took their oath were Gov. Damian Mercado and his brother, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, all 19 mayors of the province and their councilors, and all 70 barangay chairpersons of Maasin and their councilors.
 
In his speech, Alvarez announced the postponement of the barangay and SK elections this year.
 
"To all barangay officials who are here will be happy with this news that there will be no elections and that the barangay chairman will just be appointed,” he said.
 
When asked to elaborate, he told the Inquirer that they would legislate the postponement and discuss when it would be held. /atm

28th March 2017
Farinas: Duterte can appoint barangay execs
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on March 28, 2017, 8:12 am

By: Jani Arnaiz, Joey Gabieta - @inquirerdotnet

Inquirer Visayas / 04:04 PM March 27, 2017


TACLOBAN CITY — The House of Representatives has not taken up the proposal of President Duterte to postpone the elections and appoint barangay officials.

But Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas said he found nothing wrong with the President appointing new sets of barangay officials because the present term of the incumbents had expired in 2016.

“We have yet to talk about that in Congress because the leadership of Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez is by consensus. Kung ano man ang mananaig, yun ang mangyayari (Whatever is decided on by the majority will be adopted),” Fariñas said on Sunday.

Fariñas and some congressmen were in Tacloban City as part of their “Western and Eastern Nautical Highway Expedition,” an inspection tour conducted by the legislators to check on the state of the government’s Roll On-Roll Off (RORO) , the conditions of road network and the transportation system in the provinces.

Speaker Alvarez earlier signified his support for the plan of the President to cancel the barangay elections this October and appoint the barangay officials, to prevent those who have engaged in the drug trade from getting back into power.

“I see nothing wrong with appointing village officials if it’s mandated by law. Their terms have already expired but they are in hold-over capacity,” said Fariñas

He pointed out that since the terms of the barangay officials expired last year when the elections were supposed to be held, they could be replaced by appointment.

“In the Constitution, there’s no fix date in the election of village officials so that we in Congress can change the term of barangay officials whether it’s five or six years,” said the congressman from Ilocos Norte.

Fariñas said President Duterte has gained a wide perspective on illegal drugs trade over the years, compared to the congressmen who have only been confined to the peace and order problems of their districts.

The proposal to cancel the barangay elections and just appoint new sets of officials was opposed by village officials in Tacloban.

“This will deny the people (of their right) to vote directly officials they like to lead them in the barangay. Barangay officials, just like our other officials, should be elected and not appointed,” said Rosario Bactol, barangay chairman of 88.

Lawyer Jose Nick Mendros, Commission on Elections-Eastern Visayas director, said Comelec would continue to do its mandated work should Congress fail to pass a law cancelling the elections this October.

“Our registration (in our Comelec offices) will continue until April 29 while our satellite registration will end this week,” Mendros said.

“We cannot stop our work just because there is a proposal to cancel the barangay elections,” he added.

He said cancelling the elections might not be the answer to the problems of barangay officials’ involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

“Charge them (in court). We have charged a senator. Why not charged those alleged barangay officials,” Mendros, said referring to Senator Leila de Lima who has been detained on charges of illegal drug trade and protection.

He added that appointing barangay officials would be contrary to the country’s democratic principles and might exacerbate patronage politics.


20th February 2017
DPWH to build coastal bypass road in Maasin City
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on February 20, 2017, 3:41 pm

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte – This city will get an alternative link to the commercial district – a 4.71-kilometer coastal bypass road with reclamation component meant to ease traffic woes and expand the city’s development.

The planned road, which will cost P1.5 billion, will get an initial budget of P50 million this year, said Ma. Margarita C. Junia, chief of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Southern Leyte district engineering office.

The proposed road, one of the key infrastructure projects in Eastern Visayas, will connect the city’s commercial center in Lib-og village to nearby populated village of Mambajao. It will traverse coastal areas of Abgao, Tunga-Tunga, and Combado villages.

The preliminary release, strongly lobbied by Rep. Roger Mercado for inclusion in the 2017 appropriations, will be used for the preparation of feasibility study for multi-year implementation, initial road construction, and some slope protection.

“The main roads leading to the city center are already congested even if those roads are restricted to one lane,” she said, referring in particular to R. Kangleon and Tomas Oppus Streets. “We cannot expand to the other side of the city since it’s mountainous.”

Maasin, a fourth class city and capital of Southern Leyte province, has a land area of 211.70 square kilometers with a population of 85,560. The city’s terrain is characterized by relatively flat lands along the coastal plains where population areas lay, and becomes rugged and mountainous towards the interior.

DPWH Southern Leyte planning section chief Vincent Sy said the proposed budget for the project in 2018 is P200 million. “Releases in the next years will mainly depend on the outcome of feasibility study, which will be completed within the first half of the year,” Sy added. The project is in compliance to Secretary Mark Villar’s directive to decongest traffic through construction of by-pass roads in populated areas. (PR)


9th January 2017
Farmer killed in Southern Leyte buy-bust; police claim shoot-out
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on January 9, 2017, 2:31 pm

By: Jani Arnaiz - Correspondent / @janiarnaizINQ

Inquirer Visayas / 07:03 PM January 06, 2017

MAASIN CITY—A 55-year-old farmer was shot dead on Friday in what the police claimed was a shoot-out following a buy-bust operation in an interior village of Ichon, Macrohon town, in Southern Leyte.

Felimon Labolabo was hit in the right forehead and right arm and died on the spot.

The buy-bust operation stemmed from a two-week surveillance operation on Labolabo who was allegedly a drug peddler.

Senior Insp. J-Rale C. Paalisbo, team leader of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Group (RAIDSOG), said an undercover agent met with Labolabo near the latter’s farm in Sitio Santolan, Barangay Ichon, past 9 a.m. supposedly to buy “shabu” from the farmer.

The suspect drew his .38-cal. pistol when he sensed that he was dealing with a policeman, but the farmer was shot first.

Recovered from the crime scene were the gun and four sachets of suspected shabu.

It took four hours to retrieve the body since the crime scene was a secluded and hilly area.

Labolabo’s 18-year-old daughter, Tifanny, fainted after seeing her father’s body.

She said they had told her father to stop peddling drugs after he surrendered to the police during Oplan Tokhang, a campaign that required the police to knock on the houses of known drug peddlers and users and ask them to stop their illegal activities.


6th December 2016
Southwest Ferries to ply Liloan/Benit to Surigao city
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on December 6, 2016, 2:12 pm

By JANI ARNAIZ

MAASIN CITY – A brand new state-of-the-art roll-on roll-off vessel will ply the Liloan/Benit-Surigao City route and vice-versa by April of next year, says Jose Jericho Padua, managing director of Southwest Ferries incorporated.

According to Padua, the ship, MV SF Stella de Mar (Star of the Seas) is set to be delivered on March 2017 by Kegoya Dock Co. Ltd.,one of the biggest ship builders of Japan.

“By that time, hopefully, we will have our maiden voyage,” he said during luncheon with local media group.

Although they manage the Starlite Ferries which is plying the lucrative route of Bantangas-Mindoro-Caticlan, they choose Surigao City-Liloan/Benit ferry terminals for their initial venture into cargo-passenger vessel to serve inter-island transport requirements in the Philippines.

“We made a thorough feasibility study in these ports and we found out it has heavy cargo traffic,” Padua pointed out.

He added that their vessel can navigate even on typhoon signal number 2 since it is made based on the Philippine weather condition. “Of course with the approval of the Philippine Coast Guard.”

It is also a reefer type vessel which can navigate in shallow waters.

He said that cargo forwarders will be assured of safety handling of their rolling cargoes since it has a modern feature in lashing. “And modesty aside, we have accommodation for drivers for proper rest while on sea travel.”

It has a capacity of more than 900 passengers (business class 114, economy 843 and drivers 20) in its air-conditioned accommodation and can hold a total number of 17 buses and 4 trucks.  Travel time would only take 2 hours and a half more or less.

LGU partnership

To address the crewing requirements of their fleet (local and international)the Southwest Maritime Group of Companies, the mother company of Southwest Ferries, innovate the College of Maritime Leadership to develop character, competence, confidence of their crews.

Padua offered “This is where we would like to partner with Local Government Units (LGUs) to consider our scholarship program for mariners where we offer free tuition fees or study now pay later scheme for miscellaneous fees with guaranteed shipboard training and guaranteed employment in Southfield’s fleet of vessels, another subsidiary of Southwest Group.”

Earlier Padua and members of the Southwest Ferries core committee, Ms. May Cabasi and Nikki R. Santos made a courtesy call to Gov. Damian Mercado at the provincial Capitol.

Board Member Abelardo Almario, who accompanied the team, was thankful with the entry of Southwest Ferries for the benefit of the province tourism program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


29th August 2016
Crimes committed in South Leyte greatly reduced within first 50 days
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on August 29, 2016, 10:11 pm

Marcelo M. Pedalino PIA8-Southern Leyte   

Figures, it has often been said, don’t lie.   

While it is true that the turn-out of surrendering drug personalities is overwhelming the direct impact on the non-commission of crimes is just as staggering.   

The numbers gathered from the Camp Alfredo Bantug Southern Leyte Police Provincial Office (SLPPO) show that for the 50-day period from July 1 up to August 18, 2016, 16 crimes were committed, as against 93 unlawful acts carried out in the same period last year, July 1 – August 18, 2015 all over the province.   

 

“Dako kaayo og kalainan (There’s a real big difference),” said PO3 Russel Balansag, the Provincial Crime Registrar, adding that clearly this has been the concrete results of the Oplan Tokhang (Tok-Tok, Hangyo; knock, appeal) and Double Barrel.  

Balansag was candid enough in assessing that not all of the crimes are drugs-related, even as he affirmed that a quick reality check on recurring heinous incidents were generally traced to the unimpeded use of the banned methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.  

But noteworthy items in the stats reveal that in the same period last year there were nine rape cases, while for this year there was none;  there were 32 physical injuries listed, now there were only five;  29 cases of theft lessened to only 5;  11 robbery cases now zero; 8 homicide cases, now only two. (PIA)


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