Page 1

Special Issue


Information officers and staff of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-6 learn the basics of total event management from events specialist Mr. Rene Hinojales (left) during the PIA-6 briefing and year-end assessment held Jan. 3 at the regional office in Iloilo City. (LTP/ PIA-Iloilo)

More on Region 6, pages 2-3. Also CLICK Here…


HEALING THROUGH ARTS. Dayaw Bohol participants from Santo Rosario and neighboring barangays in Antequera gather for a posterity shot with local and visiting artists who came to Bohol for an arts relief program by the NCCA. Bohol is among 10 other Dayaw 2013 festival sites picked by the NCCA. (PIABohol)

More on Region 7, pages 4-5. Also CLICK Here…


Alaine Allanigue and Emver Cortez of PIA-NCR with Toby Madayag of Pilipinas Natin distribute toys to children in Tacloban. The toys are donated thru PIA-NCR's toy drive ''Laruan para sa Batang Tacloban". (PIA)

More on Region 8, pages 6-7. Also CLICK Here...

Jan. 1 - 8, 2014

Published by: PIA 6, 7 & 8

PIA-6 rolls out performance awards ILOILO CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA6) – The Philippine Information Agency-6 gave out certificates of recognition to its information officers who came up with excellent performance in 2013 as it launched the agency’s PRAISE program. The annual awards seeks to recognize outstanding regional and provincial writers and editors of the Agency for their excellence in disseminating information using various media platforms available to the Agency. For the regional level, PIA6 handed out awards for the best writer and best photographer, as well as to the best Facebook account and most sustained information dissemination activities during a crisis situation, both Information Center level awards. The citations were handed out during the briefing and year-end assessment activity held January 3 by the PIA regional office here. The activity is done yearly by PIA-6 to assess its operations in the previous year and build the capabilities of its staff. The staff learned the basics of total event management from an expert in the field during the year-end activity. “We want our staff particularly the Information Officers to be capable of not only writing but also other skills including event organizing, which they could serve in their many and diverse functions” said PIA-6 Regional Director lawyer Ma. Janet C. Mesa.

Those who were singled out for the PRAISE awards were: Leonard T. Pineda I – Best Writer; Easter Anne Doza – Best Photographer; Iloilo Information Center – Best Facebook Account; and, Capiz Infocen – Sustained, Relevant and Up-to-Date situationer reports in connection with typhoon “Yolanda” and other disaster/calamity related incidents. Mesa said the recognition sought to motivate the staff to perform better and build on their capabilities in keeping with standards adopted by the agency. (JCM/JSC-PIA6)

PIA-6 capped its 2013 operations and buckled down to start the work for 2014 with a lecture-workshop on total event management and year-end assessment activity last Jan. 3 wherein it also recognized its outstanding information officers and Infocens (from left) Easter Anne Doza of Negros Occ. Infocen—Best Photographer; Leonard T. Pineda I—Best Writer; Iloilo Infocen with ICM Elsa Subong—Best Facebook Account; and Capiz Infocen with OIC-ICM Jemin B. Guillermo—Sustained, Relevant and Up-to-Date situationer reports in connection with typhoon “Yolanda” and other disaster/ calamity related incidents. (PIA6)

Gov’t, NGOs work to save animals in calamity-hit areas in Visayas CENTRAL VISAYAS, Jan. 5 (PIA) -- The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) initiated and spearheaded the Animal Relief and Rehabilitation for the Philippines (ARRPh) as part of the on -going rehab of calamity-hit areas in the Visayas. The ARRPh convenes animal welfare groups and streamlines animal disaster response to ensure that efforts are not duplicated and most areas are reached. This GO-NGO initiated collaboration maintains coordination of all activities in the field; information-sharing on the situation in the field; pooling of available resources; the welfare of animals and mitigate disease of public health importance such as rabies. Conceptualized on November 15, 2013, the network is also involved in planning and in implementing rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas specifically in providing sustainable livelihood for livestock

farmers. Member organizations of the ARRPh include: Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF); Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA); Four Paws; Humane Society International (HSI). Other global organizations are also involved including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); Island Rescue Organization (IRO); National Advisory Committee on Animal Disease Control and Emergency (NACADCE). Network for Animals (NFA); Philippine Animal Hospital Association (PAHA); Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS); Veterinary Corps-Armed Forces of the Philippines; Philippine Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA); World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); and World Vets also join the movement. (mbcn/ PIA7)

South Korean soldiers arrive to assist in rehabilitation, recovery operations in Leyte By: Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Dec. 29 (PIA) – Over 500 South Korean military engineers and doctors armed with equipment for recovery and medical mission arrived in Tacloban City onboard two landing ship transports in order to assist in the rehabilitation and recovery operations in the province of Leyte. Colonel Peale Jon Bondoc of the Philippine Army and Task Force Yolanda who welcomed the South Korean contingents said that the foreign troop’s expertise and gears will be a big boost to the rehabilitation measures in the province of Leyte. Earlier, he reported to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council members about the preparations being done regarding the arrival of said foreign contingent. The Korean contingent is set to be in Leyte for about six months but Colonel Chuw Lon Lee, the commander of the Republic of Korea Joint Support Group said the men under him are prepared to stay up to one year. It was learned that the South Korean forces have always been involved in peacekeeping operation in other countries and that this is the first time that it has deployed a military contingent on a purely post-disaster reconstruction mission. Earlier, the South Korean Embassy in Manila

announced that about 500 members of the South Korean Armed Forces will be taking part in the recovery and rehabilitation mission, particularly in Tanauan and other towns in the vicinity of Tacloban City. The Embassy emphasized that they chose Tanauan to be their beneficiary as there is a lot of foreign help already in Tacloban City. The Korean expedition unit known as “Araw (sun)”, composed of medical and engineering personnel, will carry out its mission for a year. The priority activities will include reconstruction of public facilities like schools, hospitals and government offices, it was learned. “The deployment of troops reflects the gratitude of the Korean people to the Filipinos who fought with them during the Korean War, and their optimism about the future of Tacloban. We hope that their work will bring the people of the two countries closer to each other,” the embassy said in a statement. “We came here not for war but to help the Filipino people badly affected by the typhoon, as they acknowledged the Filipino soldiers’ support during the times they also needed assistance in fighting for freedom against North Korean soldiers,” the statement added. (PIA 8)



Nutrition advocates bag ‘KULON’ awards



PIA PIA--6 Regional Director

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA6) – The “kulon” which is the cooking pot for Filipinos has become the latest feature in the recognition of best performing nutrition workers in Western Visayas.


inners for Best Barangay Nutrition Scholars in the city, municipality and province in the region received a decporated “kulon” during the awarding ceremonies held middle of December last year. Instead of the usual trophies, the Regional Nutrition Technical Committee (RNTC) decided to have the “kulon” as part of the awards. National Nutrition Council Regional Program Coordinator Nona Tad-y presented some reasons for choosing “kulon.” The RNTC has coined a meaning for

“Kulon” as “Kami Ugyon Lab-uton ang Outstanding sa Nutrisyon” which means “we all join to achieve an outstanding in nutrition.” The choice for the use of “kulon” according to Tad-y is that it symbolizes the traditional family togetherness during meals, sharing from the same pot. “Kulon” is a healthy tool for cooking used by the ancestors, and the pot being made from brown clay, symbolizes also the earth or soil where food is planted and grown, Further, Tad-y said the use of “kulon” during the awarding is recognizing the

environment, where people get and use what are available and traditionally healthy sources of food. “The use of “kulon” for the awarding has provided income for a pottery producer, which is an indirect way of supporting the industry here,” Tad-y added. The NNC also gave “kulon” to is partners, stakeholders and members of the Nutri-media circle, in appreciation of their support to the nutrition program in their areas and the promotion of the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos. (JCM/ ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

15 Antique towns get P1M for good performance BY: PILAR S. MABAQUIAO SAN JOSE, Antique (PIA6) - - Fifteen municipalities in Antique are set to receive the P1 million Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) for a job well done in terms of good governance after having awarded the Seal of Good Housekeeping in 2012.


he said towns are Anini-y, Tobias Fornier, Hamtic, Sibalom, San Remigio, Belison, Patnongon, Bugasong, Valderrama, Laua-an, Barbaza, Tibiao, Culasi, Sebaste and Pandan. Provincial Director Victorio Pagapulan of DILG Antique said for the LGUs to avail it, the Mayors should be authorized by the local sanggunian to sign the Memorandum of Agreement with the DILG for the release of the fund. Among the priorities of this fund are

projects related to poverty alleviation, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, environmental protection and programs for the welfare of children and women. The projects should be stipulated in the Annual Investment Program CY 2014 of LGU concerned. DILG has launched the Seal of Good Housekeeping Award among local government units (Municipal, City and Provincial levels) way back in 2010 to recognize the performance of LGUs in

good governance giving priorities to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals. For the LGU to qualify for the grant, it should have the sound fiscal management highlighting the absence of adverse Commission on Audit opinion on LGU financial statement, transparent and accountable governance putting value on the full disclosure. For CY 2013, the assessment for Seal of Good Housekeeping will be this year. (PSM/PIA6Antique)

DOH6 notes increase in firecracker-related injuries BY: LEONARD T. PINEDA I ILOILO CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA6) --- The number of firecracker-related injuries increased this year, the Department of Health (DOH) in Region 6 noted as it tallied 72 injuries as of 6 a.m. Thursday.


uring the same period last year, only 67 injuries were recorded. Based on DOH’s surveillance update, 19 of the firecracker-related injuries came from Iloilo province, 18 from Iloilo City, 18 from Bacolod City, 16 from Negros Occidental province, and one from Capiz. DOH-6 Regional Director Marlyn Convocar said the data were based from their monitoring reports beginning last December 21. Comprising 49 percent of the total

victims were children below 10 years old while 28 percent were between ages 11 to 20 years old; 14 percent aged 31-50; six percent between ages 21-30; and the rest were 51 years old and above. The youngest victim was a one-year-old child from Talisay City, Negros Occidental while the eldest was 65 years old from Badiangan, Iloilo. The victims suffered avulsed wounds, blast injury, eye injury, burns and abrasions. Unknown firecrackers topped the list

of firecrackers that caused injuries, followed by home-made firecrackers, boga, triangle, candle bomb, and piccolo. No report of firecracker-related incidents has been received yet from the provinces of Antique and Guimaras, Convocar said. The DOH will continue monitoring firecracker victims until January 5, 2014. The DOH recommends total ban on the individual or household use of firecrackers, selective ban on fireworks, and community-based display of fireworks. (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)


ATTY. MA JANET C. MESA PIA PIA--6 Regional Director


PIA-6 info officers trains on event management BY: LEONARD T. PINEDA I

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 6 (PIA6) --- Information officers (IOs) of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Western Visayas were trained on total event management to better organize the agency’s project and activities.


tty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa, PIA-6 Regional Director, said the training enabled the information officers to acquire new skills and enhance their competencies in event organizing. The info officers can also extend assistance to other government agencies in planning and managing their projects and activities with these skills and competencies in event management, she said. Event specialist Rene Hinojales, who

conducted the training, said events are a benchmark of our lives. He introduced key concepts necessary for successful event management. He said that size and form of events determine the number of people taking part, the budget to be spent, and the scope of press coverage. He also emphasized the significance of determining the purpose of the event prior to planning whether it is to inform and education, obtain media

coverage, raise funds, or to celebrate a milestone. He said that in planning for an event, it is important to develop the event concept, determine its feasibility, and to establish a formal event committee. He also said that it is imperative to set objectives, realistic duties, times and deadlines, to develop budget and monitor finances and to identify tasks and responsibilities. (JSC/LTP -PIA6 Iloilo)

Bacolod dialogues with vendors for rehab of markets BY: EASTER ANNE D. DOZA BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occ., Jan. 3 (PIA6) - - The local government of Bacolod has initiated a dialogue with the city’s transient and sidewalk vendors prior to the organization, regulation and rehabilitation of the markets in the city.


he dialogue was led by Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella, talking to the vendors as the “father of the city”, who described the session as an outlet to create a permanent solution to the woes and clear out issues that concerns the vendors. “We are doing this for all Bacolodnons. We will create a win-win solution that will generate steps for Bacolod to prosper,” Puentevella said as he hopes that everybody in the city earns a decent living without any trouble. Public Affairs and Assistance Division (PAAD) chief Andre Victor Las Piñas said a task force composed of City Administrator Rolando Villamor, Chairman on the committee on markets Councilor Sonya Verdeflor, Acting BCPO director Col. Edgardo Ordaniel, Bantay Banwa president Dot Soliven, ABC

president Noli Villarosa and several city offices including the PAAD, City Engineers Office, City Health Office, Bacolod Traffic Authority Office and the Bureau of Fire Protection was created to oversee that regulations for these vendors will be implemented with compassion. Market Supervisors will also be in the task force and will help the team streamline the proper implementation of the proposed policies or regulations with compassion to the concerned parties. The Task Force will conduct an extensive inventory on the three main markets of the city; ensure temporary accommodation among non-Bacolod resident-vendors and implement the 1-meter policy. The new policy is set to be executed

by January 10, 2014. “2014 is a challenge for all of us, but we will make sure that the final decision will benefit everyone,” Las Piñas said. “We are doing this to organize Bacolod and to achieve even greater heights,” Puentevella said as he urged the vendors to work together with the city government. The expansion of the city’s three main markets is also part of their long-term plan and, together with the rehabilitation of Barangay-based markets, will be a way for the city to progress as it is now rapidly expanding in terms of population. Punetevella also eyes the opening of the vendors’ Plaza in Barangay 12 and the foundation of “night markets” to attract more tourists and food adventurers locally and internationally. *(JCM/EAD-PIA6/ CMO Negros Occidental)

'Yolanda’ onslaught brings 24 Capiz babies BY: ALEX A. LUMAQUE ROXAS CITY, Capiz, Jan. 2 (PIA6) – While others wept for the loss of properties and loved ones, 24 mothers in Capiz rejoiced as they delivered their new born babies last Nov. 8 amidst the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda in the province.


he “Yolanda babies” were from Roxas City with 15 births and the municipalities of Mambusao and Pilar with two births each while the towns of Ivisan, Maayon, Panay, Pres. Roxas and Sapi-an with one birth each. The bulk of the deliveries was in Roxas City because of the Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital, functional birthing clinic of the Roxas City Health

Office and other private hospitals. The new born infants were equally divided in gender. National Statistics Office (NSO) – Capiz Provincial Statistics Officer Engr. Frankie Dordas said that the new-born babies were either delivered in a hospital, Rural Health Units (RHU), private clinics and at homes based on the Civil Registry documents. There were no babies born in the

evacuation centers. The records also showed that 16 births during the date were attended by either a doctor, nurse and a midwife while the remaining eight deliveries were facilitated by a hilot or traditional birth attendants. However, NSO has no account on the babies baptismal records or whether the newborn-infants have been baptized or not. (JCM/AAL/PIA6 Capiz)



S. Korean gov’t. expresses deep gratitude to PH, Filipino soldiers

Bantayan Island, Cebu (Image credit: Bibi delos Reyes/


By: Amor Y. Saludar

PIA PIA--8 Regional Director

Central Visayas, Dec. 27 (PIA) — The South Korean government up to this time still looks up in deep gratitude to the efforts and help rendered by the Philippine government and Filipino soldiers during Korean wartime.


entral Visayas, Dec. 27 (PIA)—The South Korean government up to this time still looks up in deep gratitude to the efforts and help rendered by the Philippine government and Filipino soldiers during Korean wartime. South Korean government remembers this deed with great desire to return the favor. With this, some 300 South Korean soldiers arrived on December 27, 2013 at the Mactan Airbase (MAB) Lapulapu City, to help and support the rehabilitation efforts of the Philippine government to typhoon-hit areas.

In welcome rites at MAB South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines H.E Lee Hyuk recalls this unity between the Koreans and Filipinos. “In 1950 some 7,400 Filipino soldiers came to help South Korea fight for freedom,” H.E Hyuk said. Of that war for South Korea’s freedom 112 Filipino soldiers sacrificed their lives, he added. H.E Hyuk then said that South Korea is here in the Philippines to help the Filipinos in need as what the Filipino soldiers did to Korea. ROK Joint Support Group

Commander Col Chul Won Lee also said that significantly the South Korean government remembers the help exerted by the Philippine government at the times they needed much help. “For South Korea Philippines is a friendly country and the first country in Asia to help Korea fight for freedom,” Lee stressed. He said that South Korea considers Philippines as a true friend and that Korean troops came to return the kindness and became a very good and true friend to the Philippines. (mbcn/ AYS/PIA 7)

PhilHealth lowers eligibility requirement CENTRAL VISAYAS, Dec. 28 (PIA) -- To ensure that all members can avail of the benefit coverage, PhilHealth will only require at least three monthly contributions within the immediate six months before confinement. n the past, individually paying they have paid premium contributions Those who are separated from members are required to have at for at least three months within the employment or whose coverage as least nine monthly contributions six months prior to the first day of Sponsored Member or as Overseas within the immediate twelve months prior availment. Filipino Worker (OFW) has ended, the month of availment for select surgical Members are also given an option to including members who missed to pay procedures, cancer treatment (e.g., pay in full the required premium for the their premium contributions may opt to chemotherapy, radiotherapy), dialysis and calendar year if ever the three-over-six pay for the unpaid months of the pregnancy related cases. months requirement is not met. applicable year. But as prescribed in the Implementing These include employees with no To avail outright deduction of Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the income for particular months such as PhilHealth benefits, premium payments National Health Insurance Act of 2013, those who are on-leave without pay or should be made on or before the date of members including their dependents, are extended leave, and members engaged in discharge from the hospital. (mbcn/PIA7 entitled of PhilHealth benefits as long as seasonal employment. with reports from PhilHealth7)


53rd National Writers Workshop invites participants BY: ROI ANTHONI B. LOMOTAN DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – Silliman University invites writers to apply and submit their manuscripts for the 53rd National Writers Workshop.


he workshop offers 12 fellowships to aspiring writers in the country. Applicants for fiction and creative nonfiction fellowships must submit three to four entries while applicants for drama must submit at least one One-Act play, according to Silliman University Information Officer Mark Raygan Garcia. Manuscripts in fiction, creative non-fiction and drama category should not be more than 30 pages and should be typed in double space. Workshop organizers encourage applicants to stay below the 30 page limit. Meanwhile, applicants for poetry writing must submit a suite of seven to ten poems. All manuscripts must be

computerized, typed in double spaced and printed in an 8. 5 x 11 bond paper with approximate margin of 1 inch in all sides. Text font must be in Book Antiqua or Palatino and font size should be 13. Page number should be placed at the center of the bottom margin of each page. Manuscripts should be passed together with the workshop application form, a notarized certification of originality of works and a letter of recommendation from a literature professor or established writer. The applicant’s real name must be written on the application form and should not appear in the manuscript. All requirements must be completed

before submission. Applications should be sent to Department of English and Literature, attention Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, Workshop Coordinator, 1/F Katipunan Hall, Silliman University, Dumaguete City. Deadline of application is on or before January 15, 2014. Silliman University National Writers Workshop is the oldest and longest running creative writing program in Asia which aims to hone writers’ skills in writing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama. For more information call 035-422-6002 loc. 350. Or e-mail Silliman University Writers Workshop at PIA7-NEGOR)


MINERVA BC NEWMAN PIA PIA--8 Regional Director


PHL NGO to host 7th Asia-Pacific gab on reproductive health, rights

CENTRAL VISAYAS, Jan. 5 (PIA) – A Philippine based non-government organization will host this year’s 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual health and Rights (APCRSHR) on January 21-24 at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila.


he lead convenor of the event is the Philippine NGO Council on Population Health and Welfare (PNGOC), a national network of 97 NGOs which is actively involved in promoting reproductive health care. The recent passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law through the staunch support of President Benigno Aquino III has inspired the council to showcase the landmark legislation after the struggle of more than 14 years, organizers said. The objective of the APCRSHR is to provide a pro-active venue for exchange of experiences among

Asia Pacific countries on good practices to achieve the objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994. The term and concept of “Reproductive Health” was introduced and operationalized during that Cairo convention. The conference, moreover, aims to inform delegates on the progress of the Health MDG in the Asia-Pacific. Some 3,000 delegates from various countries in the region representing the CSOs, academe, interfaith groups, youth, donors and program staff are expected to attend.

The registration rate of Php12,000.00 per participant will cover admission to the conference, conference publications, field visit (on a first come, first serve basis), welcome reception, and conference tea breaks and lunches. For registration information and details, please check the link:http:// registration-arrangements.html. For inquiries and clarifications, please contact us at (632) 852-1898 or email at Kindly also visit our official conference website at (mbcn/ PIA7)

Bohol receives ‘Seal of Good Housekeeping Award’ for 2012 CENTRAL VISAYAS, Jan. 5 (PIA) -- Bohol starts 2014 with a bang! It receives the ‘Seal of Good Housekeeping’ for the year 2012 that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG-7) gave recently.


ohol receives the Seal of Good Housekeeping along with provinces of Cebu and Negros Oriental in Region 7. The province was also a recipient of the award in 2011. The DILG recognizes the good performance of the Bohol Provincial Government in governance and areas of Accountability, Transparency, and Frontline Services. According to Lucino, among the requirements for the Silver Level Seal are Commission on Audit (COA) opinion on financial transactions; full compliance to the Full Disclosure Policy; compliance to Government Procurement Processes; as

well as Excellent or Good Performance Rating in as indicated in the Anti-Red Tape Act - Report Card Survey of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The DILG, through the Seal of Good Housekeeping upholds the fundamental values of performance, accountability, transparency and participation, which are central to good governance in local public administration and development, said Lucino. Gov. Chatto welcomed the news and thanked fellow workers in government for living up to the practice of good governance, sharing the distinction with partner Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim and the Provincial

Board, as well as Capitol heads of offices and employees. The governor said the Seal adds inspiration to the Bohol Provincial Government as it leads efforts towards the full recovery and rehabilitation of the province from the effects of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda. “2014 is going to be more challenging as interventions from the provincial government, the national government, and international counterparts are coordinated in order to implement the Bohol Rehab Plan,” governor Chatto said. (mbcn/PIA7 with reports from Leah/Bohol EDCOM)

Holidays bring tourism back in north Cebu CEBU, Dec. 28 (PIA) -- Tourism in Northern Cebu was greatly affected during the November 8 Super Typhoon Yolanda. It did not only destroy houses, it also brought its tourism industry to its knees. rom the famous Capitancillo Islet For the resort industry in Northern Capitancillo Islet, one of the country’s that Bogo City is proud of, TS Cebu, Christmas of 2013 is probably the diving pride sites” said Gerrie Sola, Yolanda restored it to its most memorable and blessed one. Alegre’s in-house Marine Biologist and original bare phase in the 70’s For Alegre Beach Resort, it was a Dive Instructor. while Medellin’s Fantastic Island is not so night to remember as they celebrated Known for her expertise in the fantastic anymore with its surrounding Christmas with a full house, composed marine world and her advocacy on destruction. mainly of families having a good quite time environmental preservation, Sola looks Sogod, Sta. Fe and Bantayan Islands known to bond; of couples who want to relish forward to be part of the rehabilitation for their white beaches and shady the meaning of being one and most of all planning. coconut trees were stripped bare. with the international responders of TS As one of the few practicing and After more than a month man’s Yolanda; who took to the pristine waters skilled marine biologist, Sola adds “fishing innate sense to live life enabled the and relaxing ambience to celebrate LIFE is the main source of livelihood for most affected families to pick up the debris and and HOPE, getting ready for the next day folks in the North, rehabilitating the rebuild their communities. to rebuild again. marine life means giving back their As they do so, nature too takes a rein “This encouraging picture of livelihood as well”. in healing its damage underwater life, an Christmas Day, strengthens our resolve Christmas indeed has paved hope and inspiration for the tourism industry and partnership with the Northern marked a new the beginning for Northern that took a standstill after the super Towns of Cebu in rehabilitating their Cebu’s Tourism industry. (mbcn/PIA7 & typhoon. marine life especially Bogo City’s Alariba/DSWD7)




Two EVisayas companies among 58 models of voluntary labor law compliance By: Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu

OLIVE P. TIU PIA PIA--8 Regional Director

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Jan. 1 (PIA) – Two private companies in Eastern Visayas, the Bethany Hospital and the Philippine Associated Smelting & Refining Corporation (PASAR), are among the 58 models of voluntary labor law compliance.


he 58 private companies have been awarded the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tripartite Certificate of Compliance with Labor Standards (TCCLS) in the latter part of the year after “very careful” tripartite assessment and verification. DOLE Region 8 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said that the 58 companies set the example as models of the DOLE’s new and vigorous pursuit of the best in voluntary compliance with the country’s labor standards. The value of the award lies in the fact that it was tripartite in nature, meaning, it’s the workers and their peers in the industry which decided on the award. The TCCLS awardees cut across the major industries of the country, such as healthcare/

hospitals, educational institutions, manufacturing (food, beverage, packaging, infrastructure, semiconductors and electronics, wiring harness) services, hotel and restaurant, agri-business, agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, power generation, transportation, electronic information processing services, mining, and construction. The TCCLS constitutes the first level seal of good housekeeping issued by the DOLE through its regional offices to enrolled establishments that consistently comply voluntarily with labor standards. “The Award is bestowed upon deserving establishments that mirror excellence in voluntary labor standards compliance,” Director Sarcauga said. The TCCLS is instituted under

Department Order No. 115-11, Series of 2011, otherwise known as the Guidelines in the Implementation of the Incentivizing Compliance Program (ICP). The Guidelines promote voluntary labor standards compliance with general labor standards, occupational safety and health standards, and the country’s Child Labor Law, Republic Act 9231, by giving due recognition and incentives to compliant establishments. It is a basic pre-qualification requirement to the DOLE Secretary’s Labor Law Compliance Award and to the golden standard to voluntary labor standards compliance in the Philippines, the Tripartite Seal of Excellence, Director Sarcauga added. (PIA 8)

More assistance pours in to EVisayas Agri-sector By: Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Jan. 4 (PIA) – Assistance for the recovery and rehabilitation of the Yolanda ravaged agriculture sector in Eastern Visayas continues to pour with more international and non-government organizations joining forces with the Department of Agriculture.


r. Jenny Lyn Almeria of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 8 said that the Help Age International, an NGO which helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, committed to provide assistance to rice farmers through the provision of certified seeds. A total of 7,924 bags will be distributed to its prioritized areas in Leyte, including Albuera, Kananga, Matag-ob and Ormoc City. On the other hand, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which has been implementing developmental projects in the country and in the region in behalf of the German government committed to provide a total of 1,720 bags of certified rice seeds. Among the target beneficiaries are farmers in Barugo and Capoocan, Leyte. Dr. Almeria noted that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Oxfam International have earlier

stepped in to help the farmers in Leyte recover from production loss due to typhoon Yolanda. Meanwhile, four-wheel drive tractors from various regional offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) were brought to the region to help the farmers in clearing and in cultivating their lands. Two 90 Hp powered tractors from DA-RFO 10 were stationed in Alang-alang, Leyte to assist the local government unit delineate areas for land preparation. Furthermore, a 90 Hp tractor from DA-RFO 13 was sent to Dulag, Leyte to help the affected coconut farmers who wanted to engage in the production of corn, cassava and other cash crops. In addition, a 30 Hp tractor was assigned at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Leyte to assist in the establishment of a 10-hectare vegetable farm near the Leyte Academic Center, Palo, Leyte. Currently, a delegation from Japan Inter-

national Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been dispatched to the region to conduct assessment of the typhoon’s damages to agricultural infrastructures and to look into how the agency could extend possible assistance. In a related development, the Gender and Development Program of DA-8 met recently with CARE Philippines and some representatives of women associations and farmers’ organizations from typhoon-affected areas for possible livelihood programs and other interventions for the women sector. Dr. Almeria gave the assurance that the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 8 never fails to keep in touch with the said organizations and the concerned local government units through the conduct of regular consultation meetings to harmonize and systematize the relief and rehabilitation efforts. According to the latest report, the damage to agriculture sector in Eastern Visayas has already reached a staggering amount of

UNICEF supports gov’t move to get children back to school By: Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Jan. 2 (PIA) – The UNICEF and other partners fully support the Philippine Government’s move to get children back to school.


nicef’s Ms. Kathleen Solis said that a soft opening of schools was conducted on December 2. On January 6, the full reopening will be conducted, thus the UNICEF calls on all parents of school children to send them back to school. The UNICEF noted that in the province of Leyte alone, 760 schools were damaged. In the areas of the Philippines affected by typhoon, about 90 percent of school buildings were damaged, more than 3,200 schools in all, leaving over a million pupils and 34,000 teachers with no place for learning. In addition to supplying tents for

classrooms, UNICEF has provided learning and recreational materials and has brought in teachers – some of them from other disaster-struck areas to share their knowledge and experience. Latrines and hand-washing facilities for boys and girls have been installed, as well. As of 2 December, eight UNICEF -supported schools in Leyte province had reopened their doors, and three more were due to be open as soon as the debris could be removed to make space for a tent. An additional 25 schools are scheduled to be set up in the coming days. Getting back to learning helps

children establish a routine, an important step toward recovery, and it helps teachers identify which pupils are in need of special attention. “The message that UNICEF wants to be sent is that it’s possible, that even in the destruction, education can continue,” Ms. Solis said. The typhoon does not have the last word, even if the surroundings are a picture of destruction. It’s the energy of children at school, united and raising their hands together, that will shape the future of the country. (PIA 8)



UN OCHA says shelter needs persist in Yolanda-affected areas OLIVE P. TIU PIA PIA--8 Regional Director


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Jan. 1 (PIA) – Shelter solutions for displaced people in tents and evacuation centers remain the key priority for humanitarian partners.


his was disclosed by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its December 31 report. UN OCHA said the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Shelter, Protection and WASH clusters have been working together with both the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department for Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to assess the progress of the bunkhouses and also recommend actions to be taken to ensure that minimum standards are met. The clusters are also sharing the previous experience of utilizing bunkhouses as temporary shelter solutions, based on previous responses in the Philippines as well as in the

region. UN OCHA noted that funding for the Shelter and Camp Coordination and Camp Management Clusters is lagging well behind overall funding levels, restricting programs due to with a weak funding of 10 and 19 percent respectively for the CCCM and Shelter Clusters. This is substantially less than the overall 33.6 percent funding for the Haiyan Strategic Response Plan. The clusters are advocating that more partners participate in providing shelter solutions. In particular, the private sector is encouraged to urgently assist in the efforts to use coco lumber from felled coconut trees as soon as possible, to use in rebuilding houses.

Given continuing shortages in local markets, partners would also welcome in-kind assistance of shelter materials from private and public sources, the UN OCHA said. The Camp Coordination and Camp Management partners are advocating that two units be provided per family to increase living space and reduce crowding in bunkhouses, in line with SPHERE standards. Of those displaced, 61 per cent in Region VIII are hosted in evacuation centers that are also schools. The resumption of classes in January will have a significant impact on people living in these structures. CCCM requirements in the Strategic Response Plan are only about 10 per cent funded, UN OCHA added. (PIA 8)

NSamar OIC schools supt. delivers State of Division Address By: Ailene Diaz Catarman, Northern Samar, Jan. 2 (PIA) – Year ending 2013, the DepEd Division of Northern Samar Superintendent Cristito Eco delivered the State of Division Address during the Stakeholders Summit held recently at Bulwagan Ng Mga Guro, Division Office, Catarman, Northern Samar.


upt. Eco presented to the body the direction of DepEd anchored on its mission which is to protect and promote the right of every Filipino to quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education where students learn in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe and motivating environment and for the teachers to facilitate learning and constantly nurture every learner. Incorporated in its mission are administrators and staff, as steward of the institution, to ensure an enabling and supportive environment for effective learning to happen.

Active engagement and share responsibility is anchored on the family, community and other stakeholders as well, for developing life-long learners. Eco informed that the DepEd Division of Northern Samar has 522 public elementary schools with 77 public secondary schools. 14, 946 enrolment in kindergarten, 4,053 enrolment in ALS/SPED and 46,392 enrolment in secondary for school year 2013-2014. Personnel strength include 3,424 elementary teachers, 1,291 secondary teachers and 628 non-teaching staff. Guided by its mission and enthused by acclaimed values which is transparency,

integrity, trust and outstanding performance, the Division was able to hire additional 631 teachers, construct 76 classrooms, construct WATSAN facilities to 35 schools, repair 66 classrooms, procure 7,219 armchairs, deliver 63,621 textbooks, deliver 2,022 teachers, deliver ICT package to 26 schools and install Internet to 67 schools. Rising above the gaps and challenges pose in the sector of education, Eco stressed the importance of the support of the stakeholders, thus, the holding of Stakeholder’s Summit to strengthen its engagement to various sector. (ADiaz/PIA8-Northern Samar)

Zero firecracker injury in So. Leyte By: Marcelino Pedalino MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Jan. 2 (PIA) -- For three consecutive years now, this city and its province has maintained the record of no injury caused by pyrotechnics, as revellers welcomed the new year with the usual noisy celebration.


ccording to dydm radio reporter Monching Buyser in a live report yesterday morning, 2014 was greeted by Maasinhons and Southern Leytenos in a truly festive and joyful manner without resulting to any emergency call at the provincial hospital. There was also no report of any injury caused by stray bullet, Buyser added. PIA called the provincial hospital and police stations today to gather updates and more details, but telephone ines just kept ringing, an indication of faulty connections. Unlike in previous years, the noise generated until midnight as 2013 gave way to 2014 was observed as not so deafening this time. This was attributed to the accidental burning of two firecrackers stalls at the Espina Boulevard two days before Christmas, when the stalls were tended only by the owner’s children and the customers, also

children, lit a sample firecracker and threw it right there and then, causing the blast. The kids, however, escaped to safety. Firemen investigators estimated the damage at around P 200,000.00 for the two stalls. Meanwhile, Buyser also reported two infants, both girls, were born at the stroke of new year, the first was born 12:30 in the morning, and the second was delivered about 4:30 AM. Still in Southern Leyte, aiming to produce its own supply of food particularly on meat products for the province, Southern Leyte Provincial Governor Roger Mercado urged beneficiaries to a natural hog fattening program, however, this time to include Yolanda -stricken areas, as well. As the Southern Leyte Socio-Economic Development (SOLSED), a newly organized cooperative based in the province launched its natural hog fattening program, Governor Mercado,

one of the guest speakers, urged SOLSED hog partners to make good in hog fattening as “it is an opportunity to produce for our own food in the province and even supply food for Tacloban City since we are neighbors.” The said program released an initial 100 piglets to the 22-hog partners in Hinundayan, Southern Leyte. SOLSED which is spearheaded by Representative Damian Mercado is an supposed to be his major programs to be funded by his defunct Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), therefore, the cooperative now is being mobilized at private capacity with no government funds being involved. One SOLSED Board of Directors member noted that hogs grown under the program could easily be sold since it is SOLSED who will buy exclusive buy their raw meat. (PIA Southern Leyte)



Western Visayas in 2013 ATTY. MA JANET C. MESA


PIA PIA--6 Regional Director

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 2 (PIA6) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III visited Western Visayas several times in 2013, an indication of Malacanang’s commitment to answer the needs of the people and support the region’s development.


he President took his visits in February and April as an opportunity to push development projects including the implementation of the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II and completion of irrigation projects and upgrading of the Roxas City Airport. The region’s development got added impetus with the establishment of Iloilo International Airport through public-private partnership as an international flight hub with flights between Iloilo Hong Kong and Singapore and vice versa. In November, the Chief Executive was able to see for himself the devastation caused by the strongest typhoon to pass through the country and led in the distribution of relief goods to survivors. He was accompanied by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, and Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras. The President’s visits to the region were for Western Visayans, the biggest piece of good news to come their way. In March came the first of a wave of cruise ship visits for the year to world-famous Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan with high-end tourists onboard one of the world’s top cruise liners from Hapag-Lloyd Company. The arrival of the cruise ships was the result of DOT’s marketing pitch for Boracay as a cruise ship destination during the Cruise Shipping Asia exhibition in Singapore in 2012. Two more visits by cruise ships from Star Cruises took place on October 17 and November 4. Then came the national and local elections on May 13 that saw exciting twists and turns in local politics especially involving a new alignment and showdown of political forces and greater use of mass media and social networking in election campaigns. The elections also became a stress-test for the “Daang Matuwid” of the administration, that is to determine whether it has taken roots in the hearts and minds of the people or was destined to lie to waste by the wayside. The region hugged national attention when cases of an emerging disease called “chikungunya” were discovered in Antique. It is a viral disease and is transmitted by mosquitoes which are identified vectors for dengue fever – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Chikungunya shares some clinical signs with dengue like fever, joint pain, headache and rashes, among others, although it is not as fatal.

A report released by the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB) Region 6 in July on regional economic performance revealed that Western Visayas’ economy as measured by its Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) did well overall over a 3-year period. The region sustained its GRDP growth at 7.5 per cent in 2012 from 6.2 per cent in 2011 and 4.5 per cent in 2010. At the national level, GRDP becomes Gross National Product (GNP), which has also been doing well. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma picked it up also to mean to mean “Good News Philippines” in a message he gave out during the National PR Congress held in Boracay, Malay, Aklan in July. If the May elections have proven the Daang Matuwid as a cause worth rallying for behind, the good performance of the GNP also drew its primary strength from the crusade. Said Secretary Coloma: The Daang Matuwid catapulted Noynoy to the presidency, later resulting to a surge in credit ratings for the country, and then to a rise in the GNP. A good news, indeed. Another boost to the region’s repute as a leading renewable or alternative energy center in the country was the launching in October of a 19.9-megawatt biomass power plant of San Carlos BioPower Incorporated and ground breaking of the first commercial solar farm of the San Carlos Solar Energy Incorporated in San Carlos City, Negros Occ. The project is under the BronzeOak Philippines and is supported by ThomasLloyd Group. A leading European-based asset management and project finance group that has put in $470 million or equivalent to more than Php20 billion investments in the Philippines. A first-time event or development endeavour in the region was the holding of the First Panay-Guimaras Indigenous People Leaders’ Summit on October 20-22 in Jamindan, Capiz, which was conceived to educate and empower IP leaders in Panay and Guimaras as advocates for peace and development through appropriate tribal representation. The Barangay Elections pushed through on October 25, although sans the election for Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officers. About four months after the first Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Summit for WV local chief executives was held in Iloilo City on the occasion of the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) observance

last July, one of the region’s nightmarish experiences of a natural disaster occurred. Super typhoon “Yolanda” made at least two of its landfalls in Panay Island, meaning its impact came so hard it left a swath of destruction. Hardest hit were northern Iloilo, much of Capiz and Roxas City, and Aklan. The destruction in infrastructures, agriculture, fisheries and human lives were massive so much so that Malacanang declared a state of national calamity (to take into account also the tragic effects of the typhoon in Eastern Visayas and other areas along its path) and prompting President Aquino to visit Panay particularly Roxas City. The situation also saw the outpouring of international aid from various foreign countries and organizations. An assessment done by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) placed the cost of rehabilitation in the region at some P12 billion. Yolanda’s onslaught put an exclamation point to 2013 as it was about to end, a mark that at first raised a sense of bewilderment and frustration to a region and people who have practically gone over the ordeal brought about by typhoon “Frank” in 2008. As weeks passed by, however, from that particular initial emotional sense emerged the real spirit of the Western Visayans – strong, optimistic and resilient. OTHER TOP STORIES (1) PhilHealth pays P3.5 billion in hospital claims in Region 6 (February 7, 2013) ; (2) 74 W. Visayas hospitals, health units top in newborn screening (March 19, 2013) ; (3)Bayanihan Challenge 2013 awakens town’s sense of volunteerism (March 24, 2013) ; (4)WV enjoys robust economy (April 8, 2013); (5) PIA head says Iloilo golfers can help drive away poverty (April 16, 2013) ; (6) 1st W. Visayas Franchise Seminar-Expo set in Roxas City (April 18, 2013) ; (7) Launching of the first GSIS 24/7 Contact Center for the Visayas in Bacolod City (April 26, 2013) ; (8) PHL sets new Guinness world record for sky lanterns (May 27, 2013) ; (9) First Natural Fibers Center opens in Aklan (May 28, 2013) ; (10) Project Re BUILD involves capacity-building roles of LGUs (July 8, 2013) ; (11) WV local executives affirm commitment to DRRM (July 26, 2013) ; (12) DOT-6 to launch cruises and drive tour (August 12, 2013) ; (13) Iloilo City launches new brand (“I am Iloilo, Proud to be Ilonggo”) (August 24, 2013) ; (14) Iloilo kicks off cultural mapping initiative (Oct. 15, 2013) ; (15) Voc-Tech programs gain headway in W. Visayas (December 16, 2013). (PIA-6)


MINERVA BC NEWMAN PIA PIA--8 Regional Director


Yolanda wrecks army camp in Leyte; Aussie troops pitch in to raise it back BY: FAYETTE C. RIÑEN

ORMOC CITY, Jan. 3 (PIA) -- A home they consider their own, where soldiers bond together fostering the spirit of military brotherhood by dining side by side in their newly-constructed mess hall.


owever, all this was shattered in just a few hours when fierce winds of super storm Yolanda wiped out the 19th Infantry Batllion (IB) headquarters in barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte on the fateful early morning of November 8. Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, the commander, grimly surveyed the damage in the camp. The roofings of the main office and conference hall of the camp were torn apart. Several trees were uprooted. The guard house was in shambles, the flagpole had been toppled. Not one of the 95 houses of his soldiers, some of whom have lived with their families in the camp was standing. The mess hall dubbed ‘Commando Dining Park’ built with his men when he took over as a new commander in July lay flat on the ground. Just a day before, the mess hall was officially blessed after being used two weeks earlier. November 1 was the battalion’s anniversary. At the height of Yolanda, Espulgar with less than 50 soldiers and some family members took shelter in the conference hall, the camp’s sturdiest structure. In preparation for the typhoon, other soldiers were earlier sent as quick-response teams to strategic areas in Eastern Leyte. “Grabe kaayo ang hangin, madungong jud nimo ang kakusog. Kami tanan nanago sulod sa conference room didto sa suok-suok. Gilamba lamba na ang purtahan og ang mga atop nangapalid na. Nangahilak na ang mga bata,” recalled Espulgar. (The wind was very strong, you could hear it howling. We took cover in the conference hall and hunkered down. The doors slammed back and forth and some of the roof sheets were blown away. The children were crying.) After the wind calmed down, Espulgar said he mumbled a prayer thanking the Lord that everyone in the camp was alright, although, survived. The worse thing for a commander, he said, is not knowing how your men are faring on field, if some were injured or needed help as there was total power failure with no means of communication. Such worries combined with the devastation of his camp where debris was strewn in piles around the almost three-hectare camp. The scenes of broken houses, fallen trees, and collapsed structures including the Commando Dining Park did not completely sink in because immediately after the storm, Espulgar had to go to his superior in the 8th Infantry Division to report their situation. Mess hall of the Philippine Army’s 19th

Infantry Battalion before and after typhoon Yolanda destroyed it. Three days after, Espulgar and his unit was assigned to provide security at the Ormoc City Airport for incoming relief goods and military personnel. The city airport became the alternative receiving area for food packs in Leyte province as Tacloban airport was already congested. “Fix yourself!,” Espulgar ordered his men in the camp as they had no time to attend to their damaged homes. For shelter, he ordered the purchase of tarpaulins so that each family get a five-meter-long sheet to use as a makeshift tent. AUSSIES ARRIVE Espulgar and some of his men provided security for US military forces that went to Ormoc City. On November 17, Australian forces arrived. Ormoc City was their chosen area for relief, medical and rehabilitation efforts. Lt. Col. Roderick Lang, the Joint Task Force 630 Commander at the helm of around 500 Australian troopers, said that they were busy with relief efforts but did simultaneous work to provide medical services for injured typhoon survivors and repair some damaged schools. “As commander to commander, Ned and I closely coordinated with each other. But beyond this official capacity, we immediately struck a real friendship,” said Lang. During one of their early morning coffee sessions, Lang learned about the destruction Yolanda brought to the 19th IB camp. “I believe it was not fair. They (Espulgar and his men) were providing us security and nobody was there to help them. We have the capacity to help so we should help. It is part of the brotherhood in the military,” Lang said. On November 25, Lang asked his Filipino colleague if the Australians could visit his camp. There, they saw the extent of the wreckage. The next day, Lang immediately ordered some of his men to work in shifts to help clear the camp. For the next three days, Australian troops used their hands to clear the camp of mounds of debris before a tractor and equipment arrived. The volume of debris collected from the camp could fill 28 truckloads, said Major Ken Golder, commnader of the Recovery Support Force of the Royal Asutralian Engineers. “Even if we spent two months, we could not have been able to clear the camp of the devris on our own,” Espulgar said. Australian troops also repaired the roof

of the communal comfort room and guard house. Put up a flagpole and installed two signages at the camp entrance. They also repaired the water system and totally changed the pipes. They also rebuilt the Commando Dining Park which Lang said they decided to construct anew because this was a place to foster the spirit of brotherhood. Asked how much was spent, Lang replied “it is not the cost that matters. What is most important is we were able to help our military counterparts when they needed it the most.” Lang said he admired the Filipino commander for always being on the lookout for the welfare of his men. Espulgar in turn described his Asutralian collegaue as “madaling makikisama” (easy to get along with). It took nine days to clear the area and build the mess hall with five days of actual construction. Much still needs to be done but for Espulgar, the 19th IB is in even better shape now after the typhoon. “I didn’t know how to begin the work because we would have to start from scratch. We could not even move bevause we first had to respond to the needs of typhoon victims with the distribution of relief packs,” said Espulgar. On December 15, the Commando Dining Park was blessed anew to coincide with a farewell party held for the Australian troops due to leave the country. Colenel Dinoh Dolina, 802nd Infantry Brigade Commander joined over 200 Filipino and Australian troopers who started the event with fun games such as shooting, basketball and tug-of-war. A late lunch followed with lechon and chicken barbecue. Lasting friendship While their humanitarian misssion is over, Lang said he would keep in touch. Both commanders exchanged e-mail addresses. “I really admire the Filipnio people for their sense of stoicism. Despite the hardships and the suffering amid the disaster, they appear strong and happy with smiles on their faces,” Lang said. The Australian said he would remember with fondness the lechon with rice and the people of Ormoc. His new Filipino “brother” in the military service said the working visit was fulfilling. “I will miss Rod and will forever be grateful to the Australian forces for helping us. Most of all, I will miss our early morning coffee chat,” Espulgar said. (FCR-PIA7)



Eastern Visayas in 2013

OLIVE P. TIU PIA PIA--8 Regional Director


TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Jan. 1, 2014 (PIA) – The year 2013 started well for Eastern Visayas and was sustained by robust growth all throughout most of the year only to end in a calamity so horrendously devastating that this particular instance in Philippine modern history will be etched indelibly in the memories of Filipinos and the whole world for a long, long while.


astern Visayas showed promise in terms of growth and development. In September for instance, Department of Science and Technology Regional Director Edgardo Esperancilla said there were certain indicators that point to an improvement in certain infrastructure, such as the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) parks and the setting up of telecommunications in rural areas. In fact, the province of Leyte and its capital city of Tacloban were declared and regarded as ICT Next Wave areas, which means they are eyed as potential hubs among locators in the BPO industry. By the third quarter of 2013, the BPO sector in Eastern Visayas was employing some 4,000 workers, whose total contribution to the regional economy is estimated at about P100 million annually. Agriculture which is the primary industry in the Region was doing well and was expected to attain rice sufficiency before the year ends. Even the fisheries sector in the Region had the biggest boost from the government starting with the registration of the fishery sector and the incentives and prime programs, the Payao project for the marginalized fisher folks, for instance. The year 2013 also saw the holding of two consequential political events – the midterm elections on May 13, and the barangay elections on October 28. No matter the disparity by which the two political exercises were held, the first was held using automated machines, while the latter via the conventional, manual method, the fact remains that the incidence of violence and disorder was decreased and that both electoral exercises were held in a generally peaceful and orderly manner. That was an accomplishment by both the electorate and the authorities who maintained order worth commending. There were a few incidents that marred the otherwise promising year in the Visayas, the destruction of the Coral Triangle, the sinking of 2Go passenger ship

M/V Thomas Aquinas after a collision with cargo ship MV Sulpicio Express Siete owned by Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. at Cebu Strait off the coast of Talisay City, which resulted in 61 deaths, 59 missing and 750 rescued passengers; the 7.2-magnitude earthquake described by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director Renato Solidum as having the “energy equivalent of 32 Hiroshima atomic bombs” which disembowelled Central Visayas. The earthquake on Oct. 15, the deadliest in about a quarter of a century to happen in the country - shook up the entire Visayas, particularly hitting hard Bohol and Cebu provinces, and was felt beyond, as far as Masbate and even portions of southern Mindanao. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said over 3,000,000 persons or 671,000 families were affected by the massive tremor. Nearly 350,000 people or 72,000 families were displaced and the casualty count included over 200 people dead, eight missing and nearly 90,000 persons injured. Three weeks after the earthquake struck, aid and rehabilitation efforts for victims of and areas hard hit by the earthquake had to be disrupted when what would be described by such weather experts like real time weather information online service, as “the strongest tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in world history,” packing extreme wind speeds of 315 km/h (195 mph), hit the country, initially ramming the coastal town of Guiuan, at the southernmost tip of Samar Island facing the Pacific. Leyte province and Eastern Visayas capital Tacloban City, some 96 miles away from Guiuan, was next to be hit by super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan). Seawater, rising to as much as over 20 feet, roared through the city, severely damaging the airport, and drowning thousands of people who local authorities failed to convince to leave their homes in lowland areas, and not sparing even those who did. Meanwhile, compared to Tacloban,

the coastal town of Guiuan, with a population of some 45,000, and first to be beaten up by Yolanda, did not suffer as much casualties. Guiuan’s mayor, Christopher Gonzalez’s assiduous determination in getting town residents to move up to higher ground paid off. Referring to the storm as “delubyo,” or deluge, he managed to provoke fear amongst the majority of towns people, who left their homes for safe, higher grounds. As a result, only 87 of Guiuan’s population perished, 23 remain missing and some 930 injured. Yolanda stormed through the Visayas region, hitting landfall on other areas, including the northern parts of Cebu, Panay, and Negros Occidental provinces, before making its exit the following day, Nov. 9, toward the direction of Vietnam. Within three days of the monstrous typhoon’s occurrence, various provinces beyond Leyte and Samar in the Visayas – Cebu, Aklan, Capiz and Iloilo, as well as Palawan in the Mimaropa region - were declared under a state of national calamity. Response, both locally, and from the international community, was immediate and overwhelming. To date, some 57 countries in the world have pledged close to P24 billion ($539 million) with about P593 million ($12.337 million) in cash already received by government. The governments of many countries, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Russia, Israel, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and even the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, sent cash as well as relief goods and equipment by the tons, along with actual humanitarian missions. Thus, making Eastern Visayas a virtual United Nations community. Never in the history of Eastern Visayas, when so many countries of the world are physically present, singular in aim, that of not only giving hope to the Yolanda affected Eastern Visayans, but also being in their midst as together they rebuild and reconstruct the Region. (PIA 8)


One Visayas e‐newsletter is published weekly by the Visayas Regional Cluster of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) comprising Region 6, 7 and 8. Its main editorial office is located at PIA Region 6, Iloilo City.   One Visayas e‐newsletter is part of the online news and information dissemination services of PIA and is powered by For inquiries and suggestions, call Tel. Nos. (033) 3378718/3377301 or e‐mail     Ms. Minerva BC Newman Regional Director, PIA 7

Editorial Consultants Atty. Ma. Janet C. Mesa, Ph. D. Regional Director, PIA6

Ms. Erlinda Olivia P. Tiu Regional Director, PIA8

Managing Editor Jaime S. Cabag, Jr. Contributors All PIA Information Officers of Regions 6, 7 & 8 Production and Layout Edson J. Bañares Lynnor C. Regalado Regional Offices:

PIA 6, 2/F RC Building, Rizal St., Iloilo City, Iloilo 5000, Tel. Nos. (033) 337-8719/3377301/509-0993, Fax No. (033) 337-8719/509-0993, e-mail: PIA 7, Room 304, 3/F Machay Bldg., Garardo Avenue, Cebu City, Cebu 6000, Telefax No. (032) 232-4062/232-4126, e-mail: PIA 8, Children’s Park Compound, Sen. Enage St., Tacloban City, Leyte 6500, Tel. No. (053) 325-5124, Telefax No. (053) 321-2029, e-mail:

One Visayas e-Newsletter Special Issue  
One Visayas e-Newsletter Special Issue  

The official e-Newsletter of PIA Visayas