Tacloban city mayor acknowledges
support extended by national government
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) Mayor Alfred Romualdez
acknowledged the support extended by the national government to his
devastated city in the aftermath of super typhoon “Yolanda”, hoping it would
set the record straight on some reports circulated by the national media
following his emotional appearance during a recent Senate hearing, City
Administrator John Tecson Lim clarified on Wednesday.
“May sound bite po na lumabas na baka ma-quote nang mali na parang sinabi
niya walang ginawa ang national government. No, he actually recognizes that,
and actually wants to thank everyone for it,” Lim told reporters here, on
behalf of Mayor Romualdez, after a meeting with the Regional Disaster Risk
Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC).
Lim said Mayor Romualdez would like to thank everyone, not only the members
of the RDRRMC, but all the personnel sent by the local government units and
the national government agencies from different regions that responded to
their cry for help.
A tearful Romualdez spoke before members of the Congressional Oversight
Committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management hearing
at the Senate last Monday, where he disclosed that Interior Secretary Mar
Roxas initially denied him his request for additional manpower from the
national government until a written ordinance was accomplished to legalize
the said operation.
The issue immediately became a hot topic that polarized public opinions
which the local government of Tacloban would rather not inflate, Lim said,
hoping that those who are currently involved with the ongoing relief and
rehabilitation efforts in the area would not get affected by it.
“There are some issues now in the national media which he actually wished to
just stay away from… Hindi naman po siguro sinasadya ng mga istasyon (ng
media) na ‘yon na naputol po ‘yung sound bite,” Lim said.
“He asked me to personally convey to everyone his extreme gratitude in the
service that you have been providing Tacloban City. He really appreciates
the same and actually urges us to continue working together, hand-in-hand,
and be focused sa task natin na ito at hindi po magpadala doon sa mga
nangyayari doon,” he added.
Lim stressed that they truly appreciate all the help they are getting from
all sectors. “We can never thank you enough. Alam ko parati na lang po ako
thank you nang thank you. Pero, again, we cannot thank you enough.
Maraming-maraming salamat po,” he concluded. PND (hdc)
President Aquino to meet with
Filipino community for the second time in Japan
(TOKYO, Japan) For the second time since assuming
office, President Benigno S. Aquino III will be meeting with the Filipino
community here upon his arrival on Thursday.
It will be the first on his itinerary during his three-day official visit
here to take part in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit which will be held on December 14
The President will have an opportunity to interact with several of the
202,974 Filipino nationals living and working in Japan.
This is the second time President Aquino will be holding an event with the
Filipino community here. The first was during his visit in 2010 when he
attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Yokohama.
He is expected to address the Filipino organizations who have been
contributing a lot to the Philippine economy through their remittances that
reached USD 452,048,000 as of August 2013.
During the slated meeting to be held at the Large Hall of the Arts Building
of the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center, the Filipino community will
be handing over a symbolic check for Y1 million for victims of super typhoon
“Yolanda” (Haiyan) to the Chief Executive.
The President will also award the Presidential Medal of Merit to National
Historical Commission of the Philippines chairman Ambeth Ocampo.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez will deliver remarks as well as
Joyce Ogawa, chairperson of the Philippine Assistance Group representing the
Kanto region and Jocelyn Yoshitomi, chairperson of the Philippine Community
Coordinating Council representing the Kansai Region.
Filipinos comprise 10 percent of all foreign nationals living in Japan and
are its third largest population of foreign nationals. Official data from
the Japanese government show that there are 202,974 Filipino nationals in
Japan of which 6,908 have no valid visas.
More than half of all Filipinos here are permanent migrants, most of them
are spouses, relatives of Japanese nationals or permanent visa holders.
About 46 percent of the entire Filipino population here are Filipino
temporary migrants comprising of overseas workers with working visa (7%) and
those without working visas (38%).
Temporary migrants with work visas are mainly engaged in education,
technical skills training, engineering, intercompany work, among others.
More than half of them are technical trainees while the second largest group
of Filipino workers here are engineers.
The President will depart Manila on Thursday. He will be welcomed by
Ambassador Lopez and other Embassy official upon his arrival at the Tokyo
international Airport, Haneda. PND (jb)
Department of Energy, Energy
Regulatory Commission working together to ease impact of impending power
rate hike, Palace says
The Department of Energy (DoE) is working with the
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to ease the people’s burden on the
imposition of power rate adjustments brought about by the Malampaya
shutdown, a Palace said on Wednesday.
“The government’s foremost concern is to ease the people’s burden on the
imposition of power rate adjustments brought about by the Malampaya
shutdown,” Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said in a
statement at the regular press briefing in Malacanang.
The ERC adopted the approach of the DOE for a staggered implementation of
the adjustment in three tranches so consumers won’t bear the brunt on the
increase, he said.
Coloma said the government is also considering other options to ease the
consumers’ burden including tighter monitoring of the schedule of shutdowns
of power generators.
“In this regard, the DoE has instructed the ERC to look into the outages in
several power plants that occurred while the Malampaya repairs were taking
place,” the Communications Secretary said.
Under the EPIRA law, both DoE and ERC are mandated to ascertain that power
rate adjustments are not driven by anti-competitive or market abuse
The maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya deep water-to-gas facility in
November and December will likely hike power rates, according to officials.
The Malampaya facility shutdown happens once every two years.
The maintenance schedule of the Malampaya facility, which harnesses
inexpensive and indigenous energy source off Palawan, was moved to November
9 up to December 8, around the same time other power generating plants do
their regular maintenance work.
The adjustment in electricity rates will be reflected in the December
billing, officials said. PND (as)
President Aquino orders Cabinet to
speed up the restoration of the economic and social conditions of the
President Benigno S. Aquino III ordered the Cabinet to
speed up the restoration of the economic and social conditions of the
calamities-affected areas with the release of 238.6 million pesos to the
National Housing Authority (NHA) for the construction of permanent housing
units for affected families, Presidential Communications Operations Office
Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said.
“The President directed the Cabinet yesterday to fast-track the restoration
of the economic and social conditions of the affected areas, following the
‘build back better’ principle, with emphasis on attaining a higher degree of
disaster resilience," Coloma said during the regular press briefing in
Malacanang on Wednesday.
Coloma said the President emphasized the need to speed up the process of
enabling the people in the affected areas to rebuild their homes and resume
productive livelihood and employment activities in communities that are
fortified and protected from the harsh impact of natural disasters.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad reported on Tuesday the release of P238.6
million to the NHA for the construction of permanent housing units for low
and marginal-income families and informal settlers affected by typhoon
Yolanda, Coloma said.
"The Cabinet focused anew on the critical immediate actions that are now
being implemented to usher in the recovery phase while the relief phase is
tapering off. The full plan will be presented next week in a forum with the
country’s development partners," Coloma said.
"Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio Balisacan presented National Economic and
Development Authority’s framework for the “phased, cumulative response” that
defines the timelines for the “pathways to recovery.” The NHA is gearing up
for the “short-term action” of providing permanent housing even while
Department of Public Works and Highways is giving attention to the “critical
immediate action,” which is to build temporary shelters and bunkhouses," he
During the briefing, the Communication Secretary presented the “Pathways to
Recovery” chart that enumerates the salient aspects of “disaster impact,”
“critical immediate actions” and “short and medium-term actions.”
He said Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas also presented to
President Aquino a report on the local government unit basic recovery
requirements that form an integral part of the critical immediate actions.
"This will cover 171 LGUs including 46 cities and 125 municipalities in the
severely affected areas within a 50-kilometer radius of the path taken by
typhoon Yolanda. Priority attention will be given to the reconstruction of
municipal halls, public markets, and multi-purpose facilities that may also
serve as temporary shelters and evacuation centers," Coloma said.
Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo presented a business recovery
plan, which includes the grant of loans to severely affected businesses,
restoration of large businesses’ operations to pre-Yolanda levels, promotion
of labor-intensive industries, and provision of duty-free access to the U.S.
of local products from Yolanda-affected areas, Coloma said.
Coloma said the Department of Trade and Industry will also rebuild
micro-distribution network, revive the “sari-sari” store economy and restart
local cottage and small-and-medium enterprise supply chains.
"For his part, Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery
Secretary Panfilo Lacson informed the President and the Cabinet that there
is a very high degree of private sector interest in investing in the
redevelopment of the typhoon-affected areas and that he will request for
concrete project proposals from the private sector,” he said. PND (js)
PNP to adjust curfew hours in Tacloban City
in light of Misa de Gallo next week
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) In time with the Filipino
tradition of Misa de Gallo or ‘Simbang Gabi’, the Philippine National Police
(PNP) will be adjusting the curfew that is currently being implemented here,
Eastern Visayas police head Chief Superintendent Henry Losañes said on
Losañes told reporters after a meeting with members of the Regional Disaster
Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) that they will talk to the
officials of the Catholic Church here soon to discuss security preparations
for the start of the annual Misa de Gallo next week.
“After this meeting, if I have time and if the Bishop is available, I will
be visiting him to get the official schedule of the Simbang Gabi so that we
can adjust ‘yung time and implementation ng curfew natin,” Losañes.
Misa de Gallo usually begins on December 16, nine days before Christmas,
where Catholics are expected to attend masses that are held in the evening
or at dawn as part of the tradition being observed by Filipinos during the
The PNP has imposed a curfew in Leyte’s capital city and in Guiuan, Eastern
Samar from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. following a spate of looting and other
crimes reported in the aftermath of super typhoon “Yolanda” last month. Such
order remains effective until now.
“We will be adjusting ‘yung implementation ng curfew natin para may time
naman ang mga churchgoers na makapag-simba,” Losañes assured, especially
since the peace and order situation in Tacloban City has already improved.
City Administrator John Tecson Lim, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to
private organizations that are doing something to infuse the Christmas
spirit in their town even if a lot of people are still coping with the
effects of the disaster.
He thanked GMA-7’s Wish Ko Lang Foundation for the Christmas tree they have
set up in their city hall last Tuesday, as well as the the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology and the Bureau of Fire Protection for helping make
this event a success.
“Kahapon po it was a very, very happy event. There is now a Christmas tree
set up by Wish Ko Lang Foundation in Tacloban City Hall and we will try to
put in some music ‘pag gabi para medyo may konting spirit naman po (tayo ng
Pasko),” he said.
He also announced that Robinsons supermarket and department store, which was
looted by some desperate citizens in the aftermath of “Yolanda”, would
finally open to resume its operations on December 19 next week. PND (hdc)
President Aquino to leave for
Japan, Thursday to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Japan
President Benigno S. Aquino III will leave on Thursday
for Tokyo, Japan to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative summit, Presidential Communications Operations
Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said.
“Shortly after his arrival, the President will meet with the Filipino
community," Coloma said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on
"On the following day, the President and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet
to discuss among others the recovery and reconstruction program of the
government post-Typhoon Yolanda, Maritime Cooperation, the Mindanao peace
process and people-to-people exchanges," the Communications Secretary said.
On Friday evening, the President will join ASEAN heads of state at a dinner
to be hosted by Prime Minister Abe and his wife Akie Abe at the Prime
Minister's official residence.
Joining the President are Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, Foreign Affairs
Sec. Albert del Rosario, Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry
Sec. Gregory Domingo, Transportation and Communications Sec. Joseph Emilio
Abaya, Presidential Management Staff Sec. Julia Abad and Coloma.
Aquino is expected to promote Philippine economic interests in Japan,
through the scheduled meetings with Japanese business groups and delegations
during his visit there. PND (js)
Tacloban City to probe existence of ‘migrant
(TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte) Local government officials here
plan to look into profit-seeking individuals that are taking advantage of
the plight of their calamity-stricken residents and business establishments,
City Administrator John Tecson Lim said on Wednesday.
Lim said they are going to check on the existence of
the so-called “migrant vendors” who are currently exploiting the high
inflation rate on products being sold here following the onslaught of super
typhoon “Yolanda” last month.
“(Ang paniwala kasi nila) mas may pera na po dito
at mas gugustuhin po nilang magbenta dito dahil napakataas po ng presyo (ng
mga produkto) doon sa aming mga vendors,” Lim told reporters after a meeting
with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC).
Some of these individuals come from as far as
Mindanao and Luzon, based on their language, although some just come from
nearby provinces like Samar and elsewhere in the region, Lim observed.
“Napansin po natin ito dahil a little bit of a
survey would reveal that they don’t know how to speak the local dialect here
and talaga pong pumunta po sila ay nag-set up na lang po dito, given the
fact that we are still in the process, together with the DTI (Department of
Trade and Industry), of stabilizing the prices,” he said.
Lim said these migrant vendors are becoming a
problem not only to the consuming public, but also for the business
community, which is still trying to recover the losses they’ve incurred as a
result of the typhoon.
Prices of goods remain high in the city owing to
the damage wrought by “Yolanda” in major thoroughfares that affected the
transportation costs of some suppliers.
“(The) law of supply and demand is still here right
now but we are taking a look into this also,” Lim assured.
Lim said discussions with respect to the
stabilization of prices between their city council and the DTI continue so
as to keep the trade running. Imposing price regulations has been ruled out
as an option for the time being as the city government does not wish to
“choke” the businessmen.
“Medyo binabalanse po sa usapin po namin sa price stabilization council ng
city at ang DTI. Alam naman po natin, minsan mahirap po na baka ‘pag bigla
nating ni-regulate (ang presyo) ay ma-choke (ang ating mga negosyante) and
then we might end up na ‘yung tumatakbong trade ay biglang tumigil,” Lim
Tacloban City also plans to come up with
“indicators” just to determine how far they have gone in the normalization
phase. Lim said they have also drafted a letter addressed to the Bureau of
Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares relaying the concerns of their
“Marami pa ring negosyante na natatakot. In fact,
may mga natatakot at nagko-complain kung bakit, given the fact na nakasara
pa sila, under state of calamity pa ay pinapadalhan na po sila ng assessment
notice ng BIR,” Lim noted.
He is hoping the BIR will at least send them a
representative that can speak to the businessmen during their weekly forum.
Lim, nonetheless, maintained they are doing everything they can to resolve
other pressing issues to achieve a “state of complete normalcy” in the city.
Palace expects police to immediately solve
media killing in Tagum City
Malacanang expects the Philippine National Police to
immediately act on a recent media killing in Mindanao following the reported
death of a broadcaster in Tagum City.
Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the Philippine
Information Agency-Region 11 confirmed the killing of Rogelio “Tata” Butalid
of Tagum City on Wednesday morning.
“Nagpaparating po tayo ng ating dalamhati sa kaganapang ito at ang
Philippine National Police po ay inaasahan nating magsasagawa ng karampatang
aksyon para matunton ang mga responsable sa pagpaslang kay Ginoong Butalid,”
Coloma said in a press briefing on Wednesday in Malacanang.
Reports said Butalid of Radyo Nation Tagum was shot at 9:15 a.m. on
Wednesday right after his morning program at the radio station.
Butalid was about to ride his motorcycle when unidentified gunmen attacked
him outside their radio station at Sobrecary St. in Tagum City. He sustained
seven gunshot wounds.
Butalid’s death came hours after Jonavin Villalba, a radio reporter in
Iloilo, was shot and injured.
Last week, radio station supervisor Michael Diaz Milo was killed in Surigao
del Sur. A week prior to the attack on Milo, Joas Dignos, a radio
commentator in Bukidnon was also shot dead. PND (as)