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DPWH E. Samar ‘Operation Malasakit’ aids the victims of Typhoon Odette in S. Leyte

The Northern Samar 1st District Engineering Office field workers have assisted school personnel on January 4, 2022 the removal of fallen trees and branches which damaged the roofs of some classrooms in Rizal Elementary School, Macrohon,Southern Leyte. (DPWH-8)

The Department of Public Works and Highways – Eastern Samar District Engineering Office provided assistance to the victims of Typhoon Odette in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte on December 30, 2021 through the DPWH Operation Malasakit.

Almost 500 households from barangays Himbangan, Hindag-an and Lipanto are the beneficiaries of the relief operation spearheaded by District Engineer Ma. Margarita C. Junia.

According to District Engineer Junia, these chosen barangays are severely hit by Typhoon Odette last December 16, 2021 and mostly of their houses were totally destroyed by the typhoon.

The head of the district office initiated the relief operation in Southern Leyte after she witnessed the aftermath of Typhoon Odette during the clearing operation they conducted with the DPWH Eastern Samar maintenance crew last December 19-22, 2021.

Also, the Rank and File Employees Association (RAFEA), heads of section and employees of DPWH Eastern Samar donated cash, used clothes and sacks of rice for the relief operation. Others joined the packing of the relief packages and the distribution of the relief goods.

“This is our opportunity to help our neighboring province. I understand that the Estehanons experienced the same during the wrath of typhoons Yolanda and Ruby in the previous years, which is why Eastern Samar DEO is very passionate in organizing this relief operation to extend help to the victims of Typhoon Odette,” DE Junia added.

DE Junia further said that the items to be given-away may not be much in number, however, it will surely help a number of families to get by for a couple of days until they fully recover from the aftermath of the typhoon. (PR)

3 Borongan diocese priests named as Pope’s chaplains


Pope Francis has appointed three priests of the Diocese of Borongan, Eastern Samar as “Chaplains to His Holiness” with the title of Monsignor.

The diocese announced the Vatican appointments on Friday.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines news website or CBCPNEWS named the new chaplains of the Holy Father as Msgr. Lope Robredillo, Msgr. Eutiquio “Euly” Belizar Jr., and Msgr. Romeo Solidon.

Robredillo is the Borongan diocese’s Vicar General and heads two diocesan commissions: Liturgy and Cultural Heritage of the Church.

He is also the parish priest of the St. Nicholas of Tolentino Parish in Quinapondan town.

Belizar is the chairman of the diocese’s Commission on Doctrine of the Faith. He is currently on sabbatical leave.
Solidon is a team ministry member of the Cathedral Parish of the Nativity of Our Lady.

According to the diocese, all nominated monsignors are officially considered part of the papal household, whether they serve in the Vatican or elsewhere as the title historically designated a priest who served in the papal curia.

“In scaling back honorific positions within the Catholic Church in 2014, Pope Francis retained the category of ‘Chaplain to His Holiness’ for any and all new nominated recipients,” the website post read.

In keeping with the pope’s reforms, a “Chaplain to His Holiness” is only granted to a diocesan priest who is more than 65 years of age.

Monsignor is a title bestowed on a diocesan priest who has distinguished himself by many years of exceptional service to the church or has provided a specific and specialized function in church governance.

The honorary title does not affect the priest’s duties or ministerial assignment. (PNA)

Red tide alert up in 7 Eastern Visayas bays


TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas (Region 8) ended the year with seven bays still affected by red tide toxins, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) regional office here reported.

BFAR Region 8 Director Juan Albaladejo said the heavy rains this month triggered the runoff of pollutants from the uplands to the sea.

“The series of massive rains caused runoff of soil sediments rich in organic load that fertilized the cyst of red tide and triggered the sudden appearance of red tide events,” Albaladejo said in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

Based on laboratory examination results of shellfish meat samples, the toxic organism was found this week in San Pedro Bay in Basey, Samar; Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City; and coastal waters of Biliran Island.

For the past few weeks, the toxic organism has been present in Carigara Bay in Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, and Babatngon in Leyte; coastal waters of Guiuan, Eastern Samar; Matarinao Bay in General MacArthur, Hernani, Quinapondan, and Salcedo in Eastern Samar; and coastal waters of Leyte town.

The fisheries bureau has stepped up its monitoring of these coastal waters and reactivates its information drive system to alert the public and inform affected local government units.

Albaladejo requested local government units in these bays to also heighten their watch against the gathering, trading, and consumption of shellfish to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).

PSP occurs after ingesting bivalve shellfish, such as mussels, oysters, and clams, which contain toxins.

Symptoms include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes of eating toxic shellfish or may take an hour or two to develop.

This may progress to tingling of fingers and toes and then loss of control of arms and legs, followed by difficulty in breathing.
Fish, squid, shrimp, and crabs harvested in these areas are safe to eat “provided that they are fresh and washed thoroughly and internal organs, such as gills and intestines, are removed before cooking.”(SARWELL Q. MENIANO/PNA)

Gun ban/Comelec checkpoints to start midnight of January 9


TACLOBAN CITY-With the start of the election period at midnight of January 9, 2022, Comelec (Commission on Elections) checkpoints will be established as part of the implementation of the gun ban to ensure peaceful and orderly National and Local Elections on May 9, 2022.

The checkpoints will be established in strategic areas of every cities and towns which will be manned by a regular member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police who will wear complete service uniform.

Checkpoints shall be placed in a well-lit area and shall bear a 3×4 feet signboard visible for the motorist as they approach the checkpoints.

The kick-off activity will be attended by Comelec, AFP, and PNP personnel on the midnight of January 9, 2022.

Comelec Resolution No. 10741 which was promulgated on December 16, mandates the establishment of checkpoints as it prohibits the bearing, carrying, and transporting of firearms and other deadly weapons. (PR)

‘Odette’-hit areas urged to send list of affected families


Local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas badly affected by Typhoon Odette have been directed to submit a validated list of families with damaged houses to serve as the basis for the delivery of central government assistance to affected households.

Even if data gathering is still a big challenge due to the absence of power supply and unstable mobile phone signals, the local disaster risk reduction and management councils should make validation a priority, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Grace Subong said Tuesday night.

“We need a single official data on (the) damage. We are closely coordinating with LGUs since this is our basis for response,” Subong told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.

The list will also be shared with non-government organizations doing humanitarian work in typhoon-ravaged communities in 25 towns in the region.

A preliminary report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) disclosed that 148,667 houses were damaged by Typhoon Odette’s fierce winds and storm surge when it crossed the region on Dec. 16, 2021.
Of the total, 49,650 houses are classified as destroyed and 99,017 as damaged.

Among the provinces, Southern Leyte has the most damaged houses with 76,874, followed by areas in the southwestern part of Leyte with 71,158 and Mercedes, Eastern Samar with 635.

Subong said the validated list is needed because the national government is looking at giving cash assistance to families with damaged houses.

“We still have to announce the amount since our main office has been meeting with the Department of Budget and Management to check available funds for typhoon victims,” she added.

At least 25 areas are identified as badly hit by “Odette” in Eastern Visayas, including 18 towns and one city in Southern Leyte and six towns in Leyte.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday afternoon, at least 81,506 family food packs (FFPs) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have been distributed to cities and towns affected by the typhoon.

Each FFP contains six kg. of rice, four cans of corned beef, four cans of tuna flakes, two cans of sardines, five sachets of coffee, and five sachets of cereal drink. It is enough for a family of five for two to three days.

The DSWD has been coordinating with other members of the RDRRMC to fast-track the distribution of family food packs.

On December 16, “Odette” barreled through Caraga and Eastern Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 270 kph. After hitting Surigao, it made two landfalls in Southern Leyte before devastating Central Visayas. (PNA)

DOT in EV reminds hotels used as quarantine, isolation facilities to strictly observe all the minimum health protocols


In the wake of an incident involving a returning OFW

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has called on all accredited accommodation facilities in the region to follow all quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards set by the national government to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This after the DOT Central Office together with the Department of Health issued a stern warning amid a quarantine violation that happened in Makati City where a returning overseas Filipino worker from the United States skipped from the hotel where she was quarantined to attend a party.

The violator was tested positive with COVID-19 including some of her close contacts who were present during the party.

Under DOH-DOT Advisory No. 1 Series of 2021 issued on December 31, 2021, it mandated that all DOT-Accredited accommodation establishments shall comply with the necessary testing and quarantine protocols of their guests as prescribed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

Quarantine guests shall be strictly monitored and are not be allowed to check-out of the hotel, leave its premises, or commingle with other guests until the release of their negative RT-PCR test or upon clearance by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

Under the advisory, also prohibited is the isolation or accommodating of confirmed COVID-19 positive guests in DOT-accredited quarantine hotels, multiple-use hotels, and regular Hotels.

Violators of quarantine protocols and other minimum public health standards may face criminal liability under Section 9 of Republic Act 11332, otherwise known as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, which mandates the cooperation of everybody in a public health crisis.

Violators may also be penalized with a fine from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, depending on the discretion of the proper court.

In the region, 21 accommodation facilities were identified as either quarantine or isolation facility.

“Upon initial inquiry of the DOT8 with other establishments, majority are willing to convert into isolation or quarantine facility if needed in order to help the government manage the spread of COVID-19,” Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)

E. Samar town re-emphasizes role in World War II

HISTORIC. The site of the former US Naval Depot in the island of Suluan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar in this undated photo. The local government of Guiuan in Eastern Samar on Tuesday (Oct. 19, 2021) said it is increasing awareness on the significance of their town in the history of Philippine liberation during World War II.
(Photo courtesy of Janet Israel-Ramos)

The local government of Guiuan in Eastern Samar is pushing for increased awareness on the significance of their town in the history of Philippine liberation during World War II.

A lecture for local tour guides was held focusing on the contributions of Suluan Raid in liberating the country from Japanese invaders and on the establishment of a large US Naval base in the town.

The Suluan Raid took place on October 17, 1944 or 77 years ago.

“The problem with commemoration is we forget its historical significance or importance. When we commemorative is to preserve the memory, but if you don’t understand that memory it is hard for you to celebrate,” said Kinna Mae Kwan, a young author who works for the local government, in a phone interview Tuesday.

“Our tourism officer wanted the lecture to be focused to our tour guides so that they will know what stories to tell when tourists come to our town,” Kwan added.

The local government will partner with the Department of Education (DepEd) to incorporate the historical significance of their local history in self-learning modules.

“Yes, a naval base was established in our town during the liberation which is factual, but we also need to tell them its significance. It paved the way to become the key in liberating the entire country,” Kwan explained.

Suluan is an island village in the Pacific part of Guiuan town.

This tiny island has a big contribution to the history of the country being one of the islands mentioned in the chronicle of Italian explorer Antonio Pigaffeta when the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the country.

Before Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed on Leyte shores on Oct. 20, 1944, the US Navy 6th Ranger Battalion commanded by Col. Henry Mucci was the first American force to return to the Philippines with the mission of destroying coastal defense guns as well as radio and radar stations in Dinagat and Suluan Islands in Eastern Samar.

The rangers managed to disperse a small group of Japanese defenders and destroyed a radio station in Suluan while they found Dinagat unoccupied. They erected a navigation light for the amphibious transports.

This attack launched the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Three days later, Gen. MacArthur landed at the Red Beach in Palo, Leyte, which signaled the start of liberation.

After the Suluan raid and successful liberation of Leyte and Guiuan from Japanese forces, the Allied Forces constructed the US Naval Base in Guiuan, one of the biggest naval bases in Southeast Asia and was the second largest in the Philippines.

It covers the villages of Sapao, Taytay, Tagpuro, Cantahay, Baras, Pagnimitan, and Sulangan in Calicoan Island and the islands of Manicani and Tababao.

The facility housed over 100,000 Allied Forces who worked alongside Filipino guerillas in freeing the country from the Japanese forces. (PNA)

Borongan City to host nat’l surfing tilt in December

SURFING. The surfers in Eastern Samar and their new surfboards turned over by the Borongan City government on Friday (Oct. 22, 2021). The event is part of the preparation for the hosting of the 2021 Philippine Surfing Championship Tour from Dec. 6 to 12, 2021. storey on page 1 (Photo courtesy of Borongan City government)

The city government of Borongan in Eastern Samar is preparing to host the 2021 Philippine Surfing Championship Tour (PSCT), a major competition for surfers in the country.

On Friday, the local government turned over 10 surfboards to the Surfriders Club of Eastern Samar (SCES) and inducted the new set of officers of the club at the city’s Baybay Boulevard.

“Our main objective is to make sure that we really establish this event because we’re the only place that has surfing in the heart of the city,” said Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda in a statement.

This year’s PCST will be held from Dec. 6 to 12, 2021 with SCES as the host group. The city first hosted the PCST in 2019.
Agda assured that the city government will institutionalize not just the Surf City campaign but all other matters that will help the development of tourism and economic growth of Borongan.

In partnership with the local government and the Department of Tourism regional office, SCES managed to train and produce seven internationally accredited surf judges and eight internationally accredited surf instructors.

This makes Borongan the area in the country with the most number of accredited surf judges, the city government reported.
The national competition will also promote the city’s long coastline situated within the commercial district as a venue for the surfing event.

The first-ever surfing competition in Borongan was held in 2000, dubbed as Eastern Samar Inaugural Surfing Crown. Borongan was then a laid-back municipality known only by a few surfing enthusiasts. (PNA)

NPA member surrenders in Eastern Samar


A 29-year old alleged member of the New People’s Army(NPA) has surrendered to the 2nd Eastern Samar Police Mobile Force Company (2nd ESPMFC), following the government’s intensified efforts to end local communist armed conflict in the region.

“The continuing surrender of our brothers and sisters in armed struggle is an indication that they are realizing as to what a legitimate government is. I hope that more and more of them will soon realize that,” said Brigadier General Rommel Bernardo Cabagnot, regional director of the Philippine National Police, said in a statement.

Authorities identified the surrenderee as a resident of Borongan City.

The former rebel was convinced to return to the fold of law through the efforts of joint elements of the Communication Action Team and Intelligence personnel of the 2nd ESPMFC, together with the Provincial Intelligence Unit of Eastern Samar Police Provincial Office, according to the police regional command.

The surrenderee also turned in one M1 carbine, two magazines for M1 carbine, and 11 live ammunition.

Authorities said they will endorse the former rebel for to him to avail the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program(E-CLIP).(RONALD O. REYES)

Lectures conducted to teach young people important role played by Guiuan during the World War II


A lecture was conducted in Guiuan, Eastern Samar as part of advocacy to increase awareness on the importance and significance of their town in the liberation of the country during World War II.

“The problem with commemoration is we commemorate annually but we forget its historical significance or importance. When we commemorate, is to preserve the memory, but if you don’t understand that memory it is hard for you to celebrate,” Kinna Mae Kwan, a noted local historian, said.

The lecture, attended by local tour guides, focused on the contribution of Suluan raid to the liberation of the Philippines during the Japanese occupation and on the establishment of a naval base in the town.

“Our tourism officer wanted the lecture to focus to our tour guides so that they will know what stories to tell when tourists come to our town,” Kwan said.

Knowing their local history and what stories to tell helps not only enriching the knowledge of the tour guides and at the same time they will also be able to share the tourists who visits Guiuan.

Kwan added that in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), through the use of modules, they are incorporating the historical significance of their local history for students to see and learn the importance events that occurred in their municipality.

“With this knowledge, this also makes the person have a pride of their place. This is what we are trying to inculcate in our partnership with DepEd,” she said.

Suluan is an island village in the Pacific that is part of Guiuan town. This tiny island has a big contribution in the history of the country being one of the islands mentioned in the chronicle of Antoni Pigaffeta when the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the country.

The Suluan raid happened in October 17, 1944 or 77 years ago.