Asian Spirit Airlines is now ZestAir

Asian Spirit Airlines used to be the only airline serving the province of Northern Samar for years (or is it a decade already) since Philippine Airlines booted it off its list of destinations because of cost cutting and a new business model. Asian Spirit Airlines flourished, and had several flights to the capital, Catarman. Recently, Philippine Airlines, via its budget airline, PAL Express, inaugurated a three flights weekly schedule to Catarman at Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This forced Asian Spirit Airlines to reduce its flight frequency to Catarman to just two flights a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

In a new and i hope better development, Asian Spirit Airlines has been acquired by the business magnate, Alfred Yao, of Export Bank and Zesto Corp. hence the new name of Asian Spirit Airlines, ZestAir. Oh and BTW, ZestAir's tagline is Asia's Most Refreshing Airline. I just hope they lived up to that, i had horrible memories riding Asian Spirit Airlines..in law school, i remember our professor, MLQU Law Dean Abraham Espejo (Borgy Manotoc's lawyer!), cracking a joke that goes something like this, riding Asian Spirit is like flying as an Asian and landing as a "Spirit!" LOL.

Historical Landmarks of Northern Samar

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Northern Samar, presided by Vice Governor Atty. Antonio P. Lucero, recently passed an ordinance authored by 2nd Dist. Board Member Albert A. Lucero, declaring seven churches and two lighthouses as historical landmarks of the Province of Northern Samar.

The historical landmarks are the Roman Catholic Churches of Bobon, Catarman, Catubig, Capul, Laoang, Pambujan and the ruins of the Palapag Church. While the Lighthouse of Batag in Laoang and the Lighthouse in San Luis, in Capul Island were also declared as Provincial Historical Landmarks.

On the island of Batag, in Laoang town sits an old American-era lighthouse, which was an important beacon for ships coming in from the open Pacific and moving towards the San Bernardino Strait. Capul Island is also topped by a Spanish lighthouse and the sea surrounding the island is littered with dozens of sunken Spanish galleons, some laden with silver and treasure.

Provincial Board Member Lucero noted that the province of Northern Samar is rich in culture and heritage and that it has historical landmarks as the evidenced by the centuries old churches and lighthouses.

In passing the ordinance the legislators of Northern Samar cited Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 which provides that "every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental of its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support among others, the preservation and enrichment of culture x x x and preserve the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants."

Dolphin killed in Allen

A Dolphin was killed by dynamite fishing in Allen. Mayor Laureana Suan confirmed that last week she has received a report about an endangered specie of dolphin that was slaughtered by some unscrupulous fishermen in a coastal barangay of Guinarawayan, about six kilometers away from the poblacion of Allen.

The dolphin was caught by the unidentified fishermen in San Bernardino Strait using dynamite. The dolphin was reportedly still alive when brought to the shore by the fishermen. The dolphin was also reportedly yelling or crying while it was being stabbed/slaughtered. What a horrible thing to do by this ignoramus!! With this, they have done a double whammy. They were not only fishing using dynamites, which is criminally illegal, but also have killed a protected specie, which is also criminal.

Mayor Suan who's residence faces the San Bernardino Strait, nostalgically recalled that she used to see dolphins along the San Bernardino Strait while crossing it aboard a ferryboat.

The Mayor has tasked the police to investigate and apprehended the culprit fisherfolks.


DC Job Opportunity

If you are in the medical profession, e.i. medical doctor, nurse, occupational therapist, anaesthesiologists, medical technologist, among others, you may want to check out this great opportunity to work in the US Capital home state of the District Of Columbia, or simply called Washington D.C. As you all know Filipino medical workers are the most in demand because of their professionalism and competence. These Medical Jobs in DC are one of the highest paying and also has the best working condition for foreigners. Why? the Philippine Embassy is located in Washington DC, what could top such a good psychological blanket than that.

If you want to get a good job opportunity in the United States, do your homework. That is, that one should first make a research on everything most especially their desired destinations culture and the areas medical hospitals and health facilities. They could also sharpen their English skills, it would help a lot since Filipinos are generally taught in Neutral English.

They should also probably not just jump at any chance that there is a job offer for them. Learn to study the nitty-gritty of the contract of employment, reading between the lines sometimes and using common sense in interpreting its provisions. If you don't you are stuck with an unfair contract and an unhappy disposition that could very well affect your demeanor and eventually your job. Think of future employment after the one you're in, will you get a god recommendation if you did not perform well in a previous job? In the US, they value a previous employer's recommendations as an important component in choosing an applicant for a job.

So, if you think working in the US is a breeze, think again. But if you've set your mind to work in the US, learn to do some research first and try to always be aware that you are when abroad representing your country as well.


President Arroyo to visit Lope De Vega too

President Arroyo will inspect ongoing infrastructure projects in Lope de Vega on Monday, Sept. 29, as well. This will be the President's first itinerary before proceeding to Silvino Lobos.

President Arroyo will arrive at the Calbayog City Airport at 2 p.m., then motor to the town and conduct windshield inspection of the Catarman-Calbayog via Lope de Vega Road.

The Catarman-Calbayog-Lope de Vega Road project spans 47.33 kilometers and costs P643.72 million.

Upon her arrival at the Lope de Vega municipal hall, she will receive a briefing on the town’s ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects.

She will also be briefed on other Northern Samar infrastructure projects, including the proposed rehabilitation of the 44.25-km. San Isidro-Lope De Vega Road that will cost P1.243 billion

President Arroyo to Visit Silvino Lobos

President Arroyo is scheduled to visit on September 29, Silvino Lobos, a sleepy 5th class municipality in Northern Samar and will be the first ever President of the Philippines to visit the town. And with this prospect in hand, the town is alive with excitement of having the privilege of being visited by the President for the first time. There were even suggestions to capture the President's footsteps on a cement mixture to perpetuate the first visit of the Highest Official of the Philippines in Silvino Lobos.

Silvino Lobos Mayor Edmund Guillamac exclaimed that the people of Silvino Lobos is looking forward to the scheduled visit of the President because this is the first time that the town will be visited by the number one official of the country.

Silvino Lobos is not that easily accessible. It could be reached by motorboat or banca through the Pambujan River in Pambujan town which is the third town from the capital town of Catarman. The other towns before Pambujan are Mondragon and San Roque. After the boat ride, the duration of which is determined by the tide, one has to climb a hill.

During her visit, the President will preside in the groundbreaking of two-classroom school buildings at the Silvino Lobos Elementary School.

It will also be an early Christmas treat from the President as the President will lead a feeding program and distribute family packs, school supplies and medicines for the 1,500 pupils of Silvino Lobos Elementary School.

Silvino Lobos is one of the ten depressed municipalities of Northern Samar which have been identified as the pilot municipalities for the President's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P's) for the extremely poor families.

Blast in Catarman

A blast, which possibly came from a grenade or a bomb, happened inside Camp Carlos Delgado in Catarman last Wednesday at around 3 P.M. The blast occurred while about 300 Colegio de San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (CSLRM) students were gathered at the Camp Carlos Delgado's basketball court to watch a game, which was part of the school’s founding anniversary celebration. Two students died and two others, including a 6-year-old boy, suffered injuries.

The fatalities were identified as Gilmark Marino, 18, a student of the Colegio de San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (CSLRM), and Robert Rominez, 11, Grade 5 student of Catarman 1 Central Elementary School.

The two injured were 6-year-old Rafael Mendez, a daycare pupil at Camp Delgado, and Michael Guevarra, 21, also a student of CSLRM, who were hit by the blast. The two suffered serious injuries in different parts of their bodies.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation but some witnesses said they saw the two younger victims, Rominez and Mendez, playing with an unidentified object at the “restricted” firing range, about a hundred meters away from the crowd.


Daza admits Northern Samar is Poorest

Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza admitted in the 8th Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development (SIPPaD) forum at the Ibabao Hall, Northern Samar Capitol Building held on Sept. 19 the sad plight of the province of Northern Samar. Daza mentioned the latest report of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). Based on this report, Northern Samar is the number one poorest province in the Eastern Visayas Region and number seven in the entire Philippines. In 2003, during his first term, the same agency rated Northern Samar as number two in the entire country in terms of good governance. Daza has served in office in various capacity before becoming Governor. He was also a several termer Congressman representing the Province since the 1960's. That's why it is unthinkable to say the least, that he is just coming to terms with the bad bad situation of the Province.

I hope this is not lip service but Governor Daza explained in the forum that good governance could not guarantee better economic condition for the people. Daza told the participants that he is continuously looking for means to reconcile the gap between his good governance and the poor economic condition of his constituents. (Well, TRY HARDER, it apparently is NOT WORKING!)

Earlier in a press conference, Daza’s son, Congressman Paul Daza, of the 1st District, blamed the geographical location of Northern Samar for its being poor. Cong. Daza told local reporters that N. Samar has “geographical disadvantage” compared to other provinces which have improved economic climate.

Cong. Daza explained that the province belonged to the country’s typhoon belt and it was far from business capitals in the Philippines like Leyte which was also the source of electricity supply. The far distance from Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant to Northern Samar caused the frequent brownouts in the province.

Wow, what an incompetent family! So you're just going to just sit it out and wait for the gods to do something about it before something is done? And the geographical location excuse is simply stupid. In truth and in fact, Northern Samar is along the major national highway of the Philippines connecting Visayas and Luzon. It is, coupled with, innovative and GOOD Governance, can takeoff to become the country's richest.


People's Day of Catarman

An outreach mission dubbed as "People's Day of Catarman" was held on August 12 -13 at Barangay Baybay, Catarman, Northern Samar. The two-day medical and dental outreach mission were sponsored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, 803rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. About 1,184 Northern Samarnons were served during the outreach mission, of these were 932 medical and 252 dental patients from Barangays Airport Village, Talisay, Abad Santos and Baybay. The outreach mission was the brainchild of Lt. Gen. Ike I. Inserto, Commander of the AFP Central Command, aimed at alleviating the living conditions of the poor.

Mr. William Medici, a Catarmanon who is the Regional Director of the PCSO based in Cebu City, facilitated the release of P75,000 worth of medicines.

Present during the People's Day of Catarman were Col. Eduardo del Rosario, commander of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, Vice Gov. Antonio P. Lucero, Mayor Alita E. Rosales, Brgy Chairwoman Mila Edria of Brgy Baybay, Brgy Chairwoman Yolanda Talavera of Brgy Airport Vilage, Brgy Chairwoman Pilar Adriasola of Brgy Talisay and Brgy Chairwoman Luz Marino of Brgy Abad Santos, Barangay Health Workers, and School Teachers of Brgy Baybay Elementary School whose classes were temporarily suspended to give way to the 2-day activity.


Lapinig - Special Agrarian Reform Community

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Office recently confirmed Lapinig, Northern Samar as a Special Agrarian Reform Community. Agrarian Reform Communities are beneficiaries of projects which will be implemented as part of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program's support services component.

Agrarian Reform Communities are considered growth points in the countryside wherein projects extended by different stakeholders are implemented in order to improve agricultural production and increase household income in rural communities.

Studies have showed that Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries living within the Agrarian Reform Communities are better off than their counterparts in non-Agrarian Reform Communities.

Region 8 has now a total of 153 Agrarian Reform Communities, and about 59 of these are recipients of projects such as those funded by the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the governments of Japan, Spain and Australia among others.

2008 National Literacy Awards Regional Awardees

Pursuant to DepEd Memorandum 59 series of 2008 entitled the 2008 Literacy Awards, Region 8 conducted the Regional Search for the awardees of the 2008 National Literacy Awards. The National Literacy Awards has two categories: the Outstanding Literacy Program Award and the Outstanding Local Government Unit Award.

And among the awardees are several Nortehanons or Northern Samar based personnel like Lt. Colonel Lenard T. Agustin, Commanding Officer of the 63rd Infantry (Innovator) Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Barangay Opong, Catubig, Northern Samar, for Outstanding Literacy Program with project sites at Barangays Opong, Corocorong, Hangi and Guyo. Also cited were the Barangay Chairmen of those places: Teresita J. Casio, of Barangay Guyo, Las Navas, Northern Samar; Apolinar Tafala, Jr. of Brgy. Hangi, Las Navas, N. Samar; and Rolando Enero of Brgy Corocorong, San Roque, Northern Samar. The Outstanding Literacy Program Award, is given to a literacy program being implemented by a non-government or civic organization, academic institution, which has evident positive impact on the learners and the community.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban City, is the Regional awardee for Outstanding Local Government Unit, Component City Category. Tanauan, Leyte Mayor, Hon. Roque A. Tiu, is Regional awardee for the Outstanding Local Government Unit Municipal Category for the first to third class municipality. With him, Barangay Captain Claro Fulton P. Morantte of Barangay Licod, Tanauan was also cited. For the Outstanding Local Government Unit fouth to sixth class municipality category, Mayor Pedro V. Fustanes, Jr. Of Bontoc, Southern Leyte is the Regional Awardee. The Local Government Unit Award shall be given to a local government unit, city or municipal government, which has developed policies, programs and projects conducive to literacy development and which have efficaciously made a positive impact on the barangays and the quality of life of the people.

The 2008 National Literacy Awards is a project of the Literacy Coordinating Council and the Department of Education, in support of the National Government's commitment to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing adult illiteracy by half in 2015, and consequently improve the quality of life of the Filipino.

The awards will be distributed during the 33rd Founding Anniversary of the Department of Education Regional Office 8 on August 21-22, 2008.


Northern Samar mentioned in President SONA

The province of Northern Samar, particularly the municipalities of Laoang, Lapinig, San Isidro and Lope de Vega were mentioned in the first part of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's annual "State of the Nation Address." The "SONA" is a President's annual reports, plans and aspirations for the Philippines, and an address to the nation, made in the House of Representatives' Batasang Pambansa Complex Session Hall with the two chambers of the Legislature, the Upper House or the Senate and the Lower House or the House of Representatives convening as one.

The President mentioned Northern Samar in the context of the importance of the 12% VAT that helps the pro-poor projects she has lined up, including the " the infrastructure links programmed for the our poorest provinces like Northern Samar: Laoang-Lapinig-Arteche ( Eastern Samar); right now ay maputik, San Isidro-Lope de Vega; the rehabilitation of Maharlika in Samar."


PAL Express flies to Catarman

Philippine Airlines (PAL) use to have flights to Catarman until some years ago when it stopped and only Asian Spirit Airlines was left to service travelers opting to fly to and from Catarman. In comes, PAL Express, Philippine Airlines' low-fare brand, and a direct competitor with the fledgling Cebu Pacific budget airlines.

PAL Express will start flying to Catarman from its secondary hub in Manila on July 17. PAL will launch three flights to Catarman per week. The flag carrier said the 76-seater Bombardier Q400 aircraft will be deployed on the new route. PAL Express' main hub is at Mactan International Airport in Cebu province.

PAL's ongoing promo called PAL's "Buy 1, Take 1" promo fare on all jet and turbo-prop domestic services will also apply to PAL Express' flights.

Promo sale for the new routes, however, is extended only until July 21 from the original deadline set on July 15.

The promo offers passengers a free one-way ticket for every one-way ticket bought, with all fees and surcharges waived. The complimentary ticket can be used for the return journey or for another one-way flight. Travel is valid between July 15 and October 15, 2008.


Northern Samar malnutrition highest in Eastern Visayas

Northern Samar has the highest number of malnourished children in the six provinces of Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), based on 2007 figures, according to Carina Santiago, chief of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Eastern Visayas.

Of the six provinces in the region, Northern Samar has the highest number of malnourished children at 22,677, followed by Samar with 19,870, she said. Southern Leyte posted the lowest prevalence of malnourished children with only 3,912.

The regional office of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Eastern Visayas lamented the lack of interest among local leaders to address the high prevalence of malnourished children in the region.

Santiago said they had met with town and city mayors and their nutrition officers to push for the agency’s nutrition advocacy campaign but it has yet to show results.

“The lack of care among parents also contributes to the problem,” Santiago added. Santiago debunked the perception that the current economic condition could worsen the situation.

“Poverty is not an excuse,” she insisted. The provincial government of Northern Samar, under Gov. Raul Daza, she said, is taking steps in addressing the problem like providing allocation for nutrition-related programs including feeding operations and information drive.

Eastern Visayas is one of the country’s most depressed regions with Northern Samar among its most poverty-stricken provinces.


New Samar province proposed

Creation of a new Samar province is proposed in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is mandated by law to initiate a proposal to create a new province. Rep. Reynaldo Uy, of the first district of the Province of Samar, has proposed that his district be declared as a separate province that will be called Northwestern Samar.

Presently, there are three provinces in the island of Samar, the third largest in the Philippines, namely: Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

Meanwhile, Rep. Sharee Ann Tan of the 2nd district of the Province of Samar, opposed the creation of Northwestern Samar.


Rep. Paul Daza, Top 10 Richest Congressman of the Philippines

Northern Samar 1st District representative Paul Daza, son of incumbent Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, made the cut of the Top 10 Richest Congressmen of the Philippines for 2008 placing 10th with assets of P137,900,000 (137.9 Million). And i am aghast, simply because Northern Samar belongs to the Top 10 Poorest Provinces in the Philippines.

I am not insinuating anything here, the said information was supplied by them in their declaration of assets and liabilities, the good congressman may have earned those legitimately but if i have that kind of wealth and i see that my constituents are barely able to get by in a given day, i will have a hard time sleeping soundly.

Army Engineering Corps ambushed in Lapinig

On May 17, 2008 at about 8:50 in the morning, Pfc Randy Pepito and three other enlisted personnel, was ambushed and landmined while hauling gravel at Barangay Roxas, Lapinig, Northern, Samar. All of them are with the 543rd Engineering Construction Battalion, the construction team tasked to undertake the opening of the Lapinig-Jipapad road in order to connect Northern Samar to Eastern Samar. Reports are that the ambush was done by more or less six Maoist Communist insurgents of the New People's Army (NPA) armed with high powered fire arms.

What is ironic is that this is the most revolutionary thing that will happen to Lapinig and the entire province of Northern Samar, a road linking the province direct to Eastern Samar. Previously, one has to go to Samar province (formerly Western Samar) hundreds of kilometers away to get to Eastern Samar. Lapinig in itself is a remote Pacific side town accessible by means of pump boats only and made more dificult to reach by big Pacific Ocean waves.

Col. Eduardo del Rosario, commanding officer of the 803rd Infantry Brigade, condemned the NPA ambush as anti-people and anti-development. No casualty was reported on the part of the government side while an undetermined number of casualty on the NPA side was speculated because of the presence of blood traces on the enemy position.


Priest Bikes for Life and Peace

" A Filipino Catholic Redemptorist Priest based in Mindanao" as he describes himself, Fr. Amado Picardal bikes around the Philippines to promote life and peace. He is in his Northern Samar leg. In his blog, he said:

So far, I have already biked 3,890 km. I have already started the Eastern Visayas legs of my journey. Ed Bisco and Ed Rabago will be going back to Luzon tomorrow and the Catarman bikers will bike with me as far as Laoang - 48 km from Catarman. From there I will be biking alone along the an area which, like Sorsogon, has been affected by the armed conflict between the government forces and the New People's army. It's environment has been damaged by logging and mining. This is an area where the culture of death, violence and corruption reign.

I hope the Catholic Church as a whole also realizes what he just stated as obvious, that there is still an armed guerilla force in this country after all these times. And that they also have a military arm and a political arm. And that everything cannot be solved by an armed insurgency. What is ironic is that every Communist regime that took power, one of the very first thing that they do is to suppress freedom and religion, they even destroy churches. We go in circles..


Supreme Court suspends Laoang prosecutor

The Supreme Court has suspended a prosecutor in Northern Samar who was found liable for gross misconduct after he downgraded the charges against four suspected New People’s Army rebels involved in a robbery-homicide case.

In a 13-page decision penned by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, the SC's Second Division partly modified the penalty for Laoang, Northern Samar prosecutor Jesus Clarito Espina from dismissal slapped by the Department of Justice to a mere six-month for gross misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

But since Espina had already retired, the high court just fined him the amount equivalent to his salary for six months.

The penalty for gross misconduct entails a six-month suspension for the first offense, and dismissal from service for the second.

The SC considered as a mitigating circumstance the fact that this was Espina's first offense in his 33 years of service.

"The record does not show that any of the additional elements to qualify the charge of conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service to grave misconduct had been established," the Court ruled.

The high court noted the resolution of the Office of the President affirming Espina's offense, stating that "respondent has no business being a prosecutor if he will merely act as a puppet for unscrupulous judges."

It said that the filing of motion to dismiss and the subsequent granting of the motion by the Court enabled the suspects to go scot-free.

Based on court records, Espina entered criminal case no. 1276 for robbery in band with multiple homicide against four accused NPA members before branch 22 of Lao-ang, Northern Samar regional trial court in the sala of Judge Mateo Leanda. The accused were then convicted by the court and were imposed the death penalty.

On automatic review of the case, the SC affirmed the conviction but commuted the penalty to reclusion perpetua in 1987.

On June 14, 1993 petitioner Espina, then a prosecutor of Lao-ang, filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case on the ground that the anti-subversion law had been repealed. The trial court subsequently granted the motion to dismiss, and eventually dismissed the case.

Respondents namely Miguel Cerujano, Alfredo Tingkingco and Senencio Cerujano Jr. then filed an administrative complaint for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service against Espina before the DOJ.

They alleged that the grounds relied upon by Espina have nothing to do with the case at all, as the case decided with finality by the court is Robbery in Band with Multiple Homicide and not a violation of the anti-subversion law as advanced in the motion to dismiss. - GMANews.TV


Miss Northern Samar in Bb. Pilipinas 2008 Beauty Pageant

Agatha Fontanilla
Agatha Fontanilla
Agatha Fontanilla represented Northern Samar in the Bb. Pilipinas 2008 Beauty Pageant where Janina San Miguel won as Bb. Pilipinas-World to represent the Philippines in the Miss World pageant. Of course, we all know what Janina San Miguel has done to the English languange,lol..Agatha Fontanilla is said to be a former Miss UEP as well.

And unlike Janina San Miguel, Agatha Fontanilla is a freshman medical student at FEU-NRMF (Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation). And when asked why did you join Bb. Pilipinas? Agatha replied, “To fulfill my childhood dream” “I don’t expect to win. I just came here to prove to others that it can be done despite a very hectic medical school schedule.”

“The experience will make a good story to tell to my grandkids. I will be very proud to tell them about my Bb. Pilipinas days” “Even though I’ve done some scary things for medical school—such as slicing a cadaver’s brain—I still find it scarier to stand in front of people who are alive and capable of judging you. That’s another reason I joined—to help me overcome my fear of large audiences” “Even when I was a child, I joined some beauty contests and won. Naging stepping stone ko yung mga yon dito. Parents and friends have also been convincing me so here I am!”

What makes you stand out from the rest? “I see this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience” “I am unique and God-fearing. But there is always so much more to all of us. I have certain qualities that are not easily seen but really help me stand out.”


The 2.97 Billion Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project

A major infrastructure project is being constructed in Catubig, Northern Samar called the Help of Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project. It is a 2.97-billion peso project funded by Japan. NEDA said cost for the Help of Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project, funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, has been raised from the old amount of P2.48 billion. Its implementation has been extended from June 30, 2007 to June 30, 2010.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the lead agency implementing the project, and Northern Samar Gov. Raul Daza sought the adjustment and extension due to increase in the prices of materials, diesel and gasoline as well as costs of labor and rental of various equipment.

The inter-agency Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee has approved the cost adjustment and time extension on the condition that additional project cost shall be financed through local funds within the Department of Agriculture, NIA, Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Health budget ceilings and subject to the issuance of Department of Budget certified funding strategy for Help of Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP).


St. Michael Academy Alumni Homecoming

The St. Michael Academy 2008 Grand Alumni Homecoming will be held on May 1 to 4, 2008 in St. Michael Academy, Catarman, Northern Samar hosted by Michaelians Batch 1984. The St. Michael Academy 2008 Grand Alumni Homecoming is dubbed as "Nahinumdom Ka Pa?"


Northern Samar, poorest province of the Philippines

Northern Samar is one of the poorest provinces of the entire Philippines. Northern Samar alongside Sulu and Masbate, were found to be the “poorest” provinces in the Philippines based on the National Poverty Map 2007 prepared by the Peace and Equity Foundation. The PEF identified the three provinces as having the “most pronounced conditions of poverty” among all the provinces in the country in a presentation last week during the World Bank-sponsored Panibagong Paraan ’08.

The provinces were ranked according to the PEF Development Index, which is based on various government poverty indicators, including the lack of housing, lack of access to clean water, sanitation facilities, incidence of malnutrition and income level.

Closely following Northern Samar, Sulu and Masbate at the low end of the PEF Development Index were Basilan, Western Samar, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte and Negros Oriental.

I'm not surprised. Living here in Northern Samar is like hell if you rely on the internet and on computers for a living, or even on anything that runs on electricity. Why? well, every single day, electricity is intermittent. The past few days even had times where the electricity has been going on and off like a switch. Everyday, power is out for either a second or hours on end. There is no security in the supply of electricity. The only thing that is consistent is that one should expect a power interruption everyday, no thanks to the local electric cooperative, NORSAMELCO or the Provincial Government of Raul Daza who takes a hands-off policy on the power outage situation.

What is revolting in the findings of the Peace and Equity Foundation is that the other two poorest provinces are island provinces so it is understandable that those have high poverty incidence. But, and the big but, is that Northern Samar, straddles the Maharlika National Highway and is although far is easily reachable from and to Manila.

No amount of media mileage can even budge the local authorities of Northern Samar to act. GMA7' Imbestigador launched a shame campaign on the Catarman Airport, but to date, no action has been done. The local officials only had their fingers pointed at other agencies instead of taking command responsibility as only a decent and respectable Provincial official is bound to observe.

If even the most basic of service that a government should deliver to its people as electricity is, and is very unrealiable in Northern Samar, how much more in the other aspect. To date, everywhere you look, and especially in those unannounced brownouts anytime of the day, there is no question that the Province of Northern Samar really belongs to the poorest provinces of the Philippines.


EVRAA Meet 2008 in Catarman

Photos from the 2008 Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) Meet held in Cawayan, Catarman, Northern Samar on March 23-28, 2008.

Senator Mar A. Roxas was the keynote speaker and guest of honor of the opening rites, while Department of Education Undersecretary Franklin Sunga delivered his speech on the part of the Department Of Education.

Around 4,500 athletes from the various school divisions of Eastern Visayas attended the sports meet. The winners in the EVRAA 2008 Meet will represent Region 8 in the forthcoming Palarong Pambansa set in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on April 2008.

GSIS rolls out POS terminal in Catarman

The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has deployed an additional Point of Sale (POS) terminal in Northern Samar. The additional Point of Sale (POS) terminal is in the M. Lhuillier branch in Catarman, Northern Samar.

POS terminals are deployed to M. Lhuillier branches near GSIS servicing offices located in areas without Union Bank ATMs and in places completely without or have low accessibility to any ATM network.

The deployment provides an alternative option for the GSIS members and pensioners with no ATM presence within their vicinity, to withdraw their respective loan proceeds or pension benefits using the POS terminal, for a fee.

The members can also inquire about their Union Bank account using the POS terminal. Such balance inquiries are free of charge, GSIS reported.

In order to be able to transact using the POS, the members or pensioners need to bring their eCard Plus and another valid ID. The minimum amount that may be withdrawn through the POS is P100.00 per day while the maximum is P50,000.00.

The amount to be withdrawn must be divisible by 100 just like that in ATM. This deployment brings the total number of POS terminals in Eastern Visayas to 15.


Las Navas flooded

In relation to an earlier post about Catarman being flooded, this is more recent. Las Navas was under above waist flood water...

Catarman flooded

Sagdat uploaded a video in youtube wherein it was shown that Catarman was flooded. Turned out it was more than a year ago..But nonetheless relevant, since it could happen again..Sagdat in his video upload said, "First in Catarman.. A lesson... Proper waste disposal resulting to clogged drainage.. (may da ba drainage?)."


EVRAA 2008 in Catarman moved to March 23-28

The 2008 Eastern Visayas Regional Athletics Association ( EVRAA) meet which is originally scheduled to be held on March 12 in Catarman, Northern Samar will be moved to March 23 or 24 up to the 28th due to the heavy rains that flooded areas in Northern Samar coupled with the aftermath of a strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake recently.

Although the national news ( and even international news) are reporting of concern on the power suppply having been cut off for 2 days because of the earthquake, power blackouts are not new in Northern Samar. Not a single day passes by without a blackout. In fact, every Saturday or Sunday, a scheduled blackout is pegged the entire day.


Applicants for Judge in Laoang, Mondragon-San Roque

The Supreme Court of the Philippines Judicial and Bar Council announced on January 22, the applicants for the different judgeship positions in Region 8.

For the Municipal Trial Court in Laoang, Northern Samar, the applicants are Elino C. Chin; Reynaldo M. Espinar; Eduarto N. Potot; and Armando L. Rosadino.

For the Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Mondragon - San Roque, Northern Samar, the applicants are Elino C. Chin; Reynaldo M. Espinar; and Emerenciana M. Manook.

Ma. Luisa D. Villarama, Clerk of Court and JBC Ex Officio Secretary said that the public may submit sworn complaint, written report or opposition against any of the aforesaid candidates for judgeship positions not later than February 4, 2008 to the JBC Secretariat, 2nd Floor Centennial Building, Supreme Court, Padre Faura St., Manila or to email address jbc_supremecourt@yahoo.com.ph.


Maupay Nga Adlaw!

Good day to you dear reader! I can see in the traffic stats for this blog that most of the traffic comes from abroad, particularly the US and Canada, Europe and Australia. Probably, you're all Nortehanons homesick of your hometown.

As an added treat, you can email me at northernsamar@gmail.com to ask for requests of a place to have a story from complete with photos of that place, if possible.

Meanwhile, a friend who lives not outside the Philippines but still pretty far, Manila in actuality, wants to see the famed huge house in Pambujan near the beach, unfinished till now, that she heard of owned by a Pambujanon married to a Canadian. Here are the photos, i hope the owners won't mind though.


Catarman has no sidewalks

Catarman is the capital town of the Province of Northern Samar. But the town's sidewalks are far from being presentable, if at all existent. Some 5th class municipalities in Northern Samar are far more superior than Catarman's.

It is really a shame for Catarman as a provincial capital, it should be a good example for the rest of the province. What will first time visitors to the province will say. Shame...

On national tv, in its yearender GMA 7's investigative show, aptly called "Imbestigador" showed the Catarman airport as a rundown airport with pedestrians and vehicles using the airport runway as a road. The mayor of Catarman missed the point in the tv interview by complaining that there are only 3 flights to the province every week. What's with that. How about improving the airport and its security instead.

No wonder that Catarman has no working sidewalks.


Biri Rock Formations

Photos and video of a group of students from the University of Eastern Philippines aka UEP, Catarman campus, on a picnic in the famous rock formations in Biri.

Biri, an island municipality located off the northernmost part of Samar island, is home to beachfront resorts and vacation houses. The Biri rock formations was the locale for a Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta and Maricel Laxa movie in the 90's directed by Chito Rono. Director Chino Rono fell in love with the place that he built a vacation house in the area.

Biri island is a favorite destination for Northern Samar locals and balikbayans and is getting to be a hideaway among foreigners too because it offers a more genteel ambience than a party island like Boracay..

A day tour around the island in a local mode of transpo called a "habal-habal" can be an adventure-like activity too and is the only way to get to any point in the island and a sure way to enmesh in the local culture.