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.