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Ormoc culminates PWD week with talent showcase


ORMOC CITY – A total of 27 Ormocanon who are persons with disabilities (PWDs) showcased their talents at SM Center Ormoc during the city’s first “PWD Got Talent” in conjunction with the celebration of the 44th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.

According to Joey Philip P. Fiel, the PWD Program Coordinator of the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO), the participants showcased their talent in singing, dancing, drawing, and “doble-kara”, among others in a fun and competitive manner wherein the grand winner received a cash prize of Php 3,000, the second placer a cash prize of Php 2,000, the third placer receiving Php 1,000 and the non-winning contestants given Php 500 each.

And so, he added, emerging as the most talented of all talented PWDs, and being declared as the grand winner of their first-ever PWD talent show, was Rodolfo Alguno, Jr. of Barangay Ipil.

This year’s celebration, he further said, was held from July 17-23 under the theme, “Pamahalaan Kabalikat sa Pagtupad ng Pantay na Edukasyon, Trabaho at Kabuhayan, Tugon sa Pagpapalakas ng Taong may Kapansanan.”

The said weeklong event, moreover, was successfully facilitated in Ormoc City by PDAO, headed by Nina Bonita Z. Restauro, who believes that there is an ability in every disability.

It kicked off with a Holy Mass followed by a motorcade; and within the week, other meaningful activities such as the ‘Larong Pinoy’, a medical mission, a sportsfest, and a symposium, whose speaker was Angela Zeratzel O. Valdeavilla of Little Palm Occupational Therapy Clinic, were also held. Finally, at the opening ceremony of the celebration, Ormoc City Councilor Carmen Jean Torres-Rama, the Committee Chairperson of the Committee on Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability; PWD Federation President Joel Amistad; and PWD Federation Secretary Jocelyn Movilla imparted inspiring messages to Ormocanon PWDs and to their families in attendance. (By Gwen Maurillo, EV Mail July 18-24, 2022 Issue)

Mayor Lucy supports postponement of barangay, SK elections


ORMOC CITY Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez concurs with the idea of postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, which is, accordingly, set to happen on December 5, 2022.

According to Mayor Gomez, the said election can wait, adding that “it is not an urgent concern and funds can be better utilized for government programs that would be beneficial in the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition, she said, the postponement of the election gives people time to heal from what was a “contentious and divisive” election.

To recall, Leyte 4th District Representative Richard I. Gomez called on other lawmakers to suspend the barangay and SK elections to give way to more urgent issues that need budget allocation; and that rescheduling the said elections will save the government up to Php 8 billion.

Gomez said House Bill 937 seeks to postpone the elections scheduled for December 5 to a later date to allow the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos to reallocate the budget to other government programs, which include the country’s food security program amid the looming food crisis.

According to Gomez, if the election is postponed to 2023, the national government will have financial breathing room following the recent May 2022 elections and will have actual funds to boost the agriculture sector. (By Gwen Maurillo, EV Mail July 18-24, 2022 Issue)

Cyber libel complaint against Pilapil, SUNSTAR Cebu dismissed


ORMOC CITY – The Ormoc City Prosecution Office has dismissed on July 1, 2022 a cyber libel complaint under Republic Act (RA) No. 10175 against SUNSTAR Cebu newspaper, represented by editor-in-chief Cherry Ann T. Lim and journalist John Kevin Decio Pilapil, filed by complainant Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal for absence of probable cause.

EV Mail was able to secure a copy of the resolution after Pilapil himself shared the same on July 4, 2022 – the day he received his copy of the resolution.

In a quick interview, Pilapil shared that complaints being filed against him are not new to him, saying, “Dili na bag-o sa ako ang kaso or complaint, apil man ni sa risgo sa trabaho sa media industry. I am so thankful sa mga tao nga padayun gihapon nituo ug nisuporta sa atong krusada para sa hapsay ug malinawon nga Ormoc ug distrito. I’d like to thank my family, mga amigo nato nga lawyers and sa prosecutor’s office sa patas ug maki angayon nga desisyon. Rest assured, ipadayun nako akong nasugdan para sa Ormoc ug distrito. I always believe that the truth will always prevail.”

According to the resolution, the investigating public prosecutor, Atty. Erwin A. Pedrosa, was convinced that there was no sufficient ground to “engender a well-founded belief that a crime of violation of Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as Cybercrime Law, as defined by Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, was committed by the said respondents.”

Accordingly, the complainant in his affidavit alleged that on May 1, 2022, SUNSTAR Cebu officially released an online article written by John Kevin Decio Pilapil entitled “Goyo mihimakak sa akusasyong gi-post sa FB nga milambigit niya sa drug lord”, which subject article was roughly translated as “Goyo denied the accusation posted on FB that he was involved with the drug lord”.

Further, the said resolution stated that the title of said article and the entirety of said news article only showed that respondent just reported a fair and true news that complainant belied an FB post with regard to a campaign contributor.

In addition, the said resolution stated that the article cannot be considered as defamatory because respondent “did not ascribe to complainant the commission of a crime, the possession of a vice or defect, or any act or omission, condition, status or circumstance which tends to dishonor or discredit him and that in fact, respondent stated in said news article that complainant belied said post and challenged to face the Philippine National Police (PNP) and stated that the person who posted said information in the FB page is a liar, coward and paid.” In sum, the resolution read that the subject news item in Superbalita (SUNSTAR) Cebu was merely a factual report of the reaction of complainant with regard to the FB post.

To recall, former elections commissioner Gregorio “Goyo” Larrazabal ran against current congressman Richard I. Gomez of Leyte 4th District during the May 9, 2022 election. (By Gwen Maurillo, EV Mail July 18-24, 2022 Issue)

Ormoc’s ROTC comrades hold grand reunion


Ormoc City – “Solidarity remains today, tomorrow and forever” was the sweetest line uttered by the comrades of Ormoc ROTC and WATC during their 1st Grand Reunion 2022 held in this city over the weekend.

Accordingly, this was the best thing that the organizers could think of to be able to reconnect the different batches from 1968 to present. Thus, they gathered under one roof, reminiscing the drills and all the exercises they have gone through during their ROTC/WATC training. The participants were also in unison in saying that because of ROTC/WATC they became disciplined and have had a good direction in life. 

Rodolfo Quirino recalled how they savored the taste of what and how it is to enroll in the ROTC. He shared that among those officers during their time are former City Councilor Pading Parilla as the 1st Core Commander, former Vice Mayor Nepnep Aparis as the Adjutant and Quirino himself as the Assistant Core Commander.

During the reunion, the “most senior” relayed inspirational stories of the ROTC when it was activated in Ormoc 51 years ago.

At first, it was the 250 all-male student population of SPC who led the ROTC sometime school year 1967-68. Then, the lead was transferred to Western Leyte College (WLC). Later on, it was passed on to Sto. Niño College (SNC), taking the lead and even welcoming female trainees.

The group was also glad to note that despite NSTP becoming a law and the ROTC was only optional, still they discovered that many students preferred to take up ROTC up to this time. 

“Hapit nami mosawp,” Quirino uttered and they miss seeing the young generation that’s why, he said, they initiated such a reunion. And in order to have continuity, they chose officers of their newly-established club for “comrades”, who were officially sworn by no less than COL. Castor P. Bahin, MI (GSC) PA, Commander, 8th Regional Community Defence Group. 

Inducted are the following officers: President – Roger Espino Jr.; V-President – Roque Sorima; Secretary – Nenita Guadalquiver; Treasurer – Ma. Nenita Chu Gonzales; Auditor – Arlene Paña; PRO-Roberto Pabilan and Vicente Paña; Sgt.-at-Arms – Ryan Abril and Juluis Gabisay, Soo-Jerome Judilla; and Operations Officers – Ramon Sanchez and Alfredo Ablat.

Reservists also took their oath during the said event.

COL. Bahin lauded and congratulated the prime movers of the said event being the first grand reunion for ROTC officers. The occasion further was also timely because the 8th RCDG-ARESCOM was conducting an inventory of reservists.

He added that the activity also serves to encourage the young generation to become a member in the reserve force. “Sinasabi pa lang ng higher headquarters, ginagawa na ng Ormoc,” he said. He himself, he shared, is a proud product of ROTC during college and he wants to share to the young cadets the inspiration to serve the community.

During his stint as the Group Commander here, he added, he organized a reserve unit per province, to strengthen humanitarian response especially in the event of emergencies and calamities. He further stressed that there is no retirement age for being a reservist as long as one is able-bodied and has the heart to voluntarily serve the country. (By Josie Sersena, EV Mail July 11-17, 2022 Issue)

Ormoc is first LGU in the Philippines to be ISO 9001, 18091 certified


ORMOC CITY – “Mataas ang standard ng leadership! Because without having the leadership per se, walang maging initiative na mag implement ng management systems and have it certified,” said Karl Favila, the managing director of Multi Fold Links, Inc., in an interview during the awarding and turnover ceremony of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 and ISO 18091:2015 certificates to the local government unit of Ormoc on Friday, July 8, 2022 at the Multipurpose Hall of the new Ormoc City hall.

“Pag ISO certified ka, you’re validating the way you do business or the way you operate complies to international standard, so talagang high level,” Favila added.

Favila also congratulated LGU-Ormoc for the wonderful achievement amid the pandemic through the leadership and commitment of former City Mayor, now Leyte 4th District Representative Richard I. Gomez, and the dedication of every city government employee.

LGU-Ormoc is said to be the first LGU in the Philippines that has been awarded a certification in both ISO 9001, which is validated in all industries, and ISO 18091, which is validated for LGU projects.

During the said event, former City Mayor, now Congressman Gomez, said that being ISO certified is for LGU-Ormoc’s reliability of service and effectiveness of processes, adding that he aspires to maintain this in the years to come so that customers, the people that the LGU serves, will be happy with the service that they receive.

“With this, we can serve our people better and faster,” said the former mayor.

On one hand, former Leyte 4th District Representative, now Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Marie Torres-Gomez, congratulated former Mayor Gomez, the members of the 15th Sangguniang Panlungsod led by former Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo L. Locsin, Jr., and LGU-Ormoc department heads for the hardwork put into the achievement, making certain that all requirements are compliant to the standards of the ISO certificates.

“I salute you all! In whatever position you hold, we are only as good as the people we work with,” she said.

The event was also attended by Christian Malvar, Head of Managed Services of Multi Fold Link, Inc., together with representatives from SGS Philippines (certification partner) who are: Neli Dablio, the Marketing Manager and Learning Services Manager; Leslie Celo, the Auditing Head of the Service Sector; Nina Alejandro, the Certification Sales Executive; and Rose Mangubat, the Certification Sales Head. Former City Vice Mayor Leo Carmelo L. Locsin, Jr., Sangguniang Panlungsod Member (SPM) Lalaine Marcos, SPM Atty. Burt Pades, SPM Dr. Edmund Kierulf, SPM Dr. Goito Yrastorza III, and LGU-Ormoc department heads were also in attendance. Accordingly, ISO 18091 is “the application of quality management systems specific to local government by enhancing integrity in local governance. It is, furthermore, an excellent instrument for local governments to reassure citizens that their requirements and expectations are fully understood and delivered on a regular basis and in a timely manner. (By Gwen Maurillo, EV Mail July 4-10, 2022 Issue)

670 fishermen in Leyte benefit from DA’s fuel subsidy program


ORMOC CITY – To enhance resiliency of, to cushion the impact of the oil price hike on, and to maximize the utilization of machinery and facilities by the local fishing industry, a total of 670 registered and eligible fishermen with motor banca in the municipalities of Leyte benefited from a fuel subsidy program of the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the form of “discount cards” during a region-wide caravan that was conducted this week.

The program aims to provide fuel discount to farmers and fisherfolks owning and operating agricultural and fishery machinery individually or through a farmer organization, cooperative, or association (FCAs).

According to Christine Gresola, OIC-Information Officer of BFAR-8, a total of 13 municipality program recipients have already received the said fuel discount cards. The distribution, she said, started on July 5, 2022 in Abuyog, Javier, MacArthur, Dulag, Tanauan, and Palo. It was followed on July 6 in the municipalities of San Miguel, Carigara, Capoocan, and Leyte; and, finally, on July 7 in Isabel, Ormoc City, and Albuera.

Accordingly, a Php 3,000 fuel discount was given to each qualified beneficiary of the program; and that it is a one-time assistance program to be provided to the eligible beneficiaries with the discount amount loaded into a cash card issued in partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and accredited FinTech Partners. Finally, beneficiaries were told to use the cash card to make fuel purchase transactions at partner fuel stations.

At the Ormoc leg of the distribution, City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez told the first batch of beneficiaries, 90 in all, that, “Kining ingon ani nga mga programa mao ni nagpakita nga ang gobyerno kaapi ninyo,” adding, “It’s one of the sectors nga pinangga gyud sa gobyerno labi na sa atong bag-ong president nga iya gyud ning gikuha nga Department of Agriculture kay gusto gyud niya tutokan.”

The Chairperson of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Conservation, Ormoc City Councilor Lalaine Marcos, and Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, City Councilor Rey Evangelista, together with former City Councilor Tommy Serafica, were also present at the said distribution and imparted messages to the Ormoc recipients.

Personnel from BFAR-8 led by Edmar Kristopher Petallana, Fuel Subsidy Focal Person; the Provincial Fishery Team led by Leodelyn Conejos; and the Universal Storefront Services Corporation (USSC) led by Mharlon Phua, a FinTech accredited partner, were the teams who conducted the distribution in said Leyte towns and will, accordingly, hold the same activity in other parts of Eastern Visayas on behalf of BFAR-8, led by its Regional Director Regional Director Juan Albaladejo. Finally, it is said that the DA has allocated Php 500 million for the fuel subsidy program, as a contingency to ease the oil price hike impact amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and in pursuant to Special Provision No. 20 of the General Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2022. (By Gwen Maurillo, EV Mail July 4-10, 2022 Issue)