Monday, May 28, 2007

the SP bombing

Hi there! Let me share with you the scanned copies of picture taken by CTIO's Henry Puyat after the bombing at the SP Parking Area. It happened at approximately 7:00 pm on May 17, 2007 as groups were about to hold vigil at the Cardinal Rosales Plaza and the City Hall while votes were being counted at the Old Baracks Conference Hall. So far, no suspects have been identified. Aside from shattered windows and glass door, rendered useless is the SP genset worth approximately 380,000 pesos.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Calbayog's other treasures

Let me share some pictures that i took of one of the carrozas during the last Good Friday procession. My apologies for the quality of the pictures, these were taken using my mobile phone.

These pictures are that of the image of Christ scourged at the Pillar. It is under the care of the family of Virginia Gomez. My friend (Atty.) Edwin Gomez once told me that this statue is more than 100 years old and was brought from Mexico by a priest who was assigned in Calbayog. This is what's left of the four images that were hidden on a ricefield or cogonland somewhere in Cabayog during the last World War.

Calbayog's Markers 1

There are many markers in Calbayog. Markers that serve a purpose but we prefer to ignore. Let me start my "series of markers" with this which I never knew existed. Whatever it is, it has certainly caught the attention of the curious in me.

It happened last Monday when I found time to be (or should I say to stray off) at the City Hall area where the famous Mabolo Tree is. And there it was this marker:

A close-up shot of the uppper portion. The engraved texts read: BLLM No 1 CA_422

A close-up shot of the lower portion. The engraved texts read: DISTURB NOT UNDER PENALTY OF LAW

Thursday, May 24, 2007

from my files: too close for comfort?

Still with something from my files. Some more pictures taken during the last Charter Day Celebration. Focus on the Governor and the Congressman. It's a known fact that they are not exactly in speaking terms, or should I say they don't meet eye to eye. But when PGMA came to town, protocol dictated that they be seated beside each other...

... and something was done about that set-up when PGMA went onstage at TTMIST for another activity. For unknown reasons, the governor arrived late (she arrived when the luncheon with PGMA was halfway through) thus the gap (or empty chair) between PGMA and Mayor Mel.

from my files: Mayor Mel doing his job (October 16, 2006)

Still with something from my files of pictures taken during the last Charter Day Celebration. That's Mayor Mel Sarmiento explaining some details of the Samar Development Plan. Seated at the Presidential Table are (L-R) Congressman Cata Figueroa, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Governor Mila Tan and Congressman Ining Uy.

from my files: the mayors of Samar

the occasion: The 56th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary
the venue: Calbayog City Airport
the Guest of Honor: President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Don't be misled by today's title. I have nothing (bad or good) to say (yet or as of today) about the Mayors of Samar. I just want to share something - pictures - which i got from my files (again).

The Mayors of Samar posing with PGMA at the Calbayog Airport after Mayor Mel Sarmiento's briefing on the Development Plan for Samar.
That briefing was the third of a flurry of activities scheduled for the day. After the briefing, PGMA delivered a speech in front of a huge crowd at the TTMIST Socio-Cultural Center. The Presidential Visit was capped by a luncheon with some selected officials.

Surely, with the elections over and should another occasion like this happen again, we'll be having a different picture, err, a picture with both old and different (or new faces) as mayors of Samar.

Monday, May 21, 2007

unofficial election results (provincial level)

Here's the latest tally from the NAMFREL quickcount.
Final and unofficial figures as of 3:50pm today

Governor (1st and 2nd Districts)
Tan, Milagrosa (KAMPI): 129,681
Figueroa, Nelipta (KAMPI-LAKAS-CMD): 100,911

Vice Governor (1st and 2nd Districts)
Redaja, Jesus (KAMPI): 104,405
Teopes, Menandro (LAKAS-CMD): 87,817

Board Members (1st District, 5 seats)
1. Rosales, Rosenaida (LP-LAKAS-CMD): 48,523
2. Coñejos, Charlito (LP-LAKAS-CMD: 47,801
3. Fortaleza Pamela (KAMPI): 47,368
4. Uy, Renato (LP-LAKAS-CMD): 43,501
5. Casurao, Rogelio (LP-LAKAS-CMD): 42,180

6. Ricafort, Cesario (LP-LAKAS-CMD): 27,225
7. Ancheta, Gil (KAMPI-LAKAS-CMD): 25,360
8. Santos, Gloria (KAMPI): 24,461
9. Gabriel, Esmeralda (KAMPI): 18,691
10. Tumamak, Ildefonso Sr. (Independent): 814

election results

This just came in
COMELEC final, official result for the election in Calbayog City.
The winning candidates were proclaimed at approximately 3:45 this morning at the Conference Hall of the Old Barracks Building.

Rodolfo T. Tuazon : 30,991

Vice Mayor:
Ariel M. Rosales : 26,453

City Councilors:
Oquendo/ Tinambacan Districts
DEAN, Ambrocio : 18,010
CLEMENS, Virgil : 17,476
PASACAS, Arturo : 16,749
UY, Raymund : 16,656
SALURIO, Susano : 15,562
MONTEALTO, Jonas : 14,874

Calbayog District
SERMENSE, Noel: 21,519
UY, Rey James: 20,665
BERNATE, Danilo: 19,094
RABUYA, Regina: 18,807
MANCOL, Julius: 16,009
PORLARES, Virgilio: 16,009

Sunday, May 20, 2007

and the counting goes on

A NAMFREL volunteer posting new figures on the tally board

The crowd that gathered at around 4pm on May 16 in front of the CKC campus where the NAMFREL tally board was installed.

It's almost a week since the polls closed, and they are still counting the votes at the Conference Hall of the Old Barracks Building (which some call Handumanan). How I wish I have pictures of the proceedings in the conference room. But, what with all the police and military present in the area, no will do. So please bear with the pictures I came up with. I got them using my mobile phone.

And yes, some Calbayognons are still holding vigil in front of the Old Barracks Building, a bomb exploding in the Legislative Hall parking area, notwithstanding.

Anyway, for the latest partial unofficial figures (courtesy of NAMFREL) please log on to Click on ELEKSYON/PINILI-AY 2007.

election money

I posted this photo for our friends who are viewing this blog from overseas or anywhere else but Calbayog. Nope, it's not a new denomination issued by the Central Bank. It's a 200-peso bill with the names of some candidates plastered on it. This was among the 500, 100, 50 and 20-peso bills that circulated in Calbayog during the last election.

Hi there! There is an economic boom in Calbayog. As attested by many of my friends who own stores in the market and other areas in the city, there is always that shopping spree done by many people in Calbayog after the election. But they were surprised by year's election. The shopping went on 'til Saturday, almost a week after the polls.

Well, it's a given that there is money. Vote-buying? Calbayog is not unique in that respect. You may do a Ronald Reagan (remember his ill-advised statement in the 1986 snap election wherein he accused both Marcos and Cory of cheating) by saying that there was vote-buying on both sides. Well, at least one side was discreet enough to wrap the money in some paper or envelope. But the other side, or should I say sides, simply pasted the candidate's or candidates' name on the money and gave it to the prospective vote seller.

Since vote-buying is here to stay, maybe we ought to be giving out seminars on discretion and proper decorum, you know the proper etiquette on vote-buying; something like the refined way to buy votes. Smile, it's a Sunday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

tidbits of local history

Note: As I have mentioned in my post last Sunday, while cleaning my room, I was "unearthed” beneath a pile of magazine and books, copies of the articles that I wrote for the souvenir program during the 50th Charter Day Anniversary of Calbayog City on October 16, 1998. Here’s the second article:


Happy Charter Day Everyone! If you are now reading this line, this writer would like to thank you for taking time to read beyond the title of this article (of course, it’s Spanish), which if you should take a closer look, somewhat summarizes the evolution of a church, in this case the church in Calbayog; and also, it is an analogy on the growth of a pueblo once known as Hibatang (or Ibatan or Batan) now celebrating her Golden Jubilee. From a small group of believers, the people of God in Calbayog grew and thus was formed the parish and the diocese; the same thing with Calbayog, the small settlement along the Hibatang River became a city that looked an “extended municipality” in 1948 and was transformed to the dynamic urban center that it is at present.

The significance of the Golden Jubilee of Calbayog cannot be overemphasized, after all, we celebrate anniversaries not only to look back and remember how we have started, but to know how to move forward and grow amid the trickling of the sands of time.

On this important milestone in our local history, we also have to consider the development of the Diocese (and parish) of Calbayog. Why, some may ask, should we give importance to religion, or the Church to say the least, in a celebration that is basically secular? We should always remember that the church is a vital factor in telling the history of many settlements in the Philippines. In the absence of records or archives, many historians look at the age of the church bell to know the age of settlement. (Of course we can no longer do this in Calbayog, the original bell was replaced even before the repairs done on the cathedral in the 1960s)

You might not have noticed it, Calbayog still have the Spanish Plaza Complex. The Calbayog City Hall, the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, the Spanish Building of the Calbayog Pilot School and the Old Barracks – all of these were erected around the Sacred Heart Plaza which would later on be named after the late Julio Cardinal Rosales.

Let’s focus on the Cathedral. This writer did a research on its history a few years ago. That research, though inconclusive, made an attempt to put into record the history of this majestic place of worship, the dome and the belfry of which have become symbols of the cultural and religious tradition that is Calbayog City.

When Calbayog became a city in 1948, the cathedral was more or less ninety-three (93) years old (that is if we count from 1855, the last year of service of Fr. Sebastian Gomez as parish priest of Calbayog. Fr. Gomez is credited as the one who initiated the construction of the cathedral). The diocese was 38 years old (having been erected by Saint Pius X in 1910) and it has been 163 years since Fr. Benito Del Carmen, o.f.m. became the first parish priest of Calbayog.

In 1948, the parishioners were still worshiping in a cathedral characterized by the ornate chandeliers and the frescoed ceiling and not to mention the antique bells, candelabras and the antique images on the ornate altars; and the priests said the masses in Latin with his back to the people. Some old timers still remember how they dread seeing the priests ascend the wrought iron pulpito after the gospel, the moment he did that, it meant that it was going to be a long sermon.

And how true are the stories that some members of prominent families would bring their own chairs in front of the pews for them to use during high masses? And the singing of the Salve Regina was a superb experience. Try to imagine the cantores singing it in “good” Latin with the Armonium (which many mistook as the organ) in accompaniment and the priest garbed in fine alb carrying the incenser.

Okay, so you’ve had enough of the trappings of the cathedral. How about the people who ran the parish and the diocese?

1948 was the last year of Monsignor Juan Joel’s assignment as Parish Priest. He was succeeded by Monsignor Federico Morrero. Then followed a succession of parish priests. It included among others, Frs. Paulino Singzon and Ponciano Figueroa, Monsignor Bernardo Dalwatan, Monsignor Basilio Rosales and Monsignor Vicente Astorga. At present we have Monsignor Bienvenido Chiquillo.

Most Rev. Miguel Acebedo was on his 10th year as Bishop when Calbayog became a city. His term ended in 1958 and the list of bishops that succeeded him is as follows:

Msgr. Manuel del Rosario – 1958-1961
Msgr. Cipriano Urgel – June 12, 1962 – June 14, 1973
Msgr. Ricardo Tancinco Jr. DD – May 30, 1974 – 1979
Msgr. Sincero B. Lucero – June 23, 1979 – December 11, 1979 as Apostolic administrator; installed as Bishop on March 10, 1980. Resigned in 1984.

During the prolonged illness of Bishop Lucero, Bishops Filomeno G. Bactol and Godofredo P. Pedernal were successively appointed Apostolic Administrators sede plena of the Diocese. Upon the resignation of Lucero, the Holy See appointed the Very Reverend Pastor E. Palma, OAR, as the Apostolic Administrator sede vacante. Fr. Paloma resigned, and Archbishop Pedro R. Dean Jr. of Palo was appointed Apostolic Administrator SV on October 28, 1985. On November 1987, Pope John Paul II appointed Right Reverend Monsignor Maximiano T. Cruz Auxiliary Bishop of Calbayog.

It was during the time of Monsignor Manuel del Rosario when the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral had the unfortunate fate of being included in the list of churches that were to undergo drastic alterations. What we see in the Cathedral today is the result of such actions.

On the other hand, Calbayog was one of those dioceses that actively responded to the call of the Second Vatican Council. The masses were said in the vernacular. The clergy reached out to the people in the interior barangays. But this dynamism cast a heavy toll on the diocese. The Diocese of Calbayog was in a turmoil from the 1970s to the 1980s. The situation was best summed up be the late Msgr. Narding Irinco:

“Politically, the island (of Samar) is a hotbed of rebel activities. In many places, particularly in the hinterlands, the villagers are the hapless victims of encounters between the insurgents and government forces. Planned military operations and raids by rebel groups had not only disrupted the normal flow of the people’s lives but have also dislocated and uprooted the villagers from their homes. An atmosphere of fear, distrust and suspicion prevailed over many villagers. Needless to say, such a political situation was a major deterrent for the development of the people in the area. This ideologically-induced fragmentation was further aggravated by fierce competition among powerful politicians vying for the people’s support.”

“Among those victimized by this unfortunate situation was the Church herself. During the years immediately following Vatican II, the Church in Calbayog Diocese could boast of being a dynamic church, alive and responsive to the appeals of the people and imperatives of Vatican II. Inspired by the vision of ‘Church of the Poor’ in solidarity with the deprived and the marginalized, the church in the diocese struggled to realize this vision. In the atmosphere of political repression that generally prevailed in the country in the early 1980s the Church soon experienced the price she had to pay for this option. The raid by the military of the BORONGAN-CATARMAN-PALO-CALBAYOG (BCPC) Pastoral Secretariat in 1982 sounded the deathtoll for the pastoral activities of the Church that was struggling to be responsive to the signs of the times. The event scattered the clergy and the pastoral workers. The Bishop resigned and a succession of short-lived apostolic administrators (4 in about 5 years) followed its wake!”

“With the dispersal of the pastoral workers, practically all of the pastoral programs and organizational structures of the Diocese ceased to be operational… The situation persisted even to the year 1989. This chain of tragic events almost ended in the virtual “phasing out” of the Calbayog Diocese… the Holy See intended to reduce Calbayog Diocese to a mere Titular See. But upon the appointment of the MOST REV. PEDRO R. DEAN, D.D., the Metropolitan Archbishop of Palo, Rome decided to entrust to his administration the Diocese of Calbayog to save the situation. He humbly accepted the challenging responsibility, notwithstanding the burden of the vast Archdiocese of Palo.”

Today, the diocese of Calbayog is slowly inching its way to become one of the most active if not alive dioceses there is in this country. As the City of Calbayog grew, the Parish of Our Lady’s Nativity has implemented various development projects (especially on the restoration of the Cathedral) hand in hand with the promotion of various religious activities and organizations especially that of the youth.

The present Parish Pastoral Council which has served the Parish since 1992 has helped make all the projects possible through the efforts and solicitations for contributions (spiritual, moral and financial). Generous hearts of benefactors and donors both from Calbayog parishioners and those Calbayognons now living outside the Calbayog as in Manila, Cebu and in other parts of the Philippines, the United States and other parts of the globe. All these have been made possible through the guidance of the present Parish Priest Monsignor Bienvenido Chiquillo and the unfailing inspiration of Bishop Maximiano Cruz and of course the prayers of the parishioners.

The next time you happen to be in the vicinity of the Cardinal Rosales Plaza, do ponder upon the structures around it. Try to relish the events and the achievements of the days gone by; and learn that those events are recalled, the structures are venerated not for us to be frozen back in time but for us to learn how to move forward. Think about that.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

From the Archives

(Note: Last Saturday it happened - those rare moments when I got time to clean-up my room. And beneath a pile of books, papers and magazines, I found copies of two articles which I wrote for the souvenir program during the 50th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary Celebration on October 16, 1998. I was amused at what I wrote almost a decade ago. I thought it would be nice to share with you these articles. Let me first give you the one entitled FROM THE ARCHIVES.)

For purposes of introduction, this writer once held the position as Archival Officer at the Sangguniang Panlungsod. As the name of the position implies, one of my functions was to dust off old documents and other relevant papers for archival purposes.

The “dusting off” was a worthwhile experience. Found in the storeroom (read: cramped windowless office space accented by mouse and cockroaches ‘you-know-what’) were bound copies of resolutions and ordinances passed by the council from as early as 1925 – the time when the municipal budget of one million pesos was something really big. At the end of 1994, I managed to make an updated list of elected or appointed officials from the 1800s to the early 1990s.

With those materials I learned how the officials had a hard time adjusting to the new medium of communication – from Spanish to English. Take this: “... a resolution encouraging all animal-minded Calbayognons to raise animals …” or something to that effect. Then, there was this set of resolutions and official communications (in 1946) wherein the signatory as mayor (presidente interim) was a certain Andres Rosales. This raised my curiosity as Andres Rosales is not in the list of Mayors of Calbayog. Obviously more research needs to be done.

There was this torn page from the Leyes de Samar y Leyte, a publication in the 1940s, wherein the bishop instructed his clergy to prepare for the coming of the Japanese. Also found were some sketches / maps illustrating the location of watchtowers to be used in the defense against the Japanese invaders.

And who doesn’t like to read love letters? Or letters that were supposed to have been thrown away after being read. There was one letter wherein the guy was asking his girlfriend to return his things as it was the end of their relationship. Clue? The guy is a doctoral degree holder and the lady is a teacher. Both are still alive in their fifties or sixties and yes, they’re married, but not to each other.

Tempting as it might be, this article is not supposed to be for some gossiping of sort. It is also supposed to make all aware that there exists an archival office (as of yet, I will not call it as the City Archives) which has a decent (meaning: worth-your-while) collection of important papers that has relevance to the existence of the City of Calbayog.

As we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Calbayog, we might as well look back some fifty years before and see how Calbayog was, based on the archival records available so far.

On January 1, 1948 (yes, it was January 1 – New Year’s Day) the Municipal Council of Calbayog held its session at 9:30 A.M. In attendance were Pedro Pido, the Municipal Mayor, Ignacio Cui, the Municipal Vice Mayor and the councilors being: Pablo Makabidang, Gregorio Cano, Paciano Yabao, Primitivo Anita, Flavio Quiño, Roman Bautista and Pedro Libao. Casiano Asis was absent in that session. The (municipal) secretary was Ignacio Mahagcot. Their first resolution was (may I quote word for word, nothing added nothing taken out):
“…to congratulate as it is hereby congratulated, the newly elected Senators and the elected Provincial Governor and members of the Provincial Board of Samar, and wishing the prosperity of their administrations…”

They also expressed their congratulations to Rev. Fr. Pedro L. Yrigan who was ordained priest on December 20, 1947 by Bishop Miguel Acebedo. (Monsignor Yrigan said his first solemn mass at the Cathedral on January 20, 1948)

In one session, the council approved the fixed amount of per diem for the councilors: it was set at two pesos per session.

The town of Calbayog was hit by supertyphoon “Jean” on December 25, 1947. It resulted in a flood that rose as high as one meter. Learning from that experience, the council requested the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos from Senator Jose Avelino for the re-opening of the canal “across the poblacion”. They must be referring to the present-day Rosales Boulevard.

In case you think that our clean-up drives are something new, think again. The council in 1948 declared February 16 – 22 of every year as Clean-up Week. With the Mayor of course, as the chairman and some heads of schools and offices as members.

Have you heard about “funeral diplomacy”? I came across this term in a news report on the funeral of Emperor Hirohito of Japan. During that event Heads of States attended the funeral and on the side, made official agreements on their respective country’s interests. That term came to mind upon reading the two resolutions the council passed on April 24, 1948 – nine days after the death of President Manuel Roxas. One resolution expressed their condolences to the family of the late President while the other resolution expressed their congratulations to Vice President Elpidio Quirino who then has been sworn in as President.

It was in the session on July 1, 1948 when the approval of the creation of the City of Calbayog was first mentioned. Anticipating some changes in (in their words) “employees and officials”, some sort of a committee was formed to handle the inauguration of the City and the appointments of new officials.

On September 15, 1948, they passed a resolution expressing gratitude to Senate President Jose Avelino AND Congressman Agripino Escareal of the First District of Samar for their efforts in the approval of Republic Act 328 which created the City of Calbayog.

The Municipal council held its last session on October 1, 1948. The next session – that of the City Council – was held on October 23, 1948. The Mayor was Pedro Pido and the Vice Mayor was Ignacio Cui. The City Councilors were Matilde De Los Santos, Florencio Dimangay, Flaviano Quiño, Pablo Macabidang, Victor Doroja, Rufino Pido, Petronilo Pallones and Francisco Miano. Amado Ygrubay, who will later serve as mayor, was the Secretary. From the 1920s to 1948, the three-year term of office Municipal Officials ends on October 15.

It has been fifty years and the city officials are still dealing with well, almost the same matters: money (or budget), infrastructure, revenue ordinances, tax codes, cleanliness and beautification, felicitations, social services, disaster preparedness, and the like (and not to mention bickering on the side). All of these we can’t do without. After all, matters like these are the essential elements of that which we call politics.

The Calbayognon certainly has gone a long way. The methods by which official papers will be archived have certainly advanced and it assures us that a wide array of reference materials will be available for the next generations of Calbayognons. One question though – we have advanced or “high tech” office equipments, what about some of the employees? Ciao!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rueda Street

Let me share with you an artist's perspective of another LGU project that's on the planning board. That's the walkway along Rueda Street - from Magsaysay Boulevard going to TTMIST gate

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Images from Guinogo-an Cave

I've been to this cave at least four times and I've never had enough of it

Calbayog's Waterfalls: Tarangban 2

... and yet another view of Tarangaban Falls

Calbayog's Waterfalls: Tarangban

WHEW! That's all i can say about Tarangaban Falls. You'll find this, well, "on top" of Bangon Falls, on the right side to be exact

Calbayog's Waterfalls: Bangon

Bangon Falls. I always refer to it as the crown jewel of Calbayog's natural wonders. I still need to see a picture that does justice to the beauty that is Bangon Falls

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I shot the President!

I checked my files and came across this picture of some officials with President Gloria Arroyo when she visited Calbayog. Where am I? On the lower left hand corner, that's my right hand (or at least parts or it) with my watch and my mobile phone, when I shot (or took) a picture of the President.
With PGMA are TTMIST Prexy Dr. Susie Bohol, Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, Congressman Reynaldo Uy, Mayor Mel Sarmiento and DepED Superintendent Edtha Paculan

Nijaga Park

Let's keep our fingers crossed. This is the new look that Nijaga Park will be sporting soon.

Voter's Prayer

Voter’s Prayer
(Adapted from The Prayer of St. Francis)

Lord, make me an instrument of your presence in the polls.
Where there is coercion and violence, let me sow the seeds of love;
Where there is bribery and vote buying, let me sow seeds of integrity;
Where there is discord, let me sow seeds of unity;
Where there is electoral fraud, let me sow seeds of honesty;
Where there is duplicity and propaganda, le me sow seeds of truth;
Where there is indifference, let me sow seeds of care and concern;
And, where there is despair in the Electoral Process, let me sow seeds of Hope.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much think of my selfish motives when I vote. Instill in me a deep sense of communal solidarity in my critical choice of candidates that would rise above the traditional politics of PAY-OFF, PERSONALITY and PATRONAGE.
Enlighten me to elect worthy men and women that embody the true spirit of public service in their moral consciousness.
For it is in voting responsibly that we receive the fruits of true democracy.
And it is in dying as a seed to our selfishness that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us. St. Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
Blessed Pedro Calungsod, pray for us.
That in all things, god may be glorified.

(from PPCRV)

Monday, May 7, 2007

still with the KAME award

Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento with his fellow KAME IV awardees. (L-R) Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, Opol Municipal Mayor Dixon Yasay and Paco, Benguet Barangay Chairman Carlos Ringor.

The following is the profile of the City of Calbayog as printed in the KAME IV souvenir program:

KAME IV Award for City: City of Calbayog
Calbayog City exemplifies the new paradigm in city management with the broadening of focus from the traditional function of administration of basic public services to that of growth promotion and development management. The leadership of Calbayog City epitomizes the fresh breed of local chief executives who gained extensive experience and expertise in the private sector before venturing into politics. Bringing with him substantial private sector experience and expertise into the management of the City, he transformed the style and focus of management in the City Government. It is now a goal-focused, results-oriented organization. The City Government has also broadened decision-making with a highly participative and consultative system.

One of the laudable management innovations of the City Government is the organization of the People’s Committee which is a multi-sectoral body. This serves as a mechanism for citizen’s participation in the City’s development agenda and provides a two way feedback mechanism between the LGU and the community. The City’s Roadmap and Scorecard is reflective of the City Government’s emphasis on goals and results. This is formulated in partnership with the People’s Committee which includes representatives from the academe, business sector, professionals, labor, the barangays, women’s groups, church, youth, NGOs and POs such as the Federation of Pedicab Drivers Associations, the Farmers Associations and the Association of Fisherfolks.

The City Government institutionalized Fisherfolks Day, Farmers’ Congress. Women’s Day and Children’s Month to underscore the importance the City Government puts in these key sectors. It was the first to organize community watch groups and court watch groups to provide support for victims of violence.

As in many urban centers, Calbayog City is beset with an increasing number of rural migrants and informal settlers. While most urban local governments are unable to address this problem effectively, the City Government faced this squarely by creating a City Urban Housing Development Division which work closely with informal settlers, organizing them into homeowners associations and forming a federation among such associations. The federation collaborates with the City Government in the planning and implementation of housing projects for the informal settlers. To date, it has facilitated the preparation and release of 3,000 land titles to beneficiaries. The City Government promoted he bayanihan system in the development of these sites to bring down costs and to foster strong community - local government partnership.

To address the problems of its rural hinterlands, the City Government launched a novel program, the Kabuhayan sa Kagubatan which promotes pili production in the hinterland and mangrove reforestation in the coastal areas. With the program, the City Government increased the incomes of rural folk and converted illegal pouchers into planters and forest guards of the watershed.

The City Government is recognized for its Coastal Zoning Project. It is a project which delineates coastal waters for commercial and marginal fishing and features a fishing highway. For this, the City Government has been conferred two national awards and has become a learning center for the other coastal towns and cities wishing to replicate the innovative project.

The City leadership promoted the City aggressively and established a broad network of partners in the City’s development including international development agencies, national government agencies, the business sector, NGOs and the academe. The City gained substantial funding support and technical assistance; and became a pilot for several programs such as the Cities Development Strategies; Millennium Development Goals; Clean Air Program; Bantay Bugaw; Local Initiatives for Wastewater Treatment; Coastal Zoning Project; The Infrastructure for Rural Production Enhancement Sector project; Internet Literacy and Access for Students (GILAS); Techno Gabay Program; and K-Agrinet Program.

Calbayog City represents the corporate governance that most city governments can aim for. It is indeed an enterprise on the move – for the greater economic as well as social good of its constituents.

KAME for Calbayog City and Mayor Mel Sarmiento

Calbayog City Mayor Mel Sarmiento with (L-R) Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Country Representative Klaus Preschle and German Ambassador Axel Weishaupt.

The Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence (KAME IV) Award Ceremony

06 December 2006
Champagne Salon
Manila Hotel, Philippines

History of the KAME Award

The Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence (KAME) is an award for the best managed local governments in the Philippines and is given every three (3) years or during a term of a local government official in honor of Konrad Adenauer, a one time Mayor of Cologne, Germany from 1921 to 1933 and the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, who epitomized Christian democracy, social justice and equality amongst individuals and the society at large.

In Resolution No. 63 dated February 6, 1996, the Board of Trustees of the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF), the major partner of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) in the field of promoting local democratic institutions in the Philippines, formalized the decision to honor the man and the principles of his leadership as Mayor of Cologne, Germany by establishing the Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence (KAME) Award.

In March 1996, the Board of Trustees of the Local Government Development Foundation (LOGODEF) conceptualized and discussed the award system. The KAME award is to be conferred on Local Chief Executives of various local governments whose leadership epitomizes the ideals, which Konrad Adenauer believed in and practiced while in public service. The KAME is awarded to each of the four (4) local government categories representing the province, city, municipality and barangay. What are principally recognized in the KAME Award are the local governments themselves. The Local Chief Executives who steer the local government bureaucracies to high performance are likewise recognized. The individual winners of the award are conferred with a gold medal and a plaque of recognition while the local governments are also given separate plaques. Eight (8) pre-determined criteria are used in making the selection of winners.

The first KAME award was accorded to four local officials on December 3, 1996 at Hotel Nikko in Makati City. Aside from the criterion, they were all chosen for their constructive leadership, accomplishments and visions as political leaders of their communities.

The second KAME award or KAME II was awarded on December 1, 1999 at the Manila Hotel to four (4) outstanding local officials in the presence of Dr. Josef Thesing, Director-General of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) in Germany and notable Philippine political figures. The awardees were acclaimed for promoting public management reforms and were recognized for providing the conditions that brought about the outstanding accomplishments of the awardees.

KAME III was awarded on December 5, 2003 at the Manila Hotel.

KAME is the only foreign award for local governments in the Philippines which has been duly recognized by the Senate of the Philippines in its Resolution No. 681.

Friday, May 4, 2007

welcome to my blogpot

Hi there! at long last I got the time to create this blog. This is basically a collection of the columns I have written for the Leyte - Samar Daily Express, Region 8's first daily (local) newspapers.

The title is in honor of the late Milagros Azanza, who used to write for the Manila Chronicle. that column contained everything about Calbayog, especially the social scene and the interesting people.