Monday, June 30, 2008

Calbayog at 60

Calbayog City will turn 60 this year. What you see is not the official logo. I needed something to post so as to announce the celebration so I got in touch with CACO's Jonas Lim and this is what I got.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

PGMA on Calbayog City

Let me share with you something I got (by accident) from the website of the Office of the President. It's a speech delivered by PGMA wherein she made a reference on what she called "the Calbayog City experience".

The paragraph referring to Calbayog is as follows: ". . . but while the fiscal numbers are better than expected, we need to work harder and more effectively in improving the tax effort together. I ask our governors to join the BIR’s LGU Assurance Program which will result in better collections of both national and local taxes, as illustrated by the experience of Calbayog City . . . "

For a complete text of the speech, please check this link.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Images from the Dedication of the Calbayog Main Health Center

(Electricity was restored at minutes past midnight. Thanks to Typhoon Frank, Calbayog was "powerless" since Friday. Anyway, on to "business")

I just got hold of some pictures taken during the Dedication of the Calbayog City Main Health Center. The said center is one of the projects undertaken under the MEDCAP of the USNS Mercy Mission or the Pacific Partnership 2008. It is located in Brgy. Capoocan, near the Hall of Justice and a few steps from the (soon-to-be-finished) Calbayog City Gymnasium.

Bishop Isabelo Abarquez as he said the Prayer of Blessing

Ambassador Kristie Kenney with (l-r) Capt. William Kearns, Capt. Crispin Mercado, Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Cong. Reynaldo Uy and DFA Asec Edsal Custodio.

(During the short program after the blessing and before the ribbon-cutting) Bishop Isabelo Abarquez delivered a speech of thanks on behalf of the Samareños . . .

. . . and a reply was made by the Ambassador

Ribbon-cutting. Ambassador Kenney with Mayor Sarmiento and some members of the PA Engineering Batallion and the US Navy Seabees. Partly hidden are Cong. Reynaldo Uy and Bishop Isabelo Abarquez.

The Ambassador and the City Mayor as they unveiled the plaque

The dedication was capped with the U.S. Navy Seabees presenting the City Mayor a completion plaque. In close attendance in the presentation was Cong. Reynaldo Uy.

"The completion plaque accents the work and partnership between the U.S. Navy, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Royal Australian Army Engineers.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

more on the Ambassador's Visit

(Let me give you another article written by Joey Gabieta for today's edition of the Leyte Samar Daily Express)

Ambassador Kristie Kenney resembles presidential visit

CALBAYOG CITY - Last Saturday’s visit of US Ambassador Kristie Kenney to this city has the trimmings of a presidential visit.

The grand presentation of the visiting US ambassador was made sure by the city’s mayor, Mel Senen Sarmiento, who said that the visit of Kenney to their city “awe” him.

Which was just right considering that Kenney was the first ever ambassador of the United States of America to ever set foot in this city or in any part of the entire Samar Island.

Last Saturday’s visit of Kenney was also her first visit to any parts of Eastern Visayas.

“Words were not enough on the presence of her Excellency, Ambassador Kristie Kenney here in Calbayog City,” Sarmiento said.

Kenney visited Calbayog last Saturday as the 928-members of the US Navy ended their almost a month medical and engineering mission covering barangays of this city and nearby towns of Santa Margarita, Gandara and San Vicente, in Northern Samar.

During her more than four-hour visit, Kenney was welcomed at the city airport by Sarmiento and other officials. Among those who welcomed the US ambassador were Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Samar Representative Reynaldo Uy, police and Army officials led by Brigadier General Arthur Tabaquero, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division.

(Ambassador Kenney with Gen. Arthur Tabaquero)

(Ambassador Kenny with Mayor Mel Sarmiento)

(Ambassador Kenney with Cong. Reynaldo Uy)

(Ambassador Kenney with Gov. Raul Daza)

Kenney was accompanied by acting Secretary Edcel Custodio of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

At the Calbayog City airport, security men, both in uniform and in civilian attire, could be seen all over to ensure the safety of the visiting American dignitary.

Tabaquero said that aside from the security preparation designed by the local, the embassy has also provided their own security measure for Kenney.

As her group were proceeding to the Tiburcio Tancinco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology, which was more than three kilometers away from the airport, thousands of elementary and high school students lined up the streets waving flags of the Philippines and the US.

Kenney, in her speech, said she too was happy to be accorded with warm greetings from the people and officials of the city. In her own words, she described the welcome as “extra-ordinary.”

Members of the city’s dance troupe provided the entertainment to Kenney’s group.
The US ambassador also proceeded to visit a high school where she conducted a reading session with some of the school’s students and teachers. She also led in the inauguration of a barangay health center.

Earlier, the members of the US mercy mission were also treated to a special evening by the city government as a send-off was tendered to them at the Nijaga Park. Local artists including the famed Sarakiki Festival, entertained their foreign guests.

(Ambassador Kenney as she watched the Sarakiki-Hadang Performance with Cong. Reynaldo Uy, Mayor Mel Sarmiento and DFA Asec Edsal Custodio)

During their goodwill mission, the group was able to provide health services close to 30,000 people; build a water and waste treatment facility and health centers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sec. Claudio conducts Forum on Energy and Food Security

Secretary Gabriel "Gabby" Claudio was in Calbayog today. He was in town to conduct a Forum on Food and Energy Security. The said event was held at the Audio-Visual Room of TTMIST. With Secretary Caludio were Asec. Fredinand Cui, Jr. and Asec. Ian Dato of the Presidential Management Staff. In attendance were Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, some SP members and the officers and members of various people's organizations.

Asec. Dato gave a powerpoint presentation detailing what the government is doing to ensure food and energy security in the country. The program was capped by a presscon with members of the Calbayog media.

Part of the crowd that attended the forum

Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivering his welcome message

Sec. Claudio as he delivered his message

Asec. Ian Dato as he made his presentation

Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino fielding a question during the open forum

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ambassador Kenney in Calbayog

(U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney was in Calbayog today. Among her engagements was the Closing Ceremonies of Pacific Partnership 2008. Let me give you Joey Gabieta's report as printed in the LSDE)

CALBAYOG CITY– After more than a month of conducting their medical and engineering works in this city and in two towns in Samar and one in Northern Samar, the close to 3,000 members of America’s mercy mission packed their bags and things yesterday morning with their ambassador in the country, Kristie Kenney expressing the “extraordinary experience” that the group had during their stay.

Kenney, in her speech, said that the medical and engineering work conducted by the members of the mission, dubbed by local officials as “Pacific Partnership 2008: Samar Mission,” said that she was sure that the members of the mission savored their experience and stay in Samar provinces.
“Our engineers learned new techniques; our doctors and nurses benefited from the expertise of (local) doctors and nurses.

And you taught us how to sing and dance,” she said to a warm applause from the audience at the socio-cultural hall of the Tiburcio Tancingco Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (TTMIST), this city.

She was welcomed by Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza, Samar Rep. Reynaldo Uy, Samar Vice Governor Jesus Redaja and Brigadier General Arthur Tabaquero, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division.

Ambassador Kenney was accompanied by Edcel Custodio, acting secretary of the Foreign Affairs Department.

The 928 men and women members of the USNS Mercy Mission, arrived in Samar last May 13 and formally ended their work last Friday.

Aside from this city, the group, which was composed of 500 doctors and nurses and 68 engineers, among others, conducted their “mercy mission,” in the neighboring towns of Sta. Margarita and Gandara in Samar and in San Isidro, Northern Samar.

The mission group was headed by Captain William Kearns who said that he was overwhelmed by the warm reception their group received from the local people. “Thank you for your great welcome. The mission served as a lasing reminder of friendship and teamwork between (the United States and the Philippines),” he said in his speech during the send-off.

Mel Senen Sarmiento, mayor of this city, said he could not find words in expressing his gratitude to the coming of the mission which he said had benefited close to 30,000 poor people.
On top of providing medical services, the group also constructed a health center; water and waste treatment facility, both in this city and another health center in Santa Margarita.

For his part, Northern Samar Governor Raul Daza said that the goodwill mission conducted by the members of the USNS Mercy Mission, was an indication that theAmerica cares for people living in less developed countries like the Philippines. “The people have witnessed that the US is not only an instrument of destruction just like we have witnessed in Iraq but also an instrument of preserving lives…,” Daza said.

The coming of the mercy mission to Samar and Northern Samar provinces was realized upon the request of Mayor Sarmiento who asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In turn, the President had requested the US government, through its embassy here in the country, to conduct the mission. Sarmiento himself said that the mission was the second ever to happen in the province after its first mission in 1987 which also served “thousands of poor people in the island.”

The USNS Mercy, which was docked in the Samar Sea bordering this city and the island town of Sto. Niño during their goodwill mission, is described as a hospital ship whose primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute-surgical medical facility to theUS military with the secondary mission of providing medical and surgical services, afloat and ashore to support US disaster relief and humanitarian operation worldwide.

Here are some pictures taken during the program at the TTMIST

Ambassador Kenney with (l-r) DFA Asec Custodio, Capt. Kearns and Capt. Mercado

CACO singers doing the doxology

An American band member as he sang the "Star-Sprangled Banner"

Mayor Sarmiento delivering a thank you speech in behalf of the Samareños

Part of the guests invited for the affair

with the presidential table re-arranged minutes before the program, the American envoy settled for the floor to watch the AVP on the USNS mercy mission.

Capt. Crispin Mercado, the Mission Co-Director from the Armed Forces of the Philippines

Capt. William Kearns III, the Mission Co-Director from the US Navy.

Ambassador Kristie Kenney

DFA Acting Secretary Edsal Custodio

Ambassador Kenney as she received a Resolution of Thanks. Said resolution was signed by Mayor Sarmiento, San Isidro Mayor Conrado Avila, Sta. Margarita Mayor Fred Serrano and Gandara Mayor Antonieto Cabueños.

Tokens of Banig and Lakub were given to the four VIPs

Chaplain Dance as he delivered a speech during the Project Hand Clasp Ceremony

Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez receiving the Project Hand Clasp donations on behalf of the Diocesan Commission on Health Care.