Friday, February 27, 2009

One Visayas

Mayor Mel Sarmiento will lead the Calbayog City delegation which will participate in One Visayas Arts and Culture Exhibition. This is a showcase of the Arts and Culture of Regions 6, 7 and 8. It will be held at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City, Cebu.

One Visayas aims to serve as a venue to foster Visayan cooperation, greater understanding and respect among the diverse (Visayan) people towards progress and development utilizing the gains of the Visayas in the arts, culture, history and tourism. The event officially opens this Sunday with President Gloria Arroyo as guest of honor.

Calbayog will have three presentations:
  • “Inodoro”, a theater / musical production on waste water management (March 2, 2009)
  • “Calbayog Lakub”, Pasundayag san Lokal nga Arte, Kultura ug Bahandi (March 3, 2009)
  • The showing of 3 digifilms produced by the City of Calbayog through the City Arts and Culture Office (March 4, 2009).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On the billion-peso irrigation project in Norther Samar

“Let’s finish the project on time”, RDC Chair Sarmiento tells Hanjin engineers

Calbayog City. RDC-8 Chairperson and Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento on Tuesday summoned some Project engineers from Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction, Co. (HHICC) to a meeting at the function room of I’s Plant hotel, this city. On the agenda was the catch-up plan of the NIA / Irrigation and Drainage component of the Help for Catubig Agricultural Advancement Project (HCAAP). Included in this project are the irrigations systems in Catubig, Bulao and Hagbay (all in Northern Samar).

In attendance during the meeting were Ernesto Octaviano of NEDA-8, Engr. Romeo Irinco of NIA, HCAAP Consultants Teofilo Malocse and Miguel Espaldon. HHICC was represented by Engr. Hyun Suk Shin, Deok Weon Lim and Engr. Dante Tan.

Hanjin is undertaking the billion-peso project which commenced on March 22, 2007. Its original contract amount of Php 994,391,744.00 is expected to grow as revisions come along the way. Originally expected to be finished on March 19, 2010, it is now expected to be finished by August 25, 2010, with a contract duration of 1,253 calendar days from the original 1,095 calendar days.

As per January 31, 2009 accomplishment report, the HHICC’s actual performance was at 13.8% which is way below the 15.1% cumulative target. This was among the reasons for Tuesday’s meeting.

In his message, Mayor Sermiento informed everyone that as RDC Chair, he regularly updates President Arroyo on the ongoing projects in the Region 8. Among other things, he also reiterated the President’s marching orders which “to develop Samar Island”. When finished, the HCAAP would be the first major irrigation system in Samar. The President might consider inspecting the said project anytime this year.

Hanjin’s engineers present in the meeting gave their commitment to meet the project deadline. Among other things, they cited the floods as one major cause of the delay in the implementation of the project. They also noted that the area is not easily accessible. One engineer gave the assurance that they will do their best for the project. They assured everyone of their best effort in terms of equipments and manpower. By March 2009, they will focus on the project sites at Catubig and Bulao.

The HCAAP is located in the Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas. Its fund source is JBIC Loan PH-P221 in the amount of 5,210 million yen. Its lead agency is the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). Other implementing agencies are the DPWH, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, the Province of Northern Samar and the Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas. When finished, the Irrigation and Drainage Component is expected to provide a 40-thousand ton rice production output per year which translates to an incremental net farm income of 247.03 million pesos (in constant 2007 prices).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From the LSDE: Businessmen encouraged to use Naval-Kawayan RORO ports

(Let me give you Ahlette Reyes' report which appeared in the February 20, 2009 edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

TACLOBAN CITY - More industry players in the shipping, freight transport business in the country are encouraged to make use of the alternative Naval and Kawayan Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) ports here in Eastern Visayas.

Calbayog Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, who chairs the Regional Development Council-8 (RDC-8), says Eastern Visayas now hosts other alternative routes from Luzon to Mindanao areas that could save more time and cost for the industry.

In the recent report of the RDC-8 construction of the Kawayan Port and Naval Port, both in Biliran province, have already been 100% completed through the Philippine Ports Authority.

“These are alternative routes which industry players can take advantage of if they could give the market a try. It would surely cut the cost of transport particularly in goods that would mean also reduction in prices of these goods when sold in the market and consumed by the people,” Mayor Sarmiento said.

The usual route taken by transportation and freight industry is the Lilo-an Port in Southern Leyte to Allen Port in Northern Samar.

The RDC chairman said Mindanao freights and carriers can instead ply the route from Lilo-an to Kawayan or Naval in Biliran Province, then to Esperanza, Aroroy or Burias Island in Masbate then on to Bicol and the Luzon areas. The travel time alone, Sarmiento said, is already much less than the usual route.

The Naval Port Development Project entailed the construction of RO-RO Ramp and Passenger Terminal Building and the project cost was at P9.9 million. Meanwhile the Kawayan (Balite) Port Development included the extension of RC Pier and construction of RO-RO ramp and cost P17 million. Both are now declared completed by the PPA regional office in Eastern Visayas.

Sarmiento said the port development projects have been undertaken to realize the President’s vision of a seamless transport system.

The RO-RO system is seen not only to reduce the cost of moving goods but also increase regional trade, enhance tourism and agricultural productivity, promote growth in investments and development of the countryside as well as poverty reduction. (AHLETTE C. REYES)

Monday, February 23, 2009

NSO extends service to passport applicants

The staff of the National Statistics Office - Calbayog led by Mr. Romeo Layam have set-up a "temporary shop" at the City Hall sala. They are on hand to assist clients who need to have their documents authenticated. This is part of the mobile passporting service which the Department of Foreign Affairs will be conducting in Calbayog on February 28 and March 1, 2009.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan on Calbayog (a little bit of it)

Today's edition of the Manila Bulletin contained a feature on Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. The two-page article entitled 'Mr. Independent' was an interview conducted by Rachel Barawid, Angelo Garcia, Ina Malipot, Ronald Lim, Jaser Marasigan and Ma. Theresa Arriza. When asked about how he instill discipline on his kids, he cited something about Calbayog:

"... There’s a study that shows that the quality sleep of a child is 8 p.m. to 11. Kaya yung maliliit maliliit. Yung matatatangkad, matatatangkad. Hindi, hindi. (Smiles) I review them for class and I even attend Parents-Teachers conferences. Even with KC. Sabi nga ni Sharon nun, ‘o ikaw naman, maghabol ka…’ In Poveda, up to IS (International School), up to Paris, I met with her academic adviser.

And the truth is, and this is another experience in Calbayog city. In Calbayog city, 2002, the mayor of the city Mayor Sarmiento decided to look into the performance of the Calbayog city high school students in terms of test scores. Local government provided resource materials, PTAs came in also and got involved. They put in place programs, mandatory tutorials on weekends and mock exams for the tests. Three years later, Calbayog City High School was not yet a national high school because there were certain requirements. But then they were already outperforming Cebu national high schools and Manila national high schools. Calbayog High School. So napuwersa yung DepEd naku eto hindi pa national high school pero mas maganda ang grade sa mga national high school. Kakahiya. National high school ka na rin, diba! So they became Calbayog City National High School.

What’s the moral of the story there, when the community, when parents are directly involved in the education of your children, the quality of the education and the performance of the students are much, much better. So there’s no rocket science to it . . . "

For the complete article, you may check this link.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cebu Pacific flies to Calbayog

The Maiden Manila-Calbayog flight of Cebu Pacific landed at approximately 7:15 this morning. On hand for the short program at the Calbayog Airport Terminal were the City's OIC, Bong Galang, Calbayog PNP Chief Lito Bigoy, some Assistant Department Managers namely Asner Dean, Brenda Tan, Dr. Sylvia De Guzman, Evelyn Junio and Roberto Billate. They were joined by Cebu Pacific's Candice Iyog, Michael Shau and RG Orense.

A Ceremonial ribbon-cutting to officially open Cebu Pacific's Manila-Calbayog route. (l-r) Ms. Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific VP for Marketing and Distribution, me in my capacity as Assistant City Tourism & Information Officer, Mr. Bong Galang the Office-in-Charge and Mr. Michael Shau, Cebu Pacific VP for Airline Operations.

Speeches were delivered by . . . Mr. Bong Galang (on behalf of the City Mayor)

. . . Ms. Candice Iyog

. . . and me (for the Tourism and Information Office)

For more images, please check this link.

Monday, February 16, 2009

some regional news

Let me share with you two reports on the delayed 138kv transmission line project. I got these from the Leyte-Samar Daily Express.

Delayed electric transmission system project in Samar Island to be pushed through by NGCP
By: Ahlette C. Reyes (This report appears in today's edition of the LSDE)

TACLOBAN CITY – The 138 KV backbone transmission system to span the northern part of the Samar Island would push through – after some encountered hitches over the years, Regional Development Council-8 Chairman, Calbayog City Mel Senen Sarmiento.

The 138 KV Wright-Calbayog Transmission Project is reportedly pushing through with the opening of the bid soon as informed by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in a letter to the RDC last month.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is the privately-owned corporation that won the competitive public bidding in December 2007 which was granted by Congress a 50-year franchise as official operator of the formerly government-owned and controlled National Transmission Corporation to operate and maintain the country’s power transmission grid.

According to Mayor Sarmiento, the change of hands in the official operation of the country’s transmission grid was also among the hitches considered as the cause of delay of the project.

“If we may remember when President Arroyo last visited the region, she particularly ordered to complete the construction of the Paranas-Calbayog 138 KV Trasmisison Line,” Mayor Sarmiento said in an interview during the recent RDC-8 Council meeting at the NEDA Regional Office Conference Hall.

NGCP’s Assistant Chief Technical Officer Lu Shirong said in his letter addressed to Mayor Sarmiento that since NGCP is a private consortium, it will not adopt the Government Procurement Act (RA 9184) in the procurement of goods and services necessary to implement the project. They will instead, adopt its own procurement guidelines which, Shirong said in his letter, “is more responsive in addressing the needs of the country’s power networks.

Under NGCP, it was learned that the target of submission for the project proposals by NGCP-accredited suppliers will be in the period of February 28 to April 28, 2009.

The actual construction up to the energization will be on July this year to September 2010.

The extension of the 138 kV backbone transmission systems towards the northern part of Samar Island, one of the priority projects of the RDC-8 started during the RDC chairmanship of then Gov. Remedios Petilla, is aimed at intensifying the delivery of quality and reliable power threat.

Presently, power transmission to Northern Samar is through the 69 kV wood pole lines that are susceptible to frequent power interruption and undervoltage.

With this development project, the power consumers in Northern Samar and nearby localities will benefit from quality and stable power supply which will serve as catalyst to jumpstart their economic progress which have been hampered through the years, primarily due to underdeveloped basic infrastructures including electricity.

This project is likewise considered as a commitment to comply with the requirements set by the National Grid Code as promulgated by the Energy Regulation Commission. (AHLETTE C. REYES)

And here's the report of Sarwell Meniano which appeared in yesterday's edition of the LSDE:

NGCP to construct P1.26B 138 kV transmission line in Samar
By: Sarwell Meniano

PALO, Leyte -The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) vowed to pursue the construction of the P1.26 billion Paranas-Calbayog 138 kV transmission project on July 2009 after the firm took over the management of the country’s electric transmission.

NGCP engineering assistant chief technical officer Lu Shirong said in a letter to Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento that it will take time to kick off the project considering that the new owner will no longer adopt the Government Procurement Reform Act.

“As the winning concessionaire that took over on 15 January 2009 the operation and maintenance including the expansion of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao Grids, NGCP shall definitely pursue the implementation of the project,” Shirong said in the letter dated February 6, 2009.

However, the owner will apply the company’s purchase system which they believed as “more responsive in addressing the needs of the country’s power networks.”

Based on the revised timetable, the target submission of project proposals by NGCP-accredited suppliers will be on February 28 to April 28, 2009, while construction and energization will be on July 18, 2009 to September 15, 2010.

In a letter last month to MalacaƱang, Sarmiento appealed that the bidding for the said project be opened to stabilize the power supply distribution in Samar Island, “which has serious ramification to the welfare and day-to-day livelihood of constituents.”

The said request was endorsed by National Transmission Corporation President Arthur Aguilar to NGCP President and Chief Executive Officer Walter Brown.

It can be recalled that on December 1, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law the bill allowing the NGCP to operate, manage, and expand the country’s high voltage power grid for 50 years. The corporation is a consortium of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., Calaca High Power Corp., and State Grid Corp. of China.

“I’m happy that this will be pushed through because we’ve been waiting for this for five years. There are steel towers in Samar but those are for Metro Manila. The region’s power transmission uses old wooden poles even if we are the host of geothermal power,” Sarmiento said in an interview.

Currently, power transmission to Northern Samar is through the 69 kV wood pole lines that are susceptible to frequent power interruption and “undervoltage.”

“How can we improve the economy in Samar Island if there are power failures that occur three days in one week?” Sarmiento asked.

The upgraded transmission lines will increase the power transfer capacity by installing 138 KV overhead transmission line together with a run of 24-count fiber optic cable overhead ground wire which would serve as the main communication medium of the link.

The substation in Wright, Samar will be expanded and a new Calbayog substation will be constructed as a receiving end substation.

From the new Calbayog substation, power will be transmitted to Northern Samar through the existing Calbayog-Lope de Vega lines and the proposed Calbayog-Allen lines.

The project which was designed to curb the long problem of frequent power outages in the northern part of Samar Island was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) in 2005. (SARWELL Q. MENIANO)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Courtesy Call

Mayor Jojo Binay paid a courtesy call on Mayor Mel Sarmiento yesterday. Calbayog was one of the stops of Mayor Binay during his Samar visit. The Makati Mayor was in the province to sign Sister-City Agreements with Catbalogan, Sta. Rita and Villareal.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento with Mayor Jojo Binay (r) and Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino (l)

Mayor Sarmiento and Mayor Binay with their City Administrators. Engr. Arnol Trani (standing) the Acting City Administrator of Calbayog and Makati City Administrator Marjorie De Veyra.

Mayor Sarmiento with VM Ronald Aquino, Linda Calesa and Bebot Beso.

Bibeth Orteza with Atty. Pio Kenneth Dasal, the Assistant Legal Officer of Makati

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Seminar for parolees and probationers

(February 2, 2009) The Calbayog Parole and Porbation Office conducted a Taining Seminar on Team Building and Value Clarification. The activity was part of the Therapeutic Community (TC) Live-out Training for parolees and probationers. The training seminar was held at the Parole and Probations Office at the Hall of Justice and was attended by ten probationers and parolees from Calbayog City. Resource persons during the activity were Mrs. Myrna Tecbobolan and Mrs. Cheche Auza. (Photos courtesy of Ms. Myrna Tecbobolan)

Ms. Cheche Auza as she conducted a lecture during the seminar.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American exchange students in Calbayog

Mayor Mel Sarmiento yesterday received the four members of the Rotary District 7870 to 3860 Group Study Exchange which the Rotary Club of Calbayog is hosting. The four GSE members who are from New Hampshire are Chelsea Conaboy, Katie List, Amy Wheeler and Tony Gilmore.

Chelsea Conaboy is connected with the Concord Monitor, a daily newspaper in Concord, N.H. She writes mostly about environmental issues and about life and politics in nine rural towns outside Concord. She also writes often about the experiences of Asian and African refugees resettled in Concord.

Katie List has worked for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, the New Hampshire House of representatives and Hilary Clinton's New Hampshire primary campaign for president. She works primarily in political communications, focusing on research and media coordination.

Amy Wheeler works full time as assistant vice president for business development and branch manager for the first Colebrook Bank in Amherst, N.H. She also works part time as on-duty manager for Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club in Milford, N.H. She volunteers as member of the board of directors of two nonprofits: the Nashua Pastoral Care center in Nashua, N.H. which helps people - primarily women and children - transition out of crisis into self-sufficiency; and the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce in Amherst, N.H.

Tony Gilmore is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Brooks Institute of Photography. Though recently retired, he started a new business called World Digital Photography, which he hopes to use to expand his passion for photography.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento with (r-l) Katie List, Chelsea Conaboy, Tony Gilmore (partly hidden) and Amy Wheeler.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Art Exhibit at TTMIST

As a support to local artists, Mayor Mel Sarmiento today visited the DAGAW Art Exhibit at the TTMIST AVR.
The exhibit dubbed as "TTMIST Dagaw, the Artist's Reflection" opened yesterday and has on display paintings done by student artists of TTMIST.
During his visit, Mayor Sarmiento was received by Ms. Sunta Bergado, Ms. Catherine Rodriguez, Ms. Marianie Joy Lacaba and some Dagaw artists.

Friday, February 6, 2009

update on the Wright - Calbayog 138 kv Transmission Line Project

Let me give you an update on the Wright - Calbayog 138 kv Transmission Line Project.

Yesterday, Mayor Mel Sarmiento received a letter from Mr. Arthur Aguilar, President and CEO of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Let me share some parts of the letter:

"This refers to your letter dated 20 January 2009, sent to us by Usec. Charito R. Elegir. We wish to inform you that we referred your letter to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). NGCP has taken over the transmission business of TransCo effective 15 January 2009, including the function of construction and expansion of the transmission system.

Considering that the project is part of the Final Determination approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, we expect the completion of the subject line by year 2010."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The PGS Workshop for Co-Convenorship

The Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) through one of its core programs, the Public Governance System (PGS) conducted the PGS workshop for Co-Convenorship. The one-day activity opened this morning at Is Plant Hotel.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento gave a presentation on the City Development Strategy (CDS) and PGS experience of Calbayog. Present as observer / guest in the activity was Mayor Alita Rosales of Catarman. She was together with her Municipal Budget Office and Municipal Accountant.

Also in attendance were the LGU's Finance cluster which is includes as members the City Treasurer, the City Budget Officer, the BPLO head, the City Planning & Development Officer and the City Accountant; and the economic cluster the members of which are the City Veterinarian, the City Cooperatives Officer, the Market Director, the Environment Officer, the City Engineer, the City Information Office and the City Agriculturist.

The workshop was one of the series of activities the the ISA have undertaken with the City of Calbayog being one of the partner cities of ISA. As of the moment, Calbayog is ranked as a PGS-Compliant City.

A PGS-Compliant status is granted to a partner that has formally organized its internal and external stakeholders to be part of the governance process with clear deliverables and accountabilities that are captured in “scorecards” developed to monitor the institution’s journey towards its vision. Moreover, the partner has begun using its strategy map in planning and budgeting.

For details about how the PGS / ISA works, you may check this link.

Here are some pictures from today's activity

Mayor Mel Sarmiento as he made his presentation.

Joel Valdez, ISA President

Catarman Mayor Alita Rosales with Cris Saenz, ISA Secretary and (to the Mayor's left) French financial analyst Mathieu Perez.

Some cluster members brainstorming with Cris Saenz.

Popcom activity on Responsible Parenthood

The staff of the City Population Office today underwent a one-day Trainors' Training on Responsible Parenting Movement - Natural Family Planning (RPM-NFP) Program.

The activity was held at the I's Plant Hotel activity center. Mayor Mel Sarmiento was on hand to welcome the participants. Ms. Elnora Pulma, the officer-in-charge of POPCOM RO-8 gave the overview of the activity. The facilitators were Aurora Alve, Vilma Nivera and Emilio Rama III.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivering his welcome message.

Ms. Elnora Pulma, POPCOM RO-8 oic

Courtesy Call

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento today received Lt. Col. Francis Cabangon (INFS PA), the new Commanding Officer of the 20th IB, 8ID of the Philippine Army which is based in Barangay Pilar.

Lt. Col. Cabangon assumed his post on February 3, 2009. With him during the courtesy call was Lt. Brendo Maglasang, former CO of the 20th IB.

Mayor Mel Sarmiento with (r) Lt. Col. Francis Cabangon and (l) Lt. Brendo Maglasang.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

new patrol cars for Calbayog PNP

The new patrol cars of PNP Calbayog were blessed earlier today. The simple ceremony was held at the City Hall driveway. In attendance were the city officials led by Mayor Mel Sarmiento. The ceremony was led by Rev. Fr. Gil Cagomoc.

Fr. Gil Cagomoc as he said the prayer of blessing. With him are Mayor Mel Sarmiento and Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino.

Mobile Passporting Service

The City Government of Calbayog through the Local Civil Registry Office in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs RO-8 will be conducting a Mobile Passporting Service on February 28, 2009 and March 1, 2009.

This will be held at the Conference Hall of the Old Barracks Building (Handumanan).

For those who will need to have their documents authenticated, NSO Samar Provincial Office will be extending their services at the Calbayog Local Civil Registry Office on February 23 - 24, 2009.