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Baybay City Opens Enchanting ‘16,000 Blossoms’

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The city government here opened on Wednesday night the “16,000 Blossoms” garden, a major attraction at the city’s Lintaon Peak.

The “16,000 Blossoms” powered by LED lights, is similar to the 10,000 Roses in Cordova, Cebu but the former offers a majestic view of Leyte mountain range and the beautiful sunset of Camotes Sea, according to Alden Escarbate, a blogger residing in Baybay.

“The ‘16,000 Blossoms’ have brown stems with plastic leaves giving life to the artificial plant. The white and red roses are embedded in the grassy meadows,” Escabarte explained, emphasizing the distinction of the site.

Mayor Carmen Cari thanked thousands of local tourists for their support to the project by coming to the opening and took part in the massive promotion of the site through social media.

“A lot of development projects are lined up here for visitors to have more fun experience in Lintaon Peak,” Cari told reporters.

Escabarte is optimistic that the garden will draw thousands of tourists from Leyte and other provinces in the country. “This is new in the city and the very first in region. We are all excited!” Escabarte said.

City tourism officer Josefina Granada said the project was part of the PHP20 million development plan for Lintaon Peak, a priority site for tourism development of the city government.

To ensure safety of the tourists and visitors who want to see and take photos at the “16,000 Blossoms”, security personnel will only allow 30 people for a limited time to enter the premise.

Construction of streetlights will also follow for the safety of visitors at night time.

Granada added that putting the garden at Lintaon Peak is a preparation for the construction of an eight-story image of Immaculate Conception of Mary, turning the peak into a pilgrimage site as well.

“Our ultimate goal too here is to make this place as a pilgrimage site because this is very close to St. Anthony de Padua, a very popular pilgrimage site in our city,” Granada said.

Also ongoing in the site are construction of function hall, restaurants, and two view decks to get a better view of the city’s commercial district, Mt. Pangasugan, Camotes Sea, and Cuatro Islas of Leyte.

“But we will only construct minimal facilities here because we don’t want to exploit the place,” Granada added.

Lintaon Peak is one of the highest place in this city surrounded with picturesque valleys, meadows and hills all in high. It is an ideal place to experience the cool breeze, have picnics, and spelunking at Lintaon Cave.

The Peak is located in Pomponan village, a pilgrimage site for devotees of the miraculous icon of St. Anthony of Padua, located around 10 kilometers from the city’s trading center accessible by car and motorcycle.(Roel T. Amazona & Lizbeth Ann A. Abella/PNA)

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Duterte Confers ‘Order of Lapu-Lapu’ to 12 Wounded Soldiers

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Image source: http://media.pna.gov.ph

The Davao City Durians continued to dominate in the ongoing Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) meet 2018.

In the partial medal tally in the first two days of the sporting events, Durians bagged 14 gold medals, eight silvers and six bronzes in different individual athletic events.

Davao Durians dominated the 800-meter secondary girls, 400-meter Hurdles elementary girls, discuss throw secondary girls, triple jump elementary boys and girls as well as secondary boys.

The Davao City runners also reigned in the 1000-meter secondary girls, 100-meter elementary boys and girls, as well as secondary girls and 100-meter hurdle elementary girls.T hey also took the gold for the long jump elementary boys and secondary boys and Shot put secondary girls. The Durians are followed by Digos City Trekkers with eight gold, five silvers and seven bronzes.

The Davao del Norte Pioneers entered the third spot with six golds, eight silvers and three bronzes followed by Davao Occidental Slashers who got three gold, two silvers and five bronzes.

Tagum City’s Tagumpay earned the fifth spot with three gold, two silvers and two bronzes.

After Tagumpay is the Mati City Eagles with two golds and two silvers. Davao del Sur Cobras took the seventh spot with one gold, four silvers, and bronzes which followed Compostela Valley Gold with one gold, two silvers and a bronze.

The Island Garden City of Samal Wves got one gold, silver and bronze while Panabo City Maganates got five silvers and two bronzes and the Davao Oriental Sunrisers got one silver and three bronzes.

Department of Education (DepEd) XI spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said the winners will undergo rigid training to prepare them for the Palarong Pambansa 2018 which will be held in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Atillo said DepEd is hopeful that the Davao Eagles will improve its last year’s number 7 ranking in the Palarong Pambansa.

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NHA Okays 12,016 Additional Houses for ‘Yolanda’ Survivors

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The National Housing Authority (NHA) has approved at least PHP4 billion funds to build additional 12,016 houses for areas not previously covered by resettlement projects meant for super typhoon Yolanda survivors.

NHA Eastern Visayas Regional Manager Rizalde Mediavillo confirmed on Thursday that more government housing projects will rise in the region, heeding the request of mayors sent to the Regional Development Council last year.

Mediavillo said local government units proposed 15,594 new houses but only 12,016 were approved by the national government to be financed by unspent allocations from the 2016 Yolanda Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program.

“There were proposals to download funds to local government units, but President Rodrigo Duterte directed us to implement the project by contract in accordance with existing procurement rules. The procurement is scheduled starting this first quarter of 2018,” the official said.

Of the 12,016 houses, 9,516 units will rise in Leyte province, which include 1,500 in Dulag town, 1,616 in Leyte, 1,000 in Barugo, 1,000 in Tabontabon, 2,000 in Villaba, 600 in Capoocan, 300 in Dagami, 1,000 in Sta. Fe, and 500 in Javier.

In Samar province, 2,500 new houses will be built in the towns of Talalora (1,000 units), Daram (1,000 houses), and Zumaraga (500 units).

Each resettlement site will have a multi-purpose covered court and training center to support livelihood and other community projects.

The new projects are in addition to the 56,140 permanent houses intended for super typhoon survivors in the entire Eastern Visayas region. Of the total, 14,433 are in Tacloban City, 16,199 in Leyte, 130 in Southern Leyte, 8,900 in Samar, 7,573 in Eastern Samar, and 8,905 in Biliran province.

As of Jan. 31 this year, 13,343 houses have been awarded to beneficiaries, 18,543 are completed, 15,839 are ongoing, and 3,456 are up for bidding. The rest are still under planning stage.

From 2013 to 2017, the NHA got the highest outlay among all agencies involved in post-disaster recovery projects at PHP21.92 billion.

Design parameters for all housing projects conform with the National Building Code, design for socialized and economic housing, and other related laws to make sure that shelters will be able to withstand natural calamities and extreme weather conditions.

Each house has a 40-square meter lot area. It is loftable with a total floor area of 33 square meters with structural improvements following the “Build Back Better Policy” and other guidelines for disaster-resilient housing.

On the reported substandard NHA projects by contractor JC Tayag Builder in Eastern Samar, Mediavillo said all their contracts have been terminated. The project will be awarded to “best contractors” according to him.

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Troops Disarm MILF Fighters in Maguindanao

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Government forces on Tuesday seized high-powered firearms from members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for moving around Maguindanao without coordination with local authorities and ceasefire monitors.

According to reports reaching the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in this camp, heavily armed men on board a mini-cargo truck were seen along a village road in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao.

Soldiers flagged down the vehicle loaded with MILF fighters led by Orly Gampong in Barangay Mileb. The rebels did not resist and peacefully handed over their rifles to elements of the 40th Infantry Battalion.

Under the 1997 government and MILF ceasefire agreement, Moro rebels must coordinate with local military and police authorities when moving from its camps to other areas. The same applies for government forces if it operates in MILF identified areas.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman for the 6th ID-led anti-terror Task Force Central, said Gampong and his armed followers belonged to the MILF’s 106th Base Command.

Besana said the military and police are determining if Gampong’s group was to reinforce its comrades fighting another group of MILF in Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao.

Fighting had erupted between MILF’s 105th and 106th base command. The seized firearms now in Army custody included 18 M-16 assault rifles, five M-14 assault rifles and an M-203 rifle fitted with a launcher for 40 millimeter grenade projectile.

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DepEd Says Senior High School Grads Ready for Work

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The Department of Education (DepEd) here assured the public that graduates of the Senior High School (SHS) are “equipped to face the world of work.”

Dr. Lea Belleza, information officer of DepEd Western Visayas, said Tuesday that there are three reasons the Senior High School education system was introduced. She explained that those who can afford can still go to college, or become entrepreneurs given the skills they acquired, or opt to find work.

Graduates of technical and vocational livelihood (TVL) courses are expected to pass the National Competency (NC) assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so they would be ready to work, Belleza said.

“As to the competency, I assure you that trainings given to our teachers, the provision of instructional materials to our learners and the provision of equipment to our TVL, I firmly believe that we will have the globally competitive graduates for 2018,” she added.

The first batch of Senior High School is expected to graduate April this year.

Meanwhile, Belleza emphasized that graduation rites must be “solemn, simple occasion but meaningful for children.”

She said that their advice is always to observe “austerity measures”, adding, “We don’t want to burden parents of pompous celebration”.

Belleza said that schools have budget for graduation to be taken from the  miscellaneous and other operating expenses (MOOE).  However, minimal contribution, which should not be imposed on the children, may be accepted, she said.

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