Jul 09, 2011
Governor Carlos Jericho "Icot" L. Petilla:
"If it's not yours, do not
own it .. kay makaarawod!"
By Reyan L. Arinto
Leyte Samar Daily Express
Gov. Carlos Jerich L. Petilla on the Balyuan-issue:
"It's plain and simple .. If it's not yours, then give it back ..!!"
TACLOBAN CITY -- The provincial government of Leyte will just have to resort to "legal remedies" in taking back the Balyuan property.
This was the statement made by the governor as the questioned property still sits further in court and with the city government of Tacloban still maintaining its stand to contest the court's ruling.
"We just have to go through all the legal process in taking back the property," Gov. Petilla said in an interview as he arrived here Friday together with Presidential sister Kris Aquino who was in a visit to Ormoc to formally turn over a classroom she donated to Leyte's fourth district.
He said that the matter could just have been "plain and simple" if the memorandum forged between the two parties in 2004 were adhered to and if only a court ruling recently issued was respected and obeyed.
"If it's a property that's borrowed, it has to be returned. If it's not yours, do not own it kay makaarawod," Gov. Petilla said.
The governor added that the province is at the moment being given the option to battle the issue in court and resort to legal actions as the city further questions the ownership in court instead of peacefully turning over the property.
The Regional Trial Court Branch-8 here dismissed the case filed by the city government of Tacloban against the provincial government of Leyte which called for the declaration of nullity of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into by the city and the province and questions the ownership of the Balyuan Property.
The 16-page decision issued on June 1, 2011 by RTC Branch 8 Judge Salvador Apurillo dismissed the case filed by the city for "lack of merit".
"If they cannot respect a court decision, why take matters into court when diri man la ngahaw susundon and respetuhon," Gov. Petilla disclosed.
Earlier, several members of the provincial board expressed their interests that the row between the two local government units could be settled.
The board members were saying that while going to legal process is one option of the provincial government, settling the row peacefully could be the best way to do to end this row.
Jul 09, 2011
Councilor Uy advises
city gov't for extension
of MOA on Balyuan
By Roel Amazona
Leyte Samar Daily Express
The City Health Office (left) and the Balyuan Amphitheater
(right), both part of the Balyuan property owned by the
TACLOBAN CITY -- City Councilor Jerry Uy, who chairs the committee on laws, rules and privileges at the city council, when asked to comment in the current row involving the city government of Tacloban and the provincial government of Leyte over the rightful owner of the contested Balyuan property, advises the former to be much better if they will just ask for an extension of the memorandum of agreement or ask to become the caretaker or administrator of said parcel of land borrowed in 2004 from the province of Leyte by the city government for implementation of several infrastructure development projects.
Councilor Uy, who is also a lawyer by profession, stressed that the city government cannot claim ownership over Balyuan property as its land title is under the provincial government.
"What they can only ask or request from the provincial government is for the city to have the administrative right on Balyuan as they will continue to use it," Councilor Uy said, adding that said request must be made by asking for an extension of the memorandum of agreement that was agreed and ratified by councils of both local government units in 2004.
Balyuan property houses several offices of the city government like the Balyuan Convention Center, the City Health Office, City Nutrition Office, City Social Welfare and Development Office, City Information Office -Television, Fishery Law Enforcement Team, and Balyuan amphitheater, among others.
"If the city government would want to continue using Balyuan, they should have asked for an extension of the MOA because if they insist that they are the rightful owner of said even if the case reaches the Supreme Court, I don't think the city will win because the title of the property is with the provincial government which will make their case weak," Councilor Uy explained.
Uy added that even if the city government had become a highly-urbanized city from being a component city of the provincial government of Leyte it does not mean that the city government of Tacloban can automatically claim and become the rightful owner of properties of the provincial government as there is no existing law providing such act.
He added that Tacloban remains the capital of the province of Leyte even if it had become an HUC in 2008.
Jul 07, 2011
Leyte will follow legal processes in taking back Balyuan property
By Roel Amazona & Rodrigo S. Victoria
Leyte Samar Daily Express
The Balyuan Amphitheater is part of the Balyuan Ground which
is owned by the provincial government and which was borrowed
to the city government of Tacloban for five years. It is also the
place where contingents of the Sangyaw Festival have been
holding there ritual performances for the last three years.
TACLOBAN CITY -- The issue on ownership of Balyuan property continues to be one of the hottest issues for the city government of Tacloban and the provincial government of Leyte as the two local chief executives had already aired their comments in said issue.
Reacting to the previous statement of Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez that he is willing to sit down and patch things up between the city government and the provincial government on the series of differences and misunderstanding on both sides, members of the provincial council hosted a press conference to share their views in said issue.
Leyte First District Board Member Roque Tiu made a strong statement on said issue, commenting that the city mayor should be sincere at this time if he really wanted to make reconciliation with the provincial government.
"How I wish it is true and he has clean conscience and he is sincere when he said that," Tiu said, adding that since the city mayor assumed office, he had experienced several instances of insincerity from the city mayor as his action is always in contrast to what he says.
"If he is sincere to what he said that he wanted reconciliation, then he should talk with the governor and discuss the issue of Balyuan and not just in newspapers or in reports," he stressed.
"The governor is just a call away and he can easily be reached if he will only do so," he added.
For the part of Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla, he stressed that as of the moment the provincial government is not in a hurry to take over said property and will wait for the city government of Tacloban to peacefully and formally turn over the Balyuan grounds to the provincial government just like what had happened in 2004 when both parties had agreed, with support of resolutions from both city and provincial councils, that the Balyuan ground will be borrowed by the city for five years.
Governor Petilla added that if ever there is a court decision favoring the provincial government, they only used it as their last resort to take over said property as he still believes that officials from the city are responsible administrators.
For the part of Leyte Second District Board Member Anlie Apostol, the lady provincial council member said the reconciliation is the best thing that the two local leaders can do in order to settle the Balyuan issue.
"But if they are really sincere, they should not just announce it, but rather they should have called the concerned official and sit down to discuss how they can resolve the problem properly and peacefully," said Apostol.
"We are always open to discussion... but if they want more peaceful talks away from the eyes of the media, they can do so in other places outside of this city," Apostol added.
Reacting on the issue raised that the Balyuan property is only a small piece of land, Leyte Fifth District Board Member Carlo Loreto stressed that whether small or not, the local government concerned, if they are the rightful owner of said property, should insist their right to claim said land.
He added that even if the reconciliation between the two local government units materializes, the interest of the provincial government will still rule and they cannot just easily give Balyuan property to the city government as they have to protect the interest of the provincial government.
He also disclosed that the provincial government of Leyte had previously exerted effort after the MOA had expired by communicating the city mayor of Tacloban but no positive result has been achieved.
The 5th Leyte district board member also said that the provincial government of Leyte is very much willing to settle the issue with the city government of Tacloban and even presented the option of having both parties to "sit down and talk" to amicably settle the issue once and for all and for the benefit of the people.
For the records: The subject properties include Lots 2313 and 794 including the area where several infrastructure developments were made by the city government of Tacloban like the Balyuan Amphitheater, perimeter fencing, development of legislative and executive building, to name a few as reflected in a five-year term Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by Tacloban City Mayor Alfredo T. Romualdez and Leyte Governor Carlos Jerticho L. Petilla on August 26, 2004.
Jul 05, 2011
An open letter to the
Mayor of Tacloban
By Melvin Corpin
Original Image from the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival 2011
A girl carrying the statue of Señor Sto. Niño
(Photo: Rommel Tiangco)
To the mayor of Tacloban: Barricading any traditional street activity of our people regardless of who organized it, is indeed a SHAMEFUL ACT. It's inhuman.
You are not wounding your enemy. You are trying to kill a certain tradition! Most of all, it's absolutely disrespectful to our beloved STO NIÑO.
You have crossed the line Mr. mayor! The issue is not about permits, or approved routes, not even unfollowed schedules. Screw those regulations!
Think about the people. The ones who put you where you are! Think about our beautiful tradition which no politician has the right to abolish or dissolve.
How could you justify your stupid action? Can you convince the whole world that the evil you approved to be done was a righteous deed? I'm sure that no good and holy reason whatsoever could justify what you did.
You wear a good smile every election. But you hold your fist when in power. I beg of you. Don't abuse the rights of our people.
Do you have the guts to tell us the reality behind all this? Not to be able to speak our dialect is understandable. But to block Pintados from the streets and create chaos because of some stupid regulations, is definitely unacceptable.
The streets of Tacloban are owned by the people. Everyone has the right to pass through them. And guess what? No person has the right to create chaos in the middle of our streets. That's a real violation. It's even a crime.
You have gone too far. You have committed a violation against the people. Don't be hurting yourself Mr. mayor. You think you're wounding your enemy? Hell no! Read the internet if you have the time! Read this! You are banging your own head against the wall. Have pity on yourself!
Think about the people. Think about us. Turn the situation around Mr. mayor while you're still in office. Nobody else can do it for you. Don't wait until the whole world speaks ill of you. For it's one of the worst things to happen to a human being.
Finally, respect STO NIÑO. He's definitely no ordinary person. He's the Son of GOD. For His sake, change your ways! Let Pintados be!
Jul 05, 2011
Matin doubts Alfred's sincerity in his call for reconciliation
By Joey A. Gabieta
Leyte Samar Daily Express
Former Leyte governor and now Palo Mayor
Remedios "Matin" Petilla
TACLOBAN CITY -- Show sincerity, then let's sit down.
This was the reaction of former Leyte governor and now Palo Mayor Remedios "Matin" Petilla on a reconciliatory statement earlier made by Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
Petilla, who is the mother of the incumbent Leyte governor, Jericho, said that if Romualdez will only offer a possible reconciliation without showing any sincerity, any possible talks between the two camps would be a useless undertaking.
"If there is no sincerity (on his part), nothing will prosper. They and the governor have met before but they never gave any importance on what they have discussed," Petilla said, referring to the Romualdez camp.
Earlier, Mayor Romualdez expressed his interest for a possible reconciliation with the camp of the Petillas, days after he blocked the participating contingents of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals on June 27 and after a regional trial court ruled in favor of the provincial government on the ownership of the Balyuan property which the city is also claiming.
Romualdez has ordered traffic enforcers to block the festival contingents along Real Street, saying the route was not included on the special permit he issued to the organizers.
Mayor Petilla said that offering reconciliation should be matched with sincerity and public apology, "especially to the public who were hurt by what he did."
"He should show his sincerity and express a public apology to all the sectors affected on what he did on June 27, then, we'll sit down," the Palo town mayor said.
"Reconciliation is not just for the headline, it should come from the heart. We're surprised why he sought for a possible reconciliation.
We're not even aware of it. We just read it in the papers," Petilla said.
"We were surprised by his sudden change of mind. As always, their actions are afterthoughts. We could have avoided incidents just like that happened last June 27. Instead of discussing the issue with us, they chose to go to court just like what they did with the Balyuan property," Petilla said, referring to the move of the city government to nullify an earlier memorandum of agreement it entered with the provincial government.
She, however, said that they are open to a possible reconciliation if only Romualdez will show his sincerity and offer a public apology.
Petilla stressed that Mayor Romualdez did not cause any affront to them but to the public and some sectors that were affected due to what he did on that fateful day.
Romualdez himself has admitted that the incident took a dent on the image of Tacloban as it was about to celebrate its 122nd annual fiesta on June 30.
"I think, he needs to issue a public apology to all the sectors affected by his decision," she said.
The Palo town mayor also scored the alleged bashing she is receiving from the information officers of the Romualdez camp, saying that this is another indication how insincere they are for a possible reconciliation with the Petillas.
"He keeps on talking about possible reconciliation, and yet his media keep on attacking us, uttering words which are so malicious," she said.
Jul 04, 2011
Rep. Noel not in favor
of recall move
By Roel Amazona
Leyte Samar Daily Express
An Waray Party-list Representative Florencio "Bem" Noel
TACLOBAN CITY -- "I will not recommend it because the election is over," this was the strong message of An Waray Party-list Representative Florencio "Bem" Noel over the report that there are city officials, particularly barangay chairmen, and residents who had made a call to have a recall election against the city mayor, Alfred Romualdez.
This move was due to an untoward event that happened last June 27 in the parade of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festivals of Festivals that was stopped by the members of the Traffic, Operation, Management, Enforcement, and Control Office after the head of the traffic enforcement group of this city insisted that the parade should take the route specified in the special permit granted by the city mayor three days before June 27.
Congressman Noel, along with his fellow representative from the An Waray Party-list, Congressman Neil Benedict Montejo, was among those who volunteered to pacify and negotiate with the city mayor for the parade to be granted use of their old parade route, but they were denied as they were not able to talk with the city mayor.
Said problem created disgust to the city mayor that sparked for a call of a recall election against him with the representative of the An Waray Party-list as the one being groomed by those who called for it to run against the city mayor once the recall election is granted.
However, this call was rejected by Congressman Noel, citing that the people of Tacloban had already made a decision in the last election, voting for the incumbent city mayor to govern them for three years.
Noel in previous interviews did not deny nor confirm his plans on 2013 as he is already on his last term as representative of An Waray Party-list, but stressed that "whatever you heard right now, consider it true... just read between the lines."
Noel will be up against Mayor Romualdez who is in his second term.
"If there are moves for recall, I would say that I am not in favor for it," said Noel.
"I think it would be better if we just wait for his term to end as it is mandated by our constitution even if we wanted to change the governance in this city," Noel explains.
Romualdez was also saying the same sentiment with Noel in interviews just recently, saying that any political move against him should be made on the 2013 at the election time.
Jul 02, 2011
Maynilad, city gov't to address water needs of city residents
By Aimalynne Radores
Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY -- In an effort to address the water needs of the remaining 40,606 households out of the 47,200 in Tacloban City and neighboring municipalities, Maynilad Water Services Inc., together with the city government of Tacloban through Mayor Alfred Romualdez, are looking forward to a joint project in creating a water treatment facility in Tacloban.
Last April 1, 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between MWSI and the city government which gave MWSI permission to conduct a feasibility study, at no cost for the city, to assess the potential market and the need for a new water system. Last June 27, 2011 the results were presented to Mayor Romualdez and the surveys showed that 90% of the total population wanted better water service, while some said that their current water provider, Leyte Metropolitan Water District's service, is inadequate. The feasibility study will end by mid- July while the final proposal for the project will be presented on the first week of August.
Other than an improved quality of life for Taclobanons, Maynilad's project will not be an added cost to the city government since MWSI sees this as an investment opportunity for them considering that water sources are abundant and there is a demand from consumers. If the proposal is approved, MWSI will not only build a water treatment facility but a wastewater treatment plant as well which, if ever, will be first here in the region.
A wastewater treatment facility cleans liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations. This type of facility is highly encouraged by environmental groups here and abroad because instead of these wastes going directly to bodies of water, they undergo a process which removes pollutants and bacteria that may cause diseases.
Once the project is approved, construction will start by the end of this year and is slated to be finished by June 2012.
Jul 02, 2011
Tacloban City Vice Mayor Arvin Antoni:
"I express my disgust at the act of Alfred Romualdez - he is no longer a Roman Catholic .. !!"
By Alvin Gz. Arpon
Leyte Samar Daily Express
Tacloban City Vice Mayor
The fiesta is over and we are back to our daily grind "to live and let live", to quote a title of a James Bond movie, but the June 27 event, part of the Sr. Sto. Niño fiesta celebration has remained the burning issue being talked about even as I write this column that was silent last Wednesday.
By that unfortunate incident so many unpalatable statements were expressed by the cross-section of Leyte society who were either part of the event or mere spectators and guests when the city government stopped the parade-street-dancing of contingents representing 15 towns of Leyte in the Pintados-Kasadyaan festival of festivals their humble offerings to the Sr. Sto. Niño. The miraculous Child Jesus is also the patron saint of Leyte.
All those angry statements expressed by people who watched the event can be summed up by the comments made by no less than the second highest public official in Tacloban, Vice Mayor Arvin Antoni, a lawyer. Yes, a lawyer who sent this text messages to almost everyone who matters and to media especially and I quote:
"In my private capacity as a devout catholic and devotee of Sr. Sto. Niño, I express my disgust at the brazen act today of Alfred Romualdez, who admittedly is no longer a Roman Catholic, of suppressing our decades-old expression of religious devotion through the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival Parade. As the second highest official of the city, I condemn in the strongest terms his dictatorial policies, authoritarian rule and brazen disrespect for the rule of law. Otro na la ako nangangaro hin dispensa ha Pintados Foundation ngan Kasadyaan, ha mga bisita, ha mga molopyo ngan mga Barangay Official nga napakyas ha ira mananong la nga panuyo, kan Governor ngan iba pa nga Provincial Officials, ha mga Mayors ngan iba pa nga Municipal Official tungod han (unprintable) ha ira ni Alfred Romualdez. Nevertheless, I am assured that our patron, Sr. Sto. Niño is not a vindictive patron. And so, to one and all, Viva Sr. Sto. Niño."
"And to Alfred Romualdez I have this to say ‘In a democracy such as ours, where government is one of laws and not of men, no one is above the law'. Certainly you are not the law nor you are above it."
It is clear that the vice mayor saw the legality of what the Pintados-Kasadyaan did on that day of the 27th. Again I say Vice Mayor Antoni is a lawyer and that is the reason he felt confident that the law was in their side so he joined in the merry-making.
Jul 01, 2011
To end dispute:
Alfred to share peace pipe
with provincial government
By Joey A. Gabieta
Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY -- In an apparent conciliatory tone, City Mayor Alfred Romualdez expressed his willingness to sit down "with anyone" as a way of ending the row with the provincial government his administration has figured recently.
Romualdez expressed this sentiment amid possible moves of the provincial government to retake the Balyuan property which the latter claims as part of its ownership.
"I am always willing to talk with anyone. All I want is let's focus on development and progress and not on fighting. The people are tired already," Romualdez said.
When asked what are the legal moves of his administration would take to maintain its control over the vast Balyuan property, which houses several buildings and offices of the city government, Romualdez said that it's up to the his legal team."But I told them that we can settle this peacefully. Let us stop fighting," the city mayor said.
The dispute over the property came anew when a regional trial court, presided by Judge Salvador Apurillo of Branch-8, dismissed the petition of the city government seeking to nullify the memorandum of agreement it entered with the provincial government sometimes in 2004.
The agreement was signed by former Tacloban City Mayor Alfredo "Bejo" Romualdez, the father of the sitting chief executive, and Gov. Jericho "Icot" Petilla.
Petilla had earlier stated that while he want the property back to the provincial government, other options can be considered regarding the matter without resorting to drastic moves by either side.
Mayor Romualdez said that it's about time that both the city and provincial governments sit down and talked whatever irritants that they have for the benefit of the people.
Aside from the Balyuan property row, both local government units engaged in a showdown during the recently-concluded street parade of the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals.
This after Mayor Romualdez blocked the contingents of the twin-bill festival, which was headed by former governor and now Palo Mayor Remedios "Matin" Petilla in using major streets of the city for their street parade.
The former governor is the executive chairperson of the Kasadyaan Festival. The Petillas and the Romualdezes are known to be political adversaries.
Romualdez admitted that the "blocking incident" hurt him saying that he does not want it to happen again as it portrayed a bad image not only among political leaders but even Tacloban itself.
Mayor Romualdez said that the possibility that the Pintados- Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals merged with the city-sponsored Sangyaw Festival is not remote.
He said that merging the three cultural festivals would not only bring political harmony but would be beneficial to the people of the province and the city as well.
"I want unity for all. I'm sure we can (have unity)," Romualdez said.
Jul 01, 2011
Mayor Alfred Romualdez:
Sangyaw Festival 2011 successful
By Rey Gerilla Grado
Leyte Samar Daily Express
Leyte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (2nd left)
with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and City Councilor
Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez awards the 2011 Sangyaw Festival
grand champion for Pagsadya Festival of Anahawan, Southern
Leyte, receiving the trophy amd cash prize of P500,00 to the
representatives of Pagsadya Festival. (Photo by Ver S. Noveno)
TACLOBAN CITY -- The chief executive of this city has concluded Sangyaw Festival 2011 as successful.
Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the over-all chairman of the Sangyaw Foundation Incorporation, in an interview with the local media practitioners, has concluded the 2011 Sangyaw Festival as successful.
The chief executive together with wife Councilor Cristina G. Romualdez (the vice chair of the Sangyaw Foundation and the committee chair for tourism at the city council), Leyte first district Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Senator Bong-bong Marcos, and other guests (both local and national) have witnessed the street dancing at the major thoroughfares of this city and the stage presentation at Balyuan Amphitheater.
Mayor Romualdez also stated that if the Sangyaw Festival of this year is that festive, then he assured that the conduct of the festival next year would be one to be wait for with excitement.
In a separate interview, Councilor Cristina Romualdez said that she would do everything just to make Sangyaw better in years to come.
She said that Sangyaw Festival would join the Sinulog Festival of Cebu City next year.
The lady councilor then extended her congratulations and thank you to all the contingents who came to Tacloban, as well as those who are from Tacloban that joined the school and community based category.
Rep.Romualdez meantime said that all the participating contingents were winners on their own as they were able to show to the people their best performances.
The over-all champion for 2011 Sangyaw Festival open category were Pagsadya Festival of Anahawan Southern Leyte and Gapnod Festival of Almeria Biliran won as first runner up. For the school and community based category, An Maglalara Festival of Rizal Central School won as the grand champion, Tribu Parayhak of Marasbaras National High School was declared as the first runner up and Tribu Magtarabo of Brgy. Alliance of Marasbaras,second runner up.
Tribu Managuete of Brgy. 59-A Sampaguita won as the champion for the barangay-based category, Karisyuhan Festival of Barangay 62-A Sagkahan as the first runner up and Tribu Kaurusa of Brgy. 56 Pericuhon as second runner up.
For the special awards; Pasadya Festival won the best in costume, best in musicality, best in choreography, and their star dancer was also chosen as the Festival Queen. Another special award, best in street dancing was received by the Alibangbang Festival and Padul-ong Festival as runner-up.