Monday, August 30, 2010


(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s a holiday! Before anything else, Sarah Geronimo will be coming to Calbayog City. Her concert-for-a-cause dubbed Sarah Geronimo Live in Calbayog! will be held on September 7, 2010 at the Calbayog City Sports Center.

* * *

So today is the last day of yet another long weekend. Thanks to National Heroes Day. What’s that again? Ah, heroes. Surely, a good number of our fellow Filipinos - the young especially – would have nothing to say except that this is another reason for them to oversleep, do nothing or maybe do gimik with the tropa, and most importantly another reason not to go to school. Much has been said about how each one of us can be heroes in his own little way, and I guess I have to rest my case. My list of acerbic comments about the not-so-good deeds of people, myself included is quite long. In the meantime I guess I have to settle with Mariah Carey and her hit song, entitled (what else?) “Heroes”.

* * *

And indeed they did again. No need to elaborate on the question and answer portion at the Senate inquiry (I find Venus Raj’s Q & A more exciting). I forgot to take note of the name of the professor in Tony Velasquez’ TV talk show, but I do not disagree with him when he said among other things, that the President did not have to be present at the negotiating table during the hostage crisis. Yun lang!

At the height of the blame game, err finger-pointing game after the crisis (which is something normal in our part of the world), someone went online to say that the church could be among those to blame for the crisis. He said something about morals and values failing, etc. Now that is something else, a crisis in the making perhaps? I may not agree with what the guy said, but certainly it was a different take on the crisis. Whew! I’m wondering what he has to say about the senate investigation.

* * *

Anti-Dengue Days in Calbayog. A spin-off of the anti-dengue program of Calbayog was the holding of the People’s Day in Barangay Aguit-itan. As per reports submitted to the City Mayor’s Office, the said barangay qualified to be ranked as among the not-so-clean barangays of Calbayog. The People’s Day became some sort of a dialogue between the LGU and the people from the area. An agreement was reached. There will be no more vendors on the road leading to the pier, pigsty and pigs will no longer be allowed, those who are into fish drying (bularan) have agreed to relocate themselves, and the anti-littering ordinance will be strictly implemented by the barangay officials with Barannay Aguit-itan getting a hefty portion of the fines collected.

A week ago today, Mayor Reynaldo Uy, together with the Department managers and some city officials visited the said barangay. There were some improvements in the so-called dry-land portion. But the wet area is another story. It prompted mayor to form a multi-office task force to take charge of clearing the area of garbage (of all shapes and sizes, if I may add).

* * *

Patrun sa Calbayog. Today is the first day of the 9-day novena-masses in preparation for the fiesta of Calbayog in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad.

This year’s hermanas mayores are Pheona Camille Ladrero-Robinson, Rizza Bernardo Suan and Hannah Pia Uyloan De Guzman.

The parish events on hand are the following:
  • September 4: Confirmation at 9:00 am
  • September 5: Clergy in Concert at 7:00 pm
  • September 6: Parish Night at 6:00 pm
  • September 7: Re-dedication of the Cathedral and Procession at 3:00 pm
  • September 8: Pontifical Mass at 9:00 am

    * * *

    This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Calbayog’s Tri-District Program

Hi there! It’s another weekend. First things first: Sarah Geronimo will be coming to Calbayog City. Her concert-for-a-cause dubbed “Sarah Geronimo Live in Calbayog!” will be held on September 7, 2010 at the Calbayog City Sports Center.

* * *

So, what do we have? The best of both worlds characterized by two words – major, major and flimflam. In case you have been complaining about how Venus blew it, c’mon think again, there were 82 other ladies, 82. Now, on that sad event brought about by both a policeman and by many policemen going flimflam, I rest my case. But surely, as I wrote this, some Senators are having a grand time grandstanding (no relations to Quirino grandstand, I suppose. Oops, that’s supposed to be a joke). Anyway, our lawmakers will be busy grilling the concerned officers, in aid of legislation, of course.

* * *

The Tri-District (3-D) Program of Calbayog City. As reported, the City Government officially launched the Tri-District (3-D) Development Program about a month ago.

About three weeks ago, I featured the said program in this column and referred to it as Calbayog’s MDG. I would like to give you an updated presentation of some program details.

The 3-D slogan is DETERMINASYON: DALAN sa DAYUN nga kauswagan. The 3-D battle-cry is LET’S HELP-Calbayog City. It is an acronym which reads: L for legislative; E for executive, T & S for total support; H for health and humanitarian concerns; E for education, culture and the arts, environment, eco-tourism, energy and communication empowerment in governance; L for livelihood, land and housing; P for projects, production, peace and order, population development and partnerships

The 3-D Program in a way divides Calbayog into four districts through its four components namely Oquendo Key Program for Revitalization, Sustainability and Services (OK-PROGRESS) for Oquendo District, Tinambacan Upliftment of Socio-Economic Conditions (TUSEC) for Tinambacan District and Seven Hills Happy Valley Alleviation and Road Program (SHARP) and Calbayog Urbanization Program and Services (CUPS) for Calbayog District.

Its implementation will include Database Establishment and Data Gathering, Identification of Problems and Solutions to include Feasibility Studies, Strong Support, Determined Executive Action, AND People’s Participation.
The 3-D program components and its respective / identified programs are as follows:
  • Health (Hospital, Medicines, Nutrition, Mother and Child Health Care)
  • Education (School Bus, Scholarship, High School, Teachers, Classrooms, non-formal adult education and responsible parenting classes)
  • Infrastructure (Power / Communication, Roads, Water, Irrigation, Warehouse, Solar Dryer, School Buildings, Mini Hospitals with Health Centers, Training / Demo Centers, Sports Facilities, Drainage, Intermodal Transport system)
  • Agriculture (Grains, Coconut, Abaca, Rootcrops, Cash Crops, Vegetable, Aquaculture, Horticulture)
  • Livestock (Pig Production / Fattening / Dispersal, Cow Production / Fattening / Dispersal, Carabao Production / Fattening / Dispersal, Goats Production / Fattening / Dispersal)
  • Industries / SMEs (Food processing, Handicraft, Furniture, Ceramics)
  • Power (Hydro-electric project)
  • Environment (Anti-illegal logging, Anti-illegal quarrying, Reforestation)
  • Peace and Order (Programs/ Drives against: Illegal gambling, Prostitution / Recruitment, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Fishing, Illegal Logging, Illegal Quarrying, Juvenile Delinquency)
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Eco-Toursim
  • Housing
  • Arts and Culture
  • Youth
  • Intangibles (Moral Recovery, Capability Building, Administrative Reforms)
  • Integral Components namely Gender and Development and Population and Development.
As of this writing, the planning workshops have been held for the punong barangays of Calbayog. Among the things done in these sessions were the identification of problems besetting the various districts of Calbayog; and the identification of proper projects or programs and the same were considered for funding and implementation. The results / data from the workshops have been presented to all the city officials and Department Managers of the LGU.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Death of a Bishop

Hi there! It’s another week and it’s Friday the 13th. Nope, no bishop died today. So, what’s with today’s title? You might want to ask. It’s the history buff in me again. Last Tuesday (August 10, 2010) we commemorated the 90th anniversary of the death Bishop Pablo Singzon, the first Bishop of Calbayog. Now that I have your attention, let me share what I got from some archival records. I already featured it in this column about two years ago. I thought I’d like to take a few moments of your time today as we recall some sad moments in the life of one of the leaders who have served the Diocese of Calbayog, in his case, the Catholic faithful in the islands of Samar, Leyte and the Marianas.

* * *

Sometime in 2008, while preparing for the Calbayog coffee table book, I received photocopies of the issues of the Eco de Samar y Leyte. I thought it was a bundle of issues only from 1911-1913. Later on would I find an issue dated August 14, 1920 and the English section contained an account on the death of the first Bishop of Calbayog. It’s the year (of the Bishop’s death) that made me wonder.

If one is to check the portraits of Bishops at the Bishop’s House in Calbayog (which many locales fondly refer to as the palacio), a plate beneath Bishop Singzon’s portrait states that he was Bishop of Calbayog from 1910 – 1922. And checking on his tombstone at the Cathedral, it stated that he returned to his creator in 1923. This obviously needs more checking. In the meantime, let me share with you (in its entirety) what I got from the Eco de Samar y Leyte.

That particular issue on August 14, 1920 had this as its headline in the English section: “MGR. PABLO SINGZON, FIRST BISHOP OF CALBAYOG DIED LAST TUESDAY MORNING

Taking a cue from that headline, it meant that Bishop Singzon returned to his creator on August 10, 1920. Let me give you the details of that report which was written by someone who went by the name of PLOPE:

“It was a melancholic and sorrowful Monday at about six o’clock when our Illustrious Prelate Mgr. Pablo Singzon in the modest parlor of the Episcopal palace was attended by his familiars among whom was Dr. Tomas Gomez. His weary respiration and the paleness of his face moved the hearts of those who were present and caused them a painful feeling of separation. The pain of his sickness was becoming more and more painful which called him to stay in bed.

At 10:00 o’clock p.m. when Mgr. Singzon found out that he did not feel a better repose nor even a rest from the pain of his sickness in his bed, wanted to sit on a chair – the chair where he received the spiritual consolations last November when he was attacked severely by the same sickness. In this chair he decided to die. Tears that roll from my eyes prevent not my pen to communicate my pain!

When the clock knocked its eleven strikes Mgr. Singzon was becoming weaker and weaker. From the neck of our illustrious patient hanged a bead of rosary, the escapulary of the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Miraculous Medal. Around him were his favorite Auxiliary Bishop Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang, RR. FF. Jose Diasnes, Teodoro Robredo, Luis Egeda, Dr. Tomas Gomez, RR. FF. Pedro Pampliega, Santos Saldaña, the Seminarians Bernardo Bacsal, Lesmes Ricalde, and behind the chair were RR. FF. Felix Sabenicio and Crispin Singzon. It was indeed a sorrowful occasion! All those who were present observed firmly to the patient and watched his movements whose weary and painful respiration cooled their hearts. Mgr. Singzon was not as active as he used to be: his activity, attention and application were changed: Mgr. Singzon was transformed struggling between the existence of life and death.

Mgr. Sofronio Hacbang his Auxiliary Bishop and who had never left him read the profession of the faith, the recommendation of the soul; whose voice in the midst of that tranquility and in the midst of that struggling pain called his attention to listen. Rev. F. Jose Diasnes neared to the patient by order of the Auxiliary Bishop to give him a confession. How great and how sublime is to die in the name of the Catholic Religion, though in the midst of pain.

The illustrious patient was losing gradually his movements the coolness of his body began to cover him with its veil, his paleness was becoming more and more pale. Then all those who were present knelt down with lighted candles before a crucifix near the patient and said the following words: “PROFESU ERE ANIMA CRISTIANA

Mgr. Singzon gave up his last breath in the morning of the sorrowful Tuesday when the clock knocked its 3:20 strikes” (PLOPE)

* * *

Sarah Geronimo Live in Calbayog! This concert for a cause will be held on September 7, 2010 at the Calbayog City Sports Center.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update on the Calbayog City Hospital

Hi there! It’s another week. So what do we have? Well, there they go again. The Senate, or Bong and (was it) Ralph were mulling about Senate investigation on the PAL row and the MRT fare hike. I’m tempted to say what else is new. Anyway, I still need to check what legislation they are into with these investigation (if ever matuloy). And while we are at it, why don’t they investigate the bombing in Zamboanga, Alvin Padilla and his gang, and do we include CATS too? I mean, why are the tickets of that musicale priced as such? (Oops, don’t take this line seriously, just wanna make you smile this week).

* * *

I have decided to devote today’s column on one of the undertakings of the City Government of Calbayog, the establishment of the Calbayog City Hospital. I was able to get hold of the report given to Mayor Reynaldo Uy when he met with the representative of the Department of Health (DOH) RO-8 last July 20.

Present during the said meeting was the DOH team headed by DOH RO-8 Assistant Regional Director Dr. Minerva Molon. The team members were Dr. Exuperia Sabalberino, Dr. Perla Ernacio, Mrs. Nellosa Guarda and Engr. Jasper De Veyra. Also present were Dr. Sylvia De Guzman, Engr. Gil Lentejas, Mrs. Geronides Mancol, Mr. Jessie Montealto and Atty. Oscar Hugo, all members of the Ad Hoc Committee which was formed for the Calbayog City Hospital.
Dr. Molon updated Mayor Uy and the Ad Hoc Committee members on the evaluation on the application for Certificate of Need (CON) of the Calbayog City Hospital.

The criteria taken into consideration were the following: Bed to Population ratio. Travel Time. Accessibility. Strategic Location. Integration in the local hospital development plan.

Here are some initial findings as per report submitted to the City Mayor and the Ad Hoc Committee:

Criteria 1. Bed to Population ratio.
For its primary catchment area, the hospital being a level 3 application will have the (Samar) province as coverage area hence it will have a catchment population of approximately 1,438,000. As of the moment 340 hospital beds are available in the primary catchment area. The number of hospital beds are distributed as follows: Samar Provincial Hospital (100 beds), Calbayog District Hospital (75 beds), Gandara (10 beds), Bassey (25 beds), Tarangnan (10 beds), St. Camillus Hospital (25 beds), Calbayog Sanitarium Hospital (15 beds) and OLPHI (80 beds)

On the other hand, 350 beds are available in the secondary catchment area (and this would be the Northern Samar area). The hospitals in the area are Allen Hospital (50 beds), Biri (25 beds), Capul (25 beds), GB Tan (50 beds), NSPH (100 beds), Gamay (25 beds), San Antonio (25 beds), San Vicente (10 beds), Catubig (25 beds), Leoncio Uy Private Hospital (15 beds).

Total inventory of hospital beds is at 735, to include the approved PTC for 50-bed Samar Doctors.
The ideal bed-to-population ratio is = 0.511, which means that the province still needs 703 beds more. Calbayog's application for 25 beds passed the first criteria; and that applying for 50 beds would still be okey.

Criteria 2. Travel Time. At least one hour away from the nearest hospital. This was not met, with OLPHI, a level-3 hospital and St. Camillus Hospital.

Criteria 3. Accessibility. This was okeyed by the group.

Criteria 4. Strategic Location. The group visited the proposed site after the meeting at Marju-Krisel and a recommendation is forthcoming.

Criteria 5. Integration in the local hospital development plan. As of the July 20 meeting, only the City annual Investment Plan was received by DOH RO-8.

The following recommendations were presented by the DOH group and duly noted by the Ad Hoc Committee:
  • The CON is approved, however there is a need to look into the clustering of the private hospitals in the proposed site.
  • The possibility of the proposed hospital becoming a dumping ground of "indigent cases" which might be rejected by the private hospitals.
  • The need for the hospital plan to be integrated in the City Development Plan for sustainability.
  • Present budget is only for the construction of the hospital physical structure. Still needed to be looked into are manpower, equipment and service capability needs which cost bigger budget.

The group's report also included the "Case Mix of patients” admitted in the hospital in Cabayog City:

  • Pneumonia
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease
  • PTB
  • AGE
  • UTI
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Peptic Ulcer Diseases
  • PUFT
  • Bronchial Ashma

* * *

Obit. Tomorrow we commemorate The Most Reverend Pablo Singzon, the first Bishop of Calbayog. It has been 90 years since he received the gift of eternal life.

* * *

Sarah Geronimo Live in Calbayog! This concert for a cause will be held on September 7, 2010 at the Calbayog City Sports Center.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!


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