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Czech envoy sees closer Philippines-Czech relations through cinema exchange


CEBU CITY, Oct. 9 (PNA) -- Czech Republic Ambassador to the Philippines Jaroslav Olsa Jr. Friday said he saw closer relations between the Philippines and his country through cinema exchange.

Olsa was in Cebu for the opening of the Cinema Europa 18 film festival at the Ayala Center in Cebu City, which is spearheaded by the Arts Council of Cebu.

A Czech film, “Christmas Miracles in Prague,” is the opening film in Cine Europa 18 Friday night.

The film festival will last until Oct. 11.

The film, directed by Lenka Kny and produced by Ales Hudsky, is a contemporary romantic comedy which tells of the story of two families that will travel from Mexico to Prague in the Czech republic in the hope of becoming recipients of Christmas miracles from the iconic Sto. Nino de Prague, the sister icon of the famed and venerated Sto. Nino de Cebu.

Olsa said they have shown several movies from his country in Manila, Cebu and other parts of the country through the Cine Europa film festival.

”We hope to establish closer cultural ties through the exchange of movies,” he said.

Olsa said they are working to show Philippine movies in his country starting in December this year.

Among the movies to be shown in the Czech republic is a remastered copy of the movie “Genghis Khan,” a 1950 classic of the famed Filipino director Manuel Conde.

Genghis Khan, was the first Filipino movie to be shown at the Venice film festival in 1952.

Olsa said they will also show the Filipino movie “Dekada 70” and one film starring the late action star and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.

Private developer to start construction of Php2-B Ciudad project next year


CEBU CITY, Oct. 8 (PNA) -- A private developer will start the construction of the Php2-billion Ciudad project at the Cebu provincial government-owned land in Barangay Apas, Cebu City next year.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said the mixed-use development project will be undertaken under the build-transfer-operate (BTO) scheme with private developer Fifth Avenue Development Corp.

The previous administration executed a BTO agreement on September 11, 2006 with Fifth Avenue, but the project never took off.

Davide and Michael Lloyd Dino, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Fifth Avenue Development Corp., signed an amended BTO agreement on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Fifth Avenue will be responsible for the design, construction, equipping, completion and operation of the project.

Fifth Avenue recently signed a memorandum of understanding with real estate Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI), which would finance the development of the Ciudad property.

FLI will also act as Fifth Avenue’s “exclusive marketing, operation and management arm.”

If the project will not be completed on or before the target 24-month completion date, the agreement will be cancelled or terminated, and Fifth Avenue will pay the Province Php1 billion “by way of liquidated damages.”

Once it is operational, the province will get .55 percent of Ciudad’s monthly gross sales or Php200,000, whichever is higher.

20,000 runners to join 39th Milo Marathon Cebu Leg on Oct. 11


CEBU CITY, Oct. 7 (PNA) -- More than 20,000 runners will join the 39th Milo Marathon Cebu Leg in Cebu City on Sunday, October 11, organizers said.

Ricky Ballesteros, Milo Marathon Cebu Leg organizer, said they have listed more than 20,000 runners on the registration sheet.

These health buffs will be racing in different categories, namely, the men’s and women’s 21-kilometer, 10K, 5K and 3K.

The number of participants can still rise with the registration open until Friday.

Earlier, the organizers said they expect a maximum of 27,000 this year.

Ballesteros said they might not hit 27,000, but they still have three more days of registration to try and do that.

The Milo Marathon Cebu Leg will start in front of the Cebu Normal University (CNU) on Osmena Boulevard, Cebu City and will end at Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

As in last year’s race, there will be two finish lines and entry points to CCSC to lessen the congestion of runners.

At stake on the race are slots for the Milo National Finals set on Dec. 6 in Angeles City, Pampanga.

The top runners in the event will also receive cash prizes.

The Cebu Leg will be the fifth to the last out of 17 qualifying legs all over the country organized by Nestle Philippines’ Milo Energy Drink.

The other remaining legs are in General Santos City on Oct. 18, Davao City on Nov. 8, Butuan City on Nov. 15 and Cagayan De Oro City on Nov 22.

Registration fee for the 21K is at PHP630, the 10K is at PHP530, the 5K regular is at PHP110 and PHP80 for the students, while the 3K is at PHP80. The participants must bring 300 empty grams of Milo upon registration.

Entry forms are available at the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) office inside the CCSC.

Hundreds of voter registrants stream to Cebu City poll offices to beat Oct. 31 deadline


CEBU CITY, Oct. 6 (PNA) -- Hundreds of voter registrants streamed into the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Cebu City to try to beat the October 31 deadline for the registration of voters for the 2016 elections.

Cebu City north district election officer Marchel Sarno said some 300 to 400 residents lined up at their office Monday and Tuesday to register or to have their voter’s registration reactivated.

Sarno said the number the numbers of would-be voters has at least doubled from the usual 200 to 300 voters their office served daily for the past few weeks.

Sarno said the Comelec will suspend for five days the voters registration to pave the way for the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) on October 12 to 16.

Sarno then said they are expecting more registrants to swarm their office after the filing of COC’s next week.

Sarno said their office is open to accept registrants starting 8 a.m.

They will close at 5 p.m., but their cut-off is at 4:45 p.m.

Sarno said they will move the registration to a bigger venue starting October 26 to 30, either at a mall or at the Cebu City Sports Complex, to accommodate the expected surge in the number of voter registrants as what they have experienced in the past.

5,000 Cebu City Hall workers join anti-dengue drive


CEBU CITY, Oct. 5 (PNA) -- Some 5,000 Cebu City Government employees Sunday joined the larvicide campaign to help prevent dengue fever in 49 urban barangays.

Cebu City has recorded 868 dengue fever cases since January this year, with eleven deaths so far.

Cebu City Health Department (CHD) chief Dr. Daisy Villa said the widespread application of larvicide was one of several measures to prevent more dengue cases.

She said the chemicals were placed in areas where the dengue-carrying mosquitoes may breed, such as stagnant pools of water, canals and water containers.

The larvicide can stay effective for up to four months in stagnant water, Villa said.

It’s meant to kill larvae before these can develop into adult mosquitoes.

Employees from different City Hall departments led by their respective department heads were deployed to the barangays to apply the larvicide.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also participated in the activity, which was held in partnership with Rotary International District 3860, which provided the chemicals.

Villa said the city will also target adult mosquitoes by conducting misting operations and treating curtains.

She encouraged households to do their share by cleaning their surroundings.

LTO 7 to move office to Cebu City’s Pier 1


CEBU CITY, Oct. 4 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 will soon vacate the Cebu City-owned lot they are occupying along N. Bacalso Ave., Cebu City to pave the way for the expansion of operations of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

But they are asking the city government to give them at least one month extension so they can prepare their new office, which will be at the three-storey Philippine Postal Corp. building near Fort San Pedro in the city’s Pier 1.

Their request for extension came after the notice to vacate issued to them by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama lapsed on Saturday.

Three officials from LTO Manila met Saturday with Cebu City Administrator Lucelle Mercado to inform the city that their regional office already found a place to transfer.

These are LTO Assistant Secretary Alfonso Tan, LTO Administration Division Chief Maribel Salazar and LTO Intelligence and Investigation Division Officer-in-Charge Mercy Jane Paras-Leynes.

Mercado said LTO is asking for at least a month extension since LTO’s target to move out is by November yet.

LTO 7 Director Arnel Tancinco said the Cebu City District Office caters to almost 200 transactions per day while their Cebu City Licensing Center cater to 250 to 300 transactions per day.

SM to hold bike ride, healing mass for Breast Cancer Awareness Month


SM City Cebu and SM Seaside City Cebu will hold an SM to SM bike trip on Oct. 17 in support of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month known as Pink October.

Registration is ongoing until Oct. 15 during mall hours at the Mall Administration Office located at the second level of The Northwing, SM City Cebu.

The bike trip will begin at 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 at the North Open Parking Area of SM City Cebu, and will end at The Cube in SM Seaside City Cebu at South Road Properties.

Bikers are encouraged to wear pink tops or pink shirts during the activity.

All registered bikers will automatically get the chance to win SM gift certificates.

Refreshments will also be served at The Cube.

Registration fee is P150. All proceeds will help fund the projects of ICan Serve Foundation Inc. such as high impact information campaigns and community-based screening programs.

ICan Serve Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates early breast cancer detection through breast self-examination.

A Pink Healing Mass by ICan Serve Foundation Inc. and The SM Store will also be held on Oct. 25 at 9 a.m. at the Northwing Atrium of SM City Cebu.

Cebu City celebrates Korea Day


CELEBRATING friendship amid cultural diversity, the Cebu City Government, in partnership with Ayala Center Cebu and Cebu Korean Association, will hold the Cebu City Korea Day today, 6 p.m. at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

People can witness a performance from all-male K-Pop sensation FameUs with a chance to meet and greet the group after the show when they purchase their album. Pre-selling starts at 2 p.m.

The celebration, which is also in cooperation with the Cebu City Tourism Commission, will feature a series of activities in the first week of October to let Cebuanos discover Korea’s vibrant culture, exquisite food and inspiring tradition.

The Gallery will host the Korean Culture Exhibit from Oct. 3 to 8 where visitors learn about the fascinating culture of one of East Asia’s fastest growing countries. People may also wear the hanbok or the traditional Korean dress, or watch how a rice cake is made or learn how to make a décor using traditional Korean paper and other interactive activities.

The Korean Food Festival is ongoing at The Terraces until Sunday. There’s more to Korean food than kimchi, bibimbap and bulgogi.

Yesterday there were high-intensity performances from contestants of the Cebu K-Pop Star Finals.

More Cebu-direct flights set to be rolled out in 2016


MANILA, Oct. 1 (PNA) -- More airlines will soon be opening direct flights to Cebu next year, the GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) said, particularly in countries with large Filipino populations.

GMCAC chief executive advisor Andrew Harrison said during the recent Philippine Economic Briefing on Wednesday that the company looks forward to flights between Cebu and the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

Harrison said that by March 2016, Philippine airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific (CEB) will be mounting flights between Cebu and Los Angeles, and Cebu and Istanbul, Turkey.

He further said that the company is currently in talks with foreign airlines to open more flights to the Queen City of the South.

“Our mandate is to work with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), hotels, resorts to aggressively market the Philippines, the Visayas, and Cebu as a destination worth of visiting,” Harrison said.

“From the investor’s standpoint, the Philippines is the best place we could possibly want to be in,” he added. “We’ve never had this much access to the government in other projects other than the Philippines.”

Harrison pointed out that aside from opening more flights to and from Cebu, the GMCAC is also currently focusing on skills development of people who work and are involved in the airport.

“We are creating 4,000 jobs in areas of construction, operations and management,” he said. “This way we develop opportunities and contribute to the economy.”

“This goes beyond working in a world-class facility in Cebu,” he added.

Asia Pacific comes to Cebu

By Iste S. Leopoldo

THE Philippines will be hosting the Asia Pacific University Games through the University of Cebu (UC) on Dec. 3 to 9 in Cebu City.

The tournament is organized by the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (Fessap) and will be featuring sports such as table tennis, basketball and badminton.

Fessap is a university sports federation recognized by the Commission on Higher Education and a member of the International University Sports Federation (FISU).

UC, being a Fessap member, was tasked to oversee the hosting duties of the weeklong event.

This was disclosed by UC table tennis head coach Jessica “Jiji” Honoridez, who is very excited about the hosting. She is also looking forward to the chance to compete against top student-athletes from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Chinese-Taipei and Papua New Guinea.

Honoridez added that it will be good thing for the local athletes to compete at home for a change. They are usually the ones who travel to join a tournament participated by other athletes from neighboring countries.

“Hosting the Asia Pacific Tournament is a good development and good news especially for our athletes. This a good opportunity for us to compete against top caliber student-athletes in our homecourt,” said Honoridez.

Honoridez added that for the table tennis team, they are looking forward to compete with athletes from Japan and Korea, which has Olympic-caliber athletes.

The UC table tennis team has been reaping awards abroad the entire year and hopes to extend this in the December games.

UC won the University Games in South Korea in July and the 10th Universiti Technologi Mara (UiTM) International Sports Fiesta in Malaysia, where UC made history by becoming the first champions in table tennis.

Honoridez added that she will be sending the same line-up namely, Dannel Jay Tormis, Val Stephen Jaca, Lemuel Agbon, Herby Vince Betarmos, Fausto Zeus Comaingking and David Samuel Maneja in the men's division and Lezlie Agbon, Jerny Kaye Pepito Athena Comaingking, Diana Oliverio and Jeramae Saromines in the women’s side.

US Sports Envoy Program travels to Cebu Wednesday


MANILA, Sept. 29 (PNA) -- American volleyball coaches Eric Hodgson and Michelle Goodall, currently in the Philippines under the U.S. Department of State's Sports Envoy Program, will travel to Cebu City on Wednesday to conduct a volleyball clinic for 50 girls from the Visayas and Mindanao at the University of San Carlos.

Michelle Goodall has more than 24 years of experience directing and coaching volleyball programs. She is currently the Director of Membership Development for the Iowa Region of USA Volleyball. She is also a member of USA Volleyball’s Paralympic and Grassroots Commissions.

Eric Hodgson has coached volleyball for the last 18 years and has worked with the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball for the past 13 years. He serves as the Coaching Education Director for the Region and also started and ran the Region's High Performance Program from 2001-2011.

Upon return to Manila, the team will join in the donation of volleyball equipment and friendly volleyball games at Asilo de San Vicente de Paul Orphanage on Friday, October 2. The following day, the team will proceed to the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna for another day of volleyball clinic with the youth from the area.

Earlier this week, the Sports Envoys held clinics with 100 U.S. Embassy English Access Microscholarship Program students from Taguig and Muntinlupa National High Schools. Eric Hodgson and Michelle Goodall also trained 200 women and girls from Marillac Hills, a residential treatment facility in Muntinlupa City.

Sports Envoys are athletes and coaches who travel all over the world to lead sports diplomacy activities. The Envoys hold sports clinics for young people and their coaches, participate in community outreach activities, and engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of leadership and respect for diversity. This year’s program in the Philippines is focused on empowering young women and girls.

Around 30,000 join Alay-Lakad in Cebu City

By May B. Miasco /BRP (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – Around 30,000 individuals took part in the annual walk for a cause, more popularly known as the Alay-Lakad, intended to support the educational programs benefiting a number of underprivileged youths in Cebu City.

The funds raised from the tickets sold at P10 each reached P152,000 as of last night, the collection of payments is still ongoing.

The Alay-Lakad is initiated to assist out-of-school youth especially those living in the mountain barangays whose parents cannot support the expenses for their college studies. This year’s event bears the theme “Bridging the gap for a better future… one step at a time”.

Proceeds will be allocated for basic programs such as skills training, livelihood programs, educational assistance and scholarship programs for individuals aged 10 to 28.

Last March at least 12 high school students graduated and were supported with educational assistance during their four-year schooling.

From 2010 until the present 68 individuals have availed of the skills training program while 13 availed of the livelihood programs.

Steve Norman Tan, the executive director of Alay-Lakad Cebu Foundation, Inc., said the organization is planning to initiate another program and expand their educational programs.

“We are trying to make a study of bringing another program which is focused on children’s rights and protection like anti-bullying,” he said, noting the initiative as part of the foundation’s mandate to protect the youth.

“There is really a need to be involved in those areas... as our target is to inform the children and let the children know on their rights since most of them may not be aware of their constitutional right,” he added.

Students from different public schools, colleges and state universities also showed their support by joining the early morning event.

The 45-minute walk started from General Maxilom Avenue then passed through Third Avenue, Sergio Osmeña Avenue, Legaspi Extension, M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Magallanes Street and ended in Plaza Sugbo in front of City Hall.

Together with the Cebu City government, the event was supported by other agencies such as Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

For non-government organizations, the local counterparts of the Rotary Club International, Lions Club International and the Junior Chamber International also cooperated in supporting the charity event.

Annual investment program: P386M projects pushed for 2016

By Jean Marvette A. Demecillo / BRP (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Development Council has endorsed to the City Council P386 million worth of developmental projects to be included in the annual investment program for calendar year 2016.

The exact amount, P386,110,766, will be charged against the local development fund, which is 20 percent of the city’s P1.5 billion Internal Revenue Allotment.

The P386 million is broken down to social development projects worth P164 million, economic development projects worth P139.4 million, and environmental projects worth P82.5 million.

Former city councilor Jose Daluz, the authorized representative of Mayor Michael Rama for CCDC, is the one who endorsed the list of development projects to the City Council.

During its September 23 regular session, the City Council referred the matter to its Committee on Budget and Finance for its perusal and recommendation.

The social development projects include the construction or rehabilitation of health centers, rural health units or hospitals and purchase of medical equipment for different barangays in the city worth P35.8 million; construction or rehabilitation of local government-owned potable water supply worth P5.67 million to barangays Binaliw, Budlaan, and Kalunasan; establishment of a manpower development center worth P3 million to Barangay Ermita; and the construction of evacuation centers for barangays Basak-Pardo, Day-as, Ermita, Adlaon, Pari-an, Pit-os, Sudlon 1, Tabunan and Taptap.

It also includes P82.75 million worth of the construction or rehabilitation of facilities for out-of-school youths, women, displaced families, indigenous people, and differently-abled persons in barangays Apas, Basak-San Nicolas, Bonbon, Budlaan, Busay, Cogon-Ramos, Duljo-Fatima, Guba, Kalunasan, Kamagayan, Labangon, Barrio Luz, Malubog, Pamutan, Pasil, Pung-ol Sibugay, Sambag 1, San Roque, Suba, T. Padilla, Tagbao and Zapatera.

Also included are the installation of street lighting system worth P2.8 million for barangays Carreta, Luz, Tabunan and Tisa and the rehabilitation of the cultural facility at Sitio Sto. Niño 3 in Luz worth P500,000.

The economic development projects are P200,000 worth of construction or rehabilitation of communal irrigation in Barangay Zapatera; construction or rehabilitation of local roads or bridges worth P139 million for barangays Adlaon, Agsungot, Apas, Bacayan, Banilad, Bonbon, Budlaan, Buhisan, Bulacao, Buot, Capitol Site, Cogon Pardo, Kinasang-an, Lusaran, Mabini, Pasil, Paril, Pit-os, Quiot, Sambag 2, Pulangbato, San Antonio, San Jose, San Nicolas, San Roque, Sapangdaku, Sinsin, Sta. Cruz, Sudlon 2, T. Padilla, Tisa, Tagbao and Taptap.

The environmental projects include P10.6 million worth of rehabilitation or construction of sanitary landfills, material recovery facilities, and purchase of garbage trucks for barangays Apas, Budlaan, Ermita, Kalunasan, Paril, Tabunan, Taptap and Zapatera.

Also included is the P71.9 million worth of implementation of flood and erosion projects such as rehabilitation and construction of drainage system, and the desilting of rivers and declogging of canals for 28 barangays in the city.

After the report to be rendered by the City Council’s committee on budget, it is up to the City Council whether or not to include these proposed projects under the 2016 annual budget.

There are some barangays that are not included in the developmental projects including Guadalupe, Labangon, Babag, Mabolo, Lahug, among others. When sought for comment, Daluz said he has nothing to do with the selection of barangays.

“Ako pud ang nangutana ana nila sa taga-CCDC. Sila raman naghimo sa budget anang P386 million,” he said.

He declined to comment if the selection was politically-motivated since City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, under the opposition, is also a member of the CCDC.

“Gipasagdan man namo sila mga NGO (non-government organizations and barangays unsaon pagbahin among them,” he said, adding that there are barangays under Team Rama that were also not allotted their share.

Council gives go signal for SM bus route MOA

By Jean Marvette A. Demecillo / ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Council has authorized Mayor Michael Rama to enter and sign a memorandum of agreement with a company that will overlook the construction, operation, and maintenance of stations of the High Quality Public Transport System.

In an approved resolution penned by City Councilor Nestor Archival, Premier Southern Corporation (PSC) will develop the stations of HQPTS that will traverse through Talisay City and Cebu City.

Archival said the HQPTS is essential as the SM City Seaside at the South Road Properties opens by the last quarter of the year.

“Ang next ani nga move is, the biggest action is coming from SM. We already approved the MOA, so they can now build the station already and to order the buses. Once the stations and buses are there, permits will be approved, franchises will be approved, we can enjoy this kind of transportation,” he said.

Archival, chairman of the council’s Committee on Transportation, said the committee has targeted for the HQPTS to be operational by December.

He said the committee will be closely coordinating with Rama’s legal team to examine and process the documents for the quick development.

Sought for comment, Cebu-Bus Rapid Transit Czar Rafael Yap said the HQPTS project will be a “powerful proof of concept for the CEBU-BRT project that will be operational by 2018 yet.

“We look forward to the launch of the SM HQPTS in order to demonstrate to Cebuanos good public transportation systems that are safe, comfortable and efficient,” he said.

The City Council has endorsed its resolution for the establishment of developmental routes for the HQPTS buses.

In his resolution, Archival said the Department of Transportation and Communications agreed to open the developmental routes for the implementation of HQPTS: Talisay to Mambaling; Talisay to Northern Bus Terminal; North Bus Terminal to Mambaling; and Talisay to Mactan Cebu International Airport via SRP.

With this, the City Council approved the construction of stations along the developmental routes of HQPTS in: SRP Coastal (Cita de Mari-II Corso); SRP Coastal (Cita de Mari-residential); Natalio Bacalso Avenue near Cebu Institute of Technology–University; Natalio Bacalso Avenue across CIT-U; Inside SM Seaside at SRP; Inside SM City Cebu at North Reclamation Area; side of Malacañang Sa Sugbo; and the side of Compania Maritima.

The target completion of the buses is set in October, as stated in the MOA.

There will be 77 buses that will be distributed among the routes.

Under the MOA, the city government will work with DOTC, Cebu Transportation Office, and the Cebu-BRT Implementing Unit for the advance funding of DOTC on the implementation of the BRT traffic signalization upgrade and installation also for the use of the HQPTS route.

For the PSC, it has been asked to coordinate with CCTO and Cebu-BRT implementing unit on the requirements to ensure bus priority will be in place.

City fish traders ignore holiday

By Jeandie O. Galolo

FISH traders in Cebu City did not participate in the fish holiday staged recently by some fisherfolks in northern Cebu and in other parts of the country.

Assistant City Market Administrator Arnel Quijano assured that there has been a steady supply of fish in Carbon Public Market and in Pasil Fish Port in the last two days.

“Namaligya man sila gihapon. Nisuroy ko sa Carbon, naa may namaligya. So meaning, padayon gihapon ang trading sa isda diri sa syudad (They continued to sell fish. I went around Carbon and they still sold fish there. This means fish trading has continued in Cebu City),” Quijano told Sun.Star Cebu.

The official said a wholesale fish trader in Pasil told him that there were fisher groups from Navotas City who encouraged some Pasil fish traders to join, but the trader refused.

“Lisod man sa ilang kaso kung ila nang buhaton kay ilang kaugalingon ra ilang gialkanse.As long as naay isda, ila jud na ibaligya (It is a difficult case for them. If they don’t sell, they lose money. As long as there is fish to sell, they will continue to do so),” Quijano said.

He added there has been no price increases in fish in the past two days.

Fish in Pasil Fish Port are sourced from Palawan, Zamboanga, General Santos, Bohol, and Negros.

In Bogo City, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 7 (BFAR-7) Public Information Officer Alma Saavedra assured that there was no fish holiday staged.

Meanwhile, Cafe Laguna managing director Grace Urbina Absin said the restaurant’s supply of seafood has not been largely affected. However, she said some of their suppliers were only able to deliver 95 percent of the requirement, but she could not determine if this was because of the staged fish holiday.

Last Tuesday, a national fish holiday was observed to protest the implementation of the new amendments to Republic Act 10654 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines led by the the Alliance of Philippine Fishing Federation Inc. to condemn new fees and fines on fish operators and fisherfolks among other fishing-related policies.

Members of the fishing community are opposing an increase in penalties for those who commit illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities, said Poquita.

The amended law raises the penalties imposed for violations of the fisheries law to a range of P500,000 to P10 million from P10,000 to P500,000 under the old law.

At least 400 fishing vessel owners belonging to the Bisayas Alliance of Fisherfolk Operators Reform (BAPOR) in Bohol participated in the protest, which led to the crippling of fish supply in the city markets, a news report said.

Quijano advised those in the fishing industry, fishermen and traders alike, not to participate in the fish holiday, as it can only mean the loss of their income and lead to a price hike due to supply shortages, affecting the buying public.

Mobile journ, good writing, code literacy in meetup

(The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media, wireless services leader SMART Communications, Inc., and PLDT are holding another New Media Meetup on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room in PLDT-Jones located on Osmeña Boulevard, Cebu City.

The New Media Meetup, first held in last year’s Cebu Press Freedom Week, gathers journalists, bloggers, writers, photographers for an informal and hands-on discussion on a wide range of new media topics from writing to tech.

This year, veteran photojournalist Vic Kintanar will discuss how to use mobile phones for news coverage and photojournalism. Sun.Star Cebu editor-in-chief Isolde D. Amante will discuss sharp writing by starting your articles strong. InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag will lead a hands-on session on basic HTML/CSS literacy and the use of Markdown to simplify coding and formatting of articles for digital publication.

The meetup is also supported by the Visayan Electric Company (VECO).

The New Media Meetup is open to journalists, bloggers, students, teachers and other information workers. To join, however, participants need to sign up ahead using an online form that can be accessed at or by sending an email to

Tech centers to support Free WiFi

By Jeandie O. Galolo

IN SUPPORT of the Free Public WiFi project of the Department of Science and Technology- Informations and Communications Office (DOST-ICTO), 42,000 technology education centers will be rolled out nationwide.

The project dubbed as Tech4ED (Technology for Economic Development) is a project component of the eFilipino program of DOST-ICTO that will will introduce digital education trainings in designated cyber hubs in rural communities.

In an interview with DOST Secretary Mario Montejo yesterday during the Digital Strategies for Development Summit (DSDS) held at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel, the official estimated that DOST’s allocation for the Tech4ED project is roughly P50 million.

He said local government units will also shell out funds for their respective Tech4Ed centers while the private sector will also take part in this initiative.

A Tech4Ed center, according to the DOST-ICTO, requires an office space of not less than 20 square meters, has WiFi connectivity and at least one router, three computers and one IT staff member. It will operate from Monday to Sunday.

Tech4ED centers, according to DOST, are best located in areas where people flock like areas near schools and barangay halls. Since this project calls for digital inclusiveness, Montejo said it is preferred that the tech centers be in rural communities.

“Today, (there) is a convergence of our efforts in enabling out of school youth and adults, farmers, fishermen, teachers, seniors, PWDs, all Filipinos, the use of digital technologies in education, employment and entrepreneurship for economic development,” Montejo said in his speech, which was delivered before 300 stakeholders in the ICT sector.

Montejo said there are already around 400 tech centers in the country to date.

Services in the Tech4Ed Centers include offerings like the alternative learning system (ALS) where out-of-school youths and adults can avail themselves of a high school diploma by enrolling in online courses in the case of Tech4ED program; and learning English application for Pinoys (Leap), where one can improve English communication skills in preparation for the IT-BPM industry.

In addition, there will also be ICT programs for digital literacy, financial literacy, career development, and for entrepreneurs-- for those who want to learn how to start their own business and use ICT to expand market reach.

Future programs to be adopted in the tech centers include electronic assessment for Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and mobile-agri (mAgri), where farmers can access advanced agriculture-related information digitally.

On the Free Public WiFi project, Montejo assured the DOST ICTO is “on schedule” in delivering the connection, especially in rural communities by the end of 2015.

According to DOST-ICTO, the digital divide is most evident in the Philippines, where more than 60 percent of the land area has little or no access to the Internet. The Philippines also has the “lowest” Internet speed in the region, only faster than Afganistan.

“Studies have proven the overall economic impact of ICT, especially broadband connectivity. An often-quoted World Bank report announced a 1.38 percent economic growth for every 10 percent increase in broadband penetration among low and middle-income economies,” Montejo said.

“With the projects I mentioned, we hope to significantly reduce the digital divide in the country and bring about a positive cycle of development for future generations,” he ended.

DOST holds Asia-Pacific conference on digital inclusion in Cebu


MANILA, Sept. 21 (PNA) -- The Department of Science and Technology–Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) has scheduled the Digital Strategies for Development Summit (DSDS) 2015: A Knowledge Exchange Forum for Asia-Pacific Region and Beyond on Sept. 22-24 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.

Now on its second year, DSDS aims to address the problem on digital divide by promoting digital inclusion. The DOST recognizes that digital divide still exists, mostly in rural areas where people don’t have access to digital resources.

The agency noted that in the Philippines, more than 60 percent of land area has little or no internet access. It said that the country was also reported to have the slowest internet speed in the region.

With the theme, “Accelerating Inclusive Development through ICT Innovation,” the conference will gather international development partners, policy makers, regulators, telecenter operators and managers, content and service providers and developers, key players from the public, non-government organizations, industry and the academe.

DSDS 2015 is co-organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and managed by Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation. Sponsors include Microsoft, Intel and Accenture.

“With the existence of socioeconomic disparity among the people, there is a definite call to accelerate digital inclusion through innovative solutions across all industries,” DOST Undersecretary Louis Casambre highlighted.

He cited that on the government’s part, the Free Wi-FI internet access in public places project under the “Juan Konek” digital empowerment program, was launched. It is under the Integrated Government Philippines project or iGovPhil.

He also mentioned the government’s program to promote eFilipino towards a digitally inclusive country through Tech4ED.

The DOST hopes that the conference would empower all participants to become enablers of innovation, thus bridging the gap between the individuals with limited or low access to technology and those who have high internet access.

Among the speakers are International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary General Houlin Zhou, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, ADB Director of Poverty Reduction, Gender, and Social Development Division Bart Edes, Intel Corporation Regional Director Anjan Ghosh for Corporate Affairs, Asia Pacific & Japan, and DOST-ICTO Assistant Secretary Bettina Quimson.

ICT innovations’ role in various sectors such as education employment, small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurship; gender equality; agriculture; healthcare and social protection; and last mile connectivity will be highlighted in the DSDS 2015.

The DOST also said that some of the country’s most promising ICT innovation start-ups will be presented in an exhibit.

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