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Cebu City News

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Contents

Council wants cell sites in Brgy Apas removed

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

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Council has revoked the permits of telecom companies in Barangay Apas and ordered them to remove their cell sites from the barangay within two months.

The council’s decision came after residents of the barangay blamed the death of 19 cancer patients on the radiation emitted by the cell sites.

“I therefore move to revoke the special permits granted to Globe and SunCellular communications of their cell sites towers in Sitio Calvary Hills, Apas and to remove the said cell sites towers within two months,” said City Councilor Sisinio Andales.

At least 100 members of the Calvary Hills Apas Residents Organization (CHARO) trooped to the session hall yesterday to hear the decision.

Apas Barangay Captain Rami Ayuman said he is glad that the council listened to the residents’ plea.

“Lipay ta sa decision sa Council. Wala ta mag-expect kay katong mga previous nga mga sessions, ni anchor sila kun unsay basis. Karon, nakita nila and na-convince sila nga duna gyud probable cause ang revoking. Nalipay ta nga i-revoke na gyud nila,” he said.

“Follow up kun kanus-a ipa-revoke. I don’t know ang city government ba ang mu-dismantle. Dagko ni nga companies. Chances are, basig mo-file ni og case or naay injunction,” he added.

The permit was granted in 2000 to the telcos upon the recommendation of the City Zoning Board.

Ayuman said there is basis to transfer the cell sites immediately on the grounds of death due to cancer, lack of public consultation, and lack of consent from barangay homeowners.

Dr. Agnet Peralta of the Department of Health said earlier that radio frequency waves received and transmitted by cell site towers don’t cause cancer.

Peralta said “the radiation coming from cell sites are classified as non-ionizing radiation and doesn’t cause cancer.”

In an emailed statement, Globe Chief Legal Counsel Froilan Castelo said, “The misconception that cell sites can cause cancer is largely urban myth. As a matter of fact, even of Department of Health has stated that there are no clinical studies to prove that exposure to radio frequency emission causes cancer; this is because radio frequency emissions from cell sites are categorized as non-ionizing and will not impact human cells or organs,” he said.

Castelo said international agencies like the World Health Organization have indicated that the level of radio frequency exposure from cell sites are so low and does not affect human health.

“We shall continue to cooperate with the city government to ensure that this issue be accorded due process so that decisions arrived at will be beneficial to all parties involved,” he added.

Meanwhile, Porponio Lapa, Jr., president of the homeowners organization, said, “We are more relieved of the mental anguish ba and we will probably sleep soundly and peacefully at least within our area.”

Christina Baldomar, 44, one of the residents who were diagnosed with breast cancer, was elated after hearing the Council’s decision.

“Two years nag fight ana. Siyempre nalipay kay naa nay pasalig from the council. Na-diagnose ko’g breast cancer stage 3B and usa sa reason ang sa radiation. Last year na diagnose, and walay laing reason akong nakita asa makuha akong sakit kay walay history akong family,” she said.

For his part, Mayor Michael Rama said he wants the matter to be looked into further.

“Wala pa naabot nako. That has to be looked into. Basin unya they are just jumping too quickly. Have they ever thought on expert’s pronouncements? Basin og it will be a political matter again,” he said.

Rama also said the City Council has no jurisdiction to revoke the permits.

“They cannot issue a permit. Moingon gani ka og issue og permit, asa man mangayo og business permit? Sa executive gihapon…When you talk about revocation, it does not belong to the City Council kay permit to operate, sa Mayor, apil nana sa proseso,” he pointed out.

He said he will meet with the concerned organization, barangay officials, and the stakeholders on the matter.

Operation Smile returns to Cebu

By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon / JMO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - An estimated 150 children with cleft lips, cleft palate and other facial deformities will undergo free reconstructive surgery during the five-day medical mission of Operation Smile Cebu Mission at the Adventist Hospital (formerly Miller Hospital) in Cebu City from June 15 to 20.

The Operation Smile Cebu Mission is part of the huge cleft surgery mission of Operation Smile, which covers five areas, including Bacolod City, Davao City, Manila and Bacolod, Pampanga.

In a statement, Operation Smile said oral cleft is one of the country's leading congenital defects, afflicting one in every 500 newborns or a total of 5,000 Filipinos every year. Of the estimated 140,000 born with the defect between 1982 and 2014, around 100,000 are still awaiting surgery.

"The highly debilitating deformity disfigures the afflicted and impairs their normal speech. If they are not treated early, they are likely to lose their self-worth and become recluses and outcasts," the statement reads.

The mission in Cebu, which is now on its 17th year, will be undertaken in cooperation with the Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung Charitable Foundation Inc. (MSYCFI).

Ramona Aliño, executive director of the MSYCFI said they target to operate on at least 150 children.

"We will try our best effort to have all of these children undergo surgery. Our target is 150 children but it could go more," Aliño said.

Screening for the Cebu mission will be on June 14, 2015 at the Adventist Hospital.

One surgery would last at least 45 minutes. When carried out at a private clinic, the surgery would cost P60,000.

The MSYCFI has been hosting the Cebu Mission since 1998, which has treated a total of 3,601 cleft children or 13 percent of the total number of patients treated in the entire country.

"This mission will continue until these kinds of deformities are eradicated," said Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, the foundation's chairperson.

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by William P. Magee and his wife, Kathleen S. Magee. It has 5,400 highly trained, experienced and credentialed medical and non-medical volunteers from 80 countries doing missions in over 60 countries.

A mission team is comprised of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric intensivists, pediatricians, dentists, nurses, speech pathologists, child life specialists, biomedical technicians, medical records specialists and patient imaging technicians.

"All are volunteers who take a leave of absence from their employment or private practice for more than a week to do pro-bono work," the statement reads further.

Cardinal Vidal marks 30th year as cardinal

(PNA), FPV/EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, May 26 (PNA) -- Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal celebrated his 30th anniversary Monday as cardinal by officiating a mass in his home at Sto. Niño Village, Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.

Vidal, 84, expressed his gratitude, especially to the Lord for his good health.

“I thank God that I’m strong enough, to be able to say a Mass, to stand, to walk, and be able think yet straight, in spite of my age of 84,” Vidal said.

Vidal became a cardinal in 1985 and retired as Cebu archbishop in October 2010.

Two months after his retirement, the Senate honored Vidal through a resolution commending him for his service to the people.

“It is resolved by the Senate, to honor Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop of Cebu, for his service to the people of Cebu, providing spiritual leadership and inspiration, helping the community avert or survive several crises and conflicts, often acting as a peacekeeper and giving the voice of moderation amid clashing views and interests in local and national issues,” the resolution read.

Vidal’s successful intervention in military coups, labor disputes and other conflicts earned him the title of “The Peacekeeper,” said then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile during the approval of the resolution.

Cebu City to release PHP400M aid to villages

(PNA), LAP/EB/SGP

CEBU CITY, May 25 (PNA) -- The Cebu City government is set to release its financial assistance of PHP5 million to each of the city's 80 barangays.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the city has set aside P400 million for the first tranche of aid for the barangays to fund their projects this year.

The city has set aside PHP800 million this year as aid to the barangays under the PHP13.4-billion annual budget.

“This will be an early December for the barangays. So the City Government is acting like it’s having Christmas in the coming months. Santa Claus is coming to the barangays,” Rama said.

But the barangay have to comply with some requirements, he said.

The barangays need to submit their Barangay Development Plan (BDP), said Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

They should also pass a resolution asking for the release, as well as a letter-request to the mayor.

They should also have no unliquidated financial assistance.

Rama also recently said the city will implement a PHP600-million “concreting storm” in the 31 mountain villages.

“My marching order is that no barangays will be treated inferior. All should be treated in the same manner. All have to be given. No anger, no vindictiveness, no rancor,” he said.

Cebu City cops, barangay tanods undergo disaster response training

By Joel Locsin / JDS (GMA News)

Police and barangay tanods in Cebu City have undergone disaster training to make sure they are ready to respond to any emergency or situation.

The training was organized by the non-government organization Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail, GMA Cebu's Nikko Sereno reported.

Among the skills highlighted in the training were rappelling from the third floor of the police station.

Station 2 OIC Chief Inspector Davide Señor said this training will help police determine what to do in case of emergencies in buildings.

He added the training will also benefit the tanods as force multipliers for the police.

"Ang mga personnel natin at dalawang tanod sa bawa't barangay ang kasali sa training para at least backgrounder sa kanila paano mag-serve," RAPID Visayas executive director Rafael Enriquez added.

For his part, Señor said civic organizations must play a role in Philippine disaster risk management.

"(I)t’s all of us, it needs the communities (to work) hand in hand," he said.

Stakeholders sign pact to save city waterways

By May B. Miasco (The Freeman) /RHM

CEBU, Philippines - Aiming to restore the waterways of Cebu City, stakeholders yesterday converged to formulate concrete actions and signed a joint resolution that laid down specific strategic steps to manage the city’s rivers and other waterway systems.

The third “Sustainable Cities Dialogues,” spearheaded by the Movement for a Livable Cebu, was meant to unite and integrate efforts to save Cebu’s rivers and waterways.

The “Saving Our Rivers” meeting involved the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., Mega Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and Rotary- Fuente, among others.

“For private sector and civil society organizations to help local government units and waterways development council in implementing action plans to clean and clear the city’s rivers with definite score card for reporting,” said Joseph Michael Espina, Dean of the University of San Carlos College of Architecture and Fine Arts, in reading the second action plan in the joint resolution.

Espina, who is also an MLC member, said civil society should work for the creation of Waterways Development Council, which would be patterned after Mabilog’s Iloilo model.

The third action plan of the joint resolution is for local government units to implement and enforce the Anti-littering and Anti-garbage Dumping Lane, in consonance with Republic Act 9003, and also to implement a “Do-Day” activity every weekend in the barangay level.

MLC lead convenor Marc Canton said the discussion brought in representative of government agencies, local government units, business sector, and private and civic society organizations to help formulate structures and come up with a result-oriented action plan.

Jesse Baring, an engineer, dwelt on “The Effects of Urbanisation of Cebu’s Rivers and Estuaries” through a video presentation on the present state of the city’s major waterways, which are mostly clogged with trash, among others.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog, on the other hand, drew a loud applause after his talk on how the Iloilo River was restored from being a huge septic tank to a habitable river.

He advised three basic principles to pursue in pushing for change: unity among leaders, public partisan, academe, civic society and other organizations, creation of strategic plans to avoid unnecessary costs and thrust of a political will.

“We should have the political will on what is morally right and not on what is politically correct,” Mabilog said.

Mini dams eyed for 31 Cebu upland villages

By Razel V. Cuizon, Justin K. Vestil, Oscar C. Pineda

HEEDING farmers’ appeal, the Cebu City Government will install mini dams in all 31 mountain barangays to solve the water shortage problem there.

The water catchments will cost the City P10 million.

Addressing the effects of El Niño became a more urgent concern on Thursday as Cebu felt its hottest day so far this year, and local weather officials fear that it will get worse.

Requests from local government units (LGUs) in the province included rice subsidy for affected farmers and discounted electricity rates for operators of water systems. A mayor in northern Cebu also proposed cloud seeding to increase rainfall.

35.3 degrees

At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan recorded a temperature of 35.3 degrees Celsius.

It surpassed the 34.5 degrees Celsius temperature recorded last May 10.

Al Quiblat, Pagasa Mactan chief weather specialist, said that Thursday’s hottest temperature is beyond the normal range of 26 to 33 degrees Celsius during the summer months.

But Thursday’s temperature is still far from the highest temperature in Cebu, at 37 degrees Celsius in May 2010.

Quiblat said, though, that with an ongoing heat wave in Cebu, the temperate could be higher in the coming weeks.

He urged the public to prepare for the effects of an even hotter temperature, including conserving water.

Water summit

At the first Water Summit held in Barangay Taptap yesterday, Cebu City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon announced the construction of water catchment facilities before some 100 farmers who were present.

The water impounding structures will hold water coming from different sources like springs and rain, which can be used by farmers during the dry season, Baclayon said.

It can also prevent flooding in areas surrounding the facility.

Water stored in the catchment will be used for agriculture, particularly to water the farms.

“The farmers raised their concerns during the summit and there is a shortage of water for agriculture use in the mountain areas,” he said.

Catchments

A total of 166 water catchment facilities will be built starting next month.

Each of the 31 barangays will have six water catchment facilities, which will occupy at least 100 square meters of land in different sitios.

The barangay officials were asked to locate the springs in their area where they can get water.

Baclayon said that during the day, residents can get water from the catchment facility, which will be directly connected to a spring. Storage of additional supply of water will be done at night.

The P10 million that will be used for the project will be taken from the approved 2014 budget of the City Agriculture Department (CAD) for spring development, said Baclayon.

He hopes that all water catchment facilities will be installed by July.

Baclayon said they already requested the City’s bids and awards committee to prioritize the bidding of the project because of the concerns on the water supply shortage in the upland areas.

Solutions

Mayor Michael Rama, for his part, said the National Government should help the City in finding solutions to the water problem.

“The President is aware of the situation as early as 2010, but how come we haven’t been given funds to address the problem?” he said.

Rama said the City should have a third dam, considering that the Buhisan Dam and Jaclupan weir dry up at times.

“Constructing a dam would cost billions and we need help,” he said.

The installation of water catchment facilities is just among the suggestions that came up during the summit organized by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRRMC).

Councilor Dave Tumulak said the summit aims to get input from the farmers on how the City can address the water problem after the upland villages were placed under a state of calamity.

Tumulak, who also presides over the CCDRRMC, said that a comprehensive plan on how to address the water concerns will be drafted after the summit.

Help for towns

At the Capitol, Gov. Hilario Davide III welcomed the request for assistance of the mayors of Daanbantayan and Medellin, whose residents are bearing the effects of the dry spell.

“As much as we can, we will help these towns suffering from below normal rainfall,” Davide said, reiterating what he said during their Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) meeting last May 19.

Daanbantayan Mayor Augusto Corro is requesting the Province for 100 bags of rice for farmers who have nothing or very little to harvest.

Medellin

For his part, Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez asked the Province to request the Cebu Electric Company (Cebeco) to give discounted rates to entities operating water systems.

Residents of Medellin’s 19 barangays get their water supply from a cooperative-run water system and an LGU-operated water system, which uses electric pumps to extract water and distribute it to the households.

He said that before the dry spell, their LGU’s water pump is only open a few hours a day. Now, it is switched off for only a few hours a day.

The PDRRMC has passed a resolution urging the Provincial Board (PB) to place Cebu province under a state of calamity.

This will authorize Capitol to use its P121-million disaster risk reduction management (DRRM) fund.

Board members will tackle this during their session on Monday.

Ramirez is also hoping that the Province will study the feasibility of cloud seeding as a way of addressing the effects of El Niño.

Cloud seeding is a method of artificially producing rain by spraying salt on cumulus clouds.

Special prayer

In response to the calamity, the Archdiocese of Cebu plans to issue a special prayer.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, Cebu Archdiocesan media liaison officer, said that Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma plans to release an “Oratio Imperata” against the ongoing dry spell just after the Feast of the Pentecost this Sunday.

The Archdiocese of Cebu announced this following requests from the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to help them mitigate the effects of the dry spell.

“The Church is concerned also with the general water situation of our city and province. She will be more than happy to rally everyone to pray for God’s intervention to our legitimate needs. Prayer also guides our responsible actions towards stewardship over the earth’s resources for the future of this planet,” Tan added.

9 grads from Cebu schools top 2 board exams

By Justin K. Vestil With DSM/RCT

NINE graduates from Cebu City schools are among the top performers in two recent licensure examinations given this month.

Seven graduates Chemical Engineering and Accountancy graduates from the University of San Carlos (USC) landed in the top 10; of the seven, two placed second. Two graduates from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) also made it to the top 10 in the licensure examinations for certified public accountants (CPAs).

Those who come from Cebu schools who made it to the top 10 of the CPA licensure exams are:

2nd - Shaun Anthony Tiu Go (USC, 91.29%) 3rd - Jaecelle Margrett Go Dy (USC, 90.86%) 4th - Jamaica Juanir Marjadas (USC, 90%) 9th - John Lester Juarez Lastimosa (USJ-R, 88.71%) 10th - Odessa Marie Onding Allera (USC, 88.43%) Rieland Joromo Cuevas (USC, 88.43%) Bridjet Aniñon Diaz (USJ-R, 88.43%)

In the Chemical Engineering licensure exams, Aljon Mayol Alivio and Jastle Jeb Go Rodrigo, both from USC, were the only graduates from Cebu schools to make it to the top 8.

Alivio ranked second while Rodrigo placed sixth.

‘Score’

Alivio had an overall rating of 83.00 percent, while Rodrigo had a rating of 80.60 percent.

Alivio told Sun.Star Cebu he always dreamed of topping the exams.

The son of an electrician and a housewife, Alivio, 22, is the youngest of three siblings living in Consolacion, Cebu.

To prepare for the exams, Alivio enrolled in a review center for seven months.

But it was never all studies for Alivio. During his spare time, he played Clash of Clans, a smartphone game; played badminton; watched movies; and traveled.

Alivio said self-discipline helped him balance study and play.

“During the review, you own your time. It’s up to you what to make of it,” he said.

Reward

Ramelito Agapay, chairman of the USC’s chemical engineering department, said the university plans to reward Alivio and Rodrigo with new laptops and medals for their accomplishment.

USC garnered an overall rating of 91.67 percent in the board exam. Around 11 of its first-time takers passed the exams.

Alivio’s advice to future chemical engineers is to study, persevere and to have faith in God.

“Know your learning style. Develop your study habits. If you feel like giving up, rest if you must, but never quit,” he said.

City sets aside P600M for upland brgy. roads

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

THE Cebu City Hall will implement a P600-million road concreting project in 30 upland barangays.

Dubbed by Cebu City Hall as a “concreting storm,” the project aims to improve 50 to 60 kilometers of road starting July this year.

Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) Chief Jose Marie Poblete said that the project is in line with Mayor Michael Rama's thrust to connect all the main roads in upland villages.

The upland portions of Barangays Guadalupe, Kalunasan and Talamban will benefit from the project. It will cover roads in the mountain barangays of Kalunasan, Cambinocot, Guba, Paril, Lusaran, Mabini Agsungot, Pulangbato, Sirao, Bonbon, Buot Taup, Pamutan, Sapangdaku, Toong, Sinsin, Buhisan, Sudlon I, Sudlon II, Tagbao, Tabunan, Pung-ol Sibugay, Babag, Taptap, Budlaan, San Jose, Binaliw and Adlaon.

In an interview yesterday, Poblete said that based on their plans, the City will be spending at least P10 to P12 million for every kilometer of road that will be concreted. The amount includes the establishment of a road side ditch.

Funding strong

The concreting project will be funded under the P13.4 billion annual budget of the City for this year.

Poblete said that the approved budget contracts will be endorsed to the City's Bids and Awards Committee within the week. He said that he hopes that the project will be bid out next month so that it will be awarded to a contractor by July.

He said that City Hall wants the projects to start soon because the barangay officials have been asking about it.

Poblete said that there is no longer a need for the projects to go through the City Council since they are not funded by lump sum appropriations.

He added that the areas that will be concreted have already been specified under the annual budget.

Rama yesterday said in his news conference that if it were up to him, he would set aside more funds for road projects.

“It will be a real storm of infrastructure,” he said.

Cebu City mayor vows to improve traffic before APEC Summit

(PNA), JBP/EB/SSC

CEBU CITY, May 19 (PNA) -- Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has vowed to improve the traffic situation in the city before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit unfolds later this year.

But Rama said he needs the support of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (APEC-NOC) by authorizing him to convene regional officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Cebu provincial government.

Rama said he raised the matter with the APEC-NOC when they visited him last Friday.

The delegation, which was headed by APEC-NOC Director General Marciano Paynor Jr., raised to the mayor the city’s traffic situation.

“We will improve the traffic in three months time if we will be one in addressing it. I can guarantee. Put this people on board, make me take the lead and I will give them the political will because this is about the city,” he said.

Rama said he needs the DPWH so road widening, road flaring and recovery of sidewalks will be immediately implemented.

He said the DPWH has the equipment and contacts with the contractors.

He also said the DENR will have to fast-track the issuance of earth-balling permits, among others, while the provincial government will have to allow setbacks in some of its properties in the city so road flaring will be carried out.

These include the province’s properties in Salinas Drive in Barangay Lahug and Barangay Banilad.

Rama said he also wants the involvement of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“APEC is the responsibility of the national and local government units. These agencies have to be put together. There will definitely be traffic problems if we will not put our acts together,” he said.

Rama said the city cannot solely initiate the conduct of meetings with the concerned stakeholders.

“It can’t be the city alone. If we call the DENR, they avoid us. If we call the DPWH, nothing,” he said.

Cebu City village gears up for 4th Mangga festivasl on May 24

(PNA), /EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, May 18 (PNA) -- Barangay Kalunasan in Cebu City is gearing for its 4th Mangga (mango) festival during its 73rd founding anniversary on May 24, 2015.

The Mangga Festival will cap the week-long celebration of the barangay’s founding anniversary.

First launched in 2012, the Mangga Festival aims to promote the barangay's mango products.

Barangay Kalunasan councilman Marvin Leyson, chairman of the committee on entertainment and tourism, said the council has also added more activities in this year's celebration.

Among them are the "Queen of Kalunasan" which will be participated by the LGBT community; a photo contest which will be open for photographers even the non-residents; a puppeteers and higantes competition; and Party Land sa Kalunasan, which will be done in the evening of the festival.

The traditional street dancing, followed by the ritual showdown, will highlight the culmination of the anniversary.

It will be participated by the nine contingents exclusively from the clustered sitios of the said barangay.

The barangay allocated PHP500,000 for the entire celebration, of which PHP350,000 came from the Cebu City government.

Public schools up for a facelift today

By Razel V. Cuizon , Justin K. Vestil

HEADS of the different public schools in Cebu City are expected to deliver their state of the school address (SOSA) during the simultaneous launching of the Brigada Eskwela today.

Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City Division Assistant Superintendent Danilo Godelosao said they required the principals to deliver a report during the SOSA, particularly on updates on what happened during the Brigada Eskwela last year.

“We asked them to do it first thing in the morning to update the stakeholders, especially the donors on what happened to their help,” he said.

The school’s concerns and the help they need for this year will also be discussed so the stakeholders would know what to donate.

Godelosao said the SOSA is one way of promoting transparency.

Early in the morning today, DepEd vehicles will be on the road to announce the holding of Brigada Eskwela in all public schools.

“Mag-rekorida mi aron maka-encourage ta sa uban to help their respective schools kay we really need volunteers,” Godelosao said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Visayas donated almost 200,000 board feet of forest products to different agencies.

Around 187,000 board feet of various forest products were formally turned over to the Department of Education, Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) earlier this month.

The donated forest products will be used for the repair and construction of public school buildings, markets, furniture and boats, among others.

Dr. Isabelo Montejo, DENR 7 executive director, said that a large portion of the donation will be turned over to public schools in the region.

Following the turnover, the DepEd reported that the donated forest products will be used to construct new arm chairs, tables and cabinets and for the repair of school buildings.

The forest products include those that were confiscated by DENR and were already declared free from liens and encumbrances.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has ordered national and regional offices to exhaust all means to speed up the adjudication procedures for illegally sourced and transported forest products in line with the present direction to donate them to DepEd and other agencies.

Paje also instructed DENR personnel nationwide, especially those manning city and provincial offices, to make a regular inventory of seized forest products.

An inventory of seized forest products can help determine if there are any that are due for donation.

Cebu developer to market furnished condos

By Eddie O. Barrita [(PNA), RMA/RCK/EB/SSC]

CEBU CITY, May 16 (PNA) -- Officials of a Cebu-based developer are eyeing to capture the market for ready-for-occupancy condominium units in Cebu City’s urban districts.

Farrah Mayol, AboitizLand Inc marketing manager, said there was a significant market, including overseas Filipino workers, who were more likely to be attracted to fully furnished condominium units than bare ones.

“There is a demand for fully-furnished units,” Mayol said.

AboitizLand has committed to build 638 fully-furnished studio units for its mixed-use project and its first condominium development, The Persimmon, in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.

About 70 percent of the total number of studio units has already been sold, both to OFWs and locals, end-users and investors alike, said AboitizLand marketing officer Jay de los Reyes.

Inside the 24 and 26-square-meter studio units in The Persimmon, there is an air conditioner, a smart LED TV, a queen-sized bed, a couch, refrigerator, electric stove, range hood, kitchen base cabinet and countertop, a banquet dining set, overhead cabinet and shelf, and wardrobe cabinets.

Each unit adopts space-saving features to fit the furniture and appliances. For example, the queen-sized bed can be converted into a couch.

“Condo living’s challenge is space, so aside from offering fully-furnished units, we also have to adopt space-saving features,” de los Reyes said.

AboitizLand tapped the Cebu-based Maia Franco Group for The Persimmon Studios.

The smallest studio unit at The Persimmon has an area of 18 square meters but these units were already sold out, according to Mayol.

The Persimmon Studios is scheduled for completion in May 2016, with turnover in September 2016. One studio unit is priced at P2.7 million.

Mayor Rama pushes for world-class markets

By Odessa O. Leyson /ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - As part of its preparation for the Association of South East Asian Nation integration, the Cebu City government carried out yesterday the “Bisita Merkado” to determine the developments needed in the city’s markets.

The Bisita Merkado intends to look into the current status of all private, public, barangay, and city markets and finds a way to make them world class.

The Bisita Merkado, led by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, has already visited the Pardo Public Market, Pasil Fish Port (Phase 2), as well as the markets of Inayawan, Basak Bontores, Tabada Mambaling, Punta Princesa, Tisa, Labangon, and Banawa.

After his visit to the markets, Rama said that they have identified initial developments that need to be implemented.

“Like sa among nakit-an didto sa Poblacion Pardo up to Taboan, we already have a paradigm shift nga buhatonon,” Rama said.

Rama said he plans to convert the Taboan Public Market in the evening into a park and a food court. He also wants to add an information desk that would distribute to tourists brochures containing information on other markets in the city. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Rama also said that to have markets with world class standards, the city government will impose strict sanitation regulations as part of the developmental plan.

“We will be very strict in sanitation, of course, in market developmental plan, kay og dili nato makit-an gud ang ending ana kuyos, dili gani nimo tabangan ang barangay,” Rama said.

Rama also wants the markets and streets well-lit like those in Barcelona, Spain.

In line with this, the United Multi-Sectoral Cebu City Coordinating Council was created. It composed of stall owners, establishment owners, street traders, market authority and the barangay.

Rama plans to put up a general fund for every barangay-operated market to be included in the 2016 budget preparation.

P50M more for trash fees

By Razel V. Cuizon

AFTER it was stalled, the additional P50 million funds intended for the City’s garbage disposal fees was finally approved by the City Council.

The amount was charged to the P162-million calamity fund of the City for 2011, 2012 and 2014 that remains unspent.

In last Wednesday’s regular session, the legislative body approved Councilor Nendell Abella’s resolution appropriating more funds for the landfill tipping fee following the submission and approval of a revised Annual Investment Plan (AIP).

Aside from the City Council, the revised AIP was also approved by the City Development Council (CDC).

During the previous discussion, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, said that for the P50 million to be charged to the unexpended balance of the calamity fund, a revised AIP must be submitted first.

Fees

For every ton of garbage dumped at the private landfill in Consolacion, the City has pay P700 tipping fee.

Everyday, the Department of Public Services (DPS) collects an average of 200 tons of garbage.

The City also pays P1,500 for the 260 tons of garbage collected daily, including a P700 tipping fee, by a private hauler.

This year, the City has an approved P51-million budget for garbage disposal fees, but this covered the expenses until last April 30.

But even with the approval, the Council still wants the DPS to submit the remaining requirements that they asked.

These include the names of private garbage haulers, their contracts with the City Government and the gross tonnage that they can collect.

Upon submission, the DPS may use the additional fund for the payment of tipping fee.

Happy

With the development, Mayor Michael Rama said he is grateful to the Council for their “sensitivity” to the matter.

“We have to thank them because I don’t have to exercise my police power and now I’m seeing them complimenting and collaborating,” he said.

Asked on the conditions set by the Council along with the approval of additional funds, Rama said, concerned office must be compliant because garbage collection is a priority.

“What’s important is to collect the garbage and bring the garbage (to the dump site), if they have better haulers, let them come in, I need their help that’s why the mayor is not greedy in terms of wanting to solve the problem,” he added.

City lauds police intel over accomplishments vs drugs

By Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC) has commended the intelligence branch of the Cebu City Police Office for the series of successful operations against illegal drug trade.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who chairs PCAC, said the accomplishments of the City Intelligence Branch will soon be acknowledged formally.

“Yes of course, I will confirm it to other members that we are inclined to the recommendation, especially based on the statistics of the prosecutor’s office,” said Labella.

From January to April alone of this year, CIB has reportedly confiscated at least 10 million worth of illegal drugs.

Based on the inquest report covering January 2, 2015 to April 30, 2015, the Cebu City Prosecutors Office tallied 251 cases of illegal drug possession, 145 cases of possessions of drug paraphernalia, and 72 cases of illegal drug sale.

The report was signed by assistant city prosecutor Van Russel Inopiquez.

Labella, however, said even with these accomplishments of the police, some of the cases are dismissed in court due to technicalities.

“Mao na nga kadaghanan g’yud sa mga kaso sa violation sa illegal drug na-dismiss due to technicalities. Kay kung wala ning tulo ka-personalities sa inventory nga i-submit didto sa husgado, ma-dismiss ang kaso,” he said.

Labella, who is also a lawyer, was referring to the media, representative from the Department of Justice, and elected barangay officials, not only barangay secretary and treasurer.

With this, Labella said there is a “compelling” need to amend Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“Nga dili cumulative. Meaning, usa lang ani: media, sa barangay, Department of Justice, pwede na ang prosecution sa kaso. Dili kinahanglang tulo g’yud,” he said.

Clinic by the sea

By Janessa Costillas, Aeryka Jurienne Dimaclid (CNU Communication Interns)

IN Cebu City, the sports commission takes in Badjaos, gives them swim wear, swim caps, goggles, snacks, access to the pool at the Cebu City Sports Center and a good coach and they get themselves a summer swimming program.

The Badjaos are lucky, they have the Cebu City Sports Commission. In Talisay City, indigent kids who live by the sea still consider themselves lucky because they have a passionate coach in Alfie Fernandez.

They do not have the support of any sports commission, as Coach Alfie carries the burden of having a free swim clinic for indigent Talisay kids with the help of well-meaning friends.

At least 20 kids are taken in by Fernandez, a coach and scuba instructor, who teaches them the rudiments of swimming.

“It all started with having a stack of second-hand goggles, which were donated by Loy Rafols, a former top swimmer and his family. I have hoarded them in my office and early this summer, I was looking at them and realized, I should use these,” said Fernandez.

Having a home and an office by the seaside in Poblacion, Talisay, Fernandez sees neighborhood kids playing in the sea, which is basically his backyard. And that was when he decided to train them.

“Most of these are children of young single moms. We have some who are left to relatives. We have a special child. At first I trained some of the neighbors’ kids and then they told their friends about it until we had more than 20 swimmers,” said Fernandez.

Sea butterflies

And barely a month into their training, the kids can now do the butterfly stroke like your regular Palarong Pambansa campaigner. But unlike the Palaro swimmers, these kids are doing it against currents and strong waves and with salty water in their eyes.

Because unlike the Cebu City swimmers, they do not have a fancy pool, so they use what geography and Mother Nature provide them: the sea.

“This makes their training a hard one because they have to go against these elements, which they will not encounter in the pool,” said Fernandez.

Not all of them have swimwear, so they wear their underwear. They do not have their own goggles, so Fernandez lends them goggles. He only has 13 for 22 children, so sometimes, he lets them use dive masks so that their eyes wouldn’t get hurt by the sea water.

These kids also do not have enough nourishment, so Fernandez uses money from his own pocket or donations from his dive group, the Sea Knights, to give them snacks so they can train twice a day—once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

Fernandez said that he has seen the dedication of the kids as they all try to go to practice twice a day despite not having the amenities that other kids enjoy in their swimming lessons.

On Sundays, Fernandez brings the kids to church as well.

Fernandez said that he has been asking friends for donations. Rafols, whose family owns the Marocca pool in Talisay, has given them Thursday afternoons to use the pool for training.

More goggles

But the group still needs more swimming goggles, kick boards, pull boards, and most importantly, vitamins. Fernandez can only provide them with vegetables, dried fish and sometimes bread, whenever he can, just to sustain a day’s training.

Fernandez’s purposes are clear: he wants to make athletes out of them and make them love the sea so much they would devote their lives to protect it.

“We could have Palarong Pambansa gold medal winners out of this group, or maybe a triathlete or long distance swimmer. If one or two of them will become a varsity swimmer and get free education, I will be very happy. They could be lifeguards or scuba instructors too,” he said.

“But in the long run, I hope they would be future sea stewards like me,” said Fernandez, who is a board member of the Sea Knights, a group of divers who make it their goal to protect coastal resources.

Fernandez also said he hopes to enter the kids in a competition for novice swimmers next month.

“I can’t afford to send them all. The registration is quite expensive. But if someone would sponsor one kid, then the kids will finally get the feel of a real competition and put what they have learned from our practices to use,” he said.

Cebu City asks owner of 32 buildings to retrofit for quake readiness

(PNA), FFC/EB/RCG

CEBU CITY, May 11 (PNA) -- The Cebu City government has asked owners of 32 old buildings in the city to retrofit their structures which were erected prior to the enactment of the building code.

Earlier, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRRMC) conducted a three-week simulation last March of a magnitude 7 earthquake emanating from the Barangay Malubog, Cebu City fault.

The simulation was made following the CCDRRMC training in Iriga City, Camarines Sur conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Phivolcs).

Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak, CCDRRMC chief, said they requested all building administrators, building structural engineers to retrofit buildings erected before 1992 or before the enactment of the building code.

Tumulak said the request is part of the city’s disaster preparedness efforts.

Tumulak said an intensity 7 earthquake would be felt strongly by these old buildings if it emanates from Malubog and would affect 11,000 to 50,000 individuals if it would occur on a weekday.

But he said the number of affected individuals would depend largely on the intensity of the earthquake, density and type of building and the length of the street.

Tumulak said they want to avoid a repeat of what happened in Nepal.

Tumulak said the DOST-Phivolcs shared to them during their training a Rapid Earthquake Damage Assessment System software that generates seismic hazard and risk maps after a potentially-damaging quake.

Cebu City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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