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P90-M San Pedro Calungsod church to rise in Pulangbato, Cebu City

By Justin K. Vestil

A NEW church with a design inspired by St. John Paul II will soon rise in Barangay Pulangbato, Cebu City.

Despite the rain yesterday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the proposed site of the St. Pedro Calungsod Church in Pulangbato. St. John Paul II is the parish’s second patron saint.

Present during the ceremony were parish priest Fr. Benjie Herrera, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, barangay officials and parishioners.

The church, which will cost about P89 million, will consist of the main congregation, function rooms, an adoration chapel and a columbary.

Once completed, the church can accommodate at least 700 parishioners.

In an interview yesterday, Herrera said they found the site after one of the residents, Flor Montebon, donated her 4,300-square-meter property to the parish.

Of the donated property, 1,200 square meters will be dedicated for the construction of the church.

The design of the church has been conceptualized by Architect Michael Torres of ArchiGlobal Inc., who offered his services for free as his way of helping the parish.

In a separate interview, Torres said that he came up with a design similar to a bishop’s mitre. A mitre is the ceremonial headdress of bishops and other high-ranking clergymen of the Catholic Church.

Torres said that the design is based on St. John Paul II, who visited Cebu when he was Pope.

Aside from providing his services for free, Torres assured that he would donate a tabernacle for the new church.

Herrera said that as of yesterday, the parish collected some P3 million for the construction of the proposed church. These came from the regular collections during masses and donations from some parishioners.

During the ceremony, Rama said that he will donate some cash for the parish.

The church was created during a canonical erection conducted on Dec. 7, 2013. Aside from Pulangbato, Barangays Pit-os and Binaliw are also under the parish’s jurisdiction.

While the proposed church has yet to be constructed, a makeshift chapel has been built at the site.

CCCI to hold workshop on customer satisfaction


IN LINE with the commitment of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to develop programs to strengthen the capabilities of its members and in anticipation of the Asean Economic Integration this year, the group will hold a workshop on customer satisfaction.

CCCI and AGF Philippines will conduct a seminar on “Effective Customer Retention and Satisfaction” on Jan. 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Golden Valley Hotel on A. Pelaez St., Cebu City.

Marketing managers, sales executives and customer relations supervisors will gain the knowledge and skills to manage their customers more effectively through the seminar.

Research has shown that customer relationship management redounds to customer satisfaction and loyalty and leads to increasing revenues and long-term profitability.

At the end of the seminar, participants will learn how to identify and assess customer expectations to meet customer need, set customer service standards to ensure that customers receive a consistent experience, manage customer expectations to increase customer satisfaction, resolve issues in accordance with organizational procedures and maintain and improve relationships to enhance customer retention.

Registration fee is P2,250 for CCCI members; P2,500 for non-CCCI members and P2,000.00 per participant for a group of five or more. The rates are inclusive of training/seminar kits, certificates of attendance, lunch and morning and afternoon snacks.

Diabetes center for each village

By Razel V. Cuizon

THE Cebu City Government will require all barangays to establish a diabetes care center in their health centers within the year.

The Council approved the ordinance mandating the diabetes care center in each of the city's 80 barangays, drafted by Councilors Lea Japson and Alvin Arcilla.

According to the Council, there is an increase in the number of people with diabetes.

"Diabetes in the Philippines is a growing health problem that has affected the lives of 9.7 percent of the adult population in 2012 and the rate is (continuously) increasing in the country," the ordinance read.

By 2030, there will be a projected increase of 6.16 million diabetic Filipinos, Japson and Arcilla quoted some health experts.

Diagnostic and prevention

Under the new measure, the facility in each barangay will be provided with equipment, devices and personnel to conduct diabetes diagnosis and prevention.

The head of the City Health Department (CHD) is mandated to issue guidelines for the operations of the facility.

CHD will also coordinate with the barangay officials and health workers and other related government agencies to conduct an information awareness of the causes and effects of diabetes.

"In line with Proclamation No. 213, the CHD, in coordination with the Public Information Office, shall facilitate the celebration of Diabetes Awareness Week, which shall be observed every fourth week of July," the ordinance read.

The ordinance also requires CHD to set aside P5 million under its approved annual budget for the purchase of glucometers, test strips and for the initial operational cost of the diabetes care section in the health centers.


With the passage of the ordinance, Marylou Tirol, 52 who was diagnosed with diabetes more than five years ago said the facility will be advantageous to people like her.

"For monitoring purposes, it is very helpful to me and to others with diabetes because we can now go to our health centers instead of going to hospitals to have ourselves checked," she told Sun.Star Cebu.

It would also mean less expenses for them, said Tirol.

She hoped other local government units can also replicate the ordinance.

Cebu City’s business permit one-stop shop collects P500M


CEBU CITY, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- The Cebu City Government’s one-stop shop in SM City Cebu Trade Hall has collected P500 million as of January 21, the City Treasurer’s Office said.

Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas said the renewal of business permits, real property taxes, business taxes, and regulatory fees started on January 5 and will end Friday, January 23.

Cuevas said it is not possible to collect the P5 billion business tax revenue projected by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama in just a month.

Rama earlier challenged the treasurer’s office to collect P5 billion from the renewal of business permits, real property taxes, business taxes and regulatory fees this year.

Rama said this year will be an active one in looking for funds to support the P13.4-billion annual budget of the city.

Rama said he imposed a “no break policy” Friday, the last day of collection, because it is anticipated that an influx of taxpayers will be coming in.

He said he also requested SM City Cebu management to open their Trade Hall until midnight to accommodate taxpayers beating the deadline.

No extensions of renewal of business permits will be implemented although the one-stop shop will continue until January 31, Cuevas said.

Cuevas said the city government will still be accepting renewal of business permits after January 23, but a 25-percent penalty will be charged.

Starting Saturday, January 24, business owners will be asked to pay two-percent interest per month and 25 percent surcharge and late securing fees.

Cuevas warned that any business establishment that failed to renew after three consecutive notices will be closed.

Firm donates P5M for CCMC project

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

THE Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the proponent of the proposed third bridge project that will connect Cebu City to Mactan Island, has donated P5 million to the City Government for the construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

That brings the total amount raised by the City for the project to P22.23 million.

The P5 million from MPTC, which is the tollway arm of the Manuel Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp, was turned over by MPTC president and chief executive officer Ramoncito Fernandez to Mayor Michael Rama yesterday.

CSR program

In an interview, Fernandez said the donation is part of their corporate social responsibility program.

“It is a product of our intention to help, to extend assistance to the earthquake-torn CCMC hospital. Our intention really is to help the City rebuild the destroyed CCMC,” he said.

Asked if they were requested by the mayor to give financial assistance, Fernandez said MPTC was just looking for what kind of help the City needs.

“Rebuilding of the CCMC is one of the major parts when we were talking with the City.

Magandang project yung pag-rebuild sa (It’s a good project the) CCMC,” he said.


Rama, for his part, welcomed the donation.

“I thanked them for their generosity and for being part of the rebuilding of the ‘people’s hospital’,” he said.

MPTC equaled SM Prime Holdings Inc. last year.

The construction of the new CCMC, which will be a 10-story 409-bed facility, is pegged to cost P1.5 billion.

Aside from the donations, the City has already set aside P600 million for the project.

The City is constructing a new hospital after the old facility was heavily damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Visayas in October 2013.

City scholars’ allowance raised

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

THE Cebu City Government scholarship committee has doubled the school supplies allowance of the estimated 13,000 students covered under its scholarship program.

Councilor Alvin Dizon, a member of the committee being the chairperson of the City Council committee on education, said they raised last month the allowance of each scholar from P500 per semester or P1,000 per year to P1,000 per semester or P2,000 for one year.

Dizon said the scholarship committee decided to increase the school supplies allowance so it will be responsive to the needs of the students.

“It is also long overdue. The scholarship program has been implemented a long time ago (since 2010),” he said.

Because of this, Dizon filed a proposal to amend City Ordinance 2333, the Cebu City Scholarship Program.

Under the proposed measure, the scholarship committee will have the power to determine the scholars’ allowance and increase them if needed.

“To ensure there is no abuse of discretion, any proposed increase will be approved by the City Council,” Dizon added.


During the public hearing on Dizon’s proposed measure yesterday, the scholarship coordinators of the more than 20 accredited schools in the city have expressed support.

Dr. Leonilo Oliva, head of the University of Cebu scholarship office, said the proposed legislation means there will be flexibility in the determination of the allowances of the scholars.

However, Oliva asked the City Government to make sure that the allowances will be released on time.

His statements were echoed by Roberto Base Jr., president of the Association of Scholarship Coordinators and head of the scholarship office of the Cebu Institute of Technology University (CIT-U).

He said that while schools promptly submit the requirements, such as list of students, the payment is several months delayed.

For school year 2014 to 2015, it was learned that the allowance of the scholars for the first semester was only received by the students last December.

Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos said it is a “mortal sin” to delay the allowances of the city scholars.

Dizon, for his part, told the council that the scholarship committee has already put a deadline for the executive department to release the allowances, which is one month after the enrollment.


On where the problem presently lies, Ida Yting, head of the scholarship committee, said it is with the City Accounting Department where documents usually get stuck for months.

The councilors then said there is a need to thresh out the problem. Because of this, they have scheduled an executive session with the scholarship committee, accounting office and the City Treasurer’s Office among others on Feb. 12.

On the newly-increased school supplies allowance, scholars Daisy Gabuya and Regil Garcia from CIT-U thanked the City for it, saying that the P500 is not enough to cover their needs.

Aside from getting notebooks and ballpens, they said they also shoulder the cost in the printing of their projects and research papers among many others.

According to Dizon, the increased allowance will be implemented starting school year 2015 to 2016. It will be covered under the City’s P372 million approved budget for the scholarship program this year.

Sinulog 2015 challenging, successful

By Glenda B. Tapang and May B. Miasco/JMO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - This year’s Sinulog was challenging – both in the religious and cultural celebrations – but was generally peaceful, city and church officials said.

“Of course, when you talk about the Sinulog, it was amazing, fantastic. As I am telling all, this was a very challenging Sinulog and with the Pope being around and the 35 years of Sinulog as a year of completeness,” Rama said.

“From the Walk with Jesus towards the procession and up to the Sinulog, I have described it as compounded event of miracles,” Rama said.

Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño agrees.

“Maayo jud siya. Susama ra ang selebrasyon sa mga nangagi, hapsay ug maayo ang dagan,” Mejares said.

“Bisan sa mga pahimangno nga posibleng adunay bagyo, nagpadayon gihapon ang mga tawo sa pagsalmot. Over all, I can say it was a successful celebration,” Mejares added.

He attributes the success to the close coordination among those organizing the different activities.

“We had a closer coordination with SFI (Sinulog Foundation Inc.) and the city government in coming up with the events. Nagkahi-usa mi karon,” he said.

“Labi na nga mao pud ang gisagop sa Sinulog Foundation ang tema nato karon… Nahatagan ug importansya ang relihiyoso nga selebrasyon sa karon nga kapistahan,” he added.

Rama said he is glad that peace was maintained during the Grand Parade on Sunday despite only less than 2,000 policemen secured the city. Some 400 cops from Cebu had to be stationed in Tacloban to augment the security preparations there for the visit of Pope Francis last Saturday.

The city police had suggested to deploy more policemen to the streets next year.

The mayor also observed that the celebration still drew many despite the millions that went to activities for Pope Francis.

On Sunday alone, despite the wet weather in Manila, six million attended the mass Pope Francis celebrated at Luneta Park.

“Wala man mabahin ang crowd. In fact, daghan gyapon kayo ang tao pag Sinulog” Rama said.

He said the city still anticipated an influx of revelers that is why it decided to close several streets.

“We anticipated – do not open B. Rodriguez… even P. del Rosario up to Jakosalem because these areas will definitely be filled with people,” Rama said, adding, that he personally

“There was one problem on how to deal with traffic. I even went to become a traffic enforcer. I was handling Escario” Rama shared.

He said there is also a need to be stricter in enforcing the policy against large tents on the sidewalks during the Grand Parade, as they can obstruct human traffic.

Rama said the city government is now preparing for a more challenging Sinulog next year, which will precede the International Eucharistic Congress here in Cebu.

“We have already talked to the foundation on having to prepare a very challenging Sinulog and we might just add up and frame it and have it put together and have it implemented,” Rama said.

“May the Sto Niño continue to bless the Philippines. May He sustain the Christians of the great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of sharing the gospel to the whole world,” Rama said.

Mejares also pointed out that the celebration of the 450th year of the finding of the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu and the 50th year anniversary of the then San Augustin Church made this year’s Sinulog different, even better.

“Adunay mga kalahian ang mga activities labaw na nga nagsaulog kita karon sa Kaplag ug sa anibersaryo sa atong simbahan nga nahimong Basilica Minore,” he said.

Mejares expressed his gratitude to the devotees who show their commitment to the Holy Child continually.

“Dako kaayo akong pasalamat mga tawo. On behalf sa working committee sa simbahan, salamat kaayo sa pagsalmot sa atong celebrasyon alang ni Santo Niño,” he said.

He also appealed to the faithful to share the words during the successive novena masses.

“Akong hangyo nila nga padayonon nato ang atong nakat-unan sa mga pulong nga gipaambit sa atong mga kaparian, tanan nilang nakuha nga pagtulun-an gikan sa mga kaparian, ibutang unta nila sa ilang kasing kasing, ipaambit usab nila didto sa uban labi na sa miyembro nila sa ilang pamilya,” he said.

Sinulog attracts 2.5M: police

(RVC/DSM/EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama described both the cultural and religious aspects of the celebration as “miraculous.”

“We thought that it would be rainy but it was the opposite; it was so sunny,” said Rama.

The mayor also explained that fewer politicians than usual visited but that he expects them to turn up next year, an election year. Handling security for such VIPs is usually a nightmare, Rama added.

This year, the City Government and the Sinulog organizers had invited both President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, but stayed in Manila for the papal visit and were spotted among the crowd during the mass Pope Francis celebrated in Rizal Park.

There was a bit of the Sinulog in the papal visit. A dancers’ contingent led by Val and Ofelia Sandiego was there to perform, given that the Pope’s concluding Mass in Manila was held on the feast of the Sto. Niño.

In Cebu, large crowds turned up for the dawn mass in the Basilica del Sto. Niño, as well as for the street-dancing parade that began at 9 a.m.

Senior Superintendent Conrado Capa, acting director of the Cebu City Police Office, said the crowd reached some 2.5 million people.

This was lower compared to last year’s estimate of 3.2 million people, but the police said this was a more accurate assessment.

At the command center in the Cebu City Sports Complex, where the contingents put on their best performances, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said he expected the crowd would be around 1.5 million people.


Senior Superintendent Capa, for his part, said the crowd swelled in the afternoon after the weather cooled down.

He arrived at his estimate by multiplying the length of the parade route, estimated at 6,000 meters, by the width of the road at 60 meters, and factoring in six persons per square meter.

The estimate does not include the number of people who celebrated on adjacent roads.

Overall, the festivities proceeded smoothly, the police said, but there were some incidents of pickpocketing. About 5,000 police, soldiers and civilian volunteers secured the crowd.

“Problema lang konti yung sa crowd control papunta dito sa grandstand. Malalaki rin kasi yung props ng mga participants na nakaharang sa flow ng crowd (There was a bit of a crowd control problem approaching the grandstand. Some contingents’ props were huge and blocked the flow of the crowd),” Capa told reporters after the grand finale, when asked what difficulties they had to overcome.


Amid the rush, at least nine children, including a one-year-old girl, were separated from their parents. Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu, head of CCPO’s Police Station 2, said the baby girl was turned over to a policeman by her mother.

“Wala na nakaagwanta ang mama kay hapit na makuyapi. Mao to gihatag nalang sa police (The mother was about to faint, so she handed her child to a policeman, for him to watch over her),” he said in a separate interview.

Mayor Rama also observed some crowd control issues in Fuente Osmeña area and on P. Del Rosario St., where the largest groups were seen.

Rama also announced there will be no classes today, January 19, in both public elementary and secondary schools in Cebu City. He encouraged private schools to do the same.

Performers and tourists who plan to leave Cebu today can look forward to sunny weather.

Visayas Director Oscar Tabada of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that based on their radar, he expects the weather today to be fair, with only light rains in the afternoon.

Amang, which dumped rain over Tacloban last Thursday and in Manila on Sunday, weakened to a tropical depression and was expected to hover some 65 kilometers east-northeast of Tuguegarao City Monday night.

(Fiesta Señor: A Gift to all Filipinos) The history behind the Feast of the Sto. Niño

By Fr. Ric Anthony A. Reyes, OSA (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The third Sunday of January in Cebu is the highlight of the Sinulog. Early in the morning, contingents or the different groups who will dance the Sinulog prepare for the street parade and dance showcase.

The dancers, with their attractive costumes, as well as the beat of the drums and other percussions would make bystanders and spectators dance, too, chanting “Pit Senyor!”

The atmosphere is very intoxicating but much more than the revelry is the expression of joy because it is Fiesta Señor!

But did you know that the original feast day of the Sto. Niño is the day of the discovery of the image? Let’s flashback to 1565.

As we know, the successful Spanish expedition that brought Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Augustinian Fray Andres de Urdaneta and their companions, was also the same group who took possession of Cebu under the Spanish Crown.

Moreover, the spiritual conquest started also on April 28, 1565 because of the discovery of the Sto. Niño image in one of the burned huts of a native Sugbuanon leader. Juan Camus, a native of Vizcaya, found in a box made out of pinewood the image of the Sto. Niño. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

In the Conquistas of Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, OSA, the event of the finding was described as “miraculous.” This is so because of its providential manifestation to the Spaniards, as a confirmation to them to pursue their efforts of colonization and evangelization.

They looked at the image as a gift to them from God himself. The finding of the image was welcomed with tears of joy, expressions of piety and heart-warming resolution to observe the “Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus” on that very date of the finding.

Thus, the Feast of “Kaplag” (Cebuano word for “finding”), was the first and the most original feast of the Holy Child as decreed by Don Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.

However, successive developments were decreed in “transferring” the feast to some other “more appropriate date.” In the research of an Augustinian historian, Fr. Arnel Antonio Dizon, OSA, it is said that on 1641, the feast was set by the Prior Provincial to January 14.

This is to connect the Sto. Niño more to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The said date of the feast was set by the Church to be observed by the Augustinians along with the Franciscans and the Carmelites. But, because of the prominence of April 28 as its original feast, the devotion is still observed until the present.

However, as the devotion to the Sto. Niño spread not only in Cebu but to other islands in the country, the feast was introduced, in 1971, to the “National Calendar” of the liturgical celebrations in the Church in the Philippines.

To be celebrated every third Sunday of January, the new and present feast day is celebrated after Christmastide. Perhaps this is to unite it to the mystery of the incarnation of the Lord celebrated during Christmastide.

This decision was eventually approved by the Vatican in 1975. From then on, the Philippines is privileged to celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño every third Sunday of January.

The people who discovered the Sto. Niño image from a humble pinewood box considered it a gift from God.

The Holy Child was their reason for pushing on with the spiritual conquest of the country.

Now, we are given the same gift. May we celebrate this day with hope in our hearts and continue

to make the Sto.

Niño our inspiration.

Viva Pit


Devotee City now open; 3T people expected

By May B. Miasco/ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Devotees of Señor Sto. Niño from different towns and cities have arrived at the Devotee City in time for the fluvial and foot procession today and other fiesta activities.

The Devotee City formally opened yesterday morning and the Cebu City government is anticipating at least 3,000 individuals to stay in the area, said Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, the designated chairman for the Devotee City.

Cabarrubias said they have prepared 120 container vans to accommodate the devotees.

From the 120 container vans, 114 are for female, male and children, three are for senior citizens and the other three vans are reserved.

The registration started at 10 a.m. yesterday after a program, wherein a formal launching and ribbon cutting took place.

He said that more people are expected to stay at the Devotee City this year compared to last year. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

“Mas gamay to sauna kay aduna may bagyong Yolanda, unya kay grabeng naapektohan ang northern part sa Cebu, parehas sa Bogo nga regular visitors na nato. Unya karon kay naka-recover naman sila, mao na ang ila diri karon kay pasalamat sa Sto. Niño,” he said.

When container vans are already full, Cabarrubias said other devotees will be accommodated in makeshift tents.

“Some devotees are also vendors, we accommodated them kay kung dili nato sila i-accommodate, adto sila mag-stay sa mga aseras unya samok atong kadalanan. Mao to we decided to contain them in one area. We provide them shower areas, rest rooms and cookware,” he said.

Cabarrubias said that they anticipate that some devotees may be concerned about the provision of bed and food.

“Ang naka-apan lang kay ang ilang higdaanan. Dili ta maka-katre kay mo-consume og space, so we provided them with boxes na lang. Sila ra pud magbawn para sa ilang kaon,” he said, but added that some groups have donated food for the devotees.

Ma. Suzanne Ardoza, in-charge for the registration and placement at the Devotee City, said they accommodate individuals who live outside of Cebu City particularly residents of southern towns starting from Carcar City and those coming from the north starting from Danao City. Residents from other provinces like Leyte, Bohol and Bacolod are also accommodated.

“We can allow those to register nga walay kapuy-an ug mo-ari aron managkot or mo-attend sa fiesta, they only need to present their voter’s identification card or a bus or shipping ticket,” she said.

Thousands of devotees join ‘Traslacion’ for Fiesta Senor

By Eddie O. Barrita [(PNA), CTB/EB/]

CEBU CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- Thousands of devotees joined the penitential “Walk with Mary” and the “Traslacion” on the ninth day of the novena for the Fiesta Señor early morning Friday.

The Traslacion is the reunion between the Blessed Virgin, the Santo Nino and St. Joseph.

At 4 a.m., devotees started walking from the our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in downtown Cebu City.

With the devotees was the image of the parish’s patroness, the Lady of Guadalupe.

The penitential walk passed through V. Rama Ave., B. Rodriguez St. and Fuente Osmena before traveling through Jones Ave.

Before reaching the Basilica, devotees prayed the Holy Rosary as the image of the Lady of Guadalupe is paraded at uptown and downtown Cebu City.

The Misa de Traslacion mass was celebrated after the arrival of the image of Guadalupe at the Basilica, with Msgr. Jose Montecillo, parish priest of the Lady of Guadalupe Parish, as the main celebrant.

After the mass, the images of the Lady of Guadalupe and Santo Nino were brought to the National Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Mandaue City for the traditional Traslacion.

From the Basilica, the two images travel through M.J. Cuenco Ave., Gen. Maxilum Ave., then towards the boundary between the cities of Cebu and Mandaue in Barangay Subangdaku.

In Mandaue City, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama turned over the two images to Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.

The two images were then paraded towards the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Barangay Centro where a post-Traslacion mass was celebrated.

The image of the Santo Nino will stay at Mandaue City for the night in preparation for the Fluvial Procession on Saturday.

The fluvial procession is the re-enactment of the historical arrival of the Spaniards in Cebu.

From the Ouano Wharf in Barangay Looc, the images of the Santo Nino and the Lady of Guadalupe will then be brought to Pier 1 in Cebu City by crossing the Mactan Channel.

Cebu City to open 3,000-capacity Devotee City on Friday


CEBU CITY, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- The Cebu City Government will open the 3,000-capacity Fiesta Senor Devotee City across the Cebu City Hall on Friday, an official said.

Cebu City Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, chairperson of the Devotee City working committee, said the facility can accommodate at least 3,000 Sto. Niño devotees, who will be participating in this year’s Sinulog celebration.

Cabarrubias said the facility, stationed at the Compana Maritima and composed of 120 20-footer cargo containers, is equipped with electricity, water, free Wi-Fi and a shower area.

Cabarrubias said the Cebu City Police Office will deploy two policemen working in three shifts to secure those who will stay at the facility.

This is the Devotee City’s 19th year.

As in previous years, Cabarrubias said the Devotee City is open to devotees from Cebu Province and other provinces, such as Bohol, Leyte and Siquijor, among others.

But he said they will prioritize devotees from the towns and cities beyond Danao City in the north and Carcar City in the south.

Devotees will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be asked to present their bus, boat or plane tickets.

Cabarrubias said they expect fewer devotees this year because of Pope Francis’s visit in Tacloban City and in Manila over the weekend.

Last year, Cabarrubias said the Devotee City was also not full since many devotees were affected by super typhoon Yolanda and the earthquake in 2013.

Cabarrubias said devotees at the facility will not be allowed to sell goods or bring firearms or bladed weapons. They are also not allowed to gamble or bring liquor.

DOTC approves bus routes for Cebu City

By Kristine B. Quintas / FPL (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communication has finally approved the High Quality Public Transport System routes in Cebu City.

The routes are Talisay-Mambaling, Talisay-North Bus Terminal, Talisay-Mactan Cebu Airport and North Bus Terminal-Mambaling.

The hybrid buses will traverse mainly along the South Road Properties. It is an interim transport to supplement the Bus Rapid Transit, which would only be operational in 2018 yet.

This was proposed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. to operate a high quality bus service from Talisay City Hall to MCIAA in preparation also for the opening of the SM Seaside City Complex in the middle of this year.

In a four-page memorandum addressed to Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Winston Ginez, DOTC said the route may be considered as a “development route given that the encompassed area is a reclaimed lot unserved by public transport.”

“Please note that the second phase of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit will cover the proposed routes. Thus, any franchise issued should be subject to the caveat that may be amended or revoked at any time to give way to the government’s road and transit rationalization program,” the memorandum read. The memorandum was signed by D0TC Undersecretary for Planning Rene Limcaoco.

Limcaoco said SMPHI’s proposal is “suitable” for BRT services citing the Metro Cebu Master Plan in 2011 entitled “The Development of Public Transportation Strategic Plan for Metro Cebu”, identifying the routes as a “medium to high capacity transit line.”

He added that the Talisay to MCIAA is “strategic” in the manner that the route has not been served yet by public transport.

“At present, there is no public mode of transport plying the route, making it difficult for people to have direct access to the airport or to the areas located along the coastline,” he said.

“The area traversed by the route is currently undergoing a major development expansion and will include a variety of commercial hubs and tourist locations,” he added.

Citing the MCMP study, he said the projected ridership will increase this year to 118,000 daily passengers with 42-percent increase by 2020 and 57-percent by 2025, stressing the “need for public transport in the proposed area.”

The full service demand of the routes is seen to accommodate maximum passengers of 1,347,000 in a week for broken down into 175,000 weekday, 237,000 Saturday and 235,000 on Sunday.

Based on the agreement, there would be 69 buses to be deployed to “serve the demand and fulfill service requirements” for the first year of operations.

The operation is given exclusively to the proponent, SMPHI to avoid complications. But, other operators will be allowed once the demand increases.

A key condition, he said, would be a system manager who will manage the route and ensure that the operators comply with the service plan.

Before implementation, DOTC requires for several conditions of franchise, including construction bus shelters, stops, poles and stands; presentable and customer-oriented drivers; installation of two surveillance cameras inside the bus, free wifi and global position system; operational passenger information system displaying real time bus schedules; electronic ticketing system-smart cards; among others.

DOTC has set a specification on the buses, such as Euro V with a total length of 13.7 meter and three axles, 610 mm floor height and with two doors at the front and rear with 900 mm width.

Out-of-town groups start arriving in city

By Mechelle P. Florita / JMO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Out-of-town contingents have started arriving in Cebu City to prepare for the Sinulog Grand Parade on Sunday, January 18.

Judy Navarette of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. said the contingent from Placer, Masbate arrived last Saturday while the contingent from Catbalogan, Samar arrived last Sunday night. Yesterday, the contingent from Tangub City, Alang-Alang and Abuyog in Leyte, and Masbate arrived.

Navarette said the contingents from North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte are expected to arrive tomorrow, Wednesday, while the contingent from Panglao, Bohol is expected to arrive the following day.

The contingents from Tangub City; Abuyog, Leyte; Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato will be staying at the Abellana National High School while those from Alang-alang, Leyte; Masbate City; Placer, Masbate and Catbalogan, Samar will be staying at the City Central School.

The contingent from Panglao, Bohol will be accommodated at Zapatera Elementary School.

Navarette said it is always advantageous for out-of-town contingents to arrive early for them to be able to prepare and practice their props. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

“Para maka-practice sila. Ang props nila, para makaandam pa kay lagyo man sila. Para sab mausa ra ang ilang mga contingents,” she said.

Barry Luche, the choreographer of the contingent from Placer, Masbate said it is necessary for them to arrive early because 80 percent of their dancers are first time participants.

“Ang ako lang gyud gusto kay ma-test ang mga bata sa crowd. They are not used to perform like ingon ani nga engrande. Ang ako nga ma-expose ang mga bata sa sige practice daghan magtan-aw hangtod ma-get used,” he said.

Placer has joined the Grand Parade since 1999 but many of the dancers have reportedly moved to other places, thus, many are new.

Meanwhile, Alang-alang Mayor Loreto Yu said they make it a point to come to Cebu City early when they join the Grand Parade. This is the first time that the town is joining the competition.

It was not able to participate last year because the town was still recovering from the effects of super typhoon Yolanda, which hit Eastern Visayas in 2013.

“Hinay-hinay (recover) pero nagbag-o mi tanan props ug costumes,” he said.

Rama vetoes budget items

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama vetoed the budget ordinance covering the P13.4-billion annual budget of the City Government this year.

In his nine-page veto message addressed to the City Council, the mayor expressed his line objection to 20 “inappropriate provisions” and special conditions that the council placed in City Ordinance 2417. He said these restrict his authority as the local chief executive.

Among the items vetoed is the provision on the sources of funds, since the council did not follow the details certified by the local finance committee.

The mayor had earlier asked for P18.9 billion as the budget for 2015, but the council approved only P13.4 billion.

Of the P13.4 billion, P8.89 billion will be sourced from tax revenues (P2.98 billion), non-tax revenues (P770 million), external sources (P1.5 billion), sales of disposed assets (P490 million), auction sale of real properties (P50 million), domestic borrowings (P3.1 billion) and sale of South Road Properties (SRP) lots (P4.5 billion).

On the sale of SRP lots, the mayor objected to the council’s special provision, which states that all capital outlay expenses amounting to P4.5 billion will only be implemented upon the disposal of the properties.

Rama believes it is an “inappropriate provision” as it violates the “one-fund policy” provided for under the Local Government Code.


“While I firmly believe in the complementary roles of the executive and legislative branches in crafting and monitoring the annual budget, I am mindful of legal fiats and jurisprudential rulings stating that the budget remains the sole responsibility and accountability of the executive department. Any provision to the contrary is again a usurpation of my exclusive authority,” he said. Another item vetoed by the mayor is the special provision in the ordinance that provides that appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses shall not be used for the payment of honorarium for job-order personnel, unless authorized by the council.

He said it violates Section 77 of the Local Government Code, which gives exclusively to the executive the hiring of emergency and casual employees.

He also said that requiring prior approval of the council is an “ultra vires” act or beyond the council’s powers.

For specific budgetary items, the mayor vetoed the special condition set by the council for the release of the P720-million financial assistance to the senior citizens. Each senior citizen in the city is supposed to receive P12,000 and the council required the executive to release P1,000 monthly.

He said this is contrary to the resolution passed by the council in 2012, which provides that the financial assistance will be given in lump sum or installment.


He added that the monthly release of the allowances will be inconvenient to the elderly as they would always have to line up for their money.

Mayor Rama also objected to a requirement set by the council for the release of the P800-million aid to the 80 barangays; the council has required its prior approval.

“These measures, in the form of special conditions, which govern the areas of project identification and fund releases, are not related to the functions of the Sangguniang Panlungsod oversight and, hence, if not curtailed, will allow the council to intervene and/or assume duties that properly belong to the sphere of budget execution,” he said.

Rama gave the same reason in vetoing the condition for the implementation of the P1.5-billion drainage program. The council had said it wanted the areas where the project will be implemented approved by them first, as well as the P51 million for the garbage collection and disposal program.

Also, the mayor objected to the budget ordinance’s penalty clause, which provides that those who will violate the ordinance will be held liable for administrative, civil and criminal offenses.

“Consistent with the existing laws and jurisprudence, an appropriation ordinance should not carry a penalty clause. Already replete are laws of general and special application penalizing violations of appropriation ordinances and the budget execution thereof. Thus, any penalty clause in an appropriation ordinance is irrelevant and extraneous to the provisions therein and must be therefore struck down for being inappropriate,” he said.


Other items vetoed by Mayor Rama are the special provisions covering the release of the P8.8 million for consultancy services, P42 million for City-sponsored activities, P5 million for the implementation of the Special Program for Employment of Students and P3 million for sports supplies.

He also vetoed the special provisions covering P21.6 million for sports development projects and all items that were given zero appropriation by the council.

“In summation, any or all inappropriate provisions, pursuant to law and existing jurisprudence, shall be treated as non-existent and without legal effect whatsoever,” Rama said.

The council received Rama’s veto message yesterday.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the council’s committee on budget and finance, said she will discuss with her colleagues first what action they will take on the veto.

It was Osmeña who drafted the council-approved ordinance covering the 2015 annual budget.

US author of Cebu history, culture books lauded

By Elias O. Baquero

AN AMERICAN national who has deep interest in the history and culture of Cebu was conferred with the citation “Adopted Son of Cebu City” during the launching the other day of his book “The Battle for Cebu.”

Dr. Michael Cullinane, professor of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, United States was conferred the citation Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama in a ceremony at the BPI Library Cebu.

Cullinane was born in March 1942 in Panama to American parents and is now the associate director of the Center of South East Asian Studies for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He devoted himself to scholarly studies of the 19th Century and early 20th Century study for Cebu, according to Resolution No. 13-1106-2014 passed by the Cebu City Council and signed by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and Rama.


The resolution added that Cullinane has published books, written scholastic articles, held academic seminars and conferences in the Philippines and abroad pertaining to the history and culture of Cebu, ensuring a greater awareness of the City of Cebu and Province in the international scholarly circle.

“It is but a rare occurrence that a foreigner will develop such immense interest on Cebuano history as substantiated by his lifelong dedication to the research and study of Cebu,” read the resolution.

Cullinane came to Cebu in 1966 as a US Peace Corps volunteer and landed a position as a teacher at the Cebu Normal University (CNU) and Cebu Institute of Technology University (CIT-U).

When he came back in 1972, he became a teacher of the University of San Carlos (USC) and in 1975, he helped establish the Cebuano Studies Center along with Professor Resil Mojares.

Mojares said he was just released from detention during Martial Law and Cullinane was introduced to him by somebody who was going to work on the history of Cebu.

“We became very close since then because we shared an interest in Cebuano studies. We traveled together in the provinces and other areas,” Mojares said.

The Cebuano Studies Center is the country’s first special library and research center entirely devoted to the study of Cebu’s rich cultural and historical heritage.


The book, “The Battle for Cebu,” was based on the diary of American soldier Andrew S. Rowan about the siege of Sudlon (Cebu City) during the American Occupation of Cebu from 1899 to 1900.

Jobers Reynes Bersales, the manager of the USC Press, said the book was sold during the launcing at P500 per copy and is now available at P650 per copy at the USC Press and USC Museum.

The launching was attended by USC President Dionisio Miranda, Cebu City Councilor James Cuenco and representatives from the academe.

In his speech, Cullinane said he was greatly honored to become a Cebuano through adoption.

Cebu hotels fully booked for the Sinulog weekend


CEBU CITY, Jan. 10 (PNA) -- Cebu’s hotel operators have reported they are fully booked for the Sinulog weekend on Jan. 16-18.

“Occupancy has started to build up and we will be full during the Sinulog weekend from Friday to Sunday,” said Ann Olalo, Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu director of sales and marketing.

Occupancy in Cebu City Marriott Hotel at the Cebu Business Park is also high for Sinulog period, according to Charlene Go, the hotel’s media communications manager.

Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino is likewise full, according to Rommelle Don Mendoza, the hotel’s marketing and communications manager.

Mendoza said most of their guests are from Manila and neighboring provinces.

As of Jan. 7, occupancy at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was at 90 percent, said Kyra Cabaero, the hotel’s communications manager.

Best Western Plus Lex Cebu general manager Bernard Tanchan, on the other hand, said their hotel is also fully booked for the Sinulog weekend.

Most of their guests are locals, he said.

Tanchan said they will be providing guests with Sinulog kits and the hotel will sell food outside its premises, to serve the thick crowds.

Other players have also thought of ideas to keep up with the festive mood.

“Some of the things that we’ve added for our guests is that we have an altar in the lobby to highlight Sinulog and Señor Sto. Niño. Guests can have their photo taken as well as join the Sinulog dancers that will be performing on Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 17 &18) in the lobby,” said the Marriott’s Go.

Radisson Blu will offer the “Filipino Fiesta at Feria,” a food festival showcasing popular Filipino dishes, from Jan. 14-18.

Waterfront Cebu, meanwhile, will have a series of concert events and other activities.

“We have the coronation of Miss Cebu on the 14th, the Toni Gonzaga concert on the 16th, and the Voice of the Kids Concert on the 17th. We also have a Treff Sinulog party on the 16th,” said Mendoza.

Marco Polo is offering the Sinulog package for those checking in on Jan. 17-18, with inclusions like two seats at the Marco Polo Plaza bleacher along the parade route area and transfer to and from the hotel at scheduled times; packed lunch; face painting at the lobby; and parade amenities like water, whistles and fans.

DTI drums up interest in Sinulog fair

By Jeandie O. Galolo

AS the Sinulog festival approaches its peak, retail players that sell souvenir, religious and pasalubong items and even those in printing services are getting a big boost in sales, said an official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In an interview, DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said on the sidelines of the Sinulog Trade Fair in SM City Cebu that she is confident that traders will get strong sales this year, despite reports of a leaner crowd because of the papal visit in Manila and Tacloban, which will also take place during Sinulog’s busiest weekend.

Caberte said this year’s trade fair has gotten bigger, with 46 exhibitors from 42 last year; their product lines include gifts, decor, houseware, fashion accessories, processed food, and health and wellness products.

At least 34 of the participants are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Cebu, while 12 come from Bohol, Baguio, Manila, Laguna, South Cotabato and Davao.

They occupy 56 booths on the lower ground floor of the mall.

The Sinulog trade fair was “organized to support the MSMEs’ need to develop new markets. It’s a venue for them to meet new buyers and establish possible linkages with other suppliers and producers,” the DTI said.

Until Jan. 18

Caberte said this is the first trade fair for 2015 in Central Visayas. Three others will be held in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor within the year.

By October, the official said, some MSMEs from the region will participate in the National Trade Fair in SM Megamall in Manila.

Region 7, according to Caberte, has always achieved the biggest number of participants, noting the region’s MSMEs can “compete in quality, price and volume.”

The Sinulog Trade Fair will end on Jan. 18, Sunday, on the same day as the grand parade and the pontifical mass, which are the cultural and religious highlights of the festival.

Last year’s trade fair total sales reached P4.6 million.

September to be tourism month

By Katlene O. Cacho

SEPTEMBER will be declared Cebu Tourism Month by the Cebu City Tourism Council (CCTC).

The organization is also set to launch next week Lakbay Lingaw (Fun Travel) a new tourism campaign aimed to reinvigorate Cebu City’s tourism sector to become an engine of growth, said Tetta Baad, chairperson of the CCTC.

Visit Philippines Year 2015 aims to refresh the Philippine tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” The campaign banners five themes: business meetings; history and culture; lifestyle and entertainment; music and the arts; sports, adventure, and eco-tourism.

The Lakbay Lingaw, according to Baad, is one of the activities to watch out for this year, on top of the annual Sinulog Festival held every January.

Baad told reporters that this new project is a holistic tourism campaign that aims to promote shopping, historic and cultural and eco-adventure activities in Cebu actively participated by all tourism stakeholders both in the private and public sectors.

Baad said the council was given P16 million budget by the Cebu City Council to pursue its tourism projects.

More growth

According to Baad, the continued growth of tourism arrivals since the past years is an indication that Cebu can still push for more growth, although it needs upgrade to become a more compelling destination to both local and foreign tourists.

“Bohol, Palawan and Camarines Sur are doing a lot to promote their respective destinations and if we don’t come up with coordinated efforts and fail to align our directions we will lose our spot as prime tourism destination,” said Baad, at the sidelines of the launching of the Balik Cebu Booth yesterday.

Under the campaign, Cebu will hold a shopping festival by September where tourists and consumers will get to enjoy better bargains similar to the United States’ Black Friday Sale. Baad said they will coordinate with tour operators, Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), airlines and other transport services to offer good discounts.

“In effect, Lakbay Lingaw would become a festival and one huge package of bargains,” Baad said, adding that they picked the month of September because it is a lean month for retail and accommodation.

Similarly, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared Sept. 27 as the World Tourism Day, a global observance to highlight tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.

Baad said they plan to recognize outstanding institutions that have been innovative and creative in the field of tourism during the month.

CCTC will also coordinate with the Cebu Provincial Tourism Council to tie up the activity with the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo activities, especially that there are new tourism attractions in Samboan, Malabuyoc and Oslob now included in the travel itinerary.

Other new destinations under development are the Cebu Highlands. Baad said they will coordinate with the barangay captains to mount eco-tourism trails to facilitate the eco-adventure activities.

Road stop

On top of that, CCTC will also develop a road stop in the area which will have native-inspired and uniform stalls that would house stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic lechon, sweet corn, flowers and native delicacies.

The road stop, she added, will have a picnic area, parking slots and restrooms that fits the required standards of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The budget approved by the council will also facilitate restoration and enhancement of the historic district which include the toilet upgrade in Fort San Pedro.

CCTC will ask the Cebu City Council to pass an ordinance to institutionalize Lakbay Lingaw and make it a yearly activity.

Cebu City cops on heightened starting Wednesday for Sinulog 2015


CEBU CITY, Jan. 7 (PNA) -- Senior Supt. Conrad Capa, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Wednesday declared a heightened alert status in preparation for the Sinulog.

Capa said this means that all CCPO personnel are not allowed to go on leave starting Wednesday until January 18, the day of the parade.

Capa said he will allow street parties, in contrast to recent years.

“Let the people enjoy Sinulog,” Capa said.

He said he will consult the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 if they will declare a gun ban during the Sinulog festivities.

About 700 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) 7 will be deployed in the city during the Sinulog.

At the Cebu City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama had all 500 traffic enforcers, parking attendants and office personnel of City Traffic Operations management (Citom) undergo a traffic management training on Tuesday, since all of them will be deployed to the field during the Sinulog activities.

He also urged the Cebuanos to help ensure that the Sinulog will be a peaceful and successful event.

“Sinulog is Cebu. Let us defend, protect and contribute to its success. To all the undesirables, please take a leave and be spiritual instead. Attend all the religious activities at the basilica,” he said.

Reigning Cebuano Milo champ sets mark in first race of 2015 in Cebu


CEBU CITY, Jan. 6 (PNA) -- Cebuano Milo marathon reigning champion Mary Joy Tabal set the tone for her new season, setting a personal record in her first race for 2015.

Tabal, who won her second straight Milo marathon women's crown last month in Manila, topped the Sinulog Fun Run 5K in an impressive 17 minutes 55 seconds last Sunday at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Her time was eight seconds better than her gold medal winning performance in the 2013 Philippine National Games, when she got noticed by the Philippine national track and field team.

The Sinulog 5K was ran on the streets of Cebu, tracing the route for the annual Sinulog Mardi Gras, while the PNG 5K was completed in the oval.

"It was very challenging and I was happy to get a sub-18 (minutes) time because it was not an easy route," Tabal said.

"It had a lot of uphills and downhills,” Tabal said.

The route passed through Gen. Maxilom Avenue (formerly Mango Avenue), which is always a challenging stretch for any run in Cebu as the two-kilometer stretch offers a series of uphills and downhills.

Tabal finished almost two minutes ahead of second placer, Cherry Andrin, who crossed the finish line in 19:47. Mary Joy Loberanes, another short distance specialist from the University of San Carlos, took third place in 20:21, while Lovely Joy Andrin got fourth place in 21:40. Sarah Lee Cuizon got the fifth spot in 21:49.

Tabal, who is being groomed to join the Los Angeles marathon as part of her prize for winning the Milo Marathon, said she was surprised to improve her mark in the 5K.

"I thought I won't be able to improve my short distance performance since I am focusing on the longer distances, the 21K and the 42K," she said.

"It was so much fun and worth it as I was able to get a new best time," she said.

Before ruling the 21K and 42K races in Cebu, Tabal was a sprinter for college in the Southwestern University in Cebu City.

The rest of the top 10 runners in the women's division are Irish Delechos, Michelle Beboso, Lynle Cardenas, Kisha Mae Delechos and Mary Joy Castor.

In the men's event, Prince Joy Lee of the University of Cebu, prevented the Africans from sweeping the top spots after finishing second.

Isaac Simat got the first place, while Lee finished second after overtaking Isaac Mbei in the final 50 meters.

"Simat was way ahead of us, while Mebie and I were neck and neck. I just got ahead in the final 50 meters when we were inside the CCSC trak oval," said Lee.

The rest of the top 10 runners in the men's division are Douoglas Mwiti, Elmer Bartolo, John Daryl Manos, Michael Largo, Robert Daang Ronilo Gabilan and Ronnie Andrin, the patriarch of thefamed Anrin running sisters.

The event, which is part of the list of events of the annual Sinulog Celebration, was organized by Ricky Ballesteros of the Sinulog Foundation Inc..

It was supposed to be the last race for 2014 but it was moved because of tropical depression Seniang.

"More than 300 runners showed up and I hope we will have more participants next year," said Ballesteros, who added that starting next year, it will be staged on the first Sunday of the year.

CH to continue land title distribution for residents

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

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City government vows to continue distributing land titles to landless residents this year after it failed to hit its target last year.

The city’s Land Management Council headed by Jade Ponce failed to reach its target to distribute 1,000 land titles in 2014. Ponce said the city has only given out at least 164 land titles to bonafide beneficiaries.

“There is no problem on the part of the city in terms of speeding things up,” he said.

Ponce said the city government is dependent on how fast and efficient other agencies are, like the Land Management Bureau of the Department of Natural and Environment Resources-7 and Register of Deeds or the Land Registration Authority.

He said that there are processes that were centralized which added to the delay in the procedure.

“Kun sa city government lang, makaya ra man nga madali og hatag but, we involve other national agencies that we are not in control of,” he said.

Ponce said that LMC is eyeing to achieve the target land titles before the year ends.

On February 25, the city government has given Free Patent to at least 60 socialized homeowners from Barangays Tinago and Duljo Fatima.

On October 20, the city government has also distributed Residential Free Patent and Transfer of Certificate of Titles to at least 104 bonafide residents from Barangays Duljo-Fatima, Tinago, Kasambagan, and Bulacao.

Ponce said the distribution of land titles is in accordance with Republic Act No. 10023 otherwise known as the “Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands or Free Patent Act.”

As of press time, he said that there is an ongoing ground validation to at least 272 residents of Barangays Duljo-Fatima and Tinago.

“Dili man gyud ma-stop ang atong process. Ini’g human sa distribution, process napud for the next distribution,” he said.

Ponce said he is confident that the city government will be able to complete the remaining 936 land titles within the year.

City to build 2 evacuation centers


WITH a series of typhoons hitting the region, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) will build two evacuation centers in the city that can house over a thousand families.

The evacuation centers will cost the City Government P30 million. The project is among the items that have big appropriations under the City’s P243.6-million calamity fund for this year.

CCDRRMC presiding officer Council Dave Tumulak said one of the evacuation centers will be constructed in the north district while the other one will be constructed in the south district.

Tumulak said the two facilities will be patterned after the evacuation center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It will be big but not costly, and it will be well-ventilated.

Kaohsiung is one of Cebu City’s sister cities.


In an interview, Tumulak said there is a need for the City to construct evacuation centers so schools will no longer be used during emergencies or calamities.

“Schools are not supposed to be used as evacuation centers. If we continue to use them, it will jeopardize the school’s operations. We want that after every typhoon, the school’s daily activities will immediately resume given that they have not been damaged,” he said.

At present, Tumulak said, the CCDRRMC is already conducting survey and hazard mapping to determine the best possible locations for the two evacuation centers.

“Among the criteria for the site is that it should be away from water, it should be elevated and structurally, it should withstand earthquake,” he said.

The acquisition of land for the two facilities already form part of the P30 million budget.

Floods, earthquakes

Other items funded by this year’s calamity fund are the purchase of life-saving equipment for floods, earthquakes, fire and landslides (P42.6 million), construction of command center building (P12 million), and premiums for insurance of crops, and City-owned buildings and equipment (P73 million), among others.

Based on Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the calamity fund, which is five percent of the total estimated revenue of a local government unit, shall only be used to support disaster risk management activities such as, but not limited to, pre-disaster preparedness programs such as training of personnel and purchase of equipment, post-disaster activities, and to pay premiums on calamity insurance.

City to give financial aid to towns


WEEKS after typhoon Ruby battered most of the towns in northern Cebu, the Cebu City Government gave relief assistance to one municipality severely affected by the storm.

Mayor Michael Rama, together with the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CCDRRMC) executive director Simeon Romarate and operations chief Alvin Santillana, went to Medellin yesterday to distribute the aid.

“I really want to personally visit the area to see the extent of damage caused by the typhoon there,” he said.

The City Government tied up with the Filipino-Chinese Traders in Cebu to distribute close to 2,000 relief goods to families of the island barangay of Gibitngil and Barangay Kawit.

Island barangays

Families from the island barangay went to Kawit to receive the aid.

Rama promised to help Medellin following his talk with Rep. Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu Province, fourth district).

Aside from the relief goods, Rama also plans to help Medellin and the other towns financially.

He said he saw that Medellin has yet to fully recover from the calamity and could use more help.

Rama said they will also give financial assistance to other the towns of Sibonga, Ronda and Alcantara in southern Cebu which were hit by typhoon Seniang last week.

Disaster office

On how much, Rama said the City has yet to discuss it with the disaster office.

So far, CCDRRMC has P10 million under the calamity fund of the City from last year.

Rama asked Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to work with the City Council in hastening the release of the financial assistance.

Sinulog Run blasts off tomorrow

By Richiel S. Chavez

AFTER it was postponed last Dec. 30 due tropical storm Seniang, the 2015 Sinulog Fun Run will get underway tomorrow at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

More than 1,000 runners are expected to join the event that will bring the runners thruough the route of the Sinulog Grand Parade.

According to Sinulog Foundation head Ricky Ballesteros, they will still accept registration until noon today.

Among to those who have registered early are the running pride of Cebu Mary Joy Tabal and her coach John Philip Dueñas. The Cebu-based Kenyan runners are also enlisted.

City monitors night dweller activities

By Mechelle P. Florita, ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City officials are closely monitoring some street night dwellers and vendors who are allegedly not only into making a livelihood but are into illegal activities.

“Masayod diay ta nga kana diayng (some) street vendors, dili lang na sila purely street vendors or street dwellers naa sad na silay illegal activities diha,” San Roque Barangay Captain Lidiore “Boy” Miranda said.

A few weeks ago, when the City Government’s Task Force for a Better Life was roaming around the city to transfer night dwellers to Barangay San Roque gym, the group found marijuana and some syringes reportedly in a bag of a night dweller.

Task Force for a Better Life is composed of various groups from private and government sectors voluntarily helping the city. It was formed last September.

“Didto man namo nakit-i sa gym. Pagka pirmiro daghan man kaayo ang butang… Niya dayon naa usa ka tawo nga ni-claim siya nga iyaha tong bag, amo siyang giingnan nga nganong niangkon man ka nga imo tong bag nga wala man ka ganiha kinsa may gadala niini,” Miranda said.

During the interrogation, it was proven that the person did not own the certain bag.

“Sa dihang gitan-aw namo nilakaw naman siya nakit-an namo nga naa dihay kuan (marijuana and syringes) didto gipangita siya wala naman namo siya nakit-i. Nagtoo mi nga nagkontakay nato sila sa cellphone nga ngadtoa to didto kay mao ni mao na inana siguro,” he added.

Miranda said they turned over the discovered illegal items to the police.

Due to the incident, the task force is now very vigilant and has assured that it will continue with its operations considering the number of activities lined up for this year like the Sinulog.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the consistency of the task force’s operation is one way to eliminate night dwellers from the streets.

Miranda said since their first operation in the last week of November, the number of night dwellers has decreased.

Last November 25, around 200 street night dwellers in Cebu City were transferred to the gym of Barangay San Roque.

City Administrator Lucelle Mercado said the night dwellers taken by the task force would sleep in the gym and leave the following morning to continue searching for livelihood.

“Wala gyud sila gidakop. Gipamukaw lang unya gipabalhin kay nangatog man sa dalan. Overnight lang kay wala man sila katulgan niya pagkabuntag nanglakaw ra pud sila para manginabuhi,” she said.

Isabelita “Betty” Ganub, the executive director of the city’s Anti-Mendicancy Task force, said street night dwellers are not totally the responsibility of the city government considering that most of them are not official residents of the city government.

“Dili gyud ingon nga responsibilidad gyud sa city. Usa sa tumong sa city government kay tabangan gyud sila makapauli sa probinsya nga libre,” she said.

Ganub said the city government has a Balik-Probinsya program which gives dwellers free fare in going back to their homes.

Cebu City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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